Monday, October 10, 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Detroit 5, New York 3

1. Nobody blame Garcia.

2. Honestly, I thought Cano was going to win it.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Yankees 9, Tigers 3 (Yanks lead series 1-0)

Grand slam, anyone? Day-in, day-out, it is becoming apparent that Robinson Cano may be the most valuable, the most unreplaceable, Yankee of them all.

Except, of course, for Mo.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

PPD, Rain

On balance, bad for the Yankees.

The Tigers looked tense--it took one blunder (the passed ball) and two ground balls to tie the game. Meanwhile, CC, early looked the better of the two pitchers, with the rising fastball and command of the strike zone.

The homer was a one-off--Young simply stuck his bat in front of the ball and the porch came into play. CC was going to get better. Verlander was up around 30 pitches already . . .

And now we get AJ in Game 4, probably.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Yankees Win, 7-8"

The suggested headline, courtesy of Daniel Foster. A few thoughts:

1. Whatever a Nolan Reinold is, somebody pour me a double.

2. Loved the twin conspiracies on the radio today: how the Yankees 1) attempted to lose the game on purpose, or--sometimes and--2) "owed it to baseball" to, you know, send in Robertson and Rivera when the game tightened up.

You win, you get to do what you want. This is why Fantasy Leagues end on the penultimate Sunday of the NFL season, with the expectation that teams such as (in recent years) the Patriots, Colts and Steelers will either have home field through the playoffs or will already be slotted. Joe Girardi is headed into a playof series in which his ace is a decided underdog at home, and in which his number two is not Cliff Lee, not Andy Pettitte, not even a healthy Phil Hughes, but . . . Ivan Nova. The Yankees may have to win a few 7-5 or 8-6 games, may have to need the back of theri bullpen to coax home a one-run lead over 12-15 outs. Short of sending Eddie Gaedel to the plate, Girardi gets to do what he wants.

As for dumping the game--right. They conspired to blow a 7-0 lead, which is hard enough to do when your pitchers start playing home run derby. Sheesh.

CC v. Verlander. Let's go.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rays 5, Yankees 2

. . . while, in other news, Robert Andino down in Baltimore, with his three-run, inside-the-park home run, becomes potentially a latter-day Bucky Dent.

Yanks split

Red Sox, one game up. Yankees: more calesthenics.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yankees 9, Red Sox 1

Soxenfreude?

Garcia for Game 3? Hughes on the mend, Colon routed . . . Pettitte home on his porch in Texas and Cliff Lee pitching for the Phillies. Oh yeah, and AJ.

So: Garcia, right?

Rays 15, Yankees 8

Yeah, pretty much. Colon may have pitched himself from a Game 3 start all the way out of the first round.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yankees 4, Rays 2 (Yankees win 2011 AL East)

It was only as night moved in that I realized how truly incredible today was: how badly Girardi wanted to clinch before the Red Sox, with all the attendant drama (you know, "17 Game Sevens"), all twenty or thirty New England reporters. Using 8 pitchers in a non-blowout, non-Spring Training Game (and that, the first week in March) is something you reserve for Game 6 of the World Series, emptying out your bullpen, bringing in an exhausted CC Sabathia to face a single left-hander.

That was the afternoon, with Cano's double. Tonight it was gray-haired, close-to-the-end Jorge Posada, ripping that gorgeous single to right, scoring two runs.

Posada was such an afterthought in the game--even in his own mind--that he admitted later he had forgotten the inning, and then when Tex scored, correcting himself incorrectly by assuming the Yankees had been down a run.

So yeah, hip, hip, Jorge, for a man who, if Jesus Montero batted lefty, would certainly be nudged out of a post-season roster spot, and even as it is may not make it. Absent his catcher's duties--and the Yankees have been as deep as the Hudson River in talented young catchers for years now--one wonders what happens from here.

Still, driving down I-45 and listening to Jim Rome this morning, I couldn't help enjoying above all the recriminations. The Yankees had whiffed on Cliff Lee; a whole bushel of Steinbrenner money had not kept Andy Pettitte around; no one knew what to expect from AJ Burnett; Jeter and A-Rod were all at once getting old and hurt. What happens from here matters tomorrow--in baseball more than any other sport, the unadulterated joy of FIRST PLACE is equalled, I suppose, only in college football.

Yankees 4, Rays 2

A most unlikely win--save that, through all the drama and injuries of this season, everyone seems blissfully unaware of how incredible Robinson Cano has been.

Power plus .300 or thereabout plus Gold Glove Caliber. The greatest second baseman of my lifetime is Joe Morgan. Then comes the second tier: Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio. Cano is moving to that level--production stays up, he avoids injuries, all the caveats.

Yankees 5, Rays 0

Only a matter of time now. Nova, for all intents and purposes, slots himself for ALDS Game No. 2.

Yankees 6, Twins 4

Apparently the year for milestones. Who, really, matches up with Rivera . . . in all of sports? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Jack Nicklaus? Wayne Gretkzy? Combination excellence, longevity, sublimity under pressure and championships?

Turning for home.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jays 3, Yankees 0

But . . . good starting pitching by Garcia, gopher balls aside.

And the Red Sox lost.

Magic number: 7.

After which, as I mentioned on Facebook, the team needs to place CC Sabathia in carbon freezing, then hang him from the rafters in Jabba the Hut's lair until october 4th.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Houston Astros: their hundredth loss

They lose--surprise!--by leaving three men stranded in the ninth . . . on the road, in Wrigley Field, against the team Astro fans dislike the most. All that was lacking was Astro nemesis C.V. Buckner behind the plate (he was busy butchering the strike zone in Toronto) and Mrs. Andy Pettitte singing the National Anthem.

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 6

Things may be turning up--when they pulled to within one I knew they had it. Had the feeling Granderson would do something. Wins like this, coming after a brutal loss, a squandered start by your ace, can help turn things around, insofar as momentum is anything besides your opponent and who's pitching tomorrow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4

All day today everyone wanted to talk about how the Red Sox were about to fall off a cliff.

Just like that, they're closer to first place than third.

Tonight was not a measure of CC's ineffectiveness--first of all, it was only that dumb half-inning, the two walks that came around to score and the one bad pitch that turned into a doubles that was then mishandled by Gardner; and second, anyone can have a bad inning--as much as it is a measure of how much the team is relying on him to be lights-out every time.

CC is having a great season. But this isn't Guidry in '78, or Clemens in '86 or Pedro in '99. What it is is fine. But during some of his starts the Yankees will simply have to win without him at his untouchable best.

Yes, and: really getting tired of these last at-bat losses. What now, four in two weeks? Five?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mariners 2, Yankees 1 (12)

Sooooo glad I stayed up all night for that.

Well, Nova looked good.

4 games up, 2 weeks and change to go.

Yankees 3, Mariners 2

600 saves crept up on me. Somehow appropriate it should come after midnight, in front of an empty house, in a game less crucial than others. Love watching Mo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yankees 9, Mariners 3

A single at-bat sums up an entire game: Cano, with a swing I'd now rank below Tony Gwynn's, Wade Boggs's, George Brett's and few others, up with one out, bases loaded. Count goes full, fouls off pitch after pitch, gets the pitch count to 11, then reaches down and plucks an ankle-high ball to the warning track on the fly. Bases-clearing double. Just about my favorite Yankee at-bat since before the rain last Monday put everything on tilt.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yankees 6, Angels 5

Helped by a few errors . . . it appears they can hit the ball, after all.

