Even without Manny Ramirez in their lineup, the Florida Marlins are still making noise in the NL East and with the MLB trade deadline approaching, their 7-5 victory over the New York Mets Wednesday night pulls the division race even tighter.
On a day when the main baseball talks revolved around the Boston Red Sox left fielder, the Marlins capitalized on 11 hits and a five run fourth inning to lift them to their 24th win of the season against an NL East opponent, the most from within the division.
Josh Johnson won for the first time in almost two years pitching 6 2/3 solid innings allowing four earned runs on eight hits. The starter who had reconstructive elbow surgery in August of 2007 had not won a game since Aug. 28 2006. With the win, the Marlins are also now 4-0 on his four starts this season.
“Two years, wow,” Johnson said when a reporter told him. “Time flies, I guess.”
For the Mets, it was their first loss in a game that Mike Pelfrey started since June 11th. They had won nine consecutive times with him on the hill, and he had picked up eight wins during that span. Pelfrey was only able to throw 4 innings in this one, allowing five earned runs on eight hits before he was pulled from the game. His display equaled his shortest outing on the season.
With the loss, the Mets drop out of first place in the NL East and find themselves a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies who beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 yesterday. The win for the Marlins pulls them only 1 game behind New York and 1 ½ games behind the Phils for the division lead.
Members of the Marlins were excited about the win but with trade talks in the air some are also uncertain about their future with the team. Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida, both brought up as part of a possible trade, had two hits apiece for Florida.
“You put that aside when you step between the white lines,” Hermida said. “I’ve still got a Marlins jersey on. It didn’t affect me whatsoever.”
If a trade were to take place, and under the collective bargaining agreement with the players union, Ramirez would have to approve any deal before it were to happen but with his recent comments and antics on the field, he may approve anything proposed just to get out of Boston.
The Marlins will now welcome the Colorado Rockies into town for a four game series while the Mets will travel to Houston to take on the Astros for a three game set starting tomorrow.
In a deal that pretty much came out of nowhere, the Chicago White Sox acquired Ken Griffey Jr. In return, the Reds get Danny Richar, Nick Masset and possibly $1 Million in cash considerations. With Jermaine Dye and Carlos Quentin doing a solid job at the corner outfield spots, and the DH spot taken by Jim Thome, Griffey’s place in the lineup is not immediately clear. Keep your eyes peeled for the AL Central-leading Pale Hose to make another deal today.
Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye in the corners and Jim Thome at DH
It was a good day for the New York Yankees. Not only did they break their three game losing streak but the Yanks also got some major help behind the plate with the addition of Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez. Pudge came over late today in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. The Yankees announced the news after handily defeating the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 in a day game at the Stadium.
The Yankees offense got the ball rolling for them in the 1st inning when walks by Jeter and Abreu led to quick runs after an Alex Rodriguez single. Abreu followed Jeter home on the play when the throw to the plate sailed over the catcher’s head. A-Rod scored the third run when he came home on a passed ball.
Abreu would go on to add 2 homeruns and 3 RBI while A-Rod added a homer of his own and finished the day with 2 RBI. Joba Chamberlain got the win for the Yankees for his first back to back wins as a starter. Joba went 6 innings, striking out 6 and giving up just 1 run.
The win was key for the Yankees who are in a tight race in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. They Yankees now trail the 2nd place Red Sox by 1.5 games and the 1st place Rays by 4 games. Things won’t get any easier for the Yankees this week as the MLB’s best team, the Los Angeles Angels come to New York for a four game series.
Yankees Tickets are still available for all four games with the Angels.
Fenway Park almost witnessed its second no hitter of the season but this time on the other team’s side. John Lackey took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Dustin Pedroia singled with one out to end the bid, followed by a Kevin Youkilis two-run homer to erase the shutout, but the Los Angeles Angels still came out victorious with a 6-2 win over the struggling Boston Red Sox.
“A no-hitter would have been nice,” Lackey said. “You know what’s going on, but it wasn’t affecting me. I just wanted to win the game.”
