True he gets stronger as the regular season goes on, and he pitches well out of trouble. But he has been less than stellar in prior postseason appearances with Cleveland. I have avoided exploring these here. Let’s hope I don’t need to feel that need. He does seem to have filled-out his potential, paradoxically-speaking (I was so glad when, still in Cleveland, he told critics he was not going to focus on losing weight, just on aerobic conditioning. Funny how fellow big lefty David Wells addressed this issue differently! He is providing commentary on the TBS broadcast of this evening’s ALDS Game 1 vs Minnesota.)
Eric Bruntlett, no. Miguel Cairo, yes. Sophie’s choice, maybe. But I always saw it as telling that as a Yankee, Cairo wore #14, same as his fellow-Venezuelan and off-the-cuff World Series hero Luis Sojo, though I do not know if Sojo was his inspiration.
What I do know is that Cairo has a knack for -here comes the cliche- making things happen when it matters. I have seen it over and over. To those concerned that he spent most of the season in the minors and batted only .267 in 45 at-bats in the majors this year, I reiterate: Miggy’s heroics are seldom represented in his average. In 2006, Yankees’ WCBS Radio broadcaster John Sterling was fond of waxing that he was the best .239 hitter in the game. He will get on base, he will run, and he will score. He will also make some great defensive plays as a utility infielder, now playing shortstop for the Phillies.
This year, though, Cairo has strengthened his numbers and his power. According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, he has been batting .357 since August 29, getting hot when it matters most and hitting harder, with 2 doubles, a triple, and his first HR since 2005. As a AAA Iron Pig, he hit .287 in 296 at-bats with some key runs. Although his on-base percentage has not been in the gaudy upper 300’s for several years, it is his timing that has always impressed me. Clutch-performances, especially when they are walks, may be hard to quantify and impossible to depend on. Still, except at Yankee Stadium, where perhaps the tugs of rejection will sting, I would bet on him. Heck, why not at the Stadium too. The Yanks do not typically bring a player back twice, but if the Phillies play there in the Series, the audition may be as important for him as the Series itself. No, I am not confusing him with Ramiro Mendoza, who wanted to die a Yankee. But Miggy, like Mendoza, IS a Yankee, whatever the uniform.
So Joba pitched 3 (35 pitches!) and so did Aceves, who is now 9-1!
Jorge (Suzyn’s Star) said Aceves’ shoulder had been tired and slowed him down but that he seems to be hitting a second wind and pitching great again.
Yanks say sure, it’s on us!
At 2-outs in a scoreless tie at the bottom of the 15th — yes, you read that right — A-Rod swacked his bat to beat the Red Sox with a huge HR.
That same Friday night, but in Chicago, simultaneously screening on another cable station was one of those recently popularized Classic Games, full-length history from the vault. Guess which one competed with the Yanks hosting the Red Sox last night? You know you’ve got it! The Aaron Boone game! ALCS Game 7, 2003. (Do you remember where you were when you heard – or, like most of us, SAW it happen?) [Good news on Boone’s recovery from potentially career-ending open heart surgery, by the way. On schedule to rejoin the Astros on their expanded 40-man roster in September, he is set to play Monday with AA Corpus Christi and then move to AAA Round Rock for their homestand in the last week of August.]
Following Boone’s heroics, the Yanks unceremoniously moved him along, because, tyhe story goes, his off-the-field activities were interfering with his baseball readiness. Sound familiar? OK, so Boone hurt his knee in a pickup basketball game. A-Rod’s got some considerably more distracting extra-curricular routines!
So, now that he had his Aaron Boone Moment, might the Yankees move him along in the off-season?
As Mark Gremse would say, “That’s Baseball.”
PS It’s not that I don’t recognize the truth of what John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman point out almost every night: the huge improvement in the Yankee record and standings since he returned from the DL. Then again, one could easily counter, why was he ON the DL? What caused that injury? What’s my problem with him? I just don’t think he plays clean. And I’m not even talking about steroids. Remember the “Toronto ‘HA’“? (See A-Rod’s explanation on video) He plays as if his Captain were Jason Varitek, not Derek Jeter. It may play at Fenway, but not in Peoria, and certainly not right down Broadway to 161st and River Avenue.
I’m home. Well, that’s not technically true because I never lived here, in my mother’s place outside Chicago.
I’m here because she died. I can’t understand that. We never got to finish watching Kevin Costner’s movie about Shoeless Joe, though she did take the El with me down to see the White Sox in 2005, when the Yankees’ Shawn Chacon beat former and soon-to-be-again Yankee El Duque. She actually said aloud that she wished Mariano Rivera, her favorite player, had gotten to pitch. She knew about him because she loved me and baseball was the only thing besides fear of not going to work that could get me to stop sleeping back then when I was sick. So she watched Yankee games so that we could talk about them, and that’s how she learned about him. So I’m going to use this blog to steal away for a minute and talk about baseball. And the Dodgers, whom she and my dad took me to see so many times in LA, where she helped me dress up as Ron Cey for Halloween one year, and where I grew up until my Dad was transfered to the Chicago area just before Postseason of 1981, setting off 15 years of avoiding baseball, except a few games at Wrigley. And Brooklyn, where I work now, in the high school where Sandy Koufax played (Lafayette). And Jackie Robinson, who made that team what it is, and whose number is worn only by my mom’s favorite baseball player. Because, as Mark Gremse said so often “That’s baseball.”
But, on the surface, these are really just a few trivial lines about movie: WYIN – public television out of NW Indiana – is showing The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), which, as I just discovered, can be viewed on Google Video here.
Regular readers know I’m a softie for great lines from broadcasters. Here’s one from the movie, spoken right before Jackie steps to the plate in the 9th, with the Dodgers down by 1 and hoping to clinch the Pennant: “Brooklyn hearts have skipped more beats than an absent-minded policeman.”
I mean Aceves.
Nice that Gardner singled-in two key runs which sustained us until A-Rod’s RBI in the 5th,.
Too bad Gardner got caught stealing. Swisher too.
Good that Burnett could tough it out despite having little but his fastaball.
Sad to see Cervelli go down. Molina’s back. Was glad to have him over I-Rod but I do like Cervelli.