Friday, August 16, 2013

Reynolds, Soriano lead Yankees to 10-3 win over Red Sox

Thanks to Andy Pettitte not giving up an earned run in 6.2 innings, Alfonso Soriano going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, and new Yankee Mark Reynolds going 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs, the Yankees were able to easily win tonight's series opener in Boston, 10-3. With those solid 6.2 innings, Pettitte has finally won another game, improving his record on the year to 8-9 and his ERA to 4.39. He also had 5 strikeouts while walking just 1. 

The Bombers other three runs in this one that were not driven in by either Soriano or Reynolds were all driven in on singles by Chris Stewart, Robinson Cano, and Ichiro Suzuki. Lately, this team has been very fun to watch. Hopefully they'll win again tomorrow when Kuroda's on the mound. 

Alex Rodriguez Leaked Ryan Braun's Name To MLB

Alex Rodriguez and his associates are in deep water in this Biogenesis scandal that just will not go away. Reports came down today that A Rod's associates not only obtained but also leaked documents linking other players, including Ryan Braun, to the Biogenesis clinic that is so famous now down in south Miami. This report is coming from 60 minutes and was reported this morning.

Rodriguez's lawyer David Cornwell obvious is denying the reports today, and why wouldn't he, that they acquired the documents and leaked them to Yahoo! Sports. Are we really to believe though that Alex would leak papers that could potentially implicate himself? Also if A Rod and his people are leaking the documents why did he get the highest suspension of anyone ever? Doesn't make much sense to me but stay tuned because I am sure this is not the last we are going to hear from the Bronx is Burning Part Two.

Preston Claiborne Sent Down For Mark Reynolds

Preston Claiborne is not listed on the 25 man roster and is looking like the roster move that will clear a sport for Mark Reynolds. Luis Cruz, who has been on the disabled list for what seems like forever with a PCL injury, has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster. Interesting move since we could have just moved someone to the 60 day DL to make room but Cruz will likely clear waivers and go to Scranton anyway so it's six of one and a half of a dozen of the other. Rosters expand on September 1st so Claiborne will be the first guy to get the call I am sure.

How Are The Yankees Looking?

When I first heard that the Yankees had signed Mark Reynolds (thanks, Burch!) I thought, "why?" Before their four-game winning streak, they had gone 7-13 in their previous 20 games, and are currently six games in back of the second wild card slot. Basically, even though Reynolds is going to be pretty darn cheap for the Yankees, he still seemed like a needless expense. I mean, they don't have a shot at the playoffs.

"We can do it!"

The offense has gotten a boost since Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup. In his first eight games back from his latest freak injury, Curtis only hit .160, which is not something opposing pitchers should be afraid of. However, he has been on a tear since then batting .529/.619/.824 in 5 games, including a couple of doubles and a home run. I don't think he's going to continue hitting that well, especially seeing that .613 BABIP, but I don't see him falling to the sub-.200 range either. If Grandy can keep up the patience we've seen out of him lately, and still hit the ball as hard as he did in the previous two seasons, then he'll mean a lot.

In his last 10 games, Brett Gardner is hitting .262/.333/.405. If he can get that on-base percentage up a little bit, and keeps running as well as he has the past month and a half (9 steals, while being caught just once), then the added "oomph" in the middle of the lineup thanks to Cano, Rodriguez, Granderson, and now Reynolds could be huge.

The bottom of the lineup still looks a bit shoddy thanks to guys like Ichiro Suzuki, who's batting .237/.256/.237 in August. That includes zero extra-base hits, and only one walk. But if Ichiro can be the man we saw in July, when his triple-slash was .305/.340/.411, then the Yankees could really be in business.

Joe Girardi has to stop playing Chris Stewart more than twice a week, and that me be two times too many. Stewart has hit .167/.255/.190 since July 1st, while Austin Romine has hit .302/.388/.465 in that same time frame. The young catcher is also walking quite a lot lately, taking four of them in only six games. If he continues being that patient, and makes good contact when he does swing, then I may stop dreaming about Brian McCann.

