It's over, but it's just beginning.
That's the best way to put it.
Nice that it is to go out on top...
Everything the Yankees did from April until today gets put on a back burner. It doesn't matter now that the Yankees came back from ten games out of a playoff spot, or that Alex Rodriguez hit 54 home runs, or that Posada had the best year for a 36-year-old catcher, ever.
What matters is what the Yankees do between now and November 1st. At the very least, unlike that other New York team, we'll have a chance to play...
I'll do some playoff preview mumbo jumbo later, but I am exhausted; I didn't sleep at all last night, and spent most of today in the sun.
So, I'd like to say thank you to everyone that looked at my video from before, and here are some pictures from what I did today:
The Jets made it exciting at the end, but the offensive coordinator doesn't seem to grasp the concept that Chad Pennington can't throw downfield...
They actually updated the Mets/Phillies score at the game, I enjoyed that...and how the hell did Arizona beat Pittsburgh? On the 'what-the-hell-did-they-drink' list, that's on the top, even over Colorado/Oklahoma and Florida/Auburn.
Catch you all tomorrow...
Sunday, September 30, 2007
It's over, but it's just beginning.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Okay, I guess now's a good time to mention I'm a really, really impatient person, and once I took this video I decided that I really didn't want to wait till Monday to show everyone, so here it is.
Hope you enjoy it; I had a lot of fun making it and if you like it well enough, maybe I'll do another one sometime in the future.
Hoping the HMTL will work...
Am off to Buffalo now, catch you all Sunday night or Monday!
(I'll be in Buffalo much of today and all day tomorrow, hence doing two days at oncee)...
...Have we really come to this? The last weekend in the regular season, the last two games to be played?
It seems like just yesterday we were talking about how there's a lot of baseball left and anything can happen...and the fun part is that anything did happen. It's really been a September to Remember.
Andy Pettitte gets the start today, but he is on a strict pitch count and will likely be pulled after 50 or 60 pitches. Again, don't be surprised if heaps of regular guys get rested.
Tomorrow's game will be much more interesting, as Torre will probably let a player manage. My bet is on Jorge Posada, who's gone and had an MVP like season, but since this guy named A-Rod is in the way, he's not going to get much reward, so this will be a good one.
Sit back, relax and enjoy these last two days of September. The next time we'll be able to just flat out enjoy baseball like this, with no repercussions on the standings or anything like that is way off in March. Enjoy it while it lasts.
I'll have something special for all of you guys when I get back, but for now, it's off to Buffalo to see the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!
Friday, September 28, 2007
The game doesn't matter much; it's not like the Yankees will be going home on September 30, but when it's Mo, you ache.
When you've got a signed picture of Mo hanging in your home bedroom above your computer, you ache.
When you know he's going to the Hall of Fame, first ballot, you ache.
When you decided way back in April 1999 that Mo was your favorite on the Yankees, you ache.
Well, might as well start from the beginning.
It started well enough, the Yankees had a 7-2 lead at one point, but Mussina hit a wall in the fifth, allowing four consecutive hits and allowing the Orioles to close within 7-6.
Johnny Damon hit a MAMMOTH Home Run (and the one A-Rod hit wasn't half bad, either), but, simply put, Mo was off tonight.
Ohlendorf, Farnsworth and Vizcaino all got the job done, but Mo had problems with location, and, well, hitting a guy usually doesn't help, either.
Yanks had a big chance to come back in the top of the tenth, but when Molina fouled out with the bases loaded and one out, well, the game kind of swung in Baltimore's favor--Jason Giambi has not played well of late.
Still, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez had great games, Robbie Cano had a great play, and some of the question marks in the bullpen did their job, and you really do have to give Baltimore credit for going with the bunt in the 10th.
They were saying on TV that the Yankees dropped back in the infield, as they needed just one out, and wouldn't you know it, but the announcer jinx strikes again!
However, the biggest baseball news of the day has nothing to do with what happened in the Yankees game, but elsewhere.
The Phillies won and the Mets lost, so the NL East now looks something like:
The Mets had been in first place since May, and, umm, now they can't even get to the postseason without some help from the Washington Nationals.
Sure, the Yankees choked in 2004, but any team can win three and then lose four--Yanks just picked a really bad time to do it. However, blowing a seven game lead with 17 to play? That's just flat out bad.
The Brewers eliminated themselves tonight. I am aghast that they started Chris Capuano--is not baseball the most superstitious sport? Don't you, like, not start a guy that's 0-17 in his last 21 starts (or something like that)? Especially against a team like the Padres?
As much as I love Ryan Braun, the Brew Crew did themselves in...
...With that, congratulations need to go to the Chicago Cubs, winning the NL Central. Well done! The Cubs in the World Series would be a purist's dream, but a Cubs/Yankees World Series would involve a lot of guilt. How do you not root for the Cubs? How do you not root for the Yankees when you're a die-hard Yankee fan? See the dilemma?
Arizona also clinched a playoff spot. Oh, how I'd love to see them get swept in the World Series by the Yankees...
So, right now, the playoff picture looks like this:
AL East: Boston
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Angels
AL Wildcard: Yankees (Is it me or is it fitting that the one non-division winner is the one whose team colors do not involve red?)
NL East: TBD
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Either Arizona or San Diego
NL Wild Card: Either Arizona, San Diego, Phillies or Rockies
Crazy weekend, no? Oh, and USF is beating #5 West Virginia....
Oh, those birds!
I can probably guarantee that every single Yankee fan is glad we went and clinched a playoff spot against the Rays, so we don't have to worry about doing so in Baltimore, against a team that's given us trouble all season long.
(Except, that is, for the last series we played against them, where we did this whole sweep thing...)
Anyway, Mussina gets to pitch tonight, so we get another look at the post-slump Moose. Right now he's my vote for the NY Yankees comeback player of the year...
Don't be surprised if Damon, Matsui, Giambi and Cano get a night off tonight, or if the starters are all off the field in the fifth in a one-one game. Right now it's about getting rest, and getting ready for next week, which is also why Andy Pettitte will be on a strict 50-60 pitch count on Saturday.
If we happen to end tonight one back of Boston, that's all well and good, but a) it's not likely to happen, and b) at this point, it really doesn't matter.
If you want to enjoy a collapse, look no farther than that other team in New York. You know, the one everyone said would run away with the NL East?
Baseball is a funny sport.
We could theoretically have a Rockies--Yankees World Series. Who saw that one coming?
Like I said, baseball is a funny sport.
Off to buy groceries. I have fallen in love with somen noodles--three minutes to cook, not even, and just dump some frozen shrimp in the pot with your favorite sauce, and boom! Instant meal!
I know, the last two weeks I haven't done well at all...but seriously, 0-3 Saints? 1-2 Chargers? These were the teams that were supposed to go to the Superbowl!
Ah, well, let's try this again, shall we?
Houston over Atlanta. Houston has flat out impressed me; they're playing like the Nets did the season after they got Jason Kidd when all of a sudden they just started winning.
Baltimore over Cleveland. I don't really know why I'm picking this. Maybe because I like Maryland's state flag better? Yeah? Okay!
Chicago over Detroit. Let's just say it's my upset special...(Okay, upset and Detroit should not be used in the same sentence unless that sentence is 'Detroit will upset...', but that's the fun of English!)
Green Bay over Minnesota. Farve's having a great year, and while the Packers probably won't go 16-0, I have a tough time picking against them this week.
Tampa Bay over Carolina. Let's just say I like pirates.
Pittsburgh over Arizona. Probably the easiest pick I've made all week.
Philadelphia over the Giants. Just spiting the brother, here...
New England over Cincinnati. The Patriots just don't seem to understand the concept of 'losing'. (Or, playing clean for that matter but that's besides the point...)
New York Jets over Buffalo. Nope, still not picking over NYJ, and as I'm going to that game, why would I? Really, now!
Dallas over St. Louis. Unlike Giants fans, it really doesn't bother me that the Cowboys are 3-0...
Oakland over Miami, though this one is really more or less a push...
Seattle over San Francisco. I'm not really sure about this one, but since I was abandoned in Italy by a guy from SF, I'm picking Seattle (no, I am not making that up...)
Indianapolis over Denver. It's the whole Peyton thing.
San Diego over Kansas City. The Chargers have to win eventually, right?
Back later with Pregame Notes and what-have-you
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Phil Hughes was brilliant on a night when most of the Yankees were probably feeling the effects of last night's champagne showers, and the Yankees won a game in an unbelievably fast three hours!
Scott Kazmir, pitching for Tampa Bay, was great, but, despite his 10 strike outs, Phil Hughes was better. Kazmir should be making the all star team in a few years--as some have said, he'd look great in pinstripes...
However, the more important thing is Phil's brilliant performance, throwing just over 100 pitches in seven innings, making only one real mistake to Carlos Pena, who really just seems to like homering against the Yankees.
Tonight's line up was great for the simple reasons that Jeter, Abreu, Rodriguez, Posada, Melky and the Mient Man all got a night off, and the Yankees STILL won.
Bronson Sardinha and Alberto Gonzalez both got their first major league hits, so both need to be congratulated, well done! Sardinha also showed he's got plenty of speed, and quite an arm.
Our B-lineup tonight could probably beat most A-lineups...
The future looks bright, indeed.
SCORES AND STUFFS
Okay, if you prefer me giving you all the scores, just let me know, but for now I'm just going to stick to the ones you might care about:
The Mets have more or less completed one of the greatest collapses in baseball history. I feel for Willie, but not for the team--I'm a Yankees fan! Anyway, they lost to St. Louis, 3-0, so they got the pitching they needed...but not the offense. No team had ever blown a seven game lead with 17 to play...until now.
Of course, you can't blow that lead without another team winning, and the Phillies did just that, beating Atlanta 6-4, and more or less eliminating Atlanta from postseason contention. The Phillies seem to have defied every baseball rule ever written, as they've been doing this winning with no discernible pitching staff...
The Cubs lost to Florida 6-4, but San Diego's up 6-2 on Milwaukee and threatening for more, so I think Cubs fans can breathe easy for a night...and it really does stink that the Brewers and Cubs don't play each other any more.
Arizona won big 8-0 and Colorado and LA are scoreless in the first.
Now, I wait patiently for the Boston/Minnesota game to be over, and as Boston has the bases loaded with two out in the ninth, it's gonna end this inning...and it does. Minnesota holds on, so the Yankees are two back in the AL East with three to play...not that they care about the division or anything...
