Sunday, September 9, 2012

Statement Needed. Statement Made.

The Yankees went into today's game needing to make a statement. A statement to the team that had caught them for first place in the American League Eastern Division, the Baltimore Orioles.

Namely, "We are the New York Yankees, you are not, and we are going to blow you bastards off the face of the Earth!"

It sure didn't seem likely after that debacle last night. And it was a debacle, from the Yankee bats leaving too many runners stranded, to CC Sabathia not having his good stuff, to Mark Teixeira twice getting hosed by the umpires.

The Yankees were reeling.

Yes, they needed to make a statement today.

Statement made.

Top of the 1st: Derek Jeter singles, and advances to 2nd on a throwing error. Nick Swisher draws a walk. Alex Rodriguez grounds into a double play, advancing Jeter to 3rd. Robinson Cano singles Jeter home. 1-0 Yankees.

Freddy Garcia, in whom few Yankee Fans had much confidence, shut the Orioles out for a while.

Top of the 4th: A-Rod leads off with a single. Cano walks. A wild pitch advances them to 2nd and 3rd. Russell Martin also draws a walk. Bases loaded, nobody out. Steve Pearce draws a walk. 2-0 Yankees. Andruw Jones strikes out. Jayson Nix singles home Cano. 3-0 Yankees. Bases still loaded. Ichiro Suzuki scratches out an infield single, scoring Martin. 4-0 Yankees. Bases still loaded. Jeter forces home Pearce by drawing a walk. 5-0 Yankees.

So now, we're all hoping that Freddy doesn't fall apart with a 5-0 lead.

He does. He allows 3 runs before Joe Girardi takes him out, and brings in Joba Chamberlain. Oh no, not Joba... Is the 2007 Joba in there somewhere?

He is: He strikes out the troublesome Mark Reynolds and then Chris Davis to end the threat. 5-3 Yankees.

That was as close as the Orioles would get. Curtis Granderson homered in the 6th, his 35th of the year. He singled home 2 more in the 7th. 8-3 Yankees.

Then came the top of the 8th. Ichiro Suzuki leads off with a single. Jeter goes the opposite way, as he so often does, and hits one out, his 15th homer -- not bad for a 38-year-old shortstop who was supposed to be washed up 2 years ago. 10-3 Yankees.

Swish grounds out. A-Rod walks. Reynolds, perhaps in an effort to make up for pounding the Yankees these last 2 weekends, boots a Cano grounder. Again, A-Rod on 3rd, Robbie on 2nd. Martin singles home A-Rod. 11-3 Yankees. Raul Ibanez walks to load the bases. Granderson strikes again, driving in Cano and Martin, although Ibanez is out at the plate.

Final score: Yankees 13, Orioles 3.

WP: Chamberlain (1-0), since Garcia did not get in the 5 innings required for a starter to get the win. No save. LP: Zach Britton (5-2).


So the Yankees come out of this key series with a split. With 22 games to go, they are 79-61, 1 game ahead of the Orioles, 2 ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, 14 1/2 (14 in the loss column) ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, and 16 1/2 (17) ahead of the Boston Red Sox.

Elimination numbers: Boston 6, Toronto 9, Tampa Bay 21 and Baltimore 22. Any number of Yankee wins and Oriole losses adding up to 22, and the Yankees win the AL East.

So everybody has tomorrow off, to resume play on Tuesday, September 11. The Yankees head up to Fenway Park to play the Red Sox, while the O's and Rays face each other in Baltimore.

Hard to believe, but going to Fenway Park to face The Scum is going to be something of a relief. Plus, if we sweep the Sox, we eliminate them from the Division race. I know, who's kidding who, but it would feel good to make it official.

Not as good as sending this message to the Baltimore Birds, though. Now -- to use a cliche from the No Fun League -- we control our own destiny.

And you know "destiny" ends with "NY."


Hours until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 49, this Tuesday night, at Fenway Park. Hopefully, the Red Sox and their fans will respect the 9/11 anniversary. After all, both planes that hit the old World Trade Center -- those words don't sound right, and they certainly don't look right, but there is a new one -- took off from Boston's Logan International Airport.

Hours until the U.S. National Soccer Team plays again: 50, on Tuesday night at 8:00, against Jamaica at Columbus Crew Stadium. Jamaica surprised us 2-1 on Friday night in their capital of Kingston. Jurgen Klinsmann got us away wins in friendlies against Italy and Mexico, but in a World Cup Qualifier, against a team we should beat, he guided us to an awful loss. So he'd better pick a better lineup for Tuesday.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 4, this Thursday night, against South Florida in Tampa. They beat Howard University, 26-0 on Saturday, to advance to 2-0 -- against 2 weak opponents. We still have no idea how good Rutgers actually is. By the end of the game on Thursday night, we'll have a better idea.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 5, this Friday night at 7:00, away to Sayreville. Sayreville is ranked Number 2 in the Home News Tribune's circulation area. South Brunswick went into last Friday night ranked Number 4, and slaughtered us, 34-0. Although I should say that we didn't help ourselves, as our offense, our defense and our special teams were all horrible.

Days until Arsenal play another competitive match: 6, this Saturday, home to Southampton, the newly-promoted South Coast team.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 12, against the New England Revolution in Foxboro on Saturday, September 22. Under 2 weeks. They go to Chester to face the Union on Saturday, October 27. They will not play Washington's D.C. United again this season, unless it's in the Playoffs, which is possible, although, at the moment, the Red Bulls would have the 3rd seed and D.C. are on the outside looking in, but only by 1 point.

Days until the Devils play again: 32, opening the season on Friday night, October 12, away to the Washington Capitals. If, that is, the owners don't lock the players out again. If they don't, then it's a little over a month. The home opener is the next night, against the Boston Bruins.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 37, on Wednesday night, October 17, the 3rd game of the season, the 2nd home game, at the Prudential Center, against the Rangers, the first meeting between the teams since Adam Henrique put The Scum in their place. The first meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Thursday night, November 1. I'd say the game will be at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly, but that's dependent on the arena's name not being changed... again. The first meeting with the New York Islanders will be on Saturday night, November 17, at the Nassau Coliseum. Barring a big change, there will be only 3 seasons left at the Coliseum -- and possibly only 18 more Devils-Islanders games, unless the Isles build a new arena, move to the Barclays Center, or somehow make the Playoffs in the next 3 seasons.

Days until the first Nets game in Brooklyn: 52, on Thursday, November 1, against the now actually crosstown Knicks.

Days until the 2012 Presidential election: 55. Under 8 weeks. Register to vote... and on November 6, vote!

Days until the next North London Derby: 68, on Saturday, November 17, at the Emirates Stadium. Under 10 weeks. The return fixture will be on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at White Hart Lane.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 73.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 356 (estimated around September 1, 2013). This is taking his recent injury into account. Under 1 year.

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 510 (February 2, 2014). Under 17 months.

Days until the 2014 Winter Olympics: 517 (February 7, 2014).

Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 640 (June 12, 2014). Under 22 months.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 735 (estimated, around September 15, 2014).

Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 1,425 (August 5, 2016). Under 2 years.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,481 (estimated -- I'm guessing around the end of 2016, around September 30).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,724 (estimated -- estimating 28 home runs a year, taking his recent injury into account, I'm guessing around April 30, 2017, at age 41). Under 3 1/2 years -- if he can.

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