To borrow a friend‘s words, it was a game that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside… – SMILE!
While she (aka Julia) was referring to the last time the Red Sox won, they seem so appropriate for the last two Red Sox games (both losses to the Oakland A’s). Julia, if you didn’t notice, we won our series against the A’s. What’s the problem? 😉
To Boston’s defense, they tried to come back in both games, but as the saying goes, too little…too late…
In tonight’s game, the A’s had leads of 5-0 and 8-3, before the Red Sox chipped away and brought themselves within 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th. Representing the tying run, J.D. Drew grounded out to end the game. The night before, the Sox had a 6-2 lead, but it vanished, thanks primarily to several throwing errors in the 9th and the Sox were defeated 9-8 in 11 innings. The A’s had scored 2 runs in the top of the frame, but the Sox added a run in the bottom of 11th before Dustin Pedroia ended the game with a fly out.
Of course, it makes for a very happy Yankees fan since the Bronx Bombers are now 3 ½ games up on the Red Sox in the AL East Standings. Plus, they picked up a game on the Tampa Bay Rays by virtue of taking 2 of 3 during the past three days. Life is good…
Without a game by game breakdown, the Yankees dominated the Rays with pitching. Of course, the lone subpar pitching performance belonged to CC Sabathia who lost on Tuesday night. I don’t need to read the headlines or the box score when CC pitches and I didn’t watch the game, I just look for the game photos. If CC has a hand to his face, it means he was saddled with another “L”.
A.J. Burnett has continued to pitch like the ace that he is. Since the Boston series in early June, he has been the premier pitcher of the staff. Joba Chamberlain, tonight’s winner, has been the top tier pitcher as advertised since the All-Star Break. In 21 2/3 innings since the All-Star Break, Joba has only given up 2 runs and has 19 strikeouts. I guess he’s been paying attention to Phil Hughes. Seriously, if he continues to pitch like this, the Yankees will definitely be playing games in October.
The warts that were revealed in the Rays series is that Brian Bruney cannot be trusted in the 8th inning…at least not yet. Also, Nick Swisher’s fielding leaves much to be desired and he is definitely not the right guy for a full-time right field responsibility…regardless of how much I like the dude and how much his personality has meant to the 2009 Yankees. The last concern, that I have, is center field support for Melky Cabrera while Brett Gardner is out. I keep thinking that Austin Jackson would be the perfect guy to call up from AAA Scranton, but then again, I really feel that Shelley Duncan deserves another shot. Brian Cashman has a tough job with difficult decisions, I am glad that he is receiving the Steinbrenners’ money and not me.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
OFF TOPIC COMMENTS
So, Brett Favre has decided to hang up the cleats, huh? I have to admit that I had mixed feelings. As much as I publicly voiced my opposition, there was a part of me that wanted to see the former Packers rival suit up in purple and gold. I am not 100% sold on Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels, and I think the Vikings have a great window of opportunity this season. Unlike the Patriots or the Steelers or even the Cowboys, the Vikings will not have the sustainability to remain Super Bowl contenders. When I was a kid, I took the Vikings’ repeated appearances in the Super Bowl for granted. I thought that it would only be a matter of time before there was a ticker tape parade in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, that day has never come. Years ago, I made a bet with my uncle, a devout Chiefs fan. We bet $10 (hey, I was only a teenager, c’mon!) regarding whether the Vikings or the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl first. If neither team made it that year, we’d add 0.50 cents to the pot each year. So, this year’s pot is a ******** $26! So, perhaps Brett Favre has cost me the price of a half a tank of gas! LOL! As a native Iowan, I would like to see Sage Rosenfels, a fellow Iowan, surge to the type of late season success that was enjoyed by former Viking QB Rich Gannon in his later years in Oakland. I am also pulling for former USC QB John David Booty, who currently wears the #4 jersey that would have been taken by Favre. But, I am not against T-Jack if he can show in training camp that he is the man. I want to win, so that means I simply want the best guy for each position and QB is not exception. I have to admit that had Favre came back, I had serious doubts about his ability to hold up for an entire season since he failed last year. Obviously, Brett had the same doubts…
On my last blog I mentioned the Batting Stance Guy. I was not familiar with him until a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Here is another video classic for my friend Julia:
A great day for a birthday…
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Today is my birthday, and it couldn’t have had a happier ending than a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss. All week, a certain blogger from Boston kept telling me that I couldn’t have a Red Sox loss for my birthday since she would be in attendance at Fenway Park. Hey Julia, how did that work out for ya? 😉
This is my first blog in a week so I don’t really plan to delve into breakdowns of the games that have been played since my last blog. I recently took a job with a new company that allowed me to return home to Silicon Valley, California. I had been in Wilmington, Delaware for the past year. For the past week, I packed my belongings and drove across the country (3,000 miles in 3 ½ days). Since the focus of the week was the move, I did not take my laptop with me and as a result, I have been silent on this blog for a week.
