"His No. 1 priority was for us to win," Jeter said. "We're happy we were able to do that."
Tampa always seem to have a front row seat to the Yanks big moments. It’s like we’re rubbing our storied history and legendary status in their faces. It’s our way of saying, “Oooh you think you’re big time not because you’re the rising stars of the AL East? That’s great, small fry. But don’t forget who you’re dealing with…WE’RE. NOT. GOING. ANYWHERE.”
Last year. In the last regular season game of the year, Arod managed to hit 10 RBIs and 3 homeruns, one of which was a grandslam, which enabled him to maintain his 13-year streak of 100 ribbies and 30 dings. WHO DOES THAT?
This year, the Yanks honored the late Steinbrenner twice, both times prior to playing the Rays, and both times the Yanks made their long-time leader proud. First a Swish walkoff win in July, and last night it was a gritty 8-6 victory that featured clutch hitting, unrelenting pitching, and of course, a good old fashioned Mariano Rivera save (his 32nd of the season).
Jeter finally decided to show up (sorry, that was a little harsh—you know what I mean, though), singling in the go-ahead run in the 6th, and setting up Grandy to hit his 2nd bomb of the night. The 3-run shot put the Yanks up 8-4, and saved them from what could have been a heartbreaking loss.
I mean, think about it. They had a 4-0 lead, with bases loaded in the 4th. It’s the Boss’s big day. It’s the opening game of a crucial homestand (that followed an annilihating road trip), and more importantly, the opening game of a series that 77% of fans polled agreed would most likely determine who would win the AL East.
But they won. They pulled ahead despite the heartened rally from the Rays, and they chipped another game off their playoff berth magic number. And tacked on a game to their lead in the standings to plucky Tampa Bay.
This was only the second time in 15 meetings between the teams this season in which Tampa Bay didn't lead. And yet, the Yanks now officially lead them in the season’s record. What’s this tell us? (No, I’m actually asking. I don’t really know. If I had to hazard a guess? Maybe that the Yanks are fueled by trailing when it comes to their novel rivals. Their “nivels,” if you will.)
Nova gave us what’s becoming a pretty formulaic outing. Cream cheese through 5, then ehhh kinda shaky come the 6th. I’m really okay with this, considering the depth and strength of our pen (knockonwoodknockonwood). 3Rs, 2 hits, 2 BBs. Then…he’s ALMOST through 6 IP, and the game’s tied on account of Nova letting the first 4 runners on, and Cervelli’s interference putting Crawford on base, all of a sudden TB’s on the board.
Gaudin comes in, Mo closes, etc etc. One of my favorite parts of the game? Maddon calling in the wrong reliever, which, I’m not 100% sure I really believe. I mean, it’s ridiculous. And not that far a cry from Harry and Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber “miscommunicating” the 10:00 AM or PM date with Mary Swanson.
Let’s review the congruous nature:
“10:00 in the morning! I just thought she was a raging alcoholic!”
“GRANT BALFOUR! He doesn’t even look like Randy Choate!”
Cmon, dipshit. How hard is it to call in a righty instead of a lefty? Call me paranoid, but I think Maddon just doesn’t want to admit he needs to put up his hands, making right angles with his thumb and pointer fingers, and using that as a quick guide to determining his left and right.
Or maybe my favorite Tampa Denial moment was from Matt Garza, who’s lost his last 9 games against the Yankees:
Garza gave up seven runs -- five earned -- eight hits and four walks in 5
"I didn't think I threw the ball that bad," he said.
Garza has allowed 17 earned runs in his last three starts, raising his ERA from 3.46 to 4.01, after giving up 17 earned runs in his previous 11 outings.
So while it was a pretty hard fought game, and a pretty big win, there were undoubtedly some underwhelming moment…like Tex/Arod/Cano going 0-13.
Um..well, ouch. For starters.
Good showing, boys. The Boss would have been proud.
And I’m not really going to go into the whole to-do about Torre and Cashman’s big reunion. I will say I applaud Yankee fans for being so magnanimous with their warmth and acceptance and forgiveness. I, however, am not as understanding.
99.9% of every Yank fan I know has readjusted their opinion when it comes to Torre and his tell-all. “Welllll, I mean…he DID get screwed by George, etc etc.”
Nope, I couldn’t care less. You threw your family under the bus.
And to that I gotta echo some of the most immoveable lines in cinematic history: “I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.”