So of course I knew things had been bad with the Angels, but I didn’t realize that the Yankees had not won a series in Anaheim since May of 2004. Judging from the hilarious “Yikes, really?” look on Joe Girardi’s face when Kim Jones asked him about this after the game, neither did he. But that streak ended today, and if the Yankees showed last night that they can win at Angel Stadium, today’s 3-2 squeaker showed that they can even do it with Damon, Swisher, A-Rod and Posada tied behind their backs. (Although I would prefer not to see them try it again, okay? Thanks!)
More important than the outcome of today’s game was A.J. Burnett’s solid start. True, he only went five and two thirds innings, but that was largely because it was 95 degrees today in Anaheim and Girardi, as he explained afterwards, wanted to err on the side of caution. Burnett allowed seven hits and three walks, more than would be ideal, but he also had 11 strikeouts and just two earned runs. Not bad, and for my money far more impressive than his last start against Seattle, because the Angels are an excellent offensive team whereas most of the Mariners could not hit water if they fell out of a canoe.
Scott Kazmir started for the Angels, but since Al Leiter wasn’t in the booth today, Michael Kay was unable to ask him for the 73rd time about that rumor that the Mets traded Kazmir because he switched Leiter’s music in the gym one day without asking. With Swisher and Posada recovering from yesterday’s foul-ball bruises and Damon and A-Rod resting, the Yankees’ lineup was not exactly at its most ferocious; things got even rougher when Jerry Hairston Jr left the game with a wrist injury, resulting in a batting order that included Jose Molina, Shelley Duncan, and Ramiro Pena, along with both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. Nevertheless they scraped three runs together – two on Robinson Cano’s lovely single in the fourth, another when Cano scored on Cabrera’s subsequent double – and then hung on for dear life.
After Marte, Albaladejo and Coke had all flirted with disaster, Ian Kennedy got the call in the eighth inning, which was a nice moment on a purely human level. Baseball-wise it was a little strange, but I suppose the team needs to find out soon if Kennedy can help them in tense postseason situations or not, and this was probably as good a time as any to find out. Although since Kennedy first hit a batter and walked the bases loaded, then worked his way out of trouble for a scoreless inning, I’m still not sure what the answer is. Nature took its course in the ninth as Mariano Rivera came in and worked his 42nd (nice) save of the year.
The Yankees are off tomorrow and hopefully will get some rest before this weekend’s series, the season’s last against the Red Sox — or is it? Dun dun dun. Friday night Joba Chamberlain faces Jon Lester, and I’m sure that will go absolutely swimmingly… now please excuse me a moment while I wipe the dripping sarcasm off my keyboard.
Finally, for those of you who are into this sort of thing, I just joined Twitter. My “followers” so far include Cliff, Diane, and about 17 porn spambots, so feel free to join the party.