Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Face Propels Yankees to Victory

There were many questionable calls made in tonight's game by both, umpires and the Yankee manager. The home plate umpire was squeezing all of the pitchers on both sides, and if not for a couple of close calls the Yankees would have coasted to a win. Instead the game came down to the final out as Mariano Rivera was called upon to collect his 32nd save of the season. Joe Girardi made a very controversial call in the game by pulling Hughes with two outs in the sixth after allowing the Rangers second run of the game to score. Mind you, that Hughes only threw 80 pitches before being pulled and was coasting along before an error by third baseman Brent Lillibridge who would later redeem himself when the game was on the line. Following Hughes' departure from the game with a runner on first and two outs Boone Logan allowed a booming two-run home run to Mitch Mooreland to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead. The decision by Girardi to take Hughes out of the game was boneheaded. Hughes was dealing and having only thrown 80 pitches, he had more in the tank to at least go seven, maybe even eight innings. Joe Girardi over-manages a lot but tonight's win will be overlooked because the Yankees were able to come from behind off closer Joe Nathan. If this was Hughes' last start as a Yankee, I'm proud to say that he pitched well despite not factoring into the decision. After all, it could have been worse for Hughes if he had that big "L" next to his name in the box score.

The ninth inning began with Lyle Overbay striking out on four pitches against closer Joe Nathan who was trying to seal the win for his team. Vernon Wells then worked out a one-out walk and was able to advance to second base on a wild pitch by Nathan, slipping on the mound in the process. The Rangers were forced to bring the outfield in and Nunez rocketed a 3-2 slider into the left field alley out of the trying reach of center fielder Craig Gentry. Nunez raced his was to third base, stumbling on the way and still making it safely. The very next batter in the name of Brent Lillibridge dunked a single into shallow left field to score Nunez from third and give the Yankees a lead they would hand over to Mariano Rivera for a perfect bottom of the ninth, notching his 32nd save of the season and 640th of his brilliant career. In the process, Brent Lillibridge may have earned himself a start tomorrow night after being the hero of the game to keep the Yankees closer to the Red Sox and Rays in the playoff hunt.

In tomorrow night's game newly acquired Ranger Matt Garza will make his first start with Texas against the Yankees. Opposing Garza will be Andy Pettitte, who is desperately looking to find himself down the stretch in what will probably be his final season in the Majors.

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