The Yankees (86-50) continued on their path to another first place finish in the AL East by taking the first two games of their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-3 and 7-5, in the Bronx, increasing their winning streak to eight games, and upping their lead to 2.5 games over the second place Rays (83-52). The third place Red Sox (76-60) lost a day-night double-header by an identical 3-1 score in both games to fall 10 games out of first, and 8 games behind the Rays in the wild card race.
The Bronx Bombers are on a late-season roll.
In the first game of this series, the Yanks were led to victory by another fine performance by Curtis Granderson, (2-for-3), with two walks, one run, and three RBI’s. Granderson continues his hot hitting ways since working on his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long. A great game by Brett Gardner, (1-for-3), with two walks, three runs, and one RBI, also contributed to the 7-3 win.
The Yankees bullpen also delivered a solid effort after starter Ivan Nova was replaced on the mound after throwing only four and two-thirds innings. Kerry Wood (W,3-4) was awarded the win by the official scorer for pitching the best of the Yankee relievers [in the opinion of the scorer]. The win could have easily been awarded to Mariano Rivera who closed out the victory by tossing a six-pitch scoreless ninth.
Berkman was (2-for-4); Pena was (2-for-4), with one RBI; and the rookie Nunez, who played short for Derek Jeter [who had a day off], raised his batting average to .308 with a (2-for-4), one run, day.
Derek Jeter was the major topic of discussion in the sports sections of the New York newspapers, and on Sports Talk radio, this past week. More on Jeter in another post.
In Game Two of this series, Manager Joe Girardi provided more controversy when he replaced starter Javier Vazquez in the fifth inning, with two outs, and runners on first and third, with the Yankees in the lead 5-3.
Over-managing by Girardi? Maybe, as this was the third time over the last couple of weeks that the Yankee manager has replaced his starting pitcher with only four and two-thirds innings of work on the mound. Nova in the first game of this series, and Dustin Moseley in his last start, were the other two starters to fall victim to Girardi’s quick hook.
Ironically, Moseley, who was called into this game to replace Vazquez, was taken out of the rotation and sent to the bullpen after his last start. And Vazquez, after two good bullpen appearances, was placed back into the rotation in Moseley’s spot to make this start against the Blue Jays. Sounds very confusing and over-calculating by the Yankees braintrust, doesn’t it?
At any rate Moseley replaced Vazquez in this game. And just as quick as one of Girardi’s hooks of late, he allowed a two-run double to Lyle Overbay that tied the score 5-5.
Vazquez could have been just as ineffective, or maybe he could have gotten out of the jam. At least he should have been given the opportunity to get the final out, and complete five innings that would have given him a possible chance to earn the win as the starting pitcher. Probably Vazquez should have just remained in the bullpen at this time since he has been effective in that role in his previous two appearances.
Well, the game remained tied until the seventh inning when Marcus Thames blasted a two-out, two-run homer (#11), that drove home Robinson Cano who kept the inning going with a two-out single, moving the Bombers into a 7-5 lead.
Thames has been just as hot at the plate as Granderson in recent weeks, hitting .314 with seven home runs and 13 RBI’s over his last ten games in the lineup.
Other than Moseley the bullpen was very solid the rest of the way in this game, as Logan, Chamberlain (W,2-4), Wood, and Rivera all pitched a scoreless inning each from the sixth inning on.
The Great Mariano closed out this 7-5 victory by recording his 29th save.
Anyway, when all was said and done, the Yankees ended up winning their eight straight game to stay atop the AL East by 2.5 games.
Even with the best record in baseball there is always room for some controversy.
– Jimmy Curran “BY&L” – Baseball, The Yankees, and Life …