Not to discount everything that happened before the playoffs started, but I was thinking about all the Yankees “truisms” – comments the media kept pounding into our heads that turned out not to be true in the ALDS. For example:
* The Yanks have trouble beating lefties.
* It’s harder to win on the road.
* Jeter’s not hitting.
* Mo is showing his age.
* Hughes doesn’t win at home.
* Andy’s rusty.
* Berkman’s power days are over.
* The Twins are hungry while the Yankees are fading.
When I look over that list, I have to laugh. What happened to all the conventional wisdom?
* The Yankees beat Lefty Liriano and Lefty Duensing.
* They won two games at Target Field.
* Jeter had four hits in the series.
* Mo notched two saves.
* Hughes won at home in convincing fashion.
* Andy gave up two runs in seven innings.
* Berkman homered and doubled.
* The Twins may have been hungry but the Yanks were hungrier.
I wonder what the pundits will say when the ALCS gets going. There will be story lines galore – the TBS guys have all that time in the booth to fill – and I can anticipate some already.
* Posada can’t throw out runners.
* Posada can’t catch A.J.
* Posada is too old.
No, everything won’t be about Jorge, but we’ll be hearing about him for sure. You can also cue the “Girardi could be managing the Cubs next year if the Yankees don’t win it all” blather. And: “Cano is having a fine year but Josh Hamilton is the MVP.” Oh, and brace yourself for the Payroll Conversation; it’s a given. All that being said, I cannot wait until Friday night. If this week is a taste of what life will be like once baseball is over, I don’t want any.
P.S. A quick reminder about the Crumbs Yankees Cupcakes Contest. We’ll know our opponent by the end of the day tomorrow, so be sure to answer all the contest questions, make your predictions, and enter to win six scrumptious cupcakes. Click here for details.
What a job by Andy and Lance, the former teammates.
All I kept hearing from the TBS guys was: “Will Andy be the Playoff Andy or the Injured Andy?” It was making me crazy, but then everything they said made me crazy. The point is, Andy was the same amazing pitcher he’s always been – making the pitches he needed to make, giving us innings, setting the tone. You could just tell that the players felt confident behind him. And I felt confident after his shaky first inning; apparently, he and Dave Eiland went into the clubhouse between innings and looked at video. Whatever flaw they spotted was clearly corrected because he was great from then on. And how about Fat Elvis? Talk about rising to the occasion. Those were some big hits he delivered tonight. But then just about everybody seemed to contribute in some way. Swisher made a nice catch in right. Grandy continued his hot hitting. Posada had an awesome at bat and drew a leadoff walk, then scored. Gardner is the fastest living organism.
Are we still leaving runners on base? Unfortunately. Is A-Rod striking out more in this series than he did last year? So far. But you can’t have everything. Kerry Wood pitched a swell eighth and Mo took care of the ninth. The Yankees are poised to return to the Bronx and finish off the Twins, but that’ll mean passing the baton to Huuuughes.
I’d like to say we’ll sweep, but I’m way too superstitious – and cautious. The Twins are a good team and they’re not going to just roll over.
I sure wish I could be at the Stadium on Saturday, but I know some of you will be there and that’s comforting. I’ll be at the wedding of my friend’s daughter, and I’ve been freaking out that I’ll miss part of the game. But today I got the good news that they’ll probably cut the cake by 5 o’clock PT, so I’ll be home in time for the first pitch! Here’s to a fast cake cutting!
And speaking of cake, I just might have a really, really, really (that’s three “really’s”) cool contest coming up involving dessert. So stay tuned.
I was blacked out by Fox for today’s first game, so I listened to it on my phone while I ran around doing errands. I was so excited when we won that I nearly drove off the road. If we win the second game, I thought, we’ll be in great shape to take the division.
