Wednesday, August 21, 2019

So, it all comes down to the Yankees needing J.A. Happ

Uh-oh... Once again, dear readers, we find our noble Sons of the Death Star grounded and abandoned in a terrifying, West Coast death-trip - the kind that could decimate us, even in our greatest years! Cut off from Eastern juju, and already facing their first loss, our heroes must turn to an old friend... 

In case you missed it, preferring a good night's sleep, two events last night curled my hammerhead toes. 

For Atlanta, Dallas Keuchel pitched six innings, giving up one run on six hits. Yep, the one that got away. Two months ago, Keuchel seemed a perfect fit for the Yankees, but - as you all know - Hal "Food Stamps" Steinbrenner refused to emerge from his burrow, thus missed seeing his shadow, and guaranteed us four more months of a crapola rotation. So the Braves have Keuchel, and we are pushing the shoulder and elbow of Domingo German into an innings count where neither should be. But, hey, we have no choice.  

So, while you were sleeping last night, German got whacked around by the Oakland A's, raising once again the question of how many more innings we should expect from our quote -ace - unquote, and how in hell we'll fill the void? 

I'd love to write that tonight we'll get an answer from J.A. Happ. But why kid ourselves? They say you can't predict baseball, Suzyn, but we've all learned the First Law of Happ: You can predict utter chaos. And that's Our Man Happ: The human embodiment of randomness. Tonight, he might give us six innings.. or six batters. And next week, when he trots out again, it will be the same deal. Roll the dice, folks. When it's Happ, anything can HAPP-en.

Our big free agent acquisition last winter is now 10-7 with a 5.40 ERA. Considering that he'll turn 37 in mid-October - if we're still playing - we must abandon long term hope. He'll be worse next year. We signed him to win in 2019, and it hasn't HAPP-ened. Over his last seven starts, his ERA is 6.37. Only thrice this season has he pitched into the 7th inning; the last time was June 6. The prototypical Happ start is five innings, and between three and six runs, depending on how our first-responders bail him out. 

I guess it's possible that Happ will make an adjustment and improve down the stretch. Hell, maybe Trump will stop Tweeting, or dolphins will stop speaking Chinese. But when I see Happ, I see a walking monument to the new cheapo Yankees. Last winter, Patrick Corbin did everything but dance on our doorstep in a pinstriped teddy, but Hal hid under the bed, clutching his silken purse. And in June, Hal refused to increase his winter offer to Keuchel, simply prorating the previous stance, ensuring the outcome. 

Listen: Our ticket to the post-season is not in jeopardy. We'll be there. But the home field advantage is another matter. It's a long haul between now and Oct. 1, and nothing is settled. Boston - (who lost last night, first time in six games, thank you juju gods) - could still overtake the Rays and be shining a flashlight into our eyes in an ALCS best-of-seven nightmare. If that happens, we have nobody to pitch Game One, aside from whomever is throwing well at the time. Hell, that could even be Happ. That's how lost we are. 

But this we know: However he pitches tonight, it won't matter when he throws five days from now. With Happ, anything can HAPP-en. 

The problem is having to depend upon him. And that's where we are.


13bit said...

I rewrote the words to the song "Sunny" a year or two ago and posted them here after a particularly ugly Sonny Gray loss. I wish I could find them because I feel they might unlock the door that's holding in all of my pain and grief and dread and fear. Unlock that door and set those all free. Maybe the answer is that nothing matters all that much.

West Coast Swing...whatever. Swing, swing Ho Chi Minh! Swing swing Ho Chi Minh! I am reduced to mindless blather. We shall over come, we shall Hal's yacht upon the waaaaaater, we shall overcome...

Okay, I'll tell you what bothered me about last night. ("Oh honey, about last night...") What bothered me was not so much Domingo. He has been a source of steady and increasing worry every time he starts for the past month, but that will suss out how it susses out. What bothered me was that we could not buy a hit to save our lives. It brought back in full, shocking PTSD Senssuround© all those years, mainly starting in 2010, but certainly some in the decade before then, when the bats went limp. The bats went limp, the balls drooped into the catchers mitts, and we made our sad little walk back into the dugout. We had good pitching for many of those years, but ZERO clutch hitting. I'd wake up each morning, screaming to my ceiling, "we can't hit for shit."

