Because I’m watching it anyway, I thought I would do a (delayed) liveblog of the Rangers and Yankees’ game tonight. For the record, I would kind of prefer if the Yankees lost horribly, but that’s the Red Sox fan in me talking.
Two things factor into this. First, the Rangers just seem plucky and spry this year. I like the whole Josh Hamilton story, I like Cliff Lee turning into a poor man’s Sandy Koufax, and I like that former Red Sock David Murphy is on the Rangers too.
And secondly, the Yankees are just so, so easy to hate, between the over-sized personalities, the ridiculous payroll and their success over the years. (The last factor is a hard admission to make, but nobody wants to hate the Pirates or the Orioles.)
… I guess I should get on to the blog! Picking things up from the top of the fifth inning, with the Rangers (momentarily) holding a 1-0 lead…
9:35 p.m. I was just going to type about how Colby Lewis throwing a no-hitter would be the most insane way for this game to be decided. Then A-Rod doubled, and moved to third on a sac fly, so nevermind.
Of course, this being the Yankees, there was a shady play. Nick Swisher clearly got hit by a ball, but he pretends he didn’t, and it goes for a wild pitch that scores A-Rod. Swisher then hits a weak tapper in front of the mound for an out.
The next batter is Jorge Posada, and he knocks a double down the right-field line, so maybe A-Rod would have scored anyway. But still, it seems like the Yankees always have these shady plays throughout the year.
9:52 p.m. After an error on a grounder by Mitch Moreland, he’s advanced to third on a hit-and-run and a ground ball. The Yankees are doing this thing where they intentionally walk Josh Hamilton every time he gets up. Statistically, it’s a silly idea – Someone need to have a .500 OBP to make it pay off.
Vlad Guerrero immediately makes them pay for it by lining a double deep to the center field wall. Hamilton zips around the bases and scores without a throw, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Go Texas! The Yankees are not messing with you, because you’re winning.
FOX shows a shot of Ron Washington celebrating in the dugout. I’m trying not to make a joke about his drug history. (He tested positive for cocaine usage in the off-season and barely held on to his job as a result.)
9:58 p.m. The above series of events chases Yankees start Phil Hughes from the game. Both he and Lewis were coasting along, yet now, it looks like both will be out of the game. David Robertson comes in. I was wondering if we’d see a starter come in, but the Yank-
Oh wow, Cruz just hit a two-run bomb! This is shaping up like game seven in 2004, except well, completely different. It just seems like the Yankees are hanging on by a thread at this point, and the stadium in Arlington is rocking.
The bleeding doesn’t stop either, as the next batter, Ian Kinsler, smacks a double to left. The Yankees send the pitching coach out to stall, since Robertson has faced two batters and given up a homer and a double. They get Kerry Wood going in the bullpen.
I was saying earlier, I wonder if the Yankees will use a starter, except they don’t really have anyone to use. Pettite is tomorrow’s pitcher, C.C. Sabathia hasn’t been that effective, and A.J. Burnett isn’t walking through that door anytime soon. Robertson gives up a 350-foot foul ball to Murphy, but then finally induces a grounder to get out of the inning.
10:14 p.m. The Yankees go meekly in the top of the sixth. Womp womp womp. Derek Jeter sure has looked old lately.
10:26 p.m. The stadium goes deathly quiet as Lance Berkman smacks a double past Josh Hamilton in center, and Hamilton trips. But he’s all right, and Nick Swisher flies out to left to end the inning.
10:32 p.m. Kerry Wood is now in the game, and Michael Young hits a grounder past a diving A-Rod into left on the very first pitch for a double. Shockingly, even though there are no outs, the Yankees refuse to pitch to Hamilton.
Vlad bunts them over to second and third, and then amazingly, we have ANOTHER international walk. Seriously, you’re loading up the bases, Joe? This seems foolish. Joba starts to warm up for some reason too. I’d probably just go to Rivera at this point, and ask him to work the rest of the seventh, eighth and ninth. No use saving him for a game that might never happen.
Anyway, Kinsler lifts a ball to left, but Gardner is positioned perfectly. Young tags up and scores, and it’s first and second with two outs. Murphy smashes a ball, but it stays in the park, and they only get that one run. 6-1.
10:44 p.m. Holy shit, Colby Lewis is still pitching in this game, in the top of the eighth. He has been sharp outside of that one inning, and now, he’s reaching back and still hitting 92 on the gun. Meanwhile, Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver are warm in the pen, just ready to pounce if Lewis does have an issue.
Lewis strikes out another Yankee for the second out – his sixth of the night. His stuff still looks sharp, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went the distance. He walks Gardner, but then strikes out Jeter. Suck it, captain.
10:54 p.m. Rivera comes in. Ron Washington hugs Lewis in the dugout, and Feliz is warming in the pen, so Lewis’ night might be done. (My buddy Tom jokes that Washington probably already has a couple lines setup in the clubhouse. Ba dum ching!) Anyway, it takes Rivera a while, but he eliminates the side in order.
11:02 p.m. Time for the top of the ninth, and Feliz is pitching. He blows away the first batter. He induces a grounder from the second. And the third batter? Alex Rodriguez, scum of the Earth.
The first pitch is a 99 mile per hour ball, but Felix whips the next one by him, and A-Rod fouls the next one off. Finally though, the game ends as Feliz makes A-Rod’s knees bend with a nasty hook, and he goes down looking.
Through the course of writing this, I think I realized another reason why I like the Rangers – They’ve never been to the World Series before, and you can feel it reverberating through their fan base. That matters when your dog isn’t in the fight anymore. Watching the fans freak out and celebrate? That’s sweet.