Monday, July 21, 2014

As Bad As It's Looked, It Doesn't Look So Bad

So far, so good for the Yankees in the 2nd half. On Saturday afternoon, Brandon McCarthy got his 1st Yankee win, going 6 innings against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and no walks. Plus 9 strikeouts. (1-0)

He was boosted by a home run by Carlos Beltran in the 2nd, an RBI single by Brett Gardner in the 3rd, a Gardner sacrifice fly in the 5th, an RBI single right after that by some guy named Derek Jeter, knocking Alfredo Simon out of the box (12-4), and a Kelly Johnson 2-RBI single and another Gardner sac fly in the 6th.

Yankees 7, Reds 1.

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And then yesterday, Hiroki Kuroda pitched with the wisdom of a 39-year-old and the arm of a 27-year-old. He pitched into the 7th inning, allowing only 1 run, unearned, 3 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.

Back-to-back singles in the 5th inning by Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury gave Kuroda a 2-1 lead, and he got a standing ovation when he left in the 7th.

But Todd Frazier hit one out for the Reds, a rare mistake this season for Dellin Betances. The game would go to the bottom of the 9th.

The Reds had Aroldis Chapman on the mound, the possessor of 97 saves these last 2 1/2 seasons, a 0.997 career WHIP, and a fastball that can reach 102 miles per hour.

But Ellsbury led off with a single to left. Then he stole 2nd. Then one of Chapman's blazing fastballs got away from Reds catcher Breyan Pena, who's no Johnny Bench, or Ernie Lombardi, or even Joe Oliver. Man on 3rd, nobody out, and the resurgent Mark Teixeira up.

But Chapman blew Teix away with a 101-MPH heater. And Brian McCann came up, and Chapman blew a 102-MPH heater past him for strike one, and I thought, "Uh-oh, here we go again: Yankee RISPfail. We're gonna lose this one in extra innings."

But McCann hit a popup to the right side. Reds 1st baseman Frazier, 2nd baseman Skip Schumaker, and right fielder Jay Bruce all had a chance at it.

Have you ever heard "The Story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody"? Once upon a time, there was a job to do. Everybody thought that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But Nobody did it.

The ball fell between 3 Reds, allowing Ellsbury to score the winning run on a cheap play. Who did the Reds think they were, the Mets?

Reason Number 57 why the Mets are a joke: I said on Twitter that the Yankees won on a "Luis Castillo Play" -- and everybody knew exactly what I meant. Heck, it was even to the same general area (if not the same exact spot) of the field.

Yankees 3, Reds 2. A sweep of the Big Red Machine. WP: David Robertson (1-2). No save. LP: Chapman (0-3).

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So here we are, with 10 weeks to go in the Major League Baseball season. Here's how things look:

The Yankees trail the Baltimore Orioles by 3 games in the American League Eastern Division. So do the Toronto Blue Jays, although the Yankees trail the O's by 3 in the loss column, while the Jays trail there by 4. The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are 7 1/2 back. So as bad as anyone has been, the Division race is, theoretically, still up for grabs by all 5.

The Yankees trail the Seattle Mariners by a game and a half, just 1 in the loss column, for the AL's 2nd Wild Card entry.

As bad as it's looked, it doesn't look so bad. If you'll pardon what would have been a Yogi-ism if Yogi Berra had thought of it first.

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Tonight, the Yankees begin a 4-game home series against the Texas Rangers. Like all teams representing Dallas, and all teams called Rangers wearing blue shirts (whatever the country, whatever the sport), they suck.

Manager Ron Washington has an interesting coaching staff. He's got ex-Mets Dave Magadan and Tim Bogar. He's got Bobby Jones -- but not either of the 2 Bobby Joneses who pitched for the Mets in the 2000 World Series, the greatest World Series ever. He's got Bengie Molina, the eldest of the Molina brothers. He's got former Angels All-Star Gary Pettis. And his bullpen coach? Andy Hawkins, who on July 1, 1990 pitched 8 no-hit innings for the Yankees against the Chicago White Sox in the last game the Yankees ever played in Comiskey Park -- and lost due to his own walks and 3 awful 8th-inning errors. He didn't even get credit for the no-hitter, although he got credit for the complete game.

Here are the projected pitching matchups:

Tonight, 7:05 PM: Shane Green vs. Miles Mikolas.

Tomorrow, 7:05 PM: Chase Whitley vs. Nick Martinez.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM: David Phelps vs. Yu Darvish.

Thursday, 1:05 PM: McCarthy vs. Colby Lewis.

Come on you Pinstripes!

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