Up All Night
Just who do the Yankees think they are: the Red Sox? The Bombers are making a habit of winning games in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion this season. Amen, brother. They played a wild game against the Angels on a muggy and wet spring night in New York. The weather was a harbinger of a hot New York summer (“Dog Day Afternoon” hot, “Do the Right Thing” hot), and the game was delayed twice by rain. Kevin Brown was far from stellar, and Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the year. However, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez had three hits each, and Gary Sheffield drove in the winning run in extra innings to give the Bombers the “w.” Oh yeah, some guy named Ruben Sierra came up big for New York again.
I caught Peter Gammons on Baseball Tonight during the second rain delay, and he was asked who was harder to hit against right now: Franciso Rodriguez or Mariano Rivera. He made the correct call and went with Rodriguez. So would you believe that they both pitched one inning last night, both gave up three hits (Rivera allowed two earned runs, Rodriguez one earned, one unearned), and both blew saves for the first time all year? Go figure.
I was supposed to go to the game with Jay Jaffe but I couldn’t make it on the count of having to work late. Man, I hope Jay stayed for the whole thing. (I’ll link his report once he’s got it up.) While you are waiting, peep Larry Mahnken’s excellent write-up, “An Affair to Remember.”
The Angels are a great-looking team despite the fact that some of their best players are on the DL. They look every bit as good, if not better than the Red Sox (minus the sick starting pitching). My man Vlad Guerrero stroked an RBI double on the first pitch he saw from Kevin Brown, and later poked a solo homer to right off him too. (Brown’s stuff was up in the zone early.) For several seasons I’ve felt that Vlad is the Bizarro version of Alex Rodriguez. He’s as violent and raw as Rodriguez is smooth and polished. Vlad looks like he’s off the farm, while Rodriguez looks like he’s just off the runway. Off the field, he’s a withdrawn and demure as Rodriguez is gregarious and photogenic. Guerrero has heavy eye-lids and a sweet smile, though he’s not conventionally good-looking like Rodriguez. Actually, Vlad looks more like a goat than a sex symbol. (What are those creatures from mythology that are half human and half goats? That’s Vladi.) They are a fascinating contrast in styles, but are arguably the two best players under 30 in the game. Guerrero is all legs and ass, and he swings at balls and strikes alike. According to Jack Curry:
“Since I was a little boy, I’ve been swinging at everything I see that comes near home plate,” said Guerrero, who was at Yankee Stadium with the Angels last night. “That’s one thing I’ve never changed.”