Saturday, October 19, 2019

Two games left to determine Happ from Haplessness.

I watched last night's game in a Baltimore tavern that offered 32 ounce drafts of Natty Bo in plastic cups the size of recycling bins. It had TVs bracketed strategically along the walls; the big screens showing hockey, the rest tuned to the ALCS.

Quickly, the bar made its allegiance known. When Aaron Hicks homered in the first, the place exploded. (Thank you, Baltimore.) And the night's loudest cheer came in the sixth, when Aaron Boone chose to stick with James Paxton. For the first time all series, Boone showed faith in a starter, prompting a roar of approval. The next Astro nearly homered - Gardy snared it at the wall - and you could feel all those heart-of-hearts Orioles fans desperately pulling at their Natty Bo's. 

So, we won a night. Whoopie, you might say. We won a trip to Houston, a chance to be humiliated in their home park, like a cat playing with a half-dead mouse. Tonight's game should be a match of bullpens - a duel that would on paper favor the Yankees. After all, we are reputed to have the best bullpen in the post-season, if not in baseball. But I dunno. Seems to me, as weird as 2019 has been, everything tonight boils down to J.A. Happ. 

It won't matter who starts the game. At the most, Mean Chad Green would pitch two innings, and if we're lucky, keep the Astros from gaining a quick stranglehold. Soon after, the Yankees need three to four innings from somebody, and that's what Happ is for. (After him, it's Loiasiga, Cessa and Ben Heller, who was added to the roster after CC's painful self-immolation.) The only way Boone goes to any of them is if Happ melts down, as he did in the extra innings of game two. So, he will either be an official goat of the 2019 post-season - along with Gary, or the Parrot, or Gia-no-show, or Didi or.. you get the picture, right? 

Happ is 37. He has pitched for the Phillies, Mariners, Blue Jays, Pirates and - wouldn't you know? - the Astros. His break-out year was 2009 in Philadelphia, when he went 12-4 with an ERA under three. From there, he bounced around,  floundering at every stop - until 2016, in Toronto, where he figured out how to pitch. Two years later, we gave up Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney for him, in part because he was supposed to have a thing over Boston. But he never did. Last year, in the playoffs against the Redsocks, he lasted two innings and gave up five runs. Last winter, he offered the Yankees are bargain deal, and they signed him for two years at $10 million. So here we are.

J.A. Happ. Wouldn't you know? I'm not sure whether the juju gods have already made their decision on tonight. But one thing is for sure: they are enjoying themselves. 

11 comments:

Local Bargain Jerk said...


I was at the game last night. It was grand. Boone got a standing 'O' for leaving Paxton in the game ... which tells you a lot.

I became amused by two things:

1) The Yankee scoreboard does some very impressive real-time updates of players' stats. The moment the ball lands in a fielder's glove or sails over the wall, the batter's BA is updated. In fact, it's updated before the little cursor and shaded yellow letters move down to indicate the next batter in the order. It was particularly useful to watch IC Sanchez's BA go from .111 to .107 when he struck out that last time.

2) Giancarlo's came to the plate with two runners on and I turned to the 20-something kid next to me who was there with his dad. I said, "Hmmm, now what do you think Stanton's going to do?" He looked at me and knew what was on my mind and said, "I'm looking for a three run bomb right here. That would be nice." Then he laughed hysterically and so did I. I looked over to the WFAN booth to see if I could catch sight of John S. and Suzyn W. when my eyes fell on the banner above the media booths. The banner said something about the Yankees being the proud winners of 27 World Series titles.

I looked back to the plate and watched Stanton strike out. We were sitting along the 3rd base line in the infield and I noticed that Stanton wears #27. And I had this horrifying insight:

     We will be stuck at 27 WS victories for as long #27's contract wears on...

Shortly after this, I went downstairs and enjoyed a delicious $15.45 beer to try and regain my equilibrium.

ranger_lp said...

Good one LBJ...maybe they will retire number 27 since we'll never get to 28.