I couldn’t watch Game 2 live because I was at the performance of my friend John Lengfelder’s new movie. (It’s called “Blind Date” and it was interactive in the sense that the audience gets to vote on what happens in the actual story; go to http://www.BlindDateInteractive.com if you’re interested.) But I saw the replay. I wish I hadn’t. Four errors? The Yankees committed four errors? I realize that Berkman is no Tex and Cervelli is no Posada, but AJ standing there staring at the first base ump while the run scored? Hello? I understand why he was surprised by the “safe” call, but where was his head as A-Rod yelled at him to pay attention to the runner. When the camera panned over to Girardi in that fourth inning, you could see Joe hang his head in disgust. I did the same thing.
We had a great chance to control our own destiny in the final weekend of the regular season. Instead, we’re stuck hoping the Rays lose. Not a good way to end a very long journey into night.
Ring…Moseley…Gaudin…Albaladejo. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.
Actually, Ring can be forgiven. It was his Yankees debut and he gave up a walk. Not a criminal offense. But the others? Please. All we needed to complete the parade of mediocrity was Mitre, but he must have been busy toweling off after the rain or something.
The rain. I forgot to blame it too. For all we know, A.J. would have had a nice outing and we wouldn’t have had to use our D-list relief corps. On the other hand, the offense was getting no-hit until Berkman went deep. I guess it wasn’t the Yankees’ night, except for the defense; there were some terrific plays by Tex, among others. He can hardly hold a bat but he still shines at first base. Now for the Big Question: Did our friends Peggy, Melissa, YankeeCase/Eddie and Ladyjane/Jane stay through the long rain delay? Did they meet up as planned? Did they get drenched?
I hope they’ll check in and tell all. Meanwhile, I’m counting on CC to wrap up the series tomorrow night with a dominant performance. Like a complete game shutout performance. Like a no-doubter that sends me into the weekend feeling better than I feel right now.
Update: Right after I hit “publish,” an email from Melissa floated into my inbox with a photo of our “core four” at the game tonight. Without further ado, here are (from left to right): Jane, Melissa, Eddie and Peggy.
And take a look at the buttons the gang is sporting. Melissa made them and here’s what they say…
How cool are they? I love them!!!!!
Or fowl. Whichever. The point is that the Yankees’ loss to the Jays today had no impact on the standings. Yes, it would have been lovely to go up a game on Tampa and Boston, but we’ll have to settle for a wash.
Would I feel better if Huuuughes hadn’t served up those homers? Yeah. Would I like Jonathan Abs more if he didn’t hit the first batter he faced? Sure. But with Cano getting a day off and Swisher hurt, it wasn’t exactly our strongest lineup in years. And let’s face it: we’d all love to love Lance Berkman but he’s making it tough. As my editor said on Friday when we went to the game: “Berkman is too schlubby to be a Yankee.”
I’m rooting for Berkman, I really am. But more production would be very welcome. Oh, one more thing. Did everyone see that play Tex made? I know, I know. He makes them all the time, but today he grabbed that liner and then doubled the runner up, and I actually gasped. The guy is just a phenomenal first baseman.
Well, they were never really looking down. I mean the Yankees have been in first place for awhile now, but after tonight’s win they’re all alone at the top. Plus, most of the players’ ailing body parts are better.
Berkman’s ankle: Healed.
A-Rod’s calf: Probably fine.
Pettitte’s groin: Getting there.
Aceves’s back: Sounds okay.
Johnson’s wrist: Never mind.
Anyhow, Tex, Swisher, Posada stayed hot at the plate, and Granderson joined the party. Jeter? Am I the only one who thinks he’s not having a good time this season? He’s making the plays at short as gracefully as ever, but he’s missing that spark and I’m wondering if there’s something going on in his personal life. Or maybe he just needs a prescription for this.
As for Huuuughes, he got the “W,” thanks to his teammates’ offensive barrage, but it pains me to see him walk batters and pile up a lot of pitches. Doesn’t he remember that nibbling gets people in trouble?
Today’s game reminded me why baseball can be so frustrating. Way too many if only’s. Way too many missed opportunities. Way too many of these.
Huuuughes was great after a shaky start, but Lester was better. Still, the Yankees were in it until the bitter end and could have/should have launched a come-from-behind victory.
