Monday, August 13, 2012

Thoughts On Ichiro Since The Trade

(Still too early to call on this trade, right?  Courtesy of Dan Levine/EPA)

I thought the trade to bring Ichiro Suzuki to New York was a good one for the Yankees.  Not good in the sense that I thought he was suddenly not going to be 38 years old anymore and revert back to the way he played in his prime.  But it was good in that he gave the Yankee lineup exactly what it was missing on paper with Brett Gardner out, and I did think there was some legitimacy to the idea that he could step his play up a bit being out of baseball purgatory in Seattle and in the middle of a divisional playoff race in New York.  It's been 3 weeks since that trade was made now, so enough time has passed that, even with small sample sizes, I think I can attempt to talk intelligently about Ichiro in New York and what kind of impact he's had.

Game 114 Wrap-Up: TOR 10 NYY 7

(Damn 4th inning'll getcha.  Courtesy of The AP)

The Yankees hadn't swept a 3-game series in Toronto since early 2003, which is almost impossible to believe considering what the Yankees have been and what the Blue Jays have been in the time since, but it's true.  They had a chance to do it yesterday afternoon with Phil Hughes on the mound against J.A. Happ.  It was a matchup that should have heavily favored the Yankees on paper, even with Hughes coming off a short, rough outing in Detroit the last time he pitched.  But as they old saying goes, that's why they play the game.  There was plenty of offense in this one, just not enough from the Yankees' side to complete the sweep, and not nearly enough good pitching from Hughes.

Game Notes:

- Hughes wasted little time in making a mess of things, retiring the first 2 batters in the bottom of the 1st before giving up a 2-out double to Edwin Encarnacion and a follow-up single to somebody named David Cooped to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.

- Derek Jeter led off the game with a single for the Yankees, then Happ retired the next 11 batters he faced in order through the 4th, 12 if you include Jeter on a doube play in the 1st.  This game had one of those "let's just get the hell outta here" feels to it.

- That feel was strengthened greatly in the bottom of the 4th, when the Hughes meltdown commenced.  With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Hughes gave up a 2-run double to Rajai Davis, RBI single to Mike McCoy (???), and a 2-run bomb to Encarnacion to turn it into a 7-0 game.

- Casey McGehee got the Yanks on the board with an RBI double in the top of the 5th, but Ryota Igarashi, in the relieve Hughes after just 4 IP, gave up 3 more runs in the bottom half to balloon the lead to 10-1.

- Give credit to the Yankees for not completely folding their sails here.  They tried to battle back with HRs from Jeter and Robinson Cano in the 6th to make it 10-4, and scored 3 more runs in the 7th to pull within 10-7, but that was as close as they would get.

- Props to Davis for a fantastic catch at the wall on McGehee for the first out of the 7th.  If that goes over the wall, the Yanks really take the momentum there.

- Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada, and Joba Chamberlain finished the game off from the 'pen to at least ensure that Joe wouldn't have to use David Phelps, and the Yanks will have to wait until next time to try for that sweep.