After averaging two runs per in the first two games of this four-game set, the Yankee bats finally came alive in Cleveland, tagging Fausto Carmona for seven earned runs en route to an 8-0 victory. It was the team's first shutout since CC Sabathia's Father's Day victory over a month ago.
A.J. Burnett had the curveball working, which was a good thing considering Burnett told reporters after the game "When A.J. doesn't have his curveball, it's going to be a tough night." What A.J. failed to mention is why, for $16.5 million a year, he doesn't have his curveball every time out on the mound.
Ribbing aside, A.J. was very good this game, throwing 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball with 7 strikeouts. Believe it or not, A.J. actually has the lowest ERA of the starting rotation in July (2.00, to go with a 3.45 FIP and 4.78 xFIP), so I guess he's finally back on track after that execrable June.
Speaking of execrable, has anyone taken a look at Derek Jeter lately, because I certainly haven't heard much about his continued decline. Derek is "hitting" .274/.335/.388 with a .323 wOBA on the season. Additionally, his July wOBA is .275, after posting wOBAs of .382, .323 and .320, respectively, during each of the first three months of the year. This winter's contract negotiations are going to get contentious, and fast, as Jeter's probably looking for one more $100 million payday, and how on earth can the Yankees justify $20 million/year for a .323 wOBA shortstop who will be 40 when his deal is up?
And don't give me the whole "Jeter's one of the all-time Truest of True Yankees™, a Core Four™ member with Five Rings™ and the Clutchiest Clutch that ever Clutched in the postseason! You have to give him whatever he wants!" No, you don't. I will be eternally grateful for all that Derek's done throughout the course of his Yankee career. He's one of my all-time favorite players, a genuine class act, role model to children and adults alike and future Hall-of-Famer not to mention one of the best players to ever don a Yankee uniform. Jeter's had a storybook baseball career; but you literally could not make his career up if you tried.
HOWEVER, lest we forget, the New York Yankees have already made Derek Jeter a very rich man -- he is coming off of a $189 million contract, after all. As such, why should the Yankees have to pay through the nose for past performance? This is thinking that has gotten the team in trouble in the past, and can end up really hamstringing a roster. Do I want Derek back? Of course. In an ideal world, Derek agrees to a four-year, $40 million deal and agrees to hang it up and become a coach once he's done. Because he's not a $20 million player anymore. He's not even a $15 million player anymore. He's an aging shortstop who's looked slow in the field this year, swings at nearly everything, has no interest in working the count and taking walks anymore (a key component of being a leadoff man), and grounds out to short just about every time up.
I'm glad I'm not Brian Cashman. If I were Derek, I'd take the $10 million/year and run. Maybe Derek will be able to put his ego aside and realize that he's not worth what he thinks he is and sign a reasonable deal for the sake of the team. And then I'll run for President of the United States.
Anyway, what was I saying again? Oh yeah, I seem to have forgotten this was a game recap post. For a game in which the Yankees scored eight runs, nothing all that noteworthy happened. Curtis Granderson picked up another multi-hit game, so that's nice to see. Mark Teixeira continued his July surge with two more hits. Did you know that Tex has the second-highest July wOBA in the American League (.502)? I didn't either until I looked it up. Glad to have you back, Mark.
Joba Chamberlain came in and, much to the surprise of everyone, didn't blow the eight-run lead he was entrusted to protect, pitching two-thirds of an inning of scoreless ball. Sergio Mitre threw the last two frames, which seems like a bizarre move given that I assumed Mitre would be shadowing Dustin Moseley tonight, but I suppose two innings isn't that taxing and I imagine Mitre will be ready to go at the first sign of trouble.
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