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Going into the seventh inning, I was stoked. The Yankees had a 6-2 lead. They had a good chance to actually win a series against the Blue Jays with Roy Halladay on the mound in the third game.

Then all of a sudden a Robinson Cano botched double play and Darrell Rasner’s meltdown in one inning doomed the Yankees. Up to that point, Rasner had been good, allowing only two runs. The offense was actually producing. Cano and I-Rod hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning and Matsui hit a two-RBI double in the sixth. Even A-Rod had a RBI.

Then the bullpen faltered after Rasner left. Brian Bruney let two of his runners score and Damso Marte, Edwar Ramirez both allowed hits. Jose Veras came in and finished the game.The Yankees have overworked the bullpen due to repeated injuries and ineffective starting pitching. I’m not too impressed with Joe Girardi’s in-game management. In hindsight, he did the right thing letting Rasner pitch in the seventh inning, but who would have known that Cano would botch a play, leading to two runs scored, and who knew that the bullpen would screw up? Some people blame Girardi too much.

It was the players. You cannot blame A-Rod all the time. He’s the highest-paid player in the game and the one who gets the most scrutiny because of where he is. Blame Cano for his error. Blame the bullpen for giving up a four-run Yankee lead in two innings.

The simple thing to do is blame individuals. The harder thing to do is to blame the team. For today’s loss, the entire team should get the blame. They did not finish the game and this has been a recurring issue all year.

If not for Giambi, it would actually say 483-286-4.

The Yankees avoided having Boston sweep them at home to close out the last regular season game between the two storied rivals. After the Babe Ruth-led Yankees swept the Red Sox in four games to open the Stadium in 1923, the Red Sox nearly returned the favor earlier today.

Jason Giambi, coming off the bench as a pinch hitter hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the seventh inning and then in the ninth hit a game-winning single to center to score home Brett Gardner.

Jon Lester and Mike Mussina were effective in their outings today, Lester more than Mussina. Mussina, still stuck on 16 wins has failed to earn win number 17 his last two outings. In 7 innings, Mussina allowed 5 hits and struck out 6 while allowing two runs. Lester was just as effective, allowing 1 run in 6.2 innings with 8 strikeouts. It was the Boston bullpen that the Yankees took advantage of. The Yankees were able to get 2 runs off the bullpen to clinch the game and avoid the sweep.

Aside from Giambi’s heroics today, A-Rod was simply awful again. He struck out three times and left 4 men on base, including a GIDP. On TV, A-Rod was seen bashing his bat several times on the bat rack in the dugout. He is obviously frustrated. This is akin to how he behaved two years ago while mired in a similar slump. He needs to snap out of it and get his act together.

Derek Jeter continued his sizzling month of August, going 3 for 4 to raise his average to .297. Cody Ransom continued his breakout season by getting one hit with 2 at-bats. His average is a whopping .750, but that’s only with 4 career at-bats. He’s clearly a defensive and offensive upgrade at first base over Giambi, but time will tell if he will rise or become a Melky-type.

It was good to see the Yankees win one against the Red Sox at home.

Yankees are at home this weekend against Toronto. Tomorrow they face AJ Burnett again with “American Idle” Carl Pavano on the mound. Pavano is currently on waivers and he could possibly be picked by another team, giving newly-called-up Al Aceves a chance to start either tomorrow or Saturday in place of Darrell Rasner. It’s also possible Phil Hughes will start on Saturday while Rasner goes to the bullpen as the long relief.

Chalk this game up as one of the worst of A-Rod’s career, whether you call it his entire career or his Yankee tenure.

A-Rod solely accounted for seven outs in the game last night as the Yankees lost 7-3 to their division rivals in what may be the last time they face each other at the grand old Cathedral.

A-Rod went 0-5 with two strikeouts and two GIDPs. In reports to the media after the game, A-Rod took full blame of his errors and promised to spend extra time with hitting coach Kevin Long before today’s game. I’m not too sure what this will translate into. One day of extra BP won’t help cure what has been lacking all season — his ability to hit with RISP, avoid double plays, and hit in the clutch. A-Rod is arguably the best hitter in MLB and he needs to prove it. That’s why he has the $275 million contract, because the Yankees want him, and he needs to be there.

