Thirteen times this season the Yankees faced a starting pitcher they had never seen before, including Max Scherzer (8-9) of the Tigers and Bryan Bullington (1-2) of the Royals, both of whom earned victories against the Yanks in their last two back-to-back losses. In these games against unknown starters the Yanks have a record of (4-9). Interesting numbers with really no explanation as to [why?] this continues to happen.
So in last night’s second game of four against the Detroit Tigers at the Stadium in the Bronx, which featured a battle of both teams aces, Justin Verlander (13-7) vs. CC Sabathia (15-5), one would think with the way the Yanks have been playing of late, they would be greatly challenged to score many runs against Verlander. CC would have to be money [again] for the Yanks to win this game.
This is not to say the Yankees would rather face some rookie pitcher instead of Verlander, or Verlander instead of a rookie starter. They have no control over who pitches against them on the mound. This only talks to the point that the Yankees have not been playing very well lately and really needed a win [a must-win in fact] as they entered this game against the Tigers tied for first place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Well, the first inning provided much drama as Austin Jackson led off the game by hitting Sabathia’s first pitch into the left-field seats for a quick 1-0 Detroit lead. This was the former Yankee’s second homer of the year.
Not to be left out of this discussion, Curtis Granderson, whom the Yankees received in the trade for Jackson, made two outstanding catches in centerfield in the first. The first catch was made after a long run to just in front of the wall of the right-centerfield bleachers; and the second catch was a great diving play running towards left-center.
In the bottom of the first the Yanks battled right back. Brett Gardner led off with a single, and advanced to second on a walk to Derek Jeter. After Teixeira made the first out, Cano walked to load the bases. Then, Nick Swisher, back in the lineup after sitting out the last game with a right forearm injury, stroked a two-run single to move the Yanks into a 2-1 lead.
Granderson delivered again in the second inning by blasting a solo home run (#12), into the rightfield bleachers. This upped the Bombers lead to 3-1.
Justin Verlander (L,13-8), threw a lot of pitches in the early innings, and was finished at the end of the fifth. He tossed 114 pitches while allowing three runs, on five hits, five walks, and five strikeouts.
The Yankees did exactly what Joe Girardi talked about before the game. They got to Verlander, who had a 7.12 ERA in the first inning of his starts this season, early on in this game. Girardi said, “They [the lineup] did a great job. When Justin gets on a roll, he’s really difficult. We put some runs on the board early and made them stand up.”
Schlereth replaced Verlander. And in the sixth, the Yanks scored again on a two-out double by Gardner (2-for-3, with a walk, and run), which was followed by a RBI single by Jeter to give the Yanks a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Brandon Inge hit a homer (#8), to cut the score to 4-2.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, Robinson Cano also homered (#22); and, Pena drove home a run on a sac-fly to right to increase the Yankees lead to 6-2.
CC Sabahia (W,16-5), the first 16-game winner in the American League, struggled in the first few innings, but settled down nicely to pitch seven soild innings, throwing 115 pitches, while allowing two runs, on five hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless eight. And Mariano Rivera closed out this 6-2 victory by pitching a scoreless ninth.
A must-win game, “Won” by the New York Yankees !!!
* Historic Note: In the fifth inning, Jorge Posada stroked a single to center, his 1,558th career hit, which tied Posada with Thurman Munson on the all-time hit list.
* Injury Report: – Alex Rodriguez (strain of left calf), listed as day-to-day.
– Lance Berkman (sprained right ankle), listed as day-to-day.
– Andy Pettitte (left groin strain), injured July 18th …
(Probably will not be back until the middle of September)
* And, Yogi Berra was back at Yankee Stadium for the first time since he suffered an injury as a result of a fall at his home. Yogi was not able to attend this year’s Yankees Old Timers’ Day celebrations on July 17th. Also, he could not attend the Hall of Fame inductee events about a week after Old Timers’ Day. Welcome back Yogi.
– Jimmy Curran “BY&L” – Baseball, The Yankees, and Life …