(Nothing to see here, folks. Just The Captain being a badass and playing through an injury as usual. Courtesy of the AP)
This trading a 1-game lead for a tie thing every other day is starting to get old, and by the looks of the moves they announced yesterday the Yankees could be thinking the same thing. There's 20 games left in the season and the urgency is starting to get turned up on their rotation situation. Ivan Nova is going back in on Saturday for Freddy Garcia, and Andy Pettitte threw a 55-pitch simulated game and could be making his return as soon as next week. That put some pressure on David Phelps to perform last night and a game the Yankees needed, and he hasn't exactly been coming up roses in those games. But to the Yankees' credit, they didn't just yank the kid. They gave him another start last night in Fenway Park, and Phelps looked up to the challenge.
- The offense seemed determined to make it a frustrating night, putting up just 1 baserunner, an Eric Chavez double, in the first 3 innings against the positively horrid Aaron Cook. Dude even struck out 2 guys!
- Luckily for them Phelps showed up with his A-game last night. After looking overwhelmed by the pressure in his last 2 starts, Phelps was focused, sharp, and nasty with his fastball command and curveball bite through 3 hitless, scoreless innings.
- Clearly the Yankees had Cook right where they wanted him after 3, because in a span of 6 pitches in the 4th Curtis Granderson went yard to right center, Alex Rodriguez singled, and Robinson Cano went yard to left to give New York a 3-0 lead.
- Phelps started to get hit a little bit his second time through as well, but he worked through trouble to hold the Sawx at 1 run through 5.2 IP. The 5th inning was big for Phelps, as he retired 3 in a row after Jarrod Saltalamachhia led off with a triple, 2 on strikeouts.
- Granderson rocked one to right center for his first HR, and he rocked one to right for his second in the top of the 7th inning to put the Yankees up 5-1. All of a sudden he's locked in on the fastball, and good thing because the rest of the team couldn't scratch a run across.
- Joe needed 3 innings from his 'pen after the 6th and they didn't get off to a strong start to that mission. Cody Eppley and Boone Logan combined to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 7th, and both runners scored as Joba tried to clean up their mess. Once again, he looked good doing it.
- The Yankees had a grand chance for an insurance run with Chris Dickerson on third with 1 out in the 8th, but that positive situation took a nosedive when Derek Jeter grounded into a somewhat predictable inning-ending double play and then came up limping big time running the play out to first. I know his left ankle has been bothering him for a while now, but this looked worse.
- In typical Jeter fashion he brushed it off as nothing, and Rafael Soriano did the same thing after giving up a solo homer in the 9th that made it a 1-run game. He held on for the save and the Yankees held onto their tie for first in the division.
- C-Grand: 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K, 1 LOB. What is it about guys catching fire when they get moved back into the 2-spot in the lineup? Hopefully the 2 HR last night were the start of something good for Curtis. The Yankees need someone to carry them.
- Phelps: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W. Strong night for Phelps, a big improvement over his last outing. It all works off the fastball for Phelps, and he located it much better on the inside corner last night, especially to lefties. Phelps recorded all 17 of his outs either on the infield or in the catcher's mitt, and if this was his last start of the season it was a good one to go out on.
- Ichiro Suzuki: 0-3, 4 LOB. Freakin' slap hitters, man.
- RISP Fail: Team 0-13. Left 10 men on base and 6 in scoring position. This game shouldn't have been close.
These teams will finish up this series tonight against 2 pitchers that they're very familiar with. Phil Hughes toes the rubber for the Yanks and Felix Doubront for the Sawx. Don't be surprised to see Jeter back at the top of lineup card.