That's a normal pitcher reaction to a good game. Last year, he gave us this, which just about sent me into arresting hysterics:
"But nothing compares to today. That was the funnest I've ever had on the baseball field."
For the O's, pitcher Matusz--who I feel like is a popular choice for sleeper-addicts--didn't pitch quite as well as AJ. Although Baltimore manager Trembley argues that he did pretty good, I kind of disagree. 9 hits in 6 innings isn't on the "good" half of the spectrum. I'll give you "average." But no, not good.
But Matusz silver lining-ed it up: "One positive thing I take away from this start is that I didn't walk any guys and I battled through a couple jams that I got myself into." Well, good on you, Brian! He's won 6 straight decisions since August 15. That doesn't really impress me too much though, because by the time August 15 had rolled around, the Nats were the only other team putting up a fight against the O's, in a cute little cross town rivalry for who can be DC's biggest failure.
Mo closed it out. Thank God. I was starting to tire of all the wisecracks in the league about how Mo will do nothing for my sister's previously save-less squad. My brief moment of relief is trampled on by the near-cycle-ness of Crawford's night. Not that I'm COMPLAINING, per se, as he is officially now on all 3 of my fantasy teams. The way it should be.
Of course, I also sat Adam LaRoche today (which I really should't be faulted for), who went 3-for-5 with 2 HRs. (Speaking of that game, cheers to Ian Kennedy, who gave up only 1 run in 7 IP. He did give up a salami in the 8th, but whatever, I like the kid. I especially like pitchers who go deep into the game.)
None of the O's offense did anything. So basically, this game, the way it played out etc, is the way I envisioned all 3 games going. I'm glad they're headig back to the Bronx now, and I appreciate their parting gift of validating my imagination.
On a final note, the Wall Street Journal informs us that the Yankees aren't even in the top 3 most hated MLB teams, in possibly the most ill-defined, uncontrolled, variable-riddled study I've ever heard of. Basically, in an effort to determine what team is igniting the most contempt so far in the 2010 season, they did some far-reaching scan of all the available online blogs and forums etc, quantifying the "negative and positive" comments.
This research method yielded the following inane results:
Yes, the Nationals and Yankees are neck and neck. I think they should have cut their losses whenever their calculations revealed the Reds are the 3rd most hated team.
I bet this was done by the same nimrods who retrofitted a bunch of statistical methods into their conclusion that Jeter was the worst SS in the game.
Well, this seemed like a very good use of Internet algorithms and trollings. Though the real takeaway of this article is the fact that clearly this genius brainchild of a research-gathering device, shouldn't be used in any situation that calls for accuracy in its results.
CC actually didn't pitch his best game, but the offense got his extra large back, by posting a season high 15 hits. This is awesome. The not awesome part was that the fact the Yanks were teeing off all over the field meant a gratuitous amount of camera time capturing the glaring emptiness of the stadium. I honestly don't know why this bothered me so much.
Round Boy gave up three runs, 11 hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. Kinda shaky, but fortunately Gurthrie outdid him, letting up 7 runs, 6 hits, in only 4 2/3 innings. What he had to say after the game is basically hilarious:
"Let me start by saying I'm embarrassed by the way the game started, I was embarrassed by the way the game finished," Guthrie said. "I'm embarrassed that we had to run the bullpen out there for 4 1/3 innings because I was unable to keep the pitch count down and get people out. I'm apologetic to fans who pay to come and watch the Orioles and watch us lose, in this case, because of me. I'm apologetic to my teammates for the inability to help them win a game in five starts."
Sweet Christ. Relax. You sound like a politician apologizing to the country for immoral transgressions. Or you sound like you've been taking your public speaking classes from Jim Mora.
That's what it all boiled down to.
Cano continued to be a beast at the plate, delighting me for its fantasy implications, yet at the same time generating concern over if/when/by whom the steroid accusations will start entering the fray. He homered in the 3rd to make it 6-0, and finished the day 2-5, with a ribbie and a run.
The best part is, Cano wasn't even the best part. The output from the Yankees lineup looked like a laundry list of worthy Player of the Game candidates:
I can't really tell if playing the Yanks is making the O's look better, or the Yanks look worse. Maybe both. But for a team that's been the undisputed laughing stock of the league, they really didn't look all that bad.
Markakis has an explosive night, which leads me to believe that I in all likelihood benched him with the reasoning that he'd be useless against the likes of The Cholesterol King on the mound. Tejada was nothing to sneeze at either. The two combined to go 5 for 8 on the night.
That said, I'll say that if it wasn't after 3am, I'd do some internet research on the origins of "nothing to sneeze at," because as I finished typing that, I realized that it seems odd that at some point in history, sneezing at something was a gesture of insignificance.
"Wanna give me Matt Kemp for Luis Castillo?"
"ACHOOOOO... Hm. Does THAT answer your question, bitch?"
Joba and Mitre filled out the rest of the game, after CC has engorged himself on a 111-pitch count. The two threw up a bunch of zeros, striking out none, walking none, letting up none runs. However, as neatly as these two stayed under the radar, their seemingly innocuous outing actually sort of pushed The Trade Heard Round the World* even further ABOVE the radar.
"Of COURSE, OF COURSE, Mo has not pitched a single inning since you handed him over. Don't they usually like put him in for non-save situations if he hasn't pitched in a while? Just to keep him warm?"
It's a stressful life, the one of a fantasy league manager.
Outside of Johnny Repentence-to-awkward-levels McGee, the O's pitching wasn't all bad. I mean, between 4 of 'em, they let up only 1 run on 9 hits.
But it was the O's final hurler that really was able to put into (a) word without saying a word, the overarching sentiment casting a shade over not only Baltimore, but even the surrounding areas, after last night.
As a final note, I think I'd be remiss in not touching upon these topics:
1.) Lou Piniella could NOT be any more insane/more outstanding. He could TRY. But he would not be successful.
2.)The sequence of plays in Baseball Tonight's top 10 was confusing. In the #3 spot, there's A-Rod making one of the most routine bare-handed groundouts ever to exist. I mean, I know the guy just makes everything look so easy and that's thebeauty of it all, but if I'm watching Baseball Tonight, it's a safe assumption I don't want to have to think. I like palpable awe. Anyways, then in a spot below this, there's this play.
Unreal. So yeah, I'm not sure who was in charge of the Top 10 tonight, but the ordering seemed more off-base and weirder than Os' fans entertaining for even a second the possibility of sweeping the Yankees. C'mon now. Don't be a doofus, Birds. KNOW YOUR ROLE.
I will not be sad to see this series end. It's too depressing watching them play a team like that in front of a "crowd" like that. It's like that bizarro county in the movie "Nothing But Trouble."
Finish 'em off tomorrow, and get back home!!!
*My sister and I traded Mariano Rivera and Carl Crawford. I'm not sure that I've ever heard a transaction in a fantasy league more hotly contested in my life.
I texted my buddy Justin to inform him that "if the Yankees lose I will collapse into myself like a dying star."
I can see how it would difficult to be friends with me during baseball season.
Btw, the above video has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, and yet everything to do with the absolute despair that inevitably burgeons in a loss like tonight's.
Today started to tumble downwards at around 2pm when everything at the office did this:
So although the Yanks were playing the ORIOLES, THE ORIOLES FOR GOD'S SAKE, they were, in fact, facing an uphill battle. There was a lot of pressure on them to redeem my afternoon. And this is on top of all the pressure they had on them to not become the 4th win for this disaster of a team.
But anyone who follows the Yanks and knows their M.O. should have known that this game was over before it began. Well, not really, but c'mon. This is what they DO. They'll have an amazing sweep or dramatic comeback win or surge for eleventy straight games...and then they fall to a bunch of semi-functional armadillos.
(On a side note, the ESPN headline for the recap was so reminiscent of that line in "Rookie of the Year" that I have to wonder if that's what the writer had in mind the whole time.)
