That was precisely the case today. One minute my buddy Morgan and I were thrilled to see Andy Pettitte work out of trouble, inducing a double play to end the top of the fifth. The next minute I was thinking, "Wait, Pettitte doesn't throw right-handed."
MRI results on Andy's left elbow revealed mild inflammation only. The Yankees are saying that he is day-to-day, but expect Sergio Mitre to pitch in Pettitte's place on Tuesday in Detroit. The team should consider itself lucky that the injury isn't more serious. The Yankees have now said that Pettitte first began feeling stiffness in his pitching arm during his recent start against Chicago, but at the time the team thought Andy would be able to pitch through any discomfort.
Pettitte adds his name to a growing list of Yankees nursing mild injuries. Mariano Rivera should be good to go Friday, but the status of Jorge Posada is uncertain. Alex Rodriguez's legs appear to be fine now, but, as Yankee fans everywhere know, Curtis Granderson will be out for at least a month.
The rash of injuries mires what would have otherwise been a cheerful day for the Yankee faithful. With a 7-5 victory, the Bombers completed the sweep of the Baltimore Orioles to finish 5-1 on their recent homestand.
Making the win all the more sweet, Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira contributed offensively, marking perhaps the first time all season the Yankees have gotten what they expected from their 2-3 hitters. Johnson homered on the first pitch of the game he saw, depositing a no-doubter in the second deck of the right field seats, one of three hits he'd have on the day. Teixeira came about five feet shy of going back-to-back with the Walking Stick, just missing putting one out in the first as well. Tex would have to settle for a two-run double in the 4th.
The Yankees' error rulings have been odd all season, and cost Tex a hit today. In the 8th inning Tex hit a bullet right at Oriole first baseman Garret Atkins. Atkins would have needed his own gravitational pull to stop the ball, and was lucky to knock it down. But the play was ruled an error. As a fan it was frustrating, because Nick Johnson's hit earlier that inning and Francisco Cervelli's bunt earlier in the game both looked to be errors, but were ruled hits. Apparently even the Yankees' official scorekeeper is frustrated with Teixeira's slow start.
The game became closer than it needed to be once Pettitte was removed. Sergio Mitre came on in relief and pitched well in the 6th and 7th, but surrendered a two-run homer in the 8th to Ty Wigginton. Damaso Marte retired Nick Markakis, and David Robertson put down Miguel Tejada to end the inning, but the O's weren't done.
David "New Phil Coke" Robertson has officially lost it. With Joba Chamberlain unavailable to close the 9th after pitching two consecutive nights, Robertson was called upon to get three outs and end what was at the time a 7-3 ballgame. Instead, Robertson gave up back-to-back blasts, one to Matt Wieters, the other to Nolan Reimold. I'm no physicist, but my take is that Reimold's bomb would have landed in Connecticut if it hadn't hit the foul pole.
Boone Logan didn't give up any runs, but he walked two and retired only one. Joe Girardi needed to turn to Alfredo Aceves to lock up the save and end the game.
The Yankees have been playing out of their minds through the first 27 games of the season. The Bombers are in the top three in the AL in just about every team pitching and hitting category that counts and have powered their way to an impressive 19-8 record. But the combination of injuries and poor production from key stars has tested the team's depth.
That depth is about to be tested further. Beginning Friday, the Yankees play 17 in a row. 10 of these games are on the road. Five of these games are against Boston. Four are against Detroit. The Mets and Twins get three apiece, and, for fun, the Rays come into town for a two-game quickie in late May.
Pettitte is only missing one start, right?