Game 163: Tampa plays in Texas to see who gets eliminated from the playoffs first!

I figured we could have a game thread for the Tampa/Texas showdown in Arlington tonight. I remember watching last year’s “play in” games and being at the edge of my seat even though I had no rooting interest. Tonight, I’m hoping for the Rangers to prevail just because the Rays annoy me so much. From Joe Maddon‘s hipster glasses to the entire team acting like they’re too cool for school, I find them so off putting. And who wants to see someone like Josh Lueke get a World Series? Not me. Plus, it would be absolutely hilarious if the newly Continue reading Game 163: Tampa plays in Texas to see who gets eliminated from the playoffs first!

Your favorite moments of 2013

Good afternoon IIATMS readers,

I realize this season wasn’t a typical New York Yankees season. There were injuries galore, bad hitting, and bad pitching but even with all of the negative stuff, the team still managed to win 85 games and in those 85 victories, there were some cool moments sprinkled in. So what I wanted to know was what was your favorite moment (or moments) from the 2013 season?

I know it’s hard to believe but we do have a lot to choose from. And having been there to witness the event(s) in person is not a requirement of this post. Personally, my favorite moment happened in Boston and I wasn’t there. I just watched it on TV.

If you read this blog regularly, you probably know what moment I’m going to choose as one of my favorites but instead of just writing about it, I’ll also show it to you.

arodpoints81813

Come on, you have to admit that was hilarious at the time. Alex Rodriguez is plunked by Ryan Dempster and then comes back to not only hit a home run but to clap his hands and point to the sky, clearly imitating David Ortiz and angering Boston fans who were already vociferously booing him. It was obviously his version of a heel turn and it was spectacular.

Another favorite moment of mine was Brett Gardner‘s walk off home run against Detroit in August. After seeing Mariano Rivera give up two home runs in one inning to blow the save, we all were sitting in the Stadium in complete shock. Thankfully, Gardner took us from shock to elation with one swing of the bat. We also witnessed A-Rod’s first home of the season which was great for me because I was wearing my Rodriguez #13 t-shirt that day.

So, what was your favorite moment(s) of 2013? Leave them in the comments.
Continue reading Your favorite moments of 2013

Welcome to the early offseason

It’s here. The first day of the offseason, at least for us folks who root for the boys in pinstripes, and I have to say, so far, it’s an odd feeling.

I’m so used to gearing up for the postseason and preparing myself emotionally for the games – because I tend to get a little too into playoff baseball – and now, I’m not sure what to do. I used to get myself so worked up that by the time everything was over, I’d be exhausted. This year, I am looking forward to having an October filled with watching games that don’t actually mean anything to me. Aside from rooting against the Red Sox and Rays (because really, who wants to see them win anything?) I’m just going to sit here and watch baseball from the perspective of a neutral fan of the sport.

During the past few seasons, I didn’t have to do that until at least mid-October.

And to be honest, I’m pretty excited about Game 163 tonight in Arlington because play-in games are a lot more enjoyable when your team isn’t involved. I was really rooting for total chaos yesterday and was hoping that the Twins could somehow help force two tiebreak games but alas, they didn’t. Nevertheless, Texas vs. Tampa should be a good game.

As for the Yankees, what do we have to look forward to?

Well, Alex Rodriguez‘s arbitration hearing started this morning. The news surrounding that particular hullabaloo wasn’t the hearing itself but the fact that the Daily News I-Team couldn’t believe Alex had supporters there. You know, I hate to break it to some people but I saw a number of people wearing #13 jerseys at the Stadium this season, especially in August and September and I even spotted children wearing them. (The horror!!!!) So while it may seem like the whole world hates A-Rod, it’s not true.

We also have free agency with guys like Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Hiroki Kuroda (among others) whose contracts are up. That should be an interesting turn of events, especially where Cano’s contract is concerned. Part of me is a little fearful that Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira will be the only big names we have left in the infield next season.

And while I’m writing this post, I wanted to thank the readers of IIATMS for sticking with us this season. I know it has been a weird season of baseball for all of us and I’m glad you guys stuck around to read our pieces, hang out in the game threads and to spark interesting conversations in the comments. I really hope you stick around during the offseason as well because as I said, there will be a lot to talk about.

Anyway, here are some links for you to peruse on this lovely Monday afternoon:

Continue reading Welcome to the early offseason

Monday Morning End Of Season Musings

Andy vs HOU

Well at least they ended the season on a winning streak.  That’s something to build on for 2014, right?  In all seriousness, I can’t tell you how glad I am that this season is over.  It was absolutely exhausting.  I started writing AB4AR in August of 2009, and jumped right into the drama of a World Series run, staying up late to take notes on each game, write, drink, scream, and stomp around my apartment like a child.  Covering this year’s team, who won’t play a single postseason game, was a way more arduous task than that.  Between the injuries, the re-injuries, the bad starting pitching, the even worse situational hitting, and the front office’s decision to basically stand pat and not address any of it, the 2013 season was a meat grinder of disappointment.  I’m actually looking forward to covering the offseason and hot stove topics for a few months just to break up the monotony of writing about Derek Jeter‘s rehab, Phil Hughes‘ HR allowed, CC Sabathia‘s command, and the lineup’s inability to get a hit when they really need it.

Before we jump into that offseason talk, here are some final thoughts on 2013. Continue reading Monday Morning End Of Season Musings

Yankees 5, Astros 1 (F/14): Goodbye, 2013

It’s finally over.

It took 14 innings for it happen but the Yankees ended the 2013 season on a high note with a 5-1, extra inning win over of the Houston Astros.

The game was tied going into the 14th inning when the Yankees scored four runs to bust the game open. Mark Reynolds got things started with a solo shot to left field to put the Yankees ahead 2-1 and the Yankees offense piled on after that.