"Nah, you still want me."

Unfortunately there's one sore spot in the lineup that I don't see a bright side in, and that's Eduardo Nunez. He's hit .255/.304/.373 in August, and that is arguably his best month of the season. That's not a good thing, by the way. When he does make contact he can make some noise, but the fact Eduardo's striking out more than he ever has in his career shows that that hard contact is so few and far between that it really is not helping. On the contrary, Nunez is hurting the team. Of course, one bad spot in the lineup shouldn't kill them, but it's still hard to see when the Yankees have such a hill to climb in order to get to the postseason.

The much improved lineup may be all for naught, though, if the pitching doesn't get better. Yankee pitchers, that includes starters and relievers, have thrown to an ERA of 4.94 in August, while giving up 15 home runs. Even if the offense was able to overcome that, which is no sure thing at all, then they'll be in real trouble in the playoffs. Just look at what the Tigers did to them in the last series... 16 runs (7 home runs) in only three games. 

"He's not forgetting the league leader in runs scored, is he?"

However, if CC Sabathia can build off of his last two starts, in which he's gone 7.1 and 6 innings, giving up 3 and 2 runs, then that'll go a long way to getting the pitching back on track. Not to mention Andy Pettitte getting back to the pitcher we saw in his first 10 starts of the season (3.82 ERA), if not the guy we saw in 2012 (2.87 ERA). With the "true" ace of the staff, Hiroki Kuroda, doing his thing, along with Ivan Nova pitching ridiculously well in his past 7 starts, then all of our hopes should really get up there.

Four of the five teams in front of the Yankees, who are battling for one of the two available wild card berths, are not doing well lately. The Rays, Athletics, and Orioles have all gone 4-6 in the last 10 games, while the Indians are 3-7 in their past 10. Looking at who those teams have played in the last 10 games doesn't make me give any of them a free pass, either. Sure, the Indians had a four-game series with the Tigers, but it's still a shame that they were swept in that. 

That last bit is not something to dismiss, as the Yankees are going to need help in order to make the playoffs. We're not talking about overcoming one or two teams here. Especially since we have zero games against three of the ones we're chasing (Oakland, Cleveland, and Kansas City). And although the Yankees have a winning record against the other two teams, Baltimore and Tampa Bay, 14-11 is hardly what I'd call "domination". The Bombers will likely have to at least win their two remaining series with each of those teams, while beating up on the remaining opponents too.

So overall I'm feeling better about the Yankees chances of making it to the postseason, but it won't be easy by any means. And I don't even want to think about what'll happen once we get there. 

"Just win, baby!"

Does Alex Rodriguez need the Yankees more than they need him?

So A-Rod is back in the Yankees' lineup after spending most of the season on the DL. Of course, as we all know, on the eve of his return to the Yankees, the PED scandal broke and A-Rod was implicated and suspended. Now this throws up some questions, one of which is, "Are the Yankees better off without A-Rod?" but I think it is actually a case of who needs who more.

No matter what you think of A-Rod, he is a Yankee (much as some people like to complain about this fact!). However, some people say that the worst deal New York ever made was when they awarded A-Rod that 10 year $275 million contract. This sentiment seems to be growing stronger now with the whole PED scandal in the background. BUT, I think it would be very hard for anybody to argue that his presence hasn't helped the Yankees in the past 6 years (2008-present). Now though, people are genuinely asking if New York needs the "headache" of dealing with him.

So, does A-Rod need the Yankees more than they need him? Let's look at a few key points:

Would anybody else want him?

I'm not speculating on whether there would be a place for him on a team, just, in the ideal world, would another team want him?

This seems like a simple question when you first ask it - of course they would, he's a superstar! Admittedly, looking at his career stats through 2012 (.300 BA, 648 HR, 1,952 RBI, 2,907 hits) it's hard to imagine that somebody wouldn't want to employ him. However, you have to remember a few other things:
Injuries - Let's face it, he's had more injuries and surgeries than most people will see in a lifetime
The media circus - Everywhere A-Rod goes, the media will follow and sometimes this seems to take precedence over the team
Ego/Arrogance - I don't know A-Rod, I've never met him but sometimes there seems to be an arrogance about him and people ask if he's a team player
Would he win another World Series there?

