Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Dish Best Cerve-d Cold

Doesn't it just seem as if everything has a way of working out in the Yankees' favor this season?

Wednesday Jorge Posada was fined and suspended three games for his idiotic role in sparking that moronic brawl in the Yankees' pathetic 10-4 loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday. (I guess I don't have too many strong opinions about that game.)

Well, if not for that suspension, Francisco Cervelli would never have been in Wednesday's game, in which he earned a pie to the face with a walkoff single to drive Brett Gardner in a 5-4 victory.

The Yankees lead in the AL East stands at 6-1/2 games over the Red Sox, their magic number dropping to 11. The Yanks' magic number to clinch a playoff berth is four, but we all know the division crown is a mere formality -- we're just waiting for for that reality to set in on Dave and Rogue Nation.

As for Tuesday's game, the loss was no surprise. Sergio Mitre simply is not a major league pitcher and can't match up with Roy Halladay -- even when Halladay is not on his game.

The former Cy Young Award winner allowed allowed 11 hits in six innings and was against the ropes several times, but limited the damage, allowing just two runs in the second. Halladay is a great pitcher and he knows how to make big pitches in key spots, even when he doesn't have his best stuff.

And in order to beat a pitcher like Halladay, you need your pitcher to keep your team close and hope the offense can take advantage when Halladay get tired or the Jays are forced to go to the bullpen.

Mitre didn't do that, allowing seven runs on eight hits, including four homers, in five innings, effectively taking the Yankees out of the game. I just pray the Yankees elect to go with Chad Gaudin in Anaheim over Mitre. At least Gaudin is serviceable. Mitre is just garbage.

But this game will be remembered for Posada's actions and the brawl. The Yankees had hit two Jays batters in the game and Jesse Carlson responded --properly -- by throwing a pitch behind Posada. That angered Posada, who eventually drew a walk and ended up scoring on Brett Gardner's double.

But after crossing the plate and while heading toward the dugout, Posada threw an elbow as he passed by Carlson (who was out of position). It was uncalled for and unnecessary and Posada is lucky that no one on the Yankees was seriously injured.

It was just a dumb, dumb, dumb move that ended up working out well Wednesday.

Gaudin got the spot start for Andy Pettitte, who had experienced some arm soreness in Friday's start, but is expected to start Monday in Anaheim.

Gaudin was not at his best, but did battle, limiting damage in several jams thanks to some big defensive plays, including in the third, when he made a behind the back stab to keep a run from scoring.

Gaudin ended up allowing three runs on seven hits in 5-2/3 innings, leaving with the Yankees trailing 3-2 and runners on first and third. Damaso Marte came on to snuff the threat, but Brian Bruney didn't have it and allowed a run on two hits while failing to get an out in the seventh to put the Yankees in a two-run hole.

But the Yankees have proven all season that a two-run deficit at Yankee Stadium is not a big deal at all.

With one out in the eighth, Alex Rodriguez singled to center before Hideki Matsui crushed a hanging, 1-and-2 curveball into the stands in right to tie it at 4. Matsui is hitting .280 with 25 homers and 85 RBI on the season. If only his knees were in better shape...

A-Rod's average, by the way, is up to .287.

Mariano Rivera (3-2, 1.66 ERA) pitched yet another scoreless inning to set the stage for the Yankees' 14th walkoff win of the season.

Gardner led off with a single to center and stole second. Jeter then advanced Gardner to third, forcing the Jays to bring in the infield. Cervelli, who showed himself to be more than adequate with the bat when he filled in for Posada and Jose Molina in May, came through with a hard grounder past the shortstop to bring in Gardner, sparking yet another terrific celebration.

Man, I love this kid.

For a while, though, this looked as if this might turn into a tough loss to stomach.

The Yanks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Mark Teixeira, who then scored on a Matsui single.

But Gaudin couldn't hold that lead, allowing a leadoff homer to Jose Bautista in the third before Adam Lind's groundout brought in the tying run. The Jays pushed across the go-ahead run in the sixth on Rod Barajas' groundout.

But the Yankees had all the answers and got to celebrate yet another sweet win before heading off for the West Coast for a big six-game swing through Seattle and Anaheim.

Runners In Scoring Position
5-for-16 (.313)
2-for-10 (.200)
384-for-1,403 (.274)
First Half
217-for-819 (.265)
Second Half
167-for-584 (.286)
Since A-Rod's Return May 8
319-for-1,130 (.282)
Vs. Red Sox
36-for-163 (.221)

Up Next
Friday at Seattle, 10:05 p.m., YES
A.J. Burnett (11-9, 4.33) vs. Felix Hernandez (15-5, 2.52)

A tough assignment for A.J., who is just 1-5 with a 6.14 ERA since the beginning of August. He needs to get back on his game for the Yankees to have a chance in this one. Hernandez is just that good and can shut down the Yankees' lineup.


Dave said...

Oh man...that title is even worse. :)

Aviv said...

Dave, you love it and you know it ;)