Javey Vazquez's stuff looked much improved in the first inning yesterday. The fastball was moving, the breaking ball had some bite. But he was timid when pitching to the Orioles better hitters. With two-men on and two-out, Raffie P. came to bat. I said, "Home run," and Raffie complied. Then I yelled. Loudly. Though Vazquez put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole, he recovered and pitched well through seven innings, not allowing another run to score. Meanwhile, the Yankees hit Bruce Chen hard in the first inning but only had one run to show for it. They ultimately tied the game at three but couldn't get much of anything cooking offensively. (That's wrong. Derek Jeter, batting lead off, had a very nice game.) Alex Rodriguez is still pressing, waving at pitches out of the strike zone. He whiffed twice and heard the boo boids; he was also robbed of a double by Jay Gibbons in right.
The Yankees ended up winning the game by the skin of their teeth when Jorge Posada walked on a full-count with the bases-loaded in the bottom of the ninth. The game was a nail-biter for Yankee fans. Who would have thought three weeks ago that the Bombers would be playing a must-win game against the Orioles at this stage of the game? They had some good fortune; Vazquez bare-handed a sure-fire single and turned it into a double play, with some help from poor Baltimore base-running, and perhaps a missed call at second base; Mariano Rivera had runners on first and third with nobody out in the top of the ninth and didn't allow a run. (And Lee Maz made some head-scratching moves late in the game to boot.) All of which helped the Yankees stay two-and-a-half up on the Sox who survived a late rally by Texas yesterday and won the weekend series, two games to one.
I am Sorry
Kevin Brown was at the Stadium yesterday after he had surgery on his left hand. He apologized to his teammates. That's a start. According to the Daily News:
"It's my fault, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it," Brown said. "I don't expect anybody else to understand. ... The blame is mine."
..."Whatever actions they take, I'll handle and I'll take," Brown said. "I understand the team's position."
... "He didn't have to do what he did," Tom Gordon said. "That was a class act. We all make mistakes and he stood up and handled it. We've all been in situations where we've wanted to break things because we were frustrated. I just hope we can get him back."
The real shame of it is that Brown pitched well on Friday. As a matter of fact, the Yankee starting pitching has been fine over the past five games.
We Don't Want to Work
This is my favorite weekend of the year to be in New York City. Why? Because the town is absolutely dead. I remember working with a girl who was originally from Miami a few years ago, and she'd get nuts when the city was like this. Maybe it's something about being a native New Yorker, but there is a stillness and a sense of calm in Manhattan that is priceless. And the space. Lots of elbow room for all. I guess the beauty part is knowing that come Tuesday morning, everyone will be back from vacation; by Wednesday, kids will be back to school. The buzz will be back. All of which makes savoring these last precious moments of summer tranquility all the more special. Go to the farm market, grab some corn, make a fresh tomato, basil salad...it'll all be over soon.
The weather was cool and overcast in New York yesterday. The fall is in the air. It's hazy but sunny this morning, though still chilly. I'm headed over to the stadium for at least one of the two games they'll play against Tampa Bay today. It's an old-fashioned single admission double-header. Go figure, and go Yanks. Hope everyone has enjoyed their holiday weekend. And that's the triple truth...Ruth.