You could argue that she is, given that all the Yankees had to do to take over first place was sit there in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway playing video games, while the Rays lost to the Royals. Nicely done, Mother Nature.
On the other hand, Saturday is going to be a bear. Will the regulars play in both games? Unlikely. Especially not the vets. So this series suddenly has a higher degree of difficulty and we could be looking at the Wild Card for real. Unless…the Rays are defeated by the Royals yet again. Is it possible? I didn’t think they’d lose tonight, but they did and we have this man to thank.
Next Sunday, at this very moment, barring snow or rain or the earth’s takeover by aliens, the Yankees will be in the midst of Opening Night at Fenway. Maybe the score is 0-0 in the 5th. Or maybe, since we’re talking about Yankees-Red Sox, we’re only in the 3rd. Either way, I’ll be watching, clammy hands and all.
What’s to be nervous about? It’s only the first game of a long season, and it’s not as if the Yankees aren’t ready for prime time. They haven’t had the best spring training in terms of actual wins and losses, but everybody’s managed to stay healthy (shhhhhh – no jinx). Granderson finally seems comfortable at the plate, against both lefties and righties. Tex and Cano, two traditionally slow starters, have shown signs of life. A-Rod has gotten hot, despite the distractions. And the pitching is coming around, especially now that the rotation is set. And yet, I’ll be watching with my hands over my eyes.
OK, I’m being ridiculous. We’re not talking about Game 7 of a World Series here. I need to get a grip, stop acting like such a wuss and approach next Sunday night with a new sense of fun. And here’s how I’m going to do it: I’ll imagine the worst things that could happen. That’s right. Once I get those out of the way, the game will be a piece of cake. Worth a try, right?
The Worst Things That Could Happen Next Sunday Night
1) Jeter dislocates his shoulder.
No problem. He already dislocated it in 2003 and the Yankees made it to the World Series anyway.
2) CC gets shelled.
(Thanks to Bronx Goblin for the pic.) Again, no problem. He got shelled last year, giving up nine runs in 2 2/3 to the Rays and failing to win his 20th game. The Yankees won the World Series anyway.
3) Jacoby Ellsbury steals home.
Sure, it was a little demoralizing when he did it last April, but, again, the Yankees ended up with the trophy.
4) Josh Beckett shuts the Yankees offense down.
He’s done it before – last August, for instance. But thanks to Tazawa and A-Rod’s two-run blast, the Yankees prevailed in 15 innings.
5) A-Rod has to meet with the feds next Sunday – for Easter dinner with their families.
I wouldn’t be happy about this, granted, but the Yankees made do without A-Rod for over a month last year, and it all turned out just fine.
So, I’m feeling much better about things after writing this post. What great therapy blogs are.
Now that the #5 starter thing has been dealt with, I started thinking ahead to the Real Thing – the moment when the Yankees actually kick off the regular season. I got so excited until I reminded myself that we open at Fenway….and then my stomach turned.
Won’t it be snowing in Boston?
Or, at the very least, won’t it be too cold for the ESPN Sunday Night extravaganza? Speaking of which, I guess most people have already seen ESPN’s commercial featuring Swisher. I watched it today, courtesy of River Ave Blues.
Okay, the truth is I prefer to ease into The Rivalry instead of jumping right into it. We should be playing Baltimore first, or maybe Toronto, since they have a retractable roof. And let’s face it – having to listen to Red Sox fans chanting “Yankees suck” isn’t my idea of a great time.
Plus, the Sox usually beat us early in the season, and if this upcoming series is true to form they’ll sweep us. Yeah, I know. We’ll return the favor in August and September, but still. Isn’t there any way the Yankees can wriggle out of this date with destiny? Here’s what I was thinking…
1) We get a note from the team doctor.
Dr. Stuart Hershon could simply say the team has a headache.
2) The series really does get snowed out.
The weather has been crazy this year. Anything’s possible.
