Friday, April 20, 2012

The Grand Finale

I know it's still very early, but in my opinion, last night's game was a must win for the Yankees. I say that because the pitching and offense have been somewhat sluggish thus far this season, and to have the Minnesota Twins, a team that the Yankees knock around like cats do mice take a four-game series, could have induced some mental doubt; something that may have affected them going into tonight's series against the Red Sox.
Granderson inset - AP photo

So, the Yankees did what they needed to do. The "Big Bats" went to work and simply out-slugged the Twins for the win. Curtis Granderson put on his own version of the "Laser Show" with three home runs last night--two solos and a two-run shot for four RBIs. He would go 5-for-5, adding in two singles. None of Minnesota's pitches were safe from Grandy. His first two homers came off of 93 and 90 mph fastballs from Anthony Swarzak. The third home run pitch was an 88 mph changeup from Jeff Gray. The singles came on an 84 mph slider and 96 mph four-seamer from Alex Burnett and Glen Perkins, respectively. Grandy now leads the team with 6 homers and 14 runs. He's second behind Derek Jeter in RBIs with 10.

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez had a good night as well. Tex went 2-for-4 with a two-run shot in the first which put the Yankees one run behind the Twins, who had already scored four runs. A-Rod hit singles in the first and second innings and Ibanez added singles in the third and seventh. Speaking of Alex, he seems to be slowly making his way out of the slump he's been in; hopefully home runs will ensue. He seemed a little less antsy at the plate last night and more focused on putting balls in play instead of trying to drive them for home runs. And Ibanez has looked excellent of late, going 7-for-16 in his last 4 games.

The Associated Press
A somewhat disappointing start for Phil Hughes, however, although the offense allowed him to get his first win of the season. He went 5.1 innings, giving up six hits and allowing 2 earned runs. As I mentioned, the Twins knocked in four runs off of him in the first inning, two of which came on an error by Eduardo Nunez. Regardless, Hughes still has not figured out how to put batters away when he's ahead in the count, as he continues to rack up his pitch count in early innings. What has looked great in all of his starts, has been the movement and placement of his changeup.

And just a little note on The Captain, Jeter went 1-for-5 last night, and has hit safely in 10 straight games. He's batting .373. Nice.

In a few, our boys head up to Fenway Park to meet the Red Sox on what is the park's 100th birthday. I could care less about all the ceremonies taking place; I just want the Yankees to put Boston into further misery, as they are 4-8 to start the season. There are reports of dissention in the ranks; Bobby Valentine is not playing nice with some of his superstars. Let's see how long this lasts. Ivan Nova gets the start against Clay Buccholz.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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