Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pop Goes Castillo

Some 10 1/2 hours later it is still hard to believe how last night's Yankees-Mets game ended. We do feel bad for Luis Castillo. If it had happened to a Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Millar, etc., so be it. Castillo has had a tough time of it at Shea/Citi Field since Omar Minaya ill advisedly signed him to a new 4-year deal at the end of the 2007 season.

Castillo hasn't hit much, has bad knees, and has had stuff happen to him like what occurred last night. Well, nothing quite like that.

In case you missed, the Yankees played a miserable game last night. Poor starting pitching, poor relief pitching, no timely hitting outside of Hideki Matsui's 3-run birthday blast. The only thing missing was Nick Swisher getting doubled off a base. They deserved to lose and then they didn't.

The Yankees were down to their last out. Derek Jeter had reached on a 1-out single, but Francisco Rodriguez struck out pinch-hitter Johnny Damon for the 2nd out. That's when things started getting interesting.

Even though K-Rod had great success against Mark Teixeira, 2-19 lifetime, he didn't want anything to do with the Yankees hottest hitter. After falling behind in the count 3-1, the Mets opted to intentionally walk Teixeira to face Alex Rodriguez. Also something you will not see every day.

But in some ways it made sense. A-Rod had been in a 2-17 slide and didn't have any career success against K-Rod either. The Mets closer again fell behind 3-1 and then threw a strike that A-Rod popped up. As he jogged to first, A-Rod smashed his bat on the ground in disgust.

As Castillo settled under the pop up, it seemed like it moved on him a little bit, possibly from a slight breeze. Even though it looked like the game was over, Jeter and Teixeira ran hard around the bases. And then the game was over. In the blink of an eye...or more precisely in the heel of a glove.

The ball bounced off Castillo's mitt, moved agonizingly past his eyes and outstretched bare hand and fell to the ground. Jeter easily scored the tying run. As Teixeira chugged towards 3rd, Castillo grabbed the ball off the grass and from his knees through to 2nd base, conceivably to keep A-Rod from advancing.

But those extra seconds allowed Teixeira to slide home safely ahead of Alex Cora's relay throw. A wild celebration ensued as K-Rod stood with his hands on his head, his first blown save of the season not really being a blown save.

To paraphrase John Sterling, "That is baseball...."

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