Sit back, relax, enjoy the night.
Seriously now, there is absolutely no reason to worry even a little bit about tonight's game--we're in the playoffs, and while finishing out the season on a win streak would be sweet, it's far more important to get the regular guys some rest.
That being said, don't be surprised if tonight's line up completely boggles your mind...I'm personally hoping to see Sardinha and the (former) Attorney General get some ABs, or to see Shelley catch. Or pitch. Or something.
Phil's on tonight, with luck maybe we'll see the first-inning jitters go bye bye and the rest of the game go not like it did Saturday when we had to use every reliever in the known universe. Though, again, rest here is key, so maybe Torre will pull Phil after only five or six so that the gets some rest and some of the younger guys like Matt DeSalvo and Chase Wright can get some work.
I don't know about you, but right now it feels so much better than it did last year, because we clinched by winning, and not by Detroit losing.
We've done this on our own.
Oh, and that 48-24 second half record?
In 1998, we went 54-28.
48-24 = 0.667 winning percentage.
54-28 = 0.659
Unless I can't do math (which, unfortunately, is a distinct possibility), we've just knocked the socks off of 1998.
I wonder if anyone's realized that?
Outside, the leaves are beginning to turn.
Here and there pockets of yellow and red appear among the trees, while those still green appear paler than they were before.
The ground is damp from rain last night, and with the few fallen leaves, there is a smell that comes with it. It has not the freshness of the Spring, but instead, something more foreboding.
The sky's not as blue as it once was as the sun begins to abandon the northern reaches of the United States.
Perhaps it started a month ago, when the guys in the pads started rushing down a field with a ball, hitting everything and everyone in their path.
It officially started last week, but a few days of 90 degree heat seemed to say, "no, not this year!"
Now, though, there is no denying it.
Autumn's here, and the boys of summer are about to become men.
Are you ready?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I know, you're not supposed to end sentences with a preposition, but on a night like this, grammar be damned!
As he caught the final out, the smile on Robinson Cano's face said all that needs being said.
Given up for dead back in May, the Yankees are headed to their thirteenth straight October, and they certainly deserve that champagne sitting in the clubhouse!
The young players especially will probably enjoy this most, so it's fitting that it was a young player--Robinson Cano--who had an amazing game, with five RBIs, including a three-run home run.
Chien Ming Wang did not have his best game, but given that he usually struggles on turf, the fact that he gave up just one run in six innings is impressive, and a good sign for the postseason (where he won't have to pitch on turf). Oh, and in case you missed it, he now has 19 wins. He's probably not going to get the Cy Young, but 19 wins is pretty freaking awesome.
Joba was Joba--even when he makes a bad pitch, he gets great help from defense, such as the catch Melky made against the wall. The catch, coincidentally, instantly redeemed Melky from the two outs he made in the same inning back in the fifth.
Vizcaino had a very shaky inning; I expect that tomorrow, after the Yankees are done celebrating, they'll be doing some serious work trying to get him ready for October.
Oh, did anyone catch that clip of Mo working to help out K-Ram? When he retires (which, hopefully, is no time in the near future), he'll make a great pitching close. If you're going to learn, might as well be from the Greatest That Ever Lived.
Oh, and he pitched pretty well tonight, too!
The Yankees' offense seems to have put a trademark on the 'big 6+ run inning' this year, so of course they had one of those tonight. Everyone but A-Rod and Melky had hits, and after the fifth, you knew that the Yankees weren't going to blow this one.
I could go into detail about Robbie's great night or Jeter being a triple from the cycle or Damon having a three-hit night, or the Mient man going 3-4 and whatnot...but celebrating is just that much more fun.
I'm watching the postgame show now, and seeing Joe Torre tear gets to me--he's almost always so stoical, you know he's enjoying this. You know this one means a LOT to him. If the Yankees do manage to win the World Series, it wouldn't surprise me if he thought it was the best one...
I also have to say that watching Mo and Torre getting doused in champagne was hysterical.
If they're this excited now, imagine what it will be like --if-- when they win the World Series?
On May 29th there weren't many of us (if any at all) that thought the Yankees would be doing this tonight.
2007 will be a baseball season you'll tell your kids and your grandkids about, so enjoy it.
SCORES AND STUFFS
Boston beat Oakland 11-4, but strangely enough you get the feeling that no one really cares anymore.
Toronto beat Baltimore 8-5, scoring all of their runs in the first. No, that's not a typo.
Detroit beat Minnesota 9-4, but again, it doesn't matter.
The Indians beat Seattle 12-4 in the first game of a double-header; the Indians are not going to be the pushover in October that they were during the season.
White Sox beat the Royals 3-0. They actually discovered a new baseball concept today: pitching. Too bad they didn't discover it back in, I don't know, April?
Texas ripped on the Angels, 16-2. The Rangers were all disappointed they couldn't score 30.
Cleveland is up 1-0 on Seattle in the second game of the double header.
Philadelphia beat Atlanta and the Mets lost to Washington, so the Mets lead in the NL East is down to ONE game. This means there is a distinct possibility that only one NY team makes the postseason, and that that team is the Yankees...
Florida beat the Cubs, and Milwaukee is losing to St. Louis, so there probably won't be too much change to the NL Central standings.
Houston beat Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh beat Arizona. Arizona finishes up against San Diego, pay attention to that one, it could be interesting.
Rounding out, San Diego and Colorado are both currently winning.
This seems more fitting: Yankees' pitcher leading in wins, Chien Ming Wang, is on the mound tonight in an attempt to clinch a 12th consecutive postseason berth, dating all the way back from 1995.
Wang has been the Yankees' best starter; sure, he's had a couple of poor outings, but everyone does, and no one else even comes close to his 18 wins. Just imagine if he had pitched in April!
The good news for Yankees' fans? It's not likely Torre will hold postseason bullpen try outs two nights in a row.
At least, this is what we hope!
It's not likely the Yankees want to wait another day to clinch. They want to get this done tonight. Anyway, you can't keep champagne on ice forever...
Yankees' bats had an okay night last night; hopefully they'll do the whole scoring-with-runners-in-scoring position today, and hopefully Torre will not take Wang out of the game in the fifth inning if the Yanks have a 5-0 lead!
Oh, and if you all take a look over at the poll (Wow, over fifty votes! I am impressed!), I'm sure most of you will be happy to know that we are likely going to play the Indians in the postseason, barring the Yanks going 5-0 and Boston 0-5. Before you pop the champagne corks, though, remember, the Yanks haven't faced Sabathia this year...though, at most, Sabathia can only start two games, so in the end, it should be all right.
Let's clinch this thing tonight!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The score is one that would seem fitting for an Igawa game, but the cruel irony is that it wasn't Igawa that gave up any of those runs.
In fact, Igawa pitched...what's the word for it...all right. Sure, he walked a few too many for comfort, but his five innings were shut out innings and at the beginning of the sixth, the Yankees had a very comfortable 5-0 lead.
I had to go do an interview for a class assignment, so I missed part of the game. When I left my apartment, the Yankees lead 5-0, and I was in a great mood. Sure, I'd had an absolutely horrible morning, and it's 90 degrees outside in Syracuse in the end of September...but the Yankees clinching would make it all better...
...When I came back an hour later, I fast forwarded my DVR, and, as the horror that was the Yankees' bullpen tonight unfolded before my eyes, I tried so hard to press the rewind.
Maybe I was fast asleep. Maybe it was the hookah in that house I visited--me inhaling without knowing it and this is all a bad dream...but I pinch myself, and no, it's not.
Lost in all of this, a game which makes me want to break something really, really horribly, is the grand slam by Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon's 5-for-5 night.
I'm trying to be the optimist, and there certainly are good things to consider:
Igawa had five shut out innings (again, irony is the spice of life)
Farnsworth had 1-2-3 and actually pitched on back-to-back days
A-Rod finally hit another home run, and there were three men on base.
Damon went 5-5
However, there is no excuse for the bullpen tonight--and it's not all the 'pen's fault, either. The second Bruney walked in a run, someone else should have been brought in, but hindsight is 20/20...
Now, barring a miracle, we will not win the AL East. Stranger things, of course, have happened, but it's not something I want to contemplate, not when we were yesterday morning 1.5 back...
It's 81 outside and about 20 degrees warmer inside my air-conditioning-less apartment. I've got my fan on, but it's not doing much good.
There are thunderstorms coming my way, will probably be here in the 3 AM-5 AM part of the morning. I have a phobia of even mild thunderstorms and these look kind of bad.
I still have much of my geography paper to write.
You'll forgive me for not posting scores tonight--I'm sure you all know the important ones, anyway. If you're curious, Boston and Detroit won, Seattle's losing, Atlanta beat Philadelphia and the Mets almost staged an improbable comeback, losing 10-9 to Washington.
Here's to 26 September. I won't say tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes, so here's to 26 September and the Yankees clinching this the fun way, with a win.
Preferably in nine innings, by a margin of three or four runs.
Win tonight, and the Yankees are IN.
Detroit could also lose, but I think I speak for most when I say the Yankees would rather win.
We've got a great chance to do it: playing Tampa, a home away from home, and the Rocket on the mound, and the Yankees bats beyond DUE for a big game--they haven't hit a home run now in at least two games, maybe three...
EDIT: According to Pete Abraham, Rocket has been scratched, and Kei Igawa will be on the mound.
Optimism, everyone, we need lots of it!
Anyway, right now, it's all about how badly the Yankees want to get in--rookie hazing's over (though it was quite a laugh), and you wouldn't know it in Syracuse, but autumn technically started last week...
Seriously. It's 89F outside right now! This isn't even baseball weather; this is Dante weather! The leaves are showing some color, but it's not the same as it is when it's in the low 60s and you get that wonderful smell...
Okay, enough babble.
If I want to watch the Yankees clinch the division tonight, I need to get my geography paper done!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Detroit's 2-0 loss to Minnesota tonight means that the Yankees' magic number is down to ONE.
Unless the Yankees fail to win another game and Detroit fails to lose another game, the Yankees are in the playoffs.
Who would have thought it?
Even a month ago, it seemed like it'd be a challenge at best, and here we are, with a chance to clinch before any National League team even wins a division.
The Yankees also had their rookie hazing today; you've probably seen the pictures of Phil, Joba, Shelley, Ian and company dressed up in Wizard of Oz gear. If nothing else, we can now know the Yankees to be cohesive, creative and well versed in classic movies!
It's been an amazing ride, so far, this season...
