In college, I wondered when everyone was going to figure out how easy it was to write a paper. Write the first half intelligent thought that comes to mind, expound on it in your opening paragraph, and then find passages from everywhere that supports it.
When I graduated, I wondered when everyone was going to figure out how easy it is not get fat. Stop eating when you're full. Don't eat if you're not hungry.
Now I'm wondering when everyone is going to figure out how to not let up grand slams to Arod. Don't intentionally walk Tex to load the bases.
That's pretty simple, but apparently it's a principle that escapes a fair share of team's managers.
Like today, for example.
The Yankee game was a little too close for comfort for the first 7 innings. For the second day in a row, I took in the game via the announcing stylings of Waldman and Sterling, so I could also take in the wonderful Memorial Day sun on my apartment roof.
Mitch Talbot held the Yanks to 2 runs for the lion's share of the game. I always get a kick out of pitchers with names like that. Think of the odds that guy had to overcome to become a professional athlete. Mitch Talbot? It sounds like a men's suit designer.
He didn't do half bad, though, despite giving up 9 hits. It wasn't until the Tribe's pen took over the game that the Yanks decided to go for the jugular. Rafael Perez came in for Talbot, after he had put Jeter on. And their sneaky decision to put in a lefty against Granderson backfired (as it has been doing quite a lot lately. Maybe the whole Grandy can't hit lefties thing is a bit of an antiquated stereotype. Just a theory.)
Then another Perez comes in for relief and makes an even worse decision: walking Tex to load the bases.
Waldman: "The count's 3-1. He's gotta throw a strike unless he wants to walk a run in. And with a 2-1 game, you can't afford that run. Yeah, I see where this is going..."
I think everyone did. Arod knew what pitch was coming. Everyone in the stadium knew what pitch was coming. And he struck it like it was set up for him on a tee. It was about as far a shot as has ever been hit in that stadium, past the 408ft sign, and into Monument Park.
Cano followed suit, and lined one into the stands so fast that Sterling didn't even have time to take a breath for his "it is high..." shout! He did, however, make up for it, by spurting out a bunch of utter nonsense, like, "Don't you know Robbie Cano! Back to back, nooo... BELLY TO BELLY!!"
Grandslams ALWAYS remind me of this story, but today, it was completely irrelevant. Because basically everyone managed to sidestep the awkward post-salami AB.
Cervelli sac flies.
By the time the Tribe was able to apply some kind of tourniquet to their bleeding, the score had gone from 2-1 to 8-1. Then I heard something I never ever thought I'd hear.
"This would be a perfect time to put Chan Ho Park in."
Pettitte came out the game after pitching 7 brilliant innings. 5Ks. NO WALKS, which surprised me. Sterling tried multiple times to communicate how many Indians had been retired in a row, each time more confusing than the last. He was starting to sound like an indicted convict taking the stand in his own defense, stuttering and changing the story around so much that you start to drone out.
Pettitte, the classy guy he is, played down his performance:
Despite the fact he retired his last 14 batters, he attributed it to the weather. "I love day games, I'm not much of a night owl." This start improved him to 6-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the 6 day starts he's made this year.
Chan Ho Park managed to not give up 10 runs, which was actually mildly shocking, but he did manage to keep me in the sun for about a half hour longer than I would have liked to be. I reasoned that I'd go back inside after the game was over, as I was starting to roast and would have given my kingdom for a freezer to stick my head in.
He got out of the 8th inning ok, gets the first 2 outs of the 9th inning, and I'm already starting to taste the lemonade waiting for me in my fridge. I could hear through the radio Yankee Stadium chanting "1 MORE OUT! 1 MORE OUT!" I guess they were ready to retire indoors, as well.
That out didn't come as quickly as I would have liked. It was like being in a meeting that's slated to end at 2, but people keep asking more and more questions, and I've already been mentally programmed to leave at 2.
And when it keeps going to 2:15, 2:20, 2:30, you start to get inpatient. Which is what I was doing as Chan Ho Park started putting as many baserunners on as he could muster. Somehow, he only gave up 1 run, and the score ended up as 11-2.
Sterling noted, "Imagine hearing the final score to this game and thinking to yourself 'Hm the Yanks must have routed them.' But without watching you'd never know that for 90% of the afternoon, it was a 2-1 game!"
The Yanks offensive box score looks like some kind of multiplication table. The whole team just went to town today.
I mentioned yesterday that Sterling said that until the 3-4 batters start playing like 3-4 batters, the Yanks will be treading water. After this series, I think that the outlook has improved in spades.
Be afraid, AL. Be very afraid.
Ahh, today is the EPITOME of summer baseball. It's 80 degrees out, I followed the game while lying out on the roof of my building, dousing myself with a hose when it got too hot, and gulping Snapple lemonade which did nothing to hydrate me but everything to bring joy to my afternoon.
(I love the word EPITOME, because it reminds me of a time in high school when the teacher was reading out words for a vocab quiz and after he reads out that one, my buddy Darrel's hand shoots up: "Um, Mr. S, I think I studied the wrong list!" To which Mr. S sighs and returns with, "No, Darrel. Epitome is the same thing as EP-ih-toam." "OHHH, ok.")
Before I go into the wonderful comeback win of today, I'd be remiss in not mentioning Halladay's perfecto yesterday. I called home last night and was talking to my mom about yesterday's debacle.
Cyc: Did you watch it? What happened was so awful! (referring to Huff's head getting in the way of Arod's liner)
Mom: I KNOW! THEY NEED TO GET RID OF HIM! (referring to Joba)
It continued to ensue when I started bitching and moaning about how the Jays wanted Joba last year as part of a deal for Halladay and the Yankees essentially scoffed and got all insulted a team would even SUGGEST we'd deal the royal Chamberlain.
"And now look, Halladay's throwing a perfecto. Wait, is the game over? Did he get the perfect game."
"He did what?"
"Throw a perfect game."
"Joba threw a perfect game???"
"Wait, what about the holiday? OH! Are you coming home for Memorial Day?"
"Mom. Roy Halladay. The pitcher. He was throwing a perfect game."
"Oh, for heaven's sake, Kristen. You can't talk to me about names like that. I have no idea who that is. Let's just stick to the Yankees."
So to add insult to injury, not only did Joba blow a perfectly good lead and throw away the game for us, but in another part of the country, at the same time, the guy who could've been in pinstripes, was retiring batters with about as much effort as Matt Damon puts into math problems in "Good Will Hunting."
Yeah, good thing we held onto ol' Joba. We're really showing 'em what we'd been missing out on. Grumble grumble.
But today, the Yanks acted more Yankee like. It's almost as if they were playing like the Lakers in the NBA finals. I'm not a big follower of basketball, but I am admittedly fired up about the Celts-LA matchup.
When the Lakers were playing the Suns last week, they seemed to start out the series as if they were just phoning it in and already looking to the Finals. But after Phoenix started winning, it was like Kobe growled and said, "Alright, you wanna put up a fight? Put up a fight. See how that works out for you. You really want play us when we're dialed in? Do ya? Giddy up."
And that's how the Yanks have been playing. I think they were starting to play on autopilot, relying on the innate talent and skill of a lineup that could be one of the best in history. But nothing comes without working at it. And it's easy to get complacent against a team like Cleveland or the Mets. But no matter what, you can't lose focus. The second you do is the second you admit defeat.
Today, the Yankees seemed unfocused for most of the game. Then it's like something clicked. They remembered who they were and what they were supposed to be doing. And they shifted into the same mentality that Kobe has. "Alright you wanna do this? Your loss. Literally."
After Justin Masterson completely blanked the Yanks for most of the game (and whoever had "5th inning" in the "How long before Sterling calls him 'Justing MasterFUL' pool"...you're the big winner today!), thing weren't looking good, and I thought my restful day of sun and peace was about to be deeply soiled by a shitty loss.
Then with 2 outs in the 7th, the Captain lassos them all in and refuses to let another loss settle upon his team. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Jeter singles to center and we got a 1 run game.
(Of course, there was the requisite "And now that 2-run rally in the top of the inning is really looming large. How important was that stolen base by Valbuena? Um, REALLY important. SOOO important." Thanks, Sterling.)
Jeter makes it a 3-2 ballgame, and Grandy gets on base next to set it up for Tex who sends a moon shot into the left field stands. Text message, you're on your mark, etc etc. Excitement abounds all around!
I need to take a moment to comment on the completely unhuman speed with which Granderson returned to form. You know how after a guy comes back from the DL, you're not quite sure you want to move him from your DL slot to your active fantasy roster? Especially when it means you gotta drop someone like Austin Jackson who's been a more than adequate replacement for your sidelined superstar for the last month.
But I dropped A-Jax without batting an eye, and Grandy didn't make me regret it. It's almost like he's involved in some kind of "Dave" scenario, that movie about the president who's in a coma, so he gets a body double to act in his stead to keep things on the DL from the public.
