Super Poll: Which is the better management team?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

MY Experience Watching The game

The gods do not want me to post this, because I keep getting nearly finished and my thoughts vanish along with the text.

So I tune in yesterday  to watch CC, and hope that he still has some of that, " wisdom magic," with which to dazzle the O's, and keep us in the game.

We go down, early, by two runs and I send my first text to Duque and Mustang.  I then move for some fortification ( Tequila, fresh lime, left over sausage and roasted pepitas ), and settle in.

I blink and we are down 4-0, and my text to Duque reads:  "  It is time to return to that yard work.  We ain't gonna score 5 tonight."

I then use a common technique when recording the games ( which I always due, to avoid noxious commercials ), and I flipped the channel to Planet Earth.  Some dude is climbing a 40 + meter tree in the rainforest, using only a vine and a stone age axe to give him some footing as he propels himself straight fucking up.  He is undertaking this little adventure to then reach a limb extending above the canopy ( where he has to balance with no assist ),  pound a hole in the branch, reach into the hole and pull out fresh honey combs to fill a basket he can lower ( by vine 0 to the ground.  Meanwhile, he is holding a bunch of smoldering leaves to provide smoke, to calm the bees attacking him.  He is doing this to please his wife and gain respect in the village.

Once he is back on ground, I flip back to YES and see a 9-1 score.  I wondered if Aaron got ahold of one for our lone score.  But it is time for my final text to Duque, basically saying this game is long gone, and I head for dinner.

My wife is not impressed with my day, as I did not climb anything above a curb and secured no fresh sweets.  But dinner was amazing, even with no more tequila.

I return to the game, live, and join at 11-8 Baltimore,just as we close out the top of the 9th.  Then, the real magic begins.  I hear of Jacoby's grand slam, his 100th career homer.  I hear of how Mitchell crapped the bed, in relief.  I saw a replay of Judge's 2 run dinger to monument park.

All of a sudden, guys are on base and Starlin is on one knee.  It is a tie game. In the bottom of the 9th, and I send out for more Tequila.  Chapman arrives in Joe's normal scenario for tie-games at home.  He is awesome, unlike that struggle in Boston.  The Birds do nothing.

The bottom of the 10th was like a train wreck for the Buck and his crew.  You just sensed, after being up 9-1 and then 11-4, and looking at a tie game this moment, that they were done.

Even our back-up catcher drew a walk ( how did he get in this game ?), and then we see Matt Holliday stroll to the plate.  This guy is now on a hot streak, and he is the first dangerous DH we have had, maybe ever.
After the jumping for joy,  and the hefty lady's interview with Matt, I sent a closing, garbled text to Duque about a Big Win for the yankees.

But this one really makes you think.

What if Bird ever finds his way?  What if Sanchez comes back like his debut last season?

But we can't be giving up 11 runs.

 Or we'll all have to go climb a tree.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION?

I donno what to say. I'm afraid to pinch myself. Truth be told, when Baltimore took the 9-1 lead last night, after Trumbo hammered that ball off Bryan Mitchell, I uttered the Yankee safe word - "Overbay" - and ditched the game, seeking to wet nurse my wounded soul without the distraction of torment. Who comes back from 9-1? I just figured, "Hell with this, we won in Boston, let it rain, let 'em score 20, maybe Machado will poop his pancreas running the bases." Who comes back from 9-1? I refused to watch. "Overbay... Overbay... Overbay." Then my phone started bonging. Texts from Alphonso. 

Today, I sit in awe, like the rest of the world, aside from North Korea, of Aaron Fucking Judge. In less than a month, he has changed the zeitgeist of the Yankees. So profound are the changes that I must wonder: Is this really happening? Did Godot finally come? Are we really watching the next great Yankee slugger? We've been teased before - (even by a guy named Jesus!) - but never like this, never by a walking Trump Tower. Today, consider these words from Matt Holliday, as quoted in the Gray Lady.

“He’s probably the most gifted baseball player I’ve ever been around. I mean, he’s 6-foot-8, 275 pounds. He moves really well in the outfield. I’m not saying he’s going to be the greatest player who ever played, but as far as when the guy hit a 97-mile-per-hour fastball that was a line drive that the shortstop jumped for and it went over the fence. He can do things that I haven’t seen, and I’ve played a long time...

"Maybe I’m overstating it a bit. But as far as raw talent goes, that dude is massive. I haven’t seen anything like it. The whole stadium stops when he comes to bat. I think the sky’s the limit.”

Holliday was speaking as the game's walk-off hero, but he sounds like a 14-year-old fan in the cheap seats. "The most gifted baseball player I've ever been around?" This guy played with Albert Pujols. He suited up against Barry Bonds. Damn, the Jersey Giants could have drafted Judge in the first round as a defensive end. WTF is happening? Are we dreaming? Seventeen years in, did the Yankee millennium finally arrive? 

Clearly, I'm overstating this. I should shut my mowf. ("Whom the gods wish to destroy, they grant unlimited potential.") A month from now, all this hype could be a sad joke. In March, Greg Bird was ridiculous. Now, he's just diculous. Soon, the pitchers will adjust to Judge, or simply motion him to first. Soon, he'll have to readjust. It's not even May 1. The docks aren't in. The Rangers are still in the playoffs. Jeez, the Giants could still draft him.

But Holliday is right: We haven't seen anything like this in a long, long time. Not Gary Sanchez. Not Bird. Not Kevin Maas. You have to go back to - gulp - Reggie before anybody this massive, this strong, this athletic, has landed in the Bronx. Damn. Last night, we came back from an eight-run deficit. Baltimore pooped its pancreas. This is big.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM): The dog ate my homework


Goodbye, Cosimo


Ah, Pete. We hardly knew ye. 
Say hi to Cary and Connie Bennett for me.

Huge Yankee Win

Tanaka pitches a 3 hitter in Boston?  Nine inning shut-out?

Christ Sales was dominating for Boston.  Worth everything they traded to get him.  a deal designed to  secure another WS championship for this team of destiny.  He was striking out the world.  Throwing aspirins from odd angles, all for strikes.  No one ( except Torreyes ) could touch him.

And, yet, we scratched an unearned run early , and rode that into the 9th.  With the lead.

Never relinquished.

Has to make people think.


