In case there was any doubt why the Rays are playing .725 ball so far, one need look no further than Jason Bartlett’s lead-off home run last night. Or the five more runs they’d go on to score off of A.J. Burnett. Or the fact that even with the Rays throwing the statistically weakest of their five starters, they still won 10–6 in a game that hardly felt as competitive as the score indicates.
The Yankees’ best chance to make a game of it came in the sixth: After an A-Rod home run, they loaded the bases for Derek Jeter, but his groundout to short ended the mini-rally. Two innings later, the Rays would do exactly what you’d expect them to do against Boone Logan and Mark Melancon, which is score four more times to give them such a big cushion that even Andy Sonnanstine’s awful ninth inning couldn’t affect the outcome of the game.
Oh, and we almost forgot: more injuries. It was revealed after the game that Jorge Posada has a hairline fracture in his foot and will miss three to four weeks, though he thinks he’ll be back sooner. (More on what his injury means later today.) And Marcus Thames concluded a three-day span in which he hit a walk-off home run and dropped a crucial ninth-inning fly ball by spraining his ankle after stepping on his own bat on the way to first base. With a series in a National League park starting tomorrow, they can’t afford to have many guys on the active roster (like Thames or Nick Swisher) who can’t actually play, or can only play in certain circumstances. To steal a line from Baseball Prospectus’s Jay Jaffe, this could finally be Bernie Williams’s big comeback opportunity!