3 1/2 games up, four in the loss, seven in the Wild Card.

Someone tell me who's pitching game 2 in the Division Series.

What a week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Angels 6. Yankees 0

Four in a row, and still a goodly amount up on Boston. They don't deserve this.

Angels 2, Yankees 1

the loss was almost worth it, if Colon was pitching as well as I can gleam.

So, in baseball parlance, Colon and Jesus played 2-against-9.

Just happy that there was some good sporting news for the Phoenix-centric Yankee fans. something about a blackout?

Friday, September 09, 2011

O's take two of three from Yanks?

I turn my back for two days . . . stayed up late to watch the rain game Monday, then . . . I go away for 38 hours, the whole operation goes in the crapper.

Well, Yanks, you're on your own; I'm off to Galveston.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Jesus Saves . . . the Day

Story here.

It wasn't pretty, but it was wild, a good old-fashioned Yankee-O slugfest. Somewhere, Tino is smiling.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Yanks Sweep

College football, the long weekend, and Take Your Dog to Minute Maid Park Day--I hardly noticed.

1 1/2 games up? I'm only guessing.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2

Is Nova the first real thing since . . . well, Phil Hughes, but a minute ago I was thinking Andy Pettitte.

A splendid Friday night, and Rivera looks to have rediscovered the extra pop on his four-seamer.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Yankees 2 of 3

When it went back to 7-5 Astros yesterday, I gave up.

I almost gave up entirely tonight. Leave it to AJ to gut up.

Exasperating. 4-2, and the AL MVP goes down looking with the bases loaded.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

A terrific win, and a terrific game, but realistically no more than holding serve, as the Yankees' ace squared off against the Red Sox' own version of AJ Burnett.

Still, I pick the wrong nights to work late. Caught the second half (meaning, the second two hours).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yankees 3, O's 2

Nice stuff from Garcia, who dwelt the first half of the season as the lesser half of the Cliff Lee Consolation Prize.

CC, Nova, Hughes?, Garcia?, Colon?

The last team that tried to hit its way to a World Championship was the '93 Phillies, blessed with a young Curt Schilling and . . . Dyskstra, Kruk, Daulton, Inky, Eisenreich . . . the only problem was, in Game 6, Toronto got to bat last.

Yanks split

Good pitching by Colon is the consolation.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Orioles 12, Yankees 5

Welcome to the 2011 Yankees, who score 27 runs in two games . . .

And split. 'Cause the other guys scored 19 runs.

AJ.

And now, we hunker down, wait for Irene to pass, and sit miserably watching the Red Sox win again today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yankees 22, A's 9

I was going to see the new Irish film The Guard either tonight or tomorrow night.

Guess which one I picked. Sigh.

All I can say is, after all the records have been charted and after the laughter dies down (Posada at second throws to Swisher at first, a one-hopper that Schilling on ESPN describes as Swisher's Web Gem), remember these heroics would not have been necessary had Hughes pitched a half-decent game against Oakland, who even after tonight have scored, this entire season, a grand total of 10 more runs than the hapless Astros.

A's 6, Yankees 3 (10)

This is why I keep reruns of "Las Vegas" in my DVR.

Before Crisp's second home run had clattered off the right-field seats, I was already deep into the adventures of Danny, Mike, and Sam.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A's 6, Yankees 5

Ooooooooh damn.

The playoff rotation is like golf, guys--CC, Hughes, Nova . . . we do need a fourth.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yankees 3, Twins 0

Let's see. Assume it's the first week in October. In New York. Or Detroit or Cleveland or Arlington.

Game 1: CC
Game 2: Hughes
Game 3: Nova
Game 4: Colon or Garcia
Game 5: CC

Like. Our. Chances.

Over at Grantland (headlined by Boston freak Bill Simmons, who counts as his buddies Malcom Gladwell, whose next best-seller will undoubtedly be entitled Don't Screw with Mr. Big, so you've been warned), a Yankee fan admits to rooting against the Yankees for the first time in his life: "He Must Be Stopped."

Guess who? Hint: Last night's game.

Aw, you peeked:

. . . for one day and one day only I'll be rooting against the Yankees. I want A.J. Burnett to have a devastating professional disaster. It’s for the good of the team. I want the experience to be so sour that Girardi actually bans him from the clubhouse. I want the Yankees to build a bronze statue of that moment, and I want to buy a poster of the statue and hang it in my bedroom.

This is, as Simmons's other pal Chuck Klosterman would write, the Lenin Theory of Sports: The Worse, the Better.

CC Sabathia, barring injury, is headed toward the greatest Yankee career of any Yankee starter free-agent ever. Better than Catfish, Tommy John, or Moose.

AJ? 82 million dollars . . . really, for his performance in one pivotal, essential, God-we-need-ya game in 2 3/4 years.

2009 World Series. Game 2.

In which he was only a shade short of brilliant against Philly's two-legged meat grinders, after CC was rousted against Cliff Lee.

This year, assuming the pitching aligns, Game 2 of a Philly-New York World Series will be against Cliff Lee.

As in, Yankee-killer Cliff Lee.

The night after CC goes against Yankee-killer Roy Halladay.

In Philadelphia.

AJ? Nova? Hughes?

Your life depended on it, whom would you pick?

Game 3 vs. Hamels? Nova or AJ?

Game 4? Oswalt? Colon, Garcia, or AJ?






Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twins 8, Yankees 4

I gave up writing about politics here because I was tired of arguing with morons (and, in the process, lost 95% of my readership--hi, Dad).

But . . . it has (it has been suggested) become part of the Associated Press Stylebook that every dreadful new regulation of Obamacare be known as "little-known."

As in: "A little-known portion of the Affordable blah blah was revealed today. It regulates blah blah terrible consequence." You, pass the bill so we can find out what's in it, and so on.

Along those lines, I hslf-seriously propose that every reference to AJ Burnett hereinafter be preceded by "exasperating."

"The exasperating Burnett took the mount with the Yankees in an impressive road tip. However, it was clear the exasperating Burnett was in for a short night. In fact, the exasperating Burnett did not even make it out of the second inning. Afterward, the exasperating Burnett made no apologies . . ."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yankees 8, Twins 4

Picked the wrong game to miss.

Half-game up.

Royals 5, Yankees 4

So badly did the Royals want to give the game away . . . and the Yankees weren't having any of it.

Cano's at-bat in the ninth was the story, the two pitches he could have sent into the waterfalls, or even turned on for a base hit when, in the end, a base hit would have been enough to make it 6-5.

Half-game up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yankees 9, Royals 7

Cano's mash, yes.

But Tex's nab with two out in the sixth, and the Royals within a run--that was the ballgame.

a foot to the left, and the merry-go-round starts.

Half-a-game up.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yankees 7, Royals 4

And so, the exasperating AJ pulls to .500, and the exasperating Yankees, with seven weeks to go in the season, pull into a tie with Boston.

The Angels fall to 10 games back in the wild-card loss column.

Ho hum. Texas--with two games in Arlington to start? Or Detroit--with two games against Verlander? Lady or the tiger.

Yankees ppd.

". . . Sometimes, it rains."