What gives? On morning after huge Yankee victory, the Jets win both back pages


I know it's early in the baseball season, and I recognize that football fans are zonked on the NFL draft. (Alphonso will be texting me all day, outlining the Giants' mistakes.) But I really don't get this:

Masahiro Tanaka pitches the game of his life, the Yankees take two in Fenway, including a win against Chris Sale... and they barely get back page blurbs. (Note: The Post gives us a tiny front page blurb, along with the NFL and Mets. The Daily News front offers no sports.) 


Old George would be on the ringer this morning, screaming at Billy Madden or whoever was unlucky enough to answer. 

Oh, no! First place Baltimore? They're just too good. Let's forfeit the next three games and spare ourselves the pain

(Shhh. Don't say anything. Just nod. OK? We need a safe word... a secret mantra that, when whispered, stops the pain. I propose "Overbay." Whenever we say "Overbay," it means we've had enough negative juju. We take off the leather Lucha Libre mask, undo the thumbscrews, put down the spiked chain and go back to watching the game from behind the sofa, like regular civilians. Remember the word: "Overbay." But for now... shhh... the juju gods are watching us, and they can't read italics, haha...)

WELL, WELL... YOU HAVE BEEN A NAUGHTY LITTLE YANKEE FAN BASE! AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO NAUGHTY LITTLE YANKEE FANS? THEY MUST PLAY FAR SUPERIOR TEAMS... LIKE THE INCREDIBLE, SUPER-JUGGERNAUT O'S. 

THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN BEAT BALTIMORE THIS WEEKEND! Have you looked at their record? Fourteen and six? That's the best in the AL, second best in baseball! (After the Washington Gnats, temporary guardians of our future left fielder.) Have you seen that incredible O's lineup? Their top hitter, Jonathan Schoop, is batting .294! No, that's not a misprint. Two-ninety-four! And check out the other averages, if you dare. (By the way, I'm not making these up):


Davis: .264
Machado: .205
Hardy: .200
Trumbo: .190



Oh, dear! It's the 1927 Yankees, returning in the form of demonic, otherworldly Baltimorians. And their starting rotation is similarly terrifying.

They have two starters - Dylan Bundy (age 24) and Wade Miley (30) with solid ERAs, near or below 2.00. The other two - old reliable Ubaldo Jimenez (33) and the mysterious Kevin Gausman (26) have been getting torched. (Gausman's ERA is 7.50.) 

What they have is a lights out bullpen. Some 31-year-old RH doink named Brad Brach - (say that 10 times fast: Brad Brach, Bradbrack, Brabrack, Brabra, Barbra, Baba, Baahh) - has pitched in 11 games without giving up a run. And he has a lefty counterpart Donny Hart (26). He has thrown in 10 games - same deal, no runs.  

Tonight it's CC v. Gausman. Let's pray that the good and righteous CC shows up, and we get into their bullpen early and hard, because there are always un-hittable pitchers in April - (the song goes: "... riding high in April, shot down in May...") Remember Lee Guetterman! Remember Cecilio Guante! Remember Sheriff Cowley! All we need to do is keep putting the bat on the ball and not try to hit every - OMG! 
Oh, no, I thought it was Buck Showalter... but IT'S MISTER SLUGGO! He's going to saw off my arm. He's cutting me in two. Overbahhhh...


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sweeeeeeep

Sweeeeeeeeeet.

Pre-Game Musings



Joe has to make some line-up adjustments for today's game.

Gardy has to become our designated pinch runner again and, get this, Chris Carter should DH instead of Halliday.

That removes two Mendoza line, non-hitters, from the line-up, and gives Hicks a chance to shine as well.

Let's hope Birdy's single off the green monster, yesterday, is an awakener for him.  His defense is too valuable to waste.  And, if he becomes the dangerous hitter we all believe he can be, the team gets much better.

Torreyes keeps hitting the ball hard, as does Romine.  They need a few breaks to find open space for those line drives.  And need I remark on Ronald's defensive acuity?  DIDI can take all the time he needs to slowly, and carefully, round into shape.

I'm not going to be happy if we split this series, but winning yesterday was good for a lot of reasons.

Let's see if Tanaka can make Sales look weak.

Stick It


I sometimes like to read an article about a particularly satisfying game in the other team's newspapers the next day.  It can help put things in the proper perspective.

This was not the case in today's Boston Globe.  Apparently, Bostonians would prefer to stick their heads in the sand concerning the "The Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM)"'s results against the Yankees last night.  There was precisely one article in today's entire Boston Globe concerning yesterday's game.  One.  To make matters worse, the article wasn't even written by a member of the Globe sportswriting staff.  It was something that was picked up from the Associated Press.

It seems all of Boston is pretending the game didn't happen and/or that it's not even worth writing about.  I look at this as a positive development in terms of restoring the historical balance between the two cities/teams.

Speaking of balance, there was one of those fun "Huh, whaddya know" factoids buried deep within the AP article:
In the last nine seasons, the teams faced each other 166 times and were 83-83. Even more interesting, they were 41-41 at Fenway and 42-42 at Yankee Stadium.
Here's hoping we take 18 of the 19 this year.  Chicken bastards.

[April 28 Update: There is ONE article in the today's Boston Globe on last night's thriller of a game ... and it was again picked up from the AP.  Dan Shaughnessy, Nick Cafardo, and all the other Red Sox columnists are MIA.  They are in denial.  This gets better every day.]

Raul Ibanez lost his job yesterday

Sad, sad day at ESPN. A hundred layoffs.

We love to make fun of Gammonites on this blog. (Jeez, who doesn't?) But I've gone through media payroll-cleansing days myself, and my heart goes out to everyone in Bristol, even the bastards who always favor the Redsocks. 

When it happened at the Syracuse Post-Standard, four years ago, some of the most emotionally affected people were those who kept their jobs, wrought with survivor's guilt, though it was never their fault. 

Raul got the hook. So did Jim Bowden, the minor league correspondent. So did Jayson Stark. 

The full list of the fallen is here.

Whew !

Scaling the Big Monster.

Even a girl can do it.

Everything changed for me about 9pm EST.  I found a char-broiled, in-bone, Cornish hen on a skewer, and a bottle of 7000 year old Persian wine.

(The wine tradition in Persia began 7000 years ago, not this individual bottle. But I enjoyed writing that).

So, the Yankees yesterday on tape, today.

My not watching helped that ball go 15 feet wide of fair.

I'll need a new game plan today.