After Tex's ding makes it 5-3, the Yanks managed to hold onto the lead for the rest of the game, undoubtedly thanks to the MASTERFUL pitching performance from AJ, whose 8Ks and 0BBs were perhaps not as significant as the fact he took us through 8 innings and consequently allowed us to sidestep the bullpen landmine.
(As Suzyn Waldman rightly noted, "At what point do you stop referring to a pitcher as an 8th inning set-up man? I mean, if he's blowing every lead, he's not really a set up guy so much as a bridge-breaker to the 9th inning.")
Tony Sipp came in (thankfully) and he's not really going to be heading back to Cleveland with too many fond memories of this town. Not only did he give up the salami to Cano 2 days ago, but today he gives up the bomb to Tex (but is only charged with 2 runs.) In fact, Sipp only had allowed three earned runs in 21 appearances before this weekend, but during his NY trip has only been able to retire 1 batter in the 8 he's faced so far.
(Anagram of "Anthony Sipp" = NY Sap Hit On)
Jeter, Tex, Cano, Swish, and Miranda all had 2 hits a piece. Arod went 0 for 3 the day after he Charlie Brown-ed Huff. Sterling made an interesting comment today: "The Yankees aren't going to be the team they need to be until Teixeira and Arod start carrying their offense. While it's great that they're seeing so much help from the bottom of the order, those 2 have a job to do, and the offense can never be solid until they start performing up to their level." I COMPLETELY AGREE.
Great win today, now we just gotta close the book on this series tomorrow.
What's one more blow to a city like Cleveland?
Well, on the plus side, at least I don't have to waste my breath in Joba debates anymore.
Mostly because the people I spent most of last year arguing with, haven't had much of a case lately.
Justin Chamberlain is the most unpredictable liability on the team. I mean, at least with Chan Ho Park, there are no surprises. You call him in from the pen, you know you're handing over 2-3 runs to the opponents.
But with Joba, you never know if he's going to strike out 23 batters in 4 pitches. Or if he's going to let up 23 runs in 4 pitches.
Today, it was erring on the side of the latter. How much more of a stomach punch is there to not only give up a 6 run lead, but to give it up to a team who's offense has been akin to that of a JV hockey team? I think any runs Cleveland scores at all is purely coincidental. Like they're just swinging the bat as hard as they can and hoping that the ball gets in the way.
Luckily for them, there's not much guess work when you bat against Joba. You know EXACTLY where the ball is coming in because he may as well telegraph it across the sky during his warm up.
His fastball is extremely hittable. (I mean, for normal baseball players. Obviously I wouldn't be able to get my bat around on a 40 mph meatball.)
To be clear, the hate parade for Joba is to celebrate the feat of relinquishing a VERY healthy lead in the 7th, allowing the Indians to come back and score 13 runs to beat the Yankees.
This game took roughly 4000 years to get through, and it was asphyxiatingly horrendous overall. It looked like an easy win, a nice summer afternoon memorial day weekend delight. No stress, simple W.
Nope. Of course not.
Maybe it was karmic retribution for Arod's liner off Huff's head. This is absolutely horrible but I actually thought to myself at one point, "SEE?! Arod's not the satanic demon everyone makes him out to be. He could have run all around the bases but instead he stopped at 2nd and made sure Huff was ok!"
It was pretty brutal to watch. I mean, how fast must that ball have been coming at him? I'd estimate that given the distance from homeplate, that that shot hit Huff at around 120mph. In the head. When I was in the batting cages this week, I tried my hand at the fast pitch machine, which was coming in around 65mph and that was terrifying. I can't even wrap my head what it must have felt like for Huff.
When it first happened, it looked for a few minutes there that it might have been really bad. Like, not breathing bad. Ugh. So so terrible. When he got carted off the field, it was inordinately relieving to see him give the somber fans at Yankee Stadium a thumbs up sign.
Then after that, the Yankees kept the run hemorrhaging going full speed, and by the time the 4th inning was over, the Yanks had batted around, and inflated the score to 9-3. I really thought things were wrapped up. Idiot.
D-Rob came in and let up 2 runs. Not too great, but apparently he was hurt, so I'll give him a little bit of latitude. 'Sides, the only real damage he did was shorten the lead slightly. Mitre and Marte rolled up and did alright, and then Joba Chamberlain is handed the ball, and the game is torn apart at the seams.
Unbelievable. When Ted Williams came back to play in the later years of his career, he asked for a pay cut because he didn't deserve what they were paying him. Joba should follow suit and volunteer his resignation for the good of the team. If he really loved the Yankees, he'd do it to help us out, instead of continuing this mess.
Right now all he is is trade bait. And it's like he's a half eaten worm shriveling by the day.
In more positive thinking news, at least the offense came alive for the first time in weeks. Jeter, Swish, and Cano all hat 3 hits a piece, and Thames, Russo, and GGBG were the only guys without ribbies. Between the 2 teams today, over 400 pitches were thrown.
The box score is kinda interesting. All those 13's. Considering that #13 was the one that took their pitcher out of commission. Arod actually hit the 11th pitch of the game that brought in the 1st run.
Also weird: GGBG got picked off at 1st. WTF.
So that was the game. Really tough loss. A lot. I'm glad you guys are hitting and all, but for the love of God, FOCUS.
So last week, "The Nation" offers "yes please" the following trade: Carlos Pena and Brad Lidge (DL) for Kevin Youkilis.
The manager of "yes please" (my sister) rightly notes that this ranks among the most offensive and insulting trades she's ever seen.
At the time of the trade, Pena was batting .181 and Youk was batting over .330. Brad Lidge is just completely irrelevant since he has recorded since roughly around the time of the Reagan administration.
The best part about this trade proposal is that while me and my sister are laughing and appalled etc at this nonsense, "The Nation" retracts his offer.
"Are you serious??" my sister says. "Like, what the f is he doing? 'Sorry, you had your chance, now the offer's off the table.' Man, I blew it. I totally missed a golden opportunity to deal my best hitter and round out my lineup with a slumping non-entity."
That night, Carlos Pena went 2 for 4. 2 Runs. 2 RBIs. 2 Homeruns.
"WHAT?!? IT'S LIKE HE KNEW. WTF HOW DID HE KNOW? I HATE THIS LEAGUE."
So Carlos Pena makes "The Nation" look somewhat like a genius, weirdly. Although I still, for the record, think it's a bullshit trade. And also, for the record, "The Nation" is in last place, so if I were him, I'd just bite the bullet and deal A-Rod for a slew of other talent. But that's neither here nor there.
Last night, Girardi stuck Cano in the clean up spot. Seemed a little random at the time, but I remember thinking that I didn't even care how it panned out, I was happy with the move, because if nothing else it demonstrated that Girardi is aware of the lineup problem. It's something I touched upon yesterday, how we're knocking in 10 hits a game, yet scoring only 2 runs. And moving Cano up in the lineup was a sign that Girardi was taking an active role in fixing this statistical detriment.
It also worked out pretty well, and just like Pena made "The Nation" out to be a nostredamus, Cano showed why we mere mortals aren't baseball managers, and that--indeed--perhaps the skippers do know what's best for their team.
Complementing a brilliant 7-inning, 8K outing from Hughes, Cano took Sipp yard for a salami. Swish also went deep earlier in the game, a 2-run ding off Carmona in the 2nd inning. THERE'S the offense I know and love!
Almost the entire team got a hit, and the lineup was a little weird. No A-Rod. No Cervelli or Posada. Ramiro Pena was moving around SS and 3B, with Kevin Russo coming in at 3B at one point, and Chad Moeller was catching.
Verrrrry strong hitting from the Yanks last night. And Hughes set it up so even Chan Ho Park couldn't ruin this one. Mitre and Park closed out the game, neither letting up a run. That might be the first time I've ever been able to say that ever. Wow.
And now for the best news: CURTIS GRANDERSON IS BACK AND RANDY WINN HAS BEEN DFA-ED.
The Tribe could barely touch Hughes last night, as he only let up 2 runs and 1 BB. Our young gun proved once again why exactly he's so good: HE TAKES DIRECTION. He's like the Holy Grail of coworkers. You know, the type of person you look to hire because you know they're just a good worker and quick study. They won't complain, they'll do what you ask them to, and they'll always look for a way to get ahead and go the extra mile.
That's Phil Hughes. He adds pitches to the his arsenal like he's collecting Garbage Pail Kid cards or something. Yesterday it wasn't just his blistering fastball that was stifling the Tribe, but his cutter specifically. And what makes him even better is that he has an astounding changeup that he can mix in with all this. The only thing that guy can't do, as far as I can tell, is a slider. But that's fine with me, I see more than my share of that with Joba anyway.
So begins the holiday weekend. And for the unfortunate opponents stepping into GNH, so begins the bleeding.
Once again, the Twinks avoid a sweep at the hands of their nemeses. I only saw bits and pieces of this game on account of my softball game and my going away party. The softball game was markedly better than the Yanks game, as we won our first legitimate game (we're somehow in 2nd place in the league, despite the fact this was the only game we won by scoring more runs, as opposed to the other team forfeiting.)
