Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yankees Pitching Staff Comes Through In 3-2 Win Over Angels

I got a text alert from the Yankees an hour or so before the game started. It said that Girardi was keeping A-Rod, Damon, and Swisher out of the lineup. When I read that my first thought was, "Well I hope A.J. is on because it'll be a weak lineup." The offense hasn't exactly shown up when they play in Anaheim. At first I was puzzled as to why Girardi would sit those guys in what I thought was a big game. It wasn't a must win, but it was still important nonetheless, in my opinion anyway. Besides getting one step closer to winning the AL East, the Yankees could get one step closer to wrapping up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I didn't quite get the move, especially with tomorrow being an off day. Then I read how poorly A-Rod, Damon, and Swisher have performed against Scott Kazmir. The move then made more sense. I still didn't like their chances. With 1/3 of the regular lineup riding the pine, the pitching had to be there. As you all should know by now, it was.

I had my doubts with the wildly inconsistent A.J. Burnett getting the start but he got the job done. He allowed a few too many baserunners for my taste but his 11 Ks neutralized any real threats. A.J. pitched pretty well. 3 of his last 4 starts have been pretty good with one being really bad. Throw out the bad start and we're looking at: 18.2 IP, 18 hits, 9 walks, 17 Ks, and 4 ER (1.93 ERA). Not bad but he needs to bring that WHIP (1.45) down a little bit. Allowing so many baserunners will eventually catch up with you. I'm really hoping Burnett has his stuff together. He's going to be a big part of the team in October. The Yanks need him if they want to go deep into the playoffs.

Big up to the bullpen for pitching 3+ scoreless innings. Marte picked up 2 huge outs. He got Yankee killer Chone Figgins to fly out with 2 on to end the 6th. He then got himself out of a little jam by getting Bobby Abreu to ground into a 4-6-3 DP. Phil Coke bailed out Albaladejo. That was big. Ian Kennedy even got in on the action. IPK was a little shaky. Scratch that. IPK was a lot shaky. That was scary. Kennedy seems to forget how to have control whenever he pitches at the big league level. 2 walks and a hit-batter. 15 of 28 pitches for strikes. He's got to be better than that. But he didn't allow any runs, so I can't speak to ill about his outing. But like with A.J., allowing too many baserunners will eventually catch up with you. So watch yourself IPK. And what would a 3-2 win be without Mariano Rivera picking up the save? He's the GOAT. 'Nuff said.

As expected with that lineup, there wasn't a lot of scoring. It all came at once with the big knock coming off the bat of Robbie Cano. Robbie may not come through a lot with RISP but his hit today was clutch. He seems to be doing that more and more lately, though still not nearly at the level he needs to. Robbie's buddy Melky came up with the other big hit and I hope that snaps him out of his slump. Melk was in a God-awful 1 for 21 slump before that base knock. He then followed that double with a single in his next AB. Slump over? I hope so.

The win today has to be a huge confidence booster for the Yanks. They finally won a series in Anaheim. I don't remember the last time they did that. The Yanks could very well find themselves playing the Angels in the ALCS. These 2 wins hopefully got that monkey off their back. The win also puts the Yanks one step closer to clinching the division (magic # is 5) and one step closer to clinching HFA throughout the playoffs. Their magic # to clinch HFA over the Angels is 4. They very well could wrap both up this weekend against the Red Sox. The magic # to clinch the East could be as low as 3 by the time the Yanks take the field again. All I can say about that is, go Royals!

Off day tomorrow as the team flies back home. Enjoy it while you can because the real fun is about to start.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,