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!
There might be something to this so-called “rest”…
Of course, we all know how well Alex Rodriguez responded to some rest and relaxation. Mark Teixeira has not had any rest, and of course, we’ve seen the results of that…
The latest recipient of rest was catcher Jorge Posada who sat out a couple of games with a bruised thumb. He was back in the lineup on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, and the results were, well, for the lack of a better word, very A-Rod-like. On Sunday, in the 12th inning with the game tied at 5, Mark Teixeira doubled to open the bottom of the inning. With first base open, Alex Rodriguez was intentionally walked. Robinson Cano was up next, but true to form recently with men in scoring position, he failed to advance the runners as Tex was out on a fielder’s choice. Jorge Posada came to the plate, and he ripped the third pitch to center, scoring A-Rod with the winning run.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Posada had also homered earlier in the game, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the 4th inning.
Sabo/NY Daily News
Chien-Ming Wang had pitched well through five innings. When the 6th inning started, Wang was nursing a 3-2 lead over Yankee killer Roy Halladay and the Jays. He had retired 10 of 11 Toronto batters at that point. With Halladay, it’s like what it used to be with Pedro Martinez when he pitched in Boston, you just want to keep it close until you can get into the other team’s bullpen and then take your chances. Unfortunately, disaster struck Wang in the 6th. Marco Scutaro led off with a double. After Aaron Hill had grounded out, Adam Lind homered to give the Jays a 4-3 lead. He threw one pitch to the next batter, Scott Rolen, but Posada knew that something was wrong. Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue came out to the mound, and Wang departed the game. He was later diagnosed with a shoulder strain with bursitis, and had a MRI at a local hospital.
Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger
Wang was relieved by David Robertson. Robertson ended up walking Rolen, and subsequently walked the next batter (Lyle Overbay) too. After striking out Vernon Wells, Alex Rios singled to score Rolen. David Dellucci flied out to end the inning, but Doc Halladay and the Rays had a two-run lead.
Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
Brian Bruney, currently out as the 8th inning bridge to Mariano Rivera until he begins pitching more effectively, opened the 7th inning. The results were mixed but at least he held the Jays scoreless. The first two batters singled. A sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, and Adam Lind was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Fortunately, Bruney retired Rolen and Overbay to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 7th, Derek Jeter singled and scored when Johnny Damon homered to tie the game. That was definitely a huge hit at a very critical time. I think I forgot to thank Julia for failing to re-sign Johnny…
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Phil Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, and further cemented his status as the set up guy in place of Bruney. I would have liked to have seen Hughes pitch the 9th with the game still tied, but Girardi went with Mariano Rivera. The bullpen continued its stellar performance of late with two scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th by Phil ‘Coke, and then Brett Tomko put the team in position to win by retiring the three batters he faced in the 12th. Clearly, the Yankees won because of their bullpen. Back in April, games were routinely lost because of the pen. The reversal has been very dramatic and clearly the two Phils share the credit, along with the continued domination of ageless closer Mariano Rivera. It doesn’t mean that I now trust Brett Tomko, but at least there is no longer any reason to dread the arrival of a Yankees reliever into a game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
A quick note on Robinson Cano…I am not quite sure what is wrong, but he was 0-for-6 and failed in several key spots. For some reason, he has developed an aversion to hitting with men on base. In the 12th inning, he missed a sign and bunted on a 3-0 pitch. He caught everyone off guard, including Mark Teixeira who was standing on second. He was thrown out at third by 20 feet. “Let’s just say somebody missed something,” Girardi said. “A better way to explain is he misunderstood something.” Cano left 10 men on base, 5 of whom were in scoring position. In his first 5 at-bat’s, he ended the innings, including the 9th with runners at first and second. I am starting to think that Julia swiped Robby and dropped Julio Lugo into his uniform! 😉
The initial word is that Chien-Ming Wang is headed for the DL, and will be gone for about a month. At this point, I do not think there’s any way that Phil Hughes would be re-inserted into the starting rotation. Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog speculated that Sergio Mitre of AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre might be the choice, and I agree. Mitre served a 50-game suspension earlier this season after testing positive for Androstendione (it was allegedly the result of an over the counter supplement purchased at GNC which contained an unlisted amount of the steroid). Since his return, Mitre has pitched 30.1 innings and has compiled a 2-1 record in 5 starts with 3.26 ERA. I’d definitely rather see him than Kei Igawa.
