They say beggars can’t be choosers. And when you’re still clinging to whatever shred of hope in the Wild Card race with only 10 games left in the season, you’ll take any win, whenever, however, wherever, whatever.
Let me start with Shane Greene, who gave the Yankees one of his best outings this year tonight against the visiting Blue Jays. Honestly, his opposing starter was a former Cy Young award winner, who still at almost 40 is a dynamic pitcher known for his nasty knuckle ball. But it was all Greene tonight, who threw 105 pitches in his 6.2 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and no runs, and striking out 6 Toronto batters. The only reason Greene’s pitch count was so high was because the Blue Jay batters insisted on fouling off so many balls, but they certainly had trouble making them fair without grounding or flying out.
After Greene put two runners on in the 7th with 2 outs, Dellin Betances came on in relief, threw 4 pitches, and got that last batter out.
But before this, the Yankees’ decided to hand-wrap a win for the rookie starter. In the 5th, Chase Headley on base with a walk and 2 outs, it was Stephen Drew’s double that scored Headley and put the Yankees on the board. And then in the 6th inning, it would be Derek Jeter to hit his 4th home run of the season into the left field seats, his first home run in Yankee Stadium this year.
The Yankees were nicely up 2-0 over the Blue Jays after 7 innings of play — Greene on the hook for the win, and the Yankees clinging to the possibilities of another victory.
That didn’t last long… Shawn Kelley’s 8th inning kind of blew that out of the water. With 2 outs and a runner on base with a single, a Toronto batter smacked a big 2-run home run to tie up the game. It was like the air got sucked out of the Bronx.
David Robertson kept things status quo in the 9th, allowing the chance for the Yankees to redeem themselves in the bottom of the 9th — that last-minute rally and dream. Leading off the inning, Richardson, in to pinch-run for Young after his single, stole 2nd, and ended up at 3rd on Gardner’s sacrifice bunt. And then it all just came together. Headley reached 1st on a fielding error (it went through the 1st baseman’s legs into right field), which allowed Richardson to jog the 90 feet home and score the winning walk-off run.
It would be 3-2 Yankees, with Headley showered in Gatorade. (Speaking of Gatorade, there is a very touching ad to add to the “not-a-farewell-tour” events of Jeter by his long-standing endorser; I’m sorry if the song gets stuck in your head like it’s been in mine all day. (Article 1 on the ad; Article 2 on the ad.)
I was talking with someone today about all the chatter I keep hearing about the “low-scoring” team that is the 2014 Yankees. And really, I’m kind of tired of this. Yes, they haven’t scored a lot of runs this year; that is reality. But reality also says that they are still in the Wild Card race and sitting nicely above .500, in 2nd place in the AL East. So what’s the chatter all about?
Now if “low-scoring” equated to being last in the league, then I might see the point in chatting about it or at least giving it some consideration. But it clearly doesn’t. Yes, the Yankees are “low-scoring”, yet they’re still in the Wild Card race. Why? Because it’s never about how many runs you score in a season that ultimate dictates if you are the best. It’s always about how many wins you have. Most wins equal postseason, not the most runs. So you can score a million runs in a season, but it won’t guarantee you a playoff spot unless you win most of your games.
If I’m being honest, it does help to score a lot of runs because the team with the most runs at the end of a game wins that game. But so what if you hit 13 home runs if the other guys hit 14 and win the game… it just means their pitching was as lousy as yours. But they still won, and you still lost. It seems like wasted chatter to talk about overall statistics that ultimately don’t equate postseason guarantees.
So if we’re going to waste our time chatting about statistics, let’s talk about statistics that actually matter. Like the fact that the Yankees won tonight.