Los Angeles, CA
I watched my first baseball game in a month. I went on vacation for four weeks and missed the Bronx Bums shitshow. The Yankees hit the skids and had not won a series in almost a month. After sitting on his ass the entire first half of the season, GM Brian Cashman finally pulled the trigger on a trade by acquiring former Yankees' 2B Alfonso Soriano, who is now roaming the outfield. The Yankees desperately needed a big bat, but as soon as Soriano arrived, he was bogged down in a slump. Who would have thought that the return of A-Roid might be exactly what the middle of the lineup needed? Last month, Robbie Cano had zero protection but now you have to get through Cano, Soriano, and A-roid. Sure, it's nothing close to Murders' Row, but at least it's a step up.
I never thought I'd see A-Roid play another game in pinstripes. I'm part of those angry fans who wants to put A-Roids severed testicles on a pitchfork at the 161st Street subway stop. We got what we wanted... a 200+ game suspension. Yet, thanks to union rules, A-Roid can play while he appeals his suspension. At this point I'm having mixed emotions... I wanted to run that cheating fucker out of Gotham, but the Yanks are on the hook for his staggering contract and we're paying him all that money to sit on his ass, so he might as well earn his paycheck and play the rest of the summer until the league rejects his appeal.
When I last watched the Yankees before the All-Star Break, they were 51-44 and 7 games over .500, but all things considered, they were playing much better than anyone expected with a plethora of injuries to key players. If they had any power production, the Yanks might have been near the top of the AL East. They were getting outstanding pitching from both starters and the bullpen, yet they couldn't score any runs which is why they were fighting for a potential wild card spot instead of battling Boston for the AL East crown.
After the break, the Yanks got into deep trouble. They lost 7 out of their first 11 games. They couldn't get laid in a Tijuana whorehouse and scored 3 or fewer runs in 12 out of their first 17 games of the second half. The drought continued. Big time. The Yanks hit rock bottom after getting swept by the White Sox and losing four straight. The stumbling, bumbling Bronx Bums were 6-12 since the break and sunk to 57-56. They were about to face the Detroit Tigers who were closing in on 70 wins (only Boston had more). At least they were playing them on home turf. The Yanks were homedogs the entire series, something that almost never happens. As is, the Yanks improved to 5-3 as a home dog this season.
The Yanks finally got their shit together and took two out of three against Detroit courtesy of a pair of walk-off homeruns by Brett Gardner in the first and last game. He's a speed demon and never had much of a big stick. He hit a career high 8 HRs this season. Maybe we should be testing him for steroids?
The most alarming news of the weekend happened with Mo Rivera, who blew three straight saves... something he has NEVER done in his career. He blew a 4-2 lead on Sunday after giving up a pair of solo homeruns in the top of the 9th. The crowd was stunned and sat in silence. It was one of the most saddest and most depressing moments I can recall as a Yankees fan. It was like watching Superman die in front of your very eyes.
Mo bailed the Yanks out of more jams than anyone could imagine over the last two decades, but in this instance Gardner picked up his fallen teammate. Twice. Simply put in Yogi's terms, "Mo's cutter ain't cutting." Before the Detroit series, Mo had only blown two saves all season. When he blew the Friday game, you figured... that's probably his last blown save of the season. It's hard to argue against math, especially Mo's career numbers. But when another blown save happened again on Saturday and again on Sunday, you couldn't help but get scared shitless.
Three blown saves in a weekend. Is this the end of Mo? Or just a statistical anomaly?
Then again, the Tigers lineup is one of the most dangerous in all of baseball. Doesn't matter if you're Goose Gossage or Dennis Eckersley. You're gonna have a tough time getting all of those guys out when the game is on the line.
Let's just chalk this up as Mo having a dead arm against a sick team. And let's hope he bounces back and finishes the year strong. I'd hate to have to rely on Joba's fat ass the rest of the season. Mo's the only shining moment in this strange and depressing season. Hate to see him go out on a sour note.
In other news of the weird... the Yanks tagged Verlander for 4 runs on Sunday. Holy amazeballs! That never happens. Even A-Roid took Verlander deep for his first HR of the season after returning earlier in the week. You know that A-Roid is super clean right now and not on the juice
because all eyes are on his every move. His urine samples are under strict scrutiny and getting
the Lance Armstrong treatment. Seriously, A-Roid's urine is even more
pristine than the most pious members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So sad to see
someone like A-Roid waste their God-given talent. A-Roid is old and washed
up, but he had so much pure talent that even in the twilight of his career he can
still hit homeruns off a Cy Young-caliber pitcher. Then again... Verlander hung
that meatball (only in the low 90s versus his usual heat) to A-Roid.
On Deck: The Yanks (59-57) host the lowly L.A. Angels of Anaheim (53-63) for a four-game series in the Bronx. Then on the weekend, the Yanks head up to Fenway for a three-game series. I'd love a sweep of the Angeles, but if the Yanks can take 3/4 from the Angels and 2/3 out of the Red Sox, then they can pick up some much-needed ground. They Yanks trail Boston by 10 game in the AL East. The Yanks are also 7 games back in the Wild Card race. The season is far from over, but the Yanks have a great opportunity this week to put a dent in the Sox's lead. At the same time, the Sox have a chance to hammer the first nail into the Yankees coffin.