Ellsbury is a Yankee

Jacoby Ellsbury, the former rival Red Sox center fielder, will now be batting, fielding, and stealing bases for the Yankees. Today’s press conference in New York introduced Ellsbury to New York media as their new #22. Ellsbury and his wife Kelsey were welcomed into the Yankee family at their own press conference. Ellsbury signed his 7-year, $153 million deal, with an option for an 8th year. He expressed how he felt wanted and respected by the Yankees instantly, speaking with new teammates Jeter and Teixeira before making the decision to sign with the Yankees. And having just come off a World Series championship, Ellsbury is anxious to keep the ball rolling and adding to the Yankee center field legacy (a la DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, and Williams).

Girardi, Cashman, and Steinbrenner expressed their gratitude and excitement with Ellsbury joining the club. Girardi even went on to gush about his speed around the bases, recalling him stealing every base at some point in his career, and saying he was glad that Ellsbury was no longer going to be a “thorn in their side”.

Other comments have been made regarding Ellsbury’s comment of feeling very “wanted” by the Yankees, as recently departed former Yankees have expressed their feelings of “unwantedness” by the Yankees. The Yankees have come out to say that they have a policy against signing players over age 30 to large 10-year contracts because of the natural decrease of productivity after that age. (Quick side note here: if you’re over 30, you know that “natural decrease” all too well and can probably imagine the rapidity at which a consistent elite level of playing might increase it.)

When asked about that player not feeling wanted by the Yankees, Cashman said, “I’m sorry he feels that way. I understand that that’s also usually a part of the process when things don’t go the way you want them to go from both ends.” Cashman said he would throw anything at him, “bouquets, bouquets, bouquets. I’ll throw him bouquets all he wants, but I couldn’t throw him [such a large contract].”

Yankees President Randy Levine used two examples of where a 10-year contract makes sense for the Yankees. In February 2001, they gave Jeter a 10-year contract; Jeter turned 27 that year, so that made sense. Levine went on to mention another current non-Yankee in his early-20’s who they might sign (as an example) to a 10-year contract when he becomes a free agent in his mid-20’s. This caused a bit of a stir through the MLB community as someone seemed to think Levine was trying to poach or sign the young player now. Levine apologized to the player’s current club and MLB saying that wasn’t his idea, but rather just using an example that made sense in that context.

Cashman also inferred there are still many things on the table as far as negotiations. The Yankees picked up a minor league pitcher for the Chris Stewart trade to the Pirates. There were some potential signings, but they have been signed elsewhere. Reliever Boone Logan signed with the Rockies, and Joba Chamberlain is on his way to Detroit. There are holes, but almost everyone agrees that the Yankees have one of the best starting rosters in the AL East, if not baseball. And while we’re only a few weeks from the end of 2013, there’s still a good portion of time before Spring Training, let alone Opening Day. The pieces are falling into place, and 2014 is going to be very interesting to watch.

Also, I just want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the students and families of the Colorado high school as they recover and heal from today’s horrific tragedy.

Go Yankees!

The free agency dance begins

I realize that the Yankees had a bit of a deadline with their potential free agents, but Monday seems to have been heavily laden with news for its public. Well, not really complete news, more like the beginning of news.

When looking at potential free agents coming off their roster, a club can make “qualifying offers” to agents they don’t want to let go. It’s usually seen as a sign that says “we’re still interested in you and retaining you even if we’re only offering a year contract to you”. Most players don’t take it and opt to go for bigger, longer contracts (even if it’s with the same club), and by doing so, they actually gift the club with a prime draft pick for the next draft (next July). Last year, Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano were offered qualifying offers, both opted free agency, and both were signed pretty quickly elsewhere (Cleveland and Washington, respectively).

This year, they made offers to Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda. There is a lot of speculation already as to what they’re each going to do, and I’ve been doing my own private speculating. But since I don’t speculate here, you’ll know if I’m right after the player deadline of November 11 to respond to the offer — they will either take it and sign for a year with the Yankees or refuse it and try for a better offer elsewhere. And honestly, I think we’ll be looking at three very different results for these guys.

Now, there were some people who didn’t get qualifying offers from the Yankees — Brendan Ryan, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Boone Logan. This means that all of these guys are now officially free agents, and their agents are probably busy exploring all options available to their clients. It will be interesting to see where everyone lands, and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees picked up a couple of these guys at least for a year or two.

