Tagged: Rays

Yanks-Rays Round 3: Death By Bullpen

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Ring…Moseley…Gaudin…Albaladejo. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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And take a look at the buttons the gang is sporting. Melissa made them and here’s what they say…
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How cool are they? I love them!!!!!

Yanks-Rays Round 2: My Head Was At Borders But My Heart Was In The Bronx

I knew tonight would present a conflict.
I was scheduled to be on a writers panel at Borders here in the Santa Barbara area, but I didn’t have to arrive until 7 pm. Since the game started at 4 pm PT, I figured I’d see most of it before I left the house. (I couldn’t very well cancel my appearance; authors never pass up an opportunity to plug their books.) But I was a little panicky prying myself away from the TV with the score at 5-3 and Hughes coming out for Vazquez.
I listened on my phone in the car on the way to the store. Still 5-3.
I continued to listen even after I walked in, was introduced to my fellow panelists, sat down and waited for the Borders events coordinator to clear his throat and begin the program. Phone tucked away in my purse, I spent the next 90 minutes answering questions about the She-Fan book and this blog, as well as focusing on the work of the other writers. And then, when there were no further questions and we were done, an audience member approached me.
“The Yankees won 8-3,” he said with a big smile.
I was taken aback at first. I mean you don’t expect to meet a lot of Yankee fans in California. For example, the panelist who sat next to me was a sportswriter who rooted for the Dodgers, and the panelist next to him was a newspaper editor who rooted for the Giants, and the events coordinator from Borders was an Angels guy.
“Thanks for telling me,” I said. “So you’re a fan too?”
He was a fan all right. He told me that his house had burned down in the last wildfire and that the possession he was most saddened to lose was the signed copy of the autobiography of Mickey Mantle, his childhood hero. Now that’s bleeding pinstripes.
Meet Jerry.
I had a good time at Borders, but I had an even better time when I got home and watched the rest of the game. Yaaaay, us! I was afraid the Rays would keep chipping their way back, especially with so many of our relievers unavailable. But Cano’s shot past Crawford was huge and Joba held on, and my night had a very happy ending after all. 
After the game I watched the profile of CC on HBO’s “Real Sports.”
What a lovable guy. When he teared up about his father, I teared up too. Of course, I had to laugh when I saw the size of his house at the end of the piece. It’s….large.
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Oh, one more thing. Here’s a pic of The Boss’ newly unveiled monument. It was sent to me by Friend of the Blog John (aka ooaooa) and taken by his daughter, who was at tonight’s game. Thanks, John.
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Yanks-Rays Round 1: Yankees By A TKO

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Tonight’s series opener felt like it might be yet another seesaw battle between the two teams, but Curtis Granderson (or Grandis Curtison, as I called him in a moment of excitement) delivered the knockout punch with his second homer of the game. Whatever he and Kevin Long did to his swing worked, and his improved offense couldn’t have come at a better time. With Tex clearly ailing and flailing, Grandy is key to the Yanks’ success. Jeter looked a lot better at the plate too, and Cervelli seemed rejuvenated.
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Ivan Nova continued to impress – until he kind of fell apart again. I guess he just runs out of gas.
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Was I about to stick my hand into the TV and slap Logan and Gaudin when they couldn’t throw strikes? Uh-huh. But it all ended happily, if shakily, after Mo closed it out. As for Garza, maybe he should take Pedro Martinez’s line and call the Yankees his daddy. It was nice not to have to play scoreboard baseball during the game. The Yanks kept the Rays in the rearview mirror for another day. Whew.
And now a few words about the pre-game activities. Am I the only one who got choked up? What a ceremony, as only the Yankees can do ceremonies.
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Watching the entire Steinbrenner family come out onto the field, including Mrs. Steinbrenner whom I’d never seen before, was touching, as was the procession of players past and present (Roy White is such a class act) who followed them to Monument Park, and the return of Torre and Mattingly who both got rousing receptions. After The Boss’ monument was unveiled, I was mesmerized by the sight of Mo crouched all by himself staring at it, as if he really was saying goodbye for the last time. Sob!
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And how about Steinbrenner’s granddaughter and her rendition of “God Bless America?” I wasn’t expecting much, figuring she got the gig because of nepotism, but she was awesome. Bring her back, please! And speaking of anthems, how spooky was Frank Sinatra, Jr.? He not only sounded like his father but has aged the same way (well, maybe a little more jowly).
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Anyhow, I’m sure it was a great night to be in the Bronx. I’m grateful I was able to see it all on TV way out here in the boonies of California. Speaking of which, I’ll be on a writers panel at the local Borders store in Goleta tomorrow night if anyone’s in the ‘hood. Stop by and say hi.

