(Pretty good looking swing. Courtesy of The AP)
As if things couldn't get any more stressful in Yankeeland, Joe had to come out before the game last night and absolutely shit all over Kevin Long's life in response to Long's "more bunting" suggestion to help turn this offensive slump around. Now the struggling Yankee bats had the added pressure of having to perform last night, on the road, against Matt Moore, a nasty left-hander on a hot streak, to not only prevent themselves from losing the division lead entirely, but also to potentially prevent the NY media from starting up a "Girardi vs. Long" feud in the papers. Yeah, that's a recipe for success if I ever heard one. At least they had Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to give them a fighting chance.
- Kuroda got beat by classic TB run manufacturing for 1 in the bottom of the 1st, and had to overcome another Curtis Granderson botch job in center in the 2nd, but he looked pretty good early.
- Moore was dealing from the moment his feet touched the rubber, and he looked hellbent on getting to that 8-inning, 11-K mark I set him for him yesterday. He struck out 6 of the first 9 batters he faced through the first 3.
- It took a second turn through the order for the lineup to strike, but when it did it did in a big way in the 4th. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single (again) and came around to score on an Alex Rodriguez RBI double. A follow-up 2-run double from Russell Martin and the Yanks led 3-1.
- For the third straight start, Kuroda had his problems in the middle innings. He did the same thing that killed Garcia the night before with 2 outs in the 5th and it cost him 2 runs.
- Then after Martin gave him a 4-3 lead with a solo HR in the 6th, he coughed it right back up by giving up a solo HR to Luke Scott in the bottom half. Hiroki wasn't very sharp with his stuff, and definitely not nearly as efficient with his pitches. 101 in 6 innings was it for him.
- When Kevin Long talked about bunting more, I think the situation in the 7th was exactly what he was talking about. 2 on, no outs, Jayson Nix at the plate, and he lays one down to move the runners over. Perfect. And it paid off for 2 runs when Eliot Johnson threw the ball away on Jeter's grounder in the next at-bat. Not flashy, but it got results.
- No funny business in the late innings. Joe went with his bullpen A-team and they went 3 scoreless with 4 Ks to close out a much-needed W for the Bombers. Amazing how leads tend to stay intact when you get good relief pitching!
- Martin: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K. Been a while since Russ had one of these games. He finishes a game with a batting average above .200 for the first time in months.
- Jeter: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K. Really had Moore's number in his 3 PA against him. Just mowing down the path to another 200-hit season and Willy Mays on the all-time hits list.
- Nick Swisher: 0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB. Swish has gone cold these last few games ( ). Hope it's just a blip on the radar. This team still needs all the offense it can get.
- C-Grand: 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB. Tack on the bad read and misplay on that "double" in the 2nd inning and you can file this under "Games Curtis Won't Put on His Resume When He Becomes a Free Agent."
Oh look, honey! It's the Orioles again! These assclowns are really starting to piss me off. They've got everybody talking about them and how awesome they are even though they have a negative run differential and are one of the worst defensive teams in baseball. The Yanks already have David Phelps there preparing for tonight's start, and he'll be up against a returning Jason Hammel.