Monday, May 14, 2012

Series Wrap: vs. Mariners 5/11-5/13

Game One

Although sweeping the Mariners is not something that's out of the realm of possibility for the Yankees, they were going to be facing "King" Felix Hernandez in Game 1 of a 3-game set. So it would take a heck of a start by Hiroki Kuroda for that to happen, as well as a big hit or two from the offense.

Well, for starters, Hiro got it done. Kuroda went 7 innings, giving up only 2 runs off of 6 hits. Not that it was all good, as he did walk one more batter than he struck out, and he only struck out 2 guys. The 2 home runs he gave up weren't a nice sighting either, but the fact he held Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero to solo shots helped to limit the damage. The only inning that didn't go so well was the 5th, in which Kuroda gave up two singles, a walk, and a stolen base. But Hiro struck out Brendan Ryan, and then got Ichiro to ground out, ending what could have been a big inning for the Ms.

It took four relievers to get the last 6 outs, ending with David Robertson getting the final two in the game (it was a non-save situation).

Robinson Cano came into the game on an 8-game hit streak, 3 of them being multi-hit ones. Robbie kept it going, and then some, Friday night as he went 4-for-4, raising his batting average over .300 for the first time since the 2nd game of the season. ARod and Tex chipped in a couple hits a piece, but the two biggest hits came off the bats of Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, who each hit home runs (Raul's was a 3-run homer, while Jones' was good for 2 runs).

Yankee fans could exhale as the team was able to beat one of the best pitchers in the game, making their chances of sweeping the series a whole lot better.

Game Two

Well, for those that hated "The Trade" yesterday was a feather in their caps, as Jesus Montero hit a home run. So what about the other part of the trade involving the Yankees dealing away Hector Noesi?

The good news for the haters is that Hector went 7 innings. The bad news is that he gave up 5 runs (all earned) on 6 hits, although he did strike out 4 without walking a batter. Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez, and Russell Martin each hit doubles off of Noesi, while Jayson Nix and Ibanez hit home runs in the 2nd and 4th innings respectively. Derek Jeter had a couple of singles, raising his average to .376. Chris Stewart and Robinson Cano each chipped into the effort with singles, giving the Yankees their 3rd straight win, and 5th win in their last 6 games.

Phil Hughes started this one for the Bombers, and gave the team his best performance so far this season. I think the threat of being knocked out of the rotation in favor of David Phelps and Andy Pettitte lit a fire under his ass, as Hughes went 6.2 innings while giving up only 3 runs in his start last Sunday. In that game Phil threw 115 pitches in those 6.2 innings, but this time he not only threw 3 less pitches, but did so while going another inning.Philthy went 7.2 innings, allowing the Mariners to score only 1 run, while striking out 4 and walking just one hitter.

Boone Logan was the only reliever Girardi needed, as he tossed 1.1 innings while giving up 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 4, to earn his first save of the season.

Game Three

The Yankees had a chance to sweep their 2nd series of the season (Boston doesn't count as the 3rd game in that series was postponed), and were facing 37 year-old Kevin Millwood. Millwood had a 5.88 ERA going into this game, and got pretty beat up by the Detroit Tigers in his last start (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 5 BB), so things were looking good. But Kevin started off really well, retiring the first 7 batters he faced, until Eric Chavez hit a double. That was followed by a Russell Martin walk, but the DP returned to haunt Derek Jeter... ending the threat.

Thanks to a couple singles and a walk to lead-off the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees were able to push a run across when Martin drew another walk. But this inning ended the same as the 3rd... with a GIDP by Jeter.

The team had another chance to do some damage in the 8th after Millwood was removed from the game for reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. Chavez singled, Jeter singled, and ARod walked to load the bases. Unfortunately Martin and Granderson each struck out in the inning, giving the team 2 outs. Robinson Cano drew a run-scoring walk, but Mark Teixeira ended things with a K. The bottom of the 9th started off interesting with a Nick Swisher double, but Nick was throw out trying to stretch it into a triple. Not sure why he did that, as the team was down 4 runs at the time, so getting that extra base meant nothing. Not to mention the ole "don't make the 1st or 3rd outs at 3rd base" thing. Ibanez and Chavez then flew out to end the game.

Oh yeah! This was Andy Pettitte's first start since the 2010 ALDS. How could I forget?

Andy looked great in the first 3 innings, as he had only allowed one man to reach thanks to a walk. The 4th inning started off great too, as he was able to get Casper Wells and Ichiro to ground out. But a walk to that Montero guy led to a 2-run home run off the bat of Justin Smoak. Things got interesting for Andy in the 6th, as Casper Wells hit a 2-run home run as well after Dustin Ackley led off the inning with a single. After Suzuki grounded out for the first out of the top of the 6th, Montero, Smoak, and Alex Liddi singled to load the bases. Larry Rothchild came out to talk to Pettitte, and promptly threw an inning-ending double play ball to Mike Carp. Mr. Pettitte got Michael Saunders to ground out before being taken out of the game.

Cody Wade and Clay Rapada each gave up a run, throwing a total of 2.2 innings. But the runs didn't turn out to matter anyway, as the Yankees were denied the sweep with a 6-2 loss.

Series Awards

Jake Taylor Award*
Raul Ibanez - 3/10, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR, 1 2B

Gentry Award*
Curtis Granderson - 1/11, 1 R

Rick Vaughn Award*
Phil Hughes (yep) - Game 2: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Kelner Award*
Andy Pettitte was the only guy that pitched near "bad", but there's no way I'm giving this award to him in this one.

Next Series

@ Baltimore Orioles 5/14 - 5/15


*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.

Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.

Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.

Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.

Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)