The AL East Is Heating Up As Yanks Take 6th Straight Win,
With a 3 Game Set Against the rivaled Red Sox this Weekend.
Washington DC - July 23, 2008
Easing back into 76 degree weather 54,114 fans got to watch Magic Mike Mussina pull knuckle-curve balls from his hat, which danced and glanced on the corners, fooling hitters all day long (video) and adding his 13th win to the Yankee streak, which swept over the Minnesota, 5 – 1, for a total of 6 straight Yankee wins.
IN a full 8 innings of work Mr. Mussina provided his own bridge to the 9th (like Pettitte did) throwing 105 pitches, with 73 strikes. He gave up 6 hits, walking 0, while striking out 7 and got 13 Twins to ground out and 4 to fly out while improving his ERA to his 6th all-time lowest at 3.26.
The other story of the day has got to be Alex Rodriguez (1 for 4) who knocked in 2 RBI, and scored a run. He and Justin Christian (2 for 3), who also had 2 RBI and stole second, accounted for most of the Yankee offense today.
Mussina went 3 up 3 down for the first 2 innings by way of first-pitch curves leaving the Twins hit-less until the 3rd, and holding them scoreless until the 9th inning- bullpen-parade. Lefty Dan Perkins, a 4.08 ERA with a 7 and 3 record, was cruising right along paralleling Moose’s efforts until the 5th.
Richie Sexson (0 for 3) gave Giambi a rest, and led off the 5th with a strike out. Robbie Cano (2 for 4) then singled up the middle, and was followed by Melky Cabrera (2 for 3) doing the same.
With one out and men on 1st and 2nd; Jose Molina (0 for 3) grounded to third base-men, Brendan Harris (1 for 3), who threw to a "late getting-to-the-bag" Alexi Casilla (2 for 4) to get Cabrera out, but Molina made it safe to first as Cano moved to 3rd. Casillia was out of position to turn two and end the inning.
Adding on, a streaking Justin Christian (2 for 3) ripped a hard-grounder down the third base line that rolled all the way into the left field corner (video) easily socring Cano. Delmon Young (0 for 4) misplayed the carom, and Coach Bobby Meacham sent Jose Molina all the way from first onward to home. Short stop Nick Punto (0 for 3) took a late, but clean cut-off, turned and threw wide-left of the plate allowing Molina to score and NY to take a 2-0 lead.
IN the 6th Derek Jeter (2 for 4) led off with a shot to center for a double, and was followed by a Bobby Abreu (0 for 3) walk. A swirling 14 mph Bronx wind might have affected Alex Rodriguez's chance at another homer as he hit a a bomb off the left-field wall scoring Jeter from second, and Bobby Abreu legged-it-out from first to score (video) maing it 4-0 Yanks.
At the same time Twins catcher, Redmond (1 for 3), lost the the ball and A-Rod made it safely to third, and then scored on a Sexson sac fly (video) for a 5th and final run for NY.
Moose sailed through the next two innings and was pulled after striking out 2 in the 8th inning to bring LeTroy Hawkins in for much needed work. IN two-thirds of an inning he struck out one batter, but gave up 3 hits ending the shut-out and giving the Twins 1 run. Afterwards Mariano Rivera came in and slammed the door shut with a strike out in 4 pitches.
Yankees 5, Twins 1.
Around the rest of the AL East:
Tampa Bay edged out Oakland, 4 to 3 maintaining a 3.5 game lead on the closing Yankees. The Rays face the Royals next, and are sliding after the All-Star break with 4 wins and 6 losses in their last 10 games. The Rays are 19 and 25 on the road and now face the Royals in Kansas City. Is the sun setting on Tampa in typical Ray fashion?
Boston is playing right now against Seattle with a 2 to 1 lead in the 6th inning; and faces the Yanks in Fenway with a "post-season preview" when Joba Chamberlain squares off against Josh Beckett to kick-off the 3 game set on Friday night. Joba says he is primed and ready for it.
Joba could hit the first batter, like he did against the A's and went onto a 1 run game. It would allow him to then throw some high and tight heat, followed by that swooping curve for a strike at will. After all, Pedro did it in the past when he hit 2 Yankees; Jeter and Soriano. Either way Joba has a full arsenal in which to choose from as he faces Josh Beckett - the League's Ace.
Manny Ramirez may not be around and is out of today’s line-up with a sore knee. Welcome to the Year of the Injury. Afterwards the Red Sox face the Angles who just swept them last weekend.
Joe "The Scrapper" Girardi's Yankee Team.
Mr. Girardi has made effective moves on this injured Yankee team so far with changing the line up when feasible, and plans to get Moeller more swings as well because he has an offensive edge on Molina.
Made available today is news that Jorge Posada is considering not having surgery and either platooning at first or DH’g. You can never have too many bats, and this team needs all the ones they can get.
The Yanks still have Hughes, and Bruney coming back in a couple of weeks – along with the highly awaited return of Wang, who’s a hopeful for September.