It was a masterpiece by A.J. Burnett…
Frank Franklin II/AP
Unfortunately, it was an equal masterpiece by Boston’s Josh Beckett, as the Yankees and Red Sox ended regulation play deadlocked at 0-0.
A.J. went 7 2/3 innings and gave up only one hit. He had 6 strikeouts, but also had 6 walks. I guess he was watching Joba Chamberlain too closely last night. Nevertheless, he did what he was paid to do. He put his team in position to win, so there’s not more that you can ask.
Beckett went 7 innings, and gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, with 7 strikeouts.
But it became a game where neither team seemed to want to win. Both teams left double-digit runners on base (Red Sox 10, Yankees 12). As the game advanced into extra innings, neither team seriously threatened. The Yankees would get a few runners, but then they’d be left stranded.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, had some difficulty getting base runners but when they did, they failed to advance them like the Yankees.
The game seemed to drag on for hours (5 hours, 33 minutes to be exact). My favorite comment of the night was by Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog:
UPDATE, 12:06 p.m.: This just in: Bill Clinton flying to the Bronx to negotiate the release of 48,262 people held hostage by this game.
Finally, in the bottom of the 15th inning, Derek Jeter singled to start the inning. After Johnny Damon popped out on the foul side of first base and Mark Teixeira struck out, Alex Rodriguez came to the plate. Much as been talked about A-Rod’s homerless streak, but with one swing of the bat, the streak, like the Yankees losing streak to the Sox a day earlier, became a distant memory. A two-run homer to left gave the Yankees a walk-off win. Yes, Julia, I was right about the walk-off…I just had the wrong inning!
So, the Yankees have guaranteed that they will not lose this series. So, it is now a question whether the Red Sox can win the final two games of the series to invoke the tie-breakers. The Sox are certainly a capable team, but right now, this minute, I’d say ‘Advantage Scott!’.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Here are the revised totals of the series so far:
RUNNING TOTALS (8/06 – 8/09) FOR TIE-BREAKER:
Red Sox 6
Red Sox 2
Red Sox 0
The Yankees, at 66-42, now lead the American League East by 4 ½ games over the Red Sox and 6 games over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Life is good for a Yankees fan…
Boston.com (Yankees fan Steve Macary)
A Very Busy Day…
It was a blood bath today in Major League Baseball. A friend indicated that it felt like the Trading Deadline, but I’d have to say that I was quite surprised by the moves that were made. Granted, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that John Smoltz’s time in the Red Sox starting rotation was nearing its end. However, I did not expect that he’d be DFA’d. I really thought that he would move into a long relief role, or perhaps help set up Jonathan Papelbon. If this is truly it for Smoltz, I am saddened that his final appearance was a loss to the Yankees. Well, the Yankees victory was nice, don’t get me wrong, but for Smoltz the man, he deserved better. I always thought that he’d be the one to know when to exit the game. Maybe he gets another chance, but then again, maybe not. Either way, he is a class guy and I am honored that I had the privilege to watch him play.
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Boston also DFA’d pitcher Billy Traber, a former Yankee or Oriole, who relieved Smoltz in yesterday’s game and, in Julia‘s words, took a bullet for the team to save the bullpen. Of course, his thanks was a one-way ticket out of a Red Sox uniform.
Another cut that caught me by surprise was the release of Jason Giambi by the Oakland A’s. I had bought tickets for the Yankees visit to Oakland to play the A’s later this month, and I had been hopeful that Giambi would be off the DL and in the game. But unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Oakland released Giambi from the DL, due primarily to his .193 batting average. I didn’t expect the A’s to pick up Giambi’s option this fall, but I never expected he’d be cut before the season was over. He’s not a fit for the current Yankees roster, so coming back to New York will not be in the cards. But hopefully, he’ll catch on somewhere so that he can go out his way.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The American Idle, a/k/a Carl Pavano, was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Minnesota Twins. I guess it was an admission by the Twins that they aren’t really interested in making the play-offs since they just acquired a guy who thrives in losing environments. From Cleveland’s perspective, the deal makes sense since it opens a slot in the rotation for Justin Masterson who was recently acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade.
The Toronto Blue Jays attempted to push RF Alex Rios through waivers, but he was claimed by another team. They now have to decide whether they’ll trade Rios to the other team if they can work out a trade or perhaps they just hang on to him. It’s unlikely that they’d simply let Rios go to the other team for nothing.
