Another Sunday with John and Suzyn

John Sterling

I couldn’t believe it had been over two years since the last time I listened to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman and wrote down my thoughts during a full Yankees broadcast. The last time I spent an entire game listening to John and Suzyn and then wrote about it the following day was June 5, 2012 and the time before that was June 29, 2011. The Yankees won both of those games (in the 2012 one Phil Hughes miraculously beat Justin Verlander), so with the Yankees needing to go on a summer run, I figured it was time to sit down with John and Suzyn and try to sweep the Reds.

Here’s what transpired on Sunday afternoon at the Stadium …

TOP 1ST
Suzyn: “And as Billy Hamilton steps up to the plate, stepping up to the microphone is the voice of the New York Yankees … here is John Sterling.”

John: “Well, Suzyn, I thank you.”

I picked to follow John and Suzyn for this game because I’m visiting my parents for the weekend (because being in the city on the weekends in the summer is miserable) and I knew I would be outside during the game and since I was going to have to listen to the game rather than watch it, I figured I might as well write about it too. (That and the fact I knew my girlfriend would be laying outside and would rather have me listen and write about the game at once rather than watch/listen to it now and then write about it later.) But I didn’t even factor in that with Hiroki Kuroda and Johnny Cueto starting, the game has a chance to move rather quickly without a lot of baserunners and pitching changes.

To prove my point, Kuroda strikes out Hamilton on a splitter to begin the game, and John reiterates my point.

“If you’re going to beat Cueto, the way to do it is to pitch great against him.”

Skip Schumaker strikes out swinging on a splitter as well and there are two away.

John and Suzyn start to talk about the Yankees defense and lineup, which is the same for the third day in a row. I will have to check, but I’m 99 percent sure it’s the most consecutive games Girardi has used the same lineup since 2009. But in the lineup today (and therefore the third day in a row) is Kelly Johnson, who I have been calling to be designated for assignment for a while now.

“Both Solarte and Wheeler will get time next week,” Suzyn mentions in reference to Johnson playing again, and this is when I wish I was the third man in the booth for the game, so I could ask Suzyn, “What has Kelly Johnson done to not only remain in the lineup, but to remain on this 25-man roster?” The answer to that question would be “nothing.” Johnson is hitting .223/.304/.383 and has just two home runs since May 3 despite being in the lineup to provide extra power.

John, who probably would like to share some choice words about Johnson’s play himself, chooses to change the subject and begins his mission to drive home the point that Johnny Cueto is very good at pitching.

“You know if you’re facing Cueto … Kuroda better pitch a terrific game.”

Kuroda strikes out All-Star Todd Frazier looking with a fastball on the outside corner to strike out the side in the first. So far, Kuroda has done just what John has asked of him.

BOTTOM 1ST
“We’ll give Cueto’s numbers … they’re fabulous!” is how John opens the bottom of the first of the broadcast before telling us Cueto is 10-6 with a 2.11 ERA, mentioning that Cueto should have a much better record, but has been screwed over by run support (like Kuroda). John does some math to share Cueto’s hits per innings pitched and then exclaims, “I have a great story, which I’ll get to in a minute.” That great story ends up being about Sterling asking Bob Gibson how he lost nine games during his 22-9, 1.12 ERA season in 1968.

Brett Gardner takes a called third strike and goes down looking (also known as a “Gardner”) on a 3-2 pitch. “I don’t really blame Gardner,” John says before sharing his logic that Gardner was looking to walk and happened to get a pitch on the inside corner. “I don’t really blame Gardner … if you can draw a walk … the pitch was on the inside corner … if you can draw a walk maybe the Yankees build a run.”

The Stadium crowd begins to overpower John and Suzyn and that means Derek Jeter, the only right-handed in the lineup, is coming to the plate. John continues to gush over Cueto while Suzyn compares him to Pedro Martinez and Luis Tiant.

