Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Who's To Blame For The Youkilis Screw-Up?

(Who did this you??  Who hurt you???  Courtesy of USATSI)

We're never going to find out, and I ask the question knowing full well that it really doesn't matter in the long run.  What matters is that Kevin Youkilis get 100% healthy and not come back to play until his back is 100% healthy.  But just out of sheer, morbid curiosity I'd like to know what went on behind the scenes on Friday/Saturday that led to Youkilis' name being put on the lineup card so he could go out there and hurt himself again.  Cash's statement on the matter yesterday was pretty damning, about as clear-cut an instance of people getting thrown under the bus as I've seen in some time, and I work at a company that specializes in that.  It's pretty out of character for Cash to be that blunt and sell his own people down the river like that, so I'd be very interested in knowing what happened to inspire his comments.

Close Game Success Helping Drive Yanks' Strong Start

After all the hand wringing many of us did prior to the start of the season, the Yankees came out and surprised us with a 16-10 start in the month of April.  They've gotten good starting pitching, equally good work from their late-inning bullpen core, an MVP-caliber performance from Robbie Cano, and a tremendous team offensive effort driven by the overachievement of many of the new scrap heap pick-ups.  A big part of what has made all of this add up to the 16-10 start is the team's outstanding performance in close games.  After being a thorn in the side of writers and fans alike for what seems like every year since the World Series of '09, this year's team has really gotten the job done in that department.

Game 26 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 HOU 4

(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.

Game Notes:

- 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.