CHICAGO -- The Yankees have acquired utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. in a Trade Deadline deal from the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Post reported Friday
Hairston played six positions this year for the Reds, including all three outfield spots, though he was primarily used as a third baseman and shortstop.
He is batting .254 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs this season. He's hitting .353 (6-for-17) over his past seven games.
It was not immediately known what the Reds received in exchange for the 33-year-old Hairston.
I've heard that AJax was the one dealt. Which would have make so little sense, it makes me angry. But no. Chase Weems was dealt. You could practically hear the hearts breaking all over the country, over this household name's departure from his roots.
Speaking of breaking, Shelley Duncan gets the call up, and you could practically hear forearms crushing all over the country.
"I really don't understand why the Yankees didn't make a move for another starter." --Kevin
Fair. I don't either. Although my theory is that they were worried about appearing frantic and Boston-y. And that they suspected, rightly so, that no matter what trade they made for a pitcher, it would be met with criticism and if it didn't pay out handsome dividends, aka WS bling, then they'd get crucified. Trading for JHII= aim small, miss small.
And, to be sure, JHII is no slouch. The Yankees made a classic no-risk fantasy move: go to the available player list. Find one that's good all around. I bet the amound of times this guy is picked up and dropped and picked up again in fantasy leagues across the country is easily in the Top 10.
He's not the player you pick up when you're looking to satisfy a specific need. That'd be Willy Taveras or Bronson Arroyo or Youkilis. Those guys have jacked up stats in one or 2 categories but flatline in others.
I wanted Washburn. Or a pitcher. But I am glad they didn't trade for a iffy arm. I don't think I could handle seeing a stretch of starts that call of flashbacks of the Loiaza choice.
The Loiaza Choice. Sounds like a Lifetime Moive.
Best laid plans, etc...
So the Sox won and Yanks lost. It's a good day to put things in perspective. I'm quite certain they'll take the next 3. Hey, remember when Ortiz got named in steroid scandal? And Gammons et al asserted the 2004/2007 titles are hence tainted? Yeah, that was fun.
Anyways, here's what I got on the game. I apologize for the brevity. Once I make it out of this day, I'll be happier than a kid whose mother lets him pour the pennies in a CoinStar machine.
My preview of last night's game: (I like to put the preview up after the fact. What, I think it's interesting to see my blind optimism. Retrospect is great!)
Andy Pettitte (8-6, 4.67) and Gavin Floyd (8-6, 4.64) both enter the game with weirdly identical stats and little to no momentum to speak of, though not for lack of raw performance. Pettitte pitched 6 scoreless innings in the beginning of last Saturday's loss before Aceves took a match to the frail 1-1 game. Against the Cubs, Floyd's third straight 7K-start was moot when the southsiders fell in the 10th.
Pettitte's ability to a win has been tucked away in Manhattan Mini-Storage for the past month, and Floyd's 17-win season in 2008 is bunking with Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" in the One-Hit-Wonder cabin. While his numbers may look more than satisfactory, they belie Floyd's real caliber, because he pitches for a team who "moved a season best 5 games over .500" with Mark Buehrle's perfecto.
But for some reason, Pettitte struggles against this defensive nightmare of a squad. Last week CC faced his demons and put a stop to the As' pattern of just owning him. Pettitte looks to follow suit tonight, and grab his first W in nearly a month against the 3rd place AL Central team against which Pettitte boasts a healthy 8.55 ERA, and in a stadium in which Pettitte has not won in over a decade.------------------------
And my recap:
That said, I wasn't the only one who had to weather this denouement principle last night, as New York's characteristic late-inning valor was bested by the DeWayne Wise's nonpareil timed heroics. In their first game of the season against the White Sox, Rain Delay #9,027 perhaps set the tone for this dampening game, and after we finally got underway a little over an hour after the scheduled start, the Yankees looked like a claymation film. Stilted, awkward, devoid of agility, and essentially warped versions of their spirits.
It's hard to say how this game was won. Or lost. On the surface, neither team was outplaying the other, and an early RBI from Gordon Beckham in the third put the only run on the board until Johnny Damon tied it in the sixth with a laser to right that brought in Jose Molina.
Andy Pettitte and Gavin Floyd went pound for pound on this one, and once again, both pitchers handed in outstanding performances that were ultimately eclipsed. For Andy, his 8K game was wasted, as his games are want to do, and for Gavin, his 10K-er was just the opening act for someone else's day in the sun.
For about 20 minutes, Nick Swisher usurped this status. His 2-out 9th inning solo off Matt Thornton tied the game, and it looked as though Floyd's day would be the one exiled to irrelevancy, especially with Chicago's lineup having to fare in the bottom of the 9th against the invincible Phil Hughes.
It seemed like everything was strictly adhering to the requisite game elements for both teams. Rain delay, check. Yankee procrastination homerun to make things exciting, check. White Sox post-perfecto struggles, check. Hughes reliably slicing through the inning...
Didn't happen. Instead, New York fans were abruptly yanked out of their confident delirium when Wise wrecked Hughes' 16 game scoreless streak, with a single to center that brought in Scott Podsednik.
Didn't see that one coming. It was like seeing a ridiculous home-run robbing catch that almost guaranteed a momentum upswing in your favor, and then seeing your most trusted reliable go-to guy fail to get it done when the inning turned. (Cough...2007 NLCS...cough.)
As broached in the game thread, the seeming inevitability of a wasted outing from these pitchers came into the picture last night, when Andy once again couldn't taste a W. And yet despite its predictability, the Yanks never saw it coming. Sloppy fielding errors from Pettitte and Robinson Cano slowed things down a bit, but the game really can be encapsulated in Floyd's most potent weapon against the order:
A late-breaking curve ball.
