It is better for everybody involved that the recap from last night’s game was put off until this morning. I honestly can’t say that I have ever seen a game go awry that seriously, that quickly. I honestly can say that I hope that I never have to see something like that again.
The Orioles were in the Bronx for the first game against the Evil Empire of this season, and it was a much-subdued Evil Empire. Their age has turned their evil aura into more of a saggy, dejected location for discarded veterans still looking for a little spark in their lives. Sort of like a lifetime of good deeds has finally just now caused a realization that they have been missing out on all of the respect that comes with status. So, they dusted off their cleats, put in their dentures, and put on their pinstripes, looking to be feared.
Miguel Gonzalez was the pitcher of choice for the Orioles entering the Death Star. His career numbers suggested sustained success against the Yankees in their stadium, and his performance didn’t do anything to deter those thoughts. The game broke its 0-0 tie after an RBI single by Manny Machado in the 3rd inning, as the youngster continued his hot streak and drove in the first run of the game. It wouldn’t be long until the Yankees answered, as Youkilis (feeling extra evil in his pinstripes) would drive in Brett Gardner half an inning later to tie it.
C.C. Sabathia was the pitcher for the Yankees, and he was the only thing from the Evil Empire that was really worthy of that title last night. Sabathia would go on to pitch 8 innings, the last of which was aided by the equivalent of the baseball Gods taking a steaming crap on the city of Baltimore.
The score would go to 2-1 in the bottom of the 5th as Robinson Cano (fine, I guess he’s still pretty evil) would drive in Francisco Cervelli in to score from 2nd. The fact that Francisco Cervelli even made it to 2nd should be some indication of the direction that this game was headed.
But still, the Orioles would tie the game just an inning and a half later in the top of the 7th. After Matt Wieters ran as fast as Matt Wieters physically can to get to first base with Youkilis mishandling his grounder to 3rd, the baseball Gods decided to give the Orioles a reason to think that they were on their side in this contest. As C.C. Sabathia came set to deliver… balk.
It seems disjointed, but that’s because it was. C.C. did absolutely nothing that I was able to see that would have warranted Matt Wieters standing on 2nd base. I don’t know, maybe he ate all of the umpires’ lunches. Whatever it was, it resulted in Matt Wieters being told to take 2nd base and eventually score on J.J. Hardy’s grounder up the middle. It seemed the Orioles had been gift wrapped the game, and you can be sure that they aren’t just going to give it right back. I can tell you that much.
What’s that? They did give it right back? I don’t believe you.
Miguel Gonzalez was on the mound to start the 7th, despite having his pitch count be in the upper-90s. I remarked to my friend that he must simply be set to face 1 or 2 right-handed batters and Showalter will take him out for the lefty. This is precisely what happened, however Gonzalez was unable to get out Cervelli (I mean, seriously?) as he issued the walk. He was replaced with Troy Patton, and the Orioles were to rely on their bullpen to keep them even. After Gardner executed his second sacrfice of the game, Robinson Cano grounded out to J.J. Hardy to move Cervelli to 3rd with 2-outs.
Intentionally walk Kevin Youkilis? I mean, sure. I don’t really want to give him the satisfaction of thinking that we are scared of him, but tactically speaking, it makes sense. Get the lefty Patton to face the lefty Hafner with force-outs at 2nd and 1st. Logic checks out.
Only, sometimes, logic and reality say they’re going to meet up in the same place at the same time. Logic was right on time. Troy Patton had gotten a 3-2 count and was prepared to deliver to the enormously fragile Hafner. This is when reality called and said they were running a bit late. The ball hits Hafner as it runs up and in, and the bases become fully juiced for Vernon Wells.
Vernon Wells is your quintessential Yankee. He took a break from counting his stacks of money (courtesy of the Angels), and stepped into the batters box. Logic texted reality saying, no worries, it’s just Vernon—remember? He was practically untouchable this offseason! No, not because of how well he was playing. But because of how well they were paying.
Logic said in the offseason that no team was a match. Reality responded with the acquisition of Vernon Wells’ rights to the New York Yankees.
I guess reality must have been stuck in New York traffic, because the ball was lifted in the air off of the bat towards center field. As Jones got a good jump and started retreating towards the wall, I was holding my breath on the off chance that maybe Vernon had gotten a hold of the ball enough to send it out of the park and into my conscience for years to come. As Jones started to slow down a bit and held his glove up towards the sky in an awaiting manner, logic started to ease my nerves.
Then reality showed up and took a 9-iron to my manhood. As the ball fell from the sky, Jones temporarily diverted his attention to his left and the ball bounced off of the heel of his glove and to the warning track dirt.
My screams probably awoke the neighborhood, as this game had taken a turn from tightly contested to terribly tragic. All 3 baserunners would score on the error by Jones, and the Yankees had created a seemingly insurmountable lead from nothing.
All because reality was late to the party. After Wells reached base on Jones’ error, Ichiro grounded out to Manny Machado to end the inning. It was one of the more shocking half innings of the season, and it was one that left an acrid taste in my mouth.
I took a seat next to our good old friend logic, and convinced myself that the Orioles had overcome bigger leads before. Alexi Casilla reached base on an infield single, as he was too fast for Nix to retire him at first base. Then, Nick Markakis singled to left field and the Orioles were right back in the thick of things with 2 men on and nobody out.
Had reality finally showed up? Is this the Orioles that we had been waiting for? Manny Machado was at the plate, and he began to work the count. It eventually sat at 3-2, and I turned to my friend and said, “If he gets on base, I’m only going to be able to think about a double play. That would be awful.”
It would turn out that reality hadn’t in fact turned up yet, but he was ringing the doorbell by the time I said awful. Manny Machado hits a sharp line-drive groundball towards Robinson Cano—a tailor made double play ball. Cano shovels it to the shortstop Nix who is covering the bag at 2nd base, who then throws ahead of Casilla on his way to 3rd to get the tag on the lead runner. An unconventional double play, even worse than what I was afraid of. The Orioles went from having two men on with nobody out, to one man on with 2-outs.
A modest entrance is never enough for reality, though, as Kevin Youkilis threw the ball back to first base. The Yankees had gotten Machado stuck in a rundown.
The Yankees just got a triple play.
One half inning after the Orioles made a 3-run error.
What’s that saying, when it rains it pours?
It was at that point that I regretted ever inviting logic or reality, and wished that I had made it a slumber party with my good friends Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and Johnnie Walker. Where before, reality had taken a 9-iron to my manhood, he just couldn’t seem to let me try and recover from that audacious swing. After the triple play, I looked down only to find my manhood completely missing, as the light breeze sent a ripple through my wavy dress.
A few days earlier, I swore for the first time on the website because I felt that the situation called for it. The situation at the time was Daniel Nava hitting a home run just a day after me threatening him with “$#% et al” in my pregame after hitting his go ahead home run. I now see the irony of the situation. If that scenario warranted the f-bomb, then I have no relevant words to describe what occurred last night.
I’m afraid if I had put this recap on the internet the night prior, Big Brother would be swooping into my living room with shields and assault rifles looking to blacklist me and lock me away.
I had to be sure that I would actually wake up this morning.
Sure, logic told me that I would. However, if this experience taught me anything, it’s that reality and logic aren’t one in the same.
- If a game like that ever happens again, the reality of things is that I’ll logically be relocated to an insane asylum.
- Miguel Gonzalez wasn’t without fault, as he did walk an uncharacteristic 5 batters in the game. He can pitch much, much better, which is generally encouraging. I am most confident with Miguel on the mound than with any other starter on our roster (speaking of that, can we start converting Darren O’Day to starter?)