Jeter works the count full before going down swinging on a “nasty” sinker down and in. Even with the first two out by way of the K, Gardner and Jeter forced Cueto to throw 12 pitches and that is a small victory against an elite pitcher. (Yes, I’m looking for something to feel good about knowing the Yankees might not score today.)

Jacoby Ellsbury fouls off the first pitch he sees and then …

“The 0-1 … swung on and lined deep down the right-field line … toward the wall … and it is … foul ball! It is off the wall. Didn’t go out. And Ellsbury missed a double by, I guess, inches.”

Ellsbury ends up hitting on a single on 1-2 pitch and even if the Yankees don’t score this inning, they have made Cueto work.

Teixeira lines out to end the inning and Cueto’s pitch count is at 16.

TOP 2ND
Jay Bruce flies out to right field to begin the second and Suzyn jumps into her “Scoreboard Update.” I went back and found what I wrote the last two times about Suzyn’s love for her “Scoreboard Update.”

Suzyn is giving her first scoreboard update of the day. The best part of the scoreboard updates is that John clearly hates them. He hates that his broadcast gets hijacked momentarily and hates that he has to interrupt Suzyn to give the play-by-play. It breaks up his flow and his rhythm and I kind of agree. And maybe the scoreboards can be taken out of the broadcast? I know it would be like taking away someone’s lines in a play in that Suzyn’s airtime would be cut down significantly, but it’s 2011. I don’t think anyone is waiting for Suzyn’s scoreboard updates to find out scores from around the league.

Well, it’s not 2014 and we are three years removed from when I first asked to have the scoreboard updates removed from the broadcast. I’m not sure how many Yankees fans are looking for the Giants-Marlins or Brewers-Nationals score, especially since I would assume only Yankees fans are listening to a Yankees radio broadcast. And if someone did want to know those scores, would they wait for Suzyn Waldman to tell them it or use one of the three billion forms of technology that could instantly give them the score they are looking for.

John only has to interrupt Suzyn twice while she gives the scores around the league, but then she goes into all the scheduled games and the pitching matchups, which irritates John to no end and she can sense it as she starts to race through them as if she is reading the side effects for some new erection drug at the end of a commercial.

“He is nominally the Yankees No. 1 pitcher,” John says of Kuroda, which gets me thinking.

I hadn’t really thought about the idea that Kuroda is the Yankees’ No. 1 pitcher since I have tried not to think about the state of the rotation at all since Masahiro Tanaka went on the diasabled list. But I guess right now, Kuroda would be the No. 1. If the Yankees were in the ALDS and it started today, I would set the rotation as Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy, Shane Greene and David Phelps (I think Girardi would flip Greene and Phelps) and that has to be the worst Yankee postseason rotation ever. That’s infinitely worse than Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, a 42-year-old Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright in 2006 and much, much worse than Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte and an injured 44-year-old Roger Clemens in 2007. The only rotation that compares to it happens to be 2004 when the Yankees started Mike Mussina, Jon Lieber, Orlando Hernandez and Kevin Brown against the Red Sox. Hernandez had a 3.30 ERA in 15 starts for the Yankees, but the lowest after that was Brown’s 4.09.

Ryan Ludwick walks, but Brayan Pena flies out and Chris Heisey pops out to end the inning.

BOTTOM 2ND
McCann has gotten up to .240 and that’s up!” John says and I’m not sure if he is being sincere or sarcastic about Brian McCann’s struggles. The good news is that McCann is 3-for-7 against Cueto in his career and all three hits were home runs.

No home run this time as McCann grounds out. Carlos Beltran follows with a strikeout and Ichiro falls to 0-for-17 with a ground out. This game might be over by 3:15 p.m.

