Monday, August 31, 2009

Sox Hanging Low

The Red Sox aren't winning the AL East this year. We all realized this when they lost that 15 inning 2-0 marathon to the Yankees. That was the tipping point. That was also the game that sent fair weather BoSox fan (roughly 90% of all BoSox fans) into hibernation. But the real Red Sox fan and Yankees fan know you can't totally dismiss Boston for the season.

Boston is currently 3.5 games up on Texas in the Wild Card. They are 5 games up on Tampa. Neither team will catch the Red Sox.

Texas had a legitimate shot.

On Friday, August 14 the Red Sox began a 3 game series against the Rangers in Arlington. Boston held a slim half game lead in the Wild Card going in.

Texas was up 4-2 heading into the top of the 9th with their closer Frank Francisco on the mound to face the 7-8-9 Boston hitters. Going into the inning, Francisco's ERA was 2.01. When he walked off the mound, it had ballooned to 3.66.

Boston quickly jumped on Francisco and had cut the deficit to 4-3. Terry Francona sent Clay Buchholz to pinch run for Jason Varitek. The move nearly crushed Francona's reputation as a wise manager.

Dustin Pedroia drilled a ball to the left field wall where David Murphy nearly made an amazing catch. Buchholz was totally confused. He looked like, well, a pitcher running the bases. He stopped between 2nd and 3rd and then decided to make a run for home. Needless to say he was gunned down on the relay throw at the plate.

The air had been sucked out of Boston's playoff hopes.

Then wouldn't you know it, newly acquired Victor Martinez stepped up next and delivered a 2 out game winning double down the left field line. The Red Sox had been saved.

Yeah, Boston went on to lose the next 2 games of the series and were a half game out of the wild card. But if Boston had been swept, and lost Friday's game on Buchholz's baserunning blunder, that would have just killed the team's confidence and they would have left Arlington 2.5 games out.

Since that series, Boston has gone 10-3 and Texas 6-7.

Boston's lineup has been too inconsistent this year. Something we never saw during the Manny days. One week they'll fail to score a run in 31 consecutive innings, two weeks later, they'll put up 25 in two days.

Pitching wise, Wakefield will be back, but Dice-K seems highly unlikely. Josh Beckett had a really rough August. In 6 starts, Beckett was 2-1, 39.1 innings, 36 hits, 22 earned runs-a 2.03 ERA.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What A Relief

With the Yankees looking at Joba Chamberlain's future, New York got 6 solid innings from their bullpen. Joba threw only 35 pitches in 3 innings as the Yankees completed their sweep over the Chicago White Sox.

Alfredo Aceves pitched 3 innings allowing no runs and just 2 hits. Aceves qualified for the win and is now 9-1.

The bullpen came in threw 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and only 1 earned run.

With the Yankees clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th, New York broke it open with 5 runs highlighted by Mark Teixeira's 3 run home run. It was Teixeira's 32nd of the year and his 4 RBI's gives him an American League best 101.

Joba has struggled in August. In 5 starts, he's 1-2 with an 8.22 ERA. In those 5 games, he has 18 K's to 15 BB's. His ERA for the season in 25 starts is 4.38.

Joba is probably the 4th best starter in the rotation. He's had his ups and downs. The big money is how he'll contribute in the postseason. Joba's only previous postseason experience is the "bug game" in Cleveland.

The White Sox have now dropped 7 of 8 and are quickly sinking out of post season contention. And off course Ozzie Guillen chimed in.

"Well, we came to New York and visited the new Yankee Stadium. It is a very nice ballpark, and the hotel we stayed at was also very nice," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's all I have to say about these last three days."

New York is now a MLB best 82-48, 31-11 since the All Star break, and 6 games up on Boston.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meet The Mess

Now that Johan Santana is done for the season, the 2009 NY Mets have marked the franchise as one of the most tough luck teams in baseball.

That's 6 one time all stars the Mets have sent to the DL this year:
Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Delgado, Putz, Santana.
Is K-Rod next?

Here is the Mets' opening day lineup from April 6:
SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
C Brian Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
P Johan Santana

The Mets edged the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1. Santana was solid getting the W and K-Rod closed the game with a perfect 9th.

