Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Giambi 5, Proctor 2

No graph again today. The fatigue I hinted at yesterday was not aided by another trip to the Stadium last night, and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. But I’m going to tough it out under one condition: you can’t get all up on me for typos and indiscernible grammar. There’s no way I’m reading this back after it’s done.

(In case you were wondering, yes, I will link to the Fan Graphs WPA graph once I get into work. The Sporting Brews will return to its regular lineup slot on Wednesday, promise.)

Tonight’s excursion was a work event. This, of course, presented a few minor problems, the first of which being that I’d have to carefully monitor my alcohol intake. Thankfully, the Yankees do a fine job of deterring me from drinking by pricing their beers at $8. Couple that with the lack of a pre-game (I instinctually took a few steps towards Stan’s as we arrived), and I figured there was no way I could get drunk enough to make an ass of myself.

The second issue was with my rabid fanaticism. Yes, I like to make my own calls on the balls and strikes, and I fistpump for big strikeouts. It’s all just routing for my team, but it can be perceived by non-baseball freaks as a little over the edge. A little self-control was the remedy there, but my baseball obsession extends beyond a few childish pantomimes.

You see, I like to flaunt my baseball knowledge upon those who don’t know. I’m not showing off or trying to be a jerk or anything. Rather, I just think it feels good to have the answer. This problem presented itself as the lineups were announced, and I became furious over Cairo’s lineup spot. Why Torre bats him second is beyond me, but my co-workers were curious as why I was so livid. I mentioned the obvious: his OBP and SLG are in the shitter. Then they asked me why I always quoted a player’s OBP rather than his average, but there was no way I was starting that conversation/argument.

Settled in, we watched Randy’s first delivery from Section 29 in the upper deck, about eight rows up and just to the left (from our vantagepoint) of the foul pole. Twelve pitches and a dinky single later, and Randy walked back to the dugout amidst cheers from the Yankees Faithful.

After Damon and Cairo went down, the Birthday Boy stepped up and did what he so often does when batting third: laced a two-out single. It seems like a common occurrence, though this is one of the situations where your eyes lie to you. I’m sure if I looked it up (and if anyone else wants to, post it in the comments, because I’m just not taking that on tonight), Jeter’s number of first-inning, two-out singles will be something like three or four.

And then a blast. Giambi turned on one and sent a line drive to right. I was pretty sure it was gone, but the overhang of the upper deck was obscuring my view. No worries, as the crowd reaction kinda gave it away. 2-0. I was keeping score, and it delighted me to note that Tim Hudson had tossed 31 pitches in the first frame. It’s just like the formula goes.

The second inning looked eerily similar to the first, right down to the frame’s sole base hit, a grounder to the left side, directly opposite the first-inning hit. Jorge took care of business, though, gunning down…must have been Bettemit (don’t have my score card in front of me).

I have to say, I did a mighty fine job of scoring the game for the first four innings. I noted the type of batted ball, where the hit landed if it fell in, and even two-strike fouls, making for an accurate pitch count. However, after the fourth my boss led us down to the tier level, where he had found six seats in close proximity. Enjoying the view, I sat down with my trusty score book, and made the mistake of looking left.

About four seats to my left and one row ahead sat a simply smokin’ blonde. Best of all, she was with three of her girlfriends, which is a rarity in the Bronx. New York/New Jersey women are gorgeous, but they always seem to have tooly boyfriends hanging around. My interest was piqued, and I waited for the opportune moment to say something:

You’re with me, busty blonde.

This, of course, led to her swooning and melting in my hands. She gave me a blowjob under the right field bleachers by the Yankees bullpen. It was about the sixth or seventh inning. I have a pulled groin and couldn’t fuck at the time.

It was during this time that Randy exploded, recording five strikeouts over his final two innings. With Giambi’s two homers spotting the Yankees a healthy lead, and with Randy’s pitch count having eclipsed the 100 mark (the Braves made a habit of fouling off a ton of pitches from the fourth inning on), Torre called on Scott Proctor. This wasn't a terrible move, but everyone who regularly reads this here site knows that I would have rather seen Beam or Smith pitch.

The decision to leave Proctor in for the ninth I felt was fairly reasonable, though I didn’t see the need to further tax his arm. The guy needs rest, and working two innings in a game that should have been sealed doesn’t facilitate that notion. And in hindsight, it was a terrible freakin’ move, because it meant the lead was reduced to three, and you know what that means. IT’S A SAVE SITUATION! MUST USE MARIANO! Just ridiculous.

I have now been to five games in which Andy Phillips has started. In the first three, he homered. In the last two, he’s tripled. Someone want to get me tickets to the next game he starts?

It must have been the sixth inning when I noticed something peculiar down by the dugout. Shawn Chacon was up on the railing, as is his norm. That’s one reason I have a hard time bashing the guy; he’s uber-competitive, thrives on pressure, and is very into the game. But I digress. Standing next to him was a player wearing the number 27. Now, you may remember the most recent use of this number from my favorite overlooked Yankee, Kevin Thompson. I thought maybe, just maybe they had called him up prior to the game. However, my hopes and dreams were crushed when I realized that he has not spent the requisite 10-days in the minors subsequent to a demotion. Much to my dismay, it seems that Thompson and Kevin Reese are sharing laundry.

But it all worked out in the end, and we scored a victory over the Braves, plowing through their second best pitcher in the process. Best of all, Randy is proving Gene Michael right in that he’ll pitch better in the warmer weather. I’m still reluctant to say I’m convinced, but I mean, he was on fire tonight. When guys weren’t swinging and missing, they were hitting dinky pop ups and routine ground balls (some of which found holes, but that’s the luck of the game). I think, at very least, we can slot him into the No. 3 hole in the rotation for the time being.

Now it’s up for Chacon and Wright to play rocks, paper, scissors to see who has to pitch more than five innings his next time out.

And it looks like 800-some-odd of you have viewed this very post already, thanks to the already-linked-to Deadspin. If you've made it this far, I'd like to invite you to take the tour. Look around. See if anything tickles your fancy. I know it's a boring Yankees site, but there's plenty of non-baseball stuff lying dormant in the archives. Once my computer is out of plain view at work, I fully expect a more broad range of subject matter -- but for now I'm confined to my one post a day, two if the boss steps out for an hour.