Monday, August 30, 2010

Yanks 11-5

Out comes the lumber. And here come the Rays. Ties again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yankees 2, White Sox 1

A good way to finisha road trip, some ups and some downs:

1. The kid Nova--can we think he may be the real thing, now with two starts that should have been two wins?

2. Nice effort by essentially half the JV on the field. Nova and Nunez were in for injured veterans. Cervelli caught for what I assume was a scheduled Posada rest. Thames was in for Swisher, and Swisher is essentially Behind Tex and Puma) the third-string (read emergency) first baseman.

3. Jeter is officially mired in The Worst Season of His Career, and at contract time no less. That will be one interesting negotiation.

4. What Kat and Singleton said about Joba is true: not only was he partying like it was 2007, he seemed possessed of his old confidence.

Now--right now--I am having to, in every sense of the phrase, remind myself to root for the Red Sox.

5. Oh,was watching The Joe Girardi Show after the game when the manager went down the list of his injured players. Everybody wants to know about Lefty, of course--what would the Yankees post-season rotation look like starting tomorrow? CC, okay. Hughes was just routed, but he'd go second, I guess. Pettitte is hurt. Moseley and Nova are in diapers. Vazquez is up and down. The last time Burnett won, no one had heard of the "Ground Zero Mosque."

CC and Hughes and two days of . . . what rhymes with "Hughes"?

But what was truly hysterical was watching Girardi talk about Berkman, about how Berkman's about to come off the DL August 31st, and they might activate him then or "wait until September first, when the rosters expand." Two years ago, Lance Berkman was on serious Hall-of-Fame watch. In 2003 Jimy Williams bunched Berkman, Jeff Kent and Jeff Bagwell together in the Astros' batting order in what her termed the "MVP Core" of the line-up--the reason being that Bagwell and Kent already had their trophies, and Berkman's was just a matter of time. Now Berkman and some 23 year-old lighting it up in Scranton will serve as September roster additions.

AAAAnnnnnnd . . . the Red Sox lose. Back to tied, though the season is becoming more and more about hosting Minnesota vs. traveling to Arlington.

Yankees 12, White Sox 9

Sloppy, but we'll take it. No choice, what with the immortal Dan Johnson walking off vs. the Red Sox. Dan Johnson? Off Scott Atchison?

Lupica, today:

The Yankees were 13-14 over a month of baseball that ended with Friday night's sparkling performance against the White Sox, and when you play that kind of dreary baseball over this long a period, you get people wondering if you're still the $200 million odds-on favorite to repeat.

Over the last two months, here are the two teams from which our kids have won series:

Mariners. Tigers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

White Sox 9, Yankees 4

Thank God for the Red Sox, beating the Rays. Still tied.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3

Another blah loss to the effing Jays. An opportunity missed, as Tampa was blown out.

I was right. It's 1980 again, with only the prospect of the Wild Card to take the edge off the tension.


Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5

Five home runs will help. Wish Moseley looked a bit more confident out there with a ten-run lead.

Tied, I assume. Rays were by five in the ninth when I went to bed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, Monday

Last night CC and Robbie put themselves on serious, serious Cy Young and MVP watch.

Tonight, another nice start by and up-and-comer ruined by a Blue Jay nibbler.

Rays leading in the ninth.

Back to a tie, if everything holds.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yankees 9, Mariners 5

We couple a game the Yankees should have lost but didn't . . . with a game the Rays should have lost but didn't.

The real charmer was Tampa. I just looked up the name of the A's losing pitcher; it took me 20 seconds to forget his name, which is just as well, considering the game-losing homer he served up to Craig Suzuki climbed halfway to Al Davis Pavilion, the portion of the football seating that is tarped over to give what used to be called Oakland-Alameda Coliseum the illusion of a crowd.

A few years ago, in response to Deadspin's continuing series "Your Ballpark Sucks!", some A's fans wrote in and complained that the tarping had closed off the best feature of the ballpark: namely, the ability to sit in solitude, surrounded by acres of empty bleachers on a weekday afternoon, and spot an advancing usher from hundreds of yards away, plenty of time to snuff out the joint one's group was sharing.

Two thoughts:

1. When I was in high school, we did the same thing with our beer a few hundred yards up Squaw Peak on a Friday night, as any police car could be spotted from at least a mile away; and

2. If you lived in Oakland, how would you make it through the season?

One game up.

Mariners 6, Yankees 0

Felix Hernandez. No chance to jump out of the way; you just have to stand there and let it hit you.

I was fast asleep by the time the dead, departed A's came up with two in the eighth to edge the Rays. One up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yankees 11, Tigers 5

Bats are officially alive.

My favorite? Jorgie lacing that line drive to right-center, on a 3-0 fastball, to drive in a run and make it--what seemed definitive at the time--4-2 Yankees.

