So, I’d say my pre-series prediction of “Yankees 3, Rangers 3, Cliff Lee ascends to a higher inter-dimensional plane midway through the fourth inning of Game 7” is looking pretty good.
Tonight’s game ended up a 8-0 drubbing, but it was a tight pitchers’ duel most of the way through. Only it didn’t really feel like a pitchers’ duel, because Andy Pettitte was merely excellent, whereas Cliff Lee was, as a friend of mine has put it, the T-1000.
Allow me to sum up the Yankee offense for you:
- In the 4th, Mark Teixeira walked.
- In the 5th, Jorge Posada singled (it’s kind of embarrassing how relieved I was, at this point, that New York would at least not get no-hit).
- In the 6th, Brett Gardner singled and stole second.
That didn’t take long, did it?
Andy Pettitte was very, very good himself: seven innings and just two runs, which you’d sign up for any time. Those two runs came in the first inning, on an almost-accidental Josh Hamilton home run — he stuck his bat out awkwardly, the ball flew off it and into the stands, which is the kind of thing that only happens when your arms look like Josh Hamiltons’ — but given the Cliff Lee situation, that was enough. Pettitte was followed by Kerry Wood, who pitched a drama-free eighth, and since two runs ain’t much for the Yankees, I still held out hope going into the ninth.
At which point: Josh Hamilton doubled off Boone Logan; Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz singled off David Robertson, making it 3-0; after David Murphy was intentionally walked, Bengie Molina and Mitch Moreland joined the party with singles of their own off of Robertson; Elvis Andrus of all people decided to shake things up by, instead, doubling off of Robertson. Sergio Mitre (!) came in and put out the fire, but seeing as how it was 8-0 at that point, the building had already burned down.
So the Yanks are down 2-1 in the series, which is hardly insurmountable, but they do kinda need a win tomorrow – and A.J. Burnett is the one who’ll be asked to provide it, or at least facilitate it. Joe Girardi has said all week, when asked if he isn’t tempted to just pitch C.C. Sabathia on three days’ rest instead: “I believe in A.J.” Well. I believe in him too… in the sense that I am certain he exists, and indeed is a pitcher with the New York Yankees. Whether he can pitch more than four innings while giving up less than five runs is another question entirely.
Cliff Lee… I don’t know whether to shiver in terror or drool. I’d do both at once but I’ve been told it’s not attractive.