Results tagged ‘ Jeff Niemann ’

Shoulder to Shoulder with the Iron Horse…

 

All hail the Captain…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

After a few games of goose eggs, Derek Jeter busted through with a 3-for-4 night to tie Lou Gehrig’s franchise hit record.  Both DJ and Larrupin’ Lou stand at 2,721 hits…

 

 

Congrats to DJ for a well-deserved achievement, and of course, all his future hits will be franchise records.  This adds another reason to why the Yankees need to do what’s right, and lock up Jeter for the remainder of his career.  We don’t need another Brett Favre in Minnesota saga…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays was a microcosm for what’s wrong with the 2009 Rays.  Great starting pitching…awful bullpen.  Rookie Jeff Niemann was masterful against the Yanks tonight.  In 7 innings, he did give up 8 hits, but only allowed one earned run and had 8 strikeouts.  Given that the East Coast games start while I am still at work, I was constantly checking the game score on my BlackBerry.  Despite a significant advantage in hits, the Yankees couldn’t seem to push any runs across the plate.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

I have a good friend that is a die-hard Rays fan.  For many years, Kelly has held a single season ticket to games at Tropicana Field and she is generally there without fail.  She was going to Rays games when you needed binoculars to see the person sitting next to you and parking was free.  After the double-header sweep on Monday, Kelly sent me an email the next day that said “I would rather lose like we did yesterday to the Yankees than to play like we did last week. We were winning the games until the late 8th or even 9th inning and then the bullpen just gives the games away. Sunday we gave up a grand Slam in the 9th to lose the game. That is just brutal. No matter what the score is when the starting pitcher leaves the game, the fans can rest assured that the bullpen will screw it up.”  Unfortunately (for her), the next two games proved to be the exact formula she was hoping to avoid.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

It is an unfortunate situation because I was hoping that the Tampa Bay Rays would beat out the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card spot (sorry Julia!).  Most likely, the Rays would not have beaten Boston had they retained Scott Kazmir.  However, that trade just seemed to draw the life out of the Rays.  He couldn’t have helped their bullpen woes, but it seemed like Rays management were throwing in the towel.

 

defeat.jpg image by teddygross

 

Tonight’s game had another great finish.  Trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning, and unable to get any runs across despite an advantage in hits, the Yankees started their patented late inning comeback.  It was an inning early but why wait if you have the bats.  Alex Rodriguez ended Jeff Niemann’s night with a single.  Enter Lance Cormier.  Hideki Matsui singled to advance A-Rod to third.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. entered the game as a pinch runner for Godzilla.  Nick Swisher reached first base on a throwing error, scoring A-Rod.  Hairston advanced to third.  Brian Shouse relieved Cormier.  The stage was set for Robby Cano to be the hero, but he promptly struck out.  Next up was Jorge Posada, who batted for Brett Gardner.  The Rays brought Grant Balfour in the game to face Posada, but the move failed.  Jorge launched a three-run homer to right, and the Yankees had their first lead of the game, 4-2.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

Brian Bruney secured the first two out of the 9th inning, and I had some choice words for Joe Girardi when he brought Phil Coke in to relieve Bruney.  But Joe, showing why he is the Yankees manager and not me, watched Coke strike out Gabe Kapler to end the game.

 

 

 

The Red Sox also won tonight, 7-5 over the Baltimore Orioles, to stay 2 games ahead of the Texas Rangers.  Sorry Julia, but I was pulling for the O’s.  They tried, but couldn’t quite do it…

 

Steven Senne/AP

 

However, the Yankees’ magic number is still reduced to 14.  Ah, Sweet Lou, those were some great years…

 

UPI

 

The Yankees are now 40-13 since the All-Star Break.  I remember sitting 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and I told Julia that the Yankees could win 4 more games than the Red Sox by the end of the year.  She thought I was talking rubbish…

 

 

This night belonged to Derek Jeter, but I will close my post with a tribute to my idol.  Lou, you have been and always will be the greatest Yankee (to borrow some words from Spock).  Your records may be tied and broken, but you were a lasting inspiration and there’s no doubt that had you been able to play out your career to the fullest, you would have set marks that never would have been broken.  But regardless of what may happen, you will always remain the true Pride of the Yankees…

 

 

 

–Scott

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