Apparently, those responsible for creating MLB’s schedule aren’t fond of the Yankees. On the final day of the 2008 season, the last season for one of the most historic ballparks in the game, the Yankees are tentatively slated to be playing a game at Fenway Park. Har har, schedulers. That was a good one. Now hand out the real schedule to teams.
Even worse than playing the final game of the 2008 season in Fenway is that the Mets, also slated to have a new park in 2009, are home. So you’re going to allow the Mets to have a fond farewell to the biggest shithole stadium in probably all of sports, but are forcing the Yankees on the road? That’s fucking ridiculous.
Feeney said scheduling both New York teams to end the season at home is “not impossible, but it’s difficult,” adding, “there are a lot of issues when both teams are home.”
I know that I’m biased, but it would seem that the closing of Yankee Stadium, home of 26 World Championships, is a tad more important than the demolition of Shea. After all, who’s going to miss their stadium more, Yankees fans or Mets fans? If you had to think about that for more than a millisecond, get off my site.
Yes, I realize that regardless of whether it’s the last game of the season or not, there will still be a final game at the Stadium. Why wouldn’t you make it the last game of the season, though? It gives everything a sense of finality — that is, until the playoffs.
Let’s reset yesterday’s look at what it will take to win the division. With a Yankee win yesterday and a Boston loss, as Joe discussed this morning, the Yankees find themselves just 2.5 games out of first place (2 on the loss side).
As Cool Standings tells me that the Yanks win the division 22.8 percent of the time – the highest its been since the start of May – let’s take a look at what it will take for the Yanks to win the division. Remember: All they have to do is tie the Red Sox, and the AL East crown is theirs.
|If the Red Sox go…||then the Yanks have to go…|
It’s possible, if a bit improbable right now, for the Yanks to capture that crown. They just have to keep winning. And I’m trying not to think too hard about the Devil Rays’ blowing those two games against Boston last week. Oh, the “What If’s” of baseball.
That was a pleasant surprise, now wasn’t it? Moose just handed in his best performance of the year. It was only the fourth time this year he finished the seventh inning, and the third in which he pitched more than five innings and allowed zero runs. He struck out six and walked just one (and the first batter of the game at that), en route to throwing 66 percent of his 98 pitches for strikes. He didn’t have the 90s velocity the YES gun had him at last outing, which I think says more to the YES gun’s inconsistency than to Moose’s performance. Incidentally, I set the unofficial record for saying the phrase, “Moose is dealin’!”
When I do a writeup of a game, I try to pick the three most important aspects of the game and discuss them, rather than take you inning-by-inning through a game you saw — and if you didn’t see it, you could just as easily look through the play-by-play (which I prefer from CBS, since the PBP is detailed, and their site is quick to load). Tonight, though, was more of a carnival than a game, so it feels more appropriate to pick out the attractions.
Just a minute ago, in the top of the 2nd during tonight’s Yankees-Orioles game, River Ave. Blues reached a huge milestone. Since we launched this site back on February 20, 2007, with a post previewing the college draft, we’ve had 1 million page views. The three of us never expected to find this level of popularity or participation, and we owe it all to you, the people who have read our 998 posts and have left over 7400 total comments on this site.
So as we look back on February 20, let’s first pause to make fun of Mike for saying the following in a comment: “RE: Brackman. I know all about him, but I’m not overly thrilling considering his limited track record (just 70 IP career at NC State). That said, I think there’s a better chance the Yanks will draft Jesus Christ than have Brackman fall all the way to 30.”
And let me also thank all of you who read every day. We’ve got some great plans for River Ave. Blues, and we’ll certainly be here to the next million page views and beyond. We hope you will be too.
Before I launch into the things I’ve been thinking about for three days (but haven’t posted), I just want to remind everyone of the caption contest, which ends tonight at midnight. A few made me snarf my coffee.
It’s going to be a trying game tonight. First we have Moose on the mound, and although he pitched well last Wednesday, we still don’t know exactly what to expect from him. He was hitting 90 and 91 on the YES gun, which is about three to five miles per hours faster than we’ve seen him most of the season. Hopefully the extended rest gave him a chance to heal up physically. To have the real Moose ready for the playoffs would be nothing short of extraordinary.
