My wife has gotten used to listening to me rant and rave as we watch the Yankees each night. All of my shouting and cursing used to drive her up the wall–she just couldn’t understand why I would let something I have no control over get me so upset. She probably still doesn’t understand but she’s come to accept my neurotic behavior. Last night, I was in good form, gloom and doom from the start. “Honey, I don’t think the Rocket’s got it tonight, he’s going to get pounded.” I screamed like Ed Harris in Glengarry Glen Ross when Alex Rodriguez hit into a double play to end the forth inning. You can imagine how bad it got by the time the bullpen–Proctor, Bruney, Villone–were issuing walks late in the game.
All this on a night the Yankees won. Imagine how infuriated I would have been if I rooted for the Jays? Toronto left runners on base in each inning but the second and the ninth. They left two on in the third, fifth, sixth and eighth and left the bases loaded in the seventh, and were 1-14 with runners in scoring position (they are 3-30 with runners in scoring position since Monday). This allowed the Yankees to come from behind and beat the Jays for the third straight day. Final score: Yanks 6, Jays 1. It was another rousing win the Yanks who have won six of seven since the break.
Roger Clemens allowed nine hits and a walk over six innings (Alex Rios had four hits, three against Clemens), but repeatedly worked his way out of trouble. Shawn Marcum threw twelve pitches to Johnny Damon to start the game, but was remarkably efficient after that. He wasn’t necessarily dynamic, but he was extremely impressive, changing speeds, throwing strikes. He fell behind Rodriguez 3-0 with runners on the corners in the fourth inning and just one out. He then threw Rodriguez two beautiful change-ups, and got the double-play to get out of the inning.
Scott Proctor was an adventure in the seventh, hitting a batter, giving up a single and walking a man to load the bases. He did retire two men and Mike Myers came in to get the final out of a half-inning that took 25 minutes. The long stretch was just what the Yankees needed to drive Marcum from the game. Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu singled to start the bottom of the seventh and Rodriguez came to the plate with men on first and third. He drove a fastball over the head of left fielder Reed Johnson, good enough for a double and two RBI (Abreu got a great jump on the ball). That makes 92 Rib-Eye Steaks for Rodriguez on the season. Later in the inning, Andy Phillips singled home two more. Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano added RBI singles in the eighth.
Bruney and Villone each walked a man in the eighth, bringing the tying run to the plate. Mariano Rivera came in and he retired all five men he faced, lowering his season ERA to 3.18. The Red Sox lost to the Royals and the Yanks are seven back, six in the loss column. While I’m still cautiously optimistic about the Yankees chances of making the playoffs, they are now winning games that they had previously been losing.
So yo, happy 67th boithday, Joe Torre.
It’s all about baby steps for the Bombers who go for the sweep this afternoon with Chien-Ming Wang on the hill.