Time to fatten up on KC.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yankees 9, Rays 2

Posada! Let's hope it's not a dead-cat bounce.

Saturday's game? Never happened.

CC will be fine.

Hughes--need him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yankees 6, Angels 5

Out of nowhere, the Yankees win the series.

Not that I saw it. But I heard Granderson's homer was something.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 (10)

Saw this one on a big screen, in a west Louisiana combination lounge/mini-concert area that seem unique to interstate casinos. The place had closed for the night (we were an hour behind the game, but the place was closed for the night); the lights were turned off, and the staff had gone home, but the TV had been left on for any patrons who wanted to watch the game to the end. There was only me, sitting in the darkness, staring at what I sort of knew what was coming.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

Ahhhhh lovely--and the most significant event of the evening may not have been Swisher's ground-rule bullet into the seats, nor his nifty play on Carl Crawford to prevent a roller into the triangle (and hence, a game-tying inside-the-park homer).

Overhsadowing Swisher's heroics was Soriano in the eighth. If he holds where he is, the Yankees will be nasty.

Yankees 4, White Sox 1

Over at Pinstripe Alley the writer remembers a historical precedent: the last time the Yankees won four out of four on the road was when they won five out of five on the road in 2006, against the Red Sox.

Jscape writes: "I remember that. That was a good week."

So: for the starters. Once more around to the dealer, right? AJ Burnett is a pitcher for whom "exasperating" seems specfically coined.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Yankees 18, White Sox 7

Everyone reporting this game is missing the real story.

Go ahead: you were thinking, "13-1? Not even AJ can blow this."

Whoops. Almost. After 4 1/3 innings, the Sox were one base hit away from making it 13-9, and then it's practically a new ballgame.

AJ--you kill me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Yankees 6, White Sox 0 (7)

What's very cool is, since the Yankees won anyway, they let the two runs from the top of the 7th stand, and did not revert to the end of the 6th.

It was Earl Weaver who had his Memorial Stadium grounds crew trained so thoroughly in siphoning every advantage from a rain storm (the Yankees once lost a game in '78 because of his crap, and in the same game Reggie had a home run wiped away) that a whole host of new rules were put in place.

Anyway, good to see Tex swinging so well. And Hughes, gonna need Hughes.

With CC, Colon, Garcia, and--a few more starts like tonight's, we may wonder why--AJ set in the rotation, apparently this week is the Hughes/Nova bake-off. After tonight, though, the only question for Nova may be the pen or back to Scranton.

Oh, right: "Put it on the booaaaaaaaaaard . . . Yeeyes!"

No worse than a split.

Yankees 3, White Sox 2

When CC "isn't going right," when his "slider is flattening," when he "isn't hitting his spots"--when this happens in a start in August, and his formerly 2.96 ERA goes down in the course of the game . . . brother, this is one season he's having.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yankees 4, Orioles 2

Lovin' me some Brett Gardner. Love the bases-clearing triple, and the best part is how Nunez scored standing when the ball rolled exactly (as Kay pointed out) 314 feet.

These guys can run.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yankees 17, Orioles 3

Here it is, boys and girls:

New York - Bottom of 1st SCORE
Zach Britton pitching for Baltimore BAL NYY
D Jeter struck out looking. 0 0
C Granderson singled to center. 0 0
M Teixeira walked, C Granderson to second. 0 0
R Cano singled to left, C Granderson scored, M Teixeira to second, M Teixeira to third on throwing error by left fielder N Reimold. 0 1
N Swisher safe at first on error by shortstop J Hardy, M Teixeira scored, R Cano to second. 0 2
A Jones doubled to deep left center, R Cano scored, N Swisher to third. 0 3
R Martin singled to right, N Swisher scored, A Jones to third. 0 4
E Nunez singled to center, A Jones scored, R Martin to second. 0 5

B Gardner reached on infield single to pitcher, R Martin to third, E Nunez to second. 0 5
D Jeter singled to right, R Martin and E Nunez scored, B Gardner to second, B Gardner to third, D Jeter to second advancing on throw. 0 7
J Berken relieved Z Britton. 0 7
C Granderson struck out swinging. 0 7
M Teixeira doubled to right, B Gardner and D Jeter scored. 0 9
R Cano singled to center, M Teixeira scored. 0 10
N Swisher homered to right, R Cano scored. 0 12

A Jones walked. 0 12
R Martin grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, A Jones out at second. 0 12

As Harrison Ford's Rusty Sabich says to Raul Julia's Sandy Stern, after Stern has destroyed the Medical Examiner's testimony--and with it, the DA's case: "Savor this. You won't get many cross-examinations like that in your career."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mariners 9, Yankees 2

Truth? I saw it coming, Felix Hernandez long ago joined Paul Splittorf, Teddy Higuera, Randy Johnson and a host of others as certified Yankee-killers.

So I was hoping, as consolation, Hughes could at least give a good six innings. Which he did. Some small comfort.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yankees 4, Mariners 1

The rain came and washed away, as I knew it would, CC's perfect game.

How do I know Sterling is already calling him Cy Cy Sabathia?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yankees 10, Mariners 3

Had no idea the Mariners had it so bad. Sixteen losses in a row? Is that right?

Tex, Jeter . . . Granderson. Keep the motor running until the injured heal.

Yankees 7, A's 5

A sloppy game--but rumors of Colon's demise are overblown. Hughes, however . . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A's 4, Yankees 3

Gaaaah those missed opportunities.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yankees 17, A's 7

I pointed to the screen and said, "Tex is taking it out with this pitch."

Bang.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rays 2, Yankees 1

Shields' revenge on CC. Consider, in the two games those two faced off, the Yankees scored 1 earned run in 18 innings. They were lucky to come away with a split.

Of course, CC allowed only two runs. So maybe the Rays were lucky.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yankees 4, Rays 0

Not a great game, just an immensely satisfying one. Nice, going back to last night, to see the Yankees remembered to hit homers; it suddenly appears that worrying about an over-reliance on the home run is a luxury the Yankees suddenly don't have, not with not a single regular payer hitting .300, and with their team's "batting champion" just past the half-mile pole (A-Rod, at .295) on the shelf until this time in August.

So, the spirit of Earl Weaver lives, with Tex, Granderson, Swisher, Martin, Posada and Cano suddenly looking like a whole lot of Lowenstein, Crowley, Ayala, Roenicke, Singleton, Ripken and Murray--only with less versatility and more speed.

And where would they be right now, had not Colon and Garcia dropped out of the sky? Last November first, the 2011 Yankee rotation had every indication of looking like this:

CC Sabathia
Cliff Lee
AJ Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes

Instead, in the aggregate, what they have had is:

Sabathia
Burnett
Bartolo Colon
Freddy Garcia
Ivan Nova

If Colon and Garcia had flamed out in Tampa--and why not?--what we would have is . . .

Sabathia
Burnett
Nova
Boone Logan
Hughes, coming off the long-term DL

With Nova hurt at the moment, and so many team in contention that there are two buyers for every seller (Brett Myers no longer looks like the answer for anyone)--what would Brian Cashman be doing? Phoning a certain lefthander down in Deer Park, Texas, and offering him a month to get in shape?

Scary stuff.

Rays 3, Yankees 2

We go from winning what they should have lost to losing what they should have won . . .

Bartolo Colon leaves in the seventh with a 2-1 lead . . . Yankees conspire to allow five outs in the inning.

