Alright so after getting emotionally crushed Friday and Saturday, I banked on them not getting swept and hence just doing a series recap. I didn't have it in me to recount the phenomenal comeback that fell short...and then the mini-comeback that fell really short.
I left the bar I was watching it at on Friday, when the score hit 10-1, and made my way back to the office to get my stuff before making my way back uptown. By the time I had reached work, it was 10-5. I figured I'd stay and listen to the game for an inning or two.
Then it's 10-6.
9th inning rolls around, and a couple more dings put us within 2.
A man in scoring position, and an MVP candidate at the plate. It was storybook.
Only it ended up being not one of those cliched storybooks where you can guess the ending. It was one of those surprise endings where the hero doesn't actually get the girl. Like in "500 Days of Summer" or something.
Then Saturday? Ugh.
The thing was, is that Lester and Beckett are both pitchers that the seemed to have figured out. In recent memory, neither of them posed a problem. But the other thing was that there's always the chance that they return to form. Like on Saturday night, me and my sis were playing this team in beirut.
The male member of the team, who is typically an ace, was playing horribly, and the female member was inprobably carrying the team. When it was getting down to the final cups, I started to get nervous every time she shot.
"Relax," my sis says. "She only hits one out of every 3 times."
And she was right. Weirdly, she was exactly right. And that's kind of how it is with the Boston starters.
Unfortunately, both Lester and Beckett's infrequent overpowering of the Yanks came on consecutive days.
The AL East is very weird right now. All the teams that are pretty much out of contention (for all intents and purposes) are putting up fights. Annoyingly. Like the O's. (Although, that isn't so much annoying as it is cute. Like the Little Giants taking down Ed Harris' pee wee football team.)
Nova was knocked out early, and I think we can all agree now that he's good for what he is but he isn't all that. (I got that line from "Sister Act." Yup.) Actually he's good for about 5 innings usually, but let's not subscribe to any inflated delusions of him being our mysterious X-factor in the playoffs.
Lester had a no-no going for 6 innings, and seriously, people really are getting jacked up about no hitter bids earlier and earlier every season. By 2012, I'm gonna see across the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, "SCORE ALERT: Joe Blanton perfect through 2...stay tuned."
I honestly think that after Dallas Braden did his whole Faustian 27 up-27 down thing, the sports world just assumes that anything's possible and that no-no's are being handed out as free gifts for signing up for a Mastercard or something.
But alas Super Mario breaks up the no hitter, mercifully. I don't want to give Sux fans anything to grab onto in desperation when they're escorted into the bleak off-season while the Yanks are still gunning. And you KNOW they'd be like, "WHATEVER, you may be in the postseason, but Lester OWNS your sorry asses!"
Actually, what am I saying. They're going to latch onto some other ridiculous argument. Oh yeah. I know. The Giants. Is it psychotic that I'm getting preemptively infuriated at this, at the imaginary Sux fans who are giving me grief about the Gmen to console themselves about their baseball team?
Arod and Grandy both went yard, and I'm really liking how the big bats are taking it upon themselves to score. Like "Eff this noise. This manufacturing runs thing aint really taking. Let's go all Kobe Bryant and just try to win the games ourselves." I know, I know. It's better to manufacture runs. But I like the fact that when we need the runs, the long ball is still firmly entrenched in our lineup's capabilities.
Currently, 15 out of the last 18 runs the Yanks have scored have been driven by homeruns.
What I DON'T like? Is giving up. (Obviously. I mean, who does? Except for my mom, maybe, who told me on my first day of cross-country preseason: "Ok, if you get tired, STOP. Don't keep running or anything. Just...stop.") And this quote from Arod sounds suspect:
"We need somebody to go out and shut the door on the other team. When you're
down five or six runs, it's hard to play with an edge."
Well, yeah, maybe with THAT defeatist attitude it is! That mentality worries me, Alex. And quite frankly, doesn't really seem to be the case since you guys managed to come back from a 10-1 deficit the night prior, and spent pretty much all of last year covered in shaving cream pies.
And who exactly is this "somebody" he's talking about? I can't imagine the bullpen being too thrilled about the fact Arod's all "Man, it's too bad we don't have any reliable middle relief!"
Oh, well. Whatever, I don't like most of the middle relievers anyway, what do I care.
Ah, and there's Game 3.
First of all, let me say that I was utterly shocked by the ESPN booth tonight. SHOCKED. I have NEVER heard them announce a game this impartially. I mean, of course they weren't impartial at all, but for them it was impartial. Like if a boyfriend gives a girl a bag of Rolos for Valentine's Day or something, when he's normally a cheap, unromantic bastard, and then the chick can say, "Aww, well for HIM, that's so so so adorable!"
But yeah, Morgan and Miller were getting all fired up for the Yanks whenever something legitimately exciting happened. I swear, I was so unsettled by this whole thing. What's your game? What's your ANGLE? Something's up.
Yeah I'm on to you guys. Nice try.
My youngest sis was at the game. Her first Yankee-Boston game. I was so proud. Phil Hughes got the ball instead of Moseley. Why was this even up for debate? I'm confused. Why is Moseley a starter? Or on the roster? All he does is stay under the radar. Seriously. He's like he somehow made being irrelevant a marketable asset.
