-- Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), Major League
My straw reaches... acrooooooooss the the room... and starts to drink your milkshake. I -- drink -- your... milkshake! Slurrrrrrrrp! I drink it up!
-- Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), There Will Be Blood
In their last 2 games, against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees have scored 25 runs. They have stolen Jobu's rum. They have drunk his milkshake. They have cleaned his clock. They have fixed his wagon. They have mopped the floor with him.
Am I getting a little worked up over a Playoff game that the Yankees lost to the Indians in a movie that came out 24 years ago?
More like, The Yankees got off to a bad start, and I'm now enjoying what's happened since.
Throw in the finale of their Detroit series on Sunday, and since starting the season 1-4, just like in 1998, the Yankees have scored 32 runs in their last 3 games. How do those "Party like it's 1998" jokes look now?
Actually, the Yankees didn't have the most runs in baseball last night: The Houston Astros, losers of 106 games last year and 107 the year before, and starting off 1-6 in this, their first season in the American League after 52 seasons in the National League, scored 16 runs against the Seattle Mariners -- and needed a lot of them, since the M's scored 9.
Now, the way Andy Pettitte (2-0) was pitching last night, the Yankees didn't need a whole lot of runs. The Hooded Hawk went 7, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks. In his first 2 starts of the season, his ERA is 1.20. He'll be 41 next month. Adam Warren pitched the last 2 innings, scoreless. He'll be 26 in August, and looks like a good one.
The Yankees only needed 2 runs. But I'm glad they got 14. Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (0-1) didn't get out of the 4th inning. Of course, that was because he got thrown out of the game for hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch.
So that's how you get an umpire to throw an opposing pitcher out of the game for hitting one of your guys: Make Youkilis one of your guys. As those dumb brewers (the Dublin kind, not the Milwaukee kind) said in those Guinness commercials, "Brilliant!"
In fact, facts to back up an opinion, let's look at those "old guys" that Brian Cashman picked up as "emergency" acquisitions:
Youkilis: Last night, 1-for-3, home run (after he was plunked, not before), 2 RBIs; season, OPS 1.141, 2 homers, 6 RBIs.
Lyle Overbay: Last night, 3-for-5, solo home run; season, .704, 1 homer, 5 RBIs.
Vernon Wells: Last night, 1-for-4; season, 1.187, 2 homers, 4 RBIs.
Travis Hafner: Last night, 0-for-4; but for the season, .975, 2 homers, 6 RBIs.
Brennan Boesch: Last night, only one at-bat, as a pinch-hitter for Hafner, but he hit a 2-run home run, his first as a Yankee; season, .917, 1 homer, 2 RBIs.
But the big star last night was the established Robinson Cano: 4-for-6, 2 homers (now with 3 on the year), and 5 RBIs (7 on the year). Like I said yesterday: Slump? What slump? Do you see a slump? I don't see a slump.
Brett Gardner went 4-for-5 with 2 RBIs. Francisco Cervelli -- did somebody say the Yankees don't have a catcher? -- went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and has an OPS of 1.064. Ichiro Suzuki went just 1-for-5, but the 1 was a homer.
Yankees 14, Indians 1. Last 3 games, Yankees 25, Opponents 7. This, without Derek Jeter, without Alex Rodriguez, without Mark Teixeira, without Curtis Granderson.
The series with the Indians concludes tonight at 7:00. Ivan Nova starts against an Indians starter yet to be announced. Their pitchers are probably turning John Fogerty's "Centerfield" on its head: "Don't put me in coach, I'm not ready to pitch! Son of a bitch... "
The Yankees also re-signed Clay Rapada, apparently aware that, A, they need a lefthanded reliever; and, B, Boone Logan can't pitch.
So let's look at the standings: The Yankees are 4-4, a game and a half behind the Boston Red Sox at 5-2. The Baltimore Orioles are 3-4, 2 back. The Tampa Bay Rays are 3-5, 2 1/2 back. And the Toronto Blue Jays are 2-5, 3 back.
