May 2009

Bent, but not broken…

 

What?  No walk-off win?  What’s up with that? 

 

Surprised cat.JPG

Last night, it appeared that the Yankees were going to coast to a victory for a change.  The Twins had scored a couple of runs at the top of the first inning, but the Yanks roared back with 6 runs in the bottom of the frame.  Included in the scoring were back-to-back home runs by the suddenly very hot Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

Yankees Beat Twins in a 4-Game Sweep

Barton Silverman/The New York Times 

 

Nick Swisher almost made it three straight home runs, but his fly ball fell about six feet short of the fence.

It was revealed after the game that Twins starter Glenn Perkins had taken the mound with an injury (inflamed left elbow), and it worsened while he was pitching.  He was placed on the DL after the game.  Nevertheless, the Twins relievers did a good job in shutting down the Yankees after the disastrous first inning.  R.A. Dickey, in particular, was solid in 4 1/3 innings of relief.  It allowed the Twins to slowly climb back into the game.  They certainly had every opportunity to pull out a come-from-behind victory.

 

So Close.JPG

 

The Twins pounded out 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings against Andy Pettitte, but couldn’t get him to break.  They had a hit in every inning except the 9th.  They missed a golden opportunity in the 7th inning with the bases loaded, but Carlos Gomez flied out to center.

Mark Teixeira added another home run in the bottom of the 7th inning which proved to be the insurance run the Yanks needed. 

Manager Joe Girardi gave Mariano Rivera the night off after so much work earlier in the series, so the 9th began with the somewhat unsettling sight of Phil Coke on the mound to close it out.  It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pretty, but in the end, it was enough to allow Coke to pick up his first save.  He allowed a walk that eventually resulted in a Twins run, but the clutch hit the Twins were looking for, never came.  While Coke seemed to have trouble with the psychological edge needed to close a game, he finally succeeded in ending the game by inducing a groundout.  After the game, he said that he was completely gassed.  I guess he proved that he was a “Weeble”…

 

Weeble.JPG

 

While the Yankees swept the four game series, every game was so close.  It could have very easily have been a Twins sweep of the Yankees with a few timely hits here and there.  Still, the Yankees can feel good about themselves as they’ve improved their record to 21-17 and now stand just a single game behind the second place Boston Red Sox.

Oh, I almost forgot, Jason Bay, this gift basket is for you.  Julia seems to be focusing on Theo, but we know you’re the one who really matters.  Don’t sign an extension with the Red Sox because there’s a great spot in left field at Yankee Stadium waiting for you in 2010.  The Celtics and the Bruins have proven that Boston can easily return to its heartbreaking ways, and you deserve so much better.  #44 is not available, unless you can coerce Reggie Jackson into giving it up.  But I am sure there’s a number that would work for you…$$$$$$…  J

 

See you in the Bronx next year, Jason!  ;) 

 

Once, Twice, Three Times a Walk-Off…

Holy Cow!  Not one, not two, but three walk-off wins in a row! 

Johnny Damon’s 10th inning shot to the right field stands gave the Yankees a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.  The home run was hit on a 95 MPH fastball, with a full count.  These games are fun, but man, nothing like that to get your blood pressure up…

 

The Yanks missed an opportunity to win it in the bottom of the 9th when Brett Gardner tried to score from second on an infield hit by Francisco Cervelli and was thrown out at the plate.

Kathy Willens/AP 

It was a great pitching performance by A.J. Burnett, who did not give up any runs until the 7th inning. 

Gene J. Puskar/AP 

Alfredo Aceves, 2-0, was the winner for the second consecutive day.  He’s liking these walk-off wins too! 

The Yankees conclude their four game series with the Twins on Monday.  Surely, the walk-off win streak cannot continue.  I’d settle for one of those 10 run innings early to put the game out of reach.  I don’t want much!

 

And A-Rod Says It’s Over…

I can really get used to these walk-off hits to win games…

The former Texas Rangers duo of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira came through in a big way last night, which was capped by A-Rod’s game winning two run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.  I always prefer to go to extra innings when you’re the home team.  I hate giving the opponent one more shot.  Fortunately, these games against the Minnesota Twins are at Yankee Stadium so it’s set the stage of two successive nights of game winning, walk-off hits.

AP

 

Mark Teixeira set up A-Rod’s dramatic moment with four hits and four RBI’s.  He also walked in the 11th inning prior to A-Rod’s homer.

