Thursday, April 3, 2014

Have to Wake Up Bats!

Last night, it took the U.S. national soccer team 6 minutes to score as many times as the Yankees did all game long: Once. And 28 minutes to score another.

They blew it, allowing arch-rival Mexico to score 2 second-half goals to forge a 2-2 draw in Phoenix. The linesman waved off a late goal for offside, when it was clearly onside, and also waved off a play that was definitely a foul in the penalty box, possibly worthy of a penalty kick.

It didn't make much difference -- the game was an exhibition, although no U.S.-Mexico game can really be called a "friendly." The more important thing is that the U.S. team showed a lot more life and effort than in their previous effort, a 2-0 debacle against Ukraine, in a game that had to be moved to Cyprus due to the unrest in Ukraine's capital Kiev.

And don't even get me started on those horrid uniforms. Mexico's were bad enough, but ours... Was the designer color-blind?

*

But the Yankees... Oy vey.

On the 2nd pitch of the game, away to the Houston Astros, Hiroki Kuroda allowed a home run to Dexter Fowler. He allowed another run in the 3rd, and David Phelps allowed a home run in the 7th.

Overall, though, the pitching was decent. In fact, in the last 16 innings, Yankee pitchers have allowed just 3 runs (that's a 1.69 ERA), and this in Minute Maid Park, which is great for home runs.

Somebody forgot to tell that to the Yankees. New acquisition Brian Roberts got 3 hits last night, new acquisition Brian McCann 2. All Yankees not new acquisitions named Brian got 2: A leadoff double in the 8th by Carlos Beltran (naturally, stranded) and a single by Brett Gardner.

Astros 3, Yankees 1. WP: Jarred Cosart (1-0). SV: Josh Fields (1). LP: Kuroda (0-1).

It's not time to panic. But these are not the 1980, 1986, 1999, or 2005 Houston Astros. These Astros have lost 324 games over the last 3 seasons. Before Tuesday's Opening Night win, they hadn't won a game that counted since September 12, dropping their last 15 of the season.

And the Yankees have lost 2 games against them, scoring 3 runs in 18 innings.

That is unacceptable.

I figured the Yankees, with the addition of Masahiro Tanaka, would have enough pitching to get by. But, in the words of Pedro Cerrano (played by Dennis Haysbert in the Major League movies), "Have to wake up bats!"

*

Days until the Devils play again: 1, tomorrow night at 7:00 PM, home to the Washington Capitals.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 2, on Saturday, 4:00 PM, away to the Montreal Impact, including former Red Bull Heath Pearce, and Andrew Wenger, who is not my favorite A. Wenger (and is not related to Arsene).

Days until Arsenal play again: 3, this Sunday morning, 8:30 AM U.S. Eastern Time, away to Everton, "the other team in Liverpool." It's no longer a question of winning the Premier League title, but of securing no lower than 3rd place and a berth in the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League, without having to play a play-in game, which they would have to do if they finished 4th.
Days until my new job starts: 4, next Monday.

Days until the Yankees' home opener: 4, next Monday, at 1:00 PM (well, 1:07 or so), vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 7, a week from today, at 7:00 PM (well, 7:07 or so), at Yankee Stadium II.
Days until the Devils next play a local rival: 8, a week fro tomorrow night, home to the Islanders. We do not play the Rangers or the Philadelphia Flyers again for the remainder of the regular season. And, at this point, as Jim Mora Sr. would say, "Playoffs? Don't talk about Playoffs! You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!"

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 9, next Saturday, 2:30 PM, vs. D.C. United, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington.

Days until the FA Cup Final, for which Arsenal is still eligible, at the new Wembley Stadium in London: 44, on Saturday, May 17. A little over 6 weeks.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 54, 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 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 70, on Thursday, June 12. Just 10 weeks.

Days until the Arsenal-Red Bulls match at Red Bull Arena: 114, on Saturday, July 26. Under 4 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 135 days, but don't count on it being a derby.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 149, on Saturday, August 30, away to Washington State, at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks. Under 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 162 days.

Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 163 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): 178, on Sunday, September 28, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Less than 6 months.

Days until Game 7 of the 2014 World Series -- the absolute latest you can ever again see Derek Jeter in a competitive game: 209, 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: 238, on Thursday morning, November 27, 10:00 AM. Less than 8 months.

Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 732, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Just 29 months.

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