Thursday, May 25, 2006

We're Getting Swept? Who Said That?


The most uttered phrase on message boards following Monday’s game: “We’re getting swept.” It seemed everyone was so far down following the 9-5 loss that even the possibility of winning one of the next two was far fetched. They may not have been the Prom Queen of wins, but they look like wins in the standings, and they pulled us to within a half a game of Boston for the AL East lead. Not that it matters, considering it’s late May.

Now, onto my gripes.

[MORE]Does anyone understand Randy Johnson? Is it possible he possible to comprehend with a mere human mind? How can he be so good and so bad at the same time – yet always let the bad take over at the worst possible time? For example, from the Red Sox second:

Pena struck out swinging
Mohr struck out swinging
-- all right, now we have something going.
Gonzalez singled to right -- you’re kidding, right? The guy benched because he’s hitting on the Interstate just singled after Randy struck out two straight?
Youkilis homered to left -- I hate you, Randy
Loretta singled to left
Ortiz grounded out to first
-- so you can get their biggest gun, but not the bottom of the order.

And the third inning wasn’t any less confounding:

Ramirez doubled to deep left center -- yeah, Manny’ll do that
Varitek singled to right, Ramirez scored -- Jason Varitek? Really now?
Lowell singled to right, Varitek to second
Pena struck out swinging
Mohr struck out swinging
Gonzalez struck out looking
-- yeah, struck out looking on the TENTH PITCH. How does it take 10 pitches to K Alex Gonzalez?

After going 1-2-3 (finally!) in the fourth, Randy started the fifth by walking Manny (acceptable) and throwing two straight balls to Jason Varitek. The count 2-0 and the Yankees needing him to finish the inning, Joe Torre made his way out, delivered some God-like message and righted Randy.

Varitek flied out to right
Lowell struck out swinging
Pena flew out to right

Warming in the bullpen at this point – well, not really warming, but just standing there and purporting to be ready – was Scott Erickson, which begs the question: is Joe out of his mind? Where’s Villone? Of course, the Great Torre shut my mouth pretty quick, as Erickson breezed through his inning, marred only by a single off the bat of Kevin Youkilis. And that’s forgivable as well because he’s slowly turning into a monster.

My favorite moment of the game, however, came in the bottom of the ninth. Mind you, I had Mike and the Mad Dog on during the bulk of the afternoon, so all I heard was, “Randy’s gotta brush back Ortiz and Manny,” ad infinitum. But when Manny stepped up against Mo, that notion was far from the front of my mind. But Mo knew what was up. He threw Manny a first pitch strike, knowing it would allow him to waste a pitch.

And waste he did, busting Manny up and in, sending the dreadlocked slugger spinning backward out of the batters box. This was of great importance, since Manny was obviously locked in last night, as evidenced by his two homers and a double. But Mo rattled him a bit, and caused him to fly out to center. But would it be Yankees-Red Sox if that was the last dramatic play of the night?

Oh hell no. El Capitan, 2nd inning RBI in his back pocket, pulled the quintessential Jeter play, lunged to his right (strong side), picked the ball out of the dirt, and fired while in the air, hitting Andy Phillips right on the money. Game over, THAAAAAAA YANKEES WIN! (And boy, I don’t think there was anyone more excited after that play than the Voice of the New York Yankees, John Sterling.)

Much needed day off today, giving Damon and Posada an extra day to heal up. Next up: Kansas City, easily the worst team in baseball. My favorite moment of this season came against them, when Jeter hit a tremendous 3-run homer to put the Yanks up 9-7 after being down 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Hopefully they don’t catch the “let’s get swept by the Royals” bug like they did last year.