Think about it, all players are playing for October and the chance to win a World Series ring. The Yankees have won more of these than any other team and whilst the shine has come off in some of the past seasons, they're the Yankees! They will always come back and get more rings. I'm not sure if there is any other team in the MLB you can be that confident in. Sure, some teams have made a few good runs but the Yankees are backed by history - would A-Rod want to risk going somewhere else?

Would other fans tolerate him?

A-Rod has a bad reputation with plenty of Yankees fans and you can imagine that this is 100 times worse with other fans. Would fans tolerate A-Rod showing up in their city? I know that all fans want to see their team win and a lot would see getting A-Rod as a big feather in the team's cap but I know how much some people hate him. I'd be fairly confident in saying that there would be a good number of fans who would turn their backs on their team if they took him (Even if they just stop going to the games).

Now, do the Yankees need A-Rod anymore?

Firstly, I refer back to A-Rod's career stats, let's face it, the guy can produce hits, home runs and RBI's! Last time I checked, this is what a team needs to win. I know that pitchers play a key part and you need good defence but without runs, you won't win much - see 2013 Astros, Blue Jays and Yankees (See recent turnaround with Soriano knocking in RBI's all over the place). I know that the Yankees have been missing a number of key bats at the start of 2012 but A-Rod is a key piece of the offence, even with the injury history.

Secondly, if the Yankees tried to get rid of A-Rod before the end of his contract, they would likely have to eat a lot of his remaining salary. OK, so the luxury tax threshold could come into play and it may affect the thinking but these are the Yankees, if it meant a better chance of winning a 28th World Series, do we really think they would pass because of a high salary? If the Yankees had to eat 50% or more of A-Rod's remaining contract would they really want to give him up? Again, the guy can produce!

Finally, is A-Rod a draw to the crowds? If his first game back in the lineup is anything to go by, yeah, he is. His first game back was one of the best attended games so far this season. Love him or hate him, he is a HUGE draw. People always seem to want to watch him play (either to see him make great plays/hits or to see if he messes up). Perhaps because of the media circus that follows A-Rod or because of his ego, people are intrigued by him and want to see what the fuss is about. A-Rod is like Steve Jobs was, full of confidence in his own abilities and able to attract people to his product (in A-Rod's case, his product is HIM).

Ultimately, whilst my heart says A-Rod needs the Yankees more, my head says that the Yankees need him more. Whatever happens, it will no doubt take up many more hours of baseball talk (especially in the lead up to the appeal and the final decision on suspension).

Can I see A-Rod and the Yankees parting company? Not without big losses on both sides but remember, whichever way this goes, A-Rod is still a Yankee and like him or not, he should still be cheered as a Yankee.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Red Sox 8/16

The New York Yankees will travel to Fenway Park tonight to take on the AL East leading first place Boston Red Sox in the first of a three game weekend set. The pitching match up is Andy Pettitte for the Yankees and Felix Doubront for the Red Sox. For as little as $30 you can get into Fenway tonight but if you cannot see it live the game can be seentonight on MY9, MLB Network, and MLB TV. Tomorrows game features Cy Young candidate Hiroki Kuroda and you can see him for as little as $70 with an average of $239 a seat for Yankees tickets. The Sunday nightgame is on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and features CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yanks. You can see the big man live for as little as $35 and an average of $162. This should be a fun series to watch as a fan whether its live or on your TV or computer screen. The Yankees can jump right back into the thick of the playoff hunt with a strong series or start playing for next season with a couple losses. Stay tuned and support your home town New York Yankees! 

Here is the Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Go Yankees!!!

Low Points, High Points and Instant Replay

As I mentioned last time, the roughest of Mo's stretch of blown saves came in Chicago two Wednesdays ago. Right there I consider the absolutely low point of the year; getting swept on the road against the second-worst team in the AL (really should be the worst thanks to the Astros.) Only time will tell where the high point is, or was. If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, then this past week is a good place to start.

