We all know the Carl Pavano Story by now.
Coming off of a career year, an overrated pitcher attracts a lot of attention and signs a four-year, $39.95 million deal with the Yankees. Said pitcher makes 17 mediocre starts, hits the disabled list and can’t get healthy for the next two years. He’s in weird car crashes, hurts hits buttocks during Spring Training and has surgery. Said pitcher than starts Opening Day 2007, has one decent and one good start and then opts for reconstructive surgery.
By the time September 3, 2008 rolls around, said pitcher is on the verge of making his 23rd start for the Yankees. So far, Pavano has made $1.7 million per Yankee start, and the end of his contract is near. On Wednesday, Pavano faltered early, and with the Yanks up 6-3, Joe Girardi yanked that short leash with no outs in the fourth. Pavano’s line wasn’t terrible — 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K and 47 of 79 for strikes — but his post-game comments were truly hilarious.
“I feel like I cheated my team tonight,” he said. Well, better late than never, I guess.
In the end, it would matter little. Edwar Ramirez bailed out Pavano, and he combined with Phil Coke and Brian Bruney to throw four scoreless innings. By the time Jose Veras gave up a run in the ninth, the Yanks had an 8-3 lead and were able to coast to their third straight victory.
It would not be a game without controversy courtesy of one Mr. Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. In the ninth inning with the Yanks up 6-3 and Bobby Abreu on base for the third time, A-Rod blasted a home run clear over the left field foul pole. There was only one problem: Was it fair or foul?
So an A-Rod blast in the ninth inning of a three-run game became the very first home run call to be subjected to baseball’s new instant replay rule. After
an interminable delay that slowed down the game so that it went on well past midnight a wait of just over two minutes, the umpires gathered to announce that the ruling on the field was stand. While the umpires said that the replay may have clouded the issue, nothing they saw convinced them that the ball was not a home run.
And thus A-Rod passed Mike Schmidt for sole possession of 12th place on the all-time home run list, and the Yankees held on for another day, seven games behind Boston for that last playoff spot, ten behind Tampa and with just 23 left to play.