Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stinging the Rays (Postgame Notes 07 June 2009)

Winning can change everything.

It can change something as simple as after game plans--deciding to eat Chinese food with friends instead of going straight back home, and it can change something as intangible, but still important, as the atmosphere in which it occurs.

For seven-and-a-half innings, the atmosphere at the Stadium was mostly that of a lull.

Fans cheered when Nick Swisher hit his home run in the third inning, and again when Melky Cabrera made a great diving catch, but when Joba Chamberlain gave up a bases-loaded single to change a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 deficit, some actually left the Stadium.*

Obviously, these people know nothing about the 2009 Yankees.

If they had, they would have seen the Stadium come alive in the bottom of the eighth.

Johnny Damon singled, Alex Rodriguez walked, Mark Teixeira walked, Robinson Canó walked and forced in a run, Jorge Posada reached on an error and Hideki Matsui legged out what would have been a double play.

All of a sudden a 3-1 deficit turned into a 4-3 lead, all without a hit, and a chance for Mariano Rivera to redeem himself after yesterday's failed outing, and redeem himself he did: A 1-2-3 ninth inning without a blink.

Perhaps more important, the Yanks have at least gotten the Tampa Bay monkey off their back, beating them at the Staduim for the first time this year. When push comes to shove, at the present moment Tampa has a bigger litany of issues than the Yankees, but they have been playing well of late and shouldn't be counted out.

Which means that wins like this mean that much more.

*How to tell Joba has the potential to be an ace: he had no, and I mean no command. It was still just 3-1 when he left the game.