Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Game 119: The Curse of the Winnable Game™

In baseball, there are few things I hate worse than when your team has a lead late into the game, and the bullpen and/or starter totally shits the bed.  We had this game.  A game against the division-leading O’s, no less.  Leave it to our bullpen to regress to the mean and totally screw the pooch.  Speaking of, where did that expression come from?  Pooch is slang for dog, and I’d hate to think someone at some point actually had sex with a dog in order for that expression to come to life.  If you know its origins, leave me a comment below and let me know.  Now we’re 8 GB of Baltimore and drifting further and further away from KC for the 2nd Wild Card slot.  I don’t like getting pessimistic, not when there might still be a chance, but I don’t think the playoffs are in our future this year.  Too many injuries, not enough time.  If by some freak coincidence we happen to luck into the 2nd WC….I don’t see us lasting very long.  Sad to say, but true.

We didn’t have much in the way of offense, but until the bottom of the 8th, it was working out quite well for us.  Two runs on five hits isn’t stellar, but it was enough.  Then all hell broke loose.  Pineda pitched quite well, even though he only lasted five innings; he’d just come off the DL, so obviously Girardi didn’t want to stretch him too far to begin with.  Betances comes in to relieve him, and continues to do well….until the bottom of the 8th.  He gives up a HR to Schoop which ties the game, he’s then pulled for Shawn Kelley, who then proceeds to give up a 3-run HR to Adam Jones, and that’s all folks. 

Going back to what I said about the offense, it wasn’t much.  Until the top of the 9th, we only managed 2 R on 5 H.  Francisco Cervelli was responsible for those runs, having hit a 2-run HR in the 3rd.  After that, we didn’t score again until Chase Headley hit a grounder to 3B, scoring Mark Teixeria.  Chris Tillman, the pitcher for the Orioles, did a great job of shutting us down, not that there’s really all that much to shut down anymore.  Pitchers don’t necessarily have to bring their A game against us just to win the game.  I hope that changes for the duration of the season, and we at least manage to end on a high note, but I won’t hold my breath.

Game 118: Somewhat Expected.

Well, I could lie and say I thought we’d pound the Orioles into the ground, but I think we all know that wasn’t going to happen, not even on our best day.  Rather, they’re the ones that did the pounding.  Our playoff chances keep getting slimmer and slimmer, given that we’re behind Kansas City by several games for the second WC spot.  This isn’t going to be an in-depth recap, only because I stayed up rather late last night watching news about Robin Williams, and as such, I’m a bit exhausted right now and don’t particularly have the energy to do a whole lot of bellyaching about how bad the Yankees managed to shit the bed last night.  Losing 11-3 is awful, whether it happens in April or August, but when you’re fighting for your playoff lives, it’s about 10 steps to the left of awful.  I hope that tonight’s game is the exact opposite, in that we manage to win, whether it’s by one run or 20.

Game 117: That was depressing.

After winning a great series against the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers, including two games against Cy Young winners, we follow that up by losing a series to the damn Cleveland Indians.  I’ll be damned if I get it, but maybe I’m not supposed to.  Unfortunately, the two losses we incurred in this series dropped us back down to 3rd place in the AL East, after Toronto won in 19 innings (another one?!) against the Tigers.  My not-so-official opinion on that is, if it takes more than say…..1 1/2 games, or 13-14 innings, call it and finish it before the next scheduled game.  That’s one of the only things I don’t like about baseball; it can become interminable.  If the score is 2-2, you’re going to keep playing until someone scores, whether that’s three innings or three days later.  If it’s an afternoon game that stretches that long, okay fine, but if it’s a 7:05 or 8:05 start…..you gotta call that shit.

Our pitching wasn’t bad, necessarily, as we’ve won games after giving up a lot more than just 4 runs, but when your offense craps the bed, you’re not going to win no matter what.  Kuroda didn’t have the best start he’s ever had, lasting only 4.2 innings, giving up 3 ER on 5 H, with 4 BB and 3 SO, but the bullpen did a great job, essentially holding the Indians in place to try and give us a chance to scrabble together some runs. 

Speaking of runs, we didn’t even score one until the 9th inning, but by then it was too little, too late.  Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-4 with an RBI, our only run of the game. 

We’re playing Baltimore next, and I don’t have high hopes for this series, so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope we don’t spectacularly embarrass ourselves.

Game 116: Blanked.

Well, I was hoping in the wake of Paul O’Neill Day, the Yankees would muscle up some runs and beat the Indians, but they clearly had different plans.  BTW, the LAAAAAA beat the Red Sox in 19 innings.  NINETEEN INNINGS.  I think if I’d been at the game, no matter who I was rooting for, I’d have begged someone to hit a HR just so I could go home.  Kudos to the fans that stuck around, because that’s two straight games worth of baseball, played all at the same time. 

