"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: SNY TV

Got That Lyrical Chicken Feed for All Chicken Heads

In Conclusion…

Wrap it Up

The Ted Berg Quick Fire Challenge:

No Bleepin’ Way

The latest chatter with the one and only Ted Berg.

In which SNY hits the bleep button.

It’s Not Déjà Vu, It’s Just Game Two

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that you’ve seen all this before. It wasn’t too long ago that the Yankees were facing the Detroit Tigers in the Divisional Series, and you’re noticing some similarities. You remember the Derek Jeter Love Fest from Game 1 of that series, and you can’t help but compare it Robinson Canó’s big performance in Game 1 of this series. You remember that Alex Rodríguez struggled terribly in that series and was famously — and ridiculously — dropped to eighth in the batting order for Game 4, and you’ve noticed that he’s 0 for 8 through the first two games of this series amidst calls for a similar lineup demotion.

You’ve seen this movie before, and you didn’t like how it ended the first time, but I’m here to tell you to relax. This was one game. A magnified game with magnified importance, but still just one game.

Freddy García was on the mound for the Bombers, and the most disappointing aspect of this game for me was that García pitched well enough to win, if that makes any sense. Certainly I’d have been depressed and despondent if he had been lit up early, but I’m not sure I’d have been surprised.

He gave up a two-run home run in the first inning on a pretty good pitch that Miguel Cabrera reached for and poked into the right field stands to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead. After that, however, García put it on cruise control. He retired the side in order in the second inning, gave up a two-out single in the third, and set down six straight over the fourth and fifth innings.

The problem, of course, was that Detroit’s Max Scherzer was even better. It was only a few years ago that Scherzer was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but the Diamondbacks gave up on him and shipped him to Detroit in that three-way deal that netted Curtis Granderson for the Yankees and sent Ian Kennedy to Arizona. (Speaking of IPK — 21-4/2.88/1.09? Seriously?)

Scherzer’s been great for Detroit over the past two years, so while it certainly wasn’t expected that he’d be as good as he was on Sunday, it wasn’t terribly shocking either. He labored a bit in the first inning, walking Canó on four pitches and A-Rod on five before falling into a 3-0 hole to Mark Teixeira, but he recovered by getting Teixeira to pop out to second. It was an opportunity lost, but at the time it certainly seemed like it would be the first of many. It wouldn’t be.

Scherzer went on to retire the next ten hitters in order before yielding a one-out walk to Jorge Posada in the fifth. He then hit Russell Martin to give the Yankees an illusion of a rally, but that rally died quickly when Brett Gardner lined out to third and Jeter grounded into a fielder’s choice. Not only were the Yankees still scoreless, they were hitless as well.

Austin Jackson — another player from the previously mentioned ménage à trois — led off the sixth with a grounder to short. Jeter had to range a bit to his left, but he made the play and rushed his throw a bit in an attempt to get the speedy Jackson at first. His throw bounced in the dirt several feet in front of the bag, and Teixeira wasn’t able to corral it. Magglio Ordóñez laced a hit-and-run single to right, pushing Jackson all the way to third, and suddenly things looked dangerous.

García had already given the Yankees all they realistically could’ve expected — five quality innings — but the Yankee hitters had been absolutely silent. If the Tigers were to score a run here, or even two, Game 2 might be out of reach. From there the mind raced ahead. Justin Verlander was lined up for the Tigers in Game 3, and A.J. Burnett was scheduled for Game 4. If I were a Tiger fan, I wouldn’t have to think too long or too hard about laying some scratch on that exacta.

Joe Girardi, of course, was likely thinking about all of that, but I don’t think he had anywhere to go. I suppose he could’ve gotten David Robertson ready to pitch to Cabrera, who was two batters away, but there would probably have been more questions about a move like that in the sixth inning than are now about the move he chose — which was to keep García in there. Fearless Freddy responded by striking out Delmon Young, and again the mind leapt ahead. What if Cabrera grounds into a double play? What if the Stadium crowd erupts? What if that eruption breaths some life into the listless offense? What if the big bats due in the bottom half (Granderson, Canó, A-Rod, Teixeira) channel that emotion into production?

It took just a few pitches for Cabrera to erase that line of thinking. He lined a single to center, scoring Jackson, and two pitches later Victor Martínez repeated the feat, scoring Don Kelly, who had come in to run for Ordóñez. It was 4-0, but at the time it felt like 40-0. Boone Logan came in for García and almost instantly made things worse by balking the runners to second and third, but he rebounded to strike out both Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta. The damage had been done.

