It came early on, but when you get right down to it, the liner that Johnny Damon botched lost the game for the Yanks. It was a low liner, which the announcer thought he lost in the lights, but I think he just misjudged it. The liner in question came in the top of the fifth, off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion and it led to what should have been three unearned runs off starter Mike Mussina.
The Moose deserved better. He went eight innings, only giving up one legit earned run. He was in control the whole night. You have to tip your cap to Edinson Volquez, though. The kid was impressive. One at bat separates him from most of the stud young pitchers you see in the league today. If you haven't seen him, Volquez throws a fastball in the mid 90's, a change in the low 80's and an occasional curve. In the bottom of the 7th the Yankees mounted a small rally. Down 4-2, Melky came to the plate with Matsui on second and Cano on first. Volquez was nearing the end of the night and this was obviously the biggest at bat of the night for him. He started Melky off with 4 straight change-ups, sending the count to 2-2. Then he reared back and threw a 95MPH fastball, Melky was on it, but fouled it off. Volquez came back with his 5th change of the at bat and it was nasty. Melky swung and missed to end the threat and the inning. For a kid to have that kind of faith in his change is truly rare. He's got more than enough speed and movement on his heater to dominate with it. In a situation like that, every macho instinct tells you to rear back and blow the guy away. Volquez went with the change 5 times. Impressive.
One negative about Volquez, though, and I really wish the Yanks would've taken advantage. Every time he throws his change, he gets his grip on the ball very early and he flares his glove open. From the plate, this probably isn't visible, but from second base, it's clear as day. Every time there's a runner on second his change should get lit up. If you're a Reds' fan, this is something you should keep an eye on. No matter how much your change moves, if the batter knows it's coming it's nothing more than a BP fastball.
While I hate watching the Yanks lose, tonight was still an exciting game. Two good pitching performances, some action on the bases, plus my favorite defensive play happened. Molina picked a guy off second. It's rare that it happens, extremely rare, but when a catcher can pull that off it's just huge for a team. Erasing a guy from scoring position on a play like that, especially to end an inning, is a huge momentum builder. Moose should buy Molina a beer tonight. And, of course, we got to see another throw from Jason Giambi to Johnny Damon. Those are always humorous.
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Dos! It's good to see Michael Kay picking up on the trend, even if he is about 3 months late.