..and Cleveland, sort of. But no one could have ever done more to help a Yankee rival than the Dodgers did last night. As I’m sure you know, the Dodgers and Red Sox made a blockbuster deal that effectively has given the Sox a get out of payroll jail free pass and granted them absolution [...]
It looks like the Red Sox have taken a page out of the Mets playbook and unloaded three under-achieving, over-paid, thirty somethings and, in the process, have conceded the season while shedding nearly 60 million dollars in payroll. Less than two years into the great “dream team” experiment, the Red Sox brass decided that it wasn’t working and blew it up. Needless to say, I don’t expect the Yankees to have to worry about any late season surges from them. It feels like this is only the beginning of a number of big changes to come in “Beantown.” I mean, who would have thought that the Red Sox would find a sucker, I mean trading partner, for not just one but all three of these guys and their respective contracts.
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While a full slate of games was taking place last night, the big story bubbling under the surface was the possibility that the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers were on the verge of reaching an agreement on a stunning August trade that would include three All-Stars, multiple prospects, and well into the nine figures worth of salary. It would be an amazing logistical accomplishment if it could be worked out, and as of this morning reports are that an agreement has been reached. As such (though it’s not official yet), Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto are headed to Chavez Ravine, while Boston will be getting a handful of prospects including pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster in return. Oh, and they’re shedding over $200 million worth of future salary obligations.
My first reaction here is: what in the name of Jobu are the Dodgers thinking?!?!? I mean, I certainly understand wanting to add Gonzalez as an upgrade to James Loney at first base, and even Beckett looks like a good bet to upgrade their team if he’s replacing Joe Blanton in the starting rotation, but that’s kind of where I get off the train. That’s because I just can’t for the life of me understand why a franchise would agree to take on Crawford’s contract and part with that many prospects, especially a pitching prospect as tantalizing as Webster. A-Gon is still a good hitter, but he’s not that good, especially since he’s got a nine figure deal of his own that you just agreed to pick up.
As for the Red Sox, well, once you work past the instinct to gloat about them throwing in the towel on this season and resigning themselves to a third straight year of sitting at home in October, this trade should make you uneasy if you’re a Yankees’ fan. Not only have the Red Sox given themselves an absurd amount of payroll flexibility and managed to get rid of two players whom they almost certainly would have given away for nothing if they had been claimed on waivers, they managed to get legitimately good young players in exchange as well. That’s a huge coup for general manager Ben Cherington, and the inclusion of the still productive Gonzalez demonstrates a willingness to do what needs to be done to better the team at the margins while taking what may come in the papers.
Friday was a great day for the Yankees’ minor league affiliates. They all came away with wins, while Tampa split their doubleheader with Daytona. Meanwhile, Staten Island’s victory brought their win streak to five games, the best streak the struggling team has seen this season.
Empire State beat Buffalo 6-4:
The Yankees opened up the game in a big way. Chris Dickerson singled to right and Corban Joseph followed with a homer to right. Eduardo Nunez lined a double to left and Ronnier Mustelier singled, putting runners on the corners. A wild pitch moved Mustelier to second and another brought Nunez home and put Mustelier on third. Mustelier scored on an error and the Yankees held a 4-0 lead before the Bisons even took a swing. Dickerson started the second inning with another single and Joseph doubled him in for the 5-0 advantage. Buffalo scored two runs in the bottom of the third, and the Yankees held the 5-2 lead through seven. They got some insurance in the eighth, when Kosuke Fukudome drew a walk and scored on a double by Darnell McDonald. Buffalo tried to get back into the game, scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth and another in the bottom of the ninth, but in the end the Yankees took the 6-4 victory.
Dickerson went 4-5 with two runs scored and a double. Joseph went 3-5 with a run scored, two doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Nunez went 2-5 with a run scored and a double. Mustelier went 2-4 with a run scored. John Maine threw six innings, giving up two runs (none earned) on five hits, two walks and five Ks. Preston Claiborne gave up one unearned run on one hits, a walk and two Ks over two innings.
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The Eastern League announced their end of year All-Star teams for 2012, selecting Trenton’s Zoilo Almonte. It was a bit of a roller coaster of a season for Almonte, who caught some eyes during Spring Training. He started the regular season a little slow and spent most of May and some of June on the DL. He has ended 2012 on a tear, however, and has hit .342/.405/.632 over his last ten games. On the season, Almonte has a line of .281/.327/.501 with 23 doubles, 20 homers and 68 RBIs. He stole fifteen bags and got caught four times. He had the second highest slugging percentage in the EL, was fourth in homers and eighth in RBIs. He had ten outfield assists, tying him for fifth in the league.
There was lots of RISP-fail on the Yankee bats at the beginning of the game, but fortunately CC Sabathia gave the team one of his strongest performances of the year. After being activated from the DL, CC returned tonight and pitched 7.1 innings of 4 hit and 1 run ball. At 100 pitches, Girardi pulled [...]