The Yankees’ first hit finally came in the bottom of the sixth, a Canó blooper to left that Young probably should’ve caught, and their first run came in the bottom of the eighth on a long Granderson home run to right. If there was hope of a Yankee comeback, it was dashed when the Tigers stretched their lead back to four with a manufactured run (HBP, sacrifice bunt, single) in the top of ninth.

And there was hope again. Nick Swisher homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth from Tiger closer José Valverde, and Posada followed with a legitimate triple to the wall in center. (Incidentally, Posada became only the second forty-year-old to triple in the post season.) After Russell Martin worked an eight-pitch walk, the tying run was suddenly at the plate in the form of Andruw Jones, and it didn’t take a lot to imagine a home run.

To Jones’s credit, he didn’t allow himself to get caught up in the moment like the rest of us did. He took what Valverde gave him and lashed a line drive towards right field. For one brief, beautiful moment I was sure it would find the grass, scoring another run and pushing Martin around to third, but it didn’t happen that way. The ball hung in the air long enough for Kelly to grab it, but Posada was able to score to cut the lead to 5-3.

Here’s where things got crazy. The weather had been fine throughout the game, but suddenly the heavens opened up and it was raining as hard as it had been at any point on Friday night. Jeter was at the plate, but both he and Valverde struggled throughout the at bat, both trying to deal with the downpour. Jeter was constantly wiping the brim of his helmet in a futile attempt to keep the rain from dripping into his face, and Valverde kept his throwing hand tucked first under his arm and then comically between his legs in an equally futile attempt to keep his hand dry. As much as we expect Captain Clutch to come through in these situations, it wasn’t a surprise when he struck out.

And then things got crazier. Granderson came to the plate and the MVP chants began pouring down as thick as the rain. He worked the count to 2-0, but then he skied a popup towards the Tigers’ third base dugout. Avila tossed away his mask and quickly headed towards the spot where the ball would land and the game would end. The ball wasn’t in the air for very long, but it was long enough for every Yankee fan to contemplate what had happened that afternoon and sort through their fears about the two games to come in Detroit.

Avila shuffled, shuffled, shuffled… then slipped on the rain-slicked on-deck circle and fell on his ass. A second later the ball fell harmlessly next to him. When Tiger manager Jim Leyland was later asked how he felt as all that transpired, he calmly said, “Well, it wasn’t my finest moment.”

I’m not sure how I feel about Leyland, by the way. He’s a bit too comfortable for my taste, as if nothing really matters to him. I know it’s just a game he’s playing with the media, and that everything he says is not-so-secretly directed at his players, but I miss the old Jim Leyland who seemed to be dancing on the edge of a razor as he managed the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the 1990s, fighting back the stress by chain smoking in the dugout during the late innings. But I suppose if you’ve been managing in the big leagues for twenty years you’ve probably seen enough to help you through anything, even a play like Avila’s pratfall.

As Granderson returned to the plate with his new life, it seemed like something was happening, something divine. Surely that ball wouldn’t have dropped if it weren’t supposed to have dropped. Surely Granderson would extend the rally. Surely he’d give Canó the chance to stand at the plate as the winning run.

He would.

Granderson took another strike, but then two more balls for a walk, and Canó came up to win the game — or at least that’s what I was thinking. Valverde didn’t mess around, pumping four straight fastballs, the last three of which Canó fouled off. I’d seen this before. I was sure that Canó would continue spoiling pitches until he found one that he liked. I imagined his beautiful swing, his momentary pause at the plate, the deafening roar from the stands, and the thrill of a walk-off postseason victory. But it wasn’t to be. Valverde came in with a splitter, Canó bounced it out to second base, and the game was over. Tigers 5, Yankees 3.

In 2006 the Yankees never got a look at either game in Detroit, losing 6-0 in Game 3 and trailing 8-0 in Game 4 before tacking on a few cosmetic runs in that elimination game. It’s conceivable that things could go that way again, but I don’t think so. Verlander has had a long season and has never pitched on short rest, so he’s far from a sure thing. CC Sabathia, meanwhile, is about as close to a sure thing as the Yankees have. In Game 4, spontaneous combustion is just as likely for Tiger starter Rick Porcello as it is for Burnett, so that game could be just as competitive as Game 3.

So step off the ledge. There’s a game to watch tonight.

[Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press]

Gearin’ Up


Around the dial, dig these ALDS previews, predictions and other good stuff:

First up, our man Cliff over at SI.com:

1. Three Days’ Rest
No need to speculate about when these team’s aces will pitch. Managers Jim Leyland of Detroit and Joe Girardi of New York have already announced it. CC Sabathia will pitch on three days’ rest in Game 4. Justin Verlander won’t. That’s consistent with their histories. Verlander has never pitched on three days’ rest in the major leagues. Sabathia is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA in four regular-season starts on three days’ rest, three of which came in his final three starts of the 2008 season and helped lift the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. He also posted a 2.45 ERA in two quality starts on three days’ rest in the 2009 postseason, both of which were won by the Yankees on the way to their 27th world championship.

As a result, those two aces, arguably the first and fourth best pitchers in the American League this year, will only face off once in this series and will be opposed by lesser pitchers should their second starts be necessary. That also means that Doug Fister, who went a Doyle Alexander-like 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 11.40 K/BB in 11 games after being acquired from the Mariners at the trading deadline, will only start once, even if this series goes the distance.

2. Ivan Nova
Verlander and Fister will still start three times in this best-of-five series, which is good news for the Tigers, who were 18-3 in games started by those two since the latter’s acquisition. In two of those starts, including a potential double-elimination Game 5 against Verlander, the Yankees will counter with Ivan Nova, a rookie who was farmed out to Triple-A in July. That’s a heady assignment for a rookie, not that he hasn’t earned it. Nova went 8-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts after returning to the Yankees rotation, and really shouldn’t have been demoted in the first place (though one could argue that he returned with greater purpose and effectiveness). However, even over those last 11 starts, Nova’s peripherals have been underwhelming (5.7 K/9, 2.35 K/BB). If the Tigers’ formula for winning this series is taking the three games started by their top two starters, the Yankees’ formula for winning the series just might require winning one of Nova’s two starts against the Tigers’ big two, and if the Tigers take Game 1 behind Verlander, there’s no other way for the Yankees to win the series.

Larry Koestler at The Yankee Analysts

Brien at IIATMS

Jay Jaffe at BP

Tyler Kepner in the New York Times

Steven Goldman at Pinstriped Bible

Rob Neyer at SB Nation

And over at Was Watching Jeff F offers 25 things we didn’t know about the 2011 Yankees.

Be sure to check out these sites as well as Replacement Level YankeesYFSF,  River Ave Blues and No Maas for all the Yankeeness you can handle.

[Photo Credit: Your Very Own Contrapasso]

Prelude to a Schtick

Here’s our man Ted Berg talking Yanks-Sox with Mark Normanin:

Ray of Light


Video funski.

Why, Oh Why?

Over at Pinstriped Bible, Steve Goldman asks: Why did Joe Girardi play for one run in a two-run game?

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees trailed 6-3 entering the frame. Jorge Posada led off with a solo home run off of A’s closer Andrew Bailey, closing the deficit to 6-4. Russell Martin followed with a double, and Brett Gardner reached on third baseman Scott Sizemore’s error, putting runners on first and second with no outs and bringing Derek Jeter to the plate.

Jeter is tremendously hot right now. He came into the game hitting .339 since returning from the disabled list and he went 3-for-3 with a walk prior to the ninth-inning plate appearance. Again, the Yankees needed not one run, but two. In baseball this year, teams that have put runners on first and second with no outs have scored an average of 1.4 runs, which is to say the Yankees stood a very good chance of scoring one run there and a solid chance at scoring another. Teams that have runners on second and third with one out see their expected runs go down to 1.3, a fractionally smaller number, but it’s still less of a chance to score. I leave it to you whether eliminating the double play was worth trading that fraction of a run as well as the possibility of having three chances to score those two runs instead of two. Again, we’re talking about old school Derek Jeter here, not April-June Jeter. The formerly ground-ball obsessed GDP expert has hit into just three twin killings in 40 games, the last one coming about two weeks ago. What do you do?

Girardi chose to take the bat out of Jeter’s hands.

Ted, You Ignorant Slut


Rumor Millin' Round

Ted Berg talks turkey with Peter Gammons:

Take the Train, Take the Train

The Subway Serious starts again tonight with a little more juice than usual because both teams are playing well. The Yanks want to avoid getting swept and winning two-of-three would be great, of course.

