Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ex-Red Sox: George's New Fetish

Back in the '90's and even till today, it seemed like George has had a serious ex-Met fetish. There were the high-profile signings of the likes of Darryl, Doc, and David Cone. Then there were bit players like Jose Vizcaino and Alberto Castillo. Ex-Met closers Benitez and Orosco put on the pinstripes for a short while in '03. George has also brought in the '99-'00 Met heroes in Zeile, Olerud, and Ventura. This year they brought in Leiter, another hero from that era. And new Yankee Matt Lawton? The guy the Mets got for Rick Reed a few years ago. Remember when the Junkees gave Sid Fernandez a spring training invitation? What a disaster.

But with the signing of Embree and now Bellhorn, it seems like George is now fixated on the Red Sox. And as my compadre the Despiser pointed out, George likes guys who punished his team in the playoffs, like Wright, Pavano, etc. And Bellhorn certainly fits the bill there, too.

Thing is, Bellhorn was at best mediocre in his tenure with the Red Sox. And looking at his career numbers, Bellhorn has had a good year or two, and that's it. This year, the guy simply stunk. Todd Walker in '03 was a much better offensive player, though his defense was awful. And people forget he had plenty of whiffs during the playoffs last year. Theo Epstein has made another classic under-the-radar move in getting Graffanino, filling what had been a pretty big hole in the lineup. And with Alex Cora to back up, the Red Sox won't miss Bellhorn.

The Junkees were stupid to get Embree, who has made the Yankee fans pine for the days of Felix Heredia. Okay, he hasn't been that bad, but he's still been quite awful.

And Bellhorn too, seems like a PR move, and not much else. I don't see how the .215 bat of Bellhorn will do much to spell the slumping Robby Cano. Maybe he's better than Escalona, but even that's debatable.

Thing that scares me about George's new fetish: the possibility of Johnny Damon in pinstripes next year. If that happens, hopefully George overpays and Johnny underperforms.

--- I am officially rooting for the Mets in the NL wild-card race. The only thing better than a Yankee-free October would be to have the Mets be the one and only NY team playing in October. Oh, what I would do to see New York turn back into Mets town....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Yankee-free October in Jeopardy

It was just 10 days ago when all was well for the Yankee haters of the world. The Junkees had lost a couple of sloppy ones to the Devil Rays, the usually calm Joe Snorre busted a gut, and the Red Sox had a pretty comfortable lead over the Junkees. And for the first time since 1993, perhaps we could really look forward to the postseason.

But now, the Junkees are looking like a threat once again. They beat the White Sox, took 3 from the Jays, and are poised for a sweep of the Royals. And the Juice man has hit two dingers today. I guess with Palmeiro out of the news again, he's back in true Giambaby form. Even though the Royals will probably go down with the '03 Tigers as one of the worst teams in history, I was hoping they could pull off a sweep like they did earlier in the year. But the rules of nature kicked in: if you go up against a team with 7 times the payroll you've got, chances are that you will not do too well.

The only hope I see now is the difficulty of the Yankees' upcoming schedule. I'm not too optimistic about the four-game set against the crappy Mariners; I'll be happy if the M's can split this one. Then there's Oakland, which should be an excellent series. The Junkees face those pesky Rays six times after that, with a Boston series in between. The Junkees have been streaky this year, and right now they're on a roll. Let's hope some tough opponents knock 'em off their feet.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Inconsistent Moose Does It Again

For all the money this guy is making, the Yankees deserve more. The guy's making more than guys like Dontrelle Willis and Chris Carpenter, who almost always guarantee a win when they get out there. And Moose is making more than ex-teammate Andy Pettitte, who's also more reliable. And getting blown out against the Blue Jays, who have simply stunk the past few nights, made Moose's outing even more of an embarrassment.

When it comes down to it, even the biggest Yankee hater has to admit that Mussina is undoubtedly one of the better pitchers in the league. But is he a big-time starter? Not anymore. Not with an ERA north of 4.00. And no, you don't pay someone $19 million just to be one of the better starters of the game. You pay that kind of money for someone of at least all-star caliber. And Moose has not been on that level for the Junkees this year.

