Just kidding. But did anyone expect Pavano to be 4-1 and (besides Mussina) the Yankees’ most reliable starter lately? I’m laughing as I write the words. Still, he wasn’t bad tonight, getting out of jams (thank you, Brett Gardner) and pitching with some efficiency. For me, the big moment of the game was Mo coming in for the 9th, escaping trouble (thank you, Derek Jeter) and giving the fans another save at the Stadium to remember. Loved all those flashbulbs.
It’s all right here. And I’m still trying to figure out if I’m hallucinating. Didn’t we just learn something from the Javier Vazquez Experiment? That when a pitcher fails to perform for you once there’s a better-than-average chance he’ll fail to perform for you a second time? I don’t understand all this bringing back of people, even when it’s only a minor league deal. Viz’s absence didn’t make my heart grow fonder, not at all. I’m sure he’s a very nice person, but after a promising debut with the Yankees he disappointed time and time again with his wildness. (I still cringe with the memory of his leadoff walks in crucial situations.) I’m just bewildered by this one, but what’s scariest about it is that Carl Pavano is still on the loose. Cashman wouldn’t even consider bringing him back a second time, would he?
With all the questions swirling around the Yankees right now, I thought we needed a reminder that we not only can beat the Twins….we did beat the Twins. Yes, it was last year and the cast of characters has changed a little bit since then. But mostly it’ll be the old familiar faces, so why not reminisce?
I don’t know about you, but I plan on visualizing this celebration as I anticipate this series. It sure beats reading all the articles about how we’re supposed to crumble at the sight of Carl Pavano. I mean seriously.
Q: How often does CC get pounded with singles?
A: Hardly ever.
Q: How many times has Jeter hit an inside-the-parker?
A: Only once before.
Q: Did I expect to see Wilson Betemit be a candidate for “Player of the Game?”
A: Not in my lifetime.
Q: Did Posada make two bonehead throws tonight?
Q: Did Dave Robertson perform another Houdini act?
A: He did.
Q: Did Joba load the bases and give fans another heart attack?
A: He did.
Q: Did the Yankees score 10 runs for the second day in a row?
A: They did.
Q: Did A-Rod inch closer to #600?
A: He did.
Q: Did the umpires make some bizarre calls?
A: What else is new.
I could go on, but the main thing is the Yankees won the series opener against the Royals. And speaking of the umpiring, did anyone see clips from the O’s-Twins game? The hapless O’s got a raw deal on a call at first, and Ty Wigginton went so nuts his manager had to choke him.
And could someone explain how Carl Pavano and his porn star mustache have 12 wins? And is there any way the Yankees could ask for their money back?
I can’t pretend to be inside Josh Beckett’s head. (The thought of going anywhere near his head is highly unappealing.) So I can’t say with any certainty that he hit anybody on purpose in tonight’s 10-3 massacre at Fenway. But here’s what I think. He was cruising along with pinpoint control, striking out batter after batter. Then Swisher drove one out of the park for three runs. And the Beckster wasn’t amused. Or, as MLB’s Bryan Hoch put it, he became unhinged.
He pitched inside to Cano, hit him on the knee and knocked him out of the game. Just what we needed: another injury. Actually, not just another injury but an injury to our hottest hitter. The Beckster threw in the vicinity of Cervelli’s head twice, including once after Cisco had the nerve to step out of the batter’s box. And then we get to Jeter, who was plunked squarely on the #2 on his back. I was watching via the NESN feed (thanks, MLB Network), but it was easy to see how angry some of the Yankees were — CC, A-Rod, even Mo. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mo mad, because normally he looks like this.
Anyhow, the Beckster basically handed the Yankees the ball game, but we did get timely hits too. (You go, Randy Winn.) And even better, we got another great performance by Huuughes. He got into trouble here and there but always managed to get himself out of it, and gave us seven strong innings. Kudos. I wish D-Rob would recapture his 2009 form, but maybe he needs some time in Scranton to work things out. Dunno. What I also don’t know is why the ump didn’t warn Beckett….and whether the Yankees will retaliate tomorrow with CC on the mound. If I were a Red Sock and CC plunked me, I sure wouldn’t charge the mound and risk looking at this.
