Thursday. It was Jackie Robinson Day. It was also Phil Hughes’ debut as the Yankees’ fifth starter of the season.
I’ve been anticipating to watch this game on ESPN for it was my first live Yankees game, although I’m 12 hours ahead from the Bronx. Too bad I missed the first inning. Thanks to my Tita who wanted to watch something else. But thank God I made it in time to see the second inning’s actions.
The first player in the box was Hideki Matsui. The first pitch was a ball, but the second pitch was driven deep to the right centre field. There were cheers from both sides of the crowd, and it was nice of the Yankees fan to still cheer for Godzilla.
I saw Hughes’ disappointment, and I am impressed with how he carried himself. I am always impressed with Hughes. He’s just 23 years old but he carries an aura of a veteran, sort of Andy Pettitte aura.
It was Jackie Robinson Day and the man in the box for the first at-bat of the bottom of the second was the second baseman of the Yankees, who was named after the man who broke the colour barrier. On the second pitch, Robinson Cano drove a solo homer in the right field off Scott Kazmir tying the game against the Angels.
As if the solo home run was not enough, Robinson Cano did something impressive, besides his defensive skills. With Alex Rodriguez on second base, Cano hit another homer in the right field.
Every fan of the Yankees, and some other fans of other Major League teams, are aware of Robinson Cano’s roots including the significance of his jersey number- 24. Of course, he couldn’t wear #42 for it was retired in the entire Major League in 1997 to honour Jackie Robinson. No one is allowed to wear 42 again, except for Mariano Rivera.
Robinson Cano was the first and last Yankee player who hit home run during the Game 3 of the Yankees vs. Angels series in the Bronx. Derek Jeter was the second and only other Yankee who drove a home run.
It was in the third inning when Phil Hughes fought a battle against the Angels. His pitch count was increasing that certainly had Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi concerned. I was concerned too. It was his debut as a starter of the season. I am glad he won the battle with just one man left on base, whom he had walked.
When I saw Phil Hughes’ pitch count in the fifth inning, I already knew that it might be his last inning. But I also thought that it’d be possible for him to still pitch in the sixth inning but not in the entire inning. I was right.
Phil Hughes still pitched in the sixth inning but Joe Girardi had to take the ball from him after two at-bats, when Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui, for a walk, got on base. It was obvious that the third, including the fourth inning, had a toll in his arm.
More than Torii Hunter’s wheels, I was worried about Phil Hughes’ arm. I think he had a total of 108 pitches during the game. That was a gamble. When Phil Hughes returned to the dugout, I was impressed by the fans who gave him a standing ovation. It was sweet.
Hughes was replaced by David Robertson, followed by Damaso Marte then Joba Chamberlain. The latter was doing good especially with his slider but something went wrong. I wouldn’t say it’s his mechanics. Joba can throw impressive pitches, but he’s not at par with veteran pitchers nor with Hughes when it comes to mental preparation and attitude, which greatly affect a pitcher’s performance in a game.
With two men on base, Enter Sandman was played in the entire Stadium. Mariano Rivera came to save and close the game. Mo only faced Bobby Abreu, who grounded out to Robinson Cano to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the game.
The Yankees won the third game against the Angels, 6-2 on board. They won the series with 2-1.