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The stagnation of the Yankees' recent winning streak has put a major dent in their forward momentum. They've gained little to no ground in any of the playoff races despite a 6-2 stretch and their failure to win a sloppy game on Saturday afternoon with their ace on the mound put them in a tough spot for the series finale in Boston. Their once and former ace CC Sabathia got the final start and the Yankees needed him to continue to move forward in his battle to overcome his command issues and not have another forgettable Fenway Park outing. Sabathia stumbled again, but the A-Rod-related fireworks stole the headlines. At least they were on the field this time as the Yanks secured the series win.
- CC was in trouble right out of the gate. He loaded the bases in the first 4 batters of the 1st on a pair of walks and single. Tough to avoid damage in those situations when you aren't at your best and CC ended up with 2 runs against him before he got out of the inning.
- His lineup picked him up with 3 runs in the next 2 innings to give him a lead, the big hit a Curtis Granderson double in the 2nd to set up the RISP situation and the big moment the Alex Rodriguez HBP that preceded it.
- It wasn't unexpected that somebody finally came inside and hit A-Rod. What was surprising was that it took 4 pitches for Ryan Dempster to plunk him to start the 2nd, and what was even more surprising was home plate ump Brian O'Nora's decision to immediately warn both benches without ejecting Dempster. Joe went understandably nuts and was ejected. Terrible job by O'Nora there. If he's going to pull the automatic double warning, he HAS to throw Dempster out.
- CC couldn't make the lead stand up. He gave up leadoff doubles in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th and gave up 3 more runs in those innings. Another in the 5th and he was out early in the 6th after another disappointing outing.
- Despite being down 6-3, The Yankee offense didn't say die and it was A-Rod who led the charge back. His solo HR off Dempster to lead off the top of the 6th sparked a 4-run inning to regain the lead. Brett Gardner's bases-clearing triple was the big hit.
- A couple insurance runs in the 7th and 9th provided plenty of cushion for Mo, who put the finishing touch on a terrific performance by the bullpen (3.2 IP, 0 R, 5 K) in his first work in a week.
- A-Rod: 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 HBP. How juiced (non pun intended) was A-Rod for that 6th inning fastball he got? The 446 foot estimation of his home run is the longest homer of the season for any Yankee hitter. I'd say the hip is feeling pretty good and there's still some gas in the tank. Too bad we might only be seeing it for another 38 games.
- Gardner: 2-5, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 HBP, 1 K, 2 LOB. Had the biggest hit of the night with that bases clearing triple int he 6th, and you could tell he was fired up about it after being the most vocal Yankee out of the dugout during the A-Rod plunking.
- Sabathia: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K. He got off to a rough start, then couldn't settle down when his team got him back into the game and into the lead. His command was off again and he just isn't going to get by against a good lineup like this without it anymore. Not to mention the fact that he didn't get it done trying to repay the favor for the A-Rod plunk. If you're going to put 12 men on base in less than 6 innings, you could have at least made the last one Ellsbury on a ball in the ribs.
- Soriano: 0-5, 1 K, 10 LOB. Come on, guy. What gives? Aren't you supposed to be on some kind of record-setting streak?
The Yanks will head back to The Stadium to welcome the basement-dwelling (again) Blue Jays to town for a doubleheader on Tuesday. They'll get a day of rest beforehand today. Oh goody, more time for A-Rod drama!