The Yankees dispatched the A’s 3-1 last night in a brisk pitcher’s duel, due largely to Javier Vazquez surrendering only one run over seven innings. Vazquez labored a bit, and was also bailed out by a handful of fantastic defensive plays — Alex Rodriguez‘s diving stop and Curtis Granderson‘s and Colin Curtis‘ back-to-back diving catches immediately spring to mind — but you can’t quibble with the results.
The Yankee offense was supplied by a two-out triple by Granderson in the top of the second, scoring would-be All-Star Nick Swisher, followed by another base hit with a runner in scoring position by Francisco Cervelli. Mark Teixeira added to the lead in the sixth with a solo bomb to center field.
For his part I thought Yankeeist favorite Ben Sheets pitched pretty admirably (7 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 strikeouts), and was still throwing gas into the eighth inning. John Flaherty and Ken Singleton spent much of the broadcast talking about how all manner of scouts from opposing teams were evaluating Sheets for a potential trade deadline acquisition, and while I know he hasn’t been the lights-out Sheets of old I do think he could strengthen the rotation of a potential playoff team — especially one that scores with far more regularity than the punchless A’s (.316 team wOBA).
As for the aforementioned Swisher, I obviously love what he’s done for the Yankees this season, and certainly wouldn’t be unhappy if he was selected to the All-Star team, but I don’t see how anyone could vote for Swish over Kevin Youkilis. .430 wOBAs don’t exactly grow on trees, and I doubt the Red Sox would be breathing down the Yankees’ necks given their myriad injuries without Youk’s herculean 2010 offensive campaign.
Speaking of the Sox, with 11 players on the disabled list — including their starting second baseman and former MVP, starting catcher, starting left fielder and a starting pitcher who has arguably been one of the ten best pitchers in the American League — the Yankees have to take advantage of this and start putting some serious distance between themselves and Boston.
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