Nice work by everyone.

Fifteen feet to the right, and last night could have been a soul-crushing defeat

I won't sit here and pee myself about what didn't happen last night. Nope. I refuse to go Chicken Little on what didn't happen. I won't go there. 

The Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) did not come back in the ninth against our All-Star closer, launching this season's rivalry in the same horrible way that it ended last year. The sky did not fall, the gates of hell didn't open beneath us, the TV didn't go dark during the climax of Two Broke Girls - nothing calamitous happened last night!... but... jeez... 

Fifteen feet to the right - that's five yards, football fans - and some dirt bag schlump named Josh Rutledge would have scrawled his name onto my vendetta wall, which is running out of space. He came that close to hitting a two-out, three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman, which would have erased one of the great Yankee victories since Slade Heathcott shocked the Rays in 2015. Rutledge sent it into the left field nosebleeds, foul by fifteen feet, non-existent in the box score - but it was nearly a lifetime traumatic ding in a game where we led by three entering the ninth. When Rutledge fanned on the next pitch, instead of celebrating, El Chapo looked like a street person desperate for a cigarette. I suspect he had better control of his pistol while shooting up his garage two winters ago, than he did of his fastball last night. Still, I won't sit here and flog the juju gods. We won. We fukkin won!

The box score shows that Chappy gave up one run, picked up a save and struck out two, with fastballs that hit 100 mph on the hair dryer. But his facial expressions more resembled Nicholas Cage being broiled alive in a giant wicker man than those of the game's most intimidating closer. The last time we saw Chapman so anguished, he was pitching on fumes in Game Seven - his fifth outing against Cleveland, and the Indian batters were sending them out even harder than he was throwing. Still, the Cubs won, and last night, so did we. 

Last winter, when we signed Chapman for four years, everybody understood the implications: A 29-year old guy who throws that hard is no sure bet to last for four years. But that's the new financial reality of baseball: Star players don't necessarily get more money per year; they just get longer contracts. 


Who did this remind you of?
Oh well, we won. That's all that matters. Luis Severino looked like the young Yankee ace that Boston has long feared. Making it even sweeter is the fact that Pedro Martinez tutored him last winter. That's like Brad returning to Jennifer because Angelina taught him the meaning of love. (Or something like that.) Meanwhile, Aaron Judge - "The Big Gavel," "Tiny," "MOAB," or whatever we'll call him - just pasted a highlight photo into his all-time Yankee scrapbook. 

It's way too early to say anything about anybody, but jeez, Judge is far exceeding our wildest hopes. If this keeps up, could we might call this guy someday - gulp - "Captain?" Is he for real? Can it last? If Judge and Severino are not desert mirages, they are half of a new Core Four. I'll take that deal. 

Tonight, Chris Sale. We'll probably be shut-out. But it doesn't matter. We'd split the series at Fenway. That's almost a win. The ball went 15 feet foul, and I've already forgotten it. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Severino and Pineda


Every Day Has A Theme

This is today's theme for me.

It foretells what is going to occur in Boston tonight.

I fear.

An idea the Atlanta Falcons can have for free

Yesterday, as I mulled over nicknames for Aaron Judge, I came up with this:

From now on, Matt Ryan, Atlanta's star quarterback, should be known as... drum roll, please... 

THE MILLENNIUM FALCON.

A dark day in the Yankiverse: Jeter is buying the wrong team

This isn't how it was supposed to play out. In a better, cleaner, finer - maybe a fairy tale - world, we would this day be anticipating a new Yankee epoch. We would raise our glasses of Utica Club to toast a franchise owned and run by a Hall of Fame player rather than an old-money, country-clubbing, trust fund prince and his human dust cloud of sycophantic detritus. 

Alas, it's not that world, and it never will be. You can live to 200, but the Steinbrenner family will never sell the Yankees. Some future generation of horse-loving golfers will always use the team as their parlor game and ATM. If fans don't like it, well, we can root for the Florida Marlins, right? 

In case you missed it, Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush - (there's a marriage I didn't see happening) - are cover boys on a $1.3 billion purchase order for the Marlins, a team that a) has the worst fight song in sports history, and b) in 20 years will need to play home games on a floating barge. Since retirement, Jeter has yearned to own a franchise, and we should be happy for him. The only sad part here is that the team he'll buy has a fish tank in the outfield instead of bronze plaques. 
Jeter's last cover as a Yankee.

Soon, we'll watch Jeter build his franchise - there are no guarantees here: Great players don't always make great executives - with the mere sight of him in the owner's box bringing gut cramps that not even the IBS lady can soothe. Meanwhile, we will be stuck throughout eternity with Food Stamps Hal, who can't decide if his goal is to win championships or shrink his payroll below that pesky luxury tax.

Okay, maybe I'm being too hard on Hal. The truth is, I'm sure he wants to win. I'm not suggesting Hal is stupid, or a bad person, or that I know more than he does. What I do know is that ever since he took the helm, gone is the Yankee bluster, the absolute obsession with winning, that his dad embodied. For about 30 years, old George made the Yankees the one team in baseball that valued winning over everything else. If he signed a free agent bust, it didn't phase him. He just went out and signed the next one. That created enemies among the owners, but George didn't care, because all he wanted was for the Yankees to win championships.
The owner we'll never have.

Hal has preferred to blend in. He takes off his shoes before entering. He orders what everyone else is having. He uses the right fork, and he takes his plate to the sink. He hasn't pumped up the Yankee payroll in several years, and today, the most bombastic, win-obsessed franchises in baseball are the Dodgers, followed by the Redsocks and maybe even the Tigers. Meanwhile, Hal pulls out his pockets, clutches his pearls and laments those terrible luxury taxes that he - a billionaire several times over - must pay. So sad. 

Soon, we will be regularly subjected to the spectacle of one of the greatest Yankees of all time sitting in a box with his beautiful wife and kid, as they lead cheers for the Marlins. As long as I live, this will never sit well. Never. 

I used my best reverse juju yesterday, and I'll I got was a rain-out

I mean, I threw the kitchen sink at this. A rain-out? That's it?

Bevare.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Like a Dream



Hop on a train in a nameless suburb.
    Dance on the train platform and drink Dr. Pepper.
        Watch as the train magically transforms into a NYC subway.
            Get off the subway at Yankee Stadium.
                Dance on the platform with Ron Guidry and drink more Dr. Pepper.
                    Go to the circus.

