Open skies! Pour forth your cleansing draught. Purify this field, this team, this season. Wash away age and rust. Leave gleaming life where spread decay and rot. And quietly, gently carry away the dead in your bubbling floodwaters. Give us the promise of a new day, with blazing sun, clean slate and the hope of…
What’s that? It stopped raining? Oh crap, they kept playing.
Javy Vazquez discharged pus for 105 pitches through four innings and made Sergio Mitre’s appearance a welcome sight. Until the ninth, the Yanks best offense was either a dropped pop-up or Francisco Cervelli’s feeble attempt to drive in the tying runs in the seventh (Granderson did have three hits, but batting in front Cervelli nullifies anything but a home run)
Just as Cervelli was failing in the seventh, Tampa was mounting a gutsy, late-inning comeback against Cliff Lee, the blazing sun, to settle the Rays into a first place tie in the AL East. They needn’t feel claustrophobic sharing the penthouse, the Yanks won’t be staying there long playing like this.
The ninth inning deserves its own paragraph. After Miguel Cabrera padded the lead to a really daunting 3-0, Valverde completely lost the strike zone and walked Cano, Cervelli and Gardner (none of them even took the bat off their shoulders) around one of Granderson’s singles. Derek Jeter’s season-long battle with his strike-zone judgment and weak ground balls reared its ugly head at the worst possible time. Instead of simply not swinging, he flailed at a 2-1 pitch out of the zone that would have made the count 3-1, and then tapped weakly into a game ending double play (amazing turn by Carlos Guillen) after the count ran full. By simply not swinging, I bet he would have walked and given the Yanks a real shot an undeserved victory.
Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher left the game with injuries. It seems the Yankees are really going to attempt to win the World Series with only a couple of guys having decent seasons. Color me skeptical. In losing to the reeling Tigers 3-1, they looked like a tired, broken-down mess.
After a herky-jerky motion Max Scherzer issues sick stuff from odd angles, so given the current state of the Yankee offense, he presented an insurmountable challenge. So much so that I was happy to see Curtis Granderson get a hit early, dispelling the very real chance of being no-hit. They looked slightly more comfortable against the bullpen, though they couldn’t break through until Valverde walked the park. As it was, that’s back-to-back games with eight total hits and one run. I ask that I be relieved of recapping duties until the Yankees produce a double-digit victory.
The team is not that interesting right now except as a scab to pick and then infect, so I’d like to think about other things. Let’s start with the much appreciated Johnny Damon and the nice hand he received today. For those Yankee fans whose heads exploded upon watching Vazquez pitch to Damon in Yankee Stadium (a new Stadium I know, but the look is similar, especially from TV) you should have been reading more baseball blogs since the Yankees traded for Javy. You would have learned how silly you were to harbor any ill-will towards Mr. Vazquez for sucking for most of his Yankee career. And you’d still have a head.
Sorry, I was talking about Johnny Damon. All of the Yankee offseason movement amounted to little more than sound and fury and Marcus Thames. Damon ended up on the Tigers for a number of reasons, but he would have been welcome back by just about all the fans and it looks like he’s having a good enough year with the bat that he would have made a difference on the Yanks if he could have been coaxed to be our DH. YES ran a poll to see which moment we should reduce Damon’s four-year Yankee tenure to, and unsurprisingly it was the double steal from the World Series. I prefer to remember his funky swing though, unattached to any specific performance, and it’s perfect fit for Yankee Stadium’s right field porch.
Many Yankee blogs have given recent space to examining the Yankees upcoming decision to offer Javy Vazquez arbitration in hopes of plucking the compensatory draft picks or to let him walk away for nothing. Whatever the case may be, I trust Brian Cashman to accurately predict the marketplace for his services, as he has for his free agents (one of them was the aforementioned Damon) each of the last two years, and to make the correct decision accordingly.
However, right now, with Texas sorting out their ownership situation, Andy Pettitte perpetually pondering retirement, and Carl Pavano being the second best pitcher on the open market, can you imagine a Plan C (Plan A being Lee and Andy, Plan B being either/or), in which the Yanks offer arbitration and are not crushed if he accepts? Hold onto your heads.