That extends the Cubs to their longest winning streak of the season...two.
Anyways, the Yanks lost today. In a stomach punch like fashion, because not only was it to the worst team in sports, but it was one of those games where their bats are just choking on ineptitude AND they decide, with 2 outs in the 9th, to stage a comeback and almost pull it off.
When they were down 5-2, Adam Jones doubled to left and at that point I said to my sister, "That's it. I can't watch this anymore. I may jump off a bridge."
She protested, "What?! It's 3 runs, what is the matter with you? Leave it on. And stop thinking so many negative thoughts."
So we leave it on. And watch as the 9th inning rolls around. I'm still cranky.
"Who the f is pitching for the O's? It looks like a poor man's CC."
Alfredo Simon is a good pitcher. Well, he pitched well tonight anyway. Struck out 2 before closing out the game. I think he might just be one of those Brad Halsey types who has a good night and then forgets how to pitch after that.
The Yanks bat were a quiet mess. Of the team's 9 hits, 6 came from Swish and Cano. They just played sloppy. Posada tried to stretch a hit into a double at one point, which should say something about where the team's heads were at. Posada shouldn't even try to stretch a long lunch. He needs to come to terms with his inertia and embrace it. It was a big out, ruined a rally.
4 errors in the game. That's disgusting. Like, seriously nauseating.
Hughes pitched well despite a few control problems that ended up walking in a run in the 3rd. But only 2 hits in over 5 IPs. And that was the only run he let in. Michael Kay might have jinxed us when he said, "Well, if the game's going to the bullpen, the Yanks definitely have the edge here."
One might think.
But once controlled and focuses D-Rob was less than sharp tonight, and after giving up 3 hits and 2 runs in .1 IP, he was treated to the loss.
There's not much to say about the O's bats. It's not like they were anything to write home about. (Predictably.) And while I have to say I was actually pretty impressed by Millwood and the supporting pen's pitching, they weren't exactly overpowering. From what I could tell, they beat the Yanks by tucking their pitches away in the corners. The Yanks weren't swinging, and the O's took advantage.
Quite a gamble, you gotta admit.
But I guess when you're
Let it be known that if CC loses to Baltimore tomorrow, I may ingest whatever drug is used in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in an effort to forget that Baltimore ever existed.
And the mighty have fallen. To the #2 spot. But in more intriguing news, the rest of the league is performing outside of expectations. Not necessarily good expectations, but projected performance, nonetheless, isn’t always coinciding with reality. Well, unless you’re a Baltimore fan. In which case, kudos to your team for keeping things real.
As for the A’s…well, you’d think the Oakland fanbase was loony enough as it is without throwing this bizarre monkey wrench into the mix: the Athletics are improbably hot. This time alone is fueling the whole “at what point is the ‘hot start’ no longer considered a fluke” musings.
For what it’s worth, I think the expiration date on Oakland’s momentum is somewhere around, if not prior to, the NBA conference semi-finals.
Read on for rankings...
When you think about it, it's not the most surprising turn of events.
The Yanks were bound to lose a series at some point. (And this is coming from ME, who claimed they would go through the playoffs undefeated. I'm nothing if not the bearer of lofty claims, and I still know that you can't go through a season not losing a series.)
So they get their first series loss out of the way, and it's against the Halos. And, I mean, it's not like they lost to the ORIOLES or anything. Good God, how embarrassing would THAT have been? To be the team that hands the O's their 3rd win of the year? Yech.
And not only do we lose on the road to one of the best hitting teams in the league, but it's at the hands of our red-headed stepchild pitcher, Javier Vazquez.
Angels. In Anaheim. With Javy. All of these things are tough hurdles to clear. And if we're looking at the glass half full, then the aforementioned elements all make this series loss a slightly easier pill to swallow.
When Javy was getting booed at Yankee Stadium after 2 starts, it was a little bit overreactionary on the part of Bomber fans. I mean, we got give him a little latitude, let's not jump down his throat for one or two bad starts.
But at this point...well, I'm not saying we should boo him. Because as a rule, I don't believe in booing players (in their presence, anyway). But I will apply the same litmus test that I apply to other baseball issues: if I screwed up at work on the first 4 given opportunities I had, I would be--at the very least--made aware of the displeasure of the powers that be. They wouldn't be happy.
And neither am I.
Everyone has a bad day once in a while. But this is a game, and this is your job. And the only thing you have to worry about is getting outs. If you can't do that, you can't blame people if they're frustrated.
Javy lasted little more than 3 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 runs, and a HR. My buddy Steve said that if I had Javy on my fantasy team, he'd trade for him, because he still has hope. "His stuff is too good to be playing this shitty." Well, I applaud your loyal optimism Steve. And if I had Javy, I'd be sure to slide him your way.
The Yanks bullpen did ok up until Marte, who I happen to like and hence won't crucify him over the 3-run ding he gave up to Morales. And while it truly took the air out of most Yankee fans' tires, it ultimately was immaterial.
We still couldn't get more than 3 hits, and we still couldn't score more than 4 runs. The fact that the Angels padded their lead with 3 runs in the 7th really was irrelevant. The only runs that mattered were the 5 that Javy gave up in 3 innings.
Our offense wasn't offering the guy any help, either. Which is perhaps even more frustrating than the pitching debacle. SCOTT KAZMIR. He's a joke. And we could only squeeze out 3 hits off him? The only reason we made it to the scoreboard at all was because of 2 long balls. The middle of the lineup, Cano/Jorge/Thames, shouldered the offense.
(There needs to be at least one line here discussing the magnitude of the rocket Cano hit in the 6th. Bullets have left guns slower than that. Way to punish them for the bizarro HBP in the 1st. Is there some kind of beef with Kazmir that I don't know about? Because it was more than a little strange how hellbent little Scotty was on drilling Cano to lead off the inning in the 2nd.)
I'd also like to devote a line on the pronunciation of Marcus Thames last name. Since he seems to be playing more than I expected him to, I can't gloss over this issue anymore.
That's how it's pronounced. But a lot of times you can't hear the "s" and it just sounds like Tim. It's kind of frustrating because I am merciless when it comes to players like Chone Figgins and Bill Mueller. Now one of the weird spelling people is a Yankee. And hence I can't make fun of him.
These are the big problems my life faces right now.
(Also, please note that while researching the proper pronunciation of Marcus Tim, I learned that his middle name is "Markey." That's right. Marcus Markey. Do what you will with that information.)
Anyways, Boone Logan, Aces, and Mitre combined for one 1 in relief. But as I mentioned already, the damage had already been done. And as impressive as that might be, the Halos pen combined for 0 hits. Kendry and Abreu had sick monster days, and I'm scared to see who has them on his fantasy team, because their numbers on the day are absurd.
Actually, I feel like every time we play the Angels, those 2 just batter us around like half dead rodents.
Yesterday the Yanks knew where every single pitch was coming from with Pineiro. Today, Kazmir somehow managed to stifle us. Trouble from the bottom. Never underestimate the trouble from the bottom.
I love weekend day games.
I love lying on the couch with Mo and putting the blinds up and I even love the glare on my unbelievably old tube tv.
I especially love it when it ends in a W.
Andy Pettitte, once again, was on like Donkey Kong. The thing I've been noticing about his pitching is not only that it's so effective in manufacturing outs, but each of his starts have demonstrated this dialed-in, zone-like mentality. His pitches are well-placed, intelligent, and just grazing the corners. He's not CC-dominant. He doesn't have a lethal change-up or blistering fastball. But his arsenal is just as dangerous, because you don't expect it to be so stifling.
And lately, it has been exactly that.
8 innings, 8Ks, 0 BB, 1 run. Just outstanding, really.
Pineiro, not so much. 11 hits, and only 2 Ks. He's got Wang syndrome, maybe. The plights of a sinkerballer.
