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You are currently viewing archive for August 2005.

Posted by: Seamus
Shawn Chacon had his first bad start since joining the Yankees as the Bombers lost to the Mariners in Seattle by a score of 8-3. His ERA rose by almost a run and a half from 1.80 to 3.13 (it really goes to say something when your ERA can nearly double to only 3.13). All eight of the runs he allowed came in the 2nd and 3rd innings after a 1-2-3 first inning. Chacon did manage to settle down a bit as he at least prevented Torre from having to empty out the bullpen and gave us 6 innings. Felix Rodriguez finished the game and struggled for two innings, but did not allow a run.

The bright spots for the Yankees were A-Rod, who scored two runs including one coming on his 40th home run of the season, and Derek Jeter, who had two hits. Rodriguez is the first right-handed Yankee to belt 40 home runs since Joe DiMaggio in 1937 and is only the second ever to do so, and we're still in August. A-Rod was the DH as he had soreness in his groin and was replaced at 3B by Mark Bellhorn, who went 0-4 in his Yankee debut.

The Yankees remained the leaders in the wild card race as the Indians were postponed and the Angels lost to the A's in extra innings. A comeback victory by Boston put the Yankees 2.5 back in the A.L. East.

I've decided I like Matt Lawton. During the game, he was hit by a pitch and was actually nice enough to walk 10 feet in front of home plate and retrieve the ball and throw it back towards the pitcher. I thought it was kind of funny. Plus, he has contributed although he's hitting only .154 since joining us. He got a key hit in that 9th inning comeback against Kansas City on Saturday and launched a big home run Monday night against the Mariners.

Wednesday night's game features a very intriguing pitching matchup as Randy Johnson goes up against 19-year old Felix Hernandez. Hernandez has pitched great so far for Seattle and has been likened to the young Dwight Gooden and is regarded by many as a future superstar. His opponent of course is one of the greatest pitchers of our era and will in all likelihood be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I'm looking forward to it.
Posted by: Patrick
Lawton's family braves hurricane:

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs late Friday night, Lawton didn't have a chance to catch his breath yesterday morning after playing his first two games for his new team.

Instead, Lawton kept an eye on the television and kept sending text messages to his parents and brother, who braved the hurricane at his house in Gulfport, Miss.

The Lawton family is doing alright, but our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

Via Brian MacMillan.
Posted by: Patrick
I just realized something. When I was considering why Jeter should be on the All Star team, I never checked something: Podsednik's stats. Look at the pre All Star break stats:

Scott Podsednik
.294 BA, .369 OBA, .344 SLG, 50 R, 83 H, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 44 SB

Derek Jeter
.308 BA, .393 OBA, .452 SLG, 69 R, 105 H, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 10 SB

Hideki Matsui
.320 BA, .384 OBA, .530 SLG, 60 R, 105 H, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB

As I said, they both should have been on the team. But, jeez...
Posted by: Michael
Jason Giambi came back for the second consecutive game to provide the offensive punch the Yankees needed to take the win against the Seatle Mariners. Giambi hit two homers and provided 4 RBIs. Giambi is quickly overcoming his bad August, and if he peaks again in September as he did in July - then we should catch and pass the Red Sox.

A-Rod contributed with a home run of his own, going 2 for 3 with a walk. He left the game in the 9th inning with tightness in the groin. The injury could have happened earlier in the game while fielding a ball, but A-Rod stayed in there til the 9th. Hopefully it is nothing serious.

The Moose only lasted three innings. He was hammered for four runs in six hits. He also gave up four walks. It was this time last year that Mussina was untouchable. Lets hope he makes the turn for the month of September. Is it me, or does he have a problem pitching in the stretch?

Aaron Small came into the game in relief of Mussina and was able to quickly quiet the Seattle bats. He pitched four very effective innings only giving up one hit. Gordon and Rivera were able to finish the game with Rivera picking up his 34th save.

I know it is kind of early, but when you are talking about team MVP, you have to look at what Small has done this year. I can't imagine where we would be without him. Most likely we would still have Wayne Franklin on the roster.

Tonight another Yankee savior is on the mound as Shawn Chacon (4-8, 3.28 ERA or 3-1, 1.80 ERA as a Yankee) takes on Jeff Harris (1-1, 1.69 ERA). In Harris' last game, he pitched 7 innings against the Rangers and gave up just one earned run. It seems like the Yanks always struggle some against the opposing rookie pitchers. Let's hope this is not the case. Game time 10:05pm ET.

08/30: Jeter's D

Posted by: Patrick
Speaking of Jeter, his defense is being talked about by Alex Belth and Steve Lombardi, who makes a few good points.

Last year, Rob Neyer of ESPN.comn called Jeter a "terrible" SS - twice in the span of days, once in print in his column and once in an ESPN News interview.

I never understood the "terrible" label. ...

Further, in Baseball America's recent 2005 Best Tools Survey, League Managers selected Derek Jeter as the AL's "Best Defensive SS" - ahead of Miggy Tejada (at # 2) and Michael Young (at # 3).

Anyone who calls Jeter a terrible SS is crazy. That's just unfathomable. I mean, I could see how you could say he's not the best or he's not top 5 (even though that I don't really see), but a terrible shortstop? No way.

I've always felt that most criticisms of Jeter were either ill founded or nitpicking. This is a great, special player that we, as Yankees fans, are lucky to have. He's a very complete player. Does complete mean having the best of everything? No, it just means you do everything relatively well or better and Jeter does. On defense, he's a surehanded defender with good range and a great arm. He is capable of making any type of play - ground balls, line drives and he's, what, the best in the game on popups? To me, all facets of defense considered, he's a great defensive shortstop. Not even talking about what he does with the bat or on the basepaths (where plenty would say he's the best baserunner in the game).

Mr. Lombardi sums it up nicely here:

As a Yankees fan, at no point in time, over the last several seasons, has a ball been hit to Jeter at SS where I thought "Oh, no, why did you hit it to him?" - - the way one would think when balls were hit to the Jose Offerman or Wil Cordero types (when they were trying to play SS).

In fact, when a grounder is hit to Jeter, within normal range, my gut reaction and expectation is "that's an out." I have no fear whatsoever on a groundball to Jeter.
Posted by: Patrick
Steve Lombardi has a theory.

Because of The Rolling Stones concert at Fenway, they had to bring in 40,000 square feet of sod from... New Jersey. Which also happens to be the birthplace of one D. Jeter.

If that's not begging for a new curse, nothin' is. Look for the Red Sox to now lose 12 of their remaining 22 home games this season - starting tonight.

Edit: Updated as Mr. Lombardi updated his entry.
Posted by: Patrick
Mark Bellhorn will sign with the Yankees on Tuesday.

"The Yankees seemed interested," said Bellhorn, speaking from the airport in Phoenix, on his way to Seattle, where he will sign a contract on Tuesday. "The Yankees are one of the most well-known franchises in all of sports. Not everybody gets to play for them."

Bellhorn will likely fill the role of a utility infielder, which will probably result in Felix Escalona heading back to the Minors until rosters expand on Thursday.

