Yanks Down Tigers 7-3; Celtics Roll Over Cavs

It was a hectic day today, with the gym and work taking up the morning and early afternoon, then time with my son (laughs, football) and, after getting my daughter from school, getting a truck and lugging a washer, dryer, and king-size bed into it then home.  After unloading everything, then eating some pizza and having a beer (then another, my first two in a week) with the Yanks game, I settled into the chair and felt like I got my ass kicked.

However, I can’t complain much.  In fact, some good news and perspective intruded as they often do.  First, a good friend of mine received a very prestigious award for his recently completed dissertation, which was voted the best dissertation in our field for the last year.  It’s really quite an honor, very well deserved, and not too surprising given his sterling record as a Ph.D. student.  Just amazing.  I had to run to the library and grab a dozen books for research and, on the way back to the car, ran into a colleague and friend in African history who recently got a good job at a liberal arts college in the Midwest.  No one deserves it more than he does.  From Africa, he studied here separated from his wife and family, whom he visited during summers.  A few years ago, he lost his wife and child during childbirth, a tremendous blow that would have destroyed me.  Yet he never complained–ever. He persevered, eventually and recently re-married, cared for his two other children, and earned a good job.  To me, that’s good karma coming around to where and to whom it belongs.  These recent developments have me thinking more positively than I have in some time, and just feeling happy for friends who also happen to be very good people, who have earned and fully deserved their successes.

On a much more mundane level, the Yanks beat Detroit 7-3, behind a strong pitching debut from CC Sabathia, some nice offensive contributions, and some good defense.  Sabathia allowed a bloop double to Polanco, who scored on a Berroa error, but Sabathia was otherwise very good.  He fanned two, got four ground-ball outs, and had his two-seam fastball and slider working.  The Detroit radio crew, far superior to the TV clown team of Mario Impemba and Rod Allen, raved at Sabathia’s work.  Aceves followed him with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit, one-walk, scoreless work, with a K.  Steven Jackson surrendered two runs in the sixth, but the pitching was on the whole very good.  The back end of tonight’s pitchers was again solid, with Veras, Anthony Claggett, and Robertson combining for three innings of one-hit (Claggett), six-K work to shut it down.  Veras has been excellent of late, as has Robertson, and both should make the trip north to The Bronx as bullpen contributors if they stay on track.

Offensively, the Yanks got fourteen hits and four walks, performing well against Detroit ace Justin Verlander–4 hits, and 4 runs 3 earned in 2 1/3 IP.  Ransom and Damon doubled, Posada, Molina, and Montero also doubled, Swisher had an RBI groundout, Shelley the Marauder had an RBI, and the 6-9 spots in the lineup went 8-14 with 5 runs and 2 RBIs.  In the field, Cody Ranson made two very good plays at third, and Brett Gardner got turned around in center but made a terrific catch that left the Detroit radio crew quite impressed.

I got to see the second half of the Celtics-Cavs game, and thoroughly enjoyed Boston’s 105-94 win–all the more impressive without KG.  Boston shot 54% from the field, committed only 7 turnovers, and had their bench outscore their Cleveland counterparts 33-15.  But two Celtics impressed me most.  The first was Paul Pierce, who epitomizes the basketball term “letting the game come to him.”  It means he doesn’t press things, he picks his spots and, if his shots aren’t falling early, as was the case tonight, he maintained his patience to get his teammates involved.  After going 1-8 in the first half, Pierce went 10-14 in the second half, blistering the Cavs defense with accurate outside shots and typically aggressive slashing moves to the basket.  As important as KG and Allen are tot he Celtics, Pierce–a future Hall of Famer–makes the Celtics go, especially since he added 9 assists to play a very good well-rounded game.

The second Celtic to impress me was Leon Powe, who sometimes disappeares but tonight was very aggressive, especially offensively, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.  He took the ball strong to the hoop, and was relentless, playing probably his best game of the year in a big one, as the Celtics vie for home-court advantage with the Cavs, Lakers, and Magic.  I very much like the role that Stephon Marbury has accepted with the Celtics, coming off the bench, working into game shape, and fitting into Boston’s system of sharing the ball and operating around other primary offensive options.  He’s done well even though he hasn’t set the team and league on fire.  Heck, that he’s even playing is a plus, and the benefits of that can’t be lost on him.  Marbury makes Boston much deeper and, with 19 games left to play, he has plenty of time to work into and better understand the rotation for the playoffs he needs to fit into and enrich.

Home-court advantage is as important this year as in any in recent years, with it quite likely separating the upper echelon by a mere game in a series.  Boston has hung in there well without KG, a very good sign. His return in about a week will only intensify the race for home-court.

Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This has been such an up, down offseason you can’t make this stuff up can you. I suppose it is the Yankees and the offseason when is it ever simple. Really though do we ever have an normal, simple, no drama offseason. I just want the season to start.

  2. I know what you mean, Nick. The drama quotient has certainly increased with the Yankees, certainly since A-Rod joined the Yanks. Steroids have played a role in the drama, including with Giambi. I think some of it is also the continual focus of the media on the Yanks. There’s just no let-up.

  3. i’m still reeling form the Alex situation.

    condolences on T.O. coming to the Bills

  4. You know Mike, if Posada’s injury hadn’t unfolded as it did last year, I might be more sanguine about the prospects of rehabbing with A-Rod. But after that, I just can’t envision a scenario in which he makes it through the year while staying productive. I wish it were so.

    [Shaking my head about Owens] My Bills. That just figures. What really bothers me about it is it isn’t as though the Bills really needed a big-play receiver as much as they do the ability to consistently run the ball and rush the passer. They signed a guy in Owens–who by the way happens to be a colossal locker room cancer everywhere he goes–who does not address the core on-field problems of the team. The Bills significantly improved their big-play ability last season with Evans, Reed, and Parrish. They don’t need Owens. They need to be able to sack and pressure the QB. They need that enormous O-Line to consistently push opponents off the line of scrimmage. Owens; f&%#ing Owens. And there ESPN is, lauding the deal as something that occurred so quickly to put him back to work when the deal is for one year and, for someone of Owens’s caliber (though diminishing), not the most money for a big-name WR. It’s a keep-your-nose-clean deal. ESPN sucks.

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