In the bottom of the eighth with two outs and the bases loaded, Edwar Ramirez remained in the game to face Mark Teixeira. Yankee fans all over raised a collective eyebrow as Mariano Rivera sat in the bullpen. Now, we learn that he’s simply going through his routine August injury period. Rivera is day-to-day with back spasms. The future Hall of Famer says he first felt the pain after losing Friday’s game and couldn’t get loose before the game today. He along with the rest of us hopes to get back on the field tomorrow. · (20) ·
While the Yanks managed to win a game despite their pitchers’ best efforts, the Tigers weren’t so lucky, and the Yanks were the ones to pay the price. Heading into the eighth with a 3-1 lead, the Tigers called upon Kyle Farnsworth to shut down the Rays. Well, six batters later, the Rays had scored three runs on home runs by Eric Hinske and B.J. Upton, and two innings later, Tampa walked away a winner. So there you go; Krazy Kyle had that meltdown we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s impacting the Yanks’ playoff chances. · (44) ·
Man, just freaking stay retired. I can’t sit down and watch 30 minutes worth of SportsCenter over a bowl of cereal these days without hearing some nonsense about how he’s going to be reinstated, how he’s working out at a high school field, how the Pack don’t want to trade him within the division; the stupidest, most unimportant and uninteresting details possible. It’s ridiculous, and ESPN ate it right up. Props go out to the Low-A Augusta Green Jackets for having a “Brett Favre flip-flop night” promotion.
As for the Yanks, they’re are still 10-5 since the break despite their recent slump, and they’ve picked up three big games in the Wildcard chase, leaving them 2.5 GB of Boston. Division titles are nice, but the MLB playoffs have turned into the NCAA Tournament – just get in and we’ll figure it out then. Four of the last 10 World Series winners have been WC teams, and 9 WC teams have played in the Fall Classic since 1997. Just get in.
Darrell Rasner has new battery mate today, even though he’s been most successful with the recently DFA’ed Chad Moeller behind the dish (4-3, 4.38 ERA with Moeller; 2-5, 6.87 ERA with everyone else). Maybe Pudge can squeeze the best out of Ras like he did Ponson the other night. Halos’ starter John Lackey threw a near no-hitter in Fenway his last time out, but he does have a 6.06 ERA and .825 OPS against in his last 5 starts, Fenway outing included.
1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. X(BH) Nady, LF
7. Betemit, 2B
8. Pudge, C
9. Melky, CF
And on the mound, the Nightmare from Nevada, Darrell Rasner.
Notes: Cano’s hand is still sore, so he’ll get another day off … the Yanks head off on a 10-day road trip after the game today, going from Texas to Anaheim to Minneapolis with no off-days … after today, the Yanks will play 16 of their next 19 games on the road …
David Wells, a reluctant retiree, made his Old Timers’ Day debut yesterday afternoon, and the media was on hand to check in with the outspoken southpaw. Both Newsday’s Arthur Staple and MLB.com’s Willie Bans caught up with Boomer, and they find him living life to the fullest after retirement. Who woulda guessed? · (7) ·
Five days ago, Mike Mussina faced the Baltimore Orioles, and his former team shelled him. He allowed six runs in five innings, and the Yanks eventually lost by the score of 13-4. Meanwhile, the Yanks, heading into today, had dropped five out of six and were in danger of seeing their great post-All Star Break gains wiped away.
So when Moose took the mound — fittingly enough on Old Timers’ Day — he was out looking for revenge for both himself and the team. He did not disappoint. Facing a red-hot Angels team, Mussina had a stellar first inning before running into trouble in the second inning when Garret Anderson singled and Howie Kendrick doubled.
With one out and the bases loaded, Mussina induced a ground ball that could have been an inning-ending double play. But a bad throw by Wilson Betemit, filling in for the aching Robinson Cano, allowed an unearned run to score. The Yanks were down 2-0, and things seemed on the verge of getting ugly.
But Moose, the oldest timer on the Yanks, had something else in mind. Over the next 5.1 innings, Mussina would be quite literally perfect. Following Betemit’s error and the unearned run, no other Angel reached base until Jose Veras walked Chone Figgins in the 8th inning of what was then an 8-2 game.