Then the replay, on some fantastic YES camerawork. If Cervelli sticks, Posada might have another six years ahead of him.

Breaks into the bullpen, and seven more runs.

And, courtesy of late-night, some late-inning heroics in Oakland. A's 4, Rays 3.

One game to the good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yankees 9, Tigers 5

Just a nice, satisfying win. Are the bats waking up?

Moseley has been about as good as expected.

Rays sweep Rangers. Tied another day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yankees 6, Tigers 2

Good ol', fat ol' CC. And we needed him; Rays in a rout. Tied.

Tigers 3, Yankees 1

To get beat--okay. To blow a game another team is desperate to hand to you.

Bases loaded, 3-1, one out, ninth inning. Jeter up. Valverde not coming within a foot of the plate.

"Only a double play right here beats us," I said. Out loud.

Bounce, bounce to short.

Rays win. Tied.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Royals 1, Yankees 0

AJ Burnett has become, in miniature, every baseball team's definition of a slump. One day, his team scores 7 runs, he gets knocked out and loses. Yesterday, he allows a single run--in the first inning, no less--and his team is shut out, and he loses.

Saw this one via Minute Maid, where a friend came through with tickets so glorious that Astro-Girl and I were the hole in a donut of scouts seated behind home plate. Saw, in essence, the next five years of the Astros--no-names like Wallace, Keppinger, Sanchez, Johnson, Castro (the infield and the catcher--watch these names)--beat up on the Pirates and our old Yankee friend Karstens.

One comic relief from watching one zero after another flipped over in the NYY score line was the re-emergence of new Pirate Chan Ho Park, who came in in the eighth to mop up.

Park started the inning with a slider.

Chris Johnson deposited it in the Crawford Boxes, 340 feet away.

Thanks for coming, Ho.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yankees 8, Royals 3

Had 'em all the way.

With A-Rod's three dingers (now up to 97 RBI) and Hughes's 14th win, I'm starting to think of precisely thirty years ago pretty much this week and next, when I was fifteen instead of forty-five and my family spent its two weeks in Seal Beach California in a house without a TV. Too young for bars, too broke for restaurants with TVs, I spent many evenings wandering the inland suburban streets, swinging my portable radio as I waited for some word--any word--of the two-team race the AL East had become. Coming out of the 1979 death of Thurman Munson overshadowing the team's collapse, the Yankees, with George Steinbrenner's seemingly endless pot of money, had re-stocked and then re-re-stocked the team against any and all comers, paying big money for Ruppert Jones in centerfield and Oscar Gamble in left to go with Reggie in right, plus Piniella for corner outfield/DH, plus holdovers Bobby Murcer and Roy White off the bench. In the infield, Bob Watson would shore up first base. Eric Solderholm would spell Nettles at third and provide right-handed pop. Finally, Rick Cerone--whom the Yankees would probably have dickered for anyway, after 1979, to ease into Munson's spot as Munson eased toward retirement--would catch.

For a team that won 103 games, it was a wonder how much of a disaster the season nearly was. By the end, Jones and Gamble were long gone due to season-ending injuries, Solderholm was a wreck under the Boss's harangues (see: Ed Whitson, Steve Trout, Steve Kemp, et al), Murcer and White and Ed Figueroa and Luis Tiant were clearly near the end, and Nettles suffered the only extended injury of his career, from the middle of August nearly to the end of the season. What sustained the Yankees were Reggie (his best season as a Yankee, 41 homers, MVP runner-up); Cerone (7th place for MVP); the steady infield play of Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent and Watson; the pitching of Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Goose Gossage and the notoriously underrated Rudy May; and two afterthoughts in the outfield, Joe LaFevre and Bobby Brown, who filled in admirably for Gamble and Jones right up until the playoffs, when the peaking-at-the-right-moment Royals finally got to them, the fourth time the charm.

But what I remember tonight are the Baltimore Orioles, who entered a weekend-and-weekend home-and-home series with the Yankees thirty years ago 7 1/2 games back. I can't keep all the math straight in my head, but these things I know for sure. The Orioles played the Yankees eight games over two weekends and won six of them. Because of what went on with them and other teams right around this time, the long and the short of it was that, coming out of that series, New York stayed exactly one-half game in front of Baltimore.

For seven days in a row.

And there I was, prowling the streets of Seal Beach, California, listening to my radio, maybe hearing the Oriole score first and hoping to pull ahead or please, please, stay the same . . . or else hearing the Yankee score first and thinking, Please, Baltimore, fall behind or please, please, stay the same.

This is sports.

Two games up, and yes there is such thing as the Wild Card. Anyone here want to visit Dallas in October?

Royals 4, Yankees 3

What, it's over already? Anything to prevent the cash-starved Royals from honoring rain checks.

Rays fall to Bal'mer.

