The roller coaster continues…
Meanwhile, the Yankees have fallen 3 games back of the AL East Leaders, Boston Red Sox. The Yankees fell to the Florida Marlins, 2-1, while the Boston Red Sox, behind Josh Beckett, beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-0. The Braves’ Derek Lowe, like the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett, pitched well against their respective former teams…just not as good as the other team’s guy. In the Yankees’ case, it was a solid performance by Josh Johnson that undid the Yankees. Johnson went seven innings and gave up only 3 hits, the lone Yankee run, and 5 strikeouts. He showed why he has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year.
Joel Auerbach/US Presswire
The Yankees had their chances but couldn’t come up with the key hits to pull out a victory. Derek Jeter killed a potential rally in the 8th inning, failing to advance the runners and hitting into a double play grounder. Johnny Damon followed Jeter and struck out, leaving Brett Gardner stranded at third with what would have been the tying run. The Yankees hit into three double plays in total, including a game ending DP on a grounder by Robinson Cano after Mark Teixeira had singled in the 9th. Jeter had also hit into an inning ending DP earlier during the 3rd inning, after A.J. Burnett had singled.
In a situation that will likely be remembered at the end of the season when Johnny Damon becomes a free agent, Damon committed a brutal error in the 6th inning that allowed the Marlins to score their 2nd run. He had his sights on a line drive hit by Jorge Cantu, but his glove missed the ball. It almost looked like me playing softball!
Gary Dwight Miller/The Patriot News (Note: that’s not me, but it could be!)
The positives were great defensive play by catcher Jorge Posada, solid bullpen relief from the “Phil” duo (Coke and Hughes), and, of course, A.J. Burnett’s fine pitching.
The crowd, 46,427, was the third largest in stadium history for Land Shark Stadium. But seriously, I can’t say the name of that stadium without laughing…
In Sunday’s game, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia (6-4) faces the Marlins’ Chris Volstad (4-7). Hopefully, the Yanks will get back on track. In Boston, the Braves will have Jair Jurrjens (5-5) on the mound versus Tim Wakefield (9-3). The Yankees need to focus on keeping Boston’s lead to three games and perhaps pick up a game in the unlikely event that Wake loses on his home turf.
Jonathan Papelbon refuted reports that he’d be willing to sign with the Yankees after his contract with Boston expires in 2011. I think the quote was “I don’t want to go play for the (expletive) Yankees!”. Two immediate thoughts…1) What else is he going to say after the earlier comments received so much attention, and 2) There are some Red Sox players that I’d never want on my team and the list is headlined by Papelbon. But Julia, it doesn’t include Jason Bay! 😉
In the Battle of the Weavers, former Yankee Jeff Weaver outpitched his little brother, Jered, as the Dodgers defeated the Angels, 6-4. I was frustrated during Jeff’s time in New York, but he has always been someone that I’d like to see succeed. He did well in St. Louis a few years back, and has re-surfaced on Joe Torre’s staff. He’ll never reach the lofty heights that were predicted for him earlier in his career, but he is someone that I won’t root against.
Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times
The Weaver boys’ parents, Gail and Dave, had the right approach in attire while attending the match-up of their two sons…
Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times
The Yankees will apparently sign top international catching prospect, 16-year-old Gary Sanchez of the Dominican Republic when he becomes eligible to sign on July 2nd. One NL scout indicated that he is a big kid (6’2″, 210 pounds) with a big arm. But the scout also mentioned that he doesn’t hit like Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero, 19. Of course, there has been much talk that Montero will be moved to a different position by the time he makes it to the majors because of his physical size. Regardless, if the signing of Sanchez is true, the Yankees are in good shape when Jorge Posada decides to hang up the cleats.
For as well as Pedro Martinez pitched during the World Baseball Classic, teams seem to be stumbling over themselves trying to run away from him after watching him pitch in the Dominican Republic. Even if he had pitched well, he’s not someone I’d want on my team (see earlier comment about Jonathon Papelbon), but it is starting to sound like Pedro’s career may be over unless some team decides to give him a token offer. Time to wait for the Hall of Fame to call…
Per Peter Gammons of ESPN, Takaski Saito has emerged as the Red Sox pitcher most likely to be traded. Dice-K’s struggles, even with John Smoltz on hand, have made it unlikely that the team will part with Brad Penny. Gammons mentioned that the Red Sox had discussed a potential swap of Saito to the Texas Rangers for Hank Blalock, but decided that they needed to give David Ortiz more time to turn it around. I am convinced that the Red Sox will be a stronger team on July 31st than they are today, and they are obviously pretty good right now.
In my opinion, the Yankees cannot simply stand pat and hope that a lift is realized through the respective returns from injury by Xavier Nady, Jose Molina and Damaso Marte. I still like Cleveland’s Mark DeRosa, and feel he would be an ideal player to fill the infield utility role and allow Alex Rodriguez to take more days off. The bullpen is starting to come around, but they could still use a quality arm, like Arizona’s Chad Qualls, to take Brett Tomko’s place.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers on this great day! For a Father’s Day gift, I’m easy…I’ll take a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss! I know, I said at the top that a Yankees win would be sufficient. But c’mon, a Red Sox loss would be a great dessert! J
Enjoy your day!