I’m hoping there will be more nights like this as we move into the dog days of summer…

 

Manager Joe Girardi tried something new with starting pitcher Joba Chamberlain.  Joba had given up 7 first inning runs in his previous two starts, so Joe had Joba pitch a simulated first inning in the bullpen with coach Mike Harkey standing in as a batter with no bat.  Joba “pretended” to face three batters.  Say what you will about it, it worked.  Joba retired the first three Twins on 14 pitches.  He pitched a total of 6 innings with 6 strikeouts, and only allowed 2 runs.

 

 

Julia‘s team spoiled what would have been a “perfect night”, when the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 5-3.  Future Yankee left fielder Jason Bay hit a two run home run in the first to stake the Red Sox to a lead they never relinquished.  Hey, Jason, this is for you…

As bad as you look in a Red Sox uniform, you’d look terrific in pinstripes!  I’m just saying…

 

The Mighty Melky at Bat…

 

I like walk-off hits…

 

 

Melky Cabrera won last night’s game against the Minnesota Twins with a two-run single in the 9th inning.  The inning had began with the Twins up 4-2 and ace closer Joe Nathan on the mound.  Brett Gardner tripled to start the inning, and Mark Teixeira drove him in with a single.  Alex Rodriguez worked the count and walked.  Nathan struck out Hideki Matsui and retired Nick Swisher.  Swisher’s ground out moved Teixeira and Rodriguez to second and third.  The Twins issued a free pass to Robinson Cano which loaded the bases, with two outs.  Melky Cabrera came up and promptly delivered the game winning shot with a single between center fielder Carlos Gomez and left fielder Denard Span.  The Yankees, who had never held a lead in the game, won 5-4.

 

Richard Perry/The New York Times

 

The bullpen finally did a good job as starter Phil Hughes only went 5 innings, giving up three runs.  The bullpen only gave up one more run, a homer by Joe Mauer against Phil Coke in the 7th.  The winner was the generally unreliable Jose Veras, who struck out the only batter he faced in the 9th inning (Michael Cuddyer). 

Meanwhile, Hughes is probably packing his bags for Scranton as Chien-Ming Wang nears his return…

 

Scranton.JPG

 

Other game tidbits…

The Twins’ Justin Morneau hit two home runs on a day he celebrated his 28th birthday…

 


Happy Birthday.JPG 

There was some drama when Mark Teixeira took exception with Carlos Gomez and his ‘inside path’ to first base (the second time he had run that route in the game, which resulted in a collision with Tex’s wrist at first).  The players had words and it brought out both managers in defense of their respective players.

 

Justin Lane/EPA 

The game also saw the Yankees’ first inside the park home run when speedy Brett Gardner hit a ball to shallow left that took an unexpected bounce and went to the warning track on Denard Span.  It was the first inside the park homer for the Yanks since Ricky Ledee did it in August 1999. 

 

http://multimedia.play.it/m/audio/22303394/brett-gardner.htm?widget=true
View Full Clip

 

It was an exciting game.  Unlike the Yankees’ depressing loss to Doc Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays (where I felt that the Yankees were never going to get back in the game), I had the sense last night that it “wasn’t over until it’s over”.  You could see and feel the rally in the 9th, so it almost would have been a surprise had Cabrera not come through.  It was a feel-good victory, and it pushed the Yankees to a winning record at 18-17.  The Blue Jays also won so the Yanks remain in 3rd place, 4 ½ games behind. Until the Yanks play again later today, life is good…

 

Life is good.JPG

 

This, of course, brings me to the second place club.  I had gotten a message from my friend that the Boston Red Sox were leading the Seattle Mariners 2-0.  But there were no follow up score updates.  Of course, I woke up this morning and saw that the Mariners had rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Jon Lester, and had pulled a victory by the same 5-4 score the Yankees had.  I think it was even an ex-Red Sox pitcher that saved the game for the M’s in David Aaardsma.  So, Julia, yes, it was a perfect night!

 

AP 

 

SOME OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS –

FAVRE AND THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS

 

I know, how can I be a Vikings fan but not like the Twins?  Well, that’s what happens when you grow up in a “free agent” state (a state which does not have any professional teams).  C’mon, how many professional teams are itching to build a new stadium in Des Moines, Iowa?  LOL!

