Sunday, September 6, 2009

An Ugly End To An Otherwise Lovely Road Trip

Ooof. Where to begin? This was an ugly one with four errors, four runs forced in by three walks and a HBP with the bases loaded given up by the Yanks. It was close until the fifth when a strikeout swinging that got away from Jose Molina ended up leading to the Yanks undoing. A lone bright spot, Derek Jeter picked up three hits and a walk, pulling within 5 hits of Lou Gehirg for first place on the Yankees' all-time hits list.

It was sloppy from the get-go with errors by Jerry Hairston Jr. and Robinson Cano to begin the first two innings. The Jays scored 3 in the 1st but Mitre escaped the second without any further damage. The Yanks came back to tie it up in the third with two outs on a single by Hideki Matsui and double by Nick Swisher that scored Matsui from first base.

Matsui scoring from first base? How is that possible, you might ask? Well the count was 3-2 so Matsui was running on the pitch and the "double" was really just an incredibly high pop up that somehow found a space between the Jays outfielders down the third baseline. While anyone else on the team would have scored easily, Matsui looked like he was running underwater and was only safe at home because he knocked the ball out of Rod Barajas' glove with his slide. He was initally called out and 3rd base coach Rob Thompson had to yell to home plate umpire Bob Davidson that the ball had been dislodged before the call was reversed.

The Yankees actually lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning 5-4 on a two run shot by Nick Swisher but gave back the lead in a major way. Sergio Mitre started the inning by giving up a single, and then got Vernon Wells to ground into a fource out. Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging but Jose Molina couldn't hang on to it and it got far enough away from him to allow Encarnacion to reach first.

From there the flood gates opened with four straight singles, followed by two bases loaded walks, the latter by Mark Melancon. He just faced 4 batters, walked two and recorded only one out before being replaced by Josh Towers. The first batter he faced was Randy Ruiz, who he hit directly in the side of the face with an 0-2 pitch, forcing in yet another run. Ruiz was removed from the game but walked off under his own power.

Towers was supposed to be used for bullpen depth for tomorrow's double header but instead mopped up the final 3 1/3 innings today. Considering the final score, it's fortunate that the brunt of the impact was absorbed by just two pitchers. That said, it wasn't the kind of game the Yanks needed heading into the double header against Tampa tomrrow. At least it's a short flight home.

Game 137: What Really Goes On

The Yankees will take the field in Toronto today looking to cap off a road trip which they've begun 5-1. They rebounded from that one loss nicely yesterday after facing Roy Halladay on Friday night, although they struggled mightily to drive home the runners they put on base.

The Yanks lead the AL in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, RBIs and runs scored and are second in batting average behind the Angels. Surprisingly, they are also second in BA w/RISP (also behind the Angels) although it seems like games similar to the one last night in which they can't drive in runs have been all too common this year. This might go back to our sushi theory which states that bad experiences are far more memorable than good ones, tainting your overall recollection.

The Yanks will remember Brain Tallet, the converted reliever with the trailer park 'stache they've faced twice this year as a starter and once in relief. He's pitched pretty well in both of his starts against the Yanks, going 6 innings each time and giving up two runs in May and three in July. Tallet has been in and out of the rotation this year, being asked to start in place of some injured Jays early in the year and sent back to the bullpen when they called up Marc Rzepczynski. He returned to the starting role in the second half of a double header on Tuesday and looks to be back until the end of the season since they Jays have shut Rzepczynski down for the season.

Coming off his best start as a Yankee, Sergio Mitre takes the hill today. Mitre cruised through 6 1/3 efficient, scoreless innings against the White Sox his last time out before being hit in the forearm by a line drive. The Yanks gave him a little extra time off in between starts, but the forearm shouldn't be a factor this time out. If he morphs back into his very hittable self, it won't be because of that.

The Yanks have a good chance to win the series against the Jays, complete the road trip at 6-1 and extend their record to 6-2 when Mitre starts if he just puts together something in between his last excellent outing and everything else he's done this year. Whatever happens, we'll have a better sense of who Sergio Mitre really is after today.

Can you explain that? I doubt that very highly,
We got jewels and mo' and the life is type rowdy,
Everybody lookin' shitty like a toe down committee,
Let's make these institutions, body slam for the smitties,
I got girls with plenty tails, smarts and big titties,
And they all stressin' me, yo, really?

Happy Trails, David Tyree

If you've been following the New York Football Giants' offseason closely at all, then the fact that they've cut Super Bowl Hero David Tyree shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After missing all of last season with various knee and hamstring ailments which carried over into this year's training camp, Tyree didn't sound surprised either:
You get the call and obviously you have the inclination of what you’re going to hear. It’s not like I wasn’t prepared or didn't know it wasn’t a possibility. It kind of simplifies things for me and causes me to rejoice in the years that I’ve had here.


I didn’t have a great camp. I had a very average camp. It started terrible and worked up to average.
It's unfortunate that with the Giants current lack of depth at wide receiver that Tyree wasn't up to at least making the 53 man roster for special teams and that he wasn't healthy enough to contribute when Plaxico Burress went down last year. Him failing to make the roster kind of represents the opposite of the way his catch in the Super Bowl played out; the opportunity seemed to be gift wrapped for him and he couldn't make anything out of it.

The catch, on the other hand, was a wounded duck, lobbed in desperation and held onto in a way that had scarcely been seen before, under the brightest lights of all. And then, just like Aaron Boone (whose jersey number represents the Yankees' magic number at the moment), after making the biggest play in the penultimate game you could play against a team from Boston, he was gone the next season to among other things, a knee injury.

It's possible that there is someone else who has made a bigger name for themselves in sports than David Tyree off of just one play, but I can't think of one off the top of my head.

Fortunately for Tyree, he's only 29 years old and still has a good window of opportunity to continue his NFL career. His agent says that Ravens and Chiefs have both "expressed interest" in signing him.

So, best of luck to you Dave. It might have been a little too brief, but thanks for the memories.