As the second inning unfolded, I couldn’t help but laugh at the Mets. The errors simply reminded me of the Mets of my youth, that 1993 team that lost 103 games and featured Anthony Young amidst a record-setting losing streak.
The errors started early. David Wright threw the ball away on the first play of the inning, allowing Melky Cabrera to advance to second. Five batters later and with the Yanks sporting a 2-0 lead, Johnny Damon hit a tailor-made double play ball to Alex Cora who promptly threw it into right field. On the next play. Mark Teixeira hit a roller to first, and Nick Evans just couldn’t field the ball. He flat out dropped it. When the dust settled, the Yanks had a 4-0 lead, and it would be enough as the Yanks downed the Mets 9-1.
After the game, Mike Pelfrey, the Mets’ starter, tried to remain diplomatic about the Amazins’ fielding woes. It was easy to read between the lines. He was frustrated. “You can’t give that team six outs or how many ever outs we gave them,” Pelfrey said.
Despite the Mets’ ineptitude — Bobby Parnell topped it off by dropping the ball while coming set on the mound later in the game — Friday night was all about the Yanks. On the one hand, we had CC Sabathia. Five days ago, Sabathia was yanked from his start against the Marlins with bicep soreness in his throwing arm, and the Yankee Universe sat on edge to find out if Sabathia would emerge from this hiccup unscathed. On Friday, he he settled our nervous stomachs.
Over seven innings, Sabathia was nearly flawless. He gave up three hits and one run — all of them in the 5th inning — and struck out eight. He threw 99 pitches and 67 of them were strikes. He utterly dominated the Mets. With that win, Sabathia improves to 7-4 on the season with a 3.55 ERA. He has been, in other words, as good as advertised.
On the other side of the ball was the Yankee offense, fronted by an unlikely cast of characters. With Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter out with a flu-like virus going around the Yankee clubhouse, the lineup started with Brett Gardner and ended with Frankie Cervelli, Ramiro Peña and CC Sabathia. While Cervelli went hitless, the rest of those four did not. Sabathia went 1 for 4 with an RBI, and Peña went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and an RBI.
The story of the night though was the Yanks’ lead off hitter. Brett Gardner went 5 for 6 with two singles, a triple and a Citi Field home run. He scored three runs, drove in two and stole a base. On the season, in 152 at-bats, he is hitting .303/.374/.441 and leads rookies in average, on-base percentage, runs scored and stolen base. Somehow, some way, Joe Girardi has to get Gardner in the lineup on an everyday basis. He’s certainly deserved.
And finally, we get to A-Rod. Left for dead a few days ago, A-Rod went 1 for 2 with a booming home run and three walks. Slowly, surely he is turning everything around. Now the Yankees just have to make sure he rests enough to remain as fresh as he’s looked over the last few days. He is, by the way, 18th in walks in the AL despite missing six weeks of the season.
When the dust settled tonight, the Yanks retired the Mets in order in every inning but the 5th. They’ve won three in a row, scoring eight or more runs in each game. Only two teams in all of baseball have better records. Sounds good to me.