After 3 years, Kyle Farnsworth finally does something good for the Yankees
Kyle Farnsworth is not just a relief pitcher. He is a human victory cigar.
But for the opposing team.
I guess if you're looking at it from the perspective of a Farnsworth teammate, then he's the human white flag.
In another technically meaningless game, the Yanks and Royals went back and forth with lead changes all game, making it the second day in a row when a pitcher's duel was oddly not that compelling. Having 3 errors in a game kind of dilutes the impressive defensive element a bit.
Anthony Lerew, a melba* righty who I predicted would get lit up by our offense, held the mighty Yankees to two hits through 5 1/2 innings. Leading 1-0 on an RBI single from Billy Butler, Lerew made his first of 2 mistakes in the 6th inning by tossing a meatball change-up to Mark Teixeira who was standing in a puddle of his own drooled saliva by the time the ball reached him. Tie game.
A throwing error in the 7th allowed KC to regain the lead, and this may or may not have been the point when we all went into "It's ok, a loss doesn't mean anything right now, ya know?" mode.
In the bottom of the 7th, Lerew made mistake #2: Nick Swisher, who has reminded us several times this year that "there's no quit in this team," put his money where his twitter is, and banked a solo bomb.
See, I couldn't tell whether the Yanks were quasi-mailing it in or not, but I was extremely confused as to why they weren't slamming Lerew like he was a vending machine that accidentally jammed, mid-snack-fall.
Admittedly, I had brief bouts of "holy crap, this is the A-team? Grr...so much for chalking it up to using the spring training squad." And it wasn't panic or alarm so much as mild bewilderment. But all I had to do was flip through the MLB Extra Innings channels, and I was significantly placated...
...because the Red "We don't believe in burning out our starters" Sox were losing 4-0 in the first inning. Because Clay Buchholz, (who was 4-0 in the month of September!! WIth a really low ERA against teams like Tampa and Baltimore!), had given up 2 long balls to the first 3 batters of the game.
So far not very impressed with Boston's "keep the pitchers sharp" strategy.
Whether the Yankees, too, were phoning it in deliberately or not, I'm not sure. What I was happy to see was that they were taking it easy on the basepath. I was eating up the rampant SBs like pudding when they were playing the Sox, but there was no need to pull a Wang a week before the postseason.
(Maybe that's why Girardi benched Melky "I don't know how to steal a base and I'm too afraid to ask" Cabrera today? To make sure the King of Erratic Base Path Behavior wasn't endangering any lives? It's either because of that, or because Cano wasn't playing, and like, stray kittens at a shelter, Girardi didn't think it would be nice to separate them from each other.)
In terms of our defense, AJ pitched a gem--his third in a row--and I think we can close the book on the worrying. Which is not to say a bad outing isn't a possibility. But it's to say that a bad outing will be an anomaly. Before getting taken out in the 7th, he whiffed 8 and let up just 3 hits.
Of course, the real "pitcher's duel" of the night was between
Lloyd Christmas Brian Bruney and Harry Dunne Kyle Farnsworth. Miraculously, Bruney didn't hand out any runs, and has actually been--knock on wood--quasi-effective out of the pen lately. I can't believe I just wrote that. Just as much as I can't believe he got the W.
Conversely, the least surprising element of this game was Kyle Farnsworth, whose vague bullpen activity induced the profound confident optimism in almost every Yankee fan. That's how poisonous this guy is. That every Yankee fan watching saw the game go from "eh, you can't win em all" to "Oh nice! HE'S coming in? Guess we're winning on a walkoff!"
He didn't disappoint.
The Yanks scored 2 in the 9th, and an infield "single" (if it can be called that, though I'd say "Farnsworth's Defensive Indifference" is a better term) off the bat of Juan Miranda, marked the 15th walk-off and the 50th come-from-behind win in this season.
(I love how the AP words it: "Seldom-used Juan Miranda got the game-winning hit off ex-Yankee Kyle Farnsworth (1-5), an infield single that caromed off the reliever's leg and into foul territory between home plate and first base." Calling Miranda "seldom-used" is like saying Jack Nicholson has a couple of film credits.)
Jeter and Tex are now the only 2 Yankees who have yet to get AJ's ritual walkoff pie in the face. Weird.
The Yanks have now won 7 straight, and have 102 in the W column. David Robertson, our reliever with the highest K/9 ratio in the league, is back in action. While the heavy hitters prepare for the looming ALDS, the small fries are getting big hits and working overtime, like they're ambitious summer interns dutifully covering for their boss who said he needed a "mental health week."
As I watched the final play of the game, the ensuing celebration and player pile-up, and the inevitable face-pie-ing, my buddy next to me disinterestedly deadpans: "This means nothing without a title. This will all be meaningless and worthless without a World Series win."
The good news is that I've learned to expect this colorful commentary from Mets fans like himself.
The bad news is that he's 100% right.
But for tonight, what's left of it, my RPY † Index is at a solid 90.
(As a final note on the night:The days of gaining ground by virtue of another team's losses are over, Boston. I should be congratulating Texas for your Wild Card admission, but I suppose there something impressive abou the way you swung this one. While the Yanks were finding new ways to pull out a win, the Red Sux were finding new ways to avoid it.)
*Notably boring, bland, and common. † Relative Pleasure with Yankees.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.