With #600 now in the past, the New York Yankees are ready to take on their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Boston has been hit hard with the unfortunate injury bug. Making the six and a half games the Red Sox need to catch the first place Yankees, who are tied with Tampa Bay Rays, not completely out of reach.
This puts a lot of pressure on Boston, as the importance of winning in the Bronx is pretty much a make or break situation.
The Yankees can’t afford to lose the series either because the Rays are playing great baseball right now.
It is no secret that the Yankees have lost two series in a row and to say that Alex Rodriguez’s 600 mark turned the team around has yet to be proven.
The Red Sox most recent DL member is first baseman Kevin Youkilis who is one of the best hitters in baseball and a Yankees killer. Youkilis is a significant loss and his absence will be noticed by both ball-clubs.
The Red Sox have their pitchers all back now and all healthy, so the Yankees have to counter at the plate.
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!
After losing the series 2-1 in Tampa to the Rays over the weekend, the New York Yankees are back in the Bronx.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in town and the Yankees lost the first game at the stadium yesterday.
This is two losses in a row, and the Champs no longer own the best record in baseball. They now they share it with the Rays.
It all started Sunday afternoon in Tampa, when skipper Joe Girardi substituted new Yankee Lance Berkman for Mark Teixeira at first base, gave Alex Rodriguez a day off, and Brett Gardner was not in the outfield.
It made me question Girardi’s train of thought, considering CC Sabathia was on the mound, which gives the team a major advantage to win.
From a fan’s perspective, it didn’t seem like winning the game was on the priority list of Joe Girardi. He didn’t put the best team out there. It looked like practice, or that the Yankees were not that concerned about leading the division.
In the end, the Rays won and moved one game away from tying with the Yankees.
Than last night, AJ Burnett on the mound was back to the old four innings of domination. Then in the fifth inning, Burnett fell apart and Toronto had batting practice.
At the same time, the Rays beat the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field. Then the Yankees lost and now the AL East has a tie for first place for the first time since May 18th.
The Yankees bullpen needed help and Cashman’s answer was Cleveland IndiansKerry Wood. He claims it had nothing to do with Joba and every thing to do with Chan Ho Park, who was designated for assignment.
This has everything to do with Joba, but in one sense Wood is a veteran who once dazzled the city of Chicago with his fastball. Wood was Chicago’s pride after striking out 20-batters in his sixth career start.
Wood’s career didn’t pan out like it should have, as he spent 14 times on the DL in his 13 seasons. His latest just days before he landed in New York.
Wood has 62 saves over the last three seasons, with 165 strikeouts in which he appeared in 146 games out of the bullpen.
For now, Wood is a walking liability, but with an upside that might be worth the risk. Wood’s experience could be just what the doctor ordered for changing Joba back into the phenomenon everyone witnessed in 2007.
Wood has been in Joba’s shoes, as he has yo- yo-ed from starter to reliever like musical chairs.
The other hope for Wood is to help down the stretch out of the bullpen in getting to Mariano Rivera. The fact is Wood is an upgrade from Chan-Ho Park.
So, Cashman covered his ass there, maybe the Yankees secretly banned Wood from the DL list. Who really cares because this could work.
Leaves many questions unanswered, for example could Brian Cashman have kill two birds with one stone?
My bet is yes and Cashman will be deemed a genius because the concept is just shy of being too good to be true.