No Yankee fan can look back at Mussina's signing without at least a tinge of disappointment. Don't get me wrong, Moose's signing wasn't as disastrous as the Junkees getting Johnson, Brown, or Pavano. But everyone expected more from the guy.

--- Last night's Junkee loss, Tribe loss, and A's win puts everyone again in a three-way tie for the wild card lead. The A's have to get hot again. And the Indians aren't the friggin' Yankees: they have no excuse for getting their butts kicked by the AAA-Rays. C'mon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Weird Win for Yanks

It was a weird night tonight. First, I never thought I'd see the day that Felix Escalona would make YES' Yankees Classics. And Mo had another bad outing tonight. Weirdest of all was seeing Al Leiter out there in the 7th. For a second I thought it was Game 5 of the 2000 World Series all over again.

The Blue Jays are just not a good team. This is a team that has built a winning record on Roy Halladay and smoke and mirrors. Now, with Halladay on the shelf, it's all smoke and mirrors. With Delgado gone, there's no real scary bat in the lineup. Maybe Vernon Wells, but he's nowhere near the slugger Delgado was in his prime. And guys like Hudson, Hillenbrand, and Russ Adams are good players, but not so reliable for the big hit. And aside from Halladay, no one on the pitching staff is that great. Guys like Towers and Lilly are serviceable, as is closer Miguel Batista. Serviceable, yes. Good, no.

At least the Indians won again. Seems like they're the team to root for, especially with the A's starting to revert to May form. If their hitting stays hot, the Indians can go a long way. Hafner provides them with a big bat, Martinez has gotten better as the season's gone on, and guys like Peralta and Sizemore are solid. They're not quite the 1990's Indians, but they're a solid team through and through. And their starting pitching may be better, especially with Westbrook recovering from a dreadful start of the year. And if they make the wild card, Mark Shapiro ought to be mentioned along with Beane and Epstein as one of the game's better GMs. Heck, in my book, he's up there for dumping Robby Alomar on to the Mets. But then again, Alex Escobar went about as far as Shawn Abner. So go figure.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Randy Dominates Again

Face it, Junkee fans, the guy is finished. He's done. I bet he does not last through his contract. The Junkees will buy him out, and send him to an early retirement. And his trade and subsequent signing will go down as the biggest bust in New York sports history, if not in all of professional sports history. If he has his typical Randy Johnson season, the Yankees are in first place by a lot. Instead, they might not even make the postseason.

The weekend was starting to look dreary, as the Yankees won the first two, the Red Sox lost one and the A's lost one. But on Sunday, the Red Sox won, so the lead is back to 4. Now I know that it'll be frustrating if the Junkees make it, even as the wild card, but that's still good because they'll have to play the White Sox and face Buhrle and Garland in Chicago. And Contreras owns them, so as long as Boston holds the lead in the division, it won't be that bad. But of course, nothing would beat a Yankee-free October!

And as far as the Snorre rumors, I hope he stays, because he's a lousy manager, and if he goes, they might actually bring in someone decent.

Junkees Take Two From Struggling Sox

I know Junkee fans are ready to get excited about beating the AL's best team two out of three. They ought to take a closer look at some of the factors in play here:

- It's no coincidence that the White Sox' biggest slide of the year came with Scott Podsednik on the shelf. No offense to Timo Perez, but their offense was shot without Podsednik. The guy is about as big a table-setter as there is in the majors today. This series reminded me of the '01 ALCS. The Yankees were able to keep Ichiro off base, and just like that the 116-win juggernaut called the Seattle Mariners became just another footnote in the oblivion of baseball history. This series, the Yanks had it better than back in '01: they didn't even have to face Podsednik, who helped win the rubber game of the last Yanks-White Sox series. And even John Flaherty (in a pre-game interview) admitted that it was a huge factor in the series. So the Yanks caught a break. They caught a tail-spinning White Sox team, and were able to take full advantage of that. And by hitting 4 HR off Johnson, the White Sox didn't quite win today's game the Ozzieball way.

