It was billed as A-Rod's debut at the new Yankee Stadium, but after a melodramatic reception during his first at-bat where the late-arriving crowd / empty Legends Suite section clapped and did little else, some cool stuff happened. Justin Morneau hits two bombs off Phil Hughes, who otherwise pitched pretty well. A-Rod actually heard some boos after striking out with the bases loaded. Brett Gardner hit an inside-the-park homer, and this nice story provides a lesson: everything comes back to Seinfeld.
In the 8th, Mark Teixeira got angry at Carlos Gomez for running on the inside of the baseline, as Gomez clipped his hand as the throw arrived at first. Teixeira voiced his displeasure, which brought both managers onto the field, and after some heated words, Ron Gardenhire and Joe Girardi needed to be separated.
Said Teixeira: "It's a situation where twice in the same game a guy is running on the infield grass, going up the first base line trying to get in my way, get in the catcher's way. It happens one time, it might be a mistake. But when a guy is purposely running on the grass to disrupt things and maybe get a collision, there's no reason for it. I've seen a lot of first basemen, a lot of second basemen ruin seasons, ruin careers because of it and there's no reason to have that. It's nothing personal, but it was the same guy doing it twice in one game."
Said Girardi: "Let me first start off by saying I have a lot of respect for Ron Gardenhire. I went out to check Tex because he got hit on the wrist ... I saw them yelling at each other and I just wanted to make sure nothing escalated, and when Ron came out, he started yelling at my player and I didn't say anything to his player. And that I didn't necessarily care for."
Said Gardenhire: ""I was just out there to protect Gomez. Mark thought he was running too far inside the base path, but when you get to first base, there's nowhere to go but on the bag. The catcher threw the ball inside, I think that's where it started. Mark, he doesn't want to get killed over there, so he was saying he's too far. I just don't want him yelling at my guy. I was saying, 'Hey, there's nowhere for him to go,' and Joe was saying, 'Don't yell at my players.' I just don't want my player to get shown up out on the baseball field. It was heat of the moment stuff. He's defending, I'm defending, that's what we do, defend our players. Typical baseball BS."
Gardenhire is on the money here. The throw was tailing towards the foul line and it was a bang-bang play. And if you see the replay, it appears as if Gomez tries to avoid the glove at the last second, so it's highly doubtful there's any intent. Teixeira doesn't want his wrist snapped in half so his heat-of-the-moment reaction is understandable. As for the managers, that'd be a tremendous match up if they went at it. Both can be fiery guys. Gardenhire has a slight height advantage, but Girardi has him by a few pounds and is 7 years younger. But that one probably goes the distance, no question. I asked my buddy Dave, who's a Yankee and MMA fanatic.
Said Dave: "Gardy might be scrappy, but Girardi is stronger than most players. I think Girardi would ride a headlock to victory. Maybe we'll find out the answer when Joba inevitably throws at a Twin today."
Oh yeah, the Yanks scored 3 in the 9th off Joe Nathan, with Melky Cabrera getting the game-winning hit. Thankfully we weren't listening to the radio broadcast to hear John Sterling holler "The Melk-Man delivers!" Unfortunately, we were watching YES, where earlier in the game, Michael Kay actually had the audacity to blame poor early season attendance at Yankee Stadium on bad weather. Right.
In Tampa, the Indians rocked Scott Kazmir and jumped out to a 7-0 lead. But the Rays fought back to tie the game, and won it in the 9th on BJ Upton's first homer of the season. Hey Eric Wedge, what do you think about the performance of your pitching staff?
Said Wedge: "When you score seven runs, you should be up at home plate, tension-free. Our guys aren't tension-free because they know they have to score more runs. That's ridiculous at this level ... I respect the hell out of these position players. You can only get kicked in the face so many times ... But those guys standing on the [mound] have to start holding up their end of the bargain. At some point in time, these guys have got to look in the mirror. It's not their stuff. Their stuff is fine. But they've got to concentrate and pitch to spots. You can't miss by a foot-and-a-half when you're trying to throw the baseball ... It's ridiculous."
Eric, how do you feel about Jensen Lewis, who gave up the 6th run?
"I'm tired of watching him throw. He's got to pitch. He's got a lot of moxie. A lot of guts. He has good stuff. If you're going to make it up here, you can't miss spots by a foot to a foot-and-a-half and expect to have success. We're up against it right now, but he's got to pitch. If you miss, you have to miss in the right area. You certainly can't miss by a foot-and-a-half to two feet. That's ridiculous."
Quite a performance by Wedge, who managed to characterize his staff as "ridiculous" at least 3 times.
In Kansas City, the Orioles knocked around Zack Greinke for 6 hits and 1 run in 7 innings as they fell 8-1 to the Royals. Greinke's ERA shot up to 0.60, which is a tad better than his counterpart, Adam Eaton, who is at 7.93 after the loss. But is Greinke as colorful as Eaton when describing pitches that land over 450 feet away?
Said Eaton: "I threw a cement-mixer and he did what he is supposed to do with it."
And out in San Francisco, the Mets trailed Tim Lincecum 5-1 after the 2nd, but fought back to tie it in the 7th on David Wright's bases loaded double. Then for the second night in a row, Brian Wilson came on in the 9th for the Giants in a tie game. And for the second night in a row, the Mets put up a crooked number, this time courtesy of a Wilson throwing error, and won 8-6.
Delusional Mets fans have it burned into their brain that David Wright is very unclutch, in part because they've been burned for two years, in part because he struck out in a big spot against the Cubs last year, in part because he started this season slow, and in part because Mike Francesa tells them so.
Now he's on fire at the plate, and that talk will subside for a few days until he (gasp!) makes an out with a runner in scoring position. Can't we just enjoy this guy for the awesome (and possibly great) player that he is? And if you REALLY think he's unclutch, here are his clutch stats, courtesy of a>:
2007: .372/.462/.654, 5 HR, 75 RBI in 78 AB, 1.034 OPS in September
2008: .304/.426/.424, 3 HR, 24 RBI in 92 AB, .993 OPS in September
2009: .286/.421/.500, 1 HR, 5 RBI in 14 AB
Career: .323/.411/.504, 15 HR, 116 RBI in 393 AB
That does not include last night when he doubled in 3 in the 7th, singled in a tie game in the 9th, and almost took off Lincecum's flowing locks with a 2-out RBI single in the 1st.