February 16, 2009...
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz wants players who test positive for steroids to be suspended from baseball for a year instead of the current 50-game penalty.
Taking players to court, though, for cases involving use of the substances before players were subject to penalty is not the way to clean up the game, the Boston Red Sox designated hitter said Monday.
"I would suggest everybody get tested, not random, everybody," he said. "You go team by team. You test everybody three, four times a year and that's about it."
And if a player tests positive for steroids?
"Ban 'em for the whole year," the slugger said.
The current penalties are a 50-game suspension for a player who tests positive once, 100 games for a second positive test for the same player and a lifetime ban for a third positive test, though a player can seek to return after two years.
* * *
Pretty strong words, Davey. What's that saying? Something about what's good for the something is good for the something?
(Google tells me it's "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." I'm not sure this is what I'm going for. I liked my mistaken version better-- what's good for the broth is good for the cook.)
So, anyways, here is a perfect example of what's good for the broth is good for the cook. I remember how excited all my Sox fans (all? 2.) were about the Yanks coming to Fenway because they were all planning on bringing Tic Tacs and rattling them at ARod. This is the type of thing that probably prompted DiMaggio's assertion that every day he thanks the Good Lord for making him a Yankee.
So is Operation Tic Tac still on, boys? HOW do you spin this one? I've heard every rationale (a lot of pathetically creative ones, even) that alienate ARod from the rest of the juicers, highlighting his transgressions as categorically worse than others who have done the same. A big support point for the argument is that "ARod went out of his way, he sought out Katie Couric and outright lied."
See, I'd argue that what Ortiz did, while similar, is actually worse. Because all ARod did was try to get naysayers to back off. Contrastly, Ortiz didn't have people pointing the finger at him. He could have assaulted a middle school kickball team, or came out of the closet, or announced he hated Shawshank Redemption, and he would have gotten the same reaction the pool hall oaf got outta Cousin Vinny when he says, "Hey Yankee boy! Got your $200 here!" and Vinny just rushes by him hurriedly waving his hand in dismissal.
Because like Vinny, MLB fans had bigger fish to fry. The best player in baseball used steroids. Media hype! Woo! Media-generated logos to assign to the story every time it appears in new iterations! Excitement!
So instead of just wiping his brow, puffing out a Phew! and feeling some pangs of guilt that are ultimately eclipsed by better-him-than-me relief, Ortiz goes out of his way to meet essentially non-existent suspicious naysayers off at the head. He wasn't under the hot lamp. Maybe he would be eventually, but he wasn't then. So he basically came out and pulled the mother of all 'holier-than-thou' bullshit performances, acting like a hall monitor on steroids (pun intended.)
THROW THE BOOK AT EM! 50 DAYS? MAKE IT A SEASON!
(It should be noted, however, that Ortiz interestingly enough makes subtle allowances for using steroids in 2003...)
He drew a distinction between the use of steroids through 2003, when it was not penalized, and the period since then when testing with penalties has been in effect.
Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty last Wednesday to lying to Congress about performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty earlier to charges that he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he said he never knowingly used steroids.
"All the drama, bringing that to court and acting like those [are] serious criminals, it doesn't look good for the game," Ortiz said. "It's not like something that is happening right now. Everybody that has been taken to court, it's because they did it in the past when it wasn't banned from the game."
Sooo...what are you trying to say? Everyone who does steroids should have the consequences upped? Except for the 2003 users. Everyone else, though, should hike their cleats down the green mile.
I feel like I should be hearing all this in the teachers' lounge at a middle school. The rampant he-said-she-said flurry characterizing the whole steroid era is driving me batty. And really serves no purpose at this point beyond sometimes mild entertainment, but more often, hackneyed whining that's beginning to just serve as backdrop of white noise to baseball's contemporary landscape.
Oh, PS, to be clear: David Ortiz is reported to have been a cheater.
Big Mammi, Roid Sux, Steroid-tiz, Big PCPi...(See, Yankee fans are so much more interesting than Sox fans. Even when it comes to vicious immaturity.)
I'm f'n beat. And yet still weirdly frustrated that I can't pointlessly stay up, by way of watching things like Friday the 13th on demand, or The Jetsons, or How's It Made.
I'm also reluctant to start my going to bed process because that means I'll have to address the issue of not bringing my shower curtain here.
But since I've already written the recap for the Yank game, I'm all for addressing that instead.* * *
Game 101: "You have to outthink and outsmart your competitor."
Even when the Yankees play like they're interviewing for jobs as Muppet Babies, their post-ASB charm seems to come through for them. Last night's game against the Rays was an unmitigated mess, but fortunately for them, the Red Sox managed to outdo them, allowing the Yanks to hold on to their 2.5 game lead.
They got a handout, an undeserved one with ace CC Sabathia going up for them. Tonight their defense can't afford to be so lax, as they send Joba Chamberlain (6-2, 3.86) to the mound to face Matt Garza (7-7, 3.68) and his wicked 2-seamer. If Joba pitches the way he has in his last two starts, he will have made quite possibly the greatest headway with his critcs since the start of the season. (Of course, it may be all for naught on account of whisperings about cutbacks in the IP department, but semantics.)
Garza, (who, for some reason, I feel is due for a control-issue-evening), is coming off an even more disarming outing (CG, 9Ks), so tonight will likely be decided by how well each pitcher can keep the batters guessing. Both the Rays and Yankees aren't hurting for power (last night's Yank no-show notwithstanding), and it will be a question of whether Joba's slider can stymie the offense for the third consecutive time, whether Garza will continue to collect Ks like a freshman collects Absolut ads, and whether either pitcher is clever enough to impress the two most productive lineups in baseball.* * *
Yankees on best behavior for Boss, swatting away Rays in 6-2 win
I just don't understand it. I will later chew off my own tongue for saying this, but off the top of my head I can't think of a better analogy: Joba Chamberlain's ability to incense and polarize fans, his almost characteristic plunges and ascents, and above all, the complex mystery of his future, has made him baseball's answer to (I'm sorry) Britney Spears.
