A lead-off triple by Ichiro Suzuki started the Yankees strong tonight. He was knocked in by a Jayson Nix single and put the Yankees up 1-0 by the end of the 1st inning. In the next inning a sacrifice fly by Stewart allowed Hafner to jog his way into home plate putting the score at 2-0, and 2 solo home runs in the 3rd (by Robinson Cano and Ben Francisco) had the Yankees sitting pretty at 4-0 going into the 4th inning. And that’s when starting pitcher David Phelps lost his solid outing. A single, a double, an RBI single, and two back-to-back hit-by-pitches got 2 runs before a 2-RBI single tied up the score 4-4 before the inning was mercifully over.
In the bottom of the 6th, Ichiro grounds into a double play of sorts that still manages to score a run to punch the final tally at 5-4 Yankees for the win; this last play was due in part to Overbay’s fancy base running that allowed time for Nunez to score before the Astros got Overbay out for the 3rd and final out of the inning. Also worth noting, Brett Gardner stole as many bases as he did in April in the 8th inning tonight (two). He seemed to really struggle in getting on base in April to make an effort to steal those bases, but perhaps tonight snapped his streak.
I was reading articles earlier today about where people are now predicting teams and players to be as we go into May (or Month 2 of baseball season). And honestly, the biggest surprise to everyone (except maybe a handful of people, myself included) is how great the Yankees are doing this year. What they cannot seem to fathom is how a team hit so hard with injuries that 7 of its regular players are out on the DL can basically have one of the best records in all of baseball (tied for 2nd with Texas and Atlanta, behind Boston) as of right now.
Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are making strides to return back to their regular spots by the end of the month (for Granderson) or shortly thereafter (Teixeira). And the naysayers are all scrambling to back-peddle their doom and gloom about our Pinstripes because as good as the team is now, they’re already crunching the numbers of what the team could be like as the regulars come off the DL and start playing regularly. That’s right, for all the anti-Yankee stuff we’re used to seeing, the same people are practically in awe of what a fully healthy Yankees roster would be like — the word I saw was “unstoppable”.
As of right now, the Yankees statistically are on track to win 101 games this season. This is the team that was supposed to be “lucky” to win 85 when their stars were back and healthy. The last time they won over 100 games in the season was 2009 (103 games) and any Yankee fan knows what happened that year.
It’s like I’ve been saying all along on this blog. There’s something that happens in the Bronx that’s almost magical. It’s something that when everything is just clicking, it doesn’t just work for this team, it soars to greatness. Maybe it’s the history, maybe it’s the legacy, maybe it’s the remnants of the dynasty George Steinbrenner so meticulously created, or maybe I’m just overly nostalgic this Wednesday night. But there’s something that fans of other teams just don’t get; it’s why they hate the Yankees. That mystique that somehow against all odds, even when there’s no chance for victory, the Yankees just win. It’s teamwork, it’s talent, and it’s character. But mostly, (at least for Yankee fans) it’s a whole lot of fun!