Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Those Pesky Blue Jays

Well, the Pesky Blue Jays struck again. You can usually trust the Devils to beat the Maple Leafs, the Knicks and Nets are usually 50-50 to beat the Raptors, the Red Bulls have swept the home-and-home series with Toronto FC (breaking TFC's 14-month home winning streak last Saturday), and, of course, the Argonauts have never beaten either the Giants or the Jets. (Never played 'em, although in 1960 they did play a preseason exhibition against an NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and got clobbered.)

But the Pesky Blue Jays, who ruined the first live game I ever saw and have beaten the Yankees in 4 of the 6 games I've seen between them, including the 2 I've seen in Toronto, beat the Yanks again last night, 3-2.

Or, rather, Jose Baustista beat the Yankees, hitting his 39th and 40th home runs of the season to drive in all the Toronto runs, and also to lead the majors.

This is a guy who debuted in the majors at age 24, and in 4 full seasons has hit 16, 16, 15 and 13 home runs, respectively. Now, suddenly, at age 29 (he'll be 30 in October), he's hit 40 with 6 weeks to go.

His batting averages haven't gone up all that much: .235, .254, .238, .235... .254. No big deal there. But his OPS+'s: 94, 96, 91, 101... 162.

Test him! Nobody develops like that all of a sudden!

So much for the Yankees being undefeated this season when Alex Rodriguez doesn't start: They're now 13-1. Though it should be mentioned that Derek Jeter got the night off until a late pinch-hitting appearance. And also that the much-maligned bat of Ramiro Pena was not a liability, as he went 2-for-3, and didn't strand any runners.

Ivan Nova started for the Yankees, a 23-year-old Dominican making his 3rd and longest big-league appearance, and his first start. He pitched into the 6th, and gave up the first of Baustista's homers (ah-test-him-choo). Five and a third innings, six hits, no walks. Not bad, definitely earned another chance. Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain both pitched without allowing a run. It was David Robertson, who'd been great for a while, who gave up the second of Baustista's homers (cough-test-him-cough), and was charged with the loss.

John Sterling did it again: Robinson Cano led off the 9th with a walk, and Jorge Posada came up, and here's what Sterling said:

"Theeee... pitch, it's swung on, AND THERE IT GOES! DEEP TO RIGHT-CENTER! But... "

It was caught.

In explaining it, Sterling said, "But it dropped... " And I shouted at the radio, "No shit, Sherlock!" (Love that expression.)

For a moment, Sterling allowed his listeners to believe that "Jorgie juiced one." Again, he broke Red Barber's Rule: Watch the outfielder, not the ball, so you'll know whether the outfielder thinks he can catch it.

Again: John Sterling, good guy, not a good broadcaster.

Tonight, Dustin Moseley goes for the Yanks, and Marc Rzepczynski (I think it's "Rep-CHIN-ski," with that first Z being silent) going for the Pesky Blue Jays.

*

The Mets open a 3-game series against their "pesky" team, the Florida Marlins, at Pity Field. Later today, or maybe tomorrow, I'll post the all-time team for the Miami region. I've got the players picked out, I just need to write the text.

The Red Sox claimed Johnny Damon off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. If they want to bring him back, that's fine. They probably did it to keep him away from the Yankees (who might already regret letting him go) and the Rays (and if they don't get him, great).

Albert Pujols hit his 399th career home run. That's how many home runs Al Kaline hit in his career. Pujols is 30.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, these are Pujols' 10 Most Statistically Similar Batters through age 30: Jimmie Foxx (Hall of Fame, 534 homers), Hank Aaron (Hall of Fame, All-Century Team, 755 homers), Lou Gehrig (Hall of Fame, All-Century Team, 493 homers, greatest first baseman ever), Ken Griffey Jr. (All-Century Team, eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2016, 630 homers), Frank Robinson (Hall of Fame, 586 homers), Mickey Mantle (Hall of Fame, All-Century Team, 536 homers), Juan Gonzalez (434 homers, eligible for the Hall next year but won't get in due to steroid suspicions), Mel Ott (Hall of Fame, 511 homers), Hank Greenberg (Hall of Fame, 331 homers in what amounted to just 10 full seasons), and Orlando Cepeda (Hall of Fame, 379 homers in what amounted to 14 full seasons).

Albert is going to put up some sicko numbers for his career. As long as he doesn't do what O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Pete Rose or Barry Bonds did. And, hell, people seem to have forgive Kobe, and a lot have forgive Pete.

*

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 9. A little over a week.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 18. Under 3 weeks.

Days until the first regular-season Giants game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 19.

Days until the first regular-season Jets game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 20.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 31, Friday, September 24, at Yankee Stadium II. One month.

Days until the Devils play hockey again: 45, on Friday, October 8, at home at the Prudential Center in Newark, against the Dallas Stars. A little over 6 weeks.

Days until Rutgers and Army play the first college football game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 53.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 61, on Sunday, October 24, at Madison Square Garden against The Scum. Just 2 months. Then the Rags come to the Prudential on Friday, November 5. The first game of the season against the Islanders is on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, at the Nassau Coliseum, followed the next day by the first game of the season against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers, at The Rock.

Days until the next North London Derby: 89, Sunday, November 21, at New Highbury. Under 3 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 93.

Days until Derek Jeter collects his 3,000th career hit: 269 (estimated). 9 months.

Days until the Rutgers-Army football game at Yankee Stadium: 445.

Days until the last Nets game in New Jersey: 600 (estimated).

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 703. Now under 2 years.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 786 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 1,056 (estimated, and moved back a little because of his injuries).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 1,255. Now under 3 1/2 years.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,719 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,743 (estimated). 58 months, so, less than 5 years.

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