Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tigers 6, Yankees 4 (Tigers lead series 1-0)

Another brilliant Yankee comeback--a Raul Ibanez comeback, as the two are one and the same--squandered. Squandered. I'm talking to you, A-Rod, Granderson, Cano. Two hands, Swisher.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yankees 3, Orioles1 (Yanks win series, 3-2)

CC was the difference, but Tex was the signifier. In my car, racing around with erancds during the early innings, somehow when Tex stole second against a Bal'mer team not holding him at all--they were, I later saw, very nearly in "defensive indifference" mode, the kind of posture you take when you're up by nine runs late, not locked in a 0-0 brawl against the best lefthander in the American League with the season on the line--I somehow knew it was over. Thrills and chills in the eighth--ball streaks under Jeter's glove, CC mishandles a bloop combacker--but, overall, huge control. A shame they don't have MVP for the ALDS.

Orioles 3, Yankees 2 (Series tied, 2-2)

My kingdom for a timely base hit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yankees 3, Orioles 2 (12) (Yankees lead ALDS 2-1)

Raul Ibanez, Raul Ibanez, Raul Ibanez, Raul Ibanez Homer to tie in the 9th. Homer to win in the 12th. Heading into the 161st game of the season, the Yankees were 0-58 when trailing after eight. Now, 2-59. With Ibanez supplying both the tying and winning RBIS (homer, single, homer, homer) in both games. Orioles, 16-0 in their last extra-inning games. Walk-off losses all year: 0. Now? 16-1. And one.

Orioles 3, Yankees 2 (Series ties 1-1)


Sunday, October 07, 2012

Yankees 7, Orioles 2 (Yankees lead ALDS 1-0)

The subhead might be: CC and Martin save Yankees from two--maybe three--brutal, rally-killing baserunning blunders. Oh, I'm too tired.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3

So it was the Red Sox' game, 3-1, the division would be tied, Kuroda would be summoned on Wednesday night to save the day, a solid outing by Phelps and the bullpen would be wasted . . . And then, just like that, it was the bottom of the ninth. The red Sox realized they were at war. And Raul Ibanez was not on their side. Ibanez: two-run homer to tie in the ninth, RBI single in the 12th to win it. The Yankees are now 1-58 when trailing after eight. One up and one to go. Lying dormie. Best game of the season? It's not even close.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Yankees 10, Red Sox 2

Oh, to take all those runs they didn't need and sprinkle tehm over the past month! And in a CC start, no less! Cano is otherwordly. A home run and double in one inning. Rays hang on to beat Baltimore, 5-3. Back to one game.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yankees 9, Blue Jays 6

I may never watch a game again. Gave up when it was 5-1 or thereabout, switched over to about four football games I was watching. Call it a semi-miracle. Eight runs in the last three innings. Still tied. Bring on the Red Sox.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2

What can you say? Another in a long line of games they shyould have won. Tied.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yankees 6, Twins 3

Ah, the Twins. Pettitte takes the win, O's split, 1 1/2 games, two in the loss column.

A's 5, Yankees 4

One miracle comeback to a customer. Impossibly, the O's lose as well. One game.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yankees 10, A's 9 (14)

So . . . tell you who was most responsible for today's victory. Me. When the A's went up 9-5 in the thirteenth, I turned off the TV and thought to myself, Okay. Now if they come back and win, I can hate myself for not having seen it. Sort of the reverse of tempting karma. Whaddya know, it worked. Did stay long enough to see Ibanez. If I had a ten year-old son, and brought hiom to the game, I'd point out that bullet-headed redass and say, "See that guy? That's how you need to play." I remember thinking CC, Swisher and Tex did the necessary work of making the Yankees meaner, giving them that chippy edge they needed and that Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, Pettitte, Granderson and Mo just couldn't supply. Ibanez adds to the effort. Flipped back and forth long enough to hear Remy and the NESN guys describe another pathetic Red Sox collapse. I forget who said it: last year, when the O's could spoil the Red Sox' season, they played like they, not Boston, were in the Wild Card hunt. And when Robert Mandino's blooper dropped in front of Carl Crawford, Baltimore celebrated as if they'd just won Game 7 of the World Series. So you think, given the opportunity for revenge, Boston would . . . . nah, never mind. One game up. And around the far turn . . .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yankees 2, A's 1 (10)

Soriano, you kill me--another ninth-inning home run to blow a save. Russell Martin, you kill me. Walk-off in the tenth. Most important: CC was all that. O's win in Boston. One game up.

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 7

Like those kids in action-adventure movies: "Crude but effective." Ah that Swisher--a grand slam. Night off for Baltimore, the cushion goes back to 1.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yanks 4, 2; Blue Jays 2, 1

As the newspapers used to have it. Pettitte's comeback, Phelps's solid pitching in Game 2, Soriano's seven-out pair o' saves . . . But. What made this the most important day of the season for the Yankees (at least until tomorrow) was Ichiro's 7-for-8, his four steals, and his Game 2-winning RBI, whence he dumped the ball over third and into left with all the aplomb of Jimmy Connors, circa 1974, cutting loose with a two-handed backhand lob against John Newcombe. But those Orioles. Missed much of my bedtime to see the Orioles finish off a twenty-nine inning pair of wins . . . The O's season is a statistical anomaly for the books. 28-7 in one-run games, 15-2 (including 15 straight) in extra-inning games, 7-0 in extra-inning walk-offs. Never happen again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

It would have been a nicer win (Granderson heating up; two home runs!, Phelps does the job!, Soriano gives up a homer, but shuts the door without his good stuff!), if it wasn't so necessary. O's win. Tie. Rays three back.

