Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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.


  1. Personally Jay, I expect the Yanks to come back in the situations they faced last night and Sunday night. I really do. They have a lineup full of players who are one swing away from turning the game in the Yanks' favor. They have acquired more mature, steady players such as Teixeira and Swish (well, mature with Swish in baseball if not demeanor...) who simply don't get rattled in pressure situations and two-strike counts. They have enough good pitching to keep games close, even when Joba for example has a costly letdown in the third. Bruney, Coke, and Robertson were damn good last night and, if Bruney can get right for the stretch, that's a big bonus for the pen and the team's fortunes.

    Plus, there is a cumulative effect to such comebacks, instilling a sense in them as well as the fans, as you astutely recognize in the demeanor of the crowd last night. Fans last year urged the team to accomplish comebacks it rarely if ever appeared were possible. This year, as they become more common and no less impressive, fans are clamoring HARD for them at home. We sense them, I dare say, not unlike the way we did with the great late 1990s teams, which had similar characteristics--lots of power dispersed throughout the lineup, steady veterans attuned to pressure situations, and good pitching to keep games close even on off nights. We sense them because the team accomplishes them. They're wholly possible with this team at any point in games, early or late. They don't quit. They refuse to lose.

    More and more, this team is showing that it has "it." I love that.

  2. Jason- Agree about the newfound optimism. Early in the year you might have hoped they'd come back but you certainly didn't expect it. There most definitely is a cumulative effect in all these comebacks and even though I didn't mention the late 90s, that's what I was referring to. Part of the intimidation factor was how loud the crowd would get and I think that HAS to help the team out. Lately, they have been answering in the bottom half if the inning basically everytime they give up a run, it seems.