1) On Monday morning, news broke that the Yankees had traded Yangervis Solarte and pitching prospect Rafael De Paula to the Padres in exchange for their All-Star third baseman Chase Headley.
And the trade paid off immediately, as 30-year old Headley delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 14th, putting an end to another painful, offensively anemic game at Yankees Stadium vs. the AL basement dwelling Texas Ranges that concluded, 2-1.
The trade makes sense as it gives the Yankees improved stability at the hot corner even if it cost them fan-favorite Solarte. Solarte was a great surprise out of Spring Training, and the fun lasted through May. But unfortunately due mainly to an anemic offense and the slew of injuries, the Yankees lost the luxury of allowing a player some wiggle room to slump.
And with Headley becoming a free agent after this season, he is just a rent with an option to buy for the Yankees. This means his future in pinstripes is TBD by the Yankees.
But it is still a major concern that it took the Yankees 13 innings to score their first run vs. Texas Rangers, who own a 40-60 record, the worst in the AL. And that this win came after a loss to a pitcher who batters had a .375 batting average against and an ERA north of 10.00.
2) During the last game pre-All-Star Break, Mother Nature decided to stop the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Subsequently, the Yankees lost the chance to win and were handed a 2-1 loss vs. the division leading Baltimore Orioles.
Fast-forward to last night, and it seems that Mother Nature was obviously suffering from a guilt trip. As the Yankees got handed a ‘W’ just shy of six innings, as Mother Nature made it rain so hard in the Bronx to secure a, 2-1 victory over the Rangers. And it also gave starter David Phelps a win over Rangers ace Yu Darvish.
Regardless, the bottom line is teams do not make the postseason on luck alone, and reality is the Yankees have to start scoring runs and cut the sloppy defense especially against teams like the Rangers.
The AL East is a tight division race between erratic ball clubs, and that is the genuinely the only lucky thing that has kept the Yankees heads above water.
The Yanks are now in second place with a 52-48 record, three games behind the Orioles. So it is win the division, or bust for the five AL East teams, as neither wild card looks to be coming out of this division in 2014, pending finding a pot of gold at the end of rainbow.