Corey Kluber had a damn good game.  Actually, if I’m being honest, he had a damn great game.  Over six innings, he gave up 0 ER on 4 H and struck out 10.  Brandon McCarthy had a damn great game too, but unfortunately, the Indians gave Kluber some offense to work with, but the Yankees didn’t do the same for McCarthy.  Brandon’s final line was 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.  I’ll take that kind of a line from our rotation any day, provided it’s not in a loss, of course. 

Jacoby Ellsbury gets the Offense Award for the game, considering he went 2-3, and was one of only four players to get a hit.  Derek Jeter passed Honus Wagner to secure #6 on the all-time hits list.  Aside from that, really nothing else happened.  I’m hoping this afternoon’s game is a complete reversal of yesterday’s.

Congratulations, Paul O’Neill!

#21 was enshrined in Monument Park this afternoon, and he also threw out the first pitch, which was a strike.  Way to go, Paulie!  Loved hearing that “Paul O’Neill” chant from the Yankees faithful again.  Here’s hoping the Yankees win this afternoon to cap this lovely day off with a smile.

Game 115: Nearly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Coming off a great series against Detroit, I wanted the Yankees to set the tone in this series with Cleveland, and we did a good job it last night.  We needed to win, and for several reasons.  One, Toronto lost, so it moved us solidly into 2nd place in the AL East.  Two, we’re tied with Seattle at 0.5 games back of Kansas City for the 2nd Wild Card slot.  I’d really like to bypass that altogether, because I don’t like our team’s playoff chances essentially coming down to one game.  Three, we need to start putting some pressure on Baltimore, because going back to point #2, I hate the Wild Card and don’t want a one-game playoff against the goddamn LAAAAAA, because we have such a horrid time playing them.  A playoff spot is a playoff spot though, so I’ll take what we can get, but I’d like us to aim a little higher than Wild Card #2.  That’s like aspiring to be “Screaming Woman #10″ in a horror movie.

Esmil Rogers took the mound last night, tossing a superb game.  His final line was 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 SO.  Not a quality start per se, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Now, the reason I said it was superb, given its brevity, is how godawful the bullpen was in comparison.  When you hand your relievers a 10-2 lead, you expect it hold up, not begin leaking out like a sieve.  Shawn Kelley unfortunately crapped the bed, and it was only because of Carlos Beltran, which I’ll get to in a minute, that we didn’t lose the game as a result of it.  Huff got it started, giving up 1 ER on 3 H, but Kelley relieved him and opened the floodgates, allowing the Indians to score 4 ER on 2 H.  Thankfully the rest of the ‘pen staved off the hemorrhaging, keeping Cleveland to just 6 runs.

Speaking of Carlos Beltran, his 5 RBI were the difference-makers, as you no doubt can tell.  Without them, we’d have lost the game 6-5.  Francisco Cervelli also had a good night, going 2-2 after replacing Brian McCann who left the game with a concussion.  Management here at Yankees Chick wish McCann a speedy recovery and hope he can return to the team as soon as he’s physically able.  Derek Jeter tied Honus Wagner on the all-time hits list, continuing his triumphant march toward retirement, and hopefully that march can end with a lovely ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes.  The only two players to not register a hit were Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury.

As a quick note, I noticed I have 6 followers now, which is an increase of 3 from last I checked, so I’d like to give a shout-out to said individuals and thank them for taking the time to check me out and follow my blog.  Feel free to leave comments, whether you’re a Yankees fan or not, as I always appreciate input from fans of other teams, provided they’re nice about it.  Spread the word and tell others to come by, I’d sure the love the company.

Game 114: Afternoon Delight.

Apparently I’d completely forgotten that this was a 4-game series, because I thought last night’s game was the rubber match.  Either way, winning the series, was important, and we did it.  The only thing I dislike about afternoon games is that I can’t listen to them — I can only listen to night games or games over the weekend.

Our pitching was superb this series, and this afternoon was no different.  Shane Greene has been one of the many call-ups, acquisitions, and bullpen shifts we’ve had this season, and he demonstrated today that he can be very, very dominant on the mound.  His final line was 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.  David Robertson came in during the 9th and got his 31st save for the effort.  Can’t say much more about that.

Can’t say much about the offense, either.  We managed only one run on nine hits.  Everyone in the lineup got at least a hit, except Francisco Cervelli, and Ichiro went 2-3, the only player to get more than one.  Our lone run came from Stephen Drew, who made up for his sloppy defense last night by hitting an RBI double in the 4th.  Let’s hope that Toronto loses again tonight, so we can pull ourselves even with them, then start to pull away during the next series.

