I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite fastballs…
Joba Chamberlain pitched this afternoon against the Orioles’ Dennis “Who?” Safarte today, and the Yankees won 13-3, snapping their losing streak at three games. Not that three games amounts to much of a “streak,” really, but given the opponents and manner of the losses, it certainly felt like one. And sometime during the seventh inning, as you may have heard, the Yankees traded the intrepid Kyle Farnsworth for some dude named Pudge Rodriguez. Brian Cashman is a mad genius.
I’m sorry for the lateness of the recap; I got delayed at Shea, donating blood in exchange for free Mets tickets. Yes, really. I did it last year because I was writing about it, and I was going to skip it this season, but the New York Blood Center people kept sending me these increasingly desperate letters and emails with headlines like “There’s something special about your platelets!” so I finally caved.
Anyway, today’s game started off unpromisingly when the Orioles scored an unearned run off Joba in the first, on an Aubrey Huff blooper following a Robinson Cano error. The Yankees struck back right away, though, in the bottom of the inning: Jeter and Abreu walked, and Alex Rodriguez’s base hit scored two runners on an errant throw; not long after, Rodriguez scored on a passed ball.
Joba was good, again. He’s gotta be due for a real blow-up of a bad start – I mean, you would think – but fortunately it didn’t come today, in the middle of a losing streak. Things got sticky for him in the third, with a series of hits plating another run, but even there Chamberlain wasn’t getting shelled by any means. “They were aggressive early on the fastball,” Chamberlain said after the game. ”When Josie recognizes that… and our offense scores runs, it’s pretty easy.” Easy. Right. In the end Chamberlain threw 98 pitches over six innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, and once again no walks.
In the bottom of the third, Abreu, DHing for the day, knocked a two-run homer into the screen of the right field foul pole, and the Yankees never really looked back. Chamberlain settled down, not that he’d been unsettled really, and a few frames passed quietly – until, in the sixth, the Yanks started tacking on: another Abreu hit, a very bloopy Giambi bloop, a rare and fantastic first-to-third from the ‘Stache on a Cano single (watching Giambi run first-to-third is like spotting a really horribly ungainly unicorn), an Xavier Nady double, a bases-loaded walk to Damon, a bases-loaded passed ball… it was a tough day for Orioles relievers.
In the 7th, Edwar Ramirez soared a ball over Kevin Millar’s head and was immediately tossed from the game. Didn’t seem like a logical spot for retaliation, if any retaliation was even necessary — but Ramirez’s complete and utter lack of reaction to getting thrown out did raise my eyebrows. Usually pitchers at least PRETEND to be surprised in a “whoa how’d that get up there?!?!” kind of way. So who knows? But Dave Robertson and Dan Giese finished up the game with a minimum of fuss and just one additional run allowed. Abreu hit another homer, A-Rod knocked out his 23rd of the year, and even Richie Sexon got a single, scoring on Nady’s second double of the day; lucky run #13 scored on a Justin Christian grounder.
There’s already been much discussion of the Farnsworth/I-Rod trade. After the game, Farnsworth was visibly choked up, which made him seem like an empathetic, three-dimensional guy for the first time in a while; and not to promulgate outdated gender double standards or anything, but nothing gets to me like watching a tough guy cry (or, as in this case, even almost cry). Listening to Joe Girardi’s voice break when discussing Bobby Murcer’s death just killed me a few weeks back, and watching ol’ Farnsy blinking back tears had me making sympathetic distressed noises at the TV. I mean this is a guy who strides across the clubhouse in camo underwear reading gun magazines, you know?
Meanwhile, though you have to have a ton of respect for his skill, I’ve never warmed up to Ivan Rodriguez — even before the steroid allegations, he seemed suited to playing the villain, though he was always fun to watch. Maybe I was just jealous of his shapely eyebrows.
No, it’s hard to criticize this trade… except that I’m absolutely indignant that the Yankees never ONCE had a real brawl, not one, during Farnsworth’s entire tenure. This is a colossal waste – I mean, that’s pretty much the main reason to have Kyle Farnsworth on your team, as far as I’m concerned. A missed opportunity that will haunt the team for years.