Hughes gives up 1 run and 3 hits in a little over 6 innings, while Matsuzaka whiffed 7 in 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits.
The following are things I don't understand about Dice-K:
- The fact $53 million was shelled out just to talk to him
- The existence of a gyroball that was allll the rage and then never discussed again
- The rampant toting of his ability to go soooo far into the game and consistently eat up innings without getting tired
- The fact I feel like he comes and goes in and out of the Sux roster/rotation like he's a freelancer or something
- The fact I feel like he indiscriminately spends weeks at a time on the DL for fatigue
- His suspicious "inability" to speak English
The Sux take a 1-0 lead when V-Mart drives in Bill Hall in the 3rd. Now might be a good time to bring up the fact I recognize about 2 people on the Sux roster these days. Kalish? Andersen? Patterson? I'm so confused.
I said to Laur at one point, "This game is flyyiiiinnng. At the rate it's going, it'll be done by 10."
Talk about your all time "spoke too soon" moments. I felt like I should have had some kind of sitcom "irony" sound effect ring in the background.
Arod gives the Yanks the lead with a 2-run shot to right that bounced off some fan's hands, and boy is he pissed about that. He is KICKING himself and also, it's on camera, so how embarrassed is he tomorrow when he's at the K-cup machine making some Columbian Roast and his coworkers start filing in to give him unmitigated hell?
Ah well. Oh and btw, Arod's hit something like .600 for the series, with 4 homeruns.
Also, my sister and I decided that if a clinical study was done on the effect of his absence from the room during Arod AB's was compared in a placebo-controlled trial, the results would demonstrated statistical significance.
So much so that when he was batting and I heard her flush the toilet and start to re-enter the living room, I nearly jumped off the couch trying to get her to go back inside.
"STAY IN THERE!! DON'T MOVE. AROD'S BATTING."
Then: "AHHHHH!! OK COME OUT NOW! HE HIT A HOMERUN, YANKS LEAD 2-1!"
But then the bad guys took the lead. Because Mariano Rivera blew the save.
It's ok, Mo.
God, he looked SO SAD on the mound. Like he was going to cry. I felt so bad.
Fortunately, Papelbon sucks, and he's the #1 guy I want to see on the mound if a comeback is needed.
Ah, what a difference a year makes, eh? Remember when he was the "next Mo"? Idiots.
But WAIT. HERE IS THE BEST PART OF THE WHOLE THING. THE THING THAT ENCAPSULATES THE TRUE SPIRIT OF BOSTON AND THE THING THAT EPITOMIZES WHY JONATHAN PAPELBON IS A RED SOCK:
"It was tough considering the fact that I was not only pitching against
their lineup, I was also pitching against the ump," Papelbon said. "When you do
that against this lineup, you are never going to be successful."
Are you kidding me?? Yeah THAT'S why you lost. Blame it on the ump. How old are you? Six? As my dad would say, "Go wait in the car.'
As I would say, "You're beneath us."
As my sis said, "Ha! See? Now YOUR closer blew the save too. So leave Mo alone."
Yeah, he had a rough night. He let baserunners go nuts. 3 SBs against him. Even the ESPN idiots noted, "This is not very AL East-like baseball. Aggressive base running? Creating runs? Hmpf."
So the Boston schmuck lets the Yanks tie up the game, and I start to remember how I thought the game was gonna be over by 10, and then remembered how the teams are contractually obligated to meet the 15 hour quota for every Greatest Rivalry in Sports series.
And hence we go into extras.
Pretty soon the bases are loaded, in part due to V-Mart tripping while trying to field GGBG's bunt. In a very predictable and very pathetic display of theatrics, he starts blaming the errant throw on an ambiguous injury. Maybe his ankle? No one knows for sure. When that didn't work, he tried saying GGBG was running in fair territory.
No dice, losers.
The game is in the hands of a guy who doesn't even look at the plate when he's pitching. He's closing his eyes and looking downward.
So it came as no surprise when he walked in the winning run. Juan Miranda's easy patience at the plate brought in GGBG and then Yanks awkwardly celebrate with wild abandon. I say "awkward" because, well, it's a walk-off WALK. I say "wild abandon" because, well, it was a HUGE win, and this fact was not lost on anyone.
(BTW, where was the pie? Did I just change channels too quickly? Because I didn't see any.)
Miranda got the Chevy Player of the Game, but I thought it should have been Golson, for tricking Francona into intentionally walking Jeter. That was very important, Greg. Well done.
It seemed fitting that the walk-off walk clinched at least a tie for the Wild Card. You know? Like, yes it's awesome to nearly guarantee a playoff spot, but how much more anticlimatic is a "tie for the Wild Card"? It's the same deal as a walk-off walk. Exhilirating. But with a glass ceiling.
So, the Yanks basically just have to win 1 game to clinch the playoffs for real. HOWEVAH, this is irrelevant because we all know the Yanks are winning the division.
It's the YANKEES. It's almost OCTOBER.
It's their thing.
Have faith in the Yankees.
They know what they're doing.
Cheers to a crazy momentum-generating week of wins that culminate in a soul-crushing sweep of the Sux at Fenway next weekend.
What better way is there to roll into the postseason than at the expense of the pathetic also-rans from New England?
The answer is very few.
HERE WE GO, BOYS...