Yanks are Officially in the Playoffs!!!
The Yankees were playing so badly that I thought they were on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. It was sickening…embarrassing…the team was dead. I remember them being 2 wins away – so close I could almost taste it – and yet I felt those 2 wins might have well been 200, because I didn’t think there was any way they could win the way they were playing. But that’s all over now. With just 3 games left to play, the Yankees are tied for first with those pesky Rays in the AL East. Homefield advantage would be nice, but I don’t really care about it as much as I did a few days ago. I’m just THRILLED that the Yankees are in the postseason! I think that if they win the ALDS, then they are going all the way. But I’m getting ahead of myself: I want to talk about how we clinched!
September 26, 2010. Yankees vs. Red Sox. A game I surely thought the Yankees would lose, especially because they were losing 1-0 in the 7th inning, having shown zero signs of life with the bat. But all that changed with 1 swing of the bat by The Drama King himself, Mr. Alex Rodriguez. His 2-run homer in the 7th gave the Yankees a new life, and their first lead of the night. They were ahead 2-1.
Just like last year, Alex is arguably the most important player for the Yanks.
I thought that would be enough for them to win…but Mariano Rivera was icky – VERY icky – in the 9th, allowing 2 runs and letting the Yankee lead slip away. 3-2 Red Sox. But in the bottom of the 9th, Robbie Cano singled sharply with the bases loaded, tying the game. For the first time in ages, the Yankees were showing fight. They weren’t done yet.
In the 10th, Curtis Granderson led off with a single and Brett Gardner laid down the perfect bunt for a single. For some reason, which still seems mindless to me, the Red Sox intentionally walked Derek Jeter, to LOAD THE BASES WITH NO ONE OUT. Why on earth would anyone do that? ESPECIALLY when the other team can get a walkoff? I don’t know.
Patience proved to be a virtue for my Yanks and Juan Miranda. His patience at the plate and great at-bat resulted in a walk – a WALKOFF WALK, and the Yankees won 4-3. Sadly, I didn’t see any pies fly. But that’s okay…I was just glad to see them win!
Thank you, Juan!!!
The Heroes for this Victory which brought the Yankees magic number down to 1 were Phil Hughes, for his starting effort, A-Rod, for that super-clutch homer, and Juan Miranda for the walkoff.
The clincher came on September 28 against the Blue Jays, and the Yankees couldn’t have had a better guy on the mound for a game of this importance. CC Sabathia was fabulous, throwing over 8 innings of 1-run ball.
CC was his usual C”Cy” self, but what impressed me most about this win was the offense: the Yankees built every one of their runs. A-Rod, Teixeira, and Cano had sac flies. A-Rod also had a bases loaded walk. Greg Golson had an RBI groundout. There were no home runs. Everything was built, and that’s good. In the postseason, the Yankees are going to have to be able to score like that if they want to win. And they do want to win. So they’ll have to.
The Yankees won this game 6-1, and had a little fun with the bubbly. Watching my boys run around pouring ice cold champagne on each other’s heads is enough to make me smile any day.
The Captain gets a taste.
My Cutie-Curtis Granderson gets his first ever taste of postseason parties.
A bunch of my goofy boys ♥
I can’t decide how I think the Yankees will do in the postseason this year. Do I think they are as good as last year? I don’t know. There were a few bad stretches last year, and I guess I didn’t notice as much because the struggles weren’t right before the season’s end. This year’s struggles arrived at a more nerve-racking time.
Even so, I don’t think anyone, even myself, has the right to or should predict the Yankees postseason success. The postseason is a whole different animal. I enjoy it. But it also makes me a wreck – even when they win. I can’t take the pressure.
With that said, I’m going to enjoy these final three games of the regular season in 2010.
But I guess it could be worse. I am not taking science or math this year because my math teacher scarred me for life last year. And this year, I actually like all my teachers. I’ve had them all before. Some of them are very fun to talk baseball with. And, oh yeah: IT’S SENIOR YEAR. I should enjoy this.
