Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yankees 7, A's 3

Javy? A-Rod? Bah.

The star of the game was Posada: in the first inning, chugging down first--faster than he knew how, yet slower than Softball Guy after three beers--to beat out what was almost certainly an error (and may yet be scored as much tomorrow), and quite possibly could have been two errors had A-Rod come around from third. Next batter, Nick Swisher, two-run single. 3-0.

Later, after Javy had treated us to what, for now, are his obligatory thrills and chills, Posada again busted down the line to beat out a double play. 7-3, for your final.

Goodbye, "Jorgie." Hello, "Wheels."

Complimenting a baseball player for running out grounders to first seems so insignificant . . . until you watch the Mets for five innings.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bombers Sweep

Three things in life will always come back to humiliate you: baseball, golf, and politics.

Stiil, on the basis of two weeks' work, some clear lines may be appearing:

1. Starting pitching, except for the Braves of 1995-2000, is always a matter of throwing it out there and seeing what works. Nothing is promised, nothing owed. Pitching is the most unnatural act in sports (God, in the end, wants us all to go bowling), and the question is always: whose bad back, whose sore arm, whose elbow will turn today's 20-game winner into tomorrow's student in real estate school? That said, CC, AJ, Pettitte and Hughes seem the real thing. Vasquez? A slight concern, at this point.

2. The baseball gods may well have front-loaded the first twelve games as the year's toughest dozen in a row. Two weeks ago Red Sox, Rays, and Angels seemed the most likely candidates to unseat the Yankees in the American League, and Texas--with Vlad, Hamilton, and Young--can, in theory, hit the ball. Yet New York is one opening-day bullpen meltdown away from standing 10-2 against the bunch of them. As it is, they are 9-3, with the Sox one stiff jab away from going Dempsey through the ropes and onto Grantland Rice's typewriter. (I remember thinking the Sox were deeper than Boston Harbor in talent--if Ortiz doesn't come out of his funk, not so much. Pedroia and Ellsbury can run all around the Back Bay if they want to, but they're harmless if no one drives them in. Lowell is a pinch-hitter, Manny is long gone, Beltre is off the junk . . . are Martinez/Varitek, Youklis, and Drew going to combine for even 350 RBIs? Doubt it. )

3. I'm always cautious about writing, "And (sports team) has done all this without major contributions from players XYZ," because maybe players XYZ are dogs, and maybe they're old, or whatever. Still and all, the Yankees have done this with minimal offensive contributions from Tex and A-Rod. These would be the third and fourth Yankee hitters, the Bronx home office of Ruth and Gehrig, Gehrig and DiMaggio, Maris and Mantle, Munson and Jackson, O'Neill and Bernie. Truly, Jeter, Granderson, Posada, Swisher, and Gardner couldn't currently play better in their dreams, but so minimal have been the contributions of A-Rod and Tex (and again, specify offeniseively; they have been dandies with the leather) that one wonders: against the likes of Kansas City and Seattle, with CC on the mound, how well will this team play once these guys get untracked?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yankeees Defeat Angels in Series, 2-1

How very subtle: the baseball gods decreed the champions to face, in thier first nine games, their--probably--three most dangerous opponents.

The bottom-line result: three series victories, and a 6-3 record.

Beyond . . . CC, AJ, Pettitte seem about all right or better. Cano, Granderson, Jeter, Posada--essentially, half the starting lineup--broke fine. Swisher simply starts hitting .280, with one home run per week, the first week of April, and pretty much doesn't stop. A-Rod, Tex, Nick, and the three-headed monster in left: they'll be all right.

The six-through-eight inning men seem okay: Aceves, Robertson, Marte, Joba. And Mo is Mo.

Which leaves . . . Vasquez.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yankees 7, Rays 3

Was distracted by Phil Mickelson's homeward gallop, but saw enough. Will Joba in the eighth be an ongoing concern/work in progress? Possibly. Other than that, not much to pick at.

Yankees 10, Rays 0

One of the greatest baseball, and hence greats sports, lines ever:

Earl Weaver: "You take momentum, I'll take Jim Palmer."

Momentoumt in this instance is CC.

On this instance. Mickelson has a perfect score to merit euphoria. And a perfect score to blow it. Giving Lefty a final-day pairing in a a major is like giving whiskey and car keys to a 17 year-old.

Come on, Phil. Do it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Rays 9, Yankees 3

Well, it took four whole games to have a "just one of those games" games.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 (10)

Tonight's important factors (in descending order):

1. Pettitte looking strong.
2. Right about here is where Mo has his annual April one-game meltdown. Didn't happen.
3. By swapping Granderson and Garnder for Melky and Damon, the Yankees, twice over, chose defense over offense (money, for the Yankees, being a non-factor). 159 games to go, seems to be working. So much of "good pitching" actually translates to "great defense" (see: the 1982-87 Cardinals, with an occasional good pitching year from Andujar and one great one from Tudor, but behind them, at various times, stood Ozzie, Coleman, McGee, Herr, Oquendo, Van Slyke, and Keith Hernandez). In the Yankees' case, we shall see.
4. Aceves, Joba, Park, Robertson--could we actually have a non-Mo bullpen in the works?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Well, about time, boys. Burnett will be fine, four scoreless innings from the bullpen, timely hitting late. And, oh yeah, Mo.

Girardi's hands team in the outfield (Gardner, Granderson, Winn) looks good.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Boston 9. Yankees 7

Oh, what a cock-up. Millions for speed and power, not a dime for a reliever who could break from the gate not resembling a carnival freak. And another great season gets underway.

Opening Day

A bit of symmetry. Had the Phillies won the sixth game of last year's World Series, CC was ready to start Game Seven. This was, remember, part of Joe Girardi's gamble, to go with three starters, to stick with CC, AJ and Pettitte and ignore the advice of every retired player and fired manager who claimed Girardi was killing New York's chances by not throwing Mitre or Aceves into the mix. Pettitte closed out Philly, rendering CC's contributions moot . . . so CC's start carried over to tonight. Symmetry.

There was a marvelous rumor over the winter that Joe Morgan was retiring from ESPN. No, too much to ask: there he was tonight, and one could, as an adjunct to the game itself, keep track of his fatuities. Right out of the box: "As soon as A-Rod rejoined the Yankees, they won 90 games and won 44 games." Yes, live TV is what it is, but . . . really, Morgan had six months to plan his preamble. Later, after Posada smacked a homer off Pesky Pole, Morgan seemed not just oblivious but, gosh darn it, downright curious as to who this "Pesky" fellow was.

"How far is that pole?" he asked. "280 feet?" Uh, no, Joe. 302. 302 feet, a figure as familiar to most baseball fans as DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Maybe you forgot your base hit in this park that won the 1975 World Series, being as Miller hasn't mentioned it at all this minute.

Oh yeah, the game. Ahhhhhh, give Morgan this: Girardi stuck with CC precisely because CC had only allowed two runs against a Red Sox lineup as deep as Boston Harbor. Pedroia's walk would have been the hook for all but a dozen major-league pitchers this early, and Morgan was all over it.

5-5 and we go to the seventh.