So, every time he screwed up last night, the 55,000 plus on hand booed lustily. Deservedly so. That’s what you get for playing in New York. Plus your ogling of women in different cities doesn’t work. You don’t hear that happen with Jeter. He knows how to keep it cool and discreet. A-Rod doesn’t, so he gets tabloid fodder.

Enought about A-Rod. Pettitte was just as bad, pitching only 4.2 innings when the Yankees needed him at his best. The umpire wasn’t fair with a small strike zone, but Pettitte is a seasoned veteran who is third on the all-time Yankees win list that knows how to pitch and has lost his ability several times this season already.

Johnny Damon had two homers, Jeter had two hits, Abreu had two hits. That is good for me, but with the problems of A-Rod, Giambi, and other hitters, it just makes the night worse.

The Yankees must win the next two games to have any chance of pulling closer to the Red Sox. Today it doesn’t get better as Sidney Ponson is on the mound against Paul Byrd. The Yankees faced him in the ALDS last year and were supposed to “hammer” him but they actually lost the game. We don’t know which group of Yankees show up today, the one that is supposed to actually care, or the one that doesn’t care.

The Yankees completed something that is often unseen as of late — a sweep.

They swept the Baltimore Orioles in three games, the most nailbiting one yesterday, 8-7. Thanks to a Robbie Cano home run in the 7th inning and some effective pitching by Damaso Marte and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees stopped the Orioles.

While I was with my brother for his bachelor’s party over the weekend at the Jersey shore, I was able to watch segments of each game and was happy with what I saw on Friday and Saturday. Mussina was effective on Friday but did not pick up the W. Carl Pavano, the American Idle, picked up his first victory after being idle for 502 days. Pavano was good, but not great. The rust showed.

However, yesterday, Darrell Rasner stunk. Seriously stank up a storm. 3.1 innings of ineffective pitching. The Yankees desperately need Chamberlain or Hughes back. Even Wang would be nice. This patchwork rotation is struggling to stay alive. Only thanks to Pettitte and Mussina are the Yankees in the mix.

The offense was decent at times, getting the hits they needed, but often leaving men on base. For instance, Giambi was O for yesterday, leaving 7 men on base. My recommendation to Giambi is to switch Nady and Giambi in the lineup. The G-man is leaving a gaping hole in the number 5 slot and we need a more effective lineup. Maybe put in Matsui in #5?

The Yankees are 5 behind Boston and 9.5 behind Tampa. That is better than 4 days ago, but still a ways away. They’re off today, but will face Boston for the last time (depending on the playoffs) at the Stadium and they could use a sweep, or even a 2-1 series. Anything less would pretty much seal the season.

It’s Pettitte on Tuesday against Wakefield. I put my money on Pettitte and the Yankee bats. Wednesday it’s Ponson vs. Byrd. Again on the Yankees, but pitching is a question mark. Thursday brings Mussina vs. Lester, and this one will probably go to Lester, although I do want to see the Moose get his 17th victory and the Yankees hit off Lester. We’ll see.

Enjoy the day off, Yankee fans. We need to recharge for the grueling week ahead.

Hitting .571 in the last six games provides a batter with a huge boost to their confidence, and to the team that he plays for. This player is Derek Jeter.

A day removed after the entire team had 13 strikeouts, the Yankees rebounded for their fourth win in the last eleven games, with a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jeter hit a two-run home run and had three total hits tonight. He now has 2,498 hits in his career.

Andy Pettitte finally won his 13th game, first since July 26. He went 7 innings, allowing only one run and 5 hits.

The Yankee hitters ganged up on David Purcey, with Johnny Damon getting two hits and two runs, and Bobby Abreu has continued to show why he is this team’s offensive MVP with one hit tonight. Xavier Nady has been the team’s prize second-half acquisition with two hits to raise his average to .318.

Brian Bruney pitched the final two innings in relief for Pettitte and shut down the Blue Jay bats.

Tonight’s victory was a little bit of relief for the Yankees. They have 36 games left and Boston is currently losing at Baltimore and so is Tampa Bay against the Angels.

Tomorrow Yankees send Sir Sidney Ponson to the mound against the Jays ace Roy Halladay. Halladay shut down Boston last week and the last time he pitched against the Yankees, he also shut them down. The Yankees need to play smart baseball.

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