New York Yankees Sweep: Alfredo Aceves is Mediocre But Bullpen Holds Off Twins

July 9, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

When Joba Chamberlain transitioned from reliever to starter, many Yankee fans cried foul.

“You’ll ruin our bullpen!” they shouted.

But that didn’t happen.

Chamberlain’s vacated eighth inning role was quickly and sufficiently replaced by Brian Bruney, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, David Robertson, and a Mexican League starting pitcher named Alfredo Aceves.

So why then, did some protest when Aceves was plucked from the pen this week to fill the injured Chien-Ming Wang’s spot in the rotation?  Didn’t they know someone like Jonathan Albaladejo would step up and throw 1.2 hitless innings of relief for the win?

But how could you expect a guy whose ERA was 6.00 four days ago to suddenly start pitching like, well, Aceves?

It’s probably because relievers, for the most part, are a dime a dozen.  You take one out and another one takes his place. Sometimes they’re good.  Sometimes they’re bad.

Right now, the Yankees are blessed with a bullpen that has all of its components clicking at the same time.  So when Aceves gave up four runs in just 3.1 innings on Thursday against the Twins, New York knew it still had a shot at winning the ballgame.

It also helps to have a great lineup.

Here are the grades from the Yanks’ 6-4 win over Minnesota.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) Girardi stuck to his word and pulled Aceves after exactly 65 pitches before managing the bullpen beautifully through the final 5.2 innings.

I even liked the aggressive double steal he attempted in the second inning, even though it didn’t work.  With the speedy Brett Gardner on third and Derek Jeter on first, the skipper sent the captain first and then had Gardner try to swipe home. 

It blew up when pitcher Francisco Liriano threw over to first and Justin Morneau fired the ball home to get Gardner, but I like the idea because it was against a lefty pitcher with a righty batter at the plate and a 3-0 lead.


Derek Jeter, SS: (C+) The 10-time All-Star singled home the Yankees’ third run with two outs in the first.  He’s now hitting a very clutch .345 with runners in scoring position and two outs and an astounding .444 against lefties.


Nick Swisher, RF: (F) With Johnny Damon banged up, Swisher got the start.  He entered the game 3-6 with a double in his career against Liriano, but finished 0-5 with a strikeout to drop his average to .239.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (B+) Tex’s homer to left in the fifth was his first in 23 games and 96 at bats.  It was his 21st of the year, which still has him second in the American League behind Carlos Pena’s 23.


Alex Rodriguez, DH: (A) A-Rod singled, walked, and stole a bag during his half day off.


Jorge Posada, C: (A) Posada was 1-3, was hit by a pitch, and crossed the plate twice.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (B-) Cano doubled in four at bats and scored two runs.


Melky Cabrera, LF: (C-) Cabrera was 1-4 and twice failed to score a runner from third with less than two outs.


Cody Ransom, 3B: (A-) Ransom made an error for the second straight start (his fourth blunder of the season), but he held off the Ramiro Pena chatter by walking in a run in the first and singling home another in the fourth.


Brett Gardner, CF: (B-) Gardner got the job done in the first when he beat out a possible double play to drive in the Yanks’ second run and then again in the fourth when he singled home Cano to extend New York’s lead to 5-2.

But I wasn’t happy with him giving up when he tried to steal home when he should’ve attempted to run straight through catcher Mike Redmond.


Alfredo Aceves, SP: (D) Ace’s first start of the year was not a good one, but it wasn’t terrible.  He pitched well in the first and third but struggled in the second and fourth, when he was pulled with the bases loaded and one out. 

David Robertson then walked in two more of his runs to complete his line at 3.1ip, 4h, 4r, 3er, 1bb, 1hbp, 2k.  Aceves also wasn’t helped out by Ransom’s error, but he didn’t do himself any favors either when he threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt.

Aceves should get another start the next time the Yankees need a fifth starter on July 21 against Baltimore and he should improve with about an 80-pitch limit.


David Robertson, RP: (F) This is why relievers’ ERAs don’t mean much.  Robertson walked two men with the bases loaded, but his earned run average dropped from 2.66 to 2.53.


Jonathan Albaladejo, RP: (A) Albaladejo retired five of the six batters he faced, two via the strikeout, to pick up his fourth win of the year to go along with just one loss.


Phil Coke, RP: (B) Coke got two of the three batters he was responsible for.


Phil Hughes, RP: (A+) Hughes continues to roll, pitching a perfect inning-and-a-third with two Ks.  He hasn’t surrendered a run in 10 straight appearances.


Mariano Rivera, RP: (A) Mo allowed the tying run to come to the plate before shutting the door.


Yankees Overall Grade: (C+) New York has now swept the Twins in a season series three times this decade and the Yankees have won eight straight road games and 13 of 15 overall.  Winning two out of three at the nemesis Angels would be a nice way to wrap up the first half. 

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