All was good in Queens. They now had the bullpen relief that had spoiled there championship bids the last few years and they were moving into a new ballpark.

Inside the box score, the Mets had 9 hits, 7 BB and were 1-12 with RISP-accumulating a total of 2 runs!

Boy was there a storm a brewin.

And this was the lineup they sent out yesterday against Cliff Lee and the Phillies.

CF Angel Pagan
2B Luis Castillo
LF Gary Sheffield
3B Fernando Tatis
1B Daniel Murphy
C Omir Santos
RF Cory Sullivan
SS Anderson Hernandez
P Bobby Parnell

Yikes! Especially considering you're relying on Gary Sheffield and Luis Castillo as your iron horses.

Lee actually lowered his ERA after the game, but honestly, does that really count?

The Mets' infield has accumulated a total of 41 homeruns this year. Last year, Carlos Delgado alone hit 38.

How could it get any worse? Well, even the die hards are getting beat up, in their own stadium!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Yankees' Biggest Nemesis

The NY Yankees finished their ten game road trip going 7-3. After taking 2 of 3 this weekend at Fenway Park, NY has 1 7 1/2 game lead on the division. Barring another epic meltdown, the Yankees will be division champs and back into the postseason after a one year hiatus.

The Yankees are now a MLB best 27-9 since the All Star break. The one team that concerns me most is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are 25-11 since the break.

On June 11, LA was 29-29. Since then they have gone 44-16! A lot of that can be contributed to having Vladimir Guerrero back in the lineup.

The Angels are batting a MLB best .289. The Yankees are second batting .280 as a team.

How potent are LA's bats? The Angels have 8 players with at least 249 AB's who batting .300!

Their biggest concern is their pitching. The Angels are 12th in the American League with a 4.88 team ERA. The Yankees are 8th in the AL at 4.37.

Since 2002 the Yankees are 33-46 against the Angels. That includes postseason losses in 2002 (3-1) and 2005 (3-2).

NY went 2-4 against Anaheim this year.

On the other hand, since 2002 Boston is 42-34 against Anaheim. The Red Sox have owned the Angels in the postseason. Boston swept Anaheim 3-0 in 2004 and 2007. After going 1-8 against the Angels in 2008, the Red Sox beat them 3-1 in the Division series last year.

After last night's game, the Yankees finally got to Josh Beckett. You have to be more worried about the Angels than the BoSox.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get Your Posterboards Ready

College campuses around the country are all set to go for another school year. Which means 4 things:

1. Long lines at the checkout lanes of your local Target and Office Max.
2. The Start of Football season.
3. A new crop of teenage Coeds going all out to look their finest. And we thank you for that.
4. An Excuse to wake up Saturday mornings-ESPN's College Gameday.

This will be the 23rd season of the ever popular College Gameday. The show will kickoff the 2009 football season where it ended the regular season last year-Hotlanta.

Gameday will set up at Centennial Park Saturday, September 5 leading up to the game of the week-The 2009 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff.

Right out of the gates, Week 1 gives us an intriguing matchup between to top 10 teams-No. 5 Alabama vs No. 7 Virgina Tech.

The Hokies won the ACC last year and went on to win the Orange Bowl. Va Tech has high aspirations coming into the season but lost running back Darren Evans for the season with an ACL tear. The Hokies are still loaded and under coach Frank Beamer, have always been known to score on defense and special teams.

And of course the Crimson Tide come rolling in off from a 12-2 season which ended in a disappointing loss to Utah in Sugar Bowl. 'Bama was 12-0 at one time last year and ranked No. 1 before a crushing blow to the eventual champion Florida Gators in the SEC Championship. The Tide return 12 starters from last year's team, including 8 on defense.

Last years's opening game between 'Bama and Clemson set the tone for both programs. Clemson came in as a top 10 team and was blown out by 'Bama which started a downhill run for the Tigers as they finished a dismal 7-6.

As for Gameday, the full crew is back with a national student body cast of thousands.

Look out Oxford. It's looking real good that Gameday will be making its inaugural appearance to the Ole Miss campus.