With that in mind, Sunday's loss is a big embarrassment for the Junkees. Johnson stunk again, giving up home runs like they were going out of style. Randy Johnson is probably the biggest high-profile disappointment the Junkees have acquired in a long, long time.

- And here's hoping Shawn Chacon turns out to be another Javier Vazquez. Vazquez also started off hot when he switched leagues. Heck, most fans forget that Snorre put him on the '04 All-Star team. Then again, anyone in pinstripes has a chance to go when Snorre's manager. Anyway, once AL batters got used to Vazquez, he struggled, his mechanics got screwed up, and his Yankee career was over.

Most people facing Chacon have never seen the guy before. The guy has very good stuff. So of course people will struggle, having never seen him. Maybe Chacon can go till the end of the year baffling hitters like he currently is. But will it last in '06? There's a good chance it won't.

- One more point on Chacon: If Snorre were smart, he would put this guy in the pen. Sturtze and Gordon are tired, and Chacon has had lots of bullpen experience. Heck, he even saved 25 games for the Rockies a few years ago. Aaron Small has never had bullpen experience, and it cost the Yankees Wednesday night. If Snorre is so set on on keeping old man Al Leiter in the rotation, he may as well put Chacon's relief-experienced arm in the pen. But instead, he's letting Aaron Small turn into Sterling Hitchcock. A job well done, Snorre.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another Bullpen Beauty

Joe Snorre is an idiot. That says it all. He takes out Aaron Small from the rotation - the starter who's pitched most consistently lately - and leaves in Al Leiter, who always works with a high pitch count, thereby taxing the pen, and that's what happened tonight.

Leiter was through after 5, so they turned it over to Small. The guy stunk tonight, Embree was his usual self (did the Red Sox know what they were doing when they dumped him? I think so), and Sturtze is way over his hot streak. Funny how I don't hear Sterling go on and on about the greatness of the Grand Tanyon anymore. And the Junkees can't run Rivera and Gordon out there every night, so the scrubs give away another one.

Again, I can't complain. Sure, a Red Sox win and an Oakland victory would make this one hell of a night, but this is beautiful. And now they can shut up about Aaron Small.

Granted, the Devil Rays had their share of luck over the last two games, but the Junkees always seem to lead the league in luck, so it's only fair. We're closer to a Yankee-free October!

Mo Blows One and Proctor's Done

What a game last night. Johnson actually pitched well (which doesn't mean much against a team that's 30 games under .500), and then Mo came in. Can you say, "here we go again"?

Then Eduardo Perez came up and changed everything. Perez belongs in the annals of the great Yankee killers over the years, including Juan Gonzalez, Jay Buhner, and Edgar Martinez.

And Mariano is officially off his game right now. Nobody is dumb enough to say the guy is done. We thought so in April, and then Mo reeled off about 30 scoreless innings in a row. That sure shut everyone up. But recently, he's blown a couple of saves, and don't forget that loss against the White Sox last Wednesday. The guy is giving up a lot more fly balls than usual. So even though Mo isn't done, it's nice to see him slumping. And right before September, no less: he couldn't have picked a better time to go south.

And Scott Proctor's Yankee career is over. George does not like guys who give up walk-off hits or walks. In '03, Weaver gave up a walk-off shot to Alex Gonzalez; that was it for his Yankee career. Earlier this year, Stanton gave one up to Brian Roberts; two days later, goodbye. Can you say, "designated for assignment"?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Wright's Night

So I guess for one night, the normal order of the universe was restored. The Junkees were actually able to beat the AAA-Rays. Not so normal, though, was Wright's performance. The guy pitched damn well, and Mo was able to hold off a potential rally for the save. (Meanwhile, Schilling couldn't quite get the job done.)

