Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ichiro's Clutch Hit Gives Yankees the Win

Thanks to the Rays issuing an intentional walk to Travis Hafner in the top of the ninth with Cano on second base, Hafner and Cano were able to score on a clutch two-out base hit by Ichiro to give the Yankees a two run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera came into the game and promptly served up a solo homer on the first pitch to Evan Longoria but allowed no further damage, retiring the next three hitters in order. Ichiro's single in the ninth was hit first hit of the season in a big spot, as he has been struggling badly at the plate to find his stride. the right fielder collected two hits tonight and hopefully this is the game where Ichiro becomes the Ichiro of the second half of 2012. All four Yankees runs tonight were manufactured; the Yankees did not hit a home run, which was their bugga-boo last season. It took the Yankees until June to win a game in which a home run was not hit. Their small ball tonight featured key stolen bases, running aggressively and getting good pitches to hit off Price. David Price has struggled in the early going of the 2013 season but he showed signs of improvement by allowing three runs to the Yankees in 8+ innings of work. The third run charged to the lefty came in the ninth inning after Price exited the game.

The even bigger story, and one that will get lost in the shuffle, was how Phil Hughes was able to battle tonight. His first inning could have gotten out of hand but the right hander allowed only one run in the inning, stranding another run on third base while throwing over thirty pitches in the inning. Hughes would settle down and gave up only one more run through seven innings of work, with the final run coming in the seventh on a Jose Molina single to right field that scored the runner from second base. Hughes struck out six hitters and allowed six hits and two walks in his performance, which puts him on the right track, as he has now pitched two straight games of allowing only two earned runs. He needs to build on tonight, despite not earning the win.  Hughes is an important factor in the Yankees older rotation and they need him to pitch like he did tonight in order to win big games.

The Yankees will try to take the series in Tampa tomorrow night, which is something they have not done in quite some time in Florida. Andy Pettitte will try for his fourth win against this light hitting Tampa Bay lineup. Alex Cobb will get the ball for the Rays. Cobb has pitched well in 2013, going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. The Yankees have respectable numbers versus Cobb, but this is a very different team than those of 2011 and 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment