Friday, July 04, 2008

Girardi Supplies the Fireworks

First things first -- happy Fourth of July to you and yours, and I know you all join me in wishing George Steinbrenner a very miserable 78th birthday. He certainly had to endure a miserable birthday eve last night.

After Jon Lester and the Sox blanked the Boss' overpaid band of underachievers last night, 7-0, manager Joe Girardi spent more than a half-hour ripping his team a new one behind closed doors. The NESN postgame report showed Girardi's press conference live after the verbal beatdown, and the guy was still steaming. A couple of wiseass NY baseball writers kept asking him to share details from the meeting but Joe wasn't buying and you could just see his body temperature rising by the second. Very entertaining TV.

First off, though, we're not going to talk about how listless and lazy the Yankees were last night. Nope, we're going to talk first and foremost about Jon Lester: Stopper. I know he threw a no-hitter against the Royals earlier this year, but in my book last night's performance (9 ip, 0 er, 5 hits, 2 bb, 8 k) - against that lineup - was the best I've ever seen him. He was dominant at a time when we needed him most.

Okay, now for the Yankees. They were flat as a pancake last night, no doubt about it, but they just may be - as Dennis Green famously said - what we thought they were. Their lineup, when humming, is scary. Their pitching is not. They're still relying on old-timers Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte - who was terrible last night - and their young kids have not been impressive. Alex Rodriguez is a sideshow unto himself off the field. Derek Jeter has not been Jeter-like through the first half of the year. Jorge Posada's banged up. There's been a litany of issues that have led to the Yanks entering today's action at 45-41, good for 8 games behind the Rays and 5 behind the Sox.

Josh Beckett vs. Darrell Rasner today in Game 2, and maybe Girardi's words have had some effect. The Sox left 'em loaded in their half of the first, and the Yanks just plated three runs to take a quick lead. Something tells me there's going to be a few runs scored in this one.

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