Sunday, June 7, 2015

Yanks Drop 3 of 4 in Oakland; Steve Pritko, 1920-2015

Now, I am 9 games behind.

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The Yankees got swept in Texas, then swept Kansas City at home.

The last thing they needed was to have to fly out to the Pacific Coast. Yet that's what the schedule demanded.

On Thursday, May 28, they opened a series against the Oakland Athletics, who came in with the worst record in the American League, at the Whatever Sponsor's Name Is On It This Season Coliseum in the East Bay.

CC Sabathia was starting. An East Bay native who grew up rooting for the A's, and making many trips to the Oakland Coliseum (the building's classic name), when the stadium was not yet blighted by the building of the "Mount Davis" bleachers so the Raiders could return, and the team was steroided up with Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, drenched in he ego of Rickey Henderson, and deadly from the mound with the likes of Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley, he had about as much effectiveness as he would have had as a little boy watching from the old bleachers that Mount Davis replaced.

The Big Fella has long been an innings-eater, but he only completed 6 this time, allowing 5 runs. A combined 3 innings from David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve didn't make much difference.

The Yankees got a run in the 2nd on Brian McCann's homer, another in the 4th on a Brian McCann single, another in the 5th on an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly, and another in the 9th on a Brett Gardner double. But Chase Headley lined out to strand Gardner with the tying run and end the game.

A's 5, Yankees 4. WP: Evan Scribner (1-0). SV: Yankee reject (to be fair, he really wasn't very good for us) Tyler Clippard (5). LP: Sabathia (2-7).

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On Friday night, it got worse. For some reason, Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman continue to believe in Chris Capuano. Not as much as the Oakland hitters did. He didn't get out of the 6th inning. For once, Esmil Rogers didn't make things worse; for once, Jacob Lindgren did.

Brian McCann hit another homer, his 8th of the season, but it wasn't enough. A's 6, Yankees 2. WP: Sonny Gray (6-2). SV: Clippard (6). LP: Capuano (0-3).

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So, on Saturday, the Yankees needed a win to avoid falling back to .500. Nathan Eovaldi took the hill, and... didn't get out of the 5th inning, allowing 11 hits.

But, you know what? He didn't give up any walks. Which is probably the biggest reason that he allowed only 3 runs.

Carlos Beltran had one of his best days as a Yankee. Stop laughing. He went 2-for-4, sending his batting average up to .245, with his 4th home run of the season, and 3 RBIs. Headley went 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Yankees 5, A's 3. WP: Shreve (2-1). SV: Andrew Miller (15). LP: Jesse Hahn (2-5).

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On Sunday, the Yankees went back into "Hitting? What's that?" mode. Alex Rodriguez and Didi Gregorius each got 2 hits, while Headley, Mark Teixeira, Ramon Flores and Jose Pirela each got 1 -- all singles.

Adam Warren pitched well enough to win, going 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs, on 6 hits and 1 walk. But he got outpitched by Jesse Chavez, who shut the Yankees out for 8 innings.

A's 3, Yankees 0. WP: Chavez (2-5). SV: Clippard (7). LP: Warren (2-5).

This was embarrassing. Indeed, even in the game the Yankees won in this series, they didn't get good pitching.

They closed May just 1 game over .500, 26-25.

Unacceptable.

On to Seattle.

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Steve Pritko died on June 6, in Gardena, California, at the age of 94. Born on December 21, 1920 in Northampton, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley, he played what we would now call tight end and defensive end in the era of "two-platoon football."

He played for Villanova, and was drafted by the Giants in 1943, but was traded to the Cleveland Rams. That's right, the Rams were founded in Cleveland in 1936. In 1945, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Waterfield, the Rams won the NFL Championship, beating the Washington Redskins, 15-14 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. It hurt the 'Skins that their own Hall of Fame signal-caller, Slingin' Sammy Baugh, got hurt in the 2nd quarter.

But the Rams' attendance was so bad over the course of their existence in Cleveland that owner Dan Reeves (no relation to the later football coach of the same name) moved his titlists to Los Angeles. The following season, the All-America Football Conference would place the Browns in Cleveland, and a new legend was born. (It would not be until 1948, in Los Angeles, that Rams player and graphic artist Jim Benton first painted horns on his helmet, thus inventing the helmet logo.)
Steve Pritko, NFL Champion

Pritko later returned to the Big Apple with the hapless 1949 New York Bulldogs, and closed his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1950. He was the last surviving player from the 1945 NFL Champion Cleveland Rams -- the team that won "Super Bowl -XXI," if you prefer.

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