June 2009

A Gift From Boston…

 

When does not playing a game mean a Yankees win?

 

Happy.JPG

 

When the Red Sox lose, of course!  Thanks for the Red Sox loss to the Texas Rangers, 5-1, on Friday night, the Yankees find themselves back in sole possession of first place.

 

Posted on YouTube by ShaBiCaoNiMa

 

Taking the glass is half empty approach, I had assumed that the Sox would pull in the front of the Yanks in the AL East Standings last night.  Fortunately, Elvis Andrus continued to impress, Ian Kinsler hit a huge three-run homer, Kevin Millwood pitched a terrific game, and Julio Lugo is the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox…

The Boston Glob

 

Friday’s rainout against the Tampa Bay Rays has allowed manager Joe Girardi to reset the starting rotation in anticipation of the Red Sox series next week.  A.J. Burnett, currently appealing the 6 game suspension for throwing near the head of Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, will open the series on Tuesday.  Chien-Ming Wang has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (heck, David Ortiz is probably even salivating about the facing Wang), and CC Sabathia, today’s starter against the Rays, will close the series against the Sox on Thursday.  Will it be enough to keep me out of a Jason Bay t-shirt and Julia in a Mark Teixeira t-shirt?  Time will tell, but I like my chances.  I don’t think this will be a sweep for either team but Julia will be in for a surprise if she thinks that this is the same team she saw in April and early May.

 

Reuters 

 

Friday night’s game has not been re-scheduled and it will not be made up during the current weekend series in New York.  All these make up days are going to take their toll later on the season due to double-headers or lost off-days.

 


Dog Days.JPG 

 

OTHER NEWS…

I understood why the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Xavier Nady to the Yankees, but I do not understand the trade of Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves.  The Pirates are only 6 ½ games out of first place, yet they move one of their best players for young talent.  It feels like they are giving up the race before it starts.  I think Andrew McCutchen will be a great player, but now wasn’t the time to make this type of move.  Of course, it just makes you wonder that when McCutchen finally puts it all together at the major league level if he’ll just simply be moved on for more prospects.  Is there a plan in Pittsburgh?  I realize they have financial constraints, but the moves are very suspect.

 

 

AP

 

Carl Pavano threw a three-hit shutout against the White Sox?  Incredible.  I still see the day where the Tribe puts all their eggs in the Pavano basket and come away greatly disappointed.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Shame on the Atlanta Braves for the way that they handled the release of Tom Glavine.  It is sad to see the departures of John Smoltz and Tom Glavine end so poorly.  Both guys deserved better treatment from the organization for their years of loyal service and high production.  I can’t say that all Yankee careers have ended in a positive manner, but Smoltz and Glavine were poster boys for doing things the right way.  Hopefully, Glavine will land on his feet and be allowed to exit the stage on his own terms.

 

Elsa/Getty

 

There is speculation that the Boston Red Sox are interested in Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson.  I would really prefer to see Johnson traded elsewhere.  It hasn’t been fun watching onetime Yankee top prospect Mike Lowell prosper in Boston, particularly since the Yanks do not really have anything to show for the trade.  Of course, who did the Yankees get for Johnson?  Atlanta Braves pitcher Javier Vazquez, who had a very short stay in the Bronx as he was part of the three-way deal that brought Randy Johnson to New York for two uninspired years.  All things considered, I would have preferred to keep Nick Johnson…

 

 

 

Considering that Jason Bay is a “West Coast” guy (born in Trail, British Columbia), I’d like to see the San Francisco Giants pursue him in the off-season.

 

 

It would be the perfect setting for him to play in the Bay Area.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  I wouldn’t mind checking out a few games to see Bay by the Bay.  From a marketing standpoint, this makes way too much sense!

 


AT&T Park.JPG 

 

Hey Julia, thanks for First Place!  Your generosity, as always, is impeccable!  Please keep up your spirit of giving!  I’ll gladly take it all…

Go Yankees!

–Scott

 

A Less Than Perfect Day…

 

It wasn’t a perfect, but all things considered, it could have been worse…

 

The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers, 8-6, while the Boston Red Sox won in Detroit against the Tigers, 6-3.  So, the two teams remain deadlocked atop the AL East Standings.

 

cat n dog.JPGThe Yankees survived a less than stellar return to the starting rotation by Chien-Ming Wang. 

 

 

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a Johnny Damon home run to right.

Wang looked good for the first couple of innings, but the trouble began in the 3rd.  Chris Davis started the inning with a ground rule double.  He advanced to third on a sacrifice by Taylor Teagarden.  After an by Elvis Andrus, Davis scored on a wild pitch when Wang slipped.  The next batters, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, reached base on a walk and an infield single, respectively.  That brought Hank Blalock to the plate who hit a single to left, scoring Kinsler and Young.  Nelson Cruz struck out to end the inning, but the Rangers resumed their offensive strike in the 4th.