Starter David Huff allowed one run through five innings but had to settle for the no decision because it took so long for the offense to get going. The Yankees ended up using six relievers in this game and they all pitched scoreless innings with five out of the six recording at least one strikeout. The Yankee pitchers combined for 19 strikeouts today: Huff finished with seven, Brett Marshall went two innings and had three, Dellin Betances went 2.1 innings and had four strikeouts, Preston Claiborne pitched 2/3 of an inning and had one, David Phelps pitched one inning and had two strikeouts and Matt Daley went two innings and also had two strikeouts. David Robertson, who came in to pitch the bottom of the fourteenth, induced two groundouts and a fly out to end the game.

Eduardo Nunez finished with three hits. Curtis Granderson, Zoilo Almonte and Brendan Ryan had two hits apiece. Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay all finished hitless for the game.

And while it’s disappointing that the Yankees won’t be playing in October, I’m glad they were able to at least finish the season with a sweep over the lowly Astros. Continue reading Yankees 5, Astros 1 (F/14): Goodbye, 2013

Game 162: The party’s over

I kept telling people that I was okay with the Yankees not making it into October. I kept telling them I was tired and that I wanted a stress-free month but now that the end of the season is here, I’m really sad to see it go.

Anyway, here are the lineups for the last game of the 2013 season:

YANKEES
Nunez 5
Murphy 2
Granderson 8
Wells 7
Reynolds 3
Hafner DH
Adams 4
Ryan 6
Almonte 9

Huff P

ASTROS
Villar 6
Altuve 4
Dominguez 5
Carter 3
Martinez 9
Laird 0
Crowe 8
Corporan 2
Elmore 7

Bedard P

You’ll notice that Robinson Cano is missing from the lineup so it is quite possible that last night’s game was the last time we’ll see Cano in a Yankee uniform.

Enjoy the last Yankee game thread of the year, folks. Continue reading Game 162: The party’s over

About last night: Andy Pettitte completes his career

[caption id="attachment_60081" align="aligncenter" width="635"]David Phillip/AP David Phillip/AP[/caption]

If you were a Hollywood scriptwriter, the outcome of last night’s Yankees/Astros game is pretty close to how you choose to have your gritty veteran pitcher character’s career come to an end. Though, if it were a true Hollywood ending, the complete game victory would have come in the seventh game of a World Series, and in front of Yankee fans in Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ 2013 season will be ending in the regular season so that scenario wasn’t an option this time. In any case, last night was close to perfect and it was the ending Yankee fans wanted to see for Andy Pettitte.

The scene was set earlier this week when the Yankees were officially eliminated from postseason contention so instead of gearing up from one last playoff run, Pettitte’s last start would be in front of his hometown crowd in Houston, taking place in the only other Stadium he called home in his career. Again, it was close to perfect.

Most Yankee fans were hoping and expecting a good game because Pettitte was facing the 51-109 Houston Astros but they probably weren’t expecting to witness his first complete game in seven years.

Pettitte kept the Astros off the board until the fourth inning. With Jose Altuve on second base, Pettitte got Chris Carter to ground to shortstop but Altuve was already running on the play, Brendan Ryan couldn’t get him at third and opted to get the sure out at first. Lyle Overbay tried to get Altuve at the plate but the diminutive Astro was too fast and scored easily to give Houston the 1-0 lead.

The Yankees were held at bay by Astros’ starter Paul Clemens – no relation to Roger – and weren’t able to score until the sixth inning. They tied the game on a Robinson Cano RBI single that scored Eduardo Nunez. Their second run came after a goofy play by Matt Pagnozzi. With Chia-Jen Lo pitching in relief of Clemens, he delivered a pitch to Zoilo Almonte and Pagnozzi was trying to throw to second to catch Cano sleeping but instead, he spiked the ball and as it flew toward the backstop, Nunez run home and was able to get just under the tag of Lo who covered home on the play. The Yankees took the 2-1 lead and it’s all the needed to win thanks to Pettitte.

When the bottom of the ninth was about to begin and Pettitte grabbed his mitt and put his cap on, I could feel the tears building up in my eyes because it didn’t seem real to me. How could Andy Pettitte‘s career be coming an end? How did Mariano Rivera‘s career end a few days ago? How did we all get so old?

Pettitte got Altuve and Matt Dominguez to fly out for the first two outs of the inning but both of those balls were struck pretty hard and it was clear that Andy was starting to lose a little bit of zip on his pitches. Chris Carter came up and instead of being polite and being the third out, he decided to hit a single to left field on pitch 113 from Pettitte.

Joe Girardi ambled toward the mound and the crowd started booing. Before the eighth inning, Pettitte had told Girardi that if he ran into trouble that he should bring the kid in. He meant David Robertson who is in line to be the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. When Girardi reached the mound, he told Pettitte it was his call saying, “Tell me what you want to do.” Pettitte answered with, “I want to try and finish this thing.” Girardi then turned on his heel and headed back to the dugout as quickly as he walked out of it. This was Pettitte’s last game, of course he was going to try for the complete game because the Hollywood ending had to happen.

J.D. Martinez stepped in to face Pettitte and after two pitches, Martinez became a footnote in history: Who was the last batter of Andy Pettitte’s career? Martinez grounded to third, Nunez threw to first and it was game over, career over, Yankees win.

Pettitte smiled and yelled with glee, his teammates congratulated him and after a polite shove by Girardi, Pettitte went back out to the mound as the crowd at Minute Maid Park, both Astros fans and Yankees fans and the Houston Astros team gave him an ovation.

Pettitte said after the game, “It was almost a fairy tale, man.”

And with that, Andy Pettitte’s career is now over, man. Continue reading About last night: Andy Pettitte completes his career