Chien Ming Wang notched his first win of the 2009 season, facing a depleted Mets line up at Citifield.
The win should not be confused with a good pitching performance--Wang only surrendered two runs, true, but he had very poor command and against pretty much any other legitimate line up, would have likely got roughed around.
Still, for the first time all season he did not just make it into the sixth inning, but made it into the sixth inning with a 3-2 lead. Had he been able to get two more outs it would have officially been a 'quality start', but with just a one run lead, Girardi, perhaps rightly, wasn't going to take any chances.
Phil Coke got the one out he needed and Phil Hughes was again excellent.
Hughes' dominance in the bullpen is captivating and eye-opening. To be quite honest, between Joba and Hughes, if you're going to have one of them in the bullpen, I think Hughes has shown better bullpen stuff.
Brian Bruney, however, struggled and could not get through the 8th inning. It's a risk you run with Bruney, who can struggle with his command; with more than a one-run lead it might not matter so much, but the one-run, high leverage situations are when set-up men need to be at their very best.
Still, the focus here should be Wang, who, for the third time in a row was not great or necessarily even good, but still not bad enough to forgo his next scheduled start (in this case, TOR). It's his first win of the season--the others should be easier.
Mariano Rivera had his first career RBI, walking with the bases loaded while facing a very wild Francisco Rodriguez tonight.
(Don't believe me? Look here
The entire situation was as amusing as it was nerve-wracking as the Yankees only had a one run lead at the time, but from Girardi trying to play mind games with the Mets and get them to pitch to Jeter (they did, until they got to a two-ball count), to the reaction from the Yankee bench--who looked as though someone had just hit a World Series game-winning grand slam.
The most surprising thing, perhaps, here is how important the run actually was.
Despite walking eleven times, the Yankees only managed four hits--and only two after the first inning.
Part of this is due to hitting balls at Mets' fielders, but some attention has to be paid to the four DP balls that Robinson Canó hit--only two were actually double plays because the first was dropped by Daniel Murphy and the fourth was hit with two already out.
Tonight, Mariano Rivera notched his 500th career save, becoming only the second pitcher in all of Major League history to accomplish this after Trevor Hoffman, and it was a four-out save to boot.
Yankees fans know how valuable Mo has been to their team, and tonight gave them a reason to celebrate it.
In his career, Mo has converted 500 of 581 save opportunities and if conversion percentages are how you measure a closer, Mo clearly exists on a different plane altogether.
Here's to Mo!
[oh, and a minor note, I know the Braves can be inept and the Mets are hapless, but games are games and the Yankees have won five straight. And Boston and Toronto both lost today, too.]
Sunday, June 28, 2009