Almost on the other spectrum of things, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has released its latest ballot and is to be voted on next month by the Veterans’ Committee. There are 12 men on that list that have had a major impact on baseball history, including Joe Torre, Billy Martin, and George Steinbrenner. I think in all Yankee fans’ minds all three should get at least the required 75% votes to walk into Cooperstown next year. The annual players ballot will be released later this month and will include the five players who didn’t make the it last year but had enough vote to carry over for this coming year and a whole slew of really amazing newcomers including former Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina.

Like I said, it’s really just a “beginning of news” kind of day. At first, it sounds like there’s news, but really it’s just  something that could develop into news someday soon. But when I think about it, baseball is always an evolving story. Even when a team wins the World Series, they have to spend the off-season rebuilding and focusing on developing their dynasty. The 2012 Giants, for example, barely made any changes last off-season and ended up holding up the bottom of the NL West in 2013; they figured “why mess with success?” and it backfired big time on them. So, now they’re working on figuring out what went wrong with their 2013 formula and what went right with 2012 and then how they can make 2014 work better for them.

And (not that I ever want to glorify the Yankees’ arch-rivals) then you have the Red Sox who were easily the worst team in 2012, fired their manager, shuffled their roster, picked up some prime guys from all over free agency, and somehow powered their way to the top of the AL and became World Series Champions just a few weeks ago. But now, the Red Sox are going to spend their entire 2014 season defending their title. This is actually good news for the Yankees because unlike almost every other team in the league only the Yankees know what it’s like to establish and maintain a dynasty. Is anyone else hoping 2014 starts a new dynasty?

Go Yankees!

Game 160: NYY vs. HOU — The expected from the unexpected

The Yankees began their final series of this year in Houston tonight. And after some recent disappointments, it was nice to begin the end with a win. The Astros aren’t really as competitive a team as the Yankees have been playing this month, like most of the AL East teams, but the Yankees aren’t really playing at full steam right now, wrapping up what is essentially a disappointing season. Remember, according to Yankee logic, anything short of a World Series win is considered a “failed season”.

But tonight was a win.

Resting much of their regulars either flirting with or fully on the DL, a reflection of the entire season, the Yankees actually put a lot of the replacement guys on the field tonight, and they did a really good job. Adam Warren was given the start, 64 pitches through 5 innings, just 2 hits and a walk, and 4 strikeouts. With more consistent outings like that, Warren could easily work his way into a more permanent spot in the rotation, or at least long-term bullpen relief.

In the meantime, the Yankees’ offense decided to make their dent in the 4th inning. With one out, Cano singled, Soriano walked, so that Mark Reynold’s nice single scored Cano. Both Soriano and Reynolds then advanced on a throwing error, a bounced relay throw to home plate, missing Cano’s slide. Then David Adams reminded the Yankees why they liked him in the first place earlier this year with a solid double in the right field corner, scoring Soriano and Reynolds. And the Yankees were up 3-0.

So David Phelps came on in the 6th and back in the 7th, but with two outs and two runners on base, they opted for a pitching change. And they went to someone with a less consistent year — Joba Chamberlain. A double immediately scores 2 runs for Houston. Then he allows a bases loaded situation before the Yankees defense got him out of the jam. Preston Claiborne gets his 8th inning, and in for the save is David Robertson (get used to that, people). Houston fans weren’t all that happy to see Robertson, even to the point of booing his entry (way to stay classy, Texas!), but Rivera wasn’t available because (despite the rumors) he’s not Superman. So it’s Robertson that takes the save on the 3-2 win tonight.

Also there was a bit of a disputed play in the 6th inning. Alfonso Soriano hits a long ball off the back wall in left field, which is awarded a double, but the play is immediately disputed. Was their fan interference? Yes, but would it have a home run hitting the top of the wall if not for the interference? Not according to the umpires after a replay. A home run would have been nice padding to the Yankees’ lead because that double came out to nothing, due to some easy outs the other batters in the inning hit into.

And JR Murphy and David Adams worked a really nice out in the 8th, when they caught the runner trying to steal 2nd for the final out of that inning. So many great things added up and gave Warren the win, rightfully so.

And in between innings, the Astros presented former teammate Andy Pettitte with a framed numbered jersey (#21) from his time with their team. Yankees fans like to pretend that Pettitte’s Astro years didn’t exist, but instead were more like an extended sabbatical for the Houston-area resident. Pettitte will start the game tomorrow, and I can imagine many of his fellow Texans, family, and friends will be there cheering him on, despite loyalties, saying goodbye to him on his final MLB career start.

