Yanks Not Going Gentle into That Good Night
They just won’t go away. They’re like mosquitoes with seven lives, trick candles, Brett Favres, pesky girlfriends. They won’t back down! The Yankees are a mere 7 games out of the wild card after taking the second game of a three game series in Tampa Bay, who’s Rays are 3 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
Forgetting last week’s performance where New York dropped two of three against the Red Sox at the stadium (when I could’ve sworn I witnessed the wrecking ball making an early appearance when I suddenly realized it was only A-Rod choking on a Wakefield knuckler), we move on to the home stretch of a season that will go down in history no matter what transpires.
After the series with the Rays wraps up tonight in Tampa, the Boys will finish their road trip with three games in Seattle with the Mariners and three in Los Angeles against the Angels. The Angels are on top of the AL West, and pose a big threat to the Yankees’ miracle run. The Mariners, on the other hand, are so far out of contention that even Houdini gave up on them. They can play the spoilers, however, as they have nothing to lose but their cups at this point.
Great hitting was on display last night as New York illuminated the Rays pitching staff by spraying 12 hits. Alex Rodriguez had a night, going 3-4 with 4 RBI and a controversial home run in the top of the ninth which prompted Major League Baseball’s first ever visit to the instant replay screen. The two run shot stood as called, and it was Rodriguez’s 549 th career home run, moving him past Mike Schmidt for 12 th All-Time (One closer to the hallowed record held by a pile of drugs).
The Yankee bats were hot, as the focus seemed to be on pouring on base hits and advancing the runners into scoring position. Bobby Abreu was stretching singles into doubles, and Rodriguez was knocking him in. Whatever Joe Girardi fed his players before this series, I’m sure they’ll be hauling it in Tupperware for the rest of the road-trip and back to Yankee stadium for the finale.
Although they looked as if they were going to fold after the pathetic showing against the Red Sox, the Yankees are still very much alive. They’re playing like the team of the late 90s. Last night is the first time I saw the urgency on the players’ faces every time they stepped to the plate. The Yankees were functioning as a team of heart and determination. Jason Giambi roped a double into left-center. Left-Center! With Giambi, it’s either right field-third deck, or a 200 foot high fly out to the second baseman! Unselfish ball was the name of this game, and will hopefully headline the rest of the season. A win tomorrow completes a three-game sweep of the best team in the AL, and marks the moment that the Yankees finally believe, and play like, they are the best team in baseball.
Note to the Yankee Stadium Wrecking Crew: When the time comes, let A-Rod at the controls of the wrecking ball for a swipe at it. I’ve got a 20 spot says he whiffs.
By Tim Gaffney
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