TOP 3RD
It’s 1:44 p.m. now, which is surprising because the game has felt quicker. Suzyn starts the inning by reading the Yankees’ statement in response to the New York Post falsely reporting that the team hiked up ticket prices for Derek Jeter Day on Sept. 7. Suzyn is outraged at the Post’s accusations and puts on her Yankees hat to defend the team against the article since even if the Post is wrong in this case, the team has never doe anything wrong regarding marketing in the past. Like the Yankees would never honor their iconic retiring star three weeks before the end of the season to increase ticket sales and TV ratings for a September afternoon game against the Royals coincidentally on the same day as the first Sunday of the NFL season.

Zack Cosart grounds out for the first out, but Ramon Santiago, the 9-hitter, “rips” a double to right field and I immediately start to get nervous, and rightfully so, about anyone getting into scoring position with Cueto pitching. Why is it always the 9-hitters against the Yankees?

John continues to back up Suzyn and the Yankees by telling those who have a problem with ticket prices, including those on the secondary market by saying, “One thing about ticket prices to game … You don’t have to go” to the game.

John and Suzyn continue voicing their opinions on the Post’s story and you would think the Yankees asked them to pay to get into the Stadium on Sept. 7 with as angry as they are about it.

Hamilton flies out to the track and his long out had me worried as John’s voice began to pick up steam and I thought it was going to be 2-0 Reds.

“And did you know that Santiago didn’t tag?” John asks. No, I didn’t know because I’m listening to the game on the radio and I all about what happens in the game know is what you tell me.

Schumaker walks to put two on with two outs for Frazier, who struck out looking in the first. It’s never good when there is a game-changing and potentially game-ruining at-bat in the second inning, but that’s what the Yankees face with the Reds’ best hitter at the plate and best pitcher on the mound today.

The 0-1 pitch is driven to center field where Ellsbury evidently makes a diving catch after John nearly gives me a heat attack thinking the chances of a three-game Yankees sweep were over.

“He’s (Ellsbury) fabulous. He really is fabulous.”

BOTTOM 3RD
Brian Roberts leads off the inning with a base hit on a 2-1 pitch and here comes the legend to the plate.

“Now batting for the Yankees … Number 33 … Kelly Johnson … Number 33.”

Suzyn is quick to announce, “Kelly Johnson had a good afternoon yesterday,” which only makes me wish even more I was the third man in the booth to rebut her happiness. Because I have been so vocal about wanting Johnson designated for assignment, whenver he does something even remotely good, I get emails and texts and tweets from people saying, “So do you STILL want Kelly Johnson DFA’d?” The answer is “Yes” and always will be “Yes.” I’m wondering if Suzyn sent some of those emails or texts or tweets. And now I’m wondering if John has sent some too after he says, “Kelly Johnson can do some damage.” Damage? What damage? The man has two home runs since May 3! It’s July 20. May 3 was 78 days ago. Kelly Johnson has two home runs in over 11 weeks. That’s essentially half the season.

But back to Suzyn’s point … If anyone is given enough chances they will eventually come through. Whether it’s Johnson now or Randy Winn in 2010 or Nick Swisher in the playoffs … well, never Nick Swisher in the playoffs. But most players when continuously put into the lineup will eventually do “something,” but doing something once every couple weeks isn’t good enough when there are better options on the bench.

Johnson walks and I check my phone to see if anyone from the Kelly Johnson Fan Club has tried to contact me asking if I would like to rethink my membership and there are two on with no outs for the top of the order. Two on and no outs.

“Would you bunt?” John asks. “I would, by the way. I don’t think you get many runs off Cueto.”

No, I wouldn’t bunt with two on and no one out in the SECOND inning of a 0-0 game at Yankee Stadium. This isn’t Johnny Cueto against pre-July Masahiro Tanaka. This is Johnny Cueto against Hiroki Kuroda, who while good, can lose it at any moment in a game. Cueto’s pitch count is climbing rapidly and you have one of the team’s best hitters up. Why would you want to give Cueto a break and give away an out?

Gardner flies out for the first out of the inning. I told you he should have been bunting!

