I hate Yankees games. Stress, stress, and more stress. It's always just a long, drawn-out, ulcer-inducing stress-fest.
First there was Tavarez, cruising through three and a third with a no hitter, and then suddenly with Matsui on first facing A-Rod with one out, I had that old Jurassic Park feeling again. Except rather than the kids in the car with the water, it was more like the part where the T-Rex was in sight. And Julian looked like the lawyer hiding on the toilet.
In the end, though, Tavarez gave up a run on a wild pitch (brutal), but it absolutely could have been worse. He got into the sixth and gave up another run, but Javy Lopez was tonight's bullpen stud, shutting down that inning with no further damage.
Then both Oki and Jonathan looked tired. Well, Oki looked tired all the way through, letting up a run, finally, and Jonathan looked tired in the beginning, when he walked the first two hitters of the ninth. That's when you saw the eyes start, the pursing of the lips. You could feel him about to Unleash the Fury (tm). Melky Cabrera didn't seem too overmatched, though, fouling off two and working a 2-2 count before he finally swung at a sneaky little fastball that gave me a tiny spark of confidence.
But it wasn't till he threw his first strike to Jeter--after a Johnny Damon groundout moved the two baserunners both into scoring position just to make things more fun--that it was clear he was dialing it up a notch or two to ensure these shenanigans would not continue.
Among the many things there are to utterly adore about Papelbon, his clear aggression toward Jeter vies for top of the list. That's three times now I've seen Papelbon bring the pain on Jeter in particular. Hope he keeps it coming.
But until then? Even a five-run lead didn't feel safe. Not for a second.
And now I'm sure Papelbon's appearance in another non-save situation with the rubber game tomorrow will be questioned. And has Oki been overused? And who do we have left in the bullpen for tomorrow? And aagh! I can't remember the last time a win made me this stressed out. I hate Yankees games.
At least the Eck has returned. I'm not the only one who noticed him missing. I guess we're not getting an explanation, so let's just hope that moving forward, an absence of this nature never happens again.
ETA: Joy of Sox makes an excellent point about why Pedroia might have been a target for A-Rod last night. Seems the boys are getting a little pissy on both sides. As SG put it, " With frustrations boiling over in Yankeeland, we could have our first quality donnybrook of the 2007 season. Stay tuned."