The game was over when Granderson lost the ball in the baseball-colored roof, and everyone knows it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yankees 5, Rays 4

Had given up on this one--desultory AJ start, good starting pitching.

Did not count on the sorry state of Tampa's bullpen, exhausted by their Sunday-night labors.

Russell Martin--well, it was the best walk of the year.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yankees 7, Jays 2

A split. A palpable split. Will Colon, Hughes and Garcia add up to two good seasons in the aggregate?

Yankees 4, Jays 1

Annnnnd, once again, CC to the rescue. 14-4.

Over to you, Phil.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yanks drop two to Jays

Is it possible to declare a mulligan on the start of the second half.

1996--sweeping Baltimore 4 straight, in Baltimore, was such as event it deserved mention in an episode of "Seinfeld."

Ughhh--do we look to Sabathia on his horse, again?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last time I saw a game with zero earned runs . . . Game 5, 1996 World Series. Pettitte over the Braves; Jones and Dye collide in the outfield, Cecil Fielder drives in the gmes only run. John (Thrills 'n' Chills) Wetteland with the save as Pettitte, in the dugout, hides his face in a towel. Polonia's two-out, two-on bash to the rightfield wall with both runners off on contact, the Yankees staring at a 2-1 loss, a 3-2 Series deficit with Maddux and Glavine set to go in Games 6 & 7 . . . only Paul O'Neill runs a country mile, gathers in the ball over his head, over his shoulder, and smacks into the padding of the fence, the last play ever in Fulton County Stadium history.

But CC? Today? His last fastball was four miles per hour faster than his first one. He seemed to pitch in his own private zone today: fastball for a strike, slider for a strike or foul, then something high and/or outside for strike three, a harmless fly, or a two-hopper to Nunez or Jeter.

Batter takes the 0-2 for a ball, come back with the fastball.

Four-hit shutout, and he can come back Friday--that's two games from now--if Girardi chooses.

Yankees 5.Rays 4

Ibid, for details:

Jeter joins the immortals with 5-for-5

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Indians 5, Yankees 3

One . . . of those games.

Yankees 9, Indians 2

10 CCs of Sabathia, just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Indians 6, Yankees 3

You knew it was over the instant Garnder and A-Rod became tangled up over that foul pop-up. Burnett has been pitching his ass off, but something like this, he simply doesn't overcome. For all his tattoos and chains, with AJ, you have to dim the lights and put on the meditation music. Pettitte, in his prime, would have shrugged it off, as would Guidry, Catfish, Moose, and--nowadays--CC. Home run? 4-2? I turned the game off.

Don't even want to talk about yesterday.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Yankees 5, Mets 1

A marvelous game with a few wrinkles.

They say bad calls even out--but rarely dies a bad call like the one on Jose Reyes completely demoralize a team so thoroughly. Reyes was safe, no question; and the bad call by an out-of-position (in both senses) umpire snuffed out the last, best chance the Mets had to catch up.

Nunez: 4 hits, player of the game. Just as Jeter comes back. Thanks for playing. No, really: thanks for playing. Now go have a seat.

Tom Boswell once wrote about how many bouncing, spinning curves Carlton Fisk used to block from going by with a runner on third. One season: 70. Unless a gifted defensive player plays shortstop or center field, a good 90 percent of their crucial, above-average plays will be quickly forgotten. And so it was tonight with Tex, digging at a ball and bailing out A-Rod twice--no, three times, if A-Rod's fingers are to be trusted. First-half MVP? He gives you everything Bautista does at the plate, plus a Gold Glove at a harder position.

Nova: 8 wins, with at least one start (barring a demotion in the Hughes/Colon comeback) before the break.

Yankees 5, Rockies 0

How sweep . . .

CC goes to 11-4. Now one wonders--will he be gone next year? Why not; his games are getting more boring by the start. Wonderfully so.

Oh,PS, another Texiera home run zzzzzzz.

Sweet dreams are made of these.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yankees 5, Brewers 2

Drip, drip, BANG (Martin) BANG (Posada) tonight. Funny--when Posada hit the solo homer to ice it, the dork who let the ball hit his hand, then bounce back to the field, for a second was . . . Jeffrey Maier in reverse: a guy whose efforts turn a legitimate homer into (thanks, in part, to Jorgie's confusion) a single/tag out.

Icing the moment was the guy's son, sitting next to him . . . in a beanie . . . with Baltimore Oriole colors and logo.

Over the hill come Colon, Hughes, Jeter. A big hand for AJ and Garcia, for Swisher and Jorgie, for Tex and A-Rod and Cano and Gardner--and, tonight, for Martin--for playing just well enough to keep the Yankees afloat while at least some of the main pieces heal.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yankees 12, Brewers 2

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, BANG.

The BANG being Swisher's three-run dinger, which sealed it.

Before that, Granderson's triple (during which the Brewer centerfield lost his feet so badly settling under the ball he didn't even touch it, and hence could not be charged with what, in all fairness to Zack Grienke, was an error).

Then: A-Rod's slow ground ball, right to second, where it was gathered up by . . . no one. Where was second-baseman Weeks playing? Rover? Practically--on the shortstop side of second, back by the outfield grass. That's where you put the fat girl in co-ed softball, once you've put the fatter girl at catcher. In 15 years of watching A-Rod play, I've never seen an infield shift that dramatically against him, playing to mindless power as if he were Swish Nickerson. Never.

As much a sparkplug was Swisher (and has anyone gotten more visible joy out of the game? Ernie Banks, I'm told; maybe Mays; maybe Robin Yountl; maybe, for one glorious season, Mark Fidrych), the true motor was Tex: ground-ball RBI, ground-ball RBI, two-run homer. Like a good poker player: keep grinding out those small pots with your pairs and sets, then--just when your opponent has gone on tilt--lay down fours against his full house. Beautiful to watch.

Two games up, in that "all-important loss column."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yankees 6, Rockies 4

A terrific win to be sure: coming back twice from 3-0 and 4-3, back-to-back homers by those slow-starting, suddenly sorta-hot Swisher and Posada, serviceable pitching from Nova, great relief from Logan--and, of course, Rivera. Still, the big stories:

1. Yankees' Old-Timers' Day--Bernie Williams bounces a double off the wall. Two batters later, Tino Martinez drives him in with a homer into the porch. And all I could think was, Damn, what a great team that was.

2. Also, God bless him for his bat and his quicks, but Mickey Rivers still has the same throwing arm he had in the 70s. And that's not a compliment.

3. Also: nice to see Stick Michaels get his props today, and remind ourselves that George Steinbrenner was suspended from operating the Yankees just long enough to allow Stick to assemble the team that would terrorize the American League for a decade. Three of Michaels' pieces are still playing--Jeter, Posada, Rivera--and the man he built the team around, Bernie, was back for his first Old-Timers' ovation.
38 minutes ago.

When I wrote the above on Facebook, Ken Jorgensen commented: "Old timers day with Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez? I don't even want to think about what that means about my age."

