Every opening I came up with for tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Rays was depressing and cheap. The Yanks have played poorly, blown a big divisional lead and I was ticked. But I stopped myself and tried again. I remembered this isn’t the finish line.
If this collapse coincided with the end of the season, like it did for the Red Sox and Braves last year, then we could thrash and roll about all night. However, there are 27 games left and it’s now a flat-footed tie with Orioles. If they come up short in this sprint, we’ll have plenty of time to hash out why they weren’t good enough this year. In the meantime, maybe they’ll get mad, play well and win.
We don’t know if it will happen that way, and by the look of things, the chances aren’t that great. But it could and we should keep watching and hoping like the fans of the other, less pre-destined, teams.
I didn’t come to this outlook on my own. I woke up this morning to mouse clicks followed by a small voice repeating “Yes!” I figured my son was at the computer checking baseball scores, just down the hall from my room. The problem with that is I knew that the Pirates lost yesterday afternoon and I knew my son knew this, too. I pulled myself out of bed to see what he was celebrating. He sat there dangling his feet and grinning like he just heard about Cookie Crisp cereal. I pulled up over his shoulder and asked him what he was doing.
“Checking out the olden days,” he said. He had clicked all the way back to June. The Pirates won a lot of games in June, so he was thrilled. It didn’t seem pathetic either, like it is when I hole up with Baseball-Reference.com and swaddle myself in past glory each time the Yankees get bounced from the Postseason. I think he just wanted to see the whole picture of the season rather than dwell on their most recent disappointment.
The 2012 Yankee team has access to something better than this. There are some guys that could play better and some guys that could get healthy. If it all happens that way, I think they’re the best team over the last 27 games and I hope their records indicates that. If it doesn’t, well, my son wouldn’t mind if we joined him rooting for the Pirates.
As for the game I have only one thought. After the Yanks went down 3-2 in the third, they sent 21 batters to the plate for the rest of the game. Three over the minimum over the final six innings. I am sure some will credit the Rays pitcher Alex Cobb with grabbing the lead and not letting it go. And some will blame the Yanks hitters for tightening up and failing to execute when they fell behind. I don’t know which is correct, so I hope the Yanks load up on both lead-holding and come-backing for these last 27 games. Find out where the O’s and Rays are shopping.