Or maybe the proper way to say it is that the Rays “meatloafed” the Yankees. In any case, “meatloafed” is Joe Maddon’s adorable expression for winning two out of three, and that’s what the Rays did. Shields was great, CC was so-so and our offense was anemic.
We got out of Dodge clinging to first place. That’s the good news. Now let’s talk about a couple of our newcomers.
Fat Elvis is not Tex.
Why Girardi decided to use him at first today made me scratch my head, but whatever. More curious was why Berkman looked as if he’d never played the position. Was it stage fright, getting out there in front of his new team in a game that mattered? Or does Fat Elvis need to work out a little and get more agile? Either way, I don’t want to see him play first, the way I don’t want to see Thames play left.
Kerry Wood is going to try my patience.
I can tell. Yeah, he was probably pumped for his Yankees debut, and I did love his velocity. In fact, on that strikeout of Longoria I was pretty pumped myself. But then he came back out for his second inning of work, and I started to worry. He looked wild – the kind of “wild” that made me yearn for Joba. Maybe that was Cashman’s plan all along: trade for Wood so the fans would appreciate Joba more. My reaction to his performance today, strikeouts notwithstanding, was to have a bit of a panic attack.
I mean, seriously. Talk about a happy ending. After memorable tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard (such a nice touch dispensing with the player introductions), the Yankees somehow found a way to win one for The Boss. It just took awhile. The Rays had the lead. Then the Yankees tied it up. Then the Rays got the lead back. Then the Yankees tied it up. The script was practically written for Jeter to send the winning run home in the bottom of the ninth, but it was Swisher who played the hero and it was Granderson’s nifty slide at the plate that made a winner of Mo and took CC off the hook for the loss. What more could George ask for – his boys snuffed out the Rays at home in a tight contest.
There were some funky moments though – from A-Rod’s error and subsequent near decapitation by that splintered bat, to Swisher’s adventure in right field after Upton and Kapler had made incredible catches. And CC wasn’t at his sharpest. But high points included the back-to-back homers by Cano and Posada when it finally looked like Shields was tiring, and an outstanding relief performance by Robertson. Oh, and there was Mo’s pickoff of Upton; he made it look effortless. Somewhere, George is smiling.
Okay, no. I don’t mean that kind of catwalk. I don’t even mean this kind.
I’m talking about all that stuff on the ceiling at Tropicana Field.
During today’s 7-3 Yankees win over the Rays, Longoria hit a pop-up that the Yanks thought was a foul ball, the Rays thought was a fair ball, and the umpires thought was….Who knows that they thought; they looked befuddled.
No matter. Despite A.J’s shaky first inning, during which I muttered some very uncharitable things at him via the TV, combined with the Yankees’ inability to hit James Shields early, it all turned out just fine. I really must learn to have more faith in my team.
A.J., as we all know, has a tendency to unravel when things go badly, but he came back strong and ended up pitching really well through seven. Not even the catwalk business upset the rhythm he had established with Jorge, his new BFF.
(I think Jorge and I wear the same shade of nail polish, by the way: OPI’s Funny Bunny.)
Back to the game. Once again, we got the offense when we needed it – again off the Rays’ pen. A-Rod…JoPo…Swisher…Granderson…Cano – clap clap clap for them. Not so much clapping for poor Tex, who went 0-for-4 on his birthday.
He even had a little glaring match with Pat Burrell, who slid into first base as if he were trying to break up a double play. But, again, no matter. The Yankees have now won back-to-back series against division rivals and head home for Opening Day on Tuesday. Has everybody entered the Cooperstown Cookie Contest by now? If not, you have until midnight.
No, not between the Dodgers and Phillies. Nothing that I’m aware of, anyway. I’m looking ahead to tomorrow night’s contest featuring these two:
James Shields will be on the mound for the Rays and Coco Crisp could be in the lineup for the Red Sox. Their dustup, which led to a blench-clearing brawl (yes, there were actually a few punches thrown, in addition to all the silly standing around) happened earlier in the season and should be ancient history. Plus, a player would be truly stupid to get tossed and suspended during a critical postseason series. But testosterone runs high at this time of year.
For those who missed it, here’s a look back at the spirited rivalry that is Rays-Red Sox. You be the judge. If Dice K comes inside to Navarro, will we have an “issue?”