The thing is, if you take away the names involved, the move itself was a pretty obvious one. Not because Alex can’t handle the big moment (2009 should have put that notion to bed forever), or because he chokes in the postseason or because the boo birds were in his head, but because he’s not that far removed from a broken wrist, has been struggling against right-handed pitchers ever since returning, and because he’d been struck out relatively easily by Jim Johnson in the first two games of the series. That’s the thing that’s been left out of all of the A-Rod chatter in this series: the point is not to disparage Alex, but merely to acknowledge that he’s getting older, he’s recovering from an injury that tends to linger, and that he’s not going to be The Man forever just because he has 600+ home runs in his career. The point is to acknowledge his limitations and adjust accordingly.
That’s what Joe Girardi did last night, and the baseball gods (and Raul Ibanez) rewarded him with an amazing and potentially season altering victory.…
And from the quotatious Nick Swisher:
“You dream about stuff like that,” Nick Swisher said. “I wasn’t even the guy who hit it, and I was jumping up and down going crazy. For Raul, I could not be more happy for him, man. You gotta be pro to step up in a situation like that. Especially pinch hitting, come up against a guy like Johnson, and then to just get that one pitch — because he doesn’t give you that many pitches to hit — and then he comes up in the 12th inning, and he goes Jack City again! You can’t script something like that.”
Added Eric Chavez:
“(This game) is my best baseball moment in my whole career, without a doubt,” Chavez said. “…There’s not even a close second.”
Feel good, friends. Last night was a good night.
One team has to win and one team has to lose. That is the nature of the beast. And perhaps many of you will think me soft for even caring what Orioles’ fans felt right then. Except I (we) have been where they are. I remember how it felt after Dave Roberts stole that base. I remember that Gonzalez bloop over a drawn in Yankees’ infield. It hurt, man. It hurt so bad that words cannot express the disappointment and shock. And so a moment of sympathy was felt for the fans of the Orioles and later, those of the Tigers. Getting to know so many people on Twitter and to see them dying a little bit inside at the results make those feelings stronger. The souls of fans in other cities become real people and not just nameless blobs of humanity.
Of course, there is no way I would trade places with them. That was a most satisfying win for someone who sips from his Yankees’ coffee mug every single morning.…
- Other than Ibanez, the hero of the night was definitely Hiroki Kuroda, who held the Orioles to two runs and five hits over 8.1 innings. he got caught trying to throw get me over breaking balls to Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado, Baltimore’s eighth and ninth hitters, both of which were turned around for home runs, but that was about the extent of the damage he allowed. He wasn’t at his sharpest, hitting two batters on the night, including Mark Reynolds to load the bases with two outs in the fourth inning, but he made big pitches when he had to and went deep into the game to keep the team in the game while the offense floundered. Huge, huge, effort by Kuroda tonight.
- In addition to Ibanez, a couple of other guys deserve some kudos for that ninth inning home run. First, Joe Girardi, for having the guts to actually call on him to pinch hit for A-Rod.
|Baltimore Orioles||New York Yankees|
|Nate McLouth, LF||Derek Jeter, SS|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||Ichiro Suzuki, LF|
|Chris Davis, RF||Alex Rodriguez, DH|
|Adam Jones, CF||Robinson Cano, 2B|
|Matt Wieters, C||Nick Swisher, RF|
|Jim Thome, DH||Mark Teixeira, 1B|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||Curtis Granderson, CF|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B||Russell Martin, C|
|Manny Machado, 3B||Eric Chavez, 3B|
|Miguel Gonzalez, SP||Hiroki Kuroda, SP|
The first pitch is scheduled for 7:37...