"I'll do whatever they need me to do," Bellhorn said. "I can play a lot of positions, I can pinch-run, pinch-hit -- whatever they need from me."
Posted by: Patrick
New Yankee Matt Lawton appears to have needed all of that in his first game as a Yankee. He borrowed Sheffield's glove, Bernie's cleats and bats belonging to both Giambi (0-3) and Cano (1-1).

"I was in the cage and I showed him my bat," said Cano, who did not ask for the bat back. "I said, 'If you want to, use one of my bats; I know that you didn't bring any of your equipment.' "

Lawton's gear arrived in time for yesterday's game, but he continued to use Cano's bat for good luck.

"I'm definitely going to keep the bat," Lawton said.

Edit: Sorry for the duplicate.

Via Brian MacMillan.
Posted by: Michael
Jason Giambi's bat had grown stone cold going 4-38 leading into Sunday. It turned out to be a brand new day as Giambi was able to hit two home runs and tie his career best at 7 RBI's for the day. Also, with the first homer, Giambi was able to obtain his 1000 career RBI. The second, increased his career hit tally to 1500. Very impressive, and I have to admit, something I didn't think was obtainable earlier in the year.

Al Leiter pitched another spectacular game for the Yankees. In six innings pitched he gave up only two hits, six strikeouts, and only four walks. Walking batters has been his weakness, and it was obvious today he had his game on. Leiter has gone 4-3 since he has joined the Yanks.

The Yankees now have a 1/2 game lead in the wild card, and are just 1 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East. Derek Jeter adds his perspective of the divisional and wild card chase:

"Our fans don't want to see us win the Wild Card," Derek Jeter said. "They want to see us win the division."

Tomorrow night the Yankees go on the road and travel to Seattle to take on the Mariners. The Yankees Mike Mussina (12-8, 4.21 ERA) takes on Ryan Franklin (6-14, 5.29 ERA) at Safeco Field. Game time 10:05pm ET. Let's hope the Moose rebounds from his disasterous fifth inning from his previous outing.
Posted by: Patrick
It didn't look too pretty after 8 and 1/2, but the Yankees fought and clawed back, finding a way to snatch the game away from the Royals in the 9th.

The Yankees were able to strike first, putting 2 on the board in the 1st and another 1 in the 3rd, giving them a 3-0 lead. Wright was solid through 4, allowing 0 runs on 2 hits. But, the 5th would be the end of his day. He loaded the bases with 1 out before getting Danny Hocking to pop out to Cano at second. Unfortunately, he'd allow 3 straight hits and throw a wild pitch before getting out of the inning. Once the dust had cleared, the Yankees were down 5-3 and Wright was out of the game.

Aaron Small would relieve him in the 6th, having trouble of his own - allowing 2 runs over 2 and 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the Yankees offense wouldn't score a run in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th innings. Alan Embree relieved Small in the 8th with 1 out remaining and did the job, getting 4 outs and keeping the score at 7-3. He got the win - his first as a Yankee - with his ERA falling "down" to 7.14.

Heading to the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees 5 (Giambi), 6 (Bernie) and 7 (Posada) hitters were due up. But, no, it wasn't over. Jeremy Affeldt came in to face Giambi. Giambi would walk. This would be followed by a Bernie Williams strike out, making the first out of the inning. At this point, Posada hit a sure thing double play ball (speedster Giambi) back to the pitcher. Yet, fate smiled on the Yankees as Affeldt's throw was off and the short stop dropped the ball (Seamus' eyewitness account: "They gave [the error] to the pitcher? The SS dropped the ball. I guess the throw was off. Funny thing was the ball was dropped and Giambi was probably still halfway to second base.") This allowed both Giambi and Posada to reach safely. First and second, 1 out.

New Yankee Matt Lawton made his mark with a base hit to load the bases. This brought the slumping Cano to the plate. Torre put Tino up to pitch hit and Tino delivered with a base hit to right - only Giambi scored and the bases remained loaded with 1 out. 7-4 Royals. That would be the end of Affeldt's day as Shawn Camp came in for the Royals to face Captain Clutch. Tony Womack pinch ran for Tino and Jeter did not disappoint, coming through with a single to left that scored both Lawton and Posada. Womack was stuck at 2nd. But, we were now only down by one run with 1st and 2nd and 1 out for Godzilla, who would fly out to deep center. It was deep enough to allow Womack to advance to third.

Tying run on 3rd, 2 out, Gary Sheffield up. Sheff pounced with a double to right, scoring Womack and tying the game. Jeter to third for A-Rod. A-Rod came up big, singling to left to score Jeter and hand the Yankees an 8-7 victory.

Nice comeback fellas.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees have acquired outfielder Matt Lawton from the Cubs in exchange for pitcher Justin Berg.

This article (via Steve Lombardi) speculates that he will get playing time in left with Matsui sliding to center more often.

"I've watched the World Series in Yankee Stadium. Now I hope to play in one," Lawton said by phone yesterday from Chicago.

Yes, we hope you do, too.
Posted by: Patrick
The Unit's last win coming into today? July 26 against the Twins. So, it took him a month to get another win. He did it in impressive fashion today as he pitched 8 solid innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while walking no one. The lone run coming on an Angel Berroa RBI single in the 7th. His record improves to 12-8 with his ERA falling down to 4.20. This year has been a mixed bag for the unit. Blow outs, great games, half way decent games... it's all been in there. But, one thing he has done is eat innings. Over his 26 starts he's averaged 6 and 2/3 innings pitched a start and thrown 4 complete games.

Mariano finished the 9th (albiet with a little drama in the form of 1st and 2nd, 1 out), but did not earn a save.

The Yankees offense was led by Bernie Williams, who went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI, hammering 2 homers in the 6th and the 8th. A-Rod (1 RBI), Sheffield and Giambi each scored a run with Jeter adding 2 hits of his own. Jeter finds his batting average at .312 and his OBA at about .390. If he can maintain his totals, this will be his best BA/OBA year (full season) since 2000.

The Indians and A's have already won and it looks like the Red Sox will, as well, so it's a good thing we did. Tomorrow we'll get Jaret Wright (2-0 since returning from the DL) against Runelvys Hernández (8-11, 5.03) at 1:05 PM Eastern.
Posted by: Michael
Derek Jeter called him wild. Shawn Chacon called his performance a grind. Regardless, he pitched himself out of some jams and the Yankees won todays game verses the Blue Jays 6-2.

Chacon worked out of a bases-loaded situation twice, gave up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Today's win was Chacon's third as a Yankee. With the Rockies he was just 1-12.

A-Rod and Gary Sheffield put up back to back homers in the first to give the Yanks the cushion they needed for the day. But the Jays made it dangerously close several times as Chacon gave them an opportunity by loading up the bases. While he gave them the opportunity, he worked extra hard on those pitches to shut them down.

Todays win was important as it kept the Yanks tied for the lead with Oakland in the wildcard race. The Cleveland Indians are right behind them half a game out. I also felt that today's win was important for when Chacon pitches the way he did, you have to win these games. Especially in August-September. You gotta play your guts out right now.

