The focus has been on the Yankees bats during their 21-6 streak since the All-Star break, but the starting pitching has been just as important. That was the case in the first two games of this weekend's series with the Indians. The young guns, Phil Hughes, using a nasty curveball, and Joba Chamberlain, with his filthy slider, dominated the slumping Indians for 8 Indians. Yesterday it was the old man, though young in comparison to Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina who threw his best outing of the season in a dominant performance.
Friday night, Hughes (2-1) shook off poor start against the Royals last Sunday and gave Joe Torre 6 solid innings. He allowed 1 run while striking out 6. Chamberlain then came in, with a fastball that topped out at 99 mph, and retired all 6 men he faced. With 4 strikeouts, Chamberlain has 6 in 4 innings pitched. Oh, in case the Indians hoped to rally in the 9th, Mariano Rivera came in for a non-save situation to close things out in a Yankees 6-1 win.
Last night was vintage Moose (8-7) as the Yankees romped 11-2. He threw 89 pitches, an amazing 69 of which were strikes. He gave up 2 runs in 7.2 innings, but it would have been 1 run had Johnny Damon not misplayed a ball in left field. It was Moose's 100th career victory as a Yankee and the 247th of his career. He became only the 9th player to win 100 games with 2 different teams, and the first Yankees pitcher to accomplish that feat.
Of course, let us not forget the offense. Alex Rodriguez started the scoring on Friday with a 410-ft blast to centerfield. His 37th of the season and #501. He topped himself on Saturday with a pair of 2-run blasts, giving him 39 and 503 respectively.
Derek Jeter had 3 hits in both games, and with a .388 average, has the best average among all hitters with at least 100 at-bats at Jacobs Field.
With a base hit in both ball games, Melky Cabrera extended his career high hitting streak to 16 games.
Jorge Posada sat out both games with a stiff neck, but Jose Molina filled in nicely, including rapping out a career 4 hits on Saturday.
At one point last night, Robinson Cano had 46 hits in last 100 at-bats. In the 30 games since the All-Star break, he's batting .416 with 7 HRs and 28 RBI.
Joe Torre plans on using Jason Giambi as the DH today, so he put him in for one at-bat last night. Giambi promptly crushed his 8th HR of the season, a moonshot that rose above the upper deck before settling down below.
The Indians honored the late, great Larry Doby on Friday night. Doby was the 1st African-American ball player to play in the American League. Every Indians player wore Doby's number 14.
Joe Torre served his one game suspension, for the bean brawl in Toronto, on Friday night and Don Mattingly filled in nicely. He looked quite comfortable in Torre's chair during post-game interviews. Torre watched the game up in the press box with NBA coach Mike Fratello.