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.