Friday, May 23, 2008

Game 47. Orioles at Yankees. Guest Blog

(Tonight guest-blogger is Elizabeth Finn. You can find her blog--check out the Melky article she won't shut up about--at Blogging The Mystique)

Hello, internets. While Rebecca's eating gelato in the streets of Roma and hopefully buying me a buttery-soft leather purse in Florence, yours truly is slaving away on her old laptop with the cracked hinge to bring you tonight's game recap. I was actually at the Stadium for this one,(which is why it's being posted so late) and I'm lucky this isn't a voice post, because I think I wore my voice out declaring Joe Girardi the 2008 MVP. Anyway, on to the recap:

In a season where Yankee heroes have been hard to find, Thursday's game against the Orioles produced several. Backed by a sharp Ian Kennedy, a near-perfect bullpen, and Robinson Cano's walk-off single, the Yankees rallied around their manager, who was ejected moments before the winning run crossed the plate, to beat the Orioles, 2-1.

Joe Girardi's ejection, his first of the season, came in the ninth inning with the score knotted at 1-1. With one out and Hideki Matsui on first, Jason Giambi came to the plate. On a two-strike count, Giambi appeared to have been brushed back by a Jim Johnson fastball. Instead, home plate umpire Chris Guccione ruled the ball a foul tip--presumably off the knob of the bat-- into catcher Ramon Hernandez's glove for the strikeout. Girardi sprinted from the dugout and began to argue with Guccione. Within seconds, he was ejected, to the delight of the frustrated crowd, whose cheers only grew when Girardi threw his hat, kicked it, and stirred up plenty of home plate dirt before retiring to the clubhouse. The ejection was significant, since Girardi, who has a reputation for being fiery, had faced some criticism for not arguing more calls for his downtrodden team.

Whether or not their manager's emotional display fired up the simmering Yankees can't really be proven, but they seemed to have renewed hope, as Bobby Abreu drew a pinch-hit walk. That brought up Cano, who has quietly been breaking out of his quarter-season-long slump, yet was 0-3 on the night until he lined Jim Johnson's 27th pitch of the night into left field, scoring Matsui and giving his team a much-needed win on a night when they had many reasons to be happy.

One of those was the reason the score was 1-1 going in to the ninth to begin with. Starter Ian Kennedy, who came in to the game with an 8.48 ERA and a propensity thusfar this season for missing with his fastball and falling apart with runners on base, looked calm and collected for his six innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball. His fastball had bite and he spotted it well, striking out four and walking four, yet allowing none of those walks to score. The only run he gave up came on a one-out triple to shortstop Freddie Bynum, scoring Adam Jones. He later loaded the bases yet escaped further damage by striking out Nick Markakis, who would strike out two more times, and inducing a fly out from Aubrey Huff. Kennedy, who had been criticized for allowing the game to overtake him, seemed to slow the game down when he needed a big out, as he escaped another tough spot in the sixth to finish off a solid night.

The Yankees scored their first run off a tough Brian Burres in the fourth inning, when, after a leadoff single, Hideki Matsui came around to score on Shelley Duncan's sac fly.

The Yankees' bullpen was lights-out, and retired 9 out of the 10 batters they faced, with Jose Veras throwing a strong seventh followed by 1-2-3 innings from Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera, who picked up the win.

Johnny Damon was 3-4 and Giambi and Molina added singles to round out a quiet night that got a shot in the arm at exactly the right time.


  1. That must have been an exciting game to be at. I do think that when Girardi did his best to "channel Billy Martin" it fired up the team and maybe even rattled the Baltimore pitcher.
    Maybe the Yanks have turned it around.

  2. Hey Fran,

    The electricity in that stadium when he got thrown out was absolutely palpable. You just had a feeling something good would happen.