These are sad days, so the minor things to celebrate are extra special — Warren’s start, the continued strong display defense, Adams’ double, and of course the win. I have a feeling this will continue to be a bittersweet weekend.

Go Yankees!

Game 153: NYY vs. TOR — Creative defense without the “Diva Factor”

Some days, this job is cake — there are bit stories to include, everything works out right for a great game, and I’m feeling inspired and creative. Some days, this job is challenging — there’s a ton of stories to have to talk about, a ridiculously eventful game, and I’m feeling inspired and creative. And some days, it’s more of a chore — there’s nothing to talk about, a mundane game, and that spark of creativity and inspiration is muddled by life and personal exhaustion. Let’s just say, today was one of those days, and you’ll have to figure out which one I mean.

Starter Hiroki Kuroda went 102 pitches over 6 full innings, giving up 8 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Those 3 runs came courtesy of an RBI double and sacrifice groundout in the 3rd and a solo home run in the 6th. It was just in the 3rd inning, that it seems like Kuroda had a hard time with control, but the rest of the game he was his usual reliable self. And with just those 3 runs, the Yankees might have been able to pull themselves together and at least make an effort for the win. But things rarely work out like you predict.

So they opt to send in Joba Chamberlain in the 7th. But Chamberlain isn’t the pitcher he was when he debuted in Toronto 6 years ago. He walked a batter, allowed a single, and then gave up a whopper 3-run home run. And suddenly, the Blue Jays had pulled ahead with their 6 runs. In comes Cabral to get the first two outs and Daley for the last one in the 7th. And it was David Phelps to the rescue in the 8th, who easily gave one of the best appearances with his 13 pitch, 1-2-3 inning. This was a sign to me and most other analysts that the recently rehabbed Phelps is about ready to resume his long-term, even starting duties again.

Offensively, the Yankees were limited to half Toronto’s hits (5 for New York) and just two runs. Curtis Granderson struck first with a solo home run in the 6th. And in a last-ditch effort at a rally in the top of the 9th, with 1 out, Rodriguez walks, Cano singles, and Soriano walks to load the bases. On the third pitcher of the inning, Vernon Wells grounds out, but scores Rodriguez. And the Yankees are down 6-2, which they immediately concede the game on the very next out.

The Yankee defense was again something admirable, and tonight they got a little creative. Right in the 1st inning, a batter hits a slow grounder up to Kuroda, who throws it home to Stewart to get the runner going home. But the runner isn’t near home plate, so backs up back to 3rd in a rundown, which Stewart flips to Reynolds for the play. The runner dodges the tag from Reynolds, but here’s the problem: the other runner is already at 3rd base. We got 2 runners at 3rd. The initial runner isn’t on the base any more and is tagged out by Reynolds, and Reynolds also tags the new runner out, even though he’s on 3rd looking safe. Here’s why it’s a double play: once the first runner is back at his original base, the new runner must vacate back to his last base and since he was off his appointed base, he was still in play and could legally be tagged out. Nice effort by Reynolds just tagging everyone. (I’m kind of surprised the 3rd base coach didn’t get in on the action because of how close he was in all the fuss.) Just your average 1-2-5-5 double play.

And I think we can safely say the Mark Reynolds may just be the defensive MVP of the game because of his creative way to get an out (above) in the 1st, and for his own initiated double play in the 2nd. Reynolds may go quickly hot and cold in the batter’s box, but his defense is consistent and fits in with the natural flow of the field. For only being with the team a very short time, I know I’m impressed with how Reynolds seems to be carving his own niche in the team.

I know that many people believe that if you’re a professional, you should be able to play with anyone. And while that should be true, it’s not something I see very often exhibited. For how it’s not done well, watch any All-Star Game. All the players are super professional, used to their positions, used to playing at a high level, but there’s always one team that just doesn’t work as a team. Why? The “Diva Factor”. At this level, the lack of good teamwork isn’t usually poor training, but one or two “bad eggs” who prance around like divas — stereotypically, this would be either the overpaid assumed star or the young rookie hotshot. And even as I write this, I’m thinking of some players (and thus some teams) that fit both.