The Yankees, like the Spartans, never gave up, never surrendered. There's one small difference though; the Yankees have one thing the Spartans at Thermopylae never did:
Here's to clinching a playoff spot in the next 24 hours.
Well, that was an ugly affair.
I only saw the sixth inning on, but only managing one run? It's as if the Yankees just pretended that AJ Burnett was starting anyway, and played accordingly.
What hurts about this game isn't that the Yankees lost, because it wasn't a loss in fourteen innings or in the bottom of the ninth...what hurts is that instead of being one game back of Boston, they are now two back.
One game back, anything can happen; two games back and the Yanks need some help.
Obviously, they are in no mortal danger of missing the playoffs unless they have a spectacular collapse in them, but being completely honest, while it's the World Series ring that matters in the end, the division would feel just so. damned. good.
I missed Pettitte's performance, but I liked what I saw out of Farnsworth, Veras and Ohlendorf. Especially Ohlendorf. Toronto kept fouling his pitches off, but he didn't give in, and made it a one-two-three inning.
I feel like the Yankees' offense needs to take a look at how Toronto's offense played this game...
Well, it's not the end of the world. We'll play again tomorrow, against a different team, and, well, after Toronto, anyone else's pitching is gonna look pretty easy to hit.
If Toronto stays healthy next year and learns how to hit properly, they will be a force to contend with--they already pitch like hell and that's the first step.
Anyway, there are no other games yet underway. I've got a bunch of reading to do for class...because that Victorian literature is just so much fun!
For the record: Googling yourself, or your blog for that matter, can be an interesting experience.
It's a theoretical pitcher's duel today, as AJ Burnett goes against Andy Pettitte.
While a repeat of Ian Kennedy's 1-hit performance the last time the Yanks faced Burnett would be wonderful, it'll only really be great if the Yankees can manage to score more than one run!
[EDIT] I have just heard that the Jays will not be starting Burnett but Jesse Litsch instead.
This is potentially a huge blessing.
Still, though, the Yankees are home this time around...
Actually, it's their last home game of the season. It's been quite a long ride, hasn't it?
I'm not just talking about the season. I'm talking about the past 84 years. I can't believe next year is the last year of Yankee Stadium!
I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to say good-bye....
...Here's hoping the Yankees will give us something to remember!
I've got class during gametime today, so postgame notes will likely be a bit later than normal.
Yanks win today and they will be all of a GIANT 1 game back of Boston.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Back in Syracuse. The drive wasn't too bad, but I am exhausted. It's kind of weird when you get to I-81 North, out in the open country, and there are no streetlights...it's almost scary.
My friend registered for the GREs today, which means I've got to get a move on it as well.
I am so not ready for this.
The Yankees are now 1.5 games back, we all know this. It's the most stressful place to be, because the Yankees can do all they can, but if they don't get a little help from Tampa/Minnesota/Oakland, it's not going to do much good.
Still, that the Yankees are where they are when you consider where they were in May is unreal.
I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I've never felt this way about a Yankees team, at least since I started following them. Even in the late 90s, it wasn't the same sort of feeling--1998 comes close, but not entirely.
This is a team that can last for a long time to come--when you consider that Wang, Hughes, Joba, Cano, Melky are all under 30...and the ones over 30 include guys with names like Rivera, Jeter and Posada.
It's going to be one crazy last week, going back and forth with Boston. I know Vito's predictions on Pete's blog can seem a little out there, but with only seven games left, winning the division by one game on the last day is a distinct possibility.
Happy Birthday, Joba Chamberlain!
Joba Chamberlain gets his first major league save, Jose Molina makes his case for the best Molina catcher in the bigs, and the Yankees win.
Oh, and Boston lost.
I will have to watch the replay of the game for sure, even if just to see the crowd roar when the Boston score went final...
Mike Mussina needs to be congratulated for winning his 250th game, of course, but from what I heard the star of the pitching today was Joba, and why not? After all, if it's your birthday, you might as well celebrate!
Also from the highlights, it looks like Jose Molina had a day worthy of anyone.
The Yankees have not hit a home run now in three games...but when you win two out of those three, that's fine by me.
Anyway, have got to drive back to Syracuse.
Enjoy this one. You know Joba will.
Only have a minute here so:
Mussina's going for the Yankees, and Yankee fans everywhere are holding their breath that this start will be just like his last one.
Our bullpen needs it, badly!
Anyway, enjoy the game all, I will see you either really late tonight or sometime tomorrow.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Do you guys remember when you were all kids, playing baseball at summer camp? There was a fairly common taunt/rhyme:
We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher!
Well, for most of the game today, I found myself going over that refrain, again, and again, and again.
This was, quite simply, a game won on offense, and Melky and A-Rod, who had both been slumping something horrible, carried the team through it.
You know there wasn't much pitching today when you look at the scoreboard and you see that Jeff Karstens gets the win.
Pitchers making appearances today include: Phil Hughes, Ron Villone, Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Kyle Farnsworth, Chris Britton, Kei Igawa, Mariano Rivera and Jeff Karstens.
I cannot believe I just listed them all from memory.
That aside, Rivera pitched best out of everyone, and again Kyle Farnsworth showed why you cannot pitch him in a close, important game.
Tonight was a great game, offensively and defensively for Melky Cabrera and A-Rod. If Melky doesn't make that throw to Robby to Posada to get Matt Stairs out at home plate, his hit in the 10th would have only tied the game...
...Melky would not have even been up, in the 10th, however, if not for A-Rod's clutch hitting as well. No home runs tonight, but you need the singles and the doubles first. A-Rod's coming out of his funk, heating up at exactly the right time.
Oh, and I think we can officially declare the Matsui slump dead.
Depending on your take of things, this could be one of the best Yankee games of the season, or one of the worst, but at least we won.
Not sure I would have been able to handle two extra inning losses in a row!
Yankees' magic number: 4
I have family commitments tomorrow, to be followed by a four hour drive back to Syracuse that will keep me from being able to "cover" the game, though I'll try to get in some pregame notes in the morning and postgame notes when I get back, so you'll all have to keep the OPTIMISM flowing for me!
SCORES AND STUFFS
The White Sox beat Minnesota 8-3, Jim Thome hitting career HR 504. I'd like to like Thome, but I can't forgive him for those years on the Indians...
Seattle beat the Angels 3-2. The Angels were supposed to clinch the AL West this weekend, with their magic number at 1, but Seattle's not going down without a fight. Just a pity they took the first three weeks of September off...
Oakland leads Cleveland 3-0 in the fourth, Cleveland with a stranglehold on the AL Central.
Kansas City is up on Detroit 5-1 in the fourth, Yankees' fans everywhere hope that Kansas City can keep the score intact.
Boston is up on Tampa 2-0 in the fourth, a game which is not likely to help the Yankees, but stranger things have happened.
Baltimore finds itself in a strange position, up 2-0 on Texas in the first.
The Mets beat Florida 7-2, as they seem to have decided that losing the division at this point would be a bad thing.
Atlanta beat Milwaukee 4-3, and it looks more and more like the Cubs will hold on and take the NL Central.
The Cubs beat the Pirates 9-5. ARRR! I'm tired, and a witty response eludes me.
Houston and St. Louis are scoreless in the fifth.
Philadelphia is up on Washington 1-0, as they try to keep pace with the Mets.
Other games yet to get underway.
And, of course:
SYRACUSE BEAT LOUISVILLE!
Which makes today positively wonderful.
The Yankees need a win today not just to win, but to shake off the crushing blow of last night.
Phil Hughes is pitching today as both Ian Kennedy and Roger Clemens were scratched from their start; the joy of a six man rotation and an off day, however, means that Phil is pitching on normal, and not short rest.
A-Rod looked like he was about to turn the corner last night, and indeed his 9th inning RBI helped prolong the game; he is one good swing away from a HUGE game.
Hopefully tonight's affair will be decided in nine innings--the last four Yankee games to go 10 or longer have been ugly affairs.
Anyway, we're not facing Halladay today, so that should be an advantage.
Let's hope so!
(Also, let's hope the rain holds off--there's some light rain in Jersey off to the west, but it doesn't look too bad so far...)
There have been 22 votes in the poll so far, meaning that there are at least 21 people who read this. That is AWESOME!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Of all the Yankees' recent losses, this one hurts the most.
When the Yankees staged that ninth inning comeback, four runs aided by an error and misplay by Aaron Hill, you would think that there'd be no way the Yankees could lose this game.
When it got to the 14th and Joe Torre decided to put Brian Bruney in, well, you probably either thought, Joe, what is it you're smoking or Okay, that's not the move I would have made.
This really was a case of the Yankees losing the game as opposed to Toronto winning it--they ran themselves out of big innings in the first and sixth, which looked huge at the time, against Halladay, and then they had innings 10, 11, 12, 13 to get just one measly run across to home plate, and they couldn't get it done.
The last few Yankee games to go into the bottom of the ninth when home or extra innings have been ugly affairs; but this was one you thought there was no way the Yankees would lose it...
...Chien Ming Wang was great through sixth, but lost it in the seventh. Against any other pitcher, it probably would have been good enough a performance, but Halladay is...well...really, really good, especially against the Yankees.
K-Ram was off today, and, well, it was fairly obvious from the get go. Surely Torre knows by now that when K-Ram is off, he's WAY off?
Jose Veras, Ron Villone, Mo, Joba and Viz were all great.
And then Bruney was up to his old shenanigans. When people are commenting that they would have rather seen Farnsworth, well, that's when you know the pitcher on the mound really shouldn't be there.
The Yankees' offense was also up to its old tricks: Not able to muster much of anything until having one big inning late in the game, this time doing it in heart-attack fashion. When they couldn't win the game in the ninth, though, it was a bit of an anti-climax, and it kept letting down until after the 13th, when A-Rod could not come through.
Still A-Rod had his best swings he's had since Kansas City. He's about to break out of it.
The best thing the Yankees have going for them is a quick turnaround--tomorrow is a day game. It's really disappointing that Ian Kennedy won't get a start, but it's much more important that he's healthy. Anyway, it's not like Roger Clemens is a bad pitcher or something.
I'd write more but I am REALLY tired and want to sleep, so I'll leave you with this:
Tonight's loss does not knock the Yankees out of playoff contention.
Tonight's loss does not even knock the Yankees out of division contention.
Tonight's loss is not on Joba, Viz or Mo--the KEY Yankees 'pen guys that we'll go to in October.
There WAS Squirrel magic--we wouldn't have even seen extras if not for Aaron Hill's bobble on Posada's ball.