Pitcher Vicente Padilla was also DFA’d by the Texas Rangers. Ah, I feel so bad for the headhunter. Um, not really…
On the bright side, the Yankees didn’t acquire another pitcher with a losing record and a plus 5.00 ERA to go with Chad Gaudin and Russ Ortiz so the day wasn’t a total loss…
He Didn’t Mean To Do It…
Mark Melancon insists that he did not intentionally hit Boston’s Dustin Pedroia in Thursday’s game. Personally, I liked Manager Joe Girardi’s explanation. “Some pitchers are much more capable of throwing the ball exactly where they want to on a consistent basis. Those guys are called Hall of Famers.”
I do believe that it was unintentional. Melancon is trying hard to earn a roster spot, and it would be foolish for him to risk his opportunity by purposely allowing a Boston base runner in a critical game regardless of the circumstances.
Hey Julia, don’t look now but here comes Carsten Charles Sabathia… J
Nick Laham/Getty Images
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!
This has been a long road trip…
Today was the start of a two-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. On paper, it looked like the struggles from Chicago would continue north of the border. Roy Halladay was the scheduled starter for the first game, and the Yankees counter with Sergio Mitre on Wednesday night. So, it looked to be advantage Jays in both games. Fortunately, Andy Pettitte continued to pitch very effectively as the Yankees downed the Jays 5-3 in the first game. Halladay went the distance, but he gave up 10 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) as he absorbed just his 5th loss of the season (11-5). No offense to Andy, but I didn’t expect him to go toe-to-toe to Doc. Taking the ‘glass is half empty’ approach, I would have expected Andy to tire in the later innings. He did, however, he only gave up 4 hits and 1 run in 6 2/3 innings. He had 6 strikeouts, and 4 walks as he picked up his 9th win of the season (9-6).
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The A-Rod homerless streak continued, but the Yankees hit three home runs in the last two innings against Halladay (Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira in the 8th inning, and Hideki Matsui in the 9th). Mariano Rivera, despite giving up a double that scored two runs in the 8th, earned his 31st save. According to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, it was Rivera’s 100th save in 103 chances. I continue to be amazed every time Rivera touches the ball. I used to wonder what it would have been like to see Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle play, but now I realize that the fans of the 30’s and 40’s probably would have loved to have seen Rivera (and Derek Jeter) play.
Chris Young, The Canadian Press/AP
Tomorrow will tough with Mitre on the mound, but for a night, the Yanks can enjoy what has been a tough road trip. Fortunately, the opposing guy is named Rumpelstiltskin or something like that so hopefully the Yanks have a chance! J
They are currently 4-4, and have a chance to emerge with a winning record if they can defeat the Jays for a second time.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star
Then, the road leads back to the Bronx as the Yankees begin a four game set against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. Okay, I realize that the Yankees are 0-8 against Boston this season, but it is time for a reversal of fortune. Once again, I have accepted a wager from Julia of Julia’s Rants. She doesn’t realize that I am a sandbagger. The Yankees will be back with a vengeance, and I feel good about the team’s prospects in the upcoming series. For one, Sergio Mitre won’t be pitching! LOL!
Here is the terms of the latest wager. The loser must:
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. They should be easily recognizable by anyone (to ensure that they are locations which handle high traffic for the applicable flag viewing).
2. Write a Top 11 List with eleven positive statements about the winning team. This was Jimmy‘s suggestion, which I admit was a very good one.
3. I will take it one more. If the Yankees get swept, I will wear a Red Sox t-shirt and a pink Boston cap with the car photos. The t-shirt would be for the player who has the biggest series against the Yankees (to be determined by Julia). But of course, I am not going to lose so this really isn’t an option.
Since it is a four game set, there is the possibility that the team will split. Therefore, we have set two tie-breakers. The first tie-breaker is the most total runs scored. The second tie-breaker is the team with the most home runs for the series.
May the best Yankees fan win! J
Actually, it should be Yankees Universe, but who’s counting…
Okay, perhaps I wasn’t really ready to see the original Yankee Stadium fall. I was a bit startled when I saw some photos today. During my last trip to New York, I walked around the old stadium for old times sake. It didn’t quite feel the same since it was closed, however, it was the place where my idol Lou Gehrig once played and it was magical to think that the field once saw the likes of Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Miller Huggins, Joe DiMaggio, Casey Stengel, Allie Reynolds, Urban Shocker (I have always loved that name!), Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, Roger Maris and many others. Those footsteps can never be re-traced in the new Stadium.
Courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Farewell to an old friend…
In other baseball news, the Cleveland Indians released former Yankees pitcher Jose Veras. I am not surprised but hopefully he’ll get another chance to catch on with another big league club.
The Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, 4-2 in 13 innings. Ah, I’m so sad. Um, not really! J Make that lead in the AL East 1 ½ games! Life is good. Game on, Julia!
Where were you 30 years ago today?
Well, many of you probably weren’t even born yet. But those of us who were most likely will remember August 2, 1979…particularly Yankees fans. The day saw the untimely demise of #15, the Yankee Captain, Thurman Munson.
As a teenage Yankees fan, Thurman had been my hero. While I have always credited Jim “Catfish” Hunter and the legend of Lou Gehrig as the primary reasons I became a Yankees fan despite growing up in the Midwest, it was the tough and tenacious Munson that quickly became my favorite player.
Thurman was his own man and he wouldn’t let anyone push him around. Not George Steinbrenner, not Billy Martin, not Reggie Jackson, not Carlton Fisk. I will always remember the 1976 World Series…not for the series sweep at the hands of the Big Red Machine but how Thurman wouldn’t quit. He hit .529 in the series, and at one point, had six consecutive hits. His performance laid the foundation for the championship years of 1977 and 1978.
I had known about Thurman’s interest in airplanes, and how he viewed it as a way to reach his family in Ohio more often. Selfishly, I was hopeful that he’d never leave the Yankees in the late 70’s/early 80’s, but I had become increasingly fearful that he would leave at the end of his contract to sign with the Cleveland Indians (to be closer to his home). Unfortunately, I never saw that day come and will never know if Thurman would have truly left or if he would have stayed to finish his career in pinstripes.
On August 2, 1979, I was in high school and employed by a local grocery store in a small Iowa town. I was working when one of our customers told me that they had just heard Thurman Munson was killed in an airplane crash. I vividly recall just standing there with a blank look of disbelief frozen on my face. My hero had just died…
It is a loss that I personally will never forget. I think about Thurman every August 2nd, and I see his spirit continue to thrive in present day Yankees like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.
Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images
Today was a day to remember Thurman and we continue to owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he wore pinstripes. Thanks for the tremendous memories, Thurman. You are still my hero…
For a great article about Thurman Munson, please read Moss Klein’s article in The Star Ledger, entitled Catcher Thurman Munson, The Captain, was the Heart and Soul of the NY Yankees. It’s an excellent read.
The Yankees were able to beat the Chicago White Sox today, 8-5, to avoid being swept in the four game series which began last Thursday.
Melky Cabrera became the first Yankee since Tony Fernandez in 1995 to hit for the cycle. Melky went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. He staked the Yanks to an early lead with a three-run homer in the second inning.
In the 9th, needing only a tripe, Melky hit a liner off the right field wall. Trying to do his best impression of Brett Gardner, Melky sped around the bases and just beat the relay throw to third for his first triple of the season and completed the cycle.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
It wasn’t a great game for CC Sabathia (perhaps he was still disappointed that his buddy, Victor Martinez, now calls Fenway Park home), however, he gutted it out and stayed in the game into the 8th inning. Mark Buehrle, fresh off a perfect game just two starts ago, was the loser.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
With the win, the Yankees remain a ½ game ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Red Sox throttled the Baltimore Orioles today, 18-10.
Hey Julia, just 4 more days until the showdown resumes. From what I can tell, the Yankees have finally figured out a way to beat a team called the Sox! Life is good!
With today’s game, Derek Jeter has now played in 2084 games, which ties Babe Ruth for fourth place on the list of most games played with the Yankees.
A DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO
My wife and I attended the San Francisco Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies today at AT&T Park. It was a beautiful day for a game. The weather forecast was cloudy and 59 degrees, however, after early cloudiness, it was all sunny skies and 66 degrees. The Giants prevailed, 7-3, with Barry Zito getting the win over Cole Hamels.