The Yankees won the rubber match tonight in a 6-2 victory against the Rays. And while the offense certainly was sparky, Joba was otherwordly. He didn't ween his way back to old form. He just came back from Nebraska after the ASB and just decided to stop sucking. Sure, why not. And not like, "Well, well, Joba's showing some signs of life." In his last 3 starts, you can count the number of HITS he's let up on 1 hand.
And this bizarrely coincides with some vague murmurings about maybe, possibly, sort of putting him in the bullpen again. The Joba saga is harder to follow than that Spanish soap opera I had to watch in high school.
Going up against a pitcher who's arguably in lockstep with Joba with respect to young talent, Joba threw the best innings he's thrown all season. Maybe he didn't have the 12K game like the one against Boston. Or finish the game. (Way to keep things interesting, Bruney.) But unlike his standard display, tonight was marked by pitches dancing all over the plate. (Electric slider vs the gunning man!... Sorry. I'm not proud.)
In 8 scoreless innings, Joba threw a varitable kaleidascope of pitches that left most of the Rays' lineup dumbfounded and completely off-center, amounting to 5Ks, 2BBs, and only 1 runner even getting to sniff around 2nd base.
To drive the point home how awestruck I was: this was the first time in my entire life that I ever texted in my vote to anything. (The Chevy Player of the Game.) I always wondered what weirdos subscribed to this practice. Now I know.
Maybe it was the Boss's glaring presence in the stands. Or maybe it was making up for last night. But there isn't a team in baseball that looks better than the visiting team at the Trop. Mark Teixeira's defense could probably bring me to tears, depending on when you catch me, notably his 87 ft leap to rob Ben Zobrist of his scorching line drive. His offense was alright, too-- 2 for 3. Homerun. 2 RBIs. The best Christmas present I've ever gotten.
Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher.. (am I missing anyone?) all contributed to the near flawless performance. It looked like someone hooked up a Game Genie to their Nintendo Baseball All Stars game. Cano and Melky chipped in a couple of dings. Jeter looks more and more like the league MVP every day, and Hideki continues to quietly yet significantly leave his mark in the box score.
It kind of makes me not even care they went 2-10 with RISP.
And the other dugout? The lineup that was taking batting practice off one of the league's most powerful pitchers last night, was made to look like a National League cellar dweller. Jason Bartlett and Carl Crawford were the only Rays who could choke out a few hits, and Evan Longoria managed a HR off Brian Bruney, which shouldn't count because it's Bruney. If it wasn't for the Yanks' bullpen black sheep's quasi-unnerving 9th, the Rays would have been rendered more ineffective than a wrapping paper tube sword in a fencing match.
Tomorrow the Yanks head to Chicago's south side, where Sergio Mitre faces Clayton Richard. (Who?) NYY has now won 11 of their last 13 to steal the division lead from the Red Sox. I don't know what's worse, Boston's timid play of late, or the fact Mariano Rivera had to be woken up from his bullpen nap to relieve Bruney in non-save situation tonight.
But whether it was the Boss auditing the classroom, or the pressure to rebound from yesterday, or Joba's bullet train to restoration, tonight's game was a potent reaffirmation that the 2009 Yankees are leaving their critics and opponents sublimely silenced.
PS: Three and half up on the Sox now. I'd like them to keep cushioning this, just in case they haven't yet divorced themselves from the never-winning-against-them concept.
PPS: The Red Sox lost to Oakland. Again. It bears repeating.
* * *
I should probably try to sleep soon. This day has last about 230 hours so far, and unrelented with the monsoon stuff for about 200 of those hours.
In other news, I would doing unconscienceable things right now for a bag of gummy/sour candy. The odds of me not going downstairs to wander around looking for this are approximately zero. Basically I can't motivate myself to find some kind of makeshift shower curtain, but I'm up and At-'em for a sour candy pursuit at 1AM that involves going outside.
The Phillies got Halladay Lite. Which personally I think is a much better fit for the team than Halladay anyway. So, everyone wins. Except Halladay, I guess, who is sweating bullets at the propsect of remaining in Canada. If I were him, I'd stay put. Toronto's a good club--in the sense that they look about 1 month away from locking in sync. Kinda like folding boxes, how when you try to fold it like this:
It's a bit aggravating and sometimes it feels like the only way to get it right is to bend the corners. But then all of a sudden, it just locks in.
Like the Yankees.
Sorry for the delay on this, I'm in the homestretch of packing. It's 1:18am now. The movers are coming sometime between 12 and 2pm. So in my mind, that means I have around 12 hours left to put the rest of my apartment in boxes, reverse drill everything off the walls (maybe save that one til after the sun's up), do one last clean and conduct any other last rites with Deion Sanders.*
I just looked around my apartment and realized 12 hours may not be enough time. I'm gonna have to revisit this game recap in a bit.
To be cont...
Ok, made a lot of progress. It's weird how you become so used to seeing stuff in your home that it loses its singularity. I'm doing these run throughs to see if there's anything left, and I'm pretty sure I got everything, and then I notice a framed picture on the wall of my bathroom--the back page of the Daily News when the Yanks swept the Padres to win the World Series. ("THE GREATEST!") and a laminated 'Go Yankees!" sign above the mirror, that I got at the 2003 WS (not the greatest).
