It felt like the longest 9 innings ever. Two blown leads and 3 hours and 44 minutes later, the Yankees emerged from their first game in Chicago with only a 4.0 game lead in the AL East. With an injury plagued team, we all knew August would be a tough month, but the situation is getting more dangerous with the surging Rays looking unbeatable.
Freddy Garcia was shaky in the beginning of this game, and worked through some rough jams in the first and second inning. Through the third, fourth, and the beginning of the fifth inning, Garcia looked as good as he had all season. He was throwing 90 mph and had all the hitters confused on the swing/splitter pitch. At one point he had struck out 6 of 8 hitters.
It all started to fall apart in the middle of the fifth, when a delay in the game, thanks to a blown fair/foul call that was reversed caused a stir from both benches. Whether it had anything to do with Garcia’s game is debatable, but after that he just wasn’t locating his pitches. His fastballs and breaking pitches were up in the zone, then they were in the dirt. It led to a Dewayne Wise homerun, and a series of hits and walks that brewed a 5 run inning for the White Sox. Despite the bullpen giving up most of these runs, they were all attributed to Garcia, who pitched way better than his line dictates.
The bullpen looked terrible. Simply put, balls were either hard hit or hit in the wrong location. Joba Chamberlain may have made an incredible comeback in health, but he looks way too hittable. He also hit Youkilis
again for the first time in his career, though I’m in the minority that thinks he missed his spot. Also, Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley are approaching a very dangerous point where they need to step up or they’ll face losing their spot on the roster. Derek Lowe also gave up his first run in pinstripes, a solo shot by Adam Dunn.
For the White Sox, Gavin Floyd was useless. He managed to give up just 3 runs to the Yankees, who left 8 runners in scoring position during his 2.1 innings. His replacement, Hector Santiago faired better, until he ran out of gas in the sixth inning. The rest of the White Sox bullpen combined for 3.2 innings, giving up just 3 hits and no walks.
Fortunately, there was some nice bits in the offense. Derek Jeter had yet another unbelievable night, going 4 for 5 with two singles, a double, and a homerun. This makes him 7 for his last 9, and in the last 10 games he’s 19 for 42 (.452) with 3 homeruns. Small sample size aside, Jeter made a ton of history tonight. First, he tied Nap Lajoie on the all time hit list, than he passed him, than he tied Eddie Murray at 3,255 and 11th overall. He also surpassed Greg Nettles for sole position of 9th place on the all time Yankee home run list (251). Not bad for a 38 year old short stop.
Mark Teixeira also had a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 in his first game back from a wrist injury. Nick Swisher only had 1 hit tonight, but he also had 3 walks. As much as I’d like extra base hits batting behind a hot Jeter, he’s doing a monster job batting second. Since being placed in the 2 hole on August 8th, he’s hitting .333 with a .443 OBP, along with 4 homeruns and 2 doubles. Curtis Granderson and Casey McGehee also had the rare hit with runners in scoring position.
Down in Tampa Bay, the Rays won their fifth straight games against Kansas City. Coupled with the Yankee loss tonight, the lead on the AL East is down to 4 games. Hopefully the bullpen got all their stink out of the system tonight.
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