Monday, September 27, 2010

Yanks-Sox Weekend Recap

(Photo courtesy of The AP)

The Bad News:

- The starting pitching problems continued to show through as Andy got completely shelled on Friday and Ivan Nova again failed to make it through the 5th inning on Saturday.  More concerning than the results of Andy's outing is the fact that he wasn't able to get all stretched out as far as pitch count goes and now only has one start with a 90-pitch cap left this season to get ready for the playoffs.

- The Yanks continued to get inconsistent performances from their bullpen, both from the regulars who will be counted on in the postseason and the guys who are just there because rosters have expanded.  The combo of bad starting pitching and bad relief never gets you too far in life.

- Joe continued to live in 24/7 panic mode when it comes to dealing with his staff.  After losing the first 2 games of the series, he called an audible and inserted Phil Hughes into what was supposed to be Dustin Moseley's starting slot last night.  And again in the 8th inning, after vowing not to do it all year, Joe went to Mo for a 3+-out save.  We all saw how well that worked out.

- Speaking of Mo, somebody needs to check if he's injured or not because he looks off out there.  He's blown 3 saves in the month now, all of them in his last 6 opportunities, and has allowed at least a run in his last 3 appearances.  His cutter isn't cutting at all and he's catching too much of the plate with everything.  And the 4 stolen bases off him in the 9th, slow delivery or not, is unacceptable.  Mo's never one to make excuses, but something has to be up with him because he's not himself on the mound right now.

- The 2 losses to start the series dropped the Yankees back behind the Rays in the race for the division and home field advantage through the ALCS.  But with the kind of baseball they've been playing lately, they are lucky to still be within just a half game.  The Yanks are 11-13 in the month of September and are still stuck in the same rut of slow, sloppy, lazy, disinterested-looking, half-assed baseball that has been the calling card of their recent stretch.

The Good News:

- The Horse was 4-10 in the series with 4 HR, 6 RBIs, and 3 BB.  He has looked better and better with each game since coming off the DL, and looks to be peaking at the right time heading towards the postseason.  He's as locked in right now as he has been all year and his swing looks perfectly in tune, as evidenced by his 4 homers being sprayed all over the park this past weekend.

- C-Grand's hot streak continued this weekend as he went 5-11 with 2 HR, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored.  His single off of Okajima to open the 9th was a perfect representation of how his work with Kevin Long has helped him.

- Phil Hughes stepped into a high-pressure situation last night after finding out he was going to be pitching less than 24 hours before the game and turned in arguably one of his best starts of the year.  Hughes' fastball was live and he used that to attack the Boston lineup and keep them off balance all night, which was good because Dice-K matched him with what was his best start of the year as well.  He clearly tired in the 7th when he walked the first 2 runners on, but Hughes' final line of 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K was very good and still didn't do justice to just how great he was last night.  Innings limit aside, Hughes stepped up last night and showed he can be counted on in the postseason.

- Dave Robertson and Boone Logan stepped in and did their jobs admirably last night.  D-Rob worked out of a 2-on, no-out jam in the 7th after inheriting Hughes' baserunners without allowing a run and Logan retired David Ortiz on 2 pitches in the 10th to pick up the win.

- Struggles and injuries and pitching concerns aside, the Yankees still managed to clinch at least a tie for the Wild Card last night.  They have a week of baseball left and need only one more win or one more Boston loss to clinch a playoff berth outright.  It's all but assured that they are going to make the postseason again to defend their World Series title and there's something to be said for that. 

- And they still have a week to get right before those playoffs start.  Everybody else better just hope and pray that doesn't happen...

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