AT&T Park is one of my favorite ballparks, and today was definitely a treat…
Okay, I did have to make sure that I kept an eye on a certain American League score…
…but I managed to watch the Giants win a great game!
Late in the game, a Dodgers fan walked up the stairs to leave the game. The crowd booed and hissed unmercifully while the Dodgers fan just soaked it all in and waved his Dodgers cap with pride. After the Dodgers fan had exited, a Boston Red Sox fan made the same exit except this time, no one said anything at all. The Red Sox fan was ignored as he quietly left the stadium. Ah, I love being back in the Bay Area…
A disappointing trade deadline day…
Leading up to the trade deadline, I felt that the Yankees needed to do something to plug the hole in the rotation. As great as it was to think about Roy Halladay in pinstripes, I was realistic in my thinking that Jarrod Washburn would have been a good fit.
Yankee interest in Washburn has been rumored for several years so it seemed liked he was destined for the Bronx. Apparently, the Seattle Mariners desired center field prospect Austin Jackson in return and it was a deal-killer. I agree with the decision, as I would have not given up Ajax either, but it was tough to see Washburn go to the Detroit Tigers for a couple of minor league pitchers that I’ve never heard of.
I know that GM Brian Cashman feels that there will be quality pitchers who slip through waivers in August because teams will be fearful of incurring additional salaries. But it’s not like Roy Halladay will clear waivers. The quality of the available talent will be limited, and a good fit for the Yankees will be even narrower.
Of course, on Deadline Day, the Yankees #5 starter, Sergio Mitre, gets pummeled in Chicago and lasts only three innings in a 10-5 loss to the White Sox. This only added salt to the wound of the day’s earlier inactivity. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were very active and acquired the Cleveland Indians’ Victor Martinez. Martinez, a good friend of CC Sabathia, was a solid pickup for Boston. I didn’t fully understand the trade of recently acquired Adam LaRoche to Atlanta for first baseman Casey Kotchman. It was mentioned that LaRoche was no longer a fit with the addition of Martinez, but I do not know what Kotchman brings that LaRoche didn’t other than an additional year on his contract. I guess GM Theo Epstein decided that if he couldn’t have Mark Teixeira, he’d take the guy who was once trade for Tex. Seriously, I wonder if the Kotchman trade is a precursor to another deal this month. Knowing Theo, there is a method to the madness and of course that concerns me…
The Yankees have now dropped two straight games to the White Sox, which has allowed the Boston Red Sox to close the gap to 1 ½ games in the AL East.
The Yankees did pick up one player yesterday, when they found a centerfield solution in Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Kirby Lee/US Presswire
To acquire Hairston from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yanks gave up minor league catching prospect Chase Weems. Hairston will take the super utility role that is currently occupied by Cody Ransom upon Brett Gardner’s return from the DL. Hairston has joined the Yankees in Chicago, and is starting in left field. It is ironic that his first game will be against his father’s long-time team.
I saw a quote where Brian Cashman mentioned that Hairston is a better version of Clay Bellinger. Somehow it’s hard to get enthused about that, but I will admit that Bellinger did play in a World Series so perhaps there’s a silver lining to the Hairston pickup…
Hopefully, the Yankees will get back on track today. A.J. Burnett will be on the hill and he has proven to be the cure for stopping Yankee losing streaks so far this season.
As for the Yankees #5 rotation spot, the sooner the Yankees replace Mitre, the better. Unfortunately, the only in-house possibility appears to be…yikes!…Kei Igawa. So, I trust that Brian Cashman knows what he is doing, and he’ll find a solution sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the fate of the AL East hangs in the balance. No worries…
Poor Shelley Duncan. He has had a very good season for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. He had started to wonder if he’d ever return to the big leagues, and was very excited when the Yanks finally called yesterday. Today, he was tapped on the shoulder and told to head back to Scranton-Wilkes Barre to make room for Hairston. I feel bad for Shelley as he has definitely deserved an opportunity. Hopefully, he will find his way back soon.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Well, it is almost time for Julia and I to resume our battle when the Yankees and Red Sox resume their rivalry on Thursday for a four-game set. We are still working out the terms of latest wager and are open to any suggestions. But I feel that the Yankees are much improved and will be ready to end the eight game skid against the Red Sox. I may be down, but I am definitely not out. The rotation has lined up for Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the Boston series. Hey Julia, Game On!
Great autograph of Shelley Duncan!