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Jose Bautista, Asdrubal Cabrera and the very winnable AL East

Off the Yankees game, I wrote, as threatened, about Jose Bautista, who was pretty funny after the game as he ripped the Yankees for intentionally walking both him and Juan Rivera in the game-turning sixth inning.

I understand the IBB to Bautista; with a tie game, a runner on second and no outs, Bautista has earned that sort of respect at the moment. But to give a free pass to Rivera with second and third and one out? It didn't make much sense. Even Rivera, the former Yankees prospect, admitted that he was surprised about that. The guy has a .319 on-base percentage and .331 slugging percentage. Against right-handers, that drops to .295 and .316.

I want to address this more at a later time, but this is why I loathe the pejorative "Joey Looseleafs" nickname for Joe Girardi. My contention is that Girardi's main flaw isn't that he relies too much on statistics. If he did, he would've taken note of Rivera's bad overall statistics.

Instead, I think that Girardi sometimes has a bad feel for situations. He probably relied overly on Rivera's two good at-bats against Bartolo Colon earlier in the game. If anything, in other words, he should have relied more on statistics.

Just sayin'.

--Derek Jeter wanted nothing to do with the Fred Wilpon mess, understandably. But former Met Pedro Feliciano offered some perspective about just how well-liked Wilpon is by the players. And how something like this can cause some short-term damage, at least.

--Speaking of Jeter, who should be the American League's starting shortstop in the All-Star Game? If you say Jeter because he has earned it and because the fans want to see big names, then I'm all aboard. That's my philosophy - the game's starters should be whom the fans want to see. Period.

But if you're a "Best player in that season" fan, then you have to go with Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera, who delivered a huge, game-winning hit against the Red Sox last night.

Cabrera now has a .371 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging percentage and 10 homers in 209 plate appearances. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

--Speaking of the Red Sox, the AL East is looking as weak as it has in many years. The Yankees stand in first place this morning, percentage points ahead of Tampa Bay and a half-game up on the Red Sox, despite their well-documented problems.

The Red Sox's starting rotation is a mess, while the Rays, who lost in Detroit last night, don't hit much. At this rate, you'd have to think it'll be a three-team dog fight, and one in which the bar will be lowered. The Yankees, after all, are on pace to win just 88 games and find themselves atop the AL East nonetheless.

July will be fascinating, as the Yankees and Red Sox will be willing to pay money for players, while the Rays can offer prospects in return for teams paying some or all of the freight (like the Mets with Carlos Beltran, for instance). 

--Thanks to Twitter, which hooked me up with, I learned that Brian Fuentes ripped into A's manager Bob Geren for his usage patterns and alleged lack of communication.

It's two issues we've discussed plenty here: Players like to know their roles. And managers need to communicate well with their players. This is a mess that needs to be cleaned up in Oakland. The A's had high hopes this season, and they now reside in last place in the AL West.



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