Rapid Reaction: Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1
July, 17, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That there is no need to rush 40-year-old Andy Pettitte back until he is good and ready, now that The Ace appears to have returned to his vintage form. With CC Sabathia making a successful return, and Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova pitching well, the prospect of handing the ball to Freddy Garcia every five days for another six weeks or so no longer seems that frightening.
Good to CC ya! In his first outing since June 24, Sabathia was remarkably sharp, holding the powerful Blue Jays to just four hits in six-plus scoreless innings, striking out six and not walking a batter until the sixth inning. For one of the few times all season, Sabathia seemed to be able to put his fastball where he wanted it all night. Assuming he is able to maintain this level of performance, CC's return has to be a huge relief to a team that was decimated by the loss of two starting pitchers on the same day.
Sooner or later: Andruw Jones is gonna getcha. Jones had been hitless in his first nine career at-bats against Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil. He made it 1-for-10 in the second inning, the 10th AB resulting in a three-run homer into the left-field seats that gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Twenty and counting: Robinson Cano's leadoff single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games. Over the stretch, Cano has batted .421 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.
Stew's on: Chris Stewart, Sabathia's (not) personal catcher, knocked in the Yankees' fourth run with a double down the third-base line in the seventh inning, and scored the Yankees' fifth run when Derek Jeter doubled him in.
Ix-nay: Jayson Nix, playing third in place of the slightly stiff Alex Rodriguez, had a good night offensively, with three hits. But he committed a cardinal sin in the second inning, making the first out at third base, when he got himself caught trying to steal third after a double to left-center.
Hanging Chad: Chad Qualls had another ineffective outing, allowing the Blue Jays their first run in the eighth inning, and leaving runners on first and third and one out in the ninth for Clay Rapada after allowing a double and a walk. In six outings as a Yankee, opposing hitters are batting .364 against Qualls, whose ERA is 4.97.
Feet of Clay: Rapada faced one batter but hesitated after fielding Anthony Gose's bunt back to the mound, resulting in a bases-loaded, one-out situation and forcing Joe Girardi to go to Rafael Soriano for the second straight night when he should have been taking a bullpen nap.
Sori about that: Pinch hitter J.P. Arencibia hit the ball hard off Soriano, but right at Mark Teixeira, who turned it into a game-ending unassisted double play. That gave Sori 24 saves in 25 opportunities.
What's coming: The incomparable Johnette Howard gets to write about something other than Linsanity tonight. How about a case of CC-Mania? I've got the postgame clubhouse covered, plus a First Pitch for tomorrow morning that is sure to spark an argument or two.
What will tomorrow bring?: The series finale with the Blue Jays, for one thing. Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.67) faces LHP Ricky Romero (8-5, 5.03), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.