Aargh! It’s frustrating watching the Yankees struggle…
Meanwhile, the Red Sox just creeping closer and closer. Fortunately, a never-say-die Kansas City Royals squad fought back from an 8-2 deficit to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 12-9. The loss kept the Red Sox from drawing even closer, but the Yankees aren’t doing anything to help themselves.
The team that has been so hot since the All-Star Break has suddenly gone into the deep freeze. Road trips are never fun, and this one has been particularly brutal. Of course, it doesn’t help when Joba Chamberlain drives off the deep end or Andy Pettitte tries to pitch through a fatigued shoulder.
With the Angels’ 5-2 win tonight, the Yankees are just be 4 games up on the Red Sox in the loss column, with three to play this coming weekend. The division is certainly up for grabs, yet the Yankees only need one elusive victory to secure a play-off spot. I am glad that the Rangers won tonight because I’d hate to see the Yankees stumble their way into the play-offs. They need to earn it outright.
For this weekend’s Yankees-Red Sox series, I have once again made a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. The loser must post the usual Top 11 posting, and this time, it is comprised of 11 special Yankee or Red Sox players (in no particular order or rank). If Julia loses, she must write 11 short bio’s about past or present Yankees, and vice versa for me. Also, continuing with the theme of photos in “enemy” territory, we’ll go with enemy t-shirts at meaningful landmarks in our specific locations. That means Julia would need to wear a Yankees t-shirt in Boston. Since I live near a National League city, my punishment would be wearing a Dodgers t-shirt in San Francisco. However, I would also have to wear a Red Sox hat to stay true to the theme. Wearing a Red Sox t-shirt just wouldn’t get the same reaction in San Francisco as the Dodgers would, so that’s why we are going with a slight variation. Granted, it would still be more painful to wear Yankees gear in Boston than it would be to wear Dodgers gear in San Francisco, but it still wouldn’t be a fun experience either way. Hopefully, my guys will turn it around before the weekend gets here.
Chad Gaudin has finally replaced Sergio Mitre as the Yanks’ #5 starter. My only reaction…it’s about time. Gaudin is nothing to write home about, but he has been a better option than Mitre if you throw out the single good start at the end of August.
The Yankees had their annual rookie hazing. Mark Melancon was Batman, video coordinator Anthony Flynn was Robin, massage therapist Lou Potter was the Penguin, radar gun operator Lou Potter was the Joker, Mike Dunn was the Riddler, and Ramiro Pena made his debut as Catwoman…
Ted S. Warren/AP
Now, if they could only start winning…
Give the man a pie…
This game belonged to the Swish. With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.
When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic. When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi. But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira. Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield. At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira. But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today. The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive. Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s. This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s. But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality. He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.
The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief. Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6. He walked 2 batters. Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb. The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.
Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Ouch! He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.
The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500. They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight. Yes, Julia, life is good…
And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…
The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson. This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective. In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief. He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing. Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson. Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296). This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs. But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN. Congrats!
Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns. The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension. It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football. The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…
An unexpected sweep…
The Yankees rallied to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 5-2, on Sunday. With the win, the Yankees completed a four game sweep of the Red Sox, and increased their lead in the AL East to 6 ½ games over Boston.
The Baltimore Sun
Prior to the start of the weekend series, I had hoped that the Yanks would win enough games so that they’d finished the series on Sunday in first place. However, I never imagined that the lead would balloon to 6 ½.
The game had been another scoreless affair through the early innings. Jon Lester continued his dominance over the Yankees, with 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, and 7 strikeouts. He did not have any walks. Of the Boston pitchers, Lester is the one that I have the most respect for, and he did a masterful job.
The Yankees struck first with a solo home run by Alex Rodriguez in the 7th inning.
However, the Red Sox quickly struck back with a two-run homer by Victor Martinez off Phil Coke in the top of the 8th, which ended the team’s 30 inning scoring drought.
Coke had relieved Andy Pettitte, who, like Lester, pitched a terrific game. Pettitte also went 7 innings, with 5 hits, no runs, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Unfortunately, it was a no-decision for Pettitte’s effort, as Coke lost the lead but earned the victory with the Yankees’ 8th inning comeback.
The first batters went down quickly so it appeared that the Yanks would head to the 9th down by 1. However, Johnny Damon came to the plate and tied the game with a homer. He was followed by Mark Teixeira, who connected for a homer to put the Yanks up by 1. After a couple of more runs scored courtesy of a single by Nick Swisher, the Yankees had turned a 2-1 deficit to a 5-2 lead.
Mariano Rivera entered the game in the 9th, and looked a bit rusty. With a hit and a walk, he allowed the tying run to come to the plate. However, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a grounder that Mark Teixeira was able to field and step on first before Ellsbury could get there. So, although the 9th inning was tense, the Yankees emerged with the victory and the series sweep.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Congratulations to the Yankees for a job well done!