Tomorrow the Yankees take on the Kansas City Royals. The off-and-on Randy Johnson (11-8, 4.34 ERA) takes on Mike Wood (4-4, 4.09 ERA). It'll be interesting to see which Randy Johnson shows up. Let's hope he has his stuff. Game time is 7:05pm ET at the Stadium.
Posted by: Patrick
Steve Lombardi mentioned the following in his recap or last night's game:

I did not see the post-game on YES - so, I have no idea if this was confirmed, but, on the replay of the Matsui HR in the 9th to tie the game, when they showed the Yankees dugout, I'm pretty sure that Jeter said to A-Rod "I told you."

How cool is that?

So cool. Typical Jeter fashion.

One of his commenters said that s/he saw it. I didn't watch the game. Anyone else see it?
Posted by: Patrick
You can vote at

He's up against Roy Halladay, Bob Wickman, Jay Gibbons, Barry Zito and Richie Sexson.
Posted by: Seamus
I offer my condolences to anyone who missed tonight's game because it was one of the best games I've seen all season. The game went right down to the wire as Felix Escalona untied the game with a base hit in the 9th. Al Leiter was good in his start, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings, and Mariano Rivera picked up his 6th win of the season after giving up a run on two hits.

Derek Jeter led off the first inning with a base hit before Jays' hurler Josh Towers retired 15 Yankees in a row. The game remained scoreless until the 4th inning when the Blue Jays scored two from a home run by Vernon Wells and an RBI single by Greg Zaun. The Yankees got sacrifice hits in both the 6th and 7th innings (by Bernie and Posada, respectively) to tie the score at two. The game was back and forth from there, as each team scored at least once in each of the remaining innings. Shea Hillenbrand put Toronto ahead 3-2 with a single off the struggling Tanyon Sturtze, and in the bottom of the inning Bernie Williams scored Tony Womack with a base hit of his own. Mariano Rivera entered with a tie game in the 9th and allowed a run courtesy of Reed Johnson's hit to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead. The Yankees would not be outdone, however, as Mr. Clutch Hideki Matsui led off the bottom of the 9th with a home run to tie the score at 4. Later in the inning, Derek Jeter was walked intentionally to bring up Felix Escalona with the bases loaded and two outs. Escalona got behind early in the count 0-2, but lined the next pitch into centerfield to score Jorge Posada and give the Yankees a 5-4 victory.

The Indians defeated the Devil Rays in Tampa and the A's lost in Detroit, so the Yankees remain in a virtual tie with the Indians for the A.L. Wild Card lead (the Yankees are actually ahead by about half a percentage point). The Red Sox defeated the Royals 5-2, so they remain 3.5 ahead of the Yankees in the A.L. East.

Tonight's game was really fun to watch as I stated above, but one thing that is starting to concern me a bit is the arm of Tanyon Sturtze. He's really been struggling lately. I think it's partly because he was a starting pitcher for most of his career and isn't used to throwing everyday. We all know of how it has been well documented that he's been overworked this year along with Tom Gordon. It would be nice if Joe Torre could find a way to just shut him down for a week before the stretch run in September.

The Yankees will go for three straight against the Blue Jays in this four-game set tomorrow as they will send out Mike Mussina to face Dave Bush. The Yankees' starters have been giving us solid starts lately and are going deep into games which can be good for a guy like Sturtze or Gordon who needs a little rest. Hopefully the Moose can give us another good 7 or 8 innings tomorrow at the Stadium.
Posted by: Patrick
Sweet Symphony Finishes in Good Time at Saratoga:

In rocketing Sweet Symphony around the final turn, jockey Jerry Bailey not only made certain that Steinbrenner was going to pocket the $450,000 first-place check, but he also advanced the on-going drama that is the Yankees. The filly Sis City, one of the two horses that Sweet Symphony blew by, is partly owned by Yankees Manager Joe Torre.

Via Off the Facade.
Posted by: Patrick
Thanks to some campaigning, Mickey Mantle will be featured on a stamp:

Former state legislator Marv Diemer's five-year, one-man drive to get a U.S. postage stamp honoring baseball great Mickey Mantle has finally paid off.

Diemer was informed by U.S. Postal Service officials this week that the New York Yankee center fielder's likeness will be issued in a 2006 "Big Hitters" stamp series honoring four other baseball Hall of Fame sluggers: Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers; Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella; and Mel Ott of the New York Giants. ...

Letters of support came from a wide range of people, including the vice president of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.; several of Mantle's Yankee teammates, including Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford, catcher John Blanchard, second baseman Bobby Richardson, outfielder Hank Bauer and third baseman Clete Boyer. Support also came from U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley, Phil Gramm of Texas where Mantle lived following retirement; Don Nichols of Mantle's home state of Oklahoma; and former New York mayor Rudolf Giuliani.

Diemer, who spends his springs as public relations and information person at Hammond County Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. where the Minnesota Twins play their spring training games, even got 1,000 Twins fans to sign a petition supporting a Mantle stamp, including a signature from Hall of Fame second baseman Paul Molitor, a Twins coach.

Who knew that you had to be dead for ten years to be honored on a stamp?

Via Off the Facade.
Posted by: Michael
Wright pitched another spectacular game last night at the stadium. He gave up four hits in seven innings with three walks and five strikeouts. The Yankee victory pulled them into a three-way tie with the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland A's.

It was Wright's second start after coming back from the DL. At that time his ERA stood at 9.15. Now it is down to 6.00 and assured to drop further if he continues to pitch this way. 99 pitches were thrown for the night, with 46 over the first two innings. Once he got out of trouble, he settled down.

A-Rod's RBI double in the eighth vaulted him over the 100 RBI mark for the eighth straight year. Hideki Matsui drove in three runs, and Jason Giambi broke out of his 0 for 21 hitting funk by going 2-3 with a walk.

Tonight Al Leiter (6-10, 6.09 ERA) takes on Josh Towers (10-9, 4.12 ERA) for the Blue Jays. Game Time 7:05pm ET. Let's hope the Yankee bats can score some runs for Al, as he has been pitching better the last few games.

Posted by: Patrick
Randy Johnson pitched an 8 inning complete game today and in 7 of those 8 innings, 0 runs were scored by the White Sox. Unfortunately, the other inning (the 4th inning) saw back to back to back solo home runs plus a 3 run shot for good measure and the Yankees lost 3-2.

There was not a walk issued in this game by either side, but the Yankees managed one more hit (11 in all) than the White Sox. Still, the runners just didn't come around as only 2 runs were scored by the Bombers. Jeter, Sheff (1 run), A-Rod and Womack (1 run) all had 2 hits with Cano (1 RBI), Matsui and Tino (1 RBI). The 6 (Bernie) and 8 (Flaherty and Posada) spots were the only ones to go hitless.

