Tagged: Great Games to Remember

The 8-7 Win

So we’re down a run in the top of the ninth and Texas calls in their closer, Akinori Otsuka. The first pitch he throws is lined up the middle by Jeter and then Giambi taters one into the seats. Just like that, BOOM, ball game’s over and thaaaaaaaaaaa Yankeeees WIN! Because we all know who’s pitching the ninth. That’s right, the guy with the fourth most career saves. Mo comes in and the sweep is accomplished. Of course, every win is important, but losing today wouldn’t have been that big a deal. We would’ve won the series and Boston and Chicago lost so we’d lose no ground. But like I said, at this time of year every win is crucial so gaining a game in the standings is helpful. Unfortunatly, it’s just one game and doesn’t mean anything if we don’t build on it. So great game Yankees, but keep it up.

All 8 runs proved necessary to nail down this win, but I want to bring attention to one of those runs. To lead off the 8th inning an A-Bomb landed beyond the walls in dead center field. The guy that supposedly stinks so bad that we need to trade him sparked a 4 run rally and the first run scoring frame for the Yanks since the first. Giambi’s long ball only would’ve tied the game without A-Rod’s solo shot, so you can’t knock him down for only hitting when it doesn’t matter. Also, Happy 31st Birthday A-Rod!

But let’s not forget the miracle that was Shawn Chacon. Inheriting a bases loaded, zero out situation in the 8th inning and keeping the one run deficit intact. Chacon induced a swinging K and a double play, beautifully done to set the stage for Giambi’s game winner. Plus, he bailed out Proctor who’s probably been overworked the past few days.

I liked seeing Fasano in the lineup already. That must be a good feeling. Get traded that morning and your new manager immediatly needs you in the game. Also must’ve been an exciting victory to be apart of with his new team. He’s kinda tubby, looks like slow motion when he labors out to the pitching mound, but I see more enthusiasm from him than I saw from Stinnett. Fasano looks jazzed to be playing and might be the slowest base runner in the major leagues, but he undoubtably has a lively spring in his step. However, they’re both second string catchers so I don’t see much of an improvement. I mean, this isn’t the final piece of the puzzle that wins us the AL East. Fasano hit .243 in 50 games for the Phillies and Stinnett hit .228 in 34 games for us.

I bet we keep this streak alive with our top 3 pitchers slated to face the D’Rays (that’s such a bizarre animal to name a team after). And lucky for us we won’t see Kazmir because of shoulder soreness. Although the kid they’re starting on Friday looks decent.

How about them Twins? Pretty remarkable what they’ve done this year. I heard something like they’ve only lost 8 of their last 42 games. At one point they were like 23 and 2 in their last 25 games. I don’t know if they can fend off Chicago once the reigning Champs get rolling again. Last year I believe both Baltimore and Washington entered the All-Star break with division leads and then lost them before the end of July. I doubt that will plague the White Sox. That means the Yankees need to aim for first place in their own division, because Chicago is down but they aren’t out.

And you know, I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be awesome to win a Game 7 of the World Series on an outfielder throwing out a runner trying for the tieing run at home plate? Winning like that might be cooler than winning on a walk off home run. I’m putting in the call: Game 7, Yankee Stadium, top of the ninth and one out, score 6-5 in the Yankees’ favor, Jose Reyes at third base and there’s a fly ball hit to left field and Melky guns him down at the plate. Boy, that would be dramatic.

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Melky Learns How to Hit the Walkoff Home Run

Great way to win a ballgame. That’s how we’re winning the World Series this year. Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Bottom of the ninth, down a run. Runner on first base, two outs and Melky’s at the plate with two strikes. We’re playing the Mets so of course Wagner’s on the mound, one strike away from winning the World Series. He tries to throw that slider, but no sir, you can’t fool the Melk Man. Melky Cabrera creams it, crushes it, a tape measure no doubter moon shot. It looks like we had Ruth or Reggie or Mantle back all over again. And Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Yankeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By that time I assume Matsui and Sheffield will be back, so I don’t know why Melky would be in the lineup. But trust me, it’s going to happen. And it will be sweet.

Ponson pitched very well. Sterling was very impressed and gave him the "player of the game" award. Hopefully Ponson can repeat this. Maybe he’ll manage to get that third out next time to make it 7 full innings. 5 hits and 5 Ks is pretty good. He even picked off a baserunner. That home run to Sexson was the only mistake. Too bad there were runners on.

Once again our bullpen was fantastic. Did exactly what they had to, held off the Mariners and gave the offense enough time to score. Villone, Wilson, Farnsworth and Proctor combined for 4 1/3 innings, struck out 4, walked only 1 and allowed only 2 hits. Well done boys.

Hopefully The Unit can seal the deal on a second consecutive sweep. Go Yankees!

“An Aaaa-Bomb from Aaaa-Rod”

I knew it. I knew it. I called his shot like I and countless other fans always do in that situation. 12th inning, one out, runner on first, down a run and A-Rod hits a game winning long ball. Perfect timing. I’m very happy for the former MVP. And an important game to win to keep pace with the storming BoSox who are currently cooking up the Mets for their 11th straight victory.

