Two games today as we needed to finish up the 1st game that was suspended because of rain yesterday. Burnett was hoping for a run in the 6th and then for the Yanks to not relinquish the lead so he could pickup a win. Jeter obliged with a homer in the 6th and then the Yanks bullpen did their job (barely) as the 1-0 lead held up in an exciting, every pitch counts, 1-0 game.
Jeter also made a really good play in the field with 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs ranging to his right and making his patented Jeter throw, but this was not one where he takes a lot of steps; this one he released very quickly and made the play. This play made the excellent relay by the Yanks holding Morneau at 3rd very important. Jeter did also fail to start a DP by waiting on a grounder, but overall had a really good game.
Tex was up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out right after a walk and he swung at the 1st pitch. That by itself wasn’t so bad, but it was a breaking ball for a ball and Tex better start swinging at strikes or he will stay in this worst slump to start a year in his career. (boy that was a mouthful)
Rivera came on to pitch the 9th and was very shaky, but got a huge break on a hard hit DP top end the game. Control and movement was not very good and it showed.
But we got a 1 run win!
Game 2 saw the Yanks swing at a lot of balls again, but I do have to say that Liriano has an excellent change that goes away from righties and a slider that the righties really have trouble hitting as it ducks under the bat when he gets it down and in. Then he can slip his 92-93 fastball by you as well; he really kept the Yanks off balance and swinging at balls.
Cervelli needs to stop calling for the ball down and in to Spahn, he hit the ball hard each time.
In a huge play, Cervelli beat out a DP play ball that Orlando Hudson really took his time on. With 2 outs, it might not matter, but in this case, Russo (who has done a very nice job) hit a double into the gap scoring Cervelli and tying the game.
Gardner seems a tiny step slower than his blazing normal self…I could be wrong but he just seems it.
Russo made a nice catch on a Mauer line drive to LF!
Pettitte worked his changeup into the game a few times and left a guy at 2nd base with a beauty for strike 3 swinging. Pettitte mixed his pitches really well all game and Minnesota had trouble centering a lot of pitches and when they did they were hit at us.
Getting tired of the announcers talking about how every hit won’t go out of the park…the only ball I thought might go out was the long shot against Mariano in game 1, but he didn’t get all of it.
In the 5th Jeter led off with a double and Swisher swung at the first pitch and it was an off speed pitch and Swisher swung tentatively on it and grounded weakly to 3rd. I know Liriano can fool you, but when you are up in that spot look for something to drive, but you surely can’t pull a slow outside pitch with a weak swing on the 1st pitch…bad job there.
Gardner got a big 2 out triple knocking in Russo which was needed because Minnesota doubled in their own run in the 7th to make it 2-2
The bottom of the 8th was exciting as again every pitch was critical. Butera led off with a line drive to right center that Gardner was flying after (he did look fast there) and he had to go to his back hand with the ball about head high. Brett might have had to take his eye off the ball slightly and the ball went in and out of his glove…he got to it but just couldn’t hang on. It would have been a heck of a catch, but he was not able to make the play. So Butera had a leadoff double and Spahn was up to bunt. The Yanks put the wheel play on with Jeter covering 3rd so ARod charged and got to the ball almost on a fly but was in between trying to catch it and had to scoop the ball and messed it up so they 1st and 3rd and nobody out. After Orlando Hudson lined to Pettitte and the Twins runners did a good job of not getting doubled off up stepped Joe Mauer. This was an interesting call because you could walk him, but with Morneau on deck that would not be a good choice. You just had to take your chances. We got a break as he hit a hard grounder to Jeter (who the Yanks correctly had a DP depth) and Jeter to Cano to Tex for the inning ending DP! Pettitte (and I) were pumped!
Rauch came on for Minnesota to pitch the 9th as he is their closer. He has fairly pedestrian stuff and I was thinking this was good until he got two easy outs on Gardner and Jeter. Swisher came to the plate and took a breaking ball strike, then took a breaking for a ball and the Rauch tried to sneak his 90 MPH fastball by Swisher and he put it in the middle of the plate and Swisher crushed it! The park is fine folks!
Now the question remained, do you leave Pettitte in there against Morneau who he has taken care of today (and Pettitte has been tough on lefties this year) or do you go to the Genius Maker who has not been sharp…even earlier in the day? Andy had only thrown 94 pitches so I was OK with letting him pitch to the lefty and perhaps that would be his last batter no matter what, but Girardi decided to go right to Mo. It was one of those decisions that could go either way and to Girardi’s credit Rivera was much sharper hitting his spots and he even had good movement on his cutter…thereby living up to his name! Of course if Rivera had blown the one run lead Girardi would have been criticized…I am not so sure either move was the right or wrong one and both might have worked, but give Girardi the nod because the decision he did make was the correct one!
2 wins and 2 saves by the Genius Maker in one day is always good. The Red Sox are hot but have helped us inch back toward the top of the division…