Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yank 8, Rays 4

It looks like the initial rush of adrenaline has worn off and Cory Lidle has reverted to the below average pitcher we knew for so many years in Toronto and Philadelphia – though Oakland did squeeze a couple good years out of him. Even just a week ago, it was pretty much assumed that Lidle would be the fourth starter in the playoffs, taking the place of the largely ineffective Jaret Wright. Now, though, it will take at least two more strong performances from Lidle for his name to come back into the conversation.

Right from the get-go, things looked ugly. Not only did Rocco Baldelli (honestly, is there a tougher sounding name than Rocco?) hit a leadoff home run, but, uh, I guess I'll let the image do the talking.

Rocco fall down, go boom

Seeing an egregiously fat pitch, Baldelli swung so hard that he lost balance and fell over. He wouldn't be able to do that on a sharp breaking pitch; he surely would have swung right through it. But he recognized “hanging curveball” right from the get-go, reached back, and swung with all his might. John Sterling had me believing there was a shot it would stay in the yard, but once I got home and watched the archive, yeah, that was a sure thing the second it hit the bat.

I ran into a 7-11 immediately afterwards, and upon my return was greeted by Sterling saying something about Carl Crawford and the short porch in right. Wonderful. I wondered if he would make it out of the first inning.

The Yanks answered and took the lead in the first, which left me at least a little at ease. Sure, Lidle was still coming out for the second, but he's not THAT bad, is he? The short answer is no, since he did pitch into the fifth. But you surely have to expect more from your No. 4 starter than 80 pitches over 4-plus innings. Hell, Jaret Wright has done better than that plenty of times this season. Though, it's usually just slightly better.

Let's check in with the rest of the pitching staff:

Bruney, 2.0 IP, 26 pitches, 0 ER
Myers, 0.2 IP, 7 pitches, 0 ER
Proctor, 1.1 IP, 15 pitches, 0 ER
Farnsworth, 1.0 IP, 11 pitches, 0 ER

It appears that we saw the full crew of Mo's setup men last night, and they all gave us reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, everything that happens over the course of this series has to be taken in perspective. These are, after all, the freakin' Devil Rays. They may not be a good barometer, but these are still Major League games, and to see this crew emphatically slam the door eases some of the concern I have about the playoffs.

In essence, except for Lidle, the Yanks looked like a team ready to mow down some playoff opponents. Can we just end the season now and begin postseason play? Is anyone as ready as I am?

If I find video of this segment, I'll surely post it, but today I'll leave you with a quote from Jeff Brantley from last night's edition of Baseball Tonight. Please note that inconsequential words like “a” and “the” may not be 100 percent accurate, but the important words are all there.

“I'll tell you what, though. The only way to beat the Yankees is to outscore them.”
Jeff Brantley, commenting on the Yankees playoff status.