The Yanks finally put it all together last night; solid starting pitching (courtesy of Carl Pavano) plus fine defense (including terrific plays from all 4 infielders) plus and a bevy of runs (with the now daily Alex dinger—his fifth). That’s an equation that will result in many victories for the Bombers. Pavano threw strikes yesterday, even with men on base in late innings, and an aggressive Twins team put the ball in play, sometimes hard, but generally within range of the Yankee defense. There will be times, in the future, that those balls don’t become outs, but we suspect that, buoyed by the Yankee offense, Pavano, if he continues in this vein, will have a solid year. “I’ve been through an awful lot and this team stuck behind me through it. I’m glad I could give back,” said Pavano. Nevermind the veracity of the first half of that statement; we hope there will be a lot of giving.
Also worth mentioning: though Pavano, Abreu, and Alex will take the headlines today, just watching last night’s contest was a perfect illustration of why Derek Jeter—who was making plays in the field, getting on base, and running the bases with his usual gusto—is far more valuable than a one-dimensional player like Justin Morneau. When Morneau made the final out, the YES cameras caught the Captain with a sly smile. It’s a shame last year’s BBWAA voters didn’t figure this out.