The Yanks are nationally televised tonight and Phil is back on the hill. That can only mean it's time for another live blog. I'm assuming I'm going to get the ESPN broadcast team of McDonough, Sutcliffe, and Aaron F'ing Boone, which is tolerable, so that's good. The Yanks aren't dicking around with the lineup tonight, throwing their version of the A-lineup out there:
1) Derek Jeter- SS
2) Curtis Granderson- CF
3) Mark Teixeira- 1B
4) Alex Rodriguez- 3B
5) Robinson Cano- 2B
6) Nick Swisher- RF
7) Jorge Posada- DH
8) Russell Martin- C
9) Brett Gardner- LF
And on the mound it's Phillip Joseph Hughes.
Just a quick note on Mo, whose triceps injury I have admittedly not focused enough on. LoHud is saying he's still not a sure thing to be able tonight. He's going to throw before the game and then see how he feels. If he can't go, that's added pressure on the Luis Ayalas, Boone Logans, and Corey Wades of the world, who will almost surely be needed to bridge the gap from Hughes to the 9th inning.
Check back here some time before 7 Eastern/6 Central to get this thing kicked off.
5:45PM- And we're live!! Pedro Gomez just reported on SportsCenter that Mo won't be available tonight. Pedro's always struck me as a straight shooter, and I always felt bad for him for getting stuck out in SF to follow Barry Bonds, so I'm going to take his word to the bank.
5:55PM- SC's "Closing Number" for the night? 37. As in the number of career 4-hit games Derek Jeter has. Interesting statistical tidbit, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say The Captain isn't putting up a 4-hit night tonight. Joe will send somebody out to kneecap him if he even gets to 3 just to ensure he sets the record at The Stadium.
6:01PM- And we're comparing the Yankees to the Beatles and the Indians to The Who in the opening. Oooooooooooo-kay. Maybe we could just talk about Jeter and the 3,000 hits? Or how CC completely assplowed the Indians yesterday?
6:02PM- Missed the boat on the announcing teams. It's Dave O'Brien and Nomaaaahh. So that's a bummer.
6:05PM- If those people in the David Ortiz "MLB Man Cave" commercial are actually from New York and they actually hugged David Ortiz then they should be banned from New York for the rest of their lives. If David Ortiz came up to me asking me for a hug, I'd kick him square in the ballsack. Seriously. Fuck that guy.
6:10PM- In fairness to Jeter and his declining skills, as he steps in to lead off the game, Gardner has scuffled a bit lately at the plate. So maybe it's a good thing to bump him down while he works through it and Jeter goes for 3K.
6:12PM- 2,997 will have to wait. Jeter K'd on a nasty pitch by Masterson.
6:13PM- I smiled just now when I heard Teix declined Ortiz's invite to be on his team for the HR Derby. Teix knows what I'm talking about.
6:14PM- Unfortunately, Teix doesn't know how to hit against the shift still and grounds out to end the inning. Yanks go 1-2-3 quietly and Hughes is heading out to the mound for the first time in almost 3 months. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, JAWN!!!!
6:16PM- Orlando Cabrera is batting 6th for the Indians? Yeesh!
6:19PM- Leadoff walk. Ump squeezed Hughes a little low and outside. You could have made that argument that he threw 4 strikes in that at-bat.
6:23PM- Back-to-back singles after the walk and it's 1-0 Indians. Velocity looks good, consistently sitting 92-93, but it's the same story it usually is with Phil. He can't put guys away with 2 strikes and has gotten in trouble on the 2 pitches he got up in the zone and over the plate.
6:26PM- I don't know why Russell Martin even tried to throw that ball. You've got a guy out there making his first start in 3 months. He doesn't need any more runs charged against him. Take the strikeout, keep the double play in order, and move on, man.
6:30PM- Could these groundballs be finding any more holes??? Jesus Christ. Also, what the fuck happened to Cano's range? It's like having Jeter playing both middle infield spots.
6:33PM- And finally the inning ends. Decent for Hughes. He stayed in the low 90s the whole time, generally kept the ball down in the zone, and had some pretty good bite on his offspeed stuff. But the Indians did put a lot of good swings on him and a couple of those swings found the right spots. After 30+ pitches, I think it's safe to say that Hughes won't be making it past 5 innings tonight.
6:37PM- Leadoff single by The Horse to lead off the top of the 2nd. Keep talking about his homer drought, Dave. A-Rod will just keep racking up multi-hit games, driving in and scoring runs, playing Gold Glove defense, and being among the top 10 players in baseball in WAR.
6:39PM- Asdrubal Cabrera botches an easy double play ball off the bat of Cano and there's 2 on and nobody out for Swish. That's pronounced Ass-DREW-bull for those who weren't sure. Ass, ha. That's funny.
