For four games, three in Atlanta and one in The Bronx, we could have said, "Don't the Braves ever learn?" Well, the last two games, they learned.
On Tuesday night, the Yankee lumber fizzled, getting only 5 hits off Tim Hudson (5-3) and four relivers, including closer Craig Kimbrel (20th save). Hiroki Kuroda (6-7) didn't pitch badly, and a good attack would have given him the win. But too many men were left on base. Every starter except Nick Swisher (who had an RBI single and an RBI double) stranded runners: Curtis Granderson 4; 3 each for Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez and Russell Martin; 2 each for Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez; 1 each for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Braves 4, Yankees 3.
Yesterday afternoon, after pitching very well for a while, Phil Hughes fell apart. He let in 3 runs in the 1st inning, and that was pretty much the story for him (7-6) and for the team. This time, the Yankees scored 5 runs, thanks in part to home runs by Jeter, Chavez, A-Rod and Cano, and were within 6-5 going into the top of the 8th. But the bullpen let it get out of hand: Cory Wade had nothing, Boone Logan went back to pitching like he's my own personal plague of locusts, and Freddy Garcia was no help. Meanwhile, Tommy Hanson (8-4) and 4 relievers held the Yankees off enough to win.
Braves 10, Yankees 5.
So now we have a day off, which is good, because once again it's going to be hotter than Catherine Zeta-Jones on the set of the Zorro films.
Or anywhere else for that matter. Let me save you 12 bucks, and tell you to YouTube her rendition of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." It's the only reason to see Rock of Ages. After going through some things that would make most people want to do nothing but curl up and die, my girl is back, and showing that age ain't nothin' but a number.
And then... three games at Pity Field against The Other Team:
Friday night, 7:10: Andy Pettitte against Jonathan Niese.
Saturday night, 7:15: Ivan Nova against Chris Young, whom you might remember from the Texas Rangers and the San Diego Padres... or maybe not. Regardless, this is not one of those "pitchers the Yankees have never seen before."
Sunday night, 8:00 on ESPN: The Battle of the Initials, CC Sabathia vs. R.A. Dickey. Who, between them, are 20-4 before the Summer Solstice, stand 12-foot-11, weigh 505 pounds, and have 1 World Series ring.
Remember: It's not a Subway Series. Those only happen in October. This is the Mets, whom we swept in The Bronx, so it's a Subpar Series. We can do it again in Queens.
Met fans should love Rock of Ages. True, it takes place in Los Angeles, home of the Dodgers, the team whose betrayal of Brooklyn was one of two reasons the Mets were even born; but it also takes place in 1987, when the Mets were defending World Champions -- never again.
Come on, Flushing Heathen, you useless bastards: Hit me with your best shot. Fire away!