I thought that had changed a bit this year, especially with the, ahem, unfortunate loss of Stanton and the unexpected rise of some scrubs, who proceeded to hit their nuts off. We have still relied WAY too much on the long ball, but we have been hitting some singles again. The bunt, by the way, went from the endangered species list to the extinction countdown list. Anyway, last night was a brutal reminder that Larry "Crazy Nutsack" Rothschild is not the only culprit here. Boner needs to light a torch under his own catatonic ass and get into some small-ball managing. This is one situation in life where micro-managing might be called for. Look, we're the Yankees, we'll never be a true small ball team, whether it would benefit us or not, but I think we should tie Boner up, prop his eyes open with matchsticks, and FORCE HIM TO WATCH EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY GAME THAT BILLY MARTIN WON. Martin was no paradigm of sanity, but he was FOCUSED LIKE A FUCKING LASER ON THE GAME every minute that he was out there. He had fire in his balls, agita in his gut, and devious baseball madness in his head., not so much. Boner reminds me of the Yanks from the Kevin Brown era. I forget which year, but there was an article that talked about how the clubhouse discuss was centering on golfing magazines.

Why am I so worked up? Life is short. Life is beautiful. And is there no way to beam JUJU out to the west coast? I guess we all may need to stay up a little later. Could it be that we're getting old? Is baseball relevant in 2019? Maybe we should all be praying for an extinction event. Okay, I'm going to go think about what to do this winter.

13bit said...

My haiku for the day, titled "The Lonely Death Dance of the Drag Stewardesses Who Populate the Yankee Dugout"


Anonymous said...

I attended last night's game as part of the annual IIHIIFIIC Northern California Branch meetup. Met myself in a bar, bought myself a drink, and then swapped stories about me with me.

I printed a commemorative T Shirt for the occasion that read, "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio and really everybody else because I'm all alone here."

It's OK. I wasn't sad... Until the game started and basically ended in the first. Here are some of the thoughts and observations I would have shared with another person had they existed...

The Good:

1) Judge's HR was the proverbial Blast From the Past. It was magnificent. He pulled it. He crushed it. It was the first time all year that he looked like the Aaron Judge we are going to need him to be.

2) Johnny Lasagna look healthy as well. We will need him as well.

3) I was able to sit in my favorite part of the ball park (one deck up, close to behind home, so that the entire field is right in front of you) and did not have to sell my blood plasma to afford it.

The Bad: Virtually everything else. These games happen. They were flat. They were flailing. Oakland is a very good team at home. They made the great plays. We blew the easy ones.

The Rest: I chose to go to last nights game because I wanted to see German pitch as opposed to Happ tonight. Bad choice.

Last night was Chinese Heritage night which was sadly just a display of martial arts in the outfield before the game. The commemorative Tee Shirt had a dragon on it. In the seventh they played Take Me Out To The Ballgame on Chinese instruments. It was underwhelming.

Tonight is apparently Jewish Heritage Night and if you go with a Jewish Org. they give you a Ken Holtzman T-shirt It looks like this.

They use an Aleph for the A's Which is pretty cool.

I'm guessing the pregame display will be people doing Krav Maga. Maybe a Klezmer Band in the seventh. Still not worth having to sit through Happ.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

And since we're doing Haikus. Here's the shorthand about last night's game.

Barely in my seat.
A's bats explode. No response.
Treaty of Versailles.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks for the report, Doug K.!

And yes, 13bit, that was a very, very, very bad, ominous loss. A poor start from our "ace," and the total failure to solve a disintegrating mediocrity who is not some baffling new kid, but a guy who's been put-putting around the majors for years.

I, too, worry that this could presage something truly catastrophic. I don't know why that should matter so much—after all, this club does not have the pitching to win it all anyway—but I would surely hate to see our New York Yankees listed among the game's epic collapses.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Doug K.,

I thought you were in Virginia? Or am I having flashbacks again?

Anonymous said...


Been in CA since the early 80's. If I lived in Virginia I totally would have joined you at the game. (Note the use of the word "totally". Maybe I've been here for too long.

Doug K.

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