I am more focused on football season coming up than on the playoff races in the MLB that are going on right now. I am a huge football fan, both college and professional. I’m a Longhorn at heart and a Pats fan since forever. Football is my favorite sport overall and I really enjoy watching it. Now, being a small guy, I’m not really the kind of guy that plays competitive football at my high school, but my friends and I have our own little thing going on which we play each other every week. It’s pretty fun and I enjoy playing all the time.
Now, although I am focused on football more than baseball right now, I am still keeping up with the major headlines around the league. Here are my top three headlines from yesterday.
- Halladay one-hits Yankees
- Red Sox are slaughtered by White Sox, Rangers Creep up on Red Sox in Wild Card Race
- The Rox keep on rolling in the NL West
I didn’t even realize that the Yankees had a seven game winning streak going into last night until I saw it on Sportscenter this morning. When I saw that, I was just thinking, Wow the Yanks are unstoppable right now… then we ran into Roy Halladay.
Since the trade deadline in which Halladay was most likely to be traded, he hasn’t really been on top of his game the way he has been the first part of the year. Now, I’m not saying he was bad. Because that is the last thing he was. He still was throwing really well but the offense wasn’t giving him all the support he needed. He had his off days and his record stumbled down with a few losses. Last night was a sign of how good he really can be. And against a powerhouse like the Yankees helps his point.
Simply the only hit he gave up against the Yanks was a double down the line for Ramiro Pena. It was a really disappointing loss as a Yankee fan but you really have to appreciate how good Halladay was. He was brilliant.
Freddy Garcia was also very good last night against the Red Sox. Another great performance against a powerhouse. Garcia finished the game after throwing six innings, giving up seven hits, and one run. He struck out five in his phenominal performance. The Red Sox just could not get anything off him. It was pretty much the total opposite for Paul Byrd who started for the BoSox. Byrd was chased after two and a third innings. He was just aweful. He gave up seven runs on ten hits, including a homer. He did strike out three but that didn’t really mean much after his early departure.
The White Sox’s power surge last night was something that we know the Sox could have but the question was when would it happen. Last night is when. The Red Sox lost and that meant a huge problem was about to happen in the Wild Card race if the Rangers and Rays both won.
The Rangers won over the Orioles last night behind Scott Feldman who was just STELLAR. This win was huge for the Rangers as it moved them within two of the Wild Card lead. The Red Sox better be careful the rest of this series with the White Sox because if they can’t pull it together, they will surely lose the Wild Card spot.
Jason Giambi… everyone remembers him right? Well, after last night, you should. He hit a go ahead single to bring in the go ahead run for Colorado as they went ahead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. This come from behind win is going to prove to be huge as they win the Wilid Card spot for the playoffs. I am sure they will win it and that is my very confident prediction. The Rox have been a sight to see the past couple months as they have just streaked throughout their schedule and have really made a big impact on the league. Their presence in the playoffs is going to be great. Who knows how far they will go if they continue to streak like this.
Back to football. The Patriots open their season up against the Bills on Monday Night Football next week. It is going to be a huge stage to open the season up and the Patriots are going to start up what is going to be a super year for them. I am predicting they win the Super Bowl over the Packers this year and redeem theirselves as the champs of the league. They really are the best team in the league. And I think they will win the Super Bowl this year. With Brady back and healthy, that should be a no doubter.
The Texas Longhorns are my other favorite team, being in the NCAA’s. Colt McCoy is my favorite college player and when he gets drafted into the NFL he will then be my favorite NFL football player. Texas is always going to be my favorite team in the college level just because I have followed them for a while now. The thing about college is that players cycle through. They play in college and then are drafted and new guys come in. Texas is always going to be my favorite team even if the powerhouse goes down in the future when their star players are all gone. But I think Texas is one of those teams that continues to get new guys that will be great throughout college from their freshman year through their senior years. Colt McCoy is that kind of example.
Go Pats! Go Horns!
