Playing games away from the cavernous Coliseum can't be much fun for Oakland's young pitchers.
The Yankees pulverized an A's starter for the second straight game, pounding Oakland 9-3. Vin Mazzaro -- yet another A's starter boasting a shiny ERA in a rotation full of hurlers with sub-4.00 marks -- proved that, like Trevor Cahill, he isn't quite the same pitcher on the road, coughing up seven earned runs to the Bombers.
Coming into the game Mazzaro boasted a 3.18 ERA (4.36 FIP) at home and 3.92 (4.76 FIP) mark on the road. Additionally, if he had enough innings to qualify, he'd own the third widest gap between overall ERA (3.61) and FIP (4.59) in the American League (0.98).
It's been an absolute joy to witness the team's recent offensive outburst. The Yanks have now scored nine-plus runs five times in their last nine games. That'll play. The newly christened and devastating heart of the Yankee order featuring Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher continued to rake, with Teixeira going deep for the second straight night -- giving him 30 home runs for the year -- and Swisher also pumping his 25th jack of the year. Curtis Granderson also got in on the fun, launching his 15th bomb of the year.
On the pitching side for the Yankees, Phil Hughes continued his frustrating stretch of uneconomical pitching, throwing 98 pitches through 5 innings, though fortunately limiting the damage to only two runs -- a vast improvement from his last outing. I know the Yankees want to limit Hughes' innings, but he's basically been able to do it for them, having not pitched into the 7th inning since July 9 at Seattle, a span of 11 starts. I don't know if that's a positive or negative given the innings limits, but as Phil continues to mature we'll need to see improved pitch economy and the ability to confidently finish hitters off with two strikes. By my count Phil only threw four changeups (only 1 of which went for a strike), and until he starts showing more of a willingness to change speeds we'll continue banging the changeup drum.
Chad Gaudin pitched three innings of one-run ball, the lone run coming on a Daric Barton solo shot. With a seven-run lead, that's no harm, no foul. David Robertson finished things up with a scoreless ninth.
And how about that Tex? After hitting .211/.326/.363 from the beginning of the season through June 6 (a span of 57 games), he has put up a .305/.401/.620 line in 71 games since then. Imagine he could harness his awesomeness for all six months of a baseball season.
And to cap off a great night for the Yankees, both Tampa Bay and Boston lost, returning sole possession of first place to the Yankees for the first time since August 22, and dropping the Sox eight games out of first. A year ago Boston was 6.5 out of first place on the morning of September 1.