Even though I haven’t blogged recently, I have watched all the games. My boys are making me so proud. So far, the heroes for this winning streak are Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames for their hot-hitting, and the bullpen, which has done an absolutely fantastic job.
Yesterday’s 7-5 win over the Blue Jays was the typical win of this winning streak.
Pitching Analysis: After beasting in the bullpen, Javier Vazquez was inserted back into the starting rotation. I had a feeling he would be….suckish. Javy tends to give up the longball. The Blue Jays tend to hit the longball. The wind was making it easier to hit the longball. Add all that up, and it wasn’t going to be a pretty day for Javy.
Weather-wise, it was a beautiful day…but not for Javy.
Javy did give up the longball. Homers by Overbay and McDonald gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead. Vazquez didn’t even get through 5 innings, and he allowed 5 runs.
The bullpen again had a lot of outs to get, and they did another amazing job. The combo of Dustin Moseley, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood, and Mariano Rivera shut the door on the Blue Jay batters’s faces. They allowed 0 runs on 3 hits, and struckout 5. THEY ARE BEASTS!!!
Offensive Analysis: Despite being down 3-0, the Yankee bats weren’t ready to give up. They had that rally in them. And the rally all started thanks to my sweet Francisco Cervelli ♥ In the 3rd with 1 out, Cervelli hit a ball in the left-center gap. And he hustled. And because he hustled, Francisco Cervelli had himself a double. That ball never made it to the wall. Many guys would have just settled for a single. But not my Cervelli. And that’s why I love him.
Then Brett Gardner walked (the 9th straight game he did that!), and Derek Jeter ripped a double, scoring Cervelli. Inching closer, it was now a 3-1 game.
After Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases, a struggling Robinson Cano stepped up to the plate. He hit a ball back up the middle, and it found grass! 2 runs scored on Robbie’s game-tying single.
The Yankees went ahead in the 4th. Cervelli doubled with a man on and 1 out, then Gardner drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI groundout. A wild pitch let another score, making it 5-3.
And finally, in the 7th, the Yankees had their share of the longball. With 2 outs, Cano singled, bringing up
Hank Aaron Marcus Thames. He had a few good swings earlier in the game, but didn’t have a hit to show for it. Until this:
I love my Marcus Thames!!!!!
That made it 7-5 Yankees. And that’s the final 🙂
Another win, another series win, and another game gained on those Pesky Rays. The heroes for this victory, the 8th in a row, are the bullpen, for cleanly eating up all those innings. And Marcus Thames, for turning into the Home Run King. Hank Aaron who? Hahaa…The other hero is my Francisco Cervelli, because he started the rally. And just cuz I love him ♥
Oh, Francisco….too cute for words.
The Somebody Needs a Hug goes to Javier Vazquez. Javy, your confidence has taken a rollercoaster ride throughout the entire season. I don’t want you to lose it after 1 icky start. You were great out of the bullpen, and that was no fluke. Believe in yourself!
Yankees, the season is winding down. And you are still leading the AL East! Congrats on everything you have done so far. Please just keep it up. Go as far as you can this season, because I need to keep seeing you.
I love you! GO YANKEES!!!
Since the last few Yankee games have been abysmal, I don’t want to talk about them. They are making me angry. I need a few laughs. So today, I’m going to talk about someone who never fails to make me laugh. She is a die-hard Yankees fan just like me. She’s my Grandma.
My Grandma is 86 years old. And she’s kind of Italian. And she’s lived in the Bronx her whole life. She does a lot to make us laugh, but the main thing she does is butcher words. Like when she says “toast,” she actually says “toes.” Or “dollar” is “dolla.” She never puts the “r” on her words. And sometimes, when she hears people actually put the “r” on the words, she says things like, “Oooh they talk with the ‘r’.”
Throughout the many years I have known my Grandma, and the many Yankee games we’ve watched together, I’ve noticed something: She butchers everybody’s name. And what’s really funny is that she actually says these things!