Me: Good point, especially when you consider I first saw Bernie in person 22 years ago; he was a skinny kid behind big wire-rimmed glasses and playing for Albany-Colonie AA. Missed a fly ball in center, it went SPLAT in the mud. I shouted, "You'll never make it to the Bronx that way, Bernie!" You may have heard: he made it to the Bronx.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yankes 8, Rockies 3

6-0 lead, 7th inning, CC on the bump, a rested Rivera. Thank you very much, next case.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cubs 3, Yankees 1

BIIIIIG Trap game. Saw this one coming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yankees 3, Texas 2

Am I alone? We've been feeling so sorry for the poor, little Yankees, their injuries, the Boston sweep, that 2-0 CC lead that went poof against the Sox . . . that I hadn't even noticed until yesterday how well they've been playing:

Six out of seven against Cleveland and Texas, two passably competent rivals.

A sweep of the Lee-less Rangers. In fact, Cliff Lee's absence seemed to release Yankee batters like prisoners into the sun.

39-28. Since the 17-9 start, and the high-water mark, 22-19.

We're sitting here waiting for the injuries like a Gaklveston hotelier sitting on the Seawall. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but the big one is 200 miles offshore and closing fast.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yankees 12, Rangers 4

We're back to April, the 17-9 start and "the home run fixes everything."

No Hughes, Soriano, Joba, Colon, Martin, and now Jeter.

Just as I'm about to bet legally. I say goodbye to myself for a week; off to Vegas.

Yankees 12, Rangers 4

No trouble from Jeter's absence, but it's coming in three, two . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Indians 1, Yankees 0

Burnett's best start of the year . . . goes for nothing.

Jeter to the DL?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yankees 9, Indians 1

In the midst of everything, a swep of Cleveland.

Freddy Garcia--it's over to you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yankees 4, Indians 0

The season was crippled before Colon reached first, and we all knew it. Of all the predictions I made in April, this one stands out: Absent Cliff Lee, and without a trade, the Yankees needed two good seasons out of three, from the collection of Hughes, Colon and Garcia.

Hughes was terrible, then gone. Garcia was a standard .500 number-five starter. Colon (throwing on whatever happy juice he found in his home country) was the Yankees' second-best starter. AJ went into his long-delayed el foldo. Nova tried.

Soriano, gone. Joba, gone.

Now Colon.

Leaving the Yankees with CC (who was just shelled), AJ (ditto), Who Knowva, Good Ol' 12-10(my prediction) Garcia, Robertson and Rivera.

A four-man rotation and a two-man bullpen. And too many teams in multiple hunts to start shedding salary. There may no Corey Lidle to be had this year.

Yankees 11, Indians 2

. . . but never mind that. The real story is: when things go bad . . .

Thursday night, the game was over as soon as the ball rolled past Swisher, and everyone knew it.

This year in spring training, I thought of Mariano Rivera's one-time presumptive successor, and said out loud: "Mo will be a Yankee longer than Joba."

Now, Tommy John surgery. From the three amigos--Kennedy, Hughes, Joba--the Yankees are, for now, down to zero.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Sox take first two from Yankees

This are the saddest of possible words:

"Red Sox-Yankees series in June"

Really, when was the last time things went well for New York? 1998? And before that? 1927?

When I was growing up, a Red Sox-Yankees June series was always reason to hide your eyes. Boston didn't just beat New York; the Sox crushed the Yankees by 14-3 or 11-2 whatever. The one memory I have from 1977 is maybe the most famous game in the history of NBC's Saturday Game of the Week: the game when the Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead, which would have been more had a two-out trap by Bernie Carbo not been called a catch--whereupon the Red Sox outscored the Yankees 10-2 the rest of the way, in a game that included Billy Martin challenging Reggie Jackson to a fistfight in the dugout.

My most vivid June memory from 1978 was an intentional walk (I'm guessing to the lefty Yaz, or maybe Lynn) to load the bases for Carlton Fisk. I knew what was coming, and in some sense Fisk's bases-clearing double off the top of the Monster was worse than if he had hit the ball six feet higher for a home run.

That Red Sox lineup: Burleson, Remy, Yaz, Rice, Fisk, Boomer, Lynn, Dewey, and Hobson. Yaz, Rice and Fisk all made the Hall of Fame. Dewey Evans should have. Lynn would have, barring his injuries; in some sense he was Boston's Don Mattingly (early huge success, one MVP, one other shoulda-been MVP (Lynn 1979, Mattingly 1986), then a series of debilitating what-might-have-been aches and pains).

Hobson--31 home runs from the nine hole.

June kills me.

So come on, CC. Once more into the breach.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Yankees 3, Angels 2

CC heating up. And yes, all of their runs came by the homer. But you can't have everything.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Angels 3, Yankees 2

Frustration stuff, and thus endeth the winning streak.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yankees 5, A's 0

Whatever joy juice Colon has in his right arm, put me in for some.

Nice of Colon and CC to rest the bullpen--assuming the White Sox hold on here, back to first base by the requisite "percentage points."

Especially nice to see the Yankees score as they did. Double steals, two-out hits, Jeter's sweet little sac fly.

I somehow expect Colon to rip off his right sleeve and reveal a rippling bicep, like a pro wrestler.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yankees 7, Mariners 1

Happy birthday to me, all because of CC . . .

Mariners 5, Yankees 4 (12)

What a way to start a birthday--stay up half the night after the Yankees blow a lead . . . against Felix Hernandez . . . then lose on a bloop . . . off Mo. Sheesh.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2 of three from Jays!

Ech--so I give up on the comeback last night, don't check the schedule today. 2 victories in 16 hours.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jays 7, Yanks 3

Colon walked off after the sixth, and it was over to "Too Big To Fail."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two of three from the Mets

Hate the Red Sox.

Can't lose to the Mets.

And today's victory included my favorite half-inning of the season, during which no single ball traveled more than 150 feet in the air, yet the Bombers scored eight runs.

Five of the last six--build on it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yankees 4, Orioles 1

Harginger or one-off? The whole last terrible week for the Yankees started with the 11-inning loss to the Royals, despite outhitting KC 14 to 4. The Yankees still aren't coming up with crucial base hits, aren't moving runners over, aren't stealing, are just now starting to bunt, and the combined forces of Jeter, A-Rod, Swisher, Gardner, Posada and even Tex have been like a jukebox chained to the ankle of a drowing man.

Mo blew a save. No big deal, yet.

Colon was brilliant . . . but for how long.

A-Rod saved the gave by keeping the extra-inning ball in the infield . . . an infield defensive gem, at last!

Now they face a starter they faced the previous night . . . right the ship, guys.

22-19.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yankees 6, Rays 2

Our long national nightmare is over.

21-19.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Red Sox 7, Yankees 5

Emily Dickinson:

"This is the hour of lead, remembered if outlived."

Red Sox 6, Yankees 0

Mickey Mantle, asked about the Bronx Zoo of the 79s, once said, "Yeah, we had fistfights when I played. We just didn't hold a press conference after every one."

Not exactly on point with Georgie, but . . .

Oh yeah, the game. I switched the channel before Adrien's ball landed in the bleachers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Three in a row

I keep this mostly for myself; nevertheless, I was happy when Blogger Dashboard crashed for two days and prevented me from laying out the gory details.

I saw on TV when the Houston Texans, in their first season, defeated the Pittburgh Steelrs despite managing a mere 46 yards of offense. It was calculated that if Texan quarterback David Carr had simply snuck the ball on every play, the yardage would have been greater.

