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Jul
25
2007

Four-Run Eighth Leads Yanks by Royals

Man, I'm loving the way this team is playing.

Mike Mussina delivered his best game in nearly a month, Melky Cabrera drove in three runs and Alex Rodriguez helped the Yanks blow the game open with his 499th career homer in the eighth as the Bombers downed the Royals 7-1 in KC. 

 This game was a pitchers' duel for most of the night, but the Yanks took a page from their glory years and tacked on runs late to put the game away.  They also became enraged when Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch by Octavio Dotel in the ninth.  No words were spoken, but you could feel the anger in the air.  After the inning, Dotel made it a point to tell Yankee first base coach Tony Pena that he didn't do it on purpose.  It didn't seem to matter to the Yanks.  Did I mention that I love the way this team is playing?

The Yankees have won six straight and now stand 6.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.

The Good:

Melky Cabrera.  The Melk-Man got the Yanks off and running with a two-run bomb in the second inning.  I still believe Melky should be in the number 2 hole, but he entered Wednesday's game hitting .301 in the number 9 spot.  Hey, whatever works.  Cabrera also hit an important (at the time) sac fly in the seventh to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead.  Melky finished 1 for 3 with a run scored and 3 RBIs.

Alex Rodriguez.  A-Rod crushed an opposite field homer in the eighth that put the game on ice for the Yanks.  It was Rodriguez's 499th career round-tripper and it gave the Yanks a 5-1 lead.  There are really no more words to describe the type of season A-Rod's having.  Rodriguez finished 2 for 5 with a run scored and 2 ribbies.

Hideki Matsui.  Godzilla launched his 49th home run in the month of July.  OK, that's not true, it only seems that way.  It was Matsui's 10th home run of July and his 18th of the season.  Matsui is putting up A-Rod type numbers for a month: .340, 10 HR, 21 RBIs.  Matsui finished 1 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI.

Mike Mussina.  Mussina wasn't great, but he did deliver his best ballgame in nearly a month.  The Moose's breaking balls had bite and his fastball reached 91 on the radar.  However, the Royals hit more than a few balls hard for outs and had Mussina scrambling in a couple innings.  Still, I'll give Mussina an appreciative nod.  For a fifth starter (and that's what Mussina will be once Philip Hughes comes back), his numbers aren't terrible.  Mussina moved to 5-7 with this: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

The Bad:

Scott Proctor.  Proctor made his return to the team after missing a few games to witness the birth of his third child (a boy) and it didn't go well.  He entered the game in the seventh with the Yanks up 3-1 and didn't have it.  He retired the first two batters he faced, but the balls were hit hard.  He then allowed a base hit and a hit batsman and his night was done.  His inning wasn't terrible, but with all the trade talk floating around, he isn't helping his cause.  He may have also lost Torre's trust.  And that's big.  Proctor's stats: .2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 hit batsman.

The Ugly:

Help Wanted?  Jason Giambi (remember him?) is ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment and hopes to be back with the Yanks next week.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Jay!  I'm glad you're feeling better physically, but the Yankee offense is hitting on all cylinders right now.  Take your time.  Get back in the flow.  There's no need to rush back to the big club.  Actually, it would give the Yanks a shot in the arm if Giambi comes back, but only in a reserve and spot start role.  He could be the big bat off the bench (even though his pinch-hitting stats aren't pretty).  I wonder if Torre can sell that idea to the Giambino?

The Yankees will go for the four-game sweep on Thursday and will have to go through Royal lefty Jorge De La Rosa to do it.  De La Rosa is having a horrible season (7-10, 5.61 ERA), but the Yanks are sending their own crappy lefty out to the mound in Kei Igawa (2-2, 6.67 ERA).  Igawa has yet to earn a victory since his callup in June and he hasn't won a game since April 28.

This may be his last opportunity to pick up a win.

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