Fresh off a 4-2 roadtrip (although playing like a 2-4 team), the Yankees arrived back home to the reeling Seattle Mariners. Looking at the pitching matchup, the series looked up in the air before it even started.
Cliff Lee would take the ball for Seattle on Tuesday night against Phil Hughes of the Yankees. Hughes, who was skipped over in Los Angeles due to the newly incorporated “Hughes Rules”, has simply been amazing this season. Coming into the game, Hughes had an ERA of 3.17 and a record of 10-1. Not too shabby for a 24-year-old. Hopefully the Yankees don’t run into any problems while limiting his innings the rest of the year.
Yankee fans did not welcome Cliff Lee with open arms into Yankee Stadium. Although his lifetime statistics against the Bombers are mediocre at best, in 2009 he was spectacular. His line was as follows: Record: 3-1, 28.0 IP, 9 ER, 2.89 ERA, 28 H, 8 BB, 21 K. He played a major part in ruining the opening of the new stadium by helping the Indians defeat the Yanks 10-2 and then shutting them down again at the stadium during Game 1 of the World Series. This time, he’s playing for offseason money.
Tuesday night’s start would be just as good for Lee.
Nick Swisher go to kick off the game with a solo shot to left to put the Good Guys up 1-0 early on. While Lee attempted to tame the Yankee bats, the Mariners were building a picket fence of their own.
Hughes gave up a run in the 2nd inning when Franklin Gutierrez singled and brought home Jose Lopez on an error by Curtis Granderson. Ichiro gave the M’s a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the 3rd. Gutierrez homered in the 4th to extend the lead to 3-1. Ichiro’s sacrifice-fly in the 5th made it 4-1. Every inning, the Mariners were tacking on another run. Until all fell apart in the 6th. Jack Wilson hit an RBI single to scored Milton Bradley and then Rob Johnson hit a 2-run single to give the Mariners a hefty 7-1 lead.
As we know, the Yankees rarely go out quietly. Swisher hit a 426 ft bomb to centerfield, his 2nd homer of the night, to give New York another run. The Yankee bats were fairly quiet the rest of the night as Lee plowed through the lineup as if it were 2009. Although Robinson Cano had an RBI single in the 9th followed by an RBI ground-rule double by Jorge Posada, Chad Huffman would pop up to 3rd to end the game. Cliff Lee went the distance surrendering 8 hits and 3 earned runs while only striking out 2. It was, nonetheless, an excellent start.
Wednesday’s game didn’t look promising at all. The matchup: Javier Vazquez against “King” Felix Hernandez. That’s probably enough of a prelude, let’s get to the action (or lack thereof).
I had the unfortunate pleasure of being at this game, and it was definitely UGLY. Felix’s numbers against the Yankees lifetime are very inconsistent. He had thrown 5 games against New York before Wednesday.
His stats from three of those games were spectacular: 2-1 W/L, 1.50 ERA, 24 IP, 4 ER, 17 H, 9 BB, 15 K.
The other two games were atrocious: 0-2 W/L, 12.54 ERA, 9.1 IP, 13 ER, 21 H, 7 BB, 7 K.
Lucky for us, he was BRILLIANT on Wednesday. Here’s a short recap of the Yankee offense: 2 hits.
Milton Bradley hit a solo shot in the 2nd to put the Mariners out in front for good. Michael Saunders smashed a solo shot of his own in the 4th and Jose Lopez hit an RBI single as well that inning. Javier Vazquez was fairly good other than 2 bad pitches, going 6 innings allowing 3 earned runs and 6 hits while striking out 8.
Damaso Marte would give up a Russell Branyan 2-run homer in the 7th and Chad Gaudin would serve up Saunders’ 2nd homer of the day to give the Mariners a 7-0 cushion. This time, the Yankees wouldn’t put up a fight in the 9th. Hernandez threw a complete game shutout giving up only 2 hits and striking out 11 Yankees. The Mariners’ deadly 1-2 punch had thrown 18 consecutive innings against the Yankees and won two games.
Thursday, the Yankees came out swinging. In a very favorable matchup, CC Sabathia took the ball for New York opposing Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Here’s a great stat: The Yanks had as many hits in the first two batters of Thursday’s game as they did all of Wednesday night. Superb!!
Derek Jeter singled to lead off the game and Nick Swisher doubled to give the Yankees a golden opportunity. Mark Teixeira wouldn’t make it pretty, but he’d get the job done grounding out to the shortstop to score Jeter. Robinson Cano would go yard in the 4th to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Sabathia was on cruise control all afternoon. Continuing off a brilliant June, Sabathia cruised into the 8th inning before allowing any runs. The Mariners would have 1st and 2nd with two outs when Posada gave up a passed ball to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Of course, Branyan singled to tie the game and got thrown out trying for 2nd base.
On the cusp of a sweep, the Mariners were looking to get through the bottom of the 8th to have an opportunity to take the lead in the 9th. Teixeira hit a 1-out single to bring up Alex Rodriguez. A-rod crushed a ball into right-field to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Just like Friday against the Dodgers, Sabathia and Rodriguez would pave the way to a slim lead for Mariano Rivera. Time after time, Mariano does the job. A 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout to end the game, ensued and the Yankees salvaged the last game of the series.
1) Alex Rodriguez now sits at 595 career homeruns.
2) This is the first home series the Yankees have lost to Seattle since 2003.
The Yankees will play host to the Toronto Blue Jays for the July 4th weekend. All three games start at 1:05 and the weather looks to be beautiful.
Yankee stats from the series:
BA: 17 for 93 (.183)
RISP: 2 for 17 (.118)
Runs scored: 8
Seattle stats from the series:
BA: 26 for 101 (.257)
RISP: 7 for 20 (.350)
Runs scored: 16