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I like these games for a lot of reasons. 1.) They've been winning. 2.) They're winning neatly. And trying to match scores, which is just the kind of immaterial OCD behavior I like to see. 3.) They're not making my heart rate go up.

Another win, just like the last one, and I'm into it. You know, we all spent the lsst few years getting wrapped up Yankee sensationalism, not in a bad way though. Like 2003 ALCS walk-off excitement and drama seemed to exist to degree in a lot of their games. In the 8th inning comebacks spearheaded by an unexpected ding from the #7 batter, sparking a slugging rally. The close plays at the second, the dramatic at-bats. And it really facilitated the rapt adoration and captivation with our team.

But maybe it's like my mom telling me to marry a tall glass of water. You trade in the spontaneous sweeping-off-of-the-feet experiences for unremarkable comfort. You also trade in the crash-and-burn risks for safer waters.

People always say the best teams get into the playoffs but the hottest teams win the World Series. I agree with this to some extent, as in I'm in lockstep with Dom Scala's theory on streaks throughout the season. But I don't think that the team who can go on streaks is necessarily the hottest team.

Can you really say that sweeping the Twins (sorry, Iowa Jeff!) or the O's qualifies you for hot status? It seems, however, that if these games were won on enormously lopsided routs and not gentle edging-outs, then sports media would be all over it and touting them as THE TEAM TO BEAT!

But the Yanks it seems are being a little more strategic with their homerun application, and only break it out when they need it. Like they'll go the first few innings seeing how well they fare against a pitcher and then if the score is still anemic, then they'll knock one out. (I don't really believe this, but that's what it seems like. 8 homeruns in the last 7 games still means they hit an average of more than 1 a game. But it's Yankee Stadium. And it's against horrible pitching. There should be a giant chasm filled with baseballs in the RF bleachers by now.

They're not wasting their pitchers by putting in one reliever per batter, and the starters are not only going deep into the game, but moving through the game quickly, which makes the defense better, and the next game easier. They're also getting themselves out of jams. I don't need them to be untouchable for 7 innings. So CC had a rough beginning tonight.

Irrelevant if he can snap out of it and rebound into the zone. My dad told me once he could never do what I do because he could never come up with taglines and headlines for ads on the spot. And I told him, well, we're given a little bit more time than that, so no one's throwing an ad in front of me with a stopwatch and says, "ANNNNNNNNND.....GO."

My dad countered, "No, I still couldn't do it. Because if I looked at an ad and nothing came to me immediately, it never would come." Well. Not with that defeatist attitude.

So in terms of the Yankees, Joba is like my dad and CC/AJ/Andy are like most other copywriters who can work themselves out of an unproductive jam.

Girardi thinks the pitchers are feeding off each other, because no one wants to be the first pitcher to implode during the streak. AJ, to my surprise and his credit, didn't agree with this.

"It's more about being inspired by the guy who throws before you," Burnett said. "You don't think about coming in and being the guy who loses it or breaks the streak. You just want to continue what the guy before you did."

Well put, well put.

I talked to David Cone tonight about pitching in general, and then the topic of To Fist Pump or Not to Fist Pump comes up, and I learned something that may be common knowledge for every baseball fan but I was fascinated. People who play baseball or are intimately familiar with the game, like scouts/managers/coaches think the appropriateness of the fist pump is a function of the type of pitch it's linked to.

Apparently, the old school unwritten rule was that you only fistpumped if you struck a batter out on a strikeout. Because it's like saying, here it is. Everything I got. Let's see what you do with it. And then if you blow a 100 mph by the guy, you're within your rights, so to speak, to have a little outburst, a microcosm of a Karate Kid-type moment. BUT if you strike someone out on a slider, all you did was trick him. It doesnt diminish the value of the K, but it's not the same as overpowering a batter.

I guess it's kind of like dancing in the end zone on a safety?

I tell Cone I started writing for a new site and he says, "Let's call up Goose and get some info on what's going on in Cooperstown." Sure, no problem. That's not like a totally foreign concept to me at all and in no way baffling to me how famous people do things like call up other famous people and it's run of the mill to them. This must be the phenomenon that I've always (until now) been mystified by: why women love pictures of celebrities buying a toothbrush, or eating Pinkberry, or hurriedly walking somewhere with a dog in a duffel bag-looking thing..

I have no idea what's going on Cooperstown, but this is what I gathered from hearing one end of the conversation:

"Rickey is walking around in a silk purple-y greenish suit, but it might be pajamas. He's in a good mood shaking hands."

"Gibson and sandberg are there and had dinner together wth their families."

They got some egg rolls at a place in Cooperstown called Foo-King Chinese. (I've been there!)

I am 100% serious when I say this was maybe the best synopsis of Cooperstown. I'm really well on my way to be a meaningful journalist who zeroes in right to the heart of news.

Anyways, here are both my pregame preview and post game recap:

Game 95: Some play it hot, some play it cold

The former bullpen coach for the Yankees Dom Scala contends that "the World Series goes to the team who can go on the most streaks. The team who has a couple of 7-game streaks occur throughout the season is gonna win over the team who ends the season with the same record but that only goes on a lot of mini- ‘streaks.’"

