Melky Cabrera’s Three RBIs Lead New York Yankees to Sixth Straight Win

June 30, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

When Nick Swisher struck out with runners at the corners and nobody out in the second, it became Melky Cabrera’s responsibility to drive in the Yankees’ second run with an out.

He did just that with a sacrifice fly to center.

When Swisher popped out to short with the bases loaded and no one out in the fourth, it once again was up to Cabrera to tack on an important insurance run with an out.

He came through again with an RBI fielder’s choice to first base.

But with runners on first and third and nobody out in a tie ballgame in the eighth, Cabrera wanted to do more than just drive in a run with an out, and so he hit a go-ahead RBI double to deep center that put the Yankees up 6-5 and they would go on to beat the Seattle Mariners by a score of 8-5.

The late-inning extra-base hit will get all the play on the highlight shows, but if not for the pair of run-scoring outs Cabrera produced earlier in the game, he would not have been in position for the heroics in the eighth.

Here are the grades from Tuesday night’s sixth straight victory.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (C+) After Phil Hughes’ nine-pitch 1-2-3 seventh, Girardi should have let him go back out for the eighth inning.  Hughes hasn’t given up a run and has surrendered just three hits over his last 8.1 innings, while Brian Bruney, who the manager inserted for the eighth, has been struggling of late. 

Entering Tuesday, Bruney had allowed five baserunners in 3.2 innings since returning from the DL two weeks ago.  The right-hander wasn’t any better against the Mariners, blowing a two-run lead by giving up a walk and three hits.

It’s the obsessive overspecification of the bullpen that got Girardi in trouble here.  All managers do it.  They feel that they must have one reliever for the seventh, another for the eighth and a third for the ninth.  Why not think outside the box once in a while and allow a reliever who is pitching well to stay in there for a couple of innings?

I must credit the skipper, however, for pulling starter Joba Chamberlain in the sixth for Phil Coke.  At the time, I thought Joba could’ve finished the inning, but Coke, who has been doing a good job, got out of the jam without allowing Chamberlain’s runner to score.


Derek Jeter, SS: (C) The captain’s two-run single in the eighth gave the Yankees a little bit of a cushion heading into the ninth.

Jeter also made a spectacular slide in that inning.  After tagging up to second on a fly ball to deep center, the future Hall-of-Famer overshot the bag with his body, but kept his right toe on the base to avoid being called out.


Johnny Damon, LF: (A) Damon had two doubles in four at bats to go along with a walk and a run scored.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (D) After Damon led off the seventh in a tie game with a ground rule double, all Teixeira had to do was hit the ball to the right side to move Damon over to third with less than two outs.  But the first baseman struck out.  In fact, Tex was 0-3 with runners in scoring position and grounded into a double play.


Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (A) A-Rod’s two-run bomb in the seventh would’ve been the difference if not for Bruney’s blow-up in the eighth.  Still, those couple of runs were crucial to this victory, as were a pair of nice plays that Rodriguez made in the field.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (A-) Cano was 2-4 with two runs scored.


Jorge Posada, C: (A-) Posada was 1-2 with two walks and a run.


Hideki Matsui, DH: (A-) Godzilla’s double started the game-winning rally in the eighth.  He also brought in the first run of the game when he reached on an error in the second.


Nick Swisher, RF: (C+) Swisher likes doing things I hate (twice failing to score a runner from third with less than two outs) and then making up for it with things I love (a beautiful sac bunt attempt that turned into a hit and led to the game-winning run in the eighth).


Melky Cabrera, CF: (A+) Cabrera was 1-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored.


Brett Gardner, PR-DH: (INC) Girardi had Gardner pinch run for Matsui in the eighth and the speedster came around to score the go-ahead run on Cabrera’s double.


Joba Chamberlain, SP: (C-) Like Michael Kay said when Joba exited the game with one out in the sixth, it wasn’t his best game but it wasn’t his worst.  After not issuing any walks in his last start at Atlanta, Chamberlain was missing his spots again, handing out three base on balls in 5.1 innings.

He also gave up nine hits, but three of them were bloopers to the outfield and two more were infield singles, including Ichiro Suzuki’s squibber under Joba’s glove that started a two-run rally in the fifth.

In the end, Chamberlain gave up three runs but once again gave his team a chance to win, and win they did, improving New York’s record when Joba starts to 18-9 in his career.  That’s really all you can ask for.

As I was discussing with Heartbeat of the Bronx before the game on Tuesday, everyone needs to be a little more patient with the young right-hander.  He’s just 23 years old and has made only 27 career starts. 

Over that time, he’s 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA.

That’s better than any other current Yankee starter during their first 27 career starts.  Better than A.J. Burnett (3.55), better than Andy Pettitte (4.02), better than Chien-Ming Wang (4.17), better than CC Sabathia (4.42), and certainly better than the man some people want to replace Joba with in the rotation, Phil Hughes (5.15).

Even though Chamberlain’s ERA has gone up this year to 3.89, he’s still 19th in the American League in that statistic.  So let’s all take a deep breath because Joba is going to be starting for a long time.


Phil Coke, RP: (A) Coke retired both batters he faced in the sixth.


Phil Hughes, RP: (A) I still think Hughes will return to the rotation one day, but he’s doing a great job out of the bullpen right now and may wind up as the team’s eighth inning man (because we must specify our reliever’s roles) by the end of the season.


Brian Bruney, RP: (F) How come the official scorer can chose whom he wants to give the win to when a starter doesn’t go five innings, but he can’t do that all the time?


Mariano Rivera, RP: (A) Retired three batters before giving up three runs.

Yankees Overall Grade: (B-) The Bombers were 0-10 with runners in scoring position before A-Rod’s 565th home run with a man on second in the seventh.  The Yanks need to start hitting better in clutch situations.

But they got just enough on Tuesday and the win, combined with Boston’s humiliating defeat to Baltimore, puts New York just 2.5 games out of first.


Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book “Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

readers comments

Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee