A reunion victory for Andy…
In probably what will be Andy Pettitte’s only appearance against his former team, the Houston Astros, he emerged the victor tonight as interleague play got underway in the Bronx.
It was a tight game throughout thanks to a pitching duel between Andy and Astros starter (and former Philadelphia Phillie) Brett Myers. The Yanks scored first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. A bases loaded walk by Nick Swisher and a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli gave Andy and the Yankees an early cushion.
The Astros quickly answered with two runs of their own in the top of the 2nd inning. With two outs, Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella doubled to deep left to score two runs.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, with the score still 3-2, Mark Teixeira hit a single to score Kevin Russo.
After settling down in the 2nd inning, Andy was breezing through the Astros lineup, allowing only one baserunner, until he got into trouble in the 8th. A hit and an error put two men on base. After a sacrifice moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Andy’s night was done. Enter Joba Chamberlain. Unfortunately, a sac fly by the next batter, second baseman Jeff Keppinger, scored Manzella, before Joba was able to end the inning by striking out first baseman Lance Berkman.
Enter the Sandman in the 9th, and it was game over. Mariano Rivera struck out the final two batters to pick up his 15th save, which gave Andy Pettitte the win and his 8th victory (8-1) of the season to match Phil Hughes for the team high.
The rumor mill has spun that Berkman is a potential trade target for the Yankees. He’d make a great DH at this stage of his career, and would be an excellent replacement for former DH Hideki Matsui. I know that Nick Johnson will be back later this year, but given his injury history, there’s no way that he can be counted on. At some point, Jorge Posada will be ready to start catching again so the DH will spot will return to a rotation. It would be tremendous, so long as the price tag is not too high and does not involve any blue-chippers, to have Berkman’s bat in the lineup every day.
I am sure that the win, Andy’s 200th as a Yankee, was bittersweet for him. I know that he missed the Yankees during his days in Houston, but on the same token, I am sure that he’ll always hold a soft spot for his hometown Astros. The game would have been harder on Andy if it would have been played in Houston. By the way, congratulations to Andy for the 200th Yankees win! How ironic that it would come against the only other team for which he has played.
The Yankees have a chance to close within a game of the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays. The “team that never loses” is trailing by 8 runs late in a game against the Florida Marlins. For any other team, I’d consider a deficit of 8 runs to be a loss. But with the Rays, if you told me that they just scored 9 runs in the 9th, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Wow, what a week for college football! I had not been following the USC story very closely, so I was stunned when the two year probation was announced. I also heard that their juniors and seniors can transfer to other schools without the standard one-year waiting period (unless it involves another Pac-10 school). Aside from the fact that this will remove USC from significance for the short term, I couldn’t help but think what goes around comes around for new head coach Lane Kiffin. I am sure that Raiders owner Al Davis and the great fans of the University of Tennessee are shedding no tears for Lane’s predicament. Yeah Lane, good luck with that…
Speaking of the Pac-10, I was equally shocked when the University of Colorado announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10. All week the talk had been about whether the University of Nebraska would leave to join the Big 10, a move which happened today, however, the Buffaloes drew first blood. There is no speculation that the University of Texas, and the other Texas schools, like Texas A&M and Texas Tech, may be joining the Pac-10 to become a ‘super-conference’. All the rivalries we have grown to love over the years, like Texas-OU and Nebraska-OU, will soon become memories. The expectation is that the Big 12 will collapse so it will be interesting to see what happens with the other schools. Plus, of course, there is always the speculation about what Notre Dame may do. Interesting times in the NCAA…