|Two former Twins: catcher A.J. Pierzynski and|
pitcher Phil Humber.
So I watched the ESPN broadcast of the White Sox-Yankees, secure in the knowledge that one of them had to lose (and tormented by the fact that one had to win).
It's been well over 12 hours since the final out, and I still can't quite get my brain around the notion that Phil Humber — sour fruit of the Johan Santana trade, he of a 6.10 ERA in 20 scant innings with the Twins — no-hit the Yankees into the seventh inning. Nor can I credit the fact that after four starts with the Sox that he is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA.
Can he keep this up? I have my doubts, but I'm the guy who greeted the spring training news that he would step into the Sox rotation for the recovering Jake Peavy by referring to him as "throwing batting practice."
As unlikely as I find the notion of Phil Humber getting outs, his performance may not have been the biggest surprise of the game for me. The Yankees made two uncharacteristic defensive mistakes, each of which led to Chicago runs. (And since the game ended 2-0, those miscues, neither of them an error, lost the game.)
One: Center fielder Curtis Granderson made an overly aggressive dive attempt on a leadoff single and turned it into a double. Two ground balls later, the Sox had their first run in something like 28 innings.
Two: In the ninth inning, Alexi Ramirez hits a little pop-up over the pitcher's mound. Rafael Soriano does what he's trained to do: Point to it and get out of the infielders' way. (Major league teams don't want their pitchers trying to backpedal up and down the mound; that's a good route to ankle injuries.) Only Derek Jeter never got there. Base hit.
The ESPN boys immediately blamed Soriano, I assume because the broadcast rights contract requires that nobody ever criticize Jeter for anything. (Rick Sutcliffe spent much of an inning earlier denouncing a new book that is apparently critical of Jeter's "leadership" on the basis that Jeter had nothing to do with the book, as if that has any relevance to the truth or falsity of the content.)
It's just one game and two plays, but it sure didn't look like the Yankees who won the World Series in 2009 by playing it safe on defense and letting the other team make the mistakes — and knowing that the thunder in their lineup was sure to generate runs.