The call from Acc came in at around quarter to nine. I had to fess up immediately. “I’m at Shea,” I said. He recognized it right away. “Is today the thing with your girl’s cousins?” That it was. The Mrs.’s cousins kids are all huge Mets fans, and every year we take them to a game at Shea. This year was the tenth in a row. It also marked the first year we brought the Mrs.’s Godson Charles, who is seven this year. We usually add a new kid (they have five) when he turns six. Technically, Charles should have been added last year, but due to the fact that he is a certified maniac, we had to postpone him a year. And that still might have been too soon. So we’re up to four. Kenny, Louis, Andrew, and Charles. Joey (brother-in-law), who’s in town semi-temporarily from L.-A., came along as well. And since I was at Shea, I figured I would call Big Willie and Grossman, knowing they would get a giggle out of the fact that I was at a Met game. I didn’t get to call Grossman, because it turned out that not only was Big Willie at the game, he was sitting about 25 feet away from me. And as per Joey’s modus operandi, we stopped off at L-&-B Spumon-i Garden-s in Bensonhurs-t for a late-night square slice.
Some observations. Good crowd; Pedro on the mound. He was sharp early but let up four long balls. Might be that time of year when his arm starts to get tired. Yankees fans know this all too well. The crowd was very into the game, as the Mets were playing for sole possession of the wild card spot tonight. One positive was that the fans did not attempt the wave. Why do I need to be subjected to that at Yankee stadium of late? That one still confuses me. And irritates the h*ll out of me. One negative was that the fans in the bleachers at Shea seemed to be doing the roll-call, invented and solely practiced at Yankee stadium as far as I knew until I witnessed tonight’s display. That is weak. Ripping off the Yankee Stadium bleacher creatures so egregiously. No twist on it, no requisite minor change so they can feel like they didn’t just rip it off. They just blatantly ripped it off. What’s the deal?
Enough about the Mets. I’m sure I’ll take heat in the comments about devoting any space at all to it, but it is what it is. The Yankees played a big game at Safeco tonight. Randy Johnson, who has looked very sharp his last three starts, gave us a much-needed boost over the kid Felix Hernandez. When I first saw the kid’s name I said – wait a minute…..isn’t he on our team? Then I realized that was Felix Rodriguez. What do I know? Perfect night for Randall to get tough. Took a no-hitter into the sixth. He makes it look so easy when he’s on.
Anybody’s guess which Jaret Wright will show up tomorrow afternoon. Piniero’s been having a tough season and I think the best thing would be to step on his throat early and demoralize him. If Wright can hold serve for three innings and we strike up some runs, it should take care of itself. I may watch it splashing around Big Joe’s pool, and I may listen to it out on the golf course with Tony Sherry. Remains to be seen. But tomorrow is a key game.
The Red Sox are still singing “pocket full of miracles” while playing Harlem Globetrotters to the D-Rays’ Washington Generals this week. That’s eleven out of fifteen they’ve beaten Sweet Lou. Congratulations on first place, Bosto-n. You can beat the Devil Rays better than we can. Great. Too bad they only play four more games this year. The Indians finally lost, which is nice. And the A’s finally lost. That leaves us a game up in the wild card. Whatever. It’ll do for now.
Thanks to everyone for their comments today. The superstitious Mike Sherry told me on the phone yesterday that he was waiting for the Yanks to lose before he would post a comment, because he was afraid of jinxing the win streak. So then he didn’t. Wanted to address the Evilsnare’s comments. First of all, loved the first comment. Great line. Second, I kind of expected the A-Rod thing to come back at me. I half-cowardly tried to mitigate my position with my words. I didn’t say he wasn’t a tough out, I said a tough out wouldn’t be the best way to describe him. A meek defense at best, I know. I am a big fan of A-Rod. I think he doesn’t get enough credit for carrying this team. I think he is a monster at the plate. I guess what I was basing my position on was that he wasn’t as tough a two-strike hitter. I am not married to my argument, though, and am willing to listen to a good counter.
Last thing from the Evil Snare. What do I think of your prediction? I love it. Any prediction that has the Yankees winning the division is okay by me. Is it realistic? It’s a bit aggressive. You have them going 15-2 in their last 17, and you have them beating the Sox 5 of 6 down the stretch. As I said yesterday, I think those series’ will be a split, or at most 4-2. It just always ends up like that. I see where you’re coming from, though. Baltimor-e is playing an ugly brand of ball, and we seem to have Toront-o’s number this year. And most importantly, the Yanks have the talent. It’s just tough to win all those games considering the “any given day” rule. You’re looking good so far, though. But I think the Yanks will take two of three from the A’s, believe it or not. Watch out for Giambi. He loves going back to Oaklan-d.
I can’t promise I won’t make another attempt at a “Wright” headline tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a good one. On every count.
I guess you could argue that I spoke too soon. It’s not going to be easy, this business of making the playoffs, and of unseating Bosto-n in the east. Bosto-n found another miracle today, for the umpteenth time in the last three years, and won a game they deserved to lose. You could certainly argue the Yankees have done that lately, I know, but they had paid their dues, dearly and in full, early in the season to be able to reclaim some of those wins now. Schilling was again as awful as he could be. Francona did what Torre did yesterday, and yanked him early to give his team a chance. It paid off for him, as it did Torre yesterday.
The Yankees have got to find a way to hang on for five more games. The Sox are finishing up a 13 game stretch in which they play nothing but a smooth, clean sheet of Tigers, Rays, Royals, and Orioles (who are playing worse than anyone right now). Seven miles of bad road, as my old boss Tony Brunetta used to say. And all but three of those games at home. The Sox will not see a kinder stretch for the rest of the season. The bulk of those games are played with the Yanks on a no-days-off west coast trip. If the Sox are going to kill us, now would be the time. So now is when we get tough. Trot Nixon coming back is huge for them. Like last year, he disappeared with a season-threatening injury around the all star break and came back in the nick of time without missing a beat in terms of production. He’s a tough out. These games against Seattl-e are reflective of how difficult this will be. It’s hard to win every game, but everybody is winning right now. The best news for the Yanks is that the A’s and Angels are playing each other. Someone has to lose. The Yanks and Sox will play each other six more times, but you know how that will turn out? Three wins each. Almost always does. You can’t realistically count on making up a lot of ground there.
For the second game in a row, a recently reliable starter completely imploded on the west coast. Yesterday, moose, today Chacon. We were all waiting for the other shoe to drop on this guy, let’s face it. He was so good for so many starts with not a lot of history to back it up. He gutted out his last win, but we I think all Yankee fans were hoping that was the exception and not the rule. What the future will bring; who knows? Right now we don’t know who the real Shawn Chacon is. It’s going to have to be up to the bats.