C’mon Jorge. It goes like this. Uno… dos… tres… so on. How can you not think this was hilarious. I mean, Yankee fans as well as everyone else around the MLB community should get a kick out of this. And I figured that after being away from this blog for a week or so I should start back up with something simple and funny. This is the perfect thing.
The Yankees are still rolling with the division lead over the Red Sox which is now up to 6.5 games if you were wondering. Last night, they played the second game of a three game series against the O’s at Camden Yards and there were plenty of exciting moments, and strange ones as well.
The Bombers are the Bombers. You have to expect them to hit a lot of homers. Not only while they are at homer friendly Yankee Stadium, but also while they are on the road. I mean, they are just a really talented and powerful team that hits a lot of homers. Get over it haters.
Robby Cano hit one in the second inning. Jorge Posada hit one in the third and then hit another one in the fifth. A two homer night wasn’t the only thing that got Posada recognized though. More on that in a second. Nick Swisher and Eric Hinske both went yard in the seventh. So there is your list of homers on the night and as always, a very impressive performance by the Bombers.
So, Posada had a great game offensively against the O’s yesterday. But I don’t think he remembered how to count. Twice, Posada got the counts messed up and the home plate umpire had to remind him of what was going on.
At one point, HP ump Angel Hernandez had to remind Posada that he had just looked at ball four and was awarded a walk. This was a few seconds after Posada looked at the pitch and as he was getting ready for another. The pitcher would’ve loved to get another chance but the umpire was alert and gave Posada the heads up. The second time he messed up the count. He thought he had struck out. When he started walking back to the dugout, Hernandez, as well as guys in the dugout were telling him it was only two strikes. It was great. Hysterical.
Both Derek Jeter and A-Rod were filmed by the camera men at the game laughing about the incident and Johnny Damon was also in there somewhere too. It was really funny and all his teammates were getting a kick out of it. What I really don’t get is how Posada, being a catcher, messed up two different counts in one game. It is really strange and it doesn’t happen often.
So remember Jorge. Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro.
C’mon. You can’t not be thinking sweep right now. The Yankees have totally dominated this series, giving the Red Sox nothing. Nothing at all. The pitching has been STELLAR, the offense has been great, the bullpen (probably the biggest reason we lost so many games to the Sox earlier in the season) has been good as well, and the momentum of the Yankees has left the Red Sox in the dirt. As I said a few days ago, I don’t think the Yankees know how to lose.
CC started the game going the first half of the game without giving up a hit. Obviously everyone was thinking about the possibility of a no-no and, well… who couldn’t? CC ended up only giving up two hits, and two walks in his 7.2 innings of work. He racked up nine K’s, excellent work. He had a nasty slider that got a few guys out and made them look really foolish. The bullpen kept up the consistency that was far from anywhere near New York at the beginning of the season and Phil Hughes and Nate Robertson combined to go the rest of the game only giving up two hits and no walks (both hits credited to Robertson).
Such a sight to see. The Yankees beating up on the Red Sox. Just like it ought to be. Well, to all you Red Sox fans out there. Here’s something positive that you can take out of all this. You’re only 5.5 games out of first. At least you can say that you are in better position than the Orioles to make a run. The O’s are 22.5 games back. That’s a pretty good thing, right?
The offense last night was clearly good enough to get past the Red Sox, considering CC pitched his heart out. Well, in pretty much any other game, five runs is a good afternoon for a team that has their pitchers pitch relatively well. Derek Jeter helped out that cause late in the game with a two run homer to right. Of course it would be to right. Where else does anyone hit a home run to in Yankee Stadium. Mark Teixeira went 1-3 with an RBI and two walks. Robby Cano went 3-4 and scored a run. Jose Molina, filling in for Jorge Posada, went 1-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. The offense was definitely there yesterday and it was great to see another butt-kicking of the Red Sox handed out by the Yankees.