So let's watch the Yankee fans get excited about Wright beating up one of the worst teams of the game. Let's see them get all hyped up over nothing.

And hopefully, we'll see Wright go the way of Leiter; one good beginning start, and not much else to follow.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Yanks Beat Up on AAA Pitchers

Well, to be fair, the Red Sox did the same a few days ago, so I can't go too crazy.

What else happened this weekend ... Mariano finally blew a save! When that happens, that's got to be the most satisfying thing to see. Just a day before, I saw a chart in the paper of longest streaks of saves converted. Well, he's got to start all over now. But to me, it's more of the psychological boost that Mariano does not mean game over. Most of the time, yes, but not always.

I hope Bernie keeps his hot streak going long enough for the Junkees to sign him for next year, so he could stink up the joint again.

Leiter was very shaky on Friday, but he got the win, so in Snorre's book, he's better than Small (can't wait for Jaret Wright to come back and get lit up), so that's good.

Has anyone noticed that John Flaherty is hitting .165 this year?

All in all, you can't be too happy because the bottom line is that they did win four games and gain a little ground in the playoff race, and as much as Tampa Bay has owned them this year, you know that the $208 million team always has a better chance against a $30 million payroll club, so everyone pray.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Now They Can't Hit

Another few losses, and it'll be crisis-time in Junkee land again. And as long as the Sox, Indians and A's keep winning, I'll be quite happy with that.

Thing that struck me about the White Sox series: the Junkees couldn't hit. And this was without facing their two best starters, Garland and Buehrle. Cano's been slumping for a while (6 for his last 43 = .141), Shemp's been off his game (3-21), and even the Juice man's bat was quiet this series (1-9). Bernie's bat has been dead. And Jorge Posada is aging fast (.247, .332 OBP). The Junkees have survived their pitching problems simply because of their offensive prowess. But if their offense continues to waste gems like Small and Chacon pitched, they'll be out of it real soon. Maybe their bats will wake up against Texas, who gave up 35 runs in the Boston series. But with Proctor and Leiter pitching, will it even be enough, against one of the best offensive teams in the game?

-- So much good stuff yesterday. Another botched ball by Bernie. Mo blowing a game for the first time in ages (the way Joe used him, you know he was dying to win this one). Fans calling up WFAN and ripping Snorre. Another Sox win.

Best part of it all? Getting to see Jaret "I miss my Mazzone" Wright make his return to the rotation. (Wonder if the Junkees are stupid enough to bump Small to make room for Wright, which may be a non-issue if RJ stays on the shelf.) Wright starts against the Rays next week. I guess that's gonna be another series win for Tampa Bay.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

George Bashes Snorre

Yankee despisers have felt, for years, that Snorre is overrated. Apparently, George agrees. He said, "I'm not pleased with the manager. I don't know why they kept the left-hander in there. ... He should never have pitched to Konerko. Konerko's their best hitter."

He's right! Alas, there was no Junkee magic in Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the White Sox. When they rallied in the ninth, it reminded me of a hundred games I'd seen over the years, except when Bernie lined out to end it, the result was different.

And I don't want to hear any whining about injuries now that Old Man Johnson will miss another start. The Red Sox were prepared for injuries and the like, with Wade Miller in waiting, Bronson Arroyo stepping in for Shilling.... And that's with a payroll $70 million less than Old York's. Besides, the way RJ was pitching, did you really want him out there? I know I do, but right now, he's the 4th best starter on the Junkees. And don't be shocked if we don't see Carl Panavo out for a year or two. Gotta love it!

Contreras Tells Yanks Where To Go

What a long, strange trip it's been for Contreras. There was the whole Yankees/Red Sox competition in trying to get him, culminating in the Yanks winning out, the famous "evil empire" line by Lucchino, and George making up stories about Theo Epstein. Then Contreras starts pitching for the Junkees, beats the Tigers and Devil Rays, and gets rocked by the Red Sox and any other half-decent team out there. The Junkees get fed up, ship him out for Loaiza, and Contreras does decently for the White Sox. Then, last night, first time facing his old team, Contreras is lights out. Sweet!