Yanks have a bigger problem. It's not pitching or hitting...it's ratings

"Their “next man up” campaign, that produced 103 regular season wins, did not make the Yankees a compelling television product. The Bombers took a hit with their ratings on the YES Network, down a whopping 17% from the 2018 season.

This had to be alarming to not only YES execs, but Yankees suits as well. The organization recently — once again — became the majority owner of YES after buying Fox’s stake in the regional sports network."

https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-yes-network-ratings-mlb-20191019-hlvwp4lr4zgrfpvlswuirozrbq-story.html

Anonymous said...

YES, LBJ, THIS MAY BE CASHMAN'S WORST DEAL OF ALL, OBTAINING STANTON.

.....AND THAT INCLUDES THE ELLSBURY SIGNING!

THOSE 2 DEALS ALONE, ALONG WITH THE INABILITY TO PUT TOGETHER A STARTING STAFF THAT CAN TAKE US TO #28, IS ENOUGH TO SEND CASHMAN PACKING.

I KNOW IT AIN'T HAPPENING BUT CONSIDER THIS....

THE RED SOX JUST WON THE WORLD SERIES....

.....AND THEY FIRED THE GM LESS THAN A YEAR LATER!

BACK TO THIS NEXT GAME.

I EXPECT IT TO BE OVER TONIGHT.

WHY?

BULLPEN GAME?

WE HAVE THE BETTER BULLPEN?

BULLSHIT.

THEY HAVE THE HITTERS!

THEY HIT WITH RUNNERS ON BASE!

WE DON'T!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Ranger, that is indeed alarming. Goodbye 6:30 starts (which I loved -- being able to watch the entire game without falling asleep).

I did love this little snippet in the article:

"

But the ESPN-98.7 Gasbag says he’s tired of being point man in this War of the Numbers. After taking on a few callers, Kay was not looking forward to the future.

“I can’t sit here and be the analytics support guy all winter,” Kay whined.

He then threatened to get all the Yankees analytics guys in the studio for a “comprehensive round table.” On what? How to make baseball even more boring?
"

And reading the box score from last night, I uncovered the key to the game that everyone seemed to miss -- Otto was notto be seen. Unfortunately, it looks like Kahnle thought he was supposed to assume Otto's role.

ranger_lp said...

@Rufus...just keep chanting the mantra...NO HAPP NO OTTO...NO HAPP NO OTTO!!!

Blind RobinT said...

"They shoot horses don't they?"

I'm Bill White said...

What is the tipping etiquette when a beer costs $15.45? Clearly the 0.55 goes toward the pot, but what is the fate of the four American dollars given back in exchange on a twenty dollar bill? When I fell asleep in the 2019 Jetta and woke up in the 1978 C√≥rdoba, I stopped along the way at a roadside bar in just outside of Syracuse. A Utica Club snubnose cost me 85-cents but I also ordered a burger that came on Italian bread sliced at a deep angle across the bread so as to make a very nice sized burger. The bartender said Merry Christmas and something about how it’d take him a long time to get used to the idea of 1990. I left him two-twenty five as a tip and he seemed to appreciate it, and sincerely so. He told me to watch the ice and fog and said something about that ahole Cuomo cutting road funding and where does the money go? I said Andrew and he said no Mario. I ate the burger and it felt like the IC went dry after three glugs but it was a real fresh bottle. So I ordered another. Soon I noticed a bowl of peanuts and salty popcorn laid before me and I took a good handful before ordering a third UC.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I don't know about Happ, other than -- I'd like to go into 2020 happless.....

But I do know a bit about humiliation.

So . . . maybe the Astros beat us today. Or tomorrow. In their ballpark.

Beats the ever-loving crap out of losing 3 in a row to them in the Bronix, don't it???

HoraceClarke66 said...

Love it, Bill White. And I agree, Joe: better to lose it in Houston than here.

AND, then the players can get their comeuppance with that long plane ride home...

TheWinWarblist said...

That was very moving Bill. I miss the way you used to estimate how many rows in a foul ball would land. On TV when we could see for ourselves. Ever the professional, still painting the word picture. You and Messer and Scooter where and will always be the best.

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