Tonight, the final game in the series has everyone thinking sweep. Right now, the way the series has gone so far, it looks like a no brainer. The Yankees have everything going right. The pitching, the offense, the defense. Everything is running smoothly. Tonight, Andy Pettitte and Jon Lester go at it and it’s a pretty good matchup. Both guys are second of the rotation guys. Both have good stuff and could easily be the top man in any rotation. They have their ups and downs. They will definitely put on a show but I still have my money on the Yankees sweeping the Sox. I said earlier before this series started that I thought the Yankees would win three out of four. But now I am totally thinking sweep.
Hey, would you look at that… the Yankees and Red Sox are tied for first at the top of the AL East. It was as simple as that. The Yankees sweep the Tigers and continue to play well against the Orioles. At the same time, the Red Sox are slumping and all of a sudden the Yankees are right back at the top of the East. All we need is one more win and another Red Sox loss and we’ll be the sole leader of the division. It’s great. Well, last night’s victory is much thanks to Hideki Matsui (aka “Godzilla”).
Matsui stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at one. Jim Johnson on the mound, was looking to put the game into extras. But I think Matsui had different ideas. Early in the at bat, Matsui breaks his bat, leaving a small section from the bottom of the bat in Matsui’s right hand. It was a strange looking swing too, I might add. But he got a new bat and stepped back up to the plate. With his new bat, Matsui swung at a fastball middle in and demolished it to the right center bleachers. Right off the bat the crowd at Yankee Stadium erupted as they knew that “Godzilla” had returned. Matsui was regarded as “Godzilla” while in Japan as he hit many long home runs with a ton of power. The only thing about his nickname when he came to the Yankees is that the home run power wasn’t as dominant as it was in Japan. The name “Godzilla” wasn’t used very often but in times like this when he hits a walk off or even just a bomb here and there, “Godzilla” is the name of choice for Yankee fans.
Other than Matsui’s late game jack, defense played a huge part in this game. Mark Teixeira grounded a ball off the bat of Nick Markakis and fielded it a little bit awkwardly. He threw a sort of off balanced throw to Jose Molina at home and Molina, who had the wrong foot blocking home plate, swung his glove around in time to tag out the speedy Maicer Izturis. (Izturiz, who was on first when a hit and run was put on, ran with the pitch and slid into second, not knowing Brian Roberts had hit the ball. He then got up and started a slow walk back to first thinking the ball may be caught. When it wasn’t, he ran over to third but that is as far as he got. He should have scored but his baserunning error cost him and the O’s). Another great play at the plate came from Molina as well as Phil Coke who was on the mound. Now, usually a past ball is not a good thing but this one turned into a good thing. Coke threw one in the dirt and Molina went back to get it as the very speedy Brian Roberts was heading home. He threw to Coke who was covering the plate and Coke tagged out Roberts who never even touched the plate. Two amazing plays at the plate saved the tie for the Yankees and the game went into the ninth. You have to see the video because you can’t really understand how great these plays were. Here’s the link to the video.
So, the Yankees played a great overall game. Offensively, they were a little slow. The only run before Matsui’s homer was on an Eric Hinske homer. Same on the other side of the field. Only a Nick Markakis homer put the O’s on the board. So, other than the home runs, there was pretty much no offense on either side.
Pettitte pitched pretty well. He didn’t get the win though and that’s unfortunate since he deserved the win. The rest of the pitching was good as well. Aceves got the win as he pitched the ninth before Matsui’s homer. Here’s therest of the box score.
P.S. How ’bout that Kevin Millwood. Not only did he pitch great enough to stop the Red Sox, but he made two crazy snags against Dustin Pedroia who hit them right back to the mound. One he caught with his glove, but the second he snagged it with his bare hand. Very impressive.
