Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mo Is Human, Chien-Ming Has No Luck, Yanks Lose To The 1st Place Rays

So Mariano Rivera is human after all. The perfect season comes to an end. Oh well. He couldn't be perfect forever. The freakin' Rays are on fire. Their pitching has been excellent. With Boston losing the Rays are now in sole possession of 1st place. What's the world coming to?

You can't pitch much better than Chien-Ming Wang did tonight. For the 2nd straight outing, Wang pitched well enough to win, but ended up getting the no decision. If not for a late Hideki Matsui HR he would have suffered his 2nd straight loss. The Yankees offense failed him terribly. They again had their chances but again, as we've seen quite a bit this year, they came up empty. Back-to-back singles to leadoff the 2nd inning.....ground out followed by a 5-4-3 DP. Jeter hits a 1-out triple in the 6th.....ground out followed by a pop out. Terrible baseball. Just terrible.

Hideki Matsui has been the team MVP so far. He bailed out the team with his 1-out game-tying HR in the 9th. It's hard to believe that the Yankees allegedly tried to deal Godzilla in the off-season. He's sweet with the stick. He has been on all year. I wish I could say the same for everyone else. To be fair, Jeter, Damon, Abreu and Melky have had a decent year so far but they never all seem to be on at the same time. It's hard to believe Robinson Cano has the worst average on the team. That feels weird to say. He's been doing better as of late but his terrible start is inexcusable. It was nice to see Giambi rap a few hits. He had a great night at the dish going 2-2 with 2 walks. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Jose Molina has been a huge disappointment offensively since playing every day. If I didn't look closely I'd think they brought back Wil Nieves. Get well soon Jorgie. We need ya.

Despite Mariano's 1st loss, the Yankees bullpen has been outstanding lately, really all year. Joba looked a little shaky tonight as he struggled with his control but eh got the pitcher's best friend to bail him out of trouble. Coming into tonight the bullpen ERA was 3.38, 6th best in the AL, only .06 points behind the 3rd best Twins. Opponents are only hitting .230 off the Yankee relievers, 3rd best in the AL. They also rank 2nd in bullpen innings pitched, 3 innings behind Texas and 17 innings ahead of the 3rd ranked Tigers. Not bad, not bad. Definitely a high point.

I'd like to give some credit to Edwin Jackson for keeping the Yankee bats at bay, but I don't really think he's all that good a pitcher. I exchanged a few e-mails today with my Uncle and the Yankees came up in the "conversation." He wrote, "The way the Yanks are hitting, you might want to select an alternate team to track. How can you have that much fire power in your line-up and your run production be so poor?" That's a great question and I wish I had an answer. I'd like to think it'd get a little better with the return of A-Rod, and then Posada, but I'm not so sure. We're a-quarter of the way through the season and it's been the same story all year. Coming into today the Yankees ranked 6th in the AL in batting average (.263). They ranked 8th in the AL in runs scored (168). They ranked 6th in OBP (.330) and 3rd in slugging percentage (.417). They're better than that! But there's lots of baseball left to be played. They have by no means dug themselves a hole they can't climb out of. I think it will be a little tougher this year with the improved quality of baseball being played by their fellow AL East counterparts, but they'll heat up. I've just got that feeling. Alex will be back soon. Jorge will hopefully be right behind him. That will be a huge shot in the arm.

Back to 2 games under .500. Ah familiarity. I hate it. Start winning some games!!