I wanted the sweep. I prayed for it. But I didn’t really expect it. It was asking a lot of the Yankees to beat the Red Sox for the fourth day in a row – especially against Lester – but they pulled it off. I was stunned.
Andy Pettitte must have really listened to me when I had that talk with him yesterday. He went seven innings, only giving up five hits, and matched Lester batter for batter – until A-Rod came up in the bottom of the seventh. Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez not clutch?
Yeah, it does sound funny. He had two clutchy homers this weekend, and tonight’s put the Yanks on the board in what looked like it might be another 15-inning scoreless fest. Of course, the drama didn’t end there. This is Yankees-Red Sox we’re talking about. Coke coughed one up to Victor Martinez to give the Sox the lead, but the Yankees now have the 2009 version of these guys.
OK, not quite. But Damon and Tex went deep in the eighth off Bard and have now gone back-to-back in six games this season. Oddly enough, that’s a franchise record.
With the Yankees ahead 5-2 in the ninth, Mo gave up a single and a walk, and my heart was going like this.
But he retired Ellsbury. The sweep was in the bag.
So yes, we’re up by six-and-a-half games in the division. And yes, we have the best record in the majors. And yes, it all feels great. But it’s August 9th as I’m typing this – still a lot of baseball to play. A couple of bad series for us and a couple of good ones for the Red Sox and/or Rays, and it’s panic time again.
Monday night begins a series against the Blue Jays. We’ll be facing that pitcher with the hard-to-spell name. You know, the rookie with only two vowels. Rzepczynski.
And we’ll have Sergio Mitre on the mound for us – Mr. I-Can’t-Get-Anybody-Out-In-The-First-Inning. Does anybody think there won’t be a letdown? Just a teeny weeny lack of intensity after the Red Sox series? If I had a team meeting, I’d say this.
“Hi, Yankees. It’s me, She-Fan. I want to congratulate you on the fantastic weekend. But I also want to tell you to keep the train moving. Don’t just go, ‘Oh, it’s the Blue Jays. So what.” If you have to pretend it’s still the Red Sox, go ahead. Whatever it takes. Just win. Thank you.'”
I hope they heard me. Somehow.
While several Yankees were attending the Cavaliers-Magic game tonight, I painstakingly sorted through the Indians’ lineup to gather as much intel as I could in anticipation of our four-game series.
Obviously, we need to exact payback for the humiliating 22-4 drubbing in April. So let’s look at the lineup we could be facing (they change it around a lot) and try to find weaknesses. The Tribe just came off a sweep of the Rays, so they’re feeling hot hot hot. The Yankees need to cool them off.
* Asdrubal Cabrera.
Not to be confused with “a strudel,” the Venezuelan shortstop has seven stolen bases. He was suspended for three games in September ’08 for his role in a brawl with the Tigers. Tip to Yankees: if he charges the mound, duck.
* Grady Sizemore.
The center fielder has been DH-ing, due to a sore elbow. He has an unsightly 49 strikeouts and is only batting .223. Still, he always seems to kill us. Tip to Yankees: don’t be lulled into a sense of security.
* Victor Martinez.
Another Venezuelan, Victor Jesus Martinez has been a beast lately, with 36 RBIs and a .359 average. Like his countryman, he was suspended for that fight with the Tigers last year. Tip to Yankees: get him out but don’t get him mad.
* Shin-Soo Choo.
The former Mariner was a star in his native Korea. And last year, his .386 average with RISP was fourth best in the AL. Tip to Yankees: don’t let him come up with RISP.
* Jhonny Peralta.
Jhonny is a shortstop with a name that’s spelled funny. He’s a third baseman too. And he’s a man with a black smiley face on his chin. He’s also got 43 Ks. Tip to Yankees: pound the zone and take your chances.
* Ryan Garko.
This guy is no dummy. He went to Stanford, for God’s sake! Not only does he admit to reading, but he promotes literacy. Tip to Yankees: find a position for him and put him in pinstripes.
* Trevor Crowe.
Just called up from the minors, the rookie outfielder is batting .182. His father, David Crowe, played on the PGA Tour, and his cousin, Russell Crowe, is a famous movie star. (Just kidding about Russell.) Tip to Yankees: let him get a hit – only one – so he can tell his dad about it.
* Ben Francisco.
Not much to say here, except that he grew up in California and played high school baseball with Garko. He’s batting .259 with 31 strikeouts. Tip to Yankees: don’t sweat it.
* Luis Valbuena.
He’s the only Venezuelan on the team that wasn’t involved in that fight with the Tigers. Plus, he has zero homers. Tip to Yankees: plunk somebody else and pitch to him.
Speaking of the fight, here’s a look.
Typical baseball hissy with lots of standing around.
Here’s hoping there are no fights – and definitely no Lake Erie midges.