Russo also said during an earlier show that Joe Smith had to show him something...how even though he hadn't given up a run all season, he still had to show Russo something in the eighth inning, even though the eighth inning wasn't his domain. Unfortunately, Smith gave up a grand slam to J.J. Hardy that day. But on Friday, the Subway Series, Smith came in and struck out Derek "history will show that I got two hits in every single one of my at-bats" Jeter to finish off the eighth inning.
Oliver, after tonight, has earned the benefit of the doubt. From Russo...from me...from everyone. He's earned the right not to have certain bloggers put up snarky "missing posters" with one bad start. He doesn't have to do any more. Of course we don't want him to have another 24 walk night. But if he does, I'm not going to worry because he'll most likely bounce back in the next start. And because with the most chips on the line, he's come up huge. First in Game 7 last season, and now Friday night...both nights with the crowd at its most electric...Oliver has come through with flying colors.
As for Mighty Joe, when you're done wondering why Aaron Heilman wasn't summoned for the eighth inning, take some time to wonder when Joe Smith is going to see more eighth innings. It's going to happen at some point, either when Heilman gets wheeled at the trade deadline, or next season after Smith shows over a full season that he can handle the pressure of a tight spot. Today was his greatest test...D.F.J. at the plate with a one run lead, in a situation where you know Jeter is going to get a hit...only, he didn't. All D.F.J. had was a smirk on his face for the home plate umpire which said "How dare you call that against me? Don't you know I'm Derek Jeter and the women think I'm dreamy?"
Then there's Endy Chavez, his throw from left which nailed Johnny Damon stretching to second for the first out of the game, and his home run which provided the difference against Andy Pettitte. Can we get this guy a breakfast cereal?
Seriously, if we can't get him on the all-star team, I think he deserves his own breakfast cereal. It's the least we can do to show proper appreciation. But can we put marshmallows in it? I love marshmallows.
And were you scared when Hideki Matsui was called safe on what could have been the last out of the game? Not because he was really out (tie does go to the runner), but because plays like that are usually followed by a 600 foot bomb. I was concerned...all right I was shaking in my boots. If these were the Yankees of the late nineties, it would have happened. Now? Not so much.
Game two is Saturday (later today), and I don't have a good feeling. Not because of any inside information or such, but because watching a Met game on FOX feels like watching a Met game on YES. Bad karma. I'll feel better on Sunday...not only because ESPN just feels better than FOX, but because I'm not even going to watch ESPN. I'll instead be at Shea, meaning the most insightful commentary I'll hear is when my brother asks me to buy him another beer...and I'll take that over Joe Morgan any day of the week.