(PRONK!!! Courtesy of Getty Images)
As my fellow IIATMS/TYA writer Stacey Gotsulias said yesterday, there was no reason to panic after Monday night's no-show against the Astros. It was one of those nights where everybody was off their game and it happened to be on a night where the Yanks faced an inferior opponent. It's not like it's never happened before and it's not like it won't happen again this season. You chalk it up as a bad night and move on to the next game, which is exactly what the Bombers did last night, waking up the bats and getting another strong pitching performance from Hiroki Kuroda to even this series at 1.
- Things didn't look so hot for Hirok early, as he struggled with his command and put 7 runners on base in the first 3 innings, 4 of them via walk. He just didn't have the feel for his sinker and the Houston hitters weren't chasing it.
- His offense gave him some cushion to work with, plating 2 runs in the first 3 innings. Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 1st with a walk and came around to score on a Travis Hafner single, and Ichiro did the same after reaching base on a wild pitch to start the 3rd.
- Kuroda started to find it in the 4th and began working his slider more. He allowed only 1 baserunner, who was caught stealing by THE Chris Stewart, through the next 4 innings, striking out 4 and recording all but 2 of the 12 outs in the infield.
- The lineup kept tacking on runs in the 5th and they would need them when D-Rob had a little hiccup in the 8th and gave up a 2-run HR to make it a 4-2 game. Hate it when those cutters don't cut.
- Not to be denied, the offense came right back out in the bottom half and put up 3 more runs of their own. Lyle Overbay hit a leadoff HR, his 4th of the season, TCS singled home a run, and Travis Hafner drove in his third run of the game.
- Shawn Kelley made a mess of things in the 9th by giving up 2 more runs, and Joe had to go to Mo for the 1-out save. Not a great night for the 'pen, but Mo is 10-10 on the year and he held down the victory.
- Hafner: 3-4, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 LOB. Even when he's not crushing balls over the fence he's still productive in the middle of the order. Now THAT's what a DH is supposed to do.
- Kuroda: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K. Against a better team, Kuroda might not have walked away from this game with no runs allowed, but I'll take 7 scoreless every day and twice on Sunday. Stuff wasn't the issue last night, as evidenced by his 21 swinging strikes, and kudos to Hiroki for making an adjustment to overcome the lack of sinker command.
- Kelley: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K. In the words of Basher from "Ocean's Eleven," you tosser, you had 1 job to do! Kelley entered in a low-leverage situation and turned it into a high-leverage one. Why was this guy picked to make the roster again?
Rubber match tonight and it's an interesting pitching matchup. Former ace Erik Bedard gets the ball for Houston, while David Phelps makes his first start of the season in place of the injured Ivan Nova.