With all of the Yankees thunder, they don’t have as many tough outs in their line-up as you might think. I don’t mean they can’t hit, score runs, pummel you or beat you down with huge crashing blows. I mean they don’t grind you down and wear you out so much. That stuff comes in handy when the big bats aren’t going on any given night. Jeter is a tough out, Gary Sheff is a tough out, The Ferocious Lion is a tough out, and Giambi (the juiced/cortisoned Giambi) is a tough out. A-Rod, for all of his MVP flash, would not best be described as a tough out, as crazy as that sounds. He can crush you, but he doesn’t battle you or grind you out. Bernie and Posada can get big hits for you, but they are not tough outs at this point. Posada is probably a bit tougher out, but Bernie will get you a few more big hits. Cano is not a tough out, I can’t comment on Lawto-n yet, and Bellhorn has looked worse in every at-bat tonight.
So Gary Sheff sat out the suspension tonight. It cost us. We left five guys on base in the first two innings right where his spot would have been. Torre DH’d A-Rod and Bellhorn played third. The bottom five in the order tonight looked like this: .255, .251, .265, .213, .270. Anyone still wondering why we only had three runs and six hits? This is the point in the season at which every bone in Torre’s body is telling him to rest two starters a night. He’s been doing it every September for ten years. He’s had that luxury. Not this year. If he overplays guys like Bellhorn, we’re going to suc-k wind. Utility means utility. He is a liability at the bat. You want my opinion? Learn all of the Red Sox signs and then cut his a*ss.
I expect to go 3-2 on the rest of the west coast trip. I would be satisfied with that. Sure – you would love a 5-2 road trip, but that’s not realistic. I’m expecting somebody to hang one L on the Sox this week, so I expect we’ll probably come back down 3 1/2. There is some good news, though. Our schedule is a lot easier in September. Loaded with Balt, Tor, and TB. With the way Baltimor-e has played, and with the way we have played against Toront-o, we should win games. I am also going to be stubborn and insist we are due to beat those confounded D-Rays. Bosto-n’s schedule gets very weird in September. My gut feeling is we’ll have a good shot to make a move. But first, as I said – we have to hang on for five games.
I was out in the screen house with Big Joe (father-in-law). I’m on vacation all this week, so we were winding up a tough day out by the pool with carvel sundaes before the Yankee game; a 10:05 start in Seattl-e. I’m explaining to him the idea that had just hit me. I’m always seeing Ras and Petey Goods throwing their line-up ideas on the comments, and tonight I had one that I thought made sense. Torre switched things around recently to try and “clump the thunder.” Specifically, The Ferocious Lion slid up to the 2 hole. So there I am explaining to Big Joe that it might make sense to put Giambi in the 2-hole. Giambi has that on-base percentage, so he’s a great bet to put a guy on for Gary Sheff, A-Rod, and The Ferocious Lion. Any slump he might be in would be offset by the fact that you could put that obp to work. And his obp would push Jeter to second at a more advanced clip each time he got on. It really seemed like it made sense. It still might. But then he went and pendescrinated two bombs deep into the Pacifi-c Northwes-t night for four more rbi steaks. Wow. Single handedly ripped a win from the throats of Grover and his coffee bean cellar dwellers. If he’s this magical, maybe he should hit fifth. The truth is, if all is well in the Yankee line-up, it shouldn’t matter. They have so much talent it isn’t even fair. So I guess I’ll leave that stuff to Joe.
Sean’s boy, the moose, didn’t have it tonight, obviously. But on this rainy Seattl-e night, Mr. Giambi and the Yanks picked him up. Moose was all over the place early. He couldn’t pull it together. Moose can be moody at times, and he was getting frustrated out on the mound tonight. Dale Scott was squeezing him to death, but he later did the same to Ryan Frankli-n and the Mariner bullpen. That’s just how it was going to go. There were two unusual occurrences tonight, and Michael Kay highlighted them both on the broadcast. The first was Mel coming out for a mound visit with a 3-2 count. I thought Mussina might throw the ball at him he was so freaked out. The next was the quick hook, with Joe yanking Moose in the fourth. Torre in years past would usually let Moose work through those things, and if it meant conceding the game, no big deal. He doesn’t have that luxury this year. Everybody keeps winning and you can’t afford to lose any ground. This is a different season. Aaron Small was a monster. This is what Triple J and I had in mind calling for more Small in tough spots. He came in with the bases jizanticrated and nobody out. He got a ground ball out from Ichiro, no small task, and then got what the replay clearly confirmed should have been an inning-ending double play. Bad call from Tim Tschida. Bloomquist got his, though, in the form of a popped hammy. Wasn’t worth it, was it dude? A masterful job from Small. Maybe his magic hasn’t quite run out, as BPS suggested Saturday.
Of course the big story tonight was the Giambino once again. I hadn’t heard about the problem with the left elbow until yesterday, when he confirmed he had gotten the cortisone shot. Apparently he had gotten one earlier in the year, too. Make sure you save a vial-full for October, JG. If it really is so simple, and the guy is going to get on a streak again, this lineup is so tough to beat. Even when the Mariners had a four run lead, they still had to feel club-bludgeoned after the game. I don’t know what the final analysis will say about Lawto-n, but I love to see him get involved with a nice insurance bomb tonight. The sooner this guy feels comfortable, the sooner our line-up grows steelier. And you almost don’t notice when A-Rod hits them anymore, but I’m sure it felt good to him, with the Seattl-e crowd clearly getting on him.
This wildcard thing is certainly interesting. Not much movement tonight, except that our lead over the Los Angele-s Angels of Anahei-m (come on guys, that is so stupid and annoying) was kicked up to a full game with the Angels idle. I still think the Angels have a better team than Oaklan-d, at the end of the day. Time will tell. Everybody keeps winning. I said a few weeks ago that I figured on a four team race for three spots. You have to add Clevelan-d to the mix. They are winning every game. Mostly scoring a ton of runs. Looking at their schedule, though, they have played an inordinate amount of tomato cans in August. Their schedule gets a lot tougher in September, and it’s mostly on the road. I think they’ll be tough, but I don’t expect them to hang on.
