The Destination, Not the Journey, Matters for the Yankees

Two runs in eighth and two in ninth means walk-off win for Yankees.

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, May 25, 2011  |  Updated 10:11 AM EDT
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The Destination, Not the Journey, Matters for the Yankees

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A little struggle makes the celebration all the sweeter.

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It was looking like one of those days again for the Yankees.

The offense was doing the thing where they get runners on base and then strand them against Ricky Romero with Derek Jeter once again looking lost on the plate en route to an 0-for-5 evening.

Curtis Granderson, the hero so often this season, got picked off after reaching base in the early innings. If things aren't going well for Grandy in 2011, it doesn't bode well for the Yankees at large.

If that wasn't enough, CC Sabathia had a rough go of things early to dig a 4-1 hole against the Blue Jays. Not great news as the bullpen remained shorthanded after the announcement that Rafael Soriano was being shut down for the forseeable future.

While that might make Brian Cashman feel very pleased with himself, it is very bad news for a team that spent $36 million and a first-round pick on the bullpen version of Carl Pavano. Taken all together, it was hard to feel like there was much hope of Tuesday ending with smiles.

Maybe that's why John Sterling always says you can't predict baseball.

The night did end with smiles and a pie in the face of Mark Teixeira after the Yankees piled up four runs in the final two innings to walk off with a 5-4 victory. The win was more than enough to make the night worthwhile, but there were plenty of nice little stories along the way to totally obscure the troubling developments mentioned up top.

Sabathia rebounded from his early missteps, went the distance and got the final 16 batters of the game out to give the Yankees a chance to put together a little late lightning. Because he gave up four earned runs, the start doesn't go into the books as a quality one for Sabathia but that just goes to show you that stats can't possibly tell you everything about the game.

Just look at Jorge Posada for further evidence of that fact. To box score enthusiasts, he just went 1-for-1 with a double as a pinch hitter before being lifted for a pinch runner.

Factually true, but it doesn't tell you that Posada was on second because Jose Bautista fumbled the ball in the outfield or that Posada's hit was a much-needed sign of life in his heavily scrutinized bat. Getting to second was huge because Jeter hit a tailor-made double play ball in the next at-bat, but there was no force at second and that gave Granderson a chance. 

Granderson, as you can guess by the outcome, came through with a single to tie the score. He then stole second to get himself in position to score the winning run and totally erase any memory of his baserunning misadventures.

All the ugliness washed away as well on a night that could well be a blueprint for the Yankee season. Problems will come and go, but the Yankees remain the Yankees and that means they are never much more than a big rally away from turning frowns into pies. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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