And so it was Wednesday night, a 4-3, 11-inning Royals defeat of the Yankees. The Yankees outhit the Royals--what? 14-4? I don't even want to look. Every single Royal hit resulted in precisely one run. Economy of effort like that will help.

Bingo: the next day, the Royals come out 6-0 and cruise. Friday, the Yankees, as they so often do, give up one crucial late-inning run and allow it to become their undoing. Just like that, 21-13 becomes 20-16.

The main fear here is that, offensively, the Yankees are becoming too much like two different clumps of Orioles, the Singleton-Murray-DeCinces-Lowenstein-Crowley-Bumbry-Ayala bunch of the late 70s and early 80s, and the Ripken-Palmeiro-Anderson-Murray-Zeile crowd of the mid- to late-90s, the low-average, high-power, station-to-station teams that were good for a lot of homers and 94-97 wins per season, but collectively won a single World Series, in the hybrid year of 1983, when the was team built around Ripken, Murray, Singleton and a bunch of spare parts (John Lowenstein, part of a three-headed leftfield monster, hit a memorable grand slam off Goose Gossage, a blast that effectively eliminated a pretty good Yankee team from contention that year). Brett Gardner has seemingly forgotten how to steal a base, no one seems able to lay down a bunt, and Gardner, Jeter, Swisher, A-Rod, Posada and even Cano stuck with batting averages ranging from surprising to embarrassing.

It's easy to win hitting 4 home runs--though the Yankees have hit four homers and lost already. But there is something to be said for simply dumping the ball over second with a man on third.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yankes 3, Royals 1

Our long national nightmare is over: Jeter is hitting the ball. .283 the second week of May?

Sparky Anderson said one of the smartest things about baseball, which is that the season doesn't even start until May 15th. Everything before that is positioning.

Of course, Sparky proved that wrong in '84, when Detroit started 35-5 and began printing playoff tickets.

It looks as though, from the two-out-of-three proposition, Colon and Garcia will have to hold up.

Two-out-of-three is the minimum required here, with Girardi set to have CC fit and rested for the Red Sox.

20-13.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Yankees 12, Rangers 5

Late edition--

Jeter's 4 hits had Olbermann calling up comparisons to Ruth's last home runs in Forbes Field (of all things). Jeter will be 1) better than he has been through May 7; 2) not as good as yesterday.

Who'd a thunk Granderson would be all that? A year ago I was cursing the loss of Austin Jackson.

Nice to see CC get a win he doesn't--cruelly put--he didn't deserve.

Equally nice to see CC hang in there at 4-0 and about 9,000 pitches through three innings.

Live by the homer . . . Jeter, Posada, Gardner . . . base hits, guys.

10-13, and virtually tied. Need to fatten up on them Royals before Boston.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Yankees 4, Rangers 1

I should have gone up to Dallas to see it--Granderson, as good as we had hoped lately; and Nova.

Dare we hope we have a winner here?

18-12. 1 game in front.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tigers 4, Yankees 0

You're no the only team with talent.

Tigers 4, Yankees 2

Andruw Jones thrown out at the plate. That's your game, folks.

17-10.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Yankees 5, Tigers 3

Colon continues, about as well as we could hope.

And very little is more satisfying than the winning run line-driven straight up the middle, straight at my face. Thank you, Nick Swisher.

17-9.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2

On a day in which the thrill of first base is, strangely, not the biggest story . . .

16-9, 2.5 games up.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4

I couldn't keep last night's game in my mind--it doesn't exist.

Today, solid solid. AJ continues to play just well enough to win.

15-9

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yankees 12, White Sox 3

A nice thumping (would have been nice if the nine-run margin could have been spread over all of CC's starts this year), but better for this, a good night for Swisher.

One of Earl Weaver's tricks for coaxing a player out of a slump was to move them up to second in the line-up, reasoning that someone placed right in front of Ken Singleton and Eddie Murray would receive a steady diet of fastballs. Dings to Jeter and Tex placed Swisher to second, right behind Granderson and just ahead of Cano and A-Rod. Result? Oh-for-19 quickly became 3-for-4 with his first homer of the year.

14-8, the very definition of "starting out smartly."

Bring on the Jays.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yankees 3, White Sox 1

Thoughts:

1. Wonder if Cano thought, "Catch this one, pal," as his three-run homer landed in the porch. Of course, Quentin was in right field, so not as sweet.

2. CC, AJ, Chief, Nova, Colon--do we dare see a rotation emerging?

3. The 2:11 time was worthy of note. Had to run errands, timed them perfectly to arrive home in time to catch the bottom of the sixth. Game over.

13-8.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White Sox 3, Yankees 2

And if you didn't see the two magnificent catches--both of which probably prevented a loss--I'm not going to tell you.

12-8.

Monday, April 25, 2011

White Sox 2, Yankees 0

12-7.

Remind ourselves that the Yankees aren't the only team with talent.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yankees 6, Orioles 3 (11)

Perfect game for a Sunday, anyway--watch 10 innings, nap during the rain-out, wake up for the 11th.

Two splendid fielding plays did as much to keep the Yankees in it as long as the were: Gardner's splendid two-out over-the-shoulder catch in the eighth with the tying and go-ahead runs circling the bases, and, of course, Swisher to Cano to Martin for the play at the plate.

A road team gives up the lead late, you always assume they will lose.

Today, I was strangely confident they'd win.

As far as the bullpen: Rivera will be fine.

The real worry? Joba.

The 2011 Houston Astros--I watch so you don't have to!

My friend Aaron Knight writes: "An almost triple play
served as the turning point in the game, leading to an Astros victory.....surely you have something to say about that!?"

Ach, no--was negotiating back and forth between Astros and Yankees and found myself caught up in discussions of Russell Martin's plunking. Can't lose for winning.

Yankees 15, Orioles 3

I thought of Earl Weaver after Martin's plunking. Weaver in fact never ordered a knock-down (he said he was afraid of permanently injuring someone and didn't want it on his conscience), but he was a master of grabbing hold of a situation and changing the subject from his own team's poor play. If Jim Palmer was tossing a two-hitter or Brooks Robinson was turning doubles into double plays, Weaver would sit in the dugout, arms folded, smoking when he thought he could get away with it. Give him the wrong end of a 12-2 thumping, and he was a whirlwind of animation: screaming, cursing, arms-waving, generally making life miserable for Ron Luciano and Steve Palermo. Get him thrown out, and the local Baltimore TV station (and eventually ESPN) would show a hi-light of his histrionics, and not Dennis Martinez giving up another home run. The Baltimore and Washington papers would write about Weaver; the questions in the clubhouse would be about Weaver's ejection.

So . . . in a game that might have been about CC's (less one pitch) masterpiece or Russell Martin's three home runs or Gardner's awakening, the post-game conversations began with Martin's beaning. Both New York tabloids began their accounts with one otherwise meaningless ninth-inning pitch. Alex Rodriguez's twenty-second career grand slam (one short of the Iron Horse's majesterial 23, one of the last of the old power records) barely warranted mention. The total incompetence of Baltimore's bullpen barely merited a mention. Weaver couldn't have pulled it off better himself.

11-6--first place!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yankees 6, Toronto 2

Torn. Happy that Bartolo Colon may be the near-term answer (and I still think, absent a deal for Brett Myers or somebody, New York needs solid seasons, and probably solid post-seasons, from two of Colon, Garcia, Hughes) but miffed that YES, while patching up its differences with DirectTV in New York, is somehow ensnared in something in Tucson.