See, what I think happened is this: Yanks are historically blindsided by sinkerballers. And the Angels historically tee off on pitchers like Pettitte. So I think Charlie Wonsowicz put in some overtime hours with the video scouting. Because it was like Pettitte knew EXACTLY where to throw to every. single. hitter.
And it was like the Yanks (and their 14 hits) knew exactly where the balls were coming.
It's like Napoleon said, "You gotta change your tactics every 10 years if you wanna be successful." The Yanks could either let the Halos run all over them (literally) or they could pull a Benjamin Martin in "The Patriot" and leverage the RedCoats' confiscated diary.
Cano did some cute things for my fantasy teams today: 4 for 5, with 3 runs and a ribbie.
Swisher, Gardner, and Jeter all had pretty f'n awesome days, too:
Swish: 2 for 4, 2 ribbies
GGBG: 3 for 5, 2 runs, SB
Jeter: 2 for 5, ribbie
Even when they have their bizarro world team in, they pull it off. (Ramiro Pena was at 3rd, with A-Rod DHing.)
Nick Johnson got the day off. ("Day off??" my sister is incredulous. "From what?? Standing? Is that a joke?")
Hideki is 2 hits away from 1000. Good for him.
Tex brought in the 1st ribbie of the game. I hope this awkward, staggered return to productive hitting soon melds into actual power. I really need him acting like himself for fantasy purposes. But based on what the rest of the Yank squad is doing, they're ok with his somewhat mediocre output, since they got the rest of world bashing the ball over the place.
Smart playing against a smart team. An amazing way to spend a Saturday afternoon. If you took away the whole Fox announcers element of it. I swear to God, one of the best, most spot-on Family Guy clips EVER is the one done on McCarver, and this is near exactly what I'm subjected to every single time YES throws me to the wolves:
Tomorrow they close out the series with Javy. I realllly hope he pulls out a W. It'd be pretty sweet if he could shut everyone up and also give the Yanks the latest series win.
I BELIEVE IN YOU, JAVY! Get a good night's sleep.
I woke up this morning at 6:30am on the couch, with the tv still on, all the lights still on, etc. Which is pretty much par for the course during west coast trips. The Yanks finished up in Oakland taking 2 of 3, but after losing last night to the Angels, they're on a 2-game losing streak. Which means right about now is when Sux fans start getting all, WATCH YO' SELVES. CUZ HERE COME THE RED COATS! BOOYAH.
(I know I just made up that hypothetical little exclamation, but even though it was just a figment of my imagination, it still pisses me off.)
It was a back and forth game the whole time last night. Angels score in the 1st. Yanks answer in the 3rd, scoring 3 and getting 2 up on the Halos. It was a veritable bouffet of hitting from both sides, with runs manufactured all up in this joint.
20 hits between the two clubs, with the top half of our lineup really pulling its weight.
Speaking of pulling weight, Tex went all Othello (meaning he showed his dark side, which is as poor as analogy as they come, but give me a little credit, it's Saturday and I'm still delirious).
After getting hit by a pitch and angrily taking first, he decides to reap revenge in spades by barreling into Bobby Wilson in his first start, with such gusto that he actually gave him a concussion and injured his leg.
Damn, Tex. I guess pitchers will think twice about beaning you next time, huh.
Although Scioscia actually avered that it was a clean play. Um, really? Were you looking at the same play at me?
"It was a clean play. No doubt about it. Mark is trying to score. The ball beat him by a little bit, Bobby did his best to try to get the tag down, and Mark just reacted. It's a tough play and Bobby is very good at it and stays in there well but unfortunately he was hurt tonight."
I'm actually shocked there was no warning issued to either side, but part of me has to assume that the umps kept thinking that these random acts of violence were, in fact, random, and not part of some larger scale vendetta. They were almost "too random," a la the corpses in Buffalo Bill's killing spree.
"Clarice, doesn't this random scattering of sites seem desperately random - like the elaborations of a bad liar? Ta, Hannibal Lecter."
Even the right field/1st base ump got drilled at one point, and to his credit, he bounced right back, like one of those toy inflatable clowns weighted down with sand.
Yet another little vitriol on the day:
Napoli led off the fifth and was plunked by Burnett, who got the third out of the inning with a Rickey Henderson-like "snatch-catch" of Torii Hunter's line drive -- drawing boos from the sellout crowd of 44,002Jeez, everyone needs to R-E-L-A-X. He caught it. What's the big deal. Since when are people so f'n incensed at catches and mound crossing and the like. Grow up, Yankee foes.
I was actually was like in and out of sleep on the couch, so it was kind of hard to keep up with the back and forth scoring. 3-1. Then the Angels take the lead 4-3. Then Nick Swisher ties it up with a solo bomb, and it's a classic marathon west coast game for us.
I vaguely remember the announcers talking about when the Yanks were in Anaheim last year and how each win was a hard fought one. They took 2 of 3 at the end of September. Ian Kennedy had come in, (way to ween him back into the fray), and just like last year, the Yanks weren't getting any wins handed to them.
But we were close, so close, last night. Until when Joba comes in and it really shows how much I've matured I think, that I'm not going off on him for letting up a 2-run ding to Morales. And even without checking the fangraphs.com report, I can tell you that I bet the pitch that landed in HR territory was a slider.
But here's another thought: why did Girardi put him in to pitch to Morales with a tie score when here's a look at how Morales does against each Yankee pitcher. You know who would be my last choice? Just guess:
Yeah, the guy who's throwing a hefty .714 against Morales. But what the hell do I know.
We're back on today in another few hours. Andy vs Pineiro. Tough one. The latter is so f'n good. So is the first one, I guess. (Very cutting analysis, I know.)
But here's the thing, every time you think the edge is obvious, that's the time when Pettitte explodes (in a good way).
We got this one. Bring it on.
So after 2 nights of late finishes, we're treated to a nice little afternoon delight. And after all my annoying whining about west coast start times, I couldn't even stay awake long enough when I got home at 10 last night, to recap the game. My apologies. In my defense, it was for a good cause.
So the Yanks say goodbye to their 7-game streak in a game sprinkled with oddities. It was one of those games when a pretty good pitcher performs more than pretty good. Braden let up 6 hits, 2 dings, and struck out 2, so it wasn't really the outing of the century. The only reason the A's bested my boys was because of a 3-run homer Fatso let up in the 1st to Suzuki.
Which of course meant a bevy of the inevitable, ever-popular, "That 1st inning bomb is reallllly looming large now" comments from the booth.
Marcus Thames and Tex put the Yanks on the board with solo shots, but it wasn't enough to overcome the A's. (Thames? Really? The Yankees are so weird sometimes.)
Cervelli was actually the only one who had more than 1 hit, going 2 for 3 and continuing to look 12 years old while doing so.
Tubbo.com didn't really pitch badly at all, despite the L. The early game HR was the only one he let up, giving up only 4 hits throughout the 8 innings he pitched. 5Ks...(but also 6 BBs which was confusing.)
The real story of the game (well, one of 2 "real" stories of the game, anyway) was 1st triple play the Yanks turned since 1968.
Pretty f'n cool. Never seen one of those before (well, obviously, since I wasn't born til 13 years after the last one.)
So that's story #1 that A-Rod headlines of the day. Story #2 was a completely amusing "tiff" he got in with Braden after he crossed the pitcher's mound.
"I'm not really a speck on that guy's radar but he'll know after today that it might not be a good idea to run across the mound when I'm out there," Braden said. "It's not like I throw 95 [mph] and I'm going to hurt him. He'll know I was there, though.
"The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize," he said. "No, he didn't apologize. And it's a shame. I have a lot of respect for that guy, everything he's done in the game. It's just disappointing when you see the other side of things."
"He just told me to get off his mound," Rodriguez said. "I was a little surprised. I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I've never even heard of that in my career and I still don't know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually."
