Getting into the postseason is no small feat, and, like the Yankees, I decided not to let the occasion go by with merely a “Yay.” After watching the players douse each other in the visitors clubhouse at the Rogers Centre (I don’t get the post-game show here, so I had to wait for the party clips on the YES web site), Michael covered the shower wall with plastic so it would look “authentic” (a Hefty garbage bag like last year), escorted me inside, dumped champagne on my head and handed me the rest of the bottle. It wasn’t the good stuff and tasted like stale beer, but the sentiment was there even if I did end up looking like Alice Cooper. Woohoo, Yankeeeeeeees!
CC was The Man. He gave the team innings. He gave them effectiveness. He gave them the confidence to score runs. (Loved all the sac flies.) He gave them a true ace. And Mo. Well. Of course he wrapped it up. I know the division title is still up for grabs, but just knowing for sure that we’ll be watching October baseball is a thrill that never gets old. I thought back to 2007 when I was following the Yanks around the country for the She-Fan book. We were in Tampa, at the Trop, when they clinched their Wild Card berth and the Post’s Charles Wenzelberg promised he’d bring me back a champagne cork from the party. True to his word, he brought me the cork when we were in Cleveland for the ALDS. I still have it.
I keep it with my jewelry. To me, having a memento from a Yankees celebration is more valuable than diamonds or pearls.
1) iPhones are the greatest invention known to mankind.
I’ve had mine for awhile now, but tonight it allowed me to do three things at once: eat dinner with a friend, “watch” the Yankees beat the tar out of the Indians and enjoy the beautiful view of the Santa Barbara harbor at the Endless Summer cafe.
2) Dustin Moseley knows how to pitch.
He was great tonight after some first inning jitters. Threw strikes. Kept his cool. Deserves another start for sure.
3) Cervelli has the ability to make me mad.
Memo to him: When you come up with the bases loaded and the opposing pitcher has done nothing but walk batters, do not swing at the first pitch and ground into a rally killing DP.
4) A-Rod is allowed to have fun during his chase for #600.
The guy has been an RBI machine, so people need to stop worrying about the homers. He’s helping us win – big time.
5) Scoring seven runs in one inning is what I’d like the Yankees to do over the weekend in Tampa.
Not that I didn’t appreciate the runs tonight, but I’d really like a lot of offense against the Rays. Please.
6) Chan Ho Park cannot – I repeat – CANNOT – pitch two innings.
I know. It was a laugher. But thanks to him things got a little hairy in the ninth. All those walks. Seriously. He’s okay for one inning (if nobody else is available), but not for two. That is all.
7) Marcus Thames reminded me of these in his attempt to play third.
Yeah, he’d never played there before and he was giving A-Rod a rest. But I had flashbacks of Angel Berroa. Not good.
8) The grilled mahi mahi at Endless Summer is worth checking out if you’re ever in the neighborhood.
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.
Nope, Girardi didn’t have to call on Swisher to pitch this time around, but the Yankees did take a beating at the hands of the Rays tonight. For some reason, the Trop has been the scene of several lopsided defeats over the years, as if the word “Devil,” although expunged from the Rays’ identity, still makes appearances there.
Actually, tonight was a tale of two pitchers. David Price was great for them. Javy Vazquez was awful for us. Well, let me amend that. Vazquez was great until the fourth, when all the wheels came off.
Suddenly, he couldn’t get anyone out, and the result was eight runs in five-plus innings. How does a pitcher look so good for three innings and then fall apart? Or is it just that the opposition “figures things out?” I don’t know, but I’d prefer it if Vazquez doesn’t make a habit of pitching performances like tonight’s.
And another thing. I’m not wild about Marcus Thames platooning with Gardner. Thames covers left field about as well as I would.
Back at it tomorrow against the Rays with CC on the mound. It’s a Fox game, so it’s unlikely I’ll get the broadcast here in California. (Booooooooo!) But I’m figuring the Yankees will rebound, just like they did after dropping the opener to the Red Sox. Hoping, anyway.
P.S. And now for the nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookie Contest. Deadline is midnight on April 11th, people!
Oops. Not that one.
As effective as Scott Kazmir was last night, Joba absolutely dominated the Rays tonight in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory.
He’s been brilliant since going home to Nebraska during the break. I’d like to know what they fed him while he was there, because he’s been a different pitcher since he came back.
No more shaking off Jorge. No more strolls around the mound between pitches. No more nibbling around the strike zone. He’s been aggressive, no-nonsense, focused. As a result, he only gave up three hits over eight innings – a memorable performance.
It was such a positive outing that I’m not even going to bring up the reliever who shall remain nameless, except to say he’s struggling and I don’t know why and he’s starting to remind me of guys who are no longer with the team.
I was fuming that Girardi had to drag Mo into the game in the ninth, but he took care of business in his usual it’s-just-my-job sort of way.
(Is there a stat for how many times he’s shaken Jorge’s hand after getting the final out?)
Jeter’s triple in the first inning set the tone, as did Tex’s single to drive him in. Then the home run derby kicked in: Cano (after fouling a ball off his knee – ouwww), Melky, Tex. The boys were unstoppable.