In the end, though, it was pickup of the year Alan Embree making the difference in the game, giving up a big HR to Konerko. Too bad the Junkees gave up on Damaso Marte, a much better lefty than Embree. But it was worth it, just for Enrique Wilson, right?

A thrilling Red Sox win puts the Junkees 4 1/2 back. And the Junkees and the Indians are both 3 1/2 out of the wild card.

Anyone notice the Mets (3 back) are closer to the wild card than the Yanks?

-- I'm counting on the White Sox to help bring back the real Aaron Small today. Gotta do better than they did against Chacon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Junkees Hit the "10 Over" Mark

I could be pretty upset right now. The Junkees won another close one, A-Rod had another homer, and they beat the White Sox. And Junkee fans are getting all excited about being 10 games over .500 for the first time all year.

But look at it this way. If I would've told you in December that the Yanks wouldn't be 10 over till August, you would have thought I was nuts. The past bunch of years, the Yanks got to 10 over in May or June. The anniversary of the '94 strike is coming up; when the games stopped, they were 70-34, a lot better than they are now.

My guess is that '95 was the last time they got to 10 over so late in the year. And comparing this year to '95, the team was in a different direction then. Their big pitching acquisition of the summer was David Cone, not Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon. This team will not pull off a September run like the '95 Junkees did.

And if the season ended tomorrow, the Junkees would be home for October for the first time since the Spike Owen era. Even in a year where A-Rod, Rivera, and Sheff are all putting up MVP-caliber numbers. So things are not that bad.

-- The Yanks are lucky they're missing Garland and Buehrle this series. I don't care if the Junkees win two of three here; they wouldn't stand a chance against the White Sox in a playoff series.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bob Ryan on Dave Roberts' Steal

I mentioned this play in passing last week, and now Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has a whole piece on it. Roberts' steal in Game 4 might have been the most important play for the Sox in the ALCS. Check it out here.

Small, Leiter Save Junkees

If by some chance the Junkees make the playoffs this year, Joe Snorre has to make Aaron Small the #1 starter. I can't stand the guy. Just when you think he'll actually fall back to earth and become the AAA-level pitcher he's been, he throws another solid game. He better start stinking it up soon enough; the guy is driving me crazy.

But overall, not a bad weekend. Seeing the Unit get rocked makes up for seeing Small and Leiter pitch well. Especially considering how the Yanks have millions invested in him, and are paying Leiter and Small the minimum.

The Junkees only pick up a game on the Red Sox, and are still 4 out behind the A's/Angels for the wild card. The Sox stunk it up this weekend, especially with a Met-esque performance on Saturday night. But 3 and 1/2 is still a pretty good lead. And with the Yanks taking on the White Sox, maybe these teams can gain some ground in the races.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Mike Lupica on Juice-on Giambaby

