The Yankees’ skeleton of a bullpen is showing, but still: after the embarassing Red Sox sweep, that was more like it for the Yankees. There was a benches-clearing near-brawl, and the offense woke up, and carried Ivan Nova and the team to an 11-7 win that wasn’t, for most of the game, actually all that close.
The Yankee scoring started in the first and didn’t really stop. Jeter, Teixeira, and Rodriguez all walked — it really was not Fausto Carmona’s night — and then Cano’s RBI single,Swisher’s sac fly, and Posada’s single gave the Yanks a quick 3-0 lead. it was Jorge Posada Figurine Night, which seemed like a cruel twist of fate a week ago, but Posada got 3 hits tonight and seems to be struggling back towards respectability, at least for the moment.
The second inning is where things got a bit exciting: Curtis Granderson homered, and immediately afterwards, Carmona plunked Teixeira square in the upper back, and too close for comfort to his head. You never know what someone’s thinking, of course, but it looked about as deliberate as these things ever do. Teixeira came up yelling at Carmona, Carmona yelled back, Joe Girardi rushed out and pushed Teixeira out of the way so he could scream at the Indians himself. The benches cleared, the bullpens emptied. No punches were thrown, and no one was ejected, but Girardi and Indians manager Manny Acta were screaming into each other’s faces, inches apart. No one’s veins pop more alarmingly than Girardi when he’s furious; it’s quite a sight.
The Yankees kept hitting after that, and the Indians couldn’t keep up — despite the best efforts of the Yanks’ depleted bullpen — but things didn’t escalate further. The other really noteworthy hit came in the bottom of the fourth. The Yanks were up 5-0 when Alex Rodriguez absolutely annihilated a pitch into the bleacher seats just left of dead center – if not the longest homer that’s been hit in the new Stadium, certainly up there. When A-Rod jogged by and high-fived Robbie Thomson, the coach looked downright frightened.
The game got closer than it should’ve; in his major league debut in the eighth inning, newly arrived reliever Kevin Whelan seemed to have a nasty case of nerves, walking four hitters batters and forcing in a run. That made it 11-3 – the Yankees had continued tacking on – but things deteriorated further in the ninth. Neither Amauri Sanit nor Lance Pendleton was any better than you might’ve expected, and finally Girardi called on Mariano Rivera to prevent disaster. It worked – but it also underscored just how much the Yanks need a good reliever or two.
Still: all in all, just the kind of night New York needed. If Ivan Nova figured something out, well, that would just be a bonus.
Sweet dreams, and may your weekend be devoid of popping neck-veins. (Unless that’s your thing, in which case, have a popping-neck-vein-palooza!).