Game 102: Yankees 2, White Sox 3

Thumbs Down:
Yankee Bats: The Yankees struck out 14 times last night and were 1-8 with runners in scoring position. Perhaps their offense got a late flight from Tampa?

Teixeira & A-Rod: Both went 0-4 with 3 Ks. Teix left 4 runners on base.

Cano: Also went 0-4 and had a crucial error when Pierzynski took a hard ‘slide into second in the seventh.

Thumbs Up:
Pettitte: Despite the fact that he is still searching for his first victory since July 1, Pettitte put in a great night. He threw 6.1 innings, gave up only 5 hits and 2 runs (1 earned). Pettitte didn’t walk anyone and struck out 8.

Swisher: His homer in the bottom of the ninth with two outs was clutch, too bad the Yankees couldn’t capitalize on it.

Damon: Johnny’s bat had been kind of quiet in Tampa, but last night he went 2-3 and picked up a RBI.

Questions:
Hughes: When Hughes walked out to the mound in the ninth I had a bad feeling. While I think Girardi’s bullpen management has improved over the year, I still don’t know what he is thinking sometimes. If Hughes is your 8th inning guy why is he pitching in 3 innings of a close game? I can understand stretching him for 2 innings, but not 3. The bullpen was relatively well-rested after some solid pitching performances in Tampa, was there no one that Girardi trusted to come in at the start of the ninth?

Pierzynski’s Slide: There was a lot of discussion about whether this was a legit slide. it’s warranted, Cano had already started to throw when Pierzynski threw himself at second base. It was ugly, the type of slide that you see a Little Leaguer make when they are first learning, only here is a grown professional tackling second base. I’m not sure whether it was dirty or not, I have gone back and forth. My bias thinks it was a bad play, but Girardi seemed to think it was just “good hard baseball.”

In the On Deck Circle:
Next up, the Yanks send Sergio Mitre (1-0, 5.91) to the mound to battle Clayton Richard (4-3, 4.65). Mitre has not been outstanding, but he’s been adequate as a fill-in. He’s kept the Yankees in games. The Yankees will be facing another tough young left, as Richard has allowed only one earned run in each of his last starts, where he faced the Rays and the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 8:11.