Jeter grounds out to third to put runners on the corners with two outs and you know John is thinking in his head that if he were the Yankees manager they would be 10 games up in the division with his decision making. (And I’m not so sure they wouldn’t be with some of the decisions Girardi has made this year.)

Suzyn takes the chance to throw in, “Kelly Johnson is a terrific baserunner,” in her bid to keep him on the Yankees forever.

Ellsbury walks and the bases are loaded with two outs for Teixeira, who I have zero confidence will do anything in this spot.

Teixeira swings at the first pitch and fouls it off because why wouldn’t you swing at the first pitch following a walk to load the bases against an elite pitcher, who clearly isn’t on top of his today game? Teixeira works the count to 2-2 and Cueto is now at 63 pitches, having recorded only five outs.

John reminds us of what’s at stake with the 2-2 pitch and why Teixeira is likely to see a strike.

“You go 3-2 and then you HAVE to throw a strike.”

Cueto throws a strike and Teixiera looks at it to end the inning.

TOP 4TH
“Scoreboard Update!”

Bruce grounds out to Teixeira for the first out as Suzyn continues to run off the scores from around the league.

Ludwick doubles to put another runner in scoring positions and after the Yankees missed a chance to open up the game in what might be the only chance they get against Cueto in the bottom of the third, I’m now just waiting for the Reds to take a lead they won’t relinquish. And with Brayan Pena, who hit two home runs against David Phelps on Friday night, coming up, I’m beginning to think he would be the perfect person to ruin this Sunday.

Pena strikes out and Heisey grounds out to short on the first pitch to strand Ludwick at second and for now I can breathe easily.

“At the end of three-and-a-half, no score on the New York Yankees radio network driven by Jeep.”

I’m not sure why Sterling always says “no score” when it’s 0-0 since there is a score and the score is 0-0, but not even that minor pet peeve can upset me after Kuroda leaves another runner in scoring positon and is at just 57 pitches through four.

BOTTOM 4TH
Brian McCann opens the inning with a base hit to right field, and according to John, McCann has been hitting .316 since June 29. Even with 80 percent of the Opening Day rotation on the disabled list, the Yankees don’t have a chance in the “second half” if McCann and Beltran don’t start hitting the way they were expected to when they signed $80 million and $45 million deals respectively. And if they do, in this year’s AL East, I think the Yankees could very well get by and reach the postseason with a makeshift rotation as long as their offense is in order.

Beltran hits a 3-2 pitch into a double play to erase McCann and Ichiro turns his 0-for-17 into an 0-for-18. The Yankees might have missed their chance to get to Johnny Cueto.

TOP 5TH
Cozart hits a ground ball to second, which Roberts boots for his ninth error of the season. Sure, it’s only his ninth (which is a lot when you’re coming from seeing Robinson Cano every day) and that means he obviously doesn’t make an error every game, but it does feel like he makes an error every game.

Santiago wastes no time laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Cozart to second as Dan Martin of the New York Post monotones his way through the fifth-inning segment reminding everyone why he went into print media and not broadcasting and why this segment should also be cut from the broadcast.

Hamilton pops up in foul territory for the second out and Kuroda is one out away from stranding another runner at second and bailing out Roberts, who is unlikely to make up for mistake at the plate if Cozart does score.

Schumaker makes Roberts pay with a two-out hit to score Cozart and give the Reds a 1-0 lead and even with the sun shining on my face, a beer in my hand and baseball in my ears, my mood has suddenly changed into the day-after-Labor Day depression.

Frazier grounds to short on the first pitch, but the damage has been done.

BOTTOM 5TH
Roberts makes up for his costly error by striking out to lead off the fifth, but fan-favorite Kelly Johnson walks following a seven-pitch at-bat. Gardner walks on six pitches and with just one out in the fifth, Cueto is now at 94 pitches, which makes me at least a little happier.

The crowd start to get loud as Jeter walks to the plate and Sterling tells us what’s at stake if the Yankees can’t tie the game or take the lead before the late innings.

