LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Beat Jays In, Arguably, Most Exciting Game Of The Year

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Yankees Beat Jays In, Arguably, Most Exciting Game Of The Year

I need a GIF of Brett Gardner throwing the ball up in the air after making that snow cone catch to end last night's game. The expression on his face and the pure joy and relief embodied in that simple action perfectly characterizes my feelings about the win.

Everyone from Michael Kay and David Cone, to Jack Curry and Gardner himself questioned Gardner's decision to pull up on a broken bat game-tying single by Jose Bautista earlier in the game and, with the game coming down to one run, the decision loomed large.  As he looked at that final out rattling around in his glove, his relief, and the relief of every Yankees fan watching the game, was palpable.

The game was thrilling and exhausting all at the same time.

With come-from-behind home runs by Brian McCann and Tyler Austin, great all around defense by Chase Headley, crucial speed on the base paths by Didi Gregorious and Jacoby Ellsbury, and Gardner's game-ending catch (with the bases loaded!), I can see why, on the YES postgame show, Jack Curry called it the most exciting game of the season for the Yankees.

Partial as I am to steals of home, I can think of at least one that would rival it, but it’s impossible to argue that it’s at least in the conversation. And it’s certainly the most important one of the season.

The Yankees battled back twice and survived an absolute meltdown by closer Dellin Betances to win a game, and the series, against the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays.

That’s something to celebrate!

As was pointed out to Joe Girardi during the postgame, the Yankees kept pace in the Wild Card race, remaining 3.5 games back, but actually gained ground in the division race, where they are now 4.5 games back. Girardi responded that he’s taking the rest of the season one day at a time and, to be honest, with the Yankees still in 4th place in the division, it’s hard to blame him.

The Yankees have just three non-division games left on the season (against the NL West leading Dodgers) so there’s room to dream, but Girardi is right. One game at a time.  It's why he let Dellin Betances throw 40 pitches, and why he, admittedly, pushed some players farther than he ordinarily would.

Every game is important and you worry about tomorrow when it shows up.  For the Yankees, that game holds the first season start by Brian Mitchell, the unavailability of Dellin Betances and Adam Warren, and a match-up against Marcus Stroman, against whom they are batting .111 as a team in one 2016 match-up (small sample size alert).  

Yes, tomorrow is today, but as long as the first pitch hasn't been thrown yet, we can still celebrate: Yankees win!

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