Today’s game began with anticipation of a big hit by Alex Rodriguez, but ended with the Yankees third baseman being hit by a pitch in his last at bat in the eighth inning.
Fortunately, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. According to Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez is “fine” and should be ready to play tomorrow, a proclamation endorsed by the Yankees’ third baseman. Before that prognosis, the bean ball threatened to cast a pall over the Yankees 12-6 victory and postpone Arod’s pursuit of his 600th career homerun.
Besides Arod’s impending milestone, much of the game’s focus was on starter Phil Hughes, who was seeking to reverse some of the negative trends established over last 11 starts. In particular, Hughes has struggled in his recent home starts, surrendering all 13 of his homeruns in the Bronx. Despite recording his 12th victory, that bugaboo persisted as Hughes was tagged for two more long balls, one a fly ball by Scott Posednick that just ticked off the left field foul pole and the other a titanic blast by Rick Ankiel that clanked off the facing of the third deck in right. After the Ankiel blast, Hughes did rebound to retire the final seven batters he faced, but his day was cut short by the series’ second lengthy rain delay. While he was in the game, Hughes once again seemed intent on trying to establish his curveball at the expense of his cutter. In his early season run of dominance, Hughes relied more on the cutter.
The Yankees had more success hitting off Sean O’Sullivan than they did last Tuesday when he was wearing an Angels uniform. Curtis Granderson did the most damage, stroking a pair of solo homeruns to account for five of the runs the Yankees scored off the new Royals righty. Like Hughes, O’Sullivan was lifted after the rain delay, which allowed the Yankees offense to feast on the weak Royals’ bullpen.
Speaking of weak bullpens, both Joba Chamberlain and Chan Ho Park struggled once again despite being entrusted with big leads. In the eighth, Chamberlain came on to protect a 7-3 margin, but immediately walked the lead off batter ahead of Posednick’s second home run of the game. Chamberlain’s struggles didn’t wind up costing the Yankees, but continues to shine a spotlight on the team’s most glaring weakness.
Phil Hughes’ Pitch Breakdown
|Avg. Speed||Max Speed||Count||Strikes||Percentage|
|Four Seam Fastball||92||93||56||39||69.6%|
|Two Seam Fastball||91.7||92.3||5||2||40.0%|
- Robinson Cano’s 8th inning double was the 1,000th hit in his major league career.
- Jorge Posada’s streak of eight consecutive games with an RBI came to an end when he failed to knock in a run.
- Mark Teixeira’s third inning single tied a career high mark of reaching base in 41 consecutive games.
- Scott Posednick hit two home runs in a game for the first time since April 17, 2004 versus the Astros.
- Curtis Granderson hit two home runs in a game for the first time since July 29, 2009 versus the Rangers.