Another Hair Raiser in Anaheim

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Well, one thing is for sure: last night’s victory over the Angels wasn’t a fluke. The Yankees came back and beat them again today 3-2. It was yet another game featuring a near heart attack by me.
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The Yanks took the lead in the fourth – Cano singled with runners in scoring position! Shocking! – and the burning question throughout the rest of the game was would they hold onto the lead or do a disappearing act?
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AJ had dominating stuff – 11 strikeouts – but found himself in a jam in the sixth, allowing the Angels to score a couple of runs. Marte got Figgins to fly out and ended the threat, which was major, but he needed Coke to help him shut down the Angels in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Yankees offense had been lulled to sleep, and no insurance runs were forthcoming. Maybe that was because Girardi went with the “B” lineup today?
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All I know is that with Huuuughes and Aceves unavailable and Bruney and Edwar undesirable, the job of pitching the eighth inning was left to…..Ian Kennedy?
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The same kid who couldn’t win a game last season?
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Talk about a pressure situation for Kennedy, who is fresh off surgery to repair an aneurysm. I wouldn’t have blamed him for being rusty, nervous, crappy or all of the above. But, aside from hitting Kendrick and walking Matthews and Figgins (OK, so he was rusty, etc.), he came back to dispose of Aybar and pitched a scoreless inning. I was sooo relieved. Sweaty too.
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Mo appeared for the ninth and took care of business. The Yankees fly back to New York, having beaten a team they needed to beat. Yes, some of the players got battered on this trip – Posada and his toe, Swisher and his leg, Hairston and his wrist – but Pettitte seemed healthy, AJ looked back on track and Gaudin didn’t make me hide under the bed.
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Will the Yanks be able to clinch the division title during the Red Sox series this weekend? That would be so sweet I can taste it.
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21 Comments

Whatever that dessert is looks absolutely sinful and I really, really want some. *drools* …

Okay, I’m cleaned up now. Tonight was such a good win. The momentum shift is big. I think the upcoming Boston series is gonna be a good one. With the possibility of clinching the division with them in the Bronx, emotions will be running high. How sweet that would be if that happened!

– Lisa
http://perennialpinstriper.mlblogs.com/

Jane: Mmm…..I can taste that, Jane…..mmmm… It makes me proud to think that we lost the first game of this series, but come back and win 2 tight ones. They had that playoff feeling to them, that feeling that gives me apoplexy and makes me want to hide and bite my nails and just pray to God that we win. And win we did! We head back home with momentum on our side versus the smelly sox. Now that we have clinched a postseason spot, I hope to see Cervelli play more…..
Good for Ian Kennedy. I’m proud of him. What a story! I hope he is as successful as he was a few years ago.
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

Jane,

I have to say that I almost threw up a little every time Joe brought in the relief (except for Coke sort of), I mean Marte? Kennedy? Really? But they got the job done, albeit necesitating massive Tums and Pepto intake to make it through. This really was the B squad today, and the fact that we won really should bring some comfort to all of us. Go Yankees!

I drooled over the sundae too, Lisa. Give me some ice cream and some hot fudge and I’m happy. I hope there’s a nice carryover from this series. I thought CC was starting on Friday, but apparently it’s Joba? Anyhow, I’m sure it’ll be a great weekend of baseball.

You’re right, Virginia. It was great that we bounced back and won two after losing the first game to the Angels. This team has a lot of heart and they rarely cave in. I bet you’ll see more of Cervelli if Posada’s toe continues to bother him, but we need Jorge’s bat in the lineup so I hope he’s OK. And yes, good for Ian Kennedy!

I was hiding my eyes from the sixth inning on, rocklandyanks. So nerve wracking watching the parade of relievers! I knew we were down a man or two, with Robertson out and Hughes unavailable, but I figured Marte would only pitch to one batter. I expected Kennedy to pitch at some point, just not in that kind of pressure situation. But it all worked out! Let’s hear it for the “B” team!

The game was a bit of a nailbiter but I was there (kind of) cheeriing your Yankees on! I looked pretty odd with my Dodger gear on in Angels Stadium rooting for the Yankees.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Everything that needed to be accomplished on this road trip was accomplished. Win 2 of 3 from the Angels, get Andy and A.J. pitching better, and shave games off the magic number. After this series I kind of rather face the Angels in the playoffs than the Red Sox. I think the Sox scare me more.

I was surprised that Joe brought Ian Kennedy into the game in the 8th inning, leading by only one run. It worked out, but it could have been a disaster. Hopefully, we’ll hear good news about Jerry Hairston, Jr. today but I am not optimistic. It was great to see A.J. Burnett back to his dominant self, and let’s hope this version sticks as we move into the “real” season. Personally, I don’t care who the Yankees face in the play-offs. As the saying goes, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Was at work for most of yesterday’s game but kept in touch through play by play on mlb.com. Then I listened to the 7th and 8th innings on my way home and caught the final inning on tv. Wow! Girardi has made some odd decisions this season (like Kennedy) but mostly they have worked out to our advantage. And Mariano…what can you say? Even though The Angels have been able to come back to win so many games this season The Yankees were able to keep that from happening this series thanks to the bullpen and most especially to Mariano Rivera.

Yes Jane, you are right to be excited for this upcoming home series. If Boston loses tonight we only have to take 2 out of 3 against them to clinch first place. Who know how many we need to win to guarantee best record and homefield advantage throughout the post season. I’m psyched. GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a series! You said it Jane, this team has heart. I have to admit, I was getting a little nervous about our rotation. AJ had been too inconsistent, Andy was hurt and who the hell knows what is up with Joba? But things seem to be falling back into place. Even if they do go with Gaudin rather then Joba in the post season we know to pull him after 4 2/3 innings. We’ll have Aceves rested up for that start and he’ll take it from there. I am feeling really good right now. I can’t believe the regular season is almost over!

