Cano’s Big Hit
Josh Tomlin isn’t the type of pitcher who will overpower hitters, and he’s not the type who will confuse them with offspeed stuff, but he is the type of pitcher that comes out of seemingly nowhere to beat the Yankees. His biggest strength is his ability to attack the strike zone and avoid walks, which isn’t the best match up for a lineup that thrives on driving up pitch counts. It was the first at bat by Derek Jeter that set the stage for Tomlin’s game, perhaps just to prove me wrong. The 9 pitch at bat forced Tomlin to break a sweat and show off his repertoire early on, and although it’ll appear as a ground out in the box score, Jeter’s at bat was vastly more important than a simple out.
Following Jeter’s 9 pitch at bat, Granderson looked at 10 pitches of his own, and walked with 1 out in the first. Teixeira followed that up with a 7 pitch at bat, ending in a
homerun single, and putting the Yankees in a dreaded position, runners in scoring position and Robinson Cano at the plate. By now you’ve hear that Cano can’t hit with RISP thanks to a growing small sample size that isn’t so small anymore. It only took 3 pitches for Cano to double down the right field gap, allowing Granderson and Teixeira to come home as the second baseman was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Not only did Tomlin give up an early 2-0 lead, but the Yankees forced him to throw 35 pitches in the first inning.
Back to Back, Belly to Belly
After Dewayne Wise hit his first homerun of the year in the second inning, the Yankees were cruising into the third inning with a comfortable 4-0 lead. Cano proceeded to make things even more comfortable, taking a wild 1-0 change up, that ended up and and in, to section 104 in right field. Not only was it his 17th homerun of the year, but it was his 6th in the last 8 games. Robbie is getting ready for the homerun derby at the perfect time.
In the next at bat, Nick Swisher took a changeup of his own to the first row of seats next to the left field pole. It was as cheap as left field homerun can come in Yankee Stadium, but it still counted as Swisher’s 14th of the year, and second in as many games. Swisher has hit half as many homerun as Cano over the last 10 games, but he’s had 14 hits in 35 at bats, good for a .400 average. While the pitching carried the Yankees over the previous 10 game winning streak, it appears the Yankees bats are starting to click, which hopefully carries them while their pitchers continue to struggle.
KKKKKKKuroda Didn’t Get the Memo
The rotation was mostly stellar through June, but the numbers through their last five starts rose to a deflating 7.15 ERA. Hiroki Kuroda had none of that last night, tossing 7.0 innings of 5 hit ball, along with 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. The key to his success was a devastating splitter that accounted for 6 of his 7 strikeouts. Kuroda was quoted after the game, saying his feel for the splitter in the bullpen wasn’t great, but after seeing the Indian’s swings, he used it a lot more. Indeed, Kuroda used the splitter around 20% of the time yesterday, as compared to his 14% selection in all of 2012. Kuroda was lights out last night, and he’s looked a lot like the Yankees best starting pitcher outside of his early struggles. My apologies to CC.
Freddy Garcia the Closer, and the Miscellaneous
With a 7-1 lead in the 9th inning, it wasn’t exactly a close situation, but Freddy Garcia still pitched like a closer. I have to admit, I wrote Garcia off as too old after his terrible April and demotion to the bullpen, but he’s actually thrown quality innings in his limited appearances. It was SteveH that pointed out on Twitter that Garcia has a 1.80 ERA since May, that’s 3 earned runs in 8 games and 15.0 innings. Small sample size, but PITCHf/x has him with nearly 2 mph more in velocity on his sinker, which I find hardly coincidental. Be prepared to see Garcia in more inning.
Clay Rapada also pitched an inning of relief, and despite three (somewhat) hard hit balls to right field, he retired three quality bats in Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Santana. I was probably the first advocate of Rapada to the bullpen, but it was always strictly as a LOOGY. It looks like some luck and some confidence has helped him face righties this season, and it was great to watch him pitch a full 1,2,3 inning that included two very talented right handed batters.
While Cano and Swisher homered last night, Dewayne Wise provided the Yankees with some unexpected offense. His 2 run homerun in the second inning dampened the Indian’s night, and his triple in the 6th inning only added insult to injury. When he was hot in Triple A, no one could retire Wise, hopefully the same rings true while he’s in the Bronx. While it’s a somewhat dated article, check up on Jack Curry’s piece on the outfielder, and find out why he ever ended up in pinstripes.
The Yankees won 7-1, extended their win streak to 3 games, and gained in the standings on the Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox. You can’t get a much better results than that.
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