Too late for a pictorial. Suffice it to say that the Yankees’ 6-4 loss to the Angels was never dull.
* A.J. was wild early, and I kept thinking he’d get pulled and we’d see Mitre (if he still exists). But somehow he only gave up one run in the first inning when the Angels threatened.
* The Yanks came back in the third – with a vengeance.
Jeter doubled, scoring Gardner.
Tex got plunked (and looked really ********** about it).
Cano singled, sending Tex home.
Tex doesn’t run gracefully. He charges, like he’s being chased. When he reached the plate, he lifted his shoulder and rammed into Wilson, the Angels rookie catcher, hard. Wilson went flying, clearly injured, and Tex, still looking **********, made sure he tagged home and then marched to the dugout. Wilson went to the hospital with a concussion and an ankle something or other. By the time the inning was over, it was 3-1 Yanks.
* The Angels roared back against A.J. with three runs of their own, jumping ahead 4-3.
* Swisher tied things up at 4-4 with a solo shot.
* A.J. settled down and ended up going seven innings. I have to say it was a gutsy performance, in the manner of CC and Andy, who grind games out even when they don’t have their best stuff.
* I went into the eighth hoping Joba could hold the Angels until we scored again. Wrong. He had nothing. I mean nothing. A single to Matsui and a homer by Morales made it 6-4 Angels. Dave Robertson put out the fire, but that was the ball game. Ugh.
Should Joba have been in there for a tie game on the road? What do I know, except that Chan Ho is on the DL; Aceves, Logan and Marte had been warming but sat down; and Mitre, as I said, seems to be MIA.
I hate the thought that Angel Stadium might turn itself back into a house of horrors for the Yankees, but this game didn’t end well. I’m hoping that Pettitte can restore order on Saturday.
Clearly, all Vazquez needed was for people on this blog to chant something, like members of a cult.
He had a high pitch count, but was otherwise impressive over five innings, only allowing a run. But Girardi brought him back for the sixth (why?) and Granderson and Cano let a ball drop between them (why?), and Suzuki hit a two-run shot that was probably the result of Javy thinking: I should be out of this inning. But he pitched well enough to get the win and he did. As for offense, the first three runs were cheap ones thanks to Gio Gonzalez’s control problems. But then came A-Rod.
I think that ball is still traveling. By now it should be somewhere over the Pacific, heading for Bora Bora. Boone Logan made sort of a mess of things in the seventh, loading the bases. But Joba came to our rescue in that inning and the next.
Marte walked the leadoff batter in the ninth. Girardi immediately pulled him for Mo, even though it was a non-save situation. I love seeing The God of Closers, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t love when the other relievers force him to be his own set-up man. And am I missing something? What’s the point of having Mitre on the roster if Girardi never uses him? I suddenly feel the urge to post a pic of Sergio, just to remind myself of his existence.
The good news is the Yankees continued their winning ways. It was cold in Oakland. They were jet lagged. Jeter was coughing. But all is well in Yankeeville.
When I lived in Florida, there was a guy who came around after hurricanes and hauled off downed tree branches, repaired leaky roofs, fixed whatever needed fixing. The name on his business card? Johnny Do It All. Today, the Yankees filled that job description with their second consecutive win against the Rangers. How?
* Fantastic starting pitching by A.J.
* Killer speed and timely hitting by Gardner.
* Home run power from Jeter and A-Rod (congrats to Alex on #584).
* Offense by Posada (congrats to JoPo on career hit #1500).
* Terrific plate discipline by Swisher and Johnson.
* Excellent relief work by Marte and Joba.
The win was a total team effort and a pleasure to watch, because it really did have a little of everything. Sure, I wish Tex would get hot already, as I wrote yesterday. And it wasn’t a pretty outing for Aceves. But Texas came into town sizzling and now they’ve already lost the series. I don’t really know what a buzz saw is, but I bet the Rangers are feeling like they’ve run into one.
Will the Yankees sweep on Sunday? Better get the broom out just in case.
Actually, Russell Crowe looks enough like Joba to play him in the movie version of tonight’s Yankees-Red Sox contest. But who needs a movie when we were treated to the real thing – yet another roller coaster battle that had me yelling at the TV. (It’s a good thing this isn’t a podcast, because I’m really hoarse.)
Lester looked unhittable early, just like Beckett did on Sunday night, but he headed for the showers after going five innings and giving up four runs. A.J. had a nearly identical line (five innings, four runs/three earned), but he only gave up one walk – a nice stat for him – and had five K’s. He wasn’t The Horrible A.J. and he wasn’t The Amazing A.J., so I guess I’d call him The Better-Than-Satisfactory A.J.
I know he frustrates people, but I always look forward to watching him pitch. He’s got tremendous stuff and he’s unpredictable – you never quite know when or if he’ll unravel.
But let’s talk about the bullpen.
Robertson: Shaky, but Joe had a quick hook.
Marte: Bizarre lollipop pickoff move, but he did his job with Ortiz.
Joba: Looked almost like the 2007 Joba, complete with the old fist pump.
Mo: Do I even need to say he got his first save of the season?
