I don’t know if tonight was the last time we’ll see Vazquez in pinstripes, but I’d be willing to bet it is. It wasn’t his fault that he was a home run derby server-upper against the Blue Jays. That’s who he is. That’s what he does. That’s the way things started out for him this year and that’s the way they’ve ended up. No surprises. I wish him well in his return to the National League, where he will inevitably become a 20-game winner next season. Bye bye, Javy.
What I don’t understand is why Girardi used all the regulars in this game but didn’t let Andy pitch. I know, he wanted him “lined up” for the playoffs, but still. You either want to win the division or you don’t. And with the Rays losing to the O’s, tonight was one big wasted opportunity to climb back on top. But hey. At least A-Rod notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI yet again – no small feat for a guy who spent all that time on the DL and was supposed to have had a down year. Congrats, Alex. But please don’t cool off any time soon.
Not much else to say about the game except that I didn’t mind getting stuck with the Toronto feed on TV. The fans gave Cito Gaston a really nice sendoff, and he deserved it. I always liked him as a manager and I appreciated how gracious he was about having the Yankees at his going away party. So there were two farewells tonight. Bye bye, Cito.
Getting into the postseason is no small feat, and, like the Yankees, I decided not to let the occasion go by with merely a “Yay.” After watching the players douse each other in the visitors clubhouse at the Rogers Centre (I don’t get the post-game show here, so I had to wait for the party clips on the YES web site), Michael covered the shower wall with plastic so it would look “authentic” (a Hefty garbage bag like last year), escorted me inside, dumped champagne on my head and handed me the rest of the bottle. It wasn’t the good stuff and tasted like stale beer, but the sentiment was there even if I did end up looking like Alice Cooper. Woohoo, Yankeeeeeeees!
CC was The Man. He gave the team innings. He gave them effectiveness. He gave them the confidence to score runs. (Loved all the sac flies.) He gave them a true ace. And Mo. Well. Of course he wrapped it up. I know the division title is still up for grabs, but just knowing for sure that we’ll be watching October baseball is a thrill that never gets old. I thought back to 2007 when I was following the Yanks around the country for the She-Fan book. We were in Tampa, at the Trop, when they clinched their Wild Card berth and the Post’s Charles Wenzelberg promised he’d bring me back a champagne cork from the party. True to his word, he brought me the cork when we were in Cleveland for the ALDS. I still have it.
I keep it with my jewelry. To me, having a memento from a Yankees celebration is more valuable than diamonds or pearls.
When I saw this picture, I couldn’t help thinking of another character altogether.
But the image that sticks in my mind is the one of him walking off the mound after Joe pulled him tonight.
He’s kind of smirking, kind of scowling, kind of nutty – sort of like Tony Perkins in “Psycho.”
But then I lit on the shot from the “It Is High” blog, and that did it. I started cracking up, and tonight’s miserable game became just a bad joke. Their caption is entitled…”A.J. Brunette.”
He’s cute, isn’t he?
OK, enough about the photos and onto AJ’s “performance.” He had nothing. I mean nothing. The Jays can hit the ball, no question, but did every pitch have to be right in their happy zone? What the hell is wrong with Burnett? Is it just a confidence thing at this point? Because I thought he and Dave Eiland had worked it out, talked it out, hugged it out, whatever it is they do, and yet the result has been awful. I get why he needs to stay in the rotation; he did pitch well in the playoffs last year and Ivan Nova isn’t ready for prime time. But his 2010 has been abysmal, and it’s hard to understand why. Yes, I know. The Rays lost. So what? This isn’t about other teams. It’s about the fact that we need starters. Now. When I saw that Roy Halladay clinched tonight for the Phillies, I turned green with envy. He was the one I wanted all along. People said, “Oh, we don’t need him. We already have an ace.” True, but what would have been the problem with having two aces?
I’d better stop now before I explode.
Or fowl. Whichever. The point is that the Yankees’ loss to the Jays today had no impact on the standings. Yes, it would have been lovely to go up a game on Tampa and Boston, but we’ll have to settle for a wash.
