Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hurts So Good

Today was supposed to be a getaway game. A West Coast road trip without an off day was looming over the Yanks and the best case scenario would have been to get out of there quickly with a win, and board the plane to Seattle. The length of the game turned out to be the least of their problems.

It started as soon as the Yankees came to the plate. Leading off the bottom of the first, Jeter was in the hole 1-2 against Ricky Romero when he took a curveball off the top of his unprotected right foot. It didn't appear certain that he would stay in the game, but he hobbled to first, advanced to third on a double by Johnny Damon and scored on a grounder by Jorge Posada.

The Jays answered with a homer in the 2nd by Randy Ruiz, his second in as many nights. The Yanks added two more in the 3rd and 4th on solo shots by Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano to retake the lead and subsequently stretch the margin to 3-1. In between those two, Ramiro Pena was brought in for Jeter at shortstop, which is never a good sign. X-Rays were negative on his foot but Jeter may still need some time off to recover.

Through his first five innings, A.J. Burnett managed to distribute 7 hits, a walk and a wild pitch such that Ruiz's solo shot was the only run scored against him. In the sixth, however, it caught up to him. After retiring Vernon Wells, he allowed back to back singles to Ruiz and Edwin Encarnacion. A.J. followed this up with another wild pitch, which moved the runners over, and a single, which scored Ruiz. He got Joe Inglett to strike out for the second out of the inning, but with an 0-2 count on Marco Scutaro, Burnett's third wild pitch of the day rolled far enough away from Posada for Encarnacion to tie the score at 3.

From our seats in Sec. 410, none of those wild pitches, let alone all of them, looked like they should have been scored as such. This might explain why Burnett didn't want to talk about them after the game. David Robertson threw another one that hit Posada in the glove in the 7th inning which was also scored a WP. Shortly thereafter, Jorge was hit by a foul tip on his bare throwing hand, but unlike Jeter, remained in the game for the duration.

After Burnett exited the game, the Yanks bullpen was once again flawless. Phil Coke, D-Rob and Phil Hughes combined to keep the Blue Jays off the board through the end of regulation, at which point Chad Gaudin made his Yankee debut. While the Yanks went down in order in the bottom of the 9th and 10th, Gaudin kept the Jays off the board in the tops of the 10th and 11th.

Just like Jeter in the first, A-Rod was hit by a pitch leading off the
inning. Also like The Captain, A-Rod stayed down for an extended period of time while Joe Girardi and Gene Monahan checked where he had been hit above his elbow protector. Knowing that some majorly awkward defensive switches were going to have to be made, A-Rod gutted it out and took his place at first base. The other walking wounded, Posada, singled to left and moved A-Rod to second. Robinson Cano stood at the plate, with runners in scoring position no less, and ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap in right center, it one bounced against the wall, and that was that.

It wasn't an expedient at 3 hours and 56 minutes, nor was is painless, with three very close calls on injuries during the game. Now the Yanks have are headed out to Seattle with three nicked up core starting players and a taxed bullpen, but they finished the homestand at 6-1 and still hold a 5.5 game lead over the Sox, who won easily behind Josh Beckett.

Straight Cash Homey!

Yes, someone actually took the time to create a custom Matt Nokes Yankees jersey tee. And then wore it in public.

Start Spreading The News

Game 114: The Meeting

It's the rubber game of the series. It's getaway day. It's a weekday matinee. It's another hot day as summer finally comes to the city. There are tons of angles to today's game.

A.J. Burnett opposes his former club for third time this season. On May 12th in Toronto, Burnett gave up five earned in seven and two thirds. He was far better on July 3rd in the Boogie Down, as he went seven, fanned seven, and allowed just two earned. I'm hoping we get the latter today, and it seems like a good possibility. In his last 10 starts, Burnett is 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA. He's gone 66 innings, with a WHIP of 1.24, is fanning 7.77 per 9, and is holding opponents to a .203/.310/.274 batting line.

