(Andrew Eugene Pettitte. Courtesy of Getty Images)
A little bit of the luster was taken away from Andy Pettitte's return start after Mother Nature forced it from last night's main event onto the undercard of today's doubleheader. But only a little bit, because Andy coming back and pitching is still a big deal and Andy is still awesome. There was some added pressure on Andy to deliver in his limited pitch count, because Joe was going to have to be strategic with his bullpen usage, but the offense could have helped take some of that pressure off against the very hittable and generally terrible Toronto starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez. They got off to a good start on that front, then faded and had to hold on for a semi-nail biter of a win.
- After a scoreless top of the 1st from Andy, the offense came out and got 3 straight hits to get things rolling against Alvarez, the big blow a Robinson Cano RBI double. A couple more runs on outs and the Yanks had a nifty little 3-0 lead.
- Andy wasn't shy about using all of his pitches today, and some were sharper than others. He didn't use the cutter much, and he was throwing strike 1 regularly, but didn't seem to have the putaway location to work as efficiently as he would have liked.
- Pettitte worked around a couple baserunners in the 2nd, a pair of Nick Swisher errors in the 3rd, and a pair of singles in the 4th to keep the game scoreless, then had his best inning of the day in the 5th- a 7-pitch, K-groundout-groundout frame to end his day.
- The offensive disappearing act went into full effect after the 3-run 1st. Alvarez retired 12 of 13 to keep them at 3 through 5 innings, and got a "strike 'em out, catcher interference 'em out" double play on A-Rod and Cano to end the 7th.
- A smattering of bullpen arms got the Yankees to the 8th with the 3-run lead intact, and Joe handed it over to David Robertson. Unfortunately, D-Rob has fallen in love with his cutter lately, not realizing that he sucks at locating it and his curveball is his best pitch. D-Rob gave up 2 earned runs on 4 solid hits without getting out of the inning to cut the lead to 1.
- Ichiro Suzuki got a rare day hitting leadoff and he didn't disappoint. He singled and scored the game's first run in the 1st and came up with a bloop double down the left field line with 2 outs to keep the 8th inning going. Swish singled him home for a big insurance run.
- He cleaned up D-Rob's mess in the 8th, and Rafael Soriano disposed of the Jays with the quickness in the 9th to give the Yanks their first win of the day. Give this guy his due; he's been money since Mo went down.
I kinda liked doing that Over/Under post this past weekend. It's quick, it's easy, and it doesn't require a whole lot of time surfing the various baseball websites while at work. Since I don't have a lot of time today, and I'll be missing Andy's comeback start again, today seems like the perfect day to do another set. First the lineup for today's first game:
1) Ichiro Suzuki- LF 2) Nick Swisher- 1B 3) Robinson Cano- 2B 4) Alex Rodriguez-
DH 5) Curtis Granderson- CF 6) Russell Martin- C 7) Eric Chavez- 3B 8) Raul Ibanez-
RF 9) Eduardo Nunez- SS
Jeter gets the bench to start to save him for the lefty tonight, which probably sets up a Jeter SS/A-Rod DH lineup for the nightcap.
(Phil don't care about no rain. Courtesy of the AP)
Monday was the last scheduled off day for the Yankees this year, an off day that was well-timed to get Derek Jeter another day off his bruised ankle and give the bullpen a day of much-needed rest. Yesterday was supposed to be the start of a 16-in-16 stretch to close the season, but after the intense weather led to an early calling of last night's game it'll be a 16-in-15 instead, starting with today's doubleheader. There's almost assuredly going to be some major strategic changes by Joe today, starting with his decision to announce David Phelps as the starter of tonight's second game. My thoughts on today's double dip after the jump.