I mean, seriously. Talk about a happy ending. After memorable tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard (such a nice touch dispensing with the player introductions), the Yankees somehow found a way to win one for The Boss. It just took awhile. The Rays had the lead. Then the Yankees tied it up. Then the Rays got the lead back. Then the Yankees tied it up. The script was practically written for Jeter to send the winning run home in the bottom of the ninth, but it was Swisher who played the hero and it was Granderson’s nifty slide at the plate that made a winner of Mo and took CC off the hook for the loss. What more could George ask for – his boys snuffed out the Rays at home in a tight contest.
There were some funky moments though – from A-Rod’s error and subsequent near decapitation by that splintered bat, to Swisher’s adventure in right field after Upton and Kapler had made incredible catches. And CC wasn’t at his sharpest. But high points included the back-to-back homers by Cano and Posada when it finally looked like Shields was tiring, and an outstanding relief performance by Robertson. Oh, and there was Mo’s pickoff of Upton; he made it look effortless. Somewhere, George is smiling.
No more home run derbies, all star games and barbecues with the family. It’s time for the Yankees to get back to work in the Bronx. Yes, the weekend will be emotional with the tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard, but the Rays won’t be playing the role of sympathetic friend; they’ll be looking to bring us to our knees.
We must dominate the invaders from Tampa Bay, and who better to do that than CC. He has to neutralize Longoria, Crawford and company and send a message to our division rival that we are not handing over the American League East any time soon.
* keeping the Rays from stealing.
* not letting any of them make web gem-type catches.
* saying something that will get Upton mad.
* smashing Joe Maddon’s glasses.
What else…Oh, yeah, we need to score a lot of runs so that nobody in our bullpen can screw things up.
Today’s Yankees-Rays match-up was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel. Instead, it looked like a bloopers reel.
The two teams had a combined six errors, and played sloppy baseball overall. I won’t take apart Navarro for his three errant throws. He’s the Rays’ problem. But Damon? That airmail job in the fifth wasn’t pretty, and Swisher’s bobble on the same play didn’t help. Then we had A-Rod spazzing out on Aybar’s grounder in the ninth, giving the Rays their fourth run of the inning after the Yankees had come back to tie the game.
Michael Kay: “It’s all fallen apart for the Yanks.” Ya think?
The worst part was that it was Mo who gave it up in the ninth. The horror.
He appeared stunned as he sat in the dugout after he’d been pulled for Phil Coke. How often does that happen? About as often as this.
CC was pretty much lights out until he got roughed up a bit in the fifth and sixth. He seemed to settle in after that, and I expected him to come back out for the ninth with the score tied at 5-5. I mean, look at that belly he carries around. What’s another inning to a guy like him?
Mo, on the other hand, has faltered in tie games on occasion. He says it doesn’t matter to him if he’s pitching in a save situation or not. But there must be some lack of adrenaline or focus when the score is tied. Can’t he just tell himself the Yankees are ahead and play pretend?
On a happier note, I was glad to see A-Rod hit one into the seats after having had a dry spell.
And Tex continues to generate crowd cheers with his power. That homer he blasted in the eighth is probably sailing all the way to Philadelphia right now.
I also enjoyed Swisher’s take-out of Zobrist to break up the double play in that inning. This team has more of an edge than last year’s; they push back.
To sum up, the game had all the makings of another magical bottom-of-the-ninth comeback and fell short. If A-Rod hadn’t grounded out…If Posada had gotten the right call on that pitch below his knees…If Upton had played shallower on Cano.
Although Kate Hudson enjoyed herself.
Is it just me or is she starting to look like Britney Spears?
What a ridiculous ninth inning if you’re the Rays. For six-plus innings your offense is stymied by geezer Jamie Moyer, who shows his age by sticking his tongue out at you.
Then you get back into the game when your very own cartoon character, B.J. Upton, steals two bases and ties the score.
All the momentum is on your side going into the bottom of the ninth, and yet what do you do? You sit there stunned as
Howell hits someone named Eric Bruntlett. Then you hide your eyes as
Balfour hurls a wild pitch and
Navarro makes a crazy throw way wide of second.
Then Maddon says, “Walk the bases loaded with nobody out”
so that the Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz can hit a squibber to third that Longoria spazzes out on, scoring Bruntlett and leading to this.
Yes, you lost a tough one in Philly, Cinderella boys. Let’s see if you can pull yourselves together tomorrow night. Sleep well.