Game 61: NYY vs. KC — Missed opportunities

Well, they certainly know how to make it interesting in Kansas City. Rain threatened all day, even pouring a bit in areas, but the night filled with thunderstorms never seemed to hold much water (so to speak), as by game time, the skies were that clear blue that can only be described as the alternate color for the Royals’ uniforms.

And it was David Phelps to start for the Yankees. 93 pitches, 5.2 innings, 10 hits, 7 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. Overall, not a great outing from Phelps, something, I’m sorry to say, that has become somewhat of a pattern this season for him. Despite a great 1st inning, the game began slipping from him a bit in the 2nd. A lead-off double scored on the next batter’s double; a single put runners on the corners; and two more singles scored two more runs. And suddenly, the Royals were leading 3-0.

The Yankees got those runs back in the 6th inning. With 2 outs and 2 men on base, Carlos Beltran’s double scored Jeter, and Yangervis Solarte’s sweet single scored both Teixeira and Beltran. And just like that the game was tied. All Yankee fans in the stadium were sensing hope for a win, despite the sloppy pitching and defense on display tonight.

But Phelps faltered again in the bottom of the 6th. Big time. Two walks to start the inning set the stage for a 3-run home run. A triple scored on a single 2 outs later, and the Yankees went to the bullpen for relief. But the damage was done. 7-3 Yankees at the end of the 6th inning.

It was Matt Daley to relieve Phelps. Daley did a decent job ending the 6th and grabbing the first 2 outs of the 7th. He allowed a solo home run to add to the Royals’ lead and found himself outmatched by the offensively strong Royals hitters tonight. So they turned to Jose Ramirez to finish the 7th and take the 8th, which he did successfully, preventing some kind of blow-out.

The Yankees made a last-ditch rally effort in the 9th inning to try to make up the 5-run deficit (6 runs to win). A lead-off double by Solarte was a good start. Ichiro’s single pushed Solarte to 3rd, and suddenly, Yankees fans were alive and kicking again in Kauffman Stadium. Brian Roberts grounds out, but Solarte is able to score a run for the Yankees. Two more outs later, and the Royals walk away with their 8-4 win (or the Yankees’ loss).

I want to mention that my absolute favorite play was a snazzy double play in the bottom of the 4th. Phelps pitched the ball to the batter, who promptly smacked it right back to Phelps and into his glove. Phelps immediately tossed it to Teixeira at 1st who tagged the base as the runner had jumped too far off 1st (also called “doubling off”). It was probably the best play of the night, one that left even Royals fans around me talking.

My mom asked me on the way home tonight after the game what I liked best about the game. That double play was my choice. What I least liked about the game? Losing. What can I say? I like winning. I hate losing. It’s simple. If the Yankees had won, that would have been my favorite thing about the game. But that’s the way the pieces fell. It’s an interesting question after a game, one I might consider making a tradition except for the fact that one of the answers will always be either winning or losing. It’s just in my competitive nature. But I’m guessing if  you asked some of the Yankee players those questions, tonight they’d say “losing” was their least favorite part of the game. It’s why I’m a Yankees fan in the first place. We think too much alike.

Now, since I don’t really want to dissect the anatomy of the game, I’ll turn my attention to what I promised I’d update you on for Saturday — the First Year Player Draft. The Yankees made their selections over the last 3 days. In order of selection, beginning with their pick in the 2nd round (55th overall) and ending with their 40th round pick (or 1202nd pick overall): Jacob Lindgren, Austin DeCarr, Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Foley, Jonathan Holder, Mark Payton, Connor Spencer, Vince Conde, Ty McFarland, Matthew Borens, Chris Glittens, Bo Thompson, Sean Carley Andrew Chin, Derek Callahan, Garrett Cave, Justin Kamplain, Joe Harvey, Corey Holmes, Porter Clayton, Jake Kelzer, Will Toffey, Dominic Jose, Dylan Barrow, Collin Slaybaugh, Griffin Gordon, Lee Casas, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Perez, Devyn Bolasky, Jordan Ramsey, David Graybill, Matt Wotherspoon, Christopher Hudgins, William Gaddis, Ryan Lindermuth, Andre Del Bosque, Cameron Warren, and Madison Stokes.

Welcome to Yankee Universe!

And yes, if you were paying attention, the big story is the selection of Mariano Rivera’s son, also named Mariano Rivera for the 29th round. It is reminiscent of last year’s draft when Andy Pettitte’s son Josh was drafted in the later rounds. Josh opted for college at Baylor and to pursue a professional athletic career after earning his degree. Mariano will see what the Yankees offer before making his decision. But it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some pinstriped legacies rise up in the near future.

Go Yankees!

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