Coming into the home-stand, most Yankee fans, including myself, thought this would be the final nail in the coffin for 2013. It would've been time to look ahead towards winter and Robbie Cano's free agency. But instead some of the old Yankee magic came back in the building. You would've thought the team was dead where they stood when Mo blew two saves over the weekend; but then there was Brett Gardner with a walk-off single on Friday night and a home-run Sunday afternoon. They miraculously took two of three from one of the best teams in baseball. Then all they did was score 25 runs in two days against the Angels; on the shoulders of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano's been in one of those stretches where every time he's up, he produces. The Yankees have even finally cracked that 60-win plateau; it felt like they'd be stuck with 59 wins forever!

One guy I truly feel for is Phil Hughes. I don't care how "in the zone" you are or how much you try to ignore what's on TV. Phil Hughes has to know with each loss, he's one step closer to his final year in pinstripes. He'd already be gone if someone, ANYONE was willing to trade for him. When not even second-division teams want your player, you know you've got a mess on your hands. 4-12 just looks absolutely embarrassing.

Raise your hand (not really) if you've ever gotten a puzzled look when you say you love baseball. In this day and age, especially with the younger fan becoming a massively important demographic with social media, people trend towards faster paced sports. One of baseball's biggest criticisms for the past 50 years; really ever since football became more popular in the 60s, was that baseball was too slow, laid back, and not filled with action like the tackle in football or the slam dunk in basketball. In the 90s there was action in baseball but it turned out all those guys were on 'roids. So what does Bud Selig and the rest of the baseball cronies do? They will EXPAND instant replay next year. Managers will get "challenges"; one through six innings and two in the final three. Why not just give them red flags and dress the umpires like zebras? Now, if a manager files a challenge, the call will be reviewed not by the umps, but by MLB Headquarters in NEW YORK. So, in a nutshell, umpires have almost no power.

Listen, I'm all for correct calls. If you want better umpires, fire C.B. Bucknor! (Insert joke drums here.) But when you have a sport that's "too slow", you don't respond by making it SLOWER! You know what's great about baseball? The IM-perfection. The fact that you better hustle to first, because if it's a bang-bang play, even if you were safe, you might get called out. How many times in football does the cornerback, because he reached in juuuuuust a little too much when defending the wide receiver, get the pass interference flag. To me, baseball's great because it rewards effort; it rewards players that hustle and try. It doesn't reward "Well I couldn't get one more yard for a first down, but that's ok 'cause the defensive end jumped a MILLISECOND too early, so it's offsides." I like imperfection, it makes baseball more human. I don't like every single call having to be picture perfect, even if it's against the Giants.

That's why everyone loved Armando Galarraga for staying classy with Jim Joyce. In the digital world with every instant replay angle, fans saw that Joyce blew a young pitcher's perfect game, but Galarraga didn't cry about it or protest--that's just baseball sometimes.

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 8/16

The New York Yankees travel to Boston to take on the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a three game weekend series tonight at Fenway Park. The Yankees offense has woken up and the Yanks have won six out of their last eight games coming into the series with the team they are chasing in the AL East. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound to keep the line moving to face off with Felix Doubront for the Red Sox. The game will be televised at 7:10 pm ET on the MY9, MLB Network, and MLB TV.

Predicting The Lineup Tonight In Boston

The Yankees signed Mark Reynolds last night and travel today to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox and lefty Felix Doubront. Here is what I think the lineup is going to look like with Mark Reynolds inserted in it.

1. Gardner
2. Soriano
3. Cano
4. Rodriguez
5. Granderson
6. Reynolds
7. Ichiro
8. Nunez
9. Romine

The middle of the lineup is very scary now for totally opposite reasons. Either the streaky players like Curtis Granderson and Mark Reynolds will all click at once and this offense will be unstoppable or we will see strike out city. Either way I think that Reynolds is far from the savior of this team but is a huge upgrade over having Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix in the lineup so I am on board for $200,000.

