August 02, 2006

So, A-Rod Is Kind Of An Underdog Now... Right?

First of all: in February, when I start bitching about how cold I am when it’s 7 degrees outside? Remind me about today, and tell me to shut the hell up.

You’ve got to be impressed by Brian Cashman, who got two decent players (Lidle, Wilson) and one excellent one (Abreu) for, basically, a song. Not a good song, either; maybe a Jessica Simpson single. As Cliff Corcoran over at Bronx Banter put it: If Brian Cashman had a number I’d buy his jersey. Still, as good as these trades seem, I can’t help feeling it’s all a little bittersweet: I’ve gotten kind of attached to the scrappy, half-AAA lineups the Yankees have been running out there the last few months. While I would never, EVER say while sober that Aaron Guiel, Bubba Crosby, Andy Phillips, Nick Green, Miguel Cairo or even Melky should play over Abreu or, if or when they return, Cano, Sheffield, or Matsui, there’s something very satisfying about winning with a lineup that, in theory, shouldn’t have a prayer. Even Yankees fans like to root for the underdog (hence the otherwise inexplicable popularity of Bubba Crosby), but we rarely have the chance.

That said, there’s nothing at all satisfying about missing out on the playoffs by a couple of games that might have been won with a few better at-bats. And so things are looking up. The Yankees are in a tie for first place in the AL East (and would be ahead by a game or two if the Indians, who’ve been playing the Red Sox, had something in their bullpen that remotely resembled a professional pitcher). Chien-Ming Wang looked absolutely amazing tonight, again. Posada’s been saying all season that Wang has the best stuff of anyone on the Yankees staff, and after the last few weeks, I’m ready to believe it. Alex Rodriguez is back. Bobby Abreu is, so far, as patient as advertised. Craig Wilson--not a handsome man, but versatile!—had two hits.

Yeah…. You know what? I guess it really isn’t all that bittersweet.


Devine said...

I give the edge to win the division to the Yanks at this point, like every other pundit in the world.

But hey, even when the pitcher unravels, coming back from down a run in the bottom of the 9th, 2 out, nobody on...that ain't easy (he said, without really knowing what he was talking about).

But the Yanks got better at the deadline and played well when the team was smashed up, and the Red Sox didn't get better and are now dealing with a bad injury issue. I said from the beginning no move was the best one for this team...but a little piece of me died inside when I heard a day later that we had been close to landing Oswalt. I believe completely in not sacrificing the future for the present...but damn...Oswalt...

Emma said...

True. You can't really blame the Indians for David Ortiz's walk-off, as he is a force of nature. Happens to the best of us. Last night, though, was a display of truly staggering ineptitude... you have to credit the Sox for taking advantage of it, but seriously, it's not that hard to take advantage of a pitcher falling apart so badly he's hit two batters in a row and then walked the third.

No disparagement to the Sox intended--I certainly wouldn't give the division to the Yankees yet (and god knows they've gotten a few gift-wrapped wins over the course of the year too).

Emma said...

Also, if the Red Sox had gotten Roy Oswalt, I would have freaked the fuck out.

Devine said...

In reply to the last comment, me too! But in a different way obviously.

In reply to the first, yeah, I'm willing to give that it was mostly that Carmona dude's meltdown. Besides Loretta finding an actual strike to hit (and they were pretty scarce those last three batters), the only worthy AB was by Mirabelli (!?) when he took the count to 3-2, fouled off a strike, then finally got HBP.

Point is, the Red Sox are two David-Ortiz-heroics and one Carmona-breakdown from a 7-game losing streak. They have been playing terrible baseball all of July and the beginning of August (team OBP, team ERA). I know they still have the third-best record in baseball or whatever, but when you're in the same division as the Yanks, that still leaves you sweating bullets.