"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Game Recap

Heartbreak Hotel


Heartbreaker. And nothing short of it tonight for the loser of the Pirates-Cubs wildcard game. I’m pulling for Pittsburgh because they’ve been good for a couple of years now and, hell, I wouldn’t mind seeing Cervelli get back to the Whirled Serious with them. On the other hand, I feel constitutionally unable to be pissed if the Cubs win.

It’s the Cubs, man. The ultimate losers. I think about watching them on WGN after school when I was a teenager in the ’80s. Watched them with my friend Will Plummer whose father was a Cubs fan. Got to know a bunch about the Cubs and their fans. And they have Joe Maddon? I love that guy. Yeah, they will be obnoxious when they win because that’s part of it with every team that wins. Of course, the Cubs will trade in what makes them special when they win but that’s part of it too. o.  Still…it’s the Cubs. I know too many people who never thought they’d see the day–and some who didn’t.

No, can’t be mad if the Cubs win.

So I’m going for the Pirates but think Jake Arrieta and the Cubs will be too much.

Heartbreak hotel, I’m telling you.

I’ll be rooting for the winner against St. Louis, but I’ll really feel for the loser.

Listen, the Yanks are out of it, but I’m excited about the rest of these playoffs. My biggest wish is for the Rangers to upset the Blue Jays in the NLDS. If they don’t, my second biggest wish will be for the winner of the Royals-Astros to beast the Blue Jays in the ALCS. And so on.

Really psyched for Mets-Dodgers. I’d love to see Clayton Kershaw just go out there and dominate–don’t really care if the Dodgers win otherwise. Not that I dislike them at all. How could I when Don Mattingly is their manager? But this is is a pretty likably Mets team, easier to root for than most. As a Yankee fan, it’s hard to root for them, but some of my favorite people in the world root for the Mets so of course I’d be thrilled for them. (Curtis Grandson is the key.)

Settle in you guys, this promises to be fun.

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

The Lamb Lies Down on River Ave


It would be more upsetting if it wasn’t so predictable. Dallas Keuchel continued his mastery of the Yanks as the Astros made quick work on the home team, 3-0 to advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

At least it was swift and relatively painless. The only reason I qualify the pain is because it feels as if the Yanks have been playing–and losing–the same game for the last 3 weeks. In late August, Keuchel pitched 7 scoreless innings in the Bronx, 3 hits, 0 walks, 9 K’s. Last night, he almost matched it–6 scoreless, 3 hits, a walk, 7 K’s.

Like lambs, I tell you. But give Keuchel credit, he was excellent once again. The Yanks didn’t hit against lefties all year, especially Keuchel.

So, no surprises, nothing crushing, just a sagging, uninspired end to what was a surprising and entertaining season.

Picture by Bags

With a Little Bit o (Dumb) Luck

ralph and ed

Despite their recent allergy to winning baseball games the Yanks will host the wildcard playoff game at the Stadium on Tuesday night. The Orioles pounded the Yanks again today–to the tune of 9-4–but the Astros lost the Diamondbacks so the Yanks get the home field. You have to laugh. That’s the good news.

The bad news is they still have to face Dallas Keuchel no matter where they play. Sure, Keuchel is mortal on the road (he’s 15-0 at home) but he shut the Yanks out for 7 innings at the Stadium in August. Gave up 3, didn’t walk a batter, struck out 9. Couple of months earlier, Keuchel shut the Yanks out in Houston, 6 hits, a walk, 12 K’s.


They’re going to need more than luck to advance to Kansas City. Keuchel on 3 days rest is a start.

One More Pin, Rodney


Wouldn’t you know, the Yanks belly-flopped the double header yesterday in Baltimore. Lost the first one 9-2, and the second one, 4-3.

I mean, you just have to laugh. But nuts to that. They win today, they play at the Stadium on Tuesday night. Lose, and its hit the bricks pal and beat it.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Didi Gregorius SS

Yo Big Mike, consider this your first playoff start. How bout it, bout it, huh?

