Los Angeles, CA
|Classy... Ichiro bows to the crowd after his 4,000 (combined) hit|
It was a great start to the week after the Yankees (69-61) won four games and swept Toronto, including taking down both ends of a doubleheader. The Yanks were riding the high of a five game winning streak until they flew into Tampa and got their butts spanked. They dropped two out of three due to dead bats.
The Yanks really needed a sweep to boost their playoff chances, but they're not dead just yet. There's still a glimmer of hope after going 5-2 this week. If they want a ticket to the postseason, they cannot afford to lose another series against an AL East division foes.
The Yankees are 7 games behind Boston and 3.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Tampa and Oakland are currently in the two spots with Cleveland (1.5 back) and Baltimore (2 back) nipping at their heels.
Like Big Papi feared, the Yanks got woken up in Boston after the A-Roid beanball incident. They proceeded to take two out of three from Boston last weekend, then promptly swept Toronto. Too bad they couldn't find any way to hit in Tampa. They only scored 7 runs all weekend and lost a tough game on Saturday 4-2. Their backs were against the wall on Sunday, but the Yanks prevailed in extra innings with a 3-2 victory. That was their 12th win in the last 17 games.
Good news... Mo Rivera is back on track and picked up his 37th and 38th saves. He might have 40 by my next report. Mo reached 40+ only 8 times (and 50+ twice) in his career.
Ichiro collected his 4,000 hit... combined in Japan and the MLB. I'd love to see him play 2-3 more seasons and get 3,000 in North America. I think he's on the bubble for the Hall of Fame (if not, he has at least one foot in the door), but if he can secure 3,000 hits, then he'll become the first Japanese player to get the nod to Cooperstown.
On Deck: The Yanks have a three-game series in Canada against the Blue Jays. Then they return to the Bronx for a weekend series against Baltimore. Both of these series are huge. Girardi would love back-to-back sweeps. But the Yanks are taking it one game at a time.