Thu 11 Jun 2009
It’s Thursday and another crummy day here in Shaolin. If the calendar didn’t say June, we’d swear it was late March/early April. Be that as it may, we’re less than 10 days away from the start of the NY-Penn League season over at the nice ballpark by the Ferry terminal.
Hopefully, that will be a breath of fresh air compared to the state of panic on today’s airwaves with Yankee and Met fans carrying on with Mike Francesa following a pair of frustrating losses last night to the Red Sox and Phillies respectively.
Let’s first get to the latest Yankee failure in Beantown when Joe Girardi foolishly had Chien-Ming Wang go in the middle game versus Tim Wakefield. Not long ago, that match-up would’ve favored the Yanks but not no more with the predicted run-o-meter reaching four with a struggling Wang not even getting through three frames before Phil Hughes replaced him. Hughes’ only mistake was a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis in his first full inning putting the Yanks in a 6-2 hole. Afterwards, he was solid fanning five in 3.2 IP giving his team a chance to comeback. They nearly did thanks to back-to-back solo shots off the bats of Johnny Damon and AL home run leader Mark Teixeira (No.19). But Terry Francona went to ace setup man Hideki Okajima, who tossed one and a third scoreless fanning three including Hideki Matsui stranding a runner in the eighth. Then Jonathan Papelpon closed it out popping out Jorge Posada to left in front of the Green Monster leaving the tying run on second for his 15th save in 16 tries.
And so, once again the Bronx Bombers fell to their bitter nemesis making it 0-for-7 in 2009. Can heavily hired ace Ca$h Cow Sabathia end the drought tonight versus Boston fifth starter (soon to be gone) Brad Penny? If he doesn’t, they might need to fit a team psychiatrist into that payroll. Ahhh. Money can’t buy everything.
The Yanks trail Boston by a game for the division. If they get swept, it will be 0-8. But hey, at least it’s June 11. Could always be worse.
At least Girardi started rookie Francisco Cervelli behind the plate giving Posada a night off. We’ll see how that pans out in a big game preceding the overhyped three-game set at the New Palace against the guys from Queens.
Speaking of Queens, the Mets try to bounce back from a tough 11 inning 5-4 defeat to their own bitter rival the Phillies. They’ll send fifth starter Tim Redding to the hill versus crafty veteran southpaw Jamie Moyer at Citi Field. If it’s anything like the first pair of games, then we’re in for quite a treat tonight. Both were decided by a run going down to the wire.
The good news for the Amazin’s is the NL’s best lineup hasn’t figured out closer Francisco Rodriguez yet with the former Angel holding two one-run leads and tossing two scoreless yesterday including the 10th thanks to a great unassisted Fernando Tatis double play off a line drive to first. You have to wonder though if K-Rod will be available for the rubber match. If not, does Jerry Manuel use Bobby Parnell to close after he allowed the winning home run to Chase Utley? Or perhaps Brian Stokes gets the call. For some reason, we see Rodriguez being around late if the Mets have the lead. He’s a gamer.
Had the Mets not left a ridiculous 27 on base last night including several from the eighth to 10th when one big hit would’ve meant a ‘W,’ they’d be 5-1 versus the Phils this year. Instead, they’ll settle for four of the first six trailing first by three. Even minus stars Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado, the Amazin’s can take another series tonight and get within two. It’s more important for them than the defending champs to stay within striking distance. We’ll see what they come up with.
Much of the talk today on WFAN in NYC has centered around how the Mets only scored three runs in the fourth when they nearly batted around versus an ineffective Cole Hamels, who went just five permitting four earned on 11 hits while walking a pair and fanning only one. Mike Pelfrey was the big hitting star delivering a couple of hits including an RBI single that got them going in the frame. The trouble was they kept getting station to station base hits with unaggressive third base coach Razor Shines holding runners including on leadoff man Luis Castillo’s dunk to right that should’ve plated two flustering the second baseman. On the play, Ryan Church, who scored was waving teammate Omir Santos home. Instead, he stayed at third coming in on Alex Cora’s base knock. Following a Carlos Beltran 5-4-3 twin killing which first base umpire Dan Iassogna’s latest botched call, Pelfrey was left at third with what would’ve been a huge insurance run against an opportunistic lineup. That would comeback to bite them when Pelfrey got lousy D from a pair of Gold Glovers in Beltran (missed catch somehow ruled a hit) and David Wright (ground ball for eighth error) allowed the Phils to score three with Jimmy Rollins’ RBI fielder’s choice tying it in the seventh.
That’s all a championship ballclub would need to comeback and take the second game making Met fans scratch their heads because these are the kind of games their team’s lost forever. It must change eventually.
And so, you have two NY teams that are good but don’t win games against division rivals instead finding ways to lose. It doesn’t matter that they have the two highest payrolls in baseball. Until proven otherwise, neither is as good as Boston or Philadelphia. That doesn’t change even if they both win tonight. Talk to us in September.
-Tonight is Game 4 of the NBA Finals with Dwight Howard and the Magic looking to draw even against Kobe and the Lakers. If they want to have any realistic chance, they must win setting up a pivotal Game 5 in their building this weekend. The 2-3-2 format puts a ton of pressure on the team hosting the middle three. Especially when they lose the first two. The Magic can’t go back to LA down 3-2. They must find a way to get it done.
So far, despite no LeBron, the series has fared well garnering good ratings including their highest in over a decade. Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel has a good piece on these Magic, who have earned respect this Spring.
They’ll try to continue it tonight looking for big games again from D-Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and key role player Mickael Pietrus.
-And finally, this absurd comment from an incensed Yankee fan to Francesa earlier on the great Mariano Rivera:
“He shouldn’t close anymore.“
Welcome indeed to the Twilight Zone.