There's the "Exit" sign above my door that my mom hated and I loved because it reminded me of "American Psycho." The Giants pennant directly above the fireplace. A flattened Stoli bottle on the kitchen wall. An "Enter Sandman" poster next to the fridge. (Yeah, I did a really thorough job the first time around. Nope.)
Kinda sad. Particularly leaving the Yankee Stadium bathroom. I can't believe I painted that thing 5 years ago. (Right before the 2004 WS. Finished it the day I adopted Mariano Rivera--the cat--which also happened to be the 19-8 game against Boston.
For a little while after I became Mo's new mom, I was a little resentful that, coincidentally, the Yanks didn't win an ALCS game after that. But then I remember that he's also the coolest f'n animal in the world.)
Man, the end of an era. No more "stopping by Dorrians on my way home." No more running downstairs to the corner to my favorite pizza in the whole city. No more 84th street Deli guys asking me 364 days a year, at any hour of the day, if I "just got of coat check working." No more spending the lion's share of my nights (and days, I guess, outside of work) somewhere on 2nd avenue.
Ok, all these are very terminal-sounding, especially since I'm moving 5 blocks and 2.5 avenues away. It's just different. I'm just getting a little sentimental, either because it's my last night of not sleeping here, or because, in fact, I haven't really been sleeping. Or the most likely scenario, it's a manufactured nostalgia because evidently I'll stop at nothing to put off packing and have a deep-rooted desire to set the movers into seizures when they arrive and see my progress. I don't know, one of those reasons, anyway.
So to sum up, because I'm sure this is all fascinating to everyone who was under the impression "Tuesday, July 28: NYY @ TB" would touch on some revelant baseball topics, here's the final calculations for the place (The P&L report for D.S.):
- 4 different employers (What, I didn't like any grass to grow under my feet. I'm staying put for a while. I hope, anyway.)
- 5 boyfriends (each spanning the same time frame of late summer/early fall to late winter/beginning of spring...known in some circles as "the offseason." The argument could be made that there's a method to my madness..)
- 4 ALDS appearances
- 1 Super Bowl
- 4 premature Ranger playoff elimations
- 0 historical political, cultural, or social milestones that I could muster up even a modicum of interest in, or that has so far affected me in any way whatsoever
- 1 blown perfect season that has profoundly impacted me as it has a stranglehold on the Best Day of My Life status and distinction
- 5 winters without heat
- Around 3000 trips up or down the 5-flight walk-up. 200 of them have probably been today
So, the Yankee game. (If I knew how to do that "jump" thing on blogging, I'd have done that.)
The Yankees looked messier than the Arnold house after Kevin threw a house party, on the Wonder Years. HOW were there only 2 errors logged for this one?? Maybe they were just showing replays or something, but I felt like every time I looked at the TV, there was a ball sailing over 1st or a ridiculous Mets impersonation in the outfield.
(I really feel like Swisher is the most dramatic epitome of being-hot-shit-and-then-getting-a-little-too-lax. One day I'm going to go through his stats, and look at the games where he was on fire, and then check out his performance for the game immediately following it. Why can't Elias provide us with THESE types of trends, instead of informing us, by way of Kay/Sterling that Jeter is batting a career .496 in games within the temperature range of 55 to 78 degrees, that fall on Thursdays in June?)
"Fatso struggling. I guess I should just make this an auto text." --Kevin
I'm surprised it isn't an autotext already, actually. "Yes" is a preprogrammed autotext, which kills me because how long does it take to write Yes? The answer would be "less than the amount of time it would take to pull up the autotext."
Yeah, CC got SHELLED. The worst I've seen him pitch since the beginning of the year. The score should have been even higher than it was because the shots that the Rays were roping off him were bullets all over the place. Like they were a little league team warming up before a game with some pepper drills.
Fortunately, the Sux were equally as disastrous and dropped a home game to the O's in 11 innings, and even managed to record more E's than the Yanks. We've been lucking out with these instances of NY-Boston double losses. If they keep playing like that, the Sox aren't gonna lose one day and start nipping at our ankles again. Or worse, we play like that against Boston in a few weeks, and we're back to clawing our way back up again. Shudder...
I'm gonna chalk this one up to "getting it out of their system." Kinda like when me and my college beirut partner would be playing and one of us would throw some embarrassing air ball about 17 ft left of the table and the other would immediately yell, "Tourettes! Good, you got it out of the way early." So, maybe the Yanks were just cashing in their bad beirut shot. Better now than later, I guess?
OR, and I like this possibility even more, maybe they purposely played half ass so the Rays would start creeping closer to the Sux in the Wild Card.
4am now. Since I've already determined this game was either a give-away game, or a collusion conspiracy, I don't think it warrants further coverage beyond:
- Cano is a defensive adonis
- Swisher played like DJ Jazzy Jeff
- Tex played like Adam Banks on the early Mighty Ducks
- ARod may or may not be demonstrating early signs of Memo Paris-syndrome with his new flame. (At least this one's quasi normal and devoid of salacious scandal)
- Jeter is playing as well as, if not better, than his 1990 run
- Damon's arm is atrocious and somewhere Chuck Knobloch is jumping up and down pointing at the tv screaming, "SEE! It WASN'T psychological and I WASN'T the only one!"
- Posada is getting kinda bad at passed balls, but it's like there's an inverse relationship between his defensive agility and his offensive production
- Despite all this, the Yanks are the best in their league.
And tomorrow they're going to do a reverse-swish. Which sounds like some kind of high dive move, but is really the practice of playing like mashed potatoes one night and then immediately following it up with a raw carrots kind of performance the next night. (That made sense to me, so I'm officially calling it a night. Writing-wise, anyway.)
