Aroldis Chapman’s final throw was about Nelson Cruz’s bat, and at last the deed was done. The game was finally won. The Yankees don’t turn every game they play into “war and peace”; it just seems like that.
It just feels like every game has been chewing up cuticles and testing the digestive system lately, it just feels like every day is life and death. This time it was life. The Yankees beat the Rays 4-3 and ran back to their hotel before anyone could explain otherwise.
There haven’t been any lately. Every game lately has become the Cyclone on Coney Island, an absurd tour of the heart of the darkness of baseball. It is becoming clear what the season will look like from now on, a parade of heart rate accelerators and palpitations and gastric rotors.
This time the Yankee did just enough on a night when just enough had to be done. Jordan Montgomery was brilliant, though the bridge from him to Chapman wobbled and creaked. And Chapman, who blew away the first two hitters of the ninth, just seems most comfortable these days when he instills a touch of frenzy.
And so of course he’d allow rookie Wander Franco to take him for a walk edit to hit the tieing run with two outs first and ominously stomp Cruz towards the batter’s box. On June 10th, Cruz had done his contribution to the Tower of Anst of the Yankees in Minneapolis and organized a walk-off for the Twins in front of Chapman.
The TV cameras then caught Boone. He looked like you. He looked nervous. He looked worried. He looked like he needed a friend. Or at least good news.
Called punch one. Called hit two. And then Chapman coaxes his last pitch of the night around Cruz’s bat. A different epic every day. Another grind every night. This time, this time, with a happy ending for the Yankees.
“Every time Cruz gets us up there it gets tense,” Boone said, “but I liked the way Chappy threw the ball . And in the end, he got the pitches he needed. ”
Later, Boone actually allowed himself a laugh as he assessed the importance of winning at Troicana Field, a longtime house of horror.
Every game helps . And every helping hand helps. Montgomery was brilliant in five brilliant innings – five hits, five strikeouts. The Yankees actually scored a couple of runs for him, which always feels like a story on the back.
And then Ryan LaMarre – all six major league home runs in his name – finished seventh and it turned out that it is on the verge of victory, a blast in the eighth. The Yankees are unable to be choosy about who will stand up for the bigger cause night after night. The position is open to everyone. LaMarre just took it this time.
“Just amazing,” said LaMarre. “We play the best we can in every game. We know that every game is important and we try to leave yesterday behind us, to keep fighting. ”
If these words sound familiar to you, then they should. They come straight from the Book of Boone and can sound insincere, if not downright delusional, at times. Still, if you hear the players channeling them, it may indicate that the manager’s relentless optimism is rubbed off. Maybe the message will get through.
When there is so little room for error, any night can be a daunting gauntlet. You take the cheap ends and put them away and run to the bus. And try again tomorrow.
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