Is Wang really up and at ’em? Analogies and other observations from the past week.
Well, Wang was inserted in the rotation this past Thursday and was lifted by a Melky Cabrera single late in the game for a Yankees win and a no-decision. Quite frankly, his performance was deflating. Was Wang’s coming premature? Most definitely in my eyes. After his long stint on the DL, 13 innings in Scranton, and 6 innings from the bullpen for the pinstripes, I really didn’t have much confidence that he would be able to last in his first start back. Girardi set a pitch count of 75-80 for his return and that lasted only 4 and 2/3 innings. Phil Hughes was reassigned to the bullpen, still leaving starting rotation questions with fans, to make room for Wang. After Friday night’s rainout, the Yankee skipper took a good look at his rotation for the next series after Tampa, against Boston, and rearranged it, avoiding a Wang start against the chowdaheads. I did think to myself though, “hmmm, this kinda shows lack of confidence in Wang”. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is what it is. Girardi seems to have a firm grasp on it. What I really want to see (and hear) is Mike Francesa shut up. Whether that be by tape over his mouth or self combustion, the method is not important. Never in all my years of “fandom” have I had to debate an abundance of starting pitchers. And yes, Joba IS a starting pitcher. According to Nick Swisher the “Jobameter” is pointing to starter. You will not change my mind on that. And according to the seismic meter in Cleveland, Joba does a mean catching belly flop as well. Diving off the mound like he did Monday night against the Indians, made Greg Louganis look inferior to Rodney Dangerfield’s Triple Lindy in Back to School. As to how Joba would look in a Speedo? Yeah, I’m thinking about it.
Last Tuesday’s game saw the return of AJ Burnett. A win with the Yanks destroying the Rangers 12-3. Burnett went 7 innings with 8 strike outs. A beauty of a game.
Andy Pettitte took the mound last Wednesday against Texas. This game saw more walks by the Yanks starting pitcher than a Walk of Dimes benefit. Walks=losses. That’s really all I have to say about that.
Friday night’s game against the Rays was rained out. AGH. I seriously was going through severe baseball withdrawal. I was relegated to watch the O’s get shelled in Oakland. I must say, Giambi’s moustache has taken over that man’s face. I’m wondering if and when he announces his retirement, he’ll be going straight to DVD. Porn that is. If not, perhaps he can rival for a spot in the mustache HOF next to Rollie Fingers. Friday night also saw the Red Sox lose to the Texas Rangers. I love you Julio Lugo. Yanks are back on top of the AL East by half a game. I love being on top.
I’m gearing up for this afternoon’s game against the Rays. Today sees CC Sabathia against the Rays phenom David Price. The two lefties duel at 1:05 this afternoon in the Bronx. The Rays are only one of three teams that the Yankees have a losing record against this season. Sabathia has been on a winning roll as of late. Let’s keep it going CC.
I’ve been feeling rather superstitious lately. It’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t written in over a week. The other being that I had company who didn’t have a clue about baseball and I HAD to entertain. What a cramp in my style.
I was in Baltimore for the game on the May 9th. A-Rod was back, tons of Yankee fans in the stands. Hughes was on the mound and I had great hopes. So did Jeff Levinson, who sat behind me with his fiancée. This game was a college graduation present for Jeff. With Hughes giving up 8 runs in the 2nd, and after further innings of commiserating with my fellow fan, I soon realized that he would have rather gotten an enema than watch this debacle. I felt his pain, and kept thinking , “ok, A-Rod’s back. It’s gonna turn around now. HE TOLD ME SO”. But he went 0-3 with a walk, after going yard the night before on the first pitch of his first at bat. A good friend of mine tells me, repeatedly, that “you can’t count on them. Don’t get your hopes up Megan.” He actually told me that he was going to buy a KC Royals hat BUT they were sold out of his big head size on MLB.com. Well, you know what? The next time I talk to him, I’m going to get all Harry Kalas (may he rest in peace) on his ***. I’ve got high hopes baby, and you ain’t stopping my 4 train of thought.
Numbers and pie.
