Monday, July 27, 2015

1st Place Yanks Beat Twins 2 of 3


I'll have a 40th birthday tribute to A-Rod in my next post.

The Yankees went for their 6th straight series win yesterday, against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.

The game was scoreless in the bottom of the 3rd, when the Twins got on the board. But Chase Headley led off the top of the 5th with a home run, tying the game. It was his 9th home run of the season.

The Yankees broke through in the 6th. Brett Gardner led off with a single, then Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann drew walks to load the bases with nobody out.

Carlos Beltran struck out, stoking fears that having bases loaded and nobody out would be wasted. But singles by Garrett Jones and Headley put an end to that, driving in 3 runs between them. Didi Gregorius bunted home another run. And then Stephen Drew, once again confounding people who say that he can't hit anymore, hit one out to deep right field, for his 13th homer of the season.

Nathan Eovaldi lived up to his Nasty Nate nickname, going 8 innings, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk, with 5 strikeouts.

Yankees 7, Twins 2. WP: Eovaldi (10-2). No save. LP: Kyle Gibson (8-8). The Yankees take another road series.

*

So, with 17 of the season's 26 weeks, and (for the Yankees, anyway) 97 of the 162 games in the books, here is how the American League Eastern Division stands:

The Yankees are 55-42, in 1st place, on a 92-win pace -- on the average, just under the 93 wins it usually takes to win the Division.

The Toronto Blue Jays are at .500, 50-50, 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, 8 games behind in the All-Important Loss Column.

The Baltimore Orioles are 48-49, 7 games behind.

The Tampa Bay Rays are 49-51, 7 1/2 games back, 9 back in the loss column.

And the hated Boston Red Sox are 44-55, 12 games back, 13 in the loss column.

The Yankees' numbers to eliminate these teams -- any number of Yankee wins plus that team's losses adding up to the number in question means they cannot overtake the Yankees for the AL East title -- is 52 for the Sox, 56 for the Rays, 57 for the Jays, and 59 for the O's. Therefore, the "Magic Number" to clinch the AL East for the Yanks is 59.

According to MLB.com, the Yankees' chances of making the postseason are now 90 percent; of winning the Divison, 78 percent. I'll take that chance.

The Red Sox? 2.7 percent that they make the Playoffs. Screw 'em.

If the current Major League Baseball standings hold until the end of the season, the Playoff teams will be as follows, with seedings:

AL: 1. Kansas City Royals; 2. Yankees; 3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; 4. Houston Astros; 5. Minnesota Twins.

National League: 1. St. Louis Cardinals; 2. Los Angeles Dodgers; 3. Washington Nationals; 4. Pittsburgh Pirates; 5. San Francisco Giants.

The Mets are 2 games, 3 in the loss column, behind the Nats in the NL East, and 3 1/2, 4 in the loss column, behind the Giants for the 2nd NL Wild Card.

The Mets did have an interesting weekend, scoring 15 runs on the Dodgers in L.A. on Saturday (when they usually have trouble scoring that many runs in an entire week,), and then winning on Sunday as well, ending Zack Greinke's scoreless streak at 45 2/3 innings.

The Mets' chances of making the Playoffs are now at 48 percent -- pretty good considering how poorly they did from early May to mid-July.

The Yankees now go to the Dallas area to play the Texas Rangers. Time to mess with Texas!

*

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 5, this Saturday night, at 7:00, against the Philadelphia Union, at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union knocked the Red Bulls out in the Quarterfinal of the U.S. Open Cup, America's version of the FA Cup. This past week, the Red Bulls played friendlies with a pair of European giants, shocking defending English Premier League champions Chelsea, and coming from behind to beat defending Portuguese league champions Benfica.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": See the previous answer. The next game against the New England Revolution will be on Saturday night, August 22, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The next game against D.C. United will be on Sunday night, August 30, at Red Bull Arena.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 8, a week from this Tuesday, August 4, at 7:00 PM, at Yankee Stadium II.


Days until Arsenal play again (in a competitive match): 13, on Sunday afternoon (8:30 in the morning our time), home to East London club West Ham United. Under 2 weeks.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 39, on Thursday night (why?), September 3, away to Woodbridge. Under 6 weeks.


Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 40, on Friday night, September 4, in a friendly with Peru at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington. Not following the script of the U.S. Women's national team, who won their World Cup, the USMNT lost to Jamaica in the Semifinal of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and then lost to Panama to finish 4th, while Jamaica lost to Mexico -- who got some very favorable calls, in their Semifinal against Panama, in the Final against Jamaica, and in the U.S.-Jamaica Semifinal, setting them up to play the weaker opponent. However, much of the blame for the U.S. defeats can be laid at the feet of manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who can't pick a lineup to save his life. Or anyone else's. He has to go, if we're going to do better than the Round of 16 at the next World Cup.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 41, on Saturday afternoon, September 5, home to Norfolk State.

Days until the Devils play again: 75
, on Friday, October 9, home to the Winnipeg Jets. Under 11 weeks.

Days until the Islanders' first home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: 75, also on Friday, October 9, against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Or, to put it another way, "82 Sleeps Till Brooklyn." Until then, despite having definitively played their last competitive game in the Nassau Coliseum, even with their 4 straight long-ago Stanley Cups, they're just a Small Club In Hempstead.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 86, on Sunday, October 18, away to the Rangers.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 104, on Saturday, November 7, at the Emirates Stadium. A little over 3 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 
123on Thursday morning, November 26, at 10:00 AM, at EB. Just 4 months.

Days until the Copa América Centenario begins on U.S. soil: 313, on June 3, 2016. A little over 10 months. The tournament will be between teams from the North American, Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF) and South America (CONMEBOL, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary). Although it's a member of CONCACAF rather than CONMEBOL, the U.S. is the host nation, and thus qualifies automatically, as it does for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Days until Euro 2016 begins in France: 320, on Friday, June 10.


Days until the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 376, on Friday, August 5, 2016. A little over a year.


Days until Alex Rodriguez's Yankee contract runs out: Officially, at the end of the 2017 season. Game 7 of that year's World Series could turn out to be on Halloween, so, for the sake of this entry, let's say October 31, 2017, which would be 1,193 -- a little over 2 years. Of course, the Yankees could release him before then, but I don't think the House of Steinbrenner wants to take the financial hit from buying him out.

Days until the next World Cup begins in Russia: 1,413, on Friday June 8, 2018. A little under 3 years.

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