Boston 4, Yankees 3

The game was over when Nunez was thrown out stealing, and everyone knew it. Orioles win. Tie.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yankees 13, Orioles 3

Another day on the elevator. Granderson's five RBI; Garcia good enough. One game up. There were a half-dozen reasons they should have won on Saturday, in which case the lead would be three with three weeks to go. Oh well.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Orioles 5, Yankees 4

Tex was safe, of course, but that hardly explains CC's problems--plus it renders all conversations about the post-seaon moot, since without a shut-down CC the post-season is meaningless. Tied.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Yankees 8, Orioles 5

The third time we've seen the biggest win of the season in--what--a week and a half? Five runs early and I thought, "Great. Now when Hughes melts down . . ." They hang on. One game up. Switched over just in time to watch the Rangers melt down against the Rays. Watch the Rays.

Orioles 10, Yankees 6

This was one loss that felt like three: 1) The early, comfy lead: 4-0, which makes the game feel like a boat race. 2) the middle, do-nothing lead, 6-1, which can drive you batty. 3) Stomach punch. After a 6-6 tie. And speaking of tied . . .

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Yankees 6, Rays 4

the most important win of the season, part II? O's lose. One game up.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rays 5, Yankees 2

Freddy Garcia, take a bow. Tied.

Rays 4, Yankees 3

CC to the rescue, right? One game.

Orioles 8, Yankees 3

Yes, a meltdown by The Exasperating Phil Hughes. Note, however: from the opening day lineup that Joe Girardi and Brian cashman envisioned this past January, how many of the starting eight were on the field, and at their primary positions? One. Catcher Russ Martin. And he's the guy batting .197.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Yankees 4, Orioles 3

If the Yankees manage to hold off Baltimore and Tampa, and not subject CC or Kuroda to a one-game playoff with another Wild Card team, this will almost certainly be the game everyone points to. For now, call it the most important game to this point. The fulcrum. How important? By about the bottom of the sixth inning, you could hear the dread in Michael Kay's voice. He was watching a season slip away, one at-bat at a time. (Ken Singleton, an Oriole at heartm was, if not exactly enjoying himself, at least unperturbed.) The game was the most important, the seventh inning the season's most important inning. And Swisher's at-bat, concluding with the laser that Hardy 1) could not handle, 2) picked up, 3) dropped, 4) picked up, 5) dropped, 6) then finally picked up--"Put it in your pocket, son,"--was the season's most important at-bat. The only distressed Yankee fan was my dog, who ran under the coffee table to get away from my screams of "HE'S SAFE! HE'S SAFE! HE'S SAFE!", when Nunez scored.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Orioles 6, Yankees 1

Thank you, Kuroda. Weekend series, with the bottom of the rotation coming up. Two games.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1

The Exasperating Phil Hughes shows us again why so many of us have had so much faith in him for . . . five years! Swisher goes to first where, except for the hard fielding plays, he should settle right in for the next two weeks. Again: it's not that Chavez, Soriano, Jones, Ibanez, Nix, and Phelps aren't up to the task of replacing (either directly or otherwise) the likes of Gardner, Mo, A-Rod, Tex and Pettitte. It's that no one stands behind them to fill the breach. As Davey Johnson said, winning in the playoofs comes down to two things: your bench and your bullpen. For the Yankees, we shall see. Caught the end of the marvelous Rangers-Rays pitching duel. 4 1/2 games ahead of the improbably, impossible Orioles.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7 (11)

Pass. 4 games.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yankees 4, Indians 2

I always associated these bright Sunday afternoon games with Mike Mussina. It always seemed the sun beat down so hard you could count the stitches on his cap as he effortlessly delivered the ball. Anyway . . . Has the ship been righted? Garcia pitches just well enough to help his team win, pitches around a dreadful Cano error . . . Granderson goes deep . . . and Ichiro races a country mile to save at least a run-scoring double by one of the biggest flops in the last six years of the majors. Always great to win early on Sunday and relax the rest of the evening. 4 games over Tampa, with Baltimore impossibly, inexplicably hanging around.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indians 3, Yankees 1

AURGH. Please, God, give us more chance, we know we can win next time . . . Eight shutout innings, more hits, more baserunners, fewer errors . . . and a loss. Mercy.

Yankees 3, Indians 1

My favorite game in awhile: CC, Soriano, and Nick Swisher's two-run homer. A lot said about how underrated he is . . . the goofy smile, the sideburns, the bro-speak, everything. But a great player.

