Strasburg is signed, the Yanks were kept scoreless by their former comrad, and the Cards continue to dominate the Dodgers, MLB’s best team. Here we go…
Yesterday I talked about the whole Strasburg situation. Well, he’s finally signed; it took until 11:58 Monday night to get it done. Another Scott Boras guy, Strasburg was drafted number one by the Nats and is expected to be the start of a reformation in the nation’s capital.
Here’s a comment I got on my post from yesterday by Julia from Julia’s Rants:
“Dillon- Jacoby Ellsbury has to be near the top of your list as well. Many a wall wear scares from him. And Strasburg? Sadly another case of his devil of an agent trying to extort money from teams.”
Julia put it right on the money. Boras has the reputation of extorting money from teams trying to sign his clients. He definitely gets his clients money but he is not like much by other players, teams, and fans because of how he does it. For the Nationals, they are probably ecstatic that they were able to sign Strasburg. Boras took it down to the last minute until Strasburg told him to get it done because of his wanting to play. It’s done now and you can expect to see Strasburg in the nation’s capital next spring.
Hey, Yankee fans! Remember this guy. Yeah. It’s Brett Tomko. He kind of played for us this year until we released him in July because he wasn’t performing to the level of success that we needed him to. Yeah, him. Well, he’s on the Athletics now and he just shut us out yesterday. What a shame.
The Yankees were held to seven hits and were walked twice. Tomko was definitely on his game for the first five innings of the game before he was taken out. And even after he was relieved, the Yankees were still baffled by the Athletics’ pitching. They just couldn’t get it done. After Tomko came out, they only got two more hits. That’s terrible. How could this happen against the A’s of all teams? Well, at least we can say AJ Burnett and Derek Jeter had really really good games.
Burnett went a complete game (8 innings) of STELLAR work. He only allowed six hits, one less than the Yankees had as a team. He struck out five and walked two. Not a bad performance. In fact, it’s a very good performance. This would be the kind of performance we would assume came in a Yankee victory. But unfortunately the Yankee bats were held quiet. But not Derek Jeter.
Jeter went 3-4 with three singles. He didn’t do much more than that but at least he was able to have some success agaisnt the Oakland pitching. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both hit doubles, their only hits of the game. Jorge Posada and Ramiro Pena both hit singles as well. The Yankees still have a seven game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East.
Chris Carpenter was dealing last night against the Dodgers. He went eight innings of work giving up only five hits and a walk. He struck out eight. He only gave up two runs on the game which is a good sign as for his run control goes. The offense also helped out. It took until the end of the game to pull ahead but it happened eventually and Carpenter was still on the mound to record the win. Pujols homered in the fourth to tie the game at one apiece. Then in the seventh, Rick Ankiel sent a bomb to deep right center to go ahead 3-2. The Cards kept the lead with Trevor Miller and Ryan Franklin who combined to pitch the ninth. The Dodgers seem to have no answer for the Cards this season. They could be a deadly foe for the Dodgers in the playoffs as the Cards may have the top of the Central division come the end of the season. Who knows, maybe the Cards will out play the MLB’s best team.
Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog. That’s so simple. The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be. It is the single best part of the MLB. It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry. And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year. It is just STELLAR.
So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season. They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans. Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them. But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance. The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best. A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season. Four straight wins would be STELLAR.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series. Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York. This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it. I can’t think of any better way to say it than that. If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.
Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians. A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation. They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health. Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play. Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate. Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth. Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it. Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting. It will be interesting to watch how he performs.
Now, going sort of off topic. How about that Kung Fu Panda?
No not that one… this one.
Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race. They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies. The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs. They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain. They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them. They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez. What else is their that they need. Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs. Now, how far will they go in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew. All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place. Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:
THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
I go to camp for a week…
I barely get any sleep…
I come back Friday after a whole day of driving in traffic…
I realize the Yankees’ lead over the Red Sox has been diminished to a half game…
I see the Yankees are having trouble with the White Sox…
The trade deadline produced many bigtime player trades…
Roy Halladay is still in Toronto…
And I am back blogging on MLBlogs.
Now, while I was at camp all week, I was bummed that I was unable to keep up with all the things happening around the MLB, especially since the trade deadline was Friday. I still had a great time, but the feeling of not knowing what was going on was killing me. Now, I survived, as I always do, but it was still hard not having that part of my life around.
I got back and immediatly checked MLB.com to see all the trades that had happened. Here’s what I figured out:
The BoSox pulled off a deal for Victor Martinez
Cliff Lee is in Philly (where I happened to be for camp this past week)
Jake Peavy is with the in the South Side of Chicago
Adam LaRoche has been with three teams in about a week and a half
Orlando Cabrera finds a home in Minnesota
Well, it’s all very exciting and all and I’m glad to be back. Now, I was unable to post something until today because I have been so busy since I got back. But yesterday, something great happened in Chicago. That’s right, it’s got to do with the Yankees. Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle against the Chicago White Sox and the most recent man to enter himself into the history books, Mark Beuhrle. In fact, Beuhrle looked nothing like he has all season. Especially after throwing the perfect game. He went 4.1 innings, giving up 7 runs on 12 hits and a walk. He gave up the one homer to Cabrera and that was it for the long ball. For Melky Cabrera, this achievment puts him in with the likes of many famous Yankees from teams past. The 15th cycle in team history was a great show to see. Now, even though this happened, I would still go with Brett Gardner in center field. No offense to Melky for this great performance but Gardner is still my pick. It was still a great show though.