Quick comment on the purists that hate the wild card. I don’t love it or hate it, but I think you have to accept it. I don’t see how you could be violently anti-wild card, but willingly accept the whole concept of division play. People take issue with a wild card getting in because they didn’t win their division. Because MLB aligned a certain team to a certain division, everyone is okay with that team getting in? Why is that one so easy to accept? Case in point is the putrid National League West, with the disgusting Padres leading the division at 2 games under .500. They have the eighth-best record in the sixteen-team National League. And that’s by only a half game over the Brewers, or they could easily be ninth. Either way, again, I don’t love it or hate it, but I feel a lot less conflicted when the team with the second best record in the entire American League the last two years – the Red Sox – have an opportunity to play in the post-season rather than some ****** team like the 2005 Padres who make it because they won their division. I think you would have a hard time arguing that the Red Sox didn’t deserve to be there. I think the ALCS bore that out in both years as well. So I accept the wild card, as I accept division play. Incidentally, there are many in baseball who say that division play and other rule and format changes in the mid-sixties had everything to do with keeping the Yankees from winning the World Series every year. But that’s neither here nor there.
Sounds like the Yankees just acquired Bellhorn as a utility guy. I’m okay with that. Michael Kay and David Justice made two good points on it. You can learn the Red Sox signs, and you can learn some insider skinny on weaknesses at the plate. For instance, when Ortiz comes back to the dugout grumbling about hating when the pitcher throws…..whatever. Plus, you can’t expect that Manny is going to have a clue what’s going on if they change the signs at this stage in the game. If he ever knew them at all.
Nice to see h8nBos10 back on board. We missed you, dude. Cano thought he was called out. Torre was fuming. Now he knows. He says it won’t happen again.
Love to see the comment from ddagger down in Nicaragu-a. You picked the right team, I assure you. Welcome aboard the BPS. Hopefully soon you can be one of the 50,000 going nuts in the stadium. As me and the boys can tell you, there’s nothing like it in the world.
I had a dream like this. It was early May; right around when I was motivated by frustration (and Sean) to start this blog. The Yankees heading out on to the field, loaded with tenacious pitching, a packed house, and just beating the blood out of somebody with the bats anyway. It was a good dream. It was a bumpy road, and we lost our way a few times, to be sure. But this is what I had in mind. The whole weekend, actually. Exactly what Yankee fans had pictured. Friday night the Unit not giving anybody a chance in h*ll to beat us. Saturday, even when we had a misstep, we pull off a miracle led by the best players going – Jeter, A-Rod, Sheff, and The Ferocious Lion. And Sunday, just to switch things up a bit, Bernabe and Giambi taking care of things themselves. Maybe it wasn’t Leiter I envisioned on the mound, but I’m not going to split hairs here.
I was yelling at Leiter in the car today driving out to the in-law’s house on staten island. Not as nice as yesterday, but I was going to splash around in Big Joe’s pool anyway. Big Al was picking at the corners with the bases juiced (two walks) and one out. He was really killing me. Sterlin-g and Waldman, clearly agitated that he was taking an hour to pitch a half an inning, were explaining that this is what you get from Leiter. “He’s not going to challenge you,” says Sterlin-g. That’s when I lost it. “Challenge them!!” I’m screaming; “They’re the Royals. They s*ck. Don’t let them walk around the bases!” The Mrs. was not particularly pleased with my outburst. Not that she has an opinion either way on challenging hitters, but apparently my driving isn’t as keen when I’m worrying about pitch counts and ignoring stoplights. He managed to sneak out of it, and that was the extent of his trouble. He can drive you nuts, certainly, but as I’ve said, I like the guy’s Ne-w Yor-k attitude. And I like the fact that he doesn’t crumble. He fights and battles till the bitter end. He never throws in the towel. That’s a good disposition to have when your team’s offense at any time can explode like a Motley Crue stage circa 1988. Apparently last time Leiter pitched I neglected to mention his excellent performance, and Mikey Rumble almost put a hit on me. So, well done, Al.
The boys and I have been kicking this around the last few weeks, and Kay and Kaat alluded to it yesterday on the broadcast. What’s with all of the Yankee pitchers trying to climb the ladder when they get two strikes on a guy? Wondering if this is a Stottlemyre thing, because they’re all doing it. Posada exaggerates it by standing up before the pitch. I kept saying it hasn’t worked yet, but they did get Teahan yesterday with it. He’s the only one I’ve seen bite, though, and I’m not too confident any good hitters are going to be fooled come crunch time. But I guess I’ll defer to Mel, because he’s an excellent pitching coach and I’m a guy who sits on a couch and drinks Dr. Pepper.
So we’re all alone in the wild card slot and a game and a half back in the division. I might be wrong, and I’m certainly biased, but the Yanks are the team to beat in the East. No apologies to anyone on that one. Why? Let’s look at it. The Red Sox are plying a lot of smoke and mirrors right now. There are reasons that they’ve finished second to the Yanks seven years in a row. They’re not as good. Let’s look at the offense. The Red Sox rely disproportionately on two guys. When you look at runs produced (RBIs+Runs-HRs), Manny and Ortiz account for over 40% of the Red Sox runs. That’s too many. The Red Sox starting nine, collectively in aggregate, are hitting 114 points above their career averages. The Yankees, collectively in aggregate, are hitting 63 points below their career averages. The news there is that the Red Sox have a significant downside. The Yanks have a significant upside. You’re starting to see that manifest itself. The Red Sox can only expect Tony Graffanino (who played with our boy Ciampi at Farmingdale) to hit .311 for so long. Varitek, Damon, and Mueller are all over .300. None of those guys are career .300 hitters. They have no closer, they have no Pedro, and they have no Schilling. Yeah, they’ve got a guy wearing Schilling’s name on the back of his jersey, but that guy has shown himself to be a self-promoting, loud-mouthed caricature of the once dominant pitcher. And a j*rkoff. And he sure ain’t scaring anybody. The Red Sox have been no better than they were last year. Worse, in fact. The state of the division is due mostly to the fact that the Yankees took us all on a trip to holy sh*t and back. So who will win this division? The Yankees. You don’t like it? Too bad. Their lineup is loaded to the hilt. The pitching has turned itself around, but more importantly, there is more room for error. If the pitching falters, the offense can come in and beat the tar out of the bad guys anyway. The Red Sox don’t have that same margin of error. The Yankees have the likely MVP (AR), another guy who’ll be top five mvp voting (GS), the comeback player of the year (JG), a batting title candidate (DJ), and another guy who may be more dangerous and scary than any of those guys. They call that guy the Ferocious Lion. The Sox have Ortiz, Manny, and cross your fingers that Graffanino keeps hitting .311. And right now, the only Red Sox pitcher that scares me is Wells. No one else. Starter or bullpen. The Yankees are killers.
