So we’re down a run in the top of the ninth and Texas calls in their closer, Akinori Otsuka. The first pitch he throws is lined up the middle by Jeter and then Giambi taters one into the seats. Just like that, BOOM, ball game’s over and thaaaaaaaaaaa Yankeeees WIN! Because we all know who’s pitching the ninth. That’s right, the guy with the fourth most career saves. Mo comes in and the sweep is accomplished. Of course, every win is important, but losing today wouldn’t have been that big a deal. We would’ve won the series and Boston and Chicago lost so we’d lose no ground. But like I said, at this time of year every win is crucial so gaining a game in the standings is helpful. Unfortunatly, it’s just one game and doesn’t mean anything if we don’t build on it. So great game Yankees, but keep it up.
All 8 runs proved necessary to nail down this win, but I want to bring attention to one of those runs. To lead off the 8th inning an A-Bomb landed beyond the walls in dead center field. The guy that supposedly stinks so bad that we need to trade him sparked a 4 run rally and the first run scoring frame for the Yanks since the first. Giambi’s long ball only would’ve tied the game without A-Rod’s solo shot, so you can’t knock him down for only hitting when it doesn’t matter. Also, Happy 31st Birthday A-Rod!
But let’s not forget the miracle that was Shawn Chacon. Inheriting a bases loaded, zero out situation in the 8th inning and keeping the one run deficit intact. Chacon induced a swinging K and a double play, beautifully done to set the stage for Giambi’s game winner. Plus, he bailed out Proctor who’s probably been overworked the past few days.
I liked seeing Fasano in the lineup already. That must be a good feeling. Get traded that morning and your new manager immediatly needs you in the game. Also must’ve been an exciting victory to be apart of with his new team. He’s kinda tubby, looks like slow motion when he labors out to the pitching mound, but I see more enthusiasm from him than I saw from Stinnett. Fasano looks jazzed to be playing and might be the slowest base runner in the major leagues, but he undoubtably has a lively spring in his step. However, they’re both second string catchers so I don’t see much of an improvement. I mean, this isn’t the final piece of the puzzle that wins us the AL East. Fasano hit .243 in 50 games for the Phillies and Stinnett hit .228 in 34 games for us.
I bet we keep this streak alive with our top 3 pitchers slated to face the D’Rays (that’s such a bizarre animal to name a team after). And lucky for us we won’t see Kazmir because of shoulder soreness. Although the kid they’re starting on Friday looks decent.
How about them Twins? Pretty remarkable what they’ve done this year. I heard something like they’ve only lost 8 of their last 42 games. At one point they were like 23 and 2 in their last 25 games. I don’t know if they can fend off Chicago once the reigning Champs get rolling again. Last year I believe both Baltimore and Washington entered the All-Star break with division leads and then lost them before the end of July. I doubt that will plague the White Sox. That means the Yankees need to aim for first place in their own division, because Chicago is down but they aren’t out.
And you know, I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be awesome to win a Game 7 of the World Series on an outfielder throwing out a runner trying for the tieing run at home plate? Winning like that might be cooler than winning on a walk off home run. I’m putting in the call: Game 7, Yankee Stadium, top of the ninth and one out, score 6-5 in the Yankees’ favor, Jose Reyes at third base and there’s a fly ball hit to left field and Melky guns him down at the plate. Boy, that would be dramatic.
Sure is good to get that horrible Toronto series out of our system. And because the Twins beat Chicago, we gain a game in the Wild Card. It would be even better if Oakland could muscle up a win over Boston, but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.
Our pitching tonight was excellent. Johnson delivered a great start, lasting 6 strong innings with 7 strike outs and only 2 runs. After Proctor pitched a scoreless seventh, Farnsworth came in for the eighth and immediatly allowed two singles. But he then reared back and touched the high 90s for three straight swinging strike outs. Farnsworth is inconsistent, but when he’s on he’s untouchable. He’s simply been on fire the month of July, posting an ERA of .96. I was surprised to see Rivera pitch the ninth and I wish Torre saved Mo for a save situation. He could’ve tried Villone or Wilson for the final 3 outs. But Torre wanted a quick ninth so Mo jogs in and game’s over.
