As this game progressed to the 8th, 9th, 10th, etc., I felt that despite the fact that 50+ games were left on the schedule this would determine the AL East.

Since my team won this game, I am not sure I stand by that.  I know if the Yankees had lost, I would have felt the Red Sox would win the AL East from here.  That didn’t happen and the Yankees have momentum on their side.

Joe Torre had the best line about that: momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.  Well, that’s CC Sabathia in this case and he needs to give the Yankees some length tomorrow. (today)


Pena’s Back

The Yankees sent Claggett back to the minors today and brought back Ramiro Pena.  Gaudin won’t be here until Sunday at which point another roster move will have to be made (Melancon?)

Since we last saw Pena he has hit .250/.346/.379 in 116 AB’s at AAA.  That is not good, but he is a whiz with the glove and is certainly faster than Ransom. 

Chad Gaudin

Forgot to mention the Yankees traded for Chad Gaudin last night.  This trade costs them the infamous PTBNL and about $100,000 in salary. 

Gaudin’s numbers have been awful this year, but one thing that does intrigue me about Gaudin is his striekout rate.  He has struck out a batter per inning this year.  That’s impressive and it does show that there is a talented arm somewhere in there.  If someone can figure out how to teach him to control his pitches, you would really have something.

For $100,000 and a PTBNL, it’s certainly worth it for the Yankees to try.

Zero Style Points

Well that wasn’t pretty, but who cares?  The Yankees have now beaten the Red Sox in 2009!

(Ok, hold the parade.)

Joba was a mess, he could not find the strikezone.  In his defense, he was pitching for the first time in eight days.

Posada made a bonehead play not sliding into home, but he certainly made up for it later.  

But the biggest key to me is the fact that the Red Sox went 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position.  That’s a stunning number and it shows you that the Yankees were lucky to escape with an easy game last night.  Ortiz alone left nine runners on.  That won’t keep happening and the Yankees are going to have to pitch a lot better than that if they are going to keep winning games this weekend.  

Round 2 tonight at 7pm.   

My Heart’s All A Twitter….

We just wanted to tell you that we are helping to hasten the end of the English language by twittering away at http://twitter.com/YankeesRedSox. 

We have played around with it a bit so far, but this weekend we should be tweeting up a storm.  Or I should say I will be tweeting up a storm as Andy is back in 19th century Maine.  

Feel free to follow us.  We were up to six followers last week, but five of them turned out to be porn sites….

Time To Put Up

I know what the standings say and I know that even if the Red Sox swept the Yankees this weekend, they would only be 1-1/2 games out of first, but that isn’t the point.  The point is this is a series about more than standings.  This is a series where the Yankees get to send a message that they are prepared to compete with Boston. 

They haven’t really done that this year. Yes, there were some close games in there, but 0-8 is 0-8.  As Denny Green famously said, "you are what your record says you are."  That means the Yankees are a first place team that can’t beat Boston.  

Now, it is true that beating Boston isn’t paramount to winning the pennant, but it would make things a heck of a lot easier.  Consider the 0-8 record and then consider what number you think the Yankees should have won in a normal year.  Take that number and double it and you have the amount of games added to their current lead.  For example, if you think the Yankees "should" have gone 2-6 against Boston, then they would have a 6-1/2 game lead right now.  4-4 makes it 10-1/2 games, etc..  

But, that is water under the bridge.  The Yankees have four games now to make a statement.  I would take 2-2 because when you are in first you can afford to run the clock.  2-2 is like a basektball team with the lead running out the clock.  Nobody scores, but time has elapsed.  Obviously, you prefer to see 3-1.  What you don’t want, what is unacceptable at this point is 1-3 or <shudder> 0-4.  Those results would create more than problems in the standings, they would lead to a lot of questions about the psyche of this current group.

The rotation is set the way you would want it.  The lineup is clicking, the bullpen is much better than it was in May.  There are no excuses for anything less than 2-2.  Play ball!

Letting Down Your Team

I write this while watching the top of the 4th in Tampa Bay and Brad Penny has totally let down his team. A night after using every bullpen pitcher, the Red Sox were desperate for a long outing from Penny. Well don’t count on it, Penny has given up 4 runs in 3 inning. He’s his usual slow self throwing poorly placed, yet very hard, fastball after fastball.

Penny’s performance is a clear example that the Red Sox, while improved after the trade deadline, would have been well served getting a starter. I’m not here to throw around hypothetical deals and acquisitons, but rather to call out for help.

Penny – he’s been bad. He has mixed in a handful of quality starts; but his inability to go past 5 innings and his high ERA make him a failure thus far.

John Smoltz – has been nothing short of a disaster. Wise veteran or not, he is just bad right now.

Clay Buchholz – a good 2009 debut has been followed by poor outings. With him scheduled to go in the New Yankee Stadium on Saturday, I’m taking the over, for all the wrong reasons.

Regardless of how Penny finishes up tonight, the Red Sox badly need someone to step up and claim the 4th and 5th spots in he rotation. Given their troubled state, don’t be surprised to see the Red Sox make a claim or 2 in the coming weeks prior to the waiver trade deadline ala last season’s Paul Byrd deal.

Or maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka can help…

What If?

I know you are all excited that the Yankees have signed Russ Ortiz (ok, maybe not) but what if there was another option?

I read this story about Ian Kennedy throwing off a "mini-mound" and it got me thinking.   What if Kennedy could pitch for the Yankees in September?

Now before you call me crazy, consider these facts.  Kennedy had the exact problem David Cone had in 1996.  He had the surgery performed almost 13-years to the day that Cone did in 1996 by the exact same surgeon.  In 1996, Cone came back and pitched for the Yankees on September 2nd (what a start that was, he didn’t allow a hit through seven)

Of course players are different and heal at different rates, but maybe there’s a chance?  History would certainly suggest it could happen.  We shall see.   

(BTW- kudos to the Yankees for having a sense of humor.  Tonight’s Text Poll is "Depending on his performance tonight, should Sergio Mitre’s rotation spot be in jeopardy?"  I hope they give me the home numbers of anyone who texts "no".  I would like to have a talk with those folks.)

It’s Sergio Time

Well, we all know what we have to look forward to tonight, our fourth Sergio Mitre start.  You have to give the Yankees credit for being smart enough to move Mitre’s start to tonight and keeping him away from the Red Sox, but it still may create problems.  The Yankees need Mitre to pitch some innings tonight.  At least five and ideally six.  That would prevent them from draining the bullpen going into tomorrow.

I don’t know if Mitre is capable of that, but at this point all we can do is hope.  Hope that Brian Cashman has another starter coming to New York soon that is.  

UPDATE 2:30 Pete Abe reporting that Claggett is on his way to Toronto. (Thanks, Mitchell)  He has made some spot starts recently in Scranton, so he will provide good insurance when if Mitre gets rocked.  The question as he points out is what is the 25-man move to clear room for him?  You could DFA Ransom, which makes sense if you are going to bring Pena back soon. I don’t think there is a pitcher you want to send down right now so Ransom probably will go. 

UPDATE 4:05 Pete Abe reporting that Ransom has been DFA’ed.  Makes sense and I imagine we will see Pena up here very, very soon.  Pena has 5 games in center for Scranton and he has played second, third and short in the minors and bigs.

UPDATE 8:45 4-1/3 innings 8 hits and 3 runs.  Girardi yanks him after giving up a homer and a single, sandwiched around an out, in the fifth.  The Yankees have to come up with a new idea here.  I say let Aceves go as long as he can tonight and then get him into the rotation next time around.  

Some Red Sox Splits and Tonight’s Line-up

Some numbers to make Red Sox fans weep:

Jason Bay since June 1st:  .217/.350/.356 in 220 plate appearances with 28 runs, 5 HRs and 25 RBI.  That is really bad and I have to assume his contract situation is wearing on him.  Just sign a 5 year – $15mm deal already…no?  Too cheap?  Slightly team friendly I’ll admit, but come on!!!

J.D. Drew since July 1st:  .226/.323/.381 in 96 plate appearances with 16 runs, 2 HRs and 8 RBI.  Much better of late however.

Nick Green since June 1st:  .194/.259/.341 in 145 PAs with 16 runs, 4 HRs and 17 RBI.

Jed Lowrie since his return July 18th:  .188/.250/.344 in 36 PAs.

Now some good news:

David Ortiz clean or otherwise since June 1st:  .270/.345/.569 in 197 PAs with 26 runs, 14 HRs and 43 RBI.

Dustin Pedroia since July 1st:  .342/.383/.550 in 121 PAs with 22 runs, 4 HRs and 11 RBI.

So with that in mind, the Red Sox line-up for tonight’s game in Tampa Bay has been posted and Jason Bay is a scratch with a hammy problem, but Drew is back in even though he has also been suffering with a hammy problem.  Bay is making Drew actually look tough.

Here’s the whole thing:

Ellsbury – CF

Pedroia – 2b

Martinez – 1b

Youkilis – 3b

Ortiz – DH

Drew – RF

Varitek – C

Reddick – LF

Green – SS

Lester on the mound.