Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Yankees Beat Mets: Resistance Is Futile

Despite enough doomsaying about the Yankees to get me into Donald Trump's Cabinet (if, that is, I hadn't called him all kinds of accurate names), they've now won 7 of their last 9 games against the Mets.

Seven of Nine. Apparently, for the Mets against the Yankees, resistance is futile.

The Yankees began the 4-game, 2-in-Queens-2-in-The-Bronx Interleague series with The Other Team without Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller or Ivan Nova.

In exchange for those 4 guys, all former All-Stars, and all but Nova have been great this season, and even Nova has done well at times this season, what did general manager Brian Cashman get?

* For Beltran, from the Texas Rangers: Nick Green, Erik Swanson and Dillon Tate.

* For Chapman, from the Chicago Cubs: Adam Warren, Rashad Crawford, Billy McKinney and Gleyber Torres.

* For Miller, from the Cleveland Indians: J.P. Feyereisen, Clint Frazier, Ben Heller and Justus Sheffield. (Contrary to rumor, no relation to Gary, and thus also not to Dwight Gooden, although they do currently have a relative in the minor leagues).

* And for Nova, from the Pittsburgh Pirates: Two players to be named later.

So for 4 former All-Stars, Cashman got... Adam Warren, a relief pitcher who has already failed with the Yankees, and has gotten worse since; 10 players who have not yet reached the major leagues, and may end up never reaching them; and 2 players as yet unknown.

This was not a fire sale, it was a dumpster fire. It was not a "rebuild" of the farm system, because the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are in 1st place and the Trenton Thunder are playing .630 baseball, so we already have prospects, but Cashman won't use them! Witness his refusal last year to bring up the torrid-hitting 2nd baseman Rob Refsnyder when Stephen Drew was struggling to bat .200, and now, with Starlin Castro in the lineup, he's making manager Joe Giardi put Refsnyder anywhere but 2nd base, possibly screwing him up as badly as he did Joba Chamberlain.

So many Yankee Fans, forgetting that we were only 4 games off a Playoff berth and 6 games off the Division lead just last week, have stupidly said we had "no chance" at the Playoffs, and that we needed this "rebuild," and now we have "prospects."

As I said, we already had prospects. And we've had prospects before. Remember Brien Taylor? The top pick in the 1991 Draft? He ended up with as many major league victories as I have. Remember Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens? Remember Steve "Bye-Bye" Balboni? Remember Ruben Rivera, who, we were told in 1996, was going to be an even better player than his cousin Mariano? Remember Gerald Williams, who, we were told at the same time, was going to be better than the unrelated Bernie Williams?

The Yankees did not need to rebuild. They do now.

*

Or do they? Actually, what they really might need is a wakeup call. Brett Gardner led off the game with a triple off the center field wall, but he stupidly tried to stretch it to an inside-the-park home run, and was thrown out. Leading off the game with a triple and then getting thrown out at home had not happened to any major league player in 9 years.

CC Sabathia started for the Yankees last night. He allowed a home run to Wilmer Flores in the 2nd inning, putting the Yankees behind 1-0. The Yankees tied it in the top of the 4th, on a leadoff double by Jacoby Ellsbury, a walk by Mark Teixeira, a flyout by Brian McCann that moved Ellsbury to 3rd, and a wild pitch by Met starter Logan Verrett. (Not the worst pitcher named Logan in New York baseball history. That dishonor forever belongs to Boone Logan.)

In the top of the 5th, Refsnyder drew a walk, CC (batting because there's no designated hitter in Interleague games in National League ballparks) bunted him over, and Gardner doubled him home. Then Ellsbury singled Gardner home. 3-1 Yankees.

But CC couldn't hold the lead. A Brandon Nimmo single and a Michael Conforto double in the bottom of the 5th made it 3-2. After the Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 6th, Flores led off the bottom of the inning with a single, and Travis d'Arnaud hit another.

For once, knowing he could no longer pitch Dellin Betances in the 7th, Miller in the 8th and Chapman in the 9th -- or even Betances in the 8th and Miller in the 9th -- Girardi was afraid to go to his bullpen too soon, and left CC in. He struck out James Loney, but allowed a home run to the newly-called-up Matt Reynolds. 5-3 Mets.

I can almost hear football coach Jim Mora Sr.: "Prospects? Don't talk to me about prospects!" Or maybe it's Allen Iverson: "We talkin' 'bout prospects. Not major leaguers, not major leaguers, not major leaguers. We talkin' 'bout prospects."

