Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Season Starts Tonight

Enough is enough.  The Orioles and the Rays have had their fun.  They've been winning their cute little 1-run games and playing their smallball, and getting everybody at ESPN all hot bothered over them catching the big, bad Yankees in the division while the Yankees stepped on their collective dicks these past few weeks.  And that's all well and good.  It makes for some exciting TV and gives us bloggers more material to write about in the final month.

But play time is over.  It stopped last night, and starting tonight it's time to really see what these scrappy little teams have behind their cups.  The O's came in and beat up the Yankees in New York, now let's see them defend their home turf here in crunch time and prove they're really the better team now that the Yankees are starting to pick themselves up.

The vomit's already on the sweater, people.  It's been there since the Chicago series.  But the Yanks started doing some of the things they haven't been doing last night, and a second chance at putting the Orioles in their place is just what they need to really get going in the right direction heading into the postseason.  The Horse is back, Teix is getting better, Andy is throwing to live batters, and shit's about to get real in these final 3 weeks.  Fuck the Orioles, fuck the Rays, and fuck the Free World.  The 26-game season starts tonight and I hope the O's are ready for it.

If something's gonna happen with this AL East shit, it needs to happen now.

P.S.- I'm almost too white for my own good.

Is There Anything To Joe's Anti-Bunt Comments?

("Hmmmm, if only I had a binder that told me when to bunt... " Courtesy of The AP)

I touched on it in this morning's game recap, but I was quite surprised to read Joe Girardi's very blunt and straightforward comments on the Kevin Long "more bunting" suggestion from the night before.  Not because I don't partially agree with what Joe is saying; it's true that the Yankees, as presently constructed and even to a degree when their lineup is at full strength, aren't built to play the sac bunt game as a regular part of their offense.  My point of contention was with Joe's decision to be that blunt and in such open disagreement with his hitting coach during a time when the Yankees were already under fire for their poor play and lost division lead.  The timing of his comments just wasn't right.

Game 136 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 TB 4

(Pretty good looking swing.  Courtesy of The AP)

As if things couldn't get any more stressful in Yankeeland, Joe had to come out before the game last night and absolutely shit all over Kevin Long's life in response to Long's "more bunting" suggestion to help turn this offensive slump around.  Now the struggling Yankee bats had the added pressure of having to perform last night, on the road, against Matt Moore, a nasty left-hander on a hot streak, to not only prevent themselves from losing the division lead entirely, but also to potentially prevent the NY media from starting up a "Girardi vs. Long" feud in the papers.  Yeah, that's a recipe for success if I ever heard one.  At least they had Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to give them a fighting chance.

Game Notes:

- Kuroda got beat by classic TB run manufacturing for 1 in the bottom of the 1st, and had to overcome another Curtis Granderson botch job in center in the 2nd, but he looked pretty good early.

- Moore was dealing from the moment his feet touched the rubber, and he looked hellbent on getting to that 8-inning, 11-K mark I set him for him yesterday.  He struck out 6 of the first 9 batters he faced through the first 3.

- It took a second turn through the order for the lineup to strike, but when it did it did in a big way in the 4th.  Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single (again) and came around to score on an Alex Rodriguez RBI double.  A follow-up 2-run double from Russell Martin and the Yanks led 3-1.

- For the third straight start, Kuroda had his problems in the middle innings.  He did the same thing that killed Garcia the night before with 2 outs in the 5th and it cost him 2 runs.

- Then after Martin gave him a 4-3 lead with a solo HR in the 6th, he coughed it right back up by giving up a solo HR to Luke Scott in the bottom half.  Hiroki wasn't very sharp with his stuff, and definitely not nearly as efficient with his pitches.  101 in 6 innings was it for him.

- When Kevin Long talked about bunting more, I think the situation in the 7th was exactly what he was talking about.  2 on, no outs, Jayson Nix at the plate, and he lays one down to move the runners over.  Perfect.  And it paid off for 2 runs when Eliot Johnson threw the ball away on Jeter's grounder in the next at-bat.  Not flashy, but it got results.

- No funny business in the late innings.  Joe went with his bullpen A-team and they went 3 scoreless with 4 Ks to close out a much-needed W for the Bombers.  Amazing how leads tend to stay intact when you get good relief pitching!