The second place New York Yankees were on the brink of getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays. This would have been the second series loss in a row for the reigning champs and the timing could not be worse for a slump to begin.
Yankees fans were worried, because Alex Rodriguez‘s struggles at the plate were affecting the whole team.
A-Rod was struggling to hit a milestone 600th home run, which puts him on an elite list and the youngest of the seven players on it.
Now the Yankee Universe can finally breathed, because this afternoon in the first inning A-rod hit his 600th career home-run at the age of 35. The team won and avoided the sweep, beating the Blue Jays 5-1. Phil Hughes got the win and Mariano Rivera dominated in the ninth inning.
Things are looking up in the Bronx, but the Yankees now are looking up in the standings at the Tampa Bay Rays. It is just a one game lead, but the Rays keep winning.
The problem is that what may seem like not a big deal today, could be an issue a week from now. Just imagine if the Yankees were the team to miss the playoffs?
It makes me sick to think about, but why I am is because I felt that Joe Girardi gave the Rays the series win last weekend. It was as if the Yankees were having a exhibition game, trying their new players out for practice.
New Yankee Lance Berkman was acquired to fill the designated hitter position that was Nick Johnson, which should have been Hideki Matsui’s job in the first place.
So when I saw Berkman playing first-base, I thought it was ludicrous. If anything (god-forbid) happened to Mark Teixeira wouldn’t Nick Swisher be the better option? I fully understand that Tex needs a day off, but against the Rays?
The series was on the line and so taking Brett Gardner and A-Rod out made the Yankees look arrogant.
Next up is the Boston Red Sox, who are coming for a four-game visit. Any series against the Red Sox, injured or not, is always tough for both ballclubs. The Red Sox need the wins to stay in the playoff discussion, but so do the Yankees.
If the Yankees lose three of four games, within the division it will be a bigger problem them it might seem. It would cut the Yankees lead to just 3.5 over Boston and opens up a three game race again.
Not to mention the wild-card is just as easy to lose, as the Red Sox have a much harder schedule then the Yankees do down the stretch. When teams who aren’t in contention are playing teams that are, the former always seems to screw things up by winning.
The basic point here is that the Yankees are guaranteed nothing yet, except that A-rod’s 600th home-run is in the past and the team tends to follow A-rod’s lead at the plate.
Whatever the answer is regarding changing Phil Hughes innings limit is; Hughes is pitching dynamite again and it would be a shame to have to pull him from the rotation.
I like what I see out of the bullpen, other than Mo. Kerry Wood will be a great presence for Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan, because David Robertson cannot be the only reliable middle-reliever.
So what needs to go on from here on out is….WIN, WIN AND KEEP ON WINNING!
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