Out of the frying pan…into the playoffs.
I woke up on the couch at 11:10 tonight, and the order of panicked flashes of frenzy that attacked me were (in order):
1. I missed the whole Yankee game and don’t even know the score
2. I’m late for work
3. Why is it so dark at 11am?
So for the first time in as long as I can remember, the freaking 10pm start time worked to my advantage. It was 5-0 when I gathered up enough faculties to make heads/tails of the score on screen. Was this the right game? Or was like last weekend when I spent the better part of the Orioles game under the assumption the score was 0-1, when a closer look at the tv would have revealed it was 6-1?
It’s tough to say what I’m more relieved about: seeing the Yanks making the postseason or seeing the Yanks put a bow on their last 10pm start time. I don’t get it, really. I mean, I’d spend every finals week in college up around the clock, and I don’t remember ever getting as turned on my head, frayed, and riddled with anxiety as I am now after a west coast road trip.
I guess we can chalk it up to either age or a gradually distorting set of priorities.
Looking at my phone brought some light to the question of whether I was waking up in ante- or post-meridian hours.
Its notably absent text message alerts told me that the Sox must have lost, because it’s the first time in days I didn’t have a “___ in the loss column now! Feeling the pressure yet?” text from a Boston fan. Well, either the Sox lost or I just haven’t paid my phone bill, I guess.
A lot of piecing together of data went on, as I semi-consciously groped around for information that could have been easily accessed with a quick trip to an internet browser.
But it would appear that neither me nor the Yankees have any interest in doing things the easy way. If that wasn’t evidenced before, it was tonight, when they squandered a 5-0 lead but still managed to pull out a 6-5 win.
When you’re down 5-0, your best shot at winning is manufacturing runs, but when you’re staked to a 5-0 lead, your best shot comes from manufacturing outs. Which is exactly how the Yankees finally bested the Angels tonight, winning for the first time this year in Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
The Yanks took an early lead thanks to 2-run long balls form ARod and Posada in the 3rd and a solo from Hideki in the 5th. Despite the 7Ks, starting Ervin Santana on my fantasy team was a bad choice: 9 hits, 2 BBs, 3 HRs.
Chad Gaudin held the Angels scoreless for 4½ but got pulled in the 5th when Anaheim started chipping away at the lead by acting like those people on the morning subway platform who insist there’s room for them to squeeze into the car. Mike Scioscia essentially is That Woman, stuffing as many people onto the bases as he can and there were very few times after the 5th that the little base squares in the upper left corner of my tv screen weren’t yellow.
(Gaudin, by the way, has yet to get a decision in any of his Yankee starts. The Yankees are also 5-0 when he starts. I see zero reason for anyone other than Gaudin to be our 4th starter in the playoffs. And consequently, see even less utility for Justin Chamberlain.)
Anaheim’s 5th/6th inning comeback was highlighted by the RBI stylings of Chone Figgins, Vlad, Gary Matthews, and Bobby Abreu. (
I’m a little tired of hearing everyone bemoan why we got rid of Abreu, every time we face him. How has it already forgotten that he was such a subpar defensive player, that he had to lower his selling price from $48 over 3 years…to $5 million for one year. I love him as much as the next guy, but it’s not like we sold our cow for magic beans or something.)
Down by 1 in the 8th and with set-up-phenom Phil “I’m killing the cat if you move me back to the rotation” Hughes on the mound, the Yankees’ defense could have brought a grown man to tears. We were up by 5. Against a team that almost always kills us, in a stadium that always kills us. Days away from the postseason, with the division title and best record still up for grabs. To see all this dissolve over 3 innings, and then watch the cesspool of defensive bobbles in the 8th… well, I’m surprised there are no holes in the wall.
Cano’s error fielding a grounder allowed Howie Kendrick to reach 1st, then Posada’s throwing error allowed him to reach 3rd after stealing 2nd. Izturis brought him in with an RBI single, and reached 2nd on a wild pitch from Hughes, who then walked Abreu. By the time Vlad stepped to the plate, I think I was rocking back and forth in the bathtub in a fetal position sucking my thumb. Back to back strikeouts from Hughes ended the 8th and the impending threat of a manic episode.
ARod’s sac fly with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th brought home Brett Gardner. Here’s the thing: all season, ARod has time and again gotten unquestionably clutch hits. And haters have been defaulting to the, “Yeah, but what has he done in the PLAYOFFS?” argument.
Hardened stats conclusively dismantle any “only hits when it doesn’t count” theories for this season, so I’m wondering at what point ARod escapes this unsubstantiated choker stigma. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable a deal that if ARod performs well in the playoffs, then haters should STFU. Seems fair.
Mariano Rivera recorded his 41st save, due largely to the outstanding strike ’em out-throw ’em out play when Juan Rivera whiffed and Posada zipped an impeccable throw to 2nd to tag out Willets.
The Yanks win 6-5. No more interminable nights of Pacific Standard Time. Tomorrow’s 3:35 game pits up AJ Burnett (11-9, 4.22) against Scott Kazmir (9-8, 5.08). Deal, AJ. The kid’s got nothing on you.
The Yankees also regained their 6 game lead over the Sox in the division and a 5.5 lead over the Angels for home field advantage.
Conversely, Sleep fell back about 6 days in the Wild Card race, all but eliminating it from playoff contention. Thursday is a must-win situation for sleep if I want to head into this weekend with any semblance of routine functionality.
(PS: Hey, maybe the Yankees really did end up breaking out the P.F. Flyers? …I did.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 23, 2009