For the Yanks, it was the second straight strong pitching performance, and this time, the offense — behind four home runs by Betemit, the hot Bobby Abreu, Jose Molina and A-Rod — scored enough runs to back it up. The Yanks teed off against Jered Weaver and managed an important win as both Boston and Tampa Bay won.
Tonight’s game provided a second straight day of relief for the Yanks. While they lost a heartbreaker on Friday night, Sidney Ponson had by far his best start of the season, allowing no runs in seven innings. Prior to these two outings, the Yanks’ pitchers had put together an 8.80 ERA over their last 44 innings. With this win, the Yanks maintained the 2.5 games separating them from the Sox, and they needed this win. Later today, the Yanks and Darrell Rasner will face John Lackey who, in his last outing, no-hit the Red Sox in Fenway for over eight innings. That won’t be a walk in the park.
Triple-A Scranton (7-3 loss to Pawtucket)
Brett Gardner & Greg Porter: both 1 for 4, 1 K – Gardner swiped a bag
Eric Duncan & Matt Carson: both 0 for 4 – E-Dunc K’ed thrice
Juan Miranda & Ben Broussard: both 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 BB – Miranda drove in 1 run … Broussard drove in a pair of runs & K’ed
Cody Ransom, JD Closser & Chris Basak: all 0 for 3, 1 BB – Ransom swiped a bag, scored a run & K’ed … Basak K’ed twice
Billy Traber: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 3-2 GB/FB – 21 of 39 pitches were strikes (53.8%) … started in place of Alan Horne, who was shipped to Tampa to figure out what the hell is wrong with him
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB – 21 of 39 pitches were strikes, same rate as Traber
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 2-1 GB/FB – 21 of 33 pitches were strikes (63.6%)
Phil Coke: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0-2 GB/FB
Scott Strickland: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K – he was bound to have one of these eventually
The USA Olympic baseball team started its final warmup before heading off to Beijing today, taking on Team Canada in a three-game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in North Carolina. A’s uber-prospect Brett Anderson gave the team a strong start earlier today, but the immortal Stubby Clapp helped propel Canada to a 4-3 win in 10 innings. The second game of today’s doubleheader starts at 7pm tonight, with Trevor Cahill, another A’s uber-prospect, toeing the rubber for the red, white and blue. The game can be seen on mlb.tv.
Team USA’s roster has undergone a bit of an overhaul since I last reported it, with several players losing eligibility because of injuries and call-ups, with the most notable being Cardinals’ stud prospect Colby Rasmus, who is out with a knee injury. Baseball America previewed all eight Olympic teams like no one else can (no subscription req’d). · (0) ·
The weather isn’t great today, but hopefully the baseball gods are merciful and allow today’s Old Timers’ Day ceremonies go as planned. With more Old Timers’ on hand than ever before, today not only honors the great Yankees of yesteryear, but will also allow us to celebrate the life of Thurman Munson, who was killed in a plane wreck 29 years ago today.
While it just won’t be the same without Scooter and Bobby, today will be a welcome pick-me up for all Yankees’ fans out there. Personally, I’m most looking forward to seeing Coney, Jimmy Key, Straw & Boomer. It’s also pretty badass that Graeme Lloyd, Aaron Small & Mike Stanley will be in the house too. Oh, and Ed Price says we might be in for a surprise too.
The festivities start at 1:30 on YES, with the game following at 3:55 on FOX. The introductions are the best part, don’t miss it.
1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. X(BH) Nady, LF
7. Betemit, 2B – Cano’s got a sore hand
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C
And on the mound this Old Timers’ Day, the oldest current Yankee, Mike Mussina.
The good folks at Baseball Digest Daily have asked me to appear on the BDD Talk Radio show this afternoon. I’ll be on at 12:40 p.m. ET. and you can listen live here. I’ll be talking trade deadline deals and the Yanks’ sheer inability to score runs on a night when Sidney Ponson pitches seven shutout innings. · (2) ·
After originally expected to return to the rotation in early September, Chien-Ming Wang will now be out until at least October. Joe Girardi has been incredibly optimistic with regards to injuries so far (“Jorge will just need a couple of days”), but he broke the news yesterday. While we all dispise Wang’s replacement, Sid Ponson, don’t forget that CMW had been getting pounded for more than a month prior to the injury. · (10) ·