On one hand, I want to see the Yankees send a message. On the other, we don’t need any ejections or suspensions, and we certainly don’t need more injuries. I mean, Nick Johnson. Wow. When I heard he had a sore wrist and was on his way to NY for an MRI, all I could think of was that he’s becoming this guy, only with a better attitude.
To sum up, in yesterday’s post I speculated that The Rivalry might be getting a little stale. Now? Not so much.
What a sweet story on MLB.com about Granderson’s final charity event in Detroit. I was planning to post yet another plea to Cashman to sign Johnny Damon, but when I read the article about Grandy I had to pause and say, “I’m so glad we signed this guy.” The Yankees used to acquire/trade for players who weren’t necessarily known for being high caliber human beings. Do these faces ring a bell?
But I’m seeing a different standard lately; we’re getting good players and good people. We don’t need any malcontents in the clubhouse. We don’t need me-me-me types. We don’t need divas. We don’t need guys with crummy work ethics. We don’t need malingerers who never come off the DL.
Which – sorry, I can’t help myself – brings me back to Damon. The guy throws his body around on the field even when he’s hurting. He talks to the media even after a bad loss. He keeps the other players loose. Oh, and did I mention that he’s won two World Series? That he drove in 100 runs last season? That he can still steal a base or two (as in Game 4 against the Phillies)? That he’s the national spokesperson for the Wounded Warriors Project? That he’s a quality guy who’s worth the extra couple of million he’s asking for?
Just do it, Yankees. Do it and then let’s pass out the cigars.
With the off-day and no Yankees baseball to watch, I had more time to read the stories about the supposed incompatibility between A.J. and Posada. When I was finished, I had the following thought: If this is the biggest Yankees controversy, it’s been an awfully quiet summer at the Bronx Zoo.
Seriously. This is the season that began with A-Rod’s “affair of the heart” with Madonna…
…his acrimonious split with C-Rod…
…his admission of steroids use…
…and his unexpected trip to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Colorado for hip surgery.
Oh, and there was Joba’s DUI and his mother’s arrest on drug possession.
I expected tabloid headlines to dog the team for months. Instead, A-Rod is focusing on baseball (albeit with another celebrity girlfriend), Joba has come to terms with the Joba Rules and the players are behaving like model citizens, supporting HOPE week and other charitable activities, hanging out together at sporting events and concerts, even appearing on “Letterman.” (I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Teixeira with Dave tonight. Good luck, Tex! Break a leg! No, don’t!)
There haven’t been any dugout brawls or players whining to the media about not being in the lineup or rotation (not counting Brett Bombko) or threats from Hal or Hank about firing Girardi. Speaking of whom…
…at least some of the tranquility this season has to be credited to him. Yes, there’s a good mix of guys who genuinely seem to like each other. And winning helps promote unity in the clubhouse. But he’s the one who got the best out of Melky and Gardner when they were competing for the CF job, believed in Swisher when I certainly didn’t, switched Hughes over to the bull pen, and came up with the idea to bat Jeter in the #1 spot and move Damon to #2. That’s worked out pretty well for both guys, hasn’t it?
Not that everything is perfect, by any means. I’m always second-guessing Girardi’s pitching decisions, just like I used to question Torre’s, and I’m not wild about the way player injuries are handled. (Remember Wang, anyone?) But this team is in first place, and everybody’s having fun. No more pitchers who can’t control their temper (Kevin Brown)…
…or can’t deal with the media (Randy Johnson)…
…or don’t want to pitch in New York (Carl Pavano).
Way to be, 2009 Yankees. Way to be.
Like all Yankee fans I’ve been thinking ahead to next season and wondering whether Cashman will stay, whether Hank and Hal will go free-agent crazy, etc. And then I came upon an article in New York Magazine that really made me worry. It was in an issue from a couple of weeks ago so maybe everybody’s read it by now. But it left me wishing George was still running the show. See what you think.