Sox Sweep

Thankfully missed most of the games--have a vague recollection of The Exasperating Phil Hughes and knowing, simply knowing, the third game was over when the Sox went ahead 2-1. Where did the 10-game lead go?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yankees 4, Red Sox 1

Now, this one was lovely: Kuroda was so in command for much of the game he looked downright bored. Beckett is lucky the score wasn't 7-1 or 8-1 by the time he left. Chavez swinging on that 3-0 pitch, oy. Ichiro, setting up Beckett twice by attempting to slap the ball away. Twice Beckett came back inside, twice Ichiro deposited the ball in the bleachers. Jeter, now at .321. Five games ahead of the Rays with Longoria back. Eight wins in their last ten, and we still have ourselves a race.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Ach. Just a dreary little game.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Found out about this the old-fashioned way: eating breakfast at a greasy spoon in Dallas; got up from the outdoor table to walk to the metal newspaper box in order to buy the Dallas Morning News and retrieve the "ball scores." That Swisher. Two more home runs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rangers 10, Yankees 6

Saw this one in a poker room--win three straight against the Rangers, overcome 2 Hamilton home runs in the same game, overcome your own lack of CC . . . and this is what happens when you play with house money. Six games up--against, among others and improbably, the Orioles. Bring on the Red Sox.

Yankees 3, Rangers 2

A close-run thing--Hamilton did his best George Brett imitation.

Yankees 3, Rangers 0

Kuroda! They'll need him if Hughes doesn't come around.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yankees 8, Rangers 2

My favorite game in about a month. One thought: Nick Swisher. As I've made clear before, people look at Swisher's cherubic face, his smile, his sideburns, his dopey commercials, and assume he's some glorified Yankee mascot. He's not. Nick Swisher is a badass. The former football tight end, brought in almost as an afterthought to CC, AJ, and Tex in 2009, has provided an element to the Yankees that was missing, previous to 2009. Nobody remembers how the Yankees, before 2009, were dismissed as too gentlemanly, certainly too refined to mix it up with the 2007 Red Sox (Youklis, Millar, Varitek, Schilling), or the 2008 Phillies (Halladay, Rollins, Utley, Victorrino). So they went and got CC, and Tex, and Swish. And then they got mean.

Blue Jays 10, Yankees 7

Gald I missed it. 5 ahead of Tampa, and--oh man--Baltimore still hanging around.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2

Sorry I missed it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 4

Okay, anice wi. But WHAT are the Oriles doing, hanging around?

Yankees 4, Tigers 3

All the strengths and weaknesses of the Yankees, on display. Strengths: power, bullpen. Weaknesses: Shaky (as of late) starting pitching, on-base percentage, reaction to misfortune. In a game where the crucial moments seemed to cluster 200 feet down the left field line, the Yankees, for the second day in a row, seemed determined to thrust the game at the Tigers, who, in the end, didn't seem to want it. Things have been going so badly for that, last night, when Cano misplayed the double-play grounder; and today, when Andy Dirks hit the now-it's-foul-now-it's-fair ball down the left field line, every Yankee fan was on the same page: Here we go again. This was Soriano giving up the ninth-inning home run in Oakland, Felix Herandez going Sal Maglie and hitting three Hall of Famers. This was the Yankees having to face Verlander and King Felix in rapid succession, and--of course!--losing both games. Forget this game . . . Until the eighth. The good ol' longball . . . Then the ninth: Avila doubling and hancuffing Ibanez--every fan was on the same page. Note that, with one out, the Yankees played for the double play, seemingly certain that the tying run would come in and they would worry about it in extras--if it got that far. Then, Soriano, who got them into that mess, gets them out. Line out, pop-out, scary fly ball to Granderson--or rather not quite to. Three outs, and ballganme. And here come the lesser mortals in the bullpen.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Yankees 10, Tigers 8

A trainwreck of a game. But a win. Baltimore defying gravity--hanging in there with their incredibly awful run differential and . . . Oh, my 4.5 games.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Monday, August 06, 2012

Yankees 6, Mariners 2

Just a lovely win--mindful of those Sunday games at the old stadium, when the sun beat down so hard you could see the stitching in Mike Mussina's cap.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Mariners 1, Yankees 0

King Felix, as dominant in the ninth inning as in the first--maybe more. Whaddya gonna do? Kuroda and the bullpen were stellar. Just not enough today. Come back tomorrow.

Yankees 6, Mariners 3

Until the ninth inning, just about the very first end-to-end pitching-fielding-hitting-baserunning Yankee game in oh, about three weeks. Or maybe it just seemed like that. Oh yeah, the first Red Sox game a week ago was pretty good, the Granderson slammy and all. But otherwise? Swisher seems back. If Tex is not, he's nearly so. Thanks to what CC did in innings 1-8, he two-run homer was unconsequential. So we'll see about today.

Yankees 12, Orioles 3

About time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Orioles 11, Yankees 5

Someone tell me the bright side. A 5-0 lead squandered? The secondary stopper melting down? Three of the projected eight Opening Day defenders now sidelined? Their All-Star (as of last year) catcher batting .188? Gardner and Mo out for the season? A-Rod, Tex, Pettitte, and Joba suffering varying aches and pains? Cano only now climbing out of the worst slump of his career? Check, check, check, check, check, and check. Assume Cano is back to snuff. Are he, Jeter and Granderson supposed to play three-against-nine? Is what would be, if everyone were healthy, a talented (Nix, Stewart) and experienced (Ibanez, Jones, Chavez, and you can even count Ichiro) bench supposed to produce like frontline players, with no bench to speak of behind them? 5 1/2 games, and the Orioles are the least of the Yankees' worries.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Orioles 5, Yankees 4

