First, my sincerest apologies for delay. My to-do lists and OCD compulsions are rendered useless against that whole "circumstances beyond our control" phenomenon.
That said, I wasn't the only one who had to weather this denouement principle last night, as New York's characteristic late-inning valor was bested by the DeWayne Wise's nonpareil timed heroics. In their first game of the season against the White Sox, Rain Delay #9,027 perhaps set the tone for this dampening game, and after we finally got underway a little over an hour after the scheduled start, the Yankees looked like a claymation film. Stilted, awkward, devoid of agility, and essentially warped versions of their spirits.
It's hard to say how this game was won. Or lost. On the surface, neither team was outplaying the other, and an early RBI from Gordon Beckham in the third put the only run on the board until Johnny Damon tied it in the sixth with a laser to right that brought in Jose Molina.
Andy Pettitte and Gavin Floyd went pound for pound on this one, and once again, both pitchers handed in outstanding performances that were ultimately eclipsed. For Andy, his 8K game was wasted, as his games are want to do, and for Gavin, his 10K-er was just the opening act for someone else's day in the sun.
For about 20 minutes, Nick Swisher usurped this status. His 2-out 9th inning solo off Matt Thornton tied the game, and it looked as though Floyd's day would be the one exiled to irrelevancy, especially with Chicago's lineup having to fare in the bottom of the 9th against the invincible Phil Hughes.
It seemed like everything was strictly adhering to the requisite game elements for both teams. Rain delay, check. Yankee procrastination homerun to make things exciting, check. White Sox post-perfecto struggles, check. Hughes reliably slicing through the inning...
Didn't happen. Instead, New York fans were abruptly yanked out of their confident delirium when Wise wrecked Hughes' 16 game scoreless streak, with a single to center that brought in Scott Podsednik.
Didn't see that one coming. It was like seeing a ridiculous home-run robbing catch that almost guaranteed a momentum upswing in your favor, and then seeing your most trusted reliable go-to guy fail to get it done when the inning turned. (Cough...2007 NLCS...cough.)
As broached in the game thread, the seeming inevitability of a wasted outing from these pitchers came into the picture last night, when Andy once again couldn't taste a W. And yet despite its predictability, the Yanks never saw it coming. Sloppy fielding errors from Pettitte and Robinson Cano slowed things down a bit, but the game really can be encapsulated in Floyd's most potent weapon against the order:
A late-breaking curve ball.