In seven days while I’ve been gone, the Yankees lost only one game. The Oakland A’s snapped the Yankees’ winning streak on Saturday, when Alfred Aceves failed to bail out Andy Pettitte. It was the end of the Yankees eight game winning streak, as well as an eight game streak against the A’s dating back to 2008 (they had taken the first four games of the series this year).
Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger
Beating up the Tigers, Twins, and A’s has allowed the Yankees to extend their lead in the AL East to 2 ½ games over the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees do have a challenging schedule for the remainder of the season, and it won’t get any easier with a 9-game road trip that begins in St. Petersburg, Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. The Rays are currently in third place, 6 ½ games back.
Jason Behnken/Tampa Bay Tribune
I have been pleasantly surprised about the Yankees’ success so far in the second half of the season. Admittedly, I was down after the Yankees had been swept by the Los Angeles Angels to close out the first half. Prior to that series, the Yankees had tied Boston for the AL East lead. While the Yanks were getting swept, Boston was doing their own sweeping so the first half closed with a three game Boston lead. But as quickly as the Yanks went from a first place tie to three games back, they surged back to overtake Boston with only one loss since the All-Star Game. I suspect that the lead will change hands a few more times before this is all said and done, but it is nice to see the Yankees reach 60 wins faster than any other AL team at this point in the season.
Christopher Pasatieri/US Presswire
The news regarding Chien-Ming Wang has not been good. He will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. Wang had a second MRI last week, according to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, and it revealed a possible rotator cuff tear. If it is not a scar from Wang’s prior surgery in 2000, and has rotator cuff surgery, he will be lost for most, if not all, of next season.
I do not think that Sergio Mitre is the answer in the rotation, and apparently neither do the Yankees. According to Jenifer Logosch at MLB.com, the Yankees had scouts in attendance to watch Ian Snell pitch. Snell struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season, going 2-8 in 15 starts, with 5.36 ERA. He was demoted to AAA Indianapolis and has pitched lights out. In four starts for Indy, Snell has pitched 26 1/3 innings with a 0.34 ERA and 34 strikeouts. Snell apparently has no interest in rejoining the Pirates, and feels that he was made a scapegoat for their early season problems. I am not sure if Snell is the answer or if his AAA success can equate to Major League success after past difficulties, but, for the right price, he is probably worth trying. I’d rather go there before taking a chance with Kei Igawa. I read that the Seattle Mariners wanted both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for Jarrod Washburn, so there’s no way that deal is happening unless the Mariners drop their asking price. The Yankees won’t be contenders for either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, so they’ll continue to rummage through the bargain bins over the next couple of days as they continue to seek possible replacements for Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation.
Speaking of Brett Gardner, he landed on the DL after suffering a fractured thumb in the first inning of Saturday’s game. Of course, in that game, he had a run-scoring triple and played excellent defensively AFTER the thumb injury. He is a huge loss for the team, but hopefully he’ll be out no more than three weeks or so. I hope that Melky Cabrera maintains a high level of play during Gardner’s absence, and doesn’t lose any motivation or ambition without Gardner competing with him every day. Hopefully, Gardner’s recovery will be as speedy as he is on the base paths…
Frank Franklin II/AP
Boston has a chance to make up ground on the Yankees during the upcoming 9-game road trip, but I have to admit that I am very shocked that John Smoltz is 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA. I liked Boston’s pick up of Adam LaRoche (well, not as a Yankees fan, but looking at the trade objectively and knowing what it means for the Red Sox). Of course, with Theo Epstein, you know that the next few days will be very interesting as Boston continues to seek upgrades.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
I am sure that most people have become familiar with Batting Stance Guy but I wasn’t. I saw him on David Letterman this week and he was hilarious (his impression of Kevin Youkilis is priceless). You can check him out at www.battingstanceguy.com. His posts can also be found on YouTube. Here is his impression of the 2009 Yankees:
As much as I will miss the close proximity to Yankee Stadium, I am looking forward to my first visit to AT&T Park this year when I attend next Sunday’s match-up between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. After a year in Phillies country, I am excited about the opportunity to watch Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, J-Ro, and the other Phillies without being surrounded by those “calm and quiet” Philadelphia fans! Seriously, there aren’t many things better than watching baseball near the Bay…
Have a great week!