Okay, I am better now…
It’s amazing what a Yankees win will do for one’s morale! Especially, when it means some added ground on the Boston Red Sox, who had the night off.
Behind the best start of Joba Chamberlain’s brief career, the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians, 5-2. With the victory, they took three of four games from the Tribe, and completed the latest road trip with a 5-2 record.
I don’t think anyone told the Yankees about “the birds and the bees” in Cleveland, but they seemed to be everywhere. Nevertheless, Joba was able to focus on the game and didn’t let them get into his psyche like the play-off game a few years back. Regarding the bugs, he finally decided that if you can’t beat them, eat them. “Man, I started to see them come, I’ll be honest with you”, Joba said about the 8th inning. “I actually swallowed one when I was walking around the mound to start that inning”. So long as you can keep those fastballs coming in at 98 mph, Joba, you can eat whatever you’d like!
The play of the game clearly occurred in the 5th inning. The teams were deadlocked at 1, but Ryan Garko started the bottom of the 5th with a walk. Jamey Carroll was up next, and he singled to right to advance Garko to second. After the homer by Victor Martinez the previous inning, I was starting to worry that the Tribe was getting ready to get untracked for a potential big inning. Kelly Shoppach was the next batter, and popped the ball up toward third base. The ball looked like it was going to drop quickly, so Garko was running toward third. Joba ran toward third and dove for the ball in a full airborne sprawl, and caught it while he was falling to the ground. He was a little disoriented regarding Garko’s location, but the other players yelled out and Joba had time to spin around and throw Garko out at second.
Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer
Just like that, the fear of the big inning was over, and the Tribe had two outs with a runner at first. Bases loaded or if he hadn’t thrown Garko out, Cleveland would have had at least two runners in scoring position and the inning would have looked much different. The cameras caught Andy Pettitte in the dugout. He was standing next to CC Sabathia, and laughing hysterically. After the game, Pettitte said that it looked like Joba was diving into a swimming pool. Regardless of what it looked like, it was two outs and Joba never looked back.
The next inning, Cleveland walked the first three batters so the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs…and of course, no hits. Greg Aquino relieved Jeremy Sowers, and struck out A-Rod. The next two batters were easily retired, and the threat was eliminated.
By now, Joba was on top of his game and breezed through the Tribe in the 6th. The Yanks broke through for 4 runs in the 7th. A double off the left field wall by Nick Swisher, started the scoring by bringing home Ramiro Pena and Brett Gardner. After an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, former Yankee Luis Vizcaino came in and gave up a two-run single to Alex Rodriguez.
Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the 7th to pull within 3 runs, but that was it. Joba pitched effectively through 8 innings, and Mariano Rivera was his usual stellar self in the 9th.
Per Mark Feinsand’s Blogging the Bombers column in the New York Daily News, the quote of the night was by Nick Swisher: “There were like, what, 8,000 seagulls out there? Come on, this ain’t even the beach, it’s Cleveland!”
It was a fun game to watch. You could easily see the team chemistry at play. One shot of the bench showed CC Sabathia getting up and walking toward Johnny Damon’s direction. With his right hand, he flipped a handful of sunflower sands on Damon as he walked past. Damon had a feigned look of disgust, and you could tell that these guys genuinely like each other. That is something that could not always been said of Yankee teams in recent years. For me, it reminds me of the camaraderie of the late 90’s. The results may not match the achievements of those teams, particularly the great season of 1998. However, this is a team destined for the play-offs if GM Brian Cashman can make the right moves to solidify the bullpen. No pressure, Brian!
Not only did Jose Molina suffer a setback in his injury rehab, so did Xavier Nady. He felt discomfort as he threw on Monday. Hopefully, this is just a temporary setback and X will be able to resume his journey back to the active roster.
Derek Jeter now has 1,499 runs scored, and Alex Rodriguez is three homers away from Reggie Jackson who is 11th on the all-time list with 563 home runs. Jeter has also hit safely in 15 consecutive games, while Mark Teixeira is at 14 games.
The Yankees successfully completed their 18th consecutive game without an error to set the new major league record previously held by the 2006 Red Sox.
Hey Julia, it’s probably a good thing that you are so focused on re-signing Jason Bay and thinking about 2010. This year is just going to be a disappointment for you. Sorry, my friend! On the bright side, the New England Patriots will be breaking camp next month so maybe you’ll have a chance for some play-off success this year…considering that you are 0-2, and soon-to-be 0-3…