After taking a two-week absence to quietly ponder the Hot Stove Player of the Week’s place in modern society and how it can benefit mankind as a whole, it’s back and better than ever (ok, I was on vacation two week’s ago and just didn’t feel like doing it last week; and it’s still as mediocre as ever).
Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Mets were hit over the head with the Liberty Bell by the Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love. But the Yankees made America proud by taking three out of four against the Blue Jays and showing our country’s biggest rival and threat to national security—Canada—who’s the boss.
Next up between the two countries: The battle for bacon supremecy.
The other big news around baseball this week was the return of Manny Ramirez. In some circles he was treated like a conquering hero instead of the ass-clown that he really is.
He’s selfish, fakes injuries to get out of playing, only tries when the mood strikes him, lets down his teammates, bullies traveling securities, and now is a proven steroid cheat. He’s everything that’s wrong with baseball today. Why would anybody cheer this guy?
Almost every player of the last 20 years who has had insane, out-of-this-world numbers has gone down in a flame of PED’s—Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Rafael Palmeiro and now Ramirez.
See you later, Hall of Fame (not that Manny even knows what that is).
Hideki Matsui: After returning to softball league, err American League play, Matsui resumed DHing and caught fire. The Yanks won six out of seven this week, and Matsui led the offense with two long balls, eight RBI and batted at a .421 clip.
And I made it through two whole sentences without refering to him as a Japanese import.
Alfredo Aceves (the reliever): He had a four-inning save to bail out Joba Chamberlain vs. Toronto on Sunday.
Who does he think he is, Goose Gossage? He also looked a little like Gossage as a starter when the Goose briefly started for the White Sox early in his career, which is to say, not that good.
Jorge Posada: Another last-inning victory for the Yankees on Saturday, with Posada getting the game-winner in the 12th this time. The Yanks’ catcher also hit .454 for the week, with a home run and five RBI.
CC Sabathia/A.J. Burnett: The Yanks’ high-priced free agent tandem picked up three wins for the team this week. Sabathia followed up his debacle against Seattle by throwing seven strong innings in Minnesota, and Burnett beat Toronto and the Twins this week, going a combined 13.1 innings and allowing a total of four runs.
Phil Hughes: Hughes is trading places with Joba. He’s now the successful setup man, while Joba struggles to make a name for himself as a starter. He threw four scoreless innings this week, allowing only two hits.
Daniel Murphy: He gets on this list for making one of the most amazing plays of the year in Wednesday’s victory over the Dodgers. Yeah, but can he do it again? Probably not, because who knows when Jerry Manuel will put him in the lineup again.
Oliver Perez: Five innings, two runs, and seven walks isn’t good. But it’s Oliver Perez good! On the bright side, he lasted more than one inning and didn’t give up nine runs, and he picked up the victory (the only one for the sinking Mets this week). That’s success for Perez these days.
Schmuck of the Week
Joba Chamberlain: It’s way too easy to pick on the poor Mets these days, so we’ll go with the fist-pumping former phenom.
On being booed he said, “It’s not tough because at the end of the day, the sun comes up and I still have a job. I give everything I have every time I go out, and if that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.”
So much for caring about his fans. I haven’t heard this much passion from a player since the days of Kevin McReynolds. And Joba only lasted 3.2 innings on Sunday, letting in eight runs (three earned) and two dingers.