Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Does Not Simply Lose 1-0 In a Pennant Race. It Is Folly.

When your team is coming down the home stretch of the season, and there's games between you and the last Playoff spot in your League, you don't show up against another Playoff contender and put up only 1 run on 3 hits.

If one was a baseball fan and a Lord of the Rings fan, one might say, "One does not simply fail to hit in a big game. It is folly.

And, right now, the Yankees are a team of folly.

Last night, the Yankees opened a 3-game home series with the American League Central Division-leading Kansas City Royals, the most consequential game between the 2 teams since 1985.

Michael Pineda started, and went 7 innings, allowing just 1 run (unearned), 3 hits, and no walks. By any measure (unless you're one of these guys who thinks a man goes the distance unless he gets shelled), this was a very good performance.

Here's what the Yankees got off James Shields, the former Tampa Bay ace now leading the rotation in Kansas City: A double by Brett Gardner in the 4th inning, Carlos Beltran getting hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, a single by Chase Headley in the 5th, and a single by some guy named Derek Jeter in the 9th. That was it.

Jeter singled after Jacoby Ellsbury opened the bottom of the 9th by flying out. Joe Girardi pinch-ran Antoan Richardson for Jeter. The tying run in the bottom of the 9th, and Jeter gets removed. For a guy about to turn 31, playing his 11th major league game, with a career OPS of .746 -- in the minor leagues. Some people (I'm not going to print their names here) might say this was a good thing, but it sure sounds like an insult to me.

Only then did Royals manager Ned Yost pull Shields for reliever Wade Davis. Richardson stole 2nd. But Davis struck out Gardner, and, as he did with the tying and Pennant-winning runs on base for the Mets in the NLCS clincher in 2006, Carlos Beltran never took the bat off his shoulder, and he struck out, too.

Royals 1, Yankees 0. Or was it New York Red Bulls 0-1 Sporting Kansas City?

Pineda has now pitched 10 games for the Yankees this season. In those games, the Yankees have scored 16 runs. His ERA is 1.80. He's 3-4. (Shields is now 13-7, and Davis picked up his 1st save of the season.)

There are 23 games left. The Yankees are now 4 1/2 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot.

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