As for the signs? Expect more of Tim Tebow, Lou Holtz and anti-BCS signs. I'm sure "twitter" will make it's debut and become a popular sign every week.

What I'm sure everyone will be focusing on in the crowds (including the sign police) will be any sign referencing Erin Andrews or peepholes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Heartbreak For US Soccer

American soccer fan's latest hope to popularize "futbol" in this country fell flat, again. Yesterday the United States lost a 2-1 nail biter to Mexico. Today there are roughly 30 people in the U.S. crushed.

This was the time. The United States were gonna win in Mexico and the whole country would be soccer crazy.

Not gonna happen.

My favorite part is how everyone blamed the loss on the altitude. Huh? You mean because the team was caught off guard. No, people were saying that would be an issue going in. Well how about this. There's this place, in the United States, called Colorado. The NFL Denver Broncos used to play their games in Mile High Stadium.

If this soccer game was so dam important and meant everything to the country, why wouldn't the US soccer team prepare for such a meaningful event in, lets say, Denver?

When the World Cup was played on American soil in 1994, soccer was going to be huge.

That didn't last.

And Brandi Chastain tearing her shirt off, revealing basically a smaller shirt, for sure brought soccer to the United States.

Not even a blonde in a sports bra could popularize the sport. The LPGA is far more exciting. The L-P-G-A! for Christ sake!

We brought David Beckham over from across the pond and that was for sure going to make soccer America's past time. Instead it has become an ongoing punchline.

I can't believe I'm actually writing about soccer!

I loved all the facebook posts from my toolass friends-"USA! USA!", "I wish I was in Azteca!", "I love soccer!"


I get rallying behind your country. I love seeing the United States beat another country in any sport. It just seems like every other year something big is about to happen with soccer and some people jump on the bandwagon only to fall off a day later.

Let's face it. Soccer is something the United States has never, and will never be good at. Why? Because the sport is boring. It has no historical significance to this country. 99.9% of the country doesn't care about it. There are too many other exciting, more marketable sports to follow. There's not room for another.

Yeah when the US beat Russia in hockey it was labeled the "Miracle On Ice." But that victory meant so much more than just one hockey team beating another. Hockey might be less popular today than it was back in 1980.

Well, the only reason I am mentioning soccer is so I can plug a "Simpson's" video. No one can sum up America's attitude on soccer better than Matt Groening and "The Simpson's."

Keep beating that dead horse soccer fan.

Hamilton Heating Up

I guess all he needed was some attention.

Since the infamous Josh Hamilton photos came out last Saturday, Hambone has really been tearing it up. No, not at the bar off chicks' bellies.

In the Rangers' last 5 games Hamilton is batting .550, 11-20.

Texas is 64-49 and currently a half game back of Boston for the Wild Card.

He has raised his average from .235 to .260.

The truth will set you free.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breaking Down The Rockets

Now that Von Wafer has signed a two-year deal with Olympiakos of Greece, the Houston Rockets have lost 4 critical pieces to last years team. Remember last year's team may have been the toughest test for the champion LA Lakers.

The Rockets got better by dealing the time bomb Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza. Some would argue the Rockets got a steal. Artest is a far cry from the player he once was, and so many ways, he's still the player he once was. Artest's defense is overrated. He's not the defender he once was. And when Artest had an off night, which was more often than not, he still kept taking bad shots.

With Ariza, Houston gets a much younger, athletic player than Artest. And if last year's playoffs were any indication, Ariza is ready to bust out. He is a terrific defender, especially in crunch time, and a solid three point shooter.

But the Rockets lost both centers in the playoffs last year. Dikembe Mutumbo was already on his way to retirement. But he put in some solid minutes down low off the bench.

And of course Yao Ming. Houston's All Star won't be doing the Shang-Hia Shake this year. As the center piece of the team, it's pretty much impossible to replace a player like Ming.

Houston even lost out on Orlando center Marcin Gortat.

But just recently, the Rockets signed David Andersen. Andersen has been considered the best center in Europe. It's kind of a crapshoot, but hey, at least Houston has a center. Andersen's scouting report is that he's smart, mobile and a very good passer. He can knock down a jump shot, including from downtown. His last 7 teams in Europe have won championships.