Never mind the scoreboard:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Back in Business


The last home game of the regular season at Yankee Stadium. Cold, rainy, and two old lefties–CC Sabathia and Rich Hill. The game moved slowly, crawled for the first 3 innings, but Sabathia pitched OK. He was picked up by Adam Warren, who threw 3 shutout innings. I thought he was a sure thing to come back in the 9th–after home runs by the kids, Bird and Refsnyder gave them a 4-1 lead–but it was Betances instead, retiring the Sox in order.

The Yanks won, 4-1, and will play in the wildcard game next Tuesday night.

Proud of this team.

Making the playoffs is something to savor. Let’s do just that.

[Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]


One to Go


You want to know about last night’s game, check the less-than-measured game thread, particularly my comments. It was not an enjoyable evening.

The Yankees left a million men on base–Sox pitchers walked 11 batters, only 1 scored–and generally acted like they were allergic to winning. And yet they still inched one game closer to clinching a wild card spot. Had they won, they would have clinched. But they gagged, and a sprightly Boston team had some fun, winning 9-5 in 11 innings.

For all my bitching last night, the Yanks are practically a shoe-in for the playoffs. And I don’t really care how ugly the landing has been–just get that ticket punched.  Course it would almost be civil if they were put out of their misery in the wildcard game because having to face certain doom at the hands of the Blue Jays is no way to end a season.

Then again, anything can happen. And hell, if the Yanks made it through the ALDS, that sure would be proof enough for me.

Picture by Bags


Little Help?


Big Mike got his tits lit to the tune of 6 runs in the first inning last night. His mates got him right back in the game scoring 4 in the bottom of the first. But those were to be the only runs the Yanks scored all night. Yes, Jacoby Ellsbury narrowly missed a 3-run home run that would have put the Yanks ahead, but that’s just the kind of night it was.

Early in the game, a high pop foul landed in the first row of the seats on the third base line. A clean-scrubbed, attractive, but slightly nerdy guy with glasses–Clark Kent–reached back to catch it and missed. Hit his hands but he couldn’t hang on. It was a tough play under the best of circumstances. A little while later a foul ball bounced right to him, took a late bounce and he muffed it. Then the third base coach tossed him a ball and the man went to catch it. But the ball bounced on the guard rail and he missed that too. In a way, they were all hard luck chances. His companion looked especially fetching as she laughed, in a combination of surprise and mortification. But the guy seemed to have a sense of humor about it all.

Let’s hope the Yanks have the same kind of humor because they are playing about as well as this guy can catch.

10-4 was the final. The Yanks just need to win a couple of games with five left. No time to panic though the seeds of panic are in place and ready to go.

Shhh, Baby Sleeping


Ivan Nova was cruising along. Then he made a mistake, followed by another. An inning later he made another one. All told, those three mistakes cost him 4 runs, which these days is an unreasonable sum to ask his mates to match never mind top.

The Yanks are like a ballon that has slowly been leaking air for the past 2 months. Tonight saw another lifeless performance by the hitters as the Red Sox skipped to a 5-1 win at the Stadium. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a homer and made a couple of nice plays in the field.

The Yanks need to win 2 of their final 6 games in order to qualify for the Wildcard but let’s get right to it–have you ever had less confidence in a playoff-bound Yankee team?

It’s hard to be mad at them, we didn’t expect this at the start of the year. We sure would have taken where they are at now. But the way this has played out, death by a thousand cuts, has been dispiriting. While there is plenty of excitement to go around for all the playoff hopefuls there is something missing here in the Bronx. Call it the residue of a generation spoiled by success (the Yanks of the early Sixties ran into this as well). It’s almost as if the Yanks would have to be bad for a good stretch before the excitement returned to the Bronx. Or a player under 50 with some star power.

Part of it is the team on the field, part of it is the fans.

As Walt Kelly famously wrote, “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us.”

How High the Moon?


Luis Severino was good today and his counterpart wasn’t bad either. But the Yanks arouse from their offensive slumber to stitch together half a dozen runs on their way to beating the White Sox, 6-1.

It wasn’t thrilling but it was a nice way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon. The Bombers’ are three games away from clinching a wildcard spot, and as we all know, three is the magic number.

You know, if Luis Severino starts that game, I won’t riff, will you?

Meanwhile, La Moon sure am sweet tonight.

Push it Along


In the middle of yesterday’s game a group of dozen pigeons settled in short right field pecking for seeds. They spread out–a few were combing the third base line for seeds–which prompted a girl sitting in front of us to say, “The birds are the most exciting thing that’s happened so far.”

