After splitting the first two games in Cleveland against the Indians, the New York Yankees have shorten their lead in the AL East to just two games over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays are on fire right now. SP Matt Garza pitched the franchise’s first no-hitter on Monday night against the Tigers and followed it up with another win. The Rays have won their last four in a row.
After two more games against a beat-up Tigers team, in come the Yankees. The question is will the two teams be tied for first place or can the Yankees win the next two in Cleveland?
Tonight’s game the Yankees fate is at the hands of SP AJ Burnett, who faces Indians ace Fausto Carmona.
Let’s look at the two hurlers and how they fair against each other on the mound:
Cleveland Indians Fausto Carmona:
26 year-old Fausto Carmona is the staff ace. He impressed Yankees skipper Joe Girardi so much he named him to the 2010 All-Star roaster just a few weeks ago.
In the month of July, Carmona has a 3-1 record, a 2.81 ERA, giving up just eight runs, one home-run and has struck-out 17 batters. Carmona’s walk rate for the month is 14, which is clearly the right-hander’s weakness.
The day was April 14, 2010, the second home game of the season.
The Yankees were the reigning 2009 World Series champions, making New York glow with pride. Yankee fans’ subdued looks of unfamiliarity from 2009 were replaced with smiles because our new house felt like a home.
At least that is how I felt that Wednesday afternoon, until the game started.
The Yankees were hosts to the Los Angeles Angels, so as the home team took the field my cheers were silenced with booing, cursing as if the season were over already.
As I sat down in confusion, which was more like a polite denial, my heart sank as I knew what was happening. My dad was on my left and initially he was not as affected by the whole situation.
So, I stood up again, and cheered. To be more specific, I was rooting for starting pitcher Javier Vazquez. Vazquez was acquired in the offseason, but it was his second time in pinstripes.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
Vazquez was a Yankee back in 2004, the year the Boston Red Sox broke a World Series curse dating back to 1918. Vazquez had been phenomenal the first half of the season and was voted an AL All-Star by fans.
Vazquez struggled in the second half of the season, but the anger was based on Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS when Vazquez came in to replace Kevin Brown and gave up a grand slam to then-Red Sox Johnny Damon.
My question is, what teams are interested in Park, and what does he bring to a team?
The 37-year-old right-handed pitcher doesn’t offer much promise to any team he joins. This season, in 32 innings pitched, Park has given up seven home runs, 37 hits, waked nine, and surprisingly struck out 26 batters total.
Park’s 5.57 ERA is not ideal, but what makes Yankee fans cringe is Park gives up big hits in important situations. This obviously resonates more in fans’ heads.
It is so uncomfortable when Park comes running out from the bullpen and the Yankees have given him plenty of chances to prove himself.
Park also holds the No. 32 spot on the all-time hit batsmen list, with 135 to date.
Joba Chamberlain, who is even less reliable, joins Park in adding to the mess. Joba gets more leeway because his struggles are partially the organization’s fault for the way they have selfishly handled the youngster.
Unlike Joba from 2007, the 2010 version cannot locate his pitches. Joba’s velocity is still in the mid to high 90s and his command is not terrible.
Phillies have had a lot of bad luck with Jimmy Rollins out twice in first half, Chase Utley out till September and just a string of other continual mishaps. Positive note is that Cole Hamels is pitching like 2008 again…..which is good as the Phillies are winning again.
Rumor is the Phillies are offering up OF Jayson Werth on the trade market, but no bites as of yet but surely teams have to be interested in Werth, like the Boston Red Sox. Werth carried the team into two back to back World Series in 2008 and 2009.
His production has definitely picked up since the All-Star break, but so far in 2010 he has a .286 batting average, with 13 home-runs, 52 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Just to compare, his 2009 season totals were 36 home-runs, 99 RBIs, 91 walks and 20 stolen bases.
His average is better because he has hit 32 doubles, which already tops his 2009 total which was 26. Werth is on track to hit around 25—26 home-runs and steal around 14—15.
I had a feeling when the Phillies started to play better Werth would step it up, which is what is happening right now.
Boston Red Sox
Injuries have run through Fenway Park like a virus, as the DL list is better than the active roster. Slowly, the players are coming back. Once Pedoria and Ellsbury return the team can start to win all the time again.
The question remains is there enough time to play catch-up or will the gap in the standings be to wide already?
The New York Yankees finished the weekend taking three of four games from the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees continue to lead the majors with a 62-35 record and the AL East division.
The Tampa Bay Rays are just three games behind, which leave little room for error. While the ailing Boston Red Sox trail by eight and better not make the gap any bigger.
This scenario dictates nothing except that the Yankees are playing very good baseball right now.
Still, the Yankees recently lost pitcher Andy Pettitte for four to six weeks. Along with a struggling group of middle relievers, this is not an October-ready team.
Without Pettitte, losing out on pitcher Cliff Lee, due to being given the run around by the Seattle Mariners, stings even more.
Leave all the talk swarming around Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren coming to the Yankees. That too is now over, with Haren going to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim because the Yankees said no when Joba Chamberlain became part of the deal.
That is the second time the Yankees name was in the mix to spark a bidding war amongst suitors.
So, what remain are Houston Astros Roy Oswalt and Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly. They are the only two creditable starters left before the July 31 trade deadline.