Monday, September 01, 2008
Ten Games Left: Sun Baked
The afternoon sun beat down mercilessly on the left field stands on Sunday, just as the unrelenting Roy Halladay beat down on the Yankees' batters. The rubber game of the series snapped the wrong way for the Yankees, leaving the team cooked as it goes on a ten-game road stand, seven games behind the Red Sox and two and a half games behind the Minnesota Twins, and leaving me with a nasty sunburn.
The day had a nostalgic tinge to it. Sunday afternoons have been my main experience of Yankee Stadium, ever since I got my first weekend ticket plan as a teenager. Rather than taking the train straight to the Stadium, I got off in Manhattan and walked across the Macombs Dam Bridge--one of my typical routes to and from the Stadium when I lived uptown and had all the time in the world.
As you can tell by the sign, the MDB is a draw bridge, which was a big curiosity for me when I was younger. I remember a number of times waiting to pass across, but I don't think I was ever actually on the span when the draw bridge bell started to ring.
Anyway, the walk to the park wasn't the only thing that brought back memories of the old days--the game itself did, as well. The Yanks needed Good Andy Pettitte to show up and counter Halladay pitch-for-pitch. But Bad Andy walked the first batter of the game, Marco Frickin' Scutaro. Scutaro came around to score, and before Halladay took the mound, the Yanks were down 3-0, thanks in part for Xavier Nady butchering a fly ball in left field. In the second inning, Scott Rolen--batting 8th against a lefty--roped a solo homer to make the score 4-0. Solo homers in the fourth and the sixth provided the tease, bringing it just close enough to make things frustrating, but again, the 7th inning brought things to a boil. Just like Saturday's game, Girardi tried to sneak one more inning out of his starter. Just like in Saturday's game, Pettitte stuck around too long, allowing three straight hits and another run. Finally, the score got to 6-2, Jays, where it would remain.
There are 26 games left in the season. Only 10 of those are home games, and their opponents' weighted winning percentage is .545. With no games left against the Twins and only three against the Red Sox, they don't just have to play out of their minds in September to make the playoffs, they need help from the opposition. It's a damn tall order.