Genuine slump, anyone? Don't wanna hear nothin' bout no one-run games. the '27 and '98 Yankees, maybe the two greatest teams of all time, won a crapload of one-run games. That feat made their teams more impressive, not less. 3-8 since Oakland. The scores of the eight losses: 4-3, 3-2, 2-1, 5-4, 4-2, 8-6, 3-2, 5-4. That's an 0-8 in games they've been outscored only 34-24: 1.25 runs per game. That's eight losses, versus zero wins, in which their pitching and defense have given up a tolerably respectable 4.24 runs per game. Dig deep for the crucial numbers. These Yankees: First in slugging percentage. Third in on-base percentage. Fifth in runs. Batting average? Tenth. 0-35 when trailing after eight. Translation? First, too dependent on the long ball. Granderson and Tex are stuck around .250; Martin, who is apparently the catcher for the long haul, is looking up at the Mendoza line. Second, when top-flight relievers throw strikes, they're cooked. Third, with Pettitte out, when they don't win with CC and Kuroda, they put themselves in a terrible position. So we come back tomorrow. 6.5 is your cushion.

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2 (10)

2-0 Red Sox, Bottom 8. When Martin made it 2-1 with a homer in the eighth, then tied it up with that RBI single in the ninth--his most beautiful hit of the season--I was all set to say, "You cannot stop Russell Martin, you can only hope to contain him!" Instead, one tenth inning bloop later, on the heels of a game-winning triple on Saturday, and you can now apply the above to . . . Red Sox' Pedro Ciriaco. Yeah, I know. Who? The skinny kid. Still 7 1/2 games. Push the O's out of sight, all is forgiven, for now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Boston 8, New York 6

Missed it, and glad I did--Fox in Houston stayed with the terrible Giants-Dodgers game even after the rain lifted; Yankees came back to tie, lost in ninth. Lately they lose these games is all.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yankees 10, Red Sox 3

Against all mathematical odds, the Orioles (despite losing to Okland tonight, in a thriller all the way to near the end that saw four lead changes) remain in second place while the Red Sox remain in fifth. The Red Sox' run differential is, in the aggregate, 85 more than the O's--very nearly one run per game. And yet they lose. People had said Ibanez had slowed down, that Tex had a tired bat . . . and now A-Rod went down just as he was starting to play his best baseball in a year and a half. If CC wins tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yankees 5, Mariners 2

A nice comeback, given everything. In the postgame interview, Girardi mentioned that Nix, the day's hero, was essentially a stalking horse for Chavez to go lefty-right. Had Nix done nothing, he would have done his job just by being there. The funny thing is that even after this week, the Yankees are that much closer to the playoffs. Baltimore hangs in against all mathematical probability, Boston has waited four months for Lester and Beckett to get rolling, Tampa is an arm short (and knows it). Still: No Rivera, Pineda or Gardner for the rest of the year. No A-Rod, Pettitte and, maybe, Swisher for right now. In 1980, led by MVP-calibre performances by Reggie Jackson and Rick Cerone, the Yankees found their way to 103 wins with nonentities like Bobby Brown and Joe LeFevre starting in the outfield. Then they ran into a hugely motivated KC team and were swept. This is starting to feel like that year. After the James-Younger gang was smashed to flinders in the Northfield, Minnesota, raid, with the gang shot up and (with the exception of the Jameses) unable to ride, and with the posse closing fast, one of the Younger brothers supposedly looked around in the woods and asked, "Where the hell's Missouri?" After this road trip, can imagine Joe Girardi heading off the field today and asking, "Where the hell's the Bronx?"

Mariners 4, Yankees 2

Hard to imagine this turning out worse--beginning not with A-Rod but Teixiera, who hit the two hardest balls of the night and wound up with a single RBI. The Yanks' weakest starting pitcher (Garcia) against one of the Mariners' few legitimate stars (Felix) and they still should have one. And then, of course, A-Rod, who is out. Five weeks? Six weeks? Adn he was playing the best ball of the season. What else? Yankee pitchers give up zero walks until the eighth inning, whereupon they give up three, including the insurance run . . . . on an eighty-foot base hit. I didn't stay around for the end.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yankees 4, Mariners 1

Ichiro! Also, their most important win of the month. Seven games.

Oakland 5, New York 4 (12)

Slow-motion stomahc punch. Killer was the homer of Soriano.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A's 2, Yankees 1

Honestly, the whole computer locked up. Three one-run losses. You want to worry, worry about that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 0

And in a truncated game. 10 up. Time to keep rolling.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1

A marvelous game, of course. Two statistics: 1. Defense and basebrunning (and maybe batting average) aside, it is hard to make the case that a healthy Brett Gardner could improve on the leftfield Ibanez/Jones platoon, which is making Girardi look like Earl Weaver. Through nearly sixty percent of the season, the two have shade more than sixty percent of a season's worth of at-bats: 365. Together, the two have combined for 24 home runs, 65 RBIs, and took turns the last two nights blasting the game's winning margin. 2. If one considers run differential, the team most likely to fall off a cliff is Baltimore. The two most likely to make a run? Boston (+49) and St. Louis (+66). 3. Pointed out on MLB: every pitcher who won as many games as Sabathia did (185, now 186) by age 32 (his birthday is in a few days) is in the Hall of Fame: Catfish, Marichal, Jenkins, Newhouser, Drysdale, Feller and one other I missed.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3

Ibanez's grand slam, of course. But the play of the game was Tex's muff and Cano's save--one of the plays of the season.

