(Somebody's glad to be back. Courtesy of Getty Images)
The heat is getting turned up on the Yankees as they begin the final month of the regular season. They've been mediocre for weeks now, lost a major chunk of their division lead in the process, and got their asses handed to them in the first game of a very key series against Baltimore on Friday night. They weren't showing any signs of turning things around anytime soon, and called up a larger-than-expected group from Triple-A yesterday to try to bring some fresh arms and legs in to inject a little life into the club. David Phelps was on the mound yesterday afternoon against Wei-Yin Chen, trying to do what Hiroki Kuroda couldn't the day before and get the Yankees back in the win column.
- It wasn't a good start for Phelps, who didn't have nearly the command he's shown all season. He walked 3, gave up 2 hits, and hit a batter on his way to allowing a run in each of the first 2 innings. Only some well-timed double plays helped limit the damage.
- The Yanks had another injury scare when Curtis Granderson left after the bottom of the 2nd with hamstring tightness, but all indications are that it's nothing serious and he could play today.
- Phelps got through the 3rd in order, but started off the 4th by giving up a home run to Matt Wieters to make it 3-0 Baltimore. He still wasn't locating, the lineup still wasn't hitting, and it looked like another beatdown in the making.
- Fortunately, Robinson Cano started the turnaround quickly in the bottom of the 4th by getting the Yankees on the board with a homer of his own. It was just a solo shot, but with 2 outs and in an 0-2 count, it was a boost the Yankees needed.
- Phelps didn't make it out of the 5th, and it was up to the Yankee bullpen to hold the Orioles at 3. Boone Logan was brought in to pitch the 6th and the 7th and he came up big, pitching around a walk, a hit, and an error to throw 2 goose eggs on the scoreboard.
- After laying dormant for most of the first 6 innings, the offense finally came alive with 2 outs in the 7th. Jayson Nix drew a walk to put 2 runners on, Eduardo Nunez singled a run in on the first pitch he saw to make it 3-2, Ichiro and Derek Jeter walked to force in the tying run, and a fielding error by J.J. Hardy helped Nunez score the go-ahead run. It wasn't pretty by any means, but it was enough.
- The Yankees switched to their better defensive lineup to preserve the lead, and D-Rob and Sour Puss did the job in the 8th and 9th. Soriano looked especially nasty for the second straight time after his last blown save.
- Nunez: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Nunez's 2-out hit in the 7th was huge. It cut the lead down to 1, and helped turn the lineup back over to Jeter and Swish, 2 guys hitting the ball well who know how to go about an at-bat in that situation. They came through and the Yankees got the lead, but Nunez made it all possible.
- Logan: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, W. He's been iffy at best lately, but there's no understating how big Logan's innings were and how good he was. One of the walks was intentional, otherwise he was very sharp in a big spot.
- Phelps: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 3 K. In a game where Phelps could have really shown something, he wasn't very good. His control of his stuff wasn't there, let alone his command, and Phelps himself admitted to the game maybe getting to him a little bit after the game. The good news was that he limited the damage, but it was still a poor start.
- Andruw Jones: 0-4. Get this guy out of the cleanup spot.
Instead of coming into today's game with Baltimore having a chance to pull into a tie for the division lead, the Yankees have a chance to boost it back up to 4 with another win. Phil Hughes takes the mound in another big situation, and once again he will be looked to for length after the bullpen's heavy workload yesterday.