The Yankees have given CC Sabathia a little breathing room. Ichiro Suzuki doubled home Derek Jeter in the bottom of the sixth inning to stretch the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.
Jeter drew a one-out walk and scored all the way from first base after Suzuki put one into the right-center field gap. Robinson Cano struck out looking and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked before Troy Patton replaced Jason Hammel to get Raul Ibanez to striking out swinging for the final out of the inning.
Of course, there’s a compelling case to be made that the Orioles should already be on the board. Nate McLouth hit a long fly ball along the right field line in the top of the sixth inning that landed very close to the foul pole. It was ruled foul on the field, but the play was reviewed after Buck Showalter went out to argue. However, the umpires quickly emerged to confirm the original call. It’s possible that the ball could have nicked the foul pole — and in fact, one usher told Craig Sager of TBS that it did indeed hit the pole — but there’s no definitive evidence yet. On a side note, that usher could be looking for a new job soon.
And so, it’s 2-0 Yankees as we move to the top of the seventh.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.