So things started looking up this weekend. Good times. Ok, Saturday wasn’t a good time. But Friday and Sunday went well. Of course, Friday and Sunday were the days I couldn’t watch the games! I did appreciate the update on A-Rod’s home run from the emcee at the awards reception my husband and I attended. Especially because he was a native of Boston and a former sportscaster. Nice.
Let’s not even talk about Saturday and my ever-fluctuating fan relationship with Phil Hughes. We know the talent is there. We know he can mix his pitches well. But I don’t understand why he can’t seem to minimize damage. It seems like all his bad innings come with five or more runs. However frustrating Joba’s first inning thing is, at least he regroups and tries to institute some damage control.
Which brings us to Sunday and Joba. I spent the day with Mama Reality Check and other assorted family members…
…which means I didn’t see Aubrey Huff do his little crybaby thing. I know, my words don’t mean much because I’m biased. I love everything about the way Joba goes about his job (except, maybe his first-inning phobia). But competition is about winning. And these guys do whatever they can to win. So, when they’re on the losing end, we’re supposed to believe the winning player or team should care about the loser’s feelings? How messed up is that? I never liked Manny admiring his home runs; but if people in the opposing dugout were actually being honest with themselves, they were admiring a lot of those bombs themselves.
And so it follows that Huff mocking Joba is a kind of, well, wimpy (especially since the O’s lost the game). It’s like telling everyone that you can’t handle the emotional distress inflicted by Joba’s fist pump. I also like how Joba’s response was, “It’s not the last time I’m going to face him.” Umm…what exactly is going to happen the next time you face him, Joba? Because I want to be in front of the television for that.
Also, who could stay mad at the nutty professor here: My husband also said something interesting about the whole first-inning thing the other day. He said that was always the way with Tom Glavine when he was younger. If you got to him in the first inning, you might have a chance to win. If he survived the first inning, forget it. Not sure how he overcame that, but I’m sure Joba will figure it out as he goes along. To me, it’s all about limiting walks. I don’t care if you give up a home run in the first inning – I care when there are two other guys on base at the time.
(Screen grab from YESnetwork.com)
Listen up, because I’m going to give you some real student-of-the-game analysis from last night’s 11-0 win. Ready? Here it comes:
Yay Phil Hughes!
Yay Jose Molina!
Yay Nick Swisher!
Yay Mark Melancon!
Wasn’t that enlightening? Truthfully, this was a game where I felt the frustration level might hit a breaking point. It was nice to see that the breaking point resulted in 11 runs. It was sort of a “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” inning.
The reality check is that it came off Detroit’s bullpen. When Phil Hughes gives you a start like that, you really should be able to get to the other team’s starter. But all’s well that ends well.
And, if you’ll let me geek out for a minute, how cool was it to see Hughes with his confidence back and all his pitches working? He really endeared himself to me last year with the way he handled a difficult year. He seems like a laid-back guy. I know some fans take that as not caring as much about the game, but I don’t think that’s true. I actually think he’s better off coping with disappointment from a more laid-back perspective. By the time I saw him pitch against Pawtucket towards the end of the summer last year, he seemed to be well on his way back. I think guys like him can bounce back, in part, because they don’t overreact to what everyone is saying about them. I hope Chien-Ming Wang will be able to muster the same fortitude.
Lord, this weekend was rough. Sitting in the stands at Fenway when Jason Bay hit that homer to tie it on Friday was no fun.
By the time Saint Ellsbury stole home on Sunday, I was not even remotely surprised. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had crapped purple horseshoes right in front of Posada at home plate. (And I like Jacoby, but the ESPN announcers were paying a nauseating amount of homage to the guy. You would have thought he just walked on water and fixed the economy.)
The most bizzaro-world discussion for me, however, was Joe Morgan saying that the Red Sox prospects on the farm were so much better than the Yankees farmhands. He explained by stating that Phil Hughes has been a prospect for a whole two years now and it hasn’t worked out for him, but the Red Sox have Clay Buchholz, who has been a prospect for….ummm…about the same amount of time as Phil Hughes! That’s some crack logic there. But it is Joe Morgan, after all.
The beat writers who cover the team regularly see many reasons for hope and positivity. The entire starting rotation bonded well in spring training. Robinson Cano is back to hitting like we know he can. Swisher and CC lighten up the dugout a bit. Austin Jackson and Mark Melancon were/are waiting in the wings in Scranton. The national media is just tripping over itself to play up the schedenfraude angle and pretend like not much has changed since 2003.
Look, I understand the Yankees aren’t great anymore. Their bullpen stinks, not because Joba’s not in it, but because the guys in there (minus Mo) blow chance after chance while the young guys are sitting on their hands in Scranton. (Does it really take a 15.00 ERA for Damaso Marte to get Melancon on a plane to New York?)
But it’s not like the Yankees are the bumbling doormats of the American League that people are trying to make them out to be. Apparently, that’s the fantasy of many writers who want to take a provocative stand on something–anything!–and fans who either don’t know baseball or are jealous that their team doesn’t have the same resources. Life’s tough in the capitalism business, you know what I’m sayin’?