AND we won by the mercy rule! As always, my dad somehow managed to fix my swing in 5 minutes, and after spending the first half of the season popping up at every at-bat, he takes me to the batting cages, makes one small change, and I was lining them into the outfield. I don't know how he does it. He knows everything.
Maybe he could do some consulting work for Kevin Long, seeing as the Yanks' offense has left much to be desired lately. They've averaging only a little over 2 runs a game in the last week, and the only reason it's that HIGH is because of the work of the bottom half of our order.
In the same stretch of games, they've recorded 54 hits.
54 hits to get only 15 runs. Something's not right there.
Last night Javy sort of acted like Javy again, and I'm going to give the guy a LITTLE latitude since he may or may not have broken his finger or something. I'm a bit confused about the whole Javy situation. Last Friday, the first word on the street was that he had a broken digit and was going to be out at least 6 weeks. Then the MRI was negative. (Michael Scott: "Well apparently in the medicine community, negative means GOOD.")
And then all of a sudden Javy's making his scheduled next start?? Seems like a pretty big turnaround. I don't know, if at any point it seemed like it could potentially be bad enough to keep him out for 6 weeks, that would be reason enough for me to indicate he needs a little R&R. Even if his finger wasn't actually broken. Kind of like trying to figure out if the guy you like is gay or something. Even if he's not, then the fact you had to wonder about it should indicate that maybe it's not going to work out.
Jason Kubel went yard 2x last night, which pretty much killed us. I'm sure my boy Ollie was thrilled about this since he has some kind of weird crush on the guy.
Kubel hit a solo homer in the sixth, a three-run shot in the seventh and had an RBI double for the Twins, who had gone eight games and 349 plate appearances without a home run before the lefty broke the skid.
But in things like this, I can't really blame the pitcher for letting up these shots, because even if he hadn't, the Yanks still would have lost. You can't win a lot of games when you only score 2 runs. My little league coach used to actually demand we score 10 runs every day. It was rarely a contest to outscore the opponent, but rather, a team effort to just put 10 runs on the board, never really discerning the opposing offense as any kind of issue.
Cano brought in both of our runs, with an RBI single scoring GGBG in the 4th and a double plating Tex in the 6th.
It's reallly weird that we were only able to scrape up 2 runs in this game. I can't figure out what the problem is with the order, but when you look at the hit distribution of the game, you'll see that everyone except for Miranda and Russo got hits. Jeter, Tex, and Cano were all 2 for 4, and there were only 3 strikeouts the whole game.
How did that amount to only 2 runs? It's very odd. They stranded 6 which isn't really an inordinate amount, and went 2-for-7 with RISP, which-again-isn't that traumatic.
Chan Ho Park managed to do the inverse of this, by giving up 2 runs in 14 pitches. When it comes to the Yanks defense, there's all this rejection of basic physics, the law of thermodynamics. Runs cannot be created or destroyed. However, Park manages to create runs out of nothing, and the Yanks manage to destroy runs out of a lot. Very weird. Also, very inconvenient and unfortunate.
Tonight we start the Memorial Day weekend against the Tribe. It's theoretically an "easy" week coming up. But is that ever the case? I mean, think about it, last year the only teams we had losing records against were the Marlins and Nats. The Sox just lost to the Royals last night after just sweeping the Rays.
It's never easy. And when we're hitting like this, it's that's much harder.
I'm not Johnny Seasoned Traveller, but I've been in my fair share of airports, mainly for work trips. But no matter how many different terminals I've been in, I've NEVER been able to master airport security. I've tried everything to make it more seamless, less painful. But unless I want to bite the bullet and subscribe to the idea of flipflops as legitimate footwear, or leave my laptop at home, then it's never easy.
The shoe and computer removal kills me everytime, and no matter how fluid I try to make things, it's awkward, stilted and with no real gratification (well, aside from the knowledge that the plane is safe).
Anyways, that's how these 2 days of baseball were like. Long. Arduous. Nothing really coming easy. And while it was ultimately an important set of wins, it didn't make me feel as satisfied as it should have, for some reason. I don't know why.
Maybe because it seemed like a hell of a lot of work just to get through them. After the game was suspended yesterday (WHERE THE F IS THE METRODOME AT?), I was a little nervous that it wouldn't have worked out to the Yanks' favor. AJ didn't even seem to notice it was pouring buckets, and was dealing as good as ever. 5IP, 3 hits, 5Ks. He's so impressive in jams. Like how Mac helps Dennis out of jams in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.")
I generally assume that MLB will do ANYTHING to finish off a game and avoid suspending it if at all possible. I also figure that calling it at the 5 inning mark at all costs is like the worst possible thing in the world. I don't know how this is at all fair. I never understood that rule.
But the second the rain game delay graphic thing jumps to the corner of the UPN 9 screen, I didn't even remotely entertain delusions that this would be resumed. It looked treacherous out there, and I can't imagine that the grounds crew in Minnesota is in any way equipped and capable of a swift field preservation. It'd be like Girardi walking up to Mo before a game and saying, "Change of plans. You're gonna start. CC's gonna close. I'm gonna need to you go at least 7. Suit up."
It's a pretty meh game, considering it was 0-0. Probably because you couldn't really tell whether the 0-0-ness was on account of the rain or the pitching excellence. Also, I didn't want to get too emotionally invested since I was near positive that my Tuesday night baseball viewing experience was going to be ripped out from under me. It was, and subsequently became my Wednesday lazy afternoon baseball listening experience.
As me and my dad drove back from the batting cages, we listened to Sterling and Waldman recap (sort of) the conclusion of the suspended game.
(You know what's weird, on a side note? The people who had tix for Tuesday's game didn't get to go back on Wednesday for the 2nd half of the game. Instead, people who had tix for the Wednesday game had the option of coming 2 hours early and seeing it a little extra baseball before the scheduled programming resumed. Apparently only 25% of said fans were interested in a game they didn't get to see the beginnning of.)
So Waldman gets all giddy and excited talking about how Jeter single-handedly won it for the Yanks. First, in the 2nd AB of the game, he drills one out 414 feet into the bullpen. However, it was pretty amusing, the egregious lack of the use of the word "Jeterian." Probably on account of the fact it was the least Jeterian thing in the world. A moon shot to LEFT CENTER! WHAT?!?!
Wait, it gets weirder. I'm not kidding.
In the bottom of the inning, D-Rob walks Morneau, Kubel doubles to left, and with 2 outs/runners on 2nd and 3rd, Jeter nabs a grounder by Young to make the final out.
No, that's not the weird part. It's in what he said after the game:
"It's not that that play is a given. I think a lot of people think that's an
easy play to make."
Jeter patting himself on the back?? Pointing out his amazingness? Seriously?
He also was being funny before the game! Everything is weird. And the full moon isn't even til tomorrow.
Jeter walks by Girardi during the pregame media briefing and makes fun of reporters by jokingly asking him, "Joe, have you hit the panic button yet?"
That's pretty funny. I had no idea Jeter had it in him. I kind of thought that if you cut him open, you'd find wires.
So Mo comes in, saves the game. Yanks win 1-0.
Twins take early 1-0 lead. I just can't put my finger on it, but everything seemed like it took a lot of work. EXCEPT from Cano. When me and my dad got back home and turned the game on, we're just in time to see some fantastic run-saving play from Cano, after a hard grounder goes through Pettitte's leg and up center.
"He's good, that Cano. He makes it look so effortless."
Word. But not so much for the rest of the squad. A part of me dies inside as I write this, but I think Centerstage put it best, and I don't mean the YES show, but the movie about the ballerinas. Don't judge me.
"You make it look like work. I need to see the movement, not the effort behind
Anyways, ONCE AGAIN, Kevin Russo comes to the rescue, and believe me when I say this is not exactly the way I envisioned the Yankees 2010 season playing out. While the Red Sox are pounding out homerun after homerun against scrubs like the Rays, the Yanks are scraping up wins by Russo Ribbies. Which, btw, sounds like a Caldor brandname for wife beaters.
I don't care, our Karate Kid left fielder is playing like he's scared shitless of getting DFAed. I like that kind of palpable fear of authority and respect for work.
There were kind of odd numbers for this game:
- The Yanks were 0 for 9 with RISP. The Twinks 1 for 6.
- Pettitte gave up 8 hits in 8IP with 4 Ks. Liriano struck out 7 in 8 IP, gave up 8 hits. Both gave up 2 runs a piece. Watching the game made it look like Liriano was dominating Pettitte, and it just goes to show you that high K counts will eclipse getting out of jams in terms of superficial appearance. But when it comes down to it, I want the pitcher who can wiggle out of shit, even if he isn't blanking them in the box.
- The Yanks took 142 pitches. The Twinks took 105.
- Our bottom half of the order's BA is .320. The top half is batting .268.
- Mariano Rivera logged 2 saves in less than 4 hours. He's so cool.
'Sides, Pettitte was head-on aggressive when it counted. He got Young in a run-down in the bottom of the 7th, ran straight at him with the ball and speedy Cano chased him down. I love pickles. I hated running pickle drills in softball, and I hate pickles the food. But I love watching the frenzy of all those people trying to corner one poor runner.