The win improves Lackey’s overall record on the season to 9-2 but the story of the day for Los Angeles was not his pitching performance but a trade that was made prior to the start of the game. LA packaged up 1B Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Steve Marek to the Atlanta Braves in return for 1B Mark Teixeira.
On the season Teixeira had been hitting .283 with 20 HR’s and 78 RBI’s in the National League and is considered to be a big defensive upgrade from Kotchman at first. The move comes one day after Kotchman had belted his 12th homer of the season off of Red Sox starting pitcher Dice-K Matsuzaka to lead the Angels to their six run sixth inning of their 7-5 win.
The loss for Boston guarantees their second consecutive home series loss, the first time this has happened all season. Since the All-Star break Boston is only 4-7 and now finds themselves 2 games behind the division leading Rays.
Clay Buchholtz suffered his fourth consecutive decision for a loss and falls to 2-6 on the season. He can only recall his no-hitter from last September after almost having one thrown against him yesterday evening.
“I was more aware actually of him throwing it than I was when I was out there,” Buchholz said. “It’s something special to watch. It’s a lot more fun when it’s one of us.”
Buchholtz allowed six runs (five earned) over 6 1/3 innings of work while striking out five. He allowed two runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings before he was pulled from the game.
Tonight in the series finale, Boston will be looking to Josh Beckett to avoid a rare sweep at home. Last Friday he came up on the short side of a 1-0 loss to NY but pitched well enough to win. He’ll be pitching against Joe Saunders who’s 13 wins is tied for the second most in all of MLB. In two starts this season against Boston Saunders is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA.
The Sox have tomorrow off and then will welcome Oakland into two for a three game series over the weekend. Tickets are still available for all three games!
The Boston Red Sox have had no problem winning playoff games against the Los Angeles Angels, in fact they’ve won their last six against the reigning Western Division champions. Too bad that the Angels have no problem winning against the Sox in the regular season and with last nights 7-5 victory, have now won their last six meetings dating back to April 23rd.
Casey Kotchman and Torii Hunter both homered in a six run sixth inning to lead LA to their eighth win in ten games. Despite allowing a ninth inning homerun to Manny Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez recorded his major league leading 44th save.
“I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason to some of the streaks,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “but we’ve been playing more consistent baseball this season on the road and at home.”
The win improves the Angels road record to 34-19, by far the best in all of MLB. With the loss, the Red Sox home record drops to 37-14, still an AL Best, even having lost three of the past four games.
“They might be the class of the American League right now,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after the opener of the three-game series. “They have tremendous starting pitching, a very good bullpen, a lot of speed. They catch the ball very well. I could name a lot of things. Hopefully, tomorrow I won’t be naming those things and we’ll end up winning.”
Sox started Dice-K Matsuzaka looked great through the first five innings allowing only one run on three hits. He ran into trouble in the sixth allowing the leadoff runner in Chone Figgins to reach via a walk. Kotchman followed up with a two-run bomb to right field and it didn’t stop there. Three consecutive hits followed, the big blow coming on Hunter’s 16th homer of the year, a three run shot that knocked Dice-K out of the game.
“This guy gave up three runs in the last five starts and, pow, you hit a homer,” Hunter said. “I know he’s a good pitcher and I had to let that go and just swing hard just in case you hit it.”
Prior to the sixth inning, Matsuzaka had not allowed a homerun in his previous five starts, and only one in the prior eight.
“When I’m facing a good team like the Angels, I need to mix up my pitches a little bit more,” Matsuzaka said.
Offensively the Sox were able to string together an 11 hit performance, but could never muster up a big inning to break the game open early. David Ortiz continues to hit well since his return from the DL going 2-4 and it also clear that Manny Ramirez doesn’t mind his teammates protection in the order because he went 2-5 last night with three RBI’s.
Combined since Ortiz’s return the two are hitting .400 (12-30) with 9 RBI’s and 7 runs scored. The numbers are great, the only problem is that Sox are 1-3 over those four games.
The Sox will try to even the series tonight by sending Clay Buchholtz to the hill. The rookie has not won since May 2nd and lost to LA earlier this season in an 11-3 defeat out in California.