Here is a chunk of the Yankee roster – the way Grandma pronounces it:
– Mariani Rivera
Mariani, Grandma? Really? Must you make EVERYBODY Italian? How about Mariano? Or if that’s too complicated, why not just call him Mo?
– CC Sebastian
Look at CC…he’s obviously disgusted this “name.” Sebastian…where is that from? Okay. Grandma’s niece’s son is named Sebastian. But really, there is no excuse for that.
– Robinson Canoe
I guess this one was easy to mess up. But really? CANO.
– Kerry Woods
Again, this one is probably easy to mess up. But somtimes, I think she tries to mess them up. Kerry WOOD…is it really that hard?
– Derek Jeetah
Grandma never pronounces the “r” on the end of Jeter’s name. It’s just “Jeetah.” It rhymes with “cheetah.”
– Austin Sterns
I think Grandma only said this one once, but that’s because I corrected her right away. Kearns…Austin KEARNS.
– Curtain Granderson
Okay, this one isn’t really fair. Grandma just got tongue-twisted when she called him “Curtain.” But she still said it. Me, my little brother, and my Grandma were all watching the game one night. Me and my brother left the room for a minute, and Grandma shouted “HOME RUN!!” We asked, “Who, Grandma who!”
“Curt..uhhh…Cu…Curtain…oh, ah fanabla.”
She didn’t need to explain any more. We got it. Through our frenzy of laughter, we explained, “CURTIS!!!! CURTIS GRANDERSON!!! Aahahhahaaa….you just called him CURTAIN!!!!”
– Nick Swiffah
This one is everyone in my family’s favorite. She messed up the mess up. “Swiffah?” How about “Swiffer?” Or better yet, NICK SWISHER!!!!
This one has a little story. It happened one night during the offseason of 2008. It was dinnertime, and everyone was coming into the kitchen. We left the YES Network on as always. News of the Betemit/Swisher trade was just released.
Grandma just found out about this trade. She didn’t know who the guy was that the Yankees just got. So she shouted, “ROBBIT, (“Robbit” is my older brother, Robert. We all call him Bobby. She calls him “Robbit,” as opposed to “Robert” or Bobby.”) ROBBIT…”
“Yes Grandma?” Bobby asked.
Bobby was silent, confused like the rest of us.
“Who?” He asked.
“WHO’S NICK SWIFFAH?” Grandma tried again.
This time, Bobby went to the TV to see for himself. The headline “Yanks Trade for Nick Swisher.”
“GRANDMAAA!!!! It’s NICK SWISHER!!!!”
She didn’t have time to respond. We all started laughing at her. But she was a good sport about it, as always. “Oooh!” she said. Then she joined in with laughs. To this day, we still remind her of this one. And she never got it wrong the right way again. Now she calls him “Swizza.” Then I say, “No, Grandma…Nick SWISHER.”
I don’t think she’ll ever get it right.
Yanks Finally Win – A Day Late, But I’ll Take It
I’m not even kidding: I think the Yankees have a secret camera in my house. Yesterday, I was frustrated after they lost on my birthday (17!!!), and needed to take out my frustration. So for FanVsFan, I posted a debate about Joe Girardi, and how he deserves some of the blame for the offensive woes:
He must have heard me recording this, because he took my advice. And it paid off! The Yankees won 6-2….on Jorge Posada’s birthday instead of mine. But that’s okay. We just needed a win!
Pitching Analysis: The Yankees looked toward CC Sabathia to throw up a bunch of zeros and stop the bleeding last night. I thought he was the perfect guy to be on that mound last night to turn things around for the Yanks. But after the first pitch of the game connected to A-Jax’s bat and landed in the seats, I lost faith. 1-0? Already? In the 1st inning? That was asking too much from the Yankees, who lost a game 1-0 to the Royals the other day. I thought we were screwed.
THANK GOD, I was wrong.
My sweet Hefty-Lefty settled down after 2 innings. After that leadoff homer, CC shut down the Tigers offense until Inge homered in the 7th. CC got into a little jam in the 7th, but made it out unscathed. I read his lips when he left the mound after the 7th: “F*** YEAH!!!!”