Burnett will be opposed by Blue Jays' rookie southpaw Ricky Romero. Despite our newfound love for Tigers rookie Rick Porcello, Romero has to be considered the premier rookie pitcher in the AL - he or Brad Bergesen at least. Romero is 10-5 with a 3.66 ERA (120 ERA+). Romero faced the Yanks the last series in which these two teams met. Interestingly it was another getaway day matinee, and Romero picked up the win, giving up 3 ER in 6.1 IP. I had tickets for that game and was going to go until a work situation necessitated my presence at the office.

There will be no such situation today. I'm in the last day of a little mini vacation. While I spent the majority of it in Red Sox Nation, I started it Thursday evening at the Stadium and will end it this afternoon at the Stadium. I'm hoping it'll be book-ended by victories.

Also of note this afternoon, after nearly three months of bloggity goodness and cooperation, Jay and I will finally meet up in person. Friend of the blog Crazy Yankee Chick will also be there, so it will be something akin to a blogo-dork-a-rama. Given our collective presence at 161st & River Ave, there will be no live chat for this afternoon's game. As always though, feel free to use the comments to discuss the events as they unfold.

We're going to the meeting. See you on the other side (with a recap of course).

We're going to the meeting
Going to the meeting
Going to the meeting
On the other side.

If you ain't right
You better get right.

Congratulations, Rick Porcello!

Yes, the timing of this induction is a somewhat unfortunate since Deadspin just wrapped up its Hall of Fame voting and if you do something as a sportsblogger after Deadspin does it, it immediately becomes passé. But if Rick Porcello doesn't get a terribly photoshopped plaque for the events that took place last night at Fenway Park, we might as well change the name of the site to "Dustin Pedrioa Sawks Cawk".

What was great about last night was that Youk was absolutely the aggressor in the fracas, and although Porcello appeared to want nothing to do with it, he ended up on top. For a man who is 6'1", 220 to be thrown to the ground by someone who is a lanky 6'5" 200 and backpedaling must mean one thing... The guy whoze doin' da throwin' is a good ol' Paisan from fuggin' Jerzee... Am I right?

Fredrick Alfred Porcello III, you did something last night we all wish we had the opportunity to do at one point or another. Sure, Youk probably would have kicked most of our asses, but not you, sir. You stood tall and scored a victory for everyone who has ever watch Youked settle into the batters box, gyrating like a rhinoceros trying to fuck a washing machine, jerking off the bat and said, "Fuck this guy".

Welcome to the Fack Youk Hall of Fame. You've earned it.

Back To Back To Business

It wasn't Joba Chamberlain's night tonight, and for the second of his starts in a row, it didn't really have to be. The offense came alive in the first inning with 3 straight hits to lead off the game and took a 2-0 lead out of the box. Robinson Cano scored on a sac fly in the 2nd and Joba was staked to a comfortable early lead. Or so it seemed.

Chamberlain hit the skids in the third inning when he loaded the bases with two outs via a walk, a single and another walk. Lyle Overbay continued his solid series with a bases clearing double to tie the score. The Jays tacked on another run with a solo shot by Bronx native Randy Ruiz in the 4th. Joba made it to the 6th without allowing any further damage and finished with five strikeouts and two walks.

The scored remained at stuck at 4-3 until the bottom of the eighth. Cito Gaston brought in lefty Jesse Carlson to face Hideki Matsui, which is amusing because Matsui is slugging .122 higher against lefties this year and the batter behind him, Jorge Posada has been better against southpaws this year as well. Matsui hit a prodigious blast past the second deck in right and Posada followed it with one that necessitated instant reply and barely evaded Joe Inglett's leaping try. The place went bonkers and the Yanks were up for good. Although Mariano Rivera gave up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion, he still converted teh save and the Bombers previaled 7-5.

This homestand has stirred the New Stadium to levels of noise and euphoria that haven't been experienced since the place across the street was still open. Some people thought the new building was to blame for the lack of enthusiasm early in the season, but it turns out that fans just needed something to get legimately excited about. After the slow start, the Yankees steadily picked up steam but didn't full hit their stride until the series against the Sox. Lately they've have the feel of one of the vintage Yankee teams who was never out of a game and the crowd is responding to it. It's a good time to be pulling for the Pinstripes.