Lupica was at it again today in the Daily News. I’m not going to get obsessive about this, I promise, but I always feel like someone has to take that guy to task. I’ve said he’s at his worst when writing about the Yankees, but he’s truly at his worst when he starts to compare them to the Mets. And he’s been shaky ever since he decided that his opinion is more important than everyone else’s. Today he’s comparing the Yanks and Mets on the left side of the infield. He acknowledged the Yanks’ left side was better (ya think?!) – for now. But he said that is going to change in the near future. He also said, for about the hundredth time in the last six years, that the Mets were the “better story.” Why does this guy just totally hang his journalistic credibility out to dry like that?
Let me take this one at a time. First of all, the Yankees have Jeter and A-Rod on the left side. I’m not to explain that any further. The Mets have David Wright; a guy I genuinely think is an interesting, hard nosed, solid ballplayer. The kind of guy you love to have on your team. But he will never be A-Rod, and he has a long way to go and a lot of things to prove before he could think about being Jeter. Jose Reyes on the other hand, is an over-rated, dime-a-dozen guy. He has speed. Period. He is a .270 hitter who plays marginal defense and has missed very significant portions of the last two seasons on the DL (read: injury prone). Podsednik is a great example of a guy whose speed is his entire game. If he tweaks something, anything, he immediately becomes a liability. And his obp is under .300. That’s inexcusable for a leadoff guy.
What exactly constitutes a better story? That’s about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Lupica used this one all the time back in 2000. All the time. Does he still think that today? Does anyone? Those 2000 Mets were a bunch of forgettable guys. Let’s face it. These Mets are almost as bland. This is the golden age of the Yankees. They have the biggest collection of stars in the game. They have had steroid controversy. They have personality conflict. They have guys off the scrap heap who are shining bright one last time before they fade away. They have seen wonderful and surprising redemption from stars thought dead and buried. They are fighters. For the first time in a long time, the Yanks have had to claw back from the rear. At one point they had one (one!!) starter healthy. Through it all, the fans have spoken. They will draw 4 million fans at the stadium for the first time ever this year. They are averaging 50,000 a game. They are a phenomenal story. Something new every day. They are not only the best story in baseball, Mike; they might be the best story in sports. Open your eyes and stop acting like the sour, bitter Met fan in the schoolyard instead of a professional sports writer. Either that or stop taking up space in a major Ne-w Yor-k paper’s sports section.
Love to see six comments on a weekend post. Wasn’t expecting that. I usually get something closer to zero. Thanks to Ras, Petey Goods, The Lucky Lefty, and gjp7231. Welcome aboard, dude. Love to see people up and commenting. All are welcome and encouraged. BPS has the most comments of any mlblog, after all.
Happy belated birthday to Vino. Sorry I missed your party dude. Wanted to be there. Next year.
Congrats to all of the Ivy League hoodlums who just finished up finals on their MBAs. Grossman, JJ, Vino, Big Willie, and the Lt. Must mean you guys are smart, no?
Watching the game as I tap the keys. Its top of 6 and Small just replaced Wright. Yanks are down 5-3. Petey Goods is at the stadium, text messaging me. He doesn’t have a lot of good things to report.
The Yankees are a strangely predictable team. They follow patterns and trends to such an extent that we should start to see math clubs organizing field trips to the Bron-x. The last two games they have lost, and now this game, have followed the same trend. One massive, implosive inning. Usually with two outs. Same deal today. Big inning by the Royals in the fifth. All with two outs. A great battle to get a two out hit by Berroa, then an infield hit that was more of a botch job by Cano, then a walk, then; armageddon. Only one ball was hit hard. Lots of infield hits and good placement.
Yanks had a three run lead. Following another trend there. They scored their runs, and then laid down the bats. At this point, they have 2 hits in the game, and currently have been retired nine in a row. By J.P. Howell, some s*ckjob rookie who is 1-4 with a 7.68 ERA. They have done this in the same manner that they have done it all season long. They are leaping at the ball with the ferocity of a dog leaping at a passing car. With the same results. Thus, Howell’s pitch count has gotten much more economical as the game has worn on. This guy after the first two innings looked like he was doomed to not make it out of the fourth. Here he is in the sixth, with one out and one on right now. Make that two out. Gary Sheff just beat out the back end of a double play. Text message from the big boy that Sheff-ield rarely looks like he’s hustling on the paths. He’s right. Giambi, who is usually the one guy you can count on to bleed a pitch count, just swung at the first pitch and b*tched out. Trying to remember to last time he got a hit. Not sure, but I think it was around the time my mom was the president of Franc-e. So Howell’s thrown 87 pitches through six, but what does that matter? He’s a terrible rookie who no one pretends is a legitimate major league prospect. Is it that important to get him out of the game? It shouldn’t be, certainly. And it’s not the pitcher. It’s the bats. We’ve seen anybody and everybody do this to the Yanks this year. Doesn’t matter – rookie or veteran, all-star or ******. The Yankees do this to themselves. They become super undisciplined, swing at everything, and make the game very easy for the opposition. It’s pretty scary. This Yankee team can do this against any team, any pitcher, at any time. This game is the premier example of that. Three hits against a rookie, J.P. “Thurston” Howell, and the last place (by far) Royals, at home in Yankee stadium. You couldn’t have drawn up a better match-up for the Yanks.
I recall from the first time the Yanks and Royals played in KC that they have a few kids, rookies again, probably, who throw ridiculous heat. At the time, the Yankees had a lot of trouble hitting guys who throw good heat. That was part of the reason the Yanks went down three straight. They couldn’t touch those guys. And of course they threw nothing but strikes, helped partly by the fact that the Yanks swung at everything. I guess we’ll see them soon.
Well the Royals keep on coming. The Yankees, who had a pretty solid looking three run lead with two outs in the fifth, are now, five outs later, down by three. Aaron Small’s magic has just about run out. Mike Sweeney, the only guy on this team who can actually hit, is 2 for 4 with a double and 3 rbi’s. He had two doubles last night, too. All to the exact same spot – past a diving A-Rod. Today, the big one was a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run double that put the go-ahead run in scoring position. A-Rod probably should have been playing the line with two outs, especially since he had been beaten twice in the last two games by the same guy. Can’t get on A-Rod for the D so much this year, I guess.
So we’re in the bottom of the seventh. Looking for some thunder. Three runs is a lot, especially when the Yankees are in f*ck-me mode. Bernie just leads off the seventh with a base hit. Howell is gone. Reliever in, Posada smacks a fly-out to the deepest part of the park. The Ferocious Lion did the same earlier. Lawto-n down swinging. Jim Kaat just made a pretty good suggestion. “Good time for Cano to take a strike,” he said. Pure Genius. It was 3-0, after all. He took two, actually, before b*tching out on strikes. That’s what these Royals will do to you, though. A great, playoff contending juggernaut like these Royals will come back from 3-0 to strike you out with men on.
