Game 160: NYY vs. HOU — The expected from the unexpected

The Yankees began their final series of this year in Houston tonight. And after some recent disappointments, it was nice to begin the end with a win. The Astros aren’t really as competitive a team as the Yankees have been playing this month, like most of the AL East teams, but the Yankees aren’t really playing at full steam right now, wrapping up what is essentially a disappointing season. Remember, according to Yankee logic, anything short of a World Series win is considered a “failed season”.

But tonight was a win.

Resting much of their regulars either flirting with or fully on the DL, a reflection of the entire season, the Yankees actually put a lot of the replacement guys on the field tonight, and they did a really good job. Adam Warren was given the start, 64 pitches through 5 innings, just 2 hits and a walk, and 4 strikeouts. With more consistent outings like that, Warren could easily work his way into a more permanent spot in the rotation, or at least long-term bullpen relief.

In the meantime, the Yankees’ offense decided to make their dent in the 4th inning. With one out, Cano singled, Soriano walked, so that Mark Reynold’s nice single scored Cano. Both Soriano and Reynolds then advanced on a throwing error, a bounced relay throw to home plate, missing Cano’s slide. Then David Adams reminded the Yankees why they liked him in the first place earlier this year with a solid double in the right field corner, scoring Soriano and Reynolds. And the Yankees were up 3-0.

So David Phelps came on in the 6th and back in the 7th, but with two outs and two runners on base, they opted for a pitching change. And they went to someone with a less consistent year — Joba Chamberlain. A double immediately scores 2 runs for Houston. Then he allows a bases loaded situation before the Yankees defense got him out of the jam. Preston Claiborne gets his 8th inning, and in for the save is David Robertson (get used to that, people). Houston fans weren’t all that happy to see Robertson, even to the point of booing his entry (way to stay classy, Texas!), but Rivera wasn’t available because (despite the rumors) he’s not Superman. So it’s Robertson that takes the save on the 3-2 win tonight.

Also there was a bit of a disputed play in the 6th inning. Alfonso Soriano hits a long ball off the back wall in left field, which is awarded a double, but the play is immediately disputed. Was their fan interference? Yes, but would it have a home run hitting the top of the wall if not for the interference? Not according to the umpires after a replay. A home run would have been nice padding to the Yankees’ lead because that double came out to nothing, due to some easy outs the other batters in the inning hit into.

And JR Murphy and David Adams worked a really nice out in the 8th, when they caught the runner trying to steal 2nd for the final out of that inning. So many great things added up and gave Warren the win, rightfully so.

And in between innings, the Astros presented former teammate Andy Pettitte with a framed numbered jersey (#21) from his time with their team. Yankees fans like to pretend that Pettitte’s Astro years didn’t exist, but instead were more like an extended sabbatical for the Houston-area resident. Pettitte will start the game tomorrow, and I can imagine many of his fellow Texans, family, and friends will be there cheering him on, despite loyalties, saying goodbye to him on his final MLB career start.

These are sad days, so the minor things to celebrate are extra special — Warren’s start, the continued strong display defense, Adams’ double, and of course the win. I have a feeling this will continue to be a bittersweet weekend.

Go Yankees!

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