The season is winding down to a close, and our top three contenders in the AL East: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, are battling it out to secure their places in the Wild Card and Pennant races. Meanwhile, September callups have shown much promise on all fronts, and injuries continue to muddle the rosters.
Toronto Blue Jays Between the success of rookies Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia, and yesterday’s clutch performance from young gun September callups Adam Loewen and David Cooper, the Jays hold a lot of promise looking forward to next season. Both Loewen and Cooper were called up from Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, and together, with two moonshots in the seventh inning, they pulled off a win for the trailing Blue Jays against the Orioles on Sunday.
On Saturday’s bird matchup against the Orioles, Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia shined with his walk-off homer. J.P.A. has set a new franchise record for dingers by a rookie catcher. Also glittering on Saturday afternoon was rookie Brett Lawrie, who hit his ninth tater.
Infielder Yunel Escobar left the game Saturday after he was hit by a pitch, and is currently day-to-day. Cody Rasmus is still rehabbing as designated hitter for Double-A after he jammed his right wrist on August 23rd.
For scoop on the Jays look to Way of the Jay.
The Tampa Bay Rays are fighting tooth and nail for their chance at the October Wild Card. The Rays are now only 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. Maybe Joe Maddon’s positive thinking has started to reap rewards for the Tampa Bay team.
B.J. Upton launched his first career granny on yesterday’s game against the Sox, to hoist the Rays to a comfortable lead. B.J. also joined his brother Justin in the 20-20 club, that is 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. B.J. currently leads the team in stolen bases with 27.
On Saturday, fan favorite Evan Longoria bumped in the extra-inning walk-off ribbie. Longoria leads the team in RBI with 83, and also in blasts with 25.
For the rest of September, the Rays are facing their division rivalries over and over and over again, as they take a road trip to Baltimore, Boston, and New York, before hosting the Jays and the Yankees.
The Rays September callups Russ Canzler and Dane De La Rosa joined the ranks on Sunday. Canzler was awarded International League’s Most International Player for 2011. De La Rosa boasts a 94 mph fastball.
Catch some Rays with the Cowbell Clankers.
The Boston Red Sox Big Papi might not be keeping his cool for much longer. After the Rays swept the Sox, he said:
“You’ve got to panic at this point [...] Of course you’re freaked out. You go on this road trip 1-6, it’s not good. We’ve got these guys breathing down our necks and we’re not in first place either. We’ve got to come back and play better, though.”
That’s right. Those pesky Rays are hot on the heels of the Red Sox.
The Red Sox rotation is in short supply recently due to various injuries. Josh Beckett sprained his ankle back on August 5th, but will throw bullpen today, and might start on Thursday against the Rays. Erik Bedard has knee and lat injuries and is out indefinitely. Clay Bucholz is slowly recovering, and has been out since June 16th with a stress fracture.
The list of injuries does not end there. Kevin Youkilis missed the series this weekend after he was diagnosed with bursitis on Friday. He might return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday.
Red Sox Nation: Find your fix at Fenway Fatales.
The New York Yankees Jesus has blessed the Yankees. Rookie Jesus Montero made his debut on the Yanks triumph over the Red Sox on September 2nd, and has been DHing for the club since. However, Jesus landed his first start at backstop with the Yanks because of regular catchers Russell Martin’s bruised thumb, and Francisco Cervelli’s concussive symptoms.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said that veteran Jorge Posada will only catch in an emergency situation, like last Saturday night, when Jorgie caught his first action behind the plate all season. Jorgie successfully called and caught four shutout innings for ace C.C. Sabathia. Romine from Double-A affiliate was called up to help soothe New York’s nearly empty slot.
Saver/ Savior Mariano Rivera has three saves left to break the all-time saves records. Currently, Trevor Hoffman holds the top slot, with 601. Mo is at 599 career saves, with about three weeks left in the regular season.
Alex Rodriguez is taking some time off due to recurring pain in his thumb, and Nick Swisher will also take time off to rest after experiencing sharp pain in his elbow while throwing in a play on Thursday’s loss to the Orioles.
Yankees, start Spreadin’ the News.
The Baltimore Orioles Reliever Jason Berken, who went on the disabled list on August 22nd when he strained his right forearm, should return to the lineup today in the O’s series opener against the Rays. Meanwhile, CF Adam Jones was scratched from Saturday’s game after he fouled a pitch off his left ankle in Friday’s win over the Jays.
Birds who flew high over the Yanks in a walk-off song last Thursday included Vladimir Guerrero, who blasted a solo shot in the second inning. Then, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Robert Andino singled to knock in Chris Davis and tie up the game. Andino singled again in the bottom of the tenth to bring the Birds to victory.
The Orioles celebrated a special anniversary on Tuesday, which marked 16 years since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s previous record with 2,131st consecutive Major League games played.
Orioles fly over to Charm City Yakyuu.