Thursday, September 14, 2006

September 13, 2006 - Yankees 8, Devil Rays 4: If only he had more PAs...

What can I say about tonight's game and the experience there except... it's pretty awesome!

I went by myself to the real place where dreams come true... Tier Box 646, Row D, Seat 20... I took my camera, my notebook, some notes to read for school, and my spirit, and this is what transpired...





^ If someone could get me the name of the guy in the Tampa Bay bullpen who wears the girly backpack, I would really appreciate it!

Now, to the game...

A few changes were in the line-up: A-Rod hitting 4th instead of 5th, and Fasano instead of Posada in the line-up... I thought the A-Rod change was a little interesting, if A-Rod hits well in the 4th spot, it will cause major damage because the other team can't use a lefty-specialist to handle both Abreu and Giambi without dealing with A-Rod in between... apparently, tonight, this worked...

I get to my seat...



^ It was a good seat, it fit my butt pretty well... and the view I had was pretty decent...



Sure, you couldn't see half of left field, but if you're around good people and enjoying a great game, why not?

What about the game can I speak about?

Let's try the first inning...

5 pitches into the game, a Baldelli HR into left... 15 pitches into the game, Crawford HR into right... add in there, A-Rod's throwing error and you got yourself a real dandy top of the 1st inning... but the Yankees responded...

Before the start of the 1st, I took out my notebook, copied down Hammel's stats and wrote in big letters (and circled) "ROOKIE", it has been well-documented that the Yankees have more trouble with pitchers they have never faced before than with veterans and 2nd/3rd year pitchers... that theory didn't hold water tonight, as plainly seen in the bottom of the 1st...

Damon walked, Jeter gets a single to extend his hitting streak to 22 games, Abreu walks, A-Rod hits a dribbler to B.J. Upton who misplays the ball barehand... it was ruled a single but many of us (including me) thought it was an error... Giambi hits into a double play... except that he actually beats out the throw to first... Cano hits a sac fly, and Matsui ends the inning with a fly out to center field... Score: Yankees 3, Devil Rays 2...

Fast-forward to the bottom of the 3rd inning... with 2 outs, A-Rod hits a monster shot into the black seats in CF for a solo shot, making the score 4-2... Giambi hits one of his two singles through the shift... and Cano comes up...

Before Cano starts to get into the box, a woman behind me asks her 3 or (possibly) 4-year old son if Cano will hit the ball, the kid says "no"... I immediately turned around and said, "I hope the kid is wrong"... boy, was he ever... Cano hits a 2-run HR into the seats in RF... Score: Yankees 6, Devil Rays 2

Cory Lidle started off shaky but it seems that he turned it on until the top of the 4th... Cantu files out to Damon, and B.J. Upton is up... Upton hits a liner off of Lidle's foot, the ball gets to Cano, and Cano throws to Giambi, but Upton beats it out...



^ Ok, how many guys does it take to check out one guy's foot? The entire infield, Guidry, the medical staff, 2 members from Boyz 2 Men, Randy Johnson's love child, Paul Lo Duca's 19-year-old short-time mistress (very hot, I may add), and the entire University of Louisville's marching band gathered around Lidle to make sure he was alright...

Though he didn't limp trying to make the play and he seemed to throw fine, what happened afterwards may refute that assessment: Zobrist (what a name) walks, Paul singles, Upton scores...

At this point, Bruney and Myers both start to warm up... Baldelli strikes out, Delmon "Throw a Bat at a Ump" Young flies out to Damon, and the inning was done...

Top of the 5th, Crawford singles and steals 2nd on a high throw by Posada that Jeter saved from going into the outfield, the DH Norton singles, and Crawford scores, effectively ending Lidle's night...

Lidle's line: 4+ innings, 4 runs, 9 hits, 1 man left on, one walk, 2 Ks... not exactly the most impressive thing in the world, and it was his second straight disappointing start...

Up comes Brian Bruney, the man I have been talking about in the blog so far... what he did in the top of the 5th shows how dominant he has been for the Yankees so far: he gets Ty Wigginton to check swing groundout to him, in a full count, he gets Cantu looking at a 97-mph fastball for the K, and he gets Upton to fly out to Abreu...

Bruney effectively pitches 2+ innings on 26 pitches, one hit, 2 Ks... his K to IP is now 1.8... and to me, he basically pitched himself not only a win in tonight's game, but a spot on the postseason roster...

Bruney seems long removed from his time as Arizona's closer, eh?

Mike Myers comes in after Bruney, pitches 2/3rd of an inning, getting Crawford to ground into a double play and pitching a walk... who comes in for Myers in the top of the 7th?



^ I groaned, I moaned, I almost cried, but the same man who received August's Pitcher of the Month before the game (for the Yankees) is the same man pitching on one day's rest and who has pitched in 4 of the last 5 Yankee games...

He didn't fall flat on his face, he pitched as effectively as he has all season, pitching 1.1 innings, getting a man to strike out, and only yielding one hit...

I would have loved to see Proctor get another day's rest and put Villone in there to see if he has worked out his problems, but then again, who would you put out there? Farnsworth was coming in later, Dotel pitched yesterday, Karstens would be used in a long-relief role, Mo's out, and Myers/Bruney already pitched... I can't argue too much about the choice, but I still didn't feel too great about it...

At least, his arm doesn't seem affected by the lack of rest... and that's a good thing...

My player-of-the game, Robinson Cano hits a bases loaded double in the bottom of the 7th to increase the lead 8-4, which says that way partly because of an impressive appearance by Kyle Farnsworth, who got Baldelli and Young to strike out, and Norton to fly out (with a Crawford double in between)...

Nat left me a comment to discuss Cano and his performance in the blog... I always give what my readers want... well, up to this point...

Robinson Cano has been incredible since he came back off the DL on August 8th...

Here are his splits (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS) in the months of August and September (so far):

August: .351/.373/.598/.970 with 12 doubles and 23 RBIs...
September: .364/.391/.545/.937 with 5 doubles and 9 RBIs so far...

So Cano has been hitting .355 since coming off the DL... I don't know about you, but that's really impressive...

Because of him being on the DL, at this point, Cano does not have enough plate appearances to be a part of the batting title chase... the leaders of the AL batting title chase are:

1. Joe Mauer, Min.348
2. Derek Jeter, NYY.346
3. Vladimir Guerrero, LAA.330
4. Miguel Tejada, Bal.327
5. Justin Morneau, Min.325

So, if Cano had enough plate appearances to be mentioned in the AL batting title, he would be ranked 3rd with a .337 BA... it has been talked about on WCBS that Cano may reach the number of PAs in a week or two... if that is so, Mauer and Jeter, watch out!

If only he had enough PAs now, he'll be in the chase, but just watch out...

And some people still have the nerve not to rank Cano as one of the top 5 second basemen in the game today...



Final score: Yankees 8, Devil Rays 4...

Magic number:


^ Thanks Wikipedia...

*******

Wang pitches tomorrow, looking to get his MLB-lead-tying 18th win... I'll be going with two of my friends at Fordham, and probably meeting a few more members from the Empire at the game... Section 39, that's where it goes down...

Hopefully, God will hold some of the rain back so we can get the game in... and if not, well... then... uh...

Happy reading!

B(rent)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks :)
Cano also had a great September last year and that's the kind of thing I love to see, especially from a young player...how they perform down the stretch.

-Nat

Anonymous said...

niice touch with the photos...great writing Brent :)

-Katie

hopbitters said...

Photos at the Stadium are always good. Nice game summary, too.