Yes, it WAS pretty funny. Stop being such a freaking baby, Braden. "Tasting himself too long"?? Seriously? A.) I don't even know what in God's name that could possibly mean. B.) This coming from the guy who beats the invincible Yankees and can't just leave it at that, he has to marinate in the spotlight for a little longer by pointing the hot lamp on the best player in the game.
It reminds me of that commercial with the kids in the backseat and one of them is like "Mom, he's touching me!"
MOOMMMMM, HE'S TOUCHING MY MOUND!!!
That couldn't sound any worse if I tried. Moving on...
Another 10:05pm start tonight, against Anaheim. AJ vs Santana. My favorite loonies!
I get high strung during Wheel of Fortune spins, merging onto highways, and when I see kids riding around on Razr scooters. Among other things. So no-no's are typically so stressful that it's almost unbearable.
For Giants fans, think back to the best day in the history of life. How they were losing by 3, how it was 3rd down, and the game was about to end with Eli eating turf. That was the Super Bowl. The biggest game of the year. Playing against the only 18-0 team in NFL history. To this day, I'm legitimately shocked I didn't go into cardiac arrest. Or at the very least, mutilate myself unwittingly, e.g. biting my lip, cracking my knuckles, clutching my scalp...all to excess because it was beyond nerve racking.
So no-no's are hard to watch. And when they end the way this one did, it's pretty deflating. Phil Hughes took his no-hitter into the 8th. I was actually getting to a state of confidence. Only 2 innings to go. 6 more outs. And the Yanks would have their first no-no since Coney. (His perfecto!)
But a comebacker took little Hughes by surprise, and that's all she wrote.*
My buddy, the eternal not-knowing-even-a-lick-baseball-knowledge-ist, remarked, "Oh no! Did that guy get hurt?"
No. He wasn't hurt. He wasn't bruised. I'm surprised he was able to continue pitching though. After that? The frustration of giving up THAT hit? Not a homerun, not a roped line drive in the gap. But an awkwardly hit comeback grounder that hit the rocks weird and gave Eric Chavez a base hit.
Hughes had walked Barton in the 1st, taking the pressure off the perfecto. I'd imagine his angst would be a lot worse if that was what he gave up, instead of a measly no-hitter.
Joba came in for relief in the 8th, gave up a run (that was credited to Hughes) and left the game with a 1-run lead. Just enough for Mo to come in and save the day as always. Look at that formula right there. Hughes. Joba. Mo.
Between all three. LOOK AT THIS TEAM. LOOK. More than half their lineup is batting over .300. Everyone doing what they're paid for. A-Rod being A-Rod. Cano hitting behind the power slots. Posada somehow being productive despite the overwhelming majority insisting his age has rendered him well past his prime. NJ walking. Gardner fielding. Grandy working. Randy converting O2 to CO2. Mo shutting shit down.
I told my buddy...the same one who couldn't name someone other than A-Rod who plays on the Yankees, that I love this team so much that it's safe to say that, yeah, outside of my family/friends, I'll never care this much about anything.
Til tomorrow, boys. A nice little day game to feast on. Thanks for lighting it up so far. It never goes unnoticed.
*I think it's safe to say that this text message was the #1 cause of the no no-no:
"dont get mad but keith axed me to ax u if he has given up a walk."
Kevin gets MVP as always because Kevin always get MVP and because at least he recognized the total inappropriateness of texting me this AMID AN F*#&ING NO-HITTER. Keith...Good God, man, I'm not mad. Just disappointed. You're better than that.
Would it be terribly whiny right now if I bitched about west coast games? Half of me loves them, loves the fact that when the Yanks are playing Anaheim, Seattle, or Oakland, that I actually get to see what the first half of the game looks like, as opposed to the lion's share of games that almost always begin when I haven't even begun to leave the office yet.
But the other half of me is not a fan of the delirium that occurs when these games end in the ante meridian hours.
In fact, with this game in particular, I was starting to wonder if my delirium was making me hallucinate or something. Everything seemed a little weird in this one...
Home plate ump Ed Rapuano leaves the game in the middle of the game on account of being hit by a foul tip a whole inning prior to his exit. Then mid batter he just gets up, shakes his head, and books it outta stadium. If I didn't know any better, I'd think he just got a text from his girlfriend saying she loves him, but she's not IN love with him.
The worst part of this completely minor yet inconveniencing situation is that it means we gotta cut to Bob Lorenz (who I love) vamping for an indefinite period of time. Like a rain delay only worse because at least with the weather, you can see if it's letting up and can estimate how long til the game resumes.
With a departed ump, you just have to sit there and wait. Like some annoying joke: "How long does it take 3 umps to decide how to proceed?"
It actually must not have been THAT long (I'd estimate around 19 minutes) since the game itself only lasted around 3:21.
The Yanks got on the board early, staking Javy to a 3-0 lead in the 1st on a 2-out rally. Then no one scored until the 5th, when Arod's 3-run bomb put the score at 6-0.
Our YES announcers (who sounded like they were flying a little low to the ground today) very astutely note as the bottom of the 5th is underway, that Javy would be better off the score was 1-0 instead of 6-0, because when you're up by that much, you start to lose focus and you start thinking of the game in terms of getting out of innings, rather than getting through pitches and individual batters.
Very interesting, and very perceptive. No sooner had this insight escaped the broadcast booth that Javy gives up a solo shot to the 8th batter in the A's lineup, Travis Buck. Javy follows this up by walking Pennington.
And that was when I realized what my problem with Javy is: his mental game. He gets intimidated. He loses focuses. He gets rattled when batters take him deep. And none of those things are present in the rest of the rotation. Every hurler has a shitty outting once in a while. And even in great starts, a pitcher can find himself in a jam.
But CC, AJ, Andy, and Hughes all have a psychological toughness that never quits. Javy doesn't. Or if he does, it's discernibly hibernating. Either way, he needs to dial it in. Relax, kid. You're a good pitcher. Really good. Settle down, you'll do fine.
Speaking of raucous criticism, I was pretty much blown away by the overwhelming Booing that could be heard throughout the A's stadium. I mean, you can always hear the booing through the tv when the Yanks are at Fenway or Citi.
But I honestly think this was the loudest. Maybe because at other places, boos are usually replaced with "AAAAAAAA-ROID....AAAAAAA-ROID" etc, or some kind of contentious chanting rather than old school booing. Especially impressive when you consider it's a Tuesday night. In Oakland. Only 19,849 in attendance. Barely half full.
Javy lets up another ding an inning later, cutting the Yanks' lead in half. Posada tacked on the final run, when his checked swing accidentally put the ball in play, scoring Nick Johnson, getting Cano out at second, and advancing Tex to third.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this play is the fact that POSADA BEAT THE THROW TO FIRST TO AVOID A DOUBLE PLAY. How many times has the phrase "Posada beat the throw" ever been uttered, ever? Not a lot. If at all.
These stats on the day also contributed to what I felt like my delirium was making me see a screwy version of the game:
Between 2 teams, there were...
...only 13 hits
Joba came in in the 8th and probably was the only thing that made sense to me. Even when everything else is a little off, you can always count on Joba to throw a first pitch slider. Always. Always. He entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and struck out Kouzmanoff, then started the 8th by striking out Suzuki and Chavez, and ending the inning getting Rosales to ground out.
And to think we made this guy a STARTER for a year. Absurd.
Marte comes in in the bottom of the 9th to walk Jaime Fox. Mo comes in the get us out of this game. Final score: 7-3. Nice work, Yanks.
And nice work, Laur, by taping Jeopardy every night and consequently seeing (and photographing) one of the best "answers" ever. Certainly the most uplifting, anyway.
Tomorrow, same time, same place. Hughes faces Sheets. (Sounds a little like a law firm?)
On a side note, Sheets falls into my silo of professional athletes that instantly inspire my ire (at worst) and suspicion (at best) for their shadiness about their middle names.
If someone can tell me what the M in Ben M. Sheets name is, then I'll send you a prize. Unless it's something like "There is no name, it's just M."