I was thinking the same thing, CC ♥
The bullpen, which all of a sudden has turned itself around, did well last night. David Robertson pitched a clean 8th, and Mariano tossed a scoreless 9th.
Defensive Analysis: Curtis Granderson has always played a good centerfield. Even when his hitting wasn’t there, he contributed with his glove. In the 1st inning, Granderson made two exceptional plays: One going to his left, and one diving going to his right. He helped set the tone last night, and got CC out of some potential jams. Thank you, Curtis!
Offensive Analysis: This was what I really wanted for my birthday: runs. Joe Girardi took my advice. The Yankees really forced the action last night, which you have to do against a pitcher like Verlander. I saw a bunt last night. And I even saw a steal – by JORGE POSADA!!! Happy Birthday Jo-Po! That’s a single season-high 3 steals for him this year. And aside from the small ball, the Yankees actually hit last night. Hallelujah.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top half of the 1st, the Yankees came right back, which surprised me – they haven’t done that in ages. With loaded bases, Nick Swisher knocked in 2 with a single, giving the Yanks a 2-1 lead. It seems like ages since they’ve had a lead…
In the 2nd, my cute little Curtis hit a solo home run, making it 4-1 Yanks. Boy, he sure is cute when he’s swingin’ that stick so well 😉
In the 6th, Brett Gardner hit a 2-out double. That brought up Jeter, who I couldn’t help being angry at because of the loss on my birthday: the Yankees were down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th. With bases loaded and 1 out, Jeter grounded into a game-ending double play. I hoped he could do something to make me happy last night. And he did. His 2 out RBI single scored Gardner, and gave the Yanks a 4-1 lead. Thank you, Derek.
In the 7th, Robbie Cano homered, making it 5-2. He’s been struggling lately, so that homer was a good sign. Later in the inning, Nick Swisher got hit by a pitch right on the foot. He went down, and was in a lot of pain. I didn’t even think Nick would have been in the lineup last night, because he hurt his forearm the night before. But with Berkman and A-Rod still hurt, Swish chose to play last night. What a guy. I was relieved when I saw him trot down to first base.
After an infield single by Marcus Thames and a Curtis Granderson walk, the bases were loaded for Ramiro Pena. He tacked on a run with a sac fly, giving the Yanks a 6-2 lead. And that’s the final score.
Last night’s win was comforting for sure. But is the offensive slump over? I wouldn’t exactly call 6 runs an explosion. But the offense doesn’t always need to explode for the team to win. I’m not going to say if the slump is over or not….I’ll just stay quiet and watch them play. I’m not going to be the one to jinx them (that’s Michael Kay’s job). The heroes for the victory last night are CC Sabathia, for another win, giving him the league-leading 16, Curtis Granderson, for his contributions with both the glove and bat, and Nick Swisher, for being a man, and for giving the Yankees their first lead since God knows when.
My little brother had an idea for a new segment on my blog: the “Somebody Needs a Hug” segment. This is brilliance at its best. Every game I watch, I always say that at least once. So why not write it, too? The “Somebody Needs a Hug” recipient is someone who either did something or had something happen to him that makes me pity him. The hug is to either comfort, or show that I appreciate him and his efforts. Thank you Tommy for this idea.
The first ever Somebody Needs a Hug goes to….Nick Swisher. Like I said before, he played through pain, and then got hurt again. I love my macho Yankees.
Stay tough, boys! And thanks for winning 🙂
-Peaceful sigh- THAT’S more like it. I knew the Yankees wouldn’t lose again yesterday, because the most they’ve lost in a row this year was 3 games. And yesterday’s 5-1 win was more than just a win: it was history. I don’t care what all those haters think about A-Rod. Unlike Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire, A-Rod admitted it. So you have to respect that.
