First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day...without the folks we honor today, I would most likely not be able to write this blog and we most certainly would not be able to root for the greatest franchise in all of sports!
and one more note before I get into todays game. Not sure if you heard it or not, but Kendry Morales of the Angels broke his leg when his teammates broke his leg celebrating a walk off grand slam. Now what makes this interesting is that my brother and I have been talking about the celebrations and how people could get hurt for awhile. I am not sure if I ever put it in a blog or not for a home run, but I do remember talking about the players on the bottom of piles when teammates jump onto the pile. Regardless, it is absurd to celebrate with such force; hard high fives are bad enough.
I thought this game was interesting because we were facing a pitcher who had lost his last 11 decisions and pretty much was a human victory cigar for other teams. But, he had very good movement today and combined with an ump who called the low strike, this made for a good afternoon for a sinker baller. The ump was good and consistent, but it did help a sinker baller. I do think the Yanks helped him a lot swinging at balls rather than forcing him to bring up the pitches, but he had good stuff today.
On our side, Burnett, was not throwing as hard as he normally does, but he had excellent downward movement on his pitch. It almost looked like he was throwing a 93 MPH sinker at times. I also though Moeller did a good job in calling the game (I have been down on Cervelli lately).
The Yanks found themselves down 1-0 going into the 7th and had only one good offensive opportunity but Swisher K'd with 2nd and 3rd and 1 out with the infield back and the Yanks failed to get in the run. In the top of the 7th Burnett got 2 outs and then on an 0-2 pitch got unlucky as a curve ball hit Valbuena on the back foot (he almost swung). He then stole 2nd base and here is when it got interesting. Marson hit a ball that Jeter easily got to and set his feet but threw slightly off line. Tex did a terrible job at first base by stretching far too early and straight toward Jeter. This early stretch made it impossible for him to reach to his right and get a ball that really should have been routine for a 1st baseman if he would have stretched to his right instead of straight ahead. I honestly believe that error should have been on Tex as it was a very bad play and the stretch itself was not needed. So the ball got away from tex, the run scored and the next guy tripled in the 3rd run of the game. The Yanks were down 3-0 instead of 1-0 and it was 80% Tex's fault in my opinion. BTW, if my description was poor, stand up and stretch straight ahead of yourself and then reach your glove to the right side as far as you can and see how far you got. Now take your stretch toward your right and then reach out your arm to the right as far as you can. You should be able to stretch 2+ feet more in that direction...the ball tipped off the edge of Tex's glove.
Fortunately, Swisher singled to leadoff the 7th and after Miranda moved Swisher up on a groundout, Gardner hit one up the middle that they had no play on him. After Cervelli's struck out pinch hitting (correctly)for Moeller, it looked like the Yanks would once again leave a runner on 3rd base with 1 out. But Jeter came through with a huge 2 out hit scoring 2 (Gardner stole 2nd). Cleveland went to the bullpen to summon the lefty against Granderson, but fortunately, he hung a pitch to Granderson and he ripped a double. Now Tex was up with 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs and they left the lefty in to face Tex. This surprised me because the guy made a bad pitch to Granderson and now he had Tex who has been hitting almost 200 OPS points higher as a righty followed by ARod. Tex made them pay with a 3 run 2 out blast. the Yanks tacked on 2 more in the 8th and Rivera pitched a perfect 9th to win 7-3.
Rivera looked great tonight. he was throwing 91-93 with great movement (looked like a slider) and then against righties he would tail the ball in at times. The bat against Peralta was one of beauty as he had 2 strikes on Peralta and then threw the traditional cutter on the inside part of the plate that started inside and didn't quite get to the plate for a strike. Then Rivera tailed the fastball that started as a strike and ended up inside and Peralta struck out swinging. The final out was an athletic one as well where Valbuena got sawed off (more proof that the cutter was buzzing today) and the bat flew right at Rivera who leaped over the bat and then immediately stuck out his glove to knock the ball down and then threw him out to the end the game. I would love to see more outings like that by the Genius Maker!
Right before Tex's HR, I thought the Cleveland pitcher should have been called for a balk as he moved his front leg before stepping off...maybe that was a break?
Gardner took the wrong angle on a ball in LF and I think it was a classic example of a CF'r in LF not playing the slice off the lefty bat well. Gardner also showed his speed scoring on Jeter's clutch single, but he did the slide I hate at home and made the play a little closer than it needed to be, more important, he got clipped a little by the catchers cleat in his hand. he did shake his hand, but he seemed OK. Someone needs to tell the Yanks to get to the bag first most of the time.
BTW, I didn't mention the gifts the Yanks got at 1st base the other night where the ump Buckner had 4 close calls at first base and every one of them went the Yanks way, including 2 that I think were gifts for us.