Derek Lowe versus Andy Pettitte…
It was a match-up that reminded me of some great Red Sox battles of the past. Unfortunately, this one was not memorable as neither pitcher was around very long. The Yankees had built an 8-1 lead by the 4th inning against Lowe. It should have been an easy win for Andy Pettitte, but he struggled too. In the bottom of the 4th inning, he gave up 5 runs, thanks in part to an error by center fielder Brett Gardner, and was lifted for Alfredo Aceves. Aceves was the eventual winner in the 11-7 Yankees victory over the Atlanta Braves.
I am concerned about Pettitte. He pitched great during his last start, but otherwise, his starts have been very spotty. He is definitely no longer the pitcher he once was, or at least I do not recall him being so consistently “hittable”.
But the one player we do not need to be concerned about is Alex Rodriguez. After a month long slump that saw his batting average slide to .207, A-Rod was back last night. He had a key hit on Wednesday, and followed that up with his 563rd home run (tying Mr. October, Reggie Jackson on the all-time list). He was 3-for-5, with two runs scored, a walk, and 4 RBI’s (pushing his BA to .223).
The key hit for this game, in my opinion, was delivered by Johnny Damon. With the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd inning, Damon came to bat against his former Red Sox teammate and delivered a triple to clear the bases. The hit increased the Yankees’ lead to 6-1 at the time. Even though the Braves scratched and clawed to get back in the game, they could never recover from the huge hole created by Damon.
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald
The bullpen did a good job with Aceves, Phil Coke, and the great Mariano Rivera. The only questionable performance was by David Robertson who gave up a 9th inning home run to Brian McCann, and had runners at the corners, before Mo came in to get the final out. Robertson did have two strikeouts in the frame. Hopefully, he was just upset by the Mets’ recent release of his brother Connor, and he’ll perform the next time he is placed in a key situation.
The Yankees now head to Queens for a weekend Subway Series against the Mets. I am concerned about the health of CC Sabathia, but it appears that he is a ‘go’ and should be fine this evening. A.J. Burnett will return from his suspension tomorrow so it should be a fun weekend in Flushing Meadow. With A-Rod coming around, I am sure that the biggest beneficiary will be Mark Teixeira. The team responded to Brian Cashman’s call to arms, and hopefully that will continue. The Toronto Blue Jays lost last night, so the Yankees once again have sole possession of 2nd place and are now 4 games behind Boston. Meanwhile, those pesky Rays keep winning…
Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune
Happy 35th Birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter!
Xavier Nady had a major setback during his minor league rehab with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Brian Cashman is calling it a possible worst case scenario as Nady felt pain while throwing. Not a good sign. At some point, you have to wonder if surgery is the only option. Best wishes to the X-Man for a “best case” scenario outcome…
Finally, Thursday was a very sad day in the Entertainment World with the loss of two icons… Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.
Say what you will about MJ in recent years, but he was truly the King of Pop during the early 80’s. His music was everywhere, and I can still so vividly remember waiting to watch the MTV world premiere of the video for Thriller in late 1983. Like Elvis, Michael has left us way too soon.
Farrah’s passing was more expected but no less difficult. I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a teenager (like every other guy my age).
Goodbye to both…they will be missed…