Well, I don't really know where to start with this one.
I just spent the last 5 and a half hours on the brink of a myriad of afflictions--cardiac arrest, hyperventilation, complete and irretrievable loss of mental faculties, mania, and apoplexy. The things I subject myself to during baseball season deserve their own PSA or something.
The stage of fifteen scoreless innings was set by Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett who matched each other with every ounce of their being, neither one relenting and both seeming to push themselves harder when they needed it most.
Unlike them, I don't know if I have it in me right now to go through the ridiculous display I just witnessed. More specifically, I don't know if I have it in me to produce anything that even approaches the realm of coherence.
But if there's one thing I learned from copywriting, it's that there's no problem that can't be solved with a bulleted list.
My reaction to tonight in no particular order:
- Is there any other current active pitcher who stymies the Yankees quite like Beckett? He is undoubtedly the last pitcher I'd want to face in a playoff game. Despite an above average number of meetings, the Yankees by and large can't touch his fastball. I hate him.
- A.J. gave his team exactly what they needed tonight. While A-Rod was the hero, how about the pitching that took us into 15 innings without a run? It's really illogical and remarkable that in game that went that long, there were 13 hits yet only 2 runs. The two teams went a combined 0-19 with RISP. Awkward.
- It was an epic classic, to be sure, and its climax essentially erases any frustration that amassed during the game, but I literally wince when I think about the amount of opportunities to score that were wasted.
(Like going out on a Saturday night and your buddy's trying to connect with some friends in another part of town, so there's a lot of phone tag, a lot of indecision, and even more bouncing around from bar to bar...and every time you think that's the bar you're going to settle in for the night, you get yanked out with your three-quarter freshly bought beer still condensing on the bar.)
- If the Yankees had lost that, I'd go all in in any bet around what the #1 angle would be--Girardi using Hughes for 1 batter. However, does the sensationalism of the win eclipse any discernible problems that were uncovered during the game itself? Maybe it's an "end justifies the means" type thing...
- Never in a million years would I predict Brian Bruney and Alfredo Aceves coming in and doing what they did. Never. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Mariano Rivera trifecta is conceivably the paradigm recipe for a win, and between the 3 of them, they struck out 8 and only relinquished 2 hits. Outstanding, but expected.
- When this algorithm for the game goes up against equally effective pitchers, then what? There's no other combination of relievers in the league that will deliver you that kind of silencing pitching. But tonight, Aces, Bruney, and Coke served up nearly the exact same numbers in 6 innings of relief work: 6Ks, 2 hits. The only word I can use to describe my feelings about this is unbridled gratitude.
- The Red Sox showcased their entire bullpen, like some kind of arms fashion show. Make no mistake, I would have given up my soul in exchange for the game to just end and abort my mounting hysteria. But a small part of me would have liked to see what the Sox would have scraped together if the game went longer, and Junichi Tazawa was cooked.
- Tomorrow's afternoon game should be interesting. Both teams better hope their starters pitch the game of their lives, because the bullpen is collectively cashing in on their comp days.
- The only thing that makes these marathon games less of a stress test, and more of the entertaining experience it's supposed to be, is the evolution of the announcers over the course of the extra innings.
- Paul O'Neill, who announces like he's got one eye on the game, one eye on the Simpsons, just got less and less interested in providing rational comments. Kay did his best, but a scoreless game is like his vision of hell. Flaherty, on the other hand...this would have been right in his wheelhouse. High strung situations with little to no opportunity to burst into unfettered rants.
- In an equally epic marathon game thread that needed to be restarted due to our computers revolting, FreeBradshaw comments, "What's better? Beating the snot out of the Pissants yesterday (even with all those walks)...or patiently drowning them in their misery and watching A-Rod win it in 15?"
- It's almost like the Yankees are trying to redeem themselves for going 0-8 in the first half, by demoralizing Boston with new iterations of devastation. Maybe tomorrow (well, today technically), they spot the Sox a 6-8 run lead...only to come back in the 8th inning, and win it in the 9th with another walk off.
- I know there were a lot of big moments and plays, and I apologize I'm not covering them all in any detail. They're just all swilring around together now, like a bowl of melted Ben & Jerry's, and I can't even differentiate them anymore. All we need to really know is that the Yankees won because their pitching bailed out the frozen offense and, worse, the overwhelming inability to hit with runners on.
- The Sox did pretty much the same, but their defense was better than the Yankees, their offense was just a touch worse. J.D. Drew robbed Eric Hinske of the game-winning hit, and barring 1 error, their defense wasn't giving us any breaks at all.
- The game was won on the 2-out bomb from Alex "I know, I know, I suck in the clutch. Bite me." Rodriguez. So, maybe, contrary to popular belief, defense doesn't necessarily win games. Maybe offense has something to do with it, too.
- A truly amazing game, and significant for not only where it puts us in the standings, but where it puts the Sox in their comfort level. We ripped the rug out from under them tonight, and, like the Giants beating the Patriots in 2008 to rip the glory of victory from Boston, a 15-inning, scoreless game won on an A-Rod walkoff may have been the only possible way to void the sting of being 0-8.
Which makes a five and half hour battle with deranged furor, 100%, completely worth it.
(And lastly, I just got a text from a buddy in Boston: "Only you would think a game in August matters." Only a Sox fan who just had to suffer through that would say it doesn't.)