I’ve been thinking about this whole steroid thing. I mean, SO many players were on juice. Does that mean Alex was right to do them? Absolutely not. Does that excuse his behavior? No way. Who knows how many players were really on steroids? It’s a sad era in baseball, but it happened. And nobody can possibly know of EVERY player who did steroids, so that’s why they are just including everyone in the record books. If the steroid era players are going to be included in te record books, then I want A-Rod to break that record. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. He’s my A-Rod, my Yankee, and I love him.
Let’s take a look at that milestone home run:
Congratulations, Alex. I love you so much and I’m glad you are on my Yankees.
Oh, and just for the record, Cano was SO safe at first!!!
That was no cheapie, Alex. Dead center. And look how relieved he was. The whole team, the whole city of New York was probably relieved. Because after that ball landed, it was back to business for Alex and the Yanks. Time to just focus on winning. And that’s what they did.
Pitching Analysis: Phil Hughes looked pretty darn good out there yesterday. He had that Philthy stuff and made that face that I just can’t help but love. He struggled recently, but those troubles look like a thing of the past. In his struggles, opposing hitters kept fouling off pitches from Hughes – pitches that when he’s on, they swing and miss at. Yesterday, Hughes had that swing-and-miss stuff. I think this is a good sign for Hughes.
The bullpen was really good yesterday. Logan, Robertson, Chamberlain, and Rivera all pitched well. In fact, Joba impressed me. I think it was his 4th scoreless appearance in a row, which is great for the Joba of 2010. I hope he can keep this up, too. If we can actually depend on Joba, that changes the entire bullpen. If Joba is on, I think the Yanks have the best ‘pen in the Bigs.
Come on Joba! Keep it up!
Offensive Analysis: The offense looked alive and well yesterday. And so many streaks were broken:
-The streak of 1st inning 2-run home run losses is over.
-Robbie Cano and Jorge Posada’s 0-for streaks are a thing of the past.
And, oh yeah! Alex Rodriguez’s 46 homerless at-bats streak came to an end in the 1st inning with that little 2-run homer he hit.
Aside from A-Rod, 2 Yankees who had fabulous days at the dish yesterday were Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. How about Tex lately? He had 3 RBI yesterday. He seriously thinks he can get the stats on the back of his baseball card in to Tex-Territory. And if he keeps playing like this, he can.
And how about that Derek Jeter? 4-4 yesterday. Seemed like he spent the whole game on base. The coolest hit was his bunt single. When A-Rod was up in the first inning, the commentators suggested that he should bunt. LOL. Instead he went deep. But in his turn, Derek Jeter noticed the infield was back, so he laid down the quintessential perfect bunt.
What a ballplayer ♥
I say this a lot, but I think I mean it this time: yesterday’s win was the most comforting win of the season. For many reasons: the losing streak is over, the offense didn’t die, the pitching was amazing, A-Rod can focus again because his milestone is a thing of the past, and most of all…….THE RAYS LOST! That’s right! My Yanks are tied for 1st again in the AL East. They just wanted to be nice and give the Rays a little taste of victory…tantalizing them with the feeling of 1st place before snatching it away from them! Lol…Anyway, the heroes for this win are A-Rod, and everyone else. This was a team effort.
Off day, and then a series against the Red Sox…Let’s knock them out of this race once and for all, boys.
Yanks Even Series in Tampa Bay
Last night’s game 2 win insured that the Yankees will leave Tampa Bay in first place where they belong. Ahh…that’s so comforting. I didn’t see game 1 of this series, and I’m glad I didn’t. I would have gotten too angry that they lost 3-2 and got just 1 hit after the first inning. But I don’t have to think about that, because game 2 had the desired results: Yankees win. It was another close game, but this time the Bombers came out on top 5-4.
Pitching Analysis: I’m so happy the trade deadline is over and Javier Vazquez is still on the team. I was afraid he would be dealt for someone like Jayson Werth. Thank GOD that didn’t happen. Javy has had the lowest ERA of all Yankee starters since May 12. I hoped this trend of success would continue last night. Javy battled, but he was good. He gave up a few leads, but managed to limit the damage and keep the Rays from a big inning. Vazquez threw 6.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits.
