I'm convinced the Cleveland Indians have been reading my mind - during one of the umpteenth starts this season during which the Yankees lineup struggle against a lefty starter, I turned to my father and said, "Any team facing the Yankees this season might as well sign -searches memory for a washed-up lefty-...Scott Kazmir and just throw him out there." Lo and behold, the Indians resurrected Kazmir out of Indy ball and started him against the Yankees for the first time since 2010: my anti-Yankee strategy come to life.
The Yankees lineup did a good job of making me look like a crappy GM, roughing up Kazmir for four runs in the third. Lyle Overbay started off the inning by knocking a double...off a lefty, no less. (Excuse me for a second while I update my all-time Yankees right fielders list: 1. Babe Ruth 2 (tie). Reggie Jackson and Lyle Overbay 4. Paul O' Neill.) Chris Stewart smacked a solid single, then got himself thrown out trying to advance when the throw home was cut off. Stewart has made an out on the base paths twice in his last three starts, which is simply unacceptable. Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single over the drawn-in infield to score Overbay and the suddenly-hot Jayson Nix moved Ichiro to third with a single.
Up to the plate stepped Mark Teixeira - he of the hat-aided grand slam last night. That hat save video was national news today, and I guess Tex took it personally; he made sure to deposit this ball a good 20 rows into the left field bleachers. That's two home runs - one from each side of the plate - and seven RBIs for Tex in the last two games, which is as many runs as the entire Yankee offense scored in the four-game Mets series.
Kazmir did manage to strike out seven in six innings, but the Yankees worked him for seven hits and two walks. It seemed like most of the hitters came into this match-up with a clear game plan - to take Kazmir to the opposite field whenever possible.
David Phelps took the mound for the Yankees on the heels of a disastrous 0.1-inning outing against the Mets. A Notre Dame man like Phelps probably deduced that wasn't good enough. This time out he held the Indians to no runs on one infield single in six innings, an outing sure to knock that Mets catastrophe out of Joe Girardi's memory banks. Phelps wasn't efficient (four walks), but he got the job done against a quality Cleveland lineup.
The setup men nearly did their damnedest to undo Phelps good work in the seventh and eighth. Joba Chamberlain gave up a three-run shot to Drew Stubbs, he of the three home runs on the season, in the seventh, and David Robertson started the eighth with a walk and a single. He was bailed out by True-Yankee-4-Lyfe Nick Swisher, who smoked a line drive right at the second baseman for a double play. Mo was Mo in the ninth.
- Mike Aviles was thrown out of the game after making the final out...and I mean the final out of the game. Umps gotta ump, I guess.
- Swisher is getting his big chance in this series to hurt the Yankees' offense, not only by his absence, but also with his glove, and he sure took advantage on back-to-back at bats in the bottom of the second. Playing first base, he lept to snare an opposite-field liner by Vernon Wells, who really could have used a break there, and then he made a good scope on a throw from Mark Reynolds to retire Kevin Youkilis. Some decent glove work by that Swisher fellow...and I hear he can even play some right field! Sorry, Swish, but Lyle Overbay has already stolen my heart out there in right.
- YES showed a brief "Tony Pena throwing out base runners" highlight clip...too brief, if you ask me. I could watch Tony Pena throwing highlights all day.
The Yankees will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon, with CC Sabathia looking to build on his quality start last Firday. This is the second time this season the Yankees have won back-to-back games against the Indians in the wake of losses in back-to-back series. Thank you, Cleveland, you're the ultimate rebound team!