Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yanks' Grit it Out Against Mariners (postgame notes 30 June 2009)

Given that Mariano Rivera threw out tonight's ceremonial first pitch and that Joba Chamberlain was starting, it is perhaps not surprising that in the end it came down to the bullpen.

Joba Chamberlain started, and while he wasn't horrible in any sense of the word, he also wasn't very good, or even mildly good.

He struggled with command, and once again seemed to nibble too much, being afraid to attack the zone after going 0-2 on hitters. To be sure, the hits the Mariners had off of Joba were more of the bloop than the blast variety, but he threw too many pitches and much too many out of the strike zone.

For much of the game, the Yankee offense muddled about in a state of semi-consciousness.

The first three runs came on an error, a sac fly and a groundout--and they were 0-9 with RISP at one point.

However, as soon as the Mariners tied the game (which they did twice), the Yankees' offense would come right back, doing, once again, just enough to make sure the team wins. The offense did look best in the bottom of the 8th inning.

The story line about this game, however, will center around the 8th inning.

In the seventh, Joe Girardi had gone to Phil Hughes to pitch, and Hughes set the Mariners' down, in order, on nine pitches.

As many have opined, there was no real reason to take Hughes out of a game, especially since he needs his innings.

Still, Girardi played, once again, by the book and brought in his presumed 8th inning guy, Brian Bruney.

As has been the case since Bruney came off of the disabled list, he struggled and, in this case blew the 5-3 lead.

The question of what should have been done will, no doubt, fill the non-Mets-related talk on WFAN tomorrow; and opinions will probably be very varied.

Me? I would have stuck with Hughes, not because of a lack of faith in Bruney, but because Hughes has been so dominant and because Hughes could use the work. You might entirely disagree.

Ultimately, the Yankees got the win on a night Boston lost (check out those highlights if you can. Seriously.), and all is well.