Thursday, August 7, 2014

Strangest Yankee Season I've Ever Seen

This is the strangest season the Yankees have had in my lifetime. Winning games they shouldn't, losing games they should've had in the bag. Big-money guys getting hurt, who's-he guys coming through. And the Red Sox not being a factor at all (except when they rear their ugly heads across the dugout from us).

On Monday night, it was David Phelps vs. Max Scherzer in the opening game of a 4-games home series against the Detroit Tigers. That matchup seriously favored the Tigers -- but the Yankees won.

On Tuesday night, it was Hiroki Kuroda vs. David Price, until last week the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, in his first Tiger start. I had a good feeling about it.

That good feeling lasted into the top of the 6th inning. The Yankees had a 3-1 lead, thanks to home runs by Brian McCann (his 12th of the season) and Martin Prado (his 1st as a Yankee).

But then former Yankee catching prospect Austin Romine homered, and the Tigers tied it in the 7th. And then Yankee RISPfail took over. The Yankees wasted a Prado double with 1 out in the 7th, went down 1-2-3 in the 8th, wasted a leadoff single and stolen base by Carlos Beltran in the 9th, stranded Derek Jeter on 1st in the 10th, and went down 1-2-3 in the 11th.

And how did Jeter get to 1st base in the 10th, you might ask? This big hulking Tiger reliever with an enormous beard, looking like an enormous twat, hit him with a pitch. His name? Joba Chamberlain. Yes, that Joba Chamberlain.

Here's how little Tiger manager Brad Ausmus (who succeeded Jim Leyland upon his retirement) trusts his bullpen: He let Price throw 112 pitches before bringing in Joba. Not a worrisome total in the days when pitchers, pitching coaches, managers and general managers weren't pussies. But today? It's considered a very high total. Oh, for the days when men were men.

Incredibly, this game went 12 innings with neither pitching staff walking a batter. Kuroda, Dellin Betances, Shawn Kelley, David Huff, Esmil Rogers, Rich Hill and Matt Daley went 11 innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and no walks.

Joe Girardi kept Daley out there for the top of the 12th. At the time, it didn't seem like a bad move. And, if the Yankees had scored in the bottom of the 12th, it wouldn't have been a bad move. If the Yankees had scored 1 more run in innings 1 through 11, there wouldn't have been a 12th.

But Alex Avila, batting .220 and slugging .372, hit a home run off Daley. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Tigers 4, Yankees 3. WP: Joakim Soria (2-4). SV: Joe Nathan (23). LP: Daley (0-1).

*

So, naturally, about last night's game, with the starters being Chris Capuano vs. former MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, as they say in the Star Wars films, "I've got a bad feeling about this!"

Sure enough, the Tigers scored in the 1st inning. But it was only 1 run, and Capuano settled down after that. He didn't allow another run, only 5 hits and no walks into the 7th.

Chase Headley, who's turning out to be a nice pickup, hit a home run (his 2nd as a Yankee) in the 5th, and McCann hit one (his 13th) in the 7th -- both off Verlander, who's actually not having a very good season. Then the Yankees added insurance runs in the 8th, thanks to a Mark Teixeira single and a McCann groundout.

Adam Warren pitched the 7th and pitched the 8th, scoreless. Huff pitched a scoreless 9th to end it. Yankees 5, Tigers 1. WP: Warren (2-5). No save. LP: Verlander (10-10).

The series concludes this afternoon. Shane Greene starts for the Yankees, Rick Porcello for the Tigers.

Come on you Pinstripes!

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