Series In Review: Houston
“Houston, we have a problem…”
It wouldn’t be uncommon to hear the famous Apollo 13 quotation leave the mouths of Astro fans after this weekend’s romping in the Big Apple.
Before the 2-time defending National League champions stroll into the Bronx on Tuesday night, the Yankees had business to take care of against the Houston Astros.
The Yankees wasted no time taking advantage of mistakes to take a lead at home on Friday as Brett Myers issued a bases loaded walk to Nick Swisherfollowed by yet another clutch two run single by Francisco Cervelli to take a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning. With an RBI single in the 5th by Mark Teixeira, this would be more than enough for Old Reliable.
Sitting on win #199 with the New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte was flirting with a historic accomplishment that only two other Yankees before him had achieved. Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) had to make room for Pettitte (200) as the third pitcher in franchise history to win 200 games with the New York Yankees. Pettitte stifled his former team of three years with a plethora of pitches en route to his 8th win of the year. He went 7.1 innings allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits (1 walk) while striking out 4. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera came on to close the door for a 4-3 victory. With the win, Pettitte passed Whitey Ford for 58th on the all-time wins list. We are only left to marvel at what this feat would have meant if Pettitte had never left for Houston.
The other half of the “Core Four” was absolutely sensational on Saturday. In the bottom of the 1st inning, Derek Jeter slapped a ball into the Astro bullpen to quickly put the Yankees out in front 1-0. After a 438 ft. mammoth shot by Hunter Pence to tie the game, Jeff Keppinger doubled to give the Astros a 2-1 edge.
The wise ones have always said, “the leadoff walk will always come back to get you”. Saturday certainly wasn’t an exception. Jeter worked a walk in the 3rd and advanced to 3rd base after a bad throw that trickled into the outfield on his stolen base attempt. Swisher would single Jeter home to even the game 2-2. After Teixeira worked a walk and Robinson Cano beat out an infield single, Jorge Posada approached the plate. Not exactly a formidable hitter over the past two weeks, Posada had 4 hits in his previous 31 at bats (.129) since coming off the DL. On an 0-1 pitch, Posada drilled his 250th career homerun in grand style. The grand slam into right-centerfield broke the game open and gave the Yankees a 6-2 lead. Incase that wasn’t enough; Jeter went opposite field in the 6th inning with a 3-run dinger to make it a 9-3 game.
Javier Vazquez was great once again with a line of 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 SO. Robertson and Gaudin would each pitch a scoreless inning to shutdown Houston.
As if the weekend was exciting enough, the Yankees would continue the fireworks on Sunday. Down 1-0 in the 4th, Robinson Cano smashed his 100thcareer homerun to tie the game. Ramiro Pena, after an absolutely spectacular diving catch in the infield, brought home 2 more runs with a single to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Posada was given another opportunity with the bases loaded, and he didn’t disappoint. With a newly discovered confidence and swagger, Posada hit ANOTHER grand slam into the right-centerfield seats to give the Yankees a prominent 7-1 lead.
Until the rain started, Phil Hughes was impressive. Although his final line was somewhat weak (5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 SO, 2 BB), it wasn’t until the final two batters he faced that things went spiraling downward. Manzella’s two run single and Cash’s two run homer sent Hughes packing. Logan, Park, Chamberlain and Rivera would come on to finish the final 3.1 innings without surrendering a run and the Yankees would emerge sweeping away the Astros.
Notes from this weekend’s series:
- The Yankees improved their all-time record against the Astros to 8-1
- Derek Jeter has now reached base safely in 31 consecutive games via hit or walk.
- The Yankees are now 6-0 without Alex Rodriguez in the lineup this season.
- No Yankee has hit grand slams in consecutive games since Bill Dickey in 1937.
- After going 4 for 31 with 1 RBI in his previous 9 games, Posada finished the weekend 3 for 5 with 2 homeruns, 8 RBI, 3 runs scored and 2 walks.
Yankee Stats from the weekend:
- Record: 3-0
- BA: 23-93 (.247)
- RISP: 11-27 (.407)
- Homeruns: 5
- Runs Scored: 22
- ERA: 3.33
Astro Stats from the weekend:
- Record: 0-3
- BA: 21-110 (.191)
- RISP: 2-10 (.200)
- Homeruns: 3
- Runs Scored: 11
- ERA: 7.88
The Yankees begin a huge 3 game series against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Yankee Stadium. Yes, the last time the Phillies played at Yankee Stadium they walked off crying. Read more about this upcoming series in "The Series Ahead". First pitch 7:05 tonight on My 9. CC vs. Halladay!!