That was the text I woke up to this morning.
And then I remembered what happened last night.
I hate Ichiro.
I don't know what's worse, when we spend the hours/days leading up to a game completely preoccupied with our pitcher, and then he confirms our fears...or when he surprises us all and then we stomach punched by the least likely source.
It's splitting hairs and either way, it's a nightmare.
The Yankees had their first game of their road trip last night and went up against one of the best pitchers in the league, pitting him up against one of our most troubled. The angle-du-jour was "What's up with AJ? No, seriously. WHAT IS GOING ON?" And everyone's making their own theories. Jose Mollina likes to stick with "tired." Others go with "sucks in the playoffs." Both are a little too easy and convenient.
AJ was neither of these things last night, letting up 7 hits, eating 7 innings, and striking out 6 with pitches that elegantely grazed every corner of the plate. I was impressed. I don't expect that kind of graceful control from him. It's like the difference between Jigsaw and Patrick Bateman. Both are deranged lunatics. But one a little more insidiously sinister and one a little more aggressively psychotic.
The Yankee bats weren't exactly on fire, per se. But they weren't asleep either. They hit better than any other team would have done against King Felix Hernandez, and that should have been enough for the win. While I'm not gonna throw a parade for runs scored on 2 sac flies from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, I'm also not disappointed in it, if 2 runs is still more than 1 run.
It is, however,
disappointing THE PITS to watch the greatest closer of all time strike out the first 2 batters in the 9th (after a 1-2-3 from Phil Hughes in the 8th) and then put a runner on in the form of Mark Sweeney. Then throw the exact same fastball to Cinco-Uno (apparently Ichiro's too cool to have last name on jersey like everyone else), who promptly goes yard for the walk off. I guess no one gave the Mariners the memo that the Yankees have the market cornered on walk offs.
I'm starting to feeling Boston-like animosity towards Cinco-Uno. At baseline, I hate the fact Japanese players won't learn English, and I especially hate how Cinco-Uno doesn't sit on any pitches. It's annoying. I think I'd think this even if he was on my own team.
Johnny Damon hit two doubles and a single in first 3 ABs, because he's really good at knocking around historically filthy pitchers. The rest of the team--not bad, but not great. 1-for-4's for most. Not Molina though, because he's in some kind of bet with himself to see how long he can go without making any
significant remote contribution to the team. One more game. One more game.
Brian Bruney wears #99 now. Because his number was the problem. Not his penchant for hemorrhaging baserunners. His number. I hate players who bypass the "being good' aspect of their job descriptions and beeline directly to irreverant and quirky.
Today's another day. I don't want to sound like the boy who cried "must-win," but the next handful of games for us are very close to "must-win-at-the-risk-of-whipping-fans-up-into-frenzy" situations. Let's go, Yanks. Round Boy (17-7, 3.42) goes up against Doug Fister (2-2, 3.53). (Ok, HE has a legitimate case for putting his first name on jersey.)
So close last night. Now just Michael Kay is up and put a bow on it tonight.