The boys at SNY break it down:

And Cliff has the preview over at PB:

Since starting the season 5-13, the Mets have gone 36-27 (.571), a winning percentage that, over the full season, would put them in first place in the Central and Western divisions of either league and in second-place in either Wild Card race. Prior to running into Justin Verlander Thursday afternoon, the Mets had won six of their last seven, four of those coming against first-place American League teams, and in the four games prior to facing Verlander they scored 52 runs (an average of 13 per game).

So the Mets, despite recent appearances, are no laughing matter. Jose Reyes is having an MVP-quality season. Carlos Beltran has come all the way back, at least at the plate. Angel Pagan has hit .325/.398/.444 since coming off the disabled list in late May. Ronny Paulino has put up similar numbers in wrestling the catching job away from sophomore Josh Thole. Jason Bay has hit .327/.389/.490 over the last two weeks and has become a Russell Martin-like stealth threat on the bases having stolen eight bases in nine attempts this season, including four in as many tries in those last two weeks. As you’ll see below, the three starting pitchers the Yankees will face in this series, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, and R.A. Dickey, have all been pitching well of late.

Never mind the hub-bub:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Joseph O. Holmes]

Diggum Smack

Randy Wolf walked Brett Gardner in the bottom of the first this afternoon on a full count pitch. Gardner stole second. then Wolf went to 3-2 on Nick Swisher then walked him too. When he got to 3-2 to Mark Teixeira on a foul tip, Gardner had swiped third, with Swisher trailing him to second. The home plate ump threw Wulf a new ball. It went over his glove, so Wolf turned around, walked to the ball and picked it up. Gunna be one of those days, is it? he might have said to himself. Wolf struck Teixeira out but then gave up a line drive double to Robinson Cano. Before the inning was over, he’d thrown over thirty pitches.

Wolf recovered and went seven innings. Gave up another pair of runs in the third and the Yanks had more than enough because C.C. Sabathia was terrific. The Brewers didn’t stand a chance against him as Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning and struck out thirteen, matching a career-high. Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer run (25), career homer number 300, and Francisco Cervelli drove in two runs.

Final Score: Yanks 5, Brewers 0.

Ahhhhh. The Yanks swept the Brewers and will head across town against a hot Mets team feeling good about themselves. The only thing that could halt their good vibes is losing all three in Queens. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

In the meantime, today was a good day. Every day in first place usually is.

Observations From Cooperstown: Old Timers' Day

Bar none, it’s my favorite promotion on the Yankee calendar. It is “Old-Timers’ Day” and it arrived early this year. For the 65th time in their history, the Yankees officially celebrated their past glory. It is somewhat hard to believe, but Joe Torre and Bernie Williams participated in their first Old-Timers Day, several years after completing iconic careers in the Bronx. Their presence alone made the day special, but I was just as interested in seeing old schoolers like Moose Skowron and Hector Lopez, characters like Oscar Gamble and Joe Pepitone, and even those Yankees who made only cameos in the Bronx, including Cecil Fielder, Lee Mazzilli, and Aaron Small.

More so than any other sport, baseball revels in its ability to celebrate its past. Some would call it nostalgia; I’m more tempted to call it history. No franchise has had more cause to recall its own accomplishments than the Yankees, given the team’s longstanding on-field success, which began with the arrival of Babe Ruth in 1921. So it’s no surprise that the Yankees became the first team to introduce the concept of an Old-Timers’ Day to its promotional calendar.

The Yankees initiated the promotion in the 1930s, though they didn’t actually refer to the event as Old-Timers’ Day. Rather, the tradition began more informally as solitary tributes to retired stars like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The salute to Gehrig became the best known of the early Old-Timers affairs. On July 4, 1939, the Yankees staged “Lou Gehrig Day” at Yankee Stadium as a way of paying homage to a legendary player whose career had been cut short by the onset of ALS.

After several former and current Yankees delivered emotional speeches lauding Gehrig as both a player and teammate, the retired first baseman stepped to the microphone. In an eloquently stirring address, Gehrig referred to himself as “the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” full knowing that he had only a short time to live because of the ravages of the disease. (Gehrig would succumb to ALS only two years later, at the age of 37.) At the conclusion of his speech, the capacity crowd responded with deafening applause, signifying its appreciation for an “old-timer” who had met with the unkindest of fates.

Seven years later, the Yankees introduced their first official Old-Timers’ Day to the franchise’s promotional slate. Rather than concentrate the honors on one retired player, the event became a celebration of teamwide accomplishments that had taken place over past years. Inviting a number of the team’s former stars to the Stadium, the Yankees introduced each one over the public address system, with each player acknowledging the applause from the 70,000-plus fans in attendance.