The bullpen was absolutely FABULOUS last night. The combo of David Robertson and Boone Logan is proving to be very effective. It almost reminds me of the Philthies Coke and Hughes last year. These guys are the new bridge to Mariano – sorry Joba. And Chan Ho, I’m sorry you were DFA’d. I hope someone picks you up, just not the Yankees 🙂
Robertson and Logan did their jobs and got the ball to Mariano, who of course picked up his 22nd save of the season.
Offensive Analysis: The Yankees played catch-up all of last night. Curtis Granderson’s sac fly in the 2nd tied the game at 1. In the 6th, the Yanks were down 3-1. Derek Jeter led off with a double, and Mark Teixeira hit an absolute BOMB for a 2-ruin homer to tie the game at 3.
The Yanks fell behind once again, and once again the home run gave them new life. Nick Swisher crushed a hanging curveball for a solo home run in the 7th, tieing the game at 4. The Yankees kept on fighting back. I didn’t think it was possible for them to lose, but it seemed odd for them to win, because they never had the lead.
Swish, running with his head down after his home run…just like a good little Yankee 😉
In the 9th with the score tied, the Rays brought out their big All-Star closer, Rafael Soriano. Robinson Cano, who already had two doubles, stepped up to the plate with 1 out. He is SUCH a beast. Is there anyone this guy can’t hit? He proved to me once again last night that he is a magical player. Robbie’s home run off Soriano gave the Yankees their first lead of the night, 5-4. That was all they needed.
Thank you, Robbie ♥
What really annoyed me was in 6th inning when Matt Joyce hit a homer to give the Rays a 4-3 lead. He was SO obnoxous. He did the “drop” with his bat, and just stared at it before finally performing his home-run trot. He was really showing off, and it was uncalled for. He should have just put his head down and ran, because that homer meant nothing: they LOST. I mean, who does he think he is? He has 5 homers this year. And he’s really tearing it up with a .230 batting average. Wow, he’s good. He and the Rays are ridiculous. They think who they are. But who are they? They need to show some class out there on the field. They really are the opposite of the Yankees. The Bombers had 3 home runs last night, and you didn’t see them showing off – even though Tex, Swish, and Cano are legit good players. No. They don’t do that because it isn’t right. The Yankees just drop the bat, put their heads down, and run. When they get back to the dugout, THEN they celebrate.
That’s what the Yankees are all about: class. They are the best team, and they don’t act obnoxious about it. Those pesky Rays aren’t the best, so why do they act like that? The need to stop being so cocky, because they haven’t proven anything yet. They didn’t win anything.
The heroes for last night’s Drama Club win are the new and IMPROVED bridge to Mariano, Mr. David Robertson and Mr. Boone Logan. You two are adorable, and you really make me proud. The other heroes are the 3 homer-boys from last night, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano. I’d like to thank you guys for your performance and behavior on the field. You make me proud in both respects.
I’d just like to welcome Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and Kerry Wood to the Yankees. Guys, you will love it here. The Yankees know how to win. Sorry that you have to shave your beards and cut your hair, but I don’t think that’s a big price to pay. You guys are Yankees!
Hello, Mr. Big Puma. You will love the Bronx Zoo 🙂
Emotional Night Ends Right
From the pregame ceremonies to the pie, last night was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone who watched. It was a Drama Club victory, and a game that will no-doubt be a Yankee Classic. I’m just so happy that the Yankees came out on top. It was a game they had to win.
Before the game, the lives of Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner where remembered. The crowd was silent, giving the two iconic men all their respect. Mariano Rivera placed two roses on top of home plate, one for Bob and one for the Boss.
Later on in the ceremony, Derek Jeter made a short-but-sweet speech honoring Bob and George. He requested a moment of silence, and silenced the Stadium went.
I’m sure the Yankees could have spent hours talking about Steinbrenner and Sheppard, but there was a baseball game to play. As a tribute to Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer did not announce. There were no player intros. The crowd seemed confused at the beginning of the game, not knowing whether to behave as if they were at a memorial, or a ballgame.
