The Yankees and the Royals played a quick 2:33 game last night, but with an 85 minute rain delay stuck into the bottom of the 5th inning, I didn’t leave Yankee Stadium until nearly 11 p.m. last night. Meanwhile, the game on the field itself seemed to take second stage to the Dan Haren drama that’s still unfolding. The Yankees didn’t care. A-Rod didn’t hit his 600th home run, but he went 2 for 4 as the team slapped around Brian Bannister and the Kansas City bullpen en route to a 7-1 win.
Biggest Hit: Robinson Cano’s first-inning double
The Yankees got off to a very quick start against Brian Bannister tonight. On the sixth pitch of his lead-off at-bat, Brett Gardner roped a double down the right field that Alex Gordon misplayed into a three-base hit. Derek Jeter swung at the first pitch and grounded back to Bannister. After Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch and A-Rod walked, Robinson Cano laced a three-run double into center field.
For the Yankees playing the Royals, they wouldn’t need more runs. Cano’s hit gave the Yanks an 80.6 percent win expectancy, and the club never ended a inning with their WE below 83 percent. Had it not been for the rain and Jorge Posada, this would have been a rather unmemorable win. The Yanks went about their victory in a business-like fashion, pounding out 11 hits and six walks against a Royals club that isn’t in the same league as the Bombers.
Biggest RBI: Jorge Posada’s first-inning double
After Robinson Cano’s double put the Yanks up by three, Jorge Posada followed with a double of his own into right field. As Cano touched the plate, Jorge has a mark to celebrate. The run batted in was his 1000th as a Yankee. The crowd of 46,801 gave Posada a standing ovation, and the Yanks’ catcher barely acknowledged the mark.
In the grand scheme of the game, Posada’s 1000th RBI isn’t as big a milestone as A-Rod’s impending 600th home run. Pages of players have reached the mark, and RBIs aren’t a stat over which the batter has much control. But of the 13 catchers in the Hall of Fame, only six have topped the 1000-RBI plateau. Jorge is in some rarified company as he makes his case for Cooperstown. He should get there easily.
The Best of the Pen
Outside of some first-inning thunder, the Yanks’ bats weren’t at their best tonight. They went just 4-for-18 with runners in scoring position, and plated a few off of some of the Royals’ relievers who were forced to get 10 outs after the rain delay. For the Yankees, though, their pitchers did the job. A.J. Burnett was, if not masterful, quite effective through five innings. He allowed four hits and walked just one while striking out three, and because of the rain, he threw just 58 pitches.
After the monsoon that flooded Yankee Stadium passed through, Chad Gaudin pitched three serviceable innings as a reliever. He allowed a run in the 8th, but he kept the Royals from ever creeping back into the game. Jonathan Albaladejo struck out two in the 9th while sitting in the low 90s with his fastball. When Sergio Mitre is activated later today, Dustin Moseley should get the axe.
Odds and Ends
Alex Rodriguez didn’t launch his 600th home run tonight, but he went 2 for 4 with a walk. This game was a stark contrast to those ABs in between his 499th and 500th home runs. During that span, he triple-slashed just .111/.306/.148. As long as he hits, that home run will come on its own.
Derek Jeter appeared to be visibly frustrated after his first-inning at-bat ended on the first pitch. With a runner on third, he tapped back to the pitcher. He failed to knock out a hit in his other four plate appearances and nearly drew the ire of the crowd when he hit into a double play in the 8th, jeopardizing another A-Rod plate appearance.
Props go out to the Yankee grounds crew tonight. As I stood in Section 424, visiting with a RAB regular, it was hard to believe the game would go on. Lightening and thunder crashed around us, and we were soaked to the bone. When the tarp came off, the outfield resembled a lake, but between the grounds crew’s sweeping efforts and the fast-draining system in place, the field was good to go. That was some rainstorm.
If only they were all as stress-free as this WPA graph. Zen Baseball would rule the world.
The Yankees continue their four-game set against the Royals as Kyle Davies (4-6, 5.45) and Sergio Mitre (0-1, 2.88) square off in a 1:05 affair. A-Rod hit home run number 500 off of Davis back in 2007. Could history repeat itself? Only ti…oh, never mind. Game-time temperatures are expected to be in the low-to-mid 90s with a heat advisory and thunderstorm watch in effect.