Backup catcher Jose Molina feels that he will be ready to rejoin the team on Tuesday in Minnesota.
Sunday’s match up features Joba Chamberlain (4-2) versus Brett Cecil (2-1). Cecil is a replacement for Scott Richmond, who was bumped because of a sore shoulder. To me, it’s time for Joba Chamberlain to make a statement with a solid performance.
Today, in stadiums across the country, the words of Lou Gehrig filled the air in a day of remembrance. 70 years ago today, it was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium and the Iron Horse gave his immortal farewell speech:
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.
“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.
“So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”
This video is very fitting on a day when we remember Henry Louis Gehrig…
Posted on YouTube by kylethompson4
As the celebrity deaths continue, I was saddened to hear about the death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair. I remember when Air McNair was being drafted from college, and I had been so hopeful that the Vikings would draft him. I can still remember the disappointment when he was drafted by the Titans. I vividly remember that it was a cloudy day as I listened to the draft. Hopefully, Steve’s killer will be found and brought to justice.
Damian Strohmeyer, SI/AP
In more uplifting news, congratulations to Serena Williams for her victory at Wimbledon over her sister, Venus. I was pulling for Serena so it was enjoyable to see her win in two sets.
Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Now, if Roger Federer can beat Andy Roddick, it will be a GREAT tennis weekend at Wimbledon!
I am in the process of relocating back to my home in Northern California so my posts in the coming days may be more sporadic than usual. But rest assured that I will be back and at full strength by August when the Yankees face the Boston Red Sox. Julia has been lulled into a false sense of security. The Red Sox dominance over the Yankees will end, and we are now just one game behind her beloved boys from Beantown. All things considered, life is good…
Exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
When the words of the famed Metallica song, “Enter Sandman”, reverberate throughout Yankee Stadium, it means only one thing. It’s the entrance of Mariano Rivera for yet another save opportunity. On Sunday night, against the New York Mets, Mo reached a milestone with his 500th career save. He became only the second man to reach 500 saves, behind leader Trevor Hoffman.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Mo also picked up his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, bringing home Melky Cabrera for an insurance run in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Mets. The Yankees swept the weekend series against the Mets, and won the season series, taking 5 of 6 games.
Jason Szenes/The New York Times
At the end of the game, there were no fist pumps, no wild displays of emotion. Mo, in his usual business-like approach, calmly watched Robinson Cano fire Alex Cora’s ground out to Mark Teixeira to end the game. Tex handed Mo the game ball and gave him a big hug. The rest of the team came and did the same. It was a very touching scene, and I have to admit that I got chills watching the moment. I have said it will be a very difficult day when Mo decides to hang up his glove, but I am very appreciative for moments like this as we move toward the sunset of an absolutely fantastic career.
As usual, Mo is quicker to credit his teammates than he is to take praise alone.
“But don’t get me wrong, this is definitely special, being the second guy who does that in the history of baseball; it’s kind of special, but I’m a team player. My team fought hard today to give me that opportunity to be there. I tried to do my job. Really, all the 500 saves belong to my teammates.”
“I’m proud of what I have done with the team. I’m proud of my teammates. I’m proud of everything we have accomplished. Every time I have the chance to wear this uniform, I’m proud.”
Mo, we’re even prouder of you…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Congrats on #500…and #1!
The game started with a double by Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher followed with a fielder’s choice to first, but first baseman David Murphy opted to throw to third to stop an advancing Jeter. But a double pump caused too much of a delay so Murphy’s throw third arrived late, and it allowed Swisher to reach first uncontested. Mark Teixeira promptly hit a double to score both Jeter and Swisher. Tex advanced to third on a fielder’s choice hit by Robinson Cano, and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Posada. Quickly, the Yankees had raced to a 3-0 lead and those were all the runs they would need.
New York Post
Chien-Ming Wang was unable to match the pitching performances of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the first two games of the series, but it was still enough to pick up his first win of the year, and his first in 379 days. The Mets did mount a mini-rally in the 4th on a run-scoring double by Fernando Martinez and a RBI single by Luis Castillo. But pitcher Livan Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.
