Saturday, May 24, 2008

Game 49. Mariners at Yankees. Guest Bliz-og

From Elizabeth Finn, Blogging the Mystique:

I talked to Rebecca today to fill her in on the happenings in Yankee-land. I was tempted to tell her to stay in Italy, as the Yankees have won every single game since her flight took off. I'm sure she and Italy would love that. Maybe I can broker a deal with the American Embassy there to hold her on a fabricated smuggling charge. I'm kidding, Rebecca. Come home safe and sound.

It's too early to think October, and maybe that's a good thing, but the Yankees of late have been reminiscent of a playoff contender as their awakened offense and transitioning phenom beat the struggling Mariners 12-6 on Saturday for the Yankees' fourth straight victory, their longest streak of the season.

Backing a shaky Mike Mussina, who pitched on short rest after he lasted only 42 pitches against the Orioles on Tuesday, the Yankees jumped on the board first with a four-run second inning. Jason Giambi slugged a home run to left-center for the first three runs of the game and, after Robinson Cano hit his first of three doubles, Melky Cabrera knocked him in with a bloop single.

In the top of the third, however, the Mariners answered back. Mussina struggled with his location at times during the inning, and surrendered the first home run he's given up to a lefty since 2007 as Jose Virdo hit the first of two that inning and the Mariners tied the game.

Suddenly, the momentum had shifted. Could the Yankees, who have been struggling all season to battle back from lost leads, let this one slip away? Or would they pass the test and prove to everyone that their offense was beginning to crawl back from a drought that had seen them score 39 runs over a 12-game span?

Test passed with flying colors. After the Yankees regained the lead in the bottom of the third on a Melky Cabrera single, they never looked back. Mussina settled down, throwing 74 pitches over five for his seventh victory. Joba Chamberlain pitched a successful second transition outing, hurling 40 pitches and relying heavily on his two plus-pitches to keep the Yankees in the game, and everyone sat back and watched the offense put on a show.

And they were dazzled. Robinson Cano, who has raised his average 81 points since April 30th, recorded the 11th 4-hit game of his career, socking three doubles. Jason Giambi, owner of another busted slump, raised his average to .234 and was a long-shot triple away from the cycle. Melky Cabrera added two RBIs and Bobby Abreu had four, including two from his opposite-field home run in the sixth.

Alex Rodriguez contributed only one hit to the 16-hit onslaught, and he struck out twice. But his presence in the lineup has no doubt affected it, and for the better. Bobby Abreu looks more relaxed at the plate, taking more pitches and flailing at fewer. Gone are the strange lineups, with a glut of lefties hitting in slots to which they are unaccustomed, to avoid stacking them. Gone too is the luxury for opposing pitchers of being able to relax against the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez, for them, will be lurking. The old gang is back in town. Cano is hitting 7th again. Cabrera 9th. And the Yankees, who have scored 37 runs in the five games since Rodriguez has been back, couldn't be more relieved.

1 comment:

  1. The Yankees are certainly playing like the team we expected them to be. The Yanks are going to Baltimore and Minnesota next and should really be able to keep it going.