Missed the whole game.

The 2011 Houston Astros--I watch so you don't have to!

It seems a loss to the Astros by the New York Madoffs is too desultory to even describe. From The New York Daily News, via Deadspin:

Blah blah blah blah rain blah blah blah Niese blah blah Astros blah blah Mets got spanked. Blah blah, 6-1.

This has nothing to do with Tuesday's game, which was played in New York anyway, but the above lead (or lede) reminds me of treatment Houston itself--the city, I mean--receives from the sportswriting world in general. Houstonians will recall the first salvo during the '94 NBA Finals, (Rockets/Knicks) a back-page, off-day space-filler in the New York Post which was apparently written by a spotswriter who had never been south of Perth Amboy. The oh-too-subtle headline, describing Houston: WELCOME TO HELL.

A week-and-a-half after that valentine, all thoughts of city-as-hot-humid-nuthin'-to-do-in hell had receded behind the white Bronco interrupting Game 4 and John Starks's Game 7 awfulness (though I must say, when my date and I went out in the streets of Montrose to celebrate the Rockets' championship, it was breezy and cool). But the stigma stuck.

"WELCOME TO HELL" was not exactly "HEADLESS MAN IN TOPLESS BAR," but clear enough--and, more to the point, the article that set the tone for the countless Houston Sucks articles to follow. There was Bill Simmons, usually more thoughtful than this, writing from Houston after the 2006 NBA All-Star Game:

In the past four years, I made four separate trips to Houston and spent a total of 24 days here . . . And you know what? That's too much freaking time to spend in Houston. My editors just bleeped me, I don't care. Maybe Houston doesn't suck any more or less than 20 other major cities, and maybe the people are friendly and likable, but the fact remains, you would never come here for any reason, other than these three:

(1) For work.
(2) To gain weight.
(3) To get shot.

You just wouldn't. And yet, dating back to the Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004, three of the last eight major sporting events were held in Houston. Does this make any sense? There are 30 to 35 American cities that could host the Super Bowl and/or either of the All-Star Games ... and yet Houston pulled off the Ultimate Pro Sports Trifecta in a 24-month span, despite the fact that it's a sprawling city with traffic and safety problems (the three intangibles you always want to avoid for major sporting events). Here's what really frightens me: I have spent so much time here, I actually know my way around. Can I have this information removed from my brain? Is there a pill I can take?

Anyway, I have the following announcement to make: I am never, ever, ever setting foot in Houston again. I don't care if the Red Sox play the Astros in the World Series. I don't care if the Celtics play the Rockets in the NBA Finals. I don't care if my daughter gets engaged to an astronaut and has to have a quickie wedding in Houston hours before he gets launched to Saturn. I'm never coming back to Houston. Twenty-four days were enough. No offense.


To which one might simply reply:
1) Simmons's first love is basketball; clearly he was channeling the Post's account from '94, and
2) Simmons grew up in Boston and lived (and lives) in Los Angeles, so complaining about another city's "traffic and safety problems" is really quite hilarious. Los Angeles, at least, deals with the traffic the way Montanans deal with the snow--as adults. There are two things Angelenos approach with a degree of gravity: traffic and going to the movies. (Try whispering, "Why did he go in the chunnel?" to your companion during a Sunday matinee in Westwood. Twenty-five people will shush you, and ten more will hiss "Shut UP!") As for Boston . . . imagine the cast of Good Will Hunting multiplied by fifty thousand driving in Kenmore Square (with its five-way intersection hard by Fenway Park) on a street laid out 350 years ago for horses and milk wagons. I'll give you traffic.

The idea of Houston-as-craptown was revived once again this year, during the Final Four. Leaving aside that the worst basketball game in history somehow tainted the city. Every sports columnist, thinking himself the soul of wit, wrote on the Sunday off-day for the Monday papers. These guys work in journalism--they didn't know the Crown Royal is stuck south of the Medical Center and toward Fort Bend County, basically the Houston version of the City of Industry? Downtown--with 20 really nice bars and a dozen superb restaurants, Sam Houston Park giving onto Allen's Landing and Buffalo Bayou, plus a Hilton, a Hyatt, a Doubletree--is 20 minutes from Reliant Stadium. Really, is that so hard?

Anyway, just thinkin' out loud.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5 (10)

And considering that three hours ago I was furious I couldn't get the game on anywhere, my MLB a casualty of my laziness . . . all I want to say is that every year, Mariano Rivera's first blown save of the season is like the first scratch on the new car: both inevitable and devastating. Saw him vs. the Rangers Sunday and thought, "Maybe this is the season he goes 0.00." Seriously, I thought that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yankees 6, Rangers 5

Oh, what a lovely game. Classic Yankee, 1996 forward: Strong starting pitching, timely hitting late, Mo Rivera. Deeper than that--for all the power from baseball's gaudiest line-up (since 1923), how many big games over the years have been won by the light-hitting infield guys (Frank Crosetti, Jerry Coleman, Billy Martin, Bobby Richardson, Bucky Dent); by the off-the-bench humpty-dumpties (Johnny Blanchard, Paul Blair, Jim Mason, Brian Doyle, Luis Sojo, Jose Vizcaino); by the members of the Over-the-Hill Gang (Johnny Mize, Country Slaughter, Cecil Fielder, Wade Boggs, Tim Raines)?

As was written of Mize, when Casey Stengel traded for him in 1950, after the ill-fated experiment with DiMaggio in 1950: "Your legs are gone, your arm likewise, but your eyes, Mize, but your eyes!"

Ladies and gentleman, meet Eric Chavez, light-hitting off-the-bench over-the-hill former All-Star, tonight's player of the game.

Eric Chavez--occupant of all three categories

Friday, April 15, 2011

Texas 5, New York 3

Hughes to the DL; Nova, Colon, Garcia?

Old Milwaukee Braves: Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.
Late 70s Angels: Tanana and Ryan and two days of cryin'.
Late 80s Red Sox: Clemens and Hurst, then expect the worst.
1995 Yankees: Cone and Pettitte and then forget it.
2011 Yankees: Burnett and CC and . . . what rhymes with CC?

Yankees 6, Orioles 5

Right--the first best game of the Yankee season just as the internet crashes. Lovely.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 2011 Astros: I watch so you don't have to!

Brett Myers' ERA is 1.77. The ERA of Houston's other four starters, plus the closer: 6.17, 7.31, 8.10, 8.10, 10.61. Say it real fast, you sound like an auctioneer at the Livestock Show.

The good news: they are hitting hitting, Pence, Sanchez, Bourn especially. Wallace and Johnson are the "just a matter of time guys," and Lee seems happy to audition for the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, where he'd fit in perfectly behind Gorman Thomas as one of Harvey's Wallbangers.

The bad news: they are hitting, and are 3-9.

Yankees 7, Orioles 4

A nice boat race; A-Rod now officially hot, and AJ 3-0.

Record: 6-4

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Red Sox 4, Yankees 0

Arrrrgh.

CC's ERA through three starts: 1.45.

His record: 0-1.

The Yankee's record when he starts: 1-2.

And oh yeah:

Joba Joba Joba Joba Joba Joba Joba Joba.

