OK, so it was Vernon Wells’ turn to have a big night for the Blue Jays. Fine. Marcus Thames had one for the Yankees. The problem was Huuuughes. He just couldn’t put hitters away. With two strikes they kept fouling off his pitches and driving up his pitch count and necessitating way too many mound conferences with Posada. What a frustrating game, particularly since the Rays lost and we could have gained ground.
The larger issue is our rotation. Who’s in it? Seriously. With Huuuughes nearing his innings limit (whatever the mystery number is) and Vazquez having been banished to the pen and Andy getting his groin healed and not due back until mid-September at the earliest, are we really prepared to move forward with CC, AJ, Moseley and Nova? Is it too late to get him?
Oh, wait. He’s not in Canada anymore. And, fortunately, neither are the Yankees.
I don’t know a whole lot about you, except that you tore it up in AAA and are supposed to be really good. So here’s the deal. You’ve been called up, and you need to make the most of it – for both our sakes. I’m not happy that the Yankees were forced to call you up – not happy you’re taking A-Rod’s spot because he’s on the DL, not happy Vazquez is such a disappointment, not happy that A.J. is so inconsistent, not happy that Huuuughes has an innings limit, not happy that without Andy our rotation is an thin as my pinky finger – but if you can help the team by pitching well on Monday (and maybe beyond) I’ll be forever in your debt.
The Tigers tried to hand the Yankees the win. Valverde couldn’t find the plate and was basically saying, “Take the game. It’s yours.” But with the bases loaded and one out, Jeter hit into a DP, ended the threat and avoided getting tagged with pie.
Aside from Granderson’s three hits, what was there to like about this one? We lost the division lead. A-Rod and Swisher left with injuries. And Vazquez’s dead arm is getting on my nerves. Why keep him in the rotation? I couldn’t stand watching, and the experience was made worse by images of Damon not being a Yankee. Ugh. Just ugh.
Tonight’s game was all kinds of crazy. The Yankees were down 1-0 when I had to leave the house for dinner with friends. I listened to the game on my phone during the drive over to their place, and it sounded like Lee was in total control. Vazquez, on the other hand, was pitching with a “dead arm” and it showed.
(Just curious. If you continue to pitch with a dead arm, doesn’t the arm get deader?)
By the time I arrived at the dinner party, the Yanks were down 6-1 and I turned my focus to the amazing meal our hostess had put together. She’s a professional chef who used to have her own cooking show in LA, so invitations from her are not taken lightly. Still, I had the nerve to ask, just as we were sitting down to eat, “Would anyone mind if I turned on the TV in the living room? The Yankees are on ESPN.” Being a good friend as well as an accommodating hostess, she said, “Sure. Go ahead,” but kind of rolled her eyes.
Dinner was amazing. So, apparently, were the Yankees. I heard Rick Sutcliffe say something like, “and Cliff Lee is out of the game.” I dropped my knife and fork and went running into the living room to see what was going on – and let out a scream when I saw that the Yanks were climbing back into the game.
That was it for dinner. I stood in front of the TV and watched the rest of the way. My God, what drama! It was exciting and heart attack-y and everything in between. When Mo gave up that triple to start the ninth, I nearly passed out. But he held on, and so did I. There was just one tiny problem: I had abandoned my friends. Will I ever be invited back? I really hope so.
I’m not talking about the Yankees, although I hardly recognized Vazquez, Cervelli and Granderson, who didn’t look like professional ballplayers tonight but rather some rank amateurs. I’m talking about the Red Sox. They beat us 6-3, but it felt like we lost to…just another team. What I’m trying to say is that the old intensity of the rivalry, the rage, the fury – they weren’t there. Except for Ortiz and Papelbon, the usual villains were absent and so was my hostility. Did the Yankees feel the same way? Is that why they were so lackluster? Because Pedroia, Youkilis and Varitek weren’t on that field? Because truthfully, it’s hard to get all fired up to face Buchholz…
and someone named Kalish…
whose name kept conjuring up thoughts of this.
Maybe for tomorrow’s game, the Yankees could line their lockers with images of past battles. They need something to get them going.
Three homers in two games won’t erase his mediocre first half of the season, but Curtis Granderson is finally getting people’s attention. He’s come alive since the All Star break and I couldn’t be happier about it. I know. We had to give up AJax, but I’ve been a Grandy fan for a long time and always coveted him for the Yankees. In tonight’s win over the Indians, he provided the go-ahead runs and might have scored another if not for one of the umpiring crew’s two blown calls. But it’s not just his baseball skills that get to me. It’s the man’s character. His charity work isn’t for show; it’s real. He’s real. Real enough to cry on camera. Take a look. (The tears come about 2:15 into the interview. I got choked up watching him choke up!)
