As some of you know, I like to look for games from previous years to write about. Sometimes they're significant like playoff games and sometimes they're just your average, run of the mill, regular season games. But when I looked up April 18 and went back to 2005, I was actually giddy at what I saw because the Yankees completed a feat so amazing in that particular game that when it was happening live, I kept saying to myself, "Is this actually happening?" And even more amazing is that they would actually repeat that same exact feat just over two months later against the same team.
Okay, enough with the suspense.
Going into the game on the evening of April 18, 2005, the New York Yankees found themselves in fourth place with a 5-8 record. Right behind them were their opponents for the night, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who were 4-9. They had also just been swept in a three-game series by the Baltimore Orioles and this angered owner George Steinbrenner to the point where he issued a press release on the 17th exclaiming, "Enough is enough. I am bitterly disappointed as I'm sure all Yankee fans are by the lack of performance by our team."
"It is unbelievable to me that the highest-paid team in baseball would start the season in such a deep funk. They are not playing like true Yankees. They have the talent to win and they are not winning. I expect Joe Torre, his complete coaching staff and the team to turn this around."
And turn it around they did.
It started off as a regular, ho hum, mid-April game. The Rays went down in order against Yankees' starter Jaret Wright and the Yankees' followed suit against Rob Bell. The Rays were, once again, set down in order in the second then Yankees came up for the bottom of the inning and let's just say that the bottom dropped out on poor Bell.
Here's the play-by-play:
- Hideki Matsui walks.
- Alex Rodriguez homers (3) on a line drive to left field. Hideki Matsui scores.
- Jason Giambi doubles (1) on a line drive to center fielder Alex Sanchez.
- Jorge Posada grounds out, first baseman Travis Lee to pitcher Rob Bell. Jason Giambi to 3rd.
- Tino Martinez singles on a line drive to right fielder Chris Singleton. Jason Giambi scores. Tino Martinez advances to 2nd, on fielding error by right fielder Chris Singleton.
- Tony Womack singles on a ground ball to second baseman Jorge Cantu. Tino Martinez to 3rd.
- Derek Jeter singles on a ground ball to right fielder Chris Singleton. Tino Martinez scores. Tony Womack to 3rd.
- Bernie Williams singles on a line drive to right fielder Chris Singleton. Tony Womack scores. Derek Jeter to 2nd.
- Gary Sheffield singles on a line drive to left fielder Carl Crawford. Derek Jeter scores. Bernie Williams to 2nd.
- Hideki Matsui singles on a ground ball to right fielder Chris Singleton. Bernie Williams to 3rd. Gary Sheffield to 2nd.
- Alex Rodriguez doubles (3) on a line drive to left fielder Carl Crawford. Bernie Williams scores. Gary Sheffield scores. Hideki Matsui to 3rd.
- Pitcher Change: Lance Carter replaces Rob Bell.
- Lance Carter intentionally walks Jason Giambi.
- Jorge Posada singles on a ground ball to right fielder Chris Singleton. Hideki Matsui scores. Alex Rodriguez to 3rd. Jason Giambi to 2nd.
- Tino Martinez hits a grand slam (2) to right field. Alex Rodriguez scores. Jason Giambi scores. Jorge Posada scores.
- Tony Womack grounds out, shortstop Julio Lugo to first baseman Travis Lee.
- Derek Jeter walks.
- Bernie Williams flies out to right fielder Chris Singleton.
First of all, poor Bell. I get that it was only the second inning and Tampa wouldn't think to have guys warming up in the bullpen that early but talk about taking one for the team. Second of all, the final tally of the inning was: 13 runs on 11 hits and one error. The Yankees left one guy (Jeter) on base and they would go on to win the game 19-8.
Bell's line for the game: 1 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, 10 runs (all earned), one walk, zero strikeouts and one home run. Lance Carter, who relieved Bell in that insane second inning, ended up pitching 4 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs on six hits, he walked four, struck out two and gave up two home runs - one being the grand slam to Martinez in the second and the other was a two-run shot by A-Rod in the bottom of the third.
And how did A-Rod do that night? He was 5-6 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBI. He had the best night of any of the Yankees' starters by far.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane. Please feel free to use this as your open thread. You can discuss whatever you'd like but if you live in the New York metropolitan area, I really hope you have plans this afternoon because it is supposed to be gorgeous out.