Boston won while Kansas City managed to win again in extras (2 game winning streak now for them), so we're 4 games back in the division and half a game back in the wild card standings. Jaret Wright (3-2, 7.62) will go against Scott Downs (1-2, 4.89) tomorrow as we start a 4 game set against Toronto.
Posted by: Patrick
One thing I left out in yesterday's recap was the fact that Jorge Posada collected his 1,000th hit. Congrats.
Posted by: Patrick
That Shawn Chacon deal has worked out pretty nicely. Today, Mr. Chacon continued his brilliant work on the mound for the Yankees (thus far) by pitching 8 innings of scoreless, 4 hit ball. He struck out 5, walked 3 and although a runner reached third on two separate occasions, he failed to allow a man to cross the plate. With his awesome day, his record improved to 2-1 as a Yankee with a 1.64 ERA over 32 innings. After throwing 127 pitches, Felix Rodriguez relieved him and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Yankees only had 7 hits (with 4 walks) of their own, but were able to get 5 runs in. This was led by Alex Rodriguez (1 for 3, 2 RBI), Jorge Posada (1 for 2, 2 walks, 2 runs) and Bernie Williams (1 for 4, 1 run, 1 RBI on a sac fly). Jeter (1 run) and Tino (1 RBI) each had 2 hits. The other run was scored by Gary Sheffield, who had reached on an error. Bernie's batting average is back up above .250 again - .254 to be exact. The last time he was there (before Tuesday) was July 16.

The Yankees improve to 67-54. Perhaps one of the Red Sox or A's can lose so we can gain a little ground. If the Royals happen to finally end their 19 game losing streak, we'll move to a half game back in the Wild Card standings.

Tomorrow we'll get to see Randy Johnson (11-7, 4.22) go against old El Titan de Bronze (7-7, 4.24) at 3:05 Eastern.
Posted by: Patrick
Mike Mussina pitched 7 innings tonight, allowing just 5 singles and 1 ER en route to his 12th win of the season. Flash and Mo (1-2-3 9th) preserved the victory.

The Yankees were only able to score 3 runs on 8 hits. Robinson Cano, batting in the 9th spot, was 2 for 4 with 2 runs. Bernie, up in the 2nd spot, was 2 for 4 with 1 RBI, as was Sheffield. The other run was scored by Tino while the other RBI was sacrificed in my D. Jeter. A-Rod had the only other hit as he went 1 for 3 on the night.

The game only lasted 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Shawn Chacon (1-1, 2.14 as a Yankee - 2-8, 3.59 total) goes against El Duque (8-5, 4.67) tomorrow at 1:15 eastern.
Posted by: Patrick
It appears that Ruben Rivera is on his way back.

"It is something I will probably do," GM Brian Cashman said of signing the 31-year-old Rivera to a minor league contract. "I am not opposed to it. His season is over and he is free."

Before Cashman can predict where he would send Rivera (likely Triple-A Columbus), the outfielder needs to secure a work visa, which shouldn't be a problem.

Rivera spent this year playing for the Campeche Pirates in the Mexican League, where he batted .342 (102-for-298) with 21 homers and 71 RBIs. He was released from his Campeche contract recently. ...

Jeter has no problem with Rivera returning.

"He has been to my house since then," Jeter said.

As long as Derek has no problem with it, it's OK with me. Hopefully he learned his lesson... he's lucky to be back at all.

Via Steve Lombardi.
Posted by: Patrick
Reason #76:

Mariano Rivera walked into Joe Torre's office late yesterday afternoon to talk with the manager and Stottlemyre.

"He came in and wanted to talk," Torre said. "He insisted he was available tonight."

Rivera blew his fourth save Tuesday night when he gave up a ninth-inning homer to Eduardo Perez. So, he felt compelled to make sure his bosses knew he wanted in.

"I am ready," Rivera said. "I just wanted them to know it."
Posted by: Seamus
Knowing that the Red Sox and A's had both already lost during the afternoon, the Yankees had an excellent chance of moving within 3.5 of Boston for the division lead and only a half game behind Oakland for the wild card. Things were looking good in the 6th inning as Al Leiter gave us a pretty solid start and left the game with a 5-2 lead. Aaron Small came in and gave up 3 runs in relief, although one was unearned as Robinson Cano made a costly error in the 7th. The Yankees retook the lead on a base hit to right field by birthday boy Jorge Posada, but that went to waste as well as Tanyon Sturtze pitched an ineffective 8th inning. A ground rule double by Alex Gonzalez tied the game at 6 and Jonny Gomes scored on a wild pitch.

So, instead of inching closer in both the division and wild card races, the Yankees still stand 4.5 games behind the Red Sox and 1.5 against Oakland. I'm not one usually to throw a lot of "what-ifs" out there, but had the Yankees won those last two games in Tampa as they should have, they would currently hold the lead in the wild card standings and would be only 2.5 games behind Boston for the division.

The Yankees are off today before heading to Chicago for a three-game set against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The A's are off today as well. The Red Sox are in Anaheim tonight facing the very talented Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Oh well, I guess I have nobody to blame for this but myself. This is the 7th consecutive game I recapped in which the Yankees lost.
Posted by: Patrick
According to Steve Lombardi, there is going to be a celebrity softball game at Richmond Country Bank Ballpark on August 21 (gates open at 12:00 PM). Tickets will be $10 and the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer's Foundation of Staten Island Respite Program.

Celebrities scheduled to appear include: Danny Aiello, Gia Bella, Irene Cara, Mary Higgins Clark, Ken Dashow, Dr. Dre, Linda Fiorentino, Nick Fotiu, Tony Hawk, Robbie Knievel, Alicia Keys, Bill McCreary, Freeman McNeil, Melba Moore, Brian Mullen, Sandy Pepa, Curtis Sliwa, Paul Sorvino, and Steven Van Zandt (among others).
Posted by: Patrick
Yogi Berra's Signature in My Book
A while back I was surfing around Yogi Berra's website and I came across the store. I noticed that a number of items were pretty reasonably (even below reasonably, depending on your viewpoint) priced. So, I picked up a signed copy of The Yogi Book for $35.95 (including shipping). I got it yesterday. It's a small book, but it's pretty neat to have something autographed by him. Especially if you're like me and you're into stuff like that. And you know it's good because it's coming from his official website. It came with a certificate of autheticity, as well. It's neat that Yogi has some items on his site that are affordable so that pretty much any fan can pick something up.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention it incase anyone wanted to pick one up. I mean, it's Yogi Berra. Hall of famer, 3 time MVP (finished 2nd 2 other times, 3rd another), 15 time all star, 10 World Series rings - the greatest catcher in the history of the Yankees. And he was only 5 foot, 8 inches! He's 80 years old, so you (sadly) don't know how long such a thing may be so readily available.
Posted by: Seamus
The Big Unit was effective in his return after missing a start last week, going 7 innings on 2 runs and 5 hits, but the Yankees could not hold the lead for him and they lost to the Devil Rays 4-3 in 11 innings. The Yankees were up 3-0 when Eduardo Perez launched a two-run shot off of Johnson. In the bottom of the 9th, Perez did it again, this time against Mariano Rivera to tie the score at 3 (geez, how many guys can even dream about one day telling their grandkids they homered off Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera in the same game?). Rivera was good for two innings aside from the home run as he pitched a scoreless 10th inning, but Scott Proctor entered the game in the 11th and had control problems once again. He walked 3 batters in the inning (albeit one intentionally) and recorded only one out before walking in the winning run.