With Andersen coming over from across the pond, Wafer is headed to Europe. Wafer played some crucial minutes off the bench averaging 9.7 points a game. He could erupt for 20+ on any given night. Wafer even hit some huge shots, including a game winner at Boston.

As of now, Houston's starting 5 looks like this:
PG-Aaron Brooks
SG-Trevor Ariza
SF-Shane Battier
PF-Luis Scola
C-David Andersen

That's a scrappy, solid defensive team, but no true scorer. If you can throw Tracy McGrady into that mix, well, that's not a bad team. Then you're looking at Battier, Kyle Lowry, Chuck Hayes and Carl Landry coming off the bench.

T-Mac is the wild card. Houston really needs McGrady back and healthy at that 2 guard. If that happens, the Rockets are still a playoff team.

Who Wants Pie?

This time it was Robinson Cano.

Cano singled in the bottom of the 11th to drive in Alex Rodriquez and give the Yankees a 4-3 win over Toronto. It was the 11th walkoff hit for the Yankees this year.

Cano has 18 hits in his last 39 at bats, .462. Robbie also hit his 18 homerun of the year in the 4th inning.

A.J Burnett struggled against his former team allowing 10 hits in 6 innings including 3 wild pitches.

Derek Jeter was hit in the right foot by Ricky Romero to start the game. Jeter left the game two innings later. X-Rays were negative.

Other than Cano, the star of the game was the Yankees' bullpen. The bullpen came up big pitching 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and no runs. Over the last 10 games, the bullpen is 5-0.

Chad Gaudin pitched in his first game for the pinstripes picking up the win with 3 strikeouts in 2 innings.

The Yankees start an 10 game road trip in 11 games. They play a 4 game set in Seattle tomorrow, followed by 3 in Oakland, a day off and then off the Fenway for a 3 game series with Boston.

The Yankees improved to 9-3 over their divisional foe Toronto...They finished their homestand 6-1 and are a MLB best 41-18 at home this year...The Yankees are now 28 games over .500 at a MLB best 71-43...There 11 walkoffs are tied with the Dodgers for the most in MLB...Joba Chamberlain will pitch his next game on 7 games rest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Something's Gotta Give

This is really gotten out of hand.

What has basically become a daily incident, MLB pitchers seem to be retaliating more than ever. Just this past week, we've seen Prince Fielder after the game try to barge into the Dodgers' clubhouse. Ozzie Guillen publicly announced that he would seek revenge after seeing 3 of his players hit by pitches last Saturday.

"If I see somebody hitting my players and I know it's on purpose, two guys are going down," Guillen said. "I don't care if I get suspended."

And now, last night the Tigers and Red Sox had a bench clearing brawl that saw Kevin Youkilis and Rick Porcello both ejected in the second inning. All this fueled from Monday night's game where Miguel Cabrera was hit hit in the top of the fourth inning and Youkilis immediately beamed in the bottom of the inning.

The teams didn't waste anytime drawing blood last night. Cabrera was hit in the top of the first inning. Porcello hit Youkilis in the back to lead off the bottom of the second. Benches cleared as Youkilis charged the mound throwing his helmet at Porcello before tackling the Detroit pitcher.

All that being said, it's only a matter of time before somebody is severely injured. Let's not forget that this is a baseball being thrown 90 mph.

Last night we saw Youkilis throw his helmet at the pitcher. How long until we see a batter use his weapon, a wooden bat! in retaliation.

Fielder tried to single handily bum rush the Dodgers' clubhouse. What next? A player lurking outside the stadium waiting for his target. Or even worse, a player tracking down the pitcher after the game at a restaurant/bar/club?

Let's not forget that pretty much all these teams are deeply involved in a pennant race. If your Detroit, why would you risk losing one of your top starting pitchers in only the second inning? The same for Boston. Why would Youkilis, one of the Red Sox best hitter, risk being ejected for nearly an entire game. Although it did work out in Boston's favor. Mike Lowell replaced Youkilis and homered twice.

