Despite injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Phil Hughes, the Yankees pulled together to churn out five runs on seven hits behind another high-quality start by Chien-Ming Wang. Although Bobby Abreu was the only Yankee with at least two hits, Melky Cabrera contributed a two-RBI double, and Morgan Ensberg filled in for Rodriguez with an RBI and run scored.
Although the Mariners kept it close throughout, their four errors, plus the continuing struggles of their bullpen, were eventually too much for them to overcome. After Wang's strong six inning, three-hit outing, Kyle Farnsworth, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera combined to close it out.
Farnsworth's two strikeouts in the seventh inning bodes well for a questionable Yankee bullpen, who lost arguably their third best reliever in Brian Bruney for the season. With today's outing, Rivera extended his scoreless inning streak to 12, and continues to show pundits that his days of dominance are not done just yet.
With the win, the Yankees moved to 15-16 in the standings, and remain three games behind the idle Boston Red Sox. With young ace, Felix Hernandez, pitching for the Mariners against the Yanks in their next game, they'll need another strong quality start from Mike Mussina, as he attempts to show Hank Steinbrenner that he deserves to maintain his spot in the rotation for the rest of the season.
With Darrell Rasner replacing Phil Hughes in the rotation for the better part of the next two months, Mussina seems to at least have a controlled, albeit tentative, stranglehold on his spot for now. With Jose Veras recently being recalled from AAA, it will be interesting to see if the Yankees decide to demote reliever Chris Britton or Jonathan Albaladejo.
Although the Yanks are 15-16 so far this year, don't get too worried Yankees fans. They were 10-14 at this time last year, and still won the wild card. If we ended the season after 30 games, Tampa would be in the mix for the wild card. Maybe it's just me, but I just don't see them winning the 95 games it's likely going to take to make the playoffs in the American League.
For now, the Yanks should remain steadfast and not overreact to any losses they will likely incur with an injury-riddled team trying to incorporate young unproven talent. When they're back 15 games in the division, I might start worrying.
Until then, however, Steinbrenner must rid himself of any sense of panic and inclination for a Chamberlain movement to the rotation, or a trade for an over-30 veteran like Roy Oswalt.
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