The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 8-2 last night as Roy Halladay picked up his 20th win with his ninth complete game of the season. By doing so, Halladay tied CC Sabathia for the major league lead in complete games, though Sabathia could break the tie in his final start. Only one team other than the Blue Jays and Brewers has more than nine complete games.
Halladay needed just 96 pitches to finish off the Yankees’ B-squad. Of the six hits he allowed, three were by Brett Gardner (one of them a double, one of them in infield hit on which Gardner beat out a nice play by Jays second baseman Joe Inglett on a hard grounder in the hole). Melky Cabrera (1 for 3) got one of the others, and Cody Ransom drew the only Yankee walk of the night.
It might have been a bit unfair for Joe Girardi to give catching prospect Francisco Cervelli (0-for-3) his first major league start against Halladay, but then Girardi didn’t make Cervelli swing at the first pitch he saw in his first two at bats (both groundouts, the second a double play). Cervelli took two pitches in his final at-bat, but still struck out swinging on just four tosses. That said, Cervelli showed great form on the one stolen base attempt against him, firing a strike that would have nailed Alex Rios in the third had Rios not gotten a huge jump on Carl Pavano.
Speaking of Pavano, in his final act as a Yankee, he gave up five runs in just 3 2/3 innings. Don’t let the door bruise your buttocks on the way out, Chuckles.
At least Pavano’s short outing allowed Girardi to audition some relievers. Dan Giese stranded the two runners he inherited from Pavano in the fourth, but couldn’t get the second out of the fifth inning, allowing two runs on three consecutive hits before David Robertson tidied up his mess. Edwar Ramirez struck out Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay in a scoreless sixth. Humberto Sanchez gave up a run in the seventh after walking two men on nine pitches, but got a double play to get out of his own mess. Finally, in the eighth Darrell Rasner retired the Jay’s 4-5-6 hitters 1-2-3, getting ahead of each hitter before inducing each into a groundout.
Speaking of the bullpen, Mariano Rivera had an MRI on his shoulder yesterday and could need some minor arthroscopic surgery this winter. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi continues to display either a dangerous ignorance or an inexplicable need to snowball the media regarding his players’ physical health. After listening to his post-game press conference, I think it’s the former, which means he needs to work on his communication with his players and his training staff. A manager’s primary job is distributing playing time to his players. If the manager is ill informed about his players’ health for whatever reason, his ability to perform that essential task in the manner most beneficial to the team is compromised. That may not be an issue in Rivera’s case, but may have been with regard to Jorge Posada’s shoulder, Alex Rodriguez’s quad, or any of a number of other early-season aches and pains that got worse before they got better.