-When I say ‘Joba Rules’, I mean it in the way he pitched last night, not referring to his innings limits. His final line looks just OK, but watching him pitch last night we saw Joba on top of his game. Good tempo, throwing strikes, fastball regularly touching 94-95 MPH. Unlike prior outings, most of the runs did come on ‘one bad pitch’ last night. I can’t help but think Joba’s been holding something back all year, knowing his innings would be limited and this team is all about the playoffs. Just trying to make sure he stays healthy, knowing the real games begin in October. Maybe its as subtle as simply ‘coasting’ mentally, and he’s a Clemens-type pitcher that thrives on aggression. Whatever the explanation, we saw last night that there’s nothing wrong with him physically, there’s no issue with Posada catching him, and he hasn’t been “ruined” by the Yank’s handling of him this year. For anyone still worried about him in Game 4 of the ALCS, check out his career numbers vs the Red Sox. 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA.
-I don’t want to discuss last night’s game without mentioning A-Rod, who was a 1-man wrecking crew last night. He hit a massive HR, collected 4 RBIs, scored 3 Runs, stole 3 bases and had 3 Hits for the evening. His approach has been great all year, staying up the middle and picking his spots to get aggressive with his swings. Maybe it’s the hip surgery, maybe it’s just him maturing as a ballplayer but he finally seems to be staying within himself, which I can imagine would be hard to do when you’re someone with the enormous gifts he has. He has a good shot at another 30 HR-100 RBI season (28-93 with 8 games left) which is incredible considering he missed the first 6 weeks (1/4) of the season. Pro-rate 30/100 to a full year he would have had 40 HRs and 133 RBIs over a full season. Which is typical production for him despite having hip surgery. Amazing.
-The Sox rolled into this series playing great baseball, having won 12 of their past 15 that included series wins against the Angels and Rays. This series doesn’t have playoff implications, but it is an opportunity to see how the two teams measure up against each other at this point of the year. Francona and Girardi won’t be pulling out all the stops, but those measures rarely decide games anyway. The last time these two squared off, the Sox were reeling and the Yanks were rolling, this series should be a truer measure.
-In case you missed it, Panama’s president Riccardo Martinelli threw out the ceremonial first pitch last night to countryman Mariano Rivera. Both seemed to enjoy the moment enormously, but if I were you I’d stick to politics, chubby.
-Lester will be OK, and may even make his next start. That’s good news, nobody wants to see guys get hurt and I want the Yanks to beat the Sox without any excuses on either side. The Yanks are certainly capable of doing so, they’ve won 7 of their last 8 games facing the Sox this season. To his credit, Lester made no excuses for his ugly line last night:
“I had good stuff tonight. It was one of those nights they made it seem like I didn’t,” Lester said.
-Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman is officially a free agent. Teams can start bidding on him as of yesterday. I’m mixed on him. His arm is very tantalizing, but he’s also very, very raw. I’ll leave it up to the Yankee brass to figure out whether he’s worth bidding a huge sum or not. Whether they land him or not, either way I wont be overly excited. But it will be big news when he lands somewhere.
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