Wednesday, August 09, 2006

ChSox 6, Yanks 5 -- Hey, At Least Boston Lost

This is the first instance in a long time where I'm more pissed off at a loss the morning after. This is easily explained: the game ended later, thus I was a bit more tired (and a little, uh, medicated). Coupled with the Boston loss, I was content heading to bed.

But reality struck this morning, as I couldn't get the thought out of my brain: we lost a winnable game. There is nothing that irks me more, especially when the loss is in the first game of the series. That now puts the pressure on to take the next two, which is no simple task against the White Sox. Thankfully, we get the back of the rotation and they get our No. 1 and No. 3.

After his last few outings, this simply wasn't expected of Wang. The Podsednik double should have been an indicator of how the night would go, but since Wang induced two groundouts to end the first, everything looked hunky dory. But then Paul Konerko led off the second with a double, followed by a Jermaine Dye double, and we knew there'd be trouble. And when he gave up a two-run single to Alex Cintron, I was afraid we'd be seeing Ponson.

My blood pressure thanks Wang for kind of settling down, allowing just a Joe Crede solo homer in the fourth, leaving the game tied at four. Four runs in five innings isn't exactly “keeping your team in it,” but with the Yankees lineup and bullpen, it could have been enough to eek out a win.

Then again, we did get a few breaks along the way. The game would have progressed in a far different manner – likely favoring the White Sox – had Scott Podsednik been called safe at third in the first inning. Same with Machowiak's dinky grounder right back to Wang. And then there's the whole matter of Ozzie sending steal signs, only to be rebuffed by catching stud Jorge Posada.

Those breaks, however, were off-set in the eighth inning. With Abreu on first and Jeter on second, Alex ripped a single to right-center. Problem was, he hit it hard right at Brian Anderson, forcing Larry Bowa to hold Jeter at third. Neil Cotts entered the game to face Jason Giambi, promptly hitting him on the elbow (x-rays negative) and forcing in the go-ahead run. Still bases loaded, still one out, and Jorge stepped up batting from the right side. And, as if it was nothing but payback for the Machowiak play, mighty Jorge had grounded into a double play.

S'all good though, right? Farnsworth in the eighth, Mo in the ninth, another game gained on the Red Sox. Well, Farny did his job. Unfortunately, Mo was the culprit in this one, surrendering a solo blast to Paul Konerko leading off the ninth to tie the game. That means extra innings, which for the Yankees means swinging for the fences on every pitch. They did not fail to deliver.

There was a glimmer of hope in the 10th, as Alex drew a two-out walk. Surely Giambi would react to the pressure and bring home the go-ahead run once again. Problem was, Giambi's elbow had swelled up, placing Bernie Williams into action against Bobby Jenks. Had the Yankees been losing at that point, I would have left the room. I'd say the odds of Bernie catching up to and hitting a Bobby Jenks fastball is about 10 percent, if that. Like clockwork, Bernie looked foolish on a pitch up by his shoulders.

As for Proctor, well, I'm not so pissed at him. He wasn't even supposed to have pitched tonight, yet came in and fanned three straight in the tenth before losing it in the 11th. At least he lost it to the heart of the ChiSox order; I would have been fuming right now if Alex Cintron drove in the game-winning run. Jermaine Dye, however, is having a monster year, and like with Mariano and Vernon Wells, I can forgive Proctor for this gaffe.

All in all, it wasn't the way you want to start an endurance stretch. Not only did Wang's performance force the bullpen into heavier action, but the extra innings put a bit more wear and tear on them. More than ever, we need Randy to pitch deep tonight. With two questionable performances preceding this one, I think it's fair to expect that he'll rack up seven innings and allow three or less runs. But Randy's been known to disappoint in the past.