Ever since the 1946 event, the Yankees have held Old-Timers’ Day on an annual basis, always on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, and usually sometime from mid-July to mid-August. (Other teams followed suit in the 1960s and seventies, particularly older franchises with sufficient history to draw from. Even an expansion franchise like the Mets participated in the tradition by celebrating the New York roots of the Giants and Dodgers.) In the earlier years of the event, the Old-Timers’ Game pitted former Yankees against retired stars from the rest of baseball, with the non-Yankees wearing the opposition uniforms of their most prominent teams. In more recent times, the Yankees have invited only former Yankees to the party, largely because they have so many retired stars from which to choose, some as far back as the 1940s. The retired stars now play a kind of celebrated intra-squad game, pitting the “Bombers” against the “Pinstripes.”

Other than the game itself, the format of Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium—with an on-field announcer introducing each retired player, who then jogs (or walks) from the dugout to a spot along the foul line—has remained relatively unaltered. Yet, the voices have changed. For years, famed Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen handled the emcee duties exclusively. Standing at a podium behind home plate, Allen introduced each retired player with his stately Southern drawl. Eventually felled by declining health, Allen gave way to the less acclaimed but highly professional Frank Messer, the team’s longtime play-by-play voice who was best known for his on-air partnership with Phil Rizzuto and Bill White. In recent years, radio voice John Sterling and television play-by-play man Michael Kay have shared the announcing chores—a far cry from Allen’s dignified presence at the microphone.

Over the years, Old-Timers’ Day has occasionally managed to overshadow the events of the “real” game played later in the day by the existing version of the Yankees. This has especially been the case during the franchise’s lean years. In 1973, the Yankees staged one of their most elaborate Old-Timers events as part of a 50th anniversary celebration of Yankee Stadium. The front office invited every living member from the 1923 team, the first to play at the Stadium after the relocation from the nearby Polo Grounds. With Gehrig and Ruth long since deceased, the Yankees invited their widows to participate in the ceremony from box seats located along the first base dugout. Mrs. Claire Ruth and Mrs. Eleanor Gehrig, both outfitted in oversized Easter hats, helped bid farewell to the “old” Yankee Stadium, which was slated for massive renovation after the 1973 season. The day became even memorable because of a development in the Old-Timers’ Game that followed; the fabled Mickey Mantle, retired five years earlier, blasted a home run into the left-field stands. The Mick still had some power in his game.

One of the most indelible Old-Timers’ moments occurred only five years later. After the usual introductions of retired players, the Yankees stunningly declared that Billy Martin would return as Yankee manager. Martin had been fired only five days earlier, done in by his damning declaration that “one’s a born liar, and the other’s convicted,” a reference to the duo of Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner.

In spite of the omnipresent New York media, the Yankees somehow succeeded in keeping news of Martin’s return a complete secret. There were no whispers, no rumors, no hints in the local newspapers. Having managed to keep the agreement with Martin in tow throughout the morning and early afternoon, the Yankees arranged to have all of their old timers introduced as usual by Allen, clearing out a final announcement for their deposed manager. Explaining that Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard would now deliver a special announcement, Allen turned over the microphone to his announcing counterpart. Maintaining his dignified delivery throughout, Sheppard revealed that Martin would return to the Yankee dugout two years later, in 1980, with recently hired manager Bob Lemon moving up to the front office as general manager. As a gleeful Martin trotted onto the field at a sun-splashed Yankee Stadium, a capacity crowd greeted him with a prolonged standing ovation that was motivated as much by shock as it was by joy.

In terms of dramatic theater, it was as timely and well orchestrated as any announcement I’ve seen during my lifetime as a fan. It showcased Old-Timers’ Day at its best, combining the predictable and orderly splendor of a ceremonial day with an unexpected and newsworthy development that bordered on spontaneity.

We didn’t see that kind of news making event yesterday, but that didn’t make the day any less significant. Seeing former Yankees in uniform, sometimes for the first time in years, is something that will always prompt the goose bumps. If you like and appreciate the history of this franchise, then Old-Timers’ Day remains the one day that cannot be missed.

[Photo Credit: Ron Antoneli, N.Y. Daily News]

Bruce Markusen writes “Cooperstown Confidential” for The Hardball Times.