However, his stamina is going to be a big issue tonight. Marvelous or not last Wednesday, he still needed to be lifted after 5.2. I didn’t get a good read on him physically, but most people afterwards said he just ran out of gas. That’s understandable, given the long layoff. But Moose hasn’t been able to consistently go deep in games for some time now. He’ll need to tonight, as the bullpen is kind of thin. Mariano, Farnsy (thank God), Vizcaino, and Joba will be unavailable. That is, unless they bend the Joba rules, which I doubt they do at this point.
So who goes tonight in relief of Moose? You have to think Ohlendorf will get an inning, regardless of how the game turns out. Edwar might go one. Veras could, but do you trust him more than Chris Britton (I don’t). Kei Igawa? Hopefully that would only happen if we’re on the bad end of a blowout. Then again, who’d you rather see, Igawa, Henn, or Villone? Personally, I’d rather be kicked in the balls. Jeff Karstens, anyone?
Finally, a story has popped up on the Internets regarding Jorge Posada’s contract situation. From what his dad says, he’s ready to come back to the Yanks next year.
“Jorge belongs to the Yankees, he’s played for the team all his career and wants to remain there,” said Jorge Posada Sr. The article goes onto say that Jorge Jr. intends to sign a three-year, $36 million contract. If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m getting that deal signed now and locking it in a safety deposit box until after the season.
(Aside: The sub-head of the article says “Jorge Posada’s father said that his son, the fourth best catcher in the American League, wants a three-year extension deal for $ 36 million.” Fourth best? If by fourth he meant first, then he’s correct.)
1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Doug Mientikiewicz, 1B
9. Melky Cabrera, CF (who is playing, essentially, in the place of Jason Giambi, who went 0 for 1 with three freakin’ walks and a HBP last night)
And on the mound, No. 35, Mike Mussina. Pitcher. No. 35.
Honestly, you want to play your hot hand, and Melky is simply not playing well. I know he brings intangibles like youth and energy to the team (and I say that with only a hint of sarcasm), but if he’s striking out, grounding into double plays, and otherwise swinging at everything thrown to him, it’s not worth it to have him in the lineup. But I suppose you have to give him a chance to bounce back.
When the Yanks take the field tonight, they will be just 3.5 games behind Boston and 3 out on the loss side. They haven’t been this close to the division lead since April, but it won’t be easy to catch that crown (and those games Tampa Bay blew last week loom large).
But the Yankees do hold something of a trump card if the improbable happens. With their victory on Sunday, the Yanks clinched the season series against the Red Sox. A tie atop the AL East hands the division title – and home field advantage should those teams meet again – to the Yankees.
Now, with two weeks left in the season, the Red Sox have 11 games left: 2 @ Toronto; 3 @ Tampa Bay; 2 vs. Oakland; 4 vs. Minnesota. The Yankees have 12 games left: 2 vs. Baltimore; 4 vs. Toronto; 3 @ Tampa Bay; 3 @ Baltimore. What needs to happen for the Yanks to tie?
|If the Red Sox go…||then the Yanks have to go…|
Right now, on paper, it’s not impossible. The Red Sox face better teams than the Yanks do. But these better teams have struggled lately, and the Yanks aren’t the greatest against their three division opponents.
But things are looking up for the Yanks. Yesterday, CoolStandings had the Yanks winning the division 6.5 percent of the time. Today, it shot up to 12 percent. As we all know, in baseball, anything can happen. It sure would be great to catch the Red Sox even if it would take a minor miracle. Or at least a major slump.
Our Fan -on-the-Field caption contest is going strong. I wanted to up the ante a little bit. I’m going to offer a prize. The winner gets the New York Yankees Vintage World Series Film DVD Set.
Here’s how it works: Right now, the contest will remain open for submissions until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight, Tuesday, September 18. At that point, we’ll pick our five favorites that were not submitted by someone who writes or is related to someone who writes for River Ave. Blues. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll post a poll thread that will remain open for 48 hours. The winner after those 48 hours will be awarded the DVD set.
So get send submissions in to to the comments on this post. Time’s a-wastin’.