Which is like when I ask someone at a store if they carry something, and he/she thinks about it for a second, then answers "no," which I always just take to mean "I don't know" and I continue looking.
Bias, schmias. The Yankees are the best team in baseball right now, because they’re picking up right where they left off last year. After losing the first game of the season to the deplorable Red Sox, they’ve gone on win each series they’ve played, taking the next 2 against Boston and, most recently, sweeping the Rangers this past weekend.
The question that should harass most haters right now is: If this is the kind of quick work the Yanks are making of the best teams in the league, what are they going to do against the likes of Baltimore et al?
Of course, it’s too early to tell anything. Which is the official party line of fans of teams nestled in the league’s basement. (I’m also always amazed at how long we use this rationalization. I feel like every year the statute of limitations on “a lot of games left to play” extends further and further into the season.)
In the last week, while the Yanks were settling back into Champion Form, just about more seamlessly than I’ve actually ever seen done before in my tenure as a sports fan, teams like the Red Sox were struggling. Tampa Bay looked like the solid club that they are but rarely demonstrate. And bizarrely, terrible teams were playing like they were injected with immortality serums.
To shift gears briefly for the purposes of comparison, it reminds me of watching football last year. I spent most of the 2009 NFL season mumbling about how there were only 3 (tops) good teams, and that there was inexplicably a bevy of plain awful teams. Now it’s (mercifully) baseball season, and I’m thinking the exact opposite based on what I’ve seen of the American League. There are a frightening number of talented clubs, O’s notwithstanding…
READ ON FOR THE RANKINGS...
Man, they look good.
So good I'm getting nervous about it.
Which, to be fair, isn't saying much since I get nervous if the hourglass is rotating on my computer monitor for more than 6 seconds.
But, thanks once again to the modern wonders of DVR and Yes Encore, I was able to watch a game which I had missed in absolute entirety on account of Sunday Softball in Central Park. And both team "Sloppy Sundays" and team New York Yankees finished the day with a sweep.
In post game interviews, I think some Yankees effectively demonstrated a hellbent mission to jinx this blissful domination.
Mariano Rivera "tried to recall a time when things were this serene in Yankeeland." But his "memory doesn't go back that far."
"Everything's going your way right now," says Girardi.
To be fair, both sentiments aren't false, per se. The Yanks are really just firing on all cylinders. It's like last year all over again. Seriously. Like no offseason time had even lapsed in between October and April. I have NEVER seen anything like that, in terms of not having any "smoothing out the kinks" transitional period at the beginning of the season.
Even Tex shaved a few weeks off his normal 7-week slump, by hitting for the second game in a row, and going yard, at that. "My teammates have been carrying me up to this point." Yep, no argument there. But, as I've said, you're Tex. You can do whatever the hell you want because you're a golden god.
Jeter was out of the lineup today, replaced by adorable Ramiro Pena, who had a huge hit in the 3rd to break out of the 2-all tie. Well, "huge" in terms of the 2-runs it knocked it. Kinda bloopy in its technical execution though. Who cares. Well done, Pena!
I absolutely LOVE it when guys like this have productive contributions. It makes me puff out of my chest and want to glare at the haters who hold tight to their "buy their team" drivel. Take a good look at the team and then look me in the metaphorical eye and tell me that lineup is a laundry list of bought talent. (To that point, Gardner led off and went 2 for 3.)
Probably the weirdest thing of the day, outside of Tex taking Harden deep, was the fact that my boy Nick Johnson struck out 3 times.
Not a hell of a lot of base hits on the day, only 11 between the 2 teams. But the Yankees played tight, and it was enough to sweep the Rangers. Last year I said that what I loved about the Yanks was that they subverted the whole "Play 110% every game" school of thought.
A.) I hate the phrase "playing 110%" as a rule, because it's impossible. You can't play more than 100%. It's just by design impossible. And if you're going to stick to this absurdity of being able to play more than 100%, then 110% is actually kind of chincy.
B.) Not only is not possible to play 110% period, but it's REALLY impossible to play 110% every day. And it's not necessary. You just need to play enough to win. That's what the Yanks did last year. They didn't need to blow out their opponents by 12 runs every game. They just needed to best them. That's smart playing. And if you don't believe me, just ask look at what happened to the Pats during their 2007-08 season.
On a final note, I love any game when Dustin Nippert comes in. (Wasn't this guy a starter last year? Now a short reliever? Weird.) When you mix up the letters in Dustin Nippert, you get "Pinstriped Nut." I am so, so, so jealous of this. I'm not even kidding.
Tomorrow's an off day. I wish I could say the same for me. I'm spent in every sense of the word. Here's some links (Album 1 and 2) to the pictures from the Saturday game I went to.
See you on Tuesday!
Good God, I'm exhausted. Beyond tired. I felt like my life mirrored the 20-inning Mets game today. (Which is to blame for the supreme lateness of this recap. That and beer.)
Me, Laur, Keith, and Krista went to the game, Yankee Game Trip the Sequel. I was a liitttle worried this year would never live up to the inane debacle that was last year's trip. It turned out my fears were wildly unfounded.
Everyone I hang out with is nuts, basically.
In terms of the game:
We got good AJ! Really, really good AJ. 7 shutout innings. Barely any nibbles of hits for most of the game. He was almost untouchable. Well, there were 8 hits, but psh who cares. Before Nelson Cruz homered with 2 men on, he was mowing em down. Equally as impressive his unreal control. If he didn't still have the endearingly touch guy swagger, I'd think it was a totally different pitcher.
Tex got a hit! Bringing his average to a nice even .100. He also struck out, flied out, etc etc. We'll take what we can get. He got a little ribbie to boot. It was nice to see him bring a run in when there were bases loaded as opposed to grounding into double play. To be sure, Tex can strike out for the next 3 weeks for all I care. This is what he does. He's earned quite a bit of latitude.
Also, Tex's 1 for 4 on the day was somehow the ONLY hit for one of my fantasy teams. Seriously. I was batting .426 going into today, and then every single guy on the team threw up goose eggs except for Tex. Thanks, buddy.
On a side note, it's f'n bizarre seeing Vlad not in an Angels' uniform. Just as it's f'n bizarre seeing Vlad not swing at pitches and retain some patience at the plate. What the hell has Texas' hitting coach done to him??
Jeter and A-Rod homered (A-Rod's first of the year which put him past Big Mac on the HR list). If Jeter goes yard again within the next 3 games, I guarantee he's going to find himself in a sea of uneducated, bitter, hater accusations of steroids. He went 3 for 4 today, and is batting .380 SO FAR. .380. I know it's early, but that's just absurd.
At one point during the game, my sister points up to the part of the stadium displaying the lineup and their BAs. "Look at that. Look at those numbers. Well, don't look at Tex's. But seriously. That's just crazy." Posada, Cano, and Granderson are all batting well over .300. The entire team's OBP is staggeringly over .350 and sometimes over .400.
To that point, these first 11 games have been the best start the Yanks have seen since 1926. Four series wins. Against not so easy teams. They kind of blitzed the Yanks in terms of scheduling. Sux, Anaheim, Tampa right off? Ouch.
Joba came in and, like everyone else on the Yankees, did his job and did it well. I'm a huge proponent of knowing your role. No one does it better than Nick Johnson, whose requisite walk brought in a run.
I always get a kick out of random batters that have these ridiculous walk rates. Like Nick Swisher. It's not like anyone's pitching around them. And God knows no one wants to put Johnson on base when Tex and A-Rod are cushioning him. It's kind of like how I never really got why Craig Biggio was always used as target practice for pitchers.
(Btw, this year Prince Fielder is currently leading the league in HBPs, which suggests that pitchers have officially given up on trying to find the miniscule area of the strike zone which isn't filled with Fielder's gut.)