6:40PM- Former Brewer prospect Matt LaPorta robs Swish of a double down the line, but the runners still move up. I'll take that.
6:45PM- K for Jorge and a groundout for Martin and the runners are stranded. Russell Martin is now hitting below .220 on the year. Jesus Montero, anybody? Anybody??
6:52PM- A nice 10-pitch inning for Phil in the 2nd. Fastball still looking good in the low 90s, but he hasn't been consistent in/near the strike zone with his offspeed stuff.
6:57PM- Well hit ball by Jeter in his 2nd AB, but right at Grady Sizemore in center. 0-2.
6:58PM- Crazy to think about how good C-Grand has been this year. He finished with 24 HR and 7 3B in 2010 and already has 25 HR and 7 3B in 2011. Too bad he flied out to right to end the top of the 3rd.
7:02PM- We aren't even an hour into the game and Nomar is already killing me. He's said asinine things about Orlando Cabrera's BA w/ RISP, the obvious error that Ass-DREW-bull made, and the Indians and Yankees in general. Dude is straight up terrible as a color commentator. Get back in the BBTN studio and get me Orel Hershiser.
7:04PM- Pedro Gomez thoroughly embarrasses himself by stating that the Charlie Sheen "Duh, winning!" phrase was from the movie "Major League." I talk you up, Pedro, and this is how you repay me? Idiot.
7:05PM- Phil works around a leadoff single from Hafner for another easy inning. After throwing 32 pitches in the first inning, he's thrown 20 combined over the last 2. That's more like it.
7:13PM- Don't look now, but Justin Masterson is straight up knocking the Yankees' dicks in the dirt. He Ks the side of Teix, Horse, and Bobinson, and it's still 2-0 Indians through 3 1/2.
7:19PM- A diving stop by Jeter on a sharply hit ball up the middle by Kearns and the Yankees almost turn 2 to end the inning. I honestly didn't think Derek had that in him anymore, and I didn't think the Yanks had a chance to turn 2, but it was a close play at first thanks to Cano barehanding the toss and uncorking a lightning bolt to Teix. Helluva play all around.
7:22PM- It was a little hairy in the first, but Phil has looked much better through the last 3 innings. He's settled in, hitting his spots for the most part, and pitching to contact, which is working to his advantage against a team of swingers like Cleveland.
7:24PM- Vintage Grady Sizemore robs Swish of a leadoff double with a leaping catch at the wall. Swish is now 0-2 thanks to 2 Web Gems on pitches that he absolutely smoked. The ultimate definition of bad BABIP luck.
7:27PM- Russell Martin breaks the momentum of Masterson's dealing session with a 2-out single. Please let that be a sign of things to come. For him and for the Yankee offense.
7:28PM- Justin Masterson is also apparently from Jamaica. So call him up if you need a good weed connect.
7:30PM- Gardner grounds out again and the inning is over. Still 2-0 Cleveland.
7:34PM- Hughes hits Ass-DREW-bull to start the bottom of the 5th. If you aren't familiar with baseball, that's not a good thing.
7:39PM- A strikeout of Hafner followed by a 4-pitch walk to Carlos Santana and it's looking like the end is near for Phil. The velocity is down to 88-90, and he isn't close to the strike zone right now. Pitch count is at 78, so I'm looking good for my 1st inning prediction, but it'd be nice to see Phil get out of this unscathed.
7:44PM- And now Hughes hits Orlando Cabrera on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. His command of the fastball is starting to abandon him here as he tires. This is usually when he missed bad up in the zone...
7:45PM- But he gets out of it with a fly ball to left! You could definitely see the wheels starting to come off of his stuff in that inning big time, but Hughes managed to work out of it. You have to think that's all for Phil, and all things considered I'm happy with his outing, especially considering the trouble he was in in the 1st and 5th innings.
7:51PM- Good at-bat for Jeter to lead off the 6th ends in a walk. Time for the heart of the order to make something happen.
7:55PM- Or not. Fuck me.
7:59PM- And you can close the book on Hughes as Luis Ayala is on for the bottom of the 6th. And just like Hughes, he gives up 2 seeing eye singles in the inning. That's 4 on the night for the Indians now. That and Martin's shitty throw are the reasons they're winning. Unreal.
8:07PM- Ayala leaves the mess he created for Boone Logan with 2 down and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Big moment in the game right here. With the way Masterson has been going, 4 runs could be more than enough.
8:09PM- And Logan's first pitch hits Hafner on the elbow. I can't even describe how dumbfounded I am by that. Bases loaded again.
8:12PM- The Horse bails out Logan with a diving stop in the hole to get Carlos Santana, end the inning, and keep the game 2-0. But all that matters is his home run drought.
