It's been a very long, cold, wet week for Yankee fans, as we've probably seen more loses than we've seen rain drops. After an exhilerating come from behind win against the Angels last Friday, the Yankees have gone winless in the past 4 games. There's really nothing I can say to turn those frowns upside down, especially since the Yankees are now 0-5 against Boston this season (all winnable games too).
However I think this may help you crack a smile, so all I can say is Happy 2nd Anniversary (okay I'm one day late): CLICK HERE
Providing the link worked (I'd say its a 50-50 chance at this point), you're probably in a better mood and can calmly discuss/review last night's game against Tampa. Not a whole lot to comment on from early on, as Tampa slowly built a 3-0 lead off AJ Burnett via singles and sac flys. However with the rain pouring down (there's a shock) in the bottom of the 8th inning, Mark Teixeira hit a bases clearing, 2 out, 3 run double which tied the game just before the tarp was brought out onto the field. Luckily we didn't have to sit through a long rain delay, as the action picked up once again at about 10:30pm. I was able to jot down a few notes through the remainder of the game, and here's what caught my eye:
- The 9th inning reminded me of why I love baseball so much. We got to see baseball's past vs. baseball's future, Mariano Rivera vs. Evan Longoria, one on one. While I'm sure we can debate all day just how good Longoria could wind up being, there is no doubt that Rivera will regarded as one of the greatest hall of famers of all time. In what other sport do we get these types of match-ups? Definitely not football as players just aren't around long enough to compete against past generations. Hockey doesn't provide too many one on one battles, unless we have a goalie in that equation. Basketball somewhat, although the 23 year old player will blow by the 40 year old defender nearly every time. However in this instance, we have Longoria, already regarded by some as the best player in the American league, and of course there's Rivera, the model of consistency year after year. Rivera won this battle, striking out Longoria with a cutter up in the zone, however I'm sure these two will meet again.
- I was surprised Rivera didn't pitch the 10th inning, since he hadn't pitched since last Thursday. It wasn't exactly a quick 9th for Rivera since he threw a lot of pitches in striking out the side, but still this was a big game for NY. Instead Phil Coke pitched the 10th inning, and I'm sure most will use this as another example of how bad the bullpen has been, but turth is the pitch Pena hit for a home run wasn't a bad pitch. It was a 94 mph fastball on the outside corner. Pena just crushed it, not much else Coke could have done there.
- Seriously how hard, or shall I say what are these warning tracks made of nowadays? Has anyone ever seen a ball hit the track and not bounce over the wall in the last 10 years? Not to mention, it had just poured, and was still somewhat raining, yet the ball still skipped off the track and over the wall. The next pitch happened to sail over Navarro's head and Damon made it to third anyways, but still I've seen a few instances this year where the Yankees caught an unlikely break.
- File this under case file #2654856 why the closer role is ridiculously stupid and overrated, but taking out Grant Balfour for Troy Percival? Percival is awful, I'm sure Kyra Sedgewick would be a better option at this point. in fact I cheered when I saw him enter the game. But God forbid the man known as the “Closer” not be allowed to record the final 3 outs. Cone mentioned how Joe Maddon had to rearrange his bullpen in the postseason last year after Percival got hurt, which resulted in rookie David Price being thrust into the closers role. I'm willing to bet that change was the difference between Tampa reaching the World Series, and losing Game 7 to Boston.
- All the goodwill Tex earned with the rabid Yankee fans in the 8th, he lost in the 10th with his pop up to shallow right field. He's shown signs of breaking out of his slump, however this was not one of his better at bats. What made it even worse was it was a 2-0 pitch, and Percival threw the expected 90 mph fastball right over the plate. Seems Tex is just following the tradition of free agent Yankee first baseman who struggle for the first two months in pinstrpes. I call it the curse of Don Mattingly, and if you don't believe me see Martinez, Tino & Giambi, Jason.
- Two final notes that aren't related to last nights game: Brian Bruney will miss at least another 2 weeks, which is a huge blow to the bullpen. Early June will probably be the earliest we see Bruney, who had finally appeared to turn the corner from thrower to pitcher. Figures just when he starts to get good he can't stay healthy. Yet when he was fat and out of shape the guy never missed a game.
Finally, the sports media (including Colin Cowherd) continue to sink to new lows by covering the arrest of Joba's mother. Granted this is a story I expect the local Nebraska newsapers to cover, or even TMZ, but what does his mom's arrest for dealing meth have to do with covering the Yankees? The media has to draw the line somewhere, and putting her mugshot up on sports websites is well beyond that line IMO. And people wonder why some players hate playing in NY.
That's it for me, if you have two minutes to spare I recommend checking out this link. It's really very touching and worth taking a look. Questions or comments can be sent to JosephGallo@sportstalkbuzz.com. Enjoy the weekend.
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Written by Joseph Gallo