It's been a while since I've done a live running blog for a game. In fact, for the last one I did in March the game didn't even count, so this is an even more monumental occasion and the timing couldn't be better. The Yankees are playing good baseball right now, they're on top of the AL East, and they're going for their 2nd consecutive sweep. The only thing that could potentially ruin this situation is if ESPN has a crummy announce team (which they will). But it's not like this will be the first time I've bagged on ESPN.
1) Derek Jeter- SS
2) Curtis Granderson- CF
3) Alex Rodriguez- 3B
4) Robinson Cano- 2B
5) Mark Teixeira- 1B
6) Raul Ibanez- LF
7) Nick Swisher- RF
8) Russell Martin- C
9) Hiroki Kuroda- P
First pitch is scheduled for just after 7PM Eastern/6PM Central, so check back around then and we'll kick this thing off. It's going to cut into my usual writing time for the posts that I have to put up tomorrow, but fuck it. WE'LL DO IT LIVE!!!
** Live blog starts after the jump **
5:57PM- Is there a worse lead-in to a Yankee game than one of those lameass Rick Reilly "golf is so magical and here's why" spots? God that guy sucks.
6:01PM- Why yes. Yes there is. And it involves Nomar Garciaparra opening his mouth to speak about the game of baseball. Good thing I picked up that beer on the way home.
6:10PM- Recent cortisone shot for Tim Hudson tonight, eh? That either means he gets shelled and is out after 3+ innings or he's going to throw 8 innings of 4-hit, shutout ball.
6:12PM- Sinker that hung over the plate and Jeter inside-outs it to right-center for a leadoff double. Haven't seen too many of those swings in the last couple weeks.
6:17PM- C-Grand moved Jeter to 3rd with a groundout, and a nice AB from A-Rod ends with an RBI single up the middle. Less than 10 minutes in and it's already 1-0 Yankees. I dig.
6:23PM- Probably Meaningless Random Stat of the Night: 4 of the 6 all-time switch hitter HR leaders have played for the Yankees. Cano and Teix go down and it stays at 1-0 with the Braves coming to take their first hacks.
6:28PM- I'm picking nits here, and I like Mark Mulder, but I hate, hate, HATE when analysts tell me what I'm going to see from a player tonight like it's already set in stone. Just because Kuroda and Tim Hudson throw a lot of sinkers does not guarantee that "we're going to see a lot of groundballs tonight," Mark. If they are pitching well, then that's what we'll see. But don't be lazy and just assume that that's what's going to happen. Let the game play itself out.
6:31PM- Kuroda works around a 2-out single to get out of the 1st unscathed. Struck out 2 potential All Stars (Michael Bourn and Dan Uggla) in the process.
6:35PM- And because I know everybody cares what I think, if I'm filling out an ASG roster today, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter make it from the Yankees, and Bourn, Uggla, and Martin Prado make it from the Braves.
6:39PM- Strike 'em out/throw 'em out DP to end the top of the 2nd. Swish was COMICALLY slow getting to 2nd, like Willie Mays Hayes coming up short on the slide and having the shortstop waving "come on, come on" at him levels of slow.
6:41PM- Note to any fellow movie buffs out there. If you spend money to see "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" in theaters, you are an asshole.
6:47PM- Kuroda's changeup looks good early, but he's having trouble locating his fastball on the corners and the Braves put runners on the other corners with 1 out in the 2nd to give us our first racist fan chant of the night.
6:54PM- Strikeout of Hudson on a beautiful slider and a groundout by Bourn, and Kuroda escapes a bases loaded jam to keep it 1-0 Yankees after 2.
7:04PM- Derek Jeter has a .313 career batting average. He hit .297 last year, and .270 in 2010. That means he has NOT been raising his career average as he's gotten older, Nomar.
7:05PM- Curtis goes down staring and Hudson is quickly through the top of the 3rd.
7:11PM- Kuroda throws a pitch that legit looked it bounced 10 feet in front of the plate for his 2nd wild pitch of the night, and the Braves are in business with a runner at 2nd and nobody out in the bottom of the 3rd.
7:17PM- Works out of it, though, sitting down the Atlanta 3-4-5 hitters in succession to strand the runner. Lotta nice pitches from Kuroda to get out of trouble, including the 94 MPH fastball at the knees that K'd Chipper Jones to end the inning.
7:22PM- Holy balls! I just realized I haven't updated the stats on the sidebar of the page in the last 2 days. I knew something was off with my chi and this must have been the cause. Also, I am an idiot.
7:23PM- This is why Pedro Gomez is the fucking man. Inside story on Robinson Cano's dad going to a government office to officially name Robinson Cano "Robinson" while his wife was still recovering from childbirth in the hospital. Bad. Ass.
