New York Yankees-Toronto Blue Jays: Alfredo Aceves Saves the Day

July 5, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Alfredo Aceves accomplished something on Sunday that Mariano Rivera hasn’t done in his entire career—a four-inning save.

The 26-year-old surrendered just one base runner and struck out five to close out a 10-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

During the week when everyone has been celebrating Rivera’s 500th save (only 110 of which have been even more than one inning), Aceves showed us all how relief pitchers— the real fireman—used to do it.

Here are the grades from the Yankees’ third straight win over the Jays.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (A-) There’s no way Girardi would’ve kept Mo in the bullpen for the ninth had he not pitched four of the past five games, but the skipper could have brought in someone else like Brian Bruney or Phil Coke to close this one out. 

Therefore, I applaud Girardi for letting Aceves pitch four innings, something managers rarely let their relievers do these days, no matter how well they’re pitching.

The one gripe I have with Girardi in this game, however, is giving Alex Rodriguez a full day off when he’s been hitting .389 with three homers over the past six contests.  I understand DH’ing him once in a while to rest his hip, but taking him out of the lineup against a lefty when he’s been so hot doesn’t make a lot of sense.


Derek Jeter, SS: (A+) Just another four-hit game for the All-Star captain.  Jeter also hit a two-run homer in the fifth which proved to be the difference in the victory.  Make no mistake about it, he has been the most valuable player on the Yankees over the past 14 seasons.


Johnny Damon, LF: (C) Damon was 0-3 but he walked twice and scored a run.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (B) The newly-named All-Star was 0-2 with three walks and a run.


Jorge Posada, C: (A+) With A-Rod getting the day off, Posada filled the clean-up spot quite nicely, going 4-5 with a double and three two-out RBIs.  I’m not sure why he didn’t slide coming home in the fifth, though.  Posada avoided the catcher’s glove but missed the plate and was subsequently tagged out.


Hideki Matsui, DH: (A+) Godzilla is quite the streaky hitter.  He hit just .204 in June but is 7-14 with three bombs and eight RBIs in July.  That should quiet the critics who wanted Matsui traded or released about a week ago.


Nick Swisher, RF: (D+) Swisher had a two-out RBI single in the first but that’s about all he did right in this game.  He went 1-5 to to drop his average to .234 and committed his fifth error of the year on a bobble in right field.  I think it’s time to start Brett Gardner in center and Melky Cabrera in right and just use Swisher as a pinch hitter.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (A) Cano was 2-5 but was caught stealing for the fourth time this year.


Melky Cabrera, CF-RF: (A) Cabrera was 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.


Cody Ransom, 3B: (D) Ransom was 0-3 with a base on balls and a run.  He also made a crucial error in the fourth that led to five unearned runs.

It’s unfortunate that A-Rod needs these days off to rest his hip once in a while, but I can’t fault Girardi for leaving Rodriguez out of the defense with a fly ball pitcher on the mound.  It just seems like it might be time to give Eric Hinske a shot at third.


Brett Gardner, CF: (INC) Gardner played center in the ninth.  He should be playing it every inning.


Joba Chamberlain, SP: (D-) This was the hardest Joba was hit all year.  Usually his problem is walking too many people, but Chamberlain issued just one base on balls over 3.2 innings of work.  Still, nine hits is far too many, even though the two homers to right were “new Yankee Stadium specials.”

While Joba gave up eight runs, just three of them were earned thanks to Ransom’s fourth-inning error.  That seemed to really bother the starter who surrendered an uncharacteristic five runs in the frame.

The critics are obviously going to jump all over this start and say Joba needs to return to the bullpen, but that’s not the answer.  First of all, with Chien-Ming Wang going back on the DL, the Yankees need Chamberlain in the rotation more than ever and the pen has been doing quite well without him.

I remind everyone to be patient because Joba is just 23 years old and has made only 28 career starts (19 of which have been Yankee victories).  He still has a lower ERA over his first 28 starts than did CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Wang and Phil Hughes, and Chamberlain’s 4.04 ERA is still 22nd best in the American League.


Jonathan Albaladejo, RP: (B) Albaladejo was recalled when Wang was placed on the disabled list.  He got the win, giving up two hits over a scoreless inning-and-a-third.


Alfredo Aceves, RP: (A+) Like my dad said to me at the game today, Aceves should’ve gotten both the win and the save.


Yankees Overall Grade: (B-) I am now 40-9 at Yankee games.  New York needs to hire me to just show up.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

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.

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