The Tigers also blew a late lead against the Red Sox, so the Yankees' loss puts them 4.5 behind the BoSox for first place in the AL East. Fortunately, however, the Yanks didn't lose any ground on the A's in the wild card race as they lost to Baltimore for the second day in a row, so the Yankees still stand 1.5 games behind them. The Angels also lost to the Blue Jays by a score of 4-3 (currently 3.5 games better than the Yankees).

Well Yankee haters will gloat now that Rivera has blown his 2nd save since Saturday, but hey, what can you do? He pitched pretty well except for that one pitch that was hit hard by Perez and barely cleared the wall (Rivera disputed after the homer that a fan interfered). Anyway, I still expect him to go out there and shut the Rays down tonight if the game is close again.

The Yankees will close out this road trip tonight in Tampa as Al Leiter will take the mound to face Mark Hendrickson. This one could be a 4-hour slugfest as both pitchers have an E.R.A. over 6.
Posted by: Patrick
Mike Celizic of MSNBC has quite the complementary piece on Mo. Not that he doesn't deserve it. Hopefully will be running a Mo for Cy/MVP campaign again this year!
Posted by: Michael
There were a lot of questions about last nights start. Did Wright deserve to take Aaron Small's place on the roster? Would he pitch better than he did at the start of the season? What was Torre thinking?

After last night's game, and if that is any indication, all the questions are answered.

Jaret Wright pitched 6 1/3 innings last night and pitched in such a way that made us remember why the Yankees signed him in the offseason. 79 pitches thrown, 5 hits with 2 runs. Very effective for a start coming after 114 on the DL and rehab.

A-Rod hit his 36th homer of the season in the fourth, and Gary Sheffield hit his 25th in the seventh providing the offensive power the Yankees need against the Devil Rays. A-Rod's homer wasn't ruled a home run until A-Rod slid into 3rd almost pulling his hamstring.

The Yankees are now 13 games over .500, and 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox who lost last night. It was their 5th win in a row.

Let's hope Randy Johnson's back (11-7, 4.29 ERA) is in better shape tonight when he faces Doug Waechter (4-8, 5.32 ERA). Game time is 7:15pm et.
Posted by: Patrick
Jon Heyman of Newsday has a list of Yankees who have apparently cleared waivers. This includes (as of Friday): Jorge Posada, Shawn Chacon, Tony Womack, Al Leiter, Felix Rodriguez, Wayne Franklin, Felix Escalona, Aaron Small and John Flaherty.

The article also notes that Ken Griffey, Jr. has also cleared waivers.

Via Off the Facade.
Posted by: Patrick
Stadium May Get Star Sendoff:

With the Yankees set to move into a new Yankee Stadium in 2009, MLB officials have formulated an exciting send-off for the current Yankee Stadium: the 2008 All-Star Game.

According to people involved on both sides of the situation, MLB has discussed with the Yankees the possibility of the Stadium hosting the All-Star Game for the fourth time, and first since 1977.

"There have been talks about it being a way to honor the last year of the stadium," a source said.

Would be neat. Of course, a more exciting send off would be the 2008 World Series...

Via Off the Facade.
Posted by: Michael
Shawn Chacon has been pitching brilliantly for the Yankees. It was just deserved that he got his first win in Pinstripes today as the Yankees swept the Texas Rangers by winning 10-3. He was pulled after 5 innings of work due to a lengthy rain delay. At that point it was 7-3 thanks in part to Hideki Matsui's 5th inning 3-run home run into the right field stands.

Chacon gave up 3 runs and 7 hits in the time he pitched. It's obvious he is very happy to be a Yankee, and especially glad that he is pitching in New York and not Colorado.

"Coming to the Yankees, you don't want to fail, you don't want to be the weak link," Chacon said. "Having a chance to pitch in a real baseball stadium, where games are actually played in a real kind of way, you learn how to pitch. You don't have to pitch to the stadium."

It's interesting to note that if the game was close, Torre actually was thinking of using Randy Johnson as the closer for the day.

A-Rod also homered in the game for his 35th of the season. Bernie Williams kept his bat hot by bringing in two runs (3 straight games in doing so).

Tomorrow night Jaret Wright (2-2, 9.15 ERA) takes the mound (first time since April 23rd) down in Tampa vs. Casey Fossum (6-9, 4.47 ERA). Game time at 7:15pm et at Tropicana Field.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees got off to a quick lead with 2 runs in the 1st (A-Rod singles in Jeter and Godzilla singles in Cano) and another 2 in the 3rd (back to back solo shots by Sheff and A-Rod).

Moose was solid in his 7 and 1/3 innings of work, allowing 3 ER on 6 hits and 0 walks before being lifted for Flash Gordon in the 8th. Flash yielded 0 runs in just 2/3 innings of work (for all of the huzzah about his struggles, his ERA is still just 2.85). This gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead going into the 9th.

Mo relieved Gordon. And then, it happened, as we all knew it would have to eventually - Mariano blew his first save since the second game of the season. Ah, well. No fun. But, it had to end, of course. This has been said many times, so I am simply repeating it... but the thing that has made Mo possibly the most dominant relievers in the history of the game, instead of a just a great one, is how he bounces back. It's not because he is some sort of unhittable robot that people used to make him out to be. His mental game is why he is possibly the greatest, instead of just a great one.

Anyway, the inning started off well enough, with Mo retiring Teixeira. But then Blalock singled. And Soriano singled. As is often the case when Mo blows a save (he walks or hits someone) he hit Phil Nevin with a pitch to load the bases with 1 out. He was then able to get Gary Matthews, Jr. to ground into a fielders choice with the runner being out at home. Unfortunately, Kevin Mench would come up and hit a single to left which would allow 2 runs to score and break Mo's streak of 31 consecutive saves, while bumping his ERA up to 1.33. Where would we be without Mo's solidarity in an otherwise shaky year for our staff?

He retired Sandy Alomar, Jr. to end the inning. And followed this by pitching a scoreless top of the 10th against the top of the Rangers order (illustrating a bit of that mental toughness to come back out after blowing the save).

The Yankees would be held scoreless in the bottom of the 9th and the bottom of the 10th. Aaron Small would relieve Mo in the top of the 11th and pitch a scoreless inning, thanks to a phenomenal play down the 3rd base line by A-Rod that saved a run and ended the inning.

The bottom of the 11th rolled around with Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams and John Flaherty due up (combined batting average: approximately .240). Tino singled to lead off the inning. And then Bernie blasts a homer to deep right - a walk off homer - to hand the Yankees a victory. Win or lose, playoffs or not, these are moments to watch and enjoy.

Small's record improved to 4-0 with his ERA dropping to 2.57. The leaders on offense included Bernie (2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI), Sheff (2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI), A-Rod (2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI) and Cano (2 for 5, 2 R). The 9th spot (Womack) was the only spot to fail to get a hit.

