Don’t get me wrong, Justin Verlander is very, very good. I don’t like facing him. I’d take him on my team in a heartbeat, but he doesn’t frighten me the way some of the other brand name pitchers do. Part of that is because the Yankees seem to hit him well. Sunday’s game was no different. Justin had been struggling coming into the game, and the Yankees got things going in a hurry. Derek Jeter belted a homer on the first pitch Verlander threw at him.
Verlander continued to struggle. He walked Curtis Granderson. Then he walked Alex Rodriguez. Omir Santos had a passed ball moving both runners to scoring position. Mark Teixeira hit a sac fly to get in the speedy Granderson. Just like that the Yankees were up two nothing before the Tigers picked up the lumber.
Then, the Phil Hughes journey continued. Sometimes this means it is more merciful to credit the opposing team with a homer and double every inning and spare the fans all the awful baseball. This day, however, it meant a dominating performance. Hughes was putrid in his last start and he corrected something for this one. He pitched a dominating complete game, perhaps his best game as a Yankee. He allowed just four hits with three walks and eight strike outs. He only allowed one run on a mammoth Prince Fielder home run that will land somewhere in Canada tomorrow. Other than that, Hughes made no mistakes. He out pitched Verlander.
Speaking of Verlander, it just wasn’t his day. After giving up those two runs in the first inning Verlander gave up a 447 foot moon shot to Alex Rodriguez in the third inning. A-Rod turned around an inside fastball, displaying the kind of power he hasn’t demonstrated much so far this season. Let’s hope it’s the start of something as he heads back to New York.
The odd innings were unkind to Verlander. In the fifth inning with Curtis Granderson already on base Robinson Cano hit a long, lazy fly ball into the gap in right center. In Yankee Stadium the hit may have been a shallow home run. In Comerica it gives the outfielders an opportunity to make a play, provided they can get there in time. They didn’t. What looked like an out off the bat dropped in for an RBI triple. Miguel Cabrera let the throw to third get by him and head into the dugout, allowing Cano to score. Just like that, somewhat oddly, it was five to one Yankees.
In total, Verlander pitched 6.1 innings, giving up nine hits and a season high four walks. He allowed five runs but only three of them were earned. All in all, if that is the worst Verlander has to offer then it should come as no surprise that he’s one of the best in the game.
Luckily for the Yankees, Hughes was on his game to say the least. The Yankees effectively won the game with the two runs they plated in the first. The insurance runs will just pad some stats. In total, the Yankees went 6-3 on the road trip and head back to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday to face the Rays. This will give the Yankees the opportunity to make some noise in a division where every team is above .500.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees