Joba Rules, As Yanks Sweep Second Straight  Series

It was a beautiful afternoon to play a baseball game yesterday, as the New York Yankees beat the San Diego Padres, 2-1, at Yankee Stadium, to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres. It was the Yankees second sweep in a row, as they just returned home from sweeping the Astros in a three-game series this past weekend, in Houston.

This victory was the Yankees seventh straight, and 12th win in their past 15 games. The Yankees are now, 40-33, and are on a roll, as they continue to move up in the standings in the AL East, five games behind the first place Boston Red Sox, who are, 46-29, this season.

I watched this game with a friend, Don, in the Empire City Casino, at Yonkers Raceway, in Yonkers New York. It was a fun day viewing the game on a “Big-Screen-TV”, over-looking the beautiful race track at Yonkers. But, the Yankees had a much better day then Don and myself. The Yankees won their game; and, after all our betting was complete, we did have a losing day; but, really, we all won because the Yankees beat the Padres, 2-1.

Joba Chamberlain was awesome in this game, his 4th start since moving into the starting rotation. He threw an even 100 pitches, over 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing only one run, on 4 hits, 3 walks, and a season high, 9 strikeouts.

Joe Girardi removed Joba after he recorded the second out of the 5th inning, with the score tied, 1-1. The Stadium crowd, as well as, myself, my friend, and others watching with us, at the casino, were not happy with Girardi’s decision to take Joba out, without a chance for the win in this game. But, Joba received a very warm “cheering of approval” from the crowd, as he left the mound, and walked into the Yankee dugout. 

In his four starts, Joba has not received a decision yet, but the Yankees have won three of those four games. Chamberlain has pitched 18 innings, giving up 17 hits, 12 walks, while allowing 4 earned runs, for a 2.00 ERA, in his starts. Clearly, the decision to move Joba into the rotation is a success. Joba’s performance, so far, proves that Hank Steinbrenner, and all of us Yankees fans [including myself] that knew from the beginning that Joba could be an ace of the staff, were right.

Hank has to be given much credit for starting the process of moving Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation – this early in the season. I think it is very clear, Hank Steinbrenner was the driving force that made this move happen.

Chamberlain pitched a scoreless first inning, striking out two. Then he had some trouble in the top of the second innng.

Joba gave up a lead off single to Adrian Gonzalez, and Chase Headley hit a grounds rule double down the left field line. Then, Joba walked Tony Clark, to load the bases.

Chamberlain struckout Hairston for the first out of the inning. With the bases still loaded, and the shortstop Greene up at the plate, Joba threw a pitch in the dirt that got past catcher, Jose Molina. Gonzalez tried to score on the bad pitch, but Molina quickly retrieved the ball, and fired a perfect throw to Joba, who blocked the plate with his right leg as he placed the tag on the runner, for the second out of the inning. Chamberlain then struckout Greene on a 3-2 slider to end the inning.

Chamberlain gave a pump of his fist into the air, and strided off the mound as the Stadium crowd cheered Joba’s great performance. The bases were left loaded, and the game remained scoreless.

After a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3, top of the third, the Padres scored their only run of the game in the 4th on a RBI double by Tony Clark.

Joba Chamberlain’s day was over, after he threw his 100th pitch of the game, which recorded the second out of the 5th. Jose Veras replaced him, and got the final out in the inning on a strikeout.

The Yankees scored their first run in the bottom of the 5th, fueled by the great base-running of Melky Cabrera. A lead off walk to Melky by Padres starter, Josh Banks, set the stage for the Yankees centerfielder to show off his speed, and great base running skills. Melky stole second, then stole third, with Jose Molina up at bat. Molina hit a long shot to center for a sacrifice fly, scoring Cabrera to tie the game, 1-1.

In the bottom of the 6th, speed again would plate another run. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single and quikly stole second base. Alex Rodriguez then singled home Jeter with what turned out to be the winning run of the game. 

Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless 8th inning, giving up a hit, and striking out two.

Mariano Rivera closed out the game in the 9th, striking out the side, for his 20th save of the year.

Yankee pitchers had 15 strikeouts in this 2-1 win, but it was Joba Chamberlain who ruled the game today.

Jose Veras (2-0) was the winning pitcher as Joba left without a decision again. But, Joba Chamberlain did get a big win yesterday. The decision to move Joba into the starting rotation was once again shown to be a victorious move by Yankee Management. And this is a victory for the future, when Yankee fans will be cheering many Joba Chamberlain wins.

With Joba, the Yankees hit the jackpot !!!

 

Recap of the first two games in the Padres series …

Tuesday, June 17, 2008  –  Yankees 8, Padres 0

Andy Pettitte (7-5) pitched a gem, throwing 103 pitches over 7 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. Andy was the winning pitcher. The bullpen also pitched great: Veras, got 2 outs in the 8th; Traber, the final out of the 8th, and Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless 9th, to close out the victory.

Jason Giambi hit his 16th and 17th homeruns; Alex Rodriguez was (2 for 5), including is 13th homer; Robinson Cano, went (2 for 3), with 2 runs scored; and Derek Jeter had 2 RBI’s.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008  –  Yankees 8, Padres 5

The winning pitcher was Darrell Rasner, who is now, 4-4. He pitched 5 solid innings, throwing 96 pitches, while giving up 2 earned runs, on 3 hits, 5 walks, and 4 strikeouts. The middle relievers almost blew this game, as Edwar Ramirez gave up back-to-back homeruns to Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez in the 7th inning, cutting he Yankees lead to, 5-4, at the time. The Yanks scored twice in the bottom of the 7th, to up their lead to, 7-4. But, Kyle Farnsworth kept the game interesting by giving up a lead off homerun to Chase Headley, in the top of the 8th; then, with one out, allowed the tying run to come to the plate after giving up a one out double to, Khalil Greene. Farnsworth did retire the next two batters to get out of the inning with the Yankees still leading, 7-5; but, once again, Kyle showed how shaky he can be, and really is not a very dependable eight-inning “bridge to Mariano”. In this game though, the bridge was solid enough. After the Yankees scored their final run in the bottom of he 8th, Mariano closed out the, 8-5, win, by pitching a scoreless 9th inning, for his 19th save.

Johnny Damon was (3 for 5), with one run, and 2 RBI’s, raising his batting average to .332.

Alex Rodriguez hit another homerun [his fourth straight game in which he homered], as he went (3 for 4), with 2 runs, and 2 RBI’s. Also, A-Rod’s RBI single in the 7th inning, gave him 29 RBI’s in his 28 games since returning from the DL last month.

Wilson Betemit had 3 hits in 4 at-bats, scoring 2 runs, and driving home one.

 

Overall, other than the injuries, things are looking very good these days in the Bronx. The Yankees continue this home stand, on Friday, June, 20th, as they play the first game of a three-game weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds, who are in last place in the NL Central with a, 33-41, record. The Yankees head into this series with a record of, 40-33, in third place in the AL East, five games behind the Boston Red Sox.

The pitching match-up will be a great one in game one against the Reds.

Mike Mussina (10-4)  3.87 ERA  vs. Volquez (9-2)  1.64 ERA 

Hopefully, the Yankees can keep their seven game winning streak going.                    

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