In terms of my stadium experience:
I don't know if I'm ready yet to look at my camera. I will say that me and Laur definitely went ahead and put up one of those "Yankee Stadium Welcomes..." jumbotron messages. We were so excited about it and about surprising Keith and Krista. And then all of a sudden we look up at the jumbotron between the bottom of the 2nd and top of the 3rd, and we see it flash by. Totally caught off guard and not at all prepared for it, hence no picture. Keith's reaction: "What the f&%^ was that?"
That right there handed me the single most hysterical moment of my life. I don't know why, but I am not kidding when I say I have never laughed that hard in my life. Ever. And you know how people say, "I laughed so hard, my cheeks hurt" or "tears were rolling down my face"? Neither of those things happened. But my chest hurt. A lot. So much so that I had to mind-over-matter myself into not laughing at more. It was kind of cool. I broke some new kind of laughter barrier in my life. Laughing myself into cardiac arrest. I was a little proud of myself.
I'll put up pics tomorrow after my softball games. If you picture of a roll of toilet paper that accidentally fell into the toilet, then that's what my head feels like. I'm hitting the sack and maybe tomorrow I'll be brave enough to revisit my camera and notepad of game notes...
It ended quasi anti climatically. 5-1. CC dominant. Rain out, but enough innings played to make a complete game.
"I mean that's about as good as we've seen him. He was outstanding tonight."
If I had the energy, I'd google that to see exactly how many times Girardi has uttered those exact words about CC. 3 hits. 9Ks. Impressive, to be sure. Amazing. But he just pitched an almost no-hitter. I think Girardi was just trying to make people forget about that whole "taking CC out because of his pitch count thing."
It was a good way to end the work week. Chinese food type of weather. It almost made me mad at CJ Wilson. He got to pitch that game on 7 days rest. I don't remember the last time I had that luxury. And he still fouled it all up. Imbecile.
Although it provides a good argument against the need for sleep, I suppose.
Apparently a bunch of the Rangers had food poisoning which was why he had been scratched from his last scheduled start. I'm not sure if the food poisoning is a valid excuse for the abysmal defense.
Jeter scored on a passed ball. Cano went 1 for 3. The 2 are the first pair of SS/2B in Yankee history to have a 10-game hitting streak to start the season.
I reallllly hope they don't fizzle any time soon. I remember Magglio Ordonez a few years ago was like absurdly on fire for the first half of the season. So no one in my fantasy league wanted to go within 5 miles of him because it was assumed that no one could keep up that kind of pace for much longer.
He finished the season .363.
Kazmir is such a joke now. I remember going to Game 6 of the ALCS last year and torturing the kid as he warmed up in the bullpen. I don't even know where all my antagonism was coming from. I have nothing against him. And while I obviously was ready for the Yanks to close out the series and move on to the World Series, I usually reserve that kind of vitriol for true assholes.
And it's weird, because I think I actually like Kazmir. He pitched against the Sox at Fenway on September 14, 2004, and it was one of possibly 3 times I've ever bet on a baseball game. Up against Pedro Martinez, the little rookie was posting a money line that was basically the most ridiculous thing I'd ever seen. To the point where I thought the NY Post had made a typo or something.
It's kind of like what Kevin says on "The Office": "If anyone gives you 10,000 to 1 odds on anything, you take that bet. If John Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar, I will be one rich dude."
So I took it. Kazmir whiffed 9 in 6 innings, giving up 3 hits to setting history. The first rookie to dethrone the Sox at Fenway.
But on Game 6 last year, I apparently wanted him dead. Or at least really rattled.
Today, he delivered his now characteristic lackluster standard. 4 IP. 8 hits. 3 HRs. 6 runs. Days like this and the Mets feel better about themselves.
Our young gun, on the other hand, returned to the mound and sliced through the game like Grant tore through Richmond.
Hughes struck out 6 in 5 innings. Let up 3 hits, 2 runs. However, he did walk 5, which was awkward. But hey, I'd be a little crazy too if I had Girardi and Eilman playing ping pong with my head.
But his return to the rotation wasn't even the real story of the night. (Technically, the real story was Jackie Robinson Day. No matter how many times I a JRD game, I always, ALWAYS spend most of the game confused about everyone wearing the same number.)
You know what I like about Robinson? He wasn't trying to break into baseball to make a point about penetrating barriers. That was secondary. He wanted to play major league baseball because he good, and he didn't like the disorganization of the Negro League. He was good and he wanted to play baseball. Which sounds intuitive and obvious, but it makes what he did mean so much more. He wasn't "good for an African American." He was good by any standards. So when he was signed, it wasn't evening any playing field. It was deserved.
As for the other Robinson... he went yard. Twice. Which would have been the most impressive hitting of the day had Granderson not tripled. Also twice. OFF A LEFTY!!!!!
Dear Kevin Long,
U R EZ 2 LUV.
Jeter chipped in a solo shot in his 2nd AB. Tex obviously forgot to hit again. I've had him riding pine in my fantasy league. I hate doing that to the guy I picked first, but this is Tex's "thing" that he gets once a year. Like a chick's "time of the month" or something. Just let him be and ride it out. It'll be over before we know it.
It was a very odd day in terms of offense. A couple of 0-fers scattered through the lineup. Then the random explosion from....Marcus Thames? Not a bad hitter, that one.
A-Rod continues to plug along consistently, no HRs to speak of this year yet. But no slump, either. Knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood. It's weird, it's like he went from notorious blanker to revered slugger and now under the radar base-hitter. I'm ok with that, because it just means his powerhouse self is going to re-emerge when it'll be the most valuable.
The Angels' order was meh, except for our boy Matsui who tied up the game with a solo shot. Still not crazy about seeing him in a uniform that isn't of the Yankee persuasion. Hunter also solid today, going 2 for 4. One of my favorite quotes from him, which puts him alongside Carl Crawford in my non-Yankees I adore in a Yankee way:
"This year, I think it's something different about those guys. It's a fire, some kind of fire, I see in those guys. It's totally different. I love Yankee Stadium. The atmosphere and energy there is great. And the fans know the game. When they get on you it can be pretty personal, but it's always about your baseball game. When someone screams, 'You just can't hit that slider,' that's someone who knows what they're talking about."
Mo gets the save again, after a very strong bullpen backed him up. Robertson struck out 3, our lefty specialist did his thing, and Joba proved that the 8th inning is really more in his wheelhouse.
Another series won. Now on to Texas. And on Saturday, onto my first game at the stadium this year!
As unimpressive as Javy Vazquez was, that's how impressive Joel Pineiro was. It was like watching Ying and Yang on the mound. Consistent control with unpredictable speeds vs inconsistent control and predictable speeds. As one could guess, the former took the W.
The Yanks like sinker ballers about as much as I like people saying, "you're not like a real chick." They just have a real, real problem with them. Which probably was why Pineiro basically baffled them for 7 innings. 7 Ks. 0 BBs. 5 hits. 1 run.
The Mets could have used a guy like him.
But it turns out, there ARE some things money can't buy. The Mets offered him around the same amount, but the Angels nabbed him. Pitchers know better. They know what happens when they enter Queens. Abandon all talent ye who enter here.
On the flip side, our super duper #4 guy was a sloppy mess, and I think it's safe to say Javy is sitting hunched over in his locker right about now, acting all Jack Torrance-y, scribbling on his glove, "All AL and no NL makes Javy a dud boy."
But hey, we can't give up on him now, right? Even if his ERA is after 2 starts dangerously creeping towards double digits.
He didn't start out too bad, but just watching him pitch, you knew it was only a matter of time before the wheels flew off. 6 hits in 5.1 innings isn't terrible. But he pitched a helluva lot worse than the score indicates. If the Angels' offense had been a little tighter and our defense a little worse, we'd be looking at much more of a shitstorm score. (SSS)
The top of Anaheim's lineup killed up. Aybar, Abreu, and Hunter deserve more credit than they get, in terms of the league's 1-2-3 batters. Particularly Abreu, who has been responding quite well since he took a $10 million salary cut in '09.