For the game, Wang went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two runs. He walked three batters and struck out three. His ERA remains in double-digits (10.06), but another quality start will bring it down to single digits after the horrendous start to the season.
Keivom/NY Daily News
Phil Hughes continued his successful transition to the bullpen. In his last five outings, he’s pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings. That’s a far cry of the early season disasters involving Jose Veras and Damaso Marte. Hughes has played a huge role in re-shaping the bullpen into a quality unit. Granted, it still doesn’t match the stellar Red Sox bullpen, but at least it’s improving.
I realize that the Subway Series would have had a different look had Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado et al been healthy. But wins are wins, and I’ll take them. My friend Julia seems to enjoy “distance” but we are quietly gaining ground on her beloved Red Sox. Hey Julia, I’ll use one you used on me once upon a time…even if the deficit is 3 ½ games heading into Tuesday’s action…
Xavier Nady definitely facing an uphill battle in his attempt to come back from his right elbow injury. He previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2001, so another surgery will be the second of its kind. I read that the success rate for a second surgery is only about 20%. Nady will miss the rest of 2009 and most likely all of 2010 (typical recovery time is 12-14 months). However, it is possible that he may never return and that would truly be unfortunate.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
Speaking of injuries, I want to put the rivalry with the Red Sox aside and wish Mike Lowell the very best. He had fluid drained from his ailing right hip and received an injection to relieve inflammation in the joint. It will take a few days to determine if Lowell will be able to play now or if he’ll need to be placed on the DL for a return later this summer. I truly hope that the best case scenario works out for Mike, and that he is back on the field sooner rather than later. I want to beat Boston, but I want to beat Boston with their best on the field. Mike is a huge part of why the Red Sox have been so successful, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.
Finally, today was the funeral for Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas (of Aplington-Parkersburg). A 24-year old former player has been charged with the murder of Thomas, who coached the likes of Aaron Kampman, Brad Meester, Jared DeVries, and Casey Wiegmann during his 37-year coaching career. Thomas was the NFL’s High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and won two state titles. I grew up playing Iowa high school football, and it is shocking that something like this could happen in the Hawkeye State. My high school coach, Pearl Smith, never won a state championship (not for the lack of trying, I can assure you), but he was a winner in my eyes. It’s been many years since I’ve seen him, but he had a huge impact on my life and the lessons he taught stick with me to this day. So, I am deeply saddened to see the loss of Ed Thomas and what it means to everyone whose life he touched during his long and very successful coaching career.
I leave for a few days, and the world falls apart…
The Yankees are losing to the Washington Nationals tonight, 3-0, in the 8th inning. If they lose the game, the Nationals will win the series, 2 games to 1. Aren’t the Nationals supposed to be the baseball’s worst team? I was worried about the series going in, because I know that this series had disaster spelled all over it.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was more news awaiting me…
Jonathan Papelbon told Jody McDonald and Bert Blyleven on Sirius XM Radio that he’d consider joining the Yankees when his contract with the Red Sox is up. Umm, thanks but no thanks…
The Yankees are apparently one of several teams that will be taking a look at pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Cubs, Rays and Angels will also be watching Pedro pitch in the Dominican Republic tomorrow. Note to Yankees: Look but don’t touch!
GM Brian Cashman indicates that he does not expect the team to any major moves prior to the trading deadline this year. He likes the team he has assembled, and wants to see what how it does once the injured guys (Jose Molina, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte) return. I don’t know what Cash calls it, but I’d call it third place. Meanwhile, the Rays look to improve and the Red Sox have John Smoltz ready to go on June 25th and of course you know that Theo won’t stand pat. This might be the part of the marathon where the elite runners begin to make separation from the rest of the pack. I can only hope that Cash is playing with his poker face…
Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times
Chien-Ming Wang is going to remain in the rotation. I guess the Yankees want to be assured of a loss every fifth day…
Alex Rodriguez is 8 for 51 in the month of June. Even Big Papi is looking much better than A-Rod right now…
Bill Greene/Globe Staff
I am not ready to break out the ‘Joe’s gotta go!’ card, but at what point does pitching coach Dave Eiland begin to take some responsibility for the woes of the pitching staff?