“You don’t want to go to the ninth inning down,” John says by alluding to the fact that Aroldis Chapman would be waiting in the bullpen and is well rested, having not pitched all weekend. But do you

Jeter delivers on a 1-1 pitch and Sterling is jacked up.

“Here comes the 1-1 .. swung on and lined to right field … there is a base hit … Kelly Johnson rounding third … Bruce fell down … the throw into the infield … and all the way to third goes Gardner. It is a base hit and an RBI  for the Captain! EL CAPITAN!”

Before John said “… and an RBI for the Captain” how was I supposed to know that Johnson even scored on the hit? Oh well. Tie game!

“That was worth the price of a ticket for most people here,” Suzyn responds.

With Gardner on third, Jeter on first and one out, John goes over every possibility and I mean ever possibility for Ellsbury to get the go-ahead run in from third, and Ellsbury takes the easy way with a base hit on a 3-2 pitch. Gardner scores, Jeter goes to third, the Yankees take a 2-1 lead and there’s still just one out for the heart of the order.

Unfortunately the heart of the order beats like that of someone who has lived off the McDonald’s value menu, Slim Jims, hot dogs, and Mountain Dew for 16 years as Teixeira and McCann strike out to end the inning.

TOP 6TH
“Scoreboard Update!”

John recognizes that other AL East teams are winning today after they all won on Saturday and says, “The Yankees would be smart to win today.”

Kuroda needs 10 pitches to eventually strike out Bruce and I’m beginning to think we are at the end of the line for Kuroda’s day after watching last Sunday’s game slip away because of a tired starter (Chase Whitley) before the rain came. If there’s ever a day to go to the bullpen early, it’s today. But I know Girardi wont.

Ludwick strikes out and swinging and Pena grounds out to end the inning. I guess Kuroda isn’t done after all.

BOTTOM 6TH
Beltran strikes out to start the sixth against left-hander Manny Parra, but Ichiro singles to break his 0-for-18 slide, which brings a smile to my face. Ichiro isn’t supposed to be an everyday player, but with Beltran unable to play right field or throw a baseball and Brian Cashman deciding Alfonso Soraino should be designated for assignment over some other players, Ichiro has been put into a regular role. And like Soriano, Ichiro might be playing a role he is destined to fail at. He is now 40 and showed earlier in the season how effective he can be when used as a fourth outfielder, but some more intelligent general managerial and managerial decisions have made Ichiro the everyday right fielder.

Roberts singles to left field in an attempt make up for his earlier error (it doesn’t) and there are two on and one out for the immortal Kelly Johnson.

Nevermind. Johnson gets called back to the bench for Zelous Wheeler, who should have been starting the game to begin with (or Solarte). Suzyn tells John how Zelous says his mom just made up his unique name and John sarcastically responds, “His siblings are Joe and Bob and Frank.” Wheeler strikes out looking.

Gardner hits a grounder to third, which is booted by Santiago (I guess were are now even on errors) to load the bases with two outs for Jeter. Parra won’t be allowed to face Jeter and Bryan Price brings in right-hander Sam LeCure.

“The bases are F.O.B.,” John says coming out of the break from the pitching change. “Full of Bombers.” (I actually don’t mind this acronym from John. It’s not as good as David Cone’s “the bases are drunk,” but it’s not terrible.)

Jeter grounds out to short on a 2-1 pitch to keep the score the same: 2-1.

TOP 7TH
Heisey flies out to left to open the inning with an out for Kuroda and Cozarts pops out to second. Two outs and no one on and Joe Girardi is taking out Kuroda for Dellin Betances. I like this move because if Kuroda were to give up the game-tying run this inning, after I thought he was tiring last inning, I would crush Girardi for waiting too long. It’s never too early to bring in Betances.

Kuroda’s final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K and 99 pitches. A great start to the “second half” for Kuroda after what happened at the end of his second half last year.