The Twinks tie it up in the bottom of the 7th. Young doubles to score Cuddyer. (My mom: "CUD-dee-er? Who is that? He's SO ADORABLE.")
Swish comes in and for some reason he spent most of the game beating himself up a LOT. Like I'm pretty sure there was an audible F@$#! after he popped up. (I have no idea why blogger just automatically made that into a hyperlink?) In fact, Swish was acting so manic that I wondered if the facepaint under his eyes was actually some kind of bruise or black eye from a bar fight.
So in the top of the 9th with 2 outs, I was mumbling game commentary to my youngest sister who I'm pretty sure was giving me courtesy nods of acknowledgement as she dutifully wrote out graduation thank you notes.
"Swisher better hit a homerun here! He's been useless all game."
Because I have the maturity of a weevil, I get overly excited whenever someone "calls" a shot. Almost to the point of making the person regret ever calling it. "OMG, YOU SAID YOU'D HIT THAT LAST CUP! AND YOU DID! HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU? ARE YOU EXCITED? WHY ARE YOU NOT MORE EXCITED??"
As such, I get equally happy when I do it. What, that's not bad.
Mo comes in again, closes it out. Yanks win 3-2.
Yes, the bleeding stopped. Finally. For now. But I'm nowhere near comfortable right now. I'm basically on par with being in an airborn plane right after it takes off, and I have to go to the bathroom but I can't yet since the seatbelt sign is still on. So I can't really get involved doing something else or too settled in until I go to the bathroom. It's physically comfortable, mostly, but the main discomfort stems from the inability to settle in.
This is kinda like that. Though I guess if you were a Yankee, you'd say your main discomfort stems from the inability to get on base.
Let's work on that.
In many ways, not the best week of the 2010 season. Aside from the fact I was having a difference of opinion with the flu (it thought I should be sick, I disagreed), the Yanks were battling their own afflictions. Specifically, the act of not winning.
After taking a dramatic one against the Sox to start the week, they lose the next 3, and—gulp—lost a series to the NY B-Squad. I can’t even think about that without feeling the rancid taste of vomit crawl up my throat.
Speaking of things crawling up to the top, the Rays resume their spot at the pinnacle. (Sorry, Toronto fans.) And the Yanks slip down, despite most other rankings’ insistence they’re still the 2nd best team in the game. This may be so, but last week certainly was no indication of that. Last week was mainly an indication that I need to hide the sharp objects.
14. O’s (14)
As bored as most people are of hearing me lionize the Yankees, that’s how bored I am of providing expository copy on why the O’s are in last. Again.
13. Royals (13)
Zack Greinke gave up 9 hits in 3 innings in yesterday’s game against the Rockies. I don’t know who I feel worse for: him for being battered around like a half-dead rodent, a mere year after he was in charge. Or his team, for having to live with the guilt of dragging the young star’s potential down to a level of the food chain on par with protozoa.
12. Mariners (12)
Wasn’t there a time when this team was picked to carve up the AL West like it was a chain saw in jello? Barring Ichiro, their offense is just sad. They’re batting .236 and have 300% fewer homeruns than the league leader.
11. Southsiders (11)
It’s really splitting hairs with Seattle when it comes to most pathetic bats. Actually, between the two of them, it makes you wonder about the origin of the word “offensive.” Because, honestly, that’s the best word I can think of to describe their complete lack of it.
10. Tribe (10)
They’re LUCKY I placed them as far up as I did. Their top batter is sporting a .308 BA. They basically suffer from the same problem as Seattle. If not for the plucky power of their surprisingly productive Shin Soo Choo, they’d be shooting down a Slip and Slide of offensive oblivion.
9. A’s (8)
To be clear, I think there’s a big gap between the #10-14 spots and Oakland. To be clear again, I still think Oakland sucks, perfect game anomaly notwithstanding. They’ve won their last 3 and are just 2 out of the AL West leader spot, but let’s call a spade a spade. Being 2nd best in the West is like being 12 out in the WNBA.
8. Halos (7)
What the hell happened to this team? I mean, this is NY’s Achilles Heel team, and frankly, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. I think the loss of Lackey is really setting in—they have the 2nd highest ERA in the league (4.76) and with that kind of defense, even their .251 BA won’t hold them up. Yeah, that’s right. 251. The Angels, who at one point couldn’t keep the ball in the park if they TRIED, are barely dinking their way through the games.
7. BoSox (9)
After getting shut down by Cole Hamels, Boston won the next 2 against the NL East-leading Phils. I just got off the phone with my coworker buddy, and you know Boston’s in bad shape when I’m saying things like, “No, no, you know what? They got a great offense, I’m sure they’ll get it together.” And you know someone’s from Boston when he says things like, “Whatever, at least the Celts are championships contenders, I’m over the Sox season.” Ah, Fenway Faithfuls, indeed.
6. Rangers (6)
Yeah, they lead their division. And you know what, they’re actually pretty good. They’re in the top 8 of most offensive categories, and they’re pitching improves with every game. They really shouldn’t have any problem sitting pretty at the top of the West. It just seems like wasted talent, to have Vlad, Cruz, Young, Kinsler, Andrus…and not be more frighteningly good. They’ll be in trouble when they have to play legitimate contenders if they can’t figure out how to leverage team chemistry.
5. Tiggers (4)
They’re actually not as good as the Rangers, but the way they play at home is outstanding. No one other than the Rays knows how to treat their city’s fans to exciting homestands. If that’s not reason enough to move to Detroit, I don’t know what is.
4. World Series Champions (3)
Apparently the Yankees only have about 6 different types of games loaded into their playlist. Because the last week saw wins and losses so eerily similar that I seriously had to keep checking to make sure I was watching a live game and not an encore presentation. Mo blew a few saves, more people got hurt. The Yanks have some big crosses to bear if they want to emulate the juggernauts that won the title last year. However, they still manage to lead the league in runs, while holding their opponents to very few.
3. Twinkies (5)
They just don’t make many mistakes. In my book, that’s one of (if not THE) most critical component to success. Another way to look at it (and in a less rosy light) is being meticulous is a good way to compensate for a lack of charisma. I haven’t decided yet which is more inclined for greatness.
2. J’s (1)
They swap places with the Rays this week, but still demonstrate that their offense is outstanding. They’re actually in the bottom half of the league in terms of hits, but their power more than makes up for it. They’re in the #2 spot right now, but take it from someone who’s well-versed in having a slugging team who can’t manufacture runs and with meh pitching: it’ll take you far, and trick the fans, but it’s ephemeral. Get your rotation tighter, and then we’ll talk.
1. [Devil] Rays (2)
Yeah, yeah. “The Rays are for real, they’re the team to beat, etc etc. Young talent! they can’t lose! Watch out, league!” Whatever. They have a whole week of home games lined up, and call me crazy, but I think playing in the Trop will work to our advantage. I mean, it’s the beginning of the summer…how can you play indoors for an extended period of time? Here’s to seasonal affective disorder kicking in!
Eh, I don't want to talk about it.
You know how there's a handful of losses every season that just irrationally devastate you? And by that I mean that there's games you lose in extra innings, or games you get blown out, or games rife with tension and animosity..but those losses are understandably upsetting.
Then once in a while there's a loss with a random team and it's a garden variety defeat, and yet it still manages to depress the hell outta you.
So that was tonight.
It's a feeling akin to being in an 0-2 hole in a playoff series.
Yeah, I said "irrational."
The Yanks' loss tonight gives us another series loss and I guess in the "be thankful for small favors" column, I can check off the fact that I don't work anywhere near the Empire State building and hence can avoid seeing a reminder of this wretched day.
It looked an awful lot like yesterday's debacle. The Yanks immediately fell behind. Then more behind. Then to the point of half the tv's in NYC being angrily shut off.
Then in last moments, they decide to show up for work. And just like yesterday, it was too little too late.
CC was so off it was disgusting. On the brights side, at least he didn't get himself hurt on the basepaths. After roping a single in center, he trudged to 2nd and honest to God looked like he had just completed one of those cardiac stress tests.
But I mean, cmon, look at all that fat on him. It's absurd. Absurd but also protective. Last year he managed to avoid injury on more than 1 occasion on account of his blubber. Soo, that said, why not just try to steal 2nd? He would have been thrown out faster than a guy in a sorority house after midnight, but it would have handed me probably the heartiest laugh of my adult life.
But he didn't steal. And instead, just became yet another stranded base runner to add to the Yanks' growing tally.
3-for-9 with RISP. Again, not that bad, but there were also 9 runners left hanging. I know in a recent post I said that numbers don't lie...but tonight they do.
Tex went 2 for 5, which is great for my fantasy team, but if you watched him play, you'll see that his hits aren't well hit, and his outs are incredibly ill-timed. He should be powering the lineup to excessive, gluttonous hit parades, and instead look who we have drawing in the runs:
As it usually does, it came down to A-Rod in the 9th. Full count. Runners on 1st and 3rd. But there was no game-winning pop up in his bat tonight, as he struck out on a change up.
