Tuesday, September 2, 2014

That's All We Got?

My home computer's difficulties have made updating this blog incredibly difficult. It's been 6 days since I could last do so.

So I start with the first game that I wasn't able to post: Last Wednesday, August 27, the 2nd game of a 3-game series in Detroit against the Tigers.

This was a good game. In fact, it contained the biggest inning the Yankees had in years, the 3rd inning, against David Price, the former Tampa Bay Rays ace that the Tigers thought would solidify their chance at the American League Pennant. Now, they're not even in 1st place in the AL Central. If the current standings hold, they'll be one of the AL Wild Cards.

The Yankees should have such problems, and no more.

Here's that 3rd inning:

Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single. He stole 2nd.

Derek Jeter doubled him home. 1-0 Yankees.

Martin Prado singled Jeter over to 3rd.

Mark Teixeira doubled off the wall. Jeter scored. 2-0 Yankees.

Carlos Beltran singled. Prado scored. 3-0 Yankees.

Brian McCain singled. Teix scored. 4-0 Yankees.

Chase Headley singled, loading the bases with nobody out.

Brett Gardner grounded to short, too deep for a double play, and beat it out. Beltran scored. 5-0 Yankees. Five runs in, bases still loaded, still nobody out.

Francisco Cervelli singled. McCann scored. 6-0 Yankees. Six runs in, bases still loaded, still nobody out.

Price was relieved. His team wasn't. The Yankees had now batted around, all 9 men reaching base.

Ellsbury flew to left, a sacrifice fly. Finally, the 1st out. Headley scored. 7-0 Yankees.

Jeter flew to center. Gardner scored. 8-0 Yankees.

Prado grounded to 3rd, the Tigers finally stopping the bleeding.

For a fan who's spent the better part of 3 seasons wondering why the Bronx Bombers haven't been doing enough bombing, it was truly something to behold. And to wonder we can't do half that (4-run innings) more often.

The Tigers scored single runs in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th innings, but didn't get close. Yankees 8, Tigers 4.

WP: Shane Greene (4-1). No save. LP: Price (12-10).

*

The Yankees and Tigers played the rubber game of the series the next afternoon, and the Yankees went back into RISPfail mode. An Ellsbury single in the 3rd and a McCann single in the 4th drove in runs, but that was it. There were only 3 other hits. Hiroki Kuroda pitched well in vain, and Shawn Kelley blew a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 9th, thanks to an RBI single by Alex Avila.

To make matters worse, 2 former Yankee pitchers benefited from the Yankees' ineptitude: Joba Chamberlain (in full mountain-man mode with that beard that he wasn't allowed to grow as a Yankee) and Phil Coke (the 2008-09 edition of the lefty reliever who the Yankees should never, ever bring in, although they won the 2009 World Series in spite of him).

Tigers 3, Yankees 2. WP: Coke (2-2). LP: Kelley (2-5). So we dropped 2 of 3 to the contending Tigers.

*

The Yankees then went to Toronto to play those pesky Blue Jays. On Friday night, they trailed 1-0 going into the 7th, and there was a feeling that the single Toronto run was going to hold up.

It didn't. It wasn't quite the 8-run outburst of 2 days earlier, but the Yankees got a nice rally going against Mark Buehrle, who'd pitched pretty well thus far. McCann doubled to deep right. Beltran walked. Brett Gardner hit a drive to deep right for another double, scoring McCann and Beltran. 2-1 Yankees. Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield single. Buerhle was removed for Aaron Loup. Headley struck out. Then Joe Girardi ordered a double steal, and the Jays' catcher, former Yankee Dioner Navarro, threw it away. Gardner scored. 3-1. Then Ellsbury cranked one to right, his 14th home run of the season. 5-1.

Chris Capuano, pitching one of his best games all season, took that lead into the bottom of the 7th, but ran out of gas. Adam Warren finished the 7th, but couldn't finish the 8th.

Neither could Josh Outman, making his 1st Yankee appearance, a lefthander about to turn 30, and mediocre in the majors thus far, whom the Yankees just got in a waiver deal with the Cleveland Indians. "Outman." Great name for a pitcher! But bad uniform number: 48, the same number as was worn on the Yankees as Coke, "Kerosene Kyle" Farnsworth and Boone "Fucking" Logan!

Robertson had to get a 4-out save. But, get it he did. Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3. WP: Capuano (2-3). SV: Robertson (35). LP: Buehrle (11-9).

*

Saturday, August 30, is the anniversary of the birth of my grandfather, George Golden, born George Goldberg in 1906, grew up in The Bronx, and became a Yankee Fan, and made me one. If he had watched this game, he would have said, "Oh, woe is me, woe is me, and a gevalt!"

In the top of the 4th, after Gardner and Jeter struck out, Beltran was hit with a pitch, and Teix doubled him over to 3rd. But he couldn't score. Then McCann was hit with a pitch to load the bases. It was only 2-0 Toronto at this point, so if Prado could get a hit, who knows? But he popped up to 3rd.

Beltran walked in the 6th. Stephen Drew walked in the 7th. That was it. That was all the baserunners for the Yankees in the game: One hit, 2 walks, 2 hit batsmen.

I'm reminded of the line that Bob Uecker used when playing Harry Doyle, the hard-drinking Cleveland broadcaster in the Major League films. He looked at his scoresheet at the end of the game, and said, on the air, "That's all we got? One goddamned hit?" His partner covered the microphone and said, "You can't say 'goddamned' on the air!" And Doyle said, "That's okay, no one's listening anyway."

In a case like that, you can't even credit the opposing pitcher -- in this case, Drew Hutchinson. He's not that good. The Yankees simply didn't hit.

And so, that 2-0 Jays lead held up. (9-11). SV: Sanchez (1). LP: Pineda (3-3).

*

On Sunday, Brandon McCarthy was fine for 5 innings. Tthereafter, he gave up 3 Toronto homers: To Jose “Joey Bats” Bautista (Isn’t it about time somebody tested this guy for steroids?), Edwin Encarnacion (one of those guys who always seems to do well against the Yankees), and to former Yankee hero and steroid cheat Melky Cabrera (his 16th of the season, his 4th against his former team).

WP: J.A. Happ (9-8). SV: Casey Janssen (20). LP: McCarthy (5-4  since joining the Yankees).

*

And so, with less than 4 weeks remaining in the regular season, with 27 games to go, the Yankees are 8 1/2 games (8 in the loss column) behind the Baltimore Orioles for the AL Eastern Division title. We are 4 games (3 in the loss column) behind the Tigers for the 2nd AL Wild Card slot.

And now, in the middle of a slump, the Yankees come home... to face the Boston Red Sox. True, The Scum are well out of the race, but they will do anything to beat the Yankees. Not "anything within the rules," but "anything."

These next 3 games could be very long -- not just officially.

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