Subway Series 2014: Looking on the Bright Side for the Yankees
Two days in, and it looked like it was going to be déjà vu all over again.
The Yankees had once again been beaten by their crosstown and supposedly inferior rivals two nights in a row on home turf, making it six losses in a row to the Mets going back to last year. I attended Tuesday’s game, and it was not pretty. Hordes of Yankee fans paraded out after Daniel Murphy’s home run in the top of the fifth, rationalizing that at least we could beat the traffic in favor of witnessing the remainder of a horrific game.
(Don’t think we didn’t hear the pejorative “Beat the Traffic!” chants. But leaving was certainly preferable to not only watching the Yankees get annihilated by the Mets, but also dragging ass at work the next day).
Luckily for the Yankees, the series moved to Citi Field afterward. In two home games, the Mets failed to score a single run. Yankee fans were grateful that they were able to avoid what many felt was the defining moment in their playoff-less 2013 season—a four-game sweep by the not-so-hapless Mets.
There were many lowlights for the Yankees this week, such as the four Met home runs in Game Two (yes, the game I attended) and Hiroki Kuroda’s and Vidal Nuno’s lackluster performances in Yankee Stadium starts.
But, we here at Double G Sports, like to look on the bright side of things, at least from the standpoint of a Yankee fan who feels the need to defend herself against extended family Met fans. In a week that was marred by a lot of dark clouds, here are our silver linings:
- The offense produced as expected.
I’ve said it before in conversation, and I’ll say it again: I’m not worried about the Yankee lineup. Even though Carlos Beltran has recently been placed on the disabled list, the offense has been solid for the most part. Yankee batters hit .266 in the Subway Series, with Yangervis Solarte going 6-for-15 and Brian McCann going 5-for-17 in the four games. No one is expecting the mostly over-30 starting lineup to blow the opposing pitching away, but their performance in the Subway Series was basically par for the course: their .265 team average is eighth in the American League.
- Tanaka was Tanaka.
It’s pretty obvious that we can only expect to win one out of every five days from now on. That’s not to say that we won’t win more often than that, but that is all we can legitimately anticipate. Masahiro Tanaka hurled the first complete game shutout of the 2014 Yankee season on Wednesday, and it wasn’t even close. Mets hitters managed only four hits off the de facto Yankee ace and struck out eight times in his masterpiece. The win improved Tanaka to a perfect 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA, ensuring that ESPN broadcasters across the nation would begin referring to him as the real thing.
- Betances was filthy.
There’s no better word to describe him, and no better reason to offer as to why he should remain the setup man. It’s no coincidence that the only game not blown by the bullpen (besides Tanaka’s shutout) was the game in which Dellin Betances pitched, or should I say dominated: the 6’8” Washington Heights native struck out six of seven batters he faced Thursday in his trademark nonchalant fashion. Betances is 2-0 and 1.68 on the season, leading many to believe Joe Girardi should give him a shot as a starter in these trying times for the rotation.
I disagree. Finding a legitimate setup man was a real concern at the beginning of the season since David Robertson succeeded Mariano Rivera as closer. In some ways, the setup man is even more crucial than the closer; a setup man must be able to shut the opposition down during the rally-prone seventh and eighth innings just to give the closer the opportunity to earn a save. Making Betances a starter has the potential to throw off his stride; he’s been so successful this year because he’s been able to pitch every couple of days in a set role. I understand the current dearth of healthy starters, but I don’t see the rationale behind pulling a guy out of a spot he’s been successful in to try him somewhere he may not thrive, not to mention the scramble to find another viable setup man.
Some people say the Subway Series has begun to lose its luster, but those people probably didn’t attend Tuesday night in the nosebleed seats. An ordinary four-game series against a sub-par .500 National League team normally wouldn’t generate so much buzz, but that’s what’s so great about being a New York sports fan: we never miss the opportunity to stick up for our team and talk crap about the opposition.
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