And I oddly don't fault him. Partly because it's Arod, and he's more than earned his share of latitude. But also because I loved what he had to say afterwards:
"Right where you want to be. A great matchup, a great battle. It was a good sign we put some pressure on them. After being down 6-0 it came down to the last at-bat. I'll take my chances."
I did NOT like what K-Rod had to say though, and not just because he shut down my boys. Something about the last part irked me for some reason:
"That's what I get paid for. Not to make the fans suffer like that, but to get the job done."
The part about making fans suffer. I kind of want to be like, "Alright, look. You're on the Mets. BY DESIGN, your paycheck goes towards making fans suffer, regardless of what you do on the mound."
Speaking of suffering, I had to minimize my own hell by muting the tv. I know it's always the obvious solution to the ESPN/Fox broadcasts, but I have a hard time actually watching a game in complete silence. It'd be lot easier if the radio broadcasts weren't ahead of tv ones.
Morgan, Miller, et al continued to drown us all in their patented breed of mindless drivel. I think I muted it around the time one of 'em had this to say about Johan: "As good as Santana was when he played for the Twins, that's how bad he's been with the Mets." It was like this freakish Megatron of announcer devil dogs. Like ESPN was TRYING to emulate McCarver's stylings. Can a more disturbing objective exist that that? Not really.
So here's what you got in terms of the game stats. CC gave up 10 hits in 5 innings, including 2 bombs to Bay. Mitre and Logan quietly plugged up the bats for the rest of the game. And on the other side, Santana let up 6 hits and 1 run in 7.2 IP.
All in all, there wasn't a gaping difference between the hit output. It was all who wanted it more. And watching the Yanks half ass dives for infield hits, and their late swings...not very encouraging.
CYC: "We can't lose this. It just seems like the type of game that would really screw up morale for the whole team."
Laur: "Eh, don't worry. It doesn't even look like the Yanks care about this game at all, based on how they're playing. So it probably wouldn't bother them if they lost."
Girardi needs to act as aggressive and involved, as he did in the 9th inning when Gardner got called out at 1st. Our fearless leader threw a tantrum and kicked dirt and screamed. And good on you, Joe, for proving you have a pulse.
But don't be like the chick who gets mad at her bf over "the principle of the thing." Get mad at something real.
Anything else is a waste of energy and credibility.
That's Super Mario dying.
Another way to look at it would be if you imagined Cervelli striking out on a cheap check swing with runners on 1st and 3rd, to end the horrendous loss to the Mutts.
I have spent the last few hours engaged in every conceivable form of "channeling aggression" activity. Some more productive and effective than others. First it was making drinking games to the likes of McCarvers penchant for supreme idiocy. (A chug of Stella for every time my ears had to suffers the slings and arrows of another f'n "In MY view...")
Then painting, to ease the stress of seeing my beloved Yanks be inexplicably rendered useless against Mike Pelfrey OF ALL F'N PEOPLE.
Then it was banging on the piano to release the unmitigated fury of seeing the Yanks refusing to close the scoring gap, despite multiple opportunties. (It seemed fitting, somehow, that my anger song of choice was the uncomfortably depressing chords of Requiem for a Dream.)
And lastly, it was the old standby. (I don't know, I just like the simplicity of it. Don't judge. Losing to the Mutts can make you do crazy things. I don't even know what I'll end up doing if I have to go to work on Monday and see the Empire State building in the Wrong Colors.)
So the Yanks lose to the New York B-Team, 5-3, and their quasi (and predictable) comeback in the 9th was less than valiant. Normally, I'd say, "Well, you tried! You almost came back, you didn't give up!"
But not tonight. Though technically I guess they didn't give up, but only because by design you can only give up when at some point you were trying. I didn't see anyone trying at any point in this game, with the exception of Phil Hughes. Even though he was the one who had to stomach the L, I can't wholly fault him. It's probably not easy to pitch when you're backed by a bunch of guys who played like they had been drinking too much of the CitiField water.
There were a few plays that made that this painfully obvious. Nothing big, really. I just noticed that base hits that were knocked to the the right of players were reaching the outfield when normally I'd see these same infielders dive for the ball like it was the Holy Grail about to be swallowed up by a crumbling temple.
But today, they acted like they were playing pepper in Central Park.
I am not amused.
Arod, Cano, Swish, and Cervelli had great games--thank you, guys--but the rest of the order was somehow stifled by the overpowering Mike Pelfrey. I can't even write that without wanting to chew off my own tongue. They went a combined 9 for 19 while the rest of the team went 2 for 18. Those 2 hits, btw, came from Kevin Russo and Randy Winn.
I would say no game will ever be won when you have to utter that sentence, but alas, yesterday Russo proved me wrong.
Winn, however, continued to not prove me wrong in my contention that he is the anti-Christ.
Actually, the anti-Christ probably has special powers, so perhaps he's not that at all, since only a light schmear of talent was necessary to field the fly ball he missed in the bottom of the 6th.
This also was immediately after he grounded out in the top of the inning, with runners on 1st and 3rd. If it wasn't midnight and I didn't have an early double header tomorrow, I'd do some research on the exact numbers of how many runs he alone has cost us, and how many actual losses those runs caused. My guess is upwards of infinite.
The Yanks stranded 13 runners today, and went 3 for 14 with RISP on the day. This is going to be an issue if it continues. Is Kevin Long on scholarship these days? That's what my dad always says to me and my sisters when we're being lazy. I don't really understand it, but since my dad said it, it's bible.
Hughes whiffed 7, most of those Ks coming in extremely important spots. Unfortunately, he also let up 8 hits and even more unfortunately had to hand the game over to Chan Ho Park, who managed to not give up a homerun but made up for it by giving up a run instead.
The Yanks absolutely should have won this game. If they had worked just a little bit harder, they would have. I mean, look at it this way. The Yanks only had one less hit than the Mutts (11-12) and saw 30 MORE PITCHES (178) than them (and 40 more pitches than yesterday).
Pelfrey is Pelfrey. More specifically, he's a Met. He shouldn't be the game winner here. We hit off him. The problem with this game was that they couldn't bring the runners in (obviously), which means Girardi needs to claw his way out of the insidious trap of complacency.
Now is not the time to get lazy. Especially with the rest of the league on our heels. It's such a dangerous habit. Because once you've given in to even a touch of equanimity, you're in deep shit. It's so hard to get out of it.
It's really Parenting 101.
LET THEM KNOW THIS ISN'T ACCEPTABLE AND CHANGE THE STATUS QUO.
Otherwise nothing on God's green earth will induce the wrong-doers to reform.
In closing, I offer up this bit of advice for tomorrow's game, from the enthused cries of this young lassie.
I had an alumni function on the roof of the Met last night. Last year when me and Evan went, it looked like a scene from Poltergeist. This year it looked like something out of Donkey Kong Kountry.
All this bamboo and what not.
Thank God for Evan, I don't know if I could have handled the shitshow of seeing hoards of ex-classmates that I may or may not actually remember going to school with.
Also, MVP goes to W&L Class of 2003 alum Nate, and his brother, for their outstanding descriptions of the ideal bar to open up in NYC, one in which the floors are made of trampolines.
"I don't know, man. It'd be kind of hard to meet girls that way."
"Psh. You know how many chicks I've picked up on trampolines. You cant even BLEED [sic] it."
They also saved me from having to deal with my pain in the ass ex. Added bonus.
So when I check the score on my phone, I show my blackberry to Evan, and move the mouse over the 0 in the hit column. "Oh my God, Yankee fans are crazy. It's the 4th inning and you guys are thinking about a NO HITTER?!"
He jinxed poor little Javy.
But that wasn't the worst thing that happened to poor little Javy last night.
So I leave the Met, head to McDonald's, and keep track of the game on my phone. By the time I'm finished pounding a cheeseburger and fries en route to the bar, Javy's let up a hit.
Potential no-no's are stressful. At my last softball game, the pitcher had a perfecto going, which--c'mon--in a summer softball league, is pretty ridic. Because there's no such things as "routine plays."
If someone successfully throws out a runner on a soft grounder, it's cause for a parade. So after 4 innings of 3 up 3 down, I was admittedly starting to get nervous about the possibility of a hard hit ball coming screaming about 4 feet to the right of me, missing it, and ruining the day. The good news was that that never happened to me. The bad news was that it happened to our OF. Oh well.
Anyways, so thanks to Evan's stupid jinx Javy gives up a hit, but the score still remains at 0-0.
"Yankees took advantage of more inept Mets play to win the opener of the Subway Series 2-1 on Friday night."
Ha. So sad. "More inept Mets play." Good way to put it.
Then Kevin Russo breaks the game open. I love how the scrappy B-listers are the ones carrying the team for the past month. Miranda. Cervelli. Russo. Gardner. What the f is going on right now? It's weird. It also gives me something to retaliate with when I have to listen to the morons whinng about payroll.
