(Courtesy of the AP)
The beauty of Monday's rainout/blowout was that it allowed Joe to save the bulk of his bullpen horses. The way Hiroki Kuroda has been pitching lately, Joe needed all his best reinforcements at the ready and he had to be equally ready with a quick hook if Hirok didn't have it. The Yankees are at the point where they need to be doing everything possible to win every game, even with them being much closer to the second Wild Card spot than they were a few weeks ago. They had a tough battle against Chris Sale on their hands and needed a good start from Kuroda or a big time bullpen performance to increase the odds of winning. A little late timely hitting didn't hurt either.
- Kuroda got bit by some textbook Eduardo Nunez bad defense in the top of the 1st, leading to an unearned run for the White Sox. Still, his stuff didn't look all that good and his command wasn't sharp.
- The Yanks tied the game back up in the bottom of the 2nd in a really unorthodox way. Vernon Wells singled and moved to second on an error, then third on another error. With Chris Stewart batting and 2 outs, Wells went for the steal of home and got it on a delayed double steal attempt, completely catching Sale and rest of the White Sox off guard.
- Hirok seemed to right the ship by retiring the 3rd and 4th innings in order. But he got into trouble when he put the first 2 runners on in the 5th and an Alexei Ramirez triple brought them home to give Chicago the 3-1 lead.
- Joe should have taken what he could get by getting Kuroda through the 6th and been happy, but he let him start the 7th and Kuroda left a sinker up that turned into a solo home run to extend the deficit. Bad decision in hindsight.
- After stranding a Nunez leadoff double in the 5th and doing a whole lot of nothing against Sale, the lineup finally broke through in the bottom of the 8th. A couple of 1-out hits chased Sale from the game and Alfonso Soriano came through with a 2-run single against Nate Jones to pull New York back within 1.
- As questionable as Joe's decision was with Hirok, his decisions with the hitters in the bottom of the 8th made up for it. He took his chances with Curtis Granderson against a lefty 2 batters later and it worked, and he let Nunez face a righty with runners in scoring position and it worked. A little comeback turned into a 5-run go-ahead inning and a chance for Mo to do what he does.
- Nunez: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 LOB, 1 E. Eduaro taketh away more often than not. Every now and then, however, Eduardo giveth.
- Bullpen: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Preston Claiborne cleaned up the 7th, Boone Logan handled the 8th, Mo shut it down in the 9th. The 8th inning doesn't get a chance to happen or matter without these guys.
- Mark Reynolds: 0-4, 2 K, 3 LOB. Just one of the many varieties of the typical Mark Reynolds day at the plate.
- Kuroda: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. His stuff was sharper this game than the last few, but his pitches were still coming in a little flat and his command still isn't anywhere near where it should be. Take it as a step in the right direction while acknowledging it wasn't a good start from the guy who's been the Yankees' best starter all year.
The Bombers have a chance to repay the sweep favor from a few weeks ago tonight, and they'll send CC Sabathia to the mound to get it done against rookie Erik Johnson.