BLUE JAYS (46-48)
Notes: The Yankees have won five of seven. This is the final game before the All-Star break. â€¦ Burnett is pitching on three days’ rest. … Kyle Farnsworth over his last eight appearances: 7 0 0 0 3 6. He has dropped his ERA from 4.24 to 3.51. Seven straight hitless innings? Holy cats. â€¦ A-Rod is 96 of 299 (.321) in the Rogers Centre with 31 homers and 81 RBI over 76 games. â€¦ Derek Jeter has hit in 10 straight. â€¦ Jason Giambi is 1 of his last 22 with one run scored and two RBI. He has dropped from .268 to .249. â€¦ Bobby Abreu is 5 of his last 33, dropping him down to .271.
A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT: The Yankees were 49-46 after 95 games last season and were 7.5 games out. That crew the destroyed the AL the rest of the way, going 45-22 to finish with 94 wins. They finished in second place, two games behind Boston.
SO MUCH FOR PREDICTIONS: Remember back on June 30? I suggested the Yankees would go 8-5 over their final 13 games before the All-Star break. Many readers disagreed, suggesting the Yankees would go at least 9-4 if not better. Turns out we all overestimated the pinstripes. They’re 6-6 with one game left.
Back later with updates.
REMEMBERING MURCER UPDATE, 11:54 p.m.: The Yankees will wear a black arm band on the left sleeve of their uniforms for the rest of the year in honor of Bobby Murcer. There will be a moment of silence today and a tribute paid on Tuesday at the All-Star Game.
It’s a very tough day for the people who work for YES. Ken Singleton was sitting in the dugout this morning in tears. He and Bobby were very good friends. Fans only see the folks on air. But many of the people who work at YES were close with Bobby and his wife.
I’m not going to belabor the point so many people have made, but Bobby a genuinely nice person. Everybody says, “Hey, you how doing?” But he actually cared how you were doing.
UPDATE, 12:01 p.m.: Here is the rotation after the break:
July 18 vs. Oakland: Mussina (vs. Blanton)
July 19 vs. Oakland: Chamberlain (vs. Smith)
July 20 vs. Oakland: Pettitte (vs. Duchscherer)
July 22 vs. Minnesota: Ponson
July 23 vs. Minnesota: Rasner
The Yankees have a mandatory work out on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Stadium. The All-Stars are excused. Dave Eiland will be at the Stadium on Thursday for any pitchers who want to throw.
UPDATE, 12:29 p.m.: Here is what YES has planned today to pay tribute to Bobby Murcer:
7 p.m.: “A Celebration of the Life of Bobby Murcer”
8 p.m.: Bobby Murcer “CenterStage”
9 p.m.: Bobby Murcer “Yankeeography”
10 p.m.: “A Celebration of the Life of Bobby Murcer”
UPDATE, 1:10 p.m.: Did you see the Toronto lineup? Eckstein (1 HR) is the DH. Rod Barajas (8 HR, 28 RBI) is hitting cleanup and Mench (.210/.290/.282) is hitting fift. A.J.Burnett is tough, but yiou have to win this game.
UPDATE, 1:43 p.m.: This was around the time last season when you started to say, “Wow, they should keep Bobby Abreu.” Now you’re starting to think, “Wow, they need to get another right fielder.” He is brutal out there. Meanwhile is 5 of 34.
UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: 4-0 Jays as Pettitte is getting shelled. Terrible performance against that kind of lineup.
UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: The AP in Tampa is reporting that Hideki Matsui took BP again today and will soon start a running program. Girardi is hopeful of getting him back on Friday.
Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett is working on short rest and needed only 42 pitches to get through the first four innings. The only approach this team seems to have at the plate at times is to get the game over with quickly.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: MLB.com is reporting that Jason Giambi turned down an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby because he is not an All-Star.
Meanwhile the Yankees are 0 for 5 with RISP and put five runners on base in six innings against Burnett, two on infield singles and one when Posada got hit by a pitch.
UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.: I’d caution anybody who thinks the passing of Bobby Murcer has remotely anything to do with how the Yankees are playing today. Joe Girardi was pretty broken up about it as were the YES people. But the players had music on and were acting normally this morning, If anything, they were unusually loose.
The Yankees are on a pace to score 742 runs. That would be their fewest in a full season since 1992, when they went 80-82. The record eventually caught up to the offense last season. That’s not going to happen this time around unless there is some sort of complete turnaround. The Yankees are a generally listless team that plays with very little consistency. They have a bunch of guys hurt, a bunch of AAAA players on the roster and a manager and coaching staff with little experience.
Today would be the seventh shutout of the season (one fewer than all last season) and the 33rd time they will have scored two or fewer runs. That’s 35 percent of the games.
As the boys like to say, it is what it is. And what it is isn’t very good.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: Just in time for Joe Girardi to say “we kept battling” the Yankees scored a run off Burnett. Now we’ll see whether they have an unlikely rally in them.