Melky’s cycle is the second to happen this year. As many remember, the year was basically kicked off with a performance of a lifetime from the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson of the LA Dodgers. Hudson took only six innings to get the four hits required for the achievement. But he did it. One of the greatest offensive performances this year kicked things off in April. Melky’s performance was great and it will go down in the books as many others have for accomplishing this feat.
After sitting out the start of the game on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, Man-Ram came off the bench in the sixth inning and met a frenzy from the crowd which was ecstatic to see him appear in the game. With the bases loaded, Manny stepped up to the plate and slugged the first pitch he saw into Mannywood. The crowd was absolutely insane. It must have been so loud (I mean you can only tell so much from the video). It was Manny’s 21st grand slam of his career which puts him two behind the great Lou Gehrig who’s got 23.
A crazy moment, makes you think of another famous Dodger pinch hit home run. Yeah that’s right, you all know who I’m talking about. Kirk Gibson. His famous pinch hit homer in the 1988 World Series. It was just a crazy “you got to be kidding me” moment. It is just ridiculous and sends the crowd into a frenzy. In Manny’s case, the crowd got into a frenzy just by seeing him come out into the on deck circle. And then to hit it on the first pitch… WOW!
This homer by Manny was his first career pinch hit homer which is surprising. But then again, how many times has he had to pinch hit? This statement by Manny, I think, is huge and it shows that he is still the homer hitting powerhouse that he has always been despite being suspended for his drug use. This whole situation has been confusing and annoying as a fan to pay attention to, but it’s over and Manny is still Manny. The home run hitting, acting up, and life of the Dodgers Manny. This just proves it. Such a great moment for Manny to do it front of the home crowd in LA too. Congrats to Manny!
I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and have been unable to get a post up here so I’m sorry for all of you readers who have had to wait for another post to come up. Well, I had some people staying at my house and we’ve been pretty busy. So that’s that.
When the people who were staying at my house left this morning, the first thing I did was check the MLB.com page to see what’s been going on the past few days. So here are my headlines.
- Yanks are still 3 games back of the Red Sox.
- The Yankees and Phillies both made clutch late performances to come up with wins.
- Clay Buchholz was phenominal in his return to the Red Sox rotation against the Jays.
- Roy Oswalt had it going against the Dodgers.
- Ryan Braun got hit in the hand by Bronson Arroyo and left the game with a sore wrist.
So now that I am all caught up, I thought I’d talk a little about the second half and what is to come in the MLB. It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait. I am pumped for the playoff runs to come, to see who will take the top spots in the divisions around the league, who will get that wild card spot. It’s going to be great.
Let’s start off with them Yankees. Of course. Right now, they are 3 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. They’ve been stuck in this position for a while now and I’d like to see it change. If we could get a few games back from the Red Sox that would be STELLAR. We got a win last night apparently against the Tigers. Some late game heroics from Mr. Teixeira gave us the lead and we kept it to take the series opener 5-3. This is good but Clay Buchholz and the rest of the Red Sox pitching kept the Jays at bay and won their game as well. So the standings stayed the same… again. It’s great that we’re winning, but we need the Red Sox to lose to get anywhere.
Now, transitioning from the Yankees-Tigers game… Curtis Granderson, the Tigers centerfielder, one of the heroes from the All Star Game, and my favorite player kept his STELLAR play going by going 2-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored. He has been having a great season so far and I love to see him keep it up. The Tigers are at the top of the AL Central right now and Granderson has been a big part of their offensive success. Keep it up man.
Next on my list from inside my head is the Dodgers. Man, how good are they. Now, they lose some here and there but so far in the first half of the season, they have racked up the wins and have the best record in baseball. They do it so quietly too. It’s weird. They have the play-makers on their team that are starting to be recognized for what they have done such as Andre Ethier, the O-Dog and Rafael Furcal. But as a team, they are very quiet and do very well without making a ton of noise. I think they will continue to play extremely well and will most likely have the best record at the end of the regular season and will have the top spot in the NL West… as usual. Manny’s return just strengthened a team that had already been thriving without him.
How about that Albert Pujols? After a disappointing All Star Game, Pujols bursted out with a 2-4 night, including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He was just STELLAR. His offensive production is the single most important aspect to the Cardinals’ game. If he is not playing well, the Cardinals are going to struggle. Now, I don’t see that happening but if it does, that’s how things are going to be. Pujols is the best player in the MLB and is clearly recognized for it and has a very important role. He’s fantastic!