The offense had a highlight reel night. A-Rod had a good game. After Jeter led off the seventh with a double A-Rod added a double of his own for an RBI and the Yank’s sixth run. Jeter also had a nice night, that double and a triple right after Melky tripled. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen back to back triples (with 2 outs no less!). Speaking of Melky, he was a home run shy of the cycle and also threw out Teixeira trying to turn an RBI single into a double. Speaking of Tex, there’s a guy who hasn’t lived up to the high expectations. He hit 43 and 38 home runs the last two seasons. He also had 144 RBIs last year and a .301 batting average. So far he’s hit the long ball only 14 times and had only 9 at the All-Star break. He’s got an average at .271 and has 61 RBIs. Let’s compare that RBI total to Jeter’s which happens to be 59. Jeter only has 6 home runs and hits from the two spot, but has driven in about the same number of runs as Teixeira, who hits cleanup. I think this says more about how good Jeter is, but it doesn’t make Tex look great either. Basically my point is to provide more evidence that A-Rod is not the only player having an off year. Matter of fact, all of A-Rod’s stats are better than Tex’s. Why doesn’t Tex ever get booed?
So we’ll so how Eaton fares in his season debut tomorrow. He’s got a tough counterpart to match in Mussina. I hope Damon’s back in the lead off spot, but considering how well Melky did today Torre might decide to give Damon another day off.
Bummer. Things didn’t go as planned today. I can’t blame Jaret Wright for the loss. Every pitcher has a bad game. He’s actually strung together a number of very respectable starts in the past few weeks. I’d even venture to say he had a streak of solid outings that we couldn’t complain about. I remember the game when we roughed up Beckett and he’s a pretty good pitcher. So, as awful and unhelpful as 5 runs in less than 3 innings is, it isn’t entirely his fault and I don’t expect it to become a motif in Jaret’s game. By the way, Chacon didn’t inspire confidence either and I assume Joe won’t use him unless we’ve got a 10 run cushion.
The good news from this loss is that Villone was fantastic yet again, which gave Farnsworth, Proctor and Mo a well deserved day of rest. And also, A-Rod, you magnificent dude, future home run king and Hall of Famer. Congrats, man! You’ve reached the big 2-0-0-0 and 4-5-0. We now have 4 players in the 2,000 hit club (Williams, Jeter, A-Rod and Sheffield). That’s pretty amazing, right? I don’t know of any other team who can currently boast that.
Tonight, however, the Yankees offense was tediously low key and unexcited. A number of missed opportunities and a lack of opportunities at the plate created the loss. Except for A-Rod’s home run, our bats were disabled, owned, wire-tapped and sent to prison by Burnett. Tonight A.J. enjoyed an impressive performance and was formidable in the eyes of the Red Sox and Yankees.
I think that one of the keys to recent failures is Giambi’s power outage this month. He’s hitting .183 in the month of July and only has 4 home runs and 14 RBI compared to his June numbers of 11 HRs and 23 RBIs. A-Rod (believe it or not) is having a much better July than Mr. Giambino. His total of 5 home runs ain’t special, neither are his 16 RBI, but he is hitting .323 and has a slugging % of .600, which is drastically higher than Giambi’s SLG of .383. At the beginning of May Giambi had an OBP as high as .545. Now it’s shrunk to .405. Another curious July statistic is their batting average with runners in scoring position. If I read the stats correctly (I suggest you check for yourself, because I’m very surprised by these numbers), in the month of July A-Rod is hitting .368 with RISP. Giambi’s hitting .227. BIG DIFFERENCE. Maybe the boos should be reserved for the actual slugger who isn’t slugging. If the offense is to recover from its slumber, Giambi must be the catalyst.
I don’t suggest booing Giambi though. I don’t approve booing any player. FYI.
Anyway, it’s crucial the Yankees split the series. Wang will be the author of a perfect game tomorrow and whoever starts after him (Ponson?), will essentially do the same thing.
I knew it. I knew it. I called his shot like I and countless other fans always do in that situation. 12th inning, one out, runner on first, down a run and A-Rod hits a game winning long ball. Perfect timing. I’m very happy for the former MVP. And an important game to win to keep pace with the storming BoSox who are currently cooking up the Mets for their 11th straight victory.
