Previewing individual baseball games is a pretty good way to wind up making yourself look dumb. Great pitchers can have off nights, Armando Galarragas can throw perfect games and everything in between can and will happen on any given night.
Coming into Tuesday night, everyone talked about the pitcher's duel that we'd see between Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia as if it were preordained. Some couldn't shake the belief that it would be such a game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Yankees leading 5-3, Michael Kay even went so far as to say that everyone "expected a pitching duel, but we haven't had one yet" as if a 5-3 game could somehow wind up qualifying as a pitching duel just so the predictors would wind up correct.
It never came, not that the Yankees are complaining. They got to Halladay early and often to erase memories of his past dominance against them while CC Sabathia danced around his own sloppiness to pick up his first victory against a team other than the Orioles since April 16th. Sabathia loaded the bases in the fourth and gave up three runs and then loaded them again in the fifth but escaped unscathed. He retired the Phillies in order in his last two frames and ultimately did more to help than hurt the Yankees on Tuesday.
Halladay was just the opposite. His pitches lacked their usual bite and his control was something less than pinpoint, a combination that isn't going to lead to success when you're back in the American League. Halladay had allowed only three homers entering Tuesday night's game but the Yankees touched him thrice. As a baseball fan, it's something of a disappointment that he was so off because it's the only time Halladay will face the Yankees this season. Yankee fans, on the other hand, are thrilled he was less than his best for precisely the same reason.
The offensive attack was led by the Yankee outfield. Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher hit the homers and Brett Gardner opened the scoring with a two-run triple in the second inning. An afterthought to the All-Star infield, many assumed that the Yankees would make a deal for an outfielder to round out the roster at some point this season. That doesn't strike as a winning wager any longer, however.
Swisher has provided the power/on-base mix that has been missing while Mark Teixeira searches for his offensive game while Gardner is getting on base 40 percent of the time and using his speed to make teams pay for not keeping him off the basepaths. Granderson struggled early, but is on fire since returning from the disabled list at the end of May. With Teixeira off his game, A-Rod flashing less power and assorted other injuries hampering the offense, the outfield has wound up being a vital cog in the machine.
Yet another reason why previewing baseball can drive a man to pound his head against a wall.