On Friday night, the 2 aces went at it. But David Price brought his best stuff, and CC Sabathia didn't. CC managed to avoid putting on a lot of runners, but it didn't matter: The Rays hit 5 solo home runs off him.
Giving up home runs to former teammate Johnny Damon and Evan (Not Eva) Longoria is no shame. But Casey Kotchman? Kelly freakin' Shoppach? At least I'd heard of them; who in the name of Steve Trout is Elliot Johnson? Isn't that the kid that helped get E.T. home?
WP: Price (10-10). LP: Sabathia (16-7 - his 3rd straight defeat after starting the season so well).
The Saturday game was more like it. Phil Hughes (3-4) pitched his best game of the season, 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits just 1 walk, 6 strikeouts -- showing that maybe he should not be the odd man out as Joe Girardi cuts his 6-man rotation down to 5. Cory Wade was solid in the 7th and 8th, and Hector Noesi pitched a perfect 9th -- 2 young guys who needed, very badly, to get back on track, and both did.
As for the Yankee bats, again, they scored enough runs that it would have been nice if they could have transferred some of them to another game in the series. Jeremy Hellickson (10-8) started for the Rays, and probably wishes he'd been scheduled to start on another day. Curtis Granderson struck again, hitting his 3rd homer in 3 days, a 2nd-inning blast giving the Yanks a 2-0 lead and tying him with Jose Bautista for the American League lead with 33. (Bautista has since hit a 34th.)
Then, in the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees loaded the bases, and Jorge Posada, supposedly finished, called the deli and ordered a grand salami. (Love that expression.) The Yanks went on to win, 9-2.
In this game in which he went 3-for-5 with 6 RBIs, it was his 10th home run of a season in which he'd just been given up for dead for at least the 2nd time, and the 271st in his career.
In fact, if you look at the Yankees' all-time Top 10 in home runs, you'll see just how big Jorge has been. Remember, this is a list of only those home runs the players in question hit as Yankees, not for their entire careers (though some are one-club men):
1. Babe Ruth 659 (out of 714)
2. Mickey Mantle 536
3. Lou Gehrig 493
4. Joe DiMaggio 361
5. Yogi Berra 358
6. Bernie Williams 287
7. Alex Rodriguez 281 (out of 626)
8. Jorge Posada 271
9. Graig Nettles 250 (out of 390)
10. Derek Jeter 238
Surprised? Reggie Jackson hit "only" 144 of his 563 homers in a Yankee uniform. Don't forget, he was only there for 5 years, and the last of those was not only strike-shortened but a bad one for him. Even throwing in his postseason homers for the Yankees, his total rises to 156.
As for the rest of them, throw in the postseason, and the numbers look like this:
1. Babe Ruth 674 (out of 729)
2. Mickey Mantle 554
3. Lou Gehrig 503
4. Yogi Berra 370
5. Joe DiMaggio 369 (That's right, counting the postseason, Yogi had more than Joe D.)
6. Bernie Williams 309 (His 22 means no one has hit more postseason home runs that Bernie has -- without being outed as a steroid cheater.)
7. Alex Rodriguez 291 (out of 639)
8. Jorge Posada 282
9. Graig Nettles 255 (out of 395)
10. Derek Jeter 258
Bobby Murcer? 252 in the regular season, 175 as a Yankee, none in the postseason for any club.
Paul O'Neill? 281 in the regular season, 185 as a Yankee, 10 postseason homers as a Yankee (plus 1 for the Cincinnati Reds).
Jorge Posada is 39 years old. He's been a part of 7 Pennant winners and 5 World Championships. He's caught pitchers from David Cone and Roger Clemens (stars of the 1980s) to Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova (who, hopefully, will still be winning games in the Yankee rotation into the 2020s). He is married to Laura Posada, a feat worthy of a plaque all by itself. They have 2 children. They have raised millions for medical research.
He would seem to have nothing left to prove.
And yet he proved something on Saturday: "Don't count me out. Not yet."
He still wants to win another title, and at this point, you'd have to be a fool to say that he won't have something to say about how the 2011 baseball season will end.
As Mike Lupica -- no Yankee Fan, he -- put it in Sunday's Daily News: "Somehow Jorge Posada got three hits Saturday even while being shoved out the door, no small feat. And if you weren't happy about the way No. 20 hit the ball on national TV, check to see if you still have a heart."
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