You don’t play very many big games in late August against a sub-.500 opponent in the midst of total collapse, but Friday night’s opener in Cleveland certainly didn’t feel like a regular summer affair with a bad team. That’s because the Yankees were coming off of three straight losses in Chicago and had seen another pitcher hit the disabled list, but at least they had their ace on the mound fresh off of the disabled list himself. Well C.C. Sabathia was great, Nick Swisher gave him all the support he needed, and when it was all said and done the bullpen held on to preserve a 3-1 lead to right the ship, for now.
- The Yankees already had a 1-0 lead by the time I found the game on MLB Extra innings, thanks to back to back doubles by Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to lead off the game. They had a chance to do even more damage when Corey Kluber walked Robinson Cano on four pitches, then gave up a solid liner to Mark Teixeira. Thankfully for the Indians, Tex’s shot found the glove of Shin-Soo Choo, and the runners had to freeze on a subsequent line drive single by Curtis Granderson, keeping the score just 1-0, but giving the Yankees a bases loaded situation with one out. Kluber was able to strike out Eric Chavez, however, and then got Russell Martin fly out to end the threa.
- The Yankees went 3-10 with runners in scoring position which, of course, translates to a .300 average, but it felt like they had more wasted opportunities than that, especially against Kluber. The Cleveland starter allowed six hits and two walks in the five innings he worked, but managed to hold the Yankees to just that one first inning run, thanks in no small part to six strikeouts. Two of those strikeouts came with a runner on third and one out.
- As for Sabathia, he was as good as you could have expected and then some. Working 7.1 innings and throwing an even 100 pitches, the big man racked up nine strikeouts and held his former team to four hits, a hit batter, and a walk. One of those hits was a solo home run by Asdrubal Cabrera, the only run C.C. allowed all night. 63 of those 100 pitches were strikes, and Sabathia showed confidence in all of his pitches. It’s hard to ask a guy to be better than that in his first start following a stint on the DL.
- Some good old fashioned hardball broke out early on in this one. Kluber hit Jeter with a pitch in the bill of his helmet in the second inning, something that cause Jeter to become visibly angry. Sabathia retaliated by throwing behind Cabrera later, actually in the same at bat in which Cabrera homered. That was pretty much the end of it though, and Sabathia even hit Jason Donald in the foot with a pitch later in the game without any sort of bruhaha, though that was obviously unintentional.
- Nick Swisher was in full on do it yourself mode on the offensive side of things tonight, following up his first inning RBI double with a two run home run in the top of the seventh inning. Swisher would finish the night 3-4 with all three of the Yankees’ RBI. He came up a triple shy of the cycle and also drew a walk, plus he just missed a second home run on a booming fly ball that died on the warning track in right field in the ninth.
- It was a tale of two innings for the bullpen. David Robertson faced just two batters in finishing the eighth inning after Sabathia left, striking out one of them, but things were not so easy for Rafael Soriano in the ninth. The Yankees’ closer allowed two singles through the middle to open the frame and bring the winning run to to the plate, then saw the tying run move to second base when Russell Martin failed to block a pitch in the dirt. Soriano responded by striking out Matt LaPorta and getting pinch hitter Ezequeil Carrera to pop up to Jeter, but then got behind Casey Kotchman 3-0 and put the winning run on base via the intentional walk. A sharp ground ball off the bat of Jack Hannahan found the glove of Teixeira, however, allowing everyone to exhale and #untuck, as Soriano finally got out of the inning 28 pitches later. This was his first action since Sunday, however, and he seemed to struggle with his control at times, particularly of his slider, so hopefully this was just a rust induced blip for the closer.
- Again, this was a relatively big game under the circumstances, and the team responded to it pretty well, especially the pitching staff. That failure to tack on a few more runs in the first inning is still sticking in my craw, but anytime the starter can hold the other team to one run and hand the ball directly to Robertson in the eighth inning, this team is going to have a really good chance of winning the game.
The Yankees will open a three game weekend series with Cleveland in the Mistake by the Lake tonight, looking to bounce back from a three game sweep in Chicago to open the week. On the bright side of things, C.C. Sabathia will be returning from the disabled list to start, meaning that things are looking up for the Bombers already. Here are the lineups:
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF
C.C. Sabathia LHP
Jason Kipnis 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Shin Soo Choo RF
Carlos Santana C
Michael Brantley CF
Matt LaPorta 1B
Brent Lillibridge 3B
Shelley Duncan DH
Jason Donald LF
Corey Kluber RHP
First pitch is at 7:05. Enjoy!
CC Sabathia returns to the mound and his old stomping grounds tonight as the Yankees take on the Cleveland Indians at the Jake (I don’t care if that’s not the name anymore). He’ll be opposed by Charlie Kluber and the lineups are as follows: NEW YORK: 1. Derek Jeter (R) SS 2. Nick Swisher (S) [...]