Would I feel better if Huuuughes hadn’t served up those homers? Yeah. Would I like Jonathan Abs more if he didn’t hit the first batter he faced? Sure. But with Cano getting a day off and Swisher hurt, it wasn’t exactly our strongest lineup in years. And let’s face it: we’d all love to love Lance Berkman but he’s making it tough. As my editor said on Friday when we went to the game: “Berkman is too schlubby to be a Yankee.”
I’m rooting for Berkman, I really am. But more production would be very welcome. Oh, one more thing. Did everyone see that play Tex made? I know, I know. He makes them all the time, but today he grabbed that liner and then doubled the runner up, and I actually gasped. The guy is just a phenomenal first baseman.
No, that’s not Marcus Thames in the pic, but it might as well be. No A-Rod? No problem. Thames and his power bat have kept the Yankees in business down the stretch, and no one is more surprised than I am. I just didn’t think he would be such an important pickup for us, but clearly I was wrong. And no Pettitte? No problem there either. Well, OK, there’s been a big problem but somehow the Yanks have managed to solve it. Vazquez and Moseley were both pretty lousy today, but the bullpen did its job and shut down the Blue Jays. Of course, having Bautista F-bomb himself out of the lineup helped the cause, but mostly it was that incredible DP by Cano to Teixeira that turned the game around. I’m convinced that if Tex hadn’t gone into baseball, he could have done this.
So the streak is now at eight games with twenty-six games left. That’s right. 26. Where did the season go? How could we possibly be at Labor Day weekend already? And, most importantly, can the Yankees pull away from the Rays and take sole possession of first place – for good?
Not only did the Yankees beat the Jays today while I was in attendance (breaking my personal two-game losing streak), but Hurricane Earl stayed away from the Bronx and I got to see my Yankees up close and I sat with my brilliant She-Fan book editor, Leigh Haber, and a she-fan named Freya, who reads this blog religiously but hasn’t commented in awhile, took the time to find me at my seat and say hello. And that’s just for starters.
I got to the Stadium early enough to meet Friend of the Blog ladyjane, who was there with Twitter friend Gayle (aka @gcf123), as well as Twitter friends Alison (@alisonfaye) and Michael (@mdelcorso) and the ringmaster of us all, Chris (@SimplySmoov), who works security in section 120a and has the best spot in the house to watch games. It wasn’t long before I corralled Gayle, who is extremely knowledgeable about the Yanks, to talk to me on the She-Fan Cam. Take a look.
Did she not make excellent predictions? OK, so the Yankees won 7-3, not 6-2, and Nova didn’t go six innings. But she nailed it on Wood and Gardner, right?
Next up was foooood. I totally love the new Stadium for many reasons but one of them is the array of meal choices. Friend of the Blog John is always raving about the Lobel’s steak sandwich, so Michael had to try it. Here’s his reaction.
(Pardon him for talking with his mouth full, but I did ask him a question while he was eating. My bad.)
The game itself was a thrill, not only because the Yankees won but because I got to see Mo pitch the ninth. Sheer joy. Still, the highlight of the day wasn’t the win or the food but the opportunity to meet Jane Lang, who was such a hit at this year’s HOPE Week. Thanks to an introduction by @SimplySmoov, I was able to chat with Jane, who, although blind, takes the train to the games from New Jersey with the help of her guide dog Clipper. Just watch this video and tell me she’s not an inspiration. Is she the best she-fan around or what?
According to the Lohud Blog, the answer he gave is….”my wife’s cooking, maybe?”
Can you imagine Amber Sabathia’s food bills? Anyhow, CC is worth every pound because aces like him don’t come along every day. One hit? On a hot, steamy day in September? That’s just crazy good. And how about Granderson, who wasn’t even supposed to be in the lineup? One homer would have been a nice surprise, but two? Awesome. And how locked in is Posada at the moment? Which is another way of saying how lucky are the Yankees to have a 38-year-old catcher who is still one of the league’s best offensive players? I’m knocking on wood just thinking about it.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I’m really hoping Earl will leave the Bronx alone and let me watch Ivan Nova and the boys beat the Blue Jays without getting soaked. I can’t wait to be back at the Stadium. (I’ll be in section 315, row 4, if anyone else is going and wants to say hi.) So tonight I’ll be doing an anti-rain dance. Help me out and do it with me. Please?