Yankees Win + Rays Loss = 1 Game Lead in AL
Finally, after 8 days, the Yankees were able to
shake the Rays for at least a day with a 9-2 win over the Oakland A’s in the
Bronx on Tuesday night. The Rays started
strong against the pesky Toronto Blue Jays, but they saw a 3-1 lead erased when
the Jays scored 10 runs in the 6th inning to win going away,
13-5. So, the Yankees are 82-50 while
the Rays are 81-51. Meanwhile, the
Boston Red Sox fell to the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 so it was a very good night!
John Munson/The Star Ledger
I was toggling back and forth on MLB Radio between
the Yankees and Rays games and I think I missed about a dozen runs scoring
between both games. I was very surprised
about the ineffectiveness of the Rays’ Jeff Niemann. He has been roughed up in both games he’s
pitched since his return from the DL. As
for the Yankees, it was painful with Phil Hughes on the mound, given his
inability to throw strikes. Of 98
pitches, only 52 were strikes, resulting in 5 walks in 5 innings. However, he was able to last long enough to
pick up his 16th win of the season.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The only surprise of tonight’s game was that Marcus
Thames didn’t homer. He had homered in
his 5 previous consecutive games. It
will be interesting to see what happens when Lance Berkman returns from the
DL. I’d be surprised if the Yanks sat
Thames given his hot bat, but it would be sad to see a great player like
Berkman on the bench. I am glad that I
don’t have to make Joe Girardi’s decisions.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
It was great seeing Mark Teixeira back in the
lineup, especially after he hit his 30th home run of the
The Yankees are close to returning to full strength
as Alex Rodriguez should be back on the field on Sunday. Of course, with a 16-3 record, the Yankees
haven’t exactly missed A-Rod in the win column.
Still, it will be nice to have Berkman, A-Rod, and Andy Pettitte back in
action as the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox head for the stretch run.
On a side note, I was disappointed the Los Angeles
Dodgers pulled back pitcher Ted Lilly after he was claimed on waivers by the
Yankees. With the pitching struggles of
Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett, it would have been nice to have a security
blanket like Lilly around. Plus, he know
New York and that’s hard experience to find.
Oh well, time to protect that one game lead…
Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…
Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win. Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston). In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).
But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0. The
loser was CC Sabathia.
Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out.
So, he remains at 599 home runs.
Jeff Griffith/US Presswire
Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH).
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.
The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays. Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game.
I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York. I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman. I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August. It would be nice if it
I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline. Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly. The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was.
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).
As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0. Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers. Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs. He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter. An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.
Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
Okay, who will it be?…
Rumors allegedly have the New York Yankees actively pursuing another pitcher for the starting rotation. Apparently, it is a position that the team intends to fill by the end of the year. Will the spot be filled by a free agent signing or via trade? Given the lack of top shelf talent on the free agent market, it would appear that a trade is forthcoming.
Of the free agents, I like Ben Sheets but he’s probably the riskiest of all from an injury standpoint. With Sheets, you’d have to have a very clear Plan B in the event there are any setbacks in spring training. But I do like his upside and on his best day, he can pitch toe-to-toe with the likes of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey.
Jason Marquis was another option but he signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals earlier today. A native New Yorker, he would have made a smooth transition to the Bronx but the jump from the NL to the AL would have been more difficult.
Jeff Zelevansky, Icon SMI
Pedro Martinez? Fuggetaboutit!
There have been some reports of talks between the Yankees and the Braves. I do not know the topic of the discussions but I don’t really think that Derek Lowe is the answer at this stage of his career.
Nor am I ready to get excited about a return of Javier Vazquez regardless of how will he performed in Atlanta.
I’d be more willing to see the return of the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly…
There’s always the potential that the Yankees could convince the Florida Marlins to part with Josh Johnson. However, I am not sure the Marlins are ready to do anything with Johnson and there’s always the problem with the NL-to-AL transition.
So where does that leave us? According to the latest reports, a strong possibility could be Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds. Earlier, I was convinced that Harang was headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, that organization seems paralyzed by the McCourt divorce proceedings.
I am not sure what I think about Harang, but he does have some AL experience from his early days with the Oakland A’s. He would clearly be an upgrade over Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre. How I really feel about him will be determined by how much the Yanks have to give up to get him. Last season, he was an uninspiring 6-14 with the Reds and posted a 4.21 ERA. His 142 strikeouts, with only 43 walks, looked good, but this is a guy who led the majors with the most home runs allowed in 2008 (19). That’s not exactly the guy you’d want to be pitching at the Batting Practice known as Yankee Stadium.
Maybe Brian Cashman can convince the Seattle Mariners that they don’t really need Cliff Lee…
We’ll see how this turns out. Hopefully, Cashman will make the smart, prudent choice and ensure the Yankees have the middle of the order protected.
It’s not official yet but it sounds like the Yankees have signed Nick Johnson as their full-time DH. If it is confirmed, I am glad to see Nick return to the Bronx. I had feared that he’d sign with Boston and had quietly hoped that he’d go with the San Francisco Giants. I didn’t really expect him to sign with the Yankees, but I am supportive of the move. All signs indicate Johnson’s arrival spells the end of Johnny Damon’s Yankees career. I do not necessarily agree. I think the Yanks could still find a way to allow Johnny to return under a deal that makes sense for both parties. They are a good fit for each other so hopefully egos can be set aside for the good of all.
After resolution of pitching and left field, I think the Yanks will move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. Cabrera would seem to have the greatest trade value. The Yanks still need a few more arms for bullpen competition in the spring.
I would give the backup catching spot to Francisco Cervelli although I recognize that it is only a matter of time until Jesus Montero arrives as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor.
Ah, the life and times of the Yankees general manager. No stress for the holidays…
P.S. Major League Baseball would like to thank the Yankees for their generous $26 million “donation”. Who says the Yanks aren’t good for baseball…