Friday, August 7, 2015

CC & Ells Bounce Back, Beat The Scum


Fourteen runs in 2 games does you little good if it means 13 runs on Tuesday and 1 run on Wednesday.

And with CC Sabathia taking the mound for the Thursday night game against the Red Sox last night, I thought the Yankees were going to need a lot of runs.

Surprise: The Big Fella, 35 and very disappointing the last 3 seasons (including this one), was at the top of his game. He got the Sox out 1-2-3 in the 1st, worked out of a jam in the 2nd, got 'em 1-2-3 in the 3rd, and did it again in the 4th.

Eduardo Rodriguez started for the Sox, and the Yankees got a run off him in the 3rd: With 2 outs, Brett Gardner singled, and Alex Rodriguez doubled him home. One-nil to the Pinstripe boys.

But CC faltered in the 5th. He allowed a single, a walk, an RBI single, and another walk, to load the bases with 2 outs and the game already tied.

And who was up? None other than the big fat lying cheating Yankee-killing bastard himself, David Ortiz.

CC challenged him with a 94 mile-per-hour fastball, right in his kitchen.

He cooked him. The fat slob swung and missed. Inning over, threat over. And CC was really pumped as he left the mound. That's how he'd gotten it done, almost continuously from 2001, and especially from 2007 onward, until 2012.

Yanks in 1st place, CC pitching well, Sox in last place, Ortiz looking fat and old, yeah, it felt like 2012. (If you put aside how the season ended.)

That sort of ending to a field inning sometimes provides a spark for the ensuing bat inning, and Brendan Ryan and Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the 5th with singles. Gardner bunted them over. A-Rod was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the inning-ending double play. But Mark Teixeira and Chris Young both popped up, so no runs.

CC got the Sox out 1-2-3 in the 6th, but Joe Girardi replaced him for the 7th anyway. Justin Wilson also got a 1-2-3 inning.

Ellsbury hasn't been getting it done lately, just like CC. But, just like CC, he came through last night, drilling an E-Rod fastball into the 2nd deck in right field.

Dellin Betances pitched the 8th, and allowed a 2-out single and stolen base to Hanley Ramirez, but blew a called 3rd strike past Mike Napoli. Andrew Miller came on for the 9th, and got 2 outs, then allowed a line-drive single to Travis Shaw and a walk to Jackie Bradley. But he toasted Rusney Castillo to end it.

Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeee Yankees win! 2-1, we beat The Scum, 2-1! And also took 2 out of 3. WP: Wilson (4-0, although that's not quite fair, seeing how he pitched to only 3 batters and CC did most of the work, but Wilson was the Yankee pitcher when the Yankees took the lead they didn't give up). SV: Miller (24). LP: Rodriguez (6-4).

*

The Yankees are now 61-46. They lead the Toronto Blue Jays by 4 1/2 games (6 in the loss column), the Baltimore Orioles by 6, the Tampa Bay Rays by 8 (9 in the loss column), and The Scum by a whopping 14 games (15 in the loss column).

However, because the O's have 3 games in hand on the Jays, it's the O's who have the highest elimination number: To eliminate the Sox, we need a combined total of Yankee wins and Sox losses adding up to 40, the Rays 46, the Jays 49 and the O's 50. So the Yankees' Magic Number to clinch the American League Eastern Division is 50.

As it happens, the Jays are coming in, with a lot of hype. Yeah, they had a lot of hype at the start of the 2014 season, with their big pitching acquisitions and Jose Reyes. How'd that work out? They had hype as they overtook the Sox for 2nd in the AL East in 2006. How'd that work out? They still haven't played, as Fred Wilpon would say, "meaningful games in September" since the last time they were in October -- 1993. That's 22 years ago. A Yankee sweep would just about end any chance for anyone other than the O's to catch the Yankees. Taking 2 out of 3 wouldn't kill the Jays' chances, but it would put it into their heads that they've failed their 1st serious challenge for the AL East in an entire generation.

At least they're not as pathetic as the Toronto Maple Leafs. (They haven't been to the Conference Finals since 1999, or the Stanley Cup Finals since they last won it all in 1967.) Or the Toronto Raptors. (They've now played 20 seasons, and been in exactly 8 Playoff series, winning only 1 of them, back in 2001.) The Toronto Argonauts have fared better: They're 3-2 so far -- yes, the East Division of the Canadian Football League has already played 5 games, the West Division 6 -- and their last Grey Cup win was just 3 years ago.

Interestingly enough, both Jays catchers are ex-Yankees: Russell Martin (born in Toronto but grew up in Montreal), and Dioner Navarro. I can live with that, with Brian McCann having a terrific season for us.

Here are the projected pitching matchups for the series with the Jays:

* Tonight, 7:05: Nathan "Nasty Nate" Eovaldi vs. former Met knuckleball hero R.A. "Gee, I Forgot, Pitching in the American League is Hard!" Dickey.

* Tomorrow, 1:05: Ivan Nova vs. big midseason acquisition, but occasional Yankee punching bag, David Price.

* Sunday, 1:05: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Marco Estrada.

Come on you Pinstripes!

The Yankees then go on the road, 1st to Cleveland, then a potentially larger showdown with the Jays in Toronto, before coming home to face Minnesota.

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