Another sub-par job by a Yanks starter

Thunderstorms threatened to hold up the start of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Friday night at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington, but skies cleared to get the game under way. That was good news for the Yankees. A rainout would have allowed the Rangers to start Cliff Lee in Game 6 Saturday night.

Tired of hearing about Lee? So are the Yankees, especially Nick Swisher, whose profanity-laden response to queries about Lee from reporters was fodder for talk radio in Texas. It was kind of silly, really. Who can blame Swisher for getting hot when asked about Texas’ Game 7 starter when they hadn’t even played Game 6 yet.

It was odd to view CC Sabathia sitting in the bullpen. Counting post-season play, Sabathia has pitched in 335 major-league games, all of them starts. Friday was CC’s throw day between starts, but he didn’t have his usual session and was available to Yankees manager Joe Girardi for around 50 pitches if needed.

Help was needed in the fifth inning as Girardi had to replace Phil Hughes after Vlad Guerrero’s two-run double unlocked a 1-1 score, but it was David Robertson, not Sabathia, who came into the game and was greeted by a two-run home run by Nelson Cruz.

Hughes seemed to have settled down after a shaky first inning when the Rangers broke through for the first run and did not allow another hit until Guerrero’s game breaker. The Texas designated hitter got his first RBI of the series in the first inning with an infield out, but the Yankees continued to challenge him.

They walked Josh Hamilton intentionally with two down in the third to face Guerrero, and it worked as he popped out. The purposeful walk had a glitch as Hughes threw a wild pitch on one of the throws. With two out in the fifth and a runner on second, the Yankees walked Hamilton again. This time it backfired as Guerrero crushed a hanging breaking ball for a double to left-center.

Hughes’ outing was the latest sub-par one in the series for a Yankees starter. The rotation has a 7.11 ERA in the series, having allowed 25 earned runs and 42 hits in 31 2/3 innings. Speaking of unsightly ERAs, there is the 20.25 belonging to Robertson.

The Yankees were lucky to have the run they did against Texas starter Colby Lewis. It came on a wild pitch that video replays revealed had actually hit Swisher in the shin at the plate and should have been a dead ball. Shortly after that, Swisher was probably hoping and praying that the Yankees would get one more shot at Cliff Lee.

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