Angels 10, Yankees 8

A mess.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yankees 5, Angels 3

This s what happens when the rain comes: I missed the end of the game, my satellite wiped it out. Still . . .

Yankees 6, Angels 5


Yankees 7, Red Sox 3

A nice rounding-off to the first half.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Red Sox 9, Yankees 5

Three home runs, Hughes on the mound--and a loss. Suddenly, being twenty games up going into the break is gone. And, with a brutal, four-hour, crazy-ass ESPN prime time game in the offing, suddenly a split (in Fenway, no less) looms as large as a loss.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 1

A nice win. Heroics from Garcia (can we hope for more of the same?) and at bat and in the field by Andruw Jones. 51-32, 6 games up heading into tonight . . .

Yankees 10, Red Sox 8

Somehow, these two teams tend to have games like this one. Still, with Tex's triple late, it's not too much to say: last year the Yankees lost a lot of games like this one. For Kuroda, it cam down to a few bad breaks in the first.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Yankees 4, Rays 3

This team is growing on me. Their three best pitchers (CC, Pettitte, Mo) on the rack, and they scratch and gouge out wins like this . . . much like the '78 team, which seemingly had a two-man pitching staff at times (Guidry and Goose) but was able to simply gut it out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Rays 7, Yankees 4

You do know the difference in the game, don't you? A lot of talk ws in Houston in 2001 about the "Arizona Astros," how the four best D-Backs who beat the Yankees (Schilling, Unit, Gonzo, Finley) had all served time in Houston. Now, with Tampa, the connection is more tangible. Gerry Hunsicker, the GM who gave Houston six playoff teams in nine years (the last was reportedly Tim Purpora, but it was a Hunsicker team) was forcded out in a vanity struggle by Drayton McClane. Since then, of course, he has recast his parsimouniously winning ways in Tampa. One thing he specializes in is picking up Astros he originally scouted, whom the big club has, in his absence, lost faith in. Case in point: Jeff Keppinger. That would be .320 Jeff Keppinger, who tied the game up with a two-out, two-run single in the third. Pretty much the hit that kep the Rays in the game long enough to win it. Tampa Bay Astros.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Rays 4, Yankees 3

I take the Rays as seriously as death. As for Tex's error--like Mo's occasional blown save . . . it happens.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Yankees 4, White Sox 2

Saturday and Sunday, maybe the two most important wins of the year. Kuroda and Hughes, the two guys who have to step up with Nova. And now, back to divisional play.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

White Sox 14, Yankees 7

Shot of the night: 10-6 Sox, the camera finds CC moping in the dugout. Lou Piniella: "He's sittin' there thinkin', Man, what I could do with six runs scored for me." Michael Kay: "Yeah, and tonight would be his start, right?" Thanks, guys.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3

And so the dark weeks commence.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yankees 6, Indians 4

The game was a breeze, except for some thrills and chills in the ninth, so consider: 1. Time may tell if today was the day things went south for the Orioles. Entering today, not only did all five AL East teams have winning records, they were all, the in the aggregate, on the plus side in runs scored/runs against. Today, the Orioles fell back to zero--even Steven. Not a good harbinger. 2. Phil Hughes--ibid. 3. What the Indian anouncers on MLB danced around early on was this: Cleveland is ready to fall over a cliff. 4. Four games to the good, with--as always--Boston lurking somewhere back there. Youklis gone, the Sox can now rotate back to Gonzalez at first, Middlebury at third, Papi at DH.

Yankees 7, Indians 1

Cano! Seventeen homers. And is Kuroda becoming a Torrez-like innings-eater?

Yankees 6, Mets 5

Another beaut--just sorry CC wasn't dominant

Yankees 4, Mets 3

What a box score: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E NYY 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 5 2 NYM 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 7 0 W: C. Rapada (2-0) L: J. Rauch (3-7) S: R. Soriano (14) The sort of game that sets the tone for a season.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Three losses in a row!

Picked the wrong time to come back.

Ten wins in a row!

Picked the wrong time to go out of town.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Yankees 9, Mets 1

Wonderful strategy, that: keeping Johan Santana out two extra days to save him for the Yankees. Throw out CC's mystifying start against the Rays, and what we've seen has been the best baseball the Yankees have played all season the past week or so. Cano: two home runs, and--as Ron Darling said--he still hasn't really started. Jeter, playing like it's 1999. Martin, heating up at least. Swisher, playing well and annoying the hell out of the opposition (after Jones's home run last night, when Swish raised his arms and ran the length of the dugout, the Mets' play-by-play man harrumphed, "Well, he does love to celebrate.") Tex and Granderson--rounding into form and giving you a Gold-Glove performance in the field every night. A-Rod at least is fielding well. In place of Gardner, it is clear that Girardi appears satisfied with a bucket brigade of left fielders: Ibanez, Wise, Nix and perhaps even Jones, a little like the Yankees of '99 with Polonia, et al. Let is hope Kuroda isn't hurt.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Rays 7, Yankees 3

Gotta beat those Rays, CC. A sweep would have been nice.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Yankees 4, Rays 1

Nova's lone tonight (8+, 4 hits, one run) did not do him justice, where in economy and faith in his fastball he resembled a youngish Roy Oswalt. The Yankees may have a rotation after all. Five solid starts in a row, for a tidy 4-1 record, and CC going tomorrow. 31-24, a half-game back.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Yankees 7, Rays 0

A lovely win--will CC, Hughes, Pettitte, 2010 Redux? Do we dare to hope? It was good for Martin. He'll have to hit. 30-24.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Yankees 5, Tigers 1

All together now: Have we now seen the real Phil Hughes? 29-24.

