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Frankly Frankel: July 4, 2015

04 Jul

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The Yankees get a dramatic walk-off win against the Rays, NBA teams are throwing money around to any player that wants it, Rajon Rondo is betting on himself for a year, and the United States Women’s Soccer team is one win away from a World Cup Championship. This is Frankly Frankel on this Saturday, July 4 (Independence Day), 2015.

  • For the first time since Derek Jeter’s final at-bat at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees finally walked off with a win thanks to Brian McCann who’s three-run home run capped a thrilling 7-5 comeback over the Rays.
  • What was ironic about the home run was there were fireworks going off just outside of Yankee Stadium in the moments prior to McCann going deep.
  • After Chris Archer once again befuddled the Yankees for 6 2/3 innings. Archer was seeking to become just the 2nd pitcher ever to win his first five games against the Yankees in his career. The other was Hall of Famer Walter Johnson.
  • With all due respect to Pedro Martinez, Roy Halladay, or any other pitcher that seemed to own the Yankees throughout their careers, the Yankees have never had a prayer against Archer. He dominates them every single time out.
  • Archer would have moved to 5-0 against the Yankees in his career, but Mark Teixeira put an end to that with a huge game tying three-run home run off Kevin Jepsen in the bottom of the 8th inning.
  • The score remained tied until the top of the 12th when Tampa Bay added two runs, and it appeared the Yankees would once again fall flat in extras.
  • But there was some July 4th eve magic in the Bronx. Steven Geltz issuing a lead off walk to Brett Gardner was a killer, and after Chase Headley struck out, Alex Rodriguez (more on him later) singled to right field thanks to the shift, Teixeira came through again with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-4, and then McCann ended it with a three run bomb.
  • The Yankees now move back into sole possession of first place in the AL East, a division that no one seems too eager to run away with. The Blue Jays just lost 3/4 to the hapless Red Sox, the Orioles have lost 4/5, and the Rays just lost their 6th straight game. It will probably take 85 wins at the most to win this division. When was the last time you could say that?
  • A few other notes about the Yankees. The biggest and most overwhelming flaw this team is that it’s way too reliant on the long ball. Entering Wednesday’s game against the Angels, the Yankees scored 47.1 percent of their runs via the home run. That’s not going to get it done in the playoffs when manufacturing runs is the way you win games.
  • That’s why Jacoby Ellsbury’s never ending return to the lineup is so vital. Aside from Gardner, Ellsbury is the only other player on the roster who has the ability to steal a base. With Ellsbury out, the only way the Yankees have scored recently is by hitting homers. This team doesn’t hit and run, they occasionally move runners over with sacrifice bunts, but those haven’t panned out the way the Yankees would like them to.
  • Even late in games when a stolen base could be huge, the Yankees are pinch running John Ryan Murphy for A-Rod. It’s like replacing a snail with a turtle; it makes no difference.
  • I know the Yankees have been down playing the heck out of Ellsbury being scratched from rehab games, but if the man can’t take the field in the minors, how is anyone supposed to believe he’s ready to contribute back in the majors? My guess is Ellsbury returns Tuesday against the A’s at the earliest. I hope I’m wrong.
  • Another Yankees outfielder landed on the DL this week: Carlos Beltran. I’m still confused as to why the Yankees signed Beltran in the first place. He’s old, slow, can’t run, and the moments when he looks good at the plate are way to few and far between. His right field defense has easily been the worst in baseball.
  • Big props to A-Rod for agreeing to put his 660 home run bonus talk to bed. He and the Yankees reached an agreement where the team will give $3.5 million to charity, and we can all move on with our lives. I thought for sure A-Rod would do anything in his power to collect that $6 million bonus, but clearly he’s more concerned with winning games on the field which is the way it should be.
  • By the way, it would be a travesty if A-Rod isn’t selected to participate in the All-Star game. He has to be there. The sport needs him in Cincinnati just for entertainment value alone.
  • NBA Free Agency kicked off this week and teams are throwing absurd money at anyone willing to take it. The most striking move to me was seeing the Oklahoma City Thunder giving Kyle Singler a five-year $25 million contract. Am I missing something here? With all due respect to Singler, and good for him for cashing in, but this guy averaged 6 points, 1.1 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game last season and he gets $25 million?? I’m pretty sure I could be more productive if I ever got the chance to play in the NBA.
  • Robin Lopez, an average player at best got a four-year $54 million contract from the Knicks. Again, good for him. The Milwaukee Bucks gave Khris Middleton a five-year $70 million contract. Who? And Tristan Thompson inked a five-year $80 million deal to remain in Cleveland. With Kevin Love, and now Thompson in the fold for the long haul, you have to think next season will be Timofey Mozgov’s last in Cleveland.
  • Then there was Paul Pierce who singed with the Clippers for not one, not two, but three years!! Pierce wasn’t sure if he was going to retire after the Wizards were eliminated from the playoffs, and now he’s signed up for 3-years in LA? I never saw that coming.
  • One player who signed a well earned extension was Kawhi Leonard who re-upped with the Spurs on a five-year $90 million deal. Leonard is ready to become a superstar in this league and the Pacers trading him a few years back for George Hill may go down as one of the most lopsided in the history of the NBA. If Kawhi had remained in Indy, who knows how far the Pacers could have gone?
  • I know he settled for a one-year $9.5 million deal in Sacramento, but Rajon Rondo betting on himself next season is head scratching. If he had just done what he had to do in Dallas last season, Rondo could have changed his perception around the league, but now he’s determined to change his tone? Ok Rajon.
  • Now the Kings are set to have Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins on the same roster? I’m sure George Karl will get along great with them.
  • For the record, if I were an NBA team, I wouldn’t have touched Rondo with a 50-foot pole. He’s easily the biggest locker room cancer in the sport with Lance Stephenson being a close second.
  • As for the Brooklyn Nets, you can’t argue with them bringing back Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young and paying them whatever they want. At this point, the Nets should be doing everything possible to remain competitive until the 2020 season when Brooklyn will finally be able to use its own first round picks.
  • The United States Women’s Soccer team will attempt to win its first World Cup title since 1999 on Sunday evening against Japan in a rematch of the 2011 final when the US lost to Japan in PKs.
  • This time around, I can’t see the US losing. The defense is just too strong, Hope Solo looks unbeatable in net, and the trio of Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rampinoe are unstoppable at this moment in time. Sorry Japan, this is the United States’ year. I like the US to win 2-0.
  • Be sure to tune back next Saturday for another edition of Frankly Frankel and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
 
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