 

 

 

I have been following the Brett Favre story with some interest.  I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings.  Obviously, the Jets failed down the stretch last year, and much of it has been attributed to Favre and the partially torn right biceps tendon in his throwing shoulder.  Brett opted not to have surgery, and is still recovering from the injury.  This week he consulted with Dr. James Andrews to determine his options. 

A leading shoulder specialist was quoted in a Minnesota newspaper that minor surgery to correct the problem is the worst case scenario.  Favre is apparently amenable to minor surgery, but not arthroscopic surgery.  Minor surgery would allow him to be ready for training camp (and of course miss the OTA’s and mini-camps). 

It would be weird seeing Favre wear a #4 purple jersey.  But his leadership and experience would be invaluable for the younger players on the team, including QB Tavaris Jackson.  Jackson is still young enough to learn a great deal from Favre who would be expected to play no more than one year. 

And of course, I like the Green Bay Packers about as much as I like the Boston Red Sox, so there’s not much that would be sweeter than watching Favre lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. 

I wanted Matt Cassel and Jay Cutler at various points this off-season, but both were traded elsewhere. 

Favre represents the next best option.  The team has a strong defense, good offensive line (depending upon how well the younger players like new starting center John Sullivan and rookie tackle Phil Loadholt perform), good receiving corps that will feature a new look with the presence of the talented Percy Harvin, and, of course, the best running back in the league.  I expect the special teams to be improved with some of the talent in the draft pick selections, so the key to the 2009 season is clearly the quarterback position.  I am not convinced that T-Jack is the man for the job, and Sage Rosenfels is not going to suddenly blossom into the elite level.  So, why not try Favre?

 

 

A Step in the Right Direction…

They’re back!

 


Were Back.JPGDerek Jeter and Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui returned to the Yankees lineup on Thursday night…in a big way…

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Derek tied the game in the 7th inning with a RBI single, while Hideki hit a solo home run in the 8th for the deciding margin of victory.

CC Sabathia, of course, followed up his great performance in Baltimore (four hit shutout) with another very strong performance.  He only gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in 8 innings of work against the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays.  It is so strange to see a Yankees starter going deep into games.  Of course, it’s a relief (no pun intended) to see Manager Joe Girardi avoid the wobbly arms in the pen, except for…

The Great Mariano Rivera.  Granted, he has had his share of struggles this season.  However, on Thursday night, it was vintage Mo.  Three men up…three men down, including a strikeout to end the game. 

The game also featured strong defensive play from the young guys like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli.  I have been reading that the league will “figure out” Cervelli once the scouting reports catch up with him, but for now, he’s been invaluable and I’ve enjoyed his play.  It was fun to see his excitement after the game as he spoke with the YES Network.  What a thrill!  You start the year in the minor leagues, playing for Double A/Trenton, and in May, you’re catching the likes of CC and Mo.  I know that catchers Austin Romine and Jesus Montero are working their way up the system for eventual starting roles for the Yankees, but right now, Cervelli has been “all that and a bag of chips”.  It’s refreshing to have his energy on the team.

12

“Right now, we can take a lot out of beating any team,” Jeter said. “We need to string together some wins and win some series. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”


thumbs up.JPGThe Yankees evened their record at 17-17, and now stand 4.5 games behind the Jays.  The Red Sox, of course, missed their opportunity to gain ground with a 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels.  I felt that the Red Sox were going to win it when they loaded the bases in the 12th inning, particularly when David Ortiz came to bat with two outs.  But Ortiz did not come through like we’ve seen in recent years.  He also struck out with the bases loaded in the 4th.  He was 0-for-7, and stranded a dozen men on base.  He’s gone 144 at-bats without a homer, and he told reporters after the game that ‘Papi stinks’.  I don’t take satisfaction in seeing Ortiz struggle.  I like playing the best, and I have always thought that Ortiz was a good guy.  He’s certainly someone that I would have enjoyed on my team.  Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll rebound soon and start hitting the clutch shots that we’ve become accustomed to.

 

AP

Speaking of Boston, my condolences go out to my friend, Julia.  The Boston Bruins were eliminated from the NHL play-offs by the Carolina Hurricanes last night in overtime, 3-2.  I had really felt that they had a shot at the Stanley Cup, and I am surprised that they’ve made their exit.  With the departure of the Ducks too, I guess I’ll be pulling for Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  There is no way that I’d ever root for anything related to Detroit (sorry, I am a Vikings fan so there’s no love for Detroit…or Green Bay or Chicago)….well, Kid Rock’s not so bad…

Kid Rock Picture

Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America

Poor Julia!  It was a 0-for-3 night as her Celtics also lost.  But at least she has one more chance with the NBA, as the Celtics will play the Orlando Magic in the decisive Game 7 on Sunday.  There will be better days, Julia! 