Well, now that they have clinched, Yankees fans can all take a deep breathe and relax…at least until playoff time! :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Hi Jane,
So funny, an army of Yankee fans all over the country hiding our eyes at the same time, as Girardi paraded out his band of less than reliable relievers, except Mo of course, ok, I was a nervous for him too, as was Burnett, good for Kennedy, a rough inning, but he got through it, and also finally great clutch hits by Cano and Melky, Cano’s average with men in scoring position is a sad 200, so back to NY with some good momentum and a sweep of Boston, my glass is up to 3/4………Jane

Jane-
First, glad this west coast trip is over. I am exhausted from late games!!!
Second, WHEW!!!! I am glad yesterdays game is over. I am exhausted from the stress of the Angels!!!
Third, glad we have a day off today. I am exhausted from the playoff atmosphere!!!
Fourth. friday? JOBA?? SERIOUSLY??? I am exhausted just thinking how that will work….
Fingers crossed, but somehow, I feel doomed already….
Enjoy the off day….
Wendy

I really really really hope the Yanks meet the Angels in the playoffs. I enjoy readin’ about your near heart attacks — not that I wish them upon you — I just know how it feels and embrace the idea that I am not the only one who gets so worked up about baseball. Yay!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Coming back from the aneurysm is admirable, but that doesn’t change the fact that Kennedy plainly and simply isn’t any good. He’s a journeyman righty who was built up by the Yankees PR machine. Nothing more.
http://www.paullebowitz.com/

Phoo…whew…(waited to exhale)…don’t know how, but they managed…and did you see where ESPN noted that this is the first time the Yanks won a series in Anaheim since…2004?! Whoa… not pretty, but take it we will…good to have a day to regroup before seeing the Hoseheads again, who are doubtless PO’d about losing 2 (or more?) to K.C., and the fact that we did okay in Fenway — missed yesterday due to reffing, but I won’t miss this weekend 4 sure!!

So you did go, Cat? It must have been an oven there, so I hope your seat was in the shade. I also hope you took a few pics of the Yanks? Very brave of you to go in your Dodgers gear – and to root for the Bombers! Many thanks.

Len, I feel a lot better that the Angels didn’t dominate us again and we established that we can beat them at their place. But I honestly don’t care which team we play. As long as we pitch well (and AJ went a long way toward making me more confident in our rotation), the rest will take care of itself.

I’m with you on which team we play, Scott (see above to Len). And I’m concerned about Hairston too. Sounds bad. Not sure why Cashman traded for him if he’d already suffered the injury when he was playing for the Reds, but I guess nobody thought it was that serious? Ian Kennedy must have been the only option. Bruney and Edwar wouldn’t have thrilled me either.

Yes, there were puzzling decisions in that game, Diane. And not just the pitching. I kept waiting for Girardi to send A-Rod or Posada (before I knew about the toe) or Damon into the game as pinch-hitters but instead he went with Pena and then Hinske. A-Rod did bat later, but still! Oh well. It all worked out. I have no idea how the series against Boston will go, but it would be such a relief to clinch the division sooner rather than later.

I feel exactly the same way about the series and our rotation, cheshirecat. This series did allay my fears about Andy and AJ and even Gaudin. Joba? Who knows. My expectations are so low for him at this point that anything he gives us will be a plus. And yes, the regular season is winding down in a hurry. Tick tock. Tic tock…..

I don’t think Yankee fans ever relax, Jenn. LOL! At least I don’t. For me, there’s a calamity around every corner. But maybe I’ll sit back and look like I’m relaxed. :)

That’s a great visual, Jane. I’m picturing millions of Yankee fans around the country, glued to their TVs or computers and hiding their eyes at the same time. HAHAHA! It was that kind of game, as Girardi threw everybody out there trying to hang on for dear life. But the story had a happy ending and I sure do like those happy endings. Your glass is up to 3/4? That’s huge!

Wendy, I can relate to all four items on your list. Exhausting is right! Stressful too! I don’t know what to say about Joba and his outing tomorrow night. But as I said to cheshirecat above, the bar is set pretty low for him right now. So whatever he gives us will either be the status quo or better than expected. I can live with either, knowing the others are solid.

Those games were really heart-attack worthy, Jeff. But the same holds true when the Yanks play the Red Sox, so either way you’ll have company in the getting-worked-up-about-baseball department.

Kennedy pitched great in Scranton, Paul, before getting called up in ’07, so it was more than the Yankees’ PR machine at work. There were players who watched him that year and thought he was another Mussina, with more poise than Hughes. But he failed miserably in ’08. I’m hoping he makes a comeback after pitching in the Arizona fall league this year, but who knows.

Whew. Phew. And fuewww! Those were hairy games, Dave, and now it’s a day of rest before Boston comes to the Bronx. At least we clinched, so there’s not as much pressure on us, but I’d love to win the division – and by a comfortable margin!

That dessert thing does look really good, but I’d take an A.J. Burnett whip cream pie any day of the week! (or hopefully this weekend)

Joe
http://joekotsovos.mlblogs.com/

Me too, Joe. Me too. An AJ whip cream pie = a Yankees victory, so I could easily have one Fri, Sat and Sun. Now wouldn’t that be sweet?

Well, the took care of biz in a hostile environment. Now, how about just a hostile enemy ?? I thought AJ and Ian looked awesome.

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

They did take care of biz, Buz. (What alliteration!) I’m not sure Ian looked awesome, but he did get out of the mess he created and, for a pitcher who hadn’t pitched on a major league stage in awhile, that was big. Now on to the hostile enemy!

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