Speaking of Tex, on Twitter tonight I was kidding around with MLBlogger Yankeemeg about the resemblance between Jarrod Washburn and Kiefer Sutherland. Have you noticed?
Then we moved on to Eric Hinske (I kind of figured he’d play in this series, giving Damon or Swisher a night off from the turf) and how he reminded us of Kevin James.
I was trying to come up with a celebrity double for Tex and couldn’t think of one. And then Yankeemeg said, “He looks just like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.” And you know what? He does!
It’s easy to be lighthearted when your team is in first place and they just won a big series. Let’s see how jokey I am after the Yanks and White Sox go at it tomorrow night. I’d really like to keep the train moving, but I know better than to take anything for granted.
Well, that’s what Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham called it on his blog. Taking nothing away from the excellent performance by Scott Kazmir, tonight’s game at the Trop was a sloppy one by the Yankees, who fell 6-2 to the Rays and looked as if they’d been out partying last night.
Good pitching and defense? Not in evidence. CC struggled through five-plus and only intermittently had command of his pitches. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great second-half guy? He seemed pretty lost out there.
Both Jeter and A-Rod made throwing errors, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Matsui got picked off of first base, and I can’t remember the last time that happened either. And Swisher? I’m sorry, but he’s just not the player I want in right field everyday. Sure, he comes up with the occasional brilliant catch, but most of the time he’s – how can I put this delicately – cringe worthy.
Would Eric Hinske be that much worse? Would Shelley Duncan? Would this kid?
I’m missing Bobby Abreu right now, wall phobia and all. Are you hearing me, Cashman?
I was delighted that Girardi finally allowed Mark Melancon to appear in public; it was starting to feel as if he’d contracted swine flu like Vincente Padilla and been shuttled off to an undisclosed location.
Speaking of maladies, what awful news about Wang. Shoulder surgery tomorrow? Out for the rest of this season and possibly next? Talk about a blow.
And what about Aceves, the guy we’ve been counting on in the pen and maybe in the rotation too? Now he tells the Yankees he has shoulder pain? How long has that been going on? I understand the whole spiel about athletes playing through injuries, blah blah, but did he think that keeping his “arm fatigue” quiet would make it go away? The strategy didn’t exactly work for Bruney.
OK. I’ll take a deep breath here.
Much better. It’s just that things have been going so well for the Yankees that I was hoping everybody would stay healthy and we wouldn’t have any big surprises and…
Would you listen to me? I’m acting all sky-is-falling, and it’s ridiculous. Baseball is nothing if not full of surprises. And with the trade deadline creeping up, there are bound to be more of them.
When I left the house to meet my friends for dinner, the Yankees were up 3-0 over the Rays in the bottom of the fifth. Despite his rising pitch count, AJ looked downright nasty and I was feeling pretty optimistic about his outing.
I was driving to the restaurant listening to the audio of the game when Cano and Swisher went back to back in the sixth to make it 5-0. I was so excited I nearly did this.
But I kept it together and continued on to the restaurant, a cute Mexican place in Montecito.
I was dying to monitor the score, but I didn’t want to be rude to my friends, neither of whom was hanging on the fate of the Yankees. So we sat there eating our chimichangas or enchiladas or whatever the hell they were. (Bottom line: they came with rice and beans and had cheese and guacamole on them.)
I ate mine really fast, so I could get home and find out what happened. After I pulled in my driveway, I raced in the door and asked Michael, “So? Did we win?”
He can be really annoying the way he withholds information. Typical male. I tried again. “DID WE WIN?” I should add that I strangled him as I asked the question this time.
“Yes, we did, OK?” he said after coughing for five straight minutes. “The score was 11-4.”
“A blowout? Are you kidding me?”
“We had four homers.”
“Wow. I thought Yankee Stadium was the home run palace. We went deep four times at the Troperoo?”
“Watch the replay and see for yourself.”
Which is exactly what I did. And yeah, the homers were sweet. I cheered as Swisher hit his second of the night, remembering when we were on the wrong side of a blowout at the Trop and he was called upon to pitch. Nice reversal of fortune.
And Damon. Congrats to him on #200.
There were so many other great offensive moments:
* A-Rod’s two-run double (happy birthday).
* Matsui’s sprint all the way home from first.
* Cano’s triple.
* Jeter’s three hits.
Come to think of it, didn’t everybody in the lineup have a hit?
But the star of the game had to be AJ. Two hits and one run over seven innings? That’s just sick.
He’s the guy I used to dread facing when he was with the Blue Jays. When people talk about pitchers having “live stuff,” I know what they mean when I watch him throw the ball.
I do wonder why Girardi didn’t use Melancon in relief. The kid hasn’t pitched in weeks. If you don’t use him in blowouts, why not send him back to Scranton?
But I quibble. It’s very satisfying to beat the reigning AL Champions. I realize it’s only one game and we’ll be back at it on Tuesday night. But I’m glad I wolfed down my dinner so I could get home and see….
Oh, no. I’m not glad. I’m having chimichanga kickback right now – that “burning sensation.”
I asked Michael if we had anything I could take for it. He handed me this.
I chimichugged it right down.