3) The Red Sox players go on strike and refuse to play.
They did it in 2008 when the coaches weren’t getting paid as much as the players for their trip to Japan.
4) The grass at Fenway is invaded by gophers, and the holes would pose an injury risk.
5) Bud Selig, acting on the advice of his special committee, suddenly decides to realign the division and put the Red Sox in the AL Central.
I’m out of excuses. Anybody else have one?
That’s what John Sterling called Fenway last night.
The Yanks’ 4-3 loss to the Red Sox was a horror show of the most painful sort, and even though it’s dreary and soggy in New York right now, I’m feeling upbeat about not having to look at Fenway again for awhile.
Just who were the monsters in the chamber of horrors?
Let’s start with Damon, who inexplicably dropped Ortiz’s routine fly ball
and turned into him.
And then there was Nick Swisher, who couldn’t seem to run the bases like a major leaguer
and played the role of Frankenstein’s brother.
After a brilliant, valiant outing by CC, exactly what the Yankees needed, Joe turned the ball over to Aceves, who quickly mangled the situation
and served as Frankenstein’s other brother (seen above and below with Jeter and A-Rod).
Earlier, Melky struck out looking (yeah, he argued, but still) with two men on, and sucked all the life of the proceedings
reminding me of him.
And let’s not forget Brett the Jet who may have had success with his speed
but reminded me of this guy with that ridiculous throw on Lowell’s fly ball in the crucial eighth.
Oh, well. On to the Subway Series. As I said, at least I won’t have to look at this for a few months.
I don’t know which I find more disheartening: losing a close game that was there for the taking or getting humiliated in a blowout.
O.K. I do know. I hate both with identical passion.
As for tonight, while I never take anything for granted when we play the Sox, especially at Fenway, I thought we’d win this one. Joba got the double plays when he needed them. Coke and Alba did their jobs. Ortiz struck out with surprising frequency. And we were still ahead 4-2 in the ninth. Then the unthinkable: Mo blew the save.
Yeah, I was shocked too, because he’s usually lights out. But the guy is human. The NESN announcers reported that he has 12 blown saves against the Red Sox – the most against any team – and I had to laugh. That would give him an average of one per year over his 12-year career as a closer. Hardly a disaster.
Much more troubling, in my opinion, were the runners the Yankees stranded on base. A recap:
* First inning: Jeter led off with a single, and Damon, Tex and Posada stranded him.
* Second inning: Melky and Molina walked, and Ransom stranded them.
* Third inning: Damon and Tex singled, and Posada and Swisher stranded them.
* Fifth inning: Swisher doubled, and Cano stranded him.
* Sixth inning: Molina singled, and Ransom stranded him.
* Eighth inning: Ransom walked, and Jeter and Damon stranded him.
* Ninth inning: Tex got hit by a pitch, Posada and Swisher walked, loading the bases, and Cano (GIDP) and Melky (pop up) stranded them.
* Tenth Inning: Molina singled and Damon walked, and Tex stranded them.
* Eleventh inning: Posada walked, Gardner laid down a lousy bunt, Cano singled, and Melky stranded them (GIDP on a pitch way out of the strike zone).
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of stranding.
Then, there was the use of the bullpen. I understand that Bruney was hurt and unavailable. But what was up with bringing Mo in during Ellsbury’s at-bat in the eighth with an 0-and-1 count? Was Girardi in the clubhouse watching a rerun of “Friends” when he suddenly remembered he wanted to call for his closer?
And finally, I must make mention of Joe’s use of Marte. I was thrilled to see Damaso have a 1-2-3 tenth, but that should have been enough! He’s never good for two! What was he doing on the mound in the 11th with Edwar and Veras rested and ready? It was puzzling.
But oh well. It was an exciting game (if you like the sensation of your stomach churning and your palms soaking with sweat), and we’ll try again tomorrow. I miss having A-Rod, Matsui and Nady in the lineup. Maybe there would be less stranding if they were.