I’m not going to do this all day. It’s nice out. I’m going outside. The Yankees are now down 7-3 courtesy of an Aaron Small walk and a yet another seeing-eye base hit, all with two outs, of course. The Royals have brought in the flamethrower, Burgo-s, who just looks like an *ss hole.
I’ll also say this. The Yanks have to get more tenacious. They need to be more relentless. They need to keep coming after you, one through nine. They can’t just lie down after a quick spurt of runs. How do they break this pattern? Donnie Baseball? What are you telling these guys? I’ll tell you what I’m telling them. Win. Just win.
Pause for effect.
You didn’t really think I’d walk away from my Yankees, did you? Sure it’s beautiful outside; its 80 degrees and sunny, barely a cloud in the sky. I couldn’t care less. I couldn’t be happier indoors in front of YES HD, because I just watched one of the sickest comebacks I have ever seen. I had two choices. I could either scrap the entire first shot at today’s post, or I could leave it all right there and write the post-script. At the end of the eighth, I had it up, edited, and previewed. All I needed to do was hit “save this post.” But I’ve been a Yankee fan all my life, and this is a golden age for the Yankees. This is why I watch. The theme works for so many different things, and the every once in a while, the Yanks provide a brilliant reminder. There’s always hope. And I’m not going to turn my back on them when things look bleak. So I watched on.
Jim Kaat, who for my money gives you the best in-game insight, said it best. The Yankees weren’t pounding the ball, but they were doing what the Royals had done to them all day – sneaking base hits through the infield. Everybody locked on in the ninth. This is where I point to the owners with the grocery-bagger payrolls, and the fans that crow about teams with low payrolls beating teams that pay out. The Royals got what they paid for. A guy who couldn’t execute a game-ending double play, and a bunch of guys who simply could not get the final two outs on the baseball field. Don’t spend it all in one place, Affeldt.
But let’s give credit to the Yanks. I wanted tenacity, I wanted relentlessness. That is what I am talking about, boys. THUNDER! Fun, fun, fun. After Jeter’s hit, I ran in to get my lucky hat. I consciously did not put it on at the start of the inning (you can’t go to the well too often), but I probably could have gone to it a bit sooner. After Gary Sheff’s double, I knew this game was over. Text message from Joey (brother-in-law) first – “Are You Kidding Me”. Then the call came in from Big Joe (father-in-law). Then a text message from Petey Goods at the stadium (I am jealous, jealous, jealous), and finally a call from the big boy. Love to see everybody getting it done. Giambi with the leadoff walk, Tino with a huge pinch hit, Law-ton (Law-ton!!) keeping it going, and Jeter, Sheffiel-d and A-Rod finishing them off, like heavyweights delivering an uppercut blast with a wobbly contender on the ropes. Start the ten-count.
Big Joe actually had a pretty good idea. Talking about the payroll, he said that they should make the owners have a minimum payroll in order to be eligible for revenue sharing money. He’s got a great point. Teams like the Royals get half their payroll paid for by the Boss & co.
Anyway, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it. The big boy’s coming over tonight with Mrs. big boy, and the four of us will head over to 3rd ave for dinner and sit outside. It’s all going to taste better on this beautiful summer night in Brookly-n. Maybe 101 or Sophia’s. Areo might be crowded without a reservation on a night like tonight. But you know what they say….there’s always hope.
Welcome to the Yankees, Mr. Chacon. I’ve seen you throw up these dominating performances, one after the other, for a month now. Six starts, a 3-1 record, and a 1.80 ERA. Magical numbers. But the first five starts were almost too good to be true. It simply wasn’t reflective of a major league pitcher’s numbers in your average, run-of-the-mill five game stretch. Almost had to chalk it up to a run of good fortune. Today was different. Today I saw a pitcher who didn’t have his best stuff, who was pitching in the heat and blazing sun of a dog day afternoon. A pitcher who was determined to preserve the lead he was entrusted with by Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Sheffie-ld, and understood that the stands, and the standings, were watching. He fought, he battled, he persevered. Took a page out of Al Leiter’s book, but with more snap on his pitches. Welcome to this organization, Shawn Chacon. Today I saw a New York Yankee on the mound.
What a beautiful day for a ball game. Bright sunshine, packed house. Almost makes me wish I was in section 24 with the Lt. and my former analyst, Tully, instead of cranking out the last of my final papers and exams. Shame….
Well no sooner did I lament the lack of early runs did I end up with egg on my face. In a good way. I’ll take those any day. Speaks to my point, though. Does Chacon get a chance to right himself and pitch with abandon if the Yankees had failed to put any runs on the board? It would have been a lot tougher, certainly. I also think it’s got to be demoralizing when the Yankees come out and step on your throat like that. It’s got to feel like you’ve got to climb the Empir-e Stat-e Buildin-g if you’re in that Blue Jay dugout.
This team is such a different team when the Ferocious Lion is in a groove. Torre moved him into the 2 hole today, interestingly, and he delivered, of course. He’s got to be one of the scariest RBI men in baseball. You always feel like if you get a chance to send him up to the plate, regardless of how many outs, you’ve got a better-than-good chance to tack on some runs.
Giambi’s BA is quietly plummeting. We at BPS were afraid of this, if you recall. Funny thing about his slumps. They have been so long and winding that it is difficult to think that he would just pop out of it for good. He’s either going to get hot again or continue to slip. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of middle ground with that guy. After being named the American League player of the month in July, he is hitting an electric .220 in August. What will September bring? Or more important; October?
Well, Mr. Schilling; have you had enough? Funny to me that your smart-*ss mouth just keeps on churning out the soundbites. You’re worried enough about Palmeiro to seek out the press for your tiresome quotes, yet you don’t seem too concerned with the fact that you are hurting your team’s chances to win games. Schilling has been terrible. The guy has been puking up runs faster and more consistently than Red Sox fans have crawled out of the woodwork to join “The Nation” (have I mentioned that this is a pathetically un-clever moniker for a group of fans, and that they stole it from “Raider Nation” to boot? I guess I have). They’ve pretty much tried everything to get him going, at this point. Nothing’s worked. He’s a liability. But by all means, fellas. Keep throwing him out there. By the way, Curt, have you noticed that A-Rod is throwing up MVP/triple-crown type numbers? Who’s the clown now, punk?
