Masahiro Tanaka went to work tonight with a spotless record for this season and left with it intact. David Robertson also had the same problem and solution. For a little bit of interleague play tonight, the Yankees are in Milwaukee for a weekend series. And tonight, they set the tone right.
Tanaka’s outing was actually his one of his lessor ones, but you couldn’t tell based on numbers alone — 108 pitches, 6.1 inning, 7 hits, 2 runs, and 7 strikeouts. And for most everyone else, this would be a remarkable outing, but it’s Tanaka, so it’s just okay. (When did we get to this kind of comparison? It must be like when Mantle or Ruth didn’t hit a home run in a game, but rather a couple of doubles and everyone just thought they were having an off-day.) Anyway, those runs came in his weakest inning — the 6th. He allowed back-to-back doubles to score the first run for the Brewers, and an RBI single for the second.
Adam Warren came on in relief in the 7th as Tanaka put runners on the corners with just one out. A nifty double play by Warren, McCann, and Jeter got them the double play that they needed to get out of the inning by striking out the batter and catching the runner stealing 2nd all in a matter of seconds. It was a really pretty play, probably my favorite one of the night.
David Robertson came in looking for his 6th save, which he earned in a 19-pitch 9th, which would have been shorter had he not given up a solo home run to his former Yankee Reynolds. No, seriously, he struck out the other three batters in the inning with his usual ridiculousness.
I really have to commend the pitching today. They were rather on their game and really delivered and deserved the win tonight.
Fortunately, the Yankees were able to back up that bid not only in the field, but also at the plate. Their biggest dent came in the 4th inning. Beltran and McCann on with a walk and a single respectively, Yangervis Solarte decided to make his mark on Wisconsin with a long 3-run home run. Then with Gardner on base with a single, it’s Brian Roberts’ double that scored the speedy Gardner to push the Yankees up to 4 runs by the end of that inning.
They eventually got a nice cushion in the 8th inning. Beltran doubled, Ichiro in for the pinch-run, Ichiro stole 3rd almost too easily, and then Teixeira’s ground out scored Ichiro because the cut-off man decided to go for the out at 1st. Honestly, (and I say this despite the fact that I’m on the Yankees side of this and love that we benefited from this) that was a poor fielding choice; you can tell Ichiro would have been out at home, and the Brewers needed every out at home they could get. I guess I’d prefer to see sharp, strategic plays on the field by professionals, even if it’s by the opposing team.
So the Yankees won 5-3 against the Brewers tonight.
Oh, and the most talked about thing was Tanaka’s first MLB at-bat. Overall, he went 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts. He was able to run up the pitch counts a bit, but he’s clearly a pitcher for a reason. Not that I’m complaining.
Okay, there was a bit of an incident in the 6th inning, and I’ve debated whether or not to include it. Look, nobody on the professional side of the game ever really acknowledges when fans come on the field to try to talk to the players or whatever because it’s stupid, it delays the game unnecessarily, they always get arrested, and it puts the players in danger. But tonight’s was just odd. This guy goes running up to Jeter asking for a hug. Jeter looks at him and says, “You’re going to get in trouble, man. Look out…” And then the guy gets tackled by security guards and hauled him off to jail.
It baffles me that people still think this is a cool thing to do. I get cheering and enthusiasm and the camaraderie that comes with your standard professional sporting event. But there are stupid fan things that make no sense to me. The Wave in the middle of the game? It says you’re totally bored with the game and have decided to take your focus off the field and onto the stadium to entertain yourself. On your phone the whole game? Same thing. Obnoxiously harassing the players or other fans? You’re just a drunk jerk. Running onto the field during a game? You’re an idiot headed for a night in jail; good luck getting a job or into college.
And none of those activities make any sense to me. I’m fully aware that going to a game isn’t a cheap event. You are essentially renting that seat space for the duration of the game. Thus, it would serve everyone best to do what that seat was designed for — for you to enjoy (or at least watch) the action on the field. Please cheer, please be enthusiastic, please enjoy the camaraderie with your fellow section-mates, please sing loudly in between the innings to “YMCA” or “Happy” or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, please sing proudly our national anthem and “God Bless America”, please sing “New York, New York” with gusto after every Yankee win in the Bronx, and please be a great representative of a Yankee fan (or at least a baseball fan).