Saturday, September 19, 2009

Game 149: One More Saturday Night

When the Yankees went through Seattle just a month ago, it was a four game set that began on a Thursday night. CC Sabathia threw that opening game, turning in one of his finest performances as a Yankee: 8 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and a season high 10 K in recording the win. It was a far cry from his first start against Seattle this year, in which he allowed 13 baserunners and 6 runs in 5.2 IP.

In the final game of last month's series, Seattle staved off a sweep behind rookie Doug Fister. Making his third Major League appearance and just his second start, Fister went 7 innings, gave up 8 hits, 3 runs, walked no one, and fanned four to get his first Big League victory. He's had mixed results since then, some great starts, some poor starts. He comes into tonight at 2-2 with 3.53 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 1.25 WHIP.

The Yankees trot out the "A" line-up, save for Jorge Posada who is serving the third and final game of his suspension. Also, as had been rumored, Ian Kennedy has been called up to work out of the bullpen and as a spot starter. In two abbreviated starts in the minor league playoffs, Kennedy was impressive as he works his way back from aneurysm surgery. This is a far cry from last September when Kennedy's poor performance and poorer attitude prevented him from getting the call once rosters expanded.

I like Saturday afternoon games. Early Saturday afternoon games, as the late ones mean a FOX telecast and potentially the unlistenable tandem of Buck and McCarver. I don't mind the occassional Saturday night game; it frees up the afternoon and gives something to watch before heading out for the night. But these West Coast Saturday night games are tough. They start so damn late and end even later. At least this time through the Emerald City we had a full slate of great college football games to pass the day away, though I'm not sure Phil Hughes would agree with that.

Still, when a game like last night's happens it's probably best to put that one behind you as soon as possible. Today's wait for first pitch seemed interminable. Anyway, counting tonight there are only three Saturdays left in the 2009 regular season. Next weekend will be a late afternoon game against Boston and then it's one more Saturday night game at Tampa Bay on the season's final weekend. Thankfully, tonight's game will be the last 10 PM Saturday night game.

I went down to the mountain, I was drinking some wine
I looked up into heaven, lord I saw a mighty sign
Writ in fire across the heaven, plain as black and white
Get prepared, there's gonna be a party tonight

Uh huh, hey, Saturday night
One more Saturday night
Hey, Saturday night

Fly With The RockTwit

According to an article published in the Daily News, you can do just that.

The "Sports I-Team", the same investigative group who put together "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime" are reporting that Roger Clemens is now on Twitter, dropping gems like this one:

Like a courtroom? Sounds like The Rocket, I guess...

As someone who has been fooled by a fake Twitter account in the past, color me skeptical. In the article, the News quoted a "spokesperson who requested anonymity". Think about that for a second. A spokesperson who requested anonymity. I would be embarrassed to say I had anything to do with Clemens' PR as of late, but it sounds pretty dubious.

The account isn't verified and despite being around since June 17th, it only has 478 followers as of 1:00PM on 9/19/09.

Looking through his 134 tweets, none are to other well known people. Wouldn't the real Rocket be talking to some of his ex-teammates or celebrity friends who also have Twitter accounts? Does he just not have any friends anymore? Or is it a fake person who would have their cover blown by trying to talk to someone Clemens actually knows?

Could the "Sports I-Team" really fuck up this badly? Is this a shrewd move by the Clemens camp to feed the Daily News false information as a way of discrediting them? Could they be that calculating? Could the News be that lazy not to verify this with multiple sources? Maybe they just don't understand Twitter.

Who is the real "ASS CLOWN" here?

Ichiro Gives Yanks A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

Well, as that windbag Sterling says about fifteen times per game, you just can't predict baseball. The Yanks go into Seattle, a formerly struggling A.J. Burnett outduels the best pitcher in the league whose last name doesn't rhyme with "Yankee", Mo gets two outs in the ninth, and then - game over. But not the game over you would expect. In two thirds of an inning Mo gave up as many runs as he had since June 12th. June 12th, when Luis Castillo dropped a walk-off can of corn.

King Felix was his usual dominant self, going the distance on just 104 pitches, scattering eight hits and a walk and whiffing three. The only Yankee to give him real trouble was Johnny Damon, who with his three for four night, which included a pair of doubles, ran his career line against the King to 8 for 13 (.615).

The Yankees were able to scratch two runs out, both on sacrifice flies. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single, moved to third on the first of Damon's doubles, then came in on an A-Rod flyball. In the sixth, Damon led off with a double, moved to third on a passed ball, and came in on sacrifice fly from Mark Teixeira.

They would threaten again in the seventh, putting runners on first and third with one out. Joe Girardi allowed Jose Molina to hit for himself, and he bounced into an inning ending double play. It was the last Yankee threat on the night.

A.J. Burnett matched King Felix, throwing the same 104 pitches but getting only seven innings out of them. He made his innings count though, turning in an impressive performance that should temporarily allay any fears about Burnett heading into October. In seven innings, he allowed seven hits, three walks, and struck out six. He allowed just one run, coming in the third inning when the M's strung together a double and a single. Interestingly, had Ichiro not been picked off first base prior to the double, the M's might have had a two run inning for themselves.

After Phil Hughes pitched a perfect eighth, Mariano Rivera took the ball for the ninth with a 2-1 lead. He struck out the first two batters he faced, running his career total to 1,001 and the Yankees' win expectancy to 95.4%. Everything was going according to plan; then it all changed. Pinch hitter Mike Sweeney doubled to right center on the first pitch he saw, bringing Ichiro to the plate. Three for four on the night, Ichiro twice had been picked off first, thwarting potential Seattle rallies. With one pitch from Mo, Ichiro redeemed himself, launching one to right and giving the M's a 3-2 walk-off win.

Losses like this are never fun, but they invariably happen from time to time. I'd much rather get it out of the way in a relatively meaningless September game than have it happen a little further down the line. One thing's for sure though, you can't predict baseball.