(Ya gotta love Old Timer's Day. Courtesy of Getty Images)
If this is how the rotation is going to pitch in CC and Andy's absence, then the Yankees should be just fine until CC returns sometime after the All Star break. Ivan Nova threw 7+ innings of 1-run ball on Thursday, Hiroki Kuroda threw 7 shutout innings on Saturday, and Phil Hughes wrapped up the series split with 8 more solid innings of work yesterday. The other 2 spots are yet to be solidified, but the 3 remaining everyday starters don't seem to have missed a beat.
- The White Sox lineup came out swinging at everything, and they hit some show-me strikes hard to score 2 runs in the top of the 1st. Hughes's fastball command was quite perfect, and the aggressive White Sox made him pay for it.
- As a counter to the strong Chicago start, the Yankees managed to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the 1st. But cleanup hitter Robinson Cano grounded into a 1-2-3 DP and Nick Swisher struck out swinging. Goddamn you, RISP Fail.
- Gavin Floyd escaped the 1st inning, but wouldn't be so lucky in the 2nd when he gave up a 2-run HR to Eric Chavez, or in the 3rd when he gave up another 2-run shot to Robinson Cano to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Floyd wasn't very sharp, and had to work hard through the first 3 innings on a very hot day.
- Those 4 runs were all the Yankees would score, but they were also all Hughes would need. After the rocky 1st inning he settled down, and really settled in after escaping another 2-on situation in the top of the 3rd.
- From the 4th inning on, Hughes retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced, giving up just one base hit and 0 walks while striking out 5. Hughes used his curveball a lot more early in the count, mixed some changeups in when needed, and really started to hit his spots with his fastball.
- After getting 2 days off on Thursday and Friday, Rafael Soriano got his 18 save of the season in his 2nd straight day of work.
- Hughes: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W. Hughes finished his week with the same type of bang he started it with. Outside of the 1st inning, Hughes was masterful. He got a lot of weak pop ups and flyouts, and didn't give up a HR for his 2nd straight start. The TBS gun only had him sitting 91-92, but the White Sox hitters certainly looked like they were way behind his fastball all day, and Hughes got 15 swinging strikes out of the 74 he threw.
- Cano: 2-4. 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 3 LOB. Cano was one of, if not the best hitter in baseball in the month of June. Yesterday he got an early start on making his July just as good.
- Chavez: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB. Chavez's line is up to .275/.331/.492 on the season, and this power surge he's been having is a very welcome sign after not showing much last season.
- Russell Martin: 0-4, 4 LOB. Russ didn't look good at the plate yesterday, and his 1st-pitch swing with 2 on in the bottom of the 5th was one of the weakest hacks I've seen in a while. Methinks there's still something wrong with his back, and it wouldn't shock me to see him out of the lineup today.
A return to divisional play before the All Star break, and during a time when many of the Yankees' divisional rivals are playing crummy baseball. The division lead has actually gone up to 6.0 games since CC and Andy hit the DL last week, and the Yankees can continue to put distance between them and their competition when they open up a 3-game series in Tampa tonight against the Rays. Freddy Garcia makes his return to the rotation for the first time since April 28th.