I never did like Carl Pavano much when he was in pinstripes but I didn’t necessarily enjoy ragging on him. It became inevitable at a certain point–he didn’t leave us any cherce but to bust on him–but it wasn’t something I relished.
Now, I really don’t like the dude. With his fat arse and crooked nostrils and current success on the mound. Whadda Bum.
On Sunday afternoon, Pavano pitched well against the Yankees for the second time this year. He was even better today than he was at Yankee Stadium in April, throwing slop effectively, mixing speeds, getting ahead, and keeping his pitch count low. A steady wind blocked fly balls from sailing into the seats and Pavano got by on a steady diet of fly ball outs.
Phil Hughes regressed from his previous start in Texas. He got into trouble in the third inning and gave up three runs. The Indians added another in fifth. Chien-Ming Wang relieved Hughes in the top of the sixth and pithced well. The sinker was diving. The movement was better–he’s throwing harder.
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run in the sixth to narrow the score to 4-2. Then, the humilation continued. Brett Gardner scorched a line drive with a runner on in the seventh (a sure extra base hit), but it was right at the first baseman, Ryan Garko. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada was called out on a full count change-up to start the eighth. Then, Derek Jeter legged out an infield hit. We’ve seen less and less of this from Jeter this season, which is only natural for an veteran player. But Jeter smelled the hit and when he ran through the base he waved his arms out, making a safe sign. It was about as demonstrative play as we are likely to see from Jeter. It was as if he had had just about enough of Pavano.
Eric Wedge walked to the mound and removed his starter, who had thrown just 89 pitches. Perhaps Wedge didn’t want things to go sour on Pavano’s watch. The YES announcers questioned the call and the Cleveland fans booed Wedge moments later after Rafael Perez gave up a double to Johnny Damon putting the tying run on second base with one out.
Rafael Betancourt entered the game to face Teixeira with first base open, threw three pitches (two sinkers and a fastball, 2-1), and then began to flex his right leg. Wedge and the trainer went to check on him and he was pulled from the game. Matt Herges replaced Betancourt, threw a ball low, and a fastball that Teixeria fouled back. Teixeira smacked the next pitch, a change-up, off the wall in left center–the wind did not hold it up–and the game was tied. Pavano would not get the win. Herges got two ground outs (Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano) to end the inning.
Wang walked Mark DeRosa to start the bottom of the eighth; Ryan Garko bunted him to second. Then Wang struck Kelly Shoppach out on three pitches, finishing him off with a power sinker (it was Shoppach’s fourth K of the day). Luis Valbuena flew out to left. Three scoreless for Wang and a job well done.
Kerry Wood walked Matsui to start the ninth and Ramiro Pena came in to run for Godzilla. Nick Swisher squared to bunt and took a ball. He got the next pitch down, looked decent in the process, and sacrificed Pena to second. Gardner followed and smacked a Baltimore chop off the plate for a single, Pena moving to third. Posada, in a nice position to hit, worked the count but Gardner did not attempt to steal. So, Posada rolled into a easy, 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Phil Coke relieved Wang and promptly walked Trevor Crowe to start the last of the ninth. Walked him on a full count pitch. Wonderful. Lead-off walk. Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed Crowe to second and David Robertson replaced Coke, walked Ben Francisco and fell behind Jhonny Peralta, 3-1 before giving up a base hit down the third base line. The game-winner.
At least Pavano didn’t get the win. Still, that is small comfort. This was a game the Yanks had.