Six in a row for the Yanks, but it wasn’t easy. Quite frustrating, actually in the 3-1 win.
The Yanks blew numerous scoring opportunities. The M’s scored in the 6th to go up 1-0. More on that later on how and why they scored.
The Yanks tied it in the 8th when A-Rod walked, Cano singled, only A-Rod advanced on a WP (why didn’t Cano advance?) and Alex scored when Jorge GIDP.
In the 9th, with one out Jeter walked. Swisher doubled. You have to say this for Swishalicious. On the day he was voted into the All-Star Game (and no matter what you think about ballot stuffing, deservability, etc. , consider this:) he went 4 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk to raise his BA to .307. I cursed as Teix popped up to the catcher. But Alex came through with a 2-run single to put the Yanks up 3-1.
Exit Andy who would go to 11-2, ERA 2.70 and he passes Wells on the all-time wins list. #240 ties him with Frank Tanana.
Mo for the 9th for save #546 (20 this year) but it wasn’t easy. How tough? He struck out the first batter, Casey Kotchman, but it took 12 pitches as Kotchman fouled off everything. Mo is skipping the ASG claiming rib and knee injuries, but save #20 lowers his ERA (he had a 1-2-3) to 1.05.
The power of the bunt: Before the Yanks game started, I caught the end of the Phillies game, in which Brian “Hoops” Schneider hit a walk-off HR to win it. Brian graduated from my hometown’s high school and I knew (and know) his grandparents and uncle well.
But the Reds could have won it in the 9th. Down 3-2 and with no one out in the top of the 9th, the Reds had 1st and 2nd with no one out. I mentioned to friends at the bar that I was at that the Reds needed to bunt the runners over. Stay out of the DP. Get 2nd and 3rd, one out. A SF ties the game, a hit puts Cincy in the lead. The only problem was, the guy at the plate, Jay Bruce, can’t bunt, while the guy in the on-deck circle, our old buddy Miguel Cairo, can. Sure enough, fears were realized as Bruce GIDP. Runner at 3rd, two out, whereas if Bruce could have laid one down, it would have been second and third, one out. Cairo, the guy who CAN bunt, doubled to tie the game. Had Bruce been able to sac, Cairo’s double would have put Cincy INTO the lead instead of just tying it. Cincy could have won in 9. Instead they lost in 12.
Let’s take this further. As mentioned above, the Yanks won, but how did Seattle score its only run? Two singles to lead off the 6th, then Ichiro laid one down for a hit. Andy threw it away and the runner on 2nd scored. The ability and speed of Ichiro to bunt for a hit.
Not only that, the inability (once again) of Pettitte to field a bunt. He had the same problem with the Dodgers, remember?
The ability to lay down a bunt (or field it) is a lost art. How many of you remember Pettitte’s exquisite play on a bunt in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series that preserved the Yanks’ 1-0 win? How many remember the bad throw Mo (a GREAT athlete and fielder) made in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 WS? How many of you remember the poor job Detroit pitchers did on the bunts on them in the 2006 WS? Now Andy in LA and Seattle. Granted the Yanks are in the DH-less AL, but the little things DO matter. The ability to lay down—and field—a bunt could determine a championship.
King James is Miami bound to join Bosh and Wade. Miami has to be the favorites in the East come 2010/2011. As for Cleveland, the wait for another title (last one, late December, 1964) will continue for quite some time.