Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another Sweep Of The Birds

Despite what the final score indicates, the series finale against the Orioles was a tightly contested game - at least it was for eight innings.

Coming off his superb August, CC Sabathia struggled a bit at the outset of his first September start. He allowed singles to two of the first three batters he faced, then fell behind 1-0 on a sacrifice fly. In the second he gave up three singles to load the bases, but fanned the next two batters to end the frame. It was his last real scare for the night, and the Big Fella continued his recent hot streak with seven innings, seven hits, a lone run, a walk, and nine Ks.

Like the Orioles, the Yankees had no problems putting runners on base, but had difficulty bringing them home. Orioles starter Jason Berken allowed eight hits and two walks in 5.1 innings of work, yet was charged with just a single run as the Yankees left nine runners on base through the first six innings. The Yankees did manage to tie it up on an Eric Hinske solo shot in the third.

In the seventh, the Yankees finally managed a lead. Johnny Damon led off with a single, then Nick Swisher - batting third as Mark Teixeira got a night off - doubled to put two runners in scoring position for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, who tallied his 2,500th career hit in the fifth, added number 2,501 and gave the Yankees a lead they wouldn't relinquesh.

Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, and Phil Hughes recorded an out each in the eighth, but the O's cut the lead to one as Bruney gave a up a Nolan Reimold homer. With Mariano Rivera unavailable for the ninth due to a sore groin, the Yankees lead seemed even more tenuous.

The Yankee offense took all the suspense out of the game in the ninth, plating seven runs as they nickel and dimed the O's to death with two walks, seven singles, and zero extra base hits. The first five Yankees to come to the plate in the inning reached base safely, as did four of five Yankees batters between the first and third outs. While the Yankee offense got to pad their stats a bit more, the inning served as an apt representation of both the depth of the current Yankee line up and the general state of affairs in Baltimore for the past 12 seasons.

Despite the eight run lead, Phil Hughes, in need of innings, pitched the ninth to earn his second Major League save. He'll serve as the acting closer until Mo's ready to return. The bullpen will warrant watching this weekend with Mo out and Chad Gaudin, Joba Chamberlain, and Sergio Mitre starting three of the four games in Toronto, followed by a double header on Monday. The bullpen, currently at nine mortals and one dinged-up Mo, will likely have a lot of work ahead of them.

The game closed the season series against Baltimore. After dropping the first two games of the season in Baltimore, the Yankees have gone 12-1 against the O's, takiing the last ten in a row, and the sweeping the last three series between them. They'll meet three times more, in the Bronx next weekend.


  1. Baltimore is coming to the Bronx next week! We're not done yet!

  2. Thanks Jake. My mistake.

  3. Enough with Bruney, give me some Melancon!

  4. No joke, I'm really starting to hate Brian Bruney. Whatever he had at the beginning of the season appears to be gone.

    It's strange that he gets the respect he does from Girardi, considering he's never been healthy for a full season and during his time with the Yanks has walked 5.7 batters per 9 IP. That's. Fucking. Awful.

  5. Joe, I couldn't agree more about Melancon over Bruney. To me, there is no way Bruney should be on the October roster. He's kerosene right now. Let Melancon get some work.

    I really have no idea why Girardi trotted out Hughes for the ninth when he knew that Mariano, with his groin strain, will be unavailable for the next few games. They were up eight. Hughes may have needed work but, without Mariano, he should expect to get plenty in the days ahead. He threw 18 extra pitches that Melancon or Dunn easily could have.

    Sabathia has been nothing short of tremendous, getting better and stronger as the season progresses. In 10 starts after the break, he's gone at least 7 innings in 8 of them--and 6 2/3 in another. He's also fanned 72 in 71 IP after the break. He and Pettite have been horses.

    Great to see A-Rod getting his stroke back. He hasn't been homering, but I'll take his 11-game hitting streak with 11 RBI in there anyday.

    The Yanks did just what they needed to do--stomp a subpar team. Good. I've never been an Orioles fan, but couldn't stand them ever since Benitez beaned Tino. NY beating them 12 of the last 13 is biscuits and gravy to me.

  6. Bruney looked like he was turning the corner a couple weeks back and has been horseshit since. In a way I feel bad for the guy. He's shown flashes of brilliance early on in each of the last two seasons only to be derailed by injury. Whether that's the cause of his problems or whether it's his own inability to consistently throw strikes I'm not quite sure.

    Girardi seems to have had a bit of a quick hook with Bruney lately, but it's hard to argue with that given his performance. Given the emergence of D-Rob and Melancon, Joel Sherman rightly points out this morning that Bruney is in danger of being non-tendered this off season. As for the post-season roster, I would go with both D-Rob and Gaudin over him at this point.

    Normally I would object to a top reliever being left out for the ninth in an 8 run game, but Hughes needs the work. The rest of the pen should have ample opportunity to pitch this weekend with Gaudin, Joba, and Mitre starting 3 of the 4 games.