The Yankees start a series against the Who-Knew Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. But what do we really know about this team, other than that they play in Canada? Sure, they have a World Championship-winning manager and a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher. But what else? Who else? Should we be afraid?
I don’t know if tonight was the last time we’ll see Vazquez in pinstripes, but I’d be willing to bet it is. It wasn’t his fault that he was a home run derby server-upper against the Blue Jays. That’s who he is. That’s what he does. That’s the way things started out for him this year and that’s the way they’ve ended up. No surprises. I wish him well in his return to the National League, where he will inevitably become a 20-game winner next season. Bye bye, Javy.
What I don’t understand is why Girardi used all the regulars in this game but didn’t let Andy pitch. I know, he wanted him “lined up” for the playoffs, but still. You either want to win the division or you don’t. And with the Rays losing to the O’s, tonight was one big wasted opportunity to climb back on top. But hey. At least A-Rod notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI yet again – no small feat for a guy who spent all that time on the DL and was supposed to have had a down year. Congrats, Alex. But please don’t cool off any time soon.
Not much else to say about the game except that I didn’t mind getting stuck with the Toronto feed on TV. The fans gave Cito Gaston a really nice sendoff, and he deserved it. I always liked him as a manager and I appreciated how gracious he was about having the Yankees at his going away party. So there were two farewells tonight. Bye bye, Cito.
Time to take a closer look.
* Leading off and playing shortstop: Marco Scutaro.
Did you know he’s from Venezuela? Neither did I. All I knew was that he hit a homer off Mo in 2007 when he was with the A’s, and it traumatized me. He’s a pesky player and a Yankee killer. Beware.
* Batting second and playing second base: Aaron Hill.
He’s the “other guy” who stole home against Andy Pettitte. It happened in May ’07 and I’d rather it didn’t happen again on Wednesday night.
* Batting third and playing right field: Alex Rios.
His full name is Alexis Israel Rios, and although he’s of Puerto Rican heritage he was born in Alabama. Very multi-cultural. He had a 26-game hitting streak against the Yankees – the longest since 1936. In other words, he has the potential to hurt us.
* Batting cleanup and playing center field: Vernon Wells.
His nickname is “V-Dub,” and he’s won three Gold Gloves. Like Scutaro, he has a walk-off homer against Mo on his resume. But he strained a hammy in spring training and broke his wrist last year. I predict his nickname for the series will be “V-Dud.”
* Batting fifth and DH-ing: Adam Lind.
An Indiana native, Lind was plucked from minor league obscurity in ’08 by Cito Gaston and anointed as the team’s DH. On Opening Day this year, he recorded six RBIs – a Jays’ OD record. But let’s not get carried away. It was against the Tigers.
* Batting sixth and playing third base: Jose Bautista.
A former Met, Oriole, Royal and Devil Ray, he was a Pirate when he was traded to the Jays for the proverbial “player to be named later.” So how good could he be? We’re talking about a utility infielder at best. Besides, he wears eye-black under his bottom lip. Bush league.
* Batting seventh and playing first base: Lyle Overbay.
When he comes up to the plate, fans either chant a prolonged “Ooooooo” or hold up signs with the letter “O” in big letters. It doesn’t mean anything. He often grounds into double plays and even hit into a triple play last year. Let’s hope he keeps it up.
* Batting eighth and catching: Raul Chavez.
A well-traveled veteran (he played for the Expos, so he must be 100 years old), the Venezuela-born catcher who was also with the Pirates, Orioles, Astros, Mariners and Yankees is known for his defense. Which is another way of saying he can’t hit.
* Batting ninth and playing left field: Travis Snider.
He’s 21. In 2007 he was with the Lansing Lugnuts. Then he tore it up for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He was promoted to the big leagues in August ’08 and got his first hit off Carl Pavano. Enough said.
* Pitching: Roy Halladay.
I know what he can do on the mound. But I didn’t know his real first name is Harry, which isn’t nearly as intimidating as “Doc.” Plus, while it’s been widely reported that he goes into “isolation mode” before and during each start, not talking to anyone or even nodding in recognition, I’ve learned that he also refuses all food and water. If the Yankees make him work, he could get hungry and thirsty early and succumb to a craving for a Snickers bar and a can of Ensure by the sixth.