Andy And A-Rod Sparkle

May 31, 2010 – 9:52 pm

Another Pettitte GemNYY 11, Cleveland 2. This looked more like the April Yankees — get some great starting pitching, wear down the opposing pitcher, and then blow away the opponent’s bullpen so that the game is out of reach by the time the Yankee relievers take over. Andy Pettitte pitched yet another gem, going seven innings and giving up just a solo home run to Jhonny Peralta in the second. From one out in the third inning on, he was perfect, retiring the last fourteen batters he faced. And a big key was great control — just like A.J. Burnett did yesterday, Pettitte didn’t walk a single batter. Just throw strikes, I do like that.

Just like they did so often back in April, the Yankees got good hitting all up and down the lineup. Clearly the big gun today was Alex Rodriguez, going 3-for-4 with a grand slam and 6 RBIs. But everyone in the lineup got at least one hit, and six Yankees got two or more hits. Robbie Cano continues to hit lights out, extending his hitting streak to 14 games with a home run, a single, and three more RBIs.

Although it would have been nice to sweep the lowly Indians, I’ll take the 3-1 series win. In addition to “just winning series”, the other requisite for getting to the playoffs is to beat up on the bad teams, and so far the Yankees are 8-2 against the three division last-place teams. That’s something that gets overlooked in Tampa Bay’s hot start — against those same teams they are 12-2. So thus far into the season, they have a four win advantage over the Yankees just having played more games against these poorer teams. Given that the Yankees are just 2.5 games behind the Rays at this point, taking this difference in scheduling in to account, you have to like where the Yankees are right now. And with a 3-game series with yet another cellar dweller starting tomorrow, they could easily catch Tampa Bay very quickly. Onward!

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

NYY 7, Cleveland 3. For the first six innings it looked like the Yankees were going to embarass themselves even more than they did in the previous game, as they were getting shut out by Justin Masterson, who entered the game with an 0-5 record and a ERA north of 6.00. The Yankees were making him look like Cy Young, with just four hits, only two of which actually made it out of the infield. But fortunately, Masterson ran out of gas and the Yankees finally broke through with five runs in the seventh and another two in the eighth to beat the lowly Indians. The big hit came from none other than Mark Teixeira with a long 3-run home run to the left field bleachers. Those were Tex’s first RBIs in the last 12 games (not counting the RBI he got for the HBP in yesterday’s game). So maybe this, at last, is an indication he’s really finally coming out of his season long slump.

Tex Goes Deep
The other key ingredient to the win was A.J. Burnett pitching a very good game, and more importantly, getting through eight innings — thus preventing the bullpen from even having an opportunity to blow things up. Amazingly, A.J. didn’t walk a single batter (although he did hit two!), and struck out eight — when he’s got that kind of control, you know he’s going to be hard to hit. Although he did give up three runs, only one was earned. Mariano Rivera also looked more like his old self, easily retiring the side in the ninth with two Ks. I have to believe that Mo wasn’t quite 100% healthy when he went through that rough spell a couple of weeks ago. With the bullpen sucking the way it does, we really need Mo being Mo.

Interestingly, in the post-game interview Teixeira said that he felt like he has had an “excellent” May. Hmmmmm…. I guess this is just Mark exercising the power of positive thinking. With one more day to go, his May numbers this year are .273/.360/.455/.815. Compare that to last year’s May stats of .330/.391/.748/1.138 or even his 2007 numbers with Texas of .349/.438/.661/1.098. The reality is that his May numbers this year don’t even measure up to his career numbers of .287/.376/.537/.913. But if today does get him kick started for the remainder of the season, then hey, who am I to argue?

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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