It’s been an interesting season. I’m upset we’re not going to the playoffs, because I would have liked to see Derek Jeter’s final season end in a slightly less depressing fashion, but at least we ended the year with a win and finished above .500, which were two things I wanted to see happen above all else. I’ll still be maintaining this blog throughout the playoffs, and then intermittently through the off-season when stories of note happen. Also, congratulations are in order for Ryan Zimmerman, he of the Washington Nationals — there’s nothing quite like waiting until the last game of the season to throw a no-hitter, I suppose.
Michael Pineda pitched our final game of the season, ending with a final line of 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 10 K. His stats for the season were a 5-5 record with 1.89 ERA. Not bad. Esmil Rogers, who relieved him, didn’t do such a good job, coughing up a further four runs, bringing the score to 9-5. Thankfully none of our other pitchers gave up any further runs, and we were able to maintain the lead. I’m never too fussed about how we win, just that we do.
Derek Jeter played his final game as a Yankee yesterday afternoon, exiting in the 3rd inning after getting an RBI single. His last home game ended with an RBI single, and his last game in general ended with one as well. Lovely bookends. As it was, the offense was pretty well spread-out amongst the lineup, Jeter included. Jose Pirela went 2-4 with 2 RBI, Ichiro went 1-3 with 2 RBI, Chris Young went 2-4, Chase Headley went 1-4 with an RBI, and Austin Romine went 1-2 with an RBI. Overall, a very wonderful effort from everyone, and I liked seeing that we didn’t limp into the end of the season. Onwards and upwards!
If there’s anything we’ve learned about the Yankees over the many decades of their history, it’s that they like to keep their fans on their toes, not letting them anticipate what’s happening next. A nice, close victory on Friday….a blowout on Saturday. Who only knows what we’re going to get tonight, but it better be in the form of a Yankees victory, that much I know for fact.
Tanaka had a bad day. I think we can all admit that. The opposing team putting up an eight-run 2nd inning will do to that to you every time. The rest of the pitchers we tossed up there yesterday afternoon weren’t much better, but they at least didn’t push the Red Sox toward 20 runs or something. The three errors didn’t help our cause either, and I’m sure Tanaka and the relievers (which sounds like a bad 80s New Wave band) didn’t appreciate them. The good thing is, if you can take any good away from this, only six of the runs were earned, so no one’s ERA took too big of a hit. Silver linings, y’all.
The offense was pretty atrocious, not actually getting anything going until the last few innings, but by then it was too late. Ichiro went 2-5, Cervelli went 2-3 after coming in to PH for Derek Jeter who left with a tweaked hamstring, Chase Headley went 2-5, Chris Young went 2-4 with an RBI, and Stephen Drew went 1-3 with 2 RBI. All of our usual regulars didn’t play, as there was no real point to putting them out on the field. I used to call this, back in the Joe Torre era, as the “House Money Lineup.” Meaning, you’re essentially conceding to the other team. I mean, when you smack 12 hits, but only manage four runs, going 3-12 with RISP, it can be argued how much you’re really trying. Let’s just hope Sunday night’s game is a blistering Yankees victory so that Derek Jeter can exit both at home and on the road, with a win.
I’ve called Derek Jeter “Captain Clutch” many a time, and it’s never been more appropriate than right now. It was only fitting that Derek Jeter should score our first run of the night, then our last in the bottom of the 9th. It was his last home game, the last time he’d ever wear the navy blue and white pinstripes in the Bronx, and in an almost scripted fashion, just like his 3,000th hit being a home run, he wins the game for us. On the first pitch, no less. When he announced his retirement before the season started, I reflected on the fact that I became a fan in 1994, before he joined the team. In those 20 years, I’ve only known one Yankees shortstop. It’ll be strange as hell to see someone else taking the field next year, no #2 hovering in the on-deck circle, but I suppose that’s what goes through the minds of baseball fans when their favorite players decides to hang up their cleats. BTW, how extremely emotional and awesome was it for him to be greeted afterwards by Joe Torre, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez? They were all key cogs in the dynasty era, and they were all there to usher the last one in. I won’t lie, I teared up. I also found it incredibly classy that the Orioles were applauding the whole time. They’re going to the playoffs, so this loss didn’t affect them, but they still lost….yet they all stood at the top of the dugout, clapping. Class acts, those boids.
I don’t even care that David Robertson blew the save. DO NOT CARE. It’s probably the only time in the history of my baseball fandom that I’ve ever been happy to see such a scene practically dropped into a hitter’s lap. Good on you, D-Rob, that was marvelous. If I was a more cynical sort, I’d say you did that on purpose. He also lucked into the win as well, so there you have it. Hiroki Kuroda pitched a masterful eight innings, giving up only 2 ER on 3 H, walking none, and striking out nine. Everyone deserves a steak dinner, yes, even David Robertson. He allowed Mystique and Aura to take the stage one final time.
The game was all about Derek from the start, so we’ll lead off with him – he went 2-5 with 3 RBI. Brian McCann, interestingly enough, got 2 RBI without a hit. That can be done, you know. Jose Pirela went 2-4. There’s your offense. It wasn’t much, but who the hell cares?
On a personal note, I’m going to miss Derek Jeter. He’s a great guy, a class act all around, he was never embroiled in scandals and bad press. He’s the kind of player professional sports need more of. Enjoy retirement, Jetes. You’ve earned it.