In other news (and I promise you this isn’t related to my previous paragraph), the Red Sox have officially clinched the AL East, and the Dodgers the NL West. I know I have some friends and family who will be very happy with that news. Most other races are pretty close to being concluded, being as we only have 9 games left to play this season. But there’s some really interesting things happening  in the AL Wild Card and the NL Central and Wild Card races. If it was so easy for those top 10 teams to grab their postseason places, it would make September the most boring month is baseball. And instead, it’s most fascinating that Opening Week. There’s nothing like September Baseball…

Except maybe October Baseball…

Go Yankees!

Game 141: BOS vs. NYY — No-decision ouch

Sometimes I have no idea what game some people are playing when I watch a game. Sometimes the flow of the game make it seem like I’ve watch several different games, even though four hours have been solely on a single game. (Four hours always means a Red Sox-Yankees game.)

Look, Andy Pettitte was actually pretty good tonight. His 100 pitches took him through 6 full innings, where he kept the Yankees’ early lead rolling. He allowed just 5 hits, 3 walks, 3 runs, and struck out a whopping 8 Boston batters. Those runs came as an RBI single in the 2nd, an RBI groundout in the 4th, and a solo home run in the 5th. He deserved the win tonight, as the most consistent pitcher that set foot on the mound (by either team), but he wouldn’t get it. Fortunately, due to how the stats are recorded, he didn’t take the loss either.

So, the Yankees struck often and early, earning a very nice lead over the Red Sox. In the 1st inning, Derek Jeter walked and then scored on Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run homer to the (where else?) left field seats; this was Soriano’s 30th home run of the season (between his time with the Cubs and the Yankees). Then in the 2nd, with Vernon Wells on board with a walk, it’s Eduardo Nunez that triples (though his helmet only made it to 2nd), easily scoring Wells; Nunez scores on Chris Stewart’s sacrifice fly. In the 4th, Reynolds and Stewart walked and scored on Brett Gardner’s triple. Then in the 5th, Wells’ single scores Cano, Nunez singles, Mark Reynolds’ single scores Wells, but Nunez gets caught in a slow run-down before surrendering to the tag-out trying for 3rd.

And it’s a beautiful 8-3 Yankees when Pettitte leaves the mound. And then it’s the evil of the 7th inning. The Yankees opt for Phil Hughes in the 7th, his first time out of the bullpen in a while. His pitches result in: a single, a fly out, another single, a walk, and an RBI single (8-4). So they decided to try Boone Logan, who promptly strikes out the Red Sox most feared hitter (this should be a good sign, but it’s not — it’s misdirection). Logan then gives up a grand slam, and suddenly the Red Sox are tied. With just two outs and 7 batters in the 7th inning, the Yankees have blown a 5 run lead. Logan gives up another single and is pulled from the game due to an injury (a tightness in his left biceps).

So they go to Preston Claiborne, who immediately responds with the final out of the 7th. He returns in the 8th to get another out, but then things got messy. A single, a 2-run homer (10-8 Boston), and a single force the Yankees to turn the game over to Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain gets the second out, intentionally walks the big power bat, and unintentionally walks the next two batters (11-8 Boston). (I hate those kind of runs!) Another RBI single plants the Red Sox lead at 12-8. And the Yankees never recovered.

As of today, the Yankees signed Matt Daley to a major league contract, who spent the year in AAA Scranton. He was in the bullpen for the Rockies from 2008-2011 and spent 2012 recovering from rotator cuff surgery. To make room on the 40-man roster, Corban Joseph was moved to the 60-day DL after his shoulder surgery. Daley, who grew up in Queens, returned to his neighborhood tonight to pitch the 9th inning on the day he was promoted. He kept the Red Sox from adding to their total and struck out 2 of the 5 batters he faced. There was talk that his outing alone might have earned him a place in Yankee fans’ hearts by not allowing a single run — the first inning since Pettitte came out of the game.

Also, David Robertson was feeling stiff in his shoulder and an MRI revealed tendonitis. Robertson will be out 5-6 days. This could be the reason for his poor performance recently, and it really is a bummer overall because he’s been one of the most reliable things from the entire pitching staff. We wish him a quick healing, recovery, and return to all his “Houdini-ness”.

Two more games against the Red Sox, and fortunately for my personal sleep schedule (though I’m thinking some of the more vocal umpires will agree), I’m glad they’re both afternoon games. You just never know what can happen. Even when one team is just awful, the Yankees-Red Sox games are always tight and tense and worth the viewing. You just never know what’s going to happen. That’s why even as the Red Sox piled on the extra runs in the 8th, there was still hope that the Yankees bats would somehow find life against the Boston bullpen. It’s happened before; it will happen again; it just didn’t happen tonight.

