Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ibanez Slams Pesky Blue Jays

Those Pesky Blue Jays of Toronto came to town, and for 7 innings, it was tight. Phil Hughes and Henderson Alvarez both pitched very well, and it was 2-2 going to the bottom of the 8th.

With one out, Alex Rodriguez singled to left. He must've once again been hearing the comments about how he doesn't hit in the clutch. A passed ball got him to 2nd. Robinson Cano got him to 3rd with an infield single. Mark Teixeira, needing only to get the ball out of the infield to get the potential winning run home, was prevented from doing so by getting hit with a pitch.

Still, bases loaded, only 1 out, you gotta like your chances.

Nick Swisher was up, and worked a full count... and took a called strike 3, like he was Carlos Beltran.

That brought up Raul Ibanez, the 40-year-old left fielder who's subbed most of the year for Brett Gardner, whose injury rehab appears to have hit another snag.

Ibanez knocked it out of the park for a grand slam.

Howard Eskin, the afternoon host of Philadelphia's all-sports station WIP -- a man who is renowned for his massive ego and for being hated by everybody in the Delaware Valley, although that may just be part of his act -- was on Twitter, so I asked him, point-blank, Why did the Phillies get rid of him?

He answered. Within a couple of minutes. Gee, maybe Howard isn't so bad after all. Anyway, he reminded me that the Phillies are in the National League, which has no designated hitter, and Raul's defense isn't exactly up to snuff.

He's got a point. Raul really isn't an NL-style player anymore. But when he hits like this for the Yankees in the American League, who cares?

The Phillies sure could use him now: Their streak of 5 straight NL Eastern Division titles, and 8 straight seasons of at least being in the Wild Card race, is in serious trouble.

The Jays got a run back in the 9th, but Rafael Soriano worked out of it. Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3. WP: David Robertson (1-3). SV: Soriano (23). LP: Aaron Loup (0-1).

Tonight, CC Sabathia returns from the Disabled List, and starts against Toronto's Brett Cecil.

The Yankees remain in 1st place in the AL East, and it's not even close: By 9 games over the Baltimore Orioles, 9 1/2 (10 in the loss column) over both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, and 10 1/2 (11 in the loss column) over the Jays.

Elimination numbers: Jays 62, Sox and Rays 63, O's 64.

Even with this loss by the Jays, every team in the AL East, and 11 of the AL's 14 teams, are .500 or better. All 11 of those teams are still no worse than within 2 games of the 2nd of the AL's 2 Wild Card spots. The only ones that aren't are the Kansas City Royals, the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins.

In contrast, the NL has 8 teams out of 16 that are no worse than within 3 games of the 2nd Wild Card, 3 others that are within 7 games, and 5 that are pretty much out of it.

Derek Jeter now has 3,203 career hits. A-Rod has 2,863, putting him just 137 from 3,000. He's not hitting home runs at the rate he used to, but he is getting hits, and I can live with that. His home run on Sunday raised him to 643 for his career, 120 short of breaking the record dubiously held by Barry Bonds; and 1,933 RBIs, putting him 67 from 2,000 and 365 from a new all-time record.

1 comment:

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