The fines and suspensions are pretty weak. A pitcher is suspended 5 games. For a starter, that's one start. And a fine for a MLB player? Not really gonna hurt their bank account.

MLB has managers and pitchers who are notorious for head hunting. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Rays has made it clear that the Rays no longer want to be treated like the "little brother." Rays pitcher Matt Garza was fined a couple of weeks ago for hitting Mark Teixeira. And last year we saw James Shields plunk Coco Crisp to spark a Rays/Red Sox brawl.

Remember Dodgers' pitcher Guillermo Mota, who hit Fielder, running away from a storming Mike Piazza?

Just last week, the Texas Rangers released Vicente Padilla who was portrayed as a bad teammate with a poor attitude. Padilla is well known for head hunting. Earlier this season, Padilla hit Mark Teixeira twice in one game.

I guess it's safe to say that opposing pitchers don't like Teixeira.

MLB is going to have to address this problem that is continuing to snowball. They will have to impose stiffer penalties. Maybe they should begin by suspending players 15-20 games.

I get the fact that pitchers are trying to get batters to back off the plate. If you're going to try to brush back a batter, you don't need to throw at their face.

Most people say they should just let the players go after each other and finish it on the field. That would turn baseball to a violent sport with crowds showing up just to see a fight. We have the UFC for that.

I did some research on batters hit by pitch on baseball Here a some things I found.

From 1916-1992, the average for a player hit by a pitch in a game never reached above .25%.

From 1995-2009, that average has never been below .30%. The highest was .39% in 2001!

From 1887-1911, pitchers were hitting a lot of batters. Why? I have no idea.

In the National League, from 1911-1994, with the exception of one Ron Hunt, no player was ever hit by a pitch more than 20 times in a season. From 1995-2008, 11 seasons there had been at least one player hit by a pitch at least 21 times in one year.

In the American League, from 1911-1993, with the exception of Don Baylor, only in 5 seasons had the league leader in HBP exceeded 20. From 1995-2008, 9 seasons there had been at least one player hit by a pitch at least 21 times in one year.

So what does all this tell us? One, that Ron Hunt and Don Baylor knew how to get hit by a pitch, just like Ernie "Coach" Pantusso from Cheers-"Just try to miss me!"

Two, pitchers hit a lot of batters before 1911.

Three, basically since 1994 we've seen more and more batters hit by pitches.

You can argue that in the early '90's batters began wearing more protective gear. The elbow pad, the knee bad, the shin pad-think Barry Bonds. He wore everything but a bullet proof vest. That's when more and more batters really began crowding the plate. Maybe MLB should start taking away some of that body armor and batters won't be so bold to crowd the plate.

What The Deuce?

I'm a huge Miami Dolphins' fan, so let me make it clear-I do not endorse the new "Fight Song." This is just flat out terrible, horrific, reedic. I can go on and on.

This doesn't in any way feel like a fight song. It feels like the opening of a Saturday morning cartoon. I guess when your minority owners include Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony, you really can't be surprised by something like this.

Are they really going to go on with this?

However, I think this makes up for the cheesy song and almost makes up for a 1-15 season.

More incredible pictures of the 2009 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How Sweep It Is!

So much for 8-0.

It's safe to say these two bitter rivals are going in opposite directions.

The NY Yankees completed a 4 game sweep of the Boston Red Sox with a 5-2 win at Yankee Stadium. It was the first time in 24 years the Yankees had swept Boston in a 4 game series. And what a series it was.

Boston went 31 consecutive innings without scoring a run! At the New Yankee Stadium! I mean, you would think by accident someone in the Boston lineup would hit a homerun. Imagine if Boston wouldn't have got those 2 meaningless runs in the 9th inninng on Thursday's game? You could tack on another 4 innings.

Sunday night's series finale was another epic pitcher's duel, this time featuring Jon Lester and Andy Pettitte.

The game was scoreless until A-Rod hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the 7th to put New York up 1-0. It was the second time in three nights that A-Rod hit a homerun to break a scoreless game. On the year, A-Rod has 5 homeruns in the seventh inning or later.

