Sunday, July 11, 2010

Liveblog 28: Right Before the Break

Here we are on the last game before the break. The Futures Game is tonight, Nick Swisher is going in the Home Run Derby tomorrow, and eight Yankees will be at the All-Star Game the day after. The team's been doing very well lately - despite losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes (something I don't terribly mind since if there's one weakness on this team, it's not starting pitching), they have the best record in the majors and are on pace to do even better than last year's 103 wins. And that's despite an occasional inability to hit the broad side of the barn and the fact that Mariano Rivera is their only reliable reliever. Joba Chamberlain just blew his second 1-0 lead in as many opportunities, and they've got to stop putting him in those situations until he figures things out. I know the important things that are in his control have been pretty good, but he's simply not the pitcher he was two or three years ago. Anyway, CC Sabathia has been fantastic lately and is pitching this afternoon. He'll try to get the Yankees their third win in this four game series against Ryan Rowland-Smith. I'll probably start this a little late because of the World Cup final but I will try to go more than two innings this time.

Top 1 - As regulation time drew to a close in South Africa, the Yankees loaded the bases against Rowland-Smith and managed to score two runs. Marcus Thames is batting sixth, and strikes out looking.

Bottom 1 - Of course the World Cup Final is scoreless and going into extra time on the day I intended to blog the Yankee game. I'll be watching that, but also keeping this updated with Gameday until it's over. CC was voted onto the All-Star team by the players, but he won't participate because he's pitching today. He's actually not the best candidate, but he's been pitching very well lately, winning his last seven starts. Ichiro Suzuki grounds out to first. Chone Figgins strikes out swinging. Franklin Gutierrez grounds out to second. Pretty simple.

Top 2 - Curtis Granderson grounds out to first. He really hasn't done that much this year besides a few clutch hits. He's really got to figure out this left handed thing, or at least start against them less often. That would be easier if they could pick up a bat at the deadline since Nick Johnson seems to be in fine constantly-injured form. Brett Gardner gets a free pass in the form of a hit by pitch in what looks to be the upper arm area. Derek Jeter hits a deep fly ball, but Gutierrez catches it at the wall. Swisher grounds out to third and the inning's over.

Bottom 2 - Last night's hero at Joba's expense, Jose Lopez hits a line drive right at Mark Teixeira. Casey Kotchman hits what I assume is a solid single to left field. Newly acquired Justin Smoak does the same. Josh Bard flies out to the same general area and Jack Wilson grounds into a force though, so it's for naught.

Top 3 - Besides that kick to the chest that the referee missed, this has been kind of a boring World Cup Final. Here's a pretty amazing statistic: Brett Gardner has a higher slugging percentage than the entire Mariners lineup today. This is Brett Gardner we're talking about! Talk about a team that can't hit. Spain flops to get a red card called against the Dutch, but can't do anything with the free kick. Meanwhile Tex hits a double to left. A-Rod actually tries a bunt, but hits it foul and moves the runner to third on a foul fly out instead. Tex scores on a wild pitch over Robinson Cano's head. I don't understand why the team is letting Swisher hit in the derby but not Cano. They say he has a back issue, but if so it's so minor that he didn't even know it was a problem until they told him about it. Cano and Jorge Posada make fly outs to end the inning.

Bottom 3 - Late goal for Spain, looks like the Cup is theirs. Two cards on the play. Lots of cards in this game, man. Meanwhile CC has two quick outs. In case you were wondering, only one of the Yankees' three runs was earned, because in the first inning rally the Mariners actually made two errors. And the third run was scored on a wild pitch, so... that's not how you win games. When you can't hit, defense should be a priority. Figgins grounds out.

Top 4 - Game over, Spain wins its first World Cup, Netherlands fails yet again in their third final. I finished second in my pool to pick the winners. I've enjoyed the cup, but the combination of referee failure and lack of accountability makes it difficult to really care about soccer otherwise. Thames singles to start the inning. Granderson moves him to second with a ground ball. Gardner reaches base again with a walk. Passed ball moves up the runners. Really sloppy defense. Jeter doubles in both runs and things are looking nice on ice, all right. Swisher pops out, but Teixeira hits another double and the Yanks lead 6-0. Rodriguez flies out.

Bottom 4 - The Futures game starts at 6. I might watch that instead of finishing this if it's still so one-sided. Cano misses a ball but still manages to throw out the runner. CC knocks down a ball and throws to first for out number two. Full count against Kotchman, but he grounds out to second. CC's consistently cruising.

Top 5 - New pitcher for the Mariners, Brian Sweeney. Cano leads off with a double and Posada flies out. Thames smashes a home run just fair (off a right hander!), and this game is getting out of hand. Granderson singles to right. Gameday's lagging behind quite a bit for some reason. Gardner loops a fly ball to left for out number two. Jeter hits it far yet again, but it's caught by Ichiro.

Bottom 5 - Smoak and Bard make outs quickly. Wilson hangs in a while, but grounds out to third. Breezy game considering the eight runs.

Top 6 - Another deep fly by a Yankee as Swisher flies out to center. Tex flies out to right and A-Rod grounds out somewhere. On we go.

Bottom 6 - CC gives up consecutive singles again, and Figgins works a full count. Yet another single, and Michael Saunders breaks up the shutout. Gutierrez lines out to Jeter, who can't make the accurate throw to first to pick off Figgins. No worries though, as Lopez grounds in a double play on the next pitch. Game looks to be in hand, I'm going to flip over to the Futures game and wrap up later.

Wrap-Up - CC finished seven innings and with the Mariners only managing one run off the Yankees bullpen, they won 8-2, giving Sabathia his eighth straight win despite only one strikeout. They did great in the first half despite a few hiccups, and are maybe one trade away from a completely dominant second half of the season.

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