Girardi went to Richard Bleier, and then Nick Goody, who ended the threat. The Yankees went out 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th. Tyler Clippard -- apparently, the pitching equivalent of Alfonso Soriano, being that the Yankees let him go too soon, and brought him back too late -- got through the bottom of the 7th.

Then, in the 8th, what was already a weird game (as we've seen, any game involving the Mets has the potential to get weird, regardless of whether they end up winning or losing) got really weird. (Okay, Match Game fans, say it: "How weird was it?") Gardner led off with a walk. Ellsbury and Teix struck out.

The Met pitcher was Addison Reed -- not to be confused with Addison Road, the rock band, or Addison Street, one of the streets bordering Chicago's Wrigley Field -- and he gave up a single to Brian McCann that got Gardner to 3rd. Girardi sent Ronald Torreyes in to run for McCann. You would think that, as an ex-catcher, Girardi would know better than to take his catcher out of the game for anything other than an injury. But Reed threw a wild pitch, and then Didi Gregorius singled Gardner and Torreyes home, and the game was tied!

Then Girardi did the one thing I was hoping he wouldn't do: He brought Warren in to pitch. But Warren sent the Mets down 1-2-3 in the 8th. He nearly did so again in the 9th, but, with 2 outs, walked Flores. Oh no. Cliche alert: "Those walks'll kill you." Not this time: He struck d'Arnaud out. The Yankees wasted a walk and a stolen base by Austin Romine (filling in for McCann) in the top of the 9th. The game went to extra innings.

The 10th may have been the weirdest inning of the season for the Yanks. Seth Lugo came in to pitch for the Mets, as their manager, Terry Collins, took out his closer, Jeurys Familia. Big mistake. Lugo's 1st batter was Ellsbury, and he walked him. His 2nd batter was Teixeira, and he gave up a single to him.

His 3rd batter was the pitcher's spot. Girardi considered sending up Alex Rodriguez, a man with 12,197 plate appearances, 3,114 hits, 1,338 walks, 697 home runs and 2,084 RBIs, but also a 41-year-old man whose current OPS+ was a pathetic 63. Instead, he sent up a 23-year-old man whose major league career to that point consisted of 9 plate appearances, 1 hit, 1 walk, no home runs and no RBIs: Ben Gamel. It was Joe's biggest hunch of the year, and it worked: Gamel bunted the runners over.

Lugo's 4th batter was Didi, and he struck Didi out. But his 5th batter was Castro, who hit a fly ball to right field, where former Yankee Curtis Granderson was waiting. The Grandy Man caught it, but was unable to throw Ellsbury out at the plate.

Neither the game nor the weirdness thereof was over. Now the closer by default, Betances was brought in by Girardi, and he allowed a leadoff double to Loney. Reynolds sacrificed Loney over. And then Betances hit Alejandro de Aza with a pitch. The tying run was on 3rd with only 1 out, and the winning run was on 1st. It was all set up for a classic "Mets Magic" or "Miracle Mets" win.

But Betances got Rene Rivera to ground back to him. He checked Loney on 3rd, making sure he couldn't score, and threw Rivera out, as de Aza got to 2nd. One out to go, but, still, a mere single would definitely have tied the game and possibly won it.

The batter was Granderson. Betances struck him out.

Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!

Yankees 6, Mets 5. WP: Warren (4-2). SV: Betances (1). LP: Lugo (0-1).

So now, the Yankees are 53-52, and the Mets are 54-51. For all the gloom and doom around the South Bronx, and all the hype around Flushing Meadow, it's August 2, and the Mets are just 1 game better than the Yankees.

If these Mets can't beat these Yankees, then, seriously, how good are these Mets? Not good. Seven of Nine. "Resistance is futile."
Already, some of the Flushing Heathen are calling for Terry Collins' firing, a mere 10 months after he managed them to their only Pennant of the last 16 years. Think about that: If a fan comes into baseball awareness at age 7 (as I did), then a Met fan born in 1994 could now be 22 years old, and have a clear memory of only 1 Pennant. And Collins (and general manager Sandy Alderson) got it for him. And now, he wants Collins fired?

Yesterday, I would have taken Collins over Girardi. Today, I'm not so sure.

The series continues tonight. Masahiro Tanaka starts against Jacob deGrom.

Come on you Bombers!

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