Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cech It Out: My Bad Weekend Gets Worse


Going into yesterday, the Yankees hadn't lost a series since late June.

Thanks to Joe Girardi, now, we have.

Last week, against Boston, Girardi took Luis Severino out after 5 innings. Yesterday, against those pesky Toronto Blue Jays, he left Ivan Nova in for a 6th. It should have been the other way around.

To be fair, Nova looked great for the 1st 5 innings, allowing just 2 hits and a walk, and only 1 baserunner to get as far as 2nd base.

But the Yankees hadn't scored, either. Here are their baserunners over that span: A walk by Carlos Beltran in the 2nd, a walk by Jacoby Ellsbury in the 3rd, a leadoff single by Alex Rodriguez in the 4th, and... that's it.

Nova got the 1st out in the top of the 6th. And then the roof caved in. He walked Josh Donaldson. He allowed single to Jose Bautista. He walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. And then he gave up a grand slam to Justin Smoak. What's a Justin Smoak? He's got 71 home runs over the last 5 seasons (although he missed half of last season due to injury), but he's batting .228, and that's only slighly above his lifetime batting average, .224.

There's no point in detailing the rest of the game. It ended 6-0, and the Yankees never looked like scoring. WP: David Price (11-4). No save. LP: Nova (4-4).

The Yankees are now just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Jays, although it's 4 in the loss column. The series concludes this afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka starts against Marco Estrada. Then we head out to Cleveland to play the Indians, and then 3 more against the Jays in Toronto. It will be the biggest series in that city since the Jays won the 1993 World Series.

*

Then, this morning, my weekend got worse. Arsenal opened the season in pathetic form, losing 2-0 to West Ham United, the pride of London's East End.

Much-hyped goalkeeping acquisition Petr Cech allowed 2 cheap goals. Indeed, except for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, nobody played well for Arsenal, including such world-class players as Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. (Nor did Alexis Sanchez, who came on as a substitute, not starting because of his late return from helping Chile win the Copa America.)

For all the hype over Cech, for all the slobbering over him that Arsenal fans did, his first game for us was like when James Bond fans heard that, finally, Pierce Brosnan was going to take the role -- and ended up getting Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. For Arsenal fans, this was like getting The World Is Not Enough first.

The Yankees better hang another 13-run outburst on the Jays, while the New York Red Bulls better batter visiting New York City FC tonight.

*

Hours until the Red Bulls play again: 7, tonight, at 7:00, against New York City FC, a.k.a. Manchester City NYC, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": See the previous answer. The next game against the New England Revolution will be on Saturday night, August 22, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The next game against D.C. United will be on Sunday night, August 30, at Red Bull Arena. The next game against the Philadelphia Union will be on Sunday night, October 18, at Red Bull Arena, the regular season finale.

Days until Arsenal play again: 7, a week from today, 8:30 in the morning our time, away to Southeast London club Crystal Palace.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 22, on Monday, August 31, at 7:00 PM, at Fenway Park.


Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 25, on Thursday night (why?), September 3, away to Woodbridge. Under 4 weeks.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 26, on Friday night, September 4, in a friendly with Peru at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington.


Days until Rutgers plays football again: 27, on Saturday afternoon, September 5, home to Norfolk State.

Days until the Devils play again: 61
, on Friday, October 9, home to the Winnipeg Jets. Just 2 months.


Days until the Islanders' first home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: 61, also on Friday, October 9, against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Or, to put it another way, "61 Sleeps Till Brooklyn." Until then, despite having definitively played their last competitive game in the Nassau Coliseum, even with their 4 straight long-ago Stanley Cups, they're just a Small Club In Hempstead.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 70, on Sunday, October 18, away to the Rangers.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 90on Saturday, November 7, at the Emirates Stadium. Just 3 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 
109on Thursday morning, November 26, at 10:00 AM, at Jay Doyle Field in East Brunswick. Under 4 months.

Days until the Copa América Centenario begins on U.S. soil: 
299, on June 3, 2016. A little under 10 months. The tournament will be between teams from the North American, Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF) and South America (CONMEBOL, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary). Although it's a member of CONCACAF rather than CONMEBOL, the U.S. is the host nation, and thus qualifies automatically, as it does for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Days until Euro 2016 begins in France: 306, on Friday, June 10.


Days until the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 362, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Just under 1 year.

Days until the next World Cup begins in Russia: 
1,044, on Friday June 8, 2018. A little under 3 years.

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