The A-Rodistraction

Life is filled with distractions

The Yankees lost to the Jays again last night, 8-2 to drop one game behind the Rays in the AL East. The Rays topped the Twins, 6-4, pushing Minnesota a game and a half behind the White Sox in the AL Central. The White Sox split a doubleheader with the Tigers, 12-2, 1-7, keeping Detroit at the .500 mark, 7 games back. The Tigers minus the injured Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen, are on the precipice of the end of their season.

But back to Yankees and the A-Rodistraction. After going 0 for 3, Alex Rodriguez is now homerless in his last 46 at-bats, 51 plate appearances and 12 games. He’s 0 for his last 17 and 3 for his last 33. And he’s 9 for his last 46 since hitting No. 599 on July 22. In the 12 games since his last homers the Yankees are 5-7 and currently have a season-high-tying three game losing streak.

The Yankees were held to two hits last night and fell out of at least a share of first place for the first time since June 12. The Yanks were dominated last night by the strong pitching of Ricky Romero who held the New Yawkahs to two hits and by the Toronto bats who hit four homers. Dustin Moseley, making his second start in place of the injured Andy Pettitte, took the loss.

Today the Yankees try to avoid the three-game sweep on the third anniversary of his 500th homer. Rodriguez was the only Yankee to miss the team picture yesterday and seems to be pressing and him not hitting in the middle of the lineup seems to be affecting his teammates. If this continues, it is only a matter of time before A-Rod starts insisting that the umps stop using the specially marked commemorative balls. Meanwhile the Rays are in first and Red Sox come into town next for four games, with perhaps their season on the line, and the Yankees look old, tired and distracted.

2. Lilly keeps the Dodgers hope alive

Yesterday was actress Evangeline Lilly's birthday. To my knowledge she is not related to Ted Lilly, but is more distracting.

It was Evangeline Lilly's birthday yesterday. She is more distracting than Ted Lilly.

Newly acquired Ted Lilly outpitched Mat Latos as the Dodgers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Padres. Lilly (3-9) allowed two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter after 87 pitches and seven innings. Lilly had retired the last 20 Padres he faced. Latos (11-5) allowed two runs and four hits over six innings and struck out six on the way to his first loss since June 4.

Miguel Tejada hit his eighth homer of the season and first since joining the Padres last week.

The Dodgers are 8 games out and remain perilously close to becoming irrelevant.

3. No offense experts, but the Giants can hit

While everybody talks as if the San Francisco Giants are on the Yellow Brick Road wishing that they only had a bat, the Giants clobbered the Rockies, 10-0 beating up Aaron Cook. If you haven’t noticed, the Giants have won four straight games and 21 of their past 26 and after last night they are hitting .424 (59 for 139) against Cook (4-8), who is 8-11 lifetime against the Giants.

Meanwhile, no one questions that the Giants can hit. Jonathan Sanchez (8-6) held the Rockies to three hits over six innings and equaled his 2009 victory total. Sanchez struck out seven straight at one point, tying the Giants record set by Hall of Famer Juan Marichal on Sept. 6, 1964, at Philadelphia.

The Giants have won five straight games on the road and are 29-25 (.537) away from home this season.

4. Buck Showalter should quit

Luke Scott hit a two-run homer, Josh Bell added a two-run double for his first major league RBI in a four-run 6th inning and the Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-3, to make Showalter 1-0 as Baltimore’s manager.

Both the Angels (54-54) and the Athletics (53-53), who lost night to the Royals, 3-2, remain 8 games behind the Rangers, who somehow lost to the Mariners, 3-2. Seattle ended a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings in breaking their seven-game losing streak.

5. The next best thing

As far as I am concerned, the next best thing to a walkoff hit is when a guy who has been on the DL for a long time delivers in his first bat. Red Sox

This is not Mike Lowell, just a distraction

Nation were still standing in their greeting for fan favorite Mike Lowell when he parked the first pitch he saw from the David Huff of the Indians high above the Green Monster for a two-run homer in the Red Sox 3-1 win.

