Saturday, September 20, 2008

Liveblog 16: Goodbye, Yankee Stadium

The Yankees have actually been playing better of late, but they're still only a couple games from being eliminated, which would make tomorrow the last game ever at Yankee Stadium. I was only ever able to go once, but I'll still have some good memories of the place. I'm not too happy about them moving to a new stadium, since it's clear the only motivation is to increase profits. If the dimensions are exactly the same, you're not building a roof, the location's not even different, and the only real change is an increase in the number of private boxes, it's hard to pretend otherwise. We already don't go to many games because they're so expensive. The situation's about as disappointing as the Yankees season. They're missing the playoffs for the first time in years, while their old manager is riding in with the Dodgers. Some sports pundits are already getting obnoxious about it, and ignoring the fact that they play in the game's worst division while the Yankees play in the best, and still have a better record. To me, that's relevant information. Anyway, I'm liveblogging the penultimate game at the Cathedral, for two reasons. Alfredo Aceves has come and surprised me with his solid pitching, while Andy Pettitte is just irritating to watch these days, and I'm going to be busier tomorrow anyway. Be back in a few hours.

Top 1 - Last night was the first time a call was correctly overturned using the new limited replay system the league added. So hey... progress. Aceves is on the mound and gives up a lead off double to Brian Roberts of the Orioles. It's erased though as the next batter pops up a bunt to Aceves, who runs it over to second base for the double play. Having some fun with these games that don't matter, I guess. Aceves was found in an independent Mexican league when the Yankees found him, and he pitched very well in the minor leagues this year. He got called up in September, and has done very well. He could be a cheap option for next year's rotation. Markakis smacks a single. Huff grounds one to Cano, who throws it to Aceves as Giambi was pulled off the bag. I don't think I've ever seen the pitcher make all three putouts before.

Bottom 1 - Damon pops up for the first out. Jeter lines out to second. A few days ago he finally broke Gehrig's record for hits in Yankee Stadium, just before it closed. It's pretty amazing how one of the first great Yankees can set a benchmark that doesn't get passed until the final homestand at the Stadium. It's nearly poetic. Almost makes you forget how pathetic the season was overall. Adam Jones just misses catching a double off Abreu's bat as it pops out of his glove. The next pitch gets away from the catcher and Abreu moves to third. Brian Burres goes 3-0 to A-Rod but gets him to pop out a couple pitches later.

Top 2 - First batter of the inning slaps another single. Luke Scott pops out to Damon. Millar smacks a decent shot but Nady hauls it in. The runner tries to steal second but gets nailed by Moeller to end the inning.

Bottom 2 - Giambi flies to right. Nady might be the best thing to come from this season. He's one of those players who's not a superstar but puts up very good numbers. We'll see next year if this breakout season was real. He flies out to left. Cano's been playing well since getting benched for laziness, but it's too late at this point. He pops out in foul territory. Game's going quickly.

Top 3 - Nady makes a running catch to grab a bloop that nearly fell in. Next batter grounds out to Cody Ransom at short. Roberts works a walk to keep the inning alive. Jones works a full count but eventually becomes the day's first strikeout victim, and we're moving on.

Bottom 3 - Ransom flies to left. Moeller bloops one that Jones makes a great diving catch on. Back to the top of the order with Damon, who pops out to the catcher.

Top 4 - Markakis grounds out to Giambi. Michael Kay won't shut up about the facade, or as he calls it "the freeze". Apparently that's what it's really called, but since the Stadium's closing and no one knows that, who gives a shit? Huff pops out. The DH Salazar strikes out, and Moeller throws to Giambi to complete the play.

Bottom 4 - Jeter grounds out to Millar, who almost screws up the play. Roberts does screw up the next play, and Abreu reaches first, still the only Yankee to be on base. Rodriguez lines a single over the shortstop's head. Giambi strikes out. Nady ends the rally with a weak fly to short, ending the frame.

Top 5 - Another full count and Scott pops out. Lots of balls between the outfielders and infielders today. Millar watches the third strike go by for out number two. Alex Cintron draws a walk on yet another full count. Despite the deep counts, Aceves' pitch count isn't too high. His control seems to be leaving him, as he goes 3-0 on the next hitter. He walks him on the next pitch, and Moeller visits him on the mound. He gets out of it as Robers lines out to Abreu. Game's half over and still no runs.

Bottom 5 - Burres gets Cano to fly out to start the inning. Ransom grounds out. Like a lot of career minor leaguers, he came up and hit a couple home runs, but hasn't done much since. Moeller sees three balls to start his at bat but eventually flies out. This game is super exciting.

Top 6 - Jones singles, but Markakis fails to advance him by lining it right to Damon. Huff misses one as he flies out to Abreu. Salazar hits a weak ground ball and gets an infield single out of it. Scott grounds into a nicely turned force out, inning over.

Bottom 6 - Damon flies out. Cintron just gets Jeter on a close play at first. Abreu flies out. I've never seen a Yankee team go without scoring as much as this one, and that's why they're out of the postseason.

Top 7 - Millar doinks one past A-Rod to lead off against Bruney. He missed a lot of the season but has been great when he's played. I might have been wrong about him. Cintron lines out to left. Abreu, in his infinite mediocrity in the field, just barely catches a pop up in front of him. Roberts walks to keep the trail moving. Another line out to Abreu. I'm going to stop blogging now, because I'm bored and it's clear some sort of curse is in effect which disallows anyone from scoring while I'm typing, and if I don't stop the game will last forever. Be back later to wrap up the game post-seventh inning stretch.

Wrap-Up - Both teams continued to not score until the bottom of the ninth, when Cano singled with the bases loaded and two outs to win the game 1-0. It clinched their third series win in a row, the first time they've done that since right after the All-Star break.

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