Randy Johnson and the third baseman seemed to rediscover their old selves today, and the Yanks beat the Tigers 6-4, winning a second series against, supposedly, the best team in baseball. There’s no denying that much of the Tigers’ pitching staff is terrific, but I think the main reason I can’t take them as seriously as I should is that the putative ace of their staff is Kenny Rogers.
If there’s one thing Yankees and Mets fans can agree on, it’s that Kenny Rogers is an incompetent dickwad. Despite his best efforts, the Yankees were able to overcome his presence on their team in 1996, but the Mets weren’t so lucky. I remember the last game of the 1999 NLCS very clearly: it was my freshman year of college, and one of my good friends was a passionate, die-hard Mets fan. I watched the game with him and his roommates, a terrifying nail-biter coming just one day after a truly epic, draining and exhilarating 15-inning walk-off Mets win. That season the Braves were at their most arrogant and obnoxious (and anti-New York), and it was hard not to root for them to go down. The Mets fell behind 7-3 but fought back -- Mike Piazza tied it up with a dramatic home run, and the game looked like it was going to go on forever, until, of course, in the 11th inning, Kenny Rogers came in and… walked in the Braves’ winning run.
It was one of the worst losses I’ve ever seen, the kind that, if it happens to your team, can change you forever. Rogers’ stats in New York don’t seem that bad at first glance, but his postseason numbers are chilling: zero wins, three losses, 32 hits and 16 walks in just over 20 innings pitched, and an ERA of 8.85. Good luck with that, Detroit. I’d rather start El Duque’s arthritic 65-year-old second cousin in a playoff game.
Meanwhile, Mariano Rivera has soreness in his pitching arm, although he saved the game today without too many problems. Sounds like it’s nothing serious, but just hearing “Rivera” and “MRI” in the same sentence makes an 8-game lead seem suddenly very small.
Mustache Watch ’06: Randy Johnson has shaved off his distinctive facial hair as well (in case you were wondering: no, it doesn’t help). They’re dropping like flies.
Interesting note on the Newsday beat writers' blog: Pavano declined to apologize to his teammates, something even grouchy jackass Kevin Brown did after punching a wall and breaking his hand. Damn – if you need etiquette tips from Kevin Brown, you have serious problems.