Chien-Ming was excellent. He deserved adding a W to his record. I was impressed by the way he handled the fourth inning when Renteria led off with a double. Like a veteran he allowed only that one run. And 19 groundouts speaks volumes for the effectiveness of his sinker ball. He was definitly in gear today. And despite their abysmal record, the Braves have big numbers shelved in that lineup. Look at the offensive stats he had to deal with:

Renteria, .300 BA – 8 HR – 30 RBI
C. Jones, .288 BA – 8 HR – 38 RBI
A. Jones, .282 BA – 18 HR – 65 RBI
Francoeur, .254 BA – 15 HR – 57 RBI
LaRoche, .241 BA – 12 HR – 40 RBI

Some of the batting averages aren’t great, but they have no trouble driving in runs. I underestimated their offense. Supposedly they have the worst bullpen, or one of the worst, in the league. I think they lead the NL with 16 blown saves. But Paronto, McBride and Villarreal shut us down for 3 and 2/3 innings. Barry worked 3 innings of scoreless relief on Monday. So I guess the odds were in our favor when Jorge Sosa came on in the 12th. I normally don’t like to pick on players, but Sosa’s numbers are very unattractive. Prior to today’s game, he had surrendered 92 hits in 75 and 2/3 innings. A-Rod’s home run is the 19th Sosa’s allowed all year. Today’s loss was his 10th of the year. I don’t mean this to dampen A-Rod’s home run at all, but Bobby Cox might’ve done wiser to stick with the pitcher already in there.

Anyway, our bullpen isn’t in great shape either. Mariano was brilliant. Farnsworth and Myers didn’t get the job done. Proctor came on with the bases loaded, threw one pitch and induced the pop out. Boded well for his performance until Giles went deep the next inning. Other than Mariano Ron Villone is our reliever with the best numbers. He hasn’t been used as much as Proctor (33 innings pitched compared to Proctor’s 49), but other than last night he has pitched very well all season. Only 2 runs allowed in April. Only 2 runs allowed in May, which he ended with an ERA of 1.66. June has seen the ERA go up to 2.18, but I think it’s about time to see him take over Proctor’s long term relief role.

I like Melky a lot, but I think he should be dropped in the order. The number 2 spot is Jeter’s spot, and I think Jeter should only be hitting 3rd if Melky were to reach base just a bit more often. Giambi should be hitting in the first inning. We need his patience to wear at the pitcher’s pitch count a little. I can imagine Melky hitting after A-Rod, except that might lead to more intentional walks. But we don’t have anyone like Matsui to protect that from happening. I’m sure any pitcher would prefer to walk A-Rod and face Posada or Bernie, and they’ve been the ones protecting A-Rod. I still love the Melk Man and think he’s one of the strongest in the rookie crop, but I’d rather see Jeter take the plate after Damon.

I’m gonna catch the Rangers game so I can check out the replays and comments from last night’s fiasco. Ninth inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, down 2 runs and Teixeira hits a ball down the line that kicks up chalk, but the ump ruled it foul. Tex was ejected for throwing a tantrum, but it was justified. Phil Garner throwing a chair onto the field on Monday wasn’t justified. And he’s only suspened one game! That’s a joke. For throwing a chair onto the field?! In my opinion that deserves a suspension from at least one series, maybe two.

The Rangers’ commentator Tom Grieve made an interesting point about umpires. He said that for the fans’ view of umpires to improve then they need to take responsibility for their mistakes. So far the umpire in question hasn’t changed his position on the call, even after watching the replay. Grieve says that if a player has to face reporters after a game, then umpires need to do the same if asked to. It’s a good argument and it’s an argument I buy.

Fireman Watch
Nathan saved his 13th game (striking out the side in the ninth, the Twins have won 7 straight!). Chris Ray saved his 20th. Dempster saved his 12th (also striking out the side). Jenks saved his 24th. Isringhausen got his 6th blown save and then Wickman got his 3rd blown save. Ken Ray got his 3rd blown save and then Jorge Sosa got his 1st blown save.

Another Comeback!

Mussina pitched a great game. Perhaps not his best, but 7 innings with 2 earned runs should’ve been enough to make him a 7 game winner. His ERA stayed at 2.56 and he collected 7 strikeouts without allowing a walk. That performance would’ve recieved a standing ovation at home. The 4 errors we made helped out the Mets who only got 5 hits. I don’t know if Pedro was just dominant (7 innings, 8 Ks, 4 hits) or if our lineup was mitigated by Cairo, Cabrera, Stinnett and the pitcher slot.

Our play was downright pathetic early in the game. No timely hitting, no hard hit balls and a couple of errors made it very frustrating to watch. Meanwhile Mussina was busy keeping the score within reach.

So what happens? Wagner enters the ninth with a 4 run lead and the Yankees faced the possibility of their first shut out this season. Wagner pitched an inning last night, striking out the side on like 12 pitches.

