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So that game was pretty ridiculous. Or as John Sterling kept saying on the radio, it was “nutty.” In fact, he just kept saying that over and over and over again.
For the Yanks, this game started off promising. They plated two in the second and had runners on second and third with no one out. But Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez struck out thus initiating an offensive malaise that would last until Jose Molina’s clutch two-strike bases-loaded HBP in the 12th to give the Yanks their second win in two games after the break.
For the Yankees, much of this game rested on the top of the lineup. A-Rod went 0 for 5 and left seven runners on base. Jeter didn’t pick up his two hits until the innings of free baseball kicked in. While Robinson Cano continued his hot hitting with four hits, and Melky and Brett Gardner each had a pair of hits, the Yanks left a whopping 21 runners on base. That they won is a testament to good luck, their bullpen and the A’s anemic offense.
On the pitching front, Joba was again stellar as a starter. He threw six innings, allowing a run on six hits and one walk. He also struck out eight and needed just under 16 pitches per inning, a far better mark than he had seen recently.
The bullpen was a little unsettled at first. Jose Veras pitched himself into trouble and couldn’t pitch out of it. Mariano continued to struggle a tad in non-save situations. But the bullpen struck out 10 in six innings of work.
In the end, the Yanks won a game they could have won many times over and did it in the oddest way possible: a hit, two walks and an HBP in the 12th. I’ll take it. A win is a win is a win.
Sean Gallagher, recently acquired in the Rich Harden deal, toes the rubber for his second start in green and gold today. In his first outing he shut down the team with the best record in baseball, and he’s one of the most unheralded good young pitchers in baseball. Pitchers like this tend to … uh … “frustrate” the Yanks, so it’ll be a nice test for the Little $200M Engine That Could.
Yesterday’s win was a quality one, they got big hits with two outs, Moose battled early then retired the last 13 men he faced, and the bullpen finished the game off with three perfect frames without a ball leaving the infield. If you created a blueprint for a win, that’s how you’d draw it up. Let’s do it again.
1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Giambi, DH
5. Posada, C
6. Cano, 2B
7. Betemit, 1B
8. Cabrera, CF
9. Gardner, LF
And on the mound, the Winnebago Wonder, the Corn-Hustler, The Bachelor Wannabe, Joba “more popular than Wilt” Chamberlain.
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So that was a comfoting win, no?
The Yanks, facing a lefty tonight, got off to a quick start early in tonight’s game. New addition Richie Sexson drove in the Yanks’ first run of the second half and against a lefty to boot. Two innings later, Robinson Cano, badly in need of a strong second half, lofted a home run into the night to give the Yanks a lead that would stick.
For the third place Yankees, tonight’s win was exactly what the doctor ordered. After a rough end to the first half, they beat a fellow Wild Card conpetitor and scored six runs against a southpaw. The Red Sox lost badly in Anaheim, and the Yanks now find themselves 5.5 games behind Boston with many, many games left to play.
Meanwhile, the story of tonight was once again the washed-up and ineffective Mike Mussina. Moose, shooting for that long-elusive 20-win season, nailed down his AL-leading 12th win tonight. While he pitched his way into trouble in the first and an early 1-0 deficit, he gutted it out for six innings, allowing nine hits but no walks for the eighth time this season. His ERA now sits at a nifty 3.49, and he keeps giving the Yanks what they need: innings and wins.
With a stellar pitching matchup later today – Duchschere vs. Chamberlain – Friday night’s game was a good one to win, and win it they did.
Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Lehigh Valley)
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 5 – picked off first
Chris Basak: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Matt Carson: 0 for 1, 1 R, 1 K, 2 HBP – ejected after arguing with the ump following the K
Juan Miranda: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB - 15 for his last 31
Cody Ransom: 0 for 2, 2 BB
Ben Broussard: 0 for 4, 1 K
Jason Lane: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Chris Stewart: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K – picked off first
Ross Ohlendorf: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 5-2 GB/FB – 58 of 91 pitches were strikes (63.7%) … why is he throwing 91 pitches? I thought he was just going to start to work on a split finger?
