It’s true: Happiness does breed complacency. The busy season at work is breathing down my neck, but truthfully I haven’t been writing about the Yankees because I’ve been so satisfied watching them lately. (Let me be clear that this has nothing to do with being fair-weather, but more to do with the fact that I’m at my best when I’m complaining. Just asked my husband. He thinks it’s the greatest show on earth when I get up in arms about something.)
But, recently, with the Yankees, it’s been a big ‘ole love fest. Until last night.
I didn’t mind that they lost the last game in Seattle. It’s crappy luck when three pitchers all don’t have it on the same day. But last night was some lazy-*** ****. Things I did not like:
- Managing to leave every man on base who got into scoring position.
- Getting the feeling you get with a number-9 hitter every time A-Rod came up.
- The atrocious double play A-Rod hit into with the bases loaded and maddeningly weak hacks by others
- The swinging-at-the-first-pitch fest that had me tucked into bed at 12:15 a.m. I’ve never seen a Yankees game end that fast.
(BTW – Derek Jeter is always exempt from these critiques in my world, mostly because he just keeps hitting the ball no matter what goes on.)
There are nights when you think your team ran into a buzzsaw. And then there are nights when your pitcher balks in a run and your offense looks like they’d rather be playing cards in the clubhouse. At least they didn’t have to tax the bullpen. It looked like it might happen in the fourth, but A.J. miraculously recovered his cool. The offense? Not so much.
Still, the Oakland A’s are no buzzsaw. We have the Angels and apparently the Rangers for that. So, pretty please, boys can we get the mojo back tonight? I know you’ll be okay in the long run but it’s best not to let the lazy become ingrained.
Not to be outdone, Swisher went yard about a minute later. Take that, haters! And by haters, I mean my husband. (Btw, the Swisher battle in my house is becoming epic: Tim simply refers to him as “the S-word.”
So, I was enjoying the romp (and some mint chocolate chip ice cream) when the channel switched to Bravo of its own accord. Damn you, DVR. Because Weeds and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List were both taping, I couldn’t watch the rest of the game! There’s got to be a way to fix that you can’t tape two shows and watch a third at the same time, right? I mean, besides making us buy actual Tivo?
When I turned back I saw that Swisher had jacked another one, and that Johnny Damon had hit his 200th career homer.
It has taken me a while to warm up to Johnny Damon, and not just because he came from the Red Sox. I know he’s still crazypants on the inside, but he seems to have matured a bit with the Yankees, if only in a relative kind of way. (Also, he dreams about A.J.)
So, congrats all around! Hopefully the Trop and Scotty Kazmir continue to be good to the Yanks tonight.
So I missed yesterday’s funfest because I was at work and only monitoring the Gamecast every once in a while. I’ve also been away from the computer a lot lately due to both the day job and some freelancing. I did see Matsui’s walk-off, which was completely and totally adorable. We usually only see him with the stoic face on. It was nice to see a smile. And, btw, doesn’t he look about ten years younger with his batting helmet off?
Anyway, yesterday was apparently a roller coaster of dropped fly balls, tremendous pitching from AJ, amazing catches from the same person who brought you the drop, uneven pitching from Bruney, Phil/Mo awesomeness, and ice cream metaphors. That’s the kind of craziness I can get behind.
I haven’t seen highlights of Swisher’s drop in the third inning, but it looks like he more than redeemed himself with this:
Notice the clete marks. I’ll admit, it’s hard to advocate for Swish when he has his lapses in the field. But seriously, who’s going to try to argue that Hinske makes those two plays? Not a chance. And how was Swish able to make those plays after he’d botched one so badly? He’s able to put things away right after they happen and focus (relatively) on the next play. People undervalue that skill.
Oh, intangibles. How we love you. Or hate you. Depending on who we are. If you’re a stat-head, you don’t care about the psychological aspects that come into play. But Swisher certainly has a boatload of those qualities: he’s a good teammate, he’s not afraid to get banged up out there, he’s patient at the plate, he’s relentlessly positive, and he likes playing in New York and handles everything that goes along with that well.
To wit, this quote via NorthJersey.com: “That’s when I’m at my best, when I’m having fun and laughing and
joking around,” Swisher said. “I think there’s a lot of people in this
world who would trade their right arm to trade spots with me.” Which brings me to Brian Bruney.
