(Courtesy of the AP)
There's nothing to really say about the first 7 innings of last night's game. The Yankees as a baseball team are a dead stick, they know it, and they're playing like it. Joe can say whatever he wants about respecting the game, but his team isn't stepping on the field with any real passion or desire to compete and it's putting a sour ending to what's already been a tough season. The real story last night was Mariano Rivera's final appearance at Yankee Stadium and it was a memorable one. He pitched well, got countless standing ovations, and got to share a really touching moment on the mound with Andy and Jeter when they came out to get him and give him a chance to walk off the Yankee Stadium mound to applause one more time. It was a very emotional finish to an otherwise emotionless game.
- Ivan Nova made his final start of the season and he was pretty good again. He gave up a few hits early, but escaped thanks to some key double plays on well-located fastballs down in the zone. He also had the curveball working for swings and misses, and got 3 Ks in the first 3 innings.
- He gave up his first run of the night on a single, walk, single combo to start the 4th, then loaded the bases with only 1 out. Needing to limit the damage to give his offense a chance, he retired the next 2 batters to hold the game at 1-0.
- Not that it really mattered, because even with a few kids in the lineup it was still limp. They got 1 hit off Tampa starter Alex Cobb through the first 7 innings - in the bottom of the 1st - and only Curtis Granderson reached second base after walking and stealing a bag in the 2nd.
- Nova made 1 bad mistake with a fastball to Delmon Young to lead off the top of the 7th and Young, still a Yankee killer, hit it for a home run to double the lead. He gave way to Dellin Betances in the 8th and Betances promptly created a 2-run mess to set up Mo.
- The crowd was only there to see Mo and he gave them a helluva show. With 2 on and 1 out, he escaped the 8th on 6 pitches, then he came out and retired the first 2 batters of the 9th to set up the dramatics.
- Wanting to give him a special send-off, Joe sent Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter out to the mound to get the ball from Mo. As soon as they reached the mound and Mo hugged Andy, all the emotion came out of him in what was truly a touching sports moment. 3 teammates, together for the last time, the final image of the great Yankee dynasty of the last 15+ years. Mo got the moment he deserved, the applause he deserved, the love he deserved, and the final score of the game didn't mean a thing.
- Nova: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Another good start for Ivan. He started to lose it a few times and recovered to right the ship, something he could never do last year. Good way to finish a good season.
- Mo: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R. The best. Simply the best.
- The Lineup: Combined 3-28, 2 BB, 7 K, 10 LOB. You guys can all go fuck yourselves. Seriously. You couldn't muster up enough heart and energy to at least make Mo's final home game competitive? You should all be ashamed.
Yanks are off to Houston to finish their 2013 season with a 3-game weekend series against the Astros. The only story that matters in this series is whether Mo will get the play centerfield.