Eight shutout innings for Mr. Pettitte tonight powered the Yanks to a 5-0 win over
the Rays at the Stadium tonight.
Sid the kid will take the hill tomorrow afternoon in the finale of the two-game set. Is this the beginning of the end for the miracle Rays? Are the real Yankees finally coming to life with three straight wins against the two teams they're chasing? Only time will tell.
Two things to note, and they both have to do with the battle for center field, as I'm calling it. First, Brett Gardner did an excellent job laying down a sac bunt, and actually forcing Kazmir into an error and getting on base himself. This eventually led to the first two Yankee runs. Unfortunately, the Melk Man had a rough night going. He struck out three times, and failed to get a sac bunt down which would've put runners on second and third. Melky did make up for it in his last at bat, however, when he finally switched over to the left side of the plate and put one in the seats to give the Yanks a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
So, if Damon was coming off the DL today, has Gardner done enough to supplant Melky as the everyday center fielder for this team? No. I don't think so. But he has shown some excellent flashes. He's run the count deep, he's got a ton of speed, he can bunt. Two things worry me. Will he be able to hit at this level? Yes, Melky's hitting below .250, but will Gardner even be able to hit that well? And just how bad is his arm? I've only seen him make one throw in anger so far and it wasn't pretty.
Luckily, that isn't a decision that needs to be made today. This is why baseball is such an amazing sport. Every day a new subplot. Stories to follow all year long, some of which no writers pick up on, or care enough to write about. The Rays are in first place, who could've predicted that? As Sterling would say, "That's baseball."Player of The Game:
DL (not the down low)