Sunday, May 9, 2010

Game 30: Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)

Despite weathering what seems like an interminable and unwaivering onslaught of injuries, the Yankees find themselves carrying a six game winning into the series finale at Fenway tonight.

Since Curtis Granderson went down last Saturday during a losing effort to the White Sox, the Yanks haven't lost again and are averaging almost nine runs per game. The real key to their success, though, has been in holding the opposition to just 16 runs over that time, and allowing them to score more than three runs just once (and in that game, four of the five runs came in the 8th and 9th innings when the Orioles had little chance of coming back).

Smack dab in the middle of that streak was a 7 1/3 inning, one run gem tossed by A.J. Burnett in the Bronx. With Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, Burnett finally discovered his long lost Uncle Charlie and fanned eight Orioles in the process. While he continued to feed the birds a steady diet of two and four-seam fastballs and induced 10 groundballs, it was his curve that allowed him to set a season high in K's.

Burnett only dropped 8 of his 19 hooks in for strikes but five of those were the all-important strike three. Perhaps the comfort of knowing that Cervelli would be able block the wilder curves (something he likely doesn't have with Jorge Posada) gave Burnett the confidence to finally attempt to harness it in game action. We'll see if he goes back to it this evening as the battery will be united again as Posada is still not ready to put on the catcher's gear yet.

For the Sawx, it's Jawwny Lestah. After three poor starts to begin the year - including a five run, four inning effort against the Yankees - the lefty has really found his stride. He's given up just one run in his past three starts, spanning 20 2/3 innings. Over that time he's allowed just 18 baserunners (10 hits, 8 walks) and struck out 23. He's thrown over 110 pitches each of those times out - including the 5 2/3 innings against the Orioles - but that's not a big deal for Lester; he did it in 12 of his 32 starts last year.

Coming into this series, given all of the attrition to the Yanks' roster, taking two out of three would have been terrific. Thanks to some solid pitching and two offensive explosions, they've already guaranteed themselves that much. A sweep would be tremendous, putting the Sox two games under .500 and eight games back in the standings, but the Yanks are playing with the house's money tonight. Whichever way it goes, it will be difficult to complain with the results of the series and that should make for some pleasant viewing if it weren't for the overenunciations of Jon Miller and the inane ramblings of Joe Morgan. Do your best to tune them out and enjoy the game.

[Song Notes: This one is an instrumental so any purported significance has to be derived from the title. The reason for picking this one should be pretty self-explanatory. I'm not going to get all sentimental like last year but I wanted to take a moment to wish my mom a happy Mother's Day. She reads the blog on a pretty regular basis and has started watching more baseball in an effort to better understand what we are talking about. She's probably more proactive about telling other people about the site than I am and actually seems fairly proud of what we do despite the fact that I don't always use G-rated language and all this writing probably keeps me from doing more productive things with my life. Thanks Ma.]


At long last, Jorge Posada returns to the lineup for the first time since Monday. He won't be behind the plate, but will DH tonight. Francisco Cervelli gets his fifth straight start behind the dish. Robinson Cano returns to second base, but for the moment at least, it appears Kevin Russo will stick around for another night. With Posada's bat back in the middle of the order, Nick Swisher's power isn't quite so needed in the heart of the line up. He moves up to the two spot, pushing Brett Gardner back to the bottom of the order. Lastly, with a lefty on the mound, Marcus Thames gets the nod in left. Thanks to the big green wall, he doesn't have too much ground to cover.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Marcus Thames LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner CF
Red Sox:
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Darnell McDonald CF

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