In other Robinson Cano news, you should definitely check out the TYA interview with Jose Cano that Matt Imbrogno posted earlier today.
7:26PM- Teix with a line drive 2-out single to break Hudson's consecutive out streak. He had been in a groove for the last inning or 2.
7:29PM- Ibanez fouls out to end the inning and it's still 1-0 Yanks. Weird feel to this game. It seems to really be dragging, and neither pitcher has been lockdown good, but there's still only 1 run on the scoreboard.
7:32PM- I watch Jason Heyward's long swing, I think about what Kevin Long did to help Curtis Granderson, and I can't help but wonder how good Heyward could be if he was on the Yankees and got to work with Long. And right on cue, he ropes a leadoff double off the wall in center to start the bottom of the 4th.
7:35PM- Kuroda K's Hinske swinging for out number 1. He's got a little extra juice on the fastball when he needs it tonight.
7:43PM- Walk to Simmons and it's 2 out, 1 on, with the rain coming down harder. Hudson bunts the runners over and it's officially the biggest moment of the game so far.
7:45PM- And he sits down Bourn with a fastball! Give Kuroda credit. He's made a lot of really good pitches when he's had to tonight. Now maybe Hudson can have an inning or 2 when he's pitching in a near downpour.
7:59PM- After more of that good old home cooking grounds crew field maintenance, Hudson sits down the bottom third of the Yankee order in order in the top of the 5th. After reading his comments on how much he dislikes hitting before the game, it's hilarious to me to watch Kuroda's half-hearted Ichiro front leg turn on his swing.
8:03PM- Prado leads off the bottom half with a broken-bat single to center and it's the 3rd straight inning in which the Braves have gotten the leadoff runner on. I have no stats to support this, but it sure feels like the Yankees have let the leadoff runner get on a lot lately.
8:07PM- He hadn't given up much solid contact through 4 innings, but Kuroda hung a 2-2 sinker to Brian McCann and McCann just crushed it to right for a 2-run HR and a 2-1 Atlanta lead. Cue the the racist chants and arm chops, cue my internal bitching about the grounds crew timing, and cue another beer cracking.
8:12PM- Jesus Crumping Christ, Jason Heyward straight OWNS Hiroki Kuroda's shit tonight. He doubled to center last time, and doubles to right this time. Kuroda missed with a slider over the heart of the plate there, and he seems to be losing the bite to his stuff. He's had to work hard, though. 95 pitches in 5+ innings. So credit the Brave hitters.
8:14PM- Kuroda escapes further damage, but you have to think he's going to be on a real short leash after that inning, if Joe brings him out to start the 6th that is.
8:17PM- Jeter with another opposite field base hit to open the 6th inning. That's 2 more Jeterian swings just a day after I posted about his recent GB problems. Am I implying that Jeter reads AB4AR on the reg and used my post as inspiration to fix his swing mechanics? You bet your fucking ass I am! TOOT, TOOT!
8:19PM- AND THE GRANDY MAN FUCKING CAN!!!!! 2-run job to right. Yankees back on top. Suck it, Atlanta.
Seriously, that HR by a Yankee hitter got a bigger cheer than the McCann HR did. That entire crowd should be ashamed. And that's not even counting the free pass I gave them for having the audacity to boo The Captain during his at-bats.
8:23PM- Quick sidebar here. What's with all this "Boog" Sciambi shit from Dave O'Brien when he throws it back to the studio for Basball Tonight in-game updates? Like, I get that the guy has a big gigantic mascot head and kinda looks like Boog Powell, but real talk, it's just Jon fucking Sciambi. Dude is the 4th-string BBTN host. The only reason he's on the air tonight is because Steve Berthiaume is off calling the College World Series and Karl Ravech and Tim Kurkjian are out at Flashdancers in the city getting handjobs in the champagne room and doing coke off chicks' asses right now. Calm the fucking noise with the nicknames for the JV players.
8:26PM- Oh look at that! The heart of the order went down without even a whimper after the C-Grand HR. That's cute.
8:30PM- I don't know what I love more. Kuroda's half-hearted Ichiro leg kick on his swing when he's hitting, or his half-hearted step offs and fake-throw arm motions to first to keep runners close when he's pitching.
8:32PM- And another inning-ending strikeout for Kuroda to get through 6 and keep the lead intact. The point has been iterated and reiterated, but the guy has made big pitches when the situation has called for it all night long.
8:34PM- If I ever have to fake my own death, I'm absolutely attending my funeral as "Phil Schiffley."
8:40PM- When I came back from breaking the seal, I was super excited to see Chad Durbin on the mound for Atlanta. My mind immediately flashed back to the 2009 World Series and the tingling sensation I would get in my geniticulars when I knew he was coming into the game. Unfortunately for me, he managed to work the top of the 7th in 1-2-3 fashion.
8:45PM- Hiroki hitting the showers after 6. Boone Logan in to presumably pitch the 7th.
8:46PM- I can't be 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure McCann just yelled the F-word after striking out there. I'm appalled that he would use such language.
8:48PM- If you read Drew Magary's stuff on Deadspin, Gawker, a/o KSK regularly (and you should because he is absolutely hilarious), you might be familiar with his recent commentary and hatred for "bros" and their use of the word "crush" when describing their drinking habits. That's a hatred that I share, but even I have to admit that Dan Uggla looks like a guy that can crush some beers. I'm talking straight up DESTROY some beers.
8:51PM- He can also work counts and that was a great job of Uggla of fouling off some good pitches to work a 1-out walk off of Logan.
8:54PM- Second straight walk from Logan to Chipper Jones and the racist rally chant is back. If there's a batter that Logan's slider can eat up in this lineup, though, it's Heyward...
8:58PM- Jason Heyward has the Yankee pitchers shook when he's on base tonight. Maybe they should have made more an effort to keep him off the basepaths.
8:59PM- A GB out and a pop out to center, and Logan does the job in the 7th. We have to be looking at Wade for the 8th and Soriano for the 9th with the way Joe managed this inning.
9:03PM- D-Weezy with a leadoff single to right to start the top of the 8th, and the Yanks are set up perfectly to get at least one insurance run across.
9:05PM- The ESPN crew is bantering about the weather. I could have sworn this was still a 1-run game in the 8th inning. There's no way I'm drunk enough that I'm hallucinating this.
9:07PM- I'd be sending Weezy here. You've got nothing to lose with the heart of the order scheduled to come up next inning, and you have to anticipate C-Grand seeing a lot of offspeed stuff in the dirt after the homer in his last AB. Perfect chance for Wise to swipe an easy bag.
9:09PM- And there you go!! This won't mean anything because there's no way for me to prove that I was thinking/writing this before it happened, but rest assured that I did. I know my baseball, people.
9:10PM- Intentionally walking The Horse to get to Cano? I think I've seen this strategy work out poorly for other teams in the past...
9:16PM- But Jonny Venters strikes him out here. Balls.
9:19PM- Wow! Cody Eppley, huh? Alright.
9:20PM- BOOG SCIAMBI WITH AN UPDATE!! BOOG!!!!!!
9:21PM- Jack Wilson is still being paid to play Major League baseball? How is that possible? Does he have some kind of terminal cancer and the Braves are just doing this as a Make-A-Wish thing? What the hell??
9:23PM- Tying run at 2nd, 1 out, Bourn at the plate. Why is Cory Wade not in this game again?? And don't give me the "he threw 3 days in a row" reason. He threw 4 pitches on Monday, there's an off-day tomorrow, and D-Rob is coming back this weekend. YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!!!
9:25PM- Cheap IF single by Bourn and it's runners on the corners again. More beer!
9:28PM- Eppley gets another groundball, and this one was a tailor-made DP one. Jeter, Cano, and Teix turn it, and crisis averted. And yeah, I yelled out loud and did a Tiger Woods fist pump.
9:35PM- Memo to Craig Kimbrel: Put your arm down when you're looking in for the sign. You look like an idiot.
9:37PM- Nasty strikeout of Martin to end the top of the 9th, though. I'll give credit where credit's due. Soriano coming in to close this pig out in the bottom half...
9:48PM- It wasn't 1-2-3, because it almost never is with Sour Puss, but Soriano does the job and the sweep is complete. I'm very content with this. It was another game where the Yankees were nowhere near their best and they still got the win.
9:50PM- Not a lot of hard contact or good ABs from the lineup, and Kuroda wasn't as good as he's been in his previous outings, and it still added up to a W. Part of winning baseball is doing enough to get a win when you don't have your A-game, and for the second night in a row the Yankees did that. The big MSM talking point tomorrow will be how C-Grand's HR "saved" them, but fuck that noise. Hitting HRs is never EVER a bad thing, and the Yankees do that better than anybody, so you have to give them props for that.
9:52PM- That's going to do it for the live blog tonight. I hope everybody who checked in had fun and maybe a laugh or two, even if it was at my expense. I'll finish up my thoughts on tonight's game with a few notes tomorrow morning, but for now WE'RE GOING BACK TO BOOG IN THE STUDIO FOR BASEBALL TONIGHT! BOOG!!!!