Thursday, April 17, 2014
Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun, Yankees Play Two, Don't Allow a Run
Some clubs wouldn't like that. Some clubs shake it off and win anyway.
In the first game, Masahiro Tanaka took the hill for the Pinstripes, and he was masterful again. He went 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk, no runs. All of which is more important than the admittedly nice 10 strikeouts.
It's only been 3 starts, but he's got a 2.05 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, an opponents' batting average of just .185, and 28 strikeouts against only 2 walks. As they say on ESPN Baseball Tonight, "That's not just filthy: That's nasty." It's too soon to say, "He's been worth every penny," but it is definitely time to say, "So far, so good." And he's only 25. This is no seasoned veteran, pitching like one, giving the Yankees one more good season before the decline starts (as some fools would now be saying about CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda). This guy could get better.
"Ah, but Mike," you say, "what about runs? Pitching may be 75 percent of baseball, but you gotta get that other 25 percent." This is true.
Fortunately, the Yankees got it. With 1 out in the 1st, Carlos Beltran hit one out, his 4th home run of the season. In the 4th, Brian McCann singled with 1 out, Yangervis Solarte drew a walk, Kelly Johnson hit an infield single to load the bases, and Dean Anna got McCann home with a sacrifice fly. Brett Gardner led off the 5th with a ground-rule double, Beltran moved him over to 3rd on a groundout, and Jacoby Ellsbury scored him with another groundout.
Yankees 3, Cubs 0. Apparently, Joe Girardi (who grew up in Illinois as a Cub fan and played for the Cubs) figured, "We're playing a National League team, so let's play NL-style small ball. It worked so often for Joe Torre." And it got runs for Tanaka (WP, 2-0) and Shawn Kelley (SV, 4), to beat Jason Hammel (LP, 2-1).
In the nightcap, the rebirth of Michael Pineda continued, and this time there was no flap about any gunk on his hand from the Yankee-hating, Red Sox-loving media. Good thing, because, even without that stuff, whatever it was, Pineda was filthy and nasty on the mound last night. He went 6 innings, allowed 4 hits and 1 walk.
Only 3 strikeouts, but unless you're the guy who brings the signs for a "K Corner," who cares? A pitcher is supposed to be effective. If he's also spectacular, that's a bonus. The Yankee record for strikeouts in a season is only 248, set by Ron Guidry in 1978. The previous record was 240 by Jack Chesbro, and that was all the way back in 1904. Is the 248 Ks what we remember about Guidry '78? No. We remember the 18 Ks in a game in June, where the fans started the tradition of standing and clapping with 2 strikes. We remember the 3 2-hit shutouts he pitched in September. We remember him winning 25 games, losing only 3, including winning 16 when the Yankees had lost their previous game. And we remember that 16th/25th: Some people call it the Bucky Dent Game, I call it the Boston Tie Party, and Red Sox fans call it something unprintable.
The point is, Tanaka got the job done in the afternoon, and Pineda got the job done in the evening, and I don't care how they got their outs: They got those outs.
The Yankees didn't score a run in the 1st this time, but they mirrored the opener by getting single runs in the 4th, on singles by Scott Sizemore, J.R. Murphy and Gardner; and in the 5th, on singles by Alfonso Soriano, Solarte and Sizemore.
David Phelps got into trouble in the 7th inning, but pitched out of it. Matt Thornton pitched well in the 8th. Adam Warren got into trouble in the 9th, but got out of it.
Yankees 2, Cubs 0. WP: Pineda (2-1). SV: Warren (1). LP: Travis Wood (0-1, no relation to ex-Cub and ex-Yankee Kerry Wood).
In this first season after Mariano Rivera, 4 different pitchers have recorded saves: Kelley has 4, the currently injured David Robertson 2, and Phelps and Warren 1 each. Whatever works.
The Yankees now lead Toronto by half a game, Baltimore by a game and a half, Tampa Bay by 2, and Boston by 3. They begin a 7-game roadtrip to Tampa and Boston: The most loathsome ballpark (as Luke Skywalker would say, "What a piece of junk!"), then the most loathsome fans (as Obi-Wan Kenobi would say, "Fenway Park. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy").
