I’ve definitely been a little lax in my Yankees coverage the last week or so, but that’s only because they have stunk. They pitched poorly for a stretch, and now the offense hasn’t been hitting at all. It hasn’t been very fun to watch, and therefore not very fun to write about. That being said, let’s talk about the events of the last week or so.
The Yankees are going through some tough times, for sure. They lost two in a row to Seattle (with a rainout thrown in) and then lost two out of three to the Rays, only scoring 7 runs in those four losses. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann have gone ice cold, and I’m not sure Brett Gardner could pick a baseball out of a lineup at this point. Derek Jeter went through an 0-14 stretch at one point, although he’s had a couple of good games in a row now, so he might be improving. CC Sabathia got absolutely ripped by the Rays in his last start at the Stadium, and the bullpen just had a game in which three different guys walked in a run to lose a game in the 8th inning. So, are there any positives?
Well, this is Jobu’s Rum, where finding positives is what we do. First of all, let’s start with David Phelps. In my last post, the one about Alfredo Aceves‘ return, I questioned how effective Phelps can be as a member of this rotation while Michael Pineda is out with the back injury. Frankly, Phleps hadn’t been very good in relief so far this year, so I was right to question it. Well, Phelpsy really showed me something on Monday night. The Yankees only scored one run, so he didn’t get a win, but he pitched brilliantly against one of the better offenses in the American League. Phelps, who was on a pretty strict pitch count, went 5.1 innings and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits and a walk, while striking out 3 Angels. If not for a misplay in right by Ichiro Suzuki, who turned a double into a triple), Phelps might have finished that 6th inning with 0 runs allowed. Impressive outing. Let’s keep that going.
The very next night, also against the Angels, Hiroku Kuroda had his best start of the the year on Tuesday. The Angels scored 2 unearned runs in the bottom of the third after a Yangervis Solarte error, but barely sniffed home plate after that. Kuroda used 108 pitches to get through 7.2 innings, only allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and no walks, while striking out 8. He was chased by a two out triple by Mike Trout in the 8th, and then Shawn Kelley, who pitched in this game despite walking 4 guys and throwing 35 pitches in the 8th inning on Monday, gave up an immediate game tying single to Albert Pujols. If not for that questionable call to the bullpen (David Robertson had pitched once in ten days and was warm in the pen), maybe Kuroda gets a win there. Either way, he was great.
On Wednesday, the Yankees will go for the series win with Vidal Nuño on the mound. Nuño should be feeling the pressure to put up a good start, because Al Aceves is coming for his spot. Let’s go, kid. Step up.
Featured image courtesy of: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
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