It was a perfectly scripted ending to a game that was otherwise, well... look, it’s only the fourth game of the season, and yet already I’m running out of synonyms for “ugly.” That can’t be a good sign. Kei Igawa, in an apparent effort to fit in with his new teammates, joined the Yankees’ other starters in pitching ineffectively, with another healthy assist from inexplicably awkward defensive plays. (No one expected the Yanks’ fielding to be sparkling this year, but I don’t think “more or less adequate” is out of reach. What’s going on?). Never thought I’d say this, but the Yankees best starter thus far has probably been Carl Pavano. Eeep.
Of course, not that you need me to say this, it has only been four games. And the end justified the means in this case, because no matter what you think of A-Rod, Sox fans exempted, you had to smile at his relieved, elated grin as he skipped towards home (and nearly catapulted Larry Bowa into the stands with an enthusiastic, drive-by double high five).
“It felt awesome,” Rodriguez said of his trip around the bases, which he earned after belting a game-winning grand slam that capped an improbable 10-7 victory against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. “I was so excited. I felt foolish running around the bases like it was Little League. I just remember I almost knocked Bowa over at third. I saw the fans kind of rocking behind him. It was kind of cool.”It was.
Before A-Rod’s redemption – for this week, anyway - Hideki Matsui left the game with an (apparently) slight hamstring strain. Yankee outfielder are having a rough few years, aren’t they? If Damon's still a bit tentative, they may need to get Kevin Thompson up from AAA, because a few innings of Miguel Cairo roaming the outfield go a long way. More on Thompson another time...
The Mets are mortal too, it turns out, and lost to the Braves 5-3: Tom Glavine didn't pitch all that badly, but was hurt by a couple of poorly-timed errors (say… that sounds familiar), and outdueled by his buddy John Smoltz. The Mets had their chances – they left 13 runners on base – but never quite got the rally going.
Personally I’m looking forward to watching El Duque toy with the Braves hitters tomorrow, but the more telling games will be John Maine and Oliver Perez’s next few turns through the rotation.
Also, Mets fans, Orioles starter Steve Trachsel started against the Yanks and actually looked sort of... well... I don't know, kind of good-ish. But I'm not buying it. The YES announcers were all over his 15 wins last year, but as Mets fans should recall, he had piles and piles of run support. He swam and frolicked in run support like Scrooge McDuck in his gold. He did make 30 starts, but averaged 5.46 innings per, while striking out 79 and walking 78, with an ERA just shy of 5 -- in addition to moving at the speed of a club-footed tortoise between pitches. I suppose aging a year and switching from the NL to the Al East could improve him... and if that sounds probable to you, I'd be happy to enter into a friendly little wager on it.