It was a bad game. It was hard to watch at times. It was deflating. It was all those things, and still, it was probably a productive loss, if there is such a thing.
The Yanks lost their chance to sweep the Sox today with a 10-1 thumping
, they lost a legitimate shot at winning the East, but they gained some perspective. This season can now become about two things, holding on to the Wild Card lead, and setting this team up for the post season. The Tigers are currently beating the Twins (and Johan Santana), if that score holds up, they'll be 2.5 games behind the Bombers. Definitely not an insurmountable lead, but the Yankees have a much easier schedule remaining. Barring a meltdown, the Bombers will win the Wild Card.
This is the silver lining, folks. The Yankees can cruise, somewhat, to their playoff berth. Rather than managing every day as a must-win, Joe can get some of his ailing vets a few more days off, he can finagle his rotation so Wang and Pettitte are set to go in games 1 and 2 of the playoffs. He can figure out who's going to be reliable out of the pen. He can even give Mike Mussina a start or two, just to be sure he's got nothing left in the tank (which he doesn't). A race with the Sox would've been exciting, it would've been great, but in the long run, it would've made it harder to achieve the ultimate goal, winning the series. Had the Yanks passed the Sox, they still wouldn't have had home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs (most likely). Now they can concentrate on being ready for that first round playoff series, with an eye on the scoreboard to see if they'll be heading to Cleveland or Anaheim.
Josh Beckett out-pitched Chien-Ming Wang today, effectively winning the Cy Young. He deserves it, there's no doubt about that now.
Player of The Game: Derek Jeter. His first-inning bomb was the only offense the Yanks could muster.
If you need a pick-me-up, Yankee fans, take a look at the picture below. Can anyone out there honestly deny that Youkilis is the biggest pussy in the game? Again, he gets hit and acts like he's been shot. He gets helped off the field for a contusion. A contusion is a bruise, people. This guy is a drama queen. One last note, if a Yankee pitcher had blatantly retaliated like Beckett did today, he would've been tossed. There would have been no warning. There's something wrong with that. For the record, I have no problem with Beckett hitting Giambi, that's his job in that situation. I just have a problem with Yankee pitchers being held to a higher standard and ejected and suspended whenever they retaliate.
UPDATE: It looks like Buster Olney agrees
with my assessment
after Friday night's game, although I'm not sure that's a good thing.