So yeah, I love Grandy. Now onto the game:
Javy pitched great.
Dave Robertson pitched great.
Boone Logan pitched great.
Mo pitched great.
Joba didn’t even warm up.
It’s weird how I still see midges when we play in Cleveland. I was there in ’07 during the ALDS, and tonight I had flashbacks.
Maybe it’s time I got professional help.
Congrats to Matt Garza and the Rays on baseball’s latest no-no. It must really be the year of the pitcher. I wonder who will be next????
What a time to hit your first home run in the majors….You’re sitting on the bench, not planning to get in the game today against the Angels, when Brett Gardner is tossed by the home plate ump for arguing balls and strikes in the middle of his at bat. Suddenly, you’re a pinch hitter. You walk to the plate, with two base runners aboard, and BAM! You smack one into the seats off Scot Shields, putting the Yanks up 10-6 and sealing the win and a series split. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I loved the offense in general in this one. Jeter, Swisher, Tex, Cano and Miranda really stepped up, which was nice for Vazquez, since he doesn’t usually get much run support. And congrats to him for becoming one of only three active pitchers who’ve beaten all 30 teams.
I do wish my stomach didn’t get tied up in knots when I see Joba coming in. He gave up a run and just isn’t lights out. Is not. It wasn’t a terrible outing for him, obviously, but as someone said on Twitter during the game, “He gives me the heebie jeebies.” I don’t want heebie jeebies.
Update: Just read that former Yankees manager Ralph Houk died. I’m actually old enough to remember when he managed the Bombers in the ’60s after taking over for Casey Stengel. RIP, Ralph.
Why are you frowning in your official Yankees photo?
Why have you taken the 8th inning role you were handed and done nothing with it?
Why did you ruin Javy Vazquez’s fantastic performance against the Mariners tonight?
Why couldn’t you hold a one-run lead?
Why did you give King Felix the opportunity to celebrate on the mound?
Why did you make me so mad I almost broke my non-3D TV?
While it’s true that the offense was anemic, except for Nick Swisher’s lonely little homer, that the home plate umpire made a couple of atrocious calls, and that the Yankees can’t win every game they play, I’m pinning this loss directly on you. Thanks.
* Really good starting pitching by Javy Vazquez
* Excellent defense by A-Rod and the two Curtises (Grandy and Colin)
* Timely hits by Swisher, Grandy and Cervelli, plus a homer by Tex
* Back-to-back one-two-three innings by Joba and Mo
Mix the above ingredients together and you get a delicious win by the Yanks over Ben Sheets and the A’s – the perfect way to start the road trip.
A few random thoughts…Congrats to Andy Pettitte for making the All Star team following the injury to Buchholz. He was next on the list of players voted on by other players, so clap clap clap for him….Since Alfredo Aceves is clearly not coming back to the team any time soon, thanks to his latest setback, can Cashman please go out and get us another arm for the pen?…The Brett Gardner leadoff experiment tonight wasn’t wildly successful. He was 0-for-4. Small sample size, I know, but I like him in the #9 spot where there’s less pressure to get on base. He’s been doing a tremendous job there all season, so why not leave him there?…What’s the matter with Dallas Braden? Seriously, how can anyone be mad that the A’s have been selling “Get Off My Mound” T-shirts? Lighten up, guy….And did the Twins really offer the Mariners a couple of prospects for Cliff Lee? If so, does this mean he won’t be a Yankee next year?
And I doubt I’m the only one. If you stayed up to watch the finale of Yanks-Diamondbacks, you’re with me. What a crazy game. It started off with Dontrelle Willis walking SEVEN batters and yet the Yankees kept screwing up scoring opportunities with lousy at bats and base-running blunders. Cano, who’s been genius for us, had an off night at the plate (for him), and Jeter and Posada (pinch hitting) were frustrating. Vazquez wasn’t as sharp as he’s been, and Marte? Please. How can you call yourself a reliever when you come in and walk two, balk and throw a wild pitch? How? That’s the opposite of relief, Damaso.
The happy news is that the Yankees, who’d been trailing, tied the score on a hit by – yes, indeed, Colin Curtis – and, after Marte stank it up, a sac fly by A-Rod pulled them even again. And then it was on to extra innings! (Sorry for you, east coasters.)
A solo shot by Granderson gave us the lead in the 10th – nice night for him, btw – and with Mo coming in for a second inning of work I figured we were golden. Not so fast! Mo actually loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 10th! I nearly died.
But then – instead of giving everybody nightmarish flashbacks to 2001 – he pulled out a miracle, retiring the side as if it were no big deal. The Yankees won the game and the series – and gained ground on the Rays and Red Sox. I’ll sleep well, I think, once I calm down.