Monday, June 20, 2011

Swisher Clubs Cubs

Nick Swisher has been looking high and low for his swing all season, especially from the left side of the plate, where his has batting average has been 150-200 points lower than from the right. But it was against right-hander Chris Carpenter that Swisher crushed a go ahead 3-run home run in the 8th inning and the Yankees went on to a 10-4 victory at Wrigley Field.

CC Sabathia struggled early then settled down for his ninth win of the season and the Yankees took two of three in the weekend series. Alfonso Soriano smacked a 3-run home run of his own to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning, but Sabathia would allow just two more runners in scoring position on the night. He finished off his night with a five pitch seventh frame.

Cubs manager Mike Quade was a bit hamstrung in the late innings since his main set up man, Jeff Samardzija was unavailable after throwing 40 pitches on Saturday. When lefty Scott Marshall gave up back to back singles to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to start the 8th, Quade sent for the rookie Carpenter to face Swisher. After two pitches well out of the strike zone, Carpenter had no choice but come into the strike zone with the baseball and Swisher jumped all over it, much to delight of the many Yankees fans in attendance.

With Mariano Rivera warming for a save opportunity, the Yankees put the game away in the 9th with some help from the Cubs' defense. Brett Gardner, who began the day with his first career game lead off home run, doubled to left for his third hit of the night. Curtis Granderson followed with a deep drive into narrow right field corner that infielder turned outfielder Jeff Baker simply whiffed on for an RBI triple. Mark Teixeira doubled off Rodrigo Lopez for another run and then Soriano quit on an A-Rod drive that hit the base of the wall (Speculation was that Soriano thought the ball was a home run or was going to hit high off the wall) for an RBI double.


After a miserable first two months of the season, Nick Swisher appears to have woken up. He's slugging at a .618 rate and has a 1.070 OPS in June. He also has four home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games and has raised his average from May 25 from .204 to .237.

Phil Hughes took the next step towards his return to the Bronx with a rehab stint for the New York-Penn League's Staten Island Baby Bombers. Hughes threw in the 92-93 mph range for most of the day and reached 95 at one point.

Alex Rodriguez denied a report from's Wallace Matthews that he was playing with a strained left shoulder. He admitted that his shoulder was sore, but that it was nothing more than the regular bumps and bruises that occur during the season.

Perhaps A.J. Burnett could ask for some run support from CC Sabathia. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have scored in double digits six times for the big lefty, double the amount for any other pitcher in the league.

Sabathia has been dominant on the road this season, going 6-2, 2.62 compared to a 4.20 ERA at Yankee Stadium. He's also won his last five road decisions.

Struggling Triple-A starter Andrew Brackman has been moved to the bullpen to try to straighten out his troubles.

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