(Which there were a LOT of last night. A LOT. To the point where I couldn't even be around it anymore. For some reason, every where I turned in the bar there was another Red Sux fan waiting to assault me with digs about the Yanks. They're such freaking imbeciles. You just got held to 1 run by Cole Hamels. Shut up, assclowns.)
Thanks to Russo's 2-run ribbie, the Yanks hold onto the lead. Joba comes in and my heart sinks, but he pitches OUTSTANDING.
WELL DONE, WELL DONE, kid.
Of course, I have to mention the fact that Javy hurt himself bunting, and Keith sets off a huge turmoil of hysteria when he tells me he's out for 6 weeks with a broken finger. I don't think this is true, though, since I just read that "Javy is expected to make his next start" and I'm not really sure that's a feasible possibility when only playing with 4 working digits.
If we lost another pitcher to f#$%ing interleague play, who knows what Steinbrenner would have done?? Remember a few years ago, his response to losing Wang?
"My only message is simple: The National League needs to join the 21st century," Steinbrenner said. "They need to grow up and join the 21st century. I've got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He's going to be out. I don't like that, and it's about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s."
A rule from the 1800s? Ha. Pretty sure the DH thing didn't come around til the 70s, but semantics. Still, I see his point. Sort of. It's very blurry and hazy, but I can kind of make out his point.
I'm all over the place today, sorry. A little tired from last night I guess. So the Mets are down 2-0, the Yanks can't figure out a way to score any more runs. Whatever, we'll deal with that later. Russo bought you some time, bats. D-Rob, Marte, and Joba come in to pitch a combined 2 innings. Cervelli makes a throwing error, and little Super Mario needs him some resurgence.
So there's that. Oh yeah, I suppose I should mention that Mo came dangerously close to blowing another save. But I love Mo, and I'm sick of everyone asking "OMG WHATS WRONG WITH MO?" He had too bad outings, and all of sudden the "age is catching up to him" stuff is rolling out in droves.
The guy is fine. Let's all back off. As someone pointed out last night, "the fact that we can recall all his blown saves is just a testament to how rare an occurrence they are."
The Yanks win the the first of the Subway Series, 2-1. Thanks to Kevin Russo and poor little Javy, the quiet bats (AGAINST HIKEDKPSDKSAJA [sic] AND OLIVER PEREZ?>????!?) get a free pass. You guys should really send the aforementioned heroes of the game some kind of bubbly.
Yesterday, I said to my sister, "You know how managers go up to the mound to talk to the pitcher if they're getting wild? And the whole team gathers around them to show support and give him some pep talk help? Well, how come they only do that for pitchers? Like, your SS or RF makes a couple of crappy, bonehead plays in succession, I want to see the manager come out and do the same thing for him."
A.) This would be hilarious.
B.) This would be helpful.
2 good reasons, I think. And while we're at it, let's do it for the batters, too.
I am about 90% better, in terms of flu recovery, but unfortunately, it seems in the past week, the Yankees have had an inverse proportionate relationship with my health. The better I feel, the worse they look.
Last night, I was healthy enough to watch the whole game and not peter out, the first time since Sunday I've been able to do that.
And part of me wished I still had enough sick left in me to save me from what I saw.
It was the first time all season I was angry at the Yankees.
Sure, I've gotten disappointed over losses, but I usually maintain a "we'll get 'em next time, boys!" outlook. And while I still feel that the Yanks are far from--as many haters gleefully purport--DONE....(far, far, far from it!), I was not at all happy by what I saw.
The game was lost on one thing. One thing.
Swinging at bad pitches.
That's it. That's what it boiled down to.
I don't know if you could truly get the extent of it if you were just listening to the Sterling/Waldman broadcast, but watching it was like watching one of those movies like "Serendipity" where you just want to grab the characters through the screen and shake them and be like, LOOK! LOOK WHERE I'M LOOKING! YOU SEE???
The Yankees trail only the Sox in percentage of pitches swung at outside the strike zone over the course of the 2010 season. (24.8%)
In the last week, that number went up to 26.8%.
Yesterday, they averaged less than 4 pitches per at-bat.
Players like Cano who have seemed to shed their old overanxious plate discipline reverted to their old selves, giving James Shields wayyyy too much help last night. It was unbelievable. He's the type of pitcher that really doesn't handle adversity well at all. When the Yanks tied it up at 3, the guy looked like he was going to spontaneously combust on the mound.
So instead of riding that, the Yanks decided to calm him down a little and swing at everything that left his hand.
It was like they were a bunch of beer league softball players who would rather swing for the fences than take a BB.
WE NEEDED BASERUNNERS.
Overall, they were 2 for 8 with RISP, which isn't horrendous sounding, but when you think about it, that means there were only 8 opportunities when runners were actually IN scoring position, by design.
It's hard to bring people in when you can't get them on the basepaths in the first place.
I know, a 3-game skid is frustrating, but you can't go berserk, Yanks. Relax up there.
Pettitte had a horrible outing, giving up 3 dings, 9 hits, and 7 runs.
D-Rob showed marked improvement, and Chan Ho Park came in and demonstrated his spot-on imitation of Kyle Farnsworth by promptly allowing the Rays to tee off on him. The first 2 outs were by the grace of exceptional fielding by the warning track. The 3rd out wasn't as easy. Park gives up a homerun and induces me to text Kevin, "Has Chan Ho Park gone a single inning this year without giving up a homerun? Serious question."
He responded: "Early on against the Sox. Since then his diarrhea has blown up."
(That, in turn, induced the query what the hell he was talking about. He tells me to google "Chan Ho Park diarrhea." I did so, with a LOT of reticence, but it was absolutely worth it. Can't believe I hadn't seen this before.)
So there's that.
The Yanks, unsurprisingly, made a late game comeback, and I almost called it to a tee. Right after Park logs his mandated HR quota, I said to my sis, "Great. Now the Yanks are gonna score 3 runs, make it a 1-run game, and we're gonna have to listen to Kay say about 18 times, 'And now that HR in the top of the 8th is realllly looming large.'"
(Lauren's response: "Why do announcers even exist anymore? There's like 5 things they say. Can't they just have all those things on recordings, like on the subway or like those annoying sound effects on radio shows?")
So my irritated prediction wasn't too far off. With 2 outs, Jeter knocks in a 2-run double, which he needed since he's been a little in the "without" department lately. A buck late and a day short.
Yanks lose 8-6. Horrible loss.
I swear, another loss might demand a riot act. Even my MOM said, "Well not to worry, they're playing the Mets this weekend." And she doesn't harbor any ill will towards opposing teams, she just calls 'em like she sees 'em.
And tonight, we better see a W. Think of it as vengeance for the horrible injustice of the denied protest.
I don't care how you get it. Just get one.
Another one I lost to sleep. At least in the Tuesday game, I saw the first half of the game and then just drifted off around the 6th. Yesterday, however, I couldn't even stay awake past 7pm.
So when I woke up to the following text, I knew nothing good was going on:
Apparently the Yanks lost again, and everyone is sounding the alarms. Oh no, Tampa Bay is for real! We can't compete! We're too old and the Devil Dogs are too young!
It's a 2 game skid. It's not the end of the world.
One loss does not a catastrophe make.
I checked the box score today, and it looks like the Yanks did that whole Yankee thing of waiting til the 9th inning to score. 4 runs in the 11th hour.
10-6 isn't a horrendous loss, despite ESPN's contention that the 4 game difference in the standings is a lot smaller than what it really should be. Wishful thinking, from a Boston-desperate fan base that wants soooo badly for the Red Sox to actually be in contention.
Listen, regardless of whether TB is for real, I can tell you this: The New York Yankees are definitely for real. And 1 loss to the 1st place team isn't going to diminish that.
They'll bounce back today. Watch. And they'll win tomorrow. And then we're right back in lockstep with the youngsters. If my parents have taught me anything, it's that even when you think you know everything, even when you think you got the world wrapped around your finger...it's the people who have been around longer who really know what's what.
Youth will only take you so far. But for my money, I'd rather have experience. The Yankees know how to win. And they will.
Lower the red flags, we've only just begun.
In other news, I finished more or less, my ARod painting!
Sorry, I really can't expound on this one. I saw this game in bits and pieces through a delirious haze, I just got back from the doctor and it turns out I have the flu. Ugh.
I'm flying real low to the ground today, and need to get back in bed, but wanted to at least post a few thoughts on the shitshow I witnessed last night. If "witnessed" is really what you can call it. It felt more like a dream sequence. Something where there was no time continuum.
I fell asleep at some point, woke up to my sister texting me, "Is beckett kidding me with this move??"
I pull myself together and there's some kind of delay of game, apparently Beckett contracted an injury in a manner essentially identical to that of a little kid who doesn't want to go to school and take his vocab quiz he didn't study for.
After a 2-run double from Cano, Beckett decides he's injured. Which is BS on so many counts, I can't even begin to go into it, because that alone may induce a barf-o-rama on my end.
But I'll try:
- He made no indication that I could see that he was struggling up to that point.
- The trainer never had come up to check on him.
