Part of me wants to give Lance Berkman the benefit of the doubt. I'm trying to put myself in his shoes, and I think about the times when I'll go fill in for someone at a softball game, and I'm billed as (at best) a "ringer" or (at worst) "can hold her own."
And I'm put at 2B, and proceed to make more than 1 error or contribute an 0-fer to the offense. And I want to say, "No, no, I'm good! I swear! If you saw a greater sample size of games, you'd believe me! This is actually just a bad day!"
But does anyone every believe that? No. Because great ones shouldn't have bad days. (God, especially not in SOFTBALL. It's like hitting a watermelon.)
And Lance Berkman has joined the Yankees has basically just been striking out in slow-pitch softball, so to speak. He might have been able to avoid my ire if it weren't for YES Encore. Otherwise, I would only know the game plot by virtue of my Blueberry, as I refreshed the screen en route to Long Beach.
But I saw MORE than 1 costly bumble at 1B, plays that I'm sure Sterling was crucifying him for. I could really almost here him launching into a jolly rant about how amazing Tex is and how Lance Berkman is just demonstrating exactly how valuable Tex is at 1B.
Oh, so THAT's why the Yanks got him. To remind everyone how outstanding Mark Teixeira is. Who knows, I mean, it's not like there are a whole lot of other reasons for signing Lance...
So the Yanks lose the series to TB, and cut their lead down to 1 in the AL East. Boston also won, so they're just 6.5 back, I think. (Just for the hell of it...guess how many back the O's are. I guessed 28 before checking the actual standings. I was pretty off.)
Today wasn't Fatty's best game. And it makes me more than a little nervous to hear him admit that his fastball command's been ehhh since the ASG. By the same token, it wasn't like he had an atrocious game. 3 runs to the 2nd best team in the league isn't exactly a complete shitstorm.
It just is when it's juxtaposed to James Shields' 11K game. Ouch. (Oh, also, the Rays just brought Jeremy Hellickson up, and I remember this kid from spring training. He's f'n ridiculous. Remember when Evan Longoria was just a rookie on the Rays? That's what this kid is gonna be like, just a random rookie name...for about 12 seconds, until he's being tossed up there along side Strasberg, who's predictably already been sidelined.)
Here's how the Yanks lost, in 1 paragraph:
Shoppach drove in Tampa Bay's first run with a soft liner that glanced off the outstretched glove of a backpedaling Berkman, who wound up falling to the ground on his back. Crawford's infield single made it 2-0 in the third, and a second run scored in the inning when Longoria grounded into double play.
Here's how the Yanks lost, in 1 player:
I don't like to blame any one game on any one player, but I won't hesitate to do it if the game was, in fact, was one that would have been won had said player been anyone else.
HOWEVAH, and this is a big howevah, the Yanks didn't score AT ALL. So despite the fact Berkman was handing out runs like they're "$2.00 Latte's after 2PM at Starbucks" coupons, it was ultimately immaterial. Whether he screwed up 90 plays or 3 plays, let in 2 runs or 12... because the Yanks couldn't plate ANYONE.
Whatever, we had our scrubs in. And by scrubs I mean, not Arod. I'm now 100% convinced Arod is waiting for the Sox to come to the Bronx to hit his 600th against them.
Seriously. I just think that is EXACTLY what the Yanks need to give them a taste of the crazy magic that highlighted all of last season. I don't mean to downplay anything they've done this year, and I know I'm just spoiled because of all the walk-offs and rallies and craziness of '09...but I honestly think that if Arod goes yard this weekend, in walkoff style, then the Yanks sail through the rest of the season.
That's all they would need to remind themselves and everyone else that, hey small fries we're the 2009 World Series F*@#%ing Champions, remember?
(I told my mom I was thinking of going to one of the games this weekend and she says, "Well if you catch Arod's 600th HR, don't give it back to him unless he pays you $50,000." She is SO WEIRD. And also, classic Mom right there. Always 15 hypothetical steps ahead. Like when I said I was moving to a new apartment, and she said, "Well make sure that you get a paper towel dispenser.")
Also, Crawford is a triple shy of joining Ty Cobb as the only players in the modern era to reach 400 steals and 100 triples before age 29. 2 of my favorite players in 1 sentence. Nice.
Yeah, so this was kind of a "lets just sweep this one under the rug" kind of game. The Yanks are back in NYC tomorrow, with a series against the Jays and then the Sux.
Never a dull moment in this city, I tell ya.
With the possible exception of this game.