Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yankees Ride Three HRs, Good Bullpen to Victory (Postgame Notes 10 May 2009)

It was some old-fashioned Bronx Bombing that won the game for the Yankees today.

Joba Chamberlain continued to struggle in the first inning--giving up a three-run home run to Aubrey Huff in the first--but he settled down after that, and the Orioles did not score another run.

It was not Joba's best effort, but six innings and three runs is both enough for a quality start and a win, and the Yankees got just that.

To be quite honest here, Joba's putting together a quality start was the best possible retaliation for Aubrey Huff's home run fist-pump (which itself was a retaliation for Joba's fist pump). It puts Joba on a higher plane, above the fracas and hubbub about an issue that really should not matter.

For the Yanks, they received solo home runs from Mark Teixeira in the first, and Robinson Canó in the seventh, but the biggest blow was Johnny Damon's three-run home run in the seventh with two outs.

The important thing here is, perhaps, not that Damon hit the home run (he's had an XB hit in each of his last seven games), but how the runners got on base before him.

Francisco Cervelli has not played even a week in the Majors, and is certainly not in there for his bat, but when he does put bat on ball, he does the little things right. Like today, when he hustled down the line to beat out an infield single--I'm not quite sure I remember the last time a Yankee catcher had anything resembling speed, but with two outs, that single play changed the outcome of the game.

Derek Jeter followed with another infield single, though with Melvin Mora playing back, that nubber was more obviously going to be an infield hit than Cervelli's--which had been grounded to the second baseman.

With those two on base, the Yankees' hottest bat came up to the plate, and did his thing.

It's probably not much of a surprise that Damon's playing for a contract here, but if he keeps hitting like this it won't be a very hard question to answer.

The bullpen today, in Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera did their job. They may be the only relievers that Girardi can trust, but that trust is not misplaced. Rivera's earned it over a fifteen-plus year career; Coke's done it in a few months.


I would like to wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day.