The Royals, fresh off their 19 game free-fall, have proved themselves to be a cactus field for the American League playoff hopefuls. First they took two of three from Oaklan-d, now Bosto-n, who had previously done a decent job of consistently beating the teams they were supposed to beat. The fact that we’re up next is not great news for the Yanks, considering our track record with the cruddies this year. The good news is that unlike the A’s and Sox, we’re playing them at home this time. We already took our lumps out in the midwest. I would have also added that the law of averages tells us that the Yankees are due to take these guys down, but I also tried that one with Tamp-a Ba-y. So this time I’ll shut up.
I have to admit, the wild card race is kind of fun. But I think we all agree that there are higher goals. That wild card stuff is for the Mets. But I have to agree with Grossman. It’s fun to be a baseball fan in NY these days. Welcome, Shawn Chacon.
The Mrs. picked me up downtown around seven o’clock. We headed up the west side to riverside park, where they show movies outdoors every Wednesday night in the summertime. Similar to the bryant park movies, but this is out on the hudson river pier. She brought some sandwiches and cookies from Paneantico, and I stopped in the deli for the drinks. Acc, his brother, and Chill Will were in section 24. I know Petey Goods was at the Stadium somewhere too, and maybe Sean. So things started out well enough.
The first text message from Acc came in right as **** Van D-yke was driving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang across the English countryside. That’s right. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Back off. The text message said “9-0 not us”. Somebody want to tell me how I’m supposed to enjoy Potts, the kids, and Truly Scrumptious speeding away from the Bulgarian pirate ship when the Yankees are getting panzerkrantzed a few miles up the river at the Stadium? Dammit.
[I’ve got the Red Sox gamecast on right now, tie game in extras, and I’m toggling back and forth as I tap the keys. Anyone want to bet me how this one is going to end? Please? Top eleven no outs.]
This one must have been devastating to watch. Nine runs in one inning. Man. The Yankees have had this nasty habit of not scoring early runs to any significant extent as of late. Even the games they have won; they are silent early. This makes life very difficult for the starting pitchers. Why is a guy like Dave Bush throwing up a shutout through six? This guy is 3-7 with a 4.5 ERA. This is what I’m talking about. They couldn’t touch Towers early. They couldn’t touch Down-s early on Monday. The starters, as well as they’ve pitched, have to be perfect when you’re not helping with run support. Who knows if Moose freaked out when he hit that dude, walked guys, etc. because he felt he had to be too perfect. You can’t waste a good pitcher like that. Now you’ve got Chacon coming in tomorrow afternoon against Chacin. Tongue twister matchup. I keep wondering how long Chacon can be this brilliant. Sooner or later the other shoe has to drop. This guy Chacin is supposed to be a monster. He’s been a pretty big story this year, but the Yanks took care of him last time they faced him a few weeks ago. Hopefully the bats will show up. The good news is we probably won’t see the requisite sitting-of-Posada-day-game-after-a-night-game thing. Not while Randall is using Flash as his personal catcher every fifth day.
[Well I’ll be d*mned. The Royals just beat the Sox in eleven. I saw it on the gamecast so I ran in to see if I could catch a highlight. It was great. Bases loaded, one out, and Chip Ambres (?) hits a shallow fly ball to Manny, who makes a decent throw. Varitek didn’t block the plate properly, and the run scored cleanly, clearly safe, even though the throw beat the runner. Varitek sat there for a second, deciding if maybe this was going to be the one time in his life he took it like a man, instead of a whining b*tch. The he couldn’t help himself – he started crying to the ump. You knew eventually he would turn into the same “bad*ss” who pushed A-Rod in the face with his catcher’s glove and a full body of gear on. Real tough. So then he’s looking at the ump, pointing at the ball in his hand. Okay. You caught it. I see that. Then you needed to tag the runner with it. What is it with that guy? He’s always a b*tch. Anyway, I’m psyched they lost.]
Comments were excellent today. Mike Rumble posted maybe the best comment ever – “Now that I look at the title it doesn’t make any sense but that’s why I am who I am today.” Spectacular. Nice to see Goods back on the comments. Took a few days off, I guess. Triple J, Mike Sherry, Woy, and Sean were insightful as always. The LT posted a great analogy just after tonight’s game ended, be sure and take a look at it.
Grossman, what’s up with your Mets? Scoring 31 runs (at least – tonight’s game isn’t over) in 2 games? I didn’t know they had it in them.
Afternoon game tomorrow (or today, depending on when you’re reading). We know what we have to do.
Mikey Rumble specifically requested that headline as we were gliding down the Eas-t Rive-r, riding the ferry back from the Stadium. Tony Sherry and I were still scratching our heads in regards to what it meant after Mike got off the boat at 90-th st. to hit karaoke at Dorian’s. As we continued towards pier 11 at wall st., where we were getting off and where Tony had left his new truck, we were thinking that something like “A Star is Be-rn” would be a better headline. But I promised Mike Rumble, so there you have it. I know Escalona is probably a more compelling story, but Bernie is my favorite Yankee, and he’s been there so many times. So I’m certainly not going to overlook his contribution.
At the game in section 24 tonight were Mike Rumble, Tony Sherry, Sean, and myself. Mike, Tony and I met downtown and took the “Yankee Clipper” ferry from wall st. If you’ve never done it, it’s a cool way to go to the game. Because they sell refreshments on the ferry, those guys were two hot dogs and a few beers deep by the time we got to the stadium. I was being pretty annoying about this homerless streak. By the 7th inning I was such a psycho that I was actually pulling out the calculator on my cell phone and calculating the number of bombs they should have hit in the 47 inning span, if they had stuck to their season average (7).
Although the Lt. posted his comment that this was one of those games you just knew they would win, I kind of had the opposite view. I was sure this just wasn’t their night. Especially when Gary Sheff pounded into that double play when we had two on and the tying run standing on third. Killer. Every time the Yanks fought back, the Jays would come up with exactly what they needed. Two of their runs were silly little seeing-eye bleeders that snuck through the middle to score runs, and the last run off Mo was an infield hit that got moved over on an accidental swinging bunt. Then the base hit from a guy who was in there for his defense, with two outs and two strikes, of course. This is when I was sure it wasn’t meant to be.
Two comments on that hit. First, there are few times I can remember being that embarrassed as a Yankee fan. The amateurs in the stands were doing the wave. The wave! Come on guys, this is Yankee stadium. There were a few fans like us who were berating people for doing it, but most fans were giddily “waving,” and excited to be doing so. The bleacher creatures, of course, broke the wave when none of them budged, thankfully, but then got booed. It was humiliating. Where did this come from? Not to mention Mariano was on the mound with two outs pitching to Reed Johnson at the time. Did it ever occur to any of them that all of the “wave” cheering and booing at strangely inappropriate times could be very distracting to Rivera? After the guy gave up the go ahead run, Mike Rumble was screaming insults at everybody and nobody in particular for being such amateurs. Rightfully so. Second point I want to make is about “O-Dog” – Orlando Hudson. What was the deal with the histrionics after you scored the go ahead run, dude? I get it. You scored. You’re psyched. Fine. The next pitch we throw to him should be somewhere his earlobe and his gums.
