Saturday, May 18, 2013

Game 43 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 TOR 2

(Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees have gotten fatter off playing the Blue Jays than any other team this season.  They entered today's game 7-1 against Toronto and looking to extend a 5-game winning streak against them.  David Phelps was getting the start, his next in the chance to prove his worth as a long-term rotation option and not just an injury stopgap, and he did it with one of the better lineups the team had put on the field in a while behind him.  Travis Hafner was back in his customary DH role after a few days off, and with Curtis Granderson in right field there was some more teeth to the middle of a lineup that had already beaten up Toronto starter Brandon Morrow once this season.

Game Notes:

- Phelps made it interesting early, working around 2 1-out walks in the 1st with a pick off and 2 leadoff singles in the 3rd with a double play ball and a big strikeout.

- Morrow stymied the lineup the first turn through the order.  The second time he wasn't so lucky.  With 2 outs in the 3rd Brett Gardner singled home Jayson Nix and then scored on a Robinson Cano Yankee Stadium 2-run HR 1 pitch later.

- Cano put on a repeat performance with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th.  Morrow threw him a slider for a swinging strike 2, then 3 more that Cano made contact with.  He left the last one up in the zone just enough for Cano to square up and Robbie parked it over the fence.

- Phelps continued to put runners on base, but never in a way that created a real threat and never anything that led to another run through 7.  He also continued to display plus stuff with 8 more strikeouts.

- Hafner marked his return to the lineup with an exclamation point in the bottom of the 8th with a 2-run HR of his own.  Good to see the time off didn't affect his timing.

- Aside from another D-Rob homer hiccup in the 8th it was another solid job by the bullpen.  Boone Logan looked very good striking out 2 in a non-save 9th inning.

Kuroda The 1A To CC's 1

Since Hiroki Kuroda joined the Yankees before last season (regular season and postseason):

CC Sabathia- 40 GS, 280.2 IP, 104 ER, 64 BB, 270 K

Kuroda- 44 GS, 294.1 IP, 99 ER, 66 BB, 220 K

I'm not saying Kuroda is a better pitcher than CC.  In a one-game situation, I'd still probably want the big fella on the mound (think Game 5 of last year's ALDS).  But I will say that Kuroda has been the most reliable Yankee starting pitcher since the beginning of last season.  He's been healthy, he's been consistent, and he's assumed the role that both CC and Andy Pettitte have held down at different times since '09 as the rotation's stopper. Every big game like the one Kuroda pitched last night seems to come when the team needs one.  He's been an absolutely fantastic signing 2 years in a row and I really hope he wants to come back again in 2014.  As with Andy, the Yankees should keep offering Kuroda 1-year deals as long as he wants to keep playing.

Game 42 Wrap-Up: NYY 5 TOR 0

(Courtesy of the AP)

With the team struggling a bit in their series loss to Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays were a welcome sight for the Yankees last night.  They'd played well against the Jays in a few series already this season, and even though the Jays had been playing better baseball of late, the Yanks had Hiroki Kuroda on the mound.  In 2 previous starts against Toronto this season, Kuroda was 1-0 and had allowed just 4 ER in 13.1 IP.  Last night he was on top of his game again and turned in his best outing against Toronto this season to get New York back on the winning track.

Game Notes:

- He's been struggling lately, so Brett Gardner made it easy on Robinson Cano by leading off the game with a triple.  Cano plated him with an RBI groundout and the Yanks had a 1-0 lead.

- Kuroda looked like an even more dominant version of himself that had bested Toronto twice this season early.  Through 4 scoreless innings he allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk.

- The Yanks didn't get much off of Mark Buehrle after the 1st, which made the kids getting involved in the second run even better.  David Adams and Austin Romine singled early, and Adams scored on a Jayson Nix sac fly.  Putting the "fun" in fundamentals.

- Adams was back at it again in the bottom of the 7th, leading off the inning with a double to left.  After an Ichiro bunt single, Romine came through with an RBI double and the kids were running the show.

- Don't let the lack of strikeouts fool you, Kuroda was dominating the Toronto lineup.  He allowed just 1 more baseunner in the next 4 innings, working a nasty sinker-splitter-slider combo, and finished after 8 shutout innings.

- Not surprisingly, Ben Francisco did nothing in this game hitting the 5th spot.  Bullpen needed a rest and it was Preston Clairborne who worked around 2 hits to handle a scoreless 9th.