In tonight’s loss to the Rays, the outstanding player of the night (at least defensively) was Eduardo Nunez, with not one but two amazing plays at shortstop tonight. My personal favorite was the 2nd play in the 6th inning in which he dove for the gap between short and 3rd before tossing it off balance to Overbay at 1st to get the out. If not for his fancy grab, both runners would have made their ways around the bases and possibly a run in. Nunez continues to prove his nay-sayers wrong about his capabilities as a shortstop.
But there’s not much to say for the Yankees otherwise tonight. Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (who earned his first loss of the season) gave up 3 runs (2 earned, 1 on a fielding error by Boesch) on 7 hits, walking only 1 batter, and striking out 10 batters (that’s a really great statistic for a pitcher who usually forces groundouts for his outings) over 6 innings. And relief pitcher Shawn Kelley is struck out 3 batters, allowing only 1 hit and walking only 1 batter, keeping the Rays at 3-0 over the Yankees.
The Yankees on offense as a whole could not do much to put a dent against Rays starting pitcher Cobb, who went 8 1/3 innings, only allowing singles by Nunez, Nix, and Gardner (Cano singled off Rodney in the 9th) before Rays Manager Maddon opted for his closer Rodney for the final two outs against New York. Rays fans weren’t as happy with that decision to pull Cobb after he had really earned the right to finish the game he began.
One of the things that confuse me is how they award the pitching statistic (win, loss, save) for a game. Honestly, I can usually figure out why in some cases. Say the starting pitcher went 8 innings, his team winning 3-2, and his closer keeps the score as such — that awards the win to the starting pitcher (because he started the win) and the closer gets the save (because he protected the win). The loss is usually awarded to the pitcher on the losing team that gave up the lead and allowed the other team to essentially win the game. And while I guess it makes sense to award Rodney the save tonight because he did protect the lead Cobb set into motion, it seems less like an actual earned save and more like just getting two outs to end an inning. Or maybe it has to do with the base runners when the closer takes over. I guess I’m still confused, and I will probably have to chalk it up to one of the things I’m still trying to wrap my head around.
But I guess I should go back to applauding the man of the evening. Nunez deserves much respect and kudos for his defense today. I’m thinking this is what Girardi and Cashman have been hoping to pull out him for a while, something they only saw as the “potential” factor of his dimension as a player, something we can now rest a little easier waiting for Jeter to return. And honestly, I think Nunez can stop trying to push himself to prove something. He’s proven it and now can move forward and finally get down to playing the game we love.