As frustrating as the last couple of innings were for the Yankees in Game 5 of the World Series and boy, weren't they frustrating? it is important to remember the real reason the Hometown Nine were in that position in the first place: A.J. Burnett. All notions that Mr. Power Necklace would navigate the Yankees into that 27th championship evaporated right quick Monday night. Six runs. Two innings. Game 2 is an awfully long time ago.
You might not want to admit it, but you wanted to strangle Derek Jeter after his crushing, soul-dispensing double play in the ninth inning. (You'll get over it in a way you would have never gotten over it had it been A-Rod. Not that your desire to strangle him is not justified. Double plays are the extinguishing of hope.) That's not what this was about, though.
What really mattered Monday night is that the Yankees asked A.J. Burnett trusted A.J. Burnett to put this situation to bed, and he was unable to oblige. The bullpen speaking of trust issues was unable to assist, but let's fight the real enemy here: This is a game the Yankees could have won on the back end, had the front end not made it so difficult. A team that felt undermanned all evening, a team that was batting Nick Swisher fifth, could have taken this to the proverbial house.
A quick note, though, before we move on to the next endeavor: The Yankees, and their fans, spent most of the evening just trying to bring Alex Rodriguez to the plate. One batter away. One double play away. Could have happened, you know. That close. That close. When you absorb how much the emotion of being a Yankees fan has altered itself this postseason, that's the best way to put it: Alex Rodriguez was the last, and only, hope. This world be crazy.
The Yankees and Phillies have an Acela travel day tomorrow, and this business works itself back up into a lather Wednesday night. Andy Pettitte is on three days' rest, and Pedro Martinez is all atwitter for one more night of drama at the stadium. How's that game gonna go? How could it possibly progress? What's happening? The Yankees have everything in their favor. Game 7, at this point, looks like a mismatch. But Game 7 shouldn't happen. Game 7's existence is a nightmare.