Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yankees must quickly shake off series loss

At least the New York Yankees didn't get swept.

It could have been easy to forget that this was an important baseball series amid all the hoopla surrounding the Yankees trade acquisitions and the ongoing pursuit of Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run. But neither the Yankees nor the Tampa Bay Rays forgot. The Rays weren’t able to grab hold of first place, but they did prove just how formidable an opponent they are and will be for the rest of the season.

The Yankees won a thrilling game Saturday a day after they wasted a strong outing from Phil Hughes (before he got beat on one bad pitch). The Bronx Bombers lived up to their nickname in the middle game of the series, coming from behind several times with home runs and finally taking the lead when their Most Valuable Player Robinson Cano hit a monster shot in the 9th inning. I really liked their chances going into today's game with CC Sabathia on the mound. But the big lefty struggled for the second straight start and the offense disappeared against Rays starter James Shield. The Rays beat the Yankees at their own game, with great starting pitching and timely hitting. It was a disappointing series loss in what Cano himself described as a playoff-type atmosphere.

But the Yankees have to quickly move on. They are still in first place and now have qualified reinforcements in Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns. And the Bombers are coming back home for a long week of baseball, including four games against their archrival Boston Red Sox (remember them?). They are going to have to shake off whatever disappointment they have and get back to their winning ways.

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