- The trainer hadn't even come up with Francona at all during the mound visit, only after Beckett had already left the game.
- I saw that one coming a mile away. When it was bases loaded with Randy Winn up, I had texted my sister, "If he gives up a HR to Winn right now, Beckett is just going to walk off field and retire." Can't you see that happening? Beckett just being all, "F this shit. I'm tired of this crap. It's everyone else's fault, not mine though."
It was smart of Girardi to lodge a formal protest, and I don't know what exactly happens now, but I know it was ultimately a one run game. We had a runner in scoring position when Beckett came out, and that runner could have been the game decider. If ever that was a chance to legitimately get a mulligan, it's on this game.
But the sports world hates the Yankees, loves the Sux. In fact, I actually threw up when I saw the ticker at the bottom of SportsCenter last night. "Red Sox beat Rivera in the 9th, Beckett leaves with back injury."
I can't think about it, it's gonna make me sick again.
So, yeah, I don't really know what happened here, but I do know, all of a sudden I woke up and it was 5-5.
What felt like 2 seconds later it was 7-5.
Then I wake up again, 7-6. I couldn't process anything, but I know they lost. And per my sister's incensed game recap when she came over last night, "It looked like there were all of 13 people left in Yankee Stadium by the end of the game. And despite that, I have NEVER, EVER heard ANYONE booed at loud as they booed Joba. I'm not kidding. And it started when he was still in the game. Seriously, it was crazy."
So maybe half of me is happy I didn't see Justin implode? I don't know. But it's bedtime for bonzo now.
I'll be back in the fray soon enough, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine. Let's shake this one off, and focus on beating an actual contender tonight, Tampa Bay. The Red Sox may have taken one from us, but look at it this way: the only way they could beat us is when they cheat.
You stay classy, Boston.
A. Trying to deflect blame by throwing the game's best and classiest closer under the bus.
"Closers, that's just the way we go about our business. Just like Mariano [Rivera] last night," said Papelbon, referencing the game-turning grand slam Rivera gave up to Minnesota's Jason Kubel the day before. "Forget about it. Move on. That's the nature of the beast."
THAT'S IT. CONSIDER THIS YOUR FINAL WARNING OF A CEASE AND DESIST NOTICE, PAPELBLOWN.
DON'T EVER, EVER, EVER COMPARE YOURSELF TO MARIANO RIVERA AGAIN.
YOU'RE LUCKY TO BREATHE THE SAME AIR AS HIM.
YOU BARELY DESERVE BEING ON THE SAME FIELD AS HIM.
AND YOU DEFINITELY DON'T MERIT ANY KIND OF COMPARISON TO HIM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.
You could never be even a fraction of the player that Mo is. What he forgot about the sport, you'll never know.
Put simply, you're beneath him.
Would it be ok to make A-Rod some kind of honorary "Captain Clutch"? Except not "captain," just maybe "King Clutch"? Because when you think about it, who do you want at bat when you're trailing in the bottom of the 9th?
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Last night's game was reason #32,945 why you don't change the channel. Ever. I don't care if you're up by 5 in the first or down by 2 in the 9th. Score is no object to the New York Yankees. It's like they play by my little league coach's rule of thumb: "The score means nothing. Just hit the ball."
And that's what they did.
It was a delightful snack of a 1st inning, as they teed off on the Faberge egg of a pitcher. 5 runs before Dice-BallInPlay could even record an out.
It was looking like we were cruising to an easy win. And that was EXACTLY what I needed. I was lying on the couch going in an out of sleep, as I nursed a 100.4 fever ("a baby mouse bite fever" aka just a little fever, not a fever induced by the bite of a baby mouse). It was really like a bizarro dream sequence.
I was half awake, and all of a sudden the score is 6-5. Confusing.
It doesn't help that a stadium full of fans cheering HUUUGGGHHHEEES sounds an awful lot like BOOOOOO. I HATE that. Same problem with Moose and Goose. Can't we change that to cheering PHILLLLLLLL? Just a suggestion.
I'd venture to say that PHILLLLLL's downfall came on the heels of a rough AB with Pedroia, who fouled off about 100 of #65's best stuff before roping in a double. Hughes' stock was all but depleted. He immediately gives up a 3-run bomb to Drew that brought in Scutaro and Pedroia.
Then the bullpen horror show flickered on.
Fortunately (sort of) this was about when my fever was pushing the envelope and creeping higher towards the medium mouse bite range, which meant I could barely focus my eyes on the shit show that was going on. I actually assumed I was dreaming it, seriously.
Top of the 6th: Boone Logan gives up a solo to V-Mart.
Top of 8th: Chan Ho Park comes in. And you know what you are, Park? DO YOU?
He's not allowed anywhere near the field again. He shouldn't be, anyway. Unless there's some clause in the clubhouse contract that says we need to honor the legacy of Kyle Farnsworth, Tanyon Sturtze, and their auspicious predecessors, each and every season.
It's like having Braden Looper on our team whenever this guy comes in.
He accomplishes the following:
My favorite park is V-Mart's 2nd ding in about 8 minutes. My 2nd favorite part is how much wood he got on it.
432 f%$^&ing feet.
Back to back homeruns from Youk and V-Mart. The Yanks are losing. Our bullpen is in trouble. I guess it has to be, since they're probably all like talking to themselves saying, "Man, if Mo couldn't get us out of the game yesterday, how are WE supposed to do it?"
You know what kills me? That if they asked Mo to, he'd have GLADLY come in to pitch last night. He would have started if they needed him to. But Joba Chamberlain throws 23 pitches the night before and all of a sudden he's spent. This was the same guy everyone aggressively campaigned as a starter just a year ago, right? JUST CHECKING.
But every Yankee fan knows that this means nothing.
And all you had to do was glance into the broadcast booth to know that everything was just being prepared for a dramatic comeback.
I mean, c'mon Sux. You guys were just asking for it with those guys in attendance.
And now Papelblown is added to that roster. His first walkoff of his career. Pretty unbelievable.
Papelbon has allowed three homers this season. All three have come against the Yankees.
The Sux have lost 8 straight at Yankee Stadium, the longest streak since 1960.
In other superlative news, I think it's fair to say that Boston should back the eff off when it comes to financial discussions. Because it would appear they're not exactly the authority on optimizing money distribution.
So the 9th inning rolls around, Papelsuck comes in. GGBG gets on. Tex flies out. Arod embarrasses him. Big time.
Cervelli gets beaned and he ain't happy about it. As a rule, I'd say an Italian with a mushroom helmet is the last guy you should be drilling. A.) He's got a mushroom cap on. Lay off. B.) He may or may not have "family" that can see no trace of you is ever found again.
Oh, and plus it puts the winning run on base.
And gives Tims the chance to shame you.
Which he did.
The celebration at home plate was one for the books. It was pure delirium. If you look at A-Rod during the whole thing, it's like he has no idea what the hell is going on. He's just running around like he's got some plan or method to his madness, but nope he doesn't. Just pointedly running around like a wind-up toy that some kid keeps picking up and then setting down in a different direction.
I've referenced this before, but in honor of our first pie-off, it bears repeating. (And oh the sweet irony of this being from Red Sox Nation patriarch, Bill Simmons.)
Finally, we need to name the goofy tradition that happens after every game-winning homer now, when the batter gets mobbed by his teammates and they all jump and down in a happy circle for a few seconds. Right now, I'm going with the "Walkoff Mosh Pit" just to make paragraphs like the following a little more efficient:
Isn't it weird that you can tell exactly how well a baseball team gets along by its Walkoff Mosh Pit? If there's some half-hearted jumping and it disperses quickly, then they hate each other. If it's a raucous mosh pit that goes on for three seconds too long, followed by 15 more seconds of hugging and helmet slapping, then they love each other. If it's somewhere in between, then they are ambivalent. And it's really that cut and dry.
Amazing, amazing game, Yanks.
Oh, and congrats to Javy for his hard-fought win. As if the night couldn't have gotten any more backwards than it was. Is anyone really surprised by all this?
When it comes to the "Rivalry," I guess there's no such thing.
And now for something completely different. I know this will be met with dissenting opinions, but numbers don’t lie. Usually, anyway. All things considered, the Toronto Blue J’s are the hottest team in baseball right now. Not the Ray, not the Yanks. The J’s.
Tampa is still holding onto the lead in their division, expanding it to a meager 2 (a 1.5 game increase since last week), and the Yanks still have only lost 2 series all season. But if we’re looking at this past week, Toronto is the one holding all the cards. Fortunately, NY doesn’t see them for another few weeks, and hopefully by that time, they’ll have cooled down enough, and conversely the Yanks will have picked up the pace a bit more.
Other than that, it’s business as usual in the American League. Yanks strong, Boston not. O’s and KC battling it out in the nadir. Texas falls, Oakland really falls, and Anaheim picks it up a little. Something tells me, though, that this year, things are exactly as they seem. You know how the 2010 NCAA Tournament left the entire world completely baffled and flailing about in their bracket ineptitude? The 2010 Baseball Season will prove to be the antithesis of that.
