Short and sweet tonight. The most heartening thing for my money was the fact that Phil Hughes threw 6 very good innings without his best fastball or his knee buckling curve. The kid wasn't as sharp as we've seen him (I'm blaming the cold weather), but he baffled the Jays lineup for 6 innings allowing only 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk. He pitched well enough to win, but left that honor to Joba who threw another dominating eighth inning.
Joe Girardi did something in the bottom of the eighth that I'm not sure his predecessor would have. Melky led off with a single to start the frame, then Joe had Damon bunt. He put the pressure on the defense to make a play. They couldn't. Damon reached on an error and then Joe had Jeter bunt them both over. Abreu knocked Melky in with a bloop to put the Yanks up 3-2
, that would be your final.
I'd love to go back and find a similar situation from last year. I don't think Torre would've bunted Damon. I'm pretty sure he would've bunted Jeter. Either way, Joe didn't over-manage today. There were opportunities to bunt earlier in the game and Joe went the Moneyball route instead. In the third inning he had Molina on second and Melky on first with no outs and Damon at the plate. He let Johnny swing away, rightly so. When the game was on the line, he used his powerful lineup to manufacture the go-ahead run.
Billy Traber and Brian Bruney both saw their first action of the year tonight and retired the side in order in the 7th. It took Mo 13 pitches to breeze through the ninth for his second save of the year. (He didn't record his second save until May 3rd last year.) It's nice to see him get off to a good start.
I'm going to chalk the paltry offensive output in this series to solid pitching from the Jays. If the Yanks strand runners at this rate against the Rays, then we'll have something to be alarmed about. In the mean time, be thankful for the effort Hughes and Wang put out. The Yanks won the series and that's all you have to do, keep winning series.
Ian Kennedy will toe the slab tomorrow to open the series against Andy Sonnanstine and the Rays.Player of The Game:
Phil HughesTeam Record:
2-1Damon's Broken Bats:
0 tonight, 3 on the season