Unlike the Mets, we are NOT the team in danger of a collapse.
That is only the sixth loss all month for the Yankees-two to Tampa, one to Seattle, one in Toronto, one in Boston, and now tonight.
We lost nine games in July, our 'killer' month, and that was with the all-star break!
The Yankees will want it tomorrow all that much more.
Keep your chin up. Tomorrow is another day.
Scores and Stuffs
Boston beat Tampa Bay 8-1, the game getting out of hand when Tampa starter Scott Kazmir was pulled after the fifth inning. The good news for Yankees' fans is that Josh Beckett pitched tonight, so that's it for 'good' pitching. Tampa will actually have a chance to win the other games, assuming their bullpen doesn't make like Brian Bruney.
Detroit beat Kansas City 5-4, coming back to do so, and coming back before the ninth inning...
Cleveland beat Oakland 4-3, and are now perilously close to doing something they haven't done much of since the Yankees won the World Series in 2000: Win a division title. They slumped horribly in July and August, but the Indians are back on form now, and will not be fun to play in October.
Texas beat Baltimore 3-2, falling 27 runs short of their previous season high.
The White Sox beat Minnesota 6-4. For all of you saying that the Yankees should sign Johan Santana, his record this year is 15-13. That's...uhh...not really that good.
Seattle leads Anaheim 6-0 in the top of the ninth. Anaheim needs just one more win or Seattle loss to clinch the AL West. It'd be really, really, REALLY funny if that didn't happen.
In a game that means absolutely nothing, Houston beat St. Louis 6-3. If St Louis would like to win another game this year, I have two options for them: 1) Don football gear and play either Syracuse or Notre Dame or 2) Play the Mets.
Philadelphia beat Washington 6-3. If there's an award for the team doing the most with the least, I would like to personally hand it to Philadelphia. By all means they shouldn't be a factor right now, but it's a distinct possibility that they can end the weekend leading in the NL East.
The Cubs beat Pittsburgh 13-8, to keep their lead in the NL Central, and Milwaukee beat Atlanta 4-1, to keep pace. That is probably the most interesting of all the division races.
The Mets are up on Florida 9-6 in the eighth, but be careful: they had been up 8-4, so this is beginning to play like a familiar scenario...
Arizona is up on the Dodgers, 12-3, and after getting beat bad by the Rockies, you have the feeling that the Dodgers may have more or less given up on their postseason chances.
San Diego worked a little ninth inning magic of their own, as they and Colorado are tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth.
San Francisco leads Cincinnati 5-3, and you know that everyone on the Giants is probably a little bit giddy at the news that Bonds will not be returning next year.
Yankees open a four game set against the Blue Jays tonight, their last home series of 2007.
...I cannot believe I just said that!
Chien Ming Wang is on the mound today, and, as it's a home game, Yankees fans can hope for a strong bounce-back performance.
This will not be an easy series; Toronto just swept Boston, and Boston's not exactly a bad team, as much as we all might want to think otherwise.
The Jays have their four best starters going, starting tonight with Halladay, who is a potential Cy Young award winner in future years. Seriously, if Toronto ever grasps the concepts of 'staying healthy' and 'offensive production', they will be a force to contend with...if they played in any other division (except maybe the AL or NL West), they would be right there in the race for the division crown.
A-Rod has been slumping badly, having not hit a home run since Kansas City and having little other offensive production. He did have the game winning hit in that first Boston game, which gets him off a little bit, but we'll need all the offense we can get tonight.
The Red Sox have Josh Beckett on the mound tonight, against Tampa Bay, so although Tampa has Kazmir going the likelihood that the Yanks will end the night tied in the loss column is slim.
Here's to hoping!
It's amazing. I can spend four hours in a car, just driving, and afterwards be completely beat.
I plopped myself down in a kitchen chair and I haven't moved since about 10 PM, except to get a glass of water.
Anyway, just because the Yankees didn't play today (or the Red Sox), doesn't mean that everyone else had an off day.
Baltimore beat Texas 6-3 in 10, scoring five in the 10th. How the Orioles--whose team members didn't even try to slide while base-stealing in New York--have won any game at all is much past my grasp of understanding.
Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0. The Royals are a game up on the Chi Sox in the loss column. The idea that the Royals, a team that was supposed to lose 100 games this year, could finish ahead of the 2005 World Series Champions is almost beyond comprehension.
The Angels lead Seattle 9-4 in the seventh. The Angels are likely to officially end Seattle's AL West hopes this weekend. It was a nice ride for the Mariners, but they more or less decided the ship they were sailing on was the Titanic, and acted appropriately.
Houston beat St. Louis 18-1, scoring all but four of their runs in the sixth inning and after, which would lead one to believe that St. Louis's bullpen is taking lessons from Boston.
Atlanta beat Milwaukee 3-1, as the Brewers have not been doing themselves any favors of late. The Cubs were off, so Milwaukee now trails by 1.5 games in the division.
The Mets lost to Florida 8-7 in 10, and all of a sudden the Mets seem to have decided that the Yankees really are the better team in New York City. Ahead of Philadelphia by seven games on September 12th, their lead is now down to 1.5 (the same in some other supposedly 'done' division), and they are in danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
The Phillies beat Washington 7-6, as Washington has apparently decided they would rather see Philadelphia win the NL East.
San Diego beat Pittsburgh 6-3, as the Padres seem to have finally reclaimed their winning ways of 1998 (World Series notwithstanding).
Colorado beat the Dodgers 9-4. Get this: The ROCKIES have 81 wins. Let me say this again. The Rockies have 81 wins. They will finish above .500, barring a complete and utter collapse. They might be trailing a little too much to take the NL Wild Card now, but watch out in 2008.
...I cannot believe I am saying things like that!
Cincinnati beat San Francisco 4-2, but both cities have long stopped following baseball and started following football. Cincinnati has no luck, though, does it? I mean, the Reds and the Bengals? At least for San Francisco the 49ers had guys like Joe Montana and Steve Young...
I will eventually get my bum off this chair, but I'm tired and falling asleep here seems like a wonderful possibility...
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I am about to head home for Yom Kippur...it's a four hour drive to my corner of New Jersey from Syracuse, so the schedule makers sent a blessing in disguise when they made today an off day.
Trust me, you do NOT want me driving a car and listening to the baseball game at the same time. There is not much good that can come out of that...
I will be able to watch the game on Saturday, and maybe the one Friday night as well, but definitely not the one on Sunday, so I need you all to keep the OPTIMISM going for me, okay?
I would like to say
גמר התימה טבוה
to Shaun Green, Ryan Braun, Kevin Youkilis (yes, even him) and any other observing Yom Kippur, ball player, blog reader or passerby.
I did a little layout editing last night, the picture on the top of the side bar is my own, taken on 6 July 2007. Check out the ClustrMap...see where your fellow readers hail from!
I think, maybe after the season, I'll work on a customized layout, similar to the one I have on my LiveJournal (only in navy blue, silver and white, and not the red and black I have!), and give this a little sprucing up...
...For now though, it's the content that matters.
I'll catch you all later tonight or sometime tomorrow.
Okay, last week I think I stayed barely around the .500 mark, might have been under.
Honestly, though? Did anyone have the Browns over the Bengals?
Yeah, me neither.
San Diego over Green Bay. I need LT to have a big game, or my fantasy team is dead in the water!
New England over Buffalo. The Patriots just don't know how to lose. Which makes the Spygate thing make you go 'head, meet desk' even more.
Philadelphia over Detroit, because 0-2 Eagles and 2-0 Lions can't possibly last.
St. Louis over Tampa Bay. They've been close two games now, this one puts them over the edge.
Indianapolis over Houston. Like Torre, I have this whole 'experience' thing.
Cleveland over Oakland. I can't pick against a team that beat Cincinnati...and scored 51 points doing it.
Carolina over Atlanta. Did you see Steve Smith last week? That was just nasty.
Chicago over Dallas. Chicago's home, so I give them the non-existent edge.
Minnesota over Kansas City. I wonder if they're showing the Pathfinder movie before the game?
Jets over Miami. Yes, the Jets are 0-2, but they lost to the Patriots (who don't lose to anyone) and nearly tied the game in Baltimore with their backup QB starting. We'll know a lot more about this team the end of week three.
Pittsburgh over San Francisco. San Francisco's not too shabby this year...but Pittsburgh's put the pounding on Clevland and Buffalo.
Baltimore over Arizona. Defense wins championships.
Denver over Jacksonville. Can they make it three last-minute FG wins in a row?
Cincinnati over Seattle. You know Palmer's itching for a win.
Washington over the Giants. It's not just that the Giants are 0-2, but that it looks like Notre Dame could beat them, and have an easy time doing it.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
English papers be damned.
History is where it's at, and history is what the Yanks have done, are doing and will do.
Andy Pettitte was BRILLIANT in his start. He was due for a good start, and tonight, despite the eight hits, he got the big outs--something like four double plays in 7.1 innings pitched.
He is the guy you want on the mound in a big game. He might have bad games, but there's no one else that can pitch that often, and you can just feel a Yankees' win...
Joba was Joba for the one batter he faced, and Mo...well, should I decide I want to die of a heart attack, I'll put him on the mound, game 7 ALCS against Boston or World Series against Mets, with the tying run on second and two out...
Only joking. I love Mo! Greatest of all time, indeed!
The Yankees' bats only managed five hits today, but they were five big ones. A solo HR by Matsui was the biggest, obviously.
Mientkiewicz, appropriately scored the GW run on a wild pitch. Why was it appropriate? Because, once again, he showed that defense wins championships. Two BRILLIANT plays, assisted by A-Rod, of course, but you all know that as well as Giambi has been playing, he's not going to stretch like that.
If USA gymnastics needs an alternate or something in Beijing, they might want to consider the Mient Man!
The part that everyone will be talking about: 1.5 back of the division.
If you told anyone in May, and I mean anyone, that this would be the case in September, when we were 14.5 back, they would say 'no way, stop living in 1978.'
If you follow baseball at all, what you're witnessing right now is history, and, as a history major, this fills me with the utmost GLEE!
Enjoy it. I know I am.
Oh, and by the way, we just swept the Orioles.
SCORES AND STUFFS
Well, again, everyone knows this one. Toronto beat Boston 6-1. It was a 2-1 game for most of the game, and then, with two out in the bottom of the night, Russ Adams hit a home run. There were three men on base. Some call it a Grand Slam, I'm a fan of the Four-Run-Home Run! Anyway, the GS was off of Paplebom, as the bullpen collapse in Boston is absolute. Who wudda thunk it? Baseball's most 'given' division is now the most interesting...
