"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Saving Face

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. With five games scheduled against the Orioles in Baltimore over the weekend, it seemed like a golden opportunity to get fat at the expense of the worst team in the league. But after dropping the opener on Friday night, having Saturday washed out by Hurricane Irene, and splitting a doubleheader on Sunday, Monday evening’s game became a must-win affair. Losing three of four in a series that a week ago looked like at least four wins would have been unacceptable.

Thinks looked a bit bleak at the outset, with both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodríguez out with nagging injuries, and something of an unknown quantity on the mound, as Freddy García was making his first start since coming back from the disabled list.

Hometown boy Mark Teixeira started things going in the right direction early on with a double to right to score Curtis Granderson for a 1-0 lead, but that would be all anyone would get for quite a while. García was in full Junkball Magician mode. After giving up a harmless two-out double to Adam Jones in the first, García cooly set down the next eleven Baltimore hitters before Mark Reynolds snapped the string with a solo homer in the fifth.

The Yankee hitters weren’t faring much better against the Baltimore starter, someone named Alfredo Simón. After Teixeira’s first-inning double, Simón took care of the next nine Yankees to come to the plate before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth. Robinson Canó flared a single out to left, and then Mr. Happy (you may know him as Nick Swisher) followed with a home run to right for a 3-0 Yankee lead.

It wasn’t a lot of support, but on this night it would be enough. García left after six successful innings with a terribly efficient line: 6.0 IP/2 H/1 ER/1 BB/4 K. (If you’ll excuse my editorializing, that line makes me think that a rotation of Sabathia, Hughes, Nova, Colón, and García might work from now through the end of September. But what do I know?)

The bullpen took over for the final three frames, and they were lights out as usual, save for one shocking exception. Rafael Soriano yielded a walk but struck out two in a scoreless seventh, and The Great One was flawless in the ninth, but David Robertson made things a bit sticky in between. After overpowering Nolan Reimold for the first out and popping up Robert Andino for the second, Robertson gave up a home run to J.J. Hardy. The two-run lead was cut in half, so there was some immediate importance to this, and when Nick Markakis then walked and stole second to put the tying run in scoring position it loomed even larger. But Houdini wriggled free yet again as Robertson was able to strike out Adam Jones to end the threat.

How good has Robertson been this year? This good. It was the first home run he’d allowed all season, and the first run he had given up on the road.

With a 3-2 victory and the split salvaged, they head to Boston. I don’t need to tell you what the standings say, I don’t need to tell you how the Yankees have done against the Red Sox this year, and I certainly don’t need to remind you about how Sabathia has fared against them. I won’t tell you that Tuesday night’s series opener is a must win game for either the team or the man, but a win would certainly be nice.

[Photo Credit: Nick Wass/AP]

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  Game Recap  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 Boatzilla   ~  Aug 30, 2011 4:44 am

Nice write-up Hank. I love the ending.

Someone please tell how, for chrissake how, ferthelove of pete, how can Girardi pitch Burnett in Game 3. It's inconceivable! That man should never pitch another important game this season.

Is it against the law to reshuffle the rotation?

2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 30, 2011 6:29 am

[1] Boat, we didn't get much Yanks talk in last time but I'm telling you..Joe G is an odd manager. I mean, what do other players think of their manager having faith in a guy that gave up NINE runs to the freakin' Orioles??!

3 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 30, 2011 8:46 am

D Rob. That IS pretty good. Thanks, Hank.

4 rbj   ~  Aug 30, 2011 8:51 am

ya know, luggage often gets lost in flights. Can't someone do the same with A.J.?

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:00 am

[1] and [2] Boston is throwing a guy who owns a 5.98 era in this series.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:10 am

Hey, maybe A.J., against all expectations, will actually throw a good game.

7 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:11 am

[5] That means he has the potential to be Cy Young against the Yanks. It usually does (or maybe William can quantify how badly the team has actually done against "bad" pitchers this season and prove me right or wrong?)

8 RIYank   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:34 am

Who, Lackey?
He's been somewhat better recently. Not good, but not the godawful mess he was in the first half.

Hank, thanks for the reflections on D-Rob. I was feeling bad about the HR, but now I feel better.

9 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:48 am

Great recap, and a nice win yesterday. D-Rob is only human, and bounced back admirably. Freddy ain't dead, and must be in the regular rotation.

AJ should have been on the DL before his last start, and the time off might have reduced the pressure on him. If he can't throw his curve for strikes, then every hitter will just wait on the fastball. The situation is that now he has to start in Boston, there is no option unless a call-up from WB/S is put on the roster, not a viable choice either.

AJ had better find a way, with a very short leash employed. I'm almost feeling sorry for him, but there are a lot of people and situations that need our sympathy more
(flood victims in upstate NY, Vermont, and other locales). AJ's millions can sooth a lot of personal chaos.

10 BobbyB   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:57 am

Yes, a win would be nice.

11 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 30, 2011 9:58 am

And I do know that "soothe" is spelled with that final e. Sorry.

But maybe "sooth" is more appropriate, like maybe we can predict a comeback for A Burnt Jet?

12 RIYank   ~  Aug 30, 2011 10:22 am

[9] And me. Sympathy for me, please.

'sooth' means 'truth', by the way. A soothsayer speaks the truth.

13 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 30, 2011 10:32 am

[12] I wish you all the best. Besides the power being out (and as I read, that means no water for you), was there any other damage to your home?

Yeah I know that sooth means the truth, and a soothsayer can predict the future.

In AJs case, he can't handle the sooth.

14 ms october   ~  Aug 30, 2011 10:33 am

[12] i have sympathy for you. have you gotten power back? are you still in b&n?

15 RIYank   ~  Aug 30, 2011 1:33 pm

Hi, and thanks for the sympathy!

We had no damage, and yes, no electricity means no water. My neighbor has a generator, which has been a godsend -- he's so generous it's embarrassing. So it really hasn't been awful, just a drag. But no power still, and none expected for a couple of days at least. (I live in a low-density area, and reasonably enough National Grid is focusing on the more densely populated areas first.)

Ms. Oct, I work in Providence and everything is just fine here in town, so I get regular connectivity and everything, even outside of B&N.

When the Yanks sweep, everything is going to be fine. I just know it.

16 ms october   ~  Aug 30, 2011 2:42 pm

[15] ok. yes not having power is a drag. always good to have good neighbors - i'm sure you are a good neighbor to him.
hang in there. hopefully you will get back to normal soon.
i like that positive attitude about the sweep!!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver