Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yanks Mess With Texas & Other Baseball News


It's been an eventful last 24 hours in baseball. Let me get to the most important part: A Yankee win.

The Yankees began a 3-game series against the Texas Rangers, at Globe Life Park in Arlington, in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning, but in the top of the 3rd, the Yankees struck back. Chase Headley led off the inning with a single, and Didi Gregorius hit a game-tying home run, his 5th round-tripper of the season.

B.J. Ryan followed that with a triple, Brett Gardner walked, and Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly to score Ryan with the go-ahead run. 3-2 Yankees.

Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 40th birthday in style, driving a 6th-inning pitch the opposite way for a home run, his 24th of the season, the 678th of his career, and the 6th that he's hit on his birthday, an all-time record.

The Yankees tacked 2 more runs in the 7th, with a leadoff walk by Carlos Beltran, a double by Headley, and a single by Gregorius.

Ivan Nova struggled a bit, and only went 5 innings, but 4 scoreless innings from Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances made him the winning pitcher. Yankees 6, Rangers 2. WP: Nova (3-3). No save. LP: Matt Harrison (1-2).

The Yankees' Magic Number to clinch the AL East is now 58.

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The Daily News, not normally a friend to A-Rod (Bill Madden, in particular, doesn't like him), put him on the back page, with the headline, "THIS IS 40!" But the New York Post made him look like commercial cartoon character Mr. Clean -- complete with bald head and earring.

Lord knows what George Steinbrenner would think of that photoshop with A-Rod and the earring. But he'd love the lack of long hair (never a problem with A-Rod), and he'd certainly love the winning -- the clean winning!

There was an unfortunate incident during the game. Mark Teixeira tried to score, but 3rd base coach Joe Espada said, "Easy!" That caused Teix to slow down momentarily, and when he picked up speed again, it was too late, as he was thrown out at the plate. Then, reminiscent of Paul O'Neill, Teix threw a trash can in the dugout.

This isn't the first time the Yankees have had 3rd base coach issues. I wonder what Mike Ferraro is doing these days?

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I used to love Shane Victorino, "the Flyin' Hawaiian," when he was the center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. Why? Because Met fans hated him. Anybody who pissed off the Flushing Heathen that much had to be worth celebrating.

Then he signed with the Red Sox. And he helped them win yet another tainted World Series in 2013. (Though I have no reason to believe he was doing any of the cheating.)

Now, the Sox have traded him to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And he cried over it.

Let's see: Leaving organization in disarray, in a place with bad weather and a nasty media... going to one with promise and the money to fulfill it, playing alongside (apparently) clean stars such as the legendary Albert Pujols and legend-in-the-making Mike Trout, in good weather, with a media that usually focuses on the other team "in town"?

Tears, Shane? They should be tears of joy!

Anyway, a player I once liked a lot, because Met fans hated him, is once again likable.

In exchange for Victorino, the Sox got Josh Rutledge, a 26-year-old shortstop who played with the Colorado Rockies, but has spent this entire season at Triple-A, and never got into a game for the Angels. The Sox may have gotten a good deal here, as Victorino wasn't going to make a difference in the future, but Rutledge could be one of the players who does.

But the Angels may have solidified a shot at the Pennant with Victorino, a proven winner in both Leagues.

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The Toronto Blue Jays have traded Jose Reyes, the greatest shortstop the Mets have ever had, to the Rockies, for veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

The Rockies also got Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco; the Jays, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins -- infamously, the only man who dared to wear Number 21 on the Yankees after Paul O'Neill, and was booed right out of it, and never did much for us. I don't expect any of those guys to have much of an impact.

That Tulo was traded is not a surprise, as he's been dangled at the trading deadline (this year, it's this Friday, at 4:00 PM) 3 seasons in a row now.

As for Reyes getting dumped by another team, everybody that's shocked, raise your hands. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Reyes has now played for 4 different teams in the last 5 seasons. He's made 4 All-Star teams, but the last was 4 seasons ago. He's never won a Gold Glove. He's batting a decent .285, but has just 17 doubles, no triples, 4 home runs, 34 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases. His OPS+ is 98 -- meaning his run production is slightly less than average.

He's 32 years old.

Met fans thought he was the best player in baseball. They thought he was better than Derek Jeter. They thought he would lead them to World Series glory. They thought he would make the Hall of Fame.

Met fans are idiots.

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The Mets did, however, get former Yankee pitcher Tyler Clippard from the Oakland Athletics for Casey Meisner.

Meisner is filler. Clippard had a decent rookie season with the Yankees in 2007, but was traded to the Washington Nationals for Jonathan Albaledejo. "Who?" I don't blame you for forgetting him. The Nats converted Clippard into a reliever, and since 2010 was the kind of reliever that would really have helped the Yankees, if they had kept him. The Nats traded him to the A's before this season, and now the A's have traded him to the Mets. He's 30, and the Mets do need bullpen help.

The Mets need hitting more. They also need to improve their rotation, which, contrary to what their fans would have you believe, isn't good enough to make the Playoffs.

Certainly, it's not as good as the Yankees' rotation. But, especially with CC Sabathia looking, sadly, done, the Yankees could use one more good starter.

We shall see.

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