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.


Anonymous said...

No mention of the company. Sad.

DJ said...

I had about a page's worth of additional notes on the game, most of them about me and Joe. But I was pretty tired when this one went up, so I couldn't figure out how to fit them in with the game story, and its somber this-is-over vibe. The best bit came from our confusion regarding Girardi's decision to pull Pettitte. Joe thought, and I agree, that Veras should have pitched to Pettitte's last batter, David Eckstein--Pettitte wasn't looking good, runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out, you want a strikeout, which Veras can get you. Trying to follow Girardi's reasoning, I said "Maybe he wanted to keep Eckstein batting from the right side of the plate." Which is stupid, since Eckstein only bats from the right side of the plate. I know this, but for some reason, in my head he's filed under "switch hitters." I've always had this impression, for reasons I can't explain, and I always have to remember that no, he has never batted from the left side of the plate in his major league career. Never.

Joe's still shaking his head at my gaffe, when one of the Toronto fans sitting in the row in front of us, having half-overheard our conversation, turns around and says "Yeah, it's crazy, he's a much better hitter from the right side of the plate!" I had to stop myself from cracking up, because of the look on Joe's face--he was suddenly the last sane man in an insane world.