Detroit lost to Cleveland, 4-2, pretty much having decided they really don't want the Wild Card after all. Cleveland, and not Boston, now is tied for the best record in the AL--and because the AL >> NL, the best record in baseball. Again, who wudda thunk it?
The Indians are tied with the Angels for that record, as the Angels beat Tampa by the blowout score of 2-1. The Angels, like the Yankees, also understand that defense wins championships.
Seattle beat Oakland 9-4, as Hernandez has now won three straight starts. If he had won those starts a bit earlier, they might actually have mattered.
The Chi Sox beat Kansas City 7-0, in what is one of the only offensively productive games of the night, but that's what happens when teams can't pitch...well, at least Kansas City. I still can't get over the fact that KC has a pitcher named Billy Buckner...
Minnesota leads Texas 4-2 in the seventh. Minnesota is in serious danger of finishing the season under .500. Remember, this was supposed to be a good team...
The Mets beat Washington, 8-4, finally ending their losing streak. I think, then, the Red Sox 'collapse' can officially be considered bigger than the Yankees'.
Atlanta beat Florida 5-1, barely staying relevant.
The Cubs beat Cincinnati 3-2. Alfonso Soriano has turned into a really good lead-off hitter, but, even so, A-Rod has the MVP season...
Milwaukee and Houston are tied at two in the eighth. Prince Fielder hit #47, inching closer to A-Rod, who has been slumping.
Philadelphia and St. Louis are tied at one in the ninth, in another game that threatens that can go long.
The Dodgers are up on Colorado 5-4 in the seventh. The two seem to be playing each other a lot, don't they?
San Francisco and Arizona are tied at two in the third, Arizona has the bases loaded. Remember when this Barry Zito guy was supposed to be good? Yeah, me niether.
San Diego is up on Pittsburgh 2-1 in the 3rd. I'm really glad I'm not on the west coast; I couldn't stay up that late!
Okay, I am FINALLY going to get that English paper done. Well, maybe after Sportscenter.
I've got to write an English paper and I'd like to get most of it done before game time, so I'll keep this short-n-sweet:
Yankees have already won this series against Baltimore, but a win tonight for the sweep coupled with Detroit having lost already means we are THAT much more secure in our playoff spot.
Pettitte is pitching tonight; he has not yet won in September and had a rough go of it at Fenway, though he was no doubt hurt by Giambi. Look for a strong bounce-back performance tonight.
Duncan has made his way in tonight's line up as the DH; it's great to see him finally getting some ABs.
Hopefully, Melky batting lead off will do well to keep his bat going.
Posada batting behind Rodriguez is extra protection, as A-Rod is in a mini-slump, and Matsui seems to be coming out of his slump at the right time.
Anyway, off to write paper. Nothing like religion in Victorian literature to get the intellect flowing!
Sometime back in late July or early August, I said it was going to be one hell of a finish.
Looks like I was right.
We got to four games back a couple of times back in August, but couldn't break through that barrier, so when going into last weekend's series at Boston, it felt like we'd have to sweep to have a chance at winning the division.
Apparently, this isn't the case. The AL East has gone from the most 'over' division now to one of the closest.
It has the feeling of one of those seasons where everything will be decided on September 30.
Coincidentally, that's the football game my friend and I got tickets for...go timing!
It's kind of funny--everyone considered the AL East was out of reach. Even Brian Cashman had said "we just need to get in"...but you can't help but feel that people in Boston are getting very anxious.
However, when I said 'one hell of a finish', I wasn't just talking about the Yankees...
At the time, Seattle and Detroit were in the division mixes, and while this is no longer the case, they certainly made things very interesting for a while.
In the National League, well, this is where it's just as good:
The Mets, who have been in first place since May, have seen their division lead whittled away to 1.5 games. Yeah. 1.5. Should the Phillies make the playoffs--and if the Mets and Phillies keep playing the same way, they will--Charlie Manuel deserves votes for manager of the year. You would have thought that with the injury to Chase Utley, they'd be done, but then they go and sweep the Mets...
The NL Central, otherwise known as The Division No One Wants To Win, is a virtual deadlock between the Cubs and the Brewers, and, for a while, the Cardinals as well. It's horrible that the Brewers and Cubs don't have any more games together, but at the beginning of the season, did anyone have them finishing 1-2 in the division? Thought not.
The NL West as well is going to come down to the wire between San Diego and Arizona. Personally, I'm rooting for Arizona.
There's some payback from 2001 that needs doing.
The most satisfying scenario for the Yankees here on out?
Beating the Angels, ALDS.
Beating the Sox (preferably less than 7) in the ALCS.
Beating Arizona ALCS.
That's payback for 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, all wrapped up in one October...
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I could start by talking about how the Yankees just decided to take the hard road for the division or about how 2007 (right now) beats the hell out of 1978, but I won't talk about that...just yet.
It might get lost in the twelve run offensive outburst, but Mussina's 7 shut-out innings were simply brilliant.
He gave up just three hits, and one walk, and didn't allow a runner to scoring position until the seventh. It deserves to be considered for his best start this season, and, well, he sure picked a good day to have a good start! It's amazing, we have a six man rotation, and the last starting pitcher to lose a game? Chien Ming Wang.
That tells you something.
Offensively, the Yankees did everything right. We did the whole couple-big-innings thing, instead of Torre's patented chip-away thing, but a win is a win is a win, especially when the final score is 12-0.
Jeter, Abreu, Matsui, Posada, Cano and Mient Man had great games; Cabrera had a sac-fly RBI, and when you break slumps, you start small.
Best offensive moment of the night? Mientkiewicz's HUGE home run, both in terms of distance and importance to the game, which was still close at that point. In the course of about one week he's gone from automatic out to hottest player on the team. He wants to be on the postseason roster pretty bad.
A-Rod has been slumping a bit, hasn't hit a Home Run since Kansas City, and it looks like he's pressing. Don't worry; if he slumps now it means he should be fine for October.
Oh, another fact that might escape your notice:
Tonight's win means the Yankees have finally won a series against Baltimore. No reason to not go after the sweep, of course, but winning the games we have to win sure feels good...especially when teams like Boston, err, don't.
This isn't 1978.
It's 2007, and it's so much better. Why?
Right now, what we are seeing is the birth of a dynasty.
Yeah, there are growing pains, but that's necessary. That we can have these growing pains (like Phil's first inning jitters and Cano's swinging at everything) and still be just 2.5 back of Boston in a season in which we were, at one point, 14.5 back, says VOLUMES about our team. Try to think of any other team that managed to rebuild and win in the same year?
You can't, can you?
If you liked the teams of '96, '98, '99 and '00, stay tuned...unless I've missed the mark completely, we're about to surpass that.
This year is where it all starts.
Consider yourself lucky, we’re on to something HUGE.
SCORES AND STUFFS
In a score probably known everywhere starting in Jersey, radiating up north through Maine and then west to Toronto, Boston blew a one-run lead and lost 4-3 to Toronto. Eric Gagne had one of his now-trademarkable collapses, as he walked the bases loaded and the game-tying run in with TWO OUTS in the eighth. Right now, Brian Cashman is a genius...
In a score which is probably more important, Detroit lost to Cleveland, 7-4, to fall five games back in the loss column of the Yankees. Again, it's too soon to know anything for sure, but Detroit is fast running out of games to make up the deficit. That they collapsed after leads of 5-1 and 4-1 is kind of just like holding a giant mirror up to their season...
Kansas City is up on the Chi Sox 3-2 in the ninth, as they try to surprise everyone and finish somewhere other than last place in the AL Central.
Minnesota is up on Texas 4-2. This game doesn't matter much, but both teams play Detroit and/or Boston in the remaining schedule, so any signs of them playing good baseball is a good thing for Yankees' fans.
LA is up on Tampa 1-0 in the third. It sounds weird, but the Yankees might actually want LA to win. If the Yanks win the division, we want Cleveland to have the third seed, not the second.
Seattle is up on Oakland 3-1, but they are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Talk about a September you'd like to forget...
The Rockies beat the Dodgers 3-1 in game one of their double-header; the Dodgers are up 7-5 in the nightcap, in the 8th.
Washington beat the Mets 9-8, as the Amazins' blow another four run lead. You know, if you think Boston is on the verge of collapse, the Mets lead will be down to 1.5 games if Philadelphia can beat St. Louis.
Speaking of which, Philly and St. Louis are tied at three in the ninth.
Cincinnati beat the Cubs 5-2, a loss that hurts as the Cubs only had a one game lead on Milwaukee, who...
...are up 9-1 on Houston in the ninth.
Atlanta is up 4-3 on Florida in the ninth, as they've decided that the Mets losing = good time to start winning games.
Arizona is up 4-0 on San Francisco in the third, and...
San Diego is up 4-2 in the third against Pittsburgh.
Going to take a breath now...
First off I'd like to thank everyone who responded to my previous post! It's kind of creepy that this blog comes up if I put it in Google, but, hey, the more the merrier!
The Yankees have their destiny in their hands. No other way to put it.
Win tonight, and the lead in the Wild Card looms that much larger.
The Yankees have Mussina going tonight, against Leicester for Baltimore. As a history major, I can't look at Leicester and NOT think of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley...
Anyway. Leicester's got the better Win/Loss record, but Mussina's got the lower ERA, and, well, that should say something. Yankees fans everywhere are hoping Moose can pull a repeat of what he did in Toronto...
Best case scenario, Mussina goes deep into the game, into the seventh or eighth, and the Yanks' bats are the 'feast' variety tonight, because without Joba/Viz/K-Ram/Farnsy available and most likely without Mo (no way in hell should he have to pitch tonight!), our bullpen is severely depleted. How depleted, you ask? We have at our disposal tonight:
...yea, if there was a game we need good offensive production, it's tonight.
HOWEVER, a squirrel has twice crossed my path today.
I'm not too worried.
Oh, and I've been thinking: how awesome would it be to hear the Stadium roar if the Yankees overtook the Red Sox for first? I know the only way that could happen is for the Yanks to win five in a row and the Red Sox to lose five in a row, but hey, stranger things have happened...
Okay guys, gals and gender unspecifieds!
So, it's been about half a month now that I've kept this going, which, for me, is a really long time to get anything going. If I last past the month, and right now there seems to be no reason to think otherwise, I think I'd be in the clear to call this a successful venture.
