Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hangover (Postgame Notes 10 August 2009)

It's common that when a team comes off a playoff-clinching performance to play flat the next day. A hangover, if you will.

The Yankees didn't clinch anything in their four game sweep of Boston, but you would have never known it from the atmosphere at the Stadium and the intensity in which those games were played.

Although the Yankees weren't exactly flat--they were done in more by bad pitching from Sergio Mitre than anything else--there was just something different about tonight.

It wasn't until the ninth inning that the crowd at the Stadium was anything close to alive, and by then it was pretty much too late--the Yankees best opportunities to tie the game had come earlier.

To be fair, had Sergio Mitre pitched to a modicum of a decent effort, the Yankees four runs could have been enough. One gets the feeling that any of the other Yankee starters and the 1-0 and 2-1 leads would not have been blown (almost) as soon as they were obtained.

At any rate, because of a heroic effort from Alfredo Aceves, no one else in the bullpen was used tonight, and Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui got (most) of a much-needed day off, while Posada had a day off from catching.

No, no one likes to lose, but when you're 31 of your last 42 it's hard to find decent reasons to complain.

The Yankees will be back at it tomorrow. Joba Chamberlain needs a decent outing to prove that his struggles against the Red Sox were an aberration and not him slipping back into his pre-All Star break whatchamacallits. However, the difference here is that while giving up 4 or 5 runs from Mitre constitutes an average and almost expected performance, the same from Chamberlain is considered failure. That's the difference between the first four in the Yankees' rotation and the guy that's pitching only because Wang's hurt and Hughes is otherwise occupied.

The important thing, as always, is to make sure that one loss doesn't become two.