I was at this one. I don't know how it seemed to anyone watching on TV or listening on the radio, but in the stands the Yankees and Mariners played this game as though both teams had decided yesterday the Yankees would win. The entire game lacked fire, and as the game bore on I could hear Michael Kay's voice in my head reminding the TV audience that the game was closer than it seemed.
CC Sabathia didn't have his best stuff, but you wouldn't really know it from his line. He pitched 8 innings, giving up only 1 earned run (2 overall) on 117 pitches. He allowed only 5 hits and walked only 2, but he also only struck out 4. The Mariners hit the ball hard at times, putting a couple balls as far back as the warning track. Had CC done this against the Red Sox I'd be elated, but I was hoping for more against Seattle, at least as pay back.
The Yankees opened the game with two quick hits against Ryan Rowland-Smith. Mark Teixeira grounded out to first, but drove in Derek Jeter in the process. Suddenly it was 1-0 Yankees. For a moment the game looked like the blow out it should have been. But then ... nothing ... happened.
The Yankee bats made Rowland-Smith look better than his numbers. Robinson Cano did hit a homer in the 4th (a thing of beauty, by the way, a 400 foot line drive) but the team didn't muster any more offense against him.
It was 2-0 in the top of the 8th in a lazy game when I said to my buddy that the game was closer than either team was playing. That was right about when CC lost the zone. A moment later Russell Branyan tied the score with a single to right. Fortunately for the Yankees Branyan got greedy trying to stretch the hit into a double and was tagged out on his way to 2nd, but he tied the score in the process.
The Yankees seemed to be playing lazily the entire time. They demonstrated that in the bottom of the inning, when suddenly they couldn't be stopped. Mark Teixeira picked up his second hit of the game. Alex Rodriguez then drove him in on a two-run shot over the short porch in right on a pitch that was up around his hands. It was the 2nd time A-Rod had hit the ball hard in the game. Earlier he put a double right between the visitor's bullpen and th 408 sign. He was visibly angry that he didn't get all of that one. He got all of the one he hit in the 8th and gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th, lowering his ERA to 0.89 on the season (wow!).
As an aside, short of having Nick Swisher himself give out the ballots the Yankees could not have done more to boost his case for the All-Star team. He and Robbie have apparently filmed an instructional video on how to cast an All-Star ballot that the team aired on the scoreboard. They then showed Nick's picture several times, reminding us all to vote for him. They did this for no other player. I agree that Swisher deserves his due. He's having a good season, but what about Brett Gardner?
The Yankees play another matinee tomorrow, this time against the Blue Jays. Dave Eiland is back, so I'm curious to see what story line will soon be responsible for A.J. Burnett's pending meltdown. Maybe Jorge Posada will be catching? The Jay's will counter with Brett Cecil, who's not such a bad pitcher. Hopefully the Bombers can muster more than 2 runs. They'll need it. I'm predicting bad A.J. right now.