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First, in optimistic news, I'd like to wish my wonderful parents a Happy Anniversary! It's actually because of today, June 29, that my whole obsession with the #29 has been derived. The first 29 in a series of important ones.

Today was not one of the better 29's.

The Yanks didn't have it in them, and while I'm certainly not condoning losing, I'm going to get as close as I can get to that by saying that, well, I get it. I got back from research today, and I hit a wall. Literally, actually. At one point I was sitting on the floor of my office, back propped up against the wall, delirious, trying to figure out how to clean the trackerball on my Blackberry.

A brief respite after a long week.

It was good to be inert for a moment, but it wasn't--by design--productive.

Similarly, it's good to have the Yanks back. As I'm sure they're happy their West Coast week has ended, and they're back in the welcoming arms of the Bronx. But I guess they're still jetlagging? Though...shouldn't Seattle be complaining of the same problem?

Semantics. The Yanks weren't with it today. They looked languished beyond the telling of it. Like a Sunday beer league softball team whose normal 4pm start time got moved to 10am.

And if you didn't watch the game, you just need to look at the last column of the box score for evidence of this.

Cliff Lee iced us today. When this happens it's on par when someone like Beckett or Schilling or Pedro does it. I'm thinking, but no other arrogant pricks come to mind when I think of pitches I least like losing to. Maybe Papelbon, but that intimidation ship has long sailed.

Yeah, he's good (Lee, not Pap Schmear). In his 3rd complete game, the Yankees helped him out a lot, while the Ms' offense uncharacteristically came to life against an equally uncharacteristic showing from Hughes.

To be sure, Lee does absolutely NOTHING to alter my contemptuous view of him: "Yeah, I like pitching here," Lee said. "I've always enjoyed pitching here."

Luckily, Swish perhaps did a little chipping away at that ugly ego of Lee's, by smacking 2 solo long balls against him. "The sun shines on a dog some days, " Swish noted, and even though he's most likely talking about himself here, I kind of like to think he leaves it ambiguous, identifying Lee as the dog. This, in fact, would be awesome.

I'm also kind of tired of everyone lionizing Lee. He's good, but I think Halladay is infinitely better. Given excessive exposure to this guy, I think the Yanks would batter him around like a ball of string. So much so that I'll go so far to say that come the 2nd weekend in July, the Yanks will chase him out of the game before he even makes it to the 5th.

HOWEVAH, I will concede that the most impressive feat of Lee's isn't his completely unnecessarily long outings, but rather, the fact that today was the 1st walk he's given up in over a month. I don't even pitch, and I think I've given up more walks than that in the last week. In 95 IP, he's only walked 5 people. That's just ridiculous.

And I think it's half because he's got more control than the carnival nerves o' steel guy...and half because of this perfectly mastered aloof aggression that has batters swinging away, caught off guard, and ultimately very uncomfortable at the plate. Comfortable players wait for their pitches. Uncomfortable ones leave the batter's box thinking, "WHY the hell did I just swing at that??" Many tv-viewers are also thinking/screaming the same thing.

Put it this way: the Yanks saw 115 pitches today. Their average is probably around 135 per 9 innings (I'm guessing). Their offense wasn't horrendous. 8 hits, scattered throughout the lineup. The usual suspects all chipping in, but the guys just couldn't seem to get anything going until the 9th. Unlike Sunday, they didn't have the rally in them.

So on one end of the spectrum, you got Lee throwing 115 pitches, and on the other you got Hughes learning what it means to be the latest Yankee Pitch Count Limit guinea pig. I don't fully understand the reasoning behind either avenue.

And yeah I think this is more impressive than the fact he "kept his cool on the subway." Apparently, the D train missed the Yankee Stadium stop and Lee handled it like a pro. Seriously? That's your barometer for pressure cooker situations? Wow. By that logic, 5 million people qualify for clutch-player-of-the-game every single morning.

Next time I get stuck on an underground train with no cell phone service and no AC while shoulder to shoulder with the city's murderer's row of loony tunes...I'll consider myself a true hero and brave testament to stoicism, for enduring the trials and tribulations of unexpected subway schedule glitches.

"I'm not afraid to take the subway," Lee said.

Ha. Trust me, Cliff, keep this bullshit tough guy machismo up, and you'll be afraid to take the subway.

On Wednesday we got King Felix up against Javy Vazquez. Normally this is the type of matchup that would unnerve me. But Javy's got more of a spark in him than I sometimes give him credit for. And Felix may scare other lineups, but he's got nothing we haven't already seen a million times before. Fastballs and sliders. And changeups.

If we can limit his control, then we got ourselves a game. See you then....

Oh, and Javy pitches a 1-hitter.


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