Besides the poorest excuse for a center fielder on a playoff-contending team, Jason Giambi earned the rare distinction as the only Yankee starter without a hit on Sunday. To that end, Jason Giambi opted to shave off the ‘stache. Long gone is the 1970s porno facial hair. This decision to shave couldn’t have come a moment to soon; since July 18, Giambi is hitting .216 with six extra-base hits. A hot streak any time soon would be most welcome. · (17) ·
Major League Baseball’s win rule is something of a funny beast. In yeseterday afternoon’s Yankee game, Edwar Ramirez walked away with the win, but to say he earned it would be a complete fallacy. In fact, when he retired the last batter of the eighth inning and ostensibly left the game, he had just given up a three-run lead, and the Yanks were facing a deficit with six outs to go.
But Sunday was one of those days, and the Yanks had to get Edwar, unhittable in July but less so in August, off the hook. When the dust finally settled after the eighth, the Yanks had scored six runs — five of them unearned — and won a key Sunday split of the four-game set against the Angels.
The day started out rather poorly for the Yanks. After four innings, they were down 5-0, and Darrell Rasner was done for the day and possibly for the starting rotation. Rasner allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings today, and with Ian Kennedy tossing another solid start for Scranton, I would be surprised to see Rasner take the mound next week against this same Angels team.
The Yanks, held to just three hits in the game’s first four innings, weren’t quite finished yet though. Ivan Rodriguez homered in the fifth, and the flood gates opened in the sixth. Xavier Nady plated two on a ground rule double, and after an RBI groundout by Wilson Betemit, the Yanks had cut the Angels’ deficit to one.
In the seventh, things started to fall apart for the Angels. With one out, Jeter hit a ball to center that should have been caught, but Gary Matthews couldn’t handle it. Derek was on second with a clutch error by the other team’s center fielder. After an Abreu RBI single and a completely meaningless single by A-Rod that did nothing to keep the inning alive or help the Yankees win the game since it was a hit by A-Rod, Xavier Nady blasted a three-run home run to give the Yanks a one-run lead.
But this one was far from over, Edwar Ramirez racked up two quick K’s, but a walk, a hit and a walk brought Mark Teixeira to the plate. With one swing, the newest Angel showed the Yanks why they may want to toss around the idea of signing him in the off-season. As the ball sailed over the right field fence, the Angels grabbed a one-run lead.
The eighth would feature more fun times for the Angels’ defense. Erick Aybra would drop a Melky Cabrera ground ball, Jeff Mathis would toss a ball into the outfield and Chone Figgins would boot an A-Rod ground ball while Robinson Cano, Xavier Nady and Justin Christian would all pick up RBI hits. The 14-9 lead would hold up.
Left unmentioned and forgotten would be Dan Giese, the real winner of this game. In relief of Rasner, Giese threw three one-hit innings, and his performance gave the Yanks a chance to get back into the game.
For the Yankees, this win delivered a four-game split of the weekend series with the Angels. More importantly, though, the Yanks showed that they could beat their archnemesis Angels. Had anyone hit on Friday, the Yanks could have walked away winners of three of four against Los Angeles, and next weekend, the Angels will have to face young Mr. Chamberlain.
Sunday’s game also showed what the Yankees could do. They were down, but not out, against a very tough bullpen, and they took advantage of the Angels’ mistakes. The newest Yankees — Nady and Pudge — went a combined 6 for 8 with seven RBIs and two home runs. The Yanks now face a very tough ten-game road trip, but they do so on a very good note. Joba goes later tonight, and there’s a lot of baseball left this year.
Brian Foley at The College Baseball Blog ran down the Eastern Division pitchers he saw last weekend at the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Check it out, most of those guys are going to premium draft picks next year.
Triple-A Scranton (5-2 win over Pawtucket)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 5
Berne Castro: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 CS
Matt Carson: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB – another year, another .800+ OPS
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Cody Ransom: 0 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – 1 for his last 20 (.050)
Ben Broussard: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Chris Stewart: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 K – picked a runner off first with a snap throw
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4, 2 K
Chris Basak: 1 for 3, 1 R
IPK: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 5-9 GB/FB – 67 of 96 pitches were strikes (69.7%) … he’s ready to take a spot from Ponson/Rasner
Scott Patterson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
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) ·