If I had told people that the Yankees would go 9-1 on their homestand, I would have gotten reactions like this.
And even this.
That Swisher. Such a goofball. But even he probably wouldn’t have predicted such a great run after the All-Star break.
Mitre was mediocre in Sunday’s game, but “mediocre” might be just fine for the time being. He throws strikes. He induces ground balls. He doesn’t look panicked out there. He’ll do as the fifth starter until he proves he’s not worthy.
The bullpen is looking better and better, especially with Bruney gaining in confidence and effectiveness. I’m a little worried about Coke though. I shake my head every time somebody says, “He’s been amazing, except that he gives up home runs.”
The last time I checked, giving up home runs wasn’t a good thing. Hughes continues to impress, and Mo is just, well, Mo. He could probably throw that cutter in his sleep.
Tex keeps rolling. Cody Ransom has been more-than-decent as A-Rod’s fill-in. And Melky will have to step up while Gardner’s thumb heals.
I admit I was thrown when I heard about Brett the Jet’s injury. How will we compensate for his speed on the bases? Could we get this guy to un-retire?
Cano finally got a big hit with men in scoring position. And Jeter seems to get more acrobatic with age. I mean, could you do this?
What I’m saying is that I think we’re ready for the ten-day road trip, which begins at the cowbell palace known as The Trop.
Sure, there will be challenges in Tampa. Big ones, not the least of which is this.
Tough place to catch fly balls. What’s more, there are Rays that always cause the Yankees headaches: Upton, Crawford, Longoria, Pena. I’m hoping AJ can handle them all when he opens the series and flashes them that stare.
The Bombers have hit the road as I’m typing this. Actually, they must be in Florida by now.
If I were addressing them at their hotel, I’d say: “Win every game on the trip.”
“She-Fan, you’re cracked,” Jeter would say. “We can’t win every game.”
“Well, you can win ninety-nine percent of them,” I’d counter. “You just did it.”
Everybody would realize I was right. And Joba would let out a victory roar.
It’s not that I think Brett Bombko is such a catch. But why wasn’t he put on the Yankees’ roster? He could have eaten innings and performed the kind of public service that would have avoided over-using the pen in tonight’s 15-5 drubbing by the Rays.
Instead, the game took on a circus atmosphere right from the start.
The way he was getting pounded, batter after batter, reminded me of…Well, just watch and you’ll see what I mean.
After he departed in the second inning, Albaladejo, Edwar and Coke did their best imitations of circus acts too.
Not that it was just the pitchers who looked clownish.
Cody Ransom lost a ball while staring up into Tropicana Field’s dome, apparently entranced by its unique beauty.
Cano and Pena (Ramiro, not Carlos) put on a show of their own following a Navarro pop up
in the manner of these two.
And for the grand finale, Nick Swisher entertained the crowd by pretending to be a pitcher
in much the same way that a mime entertains the crowd by pretending he can’t speak.
Swisher was a great sport and actually held the Rays scoreless – the feat of the night – but if I wanted to watch a circus I would have gone to see Cirque de Soleil.
Were there any bright spots for the Yankees during this humiliating exercise? No. Well, except that A-Rod was back with the team, and I brightened every time the camera found him in the dugout. I’m sure Ransom is a lovely human being, but I want the guy who hits 50 homers in the lineup.
As for the Rays, they did everything right tonight. But the player I’m intent on kidnapping in order to prevent him from having his way with my guys is him.
Upton is maddeningly good. He hits for power. He bunts for base hits. He steals bases. And he makes over-the-shoulder – yes, circus – catches. If he doesn’t show up for Tuesday’s game, it’s because he’s being held in a secure location.
…he carried the Yankees on his back in 2007.
There he was, rounding the bases after hitting home run #500. I was sitting behind home plate that afternoon. Everybody at the Stadium went crazy. The Yankees spilled out onto the field and bear-hugged their teammate. It was a celebratory moment in an otherwise discouraging season; the Yanks spent time in the cellar during the first half, only to rally in the second half to make it into the playoffs as the wild card.
One of the main reasons they did make it through was A-Rod and his 54 homers and 156 RBIs. He was on fire in ’07. He hit in the clutch. He did everything that was asked of him on defense. He earned that MVP award. He fizzled against Cleveland in the ALDS, but so did everyone else. Jeter. Jorge. Jason. I didn’t think it was possible to hit into so many double plays, but that’s what they did. Wang’s two dismal performances didn’t help.
I love Joe Torre. I always will. I miss his leadership and can’t wait to read his book. I just feel the need to stick up for A-Rod, who might have saved Joe’s job early in the season with all those homers.
Is he a philandering phony?
Does he have a tendency to do bush-league things?
(Who can forget his “Mine!” or “I got it!” in Toronto?)
Does he love to look at himself?
Is he jealous of Jeter’s popularity with the fans?
Does he seek attention even as he claims not to want it?
Check. Here’s an item in today’s NY Post to prove it.
He is not a model citizen. We know that. But in 2007 he led my team to its 12th consecutive postseason, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Here’s a clip from the champagne party after the Yanks clinched at the Trop. Interesting that A-Rod gives Torre a shout out.