LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Take Astros Series by Reviving 5 O'Clock Lightning

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yankees Take Astros Series by Reviving 5 O'Clock Lightning

The 1927 Murderer's Row Yankees were often dubbed the Five O'clock Lightning team. With no lights in the stadium and most games starting at 3pm, the Yankees, earned a reputation that season for late inning rallies. Those rallies, given the 3pm game times, would often occur near 5pm on many days, hence the name. 

Thursday's rubber game with Houston, won 8-5 by the Yankees in come from behind fashion, was reminiscent of those glory days of '27. Although this game started after 4 pm, Mark Teixeira's seventh inning three run home run was the "five o'clock lightning" the Yankees needed to take the series two games to one. Though Teixeira'a game winning blow probably occurred closer to 6pm, the effect was all the same. It is just that a mid afternoon start time at home on a weekday is a bit unusual these days. Not so in 1927.

But in the spirit of Ruth and Gehrig and company, Teixeira's blast was a most welcome sight.  Most of us were not around to experience the old fashioned late inning lightning, baseball style, at 5 PM, or 6pm as the case may be. Thursday we got a little taste of it.

The Yankees took two out of three in the opening series from one of the leagues strongest contenders. Opening day was a tough loss. We all have rehashed that so many times we're sick of it. But the Yankees responded with a 16-6 drubbing of the Astros on Wednesday followed by the come from behind heroics of Thursday afternoon.

A major  concern these past three days has been the starting pitching. None of the three starters was particularly solid in his efforts, as none reached six full innings of work. The best performance among starters Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi was none of the above, but was in fact the 4 inning gem out of the bullpen by Ivan Nova on Wednesday. Nova is in the bullpen for the foreseeable future. At some point,  Nova as a starter, might again become a necessity. So the Yankees must consider him a starter in waiting.

Offense has been the story. Joining Teixeira in leading the way Thursday, Starlin Castro hit his second home run in as many days, had 8 RBI in the series and is batting .583. Alex Rodriguez's first hit of the series was an RBI single that scored the tying run in the 5th inning. Teixeira is hitting .364 and Brian McCann and Didi Gregorius are both at .455. A-Rod and Brett Gardner didn't hit much in the series but found ways to reach base via the walk. The Yankees offense delivered 27 runs in the series against one the league's better pitching staffs.

Now, if the Yankees starting pitchers could just catch some lightning in a bottle. At 5 o'clock or any time, it doesn't really matter, just as long as it's soon.

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