Going into the weekend’s subway series, both the Yankees and the Mets were really coming in rather hot. The Mets had won their last 11 consecutive games and stood as the best team in all of baseball, and the Yankees had just won 3 straight games against another leading team, the Tigers. Both New York teams were leading their divisions, a first for this crosstown rivalry match-up. It was bound to be something to watch tonight in the Bronx. And it was.
The Yankees’ hitting power they cultivated on this recent road trip just continued under the chilly skies and bright lights of Yankee Stadium. In the 1st inning, with 2 outs and Gardner on base with a single, it’s Mark Teixeira to hit his 6th homer of the season, a 2-run home run to give the Yankees an early lead.
Then in the 3rd, Jacoby Ellsbury led-off the inning with a solo home run (his 1st of the season). Gardner singled, but got caught trying to make it to 2nd. Rodriguez walked and then scored on (who else?) Teixeira’s second 2-run home run of the game; the ball also landed in the same section (and roughly the same row) of the 2nd deck of right field as his first ball did. Then the Yankees loaded the bases — McCann singled, Beltran walked, and Headley singled. Stephen Drew’s sacrifice fly scored McCann and gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead over the Mets.
And there they sat, giving starting pitcher Michael Pineda a lot to work with as he pitched his way to his 3rd win of the season. Pineda’s 100 pitches took him 7.2 innings, giving up just 5 hits, 1 run, and striking out 7 Mets batters. In the 6th inning, a lead-off single advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch and moved to 3rd on a fly out before scoring on a sacrifice fly. It would be the only time the Mets really got close to an opportunity for damage.
Chasen Shreve finished off Pineda’s 8th inning and threw a sharp 9th inning to keep the Mets down and out, throwing just 15 total pitches. Shreve continues to be quite a force in the bullpen for the Yankees.
The Yankees exhausted the Mets starter early, forcing him out of the game by the 6th, but the Mets bullpen is markedly stronger than recently faced teams. But an attack on a weak point like the bullpen was unnecessary with the head start in the scoring off the starter. I don’t know if the Yankees will be as lucky against some of the upcoming Mets starters this weekend, but time will tell.
Final score: 6-1 Yankees.
It was another quick game at 2 hours, 33 minutes, which was probably partially due to the weather. No snow, but a chilly 46-degree, slightly breezy night in the Bronx still had most of its players, coaches, umpires, and fans bundled up for what can feel much colder. And while tomorrow’s high is forecast to be around 60, as that sun sets, the canyons of Yankee Stadium sweep across the colder air. Some of the country is already hotter than should be allowed for April, some of the country is facing possible snowy or wintry conditions this weekend, but all of this country seems to have forgotten that it’s April (almost May) and should be Spring weather.
Well, Bernie Williams is officially retired as of today. Not having played a professional ball game since 2006, Williams decided to make it official at Yankee Stadium before tonight’s game. Williams, an unofficial member of the “Core Four” (or the “Fab 5”, according to GM Brian Cashman), was one of those key players on the Yankees team that won 4 championships in 5 years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000). The former center fielder was (and still is) a fan favorite, continues to be a great ambassador for the game and the team, and spends much of his free time with another favorite of his — his music (and he’s really good too!). He is currently a student at Manhattan School of Music earning a degree in jazz performance.
To make it all official, Williams was signed to a 1-day contract with the Staten Island Yankees before signing his retirement paperwork seconds later. With his usual smiles, he posed by his logo of the day and got a hug from Assistant GM Jean Afterman. He later threw out the first pitch before the game and then joined the YES Network team in the booth to talk about his career, retirement, and post-game life. His #51 will be retired and a plaque hung in Monument Park in one month — Sunday May 24 — before the game against the Rangers.