Phil Hughes has been impressive of late; in his last three starts he has an ERA of 2.57, including a 7.2 inning, one run performance his last time out. The Yankees will hope he can repeat his success, as they attempt to avert a sweep by the Athletics. Oakland will have Rich Harden (4-2, 3.91) on the mound.
Discussion of the Day: Who do you think the Yankees should take on their postseason roster: Jesus Montero or Jorge Posada?
Behind Enemy Lines: Joe Stiglich writes that Josh Willingham is forcing the Athletics to make a hard decision. The outfielder, hitting .249/.333/.482 with 22 home runs and 74 RBI (both lead the Athletics), is a free agent at the end of this season. Resigning players that they want to keep is not often an issue for the Yankees, but the concerns of a small market team such as Oakland are such that the question isn't so much if the Athletics want to re-sign Willingham so much as it is if they can.
1) Andrew Marchand writes that time is catching up with the Yankees.
One can argue that the Yankees, who currently have 77 wins and were recently on pace for 100 wins, have overachieved. Certainly, the team has gotten far more out of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon than many expected; there is also an argument to be made that the outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher has become the best bargain in baseball. Still, Colon's second half cool off hurts, even if it is not entirely unexpected, and Alex Rodriguez's injuries mean that the team continues to be without their cleanup hitter. Teams can't outperform expectations forever; the Yankees will have to hope that their luck can hold out just long enough over the next eight weeks.
2) Matt Imbrogno at The Yankee Analysts writes that Rodriguez's bat is even more valuable with a downswing in production from the third base spot.
As Imbrogno notes, Rodriguez ranks second to Kevin Youkilis among third basemen in multiple offensive categories, and the decline in output from third basemen appears to be a league-wide trend. Rodriguez has been such a good player for most of his career that even a declining Rodriguez has value to the Yankees; that he's able to add the alue at what is becoming a premium position is an added bonus. There is, of course, a point at which playing such a a position can't compensate for a lack offense, but a .290/.361/.477 hitter is far from that -- as long as he can stay healthy, which in Rodriguez's case may be another story entirely.
Triple-A Scranton beat Rochester, 7-1.
Scranton announced that all 2012 home games will be played on the road, as their stadium undergoes a renovation.
Jesus Montero did not play.
Double-A Trenton lost to New Hampshire, 16-3.
Austin Romine was hitless in two at bats, walked once and struck out once. He left the game in the fifth inning, but no reason was given.
High-A Tampa swept a doubleheader with Daytona, winning the first game 4-3, and the second, 6-2.
Low-A Charleston beat Greenville, 5-4.
Short Season Staten Island beat Lowell, 3-1, while the Rookie GCL Yankees beat the GCL Tigers, 3-2.