So the Yanks have started the second half going 6-2, and I would be lying if I said I was okay with Thursday’s lost. Up 2-0 after the first inning and facing a crappy pitcher, the Yanks’ bats were silenced for 8 innings. Chien-Ming Wang had one stretch of ineffectiveness, and that was all.
So while the Red Sox lost again, the Yanks couldn’t quite close the gap to six. Heading into another four-game weekend series against the Devil Rays, the Yanks still sit seven out in the division.
Looking back at today’s game, it’s tough to really blame anyone for the loss. The Yanks, with Wil Nieves in the lineup (a prospect akin to pitchers hitting in the NL), simply could not muster much offense. They hit into some bad double plays. I do however wonder about the 9th inning strategy.
Alex Rodriguez singles to lead off the inning, and two days after the Yanks tied the game in the 9th on aggressive baserunning, A-Rod stayed put at first. Maybe a steal was in order. Maybe Torre should have managed for the tie instead of a win. But no matter. If the Yanks play .750 ball for a few more weeks, we’ll have a pennant race yet.
More alarming to me is the black hole of suck coming out of the DH space in the Yanks’ lineup. Johnny Damon, no longer the team’s center fielder, is hitting .158/.338/.175 in July after hitting .226/.286/.333 in June. He’s managed three extra-base hits since June 6th, his last coming on July 1st. He’s also 0 for his last 17.
Down on the farm, Shelley Duncan went 2-for-3 with his 25th home run. His total is second highest only to A-Rod in the Yankee organization, and I have to wonder how much longer the Yanks can stick with Damon in the lineup. He’s just not a viable lead-off hitter right now and has lost his outfield job. The Yanks need production from the DH spot if they’re going to make a run for October. With Giambi out indefinitely, Damon has to step up or sit down.
For the rest of your Yankee farm system needs, check out the Yankees Prospect daily report. It’ll have Thursday’s numbers up for a bit, and again, feel free to produce your own version of DotF in the comments. (In fact, if any of you would be interested in taking on this feature on a daily basis while Mike is away, e-mail me at ben at riveraveblues dot com.)
Update by Mike: Hola all – just wanted to mention that with that homer, Shelley is now the single season homerun record holder for theÂ SWB franchise, and that includes all those years they were affiliated with the Phils. Shelley has 44 games left in the season to add to that total. Redonkulous.