I don’t know enough math (read: basic addition) to wrap my head around this, but as a Yankee fan watching our team go for their 7th straight win, I’m all for subscribing to this theory. Tonight New York tries to keep the run alive, as they pit the one-ton-pinstriped-inning-eater CC Sabathia (9-6, 3.66) against the Athletics' NJ native Vin Mazzaro (2-6, 4.09), who opened his big league career with a runless 2-0. But then he lost a little steam and enters today on the heels of an 0-6 tailspin that boasts a 5.59 ERA.

Now the franchise who went on a record 20-game streak in 2002 seems to be categorically averse to going on any kind of run in 2009, while their opponent has won 19 of the last 26. Although the A's have been keeping the cellar of the AL West warm for the lion’s share of the season, they tacked up 32 runs during their most recent series in Minnesota…so maybe the offensively challenged line-up will apply this new-found talent to the homerun brothel in the Bronx.

And considering the A’s seem to be CC’s Achilles heel (3-7, 6.26), and that Matt Holliday may feel like he’s back in Coors, and that Jack Cust is creepily good when I don’t want him to be, the Yankees shouldn’t underestimate them…even if the As' hitting leader's .289 hovers around the BA of the Yanks’ 7-8-9 men.

* * *

6-3 win over the As shows why anti-fans can stop laughing at the Yanks' pitching

I guess the recession affects even the richest team in baseball, since everything the Yankees have done since the ASB has been a monument to economical. If someone showed me the box scores for the last 7 games and told me they were from a Yankee homestand which included 2 of the worst teams in the league, I'd ask them if they were getting their sports info from Chris Berman.

And then if I was told that in this 7-game span, the Yankees' success was the handiwork of their pitchers who kept their opponents to an average of 2 runs a game, I'd ask if they were talking to Joe Morgan. I don't even know what I'd say if they concluded this exercise with the fact the Homerun Hedoism stigma of the stadium would be met with less than 10 long balls.

In their comeback win against the As, the Yankees continued to demonstrate they're doing their part to cut back on excess wherever they can: after a wet delay that pushed the game til 10PM (west coast-esque start time made me forget they were home and not Oakland's Coliseum), the Yankees zipped through the game in under 3 hours, holding the As to 3 runs over 9 hits.

CC Sabathia has gotten into the habit of pulling the Joba Rule, which now states he can't settle in until he's got at least 2 awkward/sloppy innings under his 8-foott long belt. I received the now routine "Fatso struggling" text after he allowed Nomar Garciaparra to score off Jack Cust's sac fly, followed by Bobby Crosby's RBI single. Matt Holliday doubled and scored to make it 3-0.

It wasn't a very auspicious start, and I think CC's consistent trouble with the A's may rank alongside Cody Ransom's presence as one of the most inexplicable Yankee mysteries.

Vin Mazzaro looked as though he was going to exploit the hell out of the Yankees' incurable fear of new pitchers, retiring the first 6 batters he faced, 4 on strikeouts. It wasn't until the 4th inning that Oakland passed over the conch shell to the Yanks, where a 2-run bomb from Mark Teixeira opened up the floodgates. Alex Rodriguez walked, stole a base (!), and then was brought home with Jorge Posada's RBI double. Eric Hinske's RBI single put the Yanks on top.

(PS, I'm pretty sure the only 2 types of at-bats Posada knows about are swinging strikeouts and well-timed RBI doubles, most of which occur by a blooper than dunks in just beyond the infield.)
The 5th inning was just as brutal for Vin, who probably won't be comforted tonight by his 7Ks. Eh, he's from Jersey, his hometown buddies are probably happy at least. And as painful as stuffing the bases may have been for Vin, that's how refreshing it was for the few remaining fans at the game.

Teixeira's double brought in Derek Jeter and advanced Johnny Damon to third, who had reached on an infield single. Posada brought in Damon, and then the 4th/5th inning all-you-can-eat run buffet shut down, and the Yankees' bats went into a food coma.

The score would stay that way through the end, as Phil Hughes closed out the game with hitless 8th and 9th innings. His first career save, and undoubtedly an invigorating, comforting suggestion of the Yankees' future Mo substitute. Neither Yankee pitcher let up a single walk tonight.

The Yankees have now won 7 in a row, The score was 2-1 three of those times, 6-4 twice, and I will admit that part of me wanted to see the A's drive home another run just for the symmetry of it all.

Tomorrow Joba Chamberlain (5-2, 4.05) tries to keep his 1-game winning streak alive, when the Yankees face Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.25). Our boy can't rely on the run support from his team anymore. He'll have to rely on the defense behind him, so my advice to Joba--if he wants to maintain his team's trend of otherwordly fielding performance--is that he needs to stop taking his sweet time between pitches and also stop getting through innings with the speed of a parade float.

Ask any New Yorker--there are few things we hate more than slow walkers.

1 Comment:

  1. Mark Buehrle said...
    Tell the kid to watch a tape of my game yesterday for a lesson on working quick. As for AJ's comment, good luck to Contreras trying to build off of what the guy before him did...

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