Friday, August 29, 2008

Yankees Save Face

I think Alex Rodriguez should take a page from Jason Giambi's book and grow a 1970's porn star moustache, buy himself some leopard print g-string underwear, and maybe start contributing when it counts. While A-rod went a quiet 0-4 that hardly got noticed by the friendly Yankee fans (hee hee), Jason Giambi spent the game on the bench, combing the moustache and adjusting the g-string (those things do tend to bunch up when you sit for too long). Then, with the Yankees losing 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th inning, two outs, and a runner at second base, Terry Francona made the call to the bullpen to have Hideki Okajima face the number 9 batter, Jose Molina.

Jason Giambi homersIn perhaps his first smart managerial move of the series, Joe Girardi sent in Jason Giambi to pinch hit. Giambi hiked up the g-string, put his game face on, and went in to show A-Rod how it is done. Two pitches later, A-Rod watched Giambi's shot clear the center field fence for a game tying two run home run, and said to himself, "why can't I do that?". Giambi was not done. In the bottom of the 9th, with the game still tied at 2 a piece, Gaimbi came up to face Jonathan Papelbon with one out and bases loaded. Giambi came through again, sending a looping line drive to center field to score the winning run from third. So, A-Rod, that's how you do it.

In a fittingly close, well fought game, the Red Sox bowed to the Yankees in the third game of this final series to be played by these two teams in the House That Ruth Built (and Steinbrenner tore down). It is amazing the roller coaster fans have put themselves on. When the Sox won the first two games, life was simply perfect, and fans began wondering which team the Sox would be facing in the World Series. Then, they lose game three, 3-2, and suddenly everything is ruined. All the joy from the prior two days now crushed, doubts flooding back in. Get a grip people, otherwise emergency room will be filling up with heart attacks and nervous breakdowns.

Jon LesterYesterday's game was much more of a classic battle that we have come to expect from these two teams. Jon Lester pitched a very nice game, rebounding well from his last poor outing against the Blue Jays. But, as we are so used to seeing, the Yankees methodically drove Lester's pitch count up, so that, by the time he left with 2 outs in the 6th inning, he had thrown 119 pitches. Had he been able to keep that pitch count down, he would not have gotten lifted when he did, and we may have seen a different outcome. Hideki Okajima missed on a pitch to Giambi that changed the outcome of the game. But, wouldn't it have been nice if the Sox had scored more than two runs? Simply a tough game, and fitting that the Yankees should win the final regular season game - makes better history.

Remember when Josh Beckett got crushed by the Blue Jays, and I wrote that I was concerned this was due to an injury that we have not been told about yet? Well, it turns out I had reason to worry. Beckett has been scratched from his start tonight, and will instead, be going to visit the good Doctor Andrews. Nerve damage in the elbow can be a big problem. We don't know if Beckett's issue is big or not, but let's keep our fingers crossed on this one.

I will tell you this. If worse comes to worse, and the Sox lose Beckett for the rest of the season (God forbid), it is NOT all over. I expect they will continue to play well, certainly well enough to get into the playoffs, and then go to battle. Yes, having a healthy Beckett would be much, much better. But, when you look at last year's playoff run, when Beckett was clearly the overall MVP, you can look at it this way. Last year Beckett saved them. That is good and bad. It is good because it earned them a Championship. It is bad because they actually needed saving.

Yes, better pitching from their other starters, and better timely hitting, would have allowed Beckett to simply have a good playoff run and still win a Championship. He stepped up and became a hero, but, in a way, it is too bad we needed a hero to begin with. So, if this year, everyone picks up their game in the playoffs, and everything clicks, we may not need a single hero.

All that said, let's just hope Beckett gets back, healthy and strong.

Tonight the Sox face off against the Sox for an important three game series. The Sox are battling for first place with the Rays while the Sox are trying to hold on to first place over the Twins. if the Sox beat the Sox, then the Sox could find themselves behind the Twins and vying for the Wild Card. But, if the Sox beat the Sox, the Sox could lose control of their lead for Wild Card spot. So, either way, the Sox need to fare well against the Sox, and vice-versa. I am optimistic, since the Sox have fared well against the Sox this season, with tonight's starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, having had his best outing of the year against the Sox earlier this month. (I hope all of this is clear).

(Photos Courtesy of ESPN)


Suldog said...

A-Rod is so amazingly non-productive in the clutch, it has now become almost painful to watch. For goodness' sakes, the check swing he took with two strikes, resulting in a foul, was worse than the actual strikeout swing. Feh.

On the other hand, sometimes you just have it in the cards for you on a particular day. I had little doubt about Giambi driving in a run there. I would have loved to have been proven wrong, but it almost seemed a foregone conclusion, even with Paps on the hill.

Have a great holiday weekend, Rooster!

Santiago said...

I agree with suldog. ARod is the most unclutch player this year. I mean I admit we have high standards for him, but thats only because we know of what he is capable. I mean we all know he has the ability to drive in 150 runs and to hit 40 jacks, its just up to his nerves to see if that becomes a reality. He can't keep whiffing in these situations forever - eventually good players come through, bottom line.

For more insight and commentary on basball and the rest of the sporting world, check out my blog at

Rooster said...

I'm with you Sul. A-Rod rarely seems to come through when everything is on the line. I think he gets his head into it too much. Best to keep your head quiet, and let you body take over.

Thanks for stopping by Santiago. I checked out your site, I like it.