“We knew that Betances would come in in the eighth,” John says. “I’m a little surprised two outs and no one on for Santagio.

“This is the only thing I can think of, John,” Suzyn says. ” He had just hit 100 pitches and Joe maybe is thinking ‘What if it’s a 10-pitch at-bat?’ Maybe it’s 10 more pitches. They’re being very careful with Kuroda. They don’t want him to lose his stuff by the end of the year. Maybe that’s it.”

There’s just so much here I don’t know where to begin. If Suzyn thinks that Girardi took Kuroda out because of the fear of a 10-pitch at-bat then I don’t even know what to say. And if Girardi actually did take Kuroda out for the fear of a 10-pitch at-bat then I think I need to go off the grid and the Yankees need to find a managerial replacement today. How often do 10-pitch at-bats happen? What’s the chance of a 10-pitch at-bat happening? Is there a place that offers odds on something like this because I have a lot of money that needs to be made.

The part about the Yankees not wanting to burn Kuroda out is sadly 100 percent true. Kuroda is 39 and is on a one-year deal and likely will retire or go back to Japan after this season. The Yankees should be using his arm up until it’s hanging from his body. Not only to get the most use out of him, but because they are trailing in both the division and wild-card races and need to win games. We don’t need Girardi not using Kuroda the way he didn’t use Mariano Rivera, so he can now play catch with his kids or the way he is giving Derek Jeter rest with only now 65-plus games left in his baseball career.

“No,” John responds, “I think you’re on to something.” (He sounds sarcastic. I’m hoping he was being sarcastic.)

Betances gives up a single to Santiago (once again the 9-hitter) and Suzyn offers the closest thing to “You can’t predict baseball” that we have heard all day.

“Strange game this baseball.”

John starts to think about what Suzyn said some more.

“I really think you’re onto something, Suzyn,” John says. “I think that was it.” (Please tell me you’re just effing with Suzyn, John. Please tell me you aren’t serious.)

Hamilton strikes out on a 1-2 curve and the Yankees are six outs away from sweeping the Reds.

BOTTOM 7TH
Hamilton loses an Ellsbury fly ball in the sun as John screams, “He lost the ball! He lost the ball!” and Ellsbury coasts into second with a “double.”

Teixeira flies out to right field as John gets excited and the Stadium gets excited, but Ellsbury moves to third with one out. McCann grounds out to first for the second out and Ellsbury is held at third as “the heart of the order” continues to barely beat.

Beltran walks with Ichiro on-deck and Suzyn gives us LeCure’s thought process.

“I think this is probably a good trade in LeCure’s mind,” Suzyn says. “Ichiro for Beltran.”

Ichiro grounds out and LeCure made the right trade.

It’s been exactly one month (June 20) since I was listening to John and Suzyn and Suzyn was saying how Joe Torre used to like to get above .500 in increments of five games. On June 20, the Yankees were five games over .500. They lost that game 8-0 and are 10-13 since. Six outs to go from getting three games over .500.

TOP 8TH
Schumaker leads off the inning with a single and with Frazier up, Schumaker tries to steal second, but he gets caught in a rundown. And if you think John Sterling calling a home run for a foul ball or a foul ball for a home run is incredible then you have never heard him give the play-by-play for a rundown.

“And there he goes .. and they have him trapped. They have him trapped. A throw to Teixeira … now back to Roberts who runs him back to first … now … back to … Betances … who tags him out. Well, they didnt do it very well, but they got the man. Betances at the end tagged him, who flipped to Jeter who tagged him.” So Betances tagged him and Jeter tagged him? Double play? Real life? The actual play was recorded a caught stealing, 1-3-4-1-6, so John basically nailed it.

One out with Frazier up.

“You see the stat?” John asks. “In Betances’ last 24 at-bats against right-handed hitters, right-handed hitters are 0-for-24.”

Two pitches later, Frazier hits a home run to tie the game at 2. So much for that stat.