Jason Bay has been the MVP of the AL so far this season… at least in my eyes. He is leading the league in RBIs with 69, has 19 round trippers on the season which is third in the league, has been a solid defensive presence for the Red Sox all season long, and has the left field starting position for the 2009 All Star Game in St. Louis locked. This guy is unbelievable. He is surely going to be in the running for the MVP at the end of the season for all these reasons. He has just been on a tear all season long, slumping very rarely. But lately, Bay hasn’t been succeeding the way he has so far this season. Today was a perfect example of his rapid decline in production. As I sat on my couch watching the Red Sox take on the Orioles only a day after the O’s came back from nine down, I witnessed Jason Bay have his worst game at the plate all season. He stepped up five times and every single time, he walked back to the dugout with another strikeout on his back. He went 0-5 with five strikeouts. He looked absolutely dreadful. He wasn’t even close on some pitches. On one pitch, he just waved at a fastball over the middle-outside part of the plate. It was hittable but it was like he didn’t want to hit it and just waved his bat over the general area. It was extremely strange.
Now, despite Bay’s slump of late, the Red Sox have still continued to win. They have gotten production from other guys that have filled in for Bay’s non-production. Jacoby Ellsbury has heated up after being moved down in the lineup. David Ortiz has been slowly getting his swing back. Dustin Pedroia and JD Drew have both continued to hit well. The emergence of Nick Green has also been huge as he has started to get it done at the plate as well as in the field. Now, Bay made a nice catch two days ago to end the game in Baltimore. He made a sliding grab that filled the highlight reels for the next day. So, his defense is still there, but his bat has been silented. The Sox would like to get his bat back to assure the team’s success but right now, his bat is the least of their worries. Bay is a STELLAR professional and will get out of this slump which is his first major slump since joining the Sox. And saying this is a major slump isn’t much since it has pretty much only been four or five games since he has been successful. He’ll do fine. He will get out of it soon and he will continue to be in the running for the MVP and will continue to help the Sox. I hope he doesn’t help them that much so that the Yanks can gain some ground on the Sox but I do like this guy and hope he does well.
Well, the Red Sox looked really bad yesterday after building up a 10-1 lead behind starter John Smoltz. Now, I’m sure every Red Sox fan was hoping that Smoltz wouldn’t totally suck like he did in his previous start, which was his season debut. Well, he was pretty good yesterday. He pitched four solid innings giving up three hits, a walk, and one run. He also struck out two in his outing. This performance was clearly better than his last one. So with Smoltz lined up for the victory, how do you think the bullpen did? Well, they were dreadful. They did terrible. I’m not even going to explain it so just read the box score.
Masterson pitched to 5 batters in the 7th.
Now, the Orioles came back from a 10-1 deficit to make their longest comeback in franchise history. Their previous longest was eight runs. Now, they posted a story about this on MLB.com which is where I got the idea for this post. In the article, it mentions that this was their longest comeback and that their previous longest was eight. The article went into telling us how much they have comeback from in the past and it says that the O’s have had to comeback a lot. That says something to me. My take on this is that they haven’t been a very good or successful franchise. Now, I’m not saying they haven’t had their good games and their bad games, their good seasons and their bad seasons. But they have had more bad seasons than good by far. But the fact that they have had to comeback in a lot of games from this kind of deficit tells me that they have dug themselves in some pretty fricken big holes in the past.
The starter for the O’s yesterday was Rich Hill. He got rocked. No doubt about that. He got pulled before the fourth inning ended. Then the O’s bullpen took over and they didn’t do all that bad. They only gave up one more run which made it the tenth run the Sox would get. It was really the Sox bullpen that ruined everything. The Red Sox ‘pen has been commented on as one of the best in the game. They have some pretty dominating guys in their. Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Hideki Okajima, and all leading up to Jonathon Papelbon. They are all good pitchers that have had good seasons so far. But everyone has their ups and downs. Last night must have been a down game for everyone.
Now, I’m not complaining that the Red Sox lost, because the Yankees won and we gained a game on them in the East. Every game we can get right now is good because we need to get back on top. If the O’s have to come from behind every game to beat the Sox in this series, then do it. Whatever it takes to take down the Sox.
Congrats to the O’s. Until next time… Au revoir.