How grand things used to be!

Today we pay $8.50 for a souvenir cup of soda and applaud when the Yankees field a team that fits within the luxury tax.

[Minor historical footnote: It's hard to believe, but Randy Levine appears in the commercial beginning at 0:22 of the 30-second spot.  He's the one on the right in the white suit and bow-tie.]

Which team currently has the best run differential and lowest pitching WHIP in Major League Baseball?


Yes, Dr. Oppenheimer. It's the 2017 New York Yankees.
That goes for you, too, Dr. Weisenheimer.

They're just too good: Let's forfeit the next three games and spare ourselves the pain

It is the time-honored duty of blogs to deliver truth - unvarnished, unadulterated and uncircumcised. When you take up that sacred mantle and dare to "post on the web," all speculation and smart-mouthing goes out the window. You must deal in facts, as cold and hard as a cast-iron Wonderbra. I'm not talking about fake truth, which is the rage these days. I'm talking about true truth... the truest truths known to truth. You're the one who has to tell little Debbie that her mom is a whore, her dad is pond scum, and her snack cakes suck. It's the job, the responsibility, the mystique of being "the blogger."

Which brings me to the next three games against the Redsock Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM). 

Simply stated, there is no reason to play these games. The Yankees cannot win. Boston is far too superior. We should not even field a team. I say, call volunteers from the stands, targeting small children or elderly wheelchair cases; give them Yankee uniforms and hope the Redsocks will show mercy. This will save our regulars from three intensely brutal beatings and spare them the embarrassment of losing by scores normally associated with Jai-Alai.

Aside from self-torture porn, there is absolutely no reason to watch these games. I, myself, will rent the delightful and upbeat 1986 movie, 'Night, Mother," where Sissy Spacek plays a homely, middle-aged, jobless epileptic with a failed marriage and criminal son, who decides to kill herself in front of her equally jubilant mom. I'll watch it several times over the next three nights as a joyful self-indulgence, sort of a giant psychic Carvel's ice cream cake, a mirthful vehicle in which to escape the horrors of the AL East.

I sense that some of you are snickering. You're thinking, "Oh, come on, Duque! Get on the bus! Ellsbury is hitting! Greg Bird will get hot! Rah-rah-rah, sis-boom-bah!" Listen, you pathetic, Stockholm Syndrome-afflicted toad-lickers: Just look at the Olympian gods on that 2017 Redsock roster. Their five man rotation has six Cy Young candidates, and their outfield includes four locks for Cooperstown. If anyone gets hurt, they'll call up "Mr. Cardinal" himself, Allen Craig, and the "Cuban Missile Crisis," Rusney Castillo, from Pawtucket. We would be hard-pressed to beat their Double A team in Portlandia. If we simply take a knee and cover our heads, and maybe whimper our support for Curt Schilling's political career, perhaps they will tire of whipping us and spare our women and children. I truly believe they are kind and just gods, and they do not mean us debasement, as long as we cheerfully lie down and accept our beatings.

No, there is no point in resisting our masters. We can only crouch and snivel - maybe make them laugh by flinging our feces around the cage and mimicking their intellectual chatter. Let us pray that they find room in their hearts for pity. After all, they are from Boston, the hub of humanity. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

How High Are Our Hopes, Exactly, For This Upcoming Series With Boston?



As high, for example, as this guy's ambitions for attending Harvard?




As fulfilling, perhaps, as Mustang's appetite for char-broiled wieners?


As optimistic as this guy's post-Boston series plans?


Here's to our fellow Americans at Fenway !

SOX SCRIBE TWEETS BUTT?

Looks that way...

...but he says he didn't.
Not everyone's buying it:
 EderMilk's take:

It's time for the world to hang a subversively phallic nickname on Aaron Judge

Frank Thomas was The Big Hurt. Hideki Matsui was Godzilla. Both would look like Tyrion Lannister compared to Aaron Judge, the biggest player with the biggest number (99, same as Charlie "King Kong" Keller, btw) in the biggest market on - well - only the fifth biggest planet in our solar system. (Way to go, Earth; you ruined my descriptive string.) 

Thus far in 2017, Judge has performed beyond our wettest dreams. If this run continues, he will soon become New York City's biggest star. Right now, he has six homers - (he was jobbed out of a seventh) - tied for third in baseball. He looks graceful in the field, shows a rifle arm and runs like a tight end. Best of all, in our increasingly tribal world, he gives the Yankees what we haven't had in years: The biggest fukkin guy on the field.

For the last decade, whenever we played Boston, they had the biggest guy - David Ortiz. Now, we do. (And don't dismiss this, because any player who has ever imagined a bench-clearing brawl sure doesn't. The Yankees never wanted to tussle with Big Papi, and when Dustin Pedroia gets a peak at Judge, he won't be starting any fights, either.) Nevertheless, Judge has not yet received the all-important nickname that he deserves. John Sterling already has tossed out at least three HR calls - "Here comes the Judge!" "He's the Judge and jury!" "It's Judgement Day!" - The Master is still working on this. But that critical nickname? Nothing. Judge went through the entire Yankee farm system without one. It's almost as if he's too big. 

Colossus? Gargantua? Goliath? Nope. Too small. The Titanic! (Nope, not that.) The Humongus? King Kong? (Obviously, been taken.) Gamera? Mothra. Sharknado? Uh-uh.

My best offer: CLOVERFIELD. 

It's modern, it's New York and, best of all, it has "field" in it.

But no, it doesn't work. And here's why...

Whatever evolves must have a discreetly phallic tone, because all sports nicknames are thinly veiled references to the size and professionalism of the male organ. We have discussed this in the past. There was The Stick, The Toy Cannon, Knobby, The Big Unit, The Penguin, Mister Marlin, Nail, Charlie Hustle, Vlad the Impaler and - of course - Pee Wee Reese. In some cases, the names suggest sexual problems: Sudden Sam McDowell. Mick the Quick Rivers. Rapid Robert Feller... Carl Stump Merrill. 

By the way, this rule covers the entire sports world: All jock nicknames center on sex. Nate Tiny Archibald. Elbert Ickey Woods. Adrian All Day Peterson (which is my personal fave: Who wouldn't want to be known to the ladies as "All Day?" as opposed to Peterson's sad opposite, "Two-Minute Tommy" Kramer.) Lester The Molester Hayes... Doc Blanchard, Mr. Inside... Jerome Kearse, The Freak. 

