So I missed part of this one, in which the Yankees beat the Twins in the opener of this weekend’s four-game set 8-4, but it appears the Yankees don’t quite have CC Sabathia back yet. Don’t get me wrong, four runs over seven is fine, but it doesn’t quite meet the level of excellence Sabathia has set. Of course, it looked like Sabathia was well on his way to a vintage seven-inning, two-run performance, until the seventh inning happened.
That’s when I tuned in, and was treated to the dregs of the Twins’ batting order picking up three straight hits along with an Eduardo Nunez error to make it four straight men reaching with no one out. Sabathia then worked his way out of trouble, but not before giving up two runs. It’s not so much that Sabathia have up a few hits and a few runs; that’s baseball. However, it was a little troubling that the men who reached base during the inning carried the following OBPs with them into the game:
In fact, Revere, Plouffe and Nishioka had two hits apiece against the big man on the night. Maybe Sabathia was out of gas, but ordinarily he eats hitters like this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That this punchless Twins team managed to pick up 10 total hits — tying CC’s season-high, which he’s yielded three other times — off Sabathia is bizarre in and of itself. He also almost gave up a two-run moonshot to the corpse of Justin Morneau in the first, but upon review the umpires correctly called it foul. Anyway, enough about Sabathia, who still struck out nine and got back on the winning track after two straight duds.
The Yankee offense was provided by Mark Teixeira — ice-cold of late, with a 51 wRC+ over the last two weeks — whose two-run home run (his first since August 6 during junk time against Boston) put the Yankees ahead after the Twins took a 2-1 lead. Though it was only a one-run deficit, this also marked the fourth straight game a Yankee starter was given a lead and couldn’t hold on. Tex also had a double, marking just his second multi-hit game over the last 14 days.
Nick Swisher also added a two-run bomb and Andruw Jones went back-to-back with Swish, absolutely annihilating a solo shot to the left field upper deck, leaving Brian Duensing with exactly the kind of line you’d expect to see Duensing put up after facing the Yankees: 5 innings, 10 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout and 3 home runs. The poor guy just does not match up with the Yankees in any way, shape or form.
Francisco Cervelli added a key two-run insurance single in the ninth just to quash any hopes Minnesota may have had of coming back. It pains me some to point this out, but Cervelli actually hasn’t been that much worse than Russell Martin with the wood on the season (albeit in far, far less playing time, of course). Frankie’s at .253/.318/.323 (84 wRC+), and Russell’s at .226/.317/.380 (95 wRC+). Still, after a decade-plus of Jorge Posada behind the dish, Russell’s defense has been a revelation, and I’ve been happy to give him a pass offensively — at this point, the way I see it is anything you can get from Martin on offense is gravy.
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