After the Angels were staked to a 2-0 lead, things were still controllable. Swisher hit the ever-exciting triple that drove in Cano, making it 2-1. Then things began to unravel a bit. In the 6th and 7th innings, the Angels' lineup scraped together another 3 runs, and the Yanks headed into the 8th with a 4-run deficit.
But of course, if there's a comeback to be staged, it's gonna happen in the 8th. Which is what the Yanks tried their damndest to do, and almost did, thanks to the meatball performance from the Angels version of Paul Quantrill...Scot Shields, who hasn't been effective since around the time "Lovefool" was song of the year.
He pitches just about as terrible as he could, gives up 2 runs, and puts Kevin Jepsen in a tough spot when he comes in for relief. I gotta echo Kay's thoughts here:
"Al, do you think a guy like Jepsen, a fastball pitcher like that, just goes into, like, throwing as hard as he possibly can with really absolutely no regard to where the ball goes?"
(Though Al countered that that was a little overboard, Jepsen certainly wasn't doing anything to dismantle this theory. He looked like a pitching machine dropped in a bathtub with the power still on.)
Sadly, I think Teixeira's standard spring slump has been really punching holes in the Yanks production. In a critical spot like #3, he's got a lot riding on his at-bats, and it's really gotten to the point where I don't think fans actually even expect him to get on base, but rather, would see a base hit as a pleasant surprise. He ran the gamut today, striking out, popping up, flying out, grounding out, bringing his BA to an emaciated .097.
But it's Tex. So, moving on. I really just feel bad for him more than anything else.
A-Rod didn't have the best day either, with 3 Ks. Actually the only Yanks who really can be marginally happy about their individual performances are Cano who remains markedly hot, Jeter who's Jeter, and Marte who looked extremely good out of the pen.
I would have liked to see some pie. All in due time, all in due time.
As for now, I gotta hit the batting cages, as I have my first softball game tomorrow and am contact-lens-less.
I have a feeling it's going to be a Daniel-LaRusso-trying-to-snag-flies-with-chopsticks type of situation...
You know you're too superstitious when you're nervous about winning the home opener. We lost last year, and we ended up winning the World Series. Is it bad that we won this year? Obvi I'm never ever gonna argue a win.
The Yankees had won 11 straight home openers before losing last year in the first game at their new stadium. The Yankees hadn't lost a home opener since 1998, the longest such winning streak in Major League Baseball history. They had won 16 of their past 17 home openers.
Their overall record, including this year, is now 71-36-1.
By virtue of signing up for the YES network online at the 11th hour, about 14 minutes before the first pitch, I was able to actually watch about 75% of the game. Including the goosebump-inducing ring ceremony. Many I'm not getting enough sleep, but I almost got a little teary eyed. Whoever is in charge of the soundtrack for these things at the stadium, really needs a raise. Because every time I watch one of those jumbotron montages, etc I get all inspired and misty eyed.
Right now, I'm about 145 blocks away from the stadium, but I could still feel the electricity through my computer monitor (and not in the way my cat can feel the electricity, when he insists on sleeping on my keyboard). That's one of my favorite parts about baseball season. Coming back home from work on the 4 train, and seeing all the hoards of Yankee fans all growling and screaming and hopped up on adrenaline, getting ready to KATN on 161st street.
In today's game, Andy Pettitte was absurd. The guy is unreal. He's been pitching for about 102 years, and you watch him throw a game like he did today, and he may as well be a 23-year old rookie. 6 innings, 6Ks, 3 BBs. 0 runs. And the way his pitches were dancing around the plate was quite poetic. Absolutely breathtaking, really.
Derek Jeter homered.
Posada went 3-for-4.
Mo closed it out.
The old guard. Business as usual, after collecting a ring for their thumbs.
The whole team really looked unstoppable. Granderson is not wasting a lick of time demonstrating the validity of this acquisition. I really expected him to just be a defensive tool only, but the guy is lighting it up all over the place. Another stolen base for him. And he's hitting on all cylinders. Even went he lines out, it's a bullet.
Chan Ho Park relieved Pettitte, gave up a ding, but whatever. I don't really like this guy, so if we can keep his utility to a minimum, when we're up by 6 runs, and if he's just letting up meaningless solo shots, I can spare him my vitriol.
As a testament to how completely subjective I am and how blatant my biases are, I don't bat an eye when D-Rob gives up a salami to Abreu. Seriously, I adore this kid. I think he's got aplomb like whoa, and I will NEVER forget how he worked it against the Twins in Game 3 of the ALDS last year. One of the most spectacular things I've seen from a lil tyke like that.
I kind of felt bad for the kid. It's a 7-1 game and all of a sudden, it's not a done deal win. 7-5 and only 1 out and a little cause for concern. I think the only person more red-faced today was me, when, during a status meeting, my coworker ganks my notepad and basically (understandably) starts convulsing upon flipping through the to-do lists and lands on this gem:
Yeah. So work was halted for a bit while everyone in the room learned about my lofty goals to accomplish within the next year.
Back to the game...
Nick Johnson also chipped in a bomb, fulfilling what I can only assume was Cashman's master plan upon signing him: hire him for the OBP, but anticipate him exploiting the right field short porch.
So far, our old pal Nick has done everything he's been asked of, and then some. I love him. Plus, he looks a lot like my hamster. Gold.
Cano continues to rope the ball all over the field, but until Tex starts pulling his weight, his ribbie numbers aren't gonna explode. But is anyone really doubting the fact that Tex, come May, turns into a complete offensive monster? The thought is terrifying. In a good way.
Poor Tex had another 0-fer day, and he's lucky he's Tex, because otherwise he'd be getting Ortiz-esque press. But everyone knows he's useless for the first month and a half of the season, so he's got carte blanche. He's that f'n awesome.
Here's some good press for our boy. (H/t to my boy Casey for this link...)
A-Rod's still being badass. 2-5 for 2 ribbies.
Not a bad day for #13.
Michael Kay wasn't too bad himself, settling right back in to his usual lunatic ramblings. My favorite of the day:
1.) "How nice is it to have Bob Lorenz in the stadium with us? And he smells great today!"
2.) "Roy Halladay...well, Roy Halladay might not lose any games this year. Seriously."
In less ridiculous observations, they pointed out the new banners lining the stadium facade, commemorating all the World Championships. "Pretty intimidating," Kay notes.
Leiter counters, "Well unless you fell out of a spaceship in Mars, you're well aware of the Yankees' history."
Lastly, I got the Smoker's Quitline Trivia question right! I never get those right! Something about who tied Matsui in WS ribbies. And I knew it because Bobby Richardson is like a pub trivia night staple. If there's a sports category in trivia nights, it's a given that he'll be the answer to a question.
And we're off! 7 game under our belts.
April 13. 13 hits.
Game 7. 7 Runs.
It's gonna be a good year in the Bronx.
...than being at work during the Yankees home opener.
Last year was the first year since I got out of college that I didn't attend. And, well, they won the World Series. I am admittedly the absolute Sensei of Illusory Corollaries, but also a disciple of superstition. Which is what I keep telling myself as I sit here, behind closed office doors, face pressed up against the monitor, silently blessing the powers that be who enabled YES streaming in blackout areas.
Here's some literature that helps me put things in perspective when I'm in the throes of this kind of depressing situation.
Alright, here we go. Yankee fans bloom where they're planted. Which, in my case, is an ergonomic office swivel chair.
WELCOME BACK TO THE BRONX, BOYS!
Here I am in New Bern airport in NC, scrambling to be diligent about recapping. (I know, I know. The last two were a litttttle late, but given the choice between Bocce with Pete or Yankees, I'm gonna take the former every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Even though I bitch and moan about DVR, it's quite a blessing. And by blessing I mean, fantastic institutions of technology that effectively guarantees my I never reach double digits in time logged sleeping per week.)
