If I had a dollar for every time somebody on Twitter (or my husband) said, “Tonight’s game is meaningless,” I’d be a rich woman.
No matter what happened during the bloated, slow-as-molasses marathon, I was reminded over and over that the game didn’t count, that the series in Tampa wasn’t important, that the Yankees were just marking time, getting everybody some work and settling on their final roster moves.
We lost 13-4 to the Rays? No problem. It was meaningless!
CC couldn’t go three innings, let alone win his 20th game of the season? Who cares?
Tex was hit by a David Price pitch that sailed near his head? So what?
The Yankees only managed two hits off Price? Yawn!
Not one of the six Yankees pitchers could shut down the Rays except Bruney? Not even Hughes? HAHAHA!
OK, you get the point. I’d like to be one of those people who shrugs off losses, but I’ve never managed it; I’d prefer that the Yankees win every game. Since that’s not possible, I kept my goals for tonight very realistic.
* I wanted #20 for CC.
* I wanted the offense to kick it up a notch.
* I wanted the pen to stay dominant.
* I wanted the regulars to avoid any conceivable injury.
My goals were not met. Well, Tex is fine; he said the ball only grazed his hand and that he was more shaken up than injured. That’s a relief, obviously. But after he got hit, I wished I could put the Yankees in a protective bubble until next week.
I also wished I could cheer CC up. He hadn’t lost a game since July and was due for a stinker. I’m sure he’ll be great when he takes the hill at Yankee Stadium for Game 1, but he did make my stomach hurt tonight.
I wished he and the other pitchers could refrain from doing their best imitation of a batting practice machine.
There were a few reasons to smile. BJ Upton hit for the cycle – the first player in Rays history to accomplish the feat. Congrats to him. And Juan Miranda hit the longest damn homer I’ve seen in a while – the first of his major league career. Otherwise, the game was meaningless. Yeah, sure it was.
P.S. Since Pete Abe’s departure from the LoHud blog, the Daily News’ Blogging the Bombers blog by the always dependable Mark Feinsand has stepped up its Yankees coverage. Mark not only knows the questions to ask but asks them. Check him out.
If I had told people that the Yankees would go 9-1 on their homestand, I would have gotten reactions like this.
And even this.
That Swisher. Such a goofball. But even he probably wouldn’t have predicted such a great run after the All-Star break.
Mitre was mediocre in Sunday’s game, but “mediocre” might be just fine for the time being. He throws strikes. He induces ground balls. He doesn’t look panicked out there. He’ll do as the fifth starter until he proves he’s not worthy.
The bullpen is looking better and better, especially with Bruney gaining in confidence and effectiveness. I’m a little worried about Coke though. I shake my head every time somebody says, “He’s been amazing, except that he gives up home runs.”
The last time I checked, giving up home runs wasn’t a good thing. Hughes continues to impress, and Mo is just, well, Mo. He could probably throw that cutter in his sleep.
Tex keeps rolling. Cody Ransom has been more-than-decent as A-Rod’s fill-in. And Melky will have to step up while Gardner’s thumb heals.
I admit I was thrown when I heard about Brett the Jet’s injury. How will we compensate for his speed on the bases? Could we get this guy to un-retire?
Cano finally got a big hit with men in scoring position. And Jeter seems to get more acrobatic with age. I mean, could you do this?
What I’m saying is that I think we’re ready for the ten-day road trip, which begins at the cowbell palace known as The Trop.
Sure, there will be challenges in Tampa. Big ones, not the least of which is this.
Tough place to catch fly balls. What’s more, there are Rays that always cause the Yankees headaches: Upton, Crawford, Longoria, Pena. I’m hoping AJ can handle them all when he opens the series and flashes them that stare.
The Bombers have hit the road as I’m typing this. Actually, they must be in Florida by now.
If I were addressing them at their hotel, I’d say: “Win every game on the trip.”
“She-Fan, you’re cracked,” Jeter would say. “We can’t win every game.”
“Well, you can win ninety-nine percent of them,” I’d counter. “You just did it.”
