Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ian O'Conner Should Probably Stop Talking

(Joba just minutes before his death.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I regret to inform everyone that Joba Chamberlain, 27-year-old relief pitcher for the New York Yankees has died.  After a long battle with rehab from Tommy John Surgery and surgery to repair a severely dislocated ankle, Mr. Chamberlain passed away yesterday afternoon in his first attempt to make a comeback as a relief pitcher.

At least that's what Ian O'Conner wants you to think.  In its latest round of blatant trolling for comments and shameless bullshit writing strictly for pageviews, ESPN NY's O'Conner penned this disasterpiece today burying Joba, his future, his past, and pretty much his entire professional baseball existence after Joba's first outing on a Yankee mound yesterday didn't go so smoothly.  I expect this kind of garbage from the Wallaces Matthews and Andrews Marchand of the world, but I've never read anything this asinine from O'Conner.  Maybe I just didn't notice before, or maybe I was just lucky enough to not be exposed to anything else he's written that's this bad as part of my conscious effort to avoid all things ESPN-related when it comes to covering the Yankees, but this was impossible to miss.

As usual, I invite anybody who hasn't already read the story, and is a big fan of literary self-torture, to check it out in its entirety.  If you have enough intelligence to know that's a horrible idea, you can check out the lowlights and my comments after the jump.

Let's Take A Minute And Reset The Landscape

July was a bit of an eventful month, huh?  The Yankees ended it on a very rough 3-9 streak that saw them lose 6 games by 1 run right after starting the month 10-4 and looking like they were going to run away and hide with the division title sometime in early August.  They blew early leads, they blew late leads, and they made a couple comebacks that fell just short, all adding to a growing sense of frustration amongst the fans and some of the more pot-stirring writers.  Things have gotten a tad bit frazzled over the last 2 weeks.  I know I've been a bit more emotional and vocal with my displeasure this week, and the folks I write with for TYA can attest to that.  But as we rip another page off the calendar and put July in the rearview, I think it's important to take a step back and look at the overall landscape of Yankeeland heading into the stretch run of the season.

Game 104 Wrap-Up: NYY 12 BAL 3

(Courtesy of The AP)

The whole night game thing hasn't been working for the Yankees lately, so maybe a change of daytime setting would help shake the funk off of Tuesday night's gong show.  There weren't exactly sunny skies, but the Yankee bats certainly brightened up the atmosphere around The Stadium early and often.  For the second straight day the lineup jumped on Baltimore's starter, this time Zach Britton, and got the early lead.  For the first time in a few days, the lead was held onto and the losing streak was broken.

Game Notes:

- It wasn't quite as dynamic as Tuesday night's 1st inning, but 2 runs is still a good start.  Curtis Granderson hit a solo HR and Andruw Jones made a Nick Swisher double worthwhile with a sac fly and the Yankees grabbed the early lead again.

- It wasn't quite as bad as Nova's 7 runs, but Phil Hughes did give 1 back in the top of the 2nd on an Endy Chavez RBI groundout.  Unlike Nova, however, Hughes was able to limit the damage after getting into a second-and-third and 1 out pickle.

- The offense tacked on 2 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd on a pair of RBI singles, got a shutdown inning from their starter for a nice change of pace, and then dropped the hammer in the bottom of the 3rd with a 2-out, 7-run inning of their own, capped off by Robinson Cano's grand slam to make it 11-1.

- Hughes wasn't as sharp as he has been, and wasn't overly efficient, but he did keep the Orioles at that 1 run through the 6 innings he was on the mound.  A day after seeing Nova bomb without his best stuff and no command, it was refreshing to see Hughes battle and work through.

- Joba Chamberlain made his official return in the top of the 7th in relief of Hughes.  His outing wasn't as smooth as he would have liked (solo HR on his 2nd pitch, 2 ER & 5 baserunners allowed in 1.2 IP), but that hardly mattered given the score at the time.  The important thing is that he's back.

- It was a tale of 2 RISP performances yesterday.  Yankees good (7-13), Baltimore bad (0-15).  It's fair to mention that the Yankee pitchers gave the Orioles plenty of chance, but Baltimore couldn't take advantage.