Feeling The Heat…
Two games in two days, but only one win to show for it…
The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. On Thursday, Alex Rodriguez won the game with an 8th inning “walk-off” home run…except there were still 3 more outs to go. Today, despite a very strong rebound by a Dave Eiland-supported A.J. Burnett, the Yankees fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings due to a porous bullpen.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
In Thursday’s game, CC Sabathia was solid. He didn’t have his best stuff, however, he was pitching a shutout into the 8th inning when he surrendered a game-tying two-run single to Russell Branyan. In the bottom of the 8th, Alex Rodriguez homered to right with Mark Teixeira on base. Thinking it was the 9th inning, A-Rod raised his arms and looked toward the dugout before realizing there was more baseball to be played. Fortunately, Mariano Rivera ensured the hit was the game-winner as the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners, 4-2, to avoid getting swept at home.
Sabo/NY Daily News
On Friday, the bats decided to take the day off even though the team was scheduled to play an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays (the offense must have thought game time was 7:05 p.m.). With pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the fold and working to help A.J. Burnett correct the flaws in his delivery, A.J. pitched the best he has in several months. He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up only 4 hits, 3 walks and no runs, with 6 strikeouts. But Joba Chamberlain did what he does best in giving up the lead by allowing a run-scoring single in the 8th which tied the game. In the 11th inning, the bullpen came undone with David Robertson and Chan Ho Park as they gave up 5 runs in the 6-1 loss. The Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 3rd with the bases loaded and no outs, but couldn’t push any runs across the plate.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
With Boston’s win tonight (3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles), the Yankees hold only a very slim Â½ game lead over the injury-riddled Red Sox.
Boston Globe staff
Boston keeps losing players but it hasn’t slowed them in the least. The latest casualty is catcher Jason Varitek who was placed on the DL with a broken foot. Since Victor Martinez is also on the DL, the team reached out to the Houston Astros to bring back former Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash (who spent time with the Yankees in 2009).
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Let’s see, for the fourth player installment of my “forced” spotlight on the Boston Red Sox, I’ll go with the first baseman of the Red Sox. As the result of a lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, I have to include a paragraph about every member of the Red Sox roster as of 6/26/10, so today the spotlight is on the player affectionately known as “Youk”.
#20 Kevin Youkilis
Kevin Edmund Youkilis was born on March 15, 1979 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is of Romanian descent despite the Greek surname. In an interesting note of fact, he had an uncredited one-line speaking role in the movie, Milk Money, when he was just 14 years old.
Youk was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2001 after a solid collegiate career with the Cincinnati Bearcats. After working his way up through the Red Sox farm system, he made his debut with the team during the championship 2004 season. He homered in his first major league game against Pat Hentgen and the Toronto Blue Jays. He would spend the next two years going back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket before finally landing in the majors to stay. While he came up as a third baseman, he has been the starting first baseman since 2006. On the roster during the 2004 World Series, he didn’t get to play but that was not the case in 2007. While he did sit when the Series was played in Colorado (due to the loss of the DH and the move of David Ortiz to first base), Youk help the Red Sox secure their second championship in three years.
Youk is well known for his charitable work, and he founded Kevin Youkilis Hits For Kids, a non-profit dedicated to the health and safety of children. Here is a link to the organization:
My frustration with Youk is that he is always in the middle of a rally. Whether it is a hit or walk or simply his intensity and gritty play, he always seems to be in the thick of the action, making something out of nothing. His uncanny ability to get on base is what coined the nickname “Greek God of Walks” in the best-selling book, Moneyball. It’s never fun to see him come to the plate…unless you’re a Red Sox fan. The Red Sox might lose players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett and others to the DL, but as long as Youk is in the lineup, they’re not going away. As Julia is always so quick to point out, “things in the mirror are much closer than they appear to be”. Unfortunately, because of guys like Youk, she’s right…
Tomorrow is a new day! Go Yankees!