Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yankees Top Tina Fey and Paul Rudd and the White Sox

"Make another error and next time it'll be hot coffee."
Tuesday night's Yankees-White Sox game had all the makings of a disaster. Hiroki Kuroda was attempting to right his ship after three poor outings in a row and struck out the side in the first inning. The only problem was Alfonso Soriano had played a potential fly out into a double and Eduardo Nunez added to his error total at shortstop. Kuroda worked out of the jam with just one run allowed, but the Yankees already trailed after a half inning. More poor play by Soriano in left field and domination by White Sox starter Chris Sale put the Yankees in a 4-1 hole.

By that time the five human and one furry occupants of our household were watching Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. A cute movie that was no blockbuster, but enjoyable nonetheless. I had already lambasted Nunez repeatedly in debating his value with my brother. "His bat is not good enough to put up with his defense in the field."  A little later Nunez tried to prove me wrong.

After the credits rolled on the movie, I glanced at Yahoo baseball and was shocked to see Yankees 6 White Sox 4.  The Yankees get all the credit in the world for coming from behind to win another must win game. Robin Ventura should be sent a thank you card for his role in it - he pulled Sale after the star in the making threw 114 pitches. (The people that knocked Ventura need their heads examined - 114 pitches in this day and age is a huge amount.)

Derek Jeter got the ball rolling with a one-out single in the bottom of the 8th and Robinson Cano followed with a double. Ventura ended Sales' night and brought in Nate Jones to face Soriano. The second time around in pinstripes has been fruitful for Soriano, whose bat does make up for his defensive deficiencies. He laced a single back up the middle to cut the White Sox lead to 4-3 and moved to third when Alex Rodriguez followed with a single of his own.

Lefty Donnie Veal replaced Jones to face pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson, but the Grandyman lined a game tying single to center field. Veal struck out Mark Reynolds, but Nunez lined a double to left off right-hander Matt Lindstrom to put the Yankees on top for the first time, 6-4.  Mariano Rivera made quick work of the White Sox with a 12-pitch, 9th inning for his 40th save.

It was a tremendous win, but also a reminder that Nunez cannot, should not, be in the field with such huge importance on every game. With Jayson Nix out, the Yankees should have picked up a Miguel Cairo-type player to spell Jeter in the field and kept Nunez on the bench.

Notes

The time finally arrived - Phil Hughes has been plucked from the rotation and put in the bullpen. David Huff, who has a similar career path to Hughes will take his turn in the rotation against Boston on Saturday. Hughes was tremendous out of the pen for the Yankees in 2009 and the move could mean that Joba Chamberlain gets crazy glued to the bullpen bench in close games.

Girardi told the media that he will use the off-season to try to get Rivera to return next year. The odds are slim to none.  Rivera is a man of his word and the "retirement tour" that has taken place would seem disingenuous.

The Yankees first run came on a double steal. A hit and a pair of Chicago errors put Vernon Wells on third and Nunez on first. Nunez broke for second on Sales' delivery and catcher Josh Phegley fired towards second. Wells broke for home and scored when second baseman Gordon Beckham cut the ball off in front of the bag, but made a throw to the wrong side of home plate.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Nunez became the first non-Jeter shortstop since Randy Velarde (1995) to drive in the game winning run in the 8th inning or later.

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