Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hard-hitting Sox

Scattered Sox-Yanks leftovers from Saturday while wondering how long it will be before Doug Mientkiewicz remembers how to spell his name . . .

Loved this quote from Mike Lowell explaining why the Yankees shouldn't be upset at his Daniel Graham-style beatdown of Robinson Cano: "They taught me how to do it." I'm guessing there are only a few fans with a greater base of knowledge than your average Pink Hat who don't know this, but yes, Lowell actually came up with the Yankees. He went 4 for 15 in a cup of coffee in '98 before they traded him to Florida that offseason for a trio of future Cy Young award winners, Todd Noel, Ed Yarnall, and Mark Johnson. Lowell acknowledged he was taught that was the correct play in that situation while he was a Yankee minor leaguer, and I have admit I was surpri . . . er, impressed when Tim McCarver (my FOX Sports homeboy - we actually carpool together, along with Kevin Kennedy and his enormous makeup kit) immediately recognized it as such, saying, "That's the right play there. Good play." Joe Morgan would have mentioned that the player Lowell creamed was a second baseman, his segue into another mindnumbing, nonsensical story about his days playing second base for the Reds.

Where is Rog-ah? Most likely limping around a golf course somewhere in Texas, berating the Hendricks brothers on his cell phone about how its their fault he signed with the lousy Yankees and wondering why this Waldman woman keeps leaving him creepy, breathless messages. And while it's not really our style to get all Simmonsy on you and gloat about a sorta-correct prediction (mostly because we're just about always wrong; see Pedroia, Dustin, Too Shrimpy To Hit), we cannot pass up the opportunity to remind you that A) we said upon his resigning with the Yankees that there was no way Clemens would pitch in this series against the Sox, and B) that his accelerated trip through the minors would inevitably result in a muscle pull, a chronic problem of his in recent seasons. To quote the great Troy Brown: I've got bingo! Now, as far as the injury goes, a "fatigued right groin" (we're trying desperately to avoid an Andy Pettitte joke here) doesn't sound too serious, and we have to figure the delayed launch is precautionary on the Rocket's part, if not the Yankees'. He'll be making his season-debut against that longtime and hated New York rival, the mighty Pittsburgh Pirates, soon enough. Heck, if I were a Yankee fan - and I'm at least a mustache, a dented Fiero, and a stained Jeter t-shirt short of being that - I'd be more bummed that Philip Hughes is probably done until August after spraining his ankle while rehabbing his pulled hamstring. I haven't seen much of Hughes, but what I have seen convinced me that every syllable of hype regarding this kid is legitimate. I thought he was capable of giving the Yankees a top-of-the-rotation starter who could go deep into a ball game, something I think even the most delusional Yankee fan would admit Clemens probably won't be able to do. (Whoops. Should have said the second most-delusional Yankee fan. Hello there, Suzyn.)

So Kevin Youkilis's hitting streak comes to an end at 23 games, and wasn't the way it met its demise appropriate? With the Sox holding a comfortable lead during Youkilis's final at-bat, the Sox's hot-hitting first baseman could be excused if he hacked away at a pitch or two outside the strike zone in an attempt to get the thing to 24. But instead, the streak died because Youkilis was true to himself: as usual, he refused to swing at a bad pitch, refused to waste an at-bat for a chance at prolonging a personal accomplishment, refused to deviate from the disciplined approach that has made him such an irreplaceable offensive player this season. I was not surprised to see the Fenwas fans acknowledge the end of the streak with a warm ovation, but it was nice to see nonetheless. As Uncle Joe pointed out on the radio, patience doesn't lend itself to long-hitting streaks, so this really was a quite an impressive feat.

Have you noticed that A-Rod seems to be going out of his way to goof around with Manny? The first time I picked up on it was after Manny threw him out at second in the series opener, and the NESN cameras caught A-Rod trying to get the Sox left fielder's attention upon returning to the Yankees dugout. (I think Manny was too busy chasing butterflies to notice.) There was another similar instance today, though the exact moment escapes me. Anyway, my point here is twofold: 1) Manny had better know that fraternizing with A-Rod is a good way not to get invited to Derek Jeter's next pajama party. 2) A-Rod is such a poser it'd be pathetic if it weren't comical. ("Look at me! I'm having fun out here! I'm carefree! Now please stop teasing me for being into strippers who look like Ric Flair!")

Come to think of it, now might be a good time for Larry Lucchino to ask Mientkiewicz to return that silly ball.

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

Moose's mug hasn't changed much since his days as a fledgling Hagerstown Sun - even the vaguely condescending smirk is about the same. And in a semi-related note, remember when Mussina vs. Schilling was all but a guaranteed pitchers' duel? Seems like a long time ago right now, though I like the chances of our old guy better than those of their old guy. As one of my Yankee fan buddies noted in an email this afternoon, Mussina has been doing a fine Frank Castillo imitation this season, and I don't think that is meant as a compliment.

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