“It’s tough, I don’t care how good you are or how good you’re supposed to be,” [Manager, Joe] Torre said. “Until you can start going out there and winning with regularity, you know, basically your confidence is not where you want it to be, and that’s just the human part of this game.”
“It was the worst loss of the year for me because we beat ourselves,” General Manager Brian Cashman said.
So I got all my chores done and cleared my afternoon to do nothing but lay on the couch and enjoy the ball game. The skies had cleared. After a lousy Saturday, the sun was shinning, and the stadium looked great for “Bat Day.” More than three-and-a-half trying hours later, I tried to come up with the word that best described the game, as well as the 2005 Yankees so far. “Exasperating,” was the best I could do. Even worse, I came seem to shake the sensation that this team hasn’t hit rock bottom yet. After three straight well-pitched games by the Bronx Bombers, Carl Pavano and the bullpen allowed eight runs on sixteen hits, turning a 6-3 fifth inning lead, into an 8-6 loss. Oy veh.
The Yanks scored first. Alex Rodriguez laced a line drive double to start the second inning, and advanced to third on Jorge Posada’s fly out to left field (testing the weak arm of Frankie Catalanotto ). He scored on Godziller Matsui’s fly out. The Jays got the run back in the third, and then Corey Koskie yanked a dinger into the right-center field bleachers. He hooked an outside pitch and the sequence was almost exactly like the home run he hit off Flash Gordon on Saturday.
Gary Sheffield cranked a solo shot to left in the bottom of the inning, and the Jays took the lead again in the fifth. The Yanks lucked out of a big inning, when the Jays attempted a double steal with Catalanotto
on third and Vernon Wells on first. Wells broke for second, and Posada threw down to second. Jeter charged the ball, caught it in front of the bag, and made a perfect, off-balance throw home, to peg Catalanotto.
Ah, a good sign. After Tino Martinez whiffed to start the bottom of the fifth, Womack, Jeter and Bernie all singled to load the bases. Sheffield brought two runs home with a double to left. Rodriguez was walked to re-load the bases and Posada’s sacrifice fly scored Williams. Then, Matsui, who, along with Posada has been slumping terribly, knocked a line drive into the left center field gap. Sheffield scored easily, but Rodriguez was cut down at the plate. All eyes on Luis Sojo once again, though this call was not nearly as questionable as the one with Jeter against the Angels last week.
The Yankees’ big inning ended with a thud. Then, everything fell apart. Pavano walked the bases loaded and his day was done. Paul Quantrill got Alex Rios to fly out to right and the Yanks traded a run for an out. Russ Adams popped out to left, then after getting ahead of Catalanotto 0-2, Quantrill lost him and Frankie C drew a walk loading em up again. Quantrill glared in at the home plate umpire three times in the inning. He barely missed a few pitches, but the replays showed that they were indeed balls. Quantrill had Frank Menechino down 0-2, but left a fastball out over the plate which was promptly slapped into right field scoring two runs and tying the game. Yup, Frank Menechino: dig it, dog.
Mike Stanton took over in the seventh and allowed two runs. The second run scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow center. Bernie Williams’ throw wasn’t even close. Meanwhile, Toronto’s bullpen allowed just two walks–no hits, no runs–to the Yankees over the final four innings, and that, as they say, was that. The late-season magic of 2004 is but a distant memory.
What to do, but cook? I’m already driving my girlfriend nuts with all the yelling and screaming and “negativity.” When the game was over, I took a long shower, determined not to let the game spoil my evening. I’m happy to say that I did just fine. I made one of my favorite dishes, Bucatini all’Amatriciana (this link calls for butter instead of olive oil; why I don’t know, as the dish should be made with oil). Instead of onion, I used ramps, a seaonal garlic-onion hybrid, which has developed a cultish following over the last five or six years. For sweets, I made a simple strawberry rhubarb crisp. Then I hung out with my girl and proceeded to eat my Yankee blues away.