(Maybe Curtis likes coming off the bench. Courtesy of the AP)
The Joe Girardi-Joel Sherman saga dominated the pregame talk, overshadowing Joe deciding to sit Curtis Granderson for a second straight game. The argument can be made that Granderson deserves it with the way he's swung the bat since the All Star break, but with the Yankee lineup losing Teix again it was surprising to see Joe sit his biggest power threat for a second straight day while he's healthy knowing he was losing Teix today. As it turned out that second day off may have been exactly what Curtis needed. He entered the game as pinch hitter in the middle innings and made his presence felt in a big way, sparking a couple big innings to turn a close game into a laugher. The Yankees hadn't had a game like yesterday's in some time, so to leave Baltimore on it with the division lead again is something to build on this week.
- An Alex Rodriguez GIDP almost halted a Yankee threat in the 1st inning, but Robinson Cano came through with an RBI single to bring home Derek Jeter and at least get the Yankees 1.
- Zach Britton wasn't sharp or efficient from the beginning, and the Yankee offense rode that lack of command to a big, patient inning in the 4th. A-Rod led it off with a single to right, and the rest of the lineup played patience to the tune of 3 more hits and 4 walks to build a 5-0 lead.
- For his part, Freddy Garcia was better than he'd been in his last handful of outings through the first 3. But the long rest in the 4th didn't do him any favors as he gave the Orioles 3 runs back on 2 hits, 1 walk, and a hit batter before getting the hook with just 1 out in the 4th.
- Joe must have had a plan for C-Grand, because he went to him to pinch hit for the practically useless Andruw Jones in the 6th and C-Grand responded with his 35th HR of the season to give the Yanks a 6-3 lead.
- Joe made the right call in removing Freddy when he did, he made the right call going to Joba Chamberlain to replace him (4 Ks in 1.2 scoreless IP), and he made the right call going to C-Grand when he did. With his job performance coming into question, Joe had himself a day just as good as his players'.
- Granderson kept his good bench vibes going in the 7th when he came through with a 2-out, bases loaded, 2-run single to extend the lead. A-Rod, who was hit by a pitch, and Cano, who was walked, both came around to score.
- The Yankees kept hitting as the Orioles worked through their bullpen in the 8th, and they didn't take their foot off the gas until it was 13-3. Jeter's 2-run HR and C-Grand's 2-run double were the big hits.
- Big props to Cory Wade for throwing 2 scoreless after Joba and probably earning himself some higher-leverage consideration. The Yankees needed a blowout win like this, and to get it against the with whom they're in direct competition for the AL East title makes it even better.
- C-Grand: 3-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI. If this is how he's going to respond when Joe doesn't start him 2 games in a row, maybe Joe should consider benching him every time he has 3 bad games in a row.
- Cano: 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 LOB. A patient Robbie Cano can be a dangerous Robbie Cano, and Robbie looked very dangerous and very patient hitting behind A-Rod today. If that's a byproduct of Rodriguez coming back then I'm on board with it.
- Joba: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. I don't think I've had Joba on here since he came and he was definitely worthy yesterday. His fastball was lively (hit 96-97), his slider was tight, and he looked very much like his command was starting to come around after his rough first few weeks back.
- Jeter: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K. Even hobbling around on a bad ankle, Jeter is still the most consistent hitter in the lineup right now. It really is incredible what he's doing offensively this season.
- Swish: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 LOB. Finished the entire road trip hitless. Went from the hottest hitter on the roster by far to the coldest in a matter of 10 games.
The Yankees get a much-needed off day today after the completion of their 10-game O's-Rays-O's stretch. They are once again in sole possession of first place in the AL East, and they have a great opportunity to expand that a little when they travel to Bahhston for a 3-gamer with the crumbling Fraud Sawx.