Astros 7, Marlins 1

One of the few pleasures of watching a really bad baseball team is viewing the embryo of the really good baseball team emerge. Such was the case with the 2005 Tigers of Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander that, two short years later, defeated the Yankees in the playoffs. And so we have, now, teh Astros of Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ, with Jason Castro on the mend. Hunter Pence is the elder statesman in a bunch that, every so often, gives you hope.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

What everyone figured out about 10 seconds after Andy Pettitte's retirement--or perhaps earlier, maybe 10 seconds after Cliff Lee announced he was returning to Philadelphia, is writ large: really, the only possible impediment to a long Yankee October is the back end of the rotation.

What McCarver said on Fox today is true: 18 home runs in eight games (with Jeter and Gardner still trying to get going) can paper over a lot of deficiencies. CC is rounding into form; AJ, who is at heart a number 3, is no better and no worse than the Yankees could expect or hope for. Beyond that . . . what? Hughes has lost his fastball, Nova didn't get out of the third today, Colon--in the space of a week--has used up all the hope he inspired in Spring Training, and Freddy Garcia has been waiting in the wings longer than Anne Baxter in All About Eve.

Two-point-two-five home runs per game is not going to last all year. From the 3, 4, 5 -hole, the Yanks will have to gut out their share of 3-2 and 4-3 victories. Even when the power is on, Hughes & Co. will have to at least keep them close enough so that, say, four home runs in one game don't get wasted.

Still, nothing better than beating the Red Sox on a Saturday afternoon, and seeing the score all night. And--I nearly fainted--Fox deigned to broadcast the game in Houston.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Boston 9, New York 6

Two pitchers between Hughes, Colon and Garcia are going to have to have years.

The 2011 Houston Astros: I Watch So you Won't Have To!

What do we think we think?

1. These Astros will be something in Obama's second term--if the pitching comes around. Myers and Lee will be gone by then; Pence, probably still here. Brett Wallace at first base and Chris Johnson at third have the look of keepers. Until then, it's a matter of waiting for the young guys to mature, some money to free up, for Drayton to sell the team

2. Somebody do something about the Jumbotron. It's the best device I've ever seen for not showing much of anything. Lee was called out for "BI," as it read on the scoreboard; I assume that means "batter's interference." But whatever happened seemed to happen as he was rounding first during/after a poor throw, which sailed past the first baseman and into foul territory. thirty-five thousand people were on the same page: Lee goes to second with Wallace and Johnson due up. Bingo, a big inning.

Wait a minute. Here's Lee being thumbed out. Why, no one seemed to know. The screen, which flips between a standard-issue scoreboard complete with batting orders, innings, runs, hits, etc., and a Jumbotron screen, still listed Lee's at-bat as E1, pitcher's error, with a base advance. (It does have a neat scorebook-style batting line). But more important: It would not show the play. Instant-replay Diamond Visions have been strictly regulated since 1985, when a furious George Steinbrenner ordered seven replays, one after the other, of a close play at first, and the umpires threatened to walk off the field. (It was Billy Martin, of all people, who acted the role of peacemaker.) But this wasn't a close play. It was . . . something. Nobody knew. The next inning, I went into the Men's, hoping to catch Milo's explanation on the radio feed the park pipes into the restrooms. The speakers in my Men's Room, however, were not functioning. Came back, when Lee came up again: BI. Batter's interference. (Does "batter" in this instance refer to "batter/runner", a popular term in the rulebook? Still no replay--I asked.

There was no play for Lee's whatever-it-was; no replay of a soft Marlin pop-up that somehow--I would loved to have seen how--found a splash of greenspace between Lee and Johnson at third base; no replay, later on, of a collision at second that led to Hanley Ramirez, only the Marlins' best player, carried off the field with his left foot dangling. (The last time I saw an injury like that, live, was when it happened to Chien Ming-Wang, who on Father's Day, 2008, was headed for the Cy Young Award before he tore that cord of a muscle that runs diagonally under your foot. This happened at Minute Maid, and was never the same.) On the big screen, there was the kiss-cam, the Goya ball shuffle, a look at the Houston Zoo, a Q&A in which Wandy was asked which teammate could be a super-hero (Carlos Lee, Superman), and a pantomime in which Kids of All Ages were asked to play a drawing of a set of bongo drums. (I don't know either). Apparently Drayton (or the Park, of some measure of both) has paid for the world's most expensive screen-saver.

3. Oh, yeah, the final score. In one week, the Astros' bullpen, given eighth-inning leads of two and one runs, have allowed six runs in four innings, for an ERA of 14.50, and the only reason it's not higher is that, last Friday, the Phillies were playing at homeand didn't need to keep scoring after they went ahead in the bottom of the ninth.

4-3 Marlins. More loveliness tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Twins 5, New York 4 (10)

It's a day later, we save Nova because of the rain, Boston just went to 0-5, and I still don't wanna talk about it.

Soriano. Don't know if you heard, but Babe Ruth has been dead 60 years. It made papers. Throw strikes!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Yankees 4, Twins 3

Strong starting pitching, timely hitting, good bullpen, Mo. Yawn.

except: if Posada takes to the DH role, if Tex can attach a good April to the rest of his season . . . then it all comes down to Burnett, Hughes, Nova, Blank.

3-1. First place.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tigers 10, Yankees 7

Great. The first game I saw all season: hit four home runs and then go kill yourself. Tex, Jorge, A-Rod, Granderson, Martin and Swisher are all hot--only Hughes and the guys can't keep Detroit in single digits.

Yeah, and so much for "Colon shoulda been number five."

2-1, and the only consolation is that Boston and Tampa are a combined 0-6.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Yankees 10, Tigers 6

Two games into the season, and there it is: the first Yankee game hidden behind the Fox firewall, bought and buried, and--I'm going by last season, since I didn't bother with Cards and Padres--I've never seen a network give fewer updates for its B game (or, for what I'm guessing for most of the country, its A game) than Fox.

Anyway, the game. What I could glean was a good start for AJ and--yes, merciful God--another home run from Tex, who is, I kid you not, I bet five weeks ahead of his 2010 pace in homers and RBI. I mean, come on. I have three nephews who could hit .136.

Been reading about the up-and-comers; apparently New York is deep as the Harlem River re pitchers and catchers.

Yankees and Red Sox: it's going to come down to who has fewer starting pitching problems, right? Tampa's retrenching, Baltimore is at least a year away, Toronto has lost its best player (Halladay) and its second-best player (Wells) the last two seasons. If AJ can give them the 16-18 wins a number two has to be good for, if Hughes doesn't run out of gas, if either Garcia or Colon can string together a solid year, if Nova is a year better . . .

But you know who, right this minute, would be the Yankees' best option for starters number four and five?

Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day: Yankees 6, Tigers 3

Thinking the other day how much I used to like it--just a few years ago--when Opening Day was on a Tuesday, the day after March Madness ended, and the first game was in Cincinnati, the birthplace of professional baseball. It was proof to me that God was a sports fan.

Anyway: Damn, I had taken to many forced days off to take off for this one. So, follow by computer. CC was good if not great, Tex is already two weeks ahead of his 2010 home run/RBI pace, Granderson made me feel a little better with Austin Jackson in center for the Tigers (mistake trade? hmmm), and Mo was . . . yeah, Mo.

As John Updike wrote about the Red Sox, the first kiss tingled down to the toes.

1-0. At least tied for first, I haven't checked.