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.
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.