The Sox win was significant also because Josh Beckett, who came to the Sox with Lowell from the Marlins, pitched eight brilliant innings, holding Cleveland to one run on three hits, before he got the boot in a bench-clearer, that was more shouting than shoving. Beckett (3-1), making his third start after spending just over two months on the DL, struck out eight and walking none. Jonathan Papelbon became the first pitcher in major league history with 25 saves in each of his first five full seasons.

The overwhelmingly favorable reaction that Lowell received should be far different tonight for Jacoby Ellsbury, out since May 28 with fractured ribs, and will be activated today. Media and fans (and some players as well) have questioned the desire of Ellsbury during his long recuperation.

Meanwhile, Boston may be playing without Kevin Youkilis, arguably their best player,

With this injury, Youk can neither hit nor hitch

for anywhere from two weeks to the rest of the season. Youk has torn the adductor muscle in the thumb, an injury that is so rare there is no precedent amongst athletes. If it requires surgery he would be gone for the season, but even without surgery his return is uncertain.

Youkilis was batting .307 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs in 102 games. He was tied for third in the majors in runs scored (77) and led all major leaguers with a .798 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers. He was third in the American League in on-base percentage (.411), tied for fifth in walks (58), tied for seventh in extra-base hits (50), eighth in slugging percentage (.564) and ninth in total bases (204).

The Sox are 6.5 behind the Rays and 5.5 behind the Yanks and after they finish off their four games with the Tribe, they head to the New Stadium.

6. The Phillies are hurting too

The Philadelphia Phillies have had comparable injury woes to Boston and now their All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard is out for at least 15 days. Howard, the NL RBI leader with 81,

Not actually Ryan Howard's ankle

went on the disabled list yesterday because of a sprained left ankle. The Phillies said the sprain was moderate although it looked pretty ugly as I watched him slide back into second, Monday night.

Howard is the 15th Phillies player to go on the disabled list this season. Howard joins starters Shane Victorino and Chase Utley on the DL currently.

The Phillies still have horses on the mound led by Roy Halladay. Doc last night allowed one run in seven innings to beat the Florida Marlins, 6-1. It was their 10th win in 12 games and the Phils trail the NL East-leading Braves, by just two after Atlanta lost to the New York Mets, 3-2.

Halladay is now 13-8 with a 2.17 ERA. He is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his last three starts. He also drove home two with a bases loaded single.

7. The race for NL ROY

There are pennant races to watch and Triple Crown races to watch. There is also an interesting race for NL Rookie of the Year which got closer last night. Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals has been the leader for most this season but he was rocked last night by the Astros, in the Houston 18-4 victory over St. Louis. Garcia, who leads NL rookies with nine wins, gave up eight runs and 10 hits in five innings as Houston won their seventh straight.

Rookie Angel Sanchez, who had four hits and six RBI led the Astros. Sanchez was acquired by Houston from the Red Sox on July 1 in the deal that

Parker Posey is more distracting than Buster Posey

sent Kevin Cash to Boston. Sanchez is hitting .303 but he is not the threat to Garcia but Buster Posey is.

Posey went 3-for-5 last night for the Giants and is now hitting .356 with a .938 OPS. In addition, the Giants are now 34-22 with Posey in the lineup.

8. Emilio Navarro still going strong at 104

The A.P. had a great article about former ballplayer, 104-year old, Emilio Navarro who is being honored as America’s Outstanding Oldest Male Worker for 2010 — Navarro still keeps the books and controls the

I love this guy

finances at the game machine business he started. Navarro, who lives in Ponce, Puerto Rico, is believed to be the last surviving player of the Negro American League. At 17, Navarro signed with the Ponce Lions in Puerto Rico and went on to play for the New York Cuban Stars in one of the black leagues in the U.S. He later played in the Dominican Republic and in Venezuela.

Navarro lives alone in the house that he built for his family in the late 1950s. His wife died more than two decades ago. Navarro does not have any secrets to staying young. He just follows two rules: Help those who need it and show respect to everyone.

As a guilty pleasure, Navarro enjoys a bit of whiskey now and then. He also likes to dance and favors blondes if he goes out in search of some danzon, a Cuban dance that incorporates mambo.

You must love this guy!

9. R.I.P. Bobby Hebb

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