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.