Oh well, hopefully, my perspective will improve tomorrow and the Yankees will return to their winning ways…
Frank Franklin II/AP
I spent the last couple of days in Denver, and had a great time! It was strictly a business trip, but Colorado is always a fun place to be. I lived there a few years ago, so it was great to be back in the Mile High City. If visiting (and you are a meat eater), you’ve got to try The Fork in the foothills of Morrison, CO. I had William Bent’s Buffalo Tenderloin Filet Mignon and it was one of the most tender steaks that I’ve had in recent years. Very flavorful! I didn’t know about The Fork when I lived in Denver but wish I had.
The Boston Red Sox clearly have the psychological advantage over the New York Yankees…
As Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 95% mental. The other half is physical”.
With last night’s 6-5 loss, the Yankees are now 0-7 in the season series with the Red Sox (0-8 if you go back to last season). Alex Rodriguez can relate, given that he is 0-for-7 in the latest series.
Chien-Ming Wang looks completely lost. It is becoming very painful to watch his struggles in meaningful games. What’s the answer? Back to the bullpen? An extended summer vacation in Taiwan with plans to return for spring training in 2010? I don’t know, but the Yankees simply cannot afford to leave him in the starting rotation. It’s a very disappointing situation, and remain hopeful that Wang will return to the pitcher that he once was…
Simmons/NY Daily News
I felt that the Yankees could have won last night’s game. The back-to-back home runs by Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira against Ramon Ramirez seemed to give the team new life, but they were unable able to capitalize.
The game saw both good and bad from Nick Swisher. Poor base running in the second inning allowed Nick Swisher to be doubled off first base, which possibly prevented the Yankees from adding another run after Jorge Posada’s homer. He also misplayed a fly ball in the bottom of the inning that appeared he had a great jump on, allowing the Red Sox to score a run. He did make a spectacular diving catch in the seventh inning to take away a hit from Mike Lowell.
Congratulations to Julia, of Julia’s Rants, for yet another victory in our lopsided 2009 wagers that seem to be all-Julia. I am now 0-for-3 on the season. I guess there’s a Jason Bay in my future after all…unfortunately.
Bill Simmons/Boston Globe
If the Yankees expect to contend for the AL East Championship, they need to figure out how to beat Boston. A strong pitching performance today by CC Sabathia would be a great start in the right direction. Feel free to mix in a timely hit or two from Alex Rodriguez…
In the MLB Draft, the Yankees selected first baseman Luke Murton. Murton’s brother, Matt, is an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, but was originally drafted by the Red Sox. Nothing like bringing the rivalry into the family…
Okay, that was really ugly…
Saturday’s 9-7 loss to the Rays was ugly, I am not quite sure what you’d call last night’s 7-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
A.J. Burnett was a disappointment, giving up 5 runs, 3 earned, and 5 walks in less than 3 innings of work. I guess he has to wear a Jays uniform to be effective at Fenway Park because it certainly doesn’t work in a Yankees jersey…
The Yankees and the Red Sox are once again tied at the top of the AL East Standings with records of 34-24.
The Yankees need to put this one behind them, and come out today with a new and fresh attitude. They are better than their 0-for-6 record against the Sox indicates, and hopefully, good things are in store for Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees tonight.
I won’t lose the faith, and I am certainly not ready to be sized for a Jason Bay t-shirt.
The Yankees chose center fielder Slade Heathcott, an 18 year old high school player from Texarkana, Texas. Slade definitely has a name fit for a Texan, and hopefully a swing fit for Yankee Stadium. There’s only one serious flaw in Slade’s game…he’s a Red Sox fan…but I think we’ll be able to cure that ailment.
With their second pick, the Yankees selected another 18-year old high school player in defensive-minded catcher John Murphy from Bradenton, Florida.
IMG Baseball Academy
Can’t say that I care for the batting helmet… 😉
The Vikings have supposedly “temporarily suspended” their pursuit of QB Brett Favre. The deadline imposed by head coach Brad Childress was a poor idea if the team legitimately wanted Favre, so supposedly the ‘cooling off’ period will allow Favre additional time to decide if his shoulder is up to the challenge of another season. All things considered, Brett, stay home…
Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for their 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals to force Game 7. The team with home ice has won every game of this series, and unfortunately, Game 7 is in Detroit. Nevertheless, if there’s anyone who can perform the impossible, it’s Sidney Crosby. Hopefully, they’ll be hoisting the Stanley Cup in the streets of Pittsburgh. Good luck to the Pens!