On the Mend

The Wrong Foot

If there’s one thing that’s bothered me about the Yankees this year it’s that they don’t seem to play well in series openers. After tonight’s loss to the Red Sox, they’re only 9-12 in the first game of a series. (For the record, their record in those first 11 series that they started with a loss is 5-3-3.) I think the emphasis on winning three-game series during the regular season, a relatively recent idea, is a bit overblown, but I still find myself falling in to the trap and thinking, “Alright, now they have to win the last two” when they really don’t. Well, they have to win these next two against the Sox.

This game turned sour in the first inning and didn’t get much better later on. The Red Sox bats made it clear from the jump that Yankee starter Freddy García didn’t have anything. Jacoby Ellsbury opened with a long home run to right, Dustin Pedroia drew a walk, Adrian González rocketed a triple over Curtis Granderson’s head, and Kevin Youkilis his a sacrifice fly to the track in right, giving Boston a 3-0 lead. García’s troubles would continue in the second as he gave up a walk and a single before serving up some batting practice slop to Pedroia who thanked him for the charity by hitting a laser down the line in right to score both base runners. Joe Girardi smartly pulled García, but the damage was done.

The Yankees had a chance to answer Boston’s early outburst in their bottom half of the first against a less-than-sharp Jon Lester, but they squandered the opportunity. With Granderson already on first, Lester let a fastball run in to Mark Teixeira. As Teixeira began to stride into the pitch, putting all of his wait on his back right leg, the ball continued to dart inward and struck him on the right knee. By the time I watched the replay I already knew that the x-rays had come back negative, so I wasn’t nearly as worried as everyone who was watching live. Teixeira immediately crumpled into a heap at the plate, rolling around in obvious agony and cursing loud enough to be heard on the NESN field mike. I’m guessing that everyone — Teixeira included — thought he had shattered his knee cap. Thankfully it was only a bruise, but I wouldn’t expect to see him for at least a few days.

Anyway, that put runners on first and second for Alex Rodríguez, who beat a potential double-play grounder to create a first and third situation for Robinson Canó. Canó drove in the run with a single to center, and when Lester hit another batter (Russell Martin) with another fastball that ran in, Nick Swisher came up with a chance to tie the game. Swisher made Lester work, but eventually grounded out to third to end the threat.

The game settled down a bit after this, thanks partially to more strong work from the Yankee bullpen. Luís Ayala got four outs in relief of García, and then Girardi turned to the intriguing young Hector Noesi, who, for the most part, had another successful outing. He pitched the final six innings of the game, giving up just two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out one. The two runs he yielded were important at the time (stretching the Sox lead to 6-1) and could resonate through the final two games of the series. With González on first, David Ortíz came up and hit a no-doubter into the seats in right, then took a moment to soak it all in. He looked immediately across home plate into the Boston dugout on the third base side of the field, flipped the bat with disdain, and then executed a perfect pirouette as he finally left the batter’s box and began his circuit of the bases. I was surprised, because I don’t really remember Big Papi rubbing the salt like that, and Girardi didn’t like it either. “Yeah, I didn’t really care for it. I’ve never had a problem with David Ortíz… My reaction’s probably more protecting our young kid. And that’s what I’m going to do.” Papi’s response? “That’s Papi style.” I wouldn’t be surprised — or disappointed — to see Big Papi get a little A.J. Burnett style in the ribs tomorrow, maybe in the first inning.

One last note on Noesi. After the Ortíz homer Noesi retired the next thirteen batters before giving up a double to Ellsbury who was thrown at third trying to stretch. I think he’s done enough in the pen (15.1 IP, 1.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) to earn a start some time soon.

The rest of the game was rather uneventful. Swisher knocked in a couple runs in the fifth with a double, and, as he usually does in New York, Jonathan Papelbon made things interesting in the ninth, giving up a walk and a single to cut the lead to 6-4, and A-Rod even came to the plate with a chance to tie the game. But when he waved half-heartedly at a 97-MPH fastball that was riding up and away out of the strike zone, the game was over. Red Sox 6, Yankees 4.

A couple more things. Derek Jeter had two hits on the night, meaning he’s twelve hits away with nine games left in the home stand. Fingers crossed.

And if you think you’ve seen Alex Rodríguez strike out before to end a game, it’s because you have. The folks at ESPN, always happy to bring us good news, report that A-Rod has done that thirteen times as a Yankee, tied with Posada for most on the team during that time.

Tomorrow, though, is another day.

[Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]

On Tap


Should Andruw Jones get more playing time in light of Nick Swisher’s poor performance? Kevin Kernan says “Yes” in the Post.

Oh, and here’s more Mo:

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