Nina Cat Kicks Dog

Well, except for a few nights in June…

Bench Strength, for a change…

 

Finally, the Yankees win in Toronto!  Leave it to Andy Pettitte to resume his role as the stopper for the Yankees (something he was quite good at earlier in his career).  The Yankees won convincingly, 8-2, thanks in large part to a huge 2nd inning that saw them push 5 runs across the plate.

 

Warren Toda/EPA

 

I was surprised to see Brett Gardner hit his first career home run, but he did show a little power during the spring.  The younger guys were very instrumental in the victory as Gardner, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli combined for 2 triples and the home run, scoring 3 runs and 4 RBI’s.  That’s the type of bench play that the Yankees need to be successful!

 

Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire

 

Johnny Damon continued his hot hitting, with an extra base hit for the 9th consecutive game.  Mark Teixeira was finally able to pull his batting average above .200, so that’s an encouraging sign. 

Finally, the bullpen did its job with three scoreless innings by Alfredo Aceves and Jonathan Albaladejo.  The latter made it interesting in the 9th inning by loading the bases, but emerged unscathed with a game-ending double play.  No worries…

 

 

Meanwhile, in Anaheim, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Los Angeles Angels, 8-4.  Angels pitcher Matt Palmer set down the final 19 Red Sox batters, and David Ortiz has gone 137 at-bats without a homer.  Julia, how did that Jason Bay homer work out for ya?  :P

Palmer stops Red Sox

AP (Courtesy Boston Globe) 

It was a good night.

The Yanks are now 16-17 and in third place in the AL East, 5 ½ games behind the Jays.

 

THE INJURY BUG

Derek Jeter still isn’t feeling quite himself due to the oblique pull, so he took another night off…

 

2618570287_9fc97ea7d2[1].jpg

 

The injuries are running rampant with Jeter hurting, along with Hideki Matsui who has a tight right hamstring.  Also, Phil Coke has sat out a couple of games with an ailing back. 

Courtesy Family Guy 

 

Chien-Ming Wang is getting closer to making another run in the rotation, but GM Brian Cashman indicated that he’ll pitch one more turn for Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre before returning to the Bronx.  Brian Bruney and Jorge Posada are both working their way back from the DL, and should be returning soon.  Hopefully, when they are back, Brian Cashman can begin looking for some minor deals to help strengthen the Yankees’ bench.

 

SLEEPLESS IN BOSTON

Speaking of Boston, I liked it so much better when Julia’s (of Julia’s Rants) teams were losers…

 

Crying Boy.JPG

 

Can we go back to the way it used to be?  ;)

 

Reuters

 

Actually, I am pulling for her Bruins since my team, the San Jose Sharks, was ousted in the first round.  However, after initial bitterness toward the Anaheim Ducks for eliminating the Sharks, I have overcome the ill feelings and I am starting to warm up to the Ducks.  I’d like to see them defeat the Detroit Red Wings, and I’d have to say that if they go to the Stanley Cup Finals, I am ready to support the Ducks in their drive for a championship.  So, perhaps, I am headed for another collision with Julia.  The law of averages has to work in my favor at some point…

I am guilty of looking ahead, but I will be pulling strongly for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers if they make it to the NBA Finals (they will).  The Boston Celtics are a little sketchier, but they should make it.  If they do (and the Ducks and Bruins advance), I look forward to the City of Angels and its surrounding area reigning supreme over the fine residents of Boston in two major sports. 

Sorry Julia, but it’s my job…

P.S.  You’ll look so good in the Mark Teixeira t-shirt in June!

Another Day, Another Loss…

 

Who said Derek Jeter could have the day off?

I didn’t see the PTO request!

Actually, he has a sore right oblique and needed a day to recuperate…


Jeter Girls.JPG 

 

Thanks to a scoop by Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, here is a photo of Nick Swisher’s new haircut:

 

Swisher 05 12 09.JPG

 

I liked Abraham’s comment that it looked like Swish head-butted a lawnmower!  Hopefully, this will snap Swish out of his current slump.  On the bright side, it can’t hurt!

