While the Yankees JV team dropped two games in Toronto, there are more serious matters transpiring around baseball. The Cubs and the A’s played themselves out of the playoffs. The Giants are hanging on by a thread after a devastating loss to their arch rivals in Los Angeles yesterday. So while things are looking up in Los Angeles for both the Dodgers and the Angels, I’m been more consumed with the failures in the Bay Area and the Windy City. (I am pleased for Jon Weisman and the Dodgers fans, less excited for the Angels fans, simply because I don’t like Anahiem…still, if they wind up playing Boston, that should be some kind of serious.) Maybe it’s because, like Roger Angell says, baseball, like life, is more about failure, about losing rather than winning. It’s funny, but more than anything, I’m feeling for my fellow team-oriented bloggers. Down goes Ruz and Alex, there goes Athletics Nations, and Mark and Elephants in Oakland…John Perricone is teetering.
I can only imagine how difficult it must be for fans of the Cubs and A’s who watched their team’s bullpens let them down this past week. (Of course, both teams had other problems, but the bullpen disasters are tangible and dramatic from a distance.) I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes and ask how would I be feeling if this were the Yankees? Man, as much as I can empathize with a Chicago fan, there is no way I’m presumptuous enough to suggest I know how they feel. There is just no way. But if anything, following the fates of the Cubs and A’s closely the past week has made me feel a whole lot better about the Yanks, who have a shaky bullpen themselves. Hey, at least the Bombers are still playing. No matter what happens in the playoffs, at least they’ve got an opportunity to entertain us, or break our hearts–or like in 2001, both. At this point, every game (excluding today’s regular season finale, of course) is gravy, every win is something to savor.
El Duque wasn’t effective on Friday night and there is no telling if his shoulder will hold up enough to get him through a post-season start. However, Kevin Brown pitched well enough last night for him to be a suitable replacement. Mariano Rivera also threw a scoreless inning yesterday, which brought his season ERA to 1.94. Unless he pitches again this afternoon and get’s lit up, he’ll end the season with an ERA under 2.00. And that’s a small, good thing.