The Penultimate Regular Season Game

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It sounds a lot more dramatic when you say it like that. But really, like every game since this past Monday, it means nothing. The Yankees play the Rays, and then they'll go on to play more baseball next week, too. The same can't be said for Tampa Bay.

Where do teams get their drive from, after they've been statistically precluded from the playoffs? You think about the Marlins in 2007, who embarrassed the Mets in the final series. Don't the playoff contenders ever feel a sense of, "Oh, COME ON."

Yeah, I know that sentiment is EXACTLY why Yankee fans are so unpopular, but these are the words of someone who's still cranky CC didn't get his 20th win last night, and even more bent out of shape about the fetus on the mound drilling Teixeira with a mid 90's fastball. In the f'ing head.

That's another thing I wonder about. Yeah, they have helmets and all, but do pitchers ever think to themselves:

"Ok, I'm gonna be a team player and punist the batter for that bush league move. One pitch to the head just to send him the message, that's it. What's the worst that could happen? I wonder if some day I'll lie awake thinking about this moment right before I threw this pitch, wishing to undo it. What if I do irrevocable damage? What if he turns to the plate and it hits him in the face? I could close to kill someone with one pitch."

I mean, that's how I'd look at it. Which is why I guess it's good I don't play professional sports, since apparently I'd be having an existential crisis before every pitch.

Fortunately, there was no discernible effects of Price's pathetic retaliation move, to avenge Carlos Pena's broken fingers. There was also no discernible noise from the Yankees' end suggesting anything close to the incensed aggression that it warranted. Not really like Girardi, so I suspect there may be some fireworks in tonight's game.

Andy Pettitte (14-7, 4.11) faces Rookie of the Year- contending Jeff Niemann (12-6, 3.94). While not as hyped up as fellow freshmen Rick Porcello and Ricky Romero (presumably because he doesn't sound like a cartoon mob boss), Niemann has a better ERA than either of them. And much more impressive enduring pitches.

Yankees shouldn't have a problem against him, as he's one of those annoying fake tough guys who just defaults to his slider too much when his heated fastball isn't getting the job done. If he used his curve more, I'd be more concerned, but he's 0-1 with a 4.25 ERA in his last six outings, giving up 4 runs in 3 IP to the ORIOLES in his last start.

No way this guy deserves the RoY over Ricky Romero. But to be honest, I don't really care that much, I just want the Yanks to right the ship after last night. And I want them to be all invigorated and electric and exciting as they start closing in on the playoffs.

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