Well, that didn’t happen again. Two hits, three walks and a hit batter equalled the score. Giambi led off with a basehit. I was surprised Joe didn’t put in a pinch runner. He often does if Giambi reaches in the late innings. A huge at-bat belonged to Melky, who drew a walk to load the bases with one out.

A few batters later Damon stepped in with the bases loaded and still one out. The score was 4-3. He hit a chopper to short but beat the throw to first. Damon’s speed saved the day. Tie game.

Proctor pitches the ninth. Rivera enters in the tenth.

Cairo walks to lead off the eleventh and steals second and third. Two outs later Phillips (replacing Giambi on defense an inning ago) singles and the comeback is complete!

Rivera pitches an awesome bottom half to secure the win.

I think the last two innings were Rivera’s best this year. Rivera is my favorite Yankee. The closing pitcher’s role is my favorite position and I’m a fan of any great closer (including Papelbon). So sometimes when Rivera has a rough inning, allowing baserunners or even runs, I long for the days when he was literally an automatic three up, three down machine. I listened to last night’s game on the radio so I didn’t realize how close Wright’s winning hit was to Damon. Mariano was unlucky that Damon couldn’t reach the ball in time. He didn’t pitch badly. If my memory is correct I believe the last out of the 2000 World Series was Piazza’s deep fly ball off Rivera. I recall that split second when everything stopped, my heart sinking because it looked like a homerun. But it wasn’t, just a towering fly ball that Bernie squeezed the leather on. He was lights out again today, strikeing out the side in the eleventh. You could see the pain on the Mets’ faces when lefties took a huge cut and got nothin’ but air when that cutter dove inside. Cliff Floyd hit a number of line drives way foul as Rivera continued his assult on that inside corner. And the righties were just lost, hacking at space, looking for the ball and not finding it. I think that’s what guys mean when they say, "Rivera breaks bats and spirits", because unlike some closers who just throw 99mph rising fastballs, Rivera’s finesse and movement results in embarrasing swings most of the time. It was awesome to see Rivera wield that control against a strong lineup. And I think this comeback might’ve been sweeter than Posada’s walk off just because we beat the Mets and we played so sloppy for the first 8 innings.

Even though Mussina doesn’t get a W he made this win possible. He gave us the chance. After Mussina we can be grateful for the patient eyes against Wagner who was touching 97, 98 mph. And finally thank you Damon for running fast. I don’t think anyone else on this team could’ve beaten that throw. Maybe Jeter.

Other good news: Kevin Reese got the first hit of his major league career.

GO YANKEES!

27 Runs, 34 Hits

I’ve been pondering this 30 day free trial for awhile. I couldn’t think of a name though. I toyed with the idea of calling it Chin Music but, eh, that sounded weird. After tonight’s unforgettable comeback win though the name was supplied and I decided that now was as good a time as ever. Seeing Chacon last only an inning and a third was ugly and after a 9-1 deficit heading into the third (John Sterling summed it up nicely: "The Yankees are getting embarrased") I was pretty much as disinterested in baseball as I’ll ever be, but I reminded myself that the reason why I love the Yankees is their comeback victories. Those games are the most memorable and hoping for another glorious memory tonight I luckily chose to stick around and it paid off soon.

As a brief aside, my most recent memory of a comeback win involved Matsui. It was also Chacon’s first game with the Yankees last year. I think the ninth inning deficit was more than one run though, perhaps 4 or 5 even and I assume Frankie Rodriguez was pitching because it was the Angels they were playing. Anyway, I just remember Matsui lofting the game winning hit into the left center gap. Most likely there are a few more in between then and now but that’s the one I remember.

I’m not giving a recap since you can read the article written by some MLB reporter. A summary wouldn’t do this game justice anyway. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if it was game 7 of the World Series.

One reason for my early disinterest was because Phillips, Cairo and Cabrera were playing. However, they went a combined 6 for 14 and I believe it was Cairo who had the 2 out, go ahead single in the sixth. Posada’s homer was also a 2 out hit. Good stuff.

I love Torre and I normally don’t question his calls, but replacing Farnsworth with Rivera in the ninth seemed unnecessary. Farnsworth pitched a perfect eighth, with two Ks and less than ten pitches. Why couldn’t he pitch the ninth? If he got in trouble then Joe could bring in Mariano. And maybe I’m focusing on the negative outings but Mariano isn’t as unhittable as he once was. Broadcasters still say any hit he allows is rare but they really aren’t. He’s thrown 16 innings and surrendered 18 hits. Only 14 saves until 400 though. I think he has a chance to be the first to 500. He should only need 2 or 3 seasons after this one. Hoffman only needs 57 for 500 but he turns 39 this October. Anyway, that chase will be exciting, so if you are tired of Bonds desperately looking to hobble around the bases once more, look forward to Rivera and Hoffman chasing 500 career saves.

I’m really disappointed in Sturtz. I don’t know how many leads he blew, but there were a few that could’ve been avoided. In some way I think what Sturtz did is just as bad as a player taking steroids. By keeping his sore shoulder a secret Sturtz cheated his team out of at least a couple of wins. Anyway, no offense to Tanyon, but he isn’t missed.

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