Records for A-Rod will continue to be a subject of discussion and he needs nine more hits to reach 3,000. But the story of the New York Yankees 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels Friday night in the Bronx is how they almost blew this game going into the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead.
“That would have been a really tough game to swallow if you lose,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. He had to use Dellin Betances out of the pen in that final inning when the Angels loaded the bases with no outs, trailing 8-6. Betances allowed his first earned run of the season and got the last three outs.
And because Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled his big three after eight, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar,and because Girardi pulled Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley, and switched Stephen Drew from second to third the scorecard became a mess.
But the story was one manager waving the white flag and another assuming a big lead was safe, and the Yankees doing their best to blow this one and the Angels coming up a run short for a tie in that six run ninth.
It could have been a game of highlights for Rodriguez. He continues to have this come back type of a season after sitting out all last year serving a suspension. and now has 28 RBI to go along with a .284 average and 12 home runs.
Most of all this win saw the continued revival of Stephen Drew, who despite an anemic .173 average went 2-for-4 and has three home runs over his last four games. The second home run, his seventh in the sixth inning off Angels starter and loser Jered Weaver (4-5) gave New York a 7-1 lead and was that typical line drive Yankee Stadium home run to right-field.
“All my work and preparation is paying off,” Drew said.
Girardi though has to be concerned about a bullpen, Esmil Rogers in particular. The right-hander could not get that final out and left the hard work go to Betances, an arm out of the pen that the manager wanted to preserve for the final two games of this series. Rogers pitched to five batters in the ninth and could not record an out.
“Just had a hard time getting that first out,” Girardi commented. “We need him (Rogers) to get him going.” And all forgotten again was how starter Nathan Eovaldi (5-1) went the usual 5.1 innings and had to leave because he could not find the location, but he barely got the win.
“He pitched pretty good then lost the strike zone,: Girardi said.
Though A-Rod should have been the center of attention, honor the milestones or not, he continues to establish new baseball marks for himself and the records are being logged for the books.
He said about more milestones and this horror of a win: “Means I’m getting older every day. I’m happy. Think I’m in a good place. All the milestones are coming home in front of the fans. They make me feel real comfortable.”
And as he gets closer to 3,000 hits, he said, “ I wake up every morning thinking what I can do to help the team win. Right now the team is winning and that’s what’s most important and I’m having a lot of fun. Also important to see Betances get a big out when he didn’t have his best stuff.”
Yes it was important for Betances to get that save, one that should have never been needed as the Yankees won their fourth straight. Then again, this is becoming a Yankees season of the unexpected and in a eastern division where other teams don’t seem to take control, the Yankees with games like this will probably be in this to the end.
But this win, which appeared to be in jeopardy was not one for the liking.
That is something that will make a manager lose more hair and also make one to wonder: Are the Yankees despite the home runs, and knowing where to hit them in the Bronx, that good of a team to play ball in October?