So I'd like to know what you all think.
How am I doing so far? I've never done a blog like this before, and I'd love to make it as entertaining as possible, so you, my loyal or just-stumbled-upon-this reader will want to check back...
What have I done well? More importantly, what should I work on? Do my pregame/game recaps work? Is there something of which you'd like to see more or less?
I'm a baseball fan, not a baseball journalist or scholar, and thus there are quite a few things I don't know, but I guess you can call it learning on the job. For example, I learned on Saturday the difference between pitching from the wind up and pitching from the stretch...
I know most of the readers here are from PeteAbe's blog; I'm curious to know if there are any who have come across this blog from Google or another site...
Let me know what you think.
This is like a baby and you know what they say: If you
build develop nurture it, they will come!
Monday, September 17, 2007
That was a good, old-fashioned win, except for the small part where the bullpen decided to make it as scary as possible.
Phil Hughes needs to find a better way to warm up--through the first 30 pitches his ERA is over 10; afterwards his ERA is around 2.55.
Tonight, he was true to form: Two runs in the first on over 30 pitches, and then no runs afterwards. I wish I could say first inning jitters aren't a big deal, but if Hughes is matched up against a pitcher like Sabathia or Lackey, two or three runs in the first might not be such a small thing.
Anyway, the important part is that he did settle down, and did more than give the Yankees a chance to win; he won the game! Hughes got his first Yankee Stadium win, and you have to feel that he's broken through the wall, if you know what I mean...if you can win at Yankee Stadium, you can win anywhere.
Bullpen: K-Ram was great with the bases loaded, getting the one strike out, but the next inning, it looked like bad K-Ram had showed up, so I'm not totally down on Torre waiting so long for Viz to get in...but Viz performed wonderfully. Just a pity that he couldn't pitch the ninth, could have saved both Farnsworth and Mo.
Farnsworth was back to his old tricks, though part of it was probably because he hasn't pitched in so long. Still, though, there's no reason the Yankees should have had to brink Mo in...
Ah. Right. Important thing: Yanks won.
Offensively, it's a much better story.
Every Yankee except for Giambi had a hit, a far cry from the lack of offense in all but two innings for the Yanks against Boston in their series this past weekend.
The bottom of the order, especially was spot on, and it was great to see Matsui hit one out again and both Cano and the Mient Man had great hits.
Posada had three hits...any other year but this, the chants of MVP would be raining down on him...
Anyway, it was great to see the Yankee bats doing the little things, driving in runs with runners in scoring position (including a hit by Damon that went off the back of Daniel Cabrera), and playing a clean game in the field. Cano made a GREAT play for an out in the ninth, but don't be surprised if you don't see it in the highlight reels.
Now the fun part:
The win tonight coupled with Boston and Detroit losses means that the Yanks are 3 games back in the loss column in the East and 4 up in the loss column in the Wild Card.
It's too soon to say for sure that the Yanks have the WC locked up, but it's at that point now where every win and every loss is huge, and the difference between a three game lead and a four game lead can seem like a gulf of eternity.
So, for Yankees' fans, it's best to have faith: there's no reason to not hope for the East, expect the Wild Card, but take NOTHING for granted.
This is our year.
We just have to get there first.
A note: Bob Sheppard missed tonight's game with laryngitis. Sending out my best get well soon wishes his way!
Scores and Stuffs
Well, most of you will know Toronto beat Boston 6-1. What you might not know is that Frank Thomas hit THREE HRs, and McGowan pitched a complete game for the Blue Jays. Doesn't mean I want McGowan pitching against the Yankees, but for the moment, I can appreciate what he did!
Cleveland beat Detroit 6-5 in eleven, coming back from 5-1 to do so...coincidentally, that is why when the Yanks were down 5-1 to Boston on Friday, I wasn't that worried. Detroit must be crushed by the loss...
The White Sox beat Kansas City 11-3, Javier Vazquez having 13 strike outs in the process. I could make some chide remark about him not doing that on the Yankees, but that would be juvenile...
Minnesota beat Texas in the bottom of the ninth, but ESPN says the score is 4-4, so I can't actually tell you what the final score is...
Seattle is up on Oakland 1-0 in the sixth, a game unlikely to have any postseason significance whatsoever.
LA is up on Tampa 5-4 in the 3rd, a game that's remarkably see-saw-ish for such mismatched teams.
Atlanta beat Florida 11-6, keeping their slim hopes (still) alive. Oh, those pesky Braves...(I do kind of miss the late '90s heyday, when Yankees-Braves was nearly as crazy as Yanks-Sox!)
The Mets did themselves no favors, losing to Washington 12-4. Looks like they're trying to find the most painful way to get into the playoffs...I'm telling you. Cardiologists everywhere are on the secret payroll of NY sports teams!
Philadelphia gets the HEART ATTACK award for tonight, though. They beat St. Louis 13-11. At one point, the score was 11-0. Yeah. St. Louis had two on in the bottom of the ninth, and you have to think that if St. Louis was so adamant about not being able to win a game in the final month of the season, that they would have one the game. Philadelphia escaped; their bullpen should be doing anything but celebrating tonight...
Cubs beat the Reds 7-6, scoring three in the ninth, as, at last, one team in the NL Central has decided that winning the division isn't really a bad thing.
Milwaukee beat Houston 6-0, but neither Ryan Braun nor Prince Fielder homered.
San Francisco leads Arizona 3-2 in the 6th. Don't think it will hold, though.
San Diego is up on Pittsburgh 3-0 in the 7th, a good, old-fashioned game, which probably means something crazy will happen, or has happened but not in the box score!
What a night!
This week I went 7-8, likely to be 7-9. In my defense, did ANYONE have the Browns over the Bengals or the Bucs over the Saints?
The Yankees return home tonight--FINALLY--after a road trip in which they went 7-2...and by all accounts should have gone 8-1 (the Kennedy game being the one in question). It should be considered a successful road trip, in spite of the loss to Boston. Just bad luck that Detroit picked this time to go on their own winning streak as well!
Tonight the Yankees have Phil Hughes on the mound, who has pitched remarkably better of late, though, like Kennedy needs to get the first inning jitters out of his system.
The Orioles have Daniel Cabrera, who has supposedly been horrible of late....but it's the same guy that two-hit the Yankees the night Scooter died. Go figure.
If you want to talk about demons, the Orioles have certainly been that this season to the Yankees, so it's the perfect time for the Yanks' to excise them!
A-Rod has not hit a home run since Kansas City. With the return home now, where he's much less likely to get booed, his chances of hitting one out improve. The mental aspect of the game is huge for A-rod, so not having a chorus of boos raining down on him should help.
I'm off to do some work. I don't know what on, but the choices are endless: English paper, English reading, Lit reading, Thesis reading, GRE studying, Geography paper...
I'm still catching my breath from last night. My heart is still pounding, my nerves still rattling, and still I remind myself:
This is why we do this.
This is why Yankees-Red Sox is the greatest rivalry in American sports.
This is why people like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and David Ortiz exist.
This is why you stay up till midnight on a Sunday, why you get odd looks from the people downstairs when you start screaming at the TV.
This is why you still haven't forgiven your brother for getting tickets to that ALCS game in 2003 or 2004, whatever it was.
This is why you get chills any time the words 'Yankees-Red Sox are uttered'.
This is why nearly 100 years of history has the power it does.
This is why when I went to Boston for the first time ever aged 12 my Dad said, "You're wearing a Yankees' sweatshirt? You're going to get killed!" and I said, "I'm still wearing it."
This is why we do this, year after year.
If there's anything better in American sports, I don't know it.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Derek Jeter lives for moments like these, Roger Clemens proves that a bloody arm beats the heck out of a bloody sock, Doug Mientkiewicz shows that defense really is important, and Mo is apparently an undercover operative for cardiologists everywhere.
You knew a Yankees-Red Sox game, when the last meeting of the season, would be crazy, but, I don't actually think I've stopped shaking yet!
Anyway, better start at the beginning.
Ask anyone on the street what pitching match up they'd most want to see of the weekend, they would have probably said Wang/Beckett, but they should have chosen Clemens/Schilling.
Clemens was a bit wild in the first, but, had Johnny Damon caught that first ball, the Yankees would have gotten out of the inning without a run. He settled down after that, and at one point struck out four Red Sox hitters in a row.
Who says pitching with ligament damage in your arm is a bad idea?
Also in the first, Doug Mientkiewicz made a play that saved the game for the Yankees, by diving to stop a ground ball hit by Varitek (I think it was Varitek), and then getting up and diving again to get to the base before the runner. It saved two runs from scoring, and kept the game at 1-0.
Mientkiewicz also made other great plays, including a grab--and--shuffle to Clemens. Oh, and in case you forget, he was on base when Jeter had his BIG BLOW OF DOOM.
However, before I get to Jeter I should mention that Robinson Cano's solo HR to tie the game should not be without mention; it was an impressive shot and without it, well, we're still playing baseball right now!
Anyway, the fun stuff.
You knew when Jeter came up with two out in the eighth that he had to come through then, and he didn't disappoint. Jeter's made his career and his Stuff-Of-Legend by coming up big in important spots, and there aren't many spots more important than a 1-1 game with two on and two out. Of course, because it wouldn't be baseball otherwise, Jeter had to get to two strikes before he hit it....
Even still, it wasn't the most nerve-wracking part of the night!
That part came in the ninth, when Mo had what can best be described as not-his-best-performance. After all, you'd think that with Varitek, Hinske and Lugo up that it'd be a quick inning, but the lead off walk was telling, and then the HBP...
Deep down, however, you knew it had to come down to Mo and David Ortiz, and you know what? Despite the fact that I'm gonna die of a heart attack before this season's out, I'm glad it came down to that, because the last time I remember the two facing off it was October 2004, and we know what happened then. This time, you have to believe that certain demons were excised.
Anyway, could a Yankees/Red-Sox game end any other way?
You also might be interested in considering:
The Yankees just went 7-2 on their road trip. They just had a better road trip than homestand. We won THREE one run games on the road, too. That had been a major problem for us. Apparently, not so much any more. You have got to believe there are good vibes in the clubhouse tonight.
The division is once again at 4.5 games. It's not likely the Yankees will win it, but it's possible. After all, all it takes is to win your games when the other team loses theirs. Anything can happen.
I said back at the end of July, in my LiveJournal, that we were in for one hell of a finish.
I have not been disappointed.