Article Revisit: Yankees Should Sign Mark Reynolds

The Yankees signed Mark Reynolds last night after the Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment last week and released him this week as predicted here on The Greedy Pinstripes. Here is the article!

Mark Reynolds Released But Is He A Target?

Mark Reynolds released by the Cleveland Indians but is it too late for the Yankees to care?

The Yankees have been looking for a right handed platoon power bat all season long to match with Lyle Overbay at first base and one has finally become available, but is it too late? I think for the first time in history a team released their team leading home run hitter when Reynolds was designated for assignment last week but now the fact that he has cleared waivers leaves me even more perplexed.

Reynolds is entering his age 30 season and would only require the team that signs him to pay his pro-rated league minimum salary which would be somewhere around $200,000. I understand that since May 1st Reynolds has a triple slash of .187/.287/.282 with seven home runs but has 15 home runs overall and would be a nice compliment to Overbay at first. His defense at both first and third base is pretty horrible but if the Yankees were still competing I think they could bypass that in search for offense.
With Texas winning their last 200 games out of 201, please sense the extreme exaggeration, I think it may be too little too late but you never know. What do you think? Should we make a run at Mark Reynolds for the rest of the 2013 season? Drop a comment in the comment box and let me know your thoughts.

Mason Williams Promoted To AA Trenton Thunder

The Yankees have had their hand forced with all the injuries this season and are now promoting Mason Williams to AA Trenton to play with the Thunder. Trenton has seemingly lost their best two outfielders for the rest of the season with the wrist injury to Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott's new injury that will end their seasons. The Yankees hoped to keep Mason down in Tampa with the Tampa Yankees all season long but with only 2-3 weeks left plus the playoffs the Yankees made the move now. Hopefully it works out for the Yankees and Williams and he can grow on  his .288/.328/.384 triple slash in the second half of the minor league system.

MLB Is Ready To Expand Instant Replay In 2014

Major League Baseball is ready to start expanding their instant replay system starting during the 2014 baseball season. The new system would give MLB managers an opportunity to challenge plays much like the NFL does with their coaches and their red flags. Managers would get three challenges per game but for some reason are only allowed to use one of those in the first six innings of the game. Okay? Most, not all, plays will be review-able and all plays will be reviewed by an extra umpire in an office that stays in constant contact with the crew chief that night.

Honestly this is all but a done deal because for this to happen you have to not only get the MLB Players Association to sign off but the owners and the umpires as well. Most umpires do not want to take the human factor out of the game so that is going to be a tough sell. If the umps want to negotiate about it though they can just fire CB Bucknor and we can call it even if you want.

I can see this really dragging out the game and being abused but with every rule and law there is going to be someone ahead of the curve getting around it and exploiting it. If you are late in the game with all your challenges and you have a struggling pitcher you could conceivably challenge a close-ish play to give your reliever time to warm up. I am sure there is also going to be some sort of rule, much like the NFL, that you cannot challenge the previous play after the next pitch is thrown which would be okay if they did not show the replay on the big screen and on television 100 times before the next pitch is thrown. Also, and I am sure we know the answer to it, there is no mention whether you will lose the challenge if your wrong or keep the challenge if the play is overturned so I guess stay tuned this off season when it is voted on by the owners and such in November.

Charleston Riverdogs Release 2014 Schedule

RiverDogs Release 2014 Schedule
A Dozen Thursdays and 11 Weekends Highlight Slate of 70 Home Games

CHARLESTON, SC – Although the Charleston RiverDogs have a two more homestands in which to entertain its many fans, the club is already making plans for the 2014 season as it releases next year’s 70-game home schedule.

The highlight of the ’14 campaign in which the organization will mark their 18th season in Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park and the 21st as RiverDogs is hosting a dozen Thursday night games and 11 weekend outings.

The excitement and fanfare of Opening Night (April 7) and an Independence Day celebration (July 4) are annual top dates and great opportunities to enjoy the fun-filled experience that is RiverDogs baseball.