The Angels trounced the Mariners and the Athletics beat the Twins, so there was no ground to gain in the Wild Card. Boston's up 1-0 in the 2nd as I write this. Tomorrow at 1 PM Eastern we'll have Shawn Chacon (0-1 ... with a 1.35 ERA as a Yankee?!?! Get this man some run support!) against Joaquin Benoit (3-1, 3.14).
Posted by: Patrick
All 11 runs were scored in the first 4 innings. The last 5 (4 and 1/2, actually) innings yielded 0 runs as both bullpens did their respective jobs. All 5 Texas runs were scored off of Al Leiter (only 3 of them were earned) who lasted 5 innings. Felix Rodriguez (1 and 1/3), Wayne Franklin (2/3), Shawn Chacon (1) and Tanyon Sturtze (1) combined to allow 2 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs in the final 4 innings.

Every lineup spot reached base while only one (3rd, Sheffield) failed to get a hit. Matsui was 3 for 4 with 1 run while Cano and Tino (1 run, 1 RBI) each had 2 hit days. Bernie hit home run number 8 and was the only Yankee to reach 2 RBI while D. Jeter blasted number 14. Posada and Womack accounted for the other RBIs with A-Rod and Posada each scoring a run of their own, as well.

Sturtze finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth (Mark Teixeira, Phil Nevin, Alfonso Soriano). We're only 3.5 games back in the wild card standings. Today it'll be Moose against Juan Dominguez (0-2, 5.11).
Posted by: Patrick
Steve Lombardi has a piece up on why Wright for Small is actually a good thing for the Yankees pitching staff.

First, Wright's not built for the pen. His arm condition does not probably lend towards warming up quickly, pitching days in a row, warming up and not throwing in the game, etc.

Secondly, while it would make sense to keep Small in the rotation, with Wright, and then move out Leiter, this does not help the team as Leiter, with his control issues, is not someone that you want coming out of the pen.

Lastly, Aaron Small can pitch out of the pen. In fact, in his best major league season, 1997, he was the number two man out of the pen for the Oakland A's.

Despite what I said previously, it does seem to make sense.

Joe, you old genius you!

Posted by: Michael
Former Yankee David Dellucci was the thorn in our paw this evening. Going 4-4 with 2 HR leading into the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded. It was clearly obvious that Tom Gordon didn't have his "Game-On" face. The Yanks lead was down to just one run. What's a team to do? Call in the Sandman.

Mo Rivera forced himself into the game to perserve the lead by making Dellucci pop up to Jorge Posada to end the eighth, and to go on and get the save. It's exciting to know that Rivera has this much confidence in himself to want to be called in the game.

Scott Proctor did a good job in taking the emergency start since Randy Johnson is nursing his bad back. He pitched 5 innings and gave up just 3 runs. It was the bullpen that once again bombed by allowing the Rangers to get back into the game. Tanyon Sturtze is clearly struggling now, and has been since his emergency start back last month. He gave up a three run shot to Michael Young to tie the game.

Derek Jeter provided the 1 run lead in the bottom of the seventh when he launched his 13th homer of the season.

Tonight Al "Lots of Experience will win me my job regardless of how I pitch" Leiter (5-10, 6.17 ERA) takes on Chris Young (9-7, 4.67 ERA) of the Rangers. Game time is 7:05pm et at the Stadium.

Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees lost their second straight 2-1 game yesterday as the fans got to see another great pitchers' duel, this time between Aaron Small and Freddy Garcia. Both gave up one run each, and the score was still tied at 1 after 9. The White Sox scored in the 10th after Juan Uribe launched a triple to right centerfield and came to score on a close play at the plate on a ground ball to second by Scott Podsednik.

The loss puts the Yankees 5.5 games behind the Red Sox and they are also 4.5 out of the wild card after the A's defeated the Angels late last night. It does seem like a lot of ground for them to have to make up, but at least on the brightside there are 50 games left and the Yankees have six games remaining against Boston and three against the A's.

The Yankees claimed Jamie Moyer off waivers to fill in today's hole in the rotation, but Moyer used his 10/5 rights and declined to report to the Bronx, so he is still in Seattle and Scott Proctor will start tonight. He will face John Wasdin to open up a four-game set against Texas. I think it's important that we take at least 3 out of 4 from this series. We can't continue to lose ground on the Red Sox and the teams at the top of the AL West.
Posted by: Patrick
Carl Pavano will likely miss the rest of the season (best case scenario is that he's back in time for the last 2-3 weeks of the season). Randy Johnson will be out until probably the 18th, 19th, 20th, instead of the 16th. Wang could be throwing off a mound as early as next week. Jaret Wright will start Monday (his first appearance since April 23).

So, where does this leave us?

Well, right now our rotation is something like Randy, Moose, Chacon, Small, Leiter. The best thing that could happen is for Wright to come in on Monday and pitch well. That would bump Leiter out of the rotation. For me, it's either him or Leiter in the rotation. Chacon and Small deserve to hold their spots. They have both pitched consistently well - so we can only hope that they continue down that road. This gives us a rotation of Randy, Moose, Chacon, Small, Wright/Leiter.

Then, let's say Wang gets back in August (late August - is that possible if he starts throwing next week? I have no idea (edit: guess not). Wang will simply bump the weakest performer out of Chacon, Small and Wright/Leiter. Something tells me Chacon won't be the weakest and it'll be Small or Wright/Leiter.

If we can pick up 2-3 games in the standings by that time, we'll be in good shape. That said, our pitching has been very good this week as we've allowed 2 runs in each game - bringing us to 8 total runs allowed over 4 games. Unfortunately, we've only been able to score 2.75 runs per game (1.66 if you throw out the 6-2 win to start the week). We've got to score more runs than that. No pitching is that good. If we allow just 2 runs in a game, we have to win that game.

(Update (thanks to reader Athos): According to the New York Daily News, Wright will bump Small out of the rotation with Leiter remaining.)
Posted by: Patrick
You can vote for the Yankees Hank Aaron Award nominee now at Each team gets one nomination and the award is "awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in both the American League and National League."

Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Derek Jeter are the possible Yankee nominees. A-Rod gets my vote.

You can vote up until August 31. The Yankee nominee will be announced on September 6.
Posted by: Seamus
Shawn Chacon now has three dominant performances in three career starts for the Yankees as he gave up a run on three hits in 7 innings, but it was all for naught as former Yankee Jose Contreras pitched just as well and the White Sox beat the Yankees 2-1. The Yankees' loss coupled with an extra inning win for the Red Sox puts the Yankees 4.5 games behind their arch rivals with 51 games to play. Fortunately they couldn't lose any ground in the wild card race, as the two teams that were tied at the top played against each other last night (The Angels defeated Oakland 9-2).

