Monday, September 14, 2009

Yanks Sweep Angels!

A one game sweep is still a sweep in my book. Well, when the Yankees win, anyway. There's no such thing as a must-win game when you are leading a team by 4 in the loss column for home field advantage, but the Yanks certainly wanted this game more than they have most of the ones they've played in recently. Rightly so, the Angels are 20-34 against them since the beginning of the 2004 season.

It certainly helped that Joba Chamberlain put forth his first respectable effort as a starter since July 29th in Tampa. He uncharacteristically didn't walk a batter in four innings while allowing 4 hits and striking out 2. Three of those were only singles but the other was a solo HR on a 2-2 curveball to Vlad Guererro in the 2nd. That was the only run Chamberlain surrendered and he appeared to be working more quickly on the mound, throwing 41 of his 67 pitches for strikes.

Both Alfredo Aceves and Phil Hughes gave up a run in relief. Aceves' put the Yanks in a 2-1 hole in the 5th and Hughes allowed the Angels to tie the game at 3 in the 8th. The Yanks picked both of them up by scoring 2 in each of the corresponding bottom halves of the inning. It could have been more in the 5th but the Yanks gave away two outs via a Derek Jeter sac bunt and a Melky Cabrera baserunning blunder in which he not only ran in Chone Figgins before he caught the ball, he got hit in the junk in mid-air trying to avoid it.

Mark Teixeira was the man of the night on the offensive side of the ball. He singled, doubled and tripled off the wall in center on an odd play where he both complained that there was catcher's interference and Torii Hunter lost his shoe attempting to make the catch.

Joe Girardi's new toy, Freddy Guzman, made his Yankees debut, pinch running for Jorge Posada in the 8th inning and advancing form 1st to third on a single.

It was one of those tight games where one team times their hits a little bit better. The Angels were 0-9 with RISP while the Yanks were 2 for 9.

Since it was a make-up game and the stands were much emptier than they would have been under normal circumstances, there wasn't much of a "playoff feel" despite being tightly contested and relatively important given the standings and the date. It was certainly a confidence builder for the Yanks though, giving them a chance to take the season series against the Angels for the first time since 2003 when they head out to Anaheim next Monday.

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