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


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.