LA will counter with John Lackey who beat Boston on July 18th, his only win of the month thus far. Lifetime vs. the Red Sox Lackey has not put up very impressive numbers. His career record is 2-6 with a 6.01 ERA in 12 starts but looks to improve those tonight at Fenway Park.
Tickets are still available for tonight and tomorrow’s Red Sox vs. Angels match ups!
The New York Yankees will have to maintain their second half surge without starting catcher Jorge Posada who opted to have season ending surgery on his ailing shoulder. Posada has only played in 51 games in this 2008 season due to the injury and has been mainly ineffective especially in throwing runners out. Posada was debating on whether or not to delay surgery and play injured for the remainder of the year either as DH or at 1st Base. The Yankees however have an abundance of 1st Base/DH help on their bench with the recent additions of Richie Sexson and OF Xavier Nady.
The surgery will sideline Posada for at least six months and may delay his Spring Training work as pitchers and catchers report to camp in February. New York catcher Jose Molina has filled in nicely for Posada and will continue to be in the starting lineup behind the plate.
Just when it seemed like the Boston Red Sox bats had gone dormant, they came to life Sunday night in a 15-hit barrage against the New York Yankees in Boston’s 9-2 win. The win prevented New York from sweeping the three game weekend series and leaves Boston two games ahead of the Bronx Bombers in the standings, and one game behind Tampa Bay for the AL East Division lead.
In Friday night’s game, New York received a near flawless pitching performance by rookie Joba Chamberlain. In seven innings of work, Chamberlin allowed only 3 hits while striking out nine Red Sox batters and surrendered no runs. Mariano Rivera worked the final five outs to preserve New York’s 1-0 win. Their lone run off of Josh Beckett came in the 4th inning on an RBI infield single from Jason Giambi.
“I’ve had quality starts against everybody,” Chamberlain said. “You understand it’s going to be a tough game. He (Beckett) is an unbelievable pitcher. He battles and claws.”
Saturday in a pitching match up between two veterans it was Andy Pettitte and the Yankees who got the upper hand of Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in New York’s 10-3 win. Boston jumped out early and grabbed a pair of runs in the first inning on an RBI single by David Ortiz followed by a Manny Ramirez RBI ground out. After that, it was pretty much all New York.
The Yankees connected for 13 hits total, eight off of Wakefield in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Heading into the 6th inning and the score still close at 3-2 NY, Wakefield struggled to get outs, the Yanks put four more runs on the board and knocked him out of the game. The win was Pettitte’s 12th on the season and the Yankees were 8-0 in eight games after the All Star break.
“Our pitching has been really good all year,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what’s kept us afloat. And now we’re starting to hit better. We’re starting to score runs. It’s a good combination to have.”
After falling twice, the Sox sent Jon Lester to the mound to try and stop the bleeding and that he did. Once again, the young southpaw was able to pick up a victory by tossing seven innings and allowing only two earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight batters along the way.
“Luckily, we get some runs early and I held it.” Lester said. “It definitely felt like a different atmosphere in the dugout tonight. Guys were laughing, having fun, seemed like they were going up to the plate more relaxed.”
The Sox were able to score three runs in the first, a run in the second and third inning and then two more runs in the fourth which came on Ortiz’s first homerun since returning from his wrist injury. On the series, Ortiz went 5-12 with a HR and four RBI’s.
Manny Ramirez also had a stellar game going 3-5 at the plate with two RBI’s and two runs scored. This came after he made a few typical Manny-esk remarks before the game began that created a little buzz in the media room, but did not really surprise anyone. In the past, the eight year Sox veteran has demanded trades during the 2005 and 2006 off-season. Ramirez originally told ESPNdeportes.com on Sunday that he wouldn’t object to a trade if the Red Sox are better without him.
Later, in the clubhouse, he said, “What I said was, if the Red Sox think they can find a trade that’s going to make their team better and both sides are going to be happy, I’m going to agree. But they cannot find a trade. It’s something simple. It’s no big deal.”