Tigers 4, Yankees 3

Glad I missed it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yankees 9, Tigers 4

Except for Granderson's grand slam and Robbie Cano's nifty stab up the middle to start a rally-killing double play, this wasn't a great win--just a necessary one, with The Beast, Verlander, awaiting Sunday afternoon. 28-23, and The Five remain bunched, never more--never possibly more--than four games apart.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yankees 6, Angels 5

AS for the game: just enough, boys. Just enough hitting (Granderson, et al), just enough pitching (Nova gives up five runs in 6 2/3 innings--and wins), just enough relief (Soriano gets the save with the winning run on first), just enough fielding (about three nifty plays from Jeter--among others). Not the best game of the year, just the scariest. Moving into the last day of may, the AL East: Baltimore 29 22 .569 - 14-13 15-9 230 222 +8 Lost 5 2-8 41.5 Tampa Bay 29 22 .569 - 17-10 12-12 216 206 +10 Lost 3 4-6 47.5 NY Yankees 27 23 .540 1.5 14-11 13-12 232 217 +15 Won 1 6-4 40.2 Toronto 27 24 .529 2 15-10 12-14 249 223 +26 Won 3 4-6 42.9 Boston 26 24 .520 2.5 13-13 13-11 265 243 +22 Won 3 7-3 43.1 Not only do all five teams have winning records, but all five teams are on the positive side of runs scored/runs against. Boston has been a train wreck: 2 1/2 out. Tampa, without its best player: tied for first. The Yankees, minus their two best relievers. 1 1/2 out. There are six teams in the Wild Card mix: these five, plus the Angels.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Angels 9, Yankees 8

Ouch. When did we think the Yankees have this one? 1. A 3-0, top of the first. 2. When they re-tied the game, 4-4. 3. When Tex's home run brought them to within one, 6-5. 4. Martin's two-run double re-ties the game, 8-8. 5. Tex's leadoff single in the ninth. Then the stomach punch, and from Brett . . . Tomko. Walk-off homer. Oof. As Charlie Brown says, "Thus endeth the (five-game!) winning streak."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yankees 2, A's 0

One of those games where you hold your breath, knowing, knowing that Kuroda is living dangerously, that one hanging slider, one grooved fastball, one unfielded fly ball . . . disaster. Didn't happen. And Tex looked good, as well.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yankees 9, A's 2

Yes, it was Oakland. But as the game went on, CC was playing catch out there.

Yankees 6, A's 3

As Richard Justice said on Yahoo radio today, you can about to see a rotation take shape, with Pettitte and Nova. With three great plays in right field, plus a home run . . . the Yankees just seem to win when Swisher is in the middle of things, ay?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yankees 3, Royals 2

I go out of town for a week, the whole operation goes in the crapper.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Yankees 8, Orioles 5

Kay was right: Lost in the Cano onrush has been A-Rod, not a lot of power but steadily up to .300. Good to see Tex grab hold of one. Phelps is destined to start soon. 20-15 and the season starts tomorrow.

Mariners 6, Yankees 2

No team came closer to having a great game and ended up with a lousy one. Two bases loadeds squandered, two bad Pettitte pitches, the tip off the glove in the eighth leading to two runs--unfortunate to spoil Andy's comeback. 19-15.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yankees 6, Mariners 2

A good win in so many ways. Start the series by beating Yankee-killer Felix. Kuroda, who may be a second starter yet. Cano heating up, as we knew he would. And Ibanez, who may stay valuable. Plus . . . that bullpen. Wednesday's Robertson meltdown is ancient history.

Yankees 5, Rays 3

No spectacular, but enough. How many times has CC done this, erase a killer loss in the matter of a single day?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Yankees 5, Rays 3

A game that turned on a few crucial moments: Top seven: Two terrific plays by Nick Swisher. 3-2 Yankees, one out, Jeff Keppinger on first. Will Rhymes doubles into the corner, Swisher plays the good hop and heaves the ball in, just freezing Keppinger--who, had he run, would have been dead at the plate. Sean Rodriguez flies out to home, Swisher rifles the ball in a second time. Keppinger barely bluffs. Molina strikes out. Rally quelled. Bottom eight: A-Rod singles, Upton butchers the routine one-hopper into a double. Jake McGree strikes out Robinson Cano, on pitches so fast Cano can barely uncoil himself. Whereupon . . . Joe Maddon goes Joe Maddon and plays lefty-righty against a switch-hitter, removing McGee for the notably less fearsome Joel Peralta. Tex, turning around to left, doubled home A-Rod for a crucial fifth run. (Is the wacky genius thing starting to play on Maddon? Kay and Leiter suggested as much. It's instructive to remember that Clueless Joe Torre has more World Series rings than geniuses like Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin . . . combined--four to three, a difference not accountable by the relative talent each man was given to manage, save maybe Martin and Herzog in Texas.) Top Nine: Here it was, then, Dave Robertson in his first save opportunity, post-Mo. Blow it, and you're in for 20 minutes of chin-pulling on "Baseball Tonight," Sal from the Bronx screaming on WFAN tomorrow morning, and Skip Bayless falling out of his chair, mid-rant, on ESPN2. In between securing two outs, Robertson works the bases full. (Get ready, New York fans, for many such nights.) Carlos Pena, Yankee Killer, junior division, at the plate. Robertson snaps a breaking ball: strike one. Then, strike two: a fast ball at the edge, the best pitch he threw all inning. Two waste pitches and back to the gas . . . strike three, a pitch nearly as good as the second. Crisis averted. 16-13, and I'm exhausted.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Yankees 10, Royals 4

Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano, our two tortured souls of late, come through. Strong pitching from Hughes, grand slam from Cano. It is clear, if the Yankees are to win three out of every five games for the foreseeable future, the pattern will have to be as follows: 1. A strong start from CC Sabathia. 2. A strong start from someone not named CC Sabathia. 3. An offensive outburst like today's. 4. Loss. 5. Loss. And back up to CC. Today, they received both numbers two and three, so we'll see. 15-13. Anyone happy with a Wild Card, a one-game playoff versus (let's say) Jon Lester, Jared Weaver, Yu Darvish, or Justin Verlander? Hughes has to pitch like today, Andy has to come back at least steady, Nova needs to stay the Nova of 2011, someone has to emerge from Phelps, et al, or Cashman has to make a move--basically, three of those five things have to come true.

Royals 5, Yankees 1

Mark it down: this was the loss that had me concerned. 14-13. Never mind Baltimore, at least this year. But the Rays look good.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Yankees 6, Royals 2

Without Mo, we're going to need a whole lot of games like this from CC. And, for that matter, from Robertson. 14-12.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Royals 4, Yankees 3

Of course, nothing matters next to Mo.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Orioles 5, Yankees 0

Ahhhhhhhh . . . glad I missed it.

Orioles 7, Yankees 1

A terrible game, but two takeaways: 1. Seventh inning, 6-1 Baltimore, bases loaded, two outs, A-Rod at the plate. Did anyone have pop-up in the pool? I had at least a harmless fly ball. In his 2004-05-06 days, you could call a home run for A-Rod while the ball was still proceeding toward the plate. A-Rod would get the look in his eyes, pull the bat a few inches further back, and . . . so long. Reggie was like that, in his prime, as was Bonds and, when he played against the Yankees, George Brett. Ortiz a few years ago. Pujols except for right now. A-Rod . . . a home run has become a nice surprise. Five more years of his contract, after this season. 2. Hughes looked so sharp early . . . did we think it wouldn't last? That pitch he threw to JJ Hardy, sixty year-old Tommy Lasorda would throw for batting practice.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Yankees 2, Orioles 1

I missed the last five innings, which is the same as saying I didn't miss anything. 1. Kuroda is for real--though overshadowed by Darvish. 2. How much do the Yankees miss Chavez when he's gone? A lot. 13-9, with Pettitte in the wings.

Yankees 6, Tigers 2

No Yankee pitcher since Ron Guidry can so decisively turn around his team;s fortunes than CC Sabathia.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tigers 7, Yankees 5

A really good game for seven innings--the last seven innings. Really: pitching, hitting, fielding all entertain, Detroit starter is chased just in time to allow the Yankees back in against a thin bullpen, and a rally leaves the Yankees on top, 4-1. Not counting the first two frames. Garcia, bless his soul, may be done. 12 wins last year was the perfect non-Lee antidote. Pat on the back, gold watch. Pettitte? Anybody? Over to you, CC. 11-9, and don't look now, but 1) Boston just won its sixth straight to pull within a game of New York, and 2) Aceves has looked increasingly better with every appearance this week, post-Bombers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yankees 7, Tigers 6

Two wild pitches in the bottom of the ninth, 3-for-4 for A-Rod, two Yankee home runs (and nearly four), a 7-6 victory--and all in a Verlander start. Does Verlander not know how to pitch in Yankee Stadium, or did he miss his spots? Both A-Rod's and Martin's home runs were hit the same: righthanded hitters going the other way against a right-handed power pitcher. Does this team, one starting pitcher or two aside, seem set? Jeter, A-Rod, Tex, Cano, Granderson, Swisher, the catching platoon, the left field committee, the bench and the bullpen seem ready for the next five months. Derek Jeter, AL Player for April? Wild pitching a win home. Last year, those were the games the other guys won. 11-8.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yankees 7, Rangers 4

Was I alone in being relieved at last night's rainout. The bullpen, turned to shreds by too many cliffhangers, too many early exits, too much work--and this was before Saturday--got a day's rest. Heat-seeking Sabathia got to pitch in balmy Texas instead of damp Boston. Plus, I had a fond memory of another game on another Sunday, when the Yankees' ace (Clemens) was ready to polish off another reeling rival, a team that had soured expectations so badly it was thought that, should the Yankees prevail that Sunday night, the Mets manager would be fired on Monday. The Mets won going away. Mike Piazza hit a grand slam over the Tappan Zee Bridge. Clemens went on to have his one unquestionably poor season with the Yankees (14-10, with that lineup and that bullpen). Bobby Valentine kept his job. And everything was put in motion for a memorable Clemens-Piazza confrontation 17 months later, in the World Series . . . Tonight? I'm almost afraid to even say Jeter's name. And Sabathia, second game in a row, pitched just well enough to win.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yankees 15, Red Sox 9

