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.

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