Mike Lowell may have put it best when after the game he said, “Manny says a lot of things. Some of them are entertaining. Some of them make you roll your eyes and spin your head. But it seems like every time after he says something he goes 3-for-4 so maybe we should encourage him to say something like that.”
Ramirez’s RBI double in the first inning gave him 1,668 on his career and puts him in the 23rd spot for all-time, surpassing Sammy Sosa whom he had been tied with prior to the game.
Tonight, the Red Sox welcome the Los Angeles Angels to town. The Sox whom boast the best home record in baseball at 37-13 know that the Angels will be another tough test because they come in with the best road record in baseball at 33-19. Back in April the Angels took two of three from Boston so the Sox look to turn the tables on their West Coast foes.
Dice-K Matsuzaka (11-1, 2.85 ERA) looks to pick up his 12th victory on the season and will have to do so against the Angels Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.08 ERA). Weaver is 0-2 lifetime against Boston and in his only outing against them this season pitched five innings and allowed five runs on 10 hits in a game on April 22nd at Fenway.
Matsuzaka has only faced LA once in his short MLB career and allowed three earned runs in only 4 2/3 innings of work last season in Game 2 of the ALDS Playoff series, a game the Sox would win 6-3.
Tickets are still available for the remainder of the Angels series!
Just one day after coming back from 6 runs down on Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies came back from a 5-0 deficit to best the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. A nearly 2-hour rain delay in the bottom of the second inning ended Jorge Campillo and Joe Blanton’s starts, and sent both clubs scrambling for replacements. Philadelphia chose Adam Eaton, who gave up 3 runs to make it 5-0 Braves.
The Braves sent in Jo-Jo Reyes, whose disastrous 4th inning would tie it back up. Phils’ catcher Chris Coste hit a two run homer, followed by a 3-run blast by Shane Victorino later in the inning. Julian Tavarez came in to relieve Reyes, and was promptly greeted by a Pat Burrell solo shot.
The Phils opened up the game in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs on timely hits by Victorino and Ryan Howard, as well as a 2-run shot bu Jayson Werth. The Braves would get three back in the 8th, but closer Brad Lidge pitched a solid ninth inning for his 24th save of the season.
The Phillies are currently one game behind the Mets in the NL East, with the Florida Marlins a game behind them. Philly opens up a 3-game series at NL-worst Washington on Monday night. East contenders Florida and New York will play the first of three at Dolphin Stadium.
Braves catcher Brian McCann left after a home plate collision with Shane Victorino. X-rays were negative, and McCann should only miss a few days with a mild concussion.
The Cleveland Indians‘ 2008 season is not going so well. The Indians are 45-58 after 103 games, and are currently in last place in the AL Central. After unloading ace CC Sabathia, the Tribe opted to continue dealing players. Third baseman Casey Blake was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor-league catcher Carlos Santana (no relation) and RHP Jon Meloan. Santana has a .323 average with 14 homers in single-A ball. Meloan is 5-10 with a 4.07 ERA at AAA with the Las Vegas 51′s, but has an impressive career K per 9 of 11.5.
Blake hit a paltry .234 in the first two months of the season, but exploded since then, hitting .352 with 29 RBI since the end of May.
“Casey Blake is a gamer,” said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti “His experience and character will be a plus as we head down the stretch in the final two months of the regular season.”
The trade leaves few veteran players left on the rebuilding Indians team.
Facing the possibility of losing two starting players in Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui for the year, the New York Yankees sured up some offense and finally picked up a left handed reliever to help in their second half Pennant chase in the AL East. In a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates the Yankees picked up Right Fielder Xavier Nady who is having a fine offensive year with a .330 average and 13 home runs. Nady should pick up much of Matsui’s slack in left field. The Yankees also put left hander Damaso Marte in their bullpen with this trade.
The Yankees sent four minor leaguers to the Pirates including pitcher Russ Ohlendorf. The Yankees are still awaiting final word on both Posada and Matsui. Both players are mulling season ending surgery.
The Yankees are currently playing the Boston Red Sox in the first of a three game series. Game 2 of Red Sox vs Yankees will take place on Saturday July 26 at 3:55pm.