Swisher Should Sit!, pt 2…
…Swisher should sit!… except when it’s AJ Burnett’s turn in the rotation, in which case Swisher should take the mound.
The upside of seeing the Yanks clinch was a strong enough lure to try to shake myself loose of a Theraflu-induced coma and trek through the usual brick wall of LA and Orange County traffic to go catch the game in Anaheim (located about 1.5 light years from Los Angeles). My “angry traffic mood” would give way to my equally familiar “angry AJ mood” by seeing Burnett get lit up for four runs before people even had their thundersticks inflated.
Not Blaming the Ump, I’m Just Sayin’
I was sitting in section 523, close enough to where I could bounce a tennis ball off the Goodyear blimp, and I could tell without question that Damon was safe on the play at first base. I know that sounds bogus, since, for instance, I don’t actually believe the guy sitting in front of me could actually see anything while he kept screaming “Where was that, blue?!!” on every ball called for the Yanks. But really… the Damon call was that clear, which is what is so inexplicable about this bad umpiring. Both for and against the Yanks, no replay is needed on any of these erroneous calls. Only reason I’d like to see a replay is to check if the ump sneezed while Damon was hitting the bag.
If I Only Brought a Pin
Beyond that, most of what I saw at the game was the silhouette of those insidious inflatable clappers, evil not just because of the dopey notion of artificial noise they create on par with the stadium stereo system (which itself is on par with takeoffs from LaGuardia), but their very design does nothing but create obstructed views for everyone at the game. It’s like if they have “free banner night” for all fans as a promotional date at the Big A. Or “free oversized novelty ten gallon hats to the first 50,000 fans”.
And the big A should be really be renamed “The Big C” (“the big clusterflip”), as it took longer to find our car as it did for Burnett to record the first out hours earlier. After 25 minutes of cursing the lack of marked poles in the lot, circumnavigating all the Hummers and SUVs and finally finding our car, it would be another 45 minutes of inching our way the 40-50 yards to the exit. You get the feeling they’re not used to capacity crowds, especially ones that leave at the game’s conclusion.
Additionally, many of the fans seemed to be honoring Nick Adenhart‘s memory by lifting a few in the backs of their titanic trucks before turning the ignition (clearly a practice not unique to the O.C.).
The whole experience made me wish the enemy territory I was in was Boston. No monkeys, no cars, no thundersticks, and the drunks don’t do much harm to anyone but the pavement.
Girardi May Live
I actually did not have a problem with Girardi bringing Burnett back out to pitch the 7th. The way he was cruising and as low as his pitch count was, I wanted him to get through the 7th, then hand it over to Hughes in the 8th. As wrong as I apparently am, theoretically because of the long half inning that preceded Burnett going back out there, Hughes got hit badly himself, so I don’t feel like any decision is a no-brainer in this situation. I still prefer to blame Burnett’s fear of success.
“Here’s the ball for the potential pennant clincher”, to which he responds by getting pounded while half the stadium is still in line for churros.
“Hey, we picked you up and scored 6 runs for you – just one more inning and we’re sitting pretty”, and he coughs it back up with a single and then a walk to the #9 hitter, prompting immediate visions of heading back to the Bronx.
It’s one thing for a .211 hitter like Jeff Mathis to be on fire in the post-season, and good on him for it, but walking Figgins (he of the .067 post season BA) to start his night and later walking Izturis, representing the tying run (after having him 0-2) to end his night, is precisely what sunk Burnett and the Yanks. See? AJ can be equally wretched with Molina OR Posada behind the plate.
And speaking of Mathis, this is the equivalent of Jose Molina hitting over .500 –and with authority– in the post-season. But Molina is not, which is why Burnett’s sketchy work is more galling. The key AB in the Yanks six-run 7th? Posada’s walk. Good battle, long, full count, foul-off-a-few-pitches AB. He earned the walk, then Lackey didn’t come close to Jeter and thus got yanked from the game. That was a huge cog in the rally and I’m confident it does not happen with Molina. Maybe even the lunkhead sitting in front of me in 523 could see that.
It’s a shame the only stream of clutch hitting in the entire Yankee post-season not done by Rodriguez went for naught. Who knows if we’ll see this again the rest of the season, be it two games or nine.
…the Yanks clinch in game six, this will probably be a blessing so the bats don’t have too much time to get cold…er. But if they lose CC for game one of the World Series (he says, ASSUMING they at least clinch this thing), things might look pretty good for them Phillies.
Swisher Should Sit! Pt. 3
I have nothing to add, I just think it bears repeating.