Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sweeping Second Half Start (Postgame Notes 20 July 2008)

If there's any way for the Yankees to start the second half of the season, a three-game sweep of Oakland is certainly up there.

Today's game wasn't the everything-firing-on-all-cylinders win of Friday or the win-in-spite-of-the-offense victory of yesterday, but instead a win because Andy Pettitte simply outpitched Justin Duchscherer.

Andy Pettitte has been known as a second half pitcher, and today he had one of his best starts all season. He went eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and striking out eight without walking a batter. He threw nine pitch innings in both the first and second inning, and finished with 114 pitches.

Mariano Rivera was more like himself in the ninth today, though there was an awkward play involved. With one on and one out, a fly ball was hit to Bobby Abreu, who caught the ball, and then dropped it before the out was called. Abreu overthrew it to Derek Jeter at second, but Alex Rodriguez who was probably in the wrong place at the right time, recovered and threw to Jeter for the force out.

Jose Molina once again proved himself to be one of Brian Cashman's best moves last season, calling a great game and then throwing out Rajai Davis at second to end the game.

Molina doesn't just have a cannon for an arm; he's throwing runners out at such a pace--almost 50%--that makes you forget that the league average for caught stealing is much less than that.

The Yankee offense was not great today, but that was more a product of Justin Duchscherer's pitching than anything else. Where the Yankees needed runs, they got them--and may have had more than two if Alex Rodriguez had not been thrown out at home after the first.

Jason Giambi won't admit it, but with stats like 6-8, four home runs and two doubles, he owns Duchscherer.

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