“You know what it does, this happens all the time, it takes the win away from Kuroda,” John says angrily. Who cares about Kuroda’s personal record? Yes, he deserved better, but I don’t care about what Kuroda’s record is, I care about the Yankees’ record, as does every Yankees fan and as should John and Suzyn.

Bruce grounds out for the second out.

“You do have to feel bad for Kuroda,” Suzyn adds. “Every single time he pitches his heart out.”

Ludwick flies out to right field to end the inning.

BOTTOM 8TH
The home run was the first Betances has allowed since May 17 and just the second all year.

“I guess Robertson would pitch the ninth” John suggests. I would hope so unless Joe Girardi would like to lose even more games this year without using Robertson because the Yankees DON’T HAVE THE LEAD!

Jonathan Broxton strikes out Roberts and Wheeler singles to left. With the go-ahead run on base, Gardner pops up and Jeter grounds out. The day-after-Labor Day depression feeling has returned.

TOP 9TH
I don’t trust the Yankees in extra-inning games, mainly because I don’t trust Girardi’s bullpen management in extra-inning games, so it would be nice if the Yankees could win it in the ninth because they would have already used their best two relievers if it goes to the 10th.

“Just in case the Reds take the lead,” John says, “They have Chapman up.”

“Isn’t it funny how it works out?” Suzyn asks. “The eighth inning, which is Betances’ inning, he had the big hitters. He had Frazier, Bruce, Ludwick and Robertson has the bottom of the order here. It’s funny how sometimes that works out.”

“Yeah the eighth inning is sometimes more important than the ninth,” John answers. “I agree.”

And I agree too. And that’s why set innings for relievers shouldn’t exist. But that’s a story for another day.

Robertson gets Pena to ground out to second, strikes out Heisey and gets Cozart to pop up to first for an easy 1-2-3 inning.

BOTTOM 9TH
John starts the ninth with his own personal scouting report on Chapman.

“If you’re wondering what does he throw … he throws hard. Really hard.”

Suzyn has left the booth to go down to the field to get the Player of the Game once the game ends and John loves every second of having the booth and the game to himself.

“The Yankees could have avoided this,” John says and he’s right. They were five outs away from not seeing Aroldis Chapman for three games and an entire weekend and now they not only have to see him, but they are faced with possibly going to extra innings without their best two relievers.

Suzyn chimes in from the third-base camera well, which must upset John that she is still on the air.

Ellsbury singles to left field on the ninth pitch of his at-bat after fouling off fastballs at 102, 101 and 100. All nine pitches were fastballs and all nine were between 100 and 102. His single came on one at 101.

I don’t think Teixeira has a chance here, but I hope I’m wrong.

Ellsbury steals second.

“We remarked how many foul homers Teixeira hits because he’s too quick,” John says, “Well, maybe against Chapman he will hit the ball fair.”

John starts to go over all the possibilities of how Teixeira can move Ellsbury over to third, but let’s be honest, none of them are happening.

A WILD PITCH! A WILD PITCH! A WILD PITCH! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! A wild pitch and Ellsbury moves to third with no outs.

“Well, let’s face it,” John says. “If the Yankees don’t win this game now, they’ll have stubbed their toe.” That’s a nice way to put it, John. I would have used a different way of putting it, but we’ll go with “stubbed their toe.”

Teixeira strikes out. Of course he does.

“1-0 to McCann … and the pitch .. swung on … a high fly ball to shallow right … coming in is Bruce … and … the ball is DROPPED! THE BALL DROPPED! BASE HIT! ELLSBURY SCORES! BALLGAME OVER! YANKEES WIN! THEEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN!”

After John gave his replay play-by-play of the play (or what every other play-by-play man does as a play is happening in real time) he went on to say, “Isn’t that amazing? I mean isn’t that amazing?”

Eighty percent of the Yankees’ Opening Day rotation is on the disabled list and with 65 games left the division is there for them to win. So yes, John, it’s amazing.

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