As Tuesday night’s game started, it looked a whole lot like the way Monday night’s game started. Derek Jeter took the very first pitch he saw from Francisco Liriano and rocketed it into the White Sox bullpen. From there Liriano would load up the bases but somehow allow just one more run to cross. But after that, he began to pitch.
Yankees (72-51): 3
White Sox (67-55): 7
If you look up and down the Yankee lineup, you’d be more likely to credit a pitcher that shut them down with a stellar effort over the idea of all those quality hitters taking a nap. Francisco Liriano cut down on the fastballs that got rocked in the 1st and began relying on that slider, spotting it for strikes and striking out 7 batters in 6 full innings. Not too shabby for a guy that threw over 30 pitches in the opening frame. As if to prove the point of pitching over hitting, Russell Martin, the first batter Jesse Crain (who is no slouch himself) faced upon replacing Liriano, went about 8 rows over the bullpen to put another Yankee run on the board.
The White Sox pecked away at the lead, and then, like yesterday, used the 5th inning to put a big crooked number up on the board. A 4 spot went up courtesy of a Kevin Youkilis grand slam homerun off of starter Ivan Nova. I get the feeling Youkilis isn’t fond of the Yankees. I could apologize for the title of this post, but I won’t. On a night when Youkilis hit a bust the game open grand slam my sister witnessed this man on the street. The time is right for a little Hawk/Youkilis indulgence.
Though Crain got touched for a quick run, the White Sox bullpen didn’t have much trouble finishing the job. Crain, Thornton, and Brett Myers nailed it down for the victory.
Plus: Games in which the Sox are down are not games in which the Sox earn a loss. Not automatically, anyway. Countless times this season the team has battled back, and though this deficit was overcome fairly early, it really appeared that this one had all the makings of a blowout. The offense not responding with a shutdown allowed Liriano time to create a shutdown of his own.
Minus: One of these days Liriano is going to get it together from the start. It’s no good beginning a game with a pitch count that suggests you’ve already been through three innings but that’s what Liriano did. One day, though…one day. I hope it’s in the playoffs.
Player of the Game:
Kevin Youkilis – .282 WPA