I consider myself the world's foremost expert on this matter, considering that in the 2009 book, The Final Four of Everything (Simon & Schuster), edited by Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir, I contributed a 64-nickname bracketology for Sexually Inadequate Sports Nicknames. This covered everyone from Minnie Minoso to Heine Manush. In the end, I had Wee Willie Keeler battle Dennis The Worm Rodman for the all-time jock nickname involving sexual inadequacy. (If you go beyond sports - to everything known to humankind - the final battle would be between Dick Nixon and the comic book character, The Punisher.)

Listen: I am not suggesting that we call Aaron Judge "The Erection," or "Sequoia" or "Doctor Cucumber," or anything along those lines. But this nickname may be the most important thing that Yankee drunkards ever do. For now, I'm going with CLOVERFIELD, but I believe the combined wisdom of this gin-saturated web community will beat my creation. So what is it, folks? This is your chance to make a difference in world history. Let's come up with some names, and let's have a national IT IS HIGH poll. All we need is a moment of inspiration. Who's got it?

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

BLOODY SUNDAY


The Yankees lost at every level today.

Pirates 2, Yankees 1

Indianapolis 4, Scranton WB 2

Portland 6, Trenton 5

Lakeland 7, Tampa 3

Asheville 4, Charleston 3

The Slide Begins

The Yanks are falling off the mountain.

No one could come up with a big play today.

Tying run on third, one out, and we do zilch.

What a waste of a day.

 One more false step.

The Abyss awaits.


I Give Up. Montgomery Sucks.


The "X" Factor


Manager Girardi is, once again, over-thinking the issue.

He has put out a, " get away day, " line-up that has practically zero chance.

1.  Gardy and Jacoby should never be in the line-up together, unless:  it is an AL game and Jacoby is the DH.

2.  Hicks should play every god-damned day.

3.  The back-up catcher is getting some work.  That is fine, but do not expect him to hit.

 In fact, I am pretty sure he will go back to Scranton ( once Sanchez can play ) without getting his first major league hit.  I watched him in spring training and, once the pitchers became "real "
( i.e. major league level not "A" level invitees ), he hit not a lick.

4.  So, as this line-up is constituted, Girardi has signed off on today's game as a, "L," and is simply hoping that I am right about Monty ( he pitches 7 innings of shut-out ball ); that we scratch across a single run; that Bird breaks out and contributes to the scoring.

Really lousy odds, Joe.

Stop Worrying About Ivan



This is Pittsburgh not Moscow.  Ivan and his death needles are overseas, for the time being.

We have Monty going for us today.  I keep thinking he is wearing Andy Petitte's number, but I could be wrong about that.

So what?  He pitches like him.  He could emerge as a rookie of the year candidate.  Imagine that, a quality, young starting pitcher from the Yankee farm system?.

This dude will have a good day, and Ivan Nova will crap his pants when Aaron Judge appears at the plate.  That 116 MPH, head-level, come-backer will discombobulate his rhythm, and he'll be the Nova we recognize.

Everyone relax.

We've got this one.

P.S. Anybody notice that Torreyes had 4 hits yesterday?  I mean, this guy is a spark plug.  I see more and more Rizzuto in him.  And he can, " pick it, " as they used to say about me ( no ugly , 4th grader comments needed).  Didi should stay away for a while longer.  Return, say, when Sanchez is 100%.

The game's outcome today ( my confidence ), of course, mandates a line-up that does not include Gardy leading off, followed by Ellsbury.  Today, if Joe has a brain ( sorry, many know the answer to this already ), Aaron Hicks will play and Jacoby will sit.  Or play first.

 Okay, Bird will have his second " breakout " game today.  He is starting to make solid contact which would be great if he were still in little league.

Just finished my breakfast coffee, and the sun has just crested the yardarm so it must be time to turn on the game.

The full year of bipolar trauma experienced in yesterday's win

April games should be forgettable, almost meaningless, when compared to the grinding immensity of the six months. Who cares about April? We should accept each outcome with a grain of salt - not a line of crystal meth the length of an adult anaconda. Still, yesterday's win inspired a range of primal emotions that can usually be found only in Nicholas Cage movies. For example, my Cage moments...

Third inning, down 3-0, still hitless: "Why do I bother? Why did I think this team had potential? We'll get get swept... by Pittsburgh! Fucking Pittsburgh! Thank you, Starlin Castro, thank you for dropping that pop-up last night. You ended our season, you killed us. Now, we're getting shut out. We're getting no-hit. We'll drop two in a row, and then tomorrow, Ivan Nova will pitch his revenge game, we won't score, and then we'll be swept by Boston - six straight losses, negating the win streak, putting us back at .500 - and then we'll lose to Baltimore, and we should start cleaning house... now. Right now! Trade Headley. Trade Castro. Trade them all. WHY DID I THINK ANYTHING GOOD COULD HAPPEN? WHAT WAS I THINKING? I HOPE THIS GUY N0-HITS US. IT'LL SERVE US RIGHT. WHY DO I BOTHER?"

Top of the sixth, up 5-3: "Starlin Castro! Three run shot! Thank you, Starlin Castro - unbelievable. Sixth comeback of the season - in only April. Six times. Last year, it was probably August before we notched our sixth comeback. This team never quits. We got this game. Our bullpen is our strongest asset. Tomorrow, we'll murder Nova, show the bum exactly why we dealt his sorry ass for a bucket of fried chicken, and then we'll rip up Boston in their little living room man cave. WE CAN DO THIS! WE CAN WIN IT ALL!"

Bottom of the sixth, tied 5-5: "Pathetic. Forget 2017 and 2018. We should be thinking of 2020. We have no bullpen. No lead is safe. What was I thinking, deluding myself that our bullpen is solid? I WAS BUYING THEIR 'YES TEAM' CRAP! Once the bullpen goes, you're done, and our bullpen is fried like a hockey puck. Girardi is burning out Betances - from now on, I'll call him "Scott Proctor-tances" - and this kid Holder can't hold his balls in an egg cup. Send him down, Joe. Trenton him! Tomorrow, Nova will kill us - I HOPE HE DOES! Because it won't matter, our bullpen would only blow the lead anyway. We could have signed a decent pitcher, but noooooo, Albert Einstein Cashman signed Chris Fucking Carter... Mr. 200 Strikeouts Per Season, instead. What the fuck is wrong with us? Maybe we should bring in Carter to pitch. He can't do worse than Holder. We are dead. Dead."