I reproduce, here, the email I sent to my father: "Are you shitting me? When it got to 9-0 I went out for my jog. Came home, nearly fell out of my chair. And two of my favorite players! People look upon Swisher as a kind of team mascot, and he admits the Yankees themselves look upon him as a little ... Different. But imagine them the last three years without him. Tex, though, fits perfectly in the no crap, lets-play-ball vein of Joe Gordon, Frank Crosetti, Thurman Munson and Paul O'Neill. Anyway, I hope YOU saw it. Best part is, now CC goes tomorrow as house money. And NO Joe Morgan! PS do you somehow think Bobby V and Boston deserve one another?" 9-6. With the rotation still not configured.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 2

Love spoiling the anniversary. Five home runs will help--plus, Nova looks for real. 8-6, with the Tampa contingent still to be heard from.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yankees 7, Twins 6

Granderson,(5-5, 3 hr), and this is the game I miss due to dinner with friends.

All but the top of the first. I saw that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twins 6, Yankees 5

Tex, could you have hit the ball ten feet further?


Yankees 8, Twins 3

Chris Stweart starts the merry-go-round with his 2-run RBI off Nelson Liriano, putting me in mind, strangely, of another coming-out before the home crowd, 61 years ago this very day . . .

Red Smith: "Mantle nodded, stepped back into the box and singled a run home. Dickey, coaching at third, slapped his stern approvingly. When the kid raced home from second with his first big-league run, the whole Yankee bench arose to clap hands and pat his torso. He was in the lodge." --New York Herald Tribune, April 18, 1951

Stewart is no Mantle and never will be. But his hit, his first Yankee RBIs, struck 61 years later, was bigger in the context of the game.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Twins 7, Yankees 3

Fast forward three weeks. Tampa twins in, Garcia/Hughes out?

It may be time to face the music here. The 2011 Yankees lost out on Cliff Lee and were startled by Pettitte's retirement. Freddy Garcia and his 12 wins simply dropped from the sky and made up for nearly half that equation. 2012 may be asking too much.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yankees 11, Angels 5

It is still such a pleasure to watch ESPN's Sunday night game without Joe Morgan that I could hardly concentrate on anything else. Orel Hershisher? Terry Francona? Marvelous.

And yes, the key at-bat of the game was Dave Robertson getting Mark Trumbo to fly out in the seventh, bases loaded, two outs.

Robinson Cano's agent is Scott Boras? Ouch.

Angels 7, Yankees 1

One of those games.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yankes 5, LAAA 0

Just as I was about to commit seppuku over yet another Far Eastern import bust . . .


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yankees 6, Orioles 4 (10)

Sure, Swisher's homer, but what won the game was Girardi's decision late to walk Markakis and have Soriano pitch to the right-hander. Bases loaded: one walk, one passed ball, one wild pitch, one infield hit and the game was over. Soriano came through like a champ. Strikeout. Just enough to keep the game alive for Swisher's heroics.


And, as an added bonus, since last September 4th, when the Red Sox took the field with a nine-game lead over Toronto for the Wild Card, Boston is 6-23.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yankees 5, O's 4 (12)

When your starter throws five wild pitches (and thank you, R. Martin, that it wasn't eight or nine), and you still win, well, maybe the season isn't lost yet.

Three-four-five--Tex, A-Rod, Granderson--are batting .458 . . . when you add their batting averages together. Jeter, Cano, Gardner, Jones and Ibanez the heavy lifting.

Yesterday I wrote on facebook, half-jokingly, that if George Steinbrenner were still alive, Lou Piniella's phone would be ringing. My friend Ken Jorgensen came back with a few more suggestions, including Stump Merrill, Stick Michael and the ghost of Bob Lemon. Before we worked our way back to Miller Huggins, the game was won.

2-3, and tomorrow CC gets his second crack. I remember his wild first start ever for the Yankees, right there in Camden Yards, where he seemed intent on earning all of his $170 Million in the first three innings, and nearly opened a hole in the brick wall below the backstop. Let CC be CC?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Yanks 6, O's 2

So: they go to Camden yards to get well.

Four hits from Jeter, a quiet night for a "rested" (translation: the last few days have been so wretched that haven't needed him) Rivera.

But: most importantly, Hughes and Nova both look good.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Rays 3, Yankees 0

I guess we take away that Hughes might be the real thing after all. Beyond that . . .

Rays 8, Yankees 4

That's seventeen innings pitched, fifteen runs allowed, in no small part to efforts from starters one and two and The Greatest Closer ever.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Rays 7, Yankees 6

And another great season gets underway.

The entire afternoon was scary--6-5 seemingly for an eternity. I had assumed the big threat was quahed with A-Rod's nifty play at third the hold the lead. Robertson, Mo, QED.

Let us hope Mo's annual April meltdown came a little early this time.