In general, I find that the more time I spend away from work, the less I want to go back to it. In that case, I suppose that a taste of honey is worse than none at all. Maybe that's just because I've never had a job that I actually liked, but how many people can honestly say they do?
/hacky talk radio segue
Well, the Yankees certainly embraced their occupation this weekend as they gave the Indians a signature Bronx beatdown!!1/!11!
Our song choice for the four games was somewhat presumptuous but the Bombers did not disappoint, taking three games out of four. Of course, the one that they lost was in spectacular fashion due to a bullpen meltdown which begun with an ineffective and ultimately injured David Robertson, was exacerbated by Joe Girardi matching up with a four run lead and completed by Joba Chamberlain, who faced six batters and got only one of them out. The Yanks had a 97% chance of winning the game after the completion of the fifth inning on Saturday but allowed the Indians - who hadn't scored 10 runs in a game all year - to plate seven in the top of the seventh and win by a score of 13-11.
There was a very scary moment earlier in that game, as Alex Rodriguez lined a pitch right off the side of the head of Cleveland's starting pitcher, David Huff. The 25 year old left hander was wheeled off on a stretcher after lying motionless on the ground for several minutes but gave raised his hand to signify that he was okay while being lifted and luckily, a CT scan didn't show any serious damage. When it happened A-Rod appeared to be legitimately torn up over it as he put his hands on his head and took a knee in the infield while the medical staff tended to Huff.
After the game, Rodriguez tried unsuccessfully to make it to the hospital where Huff had been taken only to find out that he was back at the Stadium, but did finally get in touch with him. Huff called the effort "one class act", something that you don't typically hear directed towards A-Rod from a low profile player on another team.
In other comparatively minor injury news, David Robertson suffered some back issues and had to be removed from Saturday's game and Derek Jeter left yesterday's contest after getting hit in the back of the thigh with a pitch. Both of those are thought to be minor issues and each player should be available tonight. Perhaps Jeter will DH just to be safe.
Now that we've got the bad out of the way, the most encouraging sign of the weekend (despite the fact that the Indians' pitching is one of the worst staffs in the league) was the resurgence of the offense. The Yanks plated 37 runs in the four game set and scored more in every single one of the games than they had in any contest since they hung eleven on Boston two weeks ago in Fenway. They tallied 55 hits and hit two grand slams, one by Robinson Cano on Sunday and one by A-Rod (the 20th of his career) after the Indians threw an intentional ball four to Mark Teixeira yesterday. A-Rod is now 5-5 when Teix is given a intentional free pass in front of him.
The offensive resurgence coincided with the return of Curtis Granderson but his four hits (three doubles) only went so far. Derek Jeter had a solid weekend, collecting nine hits and scoring five runs. Cano was the best of the bunch, picking up ten hits (two homers) while extending his hitting streak to 14 games and driving in ten runs.
With the exception of Saturday's poor showing by CC Sabathia and the bullpen, the Yanks' pitching was solid in the balance of the series, allowing just four runs over the other 27 innings. Phil Hughes tossed seven frames of two run ball on Friday night, A.J. Burnett gave up three (only one earned) in his eight innings on Sunday and Andy Pettitte improved upon his career best start to the season with seven innings of one run ball yesterday. Having throw only 90 pitches and given up just four baserunners to that point, Pettitte wanted to go deeper into the game, but the offense batted around and plated six runs during the seventh inning. The 45 minute wait was too much for Andy and he took the easy win, leaving a little bit in the tank.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the weekend (from my recollection, anyway) came from Mariano Rivera. In the process of getting the final out of Sunday's game, Mo dodged a broken bat from Luis Valbuena and fielded the soft grounder that arrived considerably after the lumber in enough to to easily convert the out at first base. The ultra slow motion replays make it look like something out of The Matrix.
Rivera jumped over the bat but kept his glove down and reached for the ball, nearly snagging it in mid-air, but still knocking it down in the process. It happened incredibly quickly in real time, but the the super slow replay revealed that every motion that Mariano made was smooth and purposeful, completely unfazed by the fact a sharp, heavy object was flying at his shins.
They say the greatest athletes can process things so quickly that time seems to go by slower in their minds. Watching that replay affirms what Matt and countless others have said about Rivera: he's more than just a great pitcher.
Of course, part of the reason that the Yankees looked so good over the weekend was because they were playing the hapless Indians, but the Yanks performed like the team that started the season 21-8, not the one that went 5-10 in the fifteen games following that.
It's foolish to keep taking the temperature of the team and attempt to project it out onto the rest of the season, but it's hard not to be optimistic after this weekend. The Yanks lost one game they should have won (Saturday), won one they should have lost (Sunday) and utterly dominated a team that they should have beat in a wraparound series.
In a similar vein, hopefully this weekend foreshadows a great summer ahead. The weather couldn't have been much nicer. I played fairly decent in my golf tournament even though my partner and I got beat in two out of our three matches, and despite not having spoken to Matt yet, I have reason to believe he returned home alive from Charleston.
Today might be a little slow around here as we attempt to work through the mental cobwebs that have built up from not writing at all for three days, so in the meantime, I'll leave you with this phenomenal feel-good Slick Rick jam and "bring that lovin' feeling back to rap".