Ninth, up 11-5: "CHRIS FUCKING CARTER! UNBELIEVABLE! CHRIS FUCKING CARTER! One swing, boom, that's how you change a game, that's how you change a season, that's how you put yourself in Monument Park! CHRIS FUCKING CARTER! Tomorrow, we'll own "Super" Nova - "Stupor" Nova - and when we hit Boston, WE will have the two biggest guys in the park: Aaron Fucking Judge and Chris Fucking Carter. For the last ten years, Boston's had the biggest fucking guy in the park. Now, we've got the biggest fucking guys in the park. The other day, that little peanut midget embryo fly-speck quark poodle Dustin Pedroia couldn't even handle a slide by Manny Machado. Wait'ill he meets the cleats of Aaron Fucking Carter. (I mean Aaron Fucking Judge.) Aaron Fucking Judge will splatter him against the Green Monster like a gnat on a windshield. GODDAMM! I LOVE THIS FUCKING TEAM!"

This morning: "Jeez, Nova? What if he beats us? I can't eat."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

With Today's Line-up, We've Got A Shot....



Duque's favorite Yankee is not in the starting line-up.  But that leaves him available for pinch-running, at a critical spot late in the game.

Pineda is a great hitter, and has exceptional bat control.  He is a " gap" hitter, and can lay down a bunt, any bunt.

We have a gallery of pinch hitters available, if we need drama in the 9th.

I think we can book this as a "W."

What time is it, anyway?

Another Meatloaf moment: Two out of three IS bad

This year, the Yankees have played four certifiably wretched games.

1. The opener, a 7-3 loss against Tampa, when we found ourselves down 7-2 after three innings. Hideous. 

2. The game three loss in Tampa, 4-1, when we couldn't touch Alex Cobb with a tennis racket. Painful.

3. Tuesday's 4-1 bomb against the White Sox, when Pete Kozma messed up a DP grounder, leading to a three-run HR. Putrid.

4. Last night. 

Stop me if you've heard this one. We fell behind from the git-go, we sucked, we sucked worse, and then we sucked even more, with Fidel Castro muffing a little league pop fly, as the floorboards were caving in. Nobody hit with runners on base. Nobody did nada. It was arguably the Yankees' worst game thus far in 2017, and - after winning eight in a row - we have now lost two-out-of-three to teams that were listing below .500. Across the Yankiverse, listen carefully, and you'll heard one tiny, stomach-turning sound.

Uh-oh.

Once again, we find ourselves on the precipice of that dreaded equalizer - the bugaboo that has haunted Yankee teams throughout this decade: We get hot, win a few, and then undergo the "market correction," a nice, fat losing streak.

It hasn't happened yet, but with the still-unpredictable Michael Pineda pitching today, and Boston looming on the horizon, it's easy to imagine us dropping five out of six, launching May Day alarms across the Bronx by late next week. April still holds enough games to become a losing month, and watching this team sputter so hopelessly last night erased the confidence boom from last week against the hapless Cardinals. It's downright amazing how fast hope can disappear in the face of a few Yankee losses. We can win eight straight, but we're still the team that hasn't won a post-season game in five years, and need anybody here be reminded that last season the Retrieval Empire finished 4th in a five team division?

Deepening today's glance into the abyss is the fact that, thus far in 2017, our newly heralded farm system has sucked air. We hoped a few stud prospects would be crushing their leagues, forcing promotions to the Bronx. Aint happening. James Kaprelian is gone until 2019. Clint Frazier is hitting .196 at Scranton. Gleyber Torres is hurt at Trenton. Jorge Mateo is hitting .254 at Tampa. Only one player - 21-year-old 2B Thairo Estrada at Trenton - is having what could be called a breakout April, hitting .344. (Another 2B, Chan Ho Park, is hitting well at low-A Charleston, but he's repeating a season there and also making nearly an error per game.) Last year, Boston's decimated its system by trading for Sale, Pomerance, et al - yet their top remaining prospect, 20-year-old 3B Rafael Devers, is murdering the Eastern League at .355. If that continues, we could wake up in July not only with Boston in first, but with the Redsocks actually possessing a more fruitful farm system. What the fuck? Well, the Yankees will still have the most buoyant, sycophantic media in baseball, touting our top brass for Cooperstown. And we always drink that Kool Aid, don't we? 

Of course, it's early. Way too early to celebrate a winning streak. Way to early to measure the bridges. Still, two out of three. It's amazing what a few bad games can do to hope. And if we go to Boston having lost - say - five of six... well, shhh, listen: There's that sound again.

Uh-oh.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yankees SHOW Uncanny ability to suck



This photo pretty much says it all for day one of the road trip.

A Meatloaf moment for Joe Girardi

Altogether now... 

I'll rile you,
I'll sink you,
And there aint way I'm ever gonna please you,
But don't be sad....
Cuz nine out of ten aint bad.

Bill O'Reilly should become the new Radio Voice of the Yankees

Imagine the moments...

On the Redsocks: “If I could, I would deport them. They are a disgusting, despicable, far-left, Elizabeth Warren-supporting team. Lawyers. NPR listeners. If you disagree with them, they brand you a Yankee fan. All the sudden, you’re the racist, you’re the jerk, you’re the guy who thinks Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall. But I do like that Dustin Pedroia. I always stand up for the little guy."

After gopher ball from Michael Pineda: "I tell you, he's throwing curves that belong in the No-Spin Zone!"

At the end of each inning: "You're listening to the Yankee Radio Network, driven by Manny's Gold-and-Silver-Rama in downtown Belmar."

On Tanaka: “On the mound is Masahooga Tana-whatshisname, and I’m all for Japanese guys, and I’ve said this repeatedly, though God forbid, if you speak to race in this country, they come after you with a lynch mob. But the Jap can really pitch, and nobody ever yells “Pearl Harbor.” My old man would say it, but, hey, that’s what growing up in Hell’s Kitchen does. What? I said something wrong? The hell with this, we're going live!”

On the Mets: “I don’t know why I even bother. They hate me. The NY Times wouldn’t even review my books. They were best-sellers. Do I care? Not in the slightest. I’m above that. What they did to Tom Seaver, they’d do to me. That’s OK, though. But I don’t forget. Wilpon? Alderson? It doesn’t matter. One of these days, they’ll get visits from the security people at Fox News.”