And she wasn’t far off. The crowd was dead and the person who directs the chants and rallies over the P.A. system didn’t do much to encourage us. Neither did the Yankees, especially their hitters who were off-balance all game long. They scored a couple of runs and it turns out that was enough against an even more hapless offensive team. One encouraging note was the 7-pitch, 3-out performance by Dellin Betances. Justin Wilson and Andrew Miller was good, too.

The Yanks won, 2-1, and every win is a good one, even the ones that are less than inspired.



Hapless, that’s what it was. C.C. Sabbath didn’t pitch poorly, even when he allowed the go-ahead run in the 7th. No, it was all those 6-4-3 double plays–4 in all–that doomed the Yanks to a 5-2 loss.

Really, there ain’t much good to say about this one, much good to remember about it (with the exception of a weird base hit off the bat of Brian McCann that looked like a knuckle ball).

Forgotten it yet?

Good, let’s move on.

Picture by Bags

Minute by Minute by Minute


Again, not easy. Again, Dellin Betances looks gassed. The offense didn’t do much at all outside of Carlos Beltran’s 3-run home run but it was enough.

Decent start by Big Mike.

Another step closer to the playoffs.

Final Score: Yanks 3, Jays 2.

Picture by Bags

Too Short


The Jays are the better team right now. Want to assign blame? Can’t be on the Yankee players or their manager. You could look to the front office but for now, that’s not going to make us feel much better. More righteous, maybe; better, probably not.

Ivan Nova was good last night but Marcus Stroman was even better. The Yankee bullpen, enervated, absorbed the big blow–a 3-run home run by our old pal, Russell Martin. Course he hit the home run off Andrew Bailey one pitch after Bailey thought he had Martin struck out. But Bailey didn’t get the call and then he missed his spot. Martin didn’t miss the pitch.

Final Scored: Jays 4, Yanks 0. 

The home crowd was loud and they cheered and why shouldn’t they? Their team hasn’t made the playoffs since Christ was a Cowboy and the Yanks have been kicking the Blue Jays’ asses for years now.

That doesn’t mean we have to like it. A hard, unpleasant end to their season come October is chief on my wish list for these playoffs.

In the meantime, the Yanks limp home. But, they are still in the lead for the Wildcard game. The division looks out of reach but as we all know, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Picture by Bags

Everybody Wins


I was walking past Madison Square Garden last night when I looked in the window of a restaurant and saw Alex Rodriguez batting on a the giant screen TV inside. He popped out but the Yanks had a 2-0 lead. By the time I got home to the Bronx–following the action on my Gameday App and listening to the radio call–the Jays had tied it. (Severino pitched well.) I watched the game with The Wife, doing my best to behave in the face of what seemed like pending doom.

The home crowd cheered like nuts when Rodriguez whiffed with the bases loaded in the 7th. The Yanks went ahead the next inning on a solo home run by Carlos Beltran (which was similar–just not as long–as the one he belted as a pinch-hitter last time the Yanks were up north), and then Dellin Betances courted disaster in the bottom of the inning. With a  man on second and two out he walked Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista and went 2-0 to Edwin Encarnacion. And those two pitches to Encarnacion weren’t even close. Beatances looked shook (when did he turn into the ever-dramatic John Wetteland?). But he gathered himself and spotted a fastball right over the plate and then threw another one in the same spot–Encarnacion swung through it. Betances put his man away with a slider, well out of the zone–Encarnacion missed it by a couple of feet.

The Yanks had runners on the corner with nobody out in the 9th, primed for insurance, when Ellsbury hit a fly ball to right field. Medium deep, I’d say. Bautista caught the ball and then uncorked a strike to home plate where Chris Young was tagged out to complete the double play. Just a great play by Bautista. The Jays got out of the inning without giving up a run.

Which was pivotal when, with one out in the bottom for the 9th, Dioner Navarro launched a home run into the left field seats.

Bring the noise, Toronto.

Now, one thing you should know about The Wife. In the almost 14 years since we’ve been together she does not find self-pity arousing. I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve never been able to get any action by playing the sympathy card (curious, but women just don’t find it sexy). Now, I’m not saying she felt bad for me, but when the 9th inning ended and the game went into extra innings she turned to me and gave me a choice: baseball or bed.