What? The Lakers lost? What’s up with that…
Have a great day!
It wasn’t a perfect, but all things considered, it could have been worse…
The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers, 8-6, while the Boston Red Sox won in Detroit against the Tigers, 6-3. So, the two teams remain deadlocked atop the AL East Standings.
The Yankees survived a less than stellar return to the starting rotation by Chien-Ming Wang.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a Johnny Damon home run to right.
Wang looked good for the first couple of innings, but the trouble began in the 3rd. Chris Davis started the inning with a ground rule double. He advanced to third on a sacrifice by Taylor Teagarden. After an by Elvis Andrus, Davis scored on a wild pitch when Wang slipped. The next batters, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, reached base on a walk and an infield single, respectively. That brought Hank Blalock to the plate who hit a single to left, scoring Kinsler and Young. Nelson Cruz struck out to end the inning, but the Rangers resumed their offensive strike in the 4th.
David Murphy singled, and was followed by Marlon Byrd who doubled, advancing Murphy to third. Chris Davis doubled to right to score the two runners ahead of him. Wang was then able to retire the next three batters to end the inning, but the Rangers had increased their lead to 4-1.
Simmons/NY Daily News
In the 5th, Wang was able to induce the first two batters to hit into ground outs, but the third batter, Nelson Cruz, unloaded a homer to center and Wang’s day was done. He was relieved by Alfredo Aceves, He walked two batters, and an error allowed the lead runner to third. But Chris Davis popped out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankee bats came alive against Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy. Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena both singled, and Johnny Damon walked to load the bases. Nick Swisher walked, which scored Cervelli. Mark Teixeira, continuing his offensive surge which began in May, doubled to left with a shot near line past charging third baseman Michael Young, scoring all three base runners to tie the score at 5. Alex Rodriguez singled, scoring Teixeira, and the Yankees had re-captured the lead.
The next inning, Aceves was able to retire the first two batters without much difficulty, but then allowed a home run to left by Ian Kinsler. Once again, the game was tied. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th. With C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Rangers, the first batter, Robinson Cano walked. Hideki Matsui flied out, which brought Melky Cabrera to the plate. Granted, it was a bit early for the “Walk Off” king, but Cabrera ignored that it wasn’t the 9th inning and launched a Wilson offering to left, giving the Yankees an 8-6 lead.
Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger
“What can you say? He’s always coming through for us,” Mark Teixeira said after the game about Cabrera.
Mariano Rivera came on in the 9th to close out the game. He made it interesting with two hits, and had runners at second and third when he induced David Murphy to pop out to end the game. Bent, but not broken and the Yankees had the win and Rivera had earned his 12th save. David Robertson, 1-0, was the winner after throwing just one pitch (a fly out to retire the Rangers in the 8th). For a change, the Yankee bullpen was able to rescue the starting pitcher, and the Yankees were able to win the series against the Rangers, two games to one. It was disappointing to see the underwhelming performance by Wang, but all things considered, I’ll take the victory.
I was disappointed to hear that Wang’s next start will be against the Boston Red Sox. I am sure that their hitters started salivating when they heard the news. The bad news was further compounded by the fact that A.J. Burnett was suspended for six games for his retaliatory pitch thrown near the head of Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz in the game where Vicente Padilla plunked Mark Teixeira twice. I was surprised that Vicente Padilla was only fined for his actions. Burnett has appealed the suspension.
I wonder if Julia would give me a three run handicap for our wager on the Yankees-Red Sox series next week? Probably not. She’s definitely living the good life, but hopefully there will be a few storm clouds on her Red Sox horizon…
Randy Johnson of my favorite National League team, the San Francisco Giants. He because the sixth left hander and 24th major league player to win 300 games. Johnson, 300-164, won on his first attempt at the milestone, and saved us the agony of watching the media follow him from city to city in his quest for 300 wins. It was a good win for the Giants and a great performance by the Big Unit.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who thoroughly dominated the Orlando Magic, 100-75, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who even the Stanley Cup Finals at 2 games, with a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Perhaps yesterday really was the perfect day…
Have a fantastic Friday!