"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

He Going For Distance, He’s Going For Speed

On those nights when I get home late, I have to look for clues about what’s going on the in the Yankee game. My phone’s itching to tell me the score from the confines of my bag, but taking it out on the walk home isn’t a great idea.

Tonight I started my journey around 8:30 and it was already weird because I hadn’t had any score updates yet. I figured it must be busted – no way both of these teams were going scoreless for 90 minutes. The next clue came as I got off the subway at 207th st. it was about 9:20. I spotted guy in a Giambi shirt and fitted Yankee cap exiting as well. That looks like a gamer, I thought. I was sure they had come from the game when his girlfriend trailed him up the stairs wearing her Jeter shirt.

At 9:20? No possible way a Yankee-Ranger game was over by in two hours and change. I figured it was a blowout one way or the other. Neither Giambi nor Jeter was giving anything away however. Couple a Tom Landrys. I hoofed it up Broadway and passed the first bar that would have the game on. Commercial on one screen, slo-mo, extreme-closeup replay of a guy in a gray jersey taking a big cut on the other. Shit, that’s gotta be a Ranger roadie, I thought.

The next spot was the cigar shop and I had to slow my stride to take in the full scene. They had their screen split four ways, taking in action all across the league. The Yanks game was such a dud it didn’t even make one of the quarters. OK, now I was convinced. 16-0 Rangers.

I came home and did those things you have to do even though all you want to do is to go right to the scoreboard. But my wife wasn’t feeling well and I took care of her for a little while. She had real news to convey about one of the kids messing up his forearm in a scooter fall. We might need X-Rays. Well shit, that blowout doesn’t seem so important now. I took my shower, I poured my wife some water and helped her off to bed. I ate a slice of cheese in the kitchen. OK, no more stalling, time to face the music.

Holy Shit! I said it loud enough to startle my wife. Hiroki Kuroda just went out and dropped a complete game shut out on one of the best offenses in baseball. He did it with style too, taking a no-hitter into the seventh before Elvis Andrus lucked into an infield single with one of the most lifeless hacks you’ll ever see.

From the numerous highlights of Kuroda’s offerings, you can see how almost every batter is wrong-footed. He’s hiding the ball so well, and releasing each pitch from the same spot that the hitters can’t gauge the speed until it’s too late. From the clips, his location looks good, not superb. It’s that he has the entire lineup deceived. Kuroda’s final, glorious numbers, 9 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks, 5 Ks.

The only problem tonight was that the Yanks couldn’t score any runs. Kuroda gets the least run-support by far among all Yankee starters – a full run behind the rest of the rotation and over two runs behind CC, and tonight it actually went down.

In the seventh, they finally gave Kuroda something to work with. Jeter collected his second hit of the night (and passed Nap Lajoie on the all-time hit list) and knocked effective starter Matt Harrison out of the game. Ron Washington called on Alexi Ogando, a hard thrower to be sure. Nick Swisher worked him over but good and when Ogando tried to beat him with a high hard one on a full count, Swisher jumped the 98 MPH gas and launched it into the bullpen. Just for shits and giggles, Mark Teixeira ripped a 99 MPH pitch into the seats as well.

The final was 3-0 and it took 2 hours 35 minutes to complete. I guess Giambi and Jeter bolted after the no-no was busted up and the Yanks hit their homers. Can’t blame them, the game was over.

Kuroda’s game reminds me a lot of those ALDS games against the Rangers in 1998 and 1999. The Rangers could hit all day, but in those games the Yanks shut them down. Whether it was El Duque, Pettitte, Wells… didn’t matter. Now, these Rangers are a much better vintage than those late nineties teams. They’ve got a few starters that are still healthy and a fierce bullpen. The teams are a lot closer now than they were back then. That’s what makes this game so damned good – it might have even impressed McKayla Maroney.




Photos by Seth Wenig/AP

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

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1 phil_bonanno   ~  Aug 14, 2012 11:40 pm

[0] Couple a Tom Landrys - love it. Great re-cap, hope the wife and child pull up well!

2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:14 am

Watching it now, Cano with the beautiful play in the 6th.
Kuroda has been great, hope they bring him back next year.

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:15 am

[1] Yeah, that line killed me too. Great recap.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:22 am

And that home run that Swisher hit was no joke. That was a high fastball close to 100 mph. Brought back memories of Brett-Goose. That was one to be proud of.

5 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:41 am
6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:50 am

[4] Brilliant AB by Swisher! Ogando was dealing it for sure.

7 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 15, 2012 7:53 am

Who is that real Vic Mackey looking guy on the Yanks bench, is it Casey McGeeheeeee? Been out of the loop last few games, don't know what Casey looks like.

8 seamus   ~  Aug 15, 2012 8:11 am

damn kinda wish i watched this game now. Kuroda has been fantastic of late.

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 15, 2012 9:25 am

So it's obvious the Yanks would bring Kuroda back on a one-year deal at just about any reasonable price. The big question is do the Yanks sign up for 2 years on the strength of this excellent season?

If all went well, the Yanks would be in great shape to achieve their budgetary goals in 2014 and still field a good team. If he fell apart at age 38 or 39, the Yanks would be screwed because they'd have to pay him and replace him. If they were up against the budget, they couldn't replace him with anybody expensive.

The debate reminds me of the end of Mike Mussina's career. And though he had some stinkers, I think he worked out pretty well.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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