Saturday, April 26, 2008

No bugs, just bats, as Tribe tops Yanks in ALDS rematch

Yankee fans and the reporters who follow their team have a long memory, and a strong penchant for whining.

You probably won't be surprised to note that the folks here in the Big Apple are still worried about midges.

A couple of blasts - by Jhonny Peralta and Franklin Gutierrez - keyed the Tribe to a 6-4 win over Andy Pettitte and the Yanks tonight, but midges were very much on the sports writers' minds.

In tonight's game story in The New York Times, the bug references came out in the very first graph. In fact, the first reference was there in the very first phrase of the very first sentence of the very first graph.

Jhonny Peralta got compared to the midges in tonight's game story in the Daily News.

As I write this there was no mention of last year's "bug game" in the New York Post, because tonight's game story wasn't up yet- just a quick blurb with the key details.

Of course the Post mentioned the bugs right up top in this morning's story previewing the the four-game series at Progressive Field this weekend.

It took the Yankee TV crew of David Cone and Michael Kay a full 7 minutes before mentioning bugs.

My next door neighbor kiddingly brought it up this week as well, and there were a number comments about my buggy home town this week at my office in Jersey City, N.J. , itself not exactly a top-100 destination for any purpose.

All of which tells me that six months later, Yankee fans are still trying to rationalize just how it was that their God-given right to go deep into the post-season was taken away.

But enough about the past.

How about that game tonight!

It wasn't his best outing but Paul Byrd managed to sweat it out long enough for his mates to give him a lead and a win.

The bullpen was outstanding, as Raffie Left finally found his groove and looked like the wicked stick man we were used to seeing out there on the mound with the game on the line last year.

Raffie Right, in his new closer role, is getting better by the outing and appears to finally be throwing as well now as he was last year.

And although the injury to closer Joe Borowski makes the pen feel a little bit short, there's a different feel in the pit of the stomach when the Tribe is nursing a one- or two-run lead in the final two or three innings.

Last year the feeling was "ya, they may hang on but we're going to have to go through another Borowski outing to get to the promised land."

In the past few games, with Borowski on the shelf, there's a bit more of a confident feeling as things get late.

Still, just like last year, Eric Wedge has been reluctant to go beyond two or three guys when the games are close. That's a good way to have arms hanging by July. He's going to have to suck it up and try Jorge Julio and Masa Kobayashi more often in situations where he'd rather not roll those dice.

But the Yanks came into this series with serious bullpen problems, both short- and long-term.

Brian Bruney, who to me always seemed to have everything he needed to be a late inning guy, except the confidence of former skipper Joe Torre, was off to a great start this year but has a torn ligament in his foot that, in all likelihood, will sideline him for the year.

Kyle Farnsworth, another pitcher on Torre's shit list year year who was used and abused by the former Yankee skipper, hurt his elbow the other night. He thought he might be ready to go for the start of the Tribe series tonight, but he obviously wasn't as the Yankees went to the newly recalled Jonathan Albaladejo late in the game.

The Yanks were also forced to call up Chris Britton to work middle relief in a bullpen that has already worn thin by late April.

Bruney and Farnsworth were the links to Joba Chamberlain and, ultimately Mariano Rivera, and now Bruney is out and Farnsworth remains questionable short-term.

And what about the great Joba - the man who clearly would have shut down the Tribe and evened the ALDS at 1-1 last year if not for the attack of those killer bugs?

He's under a bit of pressure here.

Hank Steinbrenner - who's running the team a lot like George did in his early days -wants Joba in the rotation. Yankee GM Hank Cashman does not.

With his 100 mph fastball, the fans here are expecting miracles out of the youngster no matter when he pitches, as is evidenced by this back page (which is actually the front sports page in the tabloidian world of New York newspapers) photo and headline Friday morning, the morning after Chamberlain recorded his first MLB loss Thursday night.

The great Joba didn't make an appearance in tonight's game, as the Yanks appear ready to use him only when the team is ahead and not to keep a close deficit from widening.

On Saturday Ian Kennedy, another youngster with a big chunk of the Yankee season on his shoulders, comes into his start at 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA.

Kennedy will go against Jeremy Sowers, another youngster with much to prove. Chien-Ming Wang goes for the Yanks against CC on Sunday. In the series finale Monday, Aaron Laffey, a Tribe youngster with a strong early track record, faces Mike Mussina.

Mussina has pitched 27 1/3 innings in five starts, an average of fewer than six innings per outing. His ERA is at 4.94, so the Tribe may be able to get him out early enough to get to the Yankees' depleted pen.

With one in the bag, and the pitching matchups about even, 3 out of 4 against the team I hate the most is not out of the question.

And that makes for a damned good weekend if you ask me.


Triple said...

I love beating new york

I also appreciate that you always point out the "headlines" in NY and how ridiculous they are

keep up the good work

hopefully sowers can keep the yanks off balance today


the moose said...

moose is headed to the game this afternoon - look for him in the cheap seats upper deck right field.

Quick how can the tribe win anything with the micheals / delucci tandem hitting about 200 and 1 HR betwen them. Maybe Gutierrez gets it going. Pitching starting to come around. Maybe we are better WITHOUT Borowski - but he wll be back.

Whats the deal with francisco - bringing him up and then sending him back is like spending a waiver pick in fantasy and then dropping the guy in 3 days !!!

ye - yanks have pitching problems -like Detoit

all in all under 500 and only 2 games out !!!!

Ron Vallo said...


I assumed we'd find you in the CHEAP seats, just wasn't sure which side of the field.


it is great fun beating the yanks. I hope to update frequently over these four days, since our season series will be almost over with the "bombers" by Monday.

I say get rid of the interleague games and let us play the Yanks more than 6 or 7 times a year!