Go Yankees!

Game 140: BOS vs. NYY — The long way to lose a ball game

Okay, 4 hours and 32 minutes is a long baseball game. There’s no getting around it. And some of the innings tonight felt like an eternity in and of themselves. And sometimes, no matter what you do, too many things are working against you to pull a win off, even if it seems pretty sure.

In my time as a Yankees fans, I have seen really good Yankees-Red Sox games. And I have seen really bad Yankees-Red Sox games. And despite what you may read on the scoreboard, today was actually neither. To me, a good game is so tight that perhaps when you hit extra innings, you’re dealing with a 0-0 score. (My one exception in this category was the rare come from way behind to blow them out of the water early last year.) A bad game is basically little league on a big stage. But there were so many inequalities and inconsistencies that it just didn’t play out right.

Ivan Nova started the game for the Yankees, and despite his recent award, had trouble really early and really often. In just 4 innings, Nova faced 19 batters with 96 pitches, 5 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, and 3 runs — an RBI ground-rule double and groundout RBI in the 3rd, and a solo home run in the 4th. Which would be fine if the Yankees somehow could patch together a bullpen tonight. Preston Claiborne came into the game in the 5th, pitched 25 pitches to 5 batters, allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 earned runs with no outs recorded — a solo home run, an RBI single, and an RBI groundout. Cabral came on to get the first out of the 5th inning, before Adam Warren was called on to grab the last two of that one and the entire 6th and 7th innings, allowing a single earned run (an RBI single) to score in the 7th. Robertson was near flawless once again in the 8th (a huge improvement on last night’s outing).

The Yankees also saw their share of offensive efforts. To tie up the game in the bottom of the 3rd, Robinson Cano doubled, scoring Ichiro and Gardner. Behind 7-2 going into the 7th, the Yankees decided to rally and send the really good starting pitcher scurrying back to the dugout, ultimately getting a no-decision. First, Ichiro walks, pinch-hitting Wells singles, (pitching change), Brett Gardner’s single scores Ichiro, Wells steals 3rd, Jeter walks loading the bases, Cano grounds into a force out and scores Wells, (pitching change), Alfonso Soriano singles and scores Gardner, Curtis Granderson’s double scores Cano, (a strikeout), and Lyle Overbay singles and scores Soriano and Granderson. Overbay’s hit pushed the Yankees up over the Red Sox 8-7, if they could hang onto that lead.

So putting Mariano Rivera in the 9th is the logical conclusion. Except it was one of those days… two outs and a single later, things got weird. On an attempted steal, Romine’s throw is off and the runner promptly steals 3rd as well. This means the next batter’s single easily scores the runner and ties the game, sending the game into extra innings. This is Rivera’s 6th blown save of the year.

So when the game comes around to the 10th inning, the Red Sox face Joba Chamberlain. One out and one single, the runner steals 2nd and scores the (eventual) game-winning run on the next batter’s single. After the second out, Logan replaces Chamberlain who somehow manages to get thrown out of the game he’s leaving anyway. The dispute was over a “checked swing”, something the umpires had been managing all night, and with the way the calls were going, it was leaving a sour taste in the Yankees’ mouths. Logan, after intentionally walking their DH, gets that final out, sending it to the bottom of the 10th with the Yankees trailing by 1 run.

But the Yankees never get the chance to rally in the 10th inning, losing this first game of the series to the Red Sox 9-8, widening the margin between the teams for the division title.

Also worth quickly noting: stolen bases were the standing order of the day: Ichiro, Gardner, Rodriguez, Overbay, Wells, and Soriano all successfully stole a base. (Soriano was also caught stealing in a dance around run-down move.) Boston put up their stolen base numbers at 3 for this game, and they also gave up one to a pick-off by pitcher Warren in the 6th.

Tonight’s loss was a shame for a lot of reasons. But the reason I’m mostly troubled by tonight is the concept of being competitive and being a good winner/loser. There’s something very special about a team or player who takes both his victory or defeat with grace and class. Competition is a wonderful thing, but here’s something it’s not — it’s not a chance to be mean-spirited or gloating when things go your way or angry when they don’t. Competition is that drive for the ultimate prize, even if that prize is to best your opponent for that single play, that single game, that single series.