The picture wasn’t all rosy for the Yankees, by any means. They stranded 10 runners and were 3-for-14 with RISP. They had chances to break the game open and didn’t (hence, my yelling at the TV), and were sloppy on defense, committing three errors and allowing that ball to drop between Jeter and Thames, whom I’m calling this year’s Angel Berroa. Still, there were many “Yay!” moments:
Swisher: Two doubles? I like it. Must be his svelte new bod.
Cano: Talk about a great start to the season — he even walked!
Johnson: The guy drove in the game-winning run by using his much heralded eyes!
A-Rod: Delivered in the clutch, picking up where he left off last year.
Granderson: Got a hit off the lefty Lester (shock and awe).
So the Yankees won their first game of 2010, which was a relief. And let’s face it: It’s really, really sweet to beat the Red Sox at Fenway. I love when that place goes all quiet and the fans seem, well, preoccupied.
P.S. Here’s my nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookies contest. If you haven’t entered, click here.
I would have preferred the “W,” obviously, but the Yanks aren’t going to win every game (aren’t I philosophical). And this one did have its happy moments:
CC’s early dominance.
Swisher’s at bat in the 4th when he worked the walk to extend the inning.
Jeter and Gardner’s double steal.
Cano’s two hits.
Knocking out Beckett.
Oh, and it was swell seeing Pedro again.
The game also reminded me how nauseating it is when the bullpen gives it up. Thumbs down to:
Chan Ho Park for looking like a different pitcher than the one at spring training.
Damaso Marte for picking up where he left off in the 2009 regular season.
Joba for not throwing with the kind of velocity he used to. (Where did it go?)
Also requiring a spanking were:
Brett Gardner for that crappy throw home (not even close).
Nick Swisher for letting Youkilis’ ball roll to the wall.
Cano for settling for a single when he might have had a double.
Jorge for allowing the passed ball.
Joe Girardi for not pulling CC when he was clearly out of gas.
The Yankees for not carrying another lefty (can you say Boone Logan!).
And then there was Steven Tyler singing “God Bless America.”
At first I thought we were getting a mother/daughter combo. But then “she” turned out to be “he,” and he made me appreciate even the dearly departed Kate Smith. Neil Diamond came next, and, well, I think I’ll just say that I wish him well in his future gigs at casinos and bar mitzvahs.
I’m actually glad for Monday’s off-day. I’m exhausted. As usual, Yankees-Red Sox led to compelling baseball and I was thrilled that the season had finally arrived, but we had a ripple effect from the earthquake in Baja before the game started. No damage here, just a few seconds of rolling, which unnerved me and made me and my neighbors feel kind of seasick.
It’s only two days away from Opening Night, and we have casualties? What kind of nonsense is that? First, there was Aceves’ “balky back,” which is supposed to be better but still.
Then came Cervelli’s hammy – also reportedly better but not 100%.
Then there was news of Jorge’s stiff neck. He always seems to get stiff necks, so why can’t he just sleep on some decent pillows?
Then Marte announced that his shoulder was “cranky.” (Possibly, it’s because of the tattoo.)
Then the already fragile-as-glass Nick Johnson fouled a ball off his knee in today’s game against the O’s — the last real game of spring training. Wouldn’t you know?
And then the unthinkable: MO HAS A COLD.
I knew he wasn’t right when he came in to pitch and walked a guy. Of course it was because his nose was stuffed up and his head felt like it would explode. What other explanation could there be? Poor thing. If I were in Tampa, I’d rush over to Steinbrenner Field and bring him a bucket of this.
I hope Girardi makes all the healthy players suit up for tomorrow’s game against the minor leaguers wearing this.
The forecast looked ominous this morning – another gray, chilly day in the Sunshine State. But the clouds parted just in time for Yankees-Phillies at Bright House Field in Clearwater, and it turned out to be a great day for baseball. There was just one problem: my husband Michael. Being a male, he refuses to ask for directions when we’re in the car.
“Are you sure you know how to get to Clearwater?” I kept saying as we passed through yet another unfamiliar neighborhood.
“Sure,” he kept answering. “I checked the map.”
The map. Big deal. Who can read maps?
Instead of zipping over to the ballpark in 20 minutes, it took us an hour and a half to get there. I was steaming mad.
But we did get there, and Bright House Field is a really nice place to watch a ball game. Andy Pettitte wasn’t exactly ready for prime time, but Joba looked impressive over his four innings of work. What that means in terms of the #5 starter’s job is anyone’s guess. I was more concerned with Damaso Marte, who couldn’t get anybody out before getting hit in the back by Ryan Howard’s line drive. Don’t the Yankees need another lefty in the pen? I mean, seriously? What we do have is a young pitcher named Amaury Sanit, who came in for the injured Marte and pitched like a Cy Young Award winner. On the offensive side, I guess the oversized batting helmet Cervelli was forced to wear isn’t inhibiting his vision; he had three hits in the game. So yeah, the Yanks lost to the Phillies, but there were Bright Spots at Bright House.