I’m not one of those fans who writes people off without ample evidence, so I won’t write Bruney off as a pitcher. However, the one thing I really can’t stand is when someone acts like the friendly, goofy guy when things are going good and then turns around and becomes a sarcastic jack*** when he’s forced to take responsibility for a mistake. Sure, you can be disappointed in yourself and you don’t have to be a shiny happy person like Swish. Just say, “Yeah, I know I still have some stuff to work on.” How hard is that? Apparently, snapping at the beat writers is just easier.
Yes, three wild pitches and four walks are not ideal. But when he needed an out, he buckled down and got an out. That’s the kind of resilience I want to see. Joba should stop arguing with Jorge and start asking A.J. what he does to calm down in those situations.
Speaking of needing to calm down, and people thinking you need to calm down, we have Phil Coke and Nick Swisher. Always eager to add to the adventurous nature of a game, Phil Coke seemed to have a bit of a hyper moment out there, giving up a home run to Joe Mauer. I often want to tell him to count to ten, do some yoga, picture Joe Mauer in his underwear. (Whatever works.)
Swisher on the other hand loves being out in the field so much that he needs to dispel some of that pent-up energy with little hops, skips, and jumps up against the padded walls. He must have been an exhausting little kid. I kind of understand why Girardi talked to him in the dugout about it, but I tend to think that Girardi is Debbie Downer. C’mon man, Swisher is high on life and you’re just killing his buzz.
All in all, the game moved a little slowly for my taste. My boy Brett Gardner was actually the only one trying to inject any speed into the proceedings. My fondness for Brett continues to grow with each passing day. I don’t care what people think the racial implications of calling a white ballplayer “scrappy” or “gritty” are. That’s not how I see it. White, black, Latino, Native American: if you exceed expectations, prove you can help the team, and don’t take your spot there for granted, you’re good in my book. I want you on my team and I will call you scrappy, gritty, gutty and, occasionally, awesome. Keep it rolling, Brett the Jet.
Finally, I just want to say how endearing Francisco Cervelli’s comments were about his time in the big leagues. Now that he has returned to AAA-Scranton, and even though I have a soft spot for Jose Molina, I think more people than just CC and AJ are going to miss him.
What the hell was that, A.J. Burnett?
And why the hell did every Yankee forget how to hit virtually overnight? More specifically, why was Robbie Cano the only one who looked remotely interested in playing this game?
And what the hell is this?
This pretty much sums up Red Sox fans, right here. Only in their freakin’ Bud Light-addled minds would it be ok for someone to hold up a sign like this about A-Rod while Papi struggles to hit over .200 (because of his lack of…what, exactly?) and the two World Series they won were on the back of Manny “Manboobs” Ramirez. Seriously? You’re actually going to try to take the moral high ground? For christsakes. Hundreds of colleges and universities in the area and the locals still manage to be a bunch of morons.
Can I just say that A.J. getting suspended for a pitch that never made contact with Nelson Cruz is ridiculous? In fact, the whole idea of suspending pitchers for what you suspect their intent was is ridiculous. How ’bout we just suspend and fine the guys who actually throw at and hit someone? That would be a novel idea.
Let’s take Sherriff Joshua Patrick Beckett, for instance. I believe he was pitching a no-hitter the other night when a batter tried to bunt for a hit. Apparently, that breaks the Man Code or something. Never mind that, as the opposing team in that situation, you really need baserunners any way you can get them. Josh wasn’t about to let that go unpunished. He promptly hit the guy the next time he came up. Did he get suspended or fined? I haven’t seen anything about it.
I love that Teixiera got hit twice in the Yanks-Rangers game in question and three other Yankees got buzzed by Padilla, but the headlines are all about A.J. The Rangers get to quietly put Padilla on waivers for being such a ***** and endangering his own teammates? Seriously, let’s get rid of all this disingenous crap about throwing at people. If Pedro Martinez had been fined enough for every head he ever threw at, he’d be back under his mango tree without two pennies to rub together.
This was a banner weekend for the Yankees. Ok, maybe not completely storybook. I mean, you don’t want to keep getting yourself in the position of having to win by walk-off. But the qualities I want to see in a team that’s in it for the long haul are there.
Even when some people are having critical lapses in judgment…
…there is an aggressiveness that wasn’t there last year. I’m seeing sacrifice bunts and nice defensive plays. I’m seeing better things from the bullpen (which I’m superstitiously scared to even type). And for some reason, we’re seeing a lot more of the guys’ tongues:
Even Phil, Joba and A.J. kept their mental composure and did their best to limit any damage.