Cloud of mystery will continue to hover over Giambi
You want to know the high cost of steroid use? Jason Giambi is the high cost, even if he never serves one of those 10-game suspensions, even if he never loses a day of salary because of a positive drug test. Giambi is the high cost of steroids because even when he is hitting the ball the way he is hitting the ball now, which is the way he used to, he is still a suspect.
He has never admitted to steroid use, at least not in broad daylight. All we have to go on with him is leaked grand jury testimony to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. And since there is no provision for leaked grand jury testimony in baseball's collective bargaining agreement, Giambi does not fall into the category of players who can be tested more frequently "for cause."
The truth is, he should want to be tested all the time, as a way of convincing people that he is clean. But even if that happened, he would still be a suspect, because there will be enough people who will not believe him when he says this is only about hard work, who will believe instead that Giambi is taking some kind of human growth hormone that shows up only in blood tests, which baseball is not allowed to administer. Or that he is ahead of the curve with some sort of new designer steroid that is undetectable in urine tests, this year's version of hGH, the last designer steroid that was supposed to rock everybody's world.
Even Giambi has to understand that he is expecting us to take an awful lot on faith these days, starting with this: Without any medical help, without trips to the chemist, he looks exactly the same and hits exactly the same as he was when he was on the juice, when he was the kind of slugging MVP guy who could eventually command $120 million from the Yankees.
This isn't about fair or unfair. This is the way it works in the real world. All over baseball, we see other suspects who don't look nearly as muscular, as beefed-up, as they used to. We see ballplayers shrinking before our eyes. We don't have positive tests on them, either. We just know what we see in their bodies and in their power numbers. And, of course, we follow the saga of Barry Bonds, who might become one of the first players in all of recorded history to take an entire year off because of his particular knee problem.
After the news about Rafael Palmeiro hit this week like a force-five baseball hurricane, Giambi was asked about suspicions still directed at him.
"I really don't care, to be honest with you," he told reporters in Cleveland.
Then he said, "If somebody wants to shortchange (his offensive production over the last month or so), that's their problem, not mine."
He ought to care. And it is his problem. Maybe it would be different if Giambi had ever answered one question honestly about steroid use, during that period when he nearly tore a rotator cuff trying to pat himself on the back for being a standup guy for that February press conference at Yankee Stadium. But he has never admitted to anything, as a way of protecting his contract status with the Yankees. A few months ago, the Yankees couldn't give him away. Now he is the "resurgent Giambi," which is the way general manager Brian Cashman referred to him the other day during a phone conversation we were having.
The truth about Jason? The truth is we're never going to have the whole truth about Jason. He has his power numbers again and we still have our questions. Everybody else has shrunk except him, and that isn't a witch hunt, and that doesn't diminish the work he's done. It's just the way things are.
They asked Giambi about Palmeiro in Cleveland and this is what he said:
"My heart goes out to him and his family."
Because Palmeiro is another standup guy in the world of jockdom? It was reported in the New York Times the other day that both Mike Mussina and Ruben Sierra, both of whom were teammates of Palmeiro's once, believed Palmeiro's version of things, that he took something unintentionally. Sure he did. It happens with Stanozolol all the time. Here is the truth about Stanozolol, because drugs don't lie even if drug users lie all the time: It is a powerful steroid that is not found in dietary supplements. Palmeiro unintentionally took Stanozolol the way guys go into bars at the cocktail hour and unintentionally drink martinis.
So here we are with Giambi, taking it all on faith. But then hasn't that always been the case with him? We took it on faith that he was apologizing for steroids, even though he never did. We took it on faith once that he had lost only a few pounds between the end of the 2003 season and the beginning of the 2004 season, even if he looked like a wide receiver after all the years when he looked like a tight end. We were supposed to take it on faith that he had some kind of benign tumor, even though he couldn't tell us what kind.
We were told in February by Giambi and his agent Arn Tellem - he also has Palmeiro, and must be awfully proud of his guys - that Giambi couldn't answer questions about drugs because of the ongoing BALCO investigation. Well, there is no ongoing BALCO investigation anymore. They have made it clear out there that no further witnesses will be called now that Martha Stewart time has been handed down to Victor Conte.
This would be a perfect time, considering Giambi's offensive stats, for him to give us some answers. If not, he can't get indignant because we still have our questions.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Are Pitchers Figuring Out Cano?

For much of the year, Robby Cano has been surprisingly good. When he came up during the Junkees' first shakeup in May, I thought maybe he'd be better than Womack. But the guy's been damn good, perhaps a borderline ROY candidate. Junkee fans haven't been so excited about a rookie (not counting Shemp, who wasn't a real rookie anyway) in a long, long while.

But in the past week, Cano's been awful. A 3-for-28 slide has pulled his average down 17 points. Then there was that incident where he was reading the paper while talking to reporters. I didn't see what the big deal was with that, especially considering that Cano is teammates with such media-friendly folks as Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown.

But what I found most interesting was what Waldman said yesterday: pitchers are starting to change the way they approach Cano. For example, they're starting to throw pitches way outside to see if the guy can chase it. And so far, it's worked.

