The postseason is in full swing as of tonight, with two fairly blow-out games by the guys who “weren’t supposed to win” tonight. Well, I suppose that depends on who you talk to, but by the buzz everywhere, it seems that both teams a majority of analysts and “people who should know” lost and lost big.
The Pirates got crushed by the Cardinals because of some really poor pitching early on in the game. Like so often happens, it isn’t that the Cardinals are just that much better, but they know how to take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses when they happen to make an appearance. They just found former Yankee AJ Burnett on a bad day, getting 7 runs alone off him. Complicate that with some really lousy defense, something that isn’t at all like the 2013 Pirates, and you have a 9-1 Cardinal win tonight. So Game 1 of that series goes to St. Louis without much of a fight.
Then switching gears to the Braves-Dodgers game found a very similar situations. Yankee alumni at this game was represented in large form by Dodger manager Don Mattingly, and this time, the Yankee alumni were on the winning side of things. The Dodgers found themselves beating the favorite Braves 6-1. And unlike the other game, the Dodgers scored primarily not at the advantage of defensive or pitching weaknesses, but rather on decent, well-earned, well-timed hits. The Dodgers put up their ace to keep the Braves from taking too much advantage of what I really thing is a good match-up.
I’m not off to a good start for my NLDS selections, but as it is a best-of-5 game series, there is time for my selections to right themselves in the other games. The ALDS starts tomorrow. And honestly, it feels a little weird not having to follow the Yankee action. Not having proper pinstripe representation somewhere in the postseason is just weird. I guess we’ve been spoiled a bit these last 20-ish years. The Yankees almost always punch their ticket for the postseason coming out of Spring Training, but this year, they knew if they wanted that ticket that they would have to work for it unlike some previous years. And they got so close this year. But so close just isn’t good enough.
Not much in the way of Yankee news today. Contract negotiations and legal arbitration hearing are confidential for a reason — no one can speak with definite clarity about the proceedings and how they “might be leaning” so as to affect the outcome (perhaps for the same reasons a high-profile jury is sequestered, I imagine). The everyday person isn’t going to really understand the legalese that comes along with such proceedings, and all the rumors, assumptions, and legal drama is just going to stir the pot and negatively affect those we’re supposed to root for as fans. It’s really just better to wait for the result of all the haggling or final decisions — no random questions on process or confusion or assumptions. Just the basic facts so we can all move forward with the next step in the Yankee Universe — getting ready for Spring Training.
And maybe it’s because the Yankees’ season is over, but I’m really looking forward to Spring Training. I know I’ve said this before. Don’t tell anyone else, but Spring Training may actually be my favorite part of the season. Well, maybe postseason is up there too. Okay, and those great moments, like the “Mo-ments” we had this year. And then there’s the milestones and legacy-building. Okay, maybe I like a lot of things about the season. But there’s something so special and different about seeing the potential in the farm system and the future of the Yankees.
Being there for Spring Training this past March was especially good because I had seen all the guys there they ended up calling up during the season because of all the injuries. Romine, Murphy, Almonte, Adams, Kelley, and Claiborne gave their previews in the Spring before getting called up to replace or fill a roster spot at some point during the year, and I have to say that every single one of them proved absolutely invaluable to the team this season. There’s something about the Spring that just showcases some really amazing potential.
So, I guess, even though it’s barely Fall, I’m holding out a lot of hope for this Spring. You never know who might show up in pinstripes, and who’s going to make an impact in the season. After all, we’re all still holding out for #28.