In a must win game for the Yankees, after losing two straight games to the Baltimore Orioles, including the disastrous 10-9 extra innings loss on Tuesday, the Yanks played a good crisp game yesterday to salvage the final game of this series by beating the O’s, 4-2.
Andy Pettitte pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs, on 8 hits and 1 walk, while striking-out three, during his very solid start. The win evened Andy’s record at 5-5 this season.
Even though Pettitte threw 96 pitches, he said, he still felt strong when Joe Girardi replaced him with Joba Chamberlain in the 7th inning. He understood the reason the move was made – to continue the process of getting Joba ready to become part of the starting rotation – but, wasn’t totally “okay” with being taken out of a game. Andy continued by saying,”I’m never happy about being taken out of a game, but Joe [Girardi] is the manager, and Joba throws 98 mph”; but, [Pettitte said, half kiddingly], “there would have been a fight on the mound” [for me to stay in the game], if Joba had to pitch 4 innings to throw the planned 50-55 pitches the Yankees had on his work schedule for today’s game.
As it turned out, Joba Chamberlain threw only 28 pitches in 1 1/3 innings. Joba entered the game with two outs in the 7th and struggled with some early control problems. But, he settled down in the 8th, and finished up his brief appearance by giving up no runs while allowing one hit and one walk, and striking-out three.
Joe Girardi was asked after the game why he did not allow Joba Chamberlain to pitch the 9th inning. Girardi said, “In a save situation, Mo pitches”
So, as Mariano Rivera was called into the game to close out the Yankees win [recording his 13th save], Joba Chamberlain headed back to the bullpen to complete his work for the day, throwing an additional 27 pitches, to reach the 55 pitch total the Yankees had planned for him.
The “Joba Plan” calls for Chamberlain to throw about 75 pitches in his next outing, and it is very probable Joba will get his first start when he does pitch again. The Yankees brain trust will decide if that start will be on Monday [June 2nd], in the final game of a four-game “wrap-around” weekend series against the Twins, in Minnesota; or, back in the Bronx, in the opening game of a three game series vs. the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday [June 3rd].
If Joba starts Tuesday, against the Blue Jays, the Yankee Stadium crowd will be electric. The excitement level will take on the atmosphere of a Playoff or World Series game. A lot is riding on Joba’s move into the starting rotation, and I think most Yankee fans would want Joba Chamberlain’s first start to be at Yankee Stadium. I would, because it would be another historic event, added to the long list of historic events, that have taken place in the most historic sports arena in the history of all sports.
The time for Joba, is now !!!
As the Yankees enjoy an off-day on Thursday, they will head into Minnesota with the hot hitting of Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, and Johnny Damon leading the way.
Damon was 3-5 with a RBI in the final game vs. the Orioles, which raised his batting average to .288.
Matsui had 2 hits in 4 at bats, and scored 2 runs, raising his team leading BA to .330.
And, Jason Giambi continues his power surge, hitting his second long homerun [of the series] out of Camden Yards, over the right-field bleachers onto Eutaw Sreet in the middle of the food court area. The blast [Giambi’s 11th this season] traveled over 400 feet, bouncing just in front of the hugh warehouse over-looking the field. This was only the 42nd time this feat has occurred, and the third time Giambi lifted a ball out of Camden Yards. The ball almost landed right into the middle of “Boog’s Barbecue Pit”.
Also, it was good to see Melky Cabrera go 2-4 [two doubles], and score one run.
The season continues, Friday, May 30th, as the 26-27 Yankees start a four game series against the Twins in Minnesota. Yesterday’s 4-2 win certaintly helped the flight to Minnesota be a little more enjoyable. A great series against the Twins will have the Yankees flying on auto-pilot when they return back to New York early Tuesday morning. Go Yankees !!!