Rapid Reaction: Yankees 8, Rangers 2
August, 13, 2012
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com
WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees, after an 8-2 win, have the best record in the American League by a half-game over Texas. This is important because -- novelties of novelties -- home-field advantage in the playoffs is determined by who has the most wins.
SWISH-ALICIOUS: Nick Swisher hit his 200th career homer and his sixth grand slam. He did it with a huge smile and stroll that the Rangers might not forget. Swisher's third-inning granny off Ryan Dempster turned a two-run deficit into a 4-2 lead. The Yankees never looked back from there. Swisher even added an RBI single in the seventh.
QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY? This isn't Sanchez-Tebow, but Eric Chavez doesn't stop hitting and the thought that Alex Rodriguez just gets his job back once he returns could become a question mark. Chavez nailed another homer, a solo shot, in the sixth. In 197 at-bats, Chavez hit his 13th homer of the year. A-Rod has 15 in 352 at-bats.
In the end, if Chavez stays hot, the Yankees might just sacrifice defense, and play Raul Ibanez in left and DH Chavez. Or they could sit Ibanez -- who really has been good only in streaks, especially at the beginning of the season -- and leave Ichiro Suzuki in left, DH Chavez and have A-Rod play third. Chavez also could play in the Wildcat and on punt coverage.
PHELPS IS FINE: In place of CC Sabathia, David Phelps had what we have seen from him when he starts. He struggles a little early but in the end does pretty well. Phelps went five innings and gave up two runs. The Yanks will take it.
HOW LOWE CAN YOU GO: Derek Lowe, the 2004 nemesis, is now a Yankee. Wearing A.J. Burnett's old number, 34, Lowe looked good, throwing four innings of shutout ball for the save. The fans had an indifferent reaction toward him. Before the game, Lowe said he thought he would pitch well.
OLD GUARD: Derek Jeter keeps on keeping on. "The Captain" nailed an RBI double in the seventh. Who did he knock in? The Yankees' No. 9 batter Monday -- Ichiro. Ichiro, who was moved to ninth to break up the lefties as much as possible in the lineup and because he is hitting a soft .262, preceded Jeter with a triple.
Jeter, by the way, is chasing Melky Cabrera for the most hits in the majors. Jeter entered with 153.
QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Where should the Yankees play Chavez once A-Rod returns?