Chris Britton: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4-1 GB/FB
JB Cox: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2-0 GB/FB – 21 baserunners & 10 runs allowed in his last 9.1 IP
Steven Jackson: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 Er, 0 BB, 2 K
Ah the ’96 season. Easily my favorite of the Championship years. Who could forget Doc and Jimmy, Zim and Big Cecil, the rookie sensation and the rookie dud, the new manager coming in and the old icon leaving, and of course, the winning. Goodness, did that team win. They won on the first day of season, they won on the last day of the season, and they won 101 times in between. That team wasn’t expected to win, but they did anyway.
Fast forward to 2008, and most consider this Yankees’ team dead in the water. The six game deficit is too big, the offense is too anemic, the rotation is too thin, and the bullpen is too flaky. No one expects them to win, but let’s do it anyway.
1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Posada, DH
5. Dick Lock Sexy, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. Melky, CF
8. Hava Molina, C
9. Gardner, LF
And on the mound, the man with a 2.74 ERA in his last 52 IP, Mikey Moose.
Notes: Billy Traber was shipped to AAA & Phil Hughes was retroactively placed on the 60-day DL to clear 25 & 40-man roster spots for DLS … Oaktown’s throwing a southpaw, so obviously Jason Giambi would be more useless than Jose Molina tonight, or maybe he’s just nursing a hangover … the game is on MY9 tonight, not YES …
On July 6th with the Red Sox and Yanks locked in a game that would eventually be decided by a Brett Gardner infield single, Manny Ramirez came up to pinch hit in the top of the 9th. With the winning run on base, Ramirez had the unenviable task of facing Mariano Rivera. Manny took three pitches, all for strikes, and walked back to the dugout.
At the time, we were in awe of Mariano. He is having a season for the history books, and that strike out of Ramirez was indicative of his success. But what if Manny helped him along a bit? In a post on the Extra Bases blog today, Boston Globe writer Steve Silva writes about a conflict between Manny and the Red Sox. Apparently, Bob Lobel, the former sports director of the Boston-based WBZ, while reporting on the six-figure fine Ramirez received for shoving Jack McCormick, had some choice words to say this morning. Silva reports:
[Lobel] went on to allege that there was a perception that in a pinch-hit at bat at Yankee Stadium on July 6 — more than a week after the incident with McCormick — Ramirez took three straight called strikes to send a message to the Sox.
“The thing that most people are forgetting and haven’t talked about is the strikeout in Yankee Stadium,” Lobel said. “The bat on the shoulder for the three pitches from Mariano Rivera. That was a big [expletive] to the Red Sox after the fine. I’m just telling you … there are things in the front office that are perceived … I’m saying that there is a strong feeling that that [three-pitch strikeout] was the message to the Red Sox and it’s a strong feeling that that’s unacceptable … there’s a feeling that he didn’t give it his all, let’s put it that way … I’m just saying the front office has not forgotten that moment. It’s akin to Nomar sitting on the bench. It’s the same thing. It’s an at bat that resonated very strongly in the front office.”
For us, this shouldn’t take away from the accomplishments of Mariano Rivera. If the Red Sox want to make “Manny being Manny” excuses, let them. Mo is Mo every time he pitches this year.
But from a player personnel perspective, this could get interesting. In 2004, Theo Epstein drew the ire of Boston sports fans by trading away the popular Nomar Garciaparra. While I doubt he would do the same with Manny Ramirez this year, the Sox and Manny have a contract to negotiate, and incidents such as this one and another involving the Front Office won’t endear Manny to the Sox.
So here’s something to muse: With the Yanks’ outfield in a state of flux and Manny seemingly on the outs with the Red Sox ownership, how would you feel about Manny in pinstripes for a season or two? The temptation will be very, very strong among the Steinbrenner family if Manny hits free agency in November.
…but not to the Bronx quite yet. According to Ken Davidoff, the Mets’ new park CitiField could be the 2013 All Star Game host. I’m looking forward to seeing the Mid-Summer Classic return to the Big Apple. This week of baseball festivities was just plain old fun. · (9) ·
A lot of Yankee fans are looking at 2008 and taking solace in its similarities to 2007. After all, last year at the All Star break, the Yanks were 43-43, 9.5 games in back of Boston and eight out of the Wild Card. This year, they’re six out and 5.5 behind the Wild Card leaders.
