I’d say Nationals Park was 50-50 on Friday, basically half Yankees fans and half Nationals fans. There were a ton of boos to counteract the cheers for the Bombers, though I definitely heard a) a mini-roll call, b) a “De-Rek Je-Ter” chant, and c) at least two “Let’s Go Yan-Kees” chant. New York won it’s seventh straight game thanks to another strong start from Phil Hughes and some timely hitting in the mid-to-late innings. Since I assume most of you saw the game and know what happened, here are some random thoughts rather than a blow-by-blow recap…
- Joe Girardi had to know Robinson Cano was going to be intentionally walked in the seventh inning, right? I mean … you could see it coming a million miles away. It obviously doesn’t matter now and it is just nitpicking, but the best move probably would have been to use him to pinch-hit for Jayson Nix rather than have Nix bunt one batter prior. They still would have had Raul Ibanez (or Eric Chavez) to pinch-hit for the pitcher.
- Curtis Granderson is really starting to hit the ball the other way, and with authority. It seemed to all start during the series in Oakland, but it continued on Friday with his opposite field two-run double to blow things open in the seventh.
- Phil Hughes struck out a season-high nine and he looked really good outside of a sloppy third inning. He actually got more ground balls (five) than fly balls (four), including a big double play ball to end that third inning. After that double play, Phil retired nine of the next ten men he faced to end his outing and has pitched to a 3.35 ERA in his last seven starts. Prettay prettay good.
- Oh, and the streak is over! Hughes did not allow a homer in a start for the first time this season. He was two starts away from the all-time franchise record of 14 straight starts with a dinger. I had my money on Danny Espinosa for the #obligatoryhomer.
- Gio Gonzalez also looks really good. The Yankees were able to get his pitch count up there early, but he’s not the nibbler he was with the Athletics these last few years. At 26 years old, it seems like the light bulb is starting to turn on. Glad he’s in the NL in that case.
- I was happy to see David Robertson get an inning in just to get those first game back jitters out of the way. He did allow a run on a double and some ground outs, but no one really cares. I’m glad he’s back.
- How awful did Clay Rapada make Bryce Harper look in the eighth? That was as bad a hack as he could reasonably take.
- Speaking of awful, Alex Rodriguez’s base-running blunder to end the third was as bad as it gets. Alex is by far the most instinctual player I’ve ever seen, but that was just bone-headed.
- The Yankees were poised to win their first homerless game of the season … until Granderson ruined things by going deep in the ninth. This is why we can’t have nice things, Curtis.
As I said before, this is now seven wins in a row. It’s also ten wins in the last 11 games, 12 in the last 14, and 17 in the last 21. This is the best baseball the Yankees have played in a while, maybe even going back to 2009. What do you think? Anyway, MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Andy Pettitte and Jordan Zimmermann give it a go in game two on Saturday afternoon, then after than come join us for our post-game meet-up if you’re in town.