Friday, July 10, 2015

Girardi Blows Shot at Sweep of A's, Head for Boston

This past Tuesday night, the Yankees began a 3-game home series against the Oakland Athletics, a franchise that, since its Philadelphia days, has seen a few runs of success, always ended by a heinous fire sale, losing their best players and ending up looking like a diasters.

After 3 consecutive Playoff berths, in which they averaged 93 wins a season, they are once again in disaster mode. Barring a miracle, this will be their 25th consecutive season without an American League Pennant, the 18th consecutive season without a Pennant under general manager Billy Beane. Under Beane's tenure, they are 15-23 in postseason games and 1-8 in postseason series (counting last year's Wild Card play-in game as a "series"), and are now in their 2nd Beane-era fire sale.

And yet, no one but me seems to have the guts to say that Beane is not a genius, he is a loser.

It would have been telling to say that the Yankees swept this series while the A's looked like idiots. But the Yankees didn't quite do it.


On Tuesday night, the A's got a run off Nathan Eovaldi in the 1st, but the Yankees then struck for 2, with a single by Brett Gardner, a walk to Chase Headley, and RBI singles by Brian McCann and Garrett Jones. The A's tied it in the 3rd, but the Yankees got that run back in the 4th, through a leadoff walk by McCann and singles by Jones and Didi Gregorius.

In the top of the 6th, with the Yankees leading 3-2, Eovaldi got former Tampa Bay Ray and noted Yankee-killer Ben Zobrist out. He had thrown 86 pitches. Surely, taking him out at this point would have been stupid.

But Joe Girardi opened his Binder Full of Strategies, and removed Eovaldi, replacing him with Chasen Shreve. After striking out Josh Reddick, Shreve gave up a game-tying homer to Billy Butler. This stupid strategy from Joe Girardi's Binder cost the Yankees the game and the sweep, as the game went to extra innings, and, in the 10th inning, Dellin Betances gave up a home run to former Boston Red Sock Brett Lawrie.

Though it should be noted that, after Girardi's bonehead bullpen move, the Yankees had their chances. Man on 2nd in the 6th, man on 2nd with 1 out in the 7th, men on 1st and 2nd in the 10th -- none scored.

A's 4, Yankees 3. WP: Drew Pomeranz (3-3). SV: Ex-Yankee Tyler Clippard (16). LP: Betances (5-2).


With a loss like that, and the aging, struggling CC Sabathia on the hill, Yankee Fans were generally not optimistic for Wednesday night. And when CC, who grew up in the East Bay as an A's fan, allowed 2 runs in the top of the 3rd, it was like, "Here we go again."

But to start the bottom of the 3rd, Young reached on an error, and Gregorius (still not producing like the Yankees are used to from their shortstop, but getting better) doubled him home. Mark Teixeira led off the 4th with a game-tying home run. This was followed by a walk to Young, a single by John Ryan Murphy, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly by Jose Pirela, giving the Yankees the lead.

CC didn't exactly cruise after that, and, this time, Girardi was fully justified in removing his starter in the 6th inning. Teix added to the lead in the bottom of the 6th, sending another "Teix Message," giving him 22 homers on the season. Stephen Drew added a homer in the 8th, his 12th.

Andrew Miller came off the Disabled List and resumed his role as the closer. He allowed a home run to the unfortunately-named Mark Semien, cutting the lead to 1 run, but allowed no further damage.

Yankees 5, A's 4. WP: Sabathia (4-8). SV: Miller (18). LP: Evan Scribner (2-2).


On Thursday afternoon, it was Tanaka Time. Masahiro Tanaka started, and received the gift of a 1st inning homer by Brett Gardner (his 10th). But he gave up 2 in the top of the 2nd, and concerns about his injury were hopping on Yankee Twitter.

They needn't have worried: Tanaka was fine after that, allowing no more runs, and cruising into the 8th inning. Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury, who also came off the DL, drew a walk in the 3rd, followed by back-to-back singles by Gardy and Teix -- both selected for the AL All-Star Team along with Betances, although in Gardy's case it was as an injury replacement.

In the 4th, Drew walked, rookie 3rd baseman Cole Figueroa doubled, and Ellsbury singled. The Yankees iced it in the 8th, as Young walked, Figueroa doubled again, and Ellsbury reachedon an error that scored Young.

Yankees 6, A's 2. WP: Tanaka (5-3). No save. LP: Jesse Chavez (4-9).

So, one dumb Girardi Binder decision from a sweep.


The Yankees have shipped up to Boston to face the Red Sox in the final series before the All-Star Break. In the AL Eastern Division, the Yankees are 3 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, 3 1/2 (but 5 in the loss column) ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, 4 1/2 (but 6 in the loss column) ahead of the Rays, and 5 1/2 (6 in the loss column) ahead of the Red Sox.

Essentially, all 5 teams are within 6 games, so, as bad as The Scum have been this season, it's still anybody's Division, and if they should sweep us in their Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy, that would throw the Division into chaos. And the Yankees don't need that, especially given the new tradition of a 4-day All-Star Break, instead of the usual 3 (restarting on Thursday having given way to restarting on Friday).

Right, the Mets should have the Yankees' problems, and no more. With much-heralded rookie Stephen Matz going on the DL for at least 3 weeks, possibly more, the Other Team has just lost its most exciting young hitter. Certainly, its most effective hitter this last week.

Matz is a pitcher. Oh, here we go again, the Flushing Heathen talking about how baseball doesn't need the DH... Spare me, morons. (The comma may not be necessary there.)

Here are the projected pitching matchups for the Yanks-Scum series at Scumway Park:

* Tonight, 7:05: Michael Pineda vs. Clay Buchholz.
* Tomorrow, 7:15: Ivan Nova vs. Eduardo Rodriguez.
* Sunday, 1:35: Eovaldi vs. Wade Miley

Much has been made of the fact that, of the 2009 World Champion Yankees, just 6 seasons ago, the only remainders are Sabathia, Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. Well, of the 2007 World Champion * Red Sox, only David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia remain. Of the 2013 World Champion * Sox, the only remainders are Ortiz, Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Xander Bogaerts. Just 9 guys from a team that "won" the World Series only 2 seasons ago -- and Pedroia is on the DL and will miss this series. And 1 of the '13 Sox is Drew, now with the Yankees.

So it's not just the Sox' poor performance, and the Yankees' 1st place but underwhelming performance, that has taken some of the sting out of the greatest rivalry in North American sports. It's the lack of relatively familiar names.

It doesn't matter: Ortiz, the Big Fat Lying Cheating Bastard, is still with the Sox. And even if he wasn't, it still wouldn't matter, as it's Yankees vs. Red Sox.

After all, if Arsenal vs. Tottenham, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Roma vs. Lazio, Boca Juniors vs. River Plate, etc. had both teams turn their rosters over completely in a single off-season, it would still be an intense rivalry. So shall it always be between the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Come on you Bombers! Beat The Scum!

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