Saturday, August 8, 2009

Life Is Good; CC Is Better

When last night's this morning's fifteen inning marathon concluded, after the initial euphoria of the victory passed, three thoughts went through my mind. 1). I'm glad I didn't celebrate too outwardly, as I was likely the only Yankee fan in a Hyannis, MA Irish bar full of Sox fans. 2). Thank God the game ended when it did, as the last call lights came on immediately after A-Rod crossed the plate and I would not have been happy had I not been able to watch the end of the game. And 3). The Yanks are really going to need innings out of CC later this afternoon.

Not only did CC give the Yankees the innings they desperately needed, but he did it in about the best way he possibly could have: perfect through four and a third, a no hitter through five and two thirds, and exiting after seven and two thirds shutout innings of two hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Sabathia was dominant, consistently hitting 97 MPH on his fastball and despite a relatively high pitch count, never really laboring.

His counterpart, the laptop loving Clay Bucholz, did labor, but managed to hold the Yankees to just two runs, despite allowing 11 baserunners (6 H, 5 BB) in six innings of work. That's what will happen when the Yankees go 2-11 with RISP.

The Yanks got on the board in the third. Melky Cabrera led off with an infield single, moved to third on a Jose Molina walk and Derek Jeter DP, then scored on a Mark Teixeira single.

The second run came in the sixth. Robinson Cano - who had an excellent day in the field yet again, and at the plate with three hits - led off with a double. Nick Swisher sacrificed him to third, momentarily infuriating me. The Sox countered by intentionally walking Melky Cabrera, setting up a potential inning-ending double play with the slow-footed Molina at the plate. But Molina came through with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

In the seventh, things got interesting. Ramon Ramirez came up and in on Teixeira before walking him, then proceeded to plunk Alex Rodriguez, no doubt in retaliation for Mark Melancon drilling Dustin Pedroia Thursday night. Ramirez was tossed, and while the Yankees had a bases loaded, one out situation on their hands, they managed just one run. Derek Jeter capped the scoring in the eighth, dropping a two run homer just over the right field fence, thereby saving Mo for tomorrow as the Yanks go for the four game sweep.

With Jason Bay still sidelined with a sore hamstring, our friend Youk made his second appearance in left field this series. He had a rough go of it, dropping a Johnny Damon fly ball in the first and taking a poor route on a Johnny Damon double in the fifth. As he did on Thursday, Youk also flexed his arm a few times after making throws back to the infield. In the seventh, he went into second high and hard for the second time this series trying to break up a double play and came up flexing his knee. That Terry Francona would put Youkilis in left twice already this series speaks to how important they view these games and how desperate they are for offense after mustering just eight hits and zero runs over twenty-four innings in the last two games.

Every season is going to have its peaks and valleys, and the Yankees are definitely on top of a mountain for the moment. As bad as things felt during the first three series against the Sox, things are just as good right now. As evenly matched as these two teams seem to be, it stood to reason that things had to start evening out eventually. So it enjoy now, and hope that it lasts.

That's it for today folks. Life is good right now. Go out and enjoy your Saturday night.

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