Where was I? Oh yeah, Ivan Nova’s remarkably self-serving postgame comments and his precipitous fall in the Yankee rotation. Well after Tuesday’s debacle, the Yanks desperately needed an easy win to right the ship and keep a healthy distance between themselves and the Orioles in the AL East.
The 1:05PM start was ideal for the Yankee offense, which has been markedly better in day games this season (.841 OPS vs. .777 at night). Sure enough, the Yanks jumped on overmatched starter Zach Britton and eight-years-past-his-prime Kevin Gregg for 11 runs in the first three innings. The big blow — copyright Michael Kay, 2000 — was a grand slam by Robbie Cano that gave the Bombers an 11-1 lead. The slam was the ninth of Cano’s career, well behind Lou Gehrig’s record of 24 that was tied by A-Rod earlier this season. But given Cano’s age (29) and his years ahead in the middle of the Yankee lineup (knock on wood), he could challenge whatever mark A-Rod sets after he inevitably breaks the tie with Gehrig.
The highlight of the game was the long-awaited return of Joba Chamberlain, who was handed a 10-run lead in the seventh and allowed four hits and two runs in 1.2 innings. Normally that would be a disappointing performance, but after missing the last 14 months to rehab from Tommy John surgery and a gruesome open ankle dislocation (which he suffered earlier this year while jumping on a trampoline with his young son, and no I’m not making that up), Joba’s outing was not all that bad.
Perhaps Joba’s return can stop the bad juju that has permeated the Yankee clubhouse this year, causing one serious injury after another. Hitters, bench players, starters, relievers — every part of the New York roster has been staggered by injuries at some point this season. To recap…
Brett Gardner, LF: Placed on DL after playing in just nine game in April with a bruised right elbow and strained arm muscle after making a sliding catch in left field on April 18. Suffered setback after setback after setback in his attempts to return from the elbow injury. Finally opted for elbow surgery in late July, out for the season.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B: Took a Felix Hernandez fastball to the left hand on July 24, broke his left fifth metacarpal (basically the pinky finger bone), out until late September.
Nick Swisher, RF: Missed six games in early May with a hamstring injury. Missed two games after suffering “the worst Charley Horse ever” in June. Missed another six games in late July with a strained hip flexor. Clearly, Nicky has some middle of the body issues, as it were.
Mark Teixeira, 1B: Left Monday’s game against Baltimore clutching his left wrist after landing on it awkwardly while trying to snare a line drive. MRI revealed no structural damage, only inflammation. Not expected back for tonight’s game.
Eric Chavez, IF: Not injured this year per se, but years of accumulated maladies make it impossible for Chavez to play every day. Suffered whiplash and concussion-like symptoms after hitting his head diving for a line drive in an early May game against the Orioles and missed the next seven games.
Eduardo Nunez, IF: After being demoted to the minors, injured his right thumb in May. Currently making rehab appearances in Class A and AA.
Michael Pineda, RHP: Acquired in the offseason for Jesus Montero. Had subpar velocity in spring training, and tests showed a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Had surgery and was lost for the year without throwing a pitch in the regular season. Womp womp.
Andy Pettitte, LHP: Broke his left fibula after taking a line drive to the shin in late June. Out until at least the end of August.
C.C. Sabathia, LHP: Missed two starts in late June/early July after straining the thigh muscle in his left leg. First significant injury for C.C. since 2006.
Mariano Rivera, RHP: Tore his right ACL and meniscus shagging flies in Kansas City on May 3. Lost for the season. Let’s just move on.
David Robertson, RHP: Missed six weeks in May and June after suffering a left oblique strain.
Joba Chamberlain, RHP: As mentioned above, made his first appearance of the season Wednesday.
So there you have it. On a lighter note, here’s a link to the current MLB standings. Enjoy your summer weekends — I’ll be back Monday to wrap up the Yanks’ three-game home series against Seattle, which features a possibly explosive appearance by Felix Hernandez (aka the A-Rod/Jeter/Ichiro beaner) on Saturday.