When they were being overrun in the 7th inning by the Yankees, Boston wasn’t being a competitor, using the challenge of the Yankees’ bats to push themselves into being better. No, the Red Sox were swearing and yelling and throwing minor temper tantrums all over the field. I don’t like it when the Yankees lose, but I really hate it when they lose to a team that childishly throws a fit or prances around the field in victory display. Part of me is looking at the players thinking, “You’re grown men, act like it!” Seriously, no one likes a sore loser or a sore winner. But everyone loves competition. And at the end of the day, you could end up on the other side of the field in the other uniform. Is this a good welcome mat for incoming players or a good role model for all the children dreaming of professional careers one day? Your character is on display far more than your skill with a bat, a ball, or a glove; so what exactly are you saying with your character?

Go Yankees!

Game 136: BAL vs. NYY — Like a rug pulled out from underneath

I hate writing about a loss. I don’t expect many people like writing about what is essentially a failure. And it’s worse when it turns out to be a major disappointment. I guess that’s where the feeling of having the rug pulled out from underneath you comes into play. No one likes to lose, and I’m guessing no one likes to be responsible for a loss. But in a game of statistics and averages, someone is always responsible for a loss.

Today that someone is definitely not starter Andy Pettitte. He threw a really outstanding 6 innings against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing just 5 hits and 3 strikeouts with his 86 pitches over that time frame. And what was awesome was that no Birds crossed the plate at all during those 6 innings. It’s one of the better outings I’ve seen from him in a long time, and it’s thoroughly disappointing that he couldn’t walk away with the win that was needed both by him (for his own personal stats) and even more by the team itself (because the AL East just isn’t stopping).

Now, before everything fell apart. The Yankees were cruising along pretty good. In the 3rd inning, Alfonso Soriano singled and scored Brett Gardner. And in the 4th inning, with 1 out, Mark Reynolds walks, Eduardo Nunez doubles, Chris Stewart walks to load the bases, and they walk Gardner to score a run (Reynolds), keeping the bases loaded. And Derek Jeter’s sacrifice fly scores Nunez. And the Yankees kept their lead 3-0.

Until the 7th inning…

So back-to-back singles in 7 pitches from Pettitte has the Yankees calling for replacement Shawn Kelley from the bullpen. (Perhaps it was a mutual decision, but I’m thinking with the way Pettitte was pitching, a couple of runs might have scored but I think overall the Yankees would have kept their lead. I could be wrong, and we’ll never know, but it’s nice to imagine a better outcome.)

Anyway, Kelley promptly gives up an RBI single and then a 3-run homer. The Orioles are now up 4-3. And there’s no outs. So they go to Boone Logan. He then gives up a single and a walk. Still no outs. Now on to Joba Chamberlain. His first batter pops up a foul bunt to Stewart. Finally an out. But then he allows another 3-run home run. 7-3 Orioles. 1 out.

Somehow, Chamberlain gets the next two batters out — striking out swinging and a soft groundout to 1st. But the damage is done, and the Yankees never recover. Chamberlain throws the 8th inning, keeping the damage to a minimum. And Huff and recent call-up Betances split the 9th. Final score: 7-3 Orioles. The loss is clearly Shawn Kelley’s — his 2nd of the season and a big loss for the Yankees.

Two interesting things happened today. One was another show of the defense (remember, the Yankees lost due to home runs, something way out of their control) — a really snazzy double play in the 6th (before everything fell apart). Actually, I think my favorite part of today’s defense was watching Pettitte’s response to every out they made (you’ll see it at the end of the linked video clip). And the other was Jeter’s RBI in the 4th. Now an RBI, especially a sacrifice fly, usually isn’t the cause of anything particularly noteworthy, but this actually placed Jeter above former teammate Bernie Williams on the Yankees All-Time RBIs list. He currently sits in 6th place at 1258, behind Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Berra (mighty big company there).

I have to say that watching Pettitte pitch and cheer on his team was definitely the highlight of the game for me. It reminded me of the 90s dynasty. Other than the win, the only thing(s) missing was the other 3 of the Core Four to back him up. Then it would be “deja vu all over again”… A little nostalgia in the midst of disappointment is sometimes needed to take the edge off.

And putting things in perspective, the Yankees still won the series. Now, on to the next series. I’m feeling like a sweep is in order.

Go Yankees!