With the score 1-0, you'd think that would have been enough. But the Red Sox finally! got on the board in the top half of 8th. Newly acquired Victor Martinez hit a 2 run homer off Phil Coke put the Sox up 2-0 and perhaps give Boston a pulse.

Of course it was Phil Coke on the mound to break up Boston's scoreless streak. Why did Joe Girardi not go to Phil Hughes?

But when you're hot, you're hot. In the bottom of the eighth, young phenom sensation Daniel Bard easily retired the first two Yankees and looked like Boston would escape with a win. But then back to back curtain calls by Damon and Teixeira and the stadium was electric. The Yankees ended up scoring a total of 4 runs in the inning all coming after 2 outs and no one on.

And then it was Mariano Rivera in the ninth and the game was over. Rivera hasn't allowed a run in the last 21.1 innings. He's converted 100 of his last 104 save opportunities. Yeah, that's why he's "The Sandman." Good night.

The Yankees have won 7 in a row, the Red Sox have lost 6 in a row. The lead has quickly shot up to 6 1/2. And the Red Sox are tied for the Wild Card and have many roster questions.

For the series, NY outscored Boston 25-8.
Out hit Boston 41-25.
Boston batted .174 for the series!

And Boston's strength, their bullpen, allowed 14 runs in 15.1 innings-a 8.34 ERA.

The one bright spot for the Red Sox, the Yankees only scored 1 run off Beckett and Lester. So Boston can still be a lethal team to face in the playoffs.

I don't think I've ever seen a Yankees' team play so loose and have so much fun. You watch the dugout and see all the smiles and dancing. Robinson Cano has his high five jump. Nick Swisher seems to have a personal handshake for every player. And the pie in the face routine brought on by A.J Burnett is priceless. I don't recall every seeing a Yankees team acting like this with Joe Torre.

The Yankees are now 18-5 since the All Star Break. They're 31-10 in the last 41 games. And they have the best record in baseball at 69-42. Yeah, it was a great weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Statement Game

Well, that monkey is gone, thankfully.

On a night with Muhammad Ali on hand, the Yankees sent a knockout blow to the Red Sox. NY's 13-6 win was highlighted by a 8 run 4th inning that might have sent John Smoltz into retirement.

Jorge Posada and Melky Cabrera each hit 3 run homers in the fatal fourth as the Yankees finally beat the Red Sox and are now 3 1/2 games up on the Sox.

The Yankees finished with 18 hits with every starter getting at least 1 hit. The Yankees got 10 RBI's from the bottom of the lineup.

How bad was Smoltz? He only lasted 3.1 innings, giving up 9 hits and 8 earned runs. For the year, Smoltz is 2-5 with a 8.32 ERA.

On the other side, Joba Chamberlain wasn't his post all star break superior self. Joba was wild in 5 innings walking 7 batters! All the walks hiked Joba's pitch count to a total of 108. He did get the win and is now 8-2.

Yankee killer David Ortiz was 0-5 and now batting .222! As a team, Boston left 15 runners on base and were 3-21 with runners in scoring position.

With the Yankees up 13-4 in the 8th inning, relief pitcher Mark Melancon got a little wild against Dustin Pedroia. Melancon threw one over Pedroia and the next pitch hit Pedroia. Posada had to walk Pedroia down to first base as Pedroia's lips never stopped moving as he stared at the pitcher's mound.

Now wouldn't that have been a sight, Dustin Pedroia charging the pitcher's mound!

I highly doubt the Yankees were looking to hit Pedroia. I mean they were up 13-4. Melancon has only 10 total innings pitching in the big leagues. Last night was probably the biggest game he's ever pitched in and the emotions probably ran a little high and he got wild. But in light of what just happened the other night between the Dodgers/Brewers, anything will be questionable. Melancon was not ejected.

The was the second sell out at the new Yankee Stadium, the first was opening day. Jorge Posada was a triple shy of the cycle. Joba is the first Yankees pitcher to win a game with 7 BB's since David Cone 4/9/99 against Detroit.

Game 2 Friday night is probably Boston's best chance to win a game in this series as Josh Beckett goes for Boston. Beckett is notorious for nailing down the Yankees.

Let's Get It On!

