You gotta win the first one before you can win ’em all. The offense and the bullpen picked up a (once again) shaky CC Sabathia in the series opener of this all important series against the Orioles, carrying the team to an 8-5 win. Let’s recap:
- Yankee Killer I: In the span of five fifth inning pitches, the Yankees had more doubles (three) and homers (one) against Miguel Gonzalez than they had against him in any of his previous seven starts against New York. The righty completely unraveled and the result was a five-run inning that turned a two-run deficit into a three-run lead. Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run homer and Robinson Cano‘s two-run single were the big blows. Gonzalez was charged with seven runs in four innings, the same number of runs New York scored against him in their previous four meetings combined. Seriously.
- Yankee Killer II: Sabathia is really, really bad right now. The O’s tagged him for five runs in 5.1 innings, raising his ERA to 7.38 since the All-Star break. He allowed two-out run-scoring singles to Chris Davis (fine), Manny Machado (argh), and Nick Markakis (wtf?) as well as a two-run homer to Danny Valencia (WTF!). Joe Girardi finally shortened the leash and pulled Sabathia after just 86 pitches because, simply, the bullpen was the far better option at that point of the game. I really hate what CC has become.
- Bullpen On Parade: Give Girardi credit, he knows these games are all proverbial must-wins and he didn’t screw around. He brought Shawn Kelley into the sixth inning and used David Robertson for four outs to secure the win. Four relievers (Boone Logan and Mariano Rivera got in on the action as well) retired ten of 13 batters faced and kept the Orioles at bay in the later innings. These guys will have to be nails down the stretch. Thankfully Preston Claiborne is only a few days away and will lend a hand.
- Leftovers: Cano (two singles), Mark Reynolds (double, two singles), Curtis Granderson (two singles), and Ichiro (homer, single) all had multiple hits while Alfonso Soriano launched a two-run homer. Alex Rodriguez singled in an insurance run in the eighth and Austin Romine doubled. Every Yankee had a hit except for Derek Jeter, who drew a walk … the Yankees made one out at third base and two at home plate, which is just brutal … Soriano stole third base for the third time in the last five games … Reynolds, who should play everyday over Lyle Overbay at this point, has back-to-back three hit games for the first time since August 2009 … the Yankees sent 37 batters to the plate and only one struck out: Jeter in the seventh.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are six games back of the Rays and five games back of the Athletics for the two wildcard spots, and they’re guaranteed to gain a game on at least one of them because they’re playing each other out on the West Coast. The Bombers did pickup a game on the Orioles (duh) and will do the same on the Indians as soon as the Tigers get finished blowing them out. Cool Standings has New York’s playoff odds at 9.4% at the moment.
Andy Pettitte Ivan Nova and Scott Feldman is your pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon. RAB Tickets can get you in the door.