Posted by: JoeD2133 | May 18, 2008

5/10-5/17: Two and Four

The sunlight warmed the nylon of his jersey like it hadn’t done in quite some time.  God, what a beautiful day for baseball, he thought to himself, the deep blue of the number two tracing hot lines in graceful arcs and right angles on his back.

Why is it that we always start so slow, he muttered to no one in particular, methodically swinging a black, weighted bat, back and then forth, as reciprocal and true as a metronome.

Why must we always give everyone else a head start?  If it’s our penance, I think I understand.

Derek thought long and hard in the on-deck circle.  Not about the Subway Series, or how Hank Steinbrenner’s Venezuelan dream was busy striking-out his fellow countryman, Bobby Abreu, from the extreme right side of the mound.  No, he thought about how his Yankees had just lost three out of four to the first place Tampa Bay Rays, and six of their last nine overall.  He thought about how pathetic and surreal his team’s name looked at the bottom of the standings.

This one’s for you, Hank.

Derek dug into the box against Johan Santana like he was just any other pitcher, exactly what you want your Captain to do.  He took a ball, he took a strike, maybe he fouled off a fastball or two.  Somewhere between Ian Kennedy’s last shellacking and Phil Hughes’ fractured right rib, however, DJ looked into the eyes of a hanging, drifting change-up from the blue and orange clad Santana, and smiled.

Boom.

Derek doesn’t turn on a pitch often, preferring to keep his hands in and angle base hits to right-centerfield all day, but on this afternoon he turned.  And he turned hard, didn’t he, smacking the wanderlust right off the face of that smug baseball, and sending it on a rope into the upper deck down the left field line.  Just like that, it was 2-0 Yankees in the bottom of the first, and now every fan in attendance smiled.

You see, who needs Johan Santana?

But then Johnny Damon got thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the third, snuffing out a sure-fire, Johan-killing rally, and Andy Pettitte had a three-run top of the fourth on only one hard-hit single from Carlos Beltran.  Add in a couple bloops, a couple walks, and one obnoxious swinging-bunt from Luis Castillo, and the score was now 3-2 Mets.

Man, you just had a bad feeling about this one.

How sad is that.  For the 2008 New York Yankees, as soon as they fall behind you feel like the game is over.  Even with a line-up that doesn’t have A-Rod or Jorge Posada, you still have your Jeters, Abreus, Damons, Matsuis, Giambis, and Canos, but they have shown no signs of tenacity, fight, or even a flair for the dramatic through the first quarter of the season.  In point of fact, this squad has not one come-from-behind victory when they are losing after six innings.

Not one.

And once again, they threw up another 0-fer with runners-in-scoring-position yesterday, dropping to a season-low three games under .500 without even a whisper of protest.  Of course, it doesn’t help when Kyle Farnsworth gives up three runs on two home-runs before he even records an out in the top of the seventh, but that’s to be expected, right, even when he is having a somewhat respectable year to this point.

What’s not to be expected in the Bronx is losing, and it’s starting to feel like this team is accepting their defeats, as opposed to fighting them off with every once of their competitive fire.

The Captain tried to send a message in the bottom of the first yesterday, to his new owner, to his teammates, and to this increasingly frustrated city.  But after the Yankees dropped their seventh game in their last ten, the question must be asked.

Was anybody in the dugout listening?

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