*Deion Sanders=my apartment's name for the 5 years I've lived here. The numbers in my address include: 3,1,7,83,5,2. All prime numbers. (Yeah, 83.) Prime Time= Deion Sanders. I guess my apartment naming system is not much different than Michael Scott's mnemonic device for remembering names.
2.) Why was the Castillo Error a Yankee Classic?
3.) Why is it so f'n impossible to find a video of the Delwyn Young play that looked like it belonged more on MLS's web gem segment (Net Gems?)
4.) WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY ABOUT THIS GAME, ARE THE RED SUX #3 ON ESPN'S POWER RANKINGS? They were 3 games up on the Yanks and are now 2.5 games back. The Phillies and Angels are FAR hotter than the Sux right now. My laptop's battery is hotter than the Sux.
2 disgusting Red Sux fans just popped on screen?? UGH. What are they even doing there? The Red Sux are playing right now, why aren't they at home watching them instead of being the asinine fans that they are and coming to root against the Yankees? It's very off actually because they almost look like twins are sitting directly behind these 2 TB fans with matching hats. It's like a Trop Punnett Square or something.
(PS in my search for a Punnett Square reference, I came across this which is probably one of the weirdest f'n tats I've ever seen. And that's pitting it up against this ill-advised art.
I will never understand how the Trop field isn't the most Ireland-esque shade of green, and how it is always is marked weird patches, like someone started a paint by number, and then resumed it with a different shade of green. r
Ooh, rocket from ARod for a double. I wonder if Kay ever feels marginally embarrassed when he's all "THIS ONE IS DRIVEN TO LEFT. IT COULD GET THERE, GOING BACK....GOING BACKKKKKK...uh, off the wall!"
"It's your birthday, you got to party like it's your birthday," recites Singleton. Thank you for that, Ken.
Holy crap, they just showed the Yanks pitching stats since June 1. Wow. I had no idea that this pitching breakout had been going on this long. I thought it was just a post-ASB thing. So for the last 2 months, the Yanks arms are credited for:
Speaking of pitchers, Albasdjkao [sic] just came in. He's still a Yankee?
Well, maybe not for long. He just put runners on, gave up a sac fly to Crawford, and now has hit a batter. Don't do anything rash yet, Girardi. There's still a 5-run lead.
Ok now, take him out. 4-run lead. Don't take any chances.
Thanks for giving it the old college try, "Albadefatso." (TM Kevin)
How impatient am I that every time a reliever gets called in and we cut to commercials, I immediately get frustrated that I can't use DVR to fast forward through the warmup pitches.
1.) Trade rumors of Bronson Arroyo to the Yankees. Well, I guess he's a 5th starter? I definitely like him more than Sergio, but Arroyo doesn't seem to align with the way the Yanks are playing ball right now. He's got high Ks, and can go deep in the game, yes. But the Yanks are playing less attack and more getting the job done. So I'd rather have a sinker ball pitcher who's not wild. Too bad Aroyo and Sergio can't make their own Punnett Square.
2.) Selig considering removing the lifetime ban on Pete Rose. Selig says he hasn't changed anything, but obviously the whole thing is coming up because of Hank Aaron's comment at Cooperstown this weekend about letting Pete Rose in. Not in favor of this, Hank. We got it. You're the homerun champ. Bonds isn't. It sounds like you're trying to be like, "I mean, SOME sins are ok and forgiveable. Pete Rose should be in. I'm not saying EVERYONE should be banned. I'm not territorial about the HOF, let Pete Rose in!"
3.) The Mets do that whole thing where they decide they're not going to get back page press from the Post based on their talent, so they leverage their messy state of front office affairs, shaving that much more off their dignity and class. Omar Minaya goes to town on Daily News writer Adam Rubin. I don't even know if I understand all the intricate he-said-she-said-ness of the this quibble, but Omar essentially implied, in a roundabout way, that Rubin conspired to get Tony Bernazard fire so Rubin could have his job.
Hm. Damon kinda looks like a pale Melky. Weird. Oh, and congrats on #200!!! I love how, on any team, the teammates go out of their way to fetch the game ball when one of the players hits a milestone. It's just so selfless, and such a pure act of pride and support. We take it for granted in sports, but it's rare in every day life. You got your closest best friends who will save your first column or who will save the champagne bottle from your first raise. But a whole team? It's nice.
I watched "For the Love of the Game" today and now I can add that to the short list of movies that has made me cry. I don't know what it is about Kevin Costner that lends himself to baseball movies so well, but I'm gonna go ahead and say the Billy Chapel character is now the Rosetta Stone of male traits. Loyal, hates losing, likes baseball, and doesn't talk a lot.
The only thing I don't like about that movie is that Costner's team is playing the Yankees in the end (as is standard operating procedure for pretty much any baseball movie.) So I've learned to accept the Yankees are not only the Evil Empire in real life, but since the dawn of cinema, too.
Kay just did a little SteinerSports promo, and I thought that, instead of saying, "Hey, wanna order a piece of history?" he was saying, "Hey, wanna order a pizza, Mr. C?" I had so much questions. Well, first of all, I was thinking, Can the YES booth stop thinking/talking about food for 3 minutes? The second thought was, Who's Mr. C?
I got a bone to pick with Steiner Sports. My Yankee Stadium chair still isn't here. I would LOVE to own a pizze/piece of history, Steiner. WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE HOLD UP? It's gonna arrive at my apt after I move, and they'll be hell to pay.
What the...? ANOTHER set of twins? Is it a promo night there? It must be. This is odd. Or maybe it's like that human mirror experiment they did on NYC subways...
And the Yankees win, 11-4.
In the postgame with Kim Jones, Mo makes the above comment with such deliberate conviction, that it wouldn't have shocked me at all if it ended with, "YOU GOT THAT, BITCH?!"