Say all that you want to about Alex Rodriguez. The man has come to save the day, just like he told me in my dream. That cape is a-flowin’. Since his return, the Yanks are 9-2. He’s hit 4 dingers in 4 consecutive games. Teixeira and Damon have become the Wonder Twins to his Superman. Rodriguez is a catalyst. And there has been a major reaction to his return. Teixeira’s batting average has jumped almost 50 points in 10 games, along with doubling his RBIs to 30 in the same period of time. Damon has been on fire, with his slugging percentage well above .600. The starting pitching has come around. CC has won his last 3 starts, striking out 7 batters, in 7 innings to achieve the Yankees 7th straight win, after the Yankees scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 7th (now you know why I want to gamble). The bullpen isn’t as shaky, with Coke even earning his first major league save. Three walk-off home run wins, in three back-to-back-to-back games. A feat that hasn’t been done by the Yankees since 1972. Solid performances by Cabrera, Cervelli, Gardiner and Cash have helped. And even though A.J. Burnett was the last Yankee pitcher to lose a game in the past 11 match-ups, he has started what hopes to be the new Yankee tradition of taking a pie in the face. A positive pie. The negativity has to end. And my high hopes are telling me that’s it’s only going to get better, especially with Bruney coming off the DL yesterday.
Tonight sees Hughes against Guthrie. My negative thoughts want to scream “oh good God”. I was witness to Hughes’ last start against Baltimore. While I may not bet that Hughes will go 8 innings, striking out 8 batters for the Yankees 8th straight win, I refuse to let the Donny Downer thoughts of my friend, who seemed ready to jump ship, seep back into my head. This is a different team than it was before May 8th. The fight and fun are back. Even Girardi has been smiling. Hughes needs the vibes of the past 12 days to resonate in his fastball. Unlike my AL Central, bandwagon jumping friend, I HAVE faith. I’ve been a Yankee fan since birth. You DON’T jump ship.
A.J.- get the pie ready. Victories are sweet.
I thought for sure last night, that the Yankees held the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. They were going to blast that rabbit to shreds. That *harmless* little bunny.
Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit. RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY!!!!!
I’ve been trying to figure out what the problem was. Lost sleep over it as a matter of fact. You really can’t blame Joba, even after a poor start, which led to a 3 run shot by Jason Bay, and an RBI single from Big Fatty (as my 6 year old son affectionately calls him). Joba got his act back together in the 2nd inning. The next 4 2/3 innings, he was almost flawless, totaling 12 strikeouts for his outing; a career high for him. When Joe came to the mound in the 6th inning, my heart broke. I felt like I was at the prom and some chick walked over, and took my date. I got to tell you, I think these Joba rules stink. But I do understand them. And I couldn’t help but to think what would have happened if Joba stayed in. Can “pitchous interruptous” be coined as a new term? It’s now in my dictionary, even though it would have never been used as a term in my Labor Law classes at Cornell.
The Yankee bats just weren’t supportive. And when they tried, they were snuffed. What would have happened if Cabrera didn’t try to stretch his double into a triple in the 4th inning? Would the mood of the game have changed? If only that Cabrera shot didn’t bounce into the left field stands in the bottom of the 6th inning, giving Swisher the opportunity to round for home? Game could have been tied, 4-4 at that point. And during both of those innings, what would have happened if Molina made contact? My head is spinning. I know. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
The bullpen. I don’t even know where to begin. It appears that Coke has the most dependable arm out there right now. Again, I can’t help to think what would have happened if the bullpen was on last night, but even if they were; it still goes back to the bats ultimately.
My Yankee optimism still lurks. But yet haunts me. Since 1985, the Yankees have never lost their first five games against the Red Sox. Yogi Berra also lost his job. I’ve been reading a lot of the message boards and some fans are thinking that Joe should meet the same fate as Yogi did. I think that’s absurd. While we can all be critical, don’t point out Joe just yet. Luckily it is just May, and the season is very long. I believe the Yanks have fallen to circumstance and a pinch of bad luck. And the Red Sox? Well, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide. And so far, it’s been a killer. But who’s to say that they won’t fall to circumstance and a dab of mal temps? Yup, the season is that long. And that’s why I have faith. We’ll see you again, rabbit. And next time we won’t skip 3 on the count with the hand grenade, Monty Python style.
Focus shifts to the Rays tonight, who are 2 games behind the Yankees. Game starts at 7:05 in the Bronx.