I have approximately 0% interest in the Masters. Not only is golf as exciting as watching grass grow, but I still harbor some ill will towards it after my ride from the hospital post-ACL surgery bailed because he was watching the "greatest sporting event of the year."
I do like the music played in the Masters though. The nice piano numbers that remind of hotels with baby grands in the lobbies.
More importantly. however, is the fact the Yanks won today, taking 2 out of 3 in Tampa, and finishing up their 6 game road trip and FINALLY heading home.
We got Good AJ today, who went 7 strong innings, walking 3, whiffing 1. He got out of a jam in the 6th when he walked the bases loaded. He's pretty good at escaping jams. I'm not sure if that claim is actually true, but since I'm an unapologetic AJ supporter, I'm going to sign off on that anyway.
Joba gave up a run, but no one's perfect (see how I'm warming to him?? You know what I'd be saying last year about him had he let up a triple to Crawford? Probably something along the lines of that old Jack Handy line of leaving a pumpkin on someone's stoop with a knife through it and a sign that says "you." You know, something pithy and rational like that.)
Mo came in in a non-save situation which doesn't nothing for a my fantasy team but some things for my mood, since I love Mo. I also love how Girardi doesn't want to make CC pitch more than 111 pitches because he's soooo super pitch count conscious but throws in Mo in non-save situations 2 days before we play against the Angels.
Offensively speaking, well, that Big Game James is ok and all but I have a feeling his days are numbered. He was my sister's big sleeper a few years ago, but he's like the Fausto Carmona or Ian Snell ilk. Let's give it up. Sleepers wake up after a while. He got staked to an early 2-0 lead, and pitched 6 innings, striking out 5, before handing over the 2-1 lead to Choate.
Choate not really having the best week. He's seen 9 batters in the last 2 games. 7 of them hit off him. And today, he promptly gives up a ding to Posada upon entering game.
The Yanks didn't shut up from there. Final: 7-3. Everyone got a hit except for Gardner, Winn (who cares), and Tex who also didn't have the greatest day. He celebrated his 30th bday with 3 strikeouts. Which I suppose makes sense: Three 0's. Hmpf. As if turning 30 isn't traumatic enough.
So now I'm in the Charlotte airport, about to board the plane that takes me back to NYC and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't more than a little sad about this.
I spent the past 3 days eating better than I probably ever have in my life, thanks to my buddy the wizard chef.
And my blood pressure probably plummeted to actually healthy levels, thanks to lying on the beach and passing day time hours drinking and listening to Masters music.
And I probably had more fun than I've had in months, thanks to the fact that my buddy inexplicably owned a miner's headlamp, and I inexplicably had brought my own miner's headlamp with me. What's more fun than walking around a marina with headlamps on a Friday night? Not a damn lot.
HOWEVAH, in less than a week from today, the south comes to the Bronx, when NY will proudly host the arrival of Miss Krista. And the crew will visit Greatness's New Home and live the dream. That thought is actually the only thing cheering me up about going home.
But before that awesomeness commences, we got OPENING DAY AT THE STADIUM. Which means.... RINGS! Sorry, Anaheim.
I can’t decide whether I’m relieved or disappointed about not seeing this, but when I learned that there was no no-hitter to be no matter what happened, the game took on a little less meaning or something. It’s like getting into a relationship that’s awesome and amazing and moving along swimmingly for all intents and purposes but knowing that once baseball season rolls around, it’s all for naught.
No matter how superrad it was, it’s getting prematurely capped off. So when you think about it, you really didn’t have to work so extra hard to keep things perfect because you’re saying sayonara once Opening Day rolls around!
Girardi was the equivalent of opening day. Kelly Stoppach was the equivalent of a meaningless tiff that gave the couple enough cause to end things. In the 8th inning. Stoppach puts the kibosh (the Stop? The Stoppash?) to fatso’s no-no bid when he dunks a single in front of little Gardner. But then we learn that even if that hadn’t happened, the gipper was planning on yanking round boy anyway on account of his 111 pitch count.
Now THAT’s something I’d have like to see. CC vs Girardi, celebrity death match on the mound. You think there’s ANY way CC would have gone willingly? I told my buddy here in NC about this, who has about as much interest in baseball as I do in interior decorating, and he makes the same analogy I was thinking: “Hm. That’s like the Colts pulling Peyton to ruin their perfect season.” Yup. Maybe some differences.
But essentially the same.
Final score 10-0. Only one other hit of the game came off the studly Zobrist, off the equally studly D-Rob, who pitched the last inning and a half.
In a game like this, the offense is really secondary and immaterial, so I won’t go into the production from Yankee bats. In terms of the D-Rays, I will say that Stoppach was acting a little too bitchy about his no-no breaking hit.
"I thought it was beautiful," Shoppach added of the single on his friend's final
pitch. "Just the history. I thought if anybody was to do it, it was supposed to
be me. I know he probably thinks the opposite."
Yeah, probably. Get over it. CC’ll have a no-no by season’s end. You’ll still be a D-Ray. Pump the breaks. Your only claim to fame isn’t breaking his no-hitter. It’s being in the top 3 pro athletes with names that sound like they should be headlining a wet t-shirt contest in some town with a population of 600 who loves their Kroegers and Sonic too much.
Oh, and Cano went yard. Gold.
Kills them every time. I remember watching the Wednesday game against Boston with my sister, and she counted as Mo threw 9 consecutive 91 mph cutters. On the 10th one, he threw a 92 mph one to strike out the batter. “He’s more OCD than YOU,” she said. “Way to keep em off balance by mixing it up, Mo.”
That’s how the Yankees see off speed pitched. 91 to 92 mph. So when someone like David Price comes in like a mini Halladay and just throws about 29348723 different pitches at them, the Yanks get confused.
Like last night. When they lost 3-9. I followed the game on the sophisticated (nope) Blackberry technology of refreshing the game screen, and only intermittently since I was doing North Carolina things with my buddy. And I said, “No, no, I don’t want you looking for the game, you probably don’t even get it down here. I just want to check score. Oh, 2-0. Nice.”
We eat dinner (grilled pizza) and an hour late I check the score again. 5-2? Motherf’r. Grumble grumble.
Then 9-2. My favorite numbers. Sort of 9. And a backwards 29.
Tex is now 0-16 in the last 4 games. To be clear, he hasn’t gotten a hit year in 2010.
At least Carl Crawford did well, but when does he not, really. (In other TB complimentary news, Zobrist is going to have the sickest year of his life. That guy is terrifying.)
A-Rod had an RBI triple (way to do your part A-Rod. Just keep it up, I like how you’re unaffected by the blanking of the rest of the team.)
Cano also continued to do his part in the whole RBI generating campaign. Singled in the 8th, followed by Jorge walking to load the bases, followed by Swish striking out. It’s ok. You’re not gonna win like that. Grand slam and the score’s still 9-7…the true litmus test of how desperate you are for a win and how improbable it is, is when you start thinking of the game in terms of how many grand slams away you from tying the game.
Javy Vasquez…No. Bad dog. Rushing through everything. I can forgive the loss, it’s just one game, but what I can’t forgive is the fact that because of you, I had to watch about 934 clips of 2004 Game 7 on SportsCenter, as they reminded everyone what the last thing you did in pinstripes. I’m going to start unleashing my Joba ire on you, if this keeps up. And just ask Joba how much HE liked it.
Today’s a new day. And I’m going to be beach now! Later on at 3:10, Fatso gets the ball against super hyped up phenom Wade Davis. Davis has got a snowman’s chance in hell. I don’t buy his hype. Speaking of talented young arms, why isn’t Hughes pitching in the 5th game? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? After all that f’n broo-ha about the 5th starter spot and now we’re just not even going to it? It’s like, Oh no, we’re not actually gonna USE a 5th starter, we just wanted to see who it’d be if we DID.