It is a little strange considering something very similar happened in a recent Phillies-Braves game. But it is a bigger deal now because it is the Yankees. Because the game was on ESPN. And because it was Derek Jeter. He is the one player in MLB that is both a superstar and above reproach in this era when all athletes are guilty until proven innocent. If this had been Dioner Navarro, nobody would call Navi a cheater, nobody would be calling for instant replay and nobody would be complaining about what a terrible example it is for kids…BECAUSE IT WAS JETER
SECOND INNING (Headlines)…
In your projected playoff roster, you had Kelly Shoppach on the roster without Dioner Navarro…Isn’t Navi the better option at this point?
Are you asking us, or are you asking Joe Maddon? We don’t understand why Maddon is so loyal to Shoppach. Outside of his one 2-HR game this season, Shoppach has done nothing with the bat. He is inferior to Navarro defensively. And he doesn’t know the pitchers as well. But if you look at the last 10 games, Shopp has started four times and Navarro has started two. So Shoppach will be on the postseason roster. What Navi must hope for is that Maddon chooses five or six bats for the bench. If he does, Navarro is probably in as the third catcher….YES, BUT
THIRD INNING (Headlines)…
One could argue that the 8th/9th inning combo of Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano has been
the Rays MVP this season…Can they really let both walk in free agency this winter?
This is tricky. On the one hand, there are those that believe the Rays can just go out and find the next Benoit and Soriano on the scrapheap somewhere. To those people we present Troy Percival and Jason Isringhausen. But as it stands now, the Rays will be in a reload mode next year. Not a full-on rebuilding, but they may not be ready to compete again until 2012. So is it worth dishing out a big (and probably long) contract for a relief pitcher? It is just not the Rays style. But if they can get Benoit on a 2-year deal, he could be back. If neither are re-signed, it is going to long year…THEY MUST RE-SIGN ONE
FOURTH INNING (Headlines)…
David Price matched CC Sabathia pitch-for-pitch last week…How much did this help his Cy Young chances?
Neither have peripheral numbers that match Felix Hernandez or Francisco Liriano. But without a clear favorite, we think this will be a rare situation where voters will consider how these guys have performed in the penant race. That means Sabatia and Price are a toss-up. And with Price-Sabathia II scheduled to occur next week, that game could decide the 2010 AL Cy Young Award…WITHIN REACH
FIFTH INNING (Headlines)…
This is the point in the game where the ESPN announcers spend the entire inning talking about attendance…What should we do?
Noticed the fridge is a little light…BEER RUN
SIXTH INNING (A look outside the box)…
The Red Sox are 6 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card…They don’t really have a shot, do they?
The Yankees only have 16 games left and normally a 6-game lead would be insurmountable. But the Yankees have 6 with the Red Sox and 4 with the Rays. Follow us through a hypothetical. Let’s say the Red Sox win 5 of 6 agains the Yankees, and the Rays take 3 of 4. Then let’s say the Yankees split their other 6 games. That would leave the Yankees at 93-69. The Red Sox would only have to go 6-4 in their non-Yankees games to tie. Not impossible. But the key is winning 5 games against the Yankees. Anything less and it doesn’t work…THERE IS A FAINT PULSE
SEVENTH INNING (Oddsmakers)…
Innings for Jeff Niemann on Sunday: 5.2
Niemann needs a big start to make a case for the postseason. He is usually strong on extra rest. But he has struggled against the Angels (2 starts, 10.13 ERA) and during day games (6 starts, 7.44 ERA). That’s not a winning combo…UNDER
Starts for Jeremy Hellickson in the last 17 games: 0.5
If the Rays wanted to start Hellboy, they had an opportunity this weekend, but didn’t take it. But after today, there are no more off-days, so Joe Maddon may need a spot-starter. We just dont think it will be Hellickson…UNDER
Starts for Andy Sonnanstine in the final 17 games: 1.5
Without anymore off-days, and assuming Jeremy Hellickson won’t get a start, Sonny is going to get the ball at least once. And we suspect, he will get it twice…OVER
EIGHTH INNING (On deck)…
The Rays have yet to clinch a playoff spot…Are you worried about jinxing the Rays?
We are flattered that some people think we have that much influence over the outcomes of the Rays games. Thinking the Rays have a shot at blowing their lead now, takes pessimism to a whole new level. Anybody that is worried about looking forward to the playoffs must think that this team is capable of one of the biggest collapses in the history of baseball. And if people think it is possible for the Red Sox to surpass the Rays without any head-to-head games, then they don’t think much of this team in the first place. So they shouldn’t be worried about whether or not the Rays make the playoffs…*FACE-PALM*
NINTH INNING (Putting out the fire)…
It sounds like you are rooting for the Red Sox. Is this true?
No. We root for the Rays and we root for miserable things to happen to the Red Sox, Yankees and their fans. And the Yankees blowing a 6-game lead and failing to make the playoffs is more miserable than the Red Sox just not making the playoffs….ROOTING FOR MISERY
Is Jeter going to get plunked next week when he faces the Rays again?
We doubt it. Joe Maddon wasn’t mad at Jeter. He was upset at the umpires. Jeter probably should be more worried about the umpires no longer giving him the benefit of the doubt on strikes and outs…NO
What is your drink of choice this weekend?
As we said, we are rooting for Yankees misery. So that means bottles of Sam Adams Freedom Lager…SAM ADAMS, GO RED SOX?