A few years ago I had to go on a business trip and the client insisted on staying at the W. Awesome, spending a weekend in a hotel room twice as big as my shoebox apartment, on my employer's dime? I'll take it. The only problem was that the $650 a night room rate subsequently basically depleted all the company's travel budget and for the next 2 months of traveling, we were all forced to take red eye flights and hole up in motels that most likely inspired the movie "Vacancy."
Which is perhaps what happened to the Yankees tonight when they eeked by the Mariners in a game where they could only patch together 3 hits against a pitcher I've never even heard of. A night after the Yankees mistook a regular season game for a batting practice session, our powerhouse lineup faltered and could barely hit beyond the infield.
The weirdest part? They didn't technically play all that badly. Everyone got a hit, except for Johnny Damon who's for the time being holding the immunity rod due to outstanding production of late. As a team, they were .400 with RISP (which, I guess, isn't that impressive considering there were only 5 RISP cases...)
And then there's Andy Pettitte.
He's gotta be getting to the point where he's considering middle relief since he could at least log holds that way. Because, once again, a brilliant start is a no-decision, despite a line score that boasts 2 runs over 6 IP, 1 walk...and 10 Ks.
I always hate it when announcers say, "Well, you can't ask for a better hit than that" after someone lines out hard to the outfield because yes, you can ask for a better hit, like one that goes 3 feet to the left. But with Andy, I'm starting to see where these talking heads are coming from. Seriously, what's a guy gotta do to taste a W around here.
But as the Yankees have done 37 times before this season, they fought back when they were down and came back to win. Derek Jeter capitalized on ARod's absence to remind everyone the whole Captain Clutch moniker isn't just empty alliteration, and knocked in a game-tying ribbie in the 5th.
With their Jimmy Chitwood sidelined with back spasms and with Melky Cabrera being the antithesis of his former reliable self, the heroics in the 9th had to come from elsewhere tonight. Enter Mark Teixeira, exit long ball out of this stratosphere.
(And as stunning as this was, that's how unstunning it was to see Robinson Cano then ground-rule double it up. Thanks for keeping the basepath clear, Tex. No one was happier with that blast than Robbie.)
The real stunner actually stemmed from the little glimpse of anxiety served up by our golden boy Phil Hughes, who came in the 8th in relief of the noticeably redeeming Brian Bruney. New haircut, check. Two outs in the books in seconds, check. Then 2 walks, and panic set in. I mean, everyone implodes at some point. Not a lot of Lidge08 occurences in the world, and it stands to reason that one day when we least expect it, Hughes will disappoint big.
Not tonight though.
Did a binge-offense last night have anything to do with a scavenging one tonight? Probably not. But it's ultimately immaterial, because with every game, the Yanks are finding another way to dig their fingers into the win and to maintain their stranglehold on the best record in the game.