Friday, May 1, 2009

Because All Yankee Fans Should Be Born After a Yankee Win (Postgame Notes 1 May 2009)

My baby Niecephew (my wonderful, loving brother and his wife decided they wanted to be surprised) is due to arrive in this world at about 2 AM.

He/She/It will arrive on the heels of quite possibly the most dramatic Yankee win thus far in the young season.

It's hard to pick where to start, here.

At first it seemed like the Yankees would find a way to grit-out a subpar Andy Pettitte and win 4-0 or perhaps 4-2, then it seemed like the curse of the awful bullpen would hit again and the Yankees would lose 9-4, and then, finally, in the later innings, the Yankees said, "our bullpen may be bad, but, dude, we're not like Anaheim bad."

Or something like that.

Andy Pettitte had far from his best stuff tonight. By the time the game got to the sixth inning, it seemed like some sort of miracle that the Yankees were still up 4-0.

It's worrying because, although the Yankees won the game, it's his second so-so start in a row. He hasn't been downright awful in the way Chien Ming Wang has, but he has struggled. Then again, Boston has hit him well of late and the Angels are, well, the Angels, so it probably isn't worth getting too fussed over at the moment.

The Yankee bullpen, on the other hand, is a concern.

As soon as Pettitte left the game, everyone held their breath, and it failed.

One shouldn't worry about Melancon tonight: he made one bad pitch, but he was not responsible for loading the bases. The attempt to nab the runner coming home on ball four showed a pretty amazing gymnastics ability...

José Veras, however, looks flat-out awful right now. He can't seem to find an out pitch and is constantly nibbling--I still haven't figured out how he put together those three scoreless innings against Oakland.

Edwar Ramirez always seems to struggle against the Angels, so perhaps the Yankees were lucky the game didn't get out of hand with him pitching.

Jonathan Albaladejo had a 1-2-3 eighth (with some defensive help), which has to be considered refreshing after he struggled in Detroit.

Still, there are some major bullpen issues in that the Yankees don't know what they're going to get. Until pitchers have set roles, like they did last year when at their best, they will probably struggle. Hopefully the Yankees find a way to fix that, because once they do, there simply may be no stopping this team.

The Yankee offense is making it look like 2008 was a fluke, and instead they've picked right up off of 2007, with the ability, seemingly, to score runs almost at will.

It's not just that the Yankees are scoring runs, it's that they are scoring them almost every game. In 23 games they've been held to less than four runs three times, and they have never been shut out.

Oh, and Teixeira's hitting about .192 and A-Rod isn't in the line up...

Not only that, but tonight, after the offense fell behind 9-4 after being up 4-0, they didn't give up, and showed a type of fight that we seldom, if ever, saw last season.

Right now, the clutch hitting is coming off the bats of Melky Cabrera and Ramiro Peña--perhaps the two guys you would normally consider least likely to be RBI men, but without their contributions in the 8th inning tonight, the ninth, in which Brian Fuentes didn't retire a single batter (Teixeira walk, Matsui single, Canó single, Posada walkoff hit), would not have mattered.

If anything, tonight's win can serve notice to the rest of the league: even if this team currently has the 13th worse bullpen in the AL, they can still find a way to win.

Nick Swisher did get HBP in the elbow and had to leave the game. However, X-Rays are negative and he is Day-to-Day.

Oh, and just for the fun of it: the Yankees have assured themselves at least a series split with the Angels.


I will be at tomorrow's Yankee game, sec 309, row 7, seat 22 or 23. Feel free to come by and say hi. Alas, I don't have a fancy phone, so if you want to email to set something up, you'll have to do it tonight.