Everybody would realize I was right. And Joba would let out a victory roar.
I don’t usually fall for men with “body art.”
And normally it takes me a while to form meaningful attachments.
But AJ Burnett has come to the Yankees’ rescue twice in a row, and that’s exactly the kind of behavior that wins my trust and affection.
Here’s how he did it against the Rays and their cowbell-clanging supporters.
* He threw six innings of no-hit ball, completely handcuffing the previously elusive Upton.
* He hit Zobrist on the foot in the second inning. But he protested that the ball hit the ground first and the umpire bought it, thanks to his great sales job.
* He buzzed one up and in to Longoria in the bottom of the fourth after Matt Garza had buzzed one up and in to Swisher in the top of the frame, displaying a keen sense of fair play.
* He wore a perpetual snarl/lip curl, and I almost expected him to point his glove at the Rays and yell: “Get. Off. My. Lawn.”
* After he gave up his first hit to Crawford in the seventh, followed by singles to Longoria and Pena, he could have lost his focus. Instead, he came back out in the eighth and retired all three men he faced.
* He was the guiding force behind the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Rays, out-dueling Garza and his fluttering glove trick.
Of course, there were other heroes….
Swisher for continuing to swing a hot bat….Gardner for smacking back-to-back doubles….Molina for picking off Pena (Carlos)….Girardi for replacing Ransom with Pena (Ramiro)…Jeter for homering to put the game away….Bruney for nailing down the “W”….Tex for playing with a sore wrist, although I hope that broken-bat foul didn’t make it worse.
Speaking of “sore,” Nady’s got an elbow problem? What’s up with that? I guess we’ll find out after he spends part of Wednesday in here.
P.S. Starting Friday, I’ll be a regular weekly guest on the sports talk radio show “The Natural.” Hosted by Greg Marotta, the show is broadcast live from 4-5 p.m. Eastern Time on WVNJ-AM 1160 throughout Northern New Jersey, Westchester, Rockland and parts of Manhattan, Long Island and Connecticut, as well as via streaming audio on their web site.
“‘The Natural’ goes after out-of-the-box guests,” said Greg of his daily show. “Larry Lucchino….Mickey Rourke…..and now Jane Heller.”
I never expected to be in the same sentence as either Larry Lucchino or Mickey Rourke. But wonders never cease and talking about the Yankees never gets old.
It’s not that I think Brett Bombko is such a catch. But why wasn’t he put on the Yankees’ roster? He could have eaten innings and performed the kind of public service that would have avoided over-using the pen in tonight’s 15-5 drubbing by the Rays.
Instead, the game took on a circus atmosphere right from the start.
The way he was getting pounded, batter after batter, reminded me of…Well, just watch and you’ll see what I mean.
After he departed in the second inning, Albaladejo, Edwar and Coke did their best imitations of circus acts too.
Not that it was just the pitchers who looked clownish.
Cody Ransom lost a ball while staring up into Tropicana Field’s dome, apparently entranced by its unique beauty.
Cano and Pena (Ramiro, not Carlos) put on a show of their own following a Navarro pop up
in the manner of these two.
And for the grand finale, Nick Swisher entertained the crowd by pretending to be a pitcher
in much the same way that a mime entertains the crowd by pretending he can’t speak.
Swisher was a great sport and actually held the Rays scoreless – the feat of the night – but if I wanted to watch a circus I would have gone to see Cirque de Soleil.
Were there any bright spots for the Yankees during this humiliating exercise? No. Well, except that A-Rod was back with the team, and I brightened every time the camera found him in the dugout. I’m sure Ransom is a lovely human being, but I want the guy who hits 50 homers in the lineup.
As for the Rays, they did everything right tonight. But the player I’m intent on kidnapping in order to prevent him from having his way with my guys is him.
Upton is maddeningly good. He hits for power. He bunts for base hits. He steals bases. And he makes over-the-shoulder – yes, circus – catches. If he doesn’t show up for Tuesday’s game, it’s because he’s being held in a secure location.