Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shutout in the Dome, Matsui Hits "500th"

Yankees 4, Rays 0. This time, the roof of Tropicana Field was not a problem. Curtis Granderson not only homered at the beginning of the game, driving in Derek Jeter in front of him, but made a big catch, NOT losing the ball in the roof, or in the lights, and maybe he even did a little turn under the catwalk.

That enabled Freddy Garcia (8-7) to pitch the first 6 2/3 innings of a shutout, with Boone Logan making up for the previous night's fielding gaffe with a big, big strikeout, and David Robertson pitched the 8th and Mariano Rivera (not in a save situation thanks to 2 Yankee runs in the top of the 9th) closing it out. Between them, they allowed 8 hits and no walks. I love it: No walks. Sometimes, that means no runs, and that's what it meant last night. Meaning that, even though he pitched well, Rays starter David Price lost (9-8).

The series in that ridiculous stadium concludes tonight, with CC Sabathia going against James Shields. The Yankees really should have had all 3 in this series so far, but the Rays had their chances in all 3 as well; taking 3 out of 4 in this dump would be a big plus.

Congratulations to former Yankee star Hideki Matsui. He hit a home run in yesterday's 7-5 victory by the Oakland Athletics over the Detroit Tigers. It was his 168th homer in the North American major leagues, and combined with the 332 he hit in Japan, he now has 500 home runs.

It doesn't make him an official member of the 500 Home Run Club. But it does make a good case for him becoming the first Japanese player to be elected to Cooperstown. It's the Baseball Hall of Fame -- not the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, or the American Baseball Hall of Fame.

Actually, it's the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but there are HOFers from outside the U.S. None from the Far East or who played significant time in Japan's Central League or Pacific League. Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 home runs in those leagues, is not in the Cooperstown Hall. Granted, Japan's leagues are probably, by U.S. standards, no better than Triple-A quality, but based on his performance and his status as Japanese baseball's greatest ambassador, Oh should be in.

So should Matsui.

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