Vicente Padilla and the Texas bullpen out-pitched Jaret Wright and the Yankee pen, as the Rangers toppled the increasingly banged-up Bombers 6-2 on an overcast afternoon in the Bronx. Both starting pitchers were excellent, but some poor fielding and lousy relief did the home team in. After starting the season impressively in the field, the Yanks have been kicking the ball around more than somewhat of late.
The funniest moment in the game came in the seventh inning. The Rangers had taken a 4-0 lead in the top half of the inning and Padilla had runners on second and third with two men out when Jorge Posada pinch-hit. Padilla looks like a bad-guy extra in a Roger Corman biker movie, and it was hilarious to see how Posada tried to mess with his head. With the count 1-1, Padilla threw a late breaking slider over the outside part of the plate. It was called a strike though it looked way outside. The next pitch, a high fastball, looked like strike three but was called a ball. Okay, fine. They were even. Then Posada stepped out. Padilla had been taking a long time between pitches all afternoon, so now he and Posada are locked in a duel of stubborness.
Posada, who is more stubborn than a mule, asked the umpire for a new ball. Padilla contempuously rolled the ball back towards the plate, almost directly at Posada. He then missed for ball three. Next, without holding his hand out, Posada called time after another long stare-down with Padilla. He was granted time, but not before Padilla went into his wind up and delivered a breaking ball that looked to be a strike on the outside corner. No matter, the pitch didn't count. Next pitch? Check swing, ball four and Posada had his walk.
Showalter sprung out of the dugout and offered his characteristically comic, terse signal to the pen. Padilla was furious on the mound, red-faced, smoke coming out of his ears, like some poor schnook that Bugs Bunny had just worked over. He left the mound with the lead, but when Johnny Damon dumped a two-run single into left, you could see Padilla in the dugout with some kind of scowl on his mug.
That was as close as the Yanks would get, but it just cracked me up how Posada drove this guy from the game in a fit of frustration. Padilla pitched a really nice game too.