Sunday, July 28, 2013

Alfonso Soriano Walks Off!

The Yankees latest acquisition made a huge contribution today, hitting a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Brett Gardner. Sorinao had gone 0-8 in his first two games back with the Yankees but today his bat woke up with four hits and three RBI including a two-run home run in the third inning. Coming into the game, Soriano had a .249 batting average but after his four hit day that number climbs to .256. Soriano will be a key cog in the Yankees lineup going forward because of the protection that he provides for Cano as well as his ability to come up with clutch hits. In the Yankees were to lose this game they would drop to nine games behind the Rays in the standings. Instead they are only seven games out and only 2.5 games out of the second wildcard position. Soriano's old buddy Derek Jeter also had a coming out party today for his first game back since suffering the quad strain after one game back just over two weeks ago. Derek would make a splash in his first game back by drilling a home run to right field on the first pitch he saw. But really folks, would you expect any less of the captain? He has always had the knack for the dramatic (See: 3,000th hit game). Brett Gardner had the key at bat of the game in the ninth inning for working a full count on hard throwing lefty Jake McGee and earning a walk against the flamethrower. His walk allowed speed on the bases and gave the Yankees a better chance because Rays manager Joe Maddon began strange maneuvering to pitch around Jeter to face Cano. Maddon had a right handed pitcher in the bullpen who was ready but instead opted to stick with McGee who had thrown an excess of 30 pitches. to pitch to Alfonso Soriano.

Phil Hughes pitching badly will be on the backburner, but he didn't help his trade value after the start. Hughes was given a 3-0 lead early and gave it all back on two Wil Myers home runs. The first home run was a three-run shot and the second one came with nobody out in the fifth inning. Hughes would be removed after walking the very next batter. Hughes' line was 4 IP, 9 H, 5R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR. Those are frightening numbers for Hughes who was pitching better of late. It seems like whenever Hughes is given run support he doesn't know how to pitch but when it's a scoreless game he holds down the opposition. Luckily for the Yankees, this may have been his last start with the team. The Yankees are surely looking for a team that wants to take him as a half season rental. However, if I'm an opposing team I would have to be almost receiving him as a gift to find any value in Hughes. Therefore if I'm the Yankees, he is more valuable to my team for the rest of the year as opposed as almost giving him away for half a season.

The Yankees will enjoy a day off tomorrow in Los Angeles before entering Dodger Stadium for a mini series against the red hot Dodgers. On Tuesday, a struggling Andy Pettitte will match up against the recently surging Dodgers offense while Zach Grienke will pitch against the Yankees. Grienke has not pitched well against the Yankees in his career which should bode well for the Bombers coming off this thrilling win against the Rays.

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