Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Streak Strikes Seven

In a brisk two hour and fifteen minute game that was part pitchers' duel, part home run derby, the Yankees' winning streak reached seven games.

Andy Pettitte had a great outing, erasing the memory of his awful start in Atlanta last week, and turning in his best start yet at the new Stadium. He went seven innings, surrendering six hits and a walk against five Ks, throwing 63 of his 98 pitches for strikes. He surrendered two runs, with both Seattle tallies tying the game. In the fourth, with one out and runners on first and third, Wladimir Balentien tapped a potential inning ending double play grounder to Mark Teixeira. But Teix fumbled the exchange, getting just one out and allowing the run to score from third. Pettitte promptly added to his Major League record pickoff total to end the inning. His other run came in the sixth, as Ken Griffey Jr hit his 35th career HR against the Yankees.

Meanwhile, the Yankees generated all of their offense via the longball. Johnny Damon opened the scoring in the third, launching yet another HR to right, his fifteenth of the year. Melky Cabrera made it 2-1 in the fifth, lofting one over the leftfield foul pole into the loge, a shot that required replay confirmation.

With Mark Teixeira on first in the sixth, Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate. Getting half the night off as the DH, A-Rod entered the at bat 0 for 2 on the night, including a first inning double play. He would get back to his hot hitting in this at bat, blasting his second mammoth home run in as many nights, this one a shot to straightaway center, landing in Monument Park. It broke a 2-2 tie and closed the scoring for the night.

The Yankee bullpen was also impressive. Joe Girardi played the match up game in the eighth. Alfred Aceves was called upon to get Ronny Cedeno, inducing a fly out to right. Girardi then called on southpaw Phil Coke to get Seattle's two best hitters: lefties Ichiro and Russell Branyan. Coke needed just seven pitches to retire them both, getting Ichiro to tap back to the mound and fanning Branyan. Coke has now pitched 13.1 innings in his last 15 appearances, giving up one earned run, five hits, three walks, and whiffing fifteen.

Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth, getting three groundouts for his 502nd career save. The Yankees have now won seven in a row and haven't trailed in a game in more than a week. They go for the sweep tomorrow. We'll be back then with plenty of good stuff to take you into the holiday weekend.


  1. Am I crazy for being annoyed with Girardi for having Aceves pitch to one batter when he either could have pitched the entire inning or Coke could have pitched the entire inning? It seemed like a complete waste to have 2 pitchers do the job that either one of them could do. LH batters have crappy numbers vs Ace and RH batters have crappy numbers vs Coke. So it's not like there is some huge platoon split....

    Or maybe I'm just picking nits....

  2. Not crazy at all. But you shouldn't be surprised either. Girardi has been match-up crazy all year. Platoon splits in general are vastly overrated.

    It was probably time to go to the pen at that point; Pettitte had given what he had to give. I have no problem bringing Coke in to get Ichiro and Branyan. They're two lefties, and virtually the only M's that can hit. But was it really necessary to use Aceves to get #9 hitter and borderline Major Leaguer Ronnie Cedeno? Why not just let Coke pitch the whole frame?

  3. That's where I was coming from. Pettite gave you all he had, Rivera was pitching the 9th. That left the 8th with 2 lefties. If Aceves needed work, 1 batter really can hardly count as getting his work in. But I'm pretty confident Coke could get Cedeno out. Oh well. Joe just isn't as much of a thinking man's manager as I had once hoped!