SCORES AND STUFFS
Kansas City beat Cleveland 4-3. Get this: The winning pitcher's name? Billy Buckner. Yeah. I know.
Baltimore beat Toronto 8-6 in 12. I'm probably alone in thinking this, but if your team is officially just playing out the string, do you really want the game going to 12? Well, I guess since Toronto is still in the WC race they might have had a reason, but, even still...
The Chi Sox beat the Angels 9-7, winning it on a walk off HR from Jim Thome, the 500th of his career. I highly doubt that Jim Thome reads blogs, but in case someone knows someone that knows someone, I offer my congragulations.
Detroit beat Minnesota 6-4, as Detroit keeps pace with New York for the Wild Card. They've won five straight and thus offered the Yankees no help whatsoever.
Tampa Bay beat Seattle 9-2 as Seattle has done everything in its power to have that utter collapse everyone kept talking about back in July and August.
Texas beat Oakland 11-9 and the Yankees should be glad they don't have to play them, as they've been playing rather...uhhh...good baseball of late.
Philadelphia beat the Mets 10-6, completing a sweep and making the NL East just about as interesting as the AL East.
Atlanta beat Washington 3-0, as the team of the 90s refuses to die twelve years after it won the World Series.
Milwaukee beat Cincinnati 5-2. The Brew Crew has already topped it's season total for wins last year, though, in all honesty, if they go 0-12 the rest of the way, would it really surprise anyone?
Houston beat Pittsburgh 15-3 in a game that really does mean nothing.
The Cubs beat St. Louis 4-2 to stay atop the NL Central, as the Cardinals have completely collapsed since the Ankiel HGH story broke.
Colorado beat Florida 13-0. Todd Helton had his 300th career home run, so my congratulations to him as well.
San Diego beat San Francisco 5-1. Does Bonds even still play now?
Arizona beat LA 6-1, tightening their grip on the NL West.
Yankees return home tomorrow to play the Orioles. At least the Yankees will not be facing Guthrie or Bedard...
I know it's early for an eight PM game, but I do want to be able to watch the Jets and get some coursework done (yeah, like I'll actually do that...)
[Edit]: Nevermind. What the hell is going on with Pete's blog? I'm really frustrated right now...
The Yankees need to win today.
Simple as that.
If they win today, it would put them at 7-2 on the road trip, not a bad mark at all. If they win, they'll keep their wild card lead where it is now, which is critical as Detroit has suddenly found an inability to lose.
That being said, it certainly would not be an easy win.
Clemens (Roger, not Kellen) is playing with ligament damage in his elbow--which, in my mind beats the hell out of the whole bloody sock thing. After all, it's the elbow that's most critical to being able to pitch...
The Yankees' bats obviously need a much better showing than they had yesterday, though it's good to know that Joba and Mo are certainly available, a much better situation for the bullpen.
I have to wonder: am I alone in wishing this game didn't start at 8 PM? It's not a big deal on a weekend, but I like to be able to go to sleep before 2 AM when I have class the next day...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Nearly any one of you that's reading this will know me for my OPTIMISM WORKS campaign on Pete's blog, and my general attempt to be as optimistic as possible, and to never give up hope to the very end.
There's a reason to it, and it goes beyond sports.
See, I was taught at a very young age that no matter how bad anything gets, you always have to have hope.
I'm not just talking about Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series or 1978 or the Titans/Rams Superbowl a few years back or Appalachian State over Michigan...
What I'm talking about is Anne Frank and Hotel Rwanda and 1000 Splendid Suns. What I'm talking about is the hope the 300 Spartans had at Thermopylae (sp), the hope that London had during the Blitz.
Maybe it's the history major in me, but the whole 'hope' thing gets me every time.
Hope is what makes us human.
Hope is why Red Sox Nation did not implode in 2003, and why the Wrigley faithful still go, every single time.
Hope is why even after the Yankees went down to Atlanta 2-0 and I asked my Dad if the Yankees had won the night before and he said "of course not!" I didn't quite think that it meant the Yankees would lose the World Series.
Hope is why the Yankees came back from down 7-2 in the 8th last night.
Hope is why Yogi Berra is the greatest quote-maker that's ever graced the face of the planet.
Hope is why we do this.
Hope is why we watch.
Hope is why we think about October in April.
Hope is why they play ALL 27 outs.
Hope IS baseball.
I live for this.
In the world of baseball, an inability to throw strikes when pitching is widely considered to be a bad thing.
The Yankees should take note.
Chien Ming Wang was not good today, but for much of the game he was able to keep the Yankees in it.
The bullpen, however, blew this one...with a little (ok, a lot) of help from Torre. When he took K-Ram out, who had not pitched poorly, to put in Villone, Bruney and Henn, you knew that the end of this game was going to be ugly.,
Sean Henn, especially, has been awful. I can't remember the last time he got an out...
The Yankees' offense wasn't much better. Jeter got the game off to a good start, but the Yankees' offense afterwards was non-existent. Jeter had another hit, and Robby blooped one, but I don't remember any other Yankee putting good wood on ball.
However, I cannot end the recap without mentioning Posada's defense today, blocking the plate against Hinske.
That, right there, is why Posada is one of the most valuable players to have ever donned the pinstripes.
Still, it's not the end of the world. The Yankees still have the lead in the Wild Card race. They have Clemens going up against Schilling, and you know the Yanks have no love for Curt.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
(it's only a day away...)
Scores and Stuffs
Toronto beat Baltimore 8-3, as Baltimore reverts back to the losing it does best. Frank Thomas went yard.
Oakland beat Texas 7-3, in the battle to stay out of the AL West basement. The AL East is normally the toughest division in baseball, but the AL West isn't exactly a walkover...
Clevland is up on KC 1-0 in the third, LA up on the Chi Sox 1-0 in the third, and Detroit up on Minnesota 4-0, also in the third.
Philadelphia beat the Mets 5-3. I think Philadelphia is to the Mets what the Orioles have been to the Yankees this year...
The Cubs beat St. Louis 3-2 as St. Louis has not won a game now for nine straight.
LA Dodgers beat Arizona 6-2, and they are now only 3.5 games out of first in the NL West. Hold onto your hats folks, this one could have a wild finish!
Milwaukee is up on Cincinnati 3-1 in the fourth, Prince Fielder doing the home run thing again.
Pittsburgh is up on Houston 5-1 in the fourth, in a series that has no bearing on the postseason whatsoever.
Atlanta is up on Washington 3-2 in the third, Chipper Jones has homered a lot in September...
Tampa--Seattle, Florida--Colorado, San Francisco--San Diego and Cubs--St. Louis part two all have yet to get underway.
I'm going to drown my sorrows of today away with some noodles...
How do you beat last night's eighth inning comeback?
You take a little Wang and Beckett, put the two in the same pot filled with Fenway Park and add some Yanks/Sox as a little spice.
After tonight's win, the Yankees have the momentum, there's no denying that.
They are, so far, 6-1 on the road trip. Not a bad way to start, especially when you have just two games left before you can return home.
Anyway, about this afternoon:
Wang and Beckett are, whether they want to or not, pitching not just for the win, but probably for the AL Cy Young, winner take all.
Wang continually gets more run support--the most in the league--but for him to have a chance, the Yankees defense has to play much better than they played last night.
Probably no need to mention that if Wang can win tonight, he'll need just one more win for 20, and as it's September 15, he'll probably get at least two chances...
After last night's game, I would not be surprised to see Betemit or Mient. at first base, given how important solid defense is for Wang.
Still, the Yankees have GOT to be feeling good about themselves today.
They might be trailing in the AL East, but they have the momentum, and, well, we know what the Yankees can do when things start going right...
Friday, September 14, 2007
I mean, what else do you say after that?
That was not the type of game that most teams win.
Then again, the Yankees aren't most teams.
There is a reason you play 27 outs of baseball. There is a reason you never give up, a reason you never give in. There is a reason the Yankees have 26 rings.
Originally, I was going to title this post 'D'oh-fence', but then the eighth inning happened...
Andy Pettitte was ugly tonight...far from what most Yankees fans expected. It was probably just one of those games, he wasn't sharp early, and from the very first batter he got not help whatsoever from the defense (especially from Giambi, who had one of his worst games defensively this year)
Veras was okay, Henn was awful, and Bruney--yes, THAT Bruney--was the unsung hero. Viz had a great showing, despite playing hurt, and Mo was, well, Mo.
Offensively, I think everyone except Damon, Jorge and Matsui would like to forget the first seven innings. Posada's doubles and Matsui's triples were overshadowed by the inability to 'get the big hit', and when the bases were left loaded in the first, it wasn't a good sign.
Still, baseball, like history, turns on a dime.
All it takes is one good pitch or one good hit.
Jason Giambi, the one who really needed to redeem himself, was, of course, the one to start it with a lead-off solo shot to make the score 7-3.
Then Robby Cano followed with another.
Then Melky got on base, and until after A-Rod came up with the Game Winning RBI, the merry-go-round just kept on going. Jeter continued to define clutch, and Abreu continued to show that as he goes, so go the Yankees.
They don't have to be pretty, they just have to be wins.
All it takes is a little faith. There are twenty-seven outs in baseball.
You play all of them.
Scores and Stuffs
Detroit beat Minnesota 4-2, Timo Perez driving in three of Detroit's four. I cannot imagine anyone on the Tigers enjoyed watching tonight's game in Boston.
The White Sox beat the Angels, 5-3. That's weird. Weirder? The Angels have now lost two in a row, to the O's and ChiSox, arguably the two worst teams in baseball. Weirdest? Jose Contreras got the win. No, I am not making that up.
Baltimore beat Toronto 6-2, as Toronto seems to be chronically unable to understand the concept of 'offense'. No matter Toronto fans, hockey season is almost upon us...
Cleveland beat Kansas City 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, creating their own baseball classic.
Tampa and Seattle are tied at one in the bottom of the ninth, but as Seattle's got runners on the corners and no one out, don't expect it to stay that way for long.
Texas and Oakland are tied at nine. Check the line on that one, it's kind of funny.
In the division No One Wants to Win, (NOWW for short), the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-3, and Ankiel did not have a home run, as he seems to have stopped doing that. Zambrano got his win, for his 16th.
Cincinnati beat Milwaukee 6-5, so don't even ask me who's in first in the NOWW division. I really don't know. I'll just look at the calendar on October first.
Philadelphia beat the Mets 3-2 in the tenth, their faint playoff hopes not going anywhere quite yet.
