The Yankees responded to Tueday's 22-0 drubbing in the best way possible; they won the three-game series from the Indians. Jon Lieber pitched an excellent game last night, getting lots of ground balls; he worked quickly and received more than his fair share of support from the offense. The Bombers chased Cliff Lee early, capped by a tremendous three-run home run by Alex Rodriguez, and essentially cruised the rest of the way. (Rodriguez is still chasing pitches out of the strike zone, and fouling off pitches he should pound.) They had a shut out going into the ninth inning when Steve Karsay gave up a solo home run to Victor Martinez on the first pitch he threw in the majors in a couple of years. Right before he threw the pitch I turned to Emily and called the home run. Karsay told Newsday:
"I guess he didn't get the memo that I haven't pitched in two years, and to take a pitch to see what I've got," Karsay said. "That settled me in, actually."
Karsay struck out the next two men, and his fastball and curve ball looked good.
I'm sure Jeter and company busted his chops pretty good about blowing the shut-out. Gary Sheffield had three hits and smacked the bejesus out of the ball on several occasions. He had three RBI and now has 101 on the season. Derek Jeter went hitless, but drew two walks. As badly as his walk totals have fallen off this year, Jeter has now earned a walk in seven straight games.
Heaven Help Us
The Bombers remain three-and-a-half up on the Red Sox, who completed a three-game sweep of the Angels in Boston last night. The Sox are the hottest team in the majors right now, and while the culture in Boston might be changing, it's certain that a good portion of Red Sox Nation is viewing their team's recent success with a healthy degree of skepticism. "They are just pumping us up to let us down once again," is what I imagine some of them are secretly thinking. You can hardly blame them, especially the older fans. What I think is sad is the Yankee-obsessed mentality expressed by a Sox fan in the Times today:
"Winning the World Series is more important, but beating the Yankees is a close second," said Mark Shiro, a hotel concierge. "If we beat the Yankees to win the American League and lose the World Series, it would be disappointing, but there would also be a lot of joy."
That's weak. Maybe it would suffice as a consolation prize, but come on now, winning it all is what it should be all about. You know what Yankee fans would think if they beat the Bombers but lost again in the World Series? The same thing they think about the Sox right now. On the other hand, I believe that there is another faction of Sox fans who buy into this team simply because they are a very good squad, curses and history be damned. They have a ownership and management team that they can get behind, players who are easy for them to pull for, and a legitimate shot at the title. You know what these fans hope for: the Sox to muder the Yankees and then win the World Serious. Full speed ahead.
The Daily News has an exclusive story today concerning the location of Jason Giambi's benign tumor. According to T.J. Quinn and Bill Madden, it is located in his pituitary gland:
The treatment, which has been approved by Major League Baseball, involves a form of steroids that are not performance-enhancing.
"It's fine for a specific medical use," one official with knowledge of his condition said. "He isn't breaking any rules."
The reason for his secrecy was simple, a source said: After testifying before a grand jury in the BALCO steroid-trafficking case and having to deny repeated rumors about steroid use, Giambi was worried that a pituitary tumor would make him guilty by association, according to a source.
Pituitary tumors have been anecdotally associated with anabolic steroid and human growth hormone use, but medical experts say there has been no documented connection.
No doubt, there will be more to come on this one...