Monday, August 20, 2007

Week In Review: The Joba Rules, Part I

I'm splitting this entry in two, with the awards to follow--hopefully in time before the start of tonight's West Coast tilt.

Week 20
: August 13-19, 2007

Record for the Week: 4-3, 35 RS, 38 RA
Overall: 70-54, 0.5 games behind Seattle for the Wild Card

The Rundown:

8/13 -- Baltimore 6, Yankees 7
Staked to a 5-3 lead in the fourth, Wang keeps the game close , giving up five runs in six-plus innings work, and opening the door for Mariano Rivera's second straight shaky outing. Luckily, with the game tied in the ninth, Melky Cabrera was brought around by Derek Jeter's walk-off fielder's choice. Before the ninth inning comeback, Bobby Abreu and Wilson Betemit hit homers, and Joba Chamberlain made his Yankee Stadium debut.

8/14 -- Baltimore 12, Yankees 0
Aubrey Huff and the O's smoke emergency starter Jeff Karstens like a Cuban cigar, and smack Jim Brower around so hard he woke up in AAA. Neither of the Yanks' two hits manage to plate any of the 9 guys the Orioles walked. Bad show, all around.

8/15 -- Baltimore 6, Yankees 3
Another disappointing Hughes start at the Stadium, this one larded down with bad defensive play. Another dramatic ninth inning comeback, this time courtesy of Matthew Lilla--er, I mean Shelly Duncan. Another bad outing by Rivera. Mariano's first batter hit the ball 385 feet and missed a homer by about a foot and a half, his second batter, Miguel Tejada, hit a liner over Hideki Matsui's head, and his fourth batter, Huff, jacked a two-run shot. Our second full-blown Mariano Panic of the season kicks into gear, as the Sandman's cutter goes blunt for a third straight appearance.

8/16 -- Detroit 8, Yankees 5
Bad Mike Mussina shows up early, giving up a Grand Slam to Carlos Guillen. Even when Good Mike showed up belatedly, he wasn't all that good. It's a shame, because the Yanks worked Justin Verlander as well as could be imagined, getting him to 119 pitches and out of the game in the sixth inning.

8/17 -- Detroit 1, Yankees 6
This was like turn back the clock night--close your eyes, and the sound of Giambi bashing two homers homers and Pettitte stifling a good offense for eight innings would bring you back to 2002. In 2002, however, Joba Chamberlain was still in high school, and couldn't have been imagining that within five years, fifty thousand people at Yankee Stadium would be chanting his name for the entire length of his appearance.

8/18 -- Detroit 2, Yankees 5
Roger Clemens, who's old enough to be Phil Hughes' dad, got his strikeout mojo back, whiffing eight through six, but was also hittable, allowing ten safeties, including Tigers' phenom Cameron Maybin's first major league homer. Clemens was pitching off ten days' rest after the Canadian Beanball Wars, which may have been both a help and a hindrance. Also coming off a bit of rest was Mariano Rivera, who looked his normal self in the ninth.

8/19 -- Detroit 3, Yankees 9
Wilson Betemit looked bad in his first three at bats, then heroic in his last two, providing the four RBI that broke open the game in the seventh and eighth innings. Before that, forgotten man Johnny Damon hit an upper-deck shot to remind everyone he's still on the team. The Tigers kept it close at the beginning through aggression on the basepaths--running on Damon's stringbean arm and Wang's poor move. Wang, in particular, looked rattled by the baserunners scrambling around on him, but he gutted it out to complete six innings for the win.

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