After dropping four out of six games this week, the Red Sox now sit half a game back of the New York Yankees, who keep winning despite shaky pitching and Derek Jeter still on the shelf. Make no mistake about it at least 15-20 wins per year for the Bombers come from “Yankee Mystique.” It exists. I swear it does. There’s no other explanation for them right now, especially with that pitching staff.
The Sox lost two of three to the Padres, suffering through an Alfredo Aceves outing that saw him walk five consecutive batters, and John Lackey couldn’t get through four innings, giving up five earned runs in the finale.
After dropping the first two games of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Sox halted their losing streak at four games with a win on Sunday in one of the sloppier defensive performances one will see in a game all year. Andrew Millerwon his first game in a Red Sox uniform and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits to put his batting average at .361, good for the major league lead.
What concerns me about the Red Sox right now is their pitching. Josh Beckett caught the flu (or something comparable) and had his Tuesday start pushed back over a week. Jon Lester has not been the Jon Lester we have become accustomed to this season. A 9-4 record with a 3.66 ERA seems all well and good but there’s something off about Lester this year. His control is lacking severely and his pitch count is rising early in games, therefore not allowing him to go as deep as he usually would. Lester has already hit 10 batters this year, matching a single-season high, and it’s not yet July.
While the offense keeps hitting well, especially with Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia both coming around, the Sox need a better effort out of their rotation.
This week, the Sox have an off day on Monday before beginning a three game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Sox then fly out to Houston for a weekend set with the Astros (currently the worst team in the Majors) that might feature a Carl Crawford comeback from the DL. Either way, it’s six more games for the Sox without the DH, and David Ortiz will suffer with the lack of playing time. There is good reason for concern that this 9-game road trip in National League parks could put Ortiz into a prolonged slump.
Jeter is now six hits away from becoming Mr. 3,000!
By Andy Lindberg
I cannot stand the New York Yankees.
But Derek Jeter is the best shortstop I have ever seen, and quite possibly, ever will see.
I am a fervent Red Sox fan. In my years of watching the Red Sox I have celebrated in ’99 when we beat the Cleveland Indians to win the ALDS, (American League Division Series), in ’04 when we came back from three games down to beat the vaunted Yankees, and in 1997 when Nomar Garciaparra became my second-favorite Red Sox player behind only Tim Naehring, who retired following that season.
My love of the Red Sox is deep-seeded. It courses through my veins. I chanted “Nomar’s Better!” every single time I saw Derek Jeter step up to bat.
As good as Nomar was, and as much as I believe he would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer had he stayed healthy, Derek Jeter is, and remains the quintessential baseball player.
I first saw Derek Jeter in 2004, when my uncle and cousin took me along with them to the old Yankee Stadium to see the Bombers face the Orioles. I saw Jeter hit two home runs that night.
It’s a strange thing to see; raucous Yankee fans from the inner city Bronx, Brooklyn projects, Westchester County wealth, and Greenwich all come together in a hush, a quiet, awe-struck buzz whenever Derek Jeter steps up to the plate. I found myself at a loss. I had no experienced that at any other venue I had been to. Less than 10 years in the league, and Jeter was approaching the realm of legend.
In 2008 I went back with my other cousin, Patty, to see Yankee Stadium one last time before it got torn down. By this point, Jeter had reached and eclipsed legend status. Expecting the same reaction I was privy to before, what I saw instead resembled old footage of Babe Ruth when he stepped into the box. Everyone pays attention. Even when the Yankees are in the field, most of the crowd is looking at Jeter.
Now at nearly 37-years-old, Derek Jeter is trying to become the 11th member of the 3,000 hit club. Unbelievably, he would be the only Yankee to ever reach this plateau.
It sickens me to say it, but Derek Jeter is crucial for the success of the game. Players should model themselves after him instead of the grandstanding players like Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds.
Jeter’s statistics are mind numbing. This is his 17th Major League season, all with the Yankees. Remaining with one team for that amount of time in this day and age alone is worth an award of some sort. He has a career .312 batting average, 236 home runs, .383 on-base percentage, six Gold Glove awards (although only two were really deserved), and of course, 2,994 hits as of Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Statistics aside, Jeter just knows how to win. His intangibles are off the charts. When all is said and done, Jeter may go down as the single greatest shortstop ever to play the game.
And who could argue with that?
Jeter is one of the lone successful holdovers from the glory days of the ‘90’s Yankee dynasty. The Yankees used to be fun to hate, and Jeter among them. Now the team has become loaded with despicable characters, all of whom carry little to no redeeming value, continuously wearing away the boyish look from Jeter’s now tired, fading face. Now with a Grade 1 calf strain after years of busting down the line to beat out routine ground balls, it seems as if age is catching up with Jeter, the man who has always played through every injury he could.
When Jeter goes, it will be a sad day for baseball. Until that point, however one should try to catch one last glimpse of the fading star that is Derek Jeter, because he will soon fade away.
The Sox seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on Saturday, June 4 with a ninth inning debacle that saw the Oakland Athletics score four runs to tie the game. The A’s took the lead in the 11th only to see Boston claw back with two outs in the bottom of the frame when Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the tying run.
In the 14th inning came J.D. Drew, whose previous four at-bats saw him swing for the Golden Sombrero. Drew hit an 0-1 pitch sharply into right-center to score Carl Crawford from second and the game was won.
Saturday’s game was pretty much the week from Boston. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and in other games were forced to claw out of a hole in an effort to put up a W in the AL East standings.
Boston went [3-3] for the week, first getting swept by the White Sox, and then sweeping the Athletics. The offense looked terrific overall, but the pitching was suspect, especially from the bullpen. If it’s not a save situation, I would seriously reconsider putting Jonathan Papelbon on the mound. While he thrives in tight game scenarios, non-save situations actually seem to give him trouble.
This week saw the Red Sox lose Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill, both until late next year. In Matsuzaka’s case, maybe never again. One would be safe in assuming Matsuzaka never pitches in a Boston uniform again given the rehab he will go through. Not to mention by July of next season, the Red Sox will have a set rotation because they have to compete. Don’t be shocked if Boston makes a few moves for a capable #3-4-type starting pitcher in the near future.
This week also saw preliminary All-Star votes come out. Don’t even get me started on how stupid fans are because they should NOT be allowed to vote for All-Stars, plain and simple. There’s no reason Mark Teixeira should be leading over Adrian Gonzalez. There’s no reason Russell Martin should be leading over Alex Avila and there’s no reason Alex Rodriguez should be leading over Alberto Callaspo or even Adrian Beltre.
If you even TRY and tell me Derek Jeter should be leading over Asdrubal Cabrera at this point, I will mentally smack you in the face. The only Yankee who should be leading at his position is Robinson Cano, because the AL second base field isn’t as great as it has been in prior years. Cano to this point is the most well rounded second baseman statistically.
Now, I do not vote for All-Stars until voting is nearing its end to give the players time to accumulate more stats. However the stats right now once again show dozens of players getting the shaft. But I digress. Expect a podcast on this subject later this week.
Coming up Tuesday night, the Red Sox for once play against the Yankees during the week. History has shown Boston own the Yankees in the first seven to eight games played against them, so look for the Yankees to throw down now.
On Friday the Sox stay on the road against Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays, who have played the Sox tough in Toronto this season, but overall, it’s going to be a hard week for the local nine.