Atlanta beat Washington 8-5. Washington was probably just glad to play in a park where people actually showed up.
Florida beat Colorado 7-6, but it's not likely anyone was there to see it.
Pittsburgh beat Houston 4-3, and would you believe it, but the Pirates have a better record than the Astros. The Astros and ChiSox, mind you, actually played in the World Series in 2005. (They say there's no parity in baseball...)
San Francisco leads San Diego 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, but San Diego's got two on and no one out, so this could get interesting quick.
LA leads Arizona 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth, and they're looking for more.
There's no denying tonight is huge.
It's one of those games where you plan your evening around it, and not the game around your evening.
For example, I worked on coursework this morning...something I almost never do...just so I have tonight free and clear to watch the game.
The Yankees have Pettitte on the mound tonight, and there aren't many (if, in fact, any) pitchers you'd rather have pitching tonight.
As much as I love the rookies, and I do, you want the best on the mound at Fenway tonight. You know how highly charged this series is, so you want someone on the mound that you know can handle the emotions that are present at only Yanks/Sox games.
Despite taking two out of three from Toronto, the offense has been a little shaky of late--so don't be surprised if the offense breaks out in a big way against a Red Sox pitcher, Matsuzaka, who has been awful in September.
I don't think we'll see Joba tonight unless the game is really close in the eighth, but then again, Torre's Torre.
It's odd to say, but the Yankees' have to hope that whatever was bugging Farnsworth last night isn't too serious. He's been really good of late, and if we got that pitcher in October, our bullpen becomes near unhittable.
I am going to go off to do some grocery shopping before the game; if the trolls get to be too annoying, you are all welcome to come here. They haven't found this one (yet).
What else is there to say?
One weekend. Yankees at Fenway.
If we come out with a sweep, we're only two games out of the division--well within reach before the end of the season.
Anything less, and we will have to content ourselves with the Wild Card.
You can be sure the Yankees know this.
You can be sure the Yankees want it.
You can be sure that, like the 300 Spartans, the Yankees know well that the only choices are to come back with their
shields bats...or on them!
You can be sure the Yankees are going to play for every out.
These are the games the Yankees thrive on: the ones that really, really matter. This is where Pettitte and Jeter and Posada and Mo and Matsui are at their best. This is where history, luck and sheer drive come together.
The Yankees aren't facing an army of 10,000 Persians, but no matter.
They will fight, just the same.
Will you join them?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Well, seven game win streaks are rare, and eight game win streaks are rarer still, so you knew the Yankees would lose one eventually, but there's no denying that this one hurt.
Ian Kennedy deserved a lot better.
If you seven and a third, walk three and give up *one* hit (and one run), you should, by all logical definitions, get the win. Especially when your team has more hits.
Still, you have to take away good vibes from Kennedy's performance. Nine times out of ten, what he threw will get you the win.
On a day the Yankees needed a good pitching performance just to stay in the game with AJ Burnett pitching for Toronto, Kennedy was pretty damned near perfect. If Melky had caught that ball in the first, we would have had Mo on in the ninth, and (probably) won the game.
Oh well. No use crying over spilt melk. I mean, milk.
Offensively, there's not much that can be said. Yankees were able to get a few men on base, but unable to bring any of them in. Damon more or less had to RBI himself in, but I can probably guarantee you that the Yankees' offense on the whole will be lining up to apologize to Kennedy for not doing better. Or, they should be, anyway. We didn't need 20 runs to win tonight, we just needed two, and the Yanks' were unable to deliver.
This isn't to take away from Burnett who pitched a great game, but in the top of the ninth, Melky should have been able to score at least Bobby Abreu.
Still, as I'm determined to end on a good note, we're now 5-1 on the road trip. I won't guarantee it, but it's not likely the Yankees will be swept by Boston--I mean, we've got Pettitte on the mound tomorrow, and you know Pettitte thrives when pitching after a Yankee loss. Same with Wang.
I have to say, though, with Torre pitching Britton in relief in the ninth, I can't help but wonder if Torre's mind was on the Red Sox, in the not-using-Mo-to-let-him-rest sort of way...
Ah well, we won the series, right?
Scores and Stuffs
Not many games tonight, and even fewer have ended.
Baltimore did something really odd. They won. They made it odder: They won 3-0. Oddest? They shut out the Angels. Guess there's nothing like having your manager eject the umpire to get things going...
Cincinnati beat St. Louis 5-4, as the Cardinals have more or less decided, y'know what, no thanks, we don't really want the NL Central.
Cubs are up on Houston 6-2 in the seventh. Six home runs so far in this one, four for the Chi boys and two for the Astros.
Philadelphia leads Colorado 11-4 in the seventh, as they're playing classic too-little-too-late baseball. Well, in the division race, anyway. Wild card is still very much in reach.
Texas-Oakland, Tampa-Seattle and San Diego-LA have all yet to get underway.
First off, I'd like to say that you guys are more than welcome to disagree with me--in fact, I'd encourage it, just as long as you're not trolling!
Tonight we've got The President, Ian Kennedy, going up Toronto's long vaunted but long injured pitcher AJ Burnett.
If Kennedy's previous starts are any indication, look for a rough first two innings, and then settling down a lot after that.
The Yankees bats haven't exactly been hot in Toronto, but they're getting the right hits at the right time, and enough pitching and defense to keep the lead intact, and win the games. In the baseball world, we call this 'practice for October'.
We all know what awaits the Yankees after tonight, but the Yankees, I can almost guarantee you, are only thinking about tonight. A win tonight and we are only 3.5 out in the loss column in the AL East.
It's interesting--the AL East seems right now like the one division that's a foregone conclusion, but there are actually three divisions where the division leader has a larger lead--the AL Central, West and NL East.
Don't be surprised if the AL East is decided on the last day of September.
It's been that kind of year.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It's not often that a team with four hits will beat a team with seven, but when you do the little things like walk and steal bases, it's certainly possible.
The Yankees just proved it.
First things first: Mussina, in one of the most critical starts of his career, was excellent. I'm not sure anyone expected him to go six; he got one out away from that, and no doubt if not for a couple of blown strike calls, he would have had it.
However, there's absolutely no reason to complain when your starter pitches 5.2 scoreless innings...
It wasn't likely that K-Ram would have been in the game for much more than one batter, given that the Yanks needed one out to get out of the inning, but still, the decision to use him here after having pitched two innings yesterday has got to raise some questions.
Which brings me to Joba.
He had a very nice, Joba-like seventh inning. Why he was brought out in the eighth, I'm not sure--I don't know how the Yanks justify being able to use him for two games in the Boston season.
However, good news the run scored was unearned. Though Joba did allow a run, his ERA is still 0.00, which is still a helluva lot better than that Buchholz chap!
Rivera made things interesting in the eighth, but returned to form in the ninth.
The top four guys on the Yankees today went something like 0-12, but Damon was robbed of an RBI when Wells trapped a hard-hit ball to center and the umpire called Damon out. On the replay, it was clearly a blown call.
More importantly, however, despite the Ofer, the top four guys did manage to walk a couple times, and Toronto paid the price.
Matsui had a great game, the type of game that breaks a slump--a great RBI single, and two walks, which means he's not trying to reach out of the strike zone to get his hits.
Robby Cano also had a great hit, but more importantly, he had great defense today. He had eleven assists, six in the first three innings alone. His defense now has improved greatly--it wasn't too long ago that even the routine throws over to first seemed to always pull Phillips or Giambi off of the bag.
It was the small things that got the game won tonight, and the Yankees have to be happy about that, despite A-Rod's error. I don't blame Joba if, for just tonight, he goes and considers Posada the MVP...
Anyway, more importantly. The Yankees have now won the series against Toronto, a series in which none of the pitching match-ups could really be said to be in our favor (Shaun Marcum is now 12-7, which is a better record than many of the Yankees' own starters, McGowan was 2-0 against the Yankees before tonight and we had Mussina on the mound, and tomorrow AJ Burnett is pitching), we've been able to win the games that matter.
Now, if only Tampa Bay knew that walking the Red Sox 'power guy' when the count is 3-1 is a much better decision than serving a fastball down the plate when there's a runner on and it's the bottom of the ninth, we'd be set!
Well, the Yankees can't concern themselves too much with Boston and Tampa--they have no control over it, and, well, for Tampa to take one of three is still not too bad.
Since I'm there anyway,
Scores and Stuffs
Boston beat Tampa, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth on an Ortiz HR. Ortiz actually had five RBI, meaning he was Boston's entire offense tonight. Well now, if Tampa couldn't hold a seven run lead yesterday, do you honestly think they were safe with a one run lead? Still, I guess of all the Red Sox pitchers to beat, Schilling isn't a bad target...
Detroit beat Texas 5-1 to keep pace in the Wild Card. However, unless Detroit puts together a seven game win streak the same time the Yanks put together a seven game lose streak, it looks like the Yankees are probably in with at least the Wild Card.
Angels beat Baltimore 18-6. Anaheim fans are probably astounded that they couldn't score twenty.
The Chi Sox did the impossible and won the game, beating Cleveland 7-4. Jim Thome had his 499th career home run. Yankees fans can take heart: If Thome hits #500 this year, it won't come against the Yankees!
Kansas City beat Minnesota 6-3, finally getting a win as they attempt to stay out of last place in the AL Central.
Seattle leads Oakland 2-1 in the third, but it looks more and more like the Mariners are just playing out the string.
In the National League,
The Mets beat Atlanta, 4-3, as the Mets continue to be one of the two best teams in the NL. If they and Arizona don't meet in the NLCS, it'll be a surprise, and as Colorado beat Philadelphia 12-0, it looks like the Phillies, too, are no longer eye-ing the NL East as a prize.
Cincinnati beat St. Louis, 5-1. Rick Ankiel had a hit and scored the Cardinals' only run, a bit of good news since the HGH story broke. He has not homered since the story broke.
Pittsburgh beat Milwaukee 7-4. Neither Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun homered as Milwaukee seems to be unable to decide whether or not they actually want to win the NL Central.
The Cubs beat Houston 3-2, so I think that means the Cubs and the Brewers are tied for first, but I'm not really sure and the best decision might be just to look at the Sports Page on October 1st.
The Dodgers are up 2-1 on the Padres in the fourth, and, rounding out the night, Arizona is up 3-0 in the fourth.
I would like to say Shana Tova to any and all Jewish readers, may the New Year be filled with sweet and happy memories. I don't have any apples or honey on me, however, you're on your own for that =P