(Sure beats getting carted off the field. Courtesy of the AP)
To know that you're heading into a day-day doubleheader with a victorious road trip already locked up is a great feeling and it's the position the Yankees find themselves in this morning after they completed a sweep of the Kansas City Royals yesterday. It's still only 36 games into a loooooong season, but it's already starting to get to a point where you run out of things to say about the job this group has done in the first month plus. Players keep dropping like flies, they bring new ones in to fill the gaps, and keep right on winning. Their pitching has been great, their offense has been timely, and they got big examples of both yesterday with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound.
- The lineup struck in a big way the 2nd time through the order, when Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells hit back-to-back HR with 2 outs in the top of the 3rd to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead. Ervin Santana hung a couple sliders and they ended up as souvenirs.
- Kuroda gave up a cheap run in the bottom of the 1st off a leadoff double, and that was all the Royals got through 4. He was attacking hitters, throwing a lot of strikes, and generating a lot of weak swings and contact.
- Wells continued his hot hitting with an RBI single in the 5th to give Kuroda a 3-run lead and that was all the offense the Yanks would get for the day. They put a few runners on here and there but never really threatened to score again.
- Kuroda put a few runners on here and there as well, 2 in the 5th, 1 each in the 6th and 7th, before finally tiring and giving up a second run in the 8th. He left with a 2-run lead after 7.2 very good innings.
- And as they seem to do every day lately, D-Rob and Mo combined to close out the win and the sweep. That's now 15-15 in save opportunities and a 1.65 ERA for Rivera on the year.
- Cano: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. That's the comeback game I was looking for today. Cano becomes the first Yankee to reach double digit HR this season. Not a big surprise there.
- Wells: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. He's back up to .295 with 8 HR and 20 RBI on the year after a few hot games.
- Kuroda: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Not a dominant game by Hiroki, but he didn't need to be dominant against a struggling KC lineup. He located down in the zone, made the hitters swing at the pitches he wanted them to, and got a lot of GB outs. Nothing wrong with a stress-free day like that.
-5-8 Spots in the lineup: Combined 0-16 with 6 K and 4 LOB from Ichiro, Nix, Overbay, Nelson. The kind of day you have to live with every now and then with this group.
A quick stop in Cleveland on the way back to New York for tomorrow' make-up doubleheader. David Phelps will start the first game and it sounds like it's going to be Vidal Nuno in the nightcap.