Coming into today’s game Nick Swisher had hit 24 home runs–and hit all but three of them on the road.
Coming into today’s game, Phil Hughes had let to blow a lead in relief.
Coming into today’s game, Chad Gaudin had yet to exceed five innings pitched.
Metaphysical laws of averages don’t tend to like it when things are so one-sided.
As you have probably devised from the lead, Nick Swisher hit two home runs, Phil Hughes blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, and Chad Gaudin pitched an utter gem for six innings.
Derek Jeter was again held hitless, and it’s beginning to look like he’s pressing–not for sake of a record, but because Jeter is now in his longest 0-fer for the season.
Still, it’s hard to feel too down when one’s team has been playing .750 baseball since the All Star break.
Yes, you read that right.
It was especially gratifying to see Swisher hit two home runs and earn a place in the Pie Club (with Cabrera, Canó, Rodriguez, Damon, Matsui, Posada and Luis Castillo) because of how much Swisher has meant to the team, especially on the road.
Most of the attention has been paid to CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira as the big off-season acquisitions, but Nick Swisher has had plenty of value on his own. Just think about this: had Swisher not been on the team and Xavier Nady still been lost for the year, the Yankee outfield would have been Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera every single day, unless Brian Cashman made a panic move.
Swisher wasn’t the only Yankee to have a good day; for six innings, Chad Gaudin pitched an absolute gem. Gaudin had some help from brilliant defense behind him, and for a while it looked as though the Yankees’ 2-0 lead would be all they needed.
Alas, Gaudin simply ran out of gas in the seventh inning–which shouldn’t be all that surprising for a guy that’s been used in both the bullpen and the rotation in one season.
Three relievers–Damaso Marte, Brian Burney and Phil Coke–combined to keep Tampa from doing any more damage than one run in the seventh inning, but Phil Hughes surrendered a solo home run to Jason Bartlett in the eighth.
It was the first time all season Hughes had blown a lead in relief.
No matter, Hughes bounced back, inducing a double play to end the inning and keep the game tied as it headed to the bottom of the eighth.
That the Yankees now have thirteen walk-off wins and are averaging about a walk-off a homestand is certainly a lot of fun, but what might be more important here is that the 2009 Yankees are the fastest Yankees team since 1998 to get to 90 wins.
If that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will.