Once again, Yankee fans learned that every time we watch this club, we need to be ready to be surprised. Last night we were treated to Robbie "I'll sooner spoon out my eyeballs than hit with runners on" Cano hit a walkoff with 2 MEN ON! and today we saw Sergio "I play it fast and loose with the word 'sink'" Mitre treat us and Chicago to a nifty 1-hitter.
The poor kid only came out of the game at all because of a bullet liner that took a piece off his forearm. It looked like what my college roommate would have termed "a contusion" which she used authoritatively to describe any bruise that was coupled with a bump.
Saturday games, for me, are usually an off/on back-and-forth routine of consciousness/ unconsciousness. Annnnd today was not different. I'm pretty sure I'm starting to emulate this character from that mtv show Daria, the one who always walked around in a nightgown and breathed really heavily. Because that's how much of a lump on a log I felt like today.
(This is, I think, actually an improvement over the OTHER Daria character I was resembling during the week. After having to treat my spasming eye with this prescription eye drops, I was stuck looking like Mr. DeMartina for not 1 but 3 days.)
So I turn on the game at 1:00, watched Mitre do his best Mitre impression by bouncing some pitches to the backstop on the first 2 pitches. Well, he's nothing if not consistent, I thought. Command, schmand. I like my breaking balls like pageant contestants like their answers: all over the place. I was 29 seconds into the game and already pissed off. Why, Mitre? Why? Why do you throw like Jackson Pollack paints? He seriously looks like he'd be better suited as some kind of struggling performance art person.
But then things changed.
And his body went from looking like a one of those collapsible toy things to looking like a Billy Chapel at the end of For Love of the Game. His windup was really a thing of beauty to behold, and he owned his breaking ball so severely. His go-to pitch was going strong, thank God, because no one needs to look beyond Wang to see what happens when sinkerballers go bad. (That would actually be kind of a cool reality tv show/documentary. "Hurlers Gone Wild.")
And there he went. Not only had he not let up a hit, but no one was on. No baserunners at all for 5 innings until he let up a double to Thome. Half of me wishes I was fully conscious for all this, but the other half of me knows what that would have felt like.
I remember actually being in attendance for Wang's almost-perfecto against the Mariners. And sitting in Section 39, as I had all season with the rest of the certifiably insane, we were tense. At one point Wang had worked a 3-2 count and I honestly thought I was going to puke out of sheer nerves.
So perhaps it wasn't the worst thing in the world that I wasn't registering the game today.
Thome's hit actually could have been fielded. It would have been an amazing feat if Tex HAD gotten to it, as he has done so many times before, but it was a good hit with a wicked bounce that wouldn't be charged as an error in anyone's books.
A couple of things about that hit:
- In light of the fact that Mitre got quasi injured later in the game, was that hit a blessing in disguise? Because what does he do if he's got a perfecto going and then gets smashed in the arm? Maybe this wouldn't be so bad if he was an established pitcher, but when every game is make or break if you're not CC, AJ, or Andy... how much would it suck if your perfecto is foiled on account of a bruise?
- If Mitre hadn't gotten bruised, finished the game, and ended with a no-walk, 1-hitter, I would have LOVED to see the post-game interaction between him and Tex, especially if it involved Tex apologizing profusely and Mitre going apeshit on him.
ESPN does a pretty spot-on analysis of why Mitre won:
- Command: Mitre threw 82 percent of his sliders for strikes (43 percent entering); changeup, 71 percent strikes (58 percent entering); threw first-pitch strikes 71 percent of time (55 percent entering).
- Finished hitters: Retired all nine Chicago hitters that reached two-strike counts.
- Filthy offspeed stuff: White Sox hitters chased 57 percent of offspeed pitches out of the strike zone (MLB avgerage is 31 percent).
Was it Dylan Thomas who said, "Do not go gently into that good waiver wire. Rage, rage against the dying of the roster spot"?
Speaking of rage, there's our boy Ozzie in the post-game, delicately and diplomatically reacting to the 10-0 rout his team just delivered:
"I'm embarrassed. Everybody in that room should be embarrassed," he said, mixing in a few expletives but never shouting. "When you have more errors than hits, you better look yourself in the mirror. I watched Little League this morning and they played better. This is not major league ball. I'm getting a lot of money to manage this team, and I feel like I'm stealing money from [chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf."
Awesome stuff there, Oz. I love how he takes his PR notes from Jim Mora. Seriously, either Ozzie is a few crayons short of a box, or he's just really got his sights set on starring in the next Coors commercial.
In fairness to Ozzie, he's right. His struggling team made 3 errors, which he rightly pointed out is, indeed, 3 more errors than runs scored, 2 more than hits made. Jermaine Dye's hilarious slip (I'm satan, apparently) was still no one near the level of comedic supremity of this. Will anything make me laugh that hard in baseball again? Maybe not. Cairo rounding the bases celebrating his homerun that was actually caught by Manny was pretty legit too though.
The Yanks recorded 14 hits, with notable showings from Jeter (3-4), ARod (2-5) and Robbie (3-5). PLUS, Cano hit some more RBIs, which was great, because maybe now he knows that they're not so bad after all.
(I wish this worked with me and bees. I thought that if I finally got stung by one, I'd realize they don't warrant the galactic terror I assign to them. But no, I got stung by a yellow jacket and it hurt and the damn stinger was stuck in my thigh and I had to watch the thing wriggle around while it trying to fly off, like it was Winnie the Pooh trying to get unstuck from the rabbit hole. )
Anyways, so on a more relevant note, I'm going to drop For Love of the Game reference #2 of this post and liken our defense today to the defense of the last inning of Billy Chapel's game. It sometimes seems Jeter, Arod, et all play their hardest, most dialed-in defensive work when they got a less than reliable starter. Which is endearing on so many levels.
It's reallllly hard for haters to keep at the whole "Jeter sucks on defense" thing this year. He's letting nothing by. (knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood) Just like it's realllly hard for haters to get on ARod for sucking in the clutch. What the hell's going on this year? It's phenomenal.
Our old friend Jose Contreras didn't fare as well as Mitre. 8-0 before he got chased, and now he is officially the biggest loser in the league. That's really sad. To have a statistic that confirms you're the biggest loser. Imagine if high school worked that way? I'd have been DFAed to home schooling before half-way through freshman year.
Ozzie, again, gracefully tried to sugarcoat things:
"I wish I had another choice besides Josie."
Ok, in a final note before the Players of the Game: the Toyota Text Poll was f'n weird as hell:
"Do you think Tampa Bay has given up on their season? Text your answer to..."
Apparently Toyota marketers have acquired their humanity and empathy from the same bargain bin Ozzie's shopping in.
Players of the Game:
- "Lounge Source #1"* from Durham, who responded to my "Are you in NY tonight?" text with: "I am in Durham, NC with [Lounge Source #2] for a golfing outing. Well, we're at the party now at his house. So here's the menu: pulled prok, pulled turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, hush puppies and red cabbage cole slaw/no vinegar. Do you like Southern BBQ? I do. And for dessert, one guess. Krispy Kremes!" Hm. Yeah, I think I have that response on my autotext.
- Mike for the following text: "You know, Suzyn. You just can't figure baseball. Mitre hadn't done well at all. And today he pitches a no-hitter!" SPOT. ON.
- Toby for the following email which has absolutely nothing to do with baseball. I don't know what I like more: the existence of the link or the fact Toby finds egregious gaps in it. Either way:
Figured you would appreciate this, even though I know there are tons of good ones missing. In addition to the Zelda loved the Castlevania and Bubble Bobble throwbacks
*My friends are completely normal.