Tuned Up And Ready To Go

October 4, 2009 – 8:49 pm

A-Rod Goes 30-100NYY 10, Tampa Bay 2. Finally, a good tune-up game for the playoffs. A.J. Burnett didn’t gook great, but he didn’t implode like he has done in the past. He scattered seven hits over five innings, but only gave up one earned run — that will certainly work in the playoffs. And offensively, the bats finally lit up again thanks mainly to a ten run sixth inning. Alex Rodriguez did most the damage with an incredible 7-RBI inning, including a grand slam. But maybe more importantly, Johnny Damon went 2-for-4, and he had been in a prolonged 3-for-21 slump over the last ten games — and the Yankees are really going to need his bat in the post-season. Also getting hits were Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher, both of whom had also been slumping of late. So all in all, a good start for A.J. and a good offensive outburst to end the season and get them going for the playoffs.

And there was also the bullpen, getting it’s final prep — and all they did was go out and pitch five perfect innings of no-hit ball, striking out five in the process.  Particularly encouraging was Joba Chamberlain’s perfect 9-pitch seventh inning.  His fastball was back up to 95mph and with good command.  Hopefully that seals the deal with him coming out of the bullpen for the playoffs.  Chamberlain-to-Hughes-to-Rivera for the win could be a very awesome playoff combination.  All in all, this could be shaping up to be a very special October.

Miscellany Dept. Mark your calendar for next April 4, as that’s the first time the Yankees play Tampa Bay next year. There’s plenty of bad blood brewing between these two teams, as the Rays were clearly taking advantage of the fact that the Yankees weren’t in any kind of position to retaliate to the Ray pitchers throwing at Yankee batters, as they did a number of times during this series. It was pretty obvious that Teixeira getting hit in the first game was intentional and intended as payback for their own Carlos Pena getting hit by Sabathia eariler this month, which put him out for the rest of the season with two broken fingers. Of course, Sabathia’s pitch was clearly unintentional, as Pena actually swung at it and struck out on the pitch. And then their was their petty-beyond-belief intentional walk of Teixeira in the sixth for the sole purpose of not giving him a chance to catch Pena in the league home run race. This all dates back to the spring training game against the Rays last year when Francisco Cervelli got run over and ended up with a fractured wrist that cost him the entire 2008 season — a play that was totally uncalled for. So it’s been going on for some time now — and in this series, the Rays did everything they could to make sure the animosity will be there next year.

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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