After an hour of the game, I started wondering if it was possible I had accidentally cued up last night's GameDay. Yanks stake pitcher to 2-0 lead. Lose it when Blue Jays tie it up shortly thereafter. Really lose it when Jays take lead. I don't think I could have stomached a second loss, and I would have probably gone into a catatonic state if Yankee Stadium was hosting Batting Practice for our Canadian Neighbors, Part II.
But they came through. They showed grit. (Real grit, not the "grit" that Yahoo purported Brady showed in Monday Night Football.) They worked around their pitching flaws and muted bats, and although at least one of their fans was admittedly starting to panic they kept their stranglehold on our faith. It would appear my susceptibility to hyperventilating is inversely proportional to the number of days left in the season.
Anatomy of an averted nervous breakdown Game notes:
- Derek Jeter, the subject of legions of idiots' contention he has no range, has spent the season disappointing critics, by demonstrating perhaps the biggest wingspan I've seen from him in years. Tonight, he let a ball go through his legs.
- The Yankees are now 4-0 in games where Chad Gaudin starts. I don't understand this at all. From where I'm sitting, it looks like he's just trying to make things as difficult as possible in the "Who's our real #5 starter?" million dollar question game. Trying to pick between him and Sergio Mitre is like trying to pick between Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan. The Jays scored 3 runs on 7 hits, before he was pulled in the 7th in favor of Brian Bruney. Talk about outta the frying pan and into the fire.
- How many more outings before Bruney is determined to be a liability? How do you justify someone being an asset when he comes in and promptly sticks runners on 1st and 2nd in record time? Phil Coke got stuck with his mess, and Adam Lind's sac fly scored Marco Scutaro, which would be the last time the Jays crossed home for the night.
- Brian Tallet left in the 2nd after Robinson Cano lined one into his foot. I'm sure the Yanks were thrilled with him afterwards when they could barely scrape up a couple of hits off the Jays' relievers. "Dammit, Cano. You know how we feel about being caught off gaurd with new hurlers. What were you thinking?"
- I can't decide whether I find the Yanks' penchant for late-inning heroics exhilirating or disconcerting. After being held to only 4 hits in the first 7 innings, their bats came alive in the 8th. The last part of that sentence has probably been uttered about 78 times this year so far. Alex Rodriguez hit a 1-out single to center which was immensely clutch. Because it meant Matsui's homer in the next at-bat tied the game instead of just chip at the lead.
- As soon as the Yanks come back at home, I never expect them to lose. They feasted on the adrenaline produced from Matsui's ding, and carried it straight into the 9th inning, when visions of pie danced in my head. Brett Gardner has wasted approximately zero time reminding Yankee fans exactly how important he is to this club. He led off the 9th with a single, immediately darted to second, and then waited for rookie #2 to settle into his own Dare to Be Great moment.
- A well-managed game on Girardi's end.
Francisco Cervelli. So many things about this situation brought to mind "Hoosiers." First, his spot in the game was a function of Jorge Posada's
idioticannoying suspension. Maybe Posada pulled a Norman Dale and asked to be tossed so Shooter/Cerveilli could have a chance to show the world what he could do? Then when he steps to the plate with 1 out and the tying run on, how do you not think about Ollie hitting those Rick Barry shots to win the game?
- It's easy after a game like this to forget about the problems that manifested themselves in the innings prior to the dramatics. Maybe I'm a bit high strung on account of only have a 6.5 game lead instead of 100 like I want it. The quilt of pitchers they patched together ultimately got the job done, sort of. Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes looked great, not surprisingly, but is there any way we can be a little more economical with the number of pitchers used? I worry about their arms like management worries about Joba's.
But they got the job done. And managed to do so without tempers flaring. It doesn't get any easier from here on. Heading to the west coast on Friday, the Yankees are on the brink of their biggest challenge of the year, which is to maintain their momentum and confidence while also remaining rested and focused.
As Churchill advises, "Never, ever, ever give up."
And as Adam Sandler tells us, "Stay strong, stay focused, stay clean."
Speaking of rest, get it in tomorrow, since the demons of schedule-making are terrorizing us with another week of 10pm start times. Here's to the Yanks making a killing out there.
(PS Sorry about the delay on this! Another CBS880/GameDay night at the office. Still no success in convincing my job that baseball fans should get Fall Leave just like mothers get time off for babies.)