In a way, Joe Girardi’s brief post-game interview about Joba completed overshadowed tonight’s crisp and refreshing Yankee win. We — and every other Yankee blogger — will have a lot more about Joba tomorrow; as a teaser, PeteAbe aptly summarizes the 8th inning choices. For now, though, let’s just focus on the win.
Tonight’s game belonged to two Yankees. It goes without saying that they are Darrell Rasner and Alex Rodriguez. On the pitching front, Rasner dazzled the O’s all night. He doesn’t throw hard, but he changes speeds well and hits his spots. He threw 95 pitches over 7 innings (see that, Ian Kennedy?), and 61 of them were strikes. He gave up five hits and one walk while striking out six, and the Orioles put nothing together against him. At 3-0, Rasner is fast becoming this year’s Aaron Small but with a much higher upside.
Offensive, A-Rod is A-Rod. It’s pretty damn clear that this team missed their anchor during the last few weeks. A-Rod went 3 for 4 tonight, and he hit his second home run in as many days. He also blasted his eighth and ninth doubles of the year.
Or at least, he was credited with his eighth and ninth doubles. One of those, as we know, was actually his seventh home run of the season. The play — which you can watch here — unfolded as such: A-Rod hit a screaming line drive into right center field, and the ball just kept carrying. It bounced hard off the yellow staircase in front of the right field bleachers. Nick Markakis fielded the carom, and instead of stopping to retrieve a home run ball, he hurled into the infield as though it were still in play.
The replay clearly showed that the ball hit the yellow staircase. In fact, it was a good three or four feet above the top of the outfield wall. But the ball was so hard that none of the umpires could position themselves to see it, and A-Rod got himself only a double out of it. While much like Carlos Delgado’s disputed home run on Sunday, the missed call didn’t impact the outcome of the game.
But that’s not the point. On Sunday, on national TV, the umpires get the call wrong; two games later, with one of the game’s biggest starts up, the umpires get the call wrong. While opponents of instant replay say it would take too long and slow down games, would it really take longer than it took for the four umpires to confer and wrongly issue a call tonight? Of course not.
I know I’m beating the same drum I hit upon just three days ago, but this is just bad for the game. At what point, on what stage will MLB finally get it together to allow instant replay for these disputed calls? It doesn’t tarnish the game; it doesn’t cause irreparable harm to anyone. It’s more important to get it right than anything else, so why is baseball continuing to sacrifice that aspect of the game?
At some point, someone will hit a home run late in a meaningful and some team will win or lose the pennant or World Series off of a blown call by an umpire that millions of Americans can watch on repeat in their living rooms. Will it really come to that before MLB institutes instant replay?
A-Rod has been stellar since coming off the DL. He has hit three balls out of Yankee Stadium for two home runs. He’s been the offensive shot in the arm the Yanks needed. Now, if the weather holds, the Yanks will turn to Ian Kennedy later today. I hope they can turn their one-game victory into an actual winning streak.