Yes, it is the dog days of summer and football is just around the corner. But for baseball fans, it certainly is Christmas in August. MLB has some great division races going on right now. And even better for baseball, pretty much every major market team is represented.

But of course nothing beats the rivalry of the Red Sox/Yankees which is restored with a 4 game series starting in the Bronx tonight.

We all know the Sox have owned the Yanks this year, with Boston winning all 8 meetings this season. That's all fine and dandy, but it's the Bronx Bombers who have a 2 1/2 lead on the Sox. Boston has outscored the Yankees 55-31 in those 8 meetings. There were two games that New York probably should have, could have won. Imagine if the Yankees had won 2 games against Boston. The Yankees would be up 6 1/2 games. If the teams had split the 8 games, the Yanks would have a 10 1/2! game lead on Boston.

One thing Joe Torre did right was knowing the importance winning games against opponents you're next to in the standings. Torre said it best by basically saying when you win one of these games, it's a two game shift in the standings.

So now don't think these games don't matter. But at the same time, New York has yet to beat Boston once and yet here they are in August ahead of the Red Sox.

Obviously a lot has changed since these two teams last met, which was June 11. For one, Jason Bay was considered the AL MVP and batting .277. That talked has died and Bay has gone back to his Pittsburgh Pirates' roots currently batting .252. Oh, and now the Red Sox are the latest franchise to have the dark steroid cloud hovering above.

The Yankees have all the confidence and momentum going into this series. Not only are they home, but they have their 4 studs set up to start all 4 games. Joba Chamberlain starts tonight. If the Yanks can win tonight, they can probably take 3 games this weekend.

Back in the middle of June, New York dropped 2 of 3 at home to the Washington Nationals. They lost the series finale 3-0. They scored 7 total runs in three games vs. the Nats. At home! In Coors Field East!

Since that loss, the Yankees have gone 28-13.

Remember Boston's epic meltdown against Baltimore back on June 30? The Red Sox blew a 10-1 lead! to the Orioles, losing 11-10. Since that horrific loss, Boston is 15-14.

Starting tonight, the Yankees can put a choke hold on the division and leave Boston to battle for the Wild card.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

News And Notes

Geez! Enough of Plax, Favre, TO, etc. The whole flatulent story is pretty funny though.

Jeremy Maclin signed a 5 year deal with the Eagles. What does this signify? We should be able to tell if Chase Daniel made Maclin or vice versa. If it's the latter, the Philadelphia Eagles could be in for another solid year. This could even be one of the more talented offenses Donavon McNabb has been around. He'll have two young stud receivers in Maclin and Desean Jackson. And if Brian Westbrook's ankle can hold up, look out for Philly.

Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez is out for the year and will need Tommy John surgery. Ouch. You never want to see a young dominant pitcher go down like that. Reportedly Volquez will be out for 12 months, so we might not see him at all next season. I'm sure a trip to Alabama and Dr. James Andrews is in his near future. If Dr. James Andrews is so great, how come when his name is mentioned it's never a good thing?

Remember the Texas Rangers traded Volquez to the Reds for Josh Hamilton.

One of the biggest surprises of the MLB season has to be the San Francisco Giants. Currently at 58-48, the Giants are 1/2 back of the Wild Card behind division rival Colorado. This time last year, the Giants were 47-64. They even made a move on this year's trade deadline by acquiring Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh's fire sale.

Sanchez had been a solid hitter with the Pirates, even winning a batting title. Now, he finally gets to experience playing meaningful baseball in September, and August for that matter.

The reason for San Fran's resurgence is the pitching staff. Tim Lincecum might go back to back for the Cy Young. And chances are, he'll win a bunch in his career.

Lincecum and fellow starter Matt Cain are 2 and 3 overall for ERA in the National League. Lincecum's ERA is 2.18 and Cain's is 2.25. Pretty solid.

Now imagine if Randy Johnson wasn't on the DL and Barry Zito was owning up to at least half of the $18.5 million annual salary?

At one time, Kansas City's Zack Greinke was 8-1 and the biggest story of the year. After last night's loss, Greinke is now 10-7 but still has the AL's lowest ERA at 2.36.