As our man Hank Waddles pointed out in his recap of last night’s game, the Yankees on Friday night began a stretch in which they will play 13 of 16 games against the three worst teams in baseball: the Indians (four games in this current wrap-around Memorial Day weekend series), the Orioles (six games, three home, three away), and the Astros (three games at home to end the stretch). Of those 13 games, ten of them come at home, and the only winning team the Yankees will face during that 16-game stretch is the overachieving, third-place Blue Jays.
This is the time for the Yankees to fatten up, and they did exactly that Friday night.
Phil Hughes opened the game by striking out the first five men in the Indians order. In the bottom of the second, Nick Swisher launched a two-run home run off Tribe starter Fausto Carmona that hit the right-field foul pole maybe a foot from the top. Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 6th, the Yankees added another couple of runs via a bases-loaded, no-out rally that was cut short by the feeble bottom of the order on a day that Joe Girardi opted to rest Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli, both of whom needed it. Then in the seventh, Robinson Cano, who went 3-for-4 with a walk while batting cleanup for the first time in his career, launched a grand slam off lefty reliever Tony Sipp that iced the game.
Hughes gave up a second run in the seventh on a Russell Branyan solo homer that got out so quickly that Michael Kay’s only description of the action as it was in progress was “there that went”, but that was the extent of the damage in Hughes’ seven innings of work as he struck out eight in total against just one walk. Sergio Mitre and Chan Ho Park wrapped things up without incident, and the Yankees won 8-2.
Heading into Friday night’s game, Hughes needed a good start, and the Yankee offense needed to put a big number on the board. Both ate well. Here’s hoping the Yankees continue to feast for the next couple of weeks.