So that’s how the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper. We are officially eliminated from any and all playoff spots, which means our season is basically over. Derek Jeter’s last home game is tomorrow, his last ever game is on Sunday night. If we’re going to win any of the next four games, please let them be those. One of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted an interesting graphic concerning the last time the Yankees missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons —
For the uninitiated, that’s what gas prices were like the last time that happened, which should give you an idea of how rare an occurrence it is. Gas under a buck…..where oh where did the time go.
Our pitching sucked this afternoon, and there’s no nice way of putting it. Our starter, Shane Greene, lasted only 3.2 innings, giving up 6 ER on 7 H. Our bullpen gave up a further 3 ER on 8 H. It was just an all-around sh!tshow, so I’m not sure if yesterday was an aberration or what. Claiborne and Huff were the only two relievers who didn’t crap the bed, so good for them.
The offense was as stale and pathetic as the pitching. Once again, the top part of the lineup had all the hits/runs, with one exception; Stephen Drew went 1-2 with an RBI, and he bats sixth. Chase Headley went 3-4 with an RBI, Mark Teixeira went 2-4 with 3 RBI, and that’s basically anything of consequence.
Well, we made a game of it, and I suppose in the end, that’s what counts. We had been down 5-1 early, but managed to storm back in the later innings, but we fell a bit short. Our elimination number from any and all postseason activity is now 1, which, well…..I can’t say I’m all that upset about, really. I knew it would take an act of nature or something else wildly unlikely for us to make the playoffs this year, so I’ve always had that in the back of my mind. It makes it hurt less when it becomes an eventuality.
What can I say about Brandon McCarthy? At least he didn’t walk anybody? He struck out eight? If only the front half of his line (11 H, 5 ER) looked as good as the back half. He also pitched into the 6th, so that’s something else too. Rich Hill, Esmil Rogers, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson all pitched in relief, giving up a further six hits, but no runs, no walks, and they struck out three. If only they’d pitched the entire game.
Our offense went back to being woeful, with yet again, barring a couple of exceptions, all of the offense coming from the first third of the batting order. Brett Gardner went 1-4, Derek Jeter went 1-5, and Brian McCann went 2-4 with 2 RBI. Both Chris Young and Stephen Drew collected RBIs, but they had no hits. We were 0-8 with RISP and had 7 LOB. You can’t win games that way. I don’t even think the 1927 Yankees could win a game like that. There’s two more games to this series, one this afternoon, and then Derek Jeter’s last home game tomorrow night, and if we’re going to win either of them….please win tomorrow night’s game.
The Yankees never fail to amuse me sometimes. The Orioles are arguably the best team in the American League, yet we manage to one-hit them, at home, in the last week of the season. It’s never a dull day with us, is it? We’re four games back from the second Wild Card slot, and while I don’t think we’re going to quite make it, I’m at least grateful that we’re putting some effort into ending the season on a positive note, rather than just shuffling and limping toward the end.
The pitching tonight was superb, as you no doubt already noticed. Michael Pineda pitched 7.1 innings, giving up 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 8 K. Shawn Kelley, Rich Hill, and David Phelps pitched the final 1.2 innings, giving up no hits, walking one, and striking out three. It was absolutely dominant performance, and it was great to see. Well, listen to. At least in my case, anyway.
Compared to the last game, where all the hits were confined to the top of the batting order, this time nearly everyone got in on the action, with only Gardner, McCann, and Young not getting a hit…..which is funny because Gardner and McCann were two of the three batters I was talking about earlier. Derek went 1-3 with 3 RBI, Chase Headley went 2-4 with an RBI, and Jose Pirela went 2-3 with an RBI. So all around, a lot of great effort from everyone involved. Well done. Let’s do it again tonight.
If you sang that to the tune of “Welcome Back, Kotter,” give yourself a hand, because that’s what I wanted you to do. Masahiro Tanaka made his first start in what felt like ages, after sitting out with an injury. We could have used him a few months ago, but it’s better to have him healthy now so he’ll be 100% for next season, instead of pitching through it anyway and being useless by February. As you know, I want the team to finish above .500, so every little bit helps.
For coming off an injury that had him out for a while, he did a fantastic job — 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He’s really going to be an incredibly solid part of the rotation next season, if we can just keep him encased in bubble wrap the whole time. Warren, Betances, and Robertson pitched in relief, with D-Rob picking up his 38th save of the season. They did a great job, and since I seldom have opportunity to praise them, I’m doing it now.
Well, one thing I can say for the offense is at least we didn’t leave 11 men on base or go 3-13 with RISP. We went 2-8, but that’s still better. Brett Gardener went 2-5 with 1 RBI, Brian McCann went 2-3 with 3 RBI, Derek Jeter went 2-4 with an RBI, and Ichiro went 2-4. Unfortunately, with the exception of Ichiro, all of our offense was concentrated in the first three batters. Gardy leads off, Jeter hits second, and McCann hits third. No one after him, except for Ichiro, got a hit. That’s pretty damn depressing. I’m glad we won and all, don’t get me wrong, but that’s a whole lot of nothing from literally everyone else. We start a series against Baltimore next, and the last game of the series on Thursday will be Derek Jeter’s final home game — we close the season against the Red Sox in Boston, and won’t that be a delight. So, four more home games for Mr. November. Where does the time go?