Well, as the legendary Ron Burgundy would say, that’s not a good start.
After waiting six years for my beloved Yanks get back to the Fall Classic, this is the best they could do? I couldn’t believe I passed up on watching the season premiere of “Friday Night Lights” for this.
Heading into last night’s game, I considered it a must-win. I know it’s crazy to think of the first game in a seven-game series a must-win, but look at the circumstances this time. The Phillies beat the Yanks’ best pitcher (Sabathia), and now it’s up to the Pie Man himself, A.J. Burnett to even the series. Burnett is good, but he folds like a tent under pressure. Now I’m supposed to believe he’ll be able to keep it together in the Yanks’ biggest game of the year? This is a game that Andy Pettitte should be pitching. He always wins games like this. But, I understand that Andy pitches better on the road and Burnett is stronger at home. I just wish I had a better feeling about Burnett. Who knows, maybe he’ll pitch eight shutout innings or hopefully the Yanks offense will wake up and give A.J. enough of a cushion so he can pitch carefree.
Anyway, that’s enough about tonight’s game, let’s look at what went wrong yesterday:
C.C. was good, but Lee was (much) better: Last night’s match-up of the former Cleveland aces was as good as advertised: for seven innings anyway. If someone told me before the game, that Sabathia’s line would be 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K’s; I’d feel confident the Yanks would win or have a pretty good chance to. Unfortunately, as good as CC was, Lee was that much better. He did everything to the Yankees but say, “Kneel before Zod.” My goodness, he was fantastic. With that said, I don’t get how only Jeter was able to make the adjustments (three hits after striking out in his first AB). Where was hitting coach Kevin Long? Wasn’t Jeter sharing any insight? If he was able to hit Lee, why couldn’t the rest of his millionaire teammates? The Bombers aren’t going very far if Sabathia can’t away with two (although big) mistakes over seven innings.
The bridge to Mariano gets shakier every game: The only thing more frustrating than watching the Yankee hitters flail about trying to hit Cliff Lee was watching the disaster that was the Yankee bullpen. Holy cow, I thought the eight and ninth innings wouldn’t end. Hughes, Robertson and Bruney did nothing but pour gasoline on the fire. That’s becoming more the rule than the exception these days and it’s worrisome. How the heck are the Yanks going to survive close games in this series if their relievers can’t get anyone out? Mo’ can’t pitch two innings every game. It’s sad that the only guy who was effective was Marte, my least favorite Yankee reliever.
So, that was pretty much what doomed the Yanks, too much Lee, a no-show offense and another forgettable bullpen performance. And now it’s up to Burnett to keep this series competitive. Forgive me if I’m not feeling too optimistic. But I will say I am looking forward to tonight: Yankees vs. Pedro at The Stadium. Just like old times. Let’s just hope it’s the Yanks who prevail this time.
Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.