The Yankees trailed by a score of 1-0 the most of the way and the White Sox went ahead 2-0 after Paul Konerko launched a home run of Alan Embree in the 9th inning. That home run proved to be the game winner as A-Rod launched his league leading 33rd home run (his 3rd in three games) to lead off the bottom of the 9th. The Yankees had runners on first and third with two outs when Bernie Williams came up to pinch hit for Tony Womack. He swung at the first pitch he saw from Dustin Hermanson and hit it down the first base line probably as hard as he has hit a ball all season, only to be caught for the final out by newly acquired White Sox' 1B Geoff Blum.

Bubba Crosby was the runner on 3rd when Bernie came up to bat in the 9th. Crosby reached third base on a single by Tino Martinez with two outs in the 9th. I don't understand why the Yankees didn't have Crosby try to steal second while Martinez was at the plate. Crosby has speed, and you greatly increase your odds of scoring obviously when you need only one hit to score a runner and not two. Had Crosby been on second when Tino got that hit, he would've scored and the game would've gone into extra innings.

Also, is it me or does Alan Embree just have that "Boston" look to him? I can't explain it, but seeing him pitch in pinstripes just looks so weird. He's got that very distinguishable face and when I look at him, I just think "Red Sox." I guess it's just because I've seen that face so many times underneath a BoSox cap over the years that I just can't get used to him being a Yankee, albeit he has only been here for about a week and a half.

"The only exciting thing that happened" in last night's game, according to George Steinbrenner, was when a fan jumped from the upper deck onto the net above home plate. Smart move, kiddo. He's lucky he didn't break his neck. The 18-year old kid was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher immediately following the game.

Aaron Small, who has been just as delightful a surprise as Chacon has, will take the mound this afternoon to face Freddy Garcia in the rubber game of this three game set. The Yankees can't really afford to fall much further back, so hopefully Small will give us what he's given us in his previous three starts.
Posted by: Michael
Randy Johnson's next start could be in jeopardy. While covering first in yesterday's game against Toronto, RJ started to have back spasams.

In other bad news, Carl Pavano's return to the Bronx might be delayed further as he is going to visit Dr. James Andrews. In doing so, Pavano will miss his next rehab start.

The good news? The Yanks won today behind Al Leiter.

Posted by: Michael
I hate to put it this way, but after Leiter's last performance, todays shut out ball for 5 2/3 innings was a big step.

Leiter allowed four hits and four walks while striking out two. Offensively, A-Rod and Jeter were huge today both having 3-4 days. A-Rod hit his 31st HR of the season in the second inning. Rivera closed out the game in the 9th for his 29th save.

An embarrassing moment for Matsui in the eighth when Eric Hinske hit a sac fly into left with the bases loaded. Matsui closed his glove on the ball thinking it was the 3rd out of the inning. Shea Hillenbrand scored easily from third. Greg Zaun tried to advance to third from second, when Matsui figuring out his error, threw to third for the out to end the inning. Embarassing, but nevertheless, and inning ending double play.

The Yankees next game will be tomorrow night against the Chicago White Sox. Mike Mussina (10-7, 4.05 ERA) will face former Yankee Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez (8-4, 4.69 ERA) at the Stadium in the Bronx. Game time: 7:05pm et
Posted by: Patrick
By the time the fourth inning was over, both starting pitchers had faced their last batter. Scott Downs, the Toronto starter, lasted just 3 and 1/3 innings, allowing 4 earned runs while The Unit would only go 4 before being pulled, having allowed 5 earned runs (6 in total). The Yankees defense didn't help much as they committed 3 errors in what appears to have been a pretty messy game.

The Yankees didn't score enough to cover what Randy allowed, scoring 5 runs in all. Derek Jeter went 3 for 5 with 1 run and 2 RBI. Sheffield went 2 for 3 with 2 walks, 1 run, 2 RBI and his 23rd home run of the season. Cano and Posada would each add 2 hits of their own.

Proctor would give up 2 ER in his 2 and 2/3 innings of work, bringing the Blue Jays up to 8 runs. Wayne Franklin pitched a scoreless inning, which means that he has now pitched 3 and 2/3 innings scoreless in his last 3 appearances. F-Rod got the final out.

The Red Sox are tied 3-3 in the 8th as I write this, so division impact is yet to be decided... but, the Athletics are crushing the Royals, so we're 4 back in the wild card race.

Al Leiter goes tomorrow (1-3, 6.05 as a Yankee) goes against Josh Towers (8-8, 4.53) tomorrow. I dare say it may be Leiter's last start with the Yankees if he doesn't turn in a good outing.
Posted by: Patrick
Despite various distractions, the Yankees won in impressive fashion with a 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

Aaron Small was solid once again, turning in his best start as a Yankee, going 6 and 2/3 innings, allowing just 1 ER. He got the win, improving his record to 3-0.

The Yankees got off to a great start in the 1st, with a lead off triple from D. Jeter followed by a two run blast off the bat of Gary Sheffield. The Yankees would add runs on RBI singles in the 8th (by Jeter and Posada) and sacrifice flies in the 4th and 9th (by Cano and Womack). Jeter, Sheffield, Matsui and Posada each had 2 hits. Sheffield hit his 22nd home run of the season.

The 4th time is a charm as Alan Embree finally settled down and pitched 1 and 1/3 innings of run free, hit free, walk free baseball. Sturtze relieved him and ran into a bit of trouble, allowing a run in the ninth and placing runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out - but in came Mariano who quickly retired Alex Rios to end the game. Save number 28 for Mo.

All in all, (from the box score, it appears to have been) a pretty fundamentally satisfying win against a good team (.509 winning percentage in the AL East). The Red Sox lost, so we are now 3.5 games back in the division, while the Royals couldn't hold off the A's, so we remain 3 back in the Wild Card. The Unit will face Scott Downs (0-2, 5.23) tomorrow.
Posted by: Patrick
It's been 50 days since I took a look at the statistical pace that various Yankees players were on. Update time.

41 S (+6)
Mo has lowered his ERA 14 points since then and improved his save pace by 6 saves. He's converted his last 27 save chances.

62 R (-3), 119 H (-27), 16 2B (-4), 21 HR (-1), 71 RBI (-12)
A vicious slump has caused him to drop in all 5 categories, with notable drops in hits and RBIs. He's been able to just about maintain his pace in the other categories.

120 R (+14), 197 H (+13), 25 2B (+3), 4 3B (-1), 18 HR (+3), 65 RBI (=)
Jeter has noticably picked it up. If he maintains that hit total, it'd be his most in a season since 2000.

119 R (-5), 192 H (-2), 27 2B (-3), 45 HR (-3), 129 RBI (-12), 15 SB (=)
With the exception of RBI, he's basically maintained his excellent pace.

110 R (+14), 189 H (+17), 44 2B (-1), 25 HR (+13), 123 RBI (+15)
What looked like it might be his worst year (but still a very good one) as a Yankee has turned into his best one. If he maintains this pace, he'd set new career highs in runs, hits, doubles and runs batted in.

108 R (+15), 180 H (+13), 32 2B (-5), 32 HR (+7), 123 RBI (+25), 10 SB (-5)
Sheff has really picked it up. As he stands right now, this season will be right on par with last season.