Good News/Bad News Sunday

The Good News was the return of Andy. If I could have hugged him, I would have.
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He not only pitched well but went six innings. Now there are no more “What’ll we do without Pettitte” thoughts setting off panic in my brain. The Bad News was the Yankees’ inability to score with men on base – not with a man on third and nobody out, not with bases loaded, not with an opposing pitcher who had a tendency to walk batters. What happened to the sac fly? Is it not in this team’s arsenal? If I sound grumpy it’s because I was seriously frustrated by this game.
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Then more Bad News: a blown save by Mo. Cue the people who will start saying, “He’s not the same. He’s done. He should retire.” Please. I don’t want to hear it. As a matter of fact, I’m mad at Mike Mussina right now. Yeah, Mussina. I finally caved in and bought the paperback of Joe Torre/Tom Verducci’s “The Yankee Years” for my flight home from the east coast. I was reading it last night when I came upon Moose’s quotes after the ’04 loss to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Here’s what he had to say about Mo:
“We were up 3-0 and Mo came in again with the lead and lost it. He lost it again. As great as he is, and it’s amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation again since I got here, he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before. He blew the World Series in ’01. He lost the Boston series….I know you look at everything he’s done and it’s been awesome, I’ll admit that. But it hasn’t been the same.”
Excuse me? Mo has accomplished nothing? He lost the Boston series – like all by himself? I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same way about Mike Mussina again. Even if he had those thoughts, how could he make them public and trash his teammate – the same teammate who’s been picking up starting pitchers for years? I don’t get it.
Sorry for the digression. Anyhow, the Yankees lost today, but the Good News is they won the series and, with loses by Tampa and Minny, don’t give up ground.
Speaking of Joe Torre, I read that he and Mattingly are coming to the Stadium Monday night for the unveiling of Steinbrenner’s monument in Monument Park. I know Donnie will get a huge ovation and I hope Torre will too. He deserves it. I’m having trouble with what he says in his book about his players, but there’s no getting around the championship years and his relationships with the Core Four. It’s Good News that the big chill appears to be over between him and the organization.
And finally, I went to see “The Town” today, the new movie directed by and starring Red Sox super-fan Ben Affleck. (Yes, there’s stuff at Fenway.) I absolutely loved it. This is a heist film that goes beyond the car chases and shoot ’em ups. It’s great entertainment and I highly recommend it. Here’s the trailer.
Apparently, MLB wasn’t wild about letting Affleck shoot his scenes at Fenway, given the R-rated material. But here’s what the New York Times said on the subject:
For the finale, the production spent 11 days in and around Fenway Park, but only after Major League Baseball was cajoled into putting aside its usual reluctance to cooperate with a film that is rated R, this time for violence, language, sexuality and drug use.

Good for MLB and Good News for movie lovers. Go see this one.

Do We Really Have To Do This Again Next Week?

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While these Yankees-Rays games are exciting, they’re also exhausting – especially when the Yankees lose them. (Funny how I was full of energy last night after we won, but tonight? Not so much.) What an odd game for Huuuughes. He was throwing a no-no for a little while, but then the long ball bit him in the person of Dan Johnson.
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Ooops. I mean this guy, the one who was batting .209 or something like that.
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What, exactly, was Phil thinking when he threw those pitches? Because my dearly departed grandmother could have hit them out. Oh well. The Yankees certainly had their chances, but leaving runners on base was the pattern of the evening, particularly when Austin Kearns was up.
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No, it’s not his fault that he’s healthy and Swisher and Gardner aren’t. But his futile attempts at the plate made me wince. If only he could have pulled a Jeter and pretended to get hit by a pitch. Was the Captain a good actor or what?
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I don’t blame Joe Maddon for going all rabid, because the ump did blow the call, but for the ESPN announcers to start harping on the need for instant replay was ridiculous. Stuff happens. Mistakes are made. We don’t have to record every pitch for examination. That’s my opinion anyway. Bottom line? The Yankees lost the game, the series and the division lead.
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I have to believe that when our regulars are in the lineup next week, we’ll be back on top. But in the meantime, this one was tough to swallow.
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Talk About A Seesaw Game

