After Friday night's hilarious win, the Yanks were staring a 2-1 series win in the face. All they had to do was beat a rookie on Saturday, then take their lumps against Johan Santana on Sunday. Well, they wound up winning the series, but they didn't take the expected route.
Fernando Nieve made his first start of the season for the Mets on Saturday, Andy Pettitte made his 10,000th for the Yanks. Nieve looked like a cool, calm, composed veteran. Pettitte looked like he belongs on the next bus back to the Mexican League.
Andy yielded 5 earned on 12 hits in only 5 innings of work. I know that would be a stellar effort for Chien-Ming Wang, but the Yanks need more from Pettitte, especially considering the immense strain that's been put on the pen over the past handful of games (thanks in large part to Mr. Wang.)
Even though the Yanks alternated between looking inept and hapless, the game was immensely enjoyable because we got to hear Tim McCarver and Joe Buck pull out every dickbag joke about New Yankee Stadium for several hours. Those guys are a laugh riot.
I was hoping A-Rod's solo shot in the second inning on Saturday was a sign that he's breaking out of his slump, but he finished off the weekend on a 0-5 jag. Can you imagine what this offense would look like if he was just 80% of the usual A-Rod? It's odd, because he keeps getting on base. I don't think he's that far away, I just wish he'd return to form sooner rather than later.
Anyway, everything that went wrong on Saturday went right on Sunday. Johan Santana was abused to the tune of 9 earned runs (a career high) in just 3 innings of work, while the guys the Yanks were reportedly unwilling to trade for him, Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes, were busy helping the Yanks on their way to a 15-0 demolition of the Mess.
The Yankee offensive heroes were numerous. I'll go with Frankie Cervelli for drawing first blood as the most important bat. Cervellis finished the game 3/5 with 2 runs and a RBI, he pushed his average up to .298 (pay no attention to the paltry .310 OBP). Matsui and Cano both went deep, and Cano really stung the ball a couple of times.
All the runs were great, but more importantly, A.J. Burnett gave the Yanks 7 strong innings and saved the pen. I know the game turned out to be a laugher, but if not for a mammoth Houdini by Burnett in the top of the third, this game could've been a shootout. The Yanks put four runs on the board, all with two out, in the bottom of the second. Burnett responded by walking Murphy, yielding a single to Schneider and walking Castillo. Bases loaded, no one out. Burnett dug deep, struck Cora and Martinez out, then got a little bit lucky when Beltran hit a rocket right at Jeter to end the inning. Tragedy averted, Burnett cruised the rest of the way. His final line, 7 innings, 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 Ks, 0 runs.
One final thought: Has anyone else noticed the fact that Derek Jeter is suddenly an excellent defensive shortstop? Seriously, he's covering more ground, making all the routine plays, like he always did, and even sprinkling in spectacular plays now and then. The double play he turned with Sheffield throwing a body block on him was superb. I don't know what he did in the offseason, but he looks 10 years younger out there and it's a sight for sore eyes.
Player of The Weekend: Burnett.
Team Record: 36-27
Up Next: Vs. Washington, on Tuesday. CC vs. Martis (I'll be there).