The merry month of May will be the busiest month at Riley Park as the RiverDogs play at home 18 times, while July features 14 dates while June and August have 13 each.

The season begins with a four-game road trip to South Atlantic League rival Augusta, before the home opener on April 7 against Greenville.  The opening homestand will have three games with the Drive with four more against Augusta.

The ‘14 schedule also features nine games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights while Monday will see only eight contests.

RiverDogs fans will become familiar with Greenville and Savannah the most as they come to Riley Park for a total of 12 games, while Augusta has 11 and Rome 10.

Also visiting Charleston for one series from the Southern Division are Asheville and Lexington.

From the Northern Division, Hickory plays at Riley Park six times while Delmarva, Hagerstown and Kannapolis play four times each.

To view the entire schedule, please refer to

Individual game tickets will go on sale in March, while deposits for season tickets for all 70 home games and other ticket plans may be placed now by calling 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at


Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original article can be seen HERE

RiverDogs Sweep Rain Shortened Doubleheader

RiverDogs Sweep Rain Shortened Doubleheader From Lexington
Sneak by 1-0 in game one; take game two 8-4 in a rain shortened contest

CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs used timely hitting, good defense, and their usual great pitching to sweep the Lexington Legends in a doubleheader on Thursday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 3,119 fans. Ericson Leonora’s solo homer gave Charleston a 1-0 win in game one, and they took game two 8-4 in a rain shortened game to complete the series sweep.

With the sweep, the RiverDogs advance to 27-26 in the second half and 66-55 overall. Lexington falls to 30-23 in the second half and 63-58 overall with the two losses.

In game one, both team’s got fantastic outings from their starting pitchers in a blazing fast game that took just one hour and 33 minutes to complete.

Daniel Camarena threw five shutout innings, allowed just two hits, and earned the win to improve to 4-6 on the year for Charleston. Lexington’s starter Daniel Stumpf was very good as well, but took the loss despite allowing only two hits and one run in six innings.

One of the two hits in the game for Charleston was a solo homer to left by Ericson Leonora, his 2nd of the year, which put the Dogs up 1-0 in the fourth inning. That one run was enough as Luis Niebla came in and got the final six outs to close it out and earn his first save as a RiverDog.

Game two was a different story with both team’s offenses awakening from their respective slumbers.
Charleston struck first for three runs in the first inning on an RBI double by Dante Bichette, Jr. and a two out, two RBI single by Reymond Nunez. Nunez finished 1-2 with three RBI in the game.

Lexington came back and tied the game at 3-3 on Alex Hudak’s first homer of the year, a solo shot in the third inning, and a two RBI triple by Bubba Starling in the fourth. Starling finished the game 2-3 with two triples, two RBI, and a run scored.

In the bottom of the fifth with a light rain coming down the RiverDogs retook the lead for good on five hits and a hit batter to go up 8-3. It was a lead they would not relinquish.

The Legends put up a run in the top of the sixth, but that was as close as they would get.
Luis Severino got the start for Charleston and gave up three runs on four hits without a walk. He also struck out a season high nine batters and earned the win to move to 1-1.

Christian Binford got the loss to fall to 0-1. He gave up nine hits, a season high eight runs, two walks, and fanned six. The rain started to pour in the bottom of the sixth, and eventually the game was called.
Greg Bird finished the game 1-1 with a double, two walks, and drove in a run for Charleston. Ty Afenir and Jake Cave each chipped in with two base hits as well for the RiverDogs.

BALLPARK FUN: In a show of thanks to everyone who sat through the rainy weather, anyone holding a ticket from Thursday’s doubleheader may exchange them for a ticket to any remaining regular season home game this season!

COMING UP: The RiverDogs head to Rome, GA to take on the Rome Braves for four games starting Friday at State Mutual Stadium. Charleston will send out LHP Evan Ructkyj (9-8, 4.80 ERA) and Rome will counter with RHP Wes Parsons (5-6, 2.75 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7pm.

Box Score game 1:
Box Score game 2:


Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original article can be seen HERE

Yankees vs. Red Sox...42 is the Number...