Now, the disgust was starting to wash over me but I stopped myself right there–am I crazy?–and clicked the TV off and The Wife and I went and had some fun. When we were finished I turned the game back on to see what’d happened and there was Andrew Miller still pitching, 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, the Yanks now leading 6-4. Turns out Greg Bird slapped a 2-2 change up just over the wall in right field for a 3-run home run. Encarnacion got a measure of revenge nailing a solo shot off Miller but Miller got the last word when he retired Navarro on a fly ball to left to end the game.

Say it like, John: Yankees win, Thhh-uuuuu Yankees Win!

Price Check


Yeah, he’s still really good. David Price handled the Yanks last night and a rough first inning for Adam Warren was more than enough to give the Jays a 4-2 win. Alex Rodriguez put together a good at bat against Price with one out and the bases loaded in the third but stuck out.

“I had some good pitches to hit, fouled them off, and when you get your pitch, you can’t foul them off that many times,” Rodriguez told reporters after the game.

In the eighth, with two men on and one out (Brett Gardner, called out on a questionable third strike), Rodriguez whiffed again.

These games against the Jays have a very 1985 feel to them.

Fortunately, the wildcard exists to give the Yanks hope.

Harvey’s Innings Limit Helps Pave Way For Yankee Win


C.C. Sabathia gave up consecutive doubles to start the game last night. Both came on 0-2 pitches. I figured it was going to be a long night. Instead, that was the last run Sabathia allowed. He went six innings and kept his team in the game against Matt Harvey who was predictably stellar. Also predictable was that he didn’t last long. Harvey pitched 5 innings and left with a 1-0 lead. The favors did not stop as Chico’s Bail Bonds took over for the home team as the Mets kicked the ball around to the tune of 4 errors. A pair of 3-run home runs–Dustin Ackley, Greg Bird–helped put it out of reach as the Yanks pounded the Mets, 11-2.

Yanks gain a game on the Jays and win the season series against the Mets. Yeah, staying up late worked out last night.

Picture by Bags

Snake Eyes


Two home runs and a gang of pitchers gave the Yanks a 5-0 win over the Mets on Saturday in Queens. The first home run, a 3-run jammie, came from Carlos Beltran in the first inning; the other one came in the sixth, courtesy of Brain McCann.

Joe Girardi earned his paycheck and got his win. Thor was impressive and the Mets threatened a few times but they never scored.

Even better, the Red Sox rallied in the 9th then survived a Jose Bautista home run to beat the Jays. I watched it and found myself cheering David Ortiz. That was weird.

Sox and Jays are currently tied at 3 this afternoon. They’re in the 7th now.

Let’s Go Bo-Sox!

Picture by Bags

Rub it In, Why Don’t You?


I went upstate last night to hang with my niece and nephew–my bro’s family–so I missed the game. Mercifully, it turns out. I checked the score on my phone, of course, but turned it off when it was clear this was going to be another hard-luck loss for the Yanks and another hard-earned, well-played, fortuitous win for the Mets.

The Hell you want to sit through that for? Okay, I came back later to see how it ended–more pain. But I wasn’t going to let the Yankees’ misfortune get in the way of our good time so I let it go at: Fey.

Anyhow, I’ll be watching the game this afternoon, root, root, rooting for the visitors. It’s all about Big Mike. That dude shows up, I like the Yankees’ chances. If he’s not, we’re looking at the Yankees’ getting their asses swept. Go up to Toronto DOA and oy fuggin’ veh. Maybe Jacoby can show up to play, hah? And maybe Bird gets into one. How bout you, Headley?

Thor is not untouchable but he’s also no joke. The kid can dial it up.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Michael Pineda SP

Never mind the open sores:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Never Easy


Nothing is a lock. The Yanks making the playoffs is not a lock. They keep losing games like last night–not enough hitting, not enough pitching–and they can easily find themselves missing the wildcard altogether.

They’ve got to deal with Chris Archer tonight–good luck–and then the Mets and Blue Jays. Yup, it’s not hard to imagine the Yanks missing the playoffs if they don’t get their shit together.

Picture via This Isn’t Happiness

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