Yankee fans, in all likelihood, are waking up a bit crankier than usual. Sure, it's Monday morning. But after nearly taking two out of three games from the Boston Red Sox last night, Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes allowed the tying and winning runs to score. Boston escaped the jaws of loss to snag yet another series win over the Yankees.
For those that watched the entire game, it was anything but pretty. New York went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. The difference was that Boston could capitalize at the end of the game after blowing missed opportunities in the bottom of the second and sixth innings. New York never did.
In any event, the Boston Red Sox lead the American League East by one game on August 8, 2011. I'm sure that winning 10 of 12 games against the New York Yankees hasn't exactly hurt, either.
Before I hear about why the Yankees aren't "championship-caliber" because they "can't beat Boston", let's take a look at the bright side, shall we?
- Alex Rodriguez - While Boston already has their lineup stacked with MVP candidates, the Yankees will land the biggest name off the disabled list down the stretch of this season. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been rehabbing since his July 11 surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee, and he's on the verge of returning to New York. He's been fielding and taking batting practice down in Tampa, and I expect once he begins baserunning he'll play in one or two rehab games before returning one week from today. While Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez have played admirably, Rodriguez remains among the elite players in the game.
- Rafael Soriano - Since returning from the disabled list in late July, he's pitched four innings allowing no hits, no walks and he's struck out five. It's been said numerous times, but Soriano has the potential to really trim down games in the playoffs. Having depth in the bullpen is never a bad thing.
2011 AL Standings What are these? East W L PCT GB RS RA EXPW EXPL DIV WC POFF Boston 70 43 .619 - 617 473 100.0 62.0 51.8 46.8 98.6 New York 69 44 .611 1 603 436 100.1 61.9 48.1 50.6 98.7
- Other than CC Sabathia on Saturday, Yankee pitching has been well above-average since the start of the Baltimore series on July 29. Despite 17 runs being scored in two games, opponents were held to only 21 runs over the course of the other nine games.
- Oh yeah, the Yankees have six guys that are fighting for a spot in the playoff rotation.
- Jesus Montero? The designated hitter spot has been Jorge Posada's to lose all season. He's been given opportunity after opportunity to prove that he still belongs in the lineup every day. Quite simply put, he hasn't done the job well. He's only managed 65 hits in 282 at bats (.230) and a .309 on-base percentage. He's hit righties much better than lefties, but his numbers still aren't impressive enough to allow him to clog up the DH spot. Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones aren't the answers to be plugged into the DH spot every day, either. I'm still wondering when Montero will eventually get a call up to the Bronx. Not to mention, Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli haven't been anything to brag about.