Quick point on strategy. I was a maniac in the stands when Torre had Cano bunt with a man on first in the eighth. Why is that necessary? Schonweiss had walked the first batter and gone 3-0 on the second. Why are you still bunting? This guy has had trouble throwing strikes, is one ball away from putting two on with no one out and you lay one down and give away an out. I hated that move. Hated it. Bernie eventually made the run count anyway, but it took a two out hit. That rally could have been nuts. Acc, who was watching at home, knew where my head would be. He sent me a text message that said simply – “Cano bunted ball 4.” I was, of course, furious. Petey Goods was also text messaging me during the game.
Tony Sherry and Sean were calling the shots all day. Sean called Bernie’s base hit that would get it done in the eighth, and Tony called the glorious bomb by his favorite player, The Ferocious Lion. What a way to break that maddening homerless streak at 48 1/3 innings. The Ferocious Lion, incidentally, has hit a bomb in every single game I have attended with Tony Sherry. And tonight, like those times, Tony ripped off his road gray Yankee jersey and danced around in his 55 Matsui shirt, while swinging the road jersey over his head. What a fun dam-n game that was. Three cheers (does anyone say that anymore?) to Escalona for pulling that one out of his butt with two strikes. I have to admit, I thought Batista got squeezed in the ninth. I would have punched Posada out on that ball four call.
By the ninth, the crew had eaten a few more cheeseburgers, two bags of peanuts, another hot dog, a gaggle of miller lights and cokes, and were constantly jabbering about who was going to get the dippin’ dots (they never materialized). Loyal BPS readers may remember the piece about the subway series when Sean and I were at the game and one of the vendors (Yankee Stadium vendors) started talking smack about the Yankees, crowing about how he was really a Met fan. Sean and I immediately starting jawing with the guy, etc. We’re telling Mike and Tony the story tonight, when who should appear selling bottles of water. Same guy. Once we figured it out, we started crushing the guy, loud, in front of the entire section. By the time we were done with him, he was left standing trying to hock water to a bunch of people who were now just as pis-sed at him as we were. He muttered – “I talk smack one time and I get this.” He then muttered “payroll” (what a dumb insult) as he walked bye. He tried to come back once and got booed away before he even got near us. Sometimes, justice prevails.
So now we have sole possession of the wild card by percentage points over Clevelan-d. Although Triple J is looking for the Yanks to get real hot, I’ll ask everyone to notice that they’ve won 9 of 12. They’re pretty hot. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hope for the division. But still, the Yankees are a better team than Clevelan-d or Oaklan-d, simply put. I don’t care how many games Clevelan-d will play against KC, etc., we’re just better, and usually the cream, somehow, will rise to the top. Like Bernie. My guy. The Star Be-rn.
Some things make sense to me. Some things don’t make sense to me. I was walking down Wall Street today, going out for a walk in lieu of lunch. Turned out to be the wrong move, actually, because the Mrs. is at some sort of wine and cheese class tonight in midtown with a couple of her friends – Geraldine, Nilsa, and Ann-Marie, I think. You know what that means – no dinner for the incredible Mr. Useless-in-the-Kitchen. I had some cashews with my brother-in-law when he stopped over before the game. I’m going on those, at this point. So anyway, I walked past the relatively new “iced flavored coffee” truck that plays 80’s hits at a pretty substantial volume on a loudspeaker – I always think that’s kind of weird. Today was “Funkytown” by LIPPS, Inc. I walked past the BMW dealership they put right on Wall Street where the big & tall store used to be. That makes sense to me. Genius, actually. The only thing they need is a huge door that can be opened so people can drive their new beamers right onto the street at bonus time. Walking through Battery Park, there was a mob scene of cop cars over towards Broadway. Not sure what was going on, but somebody big was in town. Stopped in for an iced chai (don’t apologize for it – they’re delicious). Headed back to my office, which was so freezing cold that I was ready to set up a coffee table out on the Plaza. That makes no sense to me.
So what else makes no sense? The Yankees have now gone 40 innings without a home run. They are averaging 1.4 bombs a game for the year. That’s about one every 6.4 innings. Tonight was the fourth straight game in which they have not hit a bomb. They are 3-1 in those four games. This is a testament to the quality of the team, particularly recently. It makes sense to me that the Yankees pitching is finally living up to its potential. They were too cruddy for too long. They are better than that. I would not have told you that Jaret Wright and Shawn Chacon would throw up such dominating performances. In the last four games we’ve seen two shutouts and a one run gem by Moose. Chacon has been nothing but brilliant, and Wright’s first two starts off the DL have been a headline writer’s paradise (the Wright Stuff, Wright This Way, All-Wright!, Wright on!). The tabloids have been having a field day. Their gain is our pain, I think we’d all agree. It makes no sense to me that Randy Johnson pukes up four bombs in one inning and pitches lights out the entire rest of the game. But I won’t complain. I’ll take three of four.
I put in a call to Tony Sherry with the a two run lead in the seventh, bases loaded, one out, and the Ferocious Lion at the plate. I left him a voicemail, basically demanding that his boy come through. He later called to tell me that he missed the game because he went to see the 40 Year Old Virgin (“I hope your car has a big trunk, because I’m going to put my bike in it!”) He said it’s no Wedding Crashers, but funny enough to put it on the list. Anyway, The Lion came through with the big base hit to score two. The game was basically over at that point. The Lion is coming out of his slump, thankfully. As is Giambi, who had a couple of hits tonight with an rbi.
The Yankees are now tied with the A’s and Indians for the wild-card lead. The Indians are actually percentage points behind because they have an extra win and an extra loss. Although Ras feels strongly about winning the division, I’m actually not that concerned about it. What can I say? The Angels, Marlins and Red Sox were wild card winners. Sure, I would love to not have to play on the road through the playoffs, but if the Yankees are the Yankees, they will win wherever. We’ve won in Chicag-o, Oaklan-d, and Bosto-n this year. I’d just like to make it at this point. Then let the chips fall where they may.