Well, yes, it would have surprised me, but you see where my head's at here.
My day included the following highpoints:
- (SPOILER ALERT!) The Yankees win
I packed up my living room. It only took 12 hours.I changed my mind, that wasn't a highpoint. I'm sitting on Yankee Stadium popcorn tin right now.
- My dad's buddy's friend's granddaughter in San Fran (I don't know if that's the exact chain, but it was along those lines) made me look like a badass in front of my dad, when it gets back to him that "Hey Tommy, I was eating lunch with so-so and his granddaughter's here visiting and I told her she should read your blog and she already does!" So to the teenager in SF, I owe you. Big. I think it made my parents forget I don't have dust ruffles on my bed, which for some reason, to them, is symptomatic of delinquency.
The Yanks came back against the A's on Sunday to re-gain a game on the Sux, which is now at 2.5. (Thanks, O's.) The Yanks answered the As' 2 in the 1st with 4 of the their own. It looked like it'd be a gentle one on the old heart. but it was essentially exactly like every other game they've played since the ASB. They won on effort and by beating them. To pull a page from sports cliches, they outplayed em when they needed to. Nothing fancy. No Hail Mary's. Just getting it done without getting desperate.
They've let up 11 runs in the last 2 days which is astronomical compared to their previous outings post-ASB, which, to be sure, says more about the low ERA than the 5.5 averaged run games.
Ok so what exactly did the brass said to our pitchers? Because they're playing as if their lives, not their spots, demand on it. It's like all of em are doing the thing little league pitchers do when they're tossing to their dads, talking to themselves in their minds and setting up dramatic bottom-of-the-9th-2-outs scenarios. It's all very "For Love of the Game."
Ha, I'm watching NY1 Sports and they're showing clips from the Mets game and one of the highlights is a long fly fomr Castillo that drops in and brings runs in, and the poor old man who does this sports talk segment at 4:00am says, "And man, Castillo is having a great year, besides for that dropped ball against the Yankees." Will Castillo ever live that down?? I mean, in fairness, it wasn't even really a meaningful game. I'm not sure if I'd asterisk Castillo's "great year" (which I could dispute, but I won't) because of one error in the 1st half of the season.
The Yanks head to Tampa Bay now, sadly. The Bronx has been good to them for the last 10 days. And who can be happy about moving from GNH after a 9-1 homestand to the litterbox that is the Trop?
HAHAHAHA there's Mets fan caller who's calling into NY1 right now who makes some inane claim about what the Mets' record has to be to make the playoffs and she's twanging that she did the math on her calculator and all, and the Poor Old Man (the POM) is gently but quizzically challenging her math.
And then there's silence. To the point where I was thinking, "Ok how long do you say, Hello? Hello?, until you assume she got disconnected. It was starting to get uncomfortable--Jesus, just hang up on her!--and then she pipes back in with the whining Long Island accent, that almost sounded like she was about to cry, and says, "Ok I know, I know, I was stretching it, but I'm a diehard, lifelong fan, and I just love the Mets!"
A box full of rally monkeys from the stadiums I've been to. Oh and a nerf football. That's all I've packed so far.
The worst part is that this was my output for the goal "Pack something that frees up space or cleans out a bigger item."
Basically my subconscious interpreted this as less of a reasonable goal and more of a sardonic challenge. Because I managed to find the one category of items in the apt that free up approximately zero space, unless the curtain rod is now considered space.
Actually I guess in fairness to my subconscious, that's not outside the realm of possibility, considering I keep my cleats/soccer ball/basketball/mitt/softballs in the fireplace, and gift bags/gift boxes/shopping bags in the oven, and t-shirts in the freezer.
Subconscious: 1, CYC: 0
My ability to identify what day we're on significantly diminishes each week. I could understand waking up on Thursday and thinking it's Friday, or Tuesday and thinking it's Wednesday. And even these instances really are only ok if it's a fleeting misunderstanding. But going through entire days at a time without any concept of what day of the week it is= loony. I feel like Dwight in that Office episode when Jim convinces him it's a Friday. (at 4:14)
Today was no different than the last few weeks of my unbridled confusion. It really has a lot to do with my stubborn aversion to sleeping in the bed and by stubborn aversion, I mean I always accidentally pass out on the couch, which, despite my staunch defense otherwise, really isn't that comfortable. At all.
So I wake up at 2pm today and go through the routine "pleaseletitbeaweekendpleaseletitbeaweekend" chanting to myself as I flit about the apt trying to find something that will tell me what day we're on. (Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this routine is that I consistently ignore the most obvious date indicators, like a calendar or my watch. And go straight for things that might help put things in context. Like "ok Thursday was a client meeting, I wore a suit, is the suit on the bottom or top of my laundry? AGH..TOP! It's Friday! Wait. No. Was the meeting Wednesday? Did I have a meeting? I'll check my work mail."
Today turns out to be a Saturday, which is great.
I turn on the tv to see it's the 6th inning and I start to get panicky all over again, because maybe my clocks and everything in my apartment is wrong, and it's not Saturday at all.
When I tuned in, Andy was unbelieveable. Only had let up 1 hit and then Girardi took him out arguably a little too late. I, for one, am not going to argue that. But I imagine other people will since Girardi's really unfortunately gotten loser status. Not literal loser. But loser as in the person in high school who tries really hard and no even when she wears the same trendy clothes as the cool kids, she gets criticized for it. She can't do anything right.
And the problem really wasn't the damage that Andy had done, because there wasn't any, but the verrry difficult situation that Aces was handed. Maybe I would have tried to let Andy finish it out, but 20-20 hindsight. And I love Aces, he was 1 out from sidestepping the whole As rally that changed a swift, empty game, to a 6-1 game. 5 runs is a big deficit even for the Yankees and their longball.
