Can’t Anyone Throw Strikes?

May 19, 2009 – 11:23 am

NYY 7, Minnesota 6. Yet another thriller, only this time it was the bullpen providing all the excitement. Why is it that pitchers that are good enough to have made it to the major league have so many problems simply throwing the ball over the plate? Andy Pettitte did an incredible job on a night when nothing was working for him, pitching into the 7th inning and only giving up 4 runs. Although he gave up 12 hits, he only walked one batter. And that was the key to how he survived. He threw strikes and made the Twins earn every single base runner. Thus he limited the damage quite nicely. But then enter the notorious Yankee bullpen. Veras, Ramirez, and Coke faced a total of 12 batters and walked 4 of them. Talk about a recipe for how to blow a game. Compare that to Pettitte who faced 34 batters, only giving up the one walk. Somehow they survived and the Yankees won, but it was sure ugly there at the end.

You can pretty much credit Mark Teixeira for this win. His three-run homer in the bottom of the first put the Yankees ahead for good after Pettitte’s rocky start, but it was his solo home run in the 7th that proved to be the game winner, giving the bullpen just enough of a lead that they couldn’t blow. But the guy who continues to impress me is Francisco Cervelli. Not only does he go 2-for-2, raising his BA to .375, but he puts down two near-perfect sac bunts. I wonder who keeps records on that type of thing? When was the last time you saw a major league player who could bunt like that? I’m thinking it was maybe Phil Rizzuto back in the 1950’s. Seriously.

The last-place Orioles are up next in this 10-game home stand — originally I was thinking going 7-3 would be nice, and now that they’ve started out 4-0 they could easily do even better than that. We’re almost through one fourth of the season, so now would be a great time to put together a significant winning streak.

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