I also need to talk a little about last week-end, because I didn’t get a chance to mention it last week. I’m talking specifically, of course, about the first annual Goldsack barbeque in Jerse-y. It requires me going to Jerse-y, and anyone who knows me can tell you that Jerse-y is not on the top of my “places I like to go” list. But I’ve known Ann-Marie and Nicky a long time, so I wouldn’t miss it. Plus, I wanted to see what goodies Ann-Marie and her mom whipped up. And Nicky is no slouch on the barbeque either. Brookly-n’s own Mike Dantone and I took down Nicky and Alan in the first annual “Goldsack Classic” wiffleball game. Mike D. carried us, I’m afraid. Although I had one monster inning, my bat was useless for the rest of the day. 12-4 was the final. Pictures are posted in the new album, along with some other stuff, including the summertime din-din fest. Check it out.
Tomorrow night in section 24 – Tony Sherry, Mikey Rumble, and myself. If you see a fly ball in the vicinity of where Podsednik got punched in the face, look for us. Tony will be the guy wearing the 55 jersey, of course. Not a great matchup for us. Leiter vs. Jos-h Tower-s. I’m hoping Leiter doesn’t throw 125 pitches by the fourth.
Funny game, baseball. For all the blogosphere bluster, the Yanks-White Sox season series brought forth a draw. The Yanks won the first two games of this series playing smart. Mussina is tough to beat when he’s on, and Chacon has been a revelation. Is he really this good, and just has been stuck in the high altitude where pitches don’t break and balls carry like they were filled with helium? Or is he just having a sparklingly fluky few games? Tough to tell. I’ll say this, though. In six starts the guy has a 1.64 ERA. What a lifesaver for this rotation.
Not surprisingly, the same leather that saved the White Sox in the Bron-x failed them in Chicag-o. That’s how it goes. So now we’ve seen a nice sample of evidence by which to judge the White Sox. The Lucky Lefty made the point that the Sox were tough, and our old friend Paul from Chi expressed some surprise at the acknowledgment of any Sox prowess by the likes of the BPS family. We at BPS have repeatedly made the point that we try to tell it straight and throw it all on the table, good and bad. The Yankees and their fans are the hunted, perpetually. We don’t have a ton of axes to grind. Sure the “Red Sox Nation” (I’ll say it again, can you have a more un-clever nickname than that – especially considering it was stolen from “Raider Nation”) gets on our nerves sometimes, and the Mets have been known to get a little too big for their britches every once in a while, but Yankees fans generally aren’t out to prove anything. And as a group they are a knowledgeable bunch. With that said, here are some honest observations about the ChiSox from the (sort of) impartial BPS:
1) They play excellent defense. Even though there were some brain cramps this weekend, the flashes of brilliance were reminiscent of the plays that saved them in the Bron-x.
2) Their pitching is competent, but not battle-tested, and not as effective against good teams. Buerhle and Garlan-d are the one-two guys, and together they were 0-3 against the Yanks and Red Sox in the last week. Duque was his usual warrior self, but he, like David Cone and Al Leiter, throws tons of pitches and because of this, he is going to have a hard time making it out of the fifth inning of a close game. It doesn’t bode well for the White Sox that two of their three wins against the Yanks were from Contreras. Michael Kay is one of the best baseball guys around, and he said something on the broadcast today that I think all Yankee fans agree with. He said, “I never trusted Contreras in a big game when he was with the Yanks, and I still wouldn’t trust him.” The Yankees slapped him all over the field today. Eleven hits. One more than the Sox got all day, oddly. And that’s with a lineup that featured Flaherty, Tino and Womack. I will certainly give him credit for getting out of jams with some tenacity, but he was also very lucky in other cases – timely double plays, a ball hitting A-Rod on the base-paths. Again, give him credit, though. The runs did not score. Although ultimately I think most of us agree with Michael Kay. This ain’t the guy you want out there in the playoffs.
3) Not enough hitting. They say pitching and defense wins championships. Tell that to the ’04 Red Sox and the ’02 Angels. The White Sox don’t score nearly enough runs. The White Sox only scored runs in two innings this weekend. I realize Podsednik and Konerko sat out some games, but they didn’t score when they were in the Bron-x, either. The little ball stuff doesn’t work as well against the good teams. The only time the Sox scored runs against the Yanks was when they went deep. And they just don’t do enough of that. They were lucky to have caught the Yanks in a home run slump – none since last Wednesday. If you want to say that the pitching was what caused the home run slump, fine. Kid yourself. The truth is you don’t know when they’re going to come and go, but if you play enough games against a team like the Yanks, Red Sox, and Angels, they will start to pound the ball out.
4) They haven’t solidly demonstrated that they can beat the good teams. They have the best record in the American League, but they could not win a season series against the Yanks, Red Sox or A’s – the other playoff contenders. They have won the majority against the Angels, but one out of four isn’t so good.
5) Bullpen seems to be solid. They put up good numbers and haven’t melted down in any grandiose way, as far as I have seen.
Conclusion: they’re a pretty good team. They’re taking advantage of a weak division and they are beating up on the bad teams. That is what you’re supposed to do, after all. Their playoff spot is all but assured. I think they will be a force to be reckoned with, but I think they’re gone in the first round. I think it will go five, though.
As for the Yanks – you have to be happy with what they’ve been doing. They have won every series they have played lately, with the exception of that nightmare in Tamp-a. What else is new. But other than that, they’re back to the front of the pack in the wild card race, just a half game out. The division is still winnable, but Bosto-n continues to find miracles. I just think the Yankees, top to bottom, have the better team. It will be very close.
There are some concerns on the personnel front. Giambi sat out because of the bruise or whatever, and he is slumping terribly. Matsui is slumping. Posada is slumping. Tino has been slumping since “miracle week” in May. Jeter has his wrist taped, and was noticeably grimacing while striking out late in the game. BPS, having had some experience with hammy injuries, correctly predicted that Ruben Sierra would be gone at least a month. It’s been almost five weeks and he’s not even close. Yet we’ve still been winning. Thank you Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small, Moose, and Jaret Wright.
Quick note on Mike Lupica’s piece in the News today. Lupica is at his worst when writing about the Yankees. He has always been very obviously anti-Yankee, which he basically admits, to his credit, but it affects his common sense. He compared the Yanks and Mets year to date, and he excused the Mets for all of their ills in a number of ways, but blasted the Yankees for the same kinds of offenses. He went through a list of reasons why the Yankees are a joke, citing everything to money (yawn), to Joe Torre, whom he faulted without offering an explanation as to what it is that he disagreed with (BPS always lays it on the table when we have a beef with Joe, which isn’t often). He should relax and be objective. This is the same guy who said that Ne-w Yor-k is a “National League town”, because he knew he couldn’t realistically say “Met town”, so he dragged fifty years ago into it to try and manufacture a point. Stick to the Knicks, Mike.