But old habits die hard with this club and they fell off the wagon. It was back to struggling against egregiously mediocre rookie pitchers and then trying to compensate for this display by sweeping the deficit underneath a homer-rug.
It almost worked, when Jeter's 2 run blast and Tex's solo cut the lead down to 2.
But the rest of the team must have fallen asleep on their couches last night, too, because the bats were slumbering like what.
Sometimes when ARod goes 0-5, I'm ok with it, depending on how the pitches to Tex looked. But today G-Wiz wasn't exactly scared of any of the lineup (why should he) and Tex wasn't seeing a whole lot of pitches that indicated a fear of seeing ARod. Curve after curve and he never saw em coming.
Maybe that's the real key to beating the Yankees. Shifting your perception of their hitters. They all always seem to know what pitch is coming.
Usually that's the case with Justin, whose slider obsession is not really fooling anyone anymore (excepting yesterday).
And so the Yanks fall short. I miss most of the meat of this game. The highs and lows actually, since I slept through Andy's sick outting and then fell back asleep for Aces' sick outting.
Now I'm going to address the fact I'm moving in a few days and haven't even so much as put a book into a box yet.
So says Aristotle, anyway. Joba Chamberlain (5-2, 4.05) must have been aware that, for many, the bloom has fallen from the rose, and last Sunday he performed like a guy who was pitching for his life. Good timing, Joba. And now a new wrinkle in his ever-ballooning debate pool enters the scene, with Brian Cashman casually throwing it out there that Joba MAYBE is only 40 innings away from reaching his predeterminnd season limit. Is that so, Bri...
Tonight the loose cannon (file that alongside "July 31 Deadline" in the "Greatest MLB Misnomers" bucket), goes against the Athletics' searing rookie Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.25) who becomes the latest pitcher to try and find the hole in New York's game. It gets tougher and tougher for the Yanks' opponents, since it seems that Mark Teixeira somehow improves with every at-bat, and Alex Rodriguez's value to the team (even when he goes 0-5) is more and more prominent.
What's more, the Yankees look confident. They don't flail about in jams, make rash baserunning decisions (cough, Nick Swisher, cough), jump on the first pitch, or otherwise implode. They'll need every ounce of that tenacity and mental fortitude tonight against Anderson, who pitches like a choppier Hughes with AJ's ability to claw out of trouble. While the Yanks did knock him around at their last meeting, Anderson took a perfecto into 7 in his last start. I'm not impressed, nor should the Yanks. I predict they tee off on the southpaw like he's serving up 60 mph Skybounces.
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."
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.
Game 95: Some play it hot, some play it coldThe 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.
This seems suspect.
So TPTB are already laying the groundwork, huh.
Girardi, who didn't divulge the magic number of innings allotted for Chamberlain this season, didn't say for certain that the right-hander would remain in the starting rotation for the remainder of the regular season or the playoffs.
That's something that we're going to continue to talk about - see how he feels and how strong he is and what we see," Girardi said. "It's not etched in stone... We have options. There are things that we'll have to evaluate as we get closer to that point. We still have what we feel is a substantial amount of time. We'll just continue and see how he's doing. That's a concern."
They're acting all, oh yeah, we have things totally under control. Yup. Right on top of that, boy! But, well, Joba's starts may only last 2 innings now. OR, hey, I guess 2 inning-outings would mean bullpen type work, right? I guess that's the only thing that makes sense. You know, because of the IP number. That's all. Just throwing some ideas on the wall, moving some figures around, any number of meaningless corporate cliches, really."
But they're simultaneously saying they've been on top of it all along, while suggesting all of a sudden his IP needs to be cut a bit. How do you lose track of something like this? You'd have to have Cody from Step-by-Step doing your number crunching. Or That Guy at the office who never comes to meetings, doesn't pay attention to what he's doing because he's doing the bare minimum to get it off his desk and cuts corners to get out of everything.
Because it really doesn't make sense to "determine a number of innings Joba can pitch" in the preseason and then half-way through the regular season, be all, "110 INNINGS?? I was WAY off! Uh oh. Oh boy. Umm, Joba needs to be taken out. Yeah, no, I mean RIGHT NOW. Dammit. Was this always this number? Or was this changed right after he pitched well for the first time since camera phones hit the market? Hm. Very curious."
So Cashman is saying that there is this mysterious, hard fast number that was decided on in the beginning of the season. And it's so immoveable that they may have to change his pitching role. If a number is that set in stone, wouldn't he have done a little bit more planning instead of acting like he's seeing his bar tab at 3AM after buying Jager shots for his dozen new best friends all night?
It doesn't make sense, especially since it's not as if Joba has been exceeding any kind of pitching limits when more often than not, the opponents' bats are dictating the point in the game when he's chased, not a magic IP watermark. Everyone's mum on exactly what this number might be, but Joba's outing's have ranged from .2 IP to 8, with an average of 5.2 IP per game. Isn't that roughly what the plan was for him? So unless they were planning on a season of Joba going 3 IP per game, how could, at midseason, everyone start wringing their hands because they binge-pitched.
It's convenient, though. Because if they move Joba to the pen, they're only doing it because of a number they're diligently sticking to, and not because they had an err in judgement making him a starter. And even better, his most recent brilliant outing clouds any suspicion.
And if Joba is hurt, (which I still maintain he is), this is the way to minimize the exacerbations, but drastically cutting down his pitch count, under the guise of "just following the rules." And they manage this proverbial injury without anyone being the wiser. Because if people DID know, I'd imagine they first incensed accusation scripting the mob mentality would be, "He's hurt because they pushed his arm too far! The management ruined Joba! CASHMAN SUCKS! YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED JOBA!"