CC Sabathia struggled last night. He lacked command, and had to grind out each inning. By the 3rd, it was 2-0 Rays. The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the 3rd. Nick Swisher’s RBI single scored Brett Gardner. That made it 2-1.
Sabathia got into a serious jam in the 5th, having loaded the bases with none out. Sabathia managed to minimize the damage by getting Evan Longoria to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. He allowed just 1 run that inning, but the Rays still had the lead at 3-1.
The Yankees still trailed 3-1 in the 6th inning. After 2 quick outs, I didn’t expect any runs that inning. But Robinson Cano had other ideas. Robbie hit a 2-out solo home run to get the Yankees back into the game. It was the first time all night the crowd really started cheering.
After Cano, Jorge Posada took his turn at bat. He got ahead in the count 3-0. Joe Girardi made a bold move, and gave Jorge the green light. And it paid off. Jorge hit an absolute bomb for a solo home run, back to back with Robbie. More importantly, the game was tied at 3. The Yankees were fighting. I knew there was no way they were going to lose this game.
CC Sabathia got into another bases loaded none out jam in the 7th, and gave the Rays right back a run on a Ben Zobrist ground out. Although he was able to once again minimize the damage, I feared that it would be a momentum killer for the Yankees. The Rays led 4-3.
David Robertson relieved CC in the 8th, and I cringed when I saw it was he who Girardi put in. To my surprise, Robertson looked like he did last year. He was superb. Robertson threw a 1-2-3 inning, and struckout all three Rays batters.
In the bottom of the 8th, Nick Swisher showed that the Yankees weren’t ever going to give up. The Boss loved to win, and he would do anything to win. Swisher embraced this philosophy. Swish belted a ball into the 2nd deck, for yet another game-tying home run. After crossing the plate, Swisher kissed the George Steinbrenner patch on his uniform.
With a tie game, the Yanks handed the ball to the Great Mariano for the 9th. He allowed a cheap leadoff single to BJ Upton, but quickly erased it. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it: Mariano picked off Upton at first base. He was out by a mile. Upton was infuriated, and began spewing expletives all over the place. Leave it to Upton to have no class. He’s the polar opposite of the New York Yankees.
Mariano got out of the 9th with no problem. The only question now was: Who wants pie?
Curtis Granderson had a great at-bat and got on base with a leadoff single through the hole on the right side of the infield. Ramiro Pena laid down a perfect sac bunt, moving the GrandyMan to 2nd base with 1 out. Brett Gardner’s at-bat was even more suspensful. He quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, but that didn’t worry him. Brett was cool, calm, and collected 3 balls making the count full. After what seemed to be an eternity, Gardner drew a walk. That brought up Jeter.
The captain was extremely fond of both Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner, so it seemed fitting for him to get the walkoff. Jeter made a valient effort, but could not get the job done. He struckout for the 2nd out, and left it up to Nick Swisher.
I would have loved to see Jeter win the game, but if he couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t want anybody up at the plate but Nick Swisher. He always puts up a great at-bat, and has been so clutch for the Yankees this season.
Nick Swisher delivered once again. He ripped a single into right field, and Granderson was safe at the play at the plate. The team had to wait until they knew for sure Granderson was safe before charging out of the dugout. Then, the customary walkoff chaos began.
And then, like he had done 19 times before, A.J. Burnett emerged stealthily from the dugout, and pied Nick Swisher.
This was a game that the Yankees absolutely had to win. They have been through so much this past week. It’s victories like this that bring the team closer. All the Yankees are the heroes for this 5-4 thrilling victory, but #1 is Nick Swisher.
The Yankees now have a 3 game lead over the pesky Rays. The Red Sox lost once again and are 6.5 games back. Things are looking mighty fine for the Yankees right now. But as George would have wanted, the Yankees have to take things 1 day at a time. There is still a lot of baseball left to play.
Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner, I hope this victory tastes as good to you as it did for the Yankees (and Swisher). May you rest in peace ♥