- Rangers 3-Yankees 2:
The differences between the Yankees teams in years past and this one is stark. Joe Girardi, despite all of his seriousness, commitment, impressive vocabulary and history as a winner is still a manager in his second big league season; he has a lot to prove. The young pitching that was supposed to be the hallmark of the new Yankees is either on the disabled list (Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy) or being nursed along (Joba Chamberlain); the lineup, which was supposed to make up for the callow pitching staff, has been hamstrung by the slumping Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera, and the injured Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada. The bullpen has been untrustworthy and the Yankees aura is missing. Teams don't seem intimidated when they're walking into Yankee Stadium; they don't seem impressed by the Yankees financial power; they're not panicking in the late innings and blowing games; and it's enough already.
Those that are counting on a similar blazing hot streak as the team experienced under Joe Torre following slow starts in the past may be in for a rude awakening. Girardi still has to prove that he can right the ship when the leaks are springing up all over; the young pitchers have to prove they belong and can pick up for their injured ace in Chien-Ming Wang; and they have to start beating teams that they've consistently fattened their record upon----but they're not. They're losing pitcher's duels to teams like the Rangers who don't have any pitching; they're seen to be turning the corner when they're beating teams that are slumping (the Astros) or are just plain bad (the Padres), but then they fall back into the mediocre bunch they've been all season and we still hear the apologists stating with more desperation than confidence, "the Yankees are gonna be in the playoffs" as if it's their divine right. It's not. They have to win some games.
It's July; their reputation for overcoming adversity may have flown to Los Angeles along with Torre and if that's the case, then they'd better make some moves fast to improve their current roster because believe it or not, there's not an unlimited amount of time for the team to right themselves; more importantly, they might not have the personnel to do it either.
- Rays 3-Red Sox 1:
Sabathia is a rental because the Rays aren't going to shell out the money he's going to want to keep him; they'd have to give up a chunk of prospects to get him and they might be better suited to make smaller, more intangible maneuvers (Kevin Millar and Chad Bradford for example) rather than making the big splash. Their young pitching has adapted well to the attention their receiving; their veteran relievers have performed up to their best-case scenario expectations and they score plenty of runs. Instead of getting Sabathia, they might be better served to bring up Jeff Niemann or David Price to slot into the rotation rather than an impending free agent like Sabathia.
Their offense isn't going to be their problem----Carlos Pena has a hot streak due any day now----and they've done pretty well so far with their young starters; if they're going to make a bold move, they'd probably be better off supplementing their bullpen because Troy Percival is about to turn 39 and one wrong move away from being out for the season given his injury history. Huston Street is probably available for the right price; or they could go to a team like the Padres and see if they'd be willing to move Trevor Hoffman (he's been atrocious this season, but a pennant race and change of scenery might give him an adrenaline boost); there are better and cheaper options available than Sabathia; and more importantly, they don't want to start messing around when they're playing so well, plus the starting rotation isn't in need of a desperation rental who hasn't been that great in the playoffs anyway.
- Phillies demote Brett Myers:
Now they're sending Myers to Triple A when it might be more appropriate and less embarrassing if they took the course other teams have taken with struggling veteran pitchers and sent them to extended spring training to work out the kinks without having to endure the mental stigma involved with a demotion. What makes it worse is that Myers did what he was asked to help the team and they're treating him as if the 3-9 record is his fault and his fault alone, but the Phillies are just as, if not more, responsible because of the way they've jerked Myers around. Sending him to Triple A may help, but there were better ways to handle the situation and the individual.