Game 139: KC vs. NYY — Unwalked, unearned, un-win

The best part about tonight’s game was the tight pitching duel of both the Yankees’ and the visiting Royals’ pitching staffs. The worst part about tonight’s game was the tight pitching duel of both the Yankees’ and the visiting Royals’ pitching staffs.

Okay, a little redundant perhaps, but it made for a very tense game on this end of things. And what’s worse is that the sole run of the game was actually unearned. That means that technically no runs were actually justifiably won. Both teams only gave up 3 hits each and both pitching staffs struck out 8 batters. It was the most elite pitching duel I’ve seen in a long time.

In the Yankees’ corner was Michael Pineda. Pineda threw 98 pitches over his 7 innings, 4 hits, that unearned run, and 4 strike outs. That error-causing run came in the 3rd inning when a fielding error allowed a runner to end up at 2nd and then score on one of the very few singles allowed.

Dellin Betances’ 8th and David Robertson’s 9th innings each garnered 2 strike outs, but neither was backed by anything offensively that amounted to anything beyond a single in the 9th inning. Actually, it was Jeter’s 9th inning single that prompted the Royals to finally relieve their ace from his duty, opting for a hard-throwing reliever who effectively shutdown any chance for the Yankees to tie-up/win the game.

It would be 1-0 Royals, and completely unearned.

The worst part about a pitching duel is that there’s isn’t much to blog about afterwards. Prado’s still nursing his hamstring; the September call-ups patiently warm the bench waiting to prove they deserve more than just a bench-warming spot; hype over Jeter’s ceremony on Sunday is at an all-time high; and the talking heads do nothing but talk about the mess that is trying to predict postseason potential match-ups. Yep, and now you’re up-to-date too.

I took some journalism courses in college, and they taught us to sniff out and write about the action. In a 24-hour news cycle, there isn’t always action. It’s why certain things become hype and stories get dissected into a million pieces and recycled until it becomes nothing but garbage. Reality and experience teaches us that there is mundane every day, and there are more “boring moments” than “exciting ones”.

Excitement releases adrenaline in our bodies, a natural high of sorts that actually creates an addictive rush telling our brains to seek out more things like that. It’s why action movies and roller coasters are popular; it’s the same effect in our bodies — that rush of adrenaline, something we actually crave to spur us onto the next rush. It’s why competitive sports aren’t just for those playing on the field, but also those watching.

Adrenaline isn’t just felt by active participation, but by indirect participation. It’s the rush you feel when your team hits that home run, kicks that field goal, dunks that ball in the basket, or wins the championship game. You have indirectly participated in the event because your brain is caught up in the frenzy of the competition (especially in an atmosphere like a packed stadium), so the success of the players becomes your success, their adrenaline rush is your rush. It’s why one win is never enough; your body is screaming at you that it wants more of whatever you did to make that rush happen. (Hence, annual season ticket holders and millions of armchair coaches during the regular season of professional and college sports.)

It certainly explains why every team talks about winning “another championship”. It’s why the Yankees are satisfied with just 27 titles. They want that 28th. And when they win #28, they’ll be driving head-long into the push for their 29th. It’s my theory as to why teams that haven’t won a World Series (Padres, Rangers, Rockies, Astros, Brewers, Rays, Nationals, and Mariners) almost don’t have the same drive as teams that have. Because teams that have (even the 106 year drought of the Cubs), know that one win is never going to be enough.

Go Yankees!

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