We all should have been able to spend the last 3 innings of this game with our feet up, savoring the recently acquired comfort in our late inning bullpen formula. But instead, I spent the last hour of my life groaning in disbelief at what looked to be a triumphant Oakland rally in the 7th. I think there's little doubt as to where the blame can be assigned here:
The YES Network.
The YES Network and the programming mastermind who mandated the Chevy Player of the Game be broached in the 7th inning. Alfredo Aceves, who had just whiffed the first 2 batters he faced, was listed as a choice, and moments after this Jinx Paradigm dissolved from our screens, Rajai "Bugs Bunny in OF" Davis ropes a single, promptly steals, then scores off Mark Ellis's shot.
Thanks, YES. First Aces gets taken deep by Jack Cust, replacing the O with a 1 in the runs column. Then he can't log the last out of the following inning and needs Phil Coke to come in for relief. Whose fault is that?
As phenomenal as the other non-run-scoring things he did were, my vote would still go to the guy who brought in 66% of our runs with one swing of the bat.
But I'll be honest here. When it comes to the overall landscape of tonight's game, I've argued in the past that I like these types of wins, because when you just eek by, you're saving energy and not overdoing anything. There's definitely something to be said for not giving 100%, but rather giving just enough to come out on top.
And despite the fact the Yankees have won plenty of games by a mere 1 run (17 to be exact, three with a score of 3-2), this time they looked different. Awkward, almost. Less cohesive. Stilted.
And in Toronto, the Red Sox looked the opposite, as they brutalized Roy Halladay in a 6-1 win.
Our dialed-in pitching that has been the ying to our unrelenting offense's yang, seemed forced today. Chad Gaudin's line score looks infinitely better than he did, as he someone delivered the shoddiest scoreless performance since Andy Hawkins' no-hitter loss. In fact, Gaudin somehow only let up 1 hit over 4 and 2/3. The fact he struck out 5 is a bit tempered by the fact he walked just as many.
Aces sheepishly gets the win, despite letting up the 2 runs Oakland put up, and the Phil-Phil-Mo triumverant stopped the bleeding. Maybe it's just the delirium symptomatic of the sixth straight 10pm start, but watching this game reminded me of playing basketball on a cruise ship. I could just never get my footing, the game kept shifting in ways that I couldn't accomodate, and even what felt like money shots would sometimes brick or not reach.
The ever-evolving strike zone tonight may have contributed to this feeling, and the foggy offensive production enhanced it. ARod may as well have worn a Snuggie over his jersey, because he looked like he was auditioning for an Ambien commercial. The demotion of Robinson Cano to the 7 spot threw me off, and maybe had a similar effect on the rest of the 2nd half of our lineup, since only 1 of our 6 hits came from a batter outside of the 1-2-3 hitters.
No one will argue that this wasn't an important win, and if Mo had let up a run and sent this game into extras, I'd be rocking back and forth in a fetal position about now. So the simple thing to do would be to accept the win, take advantage of tomorrow's off day to catch up on lost sleep, and head into the Boston series thinking of nothing but the 7 game lead we're still holding onto.
But the sensical--if not overly analytical and paranoid--part of me is admittedly disarmed by less ignited offense and a less focused defense. If ever there was a time for Derek Jeter to hop on his Captain's Soapbox, it's now. Which coincidentally also happens to be the exact same time that would be perfect for the Yanks to not freeze up.
Unless it's the first pitch, in which case I'd be delighted to see the Yankees exercise a little restraint.