Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yanks Making A Lot Of 2-Out Hay To Fuel Their Offensive Breakout

(Mr. Clutch?  Courtesy of the AP)

If you think back to the painful times of last September and October, you'll remember that one of the Yankees' biggest problems offensively was their inability to hit with RISP or string together multiple hits to keep rallies going.  That's what led to so many games being closer than they should have been and it's what eventually sunk them when they ran into Detroit's pitching buzzsaw in the ALCS.  With the bulk of the lineup's power on the shelf or in other uniforms, and their replacements being of similar "all or nothing" offensive makeup, I was counting on that frustrating trend continuing in the early part of this season.  That hasn't been the case in these last three games, as timely hitting has been at the forefront of this current offensive explosion.

Injury Updates: Jeter & C-Grand

The slow and steady work back from the disabled list continues for the Yankees' gaggle of walking wound.  Chad Jennings of LoHud had the latest on Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson's progress yesterday afternoon:

- Jeter returned to running the bases yesterday, not at full speed of course, and also hit in the cage and took some groundballs.  That's positive progress from where he was last week, but it's still coming at a snail's pace.  I'm putting my money on sometime in the fourth week of May.

- Granderson, who has spent the last week or so shagging flies, was cleared to begin swinging a bat this week and he'll do so in a pool to lessen the stress on his forearm.  Still no definite timetable for C-Grand either, but mid-to-late May looks like a fair bet right now.

Well Howdaya Like Them Apples?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Baseball really is a funny game.  It's one of the few sports where just a few days or a few games can make all the difference in the world.  And as much as we're taught to not put a ton of weight into small sample sizes when evaluating stats, it is one of the few sports where sometimes a small sample size can tell you exactly what you need to know.  Less than three full days ago the Yankees were 1-4, looking flat and old as flat and old can be, and facing the best pitcher in the American League as they tried to avoid getting swept out of Detroit.  This morning they find themselves 4-4, having vanquished said best pitcher on their way to two consecutive road routes, and having scored 32 runs in their last three after scoring just 17 total in their first five.

Game 8 Wrap-Up: NYY 14 CLE 1

(Cano, so hot right now.  Cano.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I don't consider two straight wins a winning streak.  I know a lot of people do, but that just seems a little aggressive to me.  The Yankees had two straight wins to their credit heading into last night's game, and they had the chance to make it three and make it a legitimate winning streak in my eyes.  They had the right pitcher on the mound to get it done in Andy Pettitte, who was hands down the best starter the first trip through the rotation, and the right offensive trends to get it done after putting up 18 runs in the previous two games.  Both of those things combined in the perfect way and this baby was over early.

Game Notes:

- Brett Gardner started a rally in the top of the 1st that got killed by a Travis Hafner GIDP.  In the 2nd, Gardner cashed in a 2-out rally with a big 2-run single to give the Yanks an early lead.  The suddenly red-hot Robinson Cano followed up with a 2-run double and they were off and running.

- Andy was on the money early, retiring 5 in a row on groundballs through 2.  His pitches had good life, and he was mixing them well again to get around a few walks and keep the Indians scoreless through 4.

- I don't know how he did it, but Robbie went from ice cold to molten hot in like 5 at-bats.  He hit a 2-run HR to left in the top of the 4th to make it 7-0 and the rout was on.

- Sadly, Cano wasn't able to come through in his next AB in the top of the 6th.  But Kevin Youkilis did, hitting a 2-run HR of his own to score Gardner for a third time and make it a 9-0 game.

- Andy had a heat check in the bottom of the 6th after he tried to challenge Asdrubal Cabrera with a first-pitch fastball down the middle and lost, but he got it back together and went K, K, groundout to end the 7th in style.

- Just to make sure there was no doubt, the offense chipped in more runs in the 8th on a Lyle Overbay solo HR and an RBI double by Cano ...

- ... And another 2-run HR by the pinch hitting Brennan Boesch ...

- ... And an RBI single by Francisco Cervelli in the 9th.

- Oh yeah, Adam Warren came on for mop-up duty to end the game and handled the task without issue.