Monday, June 1, 2009

Joba Pitches the Eighth...And Has the Best Start of His Career (postgame notes 1 June 2009)

Guys like Mike Francesca should be forced to sit down and watch today's game again and again and again (but preferably only the parts where Joba is pitching, and not when the Yankees had the bases loaded in the 6th and didn't score).

They should be forced to watch Joba pitch efficiently, play defense and go eight innings without over exerting himself or getting distracted by midges.

Maybe it had to do with the weather forecast and the knowledge that once the rain came and started it wouldn't stop...and that if the Yankees wanted to get this one in they had to play a quick game.

Maybe it was trying to redeem himself after a poor start in Texas.

Maybe it was because in the last 19 games only one starter has lost (and I had the good luck to be at that game...), and he wanted to keep it that way.

Maybe, as Joe Girardi suggested, he was angry at the midges.

Whatever it was, Joba pitched and pitched well.

Now, instead of having to settle for a split with the Indians, the Yankees took three of four and went 5-2 on their road trip, have won 15 of 19 and have not had an error in their last 18 games--a new MLB record.

(I don't know about you, but I thought the MLB record would have been something like 50 games).

Offensively, the Yankees weren't stellar--check out the comment about the sixth inning--but to their credit, when faced with the same situation the next inning, the Yankees took advantage, and it was certainly nice to see Swisher get the big hit again.

It was also nice to see Melky back in the line up, and even though he didn't get a hit, he still walked...a rarity, even still.

Still, the star of the game was the defense--especially Joba's in the bottom of the fifth, when he belly flopped to catch Kelly Shoppach's pop-up bunt, and then threw the runner out at second to complete a double play.

The difference between this year and last year?

This year's Yankees make that play.

Last year's don't.

The Yanks are in first by a game, nine games over .500 and even if one part of their game isn't perfect, everyone is stepping up to give the team a chance night in and night out.

You can't ask for much more than that.