THE NEWBERG REPORT — MAY 16, 2006

C’mon, Kevin. You were playing the part correctly early on, pitching well but staking the Yankees to a 2-0 lead. You even allowed two of the three players in their lineup who make shockingly normal baseball money to drive those two runs in. Bubba Crosby and Robinson Cano may not pull down $12 million a year yet, but being the veteran you are, you understood that pinstripes are pinstripes. They’ll get their payday soon enough.

Though four, when Cano drove in the game’s second run, New York had forced you to throw 52 pitches. Thirteen pitches per inning is not quite what the Yankees lineup averages, but close enough. Good work — you didn’t embarrass them through four.

But then your teammates picked you up with a couple scores in the top of the fifth — the nerve – and you got better. Seven pitches in a scoreless fifth. Nine pitches in a scoreless sixth. Ten pitches in a scoreless seventh. What, were you trying to get back to the hotel to watch Mavs-Spurs?

Just who do you think you are?

You’d never beaten New York before (0-3, 5.92 ERA in four career starts). Impressive, and appropriate. Then last night, just when we thought we could depend on some consistency out of you, you went out and did what you did.

No walks? You do understand, don’t you, that the New York offense was leading the league in bases on balls? Didn’t care, did you?

No wonder New York didn’t outbid Texas this winter or even really play ball when you were on the open market. You don’t show the proper respect for baseball’s signature franchise.

The umpires did. They had your teammates hit through a hammering rain in the top of the eighth, and yet Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock impudently singled in runs. Upholding the sanctity of the Great Game, the men in blue then halted play and ushered the tarp onto the field so that the Yanks didn’t have to fight through the same conditions.

And that’s probably what cost you the ball. You certainly could have thrown more than the 78 pitches you delivered in seven innings of work. Especially on an extra day of rest. Particularly having retired the final dozen Yankees you faced.

Once the rain subsided, Francisco Cordero and Akinori Otsuka followed your example, failing themselves to follow the script as they faced seven Yankee hitters and retired six of them. All three of you should be ashamed.

Hey, pal. The Rangers had lost their last five games in Yankee Stadium, and the last eight overall against New York. Don’t care that you’re new here: Do your research.

Maybe you weren’t properly locked in since you weren’t even supposed to pitch in this series, only getting the assignment because of Sunday’s rainout in Boston. Still, that’s no excuse.

The league office will expect a formal apology. Let’s tend to that promptly, and be a little more respectful of the Beloved Yankees and the natural order of baseball things than you were last night.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at http://www.NewbergReport.com.

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