Sunday, September 12, 2010

Liveblog 30: Oh God Make It Stop

It's kind of funny how in years past I would cover Phil Hughes maybe too often, and this season I've blogged a game by pretty much everybody who's started for the Yankees except for him. Today was actually supposed to be his start, but he's getting close to his inning limit and has gotten steadily worse as the season's worn on, so journeyman Dustin Moseley gets the nod in his stead. What's less funny is the team's play of late. Last time I blogged they were just starting what would be an eight game winning streak. I'm thinking the team's finally back on track, right? But they follow that up with abysmal play against the Orioles and the Rangers, including two late blown leads in the last two games, and are back down to a half game lead over the Rays. If it weren't for Nick Swisher stealing a win with a walk off home run against the O's, they'd have immediately followed the eight game streak with a six game losing one. And today doesn't look too hot since they're facing Cliff Lee, who in recent years has owned them, although he hasn't pitched well since joining the Rangers and the Yanks ended up coming back to win last time he faced them. I just hope the last liveblog of the season isn't too painful.

Top 1 - Yanks lead off against Lee. They're missing three of their regular starters, not counting Nick Johnson who's been out all year. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner are a bit banged up, whereas Alex Rodriguez... I don't know. I guess Joe Girardi is okay with getting swept by a likely playoff opponent. Derek Jeter is easily having the worst season of his career, but works a tough walk against Lee to start the game. For some reason the lefty Curtis Granderson is batting second against one of the toughest lefties in the league, and promptly rewards Girardi's optimism with a double play. Mark Teixeira strikes out looking for the third out.

Bottom 1 - Dustin Moseley on the mound to shout at the devil. I have no idea why I made that reference. He starts Elvis Andrus with a strike. The next pitch is an easy ground ball to Jeter. The veteran Michael Young works a full count before flying out deep to Greg Golson. David Murphy grounds out to first, pretty nice inning for Moseley.

Top 2 - Leading off is clean-up hitter Ale- no wait, it's Marcus Thames, who grounds out. Robinson Cano does the same. Lee starts Jorge Posada with a strike. Then another. Why not a third? Oh, there's a ball! Posada hits a bouncer that might end up in an infield hit if he wasn't himself, but he is, and he is slow, so it's an out.

Bottom 2 - Moseley begins with a ball to Vlad Guerrero. Two quick strikes though and the count's in his favor. Vlad still manages to club a double just past Austin Kearns' reach because that's how Vlad do. Nelson Cruz, a hero in the first game of the series, moves Vlad to third with a grounder. Ian Kinsler grounds one right to third, which prevents Vlad from scoring, two outs. Some guy called Mitch Moreland lines out to left, where Kearns has to leap to make the catch because he misjudged the ball. Sure glad it's him out there and not Gardner! Ah well, no real damage done.

Top 3 - Kearns manages to foul off a few pitches but eventually goes down on strikes. Eduardo Nunez also quickly makes an out. Golson lines out to third, and another quick one for Lee.

Bottom 3 - Catcher Matt Treanor hits first for the Rangers. He pops out to Cano in shallow right. Julio Borbon works a full count, but pops out to Moseley himself. Back to the top of the lineup with two outs. Andrus strikes out and is none too pleased with the call.

Top 4 - If nothing else, this game is going at a furious pace compared to the first two. Three full innings in 40 minutes. Another full count for Jeter. I feel like he's at least been working the count better lately, but it certainly hasn't helped his numbers. He grounds out to short. Granderson can't hold up on a high strike and goes down. Teixeira grounds out and the game continues to breeze by.

Bottom 4 - Young flies out to Granderson on the first pitch. Another full count, this time to Murphy. These counts have been the most exciting part of the game so far. Fly out to Golson. Another hit by Vlad, this time a single up the middle. Another hit, this one by Cruz. Runners on first and second for Kinsler. A few hitters seem less than in love with the umpire's strike zone today. Three ball count. Swinging strike on a change up. Ground ball to Jeter for the third out, Moseley escapes trouble. Four innings in less than an hour!

Top 5 - Hey a full count to Thames. He is rewarded for his effort with a strikeout. Adam Lind just hit a two run walk off home run for the Blue Jays to avoid a sweep by the Rays. They've actually been a worse spoiler in this last month than the Orioles, it seems. Cano made an out while I was typing that. Posada goes down too, five good innings for Lee. He's no hitting them, by the way.

Bottom 5 - Moreland leads off. Line drive right to Teixeira for the out. Treanor flies out to left. Another pop out to Moseley by Borbon. I'm quite confident I've never seen a pitcher handle two fly balls in one game, let alone by the same hitter.

Top 6 - Kearns up again. He takes a couple balls, you know what I mean? Grounds out to third anyway. Nunez of all people breaks up the no hitter with a single up the middle. Stat just showed the Yankees have left 32 runners on base so far this series. Pretty astonishing. But it shows that they've beaten themselves more than the Rangers have. Kinsler makes a nice play to throw out Golson at first, Nunez moves to second. Jeter hits a double down the right field line, Yankees lead 1-0. Nice. He's now just a hundred hits away from 3000, which he'll get next year. The question is how much the Yanks will be overpaying him to do it. Nice hitter's count for Curtis, but he fouls one off to make it full. He walks. That's two in the game for Lee, which doesn't sound like much but is actually out of character for Lee, who last time I checked was having one of the all time great seasons in terms of strikeout to walk ratio. Teixeira wastes the opportunity with an easy pop fly to right. Still, a lead is a lead until you lose it.

Bottom 6 - Andrus walks to lead off. He steals second with no throw by Posada. Fly out by young deep enough to move Elvis to third with just one out. Important play here, infield pulled in close. Grounder to Teixeira who tries to make the play at home, but the run scores anyway and there's still just one out. Well, they didn't have that lead for long. Vlad hits one pretty deep to left, but it's another fly out. Wind might have held it back a bit. Cruz flies out to center.

Top 7 - Thames pops one into that dangerous triangle between a middle infielder, a corner outfielder, and the guy in center, but it's high enough for Kinsler to get under it. Cliff Lee doesn't seem too happy with the strike zone either. Cano grounds out to second. Jorge Posada watches a couple debatable called strikes go by for the third out.

Bottom 7 - Judging by what's on Gameday, the umpire has a very bizarre strike zone definition indeed. Kinsler walks. Game's slowing down a bit as it goes on, as it always does. Moreland smokes a fly ball deep enough to move the runner to second, which is fairly uncommon. Treanor hits another deep one, and Kinsler's at third with two outs. Borbon hits a bunt towards first in the perfect place and slides into the base for no reason with the infield hit, scoring the go ahead run. He makes some gestures towards his dugout in triumph. Nice one, asshole. You bunted and slid into first. I wonder if there was no play at home for Teixeira. Borbon steals second. Andrus lines a single past Cano, another run scores. God I hate that stupid gesture they make whenever they score. "Myxomatosis" is only fueling my rage. Jonathan Albaladejo comes on to face Michael Young. Hey, another hit. A fourth run scores for Texas. Haha, Young looks like such a chump doing the gesture. If you don't know, it's sort of like they're in the middle of a big balloon party and they're pushing some balloons away from their face so they can see a clown. That's what the gesture looks like. Single by Murphy. Vlad grounds out, but the damage is done. I'm done until the game's over. Sour note to end the year of baseball blogging on.

Wrap-Up - Jeter drew another walk to keep Lee from throwing a complete game, but the Rangers' electric young closer Neftali Feliz struck out the side to secure the victory. The Yankees maintain a half game lead over the Rays with seven games against them in the next couple weeks. It's gonna be interesting.

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