Consider this a long overdue reaction.

As you know, I took a hiatus from blogging for the past two seasons (’12-’13), and as a result, I didn’t post my commentary when Derek Jeter announced he was retiring.  I was still quite shocked by it, especially how it came on the heels of Mariano Rivera retiring the year before, and Andy Pettitte/Jorge Posada before him.  Baseball players get old, not that Jeter is “old”, but he’s old for the job he does, and when they do, they decide to hang up the cleats.  I get that.  I don’t know if I’d want to push myself through such a physically punishing profession at the age of 40, either. 

I watched Derek his whole career.  I became a fan in 1994, after someone I went to school with who was from New York turned me on to the Yankees.  They hadn’t won anything in a while, and sadly the strike took away any chance they could have had to rectify that before Torre & Co. came along.  So ever since he made his official debut in 1996, I’ve been watching.  Next to Mo, he was always my favorite Yankee.  No one seemed to ever have anything bad to say about him.  Even Red Sox fans, who hate anything with an NY on it, call him “Captain Intangibles,” which is the least offensive thing they’ve ever called a Yankee.  He never got in trouble with the law, never got in trouble with the league, and in the height of the steroid era, was never even rumored to have been using.  He’s the kind of player you wouldn’t mind your kids looking up to as a role model, even though athletes really shouldn’t be considered role models.

So, I’ll miss him.  I’m sure that sounds pithy and trite, but it’s true.  It’ll be weird watching the Yankees take the field for Spring Training next year, or even Opening Day, and #2 won’t be running out there to take his spot at SS.  I don’t know who’ll take his place, but whoever it is…..you have a mighty big uniform to fill.

Game 113: Bronx Bombers

Considering that Tuesday night’s game ended in extras, and that it was possible we could have won the game, this would have been a sweep of a heavily favored Tigers team, but I’ll take 2 out of 3.  Just like against the Red Sox, also a series we should have swept.  Toronto won, so we didn’t gain any ground on them, but that meant that Baltimore lost, so both teams gained a game on them

Chris Capuano took the mound for us last night, and pitched a stellar game, going 6.2 innings, giving up only 1 R on 5 H, while striking out eight.  Unfortunately he got a no decision for the night, as we didn’t take the lead until after he’d left the game.  That doesn’t, however, take away from how great he pitched.  Our bullpen held the Tigers hitless for the rest of the game.

The title of this recap alludes to how we managed to best Verlander, and that was through the home run.  We hit two, and that was just enough to be the difference, the extra runs over that were just insurance.  Chase Headley hit one in the 5th, and Brian McCann hit one in the 7th.  One thing I don’t hesitate to point out is that the Yankees were incredibly sloppy in the field last night, giving up four errors.  Jeter had one, Capuano had one, and Stephen Drew had two.  Giving up a baserunner or a run because of a hit or walk is one thing, but allowing the other team to capitalize because our heads are up our butts is quite another.  Hopefully the sloppiness will disappear for our next set of games.

Game 112: The Price is NOT Right.

Well…..I can take a couple of things away from the game.  One, we were able to score 3 runs off David Price, even though we have in the past, scored more off of him than that.  Two, we lost in extras, which meant we didn’t get blown out.  Three, our pitcher held his own against a very good Detroit offense, last night’s offensive output aside.  We’ll call those the three sliver linings of an otherwise dark, gloomy cloud.  At least Toronto lost as well, so we didn’t lose any ground against them, and Boston lost too…..which puts them 15 games back.  Look, I understand that it’s kind of tacky to root against a team as hard as you root for one, but I hate the Red Sox.  Hate, hate, HATE them.  When they lose, unless it’s to a team I need them to beat, I’m happy.

Hiroki Kuroda can only work with what he gets, and while I knew getting a ton of run support off Price wasn’t going to be easy, I thought we’d be able to do better than three.  It’s better than zero, though.  Hiroki threw a very solid 7 innings, giving up only 3 ER on 6 H while striking out 5.  Our pen did great until the end, so I can’t be too hard on Daley for giving up one bad pitch.  It happens.

Our offense though….I wasn’t too impressed.  Again, I knew getting runs of David Price might be hard, but when it appeared we were hitting him early, we never capitalized on it.  Pitchers like that….you have to knock them out in the first three innings, or they’ll be there until the end.  As it was, Price pitched into the 9th inning.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Martin Prado were the big hitters last night, both going 2-5 with an RBI.  Brian McCann scored our only other run, a solo shot in the 2nd.

We face Verlander tonight, so we really need to win.  Not just to take the series, which is important now, but so we can keep pace with Toronto and Baltimore and not fall any further behind.

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