Sunday, May 23, 2010

Game 43 Recap

1. The Mets got on the Yankees early in this one and didn't let up until the very end. CC Sabathia wriggled out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the first inning when he got David Wright to swing over a 1-2 slider and Angel Pagan to line out to second base. Unfortunately the second inning went the other way for the Big Fella.

Rob Barajas led off with a double but Sabathia got two easy strikeouts from Jeff Francoeur and Johan Santana. After giving up a single to Jose Reyes, CC got ahead of Alex Cora 0-2 and threw a perfect pitch, just over the black on the inside corner but home plate umpire Marvin Hudson called it a ball and gave Cora a second life. Cora fouled off a couple pitches and took a slider in the dirt before punching a single to center, driving in Barajas and Reyes. Dave Eiland came out to talk to Sabathia but whatever he said didn't help out all that much as Jason Bay whacked a changeup from CC over the left field fence for just his second homer of the year and put the Mets up 4-0.

2. The Yankees led off each of the first three innings with a single but had nothing to show for it. In the first and second, one hit was all they could muster but in the third, Jeter followed Sabathia's broken bat flare with a sharp single of his own. However, Brett Garnder grounded into a double play (only his 6th in 594 MLB plate appearances) and destroyed any momentum the Yanks had built up.

3. Bay struck again in the 5th, leading off the frame with another longball, this time to right field. We might have witnessed Bay finally finding his power stroke.
The Mets added another run in the inning when Ike Davis singled, advanced on a past ball and scored on a double by David Wright. 6-0 Mets.

4. The Yanks finally got on the board in the seventh inning. Nick Swisher worked a two out walk and Francisco Cervelli ripped a line drive towards the left foul pole. The ball hit right on the orange line and Frankie was so sure it was gone, he put his head down and went into a jog rounding first base. Since the ball bounced right back to Bay, he gunned it back in and held Cisco to a single, but Nick Swisher scored easily to make it 6-1 Mets. The umpires looked at the replays but upheld the original call.

5. The Yanks tried to pull together a rally in the 8th. Marcus Thames had walked to lead off the inning and A-Rod and Mark Teixeira both reached base with two outs to load the bases. A-Rod's walk chased Santana from the game and Pedro Feliciano came in to face Cano. Robbie took two strikes before hitting a high pop up to first to end the inning.

They again showed life in the ninth inning. Leading off, Nick Swisher worked a walk and Cervelli singled behind him. Kevin Russo grounded into a fielder's choice but Juan Miranda knocked in Swish with a base hit to right to make it 6-2.

Jerry Manuel then brought in K-Rod to face Jeter and the Captain ripped a double down the line and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Brett Gardner. Gardner tapped a soft chopper towards third base and David Wright gunned it across the diamond to get the out by just a few inches, if at all. Both Garnder and Girardi were livid and the latter was extra demonstrative when he came out to argue the call but didn't get tossed. That drove in a run and got the Yanks within 3. Mark Teixeira then hit a high chopper to second and cut the margin to two runs: 6-4 Mets.

A-Rod came to the plate as the go-ahead run and battled with K-Rod through an eight pitch at bat, taking three balls and fouling off four pitches before striking out on a 3-2 change up.

Another day, another blue balls, too-little-too-late, close-but-no-cigar rally in the 9th.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • Santana was really impressive tonight, cruising through 7 2/3 innings of one run ball and at one point retired 13 Yankees in a row.

  • Sabathia lasted five innings and gave up six runs, five of them earned. He allowed two walks and ten hits and although he got kind of screwed by that call in the second inning he just generally just didn't have it going. It happens.

  • Sergio Mitre and Boone Logan both pitched well in relief. Mitre threw two innings and the only batter than reached base against him was Jason Bay, who he hit with a breaking pitch. Logan gave up just one hit in his scoreless frame.

  • For some dumb reason, the benches were warned when Bay was hit, despite the fact that the pitch was a 75mph curve.

  • This game was pretty tough to watch and it was made worse by Joe Morgan, naturally. "Uppercut" was the word of the night in the booth. Morgan used it in his trademark brand of simpleton analysis about 50 fucking times and added a grand total of nothing to the broadcast in the process. Thanks Joe.

  • Morgan also took time to congratulate his daughter and her new husband on getting married and later to say hello to the Mets bullpen coaches' mom. Listen Casey Kasem, no one fucking knows or cares about this shit. Do your job and talk about the game. Actually, better yet, just shut up.

  • During the disputed home run call, the ESPN production crew called over to the Mets PR office to check on the ground rules and were given incorrect information. They originally claimed that if the ball hit the line it was considered a home run, which of course is wrong. Hell of an organization they've got over there.
After taking the first game of the series, the Yanks end up dropping the final two. Tomorrow is an off day before the Yanks head to Target to face the Twins for the first time in their new park on Tuesday.

Game 43: Strangers In The Night

The first round of the Subway Series wraps tonight with a showdown of superior southpaws. CC Sabathia and Johan Santana locked horns several times during their years together in the AL Central. But Subway commercials notwithstanding, this will be their first meeting in the Big Apple.

Despite that, at least in the eyes of Yankee fans, the two are already firmly linked. The story is well known. Santana's Twins were shopping him following the 2007 season. The Yankees, in desperate need of a front line starter, balked at the asking price, which at various times included some combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Chien-Ming Wang, and Melky Cabrera. Brian Cashman, not wanting to pay twice for Santana in surrendering the necessary pieces to acquire him and committing the necessary dollars to extend him, chose not to make the deal. Instead, Cashman gambled that the equally talented Sabathia, slated to be a free agent following the 2008 season, wouldn't sign an extension and would be there for the taking a year later.

Cashman's decision was heavily criticized in many circles, and by Hank Steinbrenner as well. Things didn't get any better when the Mets landed Santana for a song - four fringe prospects, only one of whom remains property of Minnesota - while the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008. More than two years later though, I doubt anyone would say Cashman made the wrong decision. After an outstanding 2008. Santana dealt with elbow issues last year, required surgery, and appears to be a bit diminished compared to his former self. Meanwhile, Cashman managed to land Sabathia as hoped, and the Big Fella led the Yankees staff to a World Series title in his first year in the Bronx.

The Yankees have hit a rough patch over the past week, going just 2-5, alternately betrayed by their starting pitching, bullpen, and offense. The Subway Series isn't nearly as important as it's hyped up to be, but given the state of the Mets in recent years and the way the past week has played out for the Yankees, dropping tonight's game would further raise the already ratcheted up panic level in Yankeedom. A win on the other hand would soothe the nerves heading into tomorrow's off day.

Last year we often turned to Old Blue Eyes in big spots. I don't think tonight's game is quite that important, but in an effort to change the Yankees recent fortunes and in hopes of making tomorrow's off day alarm free, we're going with Sinatra. CC Sabathia and Johan Santana haven't crossed paths in more than two years. Much has changed for both of them in that time. But whether they realize it or not as they square off tonight, they've both had a profound influence upon the direction of both clubs over the past two plus seasons.

Strangers in the night, exchanging glances
Wondering in the night, what were the chances?


Jeter SS
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cervelli C
Russo LF
Sabathia P

Reyes SS
Castillo 2B
Bay LF
Davis 1B
Wright 3B
Pagan CF
Barajas C
Francoeur RF
Santana P

Game 42 Win Expectancy Chart