Roger Clemens was on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show this morning, and denied use of any performance-enhancing drugs.  Right, and I also believe that Brett Favre doesn’t enjoy waffling about retirement every off-season…

 

Cat What.JPG

 

Former Yankees reliever Scott Proctor (currently with the Florida Marlins) had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and is out for the year.  Meanwhile, Yankees minor league pitcher Ian Kennedy had surgery for an aneurysm in his right shoulder, and will be out for 6-8 weeks.  Good luck to both pitchers, and may they each have a speedy recovery!

SI.com named their Best 5 & Worst 5 Owners in Baseball, and the Steinbrenner Family made #4 on the Best List.  I won’t say who took first, but I am sure that Julia will have something to say about it…

Oh yeah, there was a game tonight.  The Yankees lost, 5-1.  Of course, that was a given as soon as I saw that Roy Halladay was the scheduled starter.  He is a true Yankee killer (even if his name is really Harry), and the marquee match-up between him and A.J. Burnett was tilted in the Jays’ favor from the start. 

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images 

 

I was glad to see Alex Rodriguez get an RBI, but once the Jays scored early, I knew that the Jays would be able to tack on more runs once they got A.J. into the later innings (when he seems to tire easily). 

Without Jeter in the lineup, the offense looked very punchless.  With A-Rod still trying to work his way back and Tex still coming up short in key situations, there really wasn’t anything else in the lineup (Damon can’t do it all by himself).  It was appropriate that Teixeira ended the game with a groundout to first, leaving a runner in scoring position.  So much for a clutch hit to start a rally…

 

I know that the Yankees have to keep infielders Ramiro Pena and Angel Berroa around because of uncertainty regarding Alex Rodriguez, but there’s nothing on the bench.  The cupboards are bare.  When a DJ takes the day off, there is a huge drop-off in talent, and the Yankees cannot afford to let these games get away.  I know that now is a difficult time to make any acquisitions without paying a high price, but Brian Cashman needs to figure it out.

Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times 

Time to regroup, and return tomorrow night to show the world that they really do deserve to be called contenders (because right now they don’t look like it)…

 

Red Sox Sweep and I, yeah, whatever…

 

As most of you know, I recently made a bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  The event of the three game Yankees-Red Sox series at Fenway Park from April 24th through April 26th.  The drama was heightened by Julia’s birthday which fell on Saturday, April 25th. 

At stake?  A pink hat of the opposing team for the loser.  I have previously made fun of Julia’s passion for pink hats, and honestly never thought I’d be anywhere near one myself. 

Unfortunately, the Yankees were a no-show that dreadful April weekend in Boston, and the Red Sox walked away…easily…with a three-game sweep.  Julia had a terrific weekend, and I was left to wonder why the Yankees failed to show. 

So, it has come time to settle my debt with Julia. 

Enter the land of pink Red Sox hats…

 

IMG_0161sm.JPG

 

First up, my Yankees bear, Lou, had to serve his penalty since Julia was gracious enough to include a pink hat for him too…

 

IMG_0133sm.JPG

 

Notice how Lou was trying to recreate Julia’s Blog Profile Photo.  Next, he took some Red Sox lessons from Wally the Green Monster, using a Red Sox book that Julia included…

 

IMG_0119sm.JPG

 

The fun just keeps continuing (lucky me).  Wally decided that we needed to do a group photo…

 

IMG_0149sm.JPG

 

What can I say?  The Yankees failed to come through for me that dreadful April weekend…

 

IMG_0165sm.JPG

 

But I will live to see another day, and the Yankees will resume their rivalry against the Red Sox in June.  Yes, Julia, I am ready for the next round so get ready!  The Yankees will be back!

But, meanwhile, one final photo and the debt is PAID IN FULL!

 

IMG_0156sm.JPG

 

Okay, that wasn’t fun…

NOTE TO DEREK JETER & COMPANY:  Don’t let it happen again!  :) 

The Big Spark Comes Through (Again)…

 

The Big Spark…

I have written about the timely clutch hitting of Johnny Damon, and once again, he delivers.  In the 7th inning, with the Yankees trailing the Baltimore Orioles by 1, Damon hit a three-run homer off the O’s Jim Johnson to stake the Yankees to a 5-3 lead.

