The Bombers take on the White Sox tonight in Chi-town, and I am kind of excited. Ozzie Guillen is one of my favorite cartoon characters in all of baseball. It is hard not be intrigued by any game that he manages, because there is a high probability for fireworks and expletives. The Yankees were monsters last night, breaking out for 18 runs. The Baseball Jesus went five-for-six and left me swooning. I wonder if they will tear the cover off the ball again tonight, or if they used up all of their hits last night. I am going to be honest here – I want a low scoring game. Phil Humber also pitches for Joe Girardi’s Braces, and after much debate, I decided to start him tonight against Ivan Nova. Part of me thinks this is an absolutely terrible decision. He has sucked since the All-Star break, but he was so incredible against the Yankees in April that I decided to throw him out there and see what happens. Maybe Adam Dunn, with his .166 batting average and OBP under .300, will be somewhat not horrendous tonight. Personally, I blame his reflective rainbow sunglasses, which I am cringing at right now during the pre-game. They are very Steve Sanders at the Beverly Hills Beach Club circa 1991. That is not a compliment. But the game is about to start, so let’s do this.
Bottom 1: Before the top-half of the inning, the Yanks had scored in the first inning of the last three games, according to YES. So gold star to my boy Phil Humber. Now Ivan Nova gets Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez to ground out. I feel badly for Ivan, who is stuck in a hole behind Phil Hughes, regardless of how well he pitches tonight. Girardi has already said that Hughes is starting on Tuesday, so there is simply no place for him. And a six-man rotation would be dumb, if CC only pitched once every seven days or whatever. So I don’t know what they are going to do with him, poor guy. Konerko grounds out to end the inning - strangely, all six outs in this game have been ground-outs. 0-0.
Bottom 2: I will say, regardless of how he pitches, Phil Humber is much better looking in real-life than in his fantasy baseball profile shot. He is still not hot, so don’t get all excited or anything, but I wouldn’t kick him out of bed; however, he would have to shave his face first. That scruff would be super irritating. Shocker of all shockers, Adam Dunn weakly pops up for an easy first out. Someone else gets out. And AJ Pierz…yeah, I am not spelling that, strikes out. You know what? Ivan Nova is looking super sharp, too. 1-0, Yankees.
Top 3: Dunn recovers a bad throw from Morel, tagging Russell Martin after he grounded to third. Gardner softly grounds to second for the second out. And Jeter grounds to short to end the inning. Well, that was boring. 1-0, Yankees.
Top 4: Granderson grounds out in a bang-bang play at first, but he looked safe; Humber was super slow getting off the mound to cover first. Replays confirm it, argh. Tex quickly strikes outs. And now Robbie up again. But he walks, which does absolutely nothing for my fantasy stats other than raise Phil’s WHIP. Fail. Two outs, Swish is up. I giggle every time that I think of him recording an album. He flies out and the score stays the same. 1-1.
made the front-page of the New York Times today. Not the front-page of the sports section, but the actual front-page of the newspaper. Sigh. And Quentin grounds out for the final out of the inning. 1-1.
Top 5: Chavez lines a bullet to shortstop. He has hit the ball so well…when healthy. It is sad that he has been injured throughout his career. I like him a lot, a really good pick-up by Brian Cashman. Jorge strikes out. Wow, weird play. Russell Martin grounded the ball to second, the ball bounced off of Beckham’s glove, high in the air above his head; he waited for it to come down, gunned the ball to first, and just got the sliding Martin to end the inning. Quick work by Humber, who is slowly making his way back into my good graces. 1-1.
Bottom 5: I was too busy thinking about how miserable Moaning Myrtle’s life must be, fat and pimply forever, and stuck in that decrepit Hogwarts’ bathroom, to pay attention to the game. But there are two outs and Gordon Beckham just struck out. And Ivan Nova gets another K to end a 1-2-3 inning. Huh, this really IS turning into a pitcher’s duel. 1-1.
Bottom 6: Morel grounds out to Jeets to start things off, but then Pierre bunts the ball – actually, pushes the ball – over the head of Chavez, who was charging, for a base ht. That was AWESOME. I am impressed. What quick thinking and bat control. Michael Kay does not think it was intentional, but John Flaherty and I do. Ohhh, the Yanks almost catch him leading off of first, but he just beats the tag. Nova has now made four throws over to firtst. Throw a fucking pitch already. A strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play! Martin catches the speedy Juan Pierre to end the inning. That was so pretty. A super entertaining half-inning. 2-1, Yankees.
Bottom 7: With no chance for the win, only three strikeouts, and an ERA of 5.68, I clearly should not have pitched Phil Humber tonight. He pitched well, but not well enough. I hope Dan Haren, who is also on Joe Girardi’s Braces, pitches a gem tonight to neutralize it. Regardless, now I can watch the game with much less anxiety. Nova is still in, pitching to Konerko, who dumps a single into left field. Dunn strikes out and the crowd is booing him. I can’t say that I blame them. He looks so lost at the plate. Michael Kay just told us that Ozzie pissed off White Sox management by saying that he “doesn’t blame fans” for not attending games due to the economy. He is a straight-shooter and that is exactly why I love him. Ivan gets the next dude on strikes, too. He has been so impressive tonight, fighting for another chance in the rotation. In fact, he has nine strikeouts, a career high, and he has not walked anyone. AJ grounds out and Ivan Nova is still seriously dealing. 4-1, Yankees.
Top 8: Derek Jeter leads off with a walk, bringing up Curtis, who has a whopping 28 homeruns on the season. Oh, but he strikes out swinging. Jeets stole on the pitch, so there is a man in scoring position with Tex and Robbie coming up. Matt Thornton is pitching. Tex grounds to third, and you would expect Morel to go to first with the ball, but he catches Jeter dancing too far off of second and nails him. Really smart defensive play (and bone-headed baserunning by The Baseball Jesus). Robbie is up and I am hoping for another homer. UGH, he strikes out. I am shaking my head. 4-1, Yankees.
Top 9: Brian Bruney is now pitching. Interesting, after being thrown out of last night’s game for arguing a call at first base, the umpire who ejected him is now behind home plate tonight. I hope Bruney gets mad and starts cursing at him again. Swisher leads off with a single to right, and Chavez follows with a single to center. Nunez is up, who shows bunt, but he pops out. Useless at-bat. HUGE HOMERUN BY MARTIN! That was a no-doubter, monster shot to left. That saves Mo, which is a good thing with a road trip to Boston coming up. Derek Jeter grounds out and the White Sox are down to their final three outs. WOOOO. 7-1, Yankees.
For the record, the Yankees did not issue a single walk throughout the entire four-game sweep. Ironically, the last team to accomplish this was the 1968 Red Sox. Those bastards lost to the Indians tonight, so we now enter tomorrow’s series tied for first-place atop the AL East. It is going to be an exciting weekend of baseball in Beantown, for sure. Have a good one, guys!