8:15PM- Every time Robbie Cano swings at the first pitch, a child in a 3rd-world country gets stomach cancer. That's a fact.
8:17PM- Jorge puts a charge into one to center but comes up about 10 feet short. Damn.
8:19PM- Hats off to Justin Masterson. The dude has held the Yanks scoreless and with just 2 hits to their credit through 7. He's attacking hitters, keeping the ball down in the zone, and save for the swings by Swish and Jorge that made it to the track, he hasn't given up a lot of solid contact.
8:25PM- I don't know why this doesn't surprise me. After getting the first 2 outs of the evening with relative ease, Boone Logan gives up a home run to somebody named Lonnie Chisenhall, who is not only a lefty, not only a rookie, but has never hit a home run in his Major League career. Looking at the guy on TV, I feel pretty confident that I could kick the shit out of him, and Boone Logan just gave up a home run to him. Fucking Boone Logan.
8:27PM- Note to self: If anybody named Lonnie Chisenhall ever bests me at anything in life, I should probably kill myself.
8:29PM- MEAT TRAY!!!!
Ya gotta love the guy. Even if he does completely suck. But at least he got out of the inning without allowing any more damage.
8:33PM- Did Nomar really just say that the Gold Glove Award isn't about your glove, and that if Jack Hannahan hit more he win the award??? What in the name of Ass-DREW-bull Cabrera is he talking about?!?!
8:34PM- Jeter takes a first pitch fastball up in the zone and puts it up against the right field wall for a 1-out double. That's his 2nd legit two-bagger in as many days and hit 2,997. If Curtis can make something happen here with Masterson at 105 pitches, a comeback could be brewing.
8:36PM- Somehow Ass-DREW-bull stops a well struck ball off C-Grand's bat from going up the middle and scoring Jeter. He was shaded towards the bag, but that was still a nice play.
8:37PM- And he follows that up by robbing Teix of a hit through the hole in the shift. Fuckin' A. Another tip of the cap to the Bull of Ass-DREW. Sometimes it just ain't your night, and that's clearly the case for the Yankees tonight. Too bad.
8:40PM- As the Tray gets ready to widen the Indians' lead by walking the #9 hitter on 4 pitches, here's the final line on Hughes: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 2 K, 87 Pitches (57 Strikes). Considering that he threw 32 of those pitches in that long 1st inning, I'd say that's a good outing for Phil. He maintained his low 90s fastball velocity all the way through 4, and then even though he dropped off a bit in the 5th, the ESPN gun still had him hit 92 on one of his last pitches. We'll talk more about Hughes tomorrow, but I'm happy with his performance tonight.
8:45PM- Props to Travis Hafner for coming up to bat to "Du Hast" by Rammstein. Sure there are about 25-30 better Rammstein songs, but Rammstein is still the shit and not enough people in the US know that, even today.
8:51PM- Seriously, how does Joe bring Mitre into a 3-run game? If the team is going to keep Hector Noesi on the Major League roster to provide bullpen depth, why wouldn't you use him here? Bringing in Mitre in a 3-run game is basically Joe waving the white flag. And with the offensive firepower the Yankees have, that's a bullshit way to manage a game.
8:54PM- It also blows that both Kevin Whelan and Tim Norton are hurt in the Minors. This inning would have been a good situation for them. Instead it's the Tray walking the yard and turning it into a 5-0 game. Mercifully the inning ends with The Horse, Robbie, and Swish coming up for last licks in the 9th.
8:59PM- Back-to-back singles to start off the inning and now those Meat Tray runs are looming larger than ever as Swish steps in. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope Rafael Soriano can come back soon.
9:01PM- And an RBI double off the bat of Swish, thanks to some shoddy outfield work by Michael Brantley, and it's 5-1 Indians with runners now on 2nd and 3rd and still nobody out. Manny Acta's not fucking around now. He's going to Chris Perez.
9:04PM- And Jorge does the Indians a Huh-YUUUUUGE favor by swinging at the first pitch and grounding out. 1 run in, Swish on 3rd.
9:06PM- Martin does a carbon copy of what Jorge did and it's 5-3 with 2 out and nobody on for Brett Gardner...
9:08PM- And he gets rocked to sleep by a Perez curveball. Rough night for Gardy, never got the ball out of the infield.
Also a rough night for Phil Hughes. He wasn't great, but for a first start back he was pretty good. He just didn't get any support from the offense, who were shut down by Justin Masterson and some damn good Cleveland D. It's a series loss for the Yanks, something they haven't experienced much of lately, but now they head back home to regroup and have Jeter get 3,000 in front of the home fans.
That's all from here. Goodnight, all. More talk about Phil and Jeter tomorrow.
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