This past week has been a story of two extremes. The Yankees were completely and utterly dismantled by the Red Sox during that three game series, but they’ve turned around and completely shellacked the Indians this weekend. Aside from the win, the best news of Sunday was that no one got hurt. Phew.
Too Many Not Enough Homers
The Yankees pounded out a season high 18 hits on Sunday afternoon (previous high was 16 in Derek Jeter’s two-homer game against Texas), but not a single one of them left the yard. Go figure. Most of the damage came in the five-run fifth inning, when the Yankees turned a one-run game into a six-zip laugher. Six of the first seven men in the inning picked up hits, starting with Brett Gardner’s hustle double to put the wheels in motion and ending with Nick Swisher’s seeing-eye ground ball through the right side. Josh Tomlin doesn’t have spectacular stuff and he simply didn’t get ahead of anyone that inning, a recipe for disaster.
You can take your pick of either Gardner or Curtis Granderson for the offensive star of the game. Gardner went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and three runs scored while Grandy went 4-for-4 (
all three singles and a double) with a sac fly, two runs scored, and two driven in. The 9-1-2-3-4 hitters combined for a dozen hits (four doubles and a triple), a walk, and eight runs scored in 24 plate appearances. Mark Teixiera was the only one not to get in on the hit parade, instead going 0-for-4 with the walk.
For all the talk about the Yankees’ relying so much on the homerun, they’ve gone from averaging 1.6 homers per game in their first 44 games to 1.3 homers per game in their last 19 contests (the AL average is 0.93 HR/G). As for their runs scored per game, it’s gone from 5.14 to 5.47 during those same time periods. They’ve been scoring more runs while hitting few homers per game for more than three weeks now, and remember they faced some pretty good pitching as well.
Freddy Dances Out Of Danger
Last time out was not pretty for Freddy Garcia, who didn’t make it out of the second inning against the Red Sox because his slop was high in the zone and out over the plate too often. He was better today, but it also helped that he was facing a slumping lineup that had exactly zero hits off him in their dozen chances with men on base. Garcia did not have a single 1-2-3 inning, and the Indians even took advantage of his slow delivery by stealing five bases. Russell Martin didn’t even bother to make a throw on several of them, their jumps were that good.
Sweaty Freddy stranded a man on first in the first, a man on second in the second, men on the corners in the third, a man on third in the fourth, a man on second in the fifth, a man on second in the sixth, and handed a runner on first over to Boone Logan with two outs in the seventh. His six strikeouts were very well timed, three ended an inning and two others recorded the second out, meaning it would have taken a hit for the Tribe to score a run. Games like this are Garcia’s calling card, keeping a struggling offense in check while dodging bullets for six-plus innings.
Jeter had two singles and two well hit balls to the warning track, but the latter doesn’t count for anything. The Cap’n is seven hits away from 3,000 with four games left in the homestand. He’ll get them, don’t worry. Alex Rodriguez had three hits, while Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, and Jorge Posada each had two. Jorge’s got 13 hits in his last 22 at-bats, raising his average 57 points in the last week. Russell Martin looked pretty awful (0-for-4 with a strikeout and two GIDP’s), but he just missed a bunch of time with the back issue. I’ll cut the dude some slack this game.
Frickin’ Boone Logan man. Grady Sizemore came into the game hitting .121/.194/.303 against lefties this year, so what happens when Logan comes into face him with two outs in the seventh? He walks him on five pitches. Seventeen of the 45 lefties Boone has faced this year have reached base, a .378 OBP that is just straight up not acceptable for a guy who’s only the roster to get lefties out. Randy Flores is pitching well against lefties in Triple-A, you have to wonder if he’ll be brought up sometime soon. I’m not saying they’ll cut Logan completely, but getting a new primary lefty seems inevitable right now.
It was good to see Joe Girardi go right back to Kevin Whelan two days after his ugly big league debut. He looked much better this time out even though he walked a batter, doing a better job of spotting his fastball down in the zone (even getting a called strike three on one). Hopefully the first time jitters are out of the way and this is what we’ll be seeing more of in the future. While on the subject of relievers, I sure hope Frank Herrmann’s nickname in the Indians’ clubhouse is Pee Wee. I would be greatly disappointed if it isn’t.
Remember when the Indians were 30-15? They’ve won just four of 18 games since then. They’re 1-9 in their last ten games, and the one was a 1-0 win over punchless Twins. Cleveland’s run in the seventh inning snapped a 15.1 scoreless innings streak for the Yankees’ pitching staff, but the Tribe have still scored just 15 runs in their last eight games (1.88 per game). Seven of those runs came Friday night. Oh well, I’m sure it was fun for Clevelanders while it lasted.
WPA Graph & Box Score
The Yankees moved back to nine games over .500 with the win, tying their season high. They’ll look to move to ten games over on Monday night, when A.J. Burnett and Carlos Carrasco wrap up this four games series.