Eight of the ten runs scored in last night’s game in Cleveland were driven in by home runs. The two that weren’t were scored by the Indians and amounted to the difference in their 6-4 victory over the Yankees. The first of those runs came in the bottom of the first after Cleveland leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore reached base on a tough error by Jason Giambi (a hard high hopper to his right kicked off the heal of his glove) and was replaced by Jamey Carroll via a fielder’s choice. Carroll stole second ahead of a high throw that appeared to slip out of Jorge Posada’s hand, moved to third on a groundout, and was plated by a well-placed two-out single by Jhonny Peralta. The second of those runs came against reliever Billy Traber in the sixth. Traber retired the first two men he faced, both of them righties, but walked lefty-hitting Sizemore. Sizemore then stole second on Traber’s slow, elongated delivery and was plated by a single by the right-handed Carroll.
In between, Giambi compensated for his error with a pair of towering homers off Cleveland starter Paul Byrd to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Andy Pettitte then coughed up that lead in the fifth when a pair of two-out singles were plated by a Peralta homer that gave the Indians a lead they’d never relinquish. Five pitches later, Franklin Gutierrez added a solo homer of his own. Both Cleveland dingers came on 3-1 counts.
The Indians stole three bases in three tries with Posada behind the plate, but two of them came against Traber’s slow delivery (despite working from the stretch, Traber brings his arm way back and pauses before delivering the pitch). Posada didn’t even bother making a throw on either of those steals as the runners had ridiculous jumps on Traber. Carroll’s steal against Pettitte also came off a great jump, and Posada’s throw appeared to slip out of his hand. So, we still don’t have a good sense of how well Posada is throwing.
On the upside, Jonathan Albaladejo followed Traber with two scoreless, hitless innings, and Giambi is now second in the AL in homers despite the fact that he’s still hitting just .186. That average combined with his .347 OBP and .492 SLG make Giambi’s April a great comp for the final season of Three True Outcome Hero Rob Deer’s career:
Deer 1996: .180/.359/.480, 64 PA, 4 HR, 14 BB, 30 K, 2 singles
Giambi 08: .186/.347/.492, 75 PA, 5 HR, 14 BB, 11 K, 3 singles
The key difference in the above two lines is the strikeouts, which is a good reason to be optimistic about Giambi rounding out his offensive game as the season progresses.
In other news, Brian Bruney’s potentially season-ending foot injury was part of a tragicomic week of bad luck that saw his uncle suffer a heart attack and his truck get wrecked when the 18-wheeler that was moving it to New York got in an accident.
Finally, Morgan Ensberg has a guest post up over on Phil Hughes’ blog, for what it’s worth.