Rob Carr/AP 

The game started with drama in the bottom of the first inning, when Aubrey Huff connected off Joba Chamberlain for a three-run home run.  Huff displayed fist pumping as he rounded first and after he crossed home plate (mocking Joba’s notorious fist pumping gestures). 

Of course, Joba showed good sportsmanship in saying that if Huff wanted to do backflips, he could do backflips.  This isn’t the last time these two have faced each other, and honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Huff actually did a backflip the next time he homers off Chamberlain.

Aubrey Huff, Juan Samuel

AP 

Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run in the top of the 1st inning that had given the Yankees a temporary 1-0 lead, until it was erased by Huff’s blast.

New York’s other run also came via the long ball with a solo shot by Robinson Cano to start the scoring in the 7th before Damon hit the decisive bomb (his 6th home run in the last 10 games). 

“He’s been a big spark for us, and we’ve really needed him,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Johnny has won games for us and he’s given us opportunities to win games because of the big hits that he’s had late in games. It’s something that we need.”

Damon is a modern-day Paladin, ‘Have Bat – Will Travel’…

Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera did their jobs this time around and preserved the 5-3 victory for Chamberlain and the Yankees. 

I personally don’t mind Joba’s fist pumps.  It is an emotional reaction to game situations, and he is clearly a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.  I don’t think he is trying to show up the other team, and when he is beaten, he accepts it and moves on.  I would like to see him start games a little more smoothly, but I think Joba has proven he is in the starting rotation to stay.

New York Daily News 

I am also hopeful that the recent home runs by Mark Teixeira are signs that the “thaw” is beginning to happen and that he’ll become a key cog in the Yankees’ offense going forward. 

Robb Carr/AP 

The Yanks are off on Monday as they head for Toronto for a three-game series against the AL East Leaders.

OTHER NEWS

It’s interesting how the Dodgers are 1-3 at home since Manny Ramirez’s suspension after a 13-0 home start.  Today, the number 13 again became a bad omen for the Dodgers as they fell to the San Francisco Giants, 7-5, in the 13th inning. 

 

Julia of Julia’s Rants was particularly pleased today when the Boston Red Sox designated reliever Javier Lopez for assignment.  She’s been begging me to take Javier for weeks.  I know she’s excited to see flamethrower Daniel Bard in the majors, so now is his opportunity to shine…

The Sun Chronicle

The Houston Rockets lose Yao Ming for the remainder of the play-offs, and promptly go out and blast the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-87.  The series is now tied, 2 games apiece.

Saturday, I received a text message from my son that said “Star Trek is awesome”.  So, I went to see the movie today, and he’s right.  It’s awesome.  The new actors successfully captured the essence of the central characters, but were still able to make them their own.  I thought Chris Pine did a great job as Captain James T. Kirk, and Karl Urban was impressive as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.  Zachary Quinto did an excellent job in convincing me that he was Spock, and not Sylar (his character on Heroes).  It’s definitely a must-see movie…

I hope all the Mom’s had a great Mother’s Day!

 –Scott

 

Dead from New York, It’s Saturday Night!…

 

Friday night was so nice….dominating pitching performance…good defensive play…solid hitting…

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (right) receives congratulations from third base coach Rob Thomson after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Gene Sweeney Jr/Baltimore Sun

None of that happened on Saturday night…

Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff (right) receives congratulations from teammates Adam Jones (left) and Nick Markakis after hitting a three-run home run in the second inning.

AP

At first, it appeared that the rain might be a problem.  It had been fairly nice all day in Baltimore with partly cloudy to most cloudy conditions but no rain.  I arrived at Oriole Park early, and found the way to my seat. 

Then, the rain drops started fall.  They covered the field, and I wondered if it would be a repeat of my experience last weekend when I went to Yankee Stadium for the game that was rained out. 

 

IMG_0098sm.JPG

Fortunately, the rain never really materialized in a significant way, so they took the tarp off the field.  The rain did reappear briefly while they were pulling the tarp but it only caused a momentary delay.  The rain quickly stopped, and didn’t return the remainder of the night.  They rolled up the tarp, and the game began at its scheduled 7:05 pm.


IMG_0104sm.JPG 

Perhaps a rainout would have been better…

The Yankees looked decent through one inning, and then it all collapsed in the second.  They looked like Keystone Cops as the Orioles sent 13 men to the plate, and scored 8 runs. 