Chien-Ming was excellent. He deserved adding a W to his record. I was impressed by the way he handled the fourth inning when Renteria led off with a double. Like a veteran he allowed only that one run. And 19 groundouts speaks volumes for the effectiveness of his sinker ball. He was definitly in gear today. And despite their abysmal record, the Braves have big numbers shelved in that lineup. Look at the offensive stats he had to deal with:
Renteria, .300 BA – 8 HR – 30 RBI
C. Jones, .288 BA – 8 HR – 38 RBI
A. Jones, .282 BA – 18 HR – 65 RBI
Francoeur, .254 BA – 15 HR – 57 RBI
LaRoche, .241 BA – 12 HR – 40 RBI
Some of the batting averages aren’t great, but they have no trouble driving in runs. I underestimated their offense. Supposedly they have the worst bullpen, or one of the worst, in the league. I think they lead the NL with 16 blown saves. But Paronto, McBride and Villarreal shut us down for 3 and 2/3 innings. Barry worked 3 innings of scoreless relief on Monday. So I guess the odds were in our favor when Jorge Sosa came on in the 12th. I normally don’t like to pick on players, but Sosa’s numbers are very unattractive. Prior to today’s game, he had surrendered 92 hits in 75 and 2/3 innings. A-Rod’s home run is the 19th Sosa’s allowed all year. Today’s loss was his 10th of the year. I don’t mean this to dampen A-Rod’s home run at all, but Bobby Cox might’ve done wiser to stick with the pitcher already in there.
Anyway, our bullpen isn’t in great shape either. Mariano was brilliant. Farnsworth and Myers didn’t get the job done. Proctor came on with the bases loaded, threw one pitch and induced the pop out. Boded well for his performance until Giles went deep the next inning. Other than Mariano Ron Villone is our reliever with the best numbers. He hasn’t been used as much as Proctor (33 innings pitched compared to Proctor’s 49), but other than last night he has pitched very well all season. Only 2 runs allowed in April. Only 2 runs allowed in May, which he ended with an ERA of 1.66. June has seen the ERA go up to 2.18, but I think it’s about time to see him take over Proctor’s long term relief role.
I like Melky a lot, but I think he should be dropped in the order. The number 2 spot is Jeter’s spot, and I think Jeter should only be hitting 3rd if Melky were to reach base just a bit more often. Giambi should be hitting in the first inning. We need his patience to wear at the pitcher’s pitch count a little. I can imagine Melky hitting after A-Rod, except that might lead to more intentional walks. But we don’t have anyone like Matsui to protect that from happening. I’m sure any pitcher would prefer to walk A-Rod and face Posada or Bernie, and they’ve been the ones protecting A-Rod. I still love the Melk Man and think he’s one of the strongest in the rookie crop, but I’d rather see Jeter take the plate after Damon.
I’m gonna catch the Rangers game so I can check out the replays and comments from last night’s fiasco. Ninth inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, down 2 runs and Teixeira hits a ball down the line that kicks up chalk, but the ump ruled it foul. Tex was ejected for throwing a tantrum, but it was justified. Phil Garner throwing a chair onto the field on Monday wasn’t justified. And he’s only suspened one game! That’s a joke. For throwing a chair onto the field?! In my opinion that deserves a suspension from at least one series, maybe two.
The Rangers’ commentator Tom Grieve made an interesting point about umpires. He said that for the fans’ view of umpires to improve then they need to take responsibility for their mistakes. So far the umpire in question hasn’t changed his position on the call, even after watching the replay. Grieve says that if a player has to face reporters after a game, then umpires need to do the same if asked to. It’s a good argument and it’s an argument I buy.
Nathan saved his 13th game (striking out the side in the ninth, the Twins have won 7 straight!). Chris Ray saved his 20th. Dempster saved his 12th (also striking out the side). Jenks saved his 24th. Isringhausen got his 6th blown save and then Wickman got his 3rd blown save. Ken Ray got his 3rd blown save and then Jorge Sosa got his 1st blown save.