On the Twins: "I hate how they suck up to that little crazy left-wing nutjob Al Franken. Guy thinks he’s funny. Hates the United States of America. I feel sorry for him. I’d punch him out. Growing up in Levittown, that’s how you settled things. You get in close and use your hands. But hell, it’s Minnesota. The unions already killed that town.”

On the Nationals: “I love this team. I love this manager, Dusty Baker. He’s a black man, you know. Not that it matters. I went into the dugout one night with Al Sharpton. It was great. There wasn't one person, not one, who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more at bats!’ I mean, it was like going into an Italian-run team.”

On the Dodgers: “Normally, I don’t do Tinsel Town, because, frankly, all they want to do is rip our President. Ever hear a celebrity wish you ‘Merry Christmas?’ No way. If they put up a manger scene outside Dodger Stadium, they’d stick Meryl Streep in the crib. She's lost it. I’ve seen some of the most evil people in the history of the world, people who will stare into a camera with their hand on the Bible and they say things about you that are flat out lies, and they'll claim to have recordings. Well, I don’t make deals with those women. And it cost me."

Home run call for Chris Carter: “It's a blast from the far right! Oh, you've done it again, Hot Chocolate!”

On the Giants: You know what I say? I say, listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you want Barry Bonds in your little Hall of Fame, you're not going to get another nickel from me. It’s a free country, and the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to root for morons. But as far as I’m concerned, when the Brewers come through and blow you up, we're not going to do anything about it. Too bad.”

Response to Suzyn: “You're looking pretty good tonight. Want some advice? Ditch the pantsuits and wear something that doesn't scream 'radio.' Huh? What did you just say? Shut up. Shut up! Cut her mic!” 

Are the Jays done, and if so, is that a good thing?

Yesterday, Team Canada mounted a dramatic comeback against the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM), when Kendrys Morales homered in the 9th to tie the game. It was just the kind of rally that riles the sap of beer-swilling Torontogodytes, as they tune-up their snowblowers for the final six weeks of winter. Suddenly, the North was rising!

An inning later, the Jays lost 4-1. So much for spring. Toronto is now eight down in the loss column with by far the worst record in baseball. Even the putrid Padres - who are phoning-in the 2017 season with Rule 5 cutouts instead of players - have twice as many wins.  

The great bat-flipper himself, Jose Bautista, is hitting .109 - but he's merely the third lowest average in yesterday's lineup. Josh Donaldson is out with his third calf injury of the season - (can anybody say "chronic?") Aaron Sanchez has a blister issue, and last year's 20-game winner J.A. Happ "felt something" in his elbow recently and went for tests. The Hindenburg, engulfed in flames, had higher hopes. Right now, the only positive is that it's still April, when nothing is supposed to matter. But as Yankee fans know, one crushing first month can also lead to a vast, season-long abyss. 

So... the immediate question for Yankee fans is obvious: When do we get a taste of this shipwreck sandwich? We face Toronto ten days from now - May 1-3 - and who knows what they'll be like? But still, here are some basic realities.

1. One of the three AL East powers looks dead in the pool. Toronto - a mean-spirited bully for the last three years - appears scrawny and pallid without Edwin Encarnacion. That's one less Wild Card contender, leaving Detroit, Texas, Houston and Baltimore as our most likely competition for that miserable last open slot in the post-season.

2. Toronto will probably hold a July garage sale. Donaldson could yield a shit-ton of Yoans and Glybers, and Brian Cashman has always coveted him. But if Headley is still hitting, and if Gleyber Torres remains our future YES marketing scheme, we don't need a big-money 3B. We would chase pitching, of course, and Sanchez could be our third Aaron - a nice touch. But nobody likes trading prospects within your division - so Toronto's seasonal suicide might happen in the woods, where we won't hear it. 

3. The real guy they'd look to unload is Bautista, and unless he starts hitting - maybe even if he starts - good luck on that, Canada! Nobody wanted him last winter, but the music stopped when he was standing over Toronto's chair. He's Chris Carter with bat-flips and a rifle arm. If Boston is still looking for its new Papi - well, we can always hope, can't we?

You don't know a team until you play it. I figured the Cardinals would, as usual, be tough. They were horrible. And a month from now, so could we be. Today's Murdoch Post serves a steaming pile of congratulations to the Yankee brass for drafting Aaron Judge four years ago - conveniently forgetting all the crapola picks from the last decade. It's the thing I most hate about being a Yankee fan - the sycophantic rush by Gammonites to over-celebrate any success. I get criticized - sometimes rightly - for being too negative here. But it's a long season, and while we can certainly be happy with Judge's performance thus far, dear God, are we already declaring him a star? Because that's how you crush a guy. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What To Do On AN Off-Day?



Go to Venice Beech.

The march of tomato cans ends Tuesday

It's been awhile since a Yankee lineup boasted such mouth-watering beautistics: .396... .368... .321... Aaron Judge, tied for 3rd in HRs; Aaron Hicks tied for 4th... Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, tied for 2nd and 3rd in SBs. The Indian Point Power Report doesn't even hurt to hear.

Each day, Greg Bird gains more confidence. We're starting to wonder if Chase Headley is not just a desert mirage, but the Comeback Horse of 2017. Or is it Ellsbury? Could Judge be the league's best rookie? Or is it Jordan Montgomery? Is Hicks our version of Jackie Bradely Jr., the slow-starter who pays dividends? Or is it Luis Severino? Is this team real, or is it Memorex? As the Boss once wondered, is a dream alive if it don't come true, or is it something worse?

It's still mid-April, and the cleats of 2017 have yet to drop. Moreover, it's not as if the Yankees have yet played the Globetrotters, posting wins against the Washington Generals and superstar Red Klotz. After losing 2/3 in Baltimore, we chewed up the Tampon Rays (8-8), the shuffled Cards (6-9) and the garage-sale White Sox (7-7). Next up, the stumbling Pirates (6-9), with a Sunday appearance by none other than Ivan "Super" Nova (1-2). 

Then the worms turn. We hit Boston for Porcello, Sales and Pomeranz. You could argue that 2017 begins Tuesday at Fenway, when the story lines start to emerge. Babe Benintendi is hitting .322 with a HR, but nothing will matter if he goes 0-16 against the Yanks. Same goes for our newfound studs. If we cannot beat the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM), we will start chasing the Wild Card, which is sort of like settling for Billy Ripken, instead of Cal. 