Here are the pitching matchups for the Tampa Bay series:
Tonight, 7:00: CC Sabathia vs. David Price. Theoretically, that's ace vs. ace, although the way CC has pitched the last year or so, it's hard to say that he's the ace anymore. Hopefully, he can still be a Pennant-quality starter.
Tomorrow night, 7:00: Kuroda vs. Erik Bedard.
Saturday night, 7:00: Ivan Nova vs. Chris Archer. Nova needs to bounce back from getting shellacked in his last start. Although, between Nova and Vidal Nuno, each of whom allowed 14 runs in that game, that was the only game the Yankees have really had awful pitching so far.
Sunday afternoon, 1:30: Cesar Ramos goes for the Rays, while the Yankees are, for the moment, undecided. It would be too soon to throw Tanaka, as he'd be going on 3 days' rest due to the Tuesday rainout, and Pineda would also be going on 3 days' rest. Better to save both of them for The Scum on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Although, having gone 6 innings yesterday, Girardi may attempt to be mindful of Pineda's 2-year comeback, and throw him for 5, or even 4 innings, on Sunday, and then make everybody available out of the pen. But that would make Pineda unavailable for the Boston series. We'll see.
Days until Arsenal play again: 3, this Sunday morning, 9:05 AM U.S. Eastern Time, away to Hull City, the same team that they will play in the FA Cup Final. With Arsenal's win over fellow Londoners West Ham United this past Tuesday, and Everton, "the other team in Liverpool," losing yesterday to Crystal Palace, yet another London team, Arsenal can still finish in 4th place in the Premier League, thus qualifying for the qualifying round of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League; with Manchester City slipping up with yesterday draw to North-East club Sunderland, Arsenal have a shot at finishing 3rd, thus qualifying for the Champions League without needing the qualifying round.
Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 6, this coming Tuesday, at 7:00 PM (well, 7:07 or so), at Fenway Park.
Days until the Red Bulls play again: 9, a week from this Saturday, 7:30 PM, away to the Columbus Crew. Last night, they finally got there first win of the season, in 7th tries, winning a "derby" against the Philadelphia Union, 2-0 at home at Red Bull Arena.
Days until the FA Cup Final, Arsenal vs. Hull City, at the new Wembley Stadium in London: 30, on Saturday, May 17. Exactly 1 month.
Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 40, on Tuesday, May 27, at 10:00 PM Eastern Time, against former Soviet "republic" Azerbaijan, in one of the last events that will be held at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. This will be the first of 3 warmup matches for the World Cup, also facing Turkey at Red Bull Arena and Nigeria in Jacksonville.
Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 51, on Saturday, June 7, 7:30 PM, vs. the New England Revolution, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 56, on Thursday, June 12. Just 8 weeks.
Days until the Arsenal-Red Bulls match at Red Bull Arena: 100, on Saturday, July 26. A little over 3 months.
Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: Unknown. The next season's schedule, or "fixture list," usually comes out on the 2nd Friday in June. The new season usually begins on the 3rd Saturday in August, but derbies are rarely held that early in the season -- this season's September 1 match was unusually early. That opener will most likely be on August 16, which would be 121 days, but don't count on it being a derby.
Days until Rutgers plays football again: 135, on Saturday, August 30, away to Washington State, at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks. A little over 4 5 months.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown, as the schedule has yet to be released. Most likely, it will be on the 2nd Friday night in September. If so, that will be September 12, therefore 148 days.
Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 149 days, on Saturday, September 13, time to be determined, against old enemy Penn State.
Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season game (barring injury): 164, on Sunday, September 28, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. A little over 5 months.
Days until the Devils play again: Unknown, as the Devils did not make the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the 2014-15 NHL schedule hasn't been released yet. The most likely date is the first Friday in October, which would be October 3. That's 169 days.
Days until the Devils next play a local rival: Unknown, as per the previous answer. Most likely, though, the Devils won't play either the Rangers, the Islanders or the Flyers as their season opener, or their home opener.
Days until Game 7 of the 2014 World Series -- the absolute latest you can ever again see Derek Jeter in a competitive game: 195, on Wednesday, October 29. Less than 7 months, and no more Jeter -- not as an active player, anyway.
Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 224, on Thursday morning, November 27, 10:00 AM. A little over 7 months.
Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 718, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Less than 29 months.