One of them was meeting Sue Mudrick, who blogs about the Phillies here at MLBlogs at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts. She and I got together for a She-Fan Cam chat just before game time. We may root for different teams, but Sue’s got a wonderful sense of humor and it was great fun dishing with her about her guys.
We had such a good time that we decided to keep it going; Michael and I had dinner with her and her husband Dan a few hours later at a restaurant in downtown St. Pete. I only wish we weren’t flying back to our respective homes tomorrow. Bummer! Why can’t spring training last forever? I don’t want to leave!
The Yankees won # 27 and made me cry with joy. What a game for Andy Pettitte, Damaso Marte, Mo and, of course, Hideki Matsui, the series MVP. Much more on the game itself, but for now the players are celebrating and so am I.
No ginger ale this time. I popped the real stuff. I taped plastic sheeting to the wall, just like they did in the clubhouse (OK, it was a Hefty garbage bag), shook up the champagne and let it soak me. Man, did it burn my eyes and make my mascara run. I finally get why the players wear goggles. But I’m not complaining, believe me. It’s a great, great night to be a Yankee fan.
Congratulations to the Yankees and to my buddies on this blog. We held hands through this entire season and I’m high-fiving each of you right now. To my friends Jenn and Sue, who were rooting so hard for their Phillies, I’ll just say, “Your guys battled to the bitter end. I know you must be proud of them.”
Johnny Damon couldn’t throw me out, and I’m as klutzy as it gets.
But he can still hit, steal and play heads up baseball. Not only was he 3-for-5 in tonight’s stunning 7-4 victory over the Phillies, but he had a nine-pitch at-bat in the top of the 9th against Lidge that resulted in a two-out single….
….and then he stole second AND third when nobody was covering.
Could the Yankees find a way to bring him home? Uh-huh. Tex was hit by a pitch, and A-Rod lined a double to left to lift the Bombers to a 5-4 lead in what was another wild, seesaw, come-from-behind battle. Jorge’s two-RBI single decided the game offensively, and Mo took care of the Phillies in the bottom of the frame for his 39th postseason save. Of all the games in this series, this one nearly put me in restraints.
It was nerve-wracking, to say the least, but it had enough twists and turns to keep any fan riveted. For me the other key moments included:
CC’s gritty performance (short rest or no short rest).
Jeter’s two singles.
Swisher’s leadoff walk in the fifth.
Melky’s infield hit (hope his hamstring is OK).
Cano’s hit (finally).
Marte’s emergence as our premier lefty reliever.
Joba’s strikeouts of Werth and Ibanez.
Joba’s fat pitch to Louise Feliz.
A-Rod’s third plunking in two games.
That last item requires that I ask: Why would the umpires warn both benches when the Yankees hit nobody? I know. They wanted to keep things under control just in case.
The main thing is that the Yankees are now up 3-1 in the series, which means that my lucky pizza worked again tonight. Here’s what it looked like before I ate it.
Here’s what I looked like after I ate it.
Talk about taking one for the team. I’ll be downing another pie tomorrow night. My other lucky ritual will be to pay another visit to Bill, also known in these parts as “Surf Dog.” I stopped by his hot dog cart this afternoon before the game to see if he had any words of wisdom. Here’s what he had to say. He was right on the money until he got to Joba and that last fastball.
Andy didn’t have his best stuff. He kept getting behind hitters. He gave up three runs early. He told the media he felt “gassed.” But he turned in a gutty performance over six innings, and the Yanks beat the Phillies 8-5. It was his major league-leading 17th postseason win, which is nothing to sneeze at. He even drove in a run in the fifth. Gassed or not, he was a double threat tonight.
What an odd game and so appropriate for Halloween. Hamels was unhittable in the first three innings – literally – and made me wonder if he’d come to the ballpark dressed in a Cliff Lee costume. But he walked Tex in the fourth and A-Rod hit a double homer, and he fell apart for good in the fifth, departing after Damon’s two-RBI double put the Yanks up 5-3. Maybe he should have worn a scarier red costume.
Swisher’s benching seemed to have snapped him out of his slump. That homer was sweet, as was his little somersault after scoring on Andy’s hit.
When his playing days are over, I can easily see him moving into this arena.
It was great to watch Matsui enter the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth and take Myers deep, giving the Yankees an 8-4 cushion. Joba and Marte were excellent in relief, but then there was Huuuuuughes. When he served up that fat pitch to Ruiz in the ninth and was pulled after yet another disappointing outing, I felt sorry for him. He’s got to be pretty depressed right now.
Mo got a couple of quick outs (I guess Rollins hasn’t “figured him out” just yet), and that was the ball game. Part of me worries about Mo. How many innings can he throw in this series without becoming fatigued? On the other hand, he can rest all winter. It’s now or never. He says he’s OK and he looks fine, so I believe him.
The Yanks go up 2-1 in the series, and while Andy was the Player of the Game, I must also give credit to the lucky pizza. It worked its magic once again.
I’ll be having another pie tomorrow night, hoping for the best. But Yankees? If you care about me at all and don’t want my arteries to fill with clogging, cheesy plaque, I suggest you win this thing in 5. Thanks.