That’s all for now, so until next time…
Carl Crawford shined the brightest among the star studded rosters that participated in the 80th All Star Game last night. With a game saving catch to rob the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run and a 1-3 night at the plate, Carl Crawford was awarded the All Star Game MVP trophy from the commish Bud Selig. A great honor for Crawford who’s STELLAR play kept the AL in the game and gave them their 12th win in 13 years of All Star play. Congrats to Crawford for his achievement.
The game was a very good one, keeping me alert at all times. Different from the Home Run Derby the night before, the game was exciting and it was definitely worth watching. Most of the action happened early as the AL scored twice in the top of the first. The NL scored three times in the bottom of the second to go ahead in the game. Hmmmm. Maybe the NL had a shot at winning this thing. Well, maybe not.
In the fifth, the AL tied the score up with a run on a combined effort from Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter. The game then stayed scorelss until the eighth in which my favorite player, Curtis Granderson, tripled to deep left off the wall. Just missing a home run, Granderson swiftly made his way to third to put the go ahead run on. He was then driven in by an Adam Jones deep sacrifice fly. In fact when the ball first left his bat, I thought it was going out, but the wind must have knocked it down because it was just short of the warning track. It was deep enough to drive in Granderson and the AL went ahead.
The NL was then on the ropes for yet another loss in the All Star Game. They were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth as Joe Nathan got out of a little jam in which he had walked a guy and gave up a hit. In the bottom of the ninth, as he has his whole career, Mariano Rivera stepped up to the mound and shut down the NL 1-2-3.
Now, as I said in my first edition of this post, defense is a huge aspect of baseball, whether you think it is or not. In last night’s game, the ball off Brad Hawpe’s bat would have left the yard (barely) if it wasn’t for the great hustle from Crawford. His great concentration allowed him to catch the ball while hitting the wall. Michael Young made a couple nice plays over at third base in place for Evan Longoria who was a late scratch with an infection of his finger. All over the field, people were making some good plays. Ironically enough, each team had an error. Well, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference but still… kind of ironic.
The All Star Game was a blast to watch. I was pumped that Curtis Granderson was a huge part of the game with his triple and game winning run. I didn’t know if he would get that much playing time but he did. In fact, his first at bat was when he hit the triple. That was the turning point in the game. It broke a tie and it broke the NL’s chances of winning for the first time in 13 years. Also, I was glad that Jeter and Rivera had good games. Teixeira didn’t really have any huge plays but his presence at first was felt as he played a solid game. The Yankees were well represented with their old skipper on the opposite bench, Joe Torre.
The starting pitching was supposed to be STELLAR but in fact, it wasn’t that STELLAR. Lincecum had trouble in the first inning where he gave up two runs on two hits. On the other side of things, Halladay gave up three runs on four hits. Only two of them were earned as one run scored on a Josh Hamilton throwing error. The rest of the game, the pitching was pretty good. Solid all around and it was a great thing to watch.
The All Star Game in general was pleasing to me. It got me back on track with baseball after a disappointing Home Run Derby Monday night. I’m pumped for the rest of the season and it is going to be a good one. The stars shone bright last night and the stars are going to shine bright the rest of the season as the playoffs near. The Yankees and Red Sox race for the top of the AL East is going to be a good one. The NL Central is about as tight as it gets. Everyone’s got a chance. The AL Central looks like the Tigers are going to take it. The Dodgers are still the best team in the bigs and will continue to play like it. Manny’s return will help them even more. It’s going to be a great second half of the season and I am psyched.
Andre Ethier accomplished a feat yesterday that not many people have done. Not that it hasn’t been done, because it has, but it isn’t very common. He hit three bombs in a single game against the Mariners. This feat by Ethier was a big contribution to the Dodgers’ 8–2 victory over the M’s in which 6 out of the 8 Dodger runs were driven in by Ethier. It just goes to show how important the long ball is. Now, people may argue about that saying that manufacturing runs is more important to a game (I would be one of them) but the long ball can be a big help as well. As long as you can get runs across the board, it all works out and the long ball was working for Ethier last night.
So, with the three jacks from last night, Ethier’s home run total for the season is at 14. He’s also got 49 RBI and is just tearing it up for the Dodgers. He has been their most important offensive player over the course of the Manny Ramirez suspension. He is what is keeping the offense rolling in LA. If he can hit on the road as well as he has hit at home this season, he can be an extremely dangerous force for the Dodgers. When Manny comes back, the offense will be back to the way it was, generally. But if Ethier keeps it up and the Dodgers find a way to keep Juan Pierre in the game, they will be a very good team. Maybe they can find a way to derail the streaking Rockies.
The Dodgers finish up interleague play against the Mariners today and tomorrow and then it’s back to NL-NL. I am predicting they will continue to roll on the way they have been. They will continue to be successful all around. There pitching has been good and Ethier has led the STELLAR offense with his hitting and they should continue to be a great show to watch.