If only baseball were that simple. First, we have the problem of the run differential. Last year at this time, the Yankees had been one of the unluckiest teams in baseball. Having scored 464 while allowing only 393 in 86 games last year, the Yankees should have been 49-37, a six-game swing above their actual record.
This year, the Yanks have scored 436 runs and have allowed 412 in 95 games. So while they’re pitching has been better this year than last, the Yanks are playing right where their run differential would have them — at 50-45 and in third place in the AL East.
This run differential is but a minor problem compared to the overarching issue. Last year, in the second half, the Yanks ran over a weak slate of teams en route to their 13th straight postseason appearance. This year, they aren’t so lucky. Pete Caldera gives us the bad news:
In these final 67 games, beginning Friday night against Oakland at the Stadium, the Yankees will face teams that currently own a combined .536 winning percentage. Only the Blue Jays have a tougher second-half schedule.
That is not good news. Between now and the trade deadline, the Yankees face the A’s, Twins, Red Sox (in Boston) and the Orioles. They play in New York against the Angels to open August and then hit the road for 10 games in Texas, Anaheim and Minnesota before things get any easier.
So right now, starting this evening, it’s make-or-break time for the Yankees. They need a strong start to the second half to push forward toward the playoffs, and if they sag against the A’s and Twins this week as they did against the Pirates and Blue Jays last week, it’s going to be a tough climb against tough competition.
Robinson Cano, Bobby Abreu and Melky Cabrera are going to have to hit; Jeter will have to pick it up; and Mike Mussina will have to hope that this Fountain of Youth he’s discovered doesn’t run dry as the season drags on. While Baseball Prospectus’ Playoff Odds reports puts the Yankees’ playoff chances at eight percent and Cool Standings puts it at 15 percent, this won’t be easy. Here we go.
Got a special treat for you tonight. Loyal reader Giselle was watching the Double-A Trenton game on TV up where she lives in Massachusetts (they were playing the Red Sox’s Double-A affiliate), and she offered write-up the Trenton game and add some of her observations.
Check it out and let her know what you think in the comments. Be gentle, it’s her first time.
8-1 win over Portland. 10 hitters came to the plate in the 6th and scored 5 runs off of 6 hits (4 doubles).
Reegie Corona and PJ Pilittere: Both 0 for 4, each K’d once. Corona grounded into a dp.
Ramiro Pena: 2 for 5, 3 K’s 1 RBI, scored a run. Caught stealing and was given an error on an Uggla-like bad hop.
Austin Jackson: 4 for 4 walk, 2 doubles, rbi, 2 runs scored. Kept his perfect OBP intact after being down 0-2 in the 9th w/ 2 outs.
Chris Malec: 3 for 5, double, rbi, 2 runs scored.
Colin Curtis: 2 for 4, doubled, 2 rbi, scored a run. Threw a runner out at 2nd. (he got the force out at second cause the runner didnt know the ball was gonna drop. whats that scored as? stupidity?) [Note by Mike: Yes, the official scoring is SR, or "stupid runner"]
Edwar Gonzalez: 0-3 with a walk, a rbi, and a run scored. Threw a runner out at 2nd.
James Cooper: 2 for 4, K’d once and scored a run. Infield hit in the 8th.
Walter Ibarra: 1 for 3 with a walk, rbi, and a run scored. Couldn’t bunt a runner over to third, ended up doubling him home to score the first run.
Chase Wright: 5.1 IP 5H 1R 1 ER 1BB 6K, 4-5 GB-FO ratio.
Jose Valdez: 0.2 IP 1K zeroes.
Zachary Kroenke: 1 IP 1H 0R 0BB 1K
Anthony Claggett: 1 IP 1H 0R 2BB 2K. Pitched himself into and out of trouble.
Oneli Perez: 1 IP 3K. Three up, three down.