Yeah, about those pesky Blue Jays, the team everyone said was going to win the AL East. Here's the ERAs for their starting pitchers: New acquisitions Mark Buehrle, 10.13 (admittedly, only 1 start, but it was a bad one); new acquisition R.A. Dickey, 8.44; Brendan Morrow (who got shelled last night), 5.59; new acquisition Josh Johnson, 4.50 (admittedly, only 1 start, but it wasn't all that good, either). So far, the only man to start and win a game for the Jays is J.A. Happ, whose ERA is 0.00.
We all heard that the Jays should be favored because they got all those new pitchers. Maybe they should've got some who aren't washed-up. Or maybe they forgot the lesson the Yankees learned (hopefully) when they got Javier Vazquez (twice), Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano: NL pitchers can't handle the AL East.
Now, I realize, the Jays have 155 games to go (as do the Sox and O's, while the Yanks and Rays have 154 left). But, as I've demonstrated here before, going back to the start of Divisional Play in 1969, the average win total for the 2nd place team in the AL East is 92 wins. This means it takes 93 wins to win the Division in an average year. The Jays would have to go 91-66 the rest of the way -- a 95-win pace. The Yankees, now 4-4, would have to go 89-69, a 94-win pace.
The Jays don't know that their pitchers are going to come around. The Yankees don't know what DJ3K, A-Rod, Teix and Grandy are going to be like when they come back, and they don't even know for sure that A-Rod is coming back; but they do know that DJ3K, Teix and Grandy are coming back.
Then, of course, there's the other teams: The O's don't look like they're building on last season's Playoff berth, the Rays look like they may finally be ready to go back to the doldrums where they belong, and then there's the matter of The Scum.
Yesterday was the 85th Birthday of Tom Lehrer, the great musical satirist, who wrote "The Elements," "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," "The Masochism Tango," "Proud to Be a Soldier" (which the 1969 Houston ballclub turned into "Proud to Be an Astro," according to Jim Bouton's book Ball Four), and the nuclear war song "We Will All Go Together When We Go." He wrote for That Was the Week That Was (a.k.a. "TW3") and The Electric Company (which I didn't know at the time, I'd loved his songs since I was 5 and didn't know it until about 30 years after the fact). He said, "Political satire become obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
Here's what he had to say about Boston, which I like as a city, but whose sports teams sicken me:
April 10, 1913, 100 years ago today: The New York Yankees, no longer the Highlanders, play their first game officially using the name by which they have been known ever since. As with the franchise’s first game period, its first home game, and its last game as the Highlanders, the opponent is the Washington Senators. With President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first ball at National Park (which will later be renamed Griffith Stadium), the Senators beat the Yankees, 2-1.
Walter Johnson, starting on Opening Day as he usually does for the Senators, allows a run, but begins a streak of 56 consecutive scoreless innings, a record that will stand for 55 years and has only been topped twice since.
April 10, 1953, 60 years ago today: The New York Knicks become the first team to lose the NBA Finals in 3 straight seasons, falling 91-84 in Game 5 against the Minneapolis Lakers, who win their 4th Championship. Losing 3 straight Finals will not happen again until 1970, when it is the Los Angeles Lakers who do it – against the Knicks, who win their 1st Championship. No other team has lost the Finals 3 years in a row.
However, last night, the Knicks clinched their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. They've won a grand total of 1 Playoff game since 2001. Can they go further? We'll see.
On a note that won't make anyone smile, one of my first readers, Larry Novak, passed away this week, due to heart trouble. He will be missed.
I actually knew 2 Larry Novaks, another being a classmate of mine at East Brunswick High School, a member of our 1984-85 Playoff football teams and our 1986 County Champion baseball team. The one who died was a bit older.
Now whatever pain he had is over, and he's got the best seat in the house, for any game he wants.