Tonight’s game against the pesky Angels is the type of game that I always have expected the Yankees of old to lose. They got ahead of Jered Weaver and the Angels with a 4-run first inning, and then seemed to go into a coast, forgetting that there were eight more innings to play. Andy Pettitte labored this time around, but managed to hold the Angels to just 2 runs in 5 2/3 tough innings before departing with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 6th in favor of Mark Melancon.
It only took 1 pitch from the rookie Melancon for the complexion of the game to change, a 3-run triple off the bat of Gary Matthews Jr. that cleared the bases and gave the Angels a 5-4 lead. A curveball in the dirt that Posada couldn’t corral allowed Matthews to scamper home, and suddenly, a 4-0 lead had rapidly transformed into a 6-4 deficit. Same old Yankees. Jose Veras surrendering 3 more runs in the 7th inning certainly didn’t help things, and I was frustrated, to say the least. After giving up 9 runs in 2 innings, the cynical fan in me expected the Yankees to just curl up and die, and not mount any resistance.
Tonight, however, the Yankees did more than mount a little resistance. They rallied back against Jose Arredondo and Brian Fuentes, 2 of the better relievers in the majors. The bottom of the order came through in the 8th, as Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, and Ramiro Pena all singled off of Arredondo in the 8th. A 4-run inning resulted, and suddenly the Yankees were back in the game. They came out firing in the 9th again, loading the bases with no outs against Fuentes, and Jorge Posada put the Angels out of their misery with a 2-run single.
The good: The Yankees didn’t give up on this game, and clutch hitting from the bottom of the order in the 8th got them back in the game. Andy Pettitte deserves props for pitching 5 shutout innings despite not having his best stuff, and struggling in the 6th.
The bad: Girardi did not have anybody warming up in the 6th for a while (despite Pettitte’s struggles), and I wonder if Melancon was rushed into the game. Also, I don’t think he should have been pulled in favor of Jose Veras, who was mediocre once again. Edwar Ramirez didn’t really help the situation either in the 7th. Jonathan Alabaladejo, horrible of late, put together a 1-2-3 8th.
The ugly: Nick Swisher was removed from the game after taking a pitch off of his elbow. The diagnosis is a bruised elbow, and hopefully he won’t be out long, if at all. He’s been the Yankees top offensive threat so far this season (along with Cano), and they need him healthy and effective. A Damon, Gardner, Melky lineup will scare nobody, even though Melky has looked good of late.
Hopefully the Yankees can keep the good vibes from this comeback win going into tomorrow, as CC Sabathia takes on Matt Palmer (with 4 career starts).
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