Five Thoughts About a Great Yankees Weekend
It's one thing to win the first three games of the series in the way that the Yankees did. But to allow Boston to get its hopes up only to suddenly and powerfully snatch away the Salvage Card last night?
That's just full-on Temple Of Doom-level innards expungal work by your local Bronx Bombers.
This is all excellent, of course.
I've always wanted to (metaphorically) show the Red Sox their still beating heart before they perished a shameful death, and Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira did just that when they connected on back-to-back homers to clinch the victory.
I have no idea why my sweep-induced giddiness has manifested itself into violent fascinations. I promise to check myself into the local psych ward upon completion of this blog.
Without further adeiu, here are five thoughts on the Yankees' four-game sweep of the Red Sox.
5. Spin, Papi, Spin
It's odd enough that David Ortiz used Yankee Stadium as his forum to formally deny steroid use. But then to use the old, "I was careless with the supplements I took back then" card? That was just disappointing coming from one of baseball's supposed good guys.
Say this about the Yankees: Their two high-profile cheats—A-Rod and Andy Pettitte—at least had the guts to man up and admit their mistake.
4. Girardi owes beer to Damon, Tex
Joe Girardi messed up.
I understand he values protecting his pitching arms—particularly his young ones—but the Yankees manager showed no sense of the moment on Sunday night.
Six outs away from sweeping the Red Sox in a huuuuge series and you hand the ball to Phil freaking Coke? Phil Hughes had faced only two batters in the previous two games and 49,000 other people in the building would have made a wiser decision.
Luckily for Girardi, the Damon/Teixeira heroics saved a lot of second-guessing after the game.
3. Red Sox on the brink
Can you imagine a more frustrating existence than being a Boston fan this weekend?
You were treated to the end of the John Smoltz era, a 15-inning shutout, a nine-inning shutout, and then the aforementioned Temple of Doom finale. Jason Varitek's bases-loaded at-bat against Andy Pettitte in the fourth inning on Sunday night perhaps best exemplified the frustrations.
Varitek smoked a 1-0 pitch to left—exactly where Johnny Damon was standing. Five feet to the left or right and it's 3-0 and the Red Sox are off and running. Instead, the scoreless streak trudged on.
The Yankees swept the Red Sox over five games around this time in 2006 and Boston never recovered. This is a superior Red Sox team, but this is certainly a season on the brink. I look for them to bounce back big, starting with a sweep of the Tigers at Fenway.
2. It always comes down to A-Rod
Watching the 15-inning classic on Friday night, I just had a feeling A-Rod would be the hero. Each time he came to the plate, and each beer deeper I got, my refrain got louder. "A-Rod's going to win this game." It took him seven at-bats, but the goofball proved me right.
I know the media has a habit of sometimes running with story lines that aren't necessarily true—Joba finds himself in Nebraska! being a particularly strong example—but the well-reported idea that A-Rod is a different player this season is actually true.
He appears more relaxed and confident, which is ironic since that bum hip has made him a less productive player.
But that weight-of-the-world look is off his face, and there's no denying how much better this team is with him in the lineup.
And that's why you should all go out and buy multiple copies of Almost Famous. Kate Hudson deserves those residuals for the work she's put in here.
1. CC Sabathia & A.J. Burnett are officially Yankees
A lot has been made that this series served as the unofficial opening of Yankee Stadium III, as the crowd energy finally reached heights that matched levels once heard across the street.
CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett vouched for that, saying the thunderous ovations they received were goose bump-worthy at the highest level.
Yankees fans are a sophisticated baseball lot. The power of those cheers represented the fans' realization that we have two studs at the top of the rotation. The Yankees haven't been able to say that for a long time.
Sabathia and Burnett can potentially start four games of a seven-game series, with Hughes and Joba setting up Mariano Rivera. If things stay the way they are, I think I like our chances.
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