Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Game 70 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 LAD 4

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It was delayed by a day, but Donnie Baseball finally made his return to Yankee Stadium today and even with a less than desired early crowd for a day/night doubleheader still got a nice tribute and a few opportunities to deservedly doff his cap to the fans.  His Dodgers were also making their first visit to The Stadium in way too long, and all of it was getting packed into 1 day.  After last night's rainout, the Yankees juggled their rotation a touch and gave Hiroki Kuroda the day start against impressive rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Game Notes:

- The Yankee offense got back to executing smallball in the bottom of the 2nd, getting 2 singles from Thomas Neal and Ichiro to set the table and a sac bunt by David Adams to move them over.  Lyle Overbay came through with a 2-run double right after and it was a 2-0 game.

- Efficient start for Kuroda, and effective too despite the 5 hits in 4 innings.  He was sinker/slider heavy and locating well to get a ton of groundball contact.  He had to work around a 2nd and 3rd/0 outs situation in the top of the 4th, but did so successfully thanks to a nice defensive play on his part to start a lineout DP.

- Things got back to normal offensively in the bottom of the 5th.  The Yanks loaded the bases with 1 out only to have Vernon Wells strike out and Neal ground out to let Ryu off the hook and keep it a 2-run game.

- Ichiro quickly made up for that blown opportunity by leading off the bottom of the 6th with a HR.  As underwhelming as he's been this year, he's been one of the better hitters for the last few weeks.

- Kuroda continued to cruise through 6 before getting into trouble again after putting the first 2 runners on in the 7th.  His pitches started coming in a bit higher in the zone and the Dodgers took advantage.  Kuroda failed to make it out of the inning after a Jerry Hairston RBI single, but he left with the lead intact.

- The Yanks extended that lead in the bottom half on some hilariously awful defensive errors and another Ichiro hit, then Preston Claiborne almost gave it back in the 8th.  D-Rob and Mo came in to lock things down and preserve the win.

Expectations For Zoilo In A Mixed Bag Season Of Rookies

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Year of The Rookie continued yesterday when the Yankees recalled Adam Warren to replace Teix on the active roster and reportedly prepared to call up Zoilo Almonte as the latest attempted shake up/boost/slight upgrade/marginal improvement/whatever to the scuffling lineup.  While a corresponding roster move to make room for Zoilo hasn't been announced yet - smart money would be on Chris Bootcheck - chances are high that we'll see him in the lineup either today or tonight as the Yanks play a doubleheader without the benefit of the 26th man.

The End Of The Youkilis Era

It started with another day off, it continued with another DL trip, and it might have just ended yesterday with the announcement that he was going to need surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.  The battle between Kevin Youkilis and his back has been waged, and Youkilis has lost.  You can check the calendar if you want, but the 10-12 week estimated timeframe for his recovery all but ends a Yankee career that was snuffed out almost as quickly as it started.

As it is, Youkilis will end his Yankee career with a .219/.305/.343 batting line in 118 plate appearances.  It wasn't the production anybody hoped for, least of all Youkilis himself, but it's a testament to the grit and desire and passion for the game Youkilis had.  He wore the pinstripes with pride, although usually in a stiff and uncomfortable looking posture, and honored the # 36 like no Yankee had since Freddy Garcia.  He'll make a cool $12 million this year - $1 mil for every run he scored, 1.5 for every RBI, or 6 for every HR - and no man, woman, or child could say that every cent of it wasn't well earned.

Kevin Youkilis wasn't a Yankee for very long.  He joined them later in his career, when his flame had started to burn a little fainter.  It's a flame we'll never forget though, and a flame that will burn on in time for the rest of Yankee history.  Now somebody hit the music.