The morning after

By Jon Lane
Or in my case hours later. Thanks to mad traffic getting out of the Bronx  – even 45 minutes after Alex Rodriguez’s pop fly shockingly bounced off the heel of Luis Castillo’s glove – and an incident on the Long Island Rail Road, I walked into my door after 3 a.m.

Friday night came down to this: The Yankees did not deserve to win. Five pitchers combined to walk nine batters, Mariano Rivera inexplicably continued to not get it done in tie games and A-Rod was a routine catch from again being vilified for failing to deliver in the clutch.

Then Castillo dropped the ball and Mark Teixeira – running hard from first base, in other words doing what he’s supposed to do but more and more players refuse to do – raced home with the winning run. But considering the Yankees’ performance in Boston and against the Mets, in this case it was better to be lucky than good. To quote Derek Jeter, “We feel like we stole one.”

“It’s hard to believe, because we tried to give the game away all night, and they took advantage of all the mistakes that we made,” said Joe Girardi. “And in the end, we got the big gift. “I understand that we kind of got a gift tonight. And you can’t pitch like that and expect to win.”

As for the Mets, Jerry Manuel refused to ostracize Castillo – so much for him throwing his players under the bus – while angry fans lit up sports talk radio demanding that Castillo, in the midst of a bounce-back season, be immediately released. An old cliche in baseball is that momentum is as good as the next day’s starting pitcher and if the Mets take the next two games less people will be talking about Castillo and more about the Yankees’ June swoon.

But remember, the Mets choked away the NL East two years in a row, falling short of a playoff spot by one game both times. They can’t look at Friday and say, “It’s one game and it’s early.”

“We’ve had three games this week where we should have had three wins over rivals and we came up short,” said Manuel, citing other blown chances the prior two nights against  the Phillies. “This is going to be a good test for us.”

And a bigger one for Castillo’s psyche. After the game he was alone in the clubhouse at his locker, elbows on knees and eyes reddening. The lone consolation is that the Mets don’t return to Citi Field until June 19. It’s up to he and the Mets to give their angry and jaded fan base something a lot more positive, or slightly less negative, to discuss.

9 Comments

It is wrong to place all the blame of the lose on Luis Castillo. No question the Mets are under a lot of pressure to succeed this season, but Castillo can help them. Johnny Damon also dropped a ball Thursday night that was costly to the Yankees – are the fans calling for his head?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I agree 100% Jon. Mariano just isn’t getting it done this year. I have said it 1,000 times. I don’t think I would ever say that Mo wasn’t the best closer in baseball. Unfortunately, in my opinion though……he doesn’t have it anymore. He was great, he was good, he could scare people at the plate just by appearance on the mound. Because he could back it up. Not anymore. Now he gets called into the game, and my wife and I go “Oh hell”. With usually correct results. He goes in now and throws alot of balls. And gets alot of hits. Unusual for him, but he gets alot of hits, usually resulting in runs scored. I don’t see him enter a game and think to myself “YES!!! Game over now!!” Know, it’s “AHHH HELL”. Batters have picked up on it too, don’t think they haven’t. They know they have a shot at him, just as if he was another pitcher. Unfortunate, but the Yankees SERIOUSLY need to think this over. Because he hasn’t been a “Sandman” at all this year. We have been losing games or teams have been tying us late in the game with Mo attempting to end the game. I’m sure its tough to admit that your closer, with an awesome history and previous records is not the closer that is associated with the HYPE anymore. But if the want to win close games or keep a lead late in the game, they might need to do some serious thinking.
Kevin – Upstate NY

Julia, nobody scored when Damon dropped the ball, the only bad thing that came of that was that Joba had to throw about 3 more pitches.

When will joe stop bringing mo in with tie games, or behind a run. I think we have all seen what happens multiple times now.
We don’t have anyone else, because the one guy we do have thinks he is a starter!!!!!!!
The experiment is over!!!!!!!! Put Joba back in the pen!!!!!!!

Or enjoy watching the year go down the toilet.

Mo has not lost it. Its just the standard is so high. In save situations, he has 1.45 ERA and a .201 BAA. In tie-games, he just does not seem to come in ready because that cutter does move nearly as much as when he comes in for a save situation. I just think Joe G needs to make his decision earlier to give him adequate time to warm up. He is old, but he still has it…its just a matter of consistency.
And Pete, it was CC pitching, not Joba, when Damon lost that ball in the lights.

A-Rod not hitting in a clutch? Wasn’t it just this past Thursday that he did that very thing in Boston?

YANKEESPETE……I agree with ya 100% brother!! Now, I’m not talking about last year. Or the year before. Or even 4 years ago. I am talking about THIS YEAR PELICANSNOWSLIDE….Mo has lost it “so far this year”. Maybe by the end of the year or next year he’ll be up to what we expect when he comes in to “win” a game. But THIS YEAR, lol……He has stunk!!!! I know what a closer is supposed to be capable of, and he isn’t showing that he has it at all. He is put up on a pedestal, so any little mess up is always covered with some excuse. But, and I mean no offense to any Mo fans, I am one myself believe it or not, but he is on the downhill slide to retirement right now. Gives up to many runs. Too many balls. Indisputeable. If any other closer was performing like that, they would be waiting to be replaced. Not the Yankees though. We hold on too much to tradition. And Mo is are latest traditional closer. Hope we make the post-season tho or Joe has to go! And Pettite tonight…..What in the MAMMOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lol. Same thing as Mo. We need to replace these “long-time” team members that are just losing their stuff. Its ok to lose your stuff. It happens to all of us eventually. But when you are on a team, and your team is trying to make the post season after last years debacle (for the first time in 13 years) you have to do what is best for the “TEAM”. Not for someones pride.
Kevin – Upstate NY

wait a second………..our starters are 0-4 over the last 5 games?????????? DAMN!!!!! Thats what I am talking about with the Pitching situation. We need to make some changes. Can’t worry about hurting any feelings.

SUN. Game 3 vs. METS. A.J. Burnett……You are a Ball throwing fool brother!!! Yankees have the 2nd most balls thrown in the AL to this point. Hopefully today is different. I would LOVE to see some strikes from you. BRUNEY BRUNEY BRUNEY!!!!! What is your damage brother???? First of all, you seemed pretty damn arrogant with Kim Jones during your interview yesterday. You’ve been on the DL Lol. He sure seemed cocky for someone who lied about being ready to pitch…..then re-injuring his arm again the first time he pitched with us again. DON’T LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It hurts the team!!!!!!!! Not just your pride or your arm fool!! And who in the mammoth do you think YOU are, for talking smack about K-Rod?? We have pitchers that do the SAME damn thing so quit your damn crying little man!!! You got to make sure your house is clean before you start talking about someone elses. And ours isn’t clean yet. BRUNEY…..Lose the attitude (which you damn sure haven’t earned yet), and worry about yourself instead of K-Rod.
Kevin – Upstate NY

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