Los Angeles, CA
|Free Agent Whiff: King Felix's Corner would've been a great addition Yankee Stadium|
The Yankees (37-26) followed up their worst week of the season and bounced back with a 6-1 clip. They swept Cleveland and took 3 out of 4 in Seattle at the onset of a 10-game West Coast sojourn. The Yanks trail the Boston Red Sox (39-25) by 1.5 games in the AL East, but only one other team has more wins that the Yanks in the AL (Oakland) and only two NL teams (St. Louis and Atlanta) have more wins.
The Yanks needed a slump buster after hitting the skids against the Mets and Red Sox. The Yanks hitters have been running the extremes all year. Hot/cold, hot/cold, hot/cold. It's hard to stay cold when Cleveland comes to town. The Yanks feasted on Cleveland's pitching and scored 17 runs. CC Sabaitha had hit a rough patch in May, but he gutted out a complete game win for his 6th of the season and gave the bullpen a much-needed day off. The Yanks bats woke up in time for a four game series in Seattle.
With the exception of Brett Gardner (8 for 14 in Seattle), the Yanks offense was intermittent in Seattle with only 12 runs in 4 games, but they got remarkable pitching and only gave up 3 runs combined in all three of their wins (6-1, 3-1, and 2-1). They could not duck King Felix Hernandez, but they actually pulled off a close victory.
David Phelps needed a near perfect outing to have an outside to beat King Felix. And he got it. King Felix was slightly off and didn't have his best stuff, but the Yanks failed to capitalize on a bases loaded jam early on. That was their best chance to inflict any real damage against King Felix. Both starters gave strong performances. With the score 1-1 late in the game, it was up to Seattle's bullpen to match the Yanks' tag team David Robertson/Mo Rivera. Yanks struck first blood and squeezed out one run. That's all they needed. Mo Rivera shut the door in the ninth for his 23rd save (out of 24 chances).
The Yanks' lack of run production continues. Yet, when they score runs they always back it up with strong pitching. The numbers tell it all:
31-5 when Yanks score 4+ runsGive the Yanks' starters 4 runs of support and the Yanks win 86% of the time. That fifth run gets them a 100% victory rate, which they've done 21 times in 63 games played. It helps when you have automatic relief pitchers like Robertson and Rivera. When the Yanks get a lead... they hold it and rarely cough it up. Their bullpen is 12th overall, but they are 12-6 with an .234 opponents' batting average.
21-0 when Yanks score 5+ runs
6-21 when Yanks score 3 runs or fewer
The big news of the week surround A-Roid's looming suspension. Most Yankees' fans (if not all of them) hope to never see A-Roid play another game in pinstripes. It was a mistake to bring him to the Bronx. It was an even bigger mistake to pay him all that redonkulous money. That's a huge pile of steaming shit sitting in the middle of the table and we're counting the days until it gets cleaned up.
A-Roid is still out. Jeter is still out. So is Grandy, Nunez, and Frankie 'Roids' Cevelli. Oh, and don't get me started about Pineda.
Tex is back in the lineup but he's not hitting well. He was always a slow starter so it might take a while before he gets his swing back. At least he adds stronger defense at first base. Gardner looked great against in Seattle and even stole a couple of bases. Youk tweaked his back again and he's listed as day-to-day.
On Deck: The Yanks have a day off before they head to California to take on the A's (38-27) and Angels (27-36) in three-game series. The A's were riding high until they dropped two straight. Meanwhile, the Angels are struggling and lost 3 out of their last 10 games. If it weren't for the Houston Astros joinng the AL, the Angels would be the worst team in the division. The Angels are 15-18 at home this season and one of only three teams in the AL with a losing home record.
This week's pitching match-up...
6/11 CC (6-4) vs. Colon (7-2)
6/12 Hughes (3-4) vs. Straily (3-2)
6/13 Kuroda (6-5) vs. Parker (5-6)
@ LA Angels:
6/14 Pettitte (5-3) vs. Hanson (3-2)
6/15 Phelps (4-3) vs. Wilson (4-5)
6/16 CC (6-4) vs. Blanton (1-10)
Pauly is the author of Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker.