Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is Francisco Cervelli The Best Catcher On The Red Sox?

The answer after tonight is a definitive "Hell Yes."  Too bad being the best on that team doesn't help the fact that he's only the 2nd or 3rd-best on the Yankees.

Varitek goes 0-2 and allows a passed ball that helped the Angels regain the lead they would eventually lose (with some help from homeplate umpire Rick Reed), while Cervelli comes in cold off the bench to become the 74th different Yankee this season to get a walk-off, game-winning hit.

(YAY!!!!!  I'm so happy we could come back and win a game thanks to a collection of fluke infield hits by Jed Lowrie and Nick Green, some questionable calls by Rick Reed, and a bloop single to left by powerhouse Alex Gonzalez)

Sit the fuck down, Big Sloppi, and take notes on how to really win a game.  Sharp single to center, stolen base, sacrifice, sharp single to left, start spreading the news...

P.S.- Did anybody else catch Steve Phillips saying Ortiz was "squealing like a little girl" when he described this celebration, which, by the way, wasn't even on the game-winning hit.  I wonder how ESPN will reprimand him for speaking ill of the Red Sox.

Final Thoughts on The Fight

After watching the replay of the brawl for the 347th time today, I came to the conclusion that the Yankees should not only the favorite to win the World Series this year, but should also be the favorite to take the title belt in any team brawl.

Check the tape of the fight from multiple angles.  Sure Damon and Jeter were the first non-Posada Yankees involved, but they had a head start from the on-deck circle.  Take a look at who the first dudes into the fray are out of the Yankee dugout: CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Joba Chamberlain, and Shelley Duncan.  Screw Ruth and Gehrig, that's a murderer's row of big fucking dudes ready to pound people's faces in right there.

And hot on their heels was manager, Joe Girardi.  When do you ever see a manager get that involved in a team brawl?  Girardi looked like he was ready to kill as many people as Jorge, and that's something his players notice and respect and that's why they've played so hard for him this year.  Cito Gaston was off to the side, trying to start something with Edwar Ramirez.  Edwar Ramirez!!! He's smaller than the batboys.  Way to show your toughness, Cito, you fucking pussy.

All that was missing was Bruney and Albaladejo steaming out of the bullpen with matching Road Warrior spiked shoulder pads and Hawk and Animal facepaint, bashing Carlson over the head with a steel chair.

Any team that's thinking of starting shit with the Bombers for the rest of the year better think twice after last night.  Any time a guy comes out of a baseball fight looking like this... know whoever it was that was throwing fisticuffs in the pile was playing for keeps.

After inflicting that much damage last night and winning a decisive 10-9 round on my scorecard, Jorge must be stoked to only have to serve a 3-game suspension, down from 4 after he said he would not appeal.  20 bucks says he pulled a Gunnar Stahl when he got the news.  "3 games?  Well worth it."

Don't fuck with this man.  Molina and Pettitte look scared to death to even be standing next to him. Start spreading the news and somebody ring the damn bell...

Tuesday Night Fights

So after Jorge Posada brutally murdered Jesse Carlson last night and then smeared his blood across his face, Braveheart-style, he should be banned from baseball for life.

At least that's what John Kruk and Peter Gammons would like to have you believe with the over-the-top reaction they had to the fracas last night at the Stadium. Kruk chastised Posada up and down for how he reacted to Carlson's throwing behind him and then throwing a mini-Rick Flair elbow at Carlson as he crossed the plate, completely skipping over the fact that Carlson shouldn't have been standing on that side of the plate if he was attempting to back up the throw home to begin with and was basically inviting trouble by being there. And Gammons was practically in tears talking about Mitre and Melancon hitting 2 guys with pitches, going so far as to say Mitre's pitch could have hit Edwin Encarnacion in the head when replay shows it was nowhere near his head.

Remember these are the same 2 guys who applauded Kevin Youkilis for charging Rick Porcello after being hit in the back with a pitch and throwing his batting helmet at Porcello, and participated in a 5-minute break down on Baseball Tonight of what Youkilis did right and did wrong in charging Porcello. Way to show you Red Sox, colors, boys! Here's a free pink Varitek jersey for your efforts, although I'm sure you 2 fags already have one.

Now that the analysis of ESPN's blatantly biased coverage has been discussed again, we can move on to the real issues. The fight last night, good or bad? I, personally, was not a fan of it last night, but not for the reasons that BBTN gave. The Yankees have nothing to worry about at this stage in the season. Who cares if Jorge gets suspended for 5, 8, or 10 games? If anything, that gives him more time to rest his aches and pains and rehab his bruised finger a little more while at the same time allowing AJ Burnett the chance to pitch to Jose Molina, who he obviously prefers, once or twice to try and get his mojo back before the postseason starts.

The Red Sox aren't catching the Yankees, nobody is. It's a foregone conclusion that they are making the postseason so guys getting suspended doesn't mean shit. My problem with the fight was that it came in a game where the Yankees were getting their asses handed to them again. They pounded out 15 hits last night, 11 of them off Roy Halladay, and still only produced 4 runs. Over the last 2 weeks, the Yankees hitting has been very inconsistent, particularly in the clutch, and their pitching not much better. They seem to have almost gotten bored with how well they've been playing and instead of buckling down and getting ready for the playoffs it's like their coasting into them with an overly-relaxed team mindset that they can't afford to have.

Let's not forget that this is a team one year removed from completely missing the playoffs. Sure it's great that they're back on top of baseball now and have the best record heading into the postseason, but in reality, that doesn't mean a whole lot. They're still going to have to face the Angels, Red Sox, or both, and those 2 teams have completely owned the Yanks over the last 5 years. Recent success aside, the Yankees have to prove they can beat these teams when it matters, and instead of getting their shit together and gearing up for a run at the title that they are currently the favorite for, the Yankees are playing sloppy, uninspired baseball and getting caught up in a tit-for-tat fight with the Blue Jays.

Maybe I'm overreacting, and maybe I'm making too big a deal out of the last couple weeks, but with the Red Sox getting their collective shit together, it's only natural to look back at the last couple years and think about whether or not this new team with their new identity can win a 7-game series when the pressure is on.

I did like how quickly everyone responded last night and jumped to Jorge's defense. That wasn't your typical "everybody stand around and push and hold each other" baseball fight; it was a borderline melee. Jesse Carlson came out of it looking like he had gone 3 rounds with Anderson Silva, Joe Girardi was bleeding from the ear, Shelley Duncan looked like he was ready to fight the entire Toronto team, Edwar Ramirez was dragging Rod Barajas across the field by his chest protector like a bag of garbage, and new Yankees CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were among the first responders and were right in the middle of the dustup as soon as it started. That showed how tight this group is; everybody understands their role and everybody is together in whatever they do, win, lose, or fight, and that at least is something you couldn't say about the past few Yankees teams.

The bottom line is Jorge was in the wrong and Carlson was in the wrong. They're both just as much to blame for the fight as the other and they should each get the same amount of games for their upcoming suspensions. But nobody should be surprised or appalled at how Jorge reacted. Anybody who knows anything about the Yankees knows that he's always been the vocal leader in the clubhouse and is intense to the point that it borders being batshit crazy.

What the Yankees need to do is use this as a catalyst to get re-focused and build up the momentum they carried through July and August to round into playoff form because the baseball they've played over the last couple weeks, including last night, won't get it done come October.