Hughes is now the latest member of the Yogi Berra Club (that is, pitchers with ERA’s of 8 or more).  Unfortunately, there are too many members of the club at this point of the season.  The list includes Hughes, 8.49; Brett Tomko, 9.00 (who also gained entry last night in his first appearance as a Yankee); Damaso Marte, 15.19; Chien-Ming Wang, 34.50; and Anthony Cleggett, 43.20.  Jose Veras, 7.20, has petitioned for membership and we have no doubt that he’ll be accepted…

What was supposed to a strength has quickly turned to a major disappointment and is why the Yankees have started 14-16 for the third year in a row.

Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog raised the issue that the Yankees are just not a good Saturday team.  After winning on April 11th against the Kansas City Royals, 6-1, the Yanks have been hammered on every subsequent Saturday.

4/18 – Cleveland Indians 22, Yankees 4

4/25 – Boston Red Sox 16, Yankees 11

5/02 – Los Angeles Angels 8, Yankees 4

5/09 – Baltimore Orioles 12, Yankees 5

The Yankees did hit three home runs last night, but by then, the damage had been done.  There never really was a sense that the Yanks were going to climb back into the game. 

Hopefully, the team will play more to their strengths and abilities today in the final game of the three-game set against the O’s. 

Meanwhile, the Yankees have been passed in the AL East Standings by the defending AL champs, the Tampa Bay Rays.  They are now in 4th place, 5.5 games behind the leading Toronto Blue Jays.  They are just 1.5 games up on the O’s.  Regardless of what happens today, they won’t leave Baltimore in last place but they’re perilously close. 

 

Hey Girardi, time to start working on the resume…

Seth Wenig/AP

 

SCENES FROM THE GAME

The last thing I want to remember is anything that happened last night, but I was impressed with Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  It felt like a home game given the large number of Yankees fans in attendance.  There were enough fans that they were able to create loud Yankee chants early in the game before the disaster of the 2nd inning.  A nearby O’s fan said it is the same way when the Red Sox come to town. 


IMG_0100sm.JPG 

The ballpark itself is very impressive.  I have had mixed feelings about the newer stadiums (some I’ve liked, some not so much).  Granted, Oriole Park was one of the first new “Retro” stadiums, but it has a terrific “feel” to it that has not been replicated by other stadiums.  It’s simply a great place to watch baseball…unless your team tanks it and gives up 8 runs in the bottom of the second inning.


IMG_0105sm.JPG 

 

IMG_0117sm.JPG

 

Surprisingly, this man didn’t raise the greatest chorus of boo’s…

IMG_0114sm.JPG

 

The O’s fans saved their “appreciation” for Maryland native Mark Teixeira…

IMG_0108sm.JPG

Hopefully, my next visit to Oriole Park will prove to be more enjoyable…

 

YANKEES NOTES

Joba Chamberlain has been listed as questionable for today’s game, thanks to a burst blood vessel in his thumb. 

The Yankees held Alfredo Aceves in reserve for the possible start today, which is why we saw Edwar Ramirez relieve Phil Hughes last night during THAT inning instead of long reliever Aceves.  Hopefully, Joba will be a ‘go’ at game time, but the Yankees are historically very conservative when it comes to injuries.  From all reports, it does sound as though Joba will be on the mound as scheduled.

I saw that the Yankees had three scouts watching Yu Darvish pitch in Japan.  He won’t be a free agent until 2014, but he’s only 22 years old.  If you saw him pitch during the WBC, you know that he is a legitimate major league prospect.  I am glad to see that the Yankees are tracking his progress.

Yu Darvish

 

Tuesday, pitcher Ian Kennedy will undergo surgery for an aneurysm in an artery near his right shoulder.  The doctor who performed the surgery on David Cone’s aneurysm in 1996 will perform the same surgery on Kennedy.  I have not been a big fan of Kennedy’s, but he was pitching well for Scranton/Wilkes Barre this year and I do wish him a full and speedy recovery. 

Brett Tomko, as mentioned previously, is back in the major leagues.  When he entered the game last night, the O’s radio announcers were saying how he had a sub 1.00 ERA in 10 Triple A relief appearances (0.64). 

He promptly gave up a home run to the impressive Adam Jones…

Courtesy Militant Angeleno Blog

Yep, he is still Brett Tomko…

 

To Everyone, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Go Yankees!

 

–Scott

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.