No alarms, and no surprises, please.
14.) O’s (14)
They’re in the process of signing a deed and securing a monopoly on the #14 spot. Location, location, location. However, they are now 10-10 since the end of April. Which is a vast improvement, sadly.
13.) Royals (13)
Big changes in the works for this hapless club. Ned Yost signed to rupture the complacency on this inexplicably terrible team. Their pitching is great, BA among the best in the league, yet they can’t BUY themselves a win. But, who knows, they took 2 of 3 from the Southsiders, so maybe things are starting to turn around for them.
12.) Mariners (11)
Last week I was listening to the Yankee game, and Suzyn Waldman is giving us the rundown of the rest of the league’s ongoing game scores. “Seattle is losing of course. They cannot score a run. They just can’t. They just don’t know how to do it.” Their SLG is .338…which is slightly less than the batting average of their all star hitter.
11.) Southsiders (9)
One of the worst ERAs in the league (4.64) and the worst BA (.230). They’re beyond help. Seriously. They need to treat their team like I treat my hand whenever I play poker, which is ask for all new cards. (Apparently, you’re only allowed to ask for 4 and that’s only if you have an ace, which is still 1 more thing that Chicago lacks right now.)
10.) Tribe (12)
Their OBP is actually pretty good, but they just can’t seem to plate any of these people they’re loading the bases with. Their SLG sucks, they’re among the worst in the league in runs and hits, and currently trail the central division leader by 7 games. If they want to salvage their season, they better parlay their current 2 game win streak into something…though this may be difficult against the Rays.
9.) BoSox (8)
So we meet again, Boston. You’re currently 7.5 out, but not to worry, Baltimore’s barely a blip in your rear view mirror. And fortunately for you (not so much for me) David O-for-Teez usually decides to revert to his self of old upon taking the field with NY. However, morale’s down, and the Sox are coming off 2 ugly losses to the Tiggers.
8.) A’s (7)
THERE YOU ARE. We knew the honeymoon was gonna have to end at some point. The team with the red hot start is beginning to show it’s true colors, playing below .500, and on a 5-game skid. And in that time, they’ve managed to scrape up only 5 runs. It’s not good when the only team you’re trailing is Seattle in runs scored. Welcome back to earth, Oakland.
7.) Halos (10)
Speaking of being brought back to earth, the celestial beings of the west are really not the powerhouses they once were. I’m sure, of course, they’ll continue to stymie the Yanks, since that’s what they do. But the difference now is that the Yanks are the ONLY team they’re overpowering, and the Angels are almost the only ones that the Yanks are overpowered by. Their pitching is really struggling. They’ve let up the 3rd most runs in the league, and opponents are batting a respectable .272 against them. They’re also making too many errors, with their fielding percentage below league average. Get a hold of yourselves, Anaheim! Jeez.
6.) Rangers (4)
WHY? WHY DIDN’T I USE BORBON AS TRADE BAIT WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE? He’s doing to my offense what Oliver Perez did to my pitching. “Julio Borbon (.213/.234/.259) is on track for one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball history.” –ESPN. For once, I actually agree with the Man on this one. The Rangers get stronger by the day, but in terms of last week, they just got swept by our new Power Ranking Leader.
5.) Twinkies (3)
They actually did it. They won in the Bronx. They narrowly avoided a sweep, and the consequential morale genocide that would have inevitably occurred. The Twinks are good because of their defense. Their solid offense often masks that, with people like Morneau and Mauer tearing it up at the 3-4 spots. But the homegrown boys from the Midwest are holding their own because they don’t make any mistakes in the field. They bring “mastering the fundamentals” to an art. But for my money, I’d rather be lucky than good.
4.) Tiggers (5)
They’re playing for keeps. And they’re not going away, trust me. Detroit actually just handed the Yanks their 2nd series loss. (They also took 2 of 3 from the Sox, but I think at some point, we have to stop using Boston as a barometer for success. It’s really not that impressive a feat to dominate a .500 team.) However, it IS impressive when your new rookie is hitting .380 with a 1.068 OPS since being called up three weeks ago. Now you just gotta reign in your pitchers, they’re walking too many people and high strike out numbers come at a price.
3.) World Series Champions (2)
Still keeping pace, but in a different manner than to which I’m accustomed. ARod’s salami against the Twinks 2 days ago is the kind of game I’m used to. It’s a little disarming seeing a barrage of Also-Rans running the show over in New York. Ramiro Pena, Cervelli, and GGBG are the most consistent batters right now (led by Grandfather Posada), and while Tex/ARod/Jeter are doing their part at the top of the order, they really should be inflicting more damage than they are. But hey, a win’s a win. And the Yanks are still 2nd in the division, leading in most offensive categories right now: runs, BA, OBP, OPS, RBIs.
2.) [Devil] Rays (1)
If I hear, “the Rays are for real this year!” one more time, I’m going to cut out the tongue of the offending preacher. Yeah, I get it. They’re good. They’re the best team in baseball right now, playing .703 and slicing through the opponents with relative ease. But I’m just not 100% convinced. I don’t know why. It’s their offense. It’s just really not that great. I know, it’s weird. But it isn’t. Defense wins championships, yes. But unless we’re playing on the gridiron, you need to knock around the best of the best pitching. Especially if you’re dealing with the AL East.
1.) J’s (6)
Welcome to the top, Toronto! And congrats. You’re a lot better than most people give you credit for. I think when you lost Doc Halladay, a lot of fans lost their interest and/or fear of you. But where you rotation took a hit, your offense is overcompensating in spades. The J’s are currently the most powerful lineup in the game, leading the entire league in HRs, SLG, and extra base hits. While their rotation’s ERA is meh, opponents are still only hitting .242 against them. They’re starting to look like the whole package. Take note, AL. THIS MEANS YOU, YANKS.
Well, score one for the Twins. Good for you.
Alright, so the weekend of bananas is over. And by bananas I mean that it was 2 whole days of a.) having to get decked out in a dress, b.) not seeing a second of the Yankee games, and c.) being so exhausted by day's end that I woke up on Sat/Sun/Mon mornings fully dressed, passed out on couch, all the lights on, etc. I'm still barely functioning today.
My legs are having a verrrry tough time moving me from Point A to Point B, even if those points are only 10 feet apart.
I mentioned yesterday that Saturday was my cousin's wedding. On Sunday, I missed the game on account of my youngest sister's college graduation.
It's actually probably not the worst thing in the world that I missed it, since I don't really know how I would have reacted to seeing Mo give up a salami.
It must've been like winning the world series for the Twins, who only knew what it was like to lose in the Bronx, never win, for the last 3 years.
So, me and the family are celebrating Amanda's graduation at the Water Club when this is all going down, and during my trip to the bathroom, I walk by the bar and see the Yanks up 3-1 in the 8th, and I'm pretty comfortable with that. It's not much of a lead, but it's enough to eek by the Twins and preserve our undefeatedness.
That's what convention would suggest, anyway.
But apparently, things got a little screwy sometime after I returned to my omelet and bloody Mary.
Mo inherits a bases loaded, 2 out situation. One more out and we're in the clear. How hard could that be?
First he walks in a run, which I don't wholly fault him with, since, I mean, it's quite a mess Joba left him with, and it's not gonna be necessarily cleaned up with one rag.
Then he pitches, and I didn't see it, so I'm not entirely sure this is what it is, but I'd be willing to bet it was somewhere in the neighborhood of a 91 mph cutter. And Jason Kubel placed that ball squarely in HR territory, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead, and a chance to cut their bajillion game losing streak against NY.
As Gardenshire said, "You probably should have recorded that. Take pictures. It's probably not something you will see often."
Hopefully something I will never have to see again, either.
The stats kept rolling in:
- Broke Mo's 51 straight converted save opportunities home, which tied the league record set by Gagne
- 1st salami of Mo since Bill Selby's game-ending shot for Cleveland on July 14, 2002
- Mo hadn't allowed a run in 11 innings this year.
- 4th career bases-loaded walk, his 1st since May 6, 2005
But Gardenshire puts up the most ridiculous one of all:
"As far as I'm concerned, we're 1-0 against the Yankees in our last one game played. We'll construe the numbers any way we want now."
He's having a lot of confusion about this whole numbers thing.
Our offense was decent, but any time Randy Winn is the main bat, you know it's going nowhere good. Tex, Jorge, Pena, and Winn led the charge, (our catchers as a whole are just lighting it up these days).
Actually, in the bottom of the 9th, I really thought the Yanks had just set it up so we could pie off it up. Especially with 2 on and no outs, and the top of the order coming up. Winn and Pena reached on singles. Then Rauch struck out Jeter and Gardner. 2 outs, 2 on, Tex up. And c'mon, you know you were thinking the same thing I was, as I was listening to the final inning in the car on the way home to my apartment.
Tex gets on.
Arod comes up.
2 outs, and bases loaded. A grand slam to win it, our first walk off.
It was too perfect, it HAD to happen.
Except it didn't.
Tex whiffs looking, game over.
Bring on Boston.