Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Masahiro Comes Along

As Ron Guidry did so many times in the crazy and magical season of 1978, last night, the Yankees needed Masahiro Tanaka to be the arch-stopper of losing streaks.

Tanaka pitched like a 1970s-style ace: He went the distance in the 3rd game of the City Series with the Mets, at Citi Field. He pitched all 9 innings, allowing no runs, just 4 hits, and no walks. (The 8 strikeouts were nice, but I don't care how the outs come, only that they do.) This against a team that had lit us up for 12 runs the game before, and 9 the game before that.

Daniel Murphy singled in the 1st inning. Chris Young singled in the 4th. (Both attempted to steal 2nd base: The former succeeded, but got no further; the latter was caught.) Eric Young Jr. doubled in the 6th. And our old friend Bobby Abreu singled to lead off the 9th.

That was it. That was all the baserunners that Tanaka allowed last night.

The Yankees? In the 2nd, Yangervis Solarte drew a 2-out walk, and Brian Roberts tripled him home. We didn't know it at the time, but that was all Tanaka needed. He got more. Solarte hit a home run in the 4th. (The 4th of the season for the rookie 3rd baseman. Alex who?) Mark Teixeira homered in the 6th (his 8th of the season -- he has really come on lately). And in the 7th, Brett Gardner singled, stole 2nd, advance to 3rd on a walk pitch, and was singled home by Derek Jeter.

Yankees 4, Mets 0. WP: Tanaka (6-0 -- in case you've forgotten, Guidry started 1978 13-0). No save -- no relief pitching necessary, which is good, because Joe Girardi went through a lot of relief pitching the preceding 2 nights. LP: Rafael Montero (0-1).

The City Series concludes tonight at Citi Field. In just 3 days -- Hiroki Kuroda vs. Bartolo Colon -- we've gone from Old-Timers' Day to the Futures Game, as both of tonight's starters, replacements due to injuries, will be making their major league debuts.

For the Yankees, Chase Whitley, soon-to-be 25-year-old righthander from Ranburne, Alabama. Impressed in 2 seasons as Triple-A Scranton as a reliever, but this is his first pro season as mainly a starter.

For the Mets, Jacob deGrom, soon-to-be 26-year-old righthander from Deland, Florida. He was 4-0 at Triple-A Las Vegas before he was called up. Has a tendency to walk batters.

We shall see.

But one thing it was good to see last night was Tanaka pitching like an old-school ace. And one thing we did not see was Met fans talking trash.

The only trash they should be talking about is the junkyards across 126th Street from Pity Field. And the one they've assembled inside it.

*

Days until Arsenal play again: 2, this Saturday, at 12:00 noon New York time, in the FA Cup Final, vs. Hull City, at the new Wembley Stadium in London. Arsenal yet again finished 4th in the Premier League, behind Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea -- and, for the 19th straight season, ahead of North London rivals Tottenham.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 2, this Saturday, at 4:30 PM, away to Toronto FC. In their last game, they blew a 2-1 lead at home to the Chicago Fire, fell behind 5-2, closed to within 5-4, but lost. And Toronto, the worst team in MLS the last couple of years, boosted themselves by signing star U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley and former Tottenham star Jermain Defoe.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 12, 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. Under 2 weeks. 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": 23, on Saturday, June 7, 7:30 PM, vs. the New England Revolution, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. A little over 3 weeks.

Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 28, on Thursday, June 12. Just 4 weeks.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 43, on Friday night, June 27, at 7:00, at Yankee Stadium II. At little over 6 weeks.

Days until the Arsenal-Red Bulls match at Red Bull Arena: 72, on Saturday, July 26. A little over 10 weeks.

Days until the 2014-15 Premier League season begins: 86, on Saturday, August 9. The fixture list is usually released on the first Friday in June, after the promotion playoffs have been completed.

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. Derbies are rarely held that early in the season -- the 2013-14 season's September 1 match was unusually early.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 107, on Saturday, August 30, away to Washington State, at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks. A little over 3 months.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 112, on Thursday, September 4, home to Woodbridge. It's on a Thursday night, rather than a Friday night, because of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 121 days, on Saturday, September 13, time to be determined, against old enemy Penn State.

Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season home game (barring injury): 133, on Thursday, September 25, against the Baltimore Orioles. A little over 4 months.

Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season game (barring injury): 136, on Sunday, September 28, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

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 141 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: 167, on Wednesday, October 29. A little over 5 months, and no more Jeter -- not as an active player, anyway.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 196, on Thursday morning, November 27, 10:00 AM. A little over 6 months.

Days until New York City FC make their Major League Soccer debut: Unknown, but a new MLS season usually begins on the 2nd Saturday in March, which would be March 14, 2015. That's 303 days. Under 10 months. Whether it will be a home game, and thus at the new Yankee Stadium, is yet to be determined.

Days until the New York Islanders' last game at the Nassau Coliseum: Unknown, but an NHL regular season usually ends on the 2nd Sunday in April, which would be April 12, 2015. That's 332 days. Under 11 months.

Days until the Islanders' first home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: Unknown, but an NHL regular season usually begins on the 1st Friday in October, which would be October 2, 2015. That's 505 days. That's under 17 months. Or, to put it another way, "505 Sleeps Till Brooklyn." Until then, even with their 4 straight long-ago Stanley Cups, they're just a Small Club In Hempstead.

Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 690, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Less than 27 months. 

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