Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yankees In A Catch-42

  • Yankees 2-Blue Jays 1:
Imagine you're Joe Girardi and as you sit in the dugout trying to nursemaid your set-up
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men Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez through the eighth inning of a game you must win, you look up at the scoreboard and see that both the Red Sox and Rays are blowing out their respective opponents. Not only that, but the Red Sox happen to be beating up on one of the teams directly in front of the Yankees, the White Sox. With a chance to gain a game on one of the teams you're going to have to pass to get into playoff position and the two direct competitors in your own division winning easily, what do you do?
What do you do as you watch Jose Veras put Carl Pavano's second straight gutty performance (with stuff that could only be classified as mediocre) in jeopardy after Pavano outdueled a pitcher who's on his way to possiby winning 20 games in A.J. Burnett? What do you do, after Veras gives up a hit and a walk and you bring in Ramirez who records an out via strikeout and Joe Inglett, a left-handed contact hitter having a solid year is coming to the plate with one out and the game in the balance?
It's simple you think, I have the greatest closer in baseball history in the bullpen warming up and ready; but bear in mind that the greatest closer in baseball history is going to be 39-years-old later this year; that he's accustomed to only pitching one inning to get his saves; that most of the times he's recorded saves of more than a single inning have been in do-or-die situations; that he's pitched more than one inning six times since August 12th; that he recorded four outs to save another imperative game against the Red Sox just 30 hours before; what do you do?
You think it's an easy decision? Knowing you have to win every game you can? That if you have a 2-1 advantage, you can't simply let Rivera's workload dictate a game's result if losing that game will put you seven games behind the Red Sox and eleven and a half behind the Rays? Do you
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even have a choice? Girardi did the right thing in bringing Rivera in and there may be eighth inning help on the way from Joba Chamberlain, but there are going to be other situations like this over the final month because the Yankees cannot afford to lose games like this in which they're in a position to win. If it was a blowout one way or the other, it's a convenient way to give Rivera the days off he needs, but the situation is such that Girardi had no options and he had to put Rivera in for another eighth inning save. It's going to be this way for the final month of the season and even if the Yankees somehow pull off a miracle and make the playoffs, the question is going to have to be asked, is Rivera going to have anything left to give in October?
  • Mets 5-Marlins 4:
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Kevin Gregg is not a very reliable closer and I could almost hear the Phillies cussing and throwing things in Chicago as Carlos Beltran's two-out grand slam sailed into the right field bleachers of Dolphin Stadium.
  • Cubs 3-Phillies 2:
Yesterday was my first look at Jeff Samardzija and combining him and his fastball (upwards of 95 mph), with Carlos Marmol (a funky motion and another power fastball) and Kerry Wood will give the Cubs a 2008 version of manager Lou Piniella's famed Nasty Boys from the 1990 Reds; the games are going to be over after the sixth inning, sort of like little league.
  • Republican Vice Presidential nominee...Sarah Palin?
This might have been an inspired choice for John McCain if he were ten to fifteen years younger, but in an attempt to appease the religious right/zealot/lunatic fringe of the republican party who cannot stand him, he picked a young woman with almost no experience whatsoever other than a year and
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a half as the governor of the almost forgotten state of Alaska. Do McCain and his advisers really believe that Sarah Palin is going to attract the disgruntled voters of Hillary Clinton? Does he think that they're going to look past her stance on abortion (against it in all cases); guns (enthusiastic member of the NRA); and beliefs (she wants to have creationism taught in schools) and vote for a 72-year-old man whose health isn't all that great and whose mental acuity deserts him from time-to-time and run the very real risk that she's going to have to step in and be the president of the United States? Think about it.
If McCain were 62 instead of 72, then appeasing the radical right wing of the party was a good idea; but the Hillary voters who have a problem with Barack Obama are either going to look at their choices and stay home, or shut their eyes when they walk into the booth and vote for Obama; a minuscule number of women are going to vote based on gender. This was a big mistake and a complete turnaround from McCain's image as a maverick because it wasn't
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done because he wanted to do it, it was done for political expediency.
I believe deeply that the republicans are throwing McCain to the wolves knowing that they're almost assuredly going to lose in November and are looking toward 2012 when they'll be able to run the likes of Mitt Romney or some other more palatable candidate to the radical base and centrists that they need to win. They were hoping to stay close and maybe capitalize on Obama's newness (in every aspect of his story) and just as they threw Bob Dole in to run against Bill Clinton hoping that the Clinton baggage would allow Dole to win, they're hoping that McCain can somehow pull out a squeaker; this pick makes it clearer than ever that they're desperate to the point of throwing in everything but the kitchen sink and it's not going to work; in fact, it makes things worse.

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