Who knows? If Cano is for real, he'll make the necessary adjustments and start hitting again. Otherwise, he'll turn out to be more Angel Berroa than Derek Jeter.

------ Painful game last night. I especially hated seeing A-Schmuck and the Juice man getting homers. But with the A's and Sox winning, at least the Junkees didn't gain any ground in the races.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Go Moneyball!!

I've never been a fan of Moneyball. I like aggressive baseball: stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and stuff like that. Besides, no Moneyball team has ever won a playoff series. And the teams that have won the World Series have been anti-Moneyball models, filled with base-stealers like Dave Roberts, Juan Pierre, and David Eckstein. If not for Roberts' stolen base in game 4 of last year's ALCS, there still might be a curse today.

And watching Moneyball teams can be downright boring. I hate watching the station-to-station style. When the Blue Jays made 3 sacrifice bunts all year a few years ago, they were about as exciting as their hockey counterparts, the Maple Leafs. No, that's not a good thing.

But because Moneyball teams like the A's have had success in the regular season, they're good for potentially knocking the Junkees out of the playoffs. The A's have a 3 game lead in the wild card, and the Blue Jays are just a game and a half behind the Yanks. The Jays have beaten some good teams lately, having swept the Angels and taken two from the White Sox. Let's hope they can beat up on the Junkees over the weekend.

And the A's now look totally different than they did when the Yanks were killing them in May. For me, their low point must have been when Kevin Brown shut them out for 7 innings. Now that's embarassing. Since then, though, they've gotten the last laugh from the Junkees, pulling ahead of them in the wild-card standings. Billy Beane's boys better pull this one out.

---- Sweet seeing the Yankees lose again last night, with some help from Aaron Boone. That team had been winning on fumes and thanks to the Angels' sloppiness; they're finally coming back down to earth. Anyone notice the Tribe is just a half-game behind the Junkees in the wild-card race? And that the Yanks are now 4 1/2 games behind Boston? Good times.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Leiter, Junkees Fall to Tribe

So much for the Junkee strategy of taking any pitcher who gets released. Leiter showed why he should have hung 'em up two years ago. Mad Dog Russo was right when he said that Leiter was shot.

The Junkees almost pulled it off, down 6-1, scoring 4, but they fell short this time, unlike in the Angels series, when they should have been swept, but Anaheim was sloppy, so New York stole a couple.

Now it's looking as if making the playoffs is no sure thing. They have no reliable starters (even Mussina hasn't been great), as Randy Johnson has not found any consistency. One good start, one bad one. Two good, one bad. Three good, two bad. That's been Randy's MO this season. Mussina has been better than he's been in previous years, but you still can't trust him. The Al Leiters are going to have Al Leiter type starts, so if I were a Junkee fan, I'd wait till 2006.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Juice-On Again?

With the news about Palmeiro bringing steroids back to the forefront, it's time for some speculation.

The Giambaby has done a complete 180 over the past few months, going from Mario Mendoza to Mickey Mantle, the last Yankee to hit 14 HR in a month. Suddenly, Giambi has become that feared MVP-level hitter the Yanks encountered back in 2001. Maybe even better. How does that happen? Did he suddenly just get more confident? A lot more confident? Is Donnie Baseball that good? And why has the Tino Martinez fadeaway not happened yet?

After Giambi BS apology about nothing a few months ago, who knows. It's time for more speculation. Besides, BALCO's designer steroids, undetectable in baseball's testing, should prevent Giambi from having an embarrassing moment like Palmeiro. Maybe instead of going back to AAA in May, Giambi went back to the juice. And with designer steroids, can we really know whether Giambi is on the stuff? We can't.

The way Yankee fans are treating the guy, you'd think he'd have come clean. Remember when the BALCO grand jury testimony leaks came out in the offseason? Yankee fans were ready to kill the guy. Do these fans really know whether Giambi is off the juice? I doubt it. And I doubt they care.