Prior to yesterday’s resumption of the Yankees’ suspended game against the Twins, Joe Girardi said that he wouldn’t use any pitchers in both games. But after David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera combined to throw four shutout innings to make Derek Jeter’s sixth-inning solo home run stand up, he changed his mind. Perhaps he imagined Chan Ho Park warming up to save a one-run game in the ninth, and thought better of his plan.
Sure enough, the Yankees had a 3–2 lead to protect in the ninth, thanks to Nick Swisher’s monster go-ahead home run. And though Andy Pettitte had only thrown 94 pitches, he’d gotten into trouble in the seventh and eighth innings. At which point Girardi did the thing he said he wouldn’t do, and then said he’d consider doing, by signaling for Rivera for the second time. It worked, though: Rivera earned the save — and did it in far less adventurous fashion than he had earlier in the evening. (As far as the record book goes, though, he saved that first game on Tuesday. Did we just blow your mind?)
The thing with slumps is that you never really know if you’re out of one until you are. (Look no further than those of us who thought Mark Teixeira had put his slump behind him after that solid weekend at the beginning of the month.) But yesterday’s games followed the formula the Yankees had used back in April when they were cruising to series victories: solid starting pitching (they got it from both Pettitte and, on Tuesday, from A.J. Burnett) and reliable work from the back end of the bullpen. (Though it’s easier said than done, such a formula tends to work even when you don’t generate much offense, as was the case yesterday.) Can Javier Vazquez continue this mini-streak of good pitching tonight? For the first time all year, we think that maybe he could.