The Little Engine That Could…
Wow, the winner is….ME!
When the season started and the Yankees promptly proceeded to drop the first 8 games of their season series to the Boston Red Sox, I was starting to develop an inferiority complex. At every turn, Julia was emerging victorious and I was wearing pink Red Sox hats. But finally the tide turned in early August.
At the All-Star break, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by four games. They had been swept in their last series before the break by the Los Angeles Angels, and admittedly, I was a bit pessimistic.
But after the break, the Yankees quickly caught and passed the Red Sox. Then, came the four game sweep at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox in early August that stopped the losing streak.
But the true test was the latest road trip. The Yankees first headed for Seattle where they took 3 of 4 from the Mariners. Next stop was Oakland. Former Yankee Brett Tomko silenced the Yankee bats in the first game, but the Yanks came back to win the next two to take the series. With a 5-2 road record, the Yankees headed for Boston. The Sox had been playing very well, and the 30 inning scoreless streak against the Yankees earlier in the month seemed to be a distant memory.
The Yankees took the first game at Fenway Park, but it wasn’t easy as ridiculous as it sounds. With a 12-1 lead, I was actually fretful of a Sox comeback. The Red Sox did starting scoring runs, but fortunately the Yanks stayed several steps ahead. At one point, I had sent an email to Julia to tell her guys to quit scoring. She didn’t listen. With a 20-7 lead in the 9th inning, the Red Sox scored 4 runs to close the gap to 20-11, but that was it…finally.
I knew that once the Yankees scored 20 runs, they were in trouble the next day. Generally, whenever the Yanks have scored 20 or more runs in a game, they struggle offensively the next night. I can really only recall one time that ever not being the case. Unfortunately, it held the next day as the Red Sox thrashed the Yanks, 14-1.
So, Julia and I went into the final game of the series tied. I wasn’t overly optimistic given that Josh Beckett was on the mound. But at least we had CC Sabathia on our side. I recognize that CC has had his share of failures at Fenway Park, but in August, CC seems virtually unstoppable. It wasn’t a great performance on Sunday, but he didn’t give up 5 home runs like Beckett. Plus, he had Hideki Matsui on his side. Matsui lived up to his nickname this series, “Godzilla”…
It was somewhat bittersweet given that this is perhaps his final year in pinstripes. There is virtually no chance that the Yankees will re-sign Matsui so this is his farewell tour. The Red Sox probably wish that he would have left a year earlier.
In the end, the Yanks had an 8-4 victory, and completed a 7-3 winning road trip. They had taken the Red Sox in the latest series, with only one more remaining. So, it means that my friend Julia will be posting a Pro-Yankee Top 11 List. Plus, she must spend a day wearing a Yankees cap and provide photos to prove it. A pink Yankees cap has been ordered through MLB.com, and is making its way to Boston.
Enjoy being a Yankees fan for a day, Julia!
…farewell until we meet again in September! We’ll need to come up with a memorable wager since it will be the last hurrah of 2009…well, at least until the Yanks meet the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series!
With the Red Sox’ win tonight over the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees’ lead in the AL East stands at 7 games. This one is far from over, but on August 24th, I like where the Yankees sit.
During the off-season, I liked the moves that Theo Epstein made for the Red Sox, including the one they didn’t make (Mark Teixeira). Overall, I thought that Theo did a better job of filling the holes, while Brian Cashman was focusing on big game. Even during the season, Theo has made some wise moves, such as the trade for Cleveland’s Victor Martinez. John Smoltz didn’t pan out, but he was better suited for the NL anyway. In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather have Clay Buchholz in the starting rotation than John Smoltz so it worked out for Boston. I was frustrated when the Yanks’ biggest in-season moves were Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Chad Gaudin. But the patience that Brian Cashman had (that I did not have) paid off as the bullpen solidified once Phil Hughes began his mastery of the 8th inning. I guess that’s why Cash gets the big bucks, and I only sit and write about it.
I am still not convinced that the Yankees have the starting pitching to go deep in the play-offs unless A.J. Burnett steps up his game. But the Yanks have the talent to get hot in late September/early October. Frank Miller, a late cartoonist for The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, used to say that it wasn’t an official World Series if the Yankees weren’t in it. I am thinking that it is time for an official World Series…