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.
So, what was today’s biggest baseball event? Lastings Milledge hitting his first home run? His personal victory march into right field, giving and taking high fives from the fans? Chris Young entering the sixth with a no-no, after throwing 7 hitless innings in his last start? The Yankee Captain leaving with a bruised thumb? Ranger Rheinecker throwing two run, eight inning ball against the ChiSox? Pujols goes on the DL? Whoa. Wait a second…did you say Pujols and DL in the same sentence? Yahoo! even ran that headline and I never see sports headlines in Yahoo!’s generic, just plain ol’ news box. This must be big.
I’m crushed. It’s unfathomable. How will we cope with Albert Pujols-less baseball? The absence, however, is not enough to make St. Louis an underdog. I think St. Louis has a good enough roster and a good enough manager in Laser Eye La Russa to maintain their perch on the division peak, but I wanted to see Pujols hit 60-80 home runs and collect 200 RBIs. If he only misses two weeks, I think his chances for 60 home runs and 200 RBIs are still intact. If he’s DL bound for a month or more, a monster season is sure to be had, but the chase for any records will have to wait. Nevertheless, the baseball gift is so sublimely ingrained in his bones that I’m not giving up on him quite yet. Putting up the aforementioned numbers after a DL stint would reaffirm him as a great, great and much loved baseball player.
So, the Yankees lost. I don’t care about the loss or the ever changing 1/2 game advantage, but I am scared now whenever a Yankee is hit and then removed. That’s all we need. Given the Yankees’ current state, a bean ball at A-Rod or Giambi could be the end of us. We aren’t far away from fielding a roster of triple-A call-ups and pinch-players. Lucky for us Lopez just got Jeter’s hand and he probably won’t miss a significant amount of time.
Why is David Ortiz listed on the All-Star ballot as a first baseman? Youkilis is a better first baseman, meaning that Youkilis actually plays defense at an All-Star caliber level and hits All-Star worthy, too. I assume Jim Thome would be listed at first base were it for another All-Star already at that position. Regardless of how good a hitter Ortiz is, he shouldn’t be taking that spot from Youkilis. Ortiz belongs as a write-in. Just like Thome.
I also hope people start voting for other players. I don’t want all the vote leaders to be either Yankees or Red Sox. In fact, the only ones deserving of the most votes at their position are Jeter and Manny. The other Yankees and Red Sox players are good, too, but I don’t think they should be voted as starters.
Hoffman saved his 12th game. Weathers blew his 5th in 14 chances. Isringhausen saved his 18th game. Gordon saved his 17th. And Frankie Rodriguez is lucky his Angels had a 14 run lead because he allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth to raise his ERA to 4.07.