Not to toot our own horns, but prior to tonight's game both MJR and I had a feeling the Yankees would end up getting to Trevor Cahill, after Matt of Matt on Earth fame expressed some consternation over the team having to face the pitcher with the second-lowest ERA in the American League.
Matt: "I'm not sure which is more unsettling -- Cahill tonight, or a pitcher we haven't seen all year. Sigh."
MJR: "The Yanks knocked Cahill around when we faced him in Oakland. Hopefully he hasn't adjusted."
Larry: "I'm not sold on Cahill. I can only imagine I'll be eating those words after he no-hits the Yanks tonight, but the negative delta between his ERA and FIP is the widest in the American League, which suggests a pretty healthy dose of luck. Additionally, his road numbers are all far worse than his home numbers. Not saying he's a bad pitcher by any stretch of the imagination, and if he possesses a changeup then God help the Yankees, but I don't know that Cahill is quite the superstud he's made out to be."
What we didn't expect, however, was that he'd give up eight earned runs -- the most Cahill has surrendered all season -- as the Yankees rolled to an 11-5 victory. The game started out ignominiously enough, as Dustin Moseley put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole before the team came to bat. However, the offense would have none of it, plating three runs of its own in the bottom half of the first. Two innings later Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back home runs, and the Yankees wouldn't look back.
In fact, the offensive nucleus of Cano, Tex and Nick Swisher -- who have basically paced the offense for much of the season as stalwarts like Derek Jeter (more on him in a moment) and Alex Rodriguez stumble to the worst seasons of their careers -- had three hits apiece, and Cano and Swisher each had three RBIs. Swish hit two doubles, and the red-hot Marcus Thames homered for the sixth time in his last six games.
Unfortunately Moseley wasn't able to give the team length, lasting 4 1/3 innings while giving up four runs. Javier Vazquez finished off the remaining 4 2/3 innings and picked up the win in relief, although I'm not sure I'm ready to pronounce Home Run Javy cured just because he was able to shut down a light-hitting Athletics offense. He still managed to give up one earned run, though he did strike out six, so I suppose that's progress.
Getting back to Jeter, after a 22-game stretch (July 20 through August 11) that saw him hit .315/.376/.435, Derek has vanished in the 17 games since, "hitting" .203/.282/.290, and that doesn't include the 0-4 he took in this game. Eek. I don't know how Mr. 2.1 WAR is going to be able to ask for $20 million a year with a straight face this offseason if he ends up turning in both a sub-100 OPS+ season for the first time in his career and his lowest-ever wOBA by far (even in his down year of 2008 he managed a .343 mark), both of which he is poised to do if he doesn't turn things around in September.
The Rays beat Toronto so the Yankees and Tampa continue to remain tied for both first place in the AL East and the best record in baseball, at 81-50. Idle Boston is now 7 games out, which, awesome.