Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Biggest Inning of the Yankees Season

Chris Sale was looking as dominant as he has ever looked against the Yankees until the eighth inning. Through seven innings he allowed two infield hits and a double that went off the third base bag and into left field. Sale's only run allowed to that point came on a steal of home by Vernon Wells in the second inning on a double steal by Nunez and Wells. Then the floodgates opened in the eighth inning and hit after hit, the Yankees worked their way into winning the game by scoring five times. The rally started innocently enough on a base hit with one out by Derek Jeter. Cano's at bat would prove to be vital as he looked fooled on a couple of Sale offerings but rocketed the 1-2 pitch into a double off the left field wall to put runners on second and third with one man out in the inning. Again, Soriano who has been clutch ever since joining the Yankees singled up the middle to provide the Yankees with their second and third runs of the game. Still down by one run, Alex Rodriguez followed with another single up the middle that put runners at first and third, still with only one out in the inning. Curtis Granderson pinch-hit for Wells who has been killing rallies all season long. Granderson also singled up the middle to tie the game for the Yankees and set it up for Eduardo Nunez to give the Yankees a lead which they would hold on to by lining an inside pitch down the left field line to score two more runs, giving the Yankees a 6-4 lead which would turn out to be one of their biggest games of the season. Granted, the game was won against the White Sox but a loss to Chicago would have put a damper on the Yankees season considering each game is so precious as there are only 24 games left for the Yankees to earn a postseason spot.

Hiroki Kuroda struggled, no doubt about it but he could have easily given up more than four runs in the game to put the Yankees too far behind to mount a comeback of the caliber they were able to stumble across in the eighth inning. Kuroda threw over 20 pitches in the first inning and had the bases loaded with one out, one run already across. Kuroda was able to strike out the side and the Yankees tied the game in the second. Alexei Ramirez would triple and drive in two runs in the fifth inning which, with Sale on the mound, looked like enough for the Yankees to pack it in for the night. The nail on the coffin would seemingly come in the seventh when De Aza homered off Kuroda to give the White Sox a three run lead. Kuroda was removed from the game following the home run and the bullpen wouldn't allow anymore damage which gave way to the Yankees rally in the eighth inning.

This game was perhaps the most important game of the season for the Yankees because combined with their victory, the Orioles lost to Cleveland and the Yankees have jumped in front of the Orioles once again in the standings and are now only 2 games back for the second wildcard position. With a Tampa Bay loss tonight, the Yankees would be 1.5 games back, which would put them in good position coming into tomorrow for a sweep. If the Yankees sweep this series which they desperately need to do, they may end up being 1 or 1.5 games out of the wildcard race, putting the Boston series this weekend at a premium. Joe Girardi has already decided to skip Hughes on Sunday and to pitch David Huff in his place. Huff has earned a start with his recent dominance when called upon out of the bullpen. I don't have much faith in Sabathia to turn his bad pitching around this season, but if the Yankees can put up another big inning in tomorrow's game they have a great chance to sweep with Chicago putting a rookie on the mound at Yankee Stadium.

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