Also, a couple of others I didn't do last time (pitchers aren't as clear):

16-9, 237.3 IP, 227 K

15-10, 220.3 IP, 166 K
Posted by: Michael
Shawn Chacon left the game in the 7th after giving up a walk. At the time the Yankees were ahead 2-1. Enter the bullpen, the somewhat achilles heel of the Yanks as of late, and by the end of the seventh the Yankees flushed their lead and what looked like their hopes of winning. You had to shake your head as Chacon still has not had the chance to take a win after pitching a brilliant game.

With one out in the 9th, A-Rod comes to the plate and launches a mammoth homer into the left field stands to tie the game. One out later, Giambi reaches for a ball and powers it into the right field stands. The ball seemed to lift further and further, and for a moment you would think that Cleveland rightfielder Casey Blake would come up with it at the wall. The Yanks took the lead 4-3.

Enter Sandman. Game over.

Some interesting notes: With Williams at second, and Flaherty at 1st (after getting plunked by Sauerbeck), Torre brings in Posada to pinch-hit for Womack. So much for Womack's heroics in the later part of the game. Posada ends up striking out.

It was commical the way Ken Singleton on the YES network framed Mo's last pitch against Coco Crisp. Ken said that left-handers could not do anything against Mo's cut-fastball up over the plate. Flaherty called for the pitch exactly where Singleton said, although Mo delievered it low for a ball. Very next pitch, Flaherty sits up for the pitch, and Mo strikes them out with the exact pitch called for. I really enjoy Ken Singleton in the booth for just that. That save was Rivera's 27th.

It was Giambi's 21st homer of the year and tied him with Sheffield. Shef is way ahead of Jason in just about every other category. A-Rod's homer in the 9th tied him with Manny Rameriez for the league leading 30th HR.

Tonight the Yankees play the Toronto Bluejays. Aaron Small (2-0, 4.05 ERA) takes on Gustavo Chacin (11-5, 3.28 ERA). Lets hope our bullpen pulls it together, and we continue to get solid pitching from Aaron Small.
Posted by: Michael
Former Yankee first-base coach and current Baltimore Oriole manager Lee Mazzilli got the axe today.

The Orioles started the season on fire, but are currently in an 8 game losing streak, and have lost the last 16 of 18 games.

I believe he got a bad deal. The team is riddled with injuries, and the pitching staff came back down to Earth. I dare say they couldn't have had a better man than Mazzilli. I would welcome him back in some sort of position with the Yanks.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees lost a tough one last night as they blew a 4-0 lead halfway through and lost 7-4 to the Indians in Jacobs Field. Mike Mussina started and cruised through the first four innings (he had 5 strikeouts after 2) without allowing a run, but had a nightmarish 5th inning. Ben Broussard led off the inning with a home run. The Yankees still led 4-2 with two outs in the inning, but Mussina never retired that last batter as he gave up four more runs, with the biggest hit being former Yankee Aaron Boone's two-run single. Tanyon Sturtze came in to finish the inning and the Yankees allowed only one run the rest of the game.

There wasn't much to talk about in terms of hitting as the Yankees scored all four of their runs in the first three innings, although Matsui had two hits and Jorge Posada launched his 14th home run of the season. Indians' pitcher Cliff Lee settled down after that as he got into the 7th inning, and the Indians' bullpen threw 2 and 1/3 shutout innings to hold on for a 7-4 victory over the Yankees.

Robinson Cano had a really rough night all around. In the top of the 5th, he missed a sign from Luis Sojo and bunted a ball foul with two strikes. Later in the game he misplayed an easy double play ball in which he should've just stepped on the bag and threw to first but instead flipped it to an unexpecting Derek Jeter, and after that he dropped a routine popup. We almost forget sometimes that this kid is still a rookie. I'm hoping last night's game doesn't get into his head too much. It was one of those games that you just hope to forget ever happened.

Jorge Posada's home run was only his 3rd right-handed but he is hitting almost .300 from the right side of the plate. I don't think I've ever seen a hitter struggle so much as Posada has from one side of the plate and at the very same time, not have any problems whatsoever at the other side. Perhaps he's having some mechanical issues.

The Yankees' loss puts them 4.5 games behind Boston for the lead in the AL East, but the A's loss kept them only 3 back in the wild card race. Tonight the Yankees will send out Shawn Chacon to make his second Yankee start and will be opposed by Kevin Millwood. This is a big one as the Yankees have lost two games on the Red Sox in the standings in the past two days, so hopefully Chacon can give us something like he gave us in his previous start against the Angels.

Also of note: Jason Giambi was named the American League Player of the Month for July as he batted .355 with 14 home runs and 24 RBI.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees lost last night 6-5 as their efforts to slowly crawl back from an early 5-run defecit fell just short against the Indians at Jacobs Field. Al Leiter had a rough night as he gave up 5 runs and walked 5 batters in only two innings. Scott Proctor pitched 4 solid innings of relief, but the one run he gave up turned out to be the difference.

The Yankees started to creep back when Alex Rodriguez launched a laser over the left field wall for his American League leading 29th home run in the 6th inning to cut the Indians' lead to 6-3. In the 7th, Jorge Posada scored on a groundout by Derek Jeter. The next inning Gary Sheffield scored on a wild pitch by Scott Sauerback (this wasn't your normal wild pitch, this was one of those balls that must've just slipped out of his hand).

With the Yankees down 6-5 with two outs in the 9th, Bernie Williams launched a double off the left field wall that was almost caught by Casey Blake, but he never came around to score as Jeter grounded out to second to end the game.

Watching Al Leiter pitch was rough last night. He just couldn't get the ball over the plate. Somebody really needs to help him work on his control issues because he'll be a great pitcher again once he starts throwing strikes. Opposing batters still aren't hitting him very well. He was able to get out of it in his last start when he gave up only one run against the Twins, but you're not always going to be so lucky and when you walk the first three batters in an inning as Leiter did last night, you have little chance of getting out of it without giving up a few runs.

The Bombers will be sending the Moose to the mound tonight to face Cliff Lee. Lee is 11-4 this year with a 3.95 E.R.A.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees went 17-9 in July. Key performers:


Jason Giambi
26 games. .355 BA, 20 R, 14 HR, 24 RBI, .524 OBA, .974 SLG, 1.498 OPS.

Mariano Rivera
14 games. 1-0 with 9 saves (0 blown). 1.08 ERA. 0.54 WHIP. .161 BAA.

Gary Sheffield
26 games, .301 BA, 22 R, 8 HR, 26 RBI.

Hideki Matsui
26 games. .313 BA, 23 R, 7 HR, 22 RBI.


Jorge Posada
21 games. .169 BA (12 for 71) and a .259 OBA. 3 HR, 8 RBI.

Tanyon Sturtze
11 games. 1-0 with a 6.14 ERA.

Tino Martinez
24 games. .208 BA with a .255 OBA. 3 HR, 6 RBI.

Bernie Williams
21 games. .236 BA with a .317 OBA. 3 HR, 11 RBI.