Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yanks Win As Cloud Grows Over A-Rod, Others

The big rumor now is that about 20 players will soon be suspended by Major League Baseball for violations of the rule banning performance-enhancing drugs -- and that one of these will be Alex Rodriguez.  Another apparent target is Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun, whom they've already gone after once, failing on a technicality.

Surely, the MLB Players' Association -- the one labor union in this country that still seems to have any power -- will fight this, and get any actual suspensions delayed.  Indeed, by the time it takes effect, A-Rod may be finished anyway, considering how injured he's been.

The Yankees aren't missing him.  Not one damn bit.  Last night, they beat the Cleveland Indians, 4-3.

One guy the Yankees were missing was Mark Teixeira.  Following his grand slam in the series' 1st game, he hit a 3-run home run last night, capping a 4-run 3rd inning that chased Scott Kazmir (3-3), yet another player the Mets let get away before his potential could be realized.  (And people mock the Yankees for giving up too soon on Ian Kennedy? Who needs who more, right now: The Yankees with Kennedy, or the Mets with Kazmir?")

David Phelps (4-3) was fantastic over the first 6 innings: No runs, 1 hit, 7 strikeouts, albeit 4 walks.  Then, with his Binder telling him that Phelps shouldn't pitch the 7th, Joe Girardi brought in Joba Chamberlain.  Stupid binder: Joba gave up 3 runs and couldn't get out of the inning.  Girardi consulted the Binder and it said, "In such a situation, bring in Boone Logan." Logan? Who wrote the text of that Binder, the Marquis de Sade? Well, it worked: Logan ended the threat, and the score remained 4-3.  David Robertson pitched a scoreless 8th, Mariano Rivera a perfect 9th (for his 21st save).

The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles also won last night.  The Sox remain 2 1/2 games, 2 in the loss column, ahead of both the Yanks and O's.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost, so they're 4 back (3 in the loss column).

The Yanks-Indians series concludes tonight, with ex-Indian ace CC Sabathia going against Corey Kluber.  (Didn't he used to play 3rd base for the Toronto Blue Jays? No, wait, that was Kelly Gruber.) Then the Yankees begin a 10-games-in-11-days roadtrip to the Pacific Coast: 4 against the Seattle Mariners, 3 against the Oakland Athletics, and 3 against the Whatever They're Calling Themselves This Year Angels of Anaheim.

Oh, joy.  Those Coast trips, especially in August, used to ruin Yankee seasons in the 1980s.  In retrospect, in those years before the later Star Trek series put such wording into my head, they often seemed to be "Borg roadtrips": They would lose 7 of 9, and resistance was futile.

But that was in the 1980s, when it was Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly, the selfish Rickey Henderson, an aging Ron Guidry, an occasionally effective Dave Righetti out of the pen, an oafish slugger or 2 such as Steve Balboni or Dan Pasqua, and a bunch of guys symbolized by Bobby Meacham, Wayne Tolleson and Alvaro Espinoza.  The current Yankees are better.

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