2 games up.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yankees 4, Royals 3

A 3-0 lead on KC? You'd better. 2 full games.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yankees 7, Rangers 6

More exciting than the actual comeback was Mo's deathstare at this fellow Elvis at third(Want a piece of me, bitch?) following Josh Hamilton's one-out comebacker. Vlad's tough groundout was merely the QED.

A no-out triple dies at third. Vintage Mo, preserving the save. And about ten years from now, five or six wiseasses are going to vote to keep him from a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame induction. I hate everything.

Rays lose. 1 1/2 games up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GHRRRRRRRRRRR Rangers 4, Yankees 3 (10)

Always . . . that first single Mo gives up in a tie game.

The game ended right there.

Monday, August 09, 2010


You knew it, right? When Thames's ball hit the point on the stoop and bounced back, suddenly how beautifully the entire inning played into the Red Sox's hands came into vision.

Biggest out of the inning, and hence the game, was the strikeout of Nick Swisher to end the inning. Next batter, next inning, Tex hits ball to Yonkers . . . with the bases empty. And that was it. A little noise eighth and ninth, but Thames did it, in a game when you say: Just please let us play this one over, we'll do better, promise.

Tampa cruises against Detroit. 1 1/2 games up.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Oh and

2 1/2 games to the good. But a damn wraparound (ie the killer of all 2-1 series leads) game tomorrow.

Yankees 7, Red Sox 2

So . . . AJ is hurt, and Dustin Moseley subs, in a performance reminiscent of Linus coming in for poor Charlie Brown and impressing the Little Red-Haired Girl.

Berkman, three hits--two doubles--vs. Beckett. 5 for 25--at the Mendoza line, precisely--then a late-inning strikeout. O well.

Not for nothing, but when Berkman came up in the fifth, the Red Sox put the shift on, moving the third-baseman to the shortstop position. Is Berkman unknown in this league? Neither the Cardinals nor Cubs have played Berkman that way for six years. Play that way against Berkman with a righty pitcher, he'll slice singles and doubles to left and hit .330 lefty. Get a fastball up, goodbye.

Jays 1, Rays 0

. . . in which Toronto's kid righties, Brandon Morrow, comes to within one out of the 17th no-hitter of the season, only to face Evan Longoria . . .

. . . only to give up dibbler between first and second to Longoria, thus moving the tying run (a walk) to third . . .

. . . and bring up a fellow kid, Craig Johnson . . .

. . . who strikes out. One-nil.

Two games up, heading into tonite.

AJ, please.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Stuck with the Rangers on FOX, I drove around all afternoon, alternating between errands, jogging and lunch. Pulled into a lot next to a park with a slice and a beer for innings 8 and 9. Old fashiony.

And the Rays lost. And we go to prime time tomorrow, facing the question: who will distress us more, Joe Morgan or AJ Burnett?

1 1/2 up.

Friday, August 06, 2010

.5, part deaux

Damn that Ortiz. Well, the Rays lose too.


Now it begins . . . out with the in-laws tonight, and damn yes I'll be excusing myself to see if the bar TV has ESPN cum ticker.

Blackberry, check.

Now Vazquez: you are essentially pitching in Cliff Lee's spot. But don't let that worry you.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Thank you, Twins--I pump you up all summer and you nearly blow it.

Anyway, what's done is done. 8-6, with the Yankees off. On to the weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1

Back to a tie, with the Rays' late-inning loss to the Twins--the team I've been looking at since May, scoring too many runs and giving up too few not to make a run at things.

A-Rod--between the inevitability and the steropids, both--reaching what is probably the most boring milestone in history.

Phil Hughes, in the actually exciting story of the night, sailing through Toronto for his 13th win.

Reminds me of Yaz's 3000th in Fenway vs. the Yankees--a dreary little moment following a terrible 0-for-12, a moment in a game strangely overshadowed but a sweet little instance. 1979, two teams going nowhere--the Orioles had run away with the East by early June, no Wild Card in those days--and Catfish Hunter, following up his 1978 Comeback Player of the Year/Winner, Final Game of World Series, was on his way to (as everyone knew) to winding down his career. Early in the game, thumped again on his way to 2-9 for the season, he had departed, and the Fenway fans, seeing this enemy of a half-decade depart for the last time, starting a clapping that grew to a crescendo, then a standing ovation, then finally a curtain call. This was something--in the words of Roger Angell, "A moment instead of a Moment."

Thought about that tonight.

Oh, and after a full week of the most favorable batting situations on the face of the earth, Lance Berkman is batting .133.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Yankees fall to second

Rays win, Yankees . . . get nowhere after two first-inning runs. I come back from vacation to this.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Rays 3, Yankees 0

Hurts less when you've been playing resort-style golf all day, but still:

Biggest series of the year so far. 7 runs in 27 innings will not get it done, boys, and I don't care if Cashman trades for Walter Johnson and Sandy Koufax, both, and in their primes.