Whew! I’ll take it!…
It was the top of the 9th inning and the Yankees were trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 6-2. On the mound was Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton with an 0.83 ERA and 16 saves. He struck out the first batter, Mark Teixeira, so it looked as though the Yankees would head back to New York with only 1 win in 3 games against their former manager, Joe Torre. Then, Alex Rodriguez singled and there was a slight glimmer of hope. Robinson Cano followed with a double to score A-Rod to close the gap to 3 games. The next batter, Jorge Posada, singled. After a walk to Curtis Granderson, the bases were loaded with the tying run on first. I was excited, but the excitement was tempered by the fact the next hitter was rookie Chad Huffman, who had entered the game earlier as an injury replacement for Brett Gardner. Huffman proved up to the task as his single scored Cano and Posada. Suddenly, the Yankees were just one run down. The next batter was Colin Curtis. Again, I had some trepidation given Colin’s major league inexperience. But fate was smiling on the Yankees, thanks to a poor fielding decision by Dodgers first baseman James Loney. Curtis hit a grounder to Loney. With Curtis Granderson breaking for home, Loney stepped back to first to secure the out and then attempted to throw home but was too late to nail Granderson…game tied. Had Loney disregarded Curtis and went directly home with the throw, he would have easily gunned down Granderson. A ground out by Francisco Cervelli ended the inning, but the Dodgers still had last at-bat.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Despite the tied score, manager Joe Girardi went with certainty in bringing in closer Mariano Rivera. I would later read that Joe Torre had told Girardi before the game, he wouldn’t bring in Rivera with the game tied. Fortunately, the younger Joe is his own man, and he went with his instinct. Mo easily retired 3 Dodger batters, so it was off to the 10th inning.
Ramon Troncosco replaced Broxton at the top of the inning, and Mark Teixeira greeted him with a single. A-Rod followed with a fielder’s choice to short, which easily erased Teixeira at second. With Robinson Cano coming up, Joe Torre opted to go with reliever George Sherrill. Cano’s lifetime record against Sherrill entering the game was 0-for-11. Cano promptly conveyed a message that numbers don’t mean anything when he crushed a home run to give the Yankees a two-run lead. Mo came back out for the bottom of the 10th inning, yielding only an infield single in shutting down the Dodgers. With the win, the Yankees were able to claim a 4-2 road record against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and headed back to the Bronx where they will face nemesis Cliff Lee and the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
By the way, I was pleased to see Alex Rodriguez reach out to Joe Torre before the game. Too much was being read into the relationship between A-Rod and Torre, and I thought Alex showed class in being the one to extend his hand.
My streak of wager wins against Julia of Julia’s Rants has sadly come to an end. I suppose I deserved it when I went with a team other than the almighty New York Yankees.
The wager was for a single game, the Boston Red Sox versus the Giants in San Francisco. I was in attendance at AT&T Park, and foolishly thought a wager was a good idea.
On paper, it looked like a marquee match-up with Jon Lester facing Tim Lincecum.
Unfortunately for me, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner looked more like John Lackey at Fenway Park than he did the elite pitcher he is. Lester, on the other hand, was expectedly masterful. He gave up a game-tying run in the bottom of the first but that was it. It never felt like the Giants were going to get back into it after the Red Sox had re-taken the lead.
I was amazed at the sheer volume of Red Sox fans at the game. As a Yankees fan, I am always surrounded by fellow Yankees fans whenever I see the team play on the road. But Boston definitely rivals the Yankees in their ability to draw on the road.
So, congratulations are in order for Julia. My sentence is to include a paragraph about a current Red Sox player (as of 6/26/10) for the next 25 blog posts. With the first entry, I will go with the player of the game…
#31 Jon Lester
Jon Lester, at 9-3, is a virtual lock for a spot on the American League All-Star Team, and a leading candidate to start. Lester, a native of Tacoma, Washington, won the clinching game of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies. He followed it up the next year with a no-hitter. Personally, going into the season, I was convinced this would be a breakout year for Lester…the year he becomes the “ace”. As if a championship and a no-hitter aren’t enough for his resume, he’ll soon be collecting Cy Young Awards. The Sox rotation is incredibly talented with Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Dice-K, and Tim Wakefield. However, if I am starting a new franchise, and I need an ace to lead my staff, I’m calling Lester.
Personal note about Lester: Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma in August 2006.
“This is going to sound funny but God blessed Jon Lester with cancer just to show a lot of people that you can overcome something that’s so hard in your life you think, ‘I’m not gonna make it.’ He’s going to be able to take his faith in God and the strength God gave him and tell a lot of other people a great story.”
–former Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin
Lester is definitely one of the truly great guys in the game…
Only 24 more to go… L