(Yeah, so I get a little restless during rain delays.)
I'm moving out July 29 and am DFA-ing pretty much all my furniture. I don't know how people in the city move like it's no bigger deal than hailing a cab. I don't even know how this whole selling of the stuff works either, but in my head I'm picturing it something along the lines of the Family Guy episode when Stewie struts through Brian's son Dylan's room at the end of their tearful outpouring:
Anyways, here are the pics of stuff.
A pregame look that I wrote at roughly 5:30am and luckily took a quick look at before publishing on PA since there were definitely a few rows of uninterrupted g's and indecipherable typopaloozas that reminded me of the language in the "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" essay I had to read in high school anthropology.
Now at the top of their division with a 5-0 post-All-Star-Break run, the Yankees look to complete the sweep of the Orioles in an afternoon game headlined by RHP A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.81) and RHP Jason Berken (1-7, 6.44). The past few games haven't exactly been a hit parade, but after being swept by the Angels despite 31 hits, the Yanks are on the brink of doing the same to Baltimore, with about a 1/3 of that production.
Conventional wisdom puts the Yanks squarely in the Upper Hand suite, if we're considering things like the notably clutch offense from Alex Rodriguez, the steel curtain at first known as Mark Teixeira, the 8-1 record Burnett has against the O's, or Berken's fear of Ks coupled with a chemical dependence on his 91 mph fastball.
However, fan wisdom puts the Yanks in a more conservative tier, because we shouldn't rule out the possibility of players like Adam Jones and Cesar Izturis rolling out the proverbial trampoline beneath us. You never know when the #1 spot is going to encounter the unexpected from the bottom.
And chalk 1 in the CYC column for calling that one. Trouble from the bottom. Like the trampoline...
Here's the recap, also published on PA:
Yanks tee off then shut down; let up, then sweep out in 6-4 winI always am grateful for the Monday morning crosswords, it’s like the newspapers know that the first day back from the weekend is going to be hard enough without having to labor through a 13-letter word that so far has _ _N_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _E filled in. Which is too much of a challenge that close to the weekend…And I guess the same merciful mastermind behind this practice also was the point person on the Yankees post-ASB scheduling committee.
But while the tic-tac sized "2-1 Final" games of the weekend may be have been the Tuesday puzzle, today’s afternoon game was a little less manageable.
Facing the worst pitcher of the worst team, the Yankees should have known that this Orioles match could be too good to be true, especially after jumping to a 4-run lead in the first.
Such an effortlessly dominant burst that it could have easily doubled as the opening scene of pretty much any underdog baseball flick when it looks like the juggernaut'll crush 'em from the get-go...
But it wasn't that cookie cutter, after all. Jason Berken at first lived up to his anti-hype, as Alex Rodriguez (surprise) tacked up NY's first ribbie with a single that brought in Derek Jeter. (ARod is definitely just loaded for bear in his campaign to not only collect ribbies, but to make sure they’re >2 run differential ribbies at all times.)
Then one by one the lineup teed off on the hapless Baltimore defense. The Yankees have been steadily metamorphosizing into this army of hybrid sluggers/lead-off men. Their role players no longer are so strictly delineated, like the Juan Pierre's and Justin Morneau's and Albert Pujols’ of the league. Instead, we see our bottom of the order completely dissolve the pitcher’s awareness of where exactly he is in respect to the lineup.
After ARod started them off, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher throw their hats in the ring, with back-to-back singles that lassoed in Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada.
A.J. saunters into the second inning and pitches like a pitcher who knows he needs only not spontaneously combust to score the W. He took the shutout into the seventh, only walking 3 while donating 4 hits to the Os' cause.
After Posada did his best 2007 ARod impression with a solo in the 4th, the Yankees just sort of stuttered around in the batter’s box. One go-thru of the order and all of a sudden Berken throws down the gauntlet like he’s freaking Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump and cuts through the Yanks like a hustling pro. (That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, since he actually only struck out 1. Even 1 seemed a lot considering he had a pitching arsenal about as stocked as a 22-year-old's fridge.)
As for the Baltimore offense, the charge was led by the guy whose "6Ks and .143 against AJ!" stigma was all but shackled to his cleats at the start of the game: Adam Jones then went 4 for 5, which included a 9th inning solo that made things realllly uncomfortable for Yankee fans. Ditto for Nick Markakis, whose HR immediately following Jones’ prompted Girardi to abandon the Brian Bruney Not-For-Profit program he initiated in the 9th.
In fairness to Joe, the Yanks had 5 on the board, and barring a Tanyon Sturtze/Kyle Farnsworth meltdown, it’s a safe bet that Bruney can act like he isn't an infant discovering his hand for the first time. Instead, Girardi took no chances and brought in Mariano Rivera for about the 87th game in a row (2 consecutive, 5 of 6 post-ASB games) to put out the fire and hand the Yanks’ their 6th straight win.
Girardi played this excellently. Initially it appeared to be a case similar to my dad finding a shirt that fits him and then proceeding to buy 2 dozen boxes of identical shirts, ie Girardi discovering the bullpen formula and deciding to purchase 2 dozen innings just like it. BUT, it works when AJ can go 7 and Hughes and Mo only need to split the other remaining ones. Two straight sweeps for the Yanks, as they usher the A’s into the Bronx, and pit belated birthday boy CC Sabathia against Vin Mazzaro.
The Yankees look better than they’ve looked all year, which includes that explosive streak they tore open in May. Right now they’re capitalizing on assets and doing what needs to be done to find an edge. That’s more valuable to me than a Mardi Gras fireworks display of slugging.
Tomorrow we'll see them fill in another couple of letters in a 13-letter word they've already got a bead on: CONVALESCENCE.