"Long, weird," Derek Jeter said, after 3 hours 55 minutes of madness at Camden Yards. "I walked three times. That should explain it right there, right?" (N.Y. Times)
While the Yankees and Orioles have specialized in drawn-out, turgid games against each other over the past decade, yesterday was a whopper. It was a challenge to watch for sure. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:
Baltimore used 10 pitchers, setting a major league record for a nine-inning game. The Yankees drew 14 walks, their highest total since 1980. They left 17 runners on base, something they had not done in a decade. Four times, they left the bases loaded.
What a relief it was when the Bombers managed to win the game. Gary Sheffield broke a 7-7 tie with a solo dinger in the ninth inning, and Hideki Matsui followed with a homer of his own. Sheffield continues to be the centerpiece of the Yankee offense. Even his outs are exciting; his sacrifice liner to left in the seventh was absolutely scorched. Alex Rodriguez had a good game too, and is taking the ball to right field more often. A good sign.
The Yankees gained a game on Boston who were shut-out in Seattle yesterday, 2-0. New York's lead stands at three-and-a-half games (three in the loss column). Boston is off tonight while the Yankees are in Kansas City. As far as I can tell, the Yankees will be throwing El Duque, Jon Lieber and...Brad Halsey? against Boston next weekend in New York. That should be enough to get Red Sox Nation's mouth watering.
Both Kevin Kernan and John Harper warn that if the Yankees continue to play as poorly as they did yesterday, they won't last long in October. Hey, no foolin fellas. I'm not counting the Yankees out by any stretch--who knows what will happen?--but I think it's been obvious for a while now that this team could be headed for an early exit this year. Let me ask you though what's worse: If this Yankee team loses in the first round, or if a team like the Cardinals get bounced early? At least with the Yankees, nobody will be shocked if this isn't their year. On the other hand, if the Yankees do win a round, or make it to the World Serious, it'll be a welcome development. Imagine, the team with the best record in the league, as an underdog. Ummm, works for me.