Hopefully, Alex Rodriguez did something to relieve his boo-bird blues yesterday when he smashed an extra-inning two run shot, to bring the Yankees back from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the 12th inning. The Yanks had fallen behind in the top of the inning, on a solo homer by Marcus Giles that gave the Braves a 3-2 lead in the pitching staredown, which started with John Smoltz and Chien Ming Wang looking good for the first seven and eight innings, respectively. The Yanks trailed 2-1 through seven and a half innings, but tied it on Jason Giambi's homer to take the game into extra innings.
After Wang hit the showers, Mariano Rivera threw a couple of scoreless innings, followed by the stylings of Ron Villone, Kyle Farnsworth, and Scott Proctor. These were not overpowering--Proctor did allow Giles's homer--but they did get a measure of redemption for the blown game Tuesday night.
For the Yanks, they get the day off to gear up for the Subway Series coming to the Boogie Down. The Mets get no rest, instead trying to stave off a sweep by the Red Sox today. Weblog will be on shutdown Saturday thru Tuesday, but I'll do my best to post updates if possible. No promises.
Today's also the deadline for All-Star Ballots. Since I'd been lax in filling out my punchcards, I went over to MLB.com to see what my final ballot would look like:
First Base: Ortiz, D., BOS
Giambi should be in this slot, for a Yankee sweep of the infield. But with the All Star Game in Pittsburgh this year, there is no DH (that's a "Top 5 things that make no sense about the All Star Game," for sure), so Ortiz gets the nod at a position he doesn't really play anymore.
Second Base: Cano, R., NYY
It came down to Cano and Brian Roberts, and I voted for Cano, by a nose. Roberts' offensive stats are better, but Cano seems to be having the better season with the glove. Since Robbie's injured, Roberts should probably be the All Star.
Third Base: Rodriguez, A., NYY
Over Troy Glaus. 'Nuff said.
Shortstop: Jeter, D., NYY
For once, a guilt-free Jeter vote.
Catcher: Mauer, J., MIN
.392. That's Mauer's batting average as of this morning.
Outfielder: Ramirez, M., BOS
Outfielder: Sizemore, G., CLE
Outfielder: Wells, V., TOR
I take the outfielders all together here. Manny is Manny, an All Star until he plays his way off the team. Sizemore is a newcomer to this level of production, but we think he'll stick. It's tempting to do like Brother Joe and play "We Won't Get Fooled Again" on Wells (and stick a vote for Damon onto the ballot) but he is the third best performer in the AL. Actually, Ichiro!, Nick Swisher, and Alexis Rios are probably ahead of Damon.
First Base: Pujols, A., STL
If he was healthy, this should be a unanimous vote. Nick Johnson, of all people, is the second guy on the EqA leaderboard, here.
Second Base: Utley, C., PHI
Dan Uggla and Jeff Kent have better EqA's, but Utley's been the man for the past few seasons.
Third Base: Wright, D., NYM
Wins against Miguel Cabrera. Bit of a New York slant, perhaps, but I can live with that. Kid's the real deal.
Shortstop: Reyes, J., NYM
A month ago this pick would have looked silly. Doesn't hurt that the runner-up is Omar Vizquel.
Catcher: McCann, B., ATL
Exception to the "established player" guideline--when a player is by far outperforming the competition. The runner-up is Michael Barrett.
Outfielder: Abreu, B., PHI
Outfielder: Bay, J., PIT
Outfielder: Beltran, C., NYM
Some usual suspects. In the NL, you don't have to get past "B" in the alphabetical listing of outfielders, and for once, that's without Barry Bonds. Brian Giles, Andruw Jones, and Brian Holliday are the next three names on my list, followed by Bonds.