But don't get me wrong. We've seen enough crapola for the last seven years to be rightfully excited over a 10-5 record. Last April 21, we stood at 5-9, and Headley was already being lashed to a camel and sent into the desert. When Gary Sanchez hurt himself on a practice swing, all looked lost. Now, we can expect him and Didi Gregorius back in May. By then, the march of tomato cans will be over, and we'll know what we've got. But Judge will still have at least 5 HRs - a quarter of what our team leader hit all of last year. Come Tuesday, I'll be watching from my playoffs juju crouch. Be prepared.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just So You Are Aware



Whenever people start exclaiming about, " their top prospect," I always start thinking that I haven't been doing my job.

The yankees just wouldn't stop talking about how advanced this kid is; how he is ready now for the big leagues, blah, blah, blah.  How deep their minor league system is, etc.

Please try not to piss me off with arrogance, and over-confidence.  The yankees are a bunch of trolley car workers, just like everyone else.  Accidents happen all the time.

I have already put the Kaprielian kid, " out of sight and out of mind. " His TJ surgery was yesterday and, in 2 years, maybe three, you will see if he can still pitch.  Although, he could be a free agent by then.

Today, we asked for, and received, some idle time for Gleyber Torres, the Yankees top SS candidate.
Here is how the Yankees in 2017 are faring with the classic formula; "Strength up the middle."  Starting catcher - (on the DL ); Starting SS ( on the DL ); top pitching prospect ( gone ); top SS prospect ( on the DL ).

For now, Gleyber  ( what kind of name is Gleyber???)  Torres is on the 7 day DL with, " rotator cuff tendonitis."  Soon, the 7 day DL will become the 15 day DL, and then the 30 day DL.

Dr. Andrews is already on a plane.  In which case, if surgery occurs, there is no DL.. Just gone will be the designation.

I think we can safely forget about 2017 for this young man.  He can catch up on his reading.

Maybe next year.

So here is my thought;  Stop puffing yourselves up and talking about a great season, an unbeatable future.

It pisses me off.  And you don't want that.

I call for a Congressional Inquiry

Girardi is the worst fucking manager the Yankees have ever had. Houk was a genius. Lemon, a gift from God. Martin, an alcoholic whackjob tornado. 

Girardi works for the other side. He's the Russian mole in the clubhouse buffet salad. He not only overmanages and undermanages at precisely the right moments to potentially throw a game, he sits players that are on a roll deliberately. He is the epitome of the bullet-headed Saxon mother's son that "Bungalow Bill" warned us about (don't tell me he's Italian, I don't give a crap).

THE MAN MAKES US LOSE GAMES. If he was removed, we'd have won 5 to 10 more games last year...which might have nixed the July sell-off, so OK, maybe that's not helping my argument here. But this year, with a hot start and the effect it could have on the psychology of this particular team, 5 games could make the difference between a surprisingly successful year and the usual steaming pile of mediocrity.

How can the beat writers not see this? How can Cashman not see this? I mean, Jesus, he had Lazik surgery. The guy should be able to see something this obvious. Maybe if he ate a couple of mini-helmets full of not-really-ice-cream and stopped sporting the gaunt Girardi look...

Hey. Maybe if Girardi ate something and put on a few pounds he'd stop doing this kind of thing, too. 

Nahhh.

The guy is a detriment to the team and they keep him on as if he was Connie Mack. Wtf is going on? Has the entire organization been taken over by foreign agents? You have to admit, it would explain a lot in terms of Hal, Cashman, Joey Binders, Rothschild (obviously connected to the Knights of Malta cabal by name alone), the minor league geniuses, firing the strength trainer because nobody can hit....

We need Comey on this. We need the NSA, CIA, AFL-CIO and the CYO.

We will never again win the Big One as long as we are run by a dugout Roger Stone. Ever.

Suddenly, the icky feeling returns

It doesn't take much to knock me off the band wagon. A nudge or a bump along the trail, and I'm flying into the bog. It's Yankee fan P.T.S.D. - the sudden urge to hide behind the couch and watch a network sitcom. It's the dead-on, absolute certainty that the Yanks will lose, and that I have been somehow transformed into a fan of Two Broke Girls, which is like being Kafka's cockroach, but with lower self-esteem. I felt it last night.

I can't explain it. But in just the way that we looked like winners for a week, last night you saw the garbage barge spewing purple smoke and headed back to port. No hits through five, a scratch single, and then a monstrous fielding gaffe by the one guy here for his glove... and suddenly, it was 2011-2016, and Jayson Nix was throwing to Lyle Overbay all over again. 

Listen: An eight-game winning streak is a banner way to celebrate the spring sap erections of April. But it's also a balloon waiting to be popped. As Alphonso pointed out, last night we were suddenly subjected to a rerun of Two Broke Boys - the marshmallow-tipped spear of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury atop our lineup. I thought that twosome had been sealed in amber and mailed to Zambezi, but there they were - a Seussian Out 1 and Out 2, speed-dialing through the first six innings.

And of course, that helped conjure the bottom third of our lineup - the Black Hole of Calcutta, which we've come to know well in recent years. Last week, you had the volatile Aaron Judge or the born-again Chase Headley down there, waiting to strike. Last night, it was Romine, Torreyes and Kozma (oh my) - and not enough pinch-hitters to strike early. It was a bottom third like all the others that have made this, thus far, the worst decade in Yankee history.

Last year, when he couldn't hit a lick, Headley was benched three times in the April. (I looked it up.) Last night, leading the team in hitting, he sat out his first game of 2017. I suppose everybody needs a rest. Still, it fits the main bugaboo about Joe Girardi - he benches hot players because of some computer print-out, which means he has traded his instincts for algorithms. One thing we know about Girardi's software: It doesn't take into account the streakiness of hitters. And we are a team of streaky hitters.

One certainty of 2017 was that we'd know early on if this team was worth a piss. Nobody argues that Pineda, Headley, Gardy, Ellsbury et al will need a half season to get their bearings. They'll either do the job or disappear. Thus far, they have done the job. But the streak is over, and in recent years, the Yankees usually matched winning stretches with collapses. Now, we'll see. I'll be watching from behind the couch.