Meanwhile, my friend, Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has completed ½ of her wager loss with a tremendous Top 11 (eleven positive, memorable things about the Yankees). For the other half of the waiver, she has to take a photo of her SUV in three high profile, easily recognizable spots. One catch, the SUV has to be flying a Yankees flag. That’s easier said than done, at least in Boston. Good luck, Julia! The flag is in the mail! Julia, by the way, has been a great sport. It’s tough to be positive about the other team when your team loses to them (trust me, I have great experience!), but she’s held her head high and paid her debt while maintaining the pride and respect of the RSN. I realize that this is just a single victory…well, okay, four of them! 😉 The Yankees and Red Sox will go at it again beginning August 21st at Fenway Park, and you can be assured that the Red Sox will be seeking revenge, as will a certain woman from Boston…
See you again on August 21st, my friend! The game is still on! 🙂
Pitcher Chad Gaudin joined the Yankees today, and as expected, pitcher Josh Towers was DFA’d without throwing a pitch for the Yanks (he had just been called up from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre for insurance after the long 15 inning ordeal on Friday night). Gaudin will pitch out of the bullpen, and was told by manager Joe Girardi that he could come in to face a batter or two, or he could be asked to pitch an entire game. I think he is just on Sergio Mitre start away from getting a shot in the rotation…
Here are the final totals for the Red Sox-Yankees series:
Red Sox 8
Red Sox 3
Red Sox 0
It was a very enjoyable weekend!
What does a Yankees victory mean?
Of course, in the big picture view, it is 1/162 closer to the play-offs, but for the current Yankees-Red Sox series, it has multiple implications:
1. First and foremost, you won’t be seeing me wearing any pink hats or Red Sox shirts in the foreseeable future since there is no chance of a Red Sox sweep at this point. So, that part of the wager has been extracted.
2. The eight-game Red Sox winning streak over the Yankees (nine if you go back to last year) is over.
3. With the win, Yankee players no longer have the stigma of whether or not they can beat the Red Sox hanging over their heads. So, the pressure has been deflated somewhat (by a miniscule amount, I know, but it’s better than a little bit more pressure).
4. Finally, with the win and a 3 ½ game lead over Boston in the AL East standings, the Yankees are assured of remaining in first place when Boston departs the Bronx on Sunday.
So, the wager between Julia of Julia’s Rants and myself now consists of:
1. Attach a Red Sox (Scott) or a Yankees (Julia) flag to his/her car, and take photos of the car in at least three prominent locations near our respective homes. The locations should be easily recognizable by anyone (to ensure that they are places which handle high traffic for the applicable flag viewing).
2. Write a Top 11 List with eleven positive statements about the winning team.
Tonight’s 13-6 win over the Red Sox definitely had its interesting moments. A record crowd of 49,005 filled the new Yankee Stadium to see the hometown guys prevail over the dudes from Beantown. John Smoltz continued to look well past his prime but unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain wasn’t too much better. Joba is going to get a reputation of being unable to beat the Sox, kind of like Jose Contreras when he first arrived in the big leagues. Granted, Chamberlain got the win, but it wasn’t pretty. In 5 innings, he gave up 6 hits, 4 runs, 7 walks (7 walks?), and had 5 strikeouts.
The Yankees blew this one open with an 8-run 4th inning that saw three-run homers by Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada. Boston had its chances, but stranding 15 men on base doesn’t exactly ensure victory.
In the 9th inning, with the Yankees up by 9, Anthony Claggett, a very recent call-up from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, was brought into the game. The Red Sox scored a couple of runs on two RBI singles, and it looked as though the Sox might mount the improbable rally. But it wasn’t meant to be, and the Yankees emerged with their first victory of the season against Boston.
But as my friend Julia is so quick to tell me, there are still three games to go. Much can happen, and the Red Sox are not out by any stretch of the imagination. But for a night, I can bask in glory and know that my guys finally did it. Sweet! And, oh yeah, they have a 3 ½ game lead! J
RUNNING TOTALS (8/06 – 8/09) FOR TIE-BREAKER:
Red Sox 6
Red Sox 2
Red Sox 0
It was good to see Muhammad Ali at Yankee Stadium. I miss the days of Howard Cosell and Ali, but the Champ is still greatest…and he looks pretty good with his new cap!
And others were in attendance too…
Frank Franklin II/AP
I guess A-Rod is looking to end his homerless streak… 😉
I think that GM Brian Cashman is actively searching for the next Aaron Small, rather than going with a proven, consistent starter to fill the #5 slot in the starting rotation (currently occupied by Sergio Mitre). The Yankees missed out on Jarrod Washburn, who they had coveted for several years. Ian Snell, another pitcher they scouted, was traded to Seattle prior to the trading deadline. I know that they scouted Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo, but nothing ever materialized. In the last couple days, the Yankees have acquired Russ Ortiz, late of the Houston Astros and most recently, former Cub Chad Gaudin of the San Diego Padres. Naturally, yesterday’s headline about Gaudin was…
Gaudin’s up-and-down season continues
Starter pulled in fourth inning, charged with six runs vs. Braves
Gaudin is currently 4-10, with an ERA of 5.13. He has averaged a strikeout an inning (105 strikeouts in 105 1/3 innings), but he has definitely had a roller-coaster type of season. I’d say that Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland has his work cut out for him. Ortiz, I assume, is simply a body for the rotation at Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and will never see the inside of Yankee Stadium…or at least I hope not. For Gaudin, he went to bed last night 22 ½ games out of first place. Tonight, he’ll go to bed 3 ½ games up!
Robert Benson/US Presswire
Hey Julia, advantage ME! Go Yankees!