In the “if only” category:
Marcus Thames’ ball that almost went over the wall for a homer.
Austin Kearns’ screamer that went foul.
Gardner’s failure to steal after being inserted as a pinch runner for A-Rod.
In the “missed opportunities” category:
Granderson’s K with bases loaded.
Swisher’s three Ks.
Berkman’s pop-up as a pinch hitter. (Back came the boos.)
An overall 0-for-9 with RISP.
In the just-plain “suckitude” category:
Posada’s throws to second base. Can he please not catch three games in a row?
Was there good news today? Sure. The pitching was stellar, even if Joba did get slider happy in the ninth. And Swisher and Kearns made terrific catches. But mostly, I turned off the TV and felt like cleaning the house, just to blow off steam.
Speaking of blowing off steam, did everyone read about the Jet Blue flight attendant who flipped out at JFK?
I’m flying Jet Blue into Kennedy on Friday night for the start of my vacation back east. If that guy had been on my flight, I would have whipped out the She-Fan Cam, gotten him on video and posted it here. But not to worry. I’ll be bringing the Cam with me, just in case.
Now that the x-rays were negative and A-Rod is listed as day-to-day, I can’t help but joke about the incident. I mean poor Fat Elvis. He hasn’t done much to endear himself to Yankee fans, and the mishap during BP didn’t help. But the best line belonged to Jeter when the writers asked him if A-Rod would be okay after writhing on the ground in pain. “He’ll be all right,” said the Captain. “He always looks like that when he gets hit.” Was Jeet inferring that his teammate was a drama queen?
Onto to the game. CC scared me early, giving up those two runs, but he settled right down and got to work, shutting the door on the Red Sox and making it look pretty effortless. He had offensive help from Granderson and Pena (who’s been the most unlikely RBI machine!), as well as some great defense behind him. Mo pitched a perfect ninth to secure the “W.” But the Yanks were also aided and abetted by Victor Martinez, who made me realize how lucky we are to have Posada, even if he’s 100 years old. Martinez simply cannot throw runners out, much to Lackey’s dismay.
Anyhow, I’m still feeling the “rivalry” isn’t as intense as it used to be, but maybe with Beckett on the mound tomorrow I’ll feel more fired up. He does bring out the worst in me.
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’m thinking about it. Why? Because her name is Joyce. As in this guy.
He broke my heart with his home run off Huuuuughes last night, and he nearly broke it again tonight when he took Vazquez deep. But the Yankees prevailed. Here’s what I learned from our win at the Trop. The running game is fun if you’re the Rays.
But the Yankees can mash.
The Rays kept taking the lead, and these guys kept taking it back.
Nice performance by Javy to give the boys a chance to come back. Really nice outings by Robertson, Logan and, of course, Mo. All of a sudden, our pen doesn’t look so bad. Which brings me to today’s official comings and goings.
We’ll see Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis later in the season, so I’m not crying over them. But Chan Ho? He’s gone. I felt sorry for him when I read that he asked A-Rod for a signed #13 jersey on his way out the door.
Well, two out of the three are in Tampa already and one played in today’s game (going 0-for-4 but who’s counting). Lance Berkman was actually quite entertaining from the quotes I’ve read. In his session with the media, he said the magic words: His favorite player growing up was Donnie Baseball and his dad’s favorite was The Mick. Good enough for me. He also said that in addition to “Big Puma,” his other nickname is “Fat Elvis.” I’m going with that one.
Austin Kearns was described as a quiet guy who was just happy to have been shipped to a contender and will play wherever and whenever he’s asked. I like the team spirit. That leaves the impending arrival of Kerry Wood, who probably spent today shaving off his beard.
I admit I wasn’t wild about this deal. Yeah, he didn’t cost much, but isn’t he on the DL all the time?
On the other hand, if he can stay healthy he could be a terrific pickup for the pen. I just hope he realizes we already have a closer.
Anyhow, looking forward to the rubber game of this series tomorrow. So far the match-up has really lived up to its billing.