The Yankees are in the midst of an up-and-down last week and a half...first they get swept by the lowly Chicago White Sox being blasted with Pettitte on the mound 8-1, and then narrowly defeated 3-2 and 6-5 (in 12 innings). Then they go on to take 2 of 3 from the world-beaters known as the Detroit Tigers aka Miggy and the Fightin' Tiges in the midst of a seemingly decided downturn in the great Mariano Rivera's ability to close out games.  From there they take 3 of 4 from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of the Milky Way.  Although the Halos haven't been all that great this year either, they do have Mike Trout and two former "Yankee-killers" in Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson.  So here the Yankees sit on August 16th, 2013 a mere 8.5 games back of the Red Sox and 6.5 games out of the last wildcard spot.  They have ridden the roller coaster of a season to a record of 62-58 with 42 games to play...all of this having been done with over 50% of their projected starting roster on the DL at some point during the season, the A-Rod circus running rampant for months, and the day-by-day speculation of when El Capitan will return.

So it all comes down to this: the number 42.

Will #42 Go Out With a Bang or a Whimper?

There are 42 games left in the 2013 season.  I am ever the optimist and I see this playing out like a story-book Hollywood ending.  One that highlights the #42 riding off into the sunset with World Series trophy #6 in his hands.  But it all rides on this weekend in my humble opinion.  And one could argue that this is the perfect time to catch the first place team from Beantown.  The team that discarded Babe Ruth like a cheap cigar heads into the home weekend series vs. the Yankees having battled the last place Toronto Blue Jays in 2 extra innings games while the birds took 2 of 3 games.  Prior to that series, the Sox lost 3 out of 4 to the suddenly hot Kansas City Royals of all teams as they were outscored 21-15.

Well, the Yankees haven't been that hot lately either you say?  They are only 5-5 in their last 10 games you say?

Oh but you see...the Yankees have come up with a bit of a Renaissance in the form of spectacular pitching and a man known as Alfonso Soriano (please John Sterling...stop with the home run calls...please).  If you have been on the dark side of the moon this past week you are probably the only person that doesn't know that Mr. "Strikeout or Home Run" is 11 for his last 21 (over 5 games), with 1 double, 5 home runs, 15 rbi, and 8 runs scored.  Oh...and 5 strikeouts.  Something missed in all of this Soriano mayhem is the fact that Alex Rodriguez has silently (can that be right?) slipped into a bit of a groove at the plate.  Sabathia and Hughes are actually starting to pitch again...and Kuroda is still a workhorse that is starting to see some run support.

All that being said, here are the pitching matchups for the upcoming Yankees vs. Red Sox series:

Game 1:  Pettitte 7-9, 4.62 vs. Doubront 8-5, 3.66
Game 2:  Kuroda 11-7, 2.33 vs. Lackey 7-10, 3.32
Game 3: Sabathia 10-10, 4.66 vs. Dempster 6-8, 4.50

I like the Yankees odds going into this series.  The Bronx Bombers (aka Soriano Bombers) may find themselves only 5.5 back from first place after this weekend.  But ultimately the fate of the Yankees in this series and within the season may rest in the right arm of the best closer in history, #42, Mr. Sandman.  He will be tested by a lineup similar to the Tigers this weekend.  Will the rest he received during the Angels series be enough to regain his earlier-season form?  Or will this Hollywood script be reduced to a pile of dust and with it the Yankees' 2013 Postseason hopes?

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/16

On this day in 1920 the Yankees were part of a very somber part of Major League history as the first and only fatality as the result of an on the field incident. Yankees pitcher Carl Mays would hit Indians short stop Ray Chapman at the Polo Grounds. Chapman would receive a fractured skull and would die the next day due to this, very sad day in Major League and New York Yankees history.

On this day in 2009 Derek Jeter had a 3-for-4 day at the plate in a loss to the Seattle Mariners while becoming the all time hits leader for short stops. Jeter would pass Luis Aparicio with his 2,674th hit of his career as a short stop.