Jete and Tex Get It Done

June 13, 2009 – 12:39 pm

NYY 9, New York Mets 8. Now that’s what I call an ugly game. You had ugly pitching, starting with Joba Chamberlain’s total inability to throw strikes, to Brett Tomko pitching even worse than Joba, to Mariano Rivera’s highly predictable meltdown when brought into the middle of an inning (I’m not even going to harp on this one again). You had yet another critical, misplayed ball by Nick Swisher. You had yet more mysterious bullpen management by Joe Girardi. And then to cap it all off, the game-winning error by Luis Castillo. Clearly you have to put this W in the “very, very lucky” column — but as they say, a win is a win.

I guess the most disturbing part of this comedy of errors was yet another poor start from Chamberlain. Yes, he’s still very young and inexperienced so you do have to cut him a lot of slack. But there’s just no excuse for giving up 2 runs without the other team even having to put the ball in play. That stopped being acceptable when you graduated from Little League. Somebody has got to step up and become a third reliable starter. It’s highly unlikely that’s going to be A.J. Burnett, so it’s got to be either Joba or Wang or Hughes. I’m very much opposed to this idea that Chamberlain’s long-term role is in the bullpen, but right now he’s showing nothing to prove he belongs in the starting rotation. Quite the quandary.

Tex HustleBut as bad as the pitching was, let’s give kudos where due to the offense. Three times they put a lead on the board only to watch the pitchers’ hand it right back to the Mets. And still they came back one more time, against one of the best closers in the game today. Naturally it was Derek Jeter who got things started with a clutch hit — Jete is quietly putting together one of his best years in a long time. There’s no doubt about why he is The Captain — as good as he has been and is, he’s still year-in and year-out the most underrated player on this team. But the real kudos go to Mark Teixeira — virtually no one seems to have noticed that it was only because he was running 100% full out from first base that he was able to score on Castillo’s error. How many times do you see a player just jog around the bases in that situation, assuming that the game is over? How embarrassing would it have been if Tex had done that and ended up getting thrown out at the plate because he wasn’t hustling? Admittedly it’s a sad state of affairs when a player draws praise for doing something that every player from Little League on up should be routinely doing — but that’s the game today. Tex is indeed a “throwback” player to another era, and that’s the real reason why the Yankees were able to win this laugher.

Photo: NY Post

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