Derek Jeter and Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui returned to the Yankees lineup on Thursday night…in a big way…
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Derek tied the game in the 7th inning with a RBI single, while Hideki hit a solo home run in the 8th for the deciding margin of victory.
CC Sabathia, of course, followed up his great performance in Baltimore (four hit shutout) with another very strong performance. He only gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in 8 innings of work against the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays. It is so strange to see a Yankees starter going deep into games. Of course, it’s a relief (no pun intended) to see Manager Joe Girardi avoid the wobbly arms in the pen, except for…
The Great Mariano Rivera. Granted, he has had his share of struggles this season. However, on Thursday night, it was vintage Mo. Three men up…three men down, including a strikeout to end the game.
The game also featured strong defensive play from the young guys like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli. I have been reading that the league will “figure out” Cervelli once the scouting reports catch up with him, but for now, he’s been invaluable and I’ve enjoyed his play. It was fun to see his excitement after the game as he spoke with the YES Network. What a thrill! You start the year in the minor leagues, playing for Double A/Trenton, and in May, you’re catching the likes of CC and Mo. I know that catchers Austin Romine and Jesus Montero are working their way up the system for eventual starting roles for the Yankees, but right now, Cervelli has been “all that and a bag of chips”. It’s refreshing to have his energy on the team.
“Right now, we can take a lot out of beating any team,” Jeter said. “We need to string together some wins and win some series. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”
The Yankees evened their record at 17-17, and now stand 4.5 games behind the Jays. The Red Sox, of course, missed their opportunity to gain ground with a 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels. I felt that the Red Sox were going to win it when they loaded the bases in the 12th inning, particularly when David Ortiz came to bat with two outs. But Ortiz did not come through like we’ve seen in recent years. He also struck out with the bases loaded in the 4th. He was 0-for-7, and stranded a dozen men on base. He’s gone 144 at-bats without a homer, and he told reporters after the game that ‘Papi stinks’. I don’t take satisfaction in seeing Ortiz struggle. I like playing the best, and I have always thought that Ortiz was a good guy. He’s certainly someone that I would have enjoyed on my team. Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll rebound soon and start hitting the clutch shots that we’ve become accustomed to.
Speaking of Boston, my condolences go out to my friend, Julia. The Boston Bruins were eliminated from the NHL play-offs by the Carolina Hurricanes last night in overtime, 3-2. I had really felt that they had a shot at the Stanley Cup, and I am surprised that they’ve made their exit. With the departure of the Ducks too, I guess I’ll be pulling for Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is no way that I’d ever root for anything related to Detroit (sorry, I am a Vikings fan so there’s no love for Detroit…or Green Bay or Chicago)….well, Kid Rock’s not so bad…
Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America
Poor Julia! It was a 0-for-3 night as her Celtics also lost. But at least she has one more chance with the NBA, as the Celtics will play the Orlando Magic in the decisive Game 7 on Sunday. There will be better days, Julia!
Well, except for a few nights in June…