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First we lost a heartbreaker last night. Then we jumped out to a healthy lead against Garza tonight, thanks in part to homers by Cano and A-Rod. Then Nova and Logan coughed up the lead.
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Then Cano tied it up at 7-7 and it was yet another battle of the pens.
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I was hanging on every pitch from Joba, Wood and Robertson and went nuts with joy and relief when Granderson made the catch of our season. Just look at his handsome face and maybe give him a clap or two, OK?
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You could tell the team was fired up after that, so when Jorge came up to pinch hit I was ready for something good to happen. And it did.
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Did he crush that ball or what? Up by just a run with Mo on the mound in the bottom of the 10th – the second straight night of extras – it was tense times. Everybody knew Crawford would try to steal second and make it, so I was getting antsy with all the throws over to first. But what happened next was straight out of a dream (a good one this time). Crawford took off for third and was nailed – absolutely gunned down – by none other than Greg Golson. Who?
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Yeah, I didn’t know he had an arm either. Fast? Sure. A decent call up? Right. But a missile to throw out Crawford? Flabbergasted. So, it seemed, were the Yankees as they celebrated the win. I haven’t seen Jeter that excited in awhile. This is one series that has earned the advance hype: the two best teams going at it. I can only imagine what Wednesday night will bring. The one thing I do know is that since I’m back in California I returned to my playoff ritual of grilling turkey burgers for dinner during the games, and the rally burgers worked tonight. I will be eating another one tomorrow night. Care to join me? I’ve got plenty of them.
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Touching Down To Disappointment

My flight landed at Burbank airport tonight and the first thing I did once I got to baggage claim was flip on my iPhone, click on my MLB app and listen to Yankees-Rays. They were in the 4th inning and there was no score. For the next couple of hours, as I made my way up to Santa Barbara on the freeways, I sat there glued to the game wondering which team would score first. What a pitchers duel – the two best teams going at it as if it were a postseason contest. The car finally pulled in my driveway with the game in the 11th. I dropped my luggage at the front door, ran inside the house like a crazy person and turned on the TV – just in time to see Mitre serve one up to Brignac. For the first time this season I was glad I don’t get the postgame shows on YES; my Extra Innings package cuts off the broadcasts as soon as the games end, and the screen shows nothing but the words “Good Night.” It was not a good night for the Yankees, and I’m too tired and heartsick to do anything but say “Good Night” myself.

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Mother Knows Best

I watched today’s game at my mother’s house in Westchester. It was our last visit before I fly back to California in the morning and yet I sat there and yelled at the TV. It was painful to watch the Yankees get swept in Texas, and I couldn’t help myself. After it was all over and I’d vented, I asked Mom for words of wisdom. I’m nervous about the series in Tampa and will be on a plane for the start of tomorrow night’s opener. I needed guidance. Luckily, I received some.
(Sorry about the dark shadows. If I knew what I was doing, I would have turned on another light!)
Cheers to you, Mom.

I don’t want to talk about it

But I’m talking about it anyway.

It’s official: I now hate the Rangers.
If I were a Yankee I’d go out there today and beat them into submission.
On the other hand, I hate that the Yankees left a billion runners on base the last two nights.
I hate that Brett Gardner’s hurt, that he’s been playing hurt, that he’s looked awful.
I hate that Swisher’s hurt, that he’s been playing hurt, that his numbers are down.
I hate that Jeter’s been playing like he’s hurt but is just “in a funk.”
I hate that A-Rod’s big hit in the eighth was wasted.
I hate when any Yankee grounds into a double play.
I hate that we’re stuck with Austin Kearns.
I hate that the arms of our relievers are probably as effective as wet noodles.
I hate that we lost and Tampa won – again.
I hate that Roger Federer lost the U.S. Open semis yesterday.
I hate that it’s raining on my last day in CT.
I hate that I have to fly back to CA tomorrow where there are hardly any Yankee fans.
But most of all, I hate that Mo blew the save. The very idea gives me nightmares.
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OK, Let’s Get Serious

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The Yankees dropped their second in a row. Not a big deal, given that Matusz pitched well, that A.J. did a decent job of not imploding, that Brian Roberts has always been a Yankee-killer, that A-Rod notched his 100th RBI for a Major League record 14th time and that there’s no shame in losing to the O’s anymore. But here’s the thing: the clock is ticking.
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We’re heading down the stretch now and it’s time to turn up the heat (and every other cliche I can think of). I have no interest in watching the Yankees lose a bunch of games – and their division lead. Instead, I’d like to see them pull away from the Rays so that when we play them, it won’t be cause for a heart attack. In the meantime, I’m turning on the TV so I can watch the Rays-Red Sox game tonight. Which team will I root for? This one. Always.
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