David Murphy singled, and was followed by Marlon Byrd who doubled, advancing Murphy to third.  Chris Davis doubled to right to score the two runners ahead of him.  Wang was then able to retire the next three batters to end the inning, but the Rangers had increased their lead to 4-1. 

 

Simmons/NY Daily News

In the 5th, Wang was able to induce the first two batters to hit into ground outs, but the third batter, Nelson Cruz, unloaded a homer to center and Wang’s day was done.  He was relieved by Alfredo Aceves, He walked two batters, and an error allowed the lead runner to third.  But Chris Davis popped out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankee bats came alive against Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy.  Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena both singled, and Johnny Damon walked to load the bases.  Nick Swisher walked, which scored Cervelli.   Mark Teixeira, continuing his offensive surge which began in May, doubled to left with a shot near line past charging third baseman Michael Young, scoring all three base runners to tie the score at 5.  Alex Rodriguez singled, scoring Teixeira, and the Yankees had re-captured the lead. 

The next inning, Aceves was able to retire the first two batters without much difficulty, but then allowed a home run to left by Ian Kinsler.  Once again, the game was tied.  It stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th.  With C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Rangers, the first batter, Robinson Cano walked.  Hideki Matsui flied out, which brought Melky Cabrera to the plate.  Granted, it was a bit early for the “Walk Off” king, but Cabrera ignored that it wasn’t the 9th inning and launched a Wilson offering to left, giving the Yankees an 8-6 lead.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger

“What can you say?  He’s always coming through for us,” Mark Teixeira said after the game about Cabrera.

Mariano Rivera came on in the 9th to close out the game.  He made it interesting with two hits, and had runners at second and third when he induced David Murphy to pop out to end the game.  Bent, but not broken and the Yankees had the win and Rivera had earned his 12th save.  David Robertson, 1-0, was the winner after throwing just one pitch (a fly out to retire the Rangers in the 8th).  For a change, the Yankee bullpen was able to rescue the starting pitcher, and  the Yankees were able to win the series against the Rangers, two games to one.  It was disappointing to see the underwhelming performance by Wang, but all things considered, I’ll take the victory. 

I was disappointed to hear that Wang’s next start will be against the Boston Red Sox.  I am sure that their hitters started salivating when they heard the news.  The bad news was further compounded by the fact that A.J. Burnett was suspended for six games for his retaliatory pitch thrown near the head of Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz in the game where Vicente Padilla plunked Mark Teixeira twice.  I was surprised that Vicente Padilla was only fined for his actions.  Burnett has appealed the suspension.

I wonder if Julia would give me a three run handicap for our wager on the Yankees-Red Sox series next week?  Probably not.  She’s definitely living the good life, but hopefully there will be a few storm clouds on her Red Sox horizon…

 

Storm Clouds.JPG

Congratulations to…

Randy Johnson of my favorite National League team, the San Francisco Giants.  He because the sixth left hander and 24th major league player to win 300 games.  Johnson, 300-164, won on his first attempt at the milestone, and saved us the agony of watching the media follow him from city to city in his quest for 300 wins.  It was a good win for the Giants and a great performance by the Big Unit.

 

Nick Wass/AP

 

The Los Angeles Lakers, who thoroughly dominated the Orlando Magic, 100-75, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

 

Paul Buck/EPA

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who even the Stanley Cup Finals at 2 games, with a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

 

Jeff Kowalsky/EPA

 

Perhaps yesterday really was the perfect day… 

Have a fantastic Friday!

–Scott 

And Then They Were Tied…

So much for sole possession of first place…

The Yankees lost to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, 4-2.  Andy Pettitte gave up 4 runs in the first two innings, and the Yanks were never able to recover.

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

After knocking in a run in the first inning, Alex Rodriguez did his best impression of the 2009 version of Big Papi as he stranded five runners on base.

 

 

 

The Yankees had every opportunity for late inning heroics, but it was a night of no magic or miracle comebacks.  Meanwhile, in Detroit, Josh Beckett and the Red Sox had a no-hitter going until the seventh inning, and ultimately won the game, 10-5.  So, this morning finds the Yankees and Red Sox perched atop the AL East Standings together.  Can they co-exist together?

 

 

Umm, probably not…

Julia has asked me to step aside, however, I’ll be the rude host and block her path!  Hopefully, the Yankees can rebound today when Chien-Ming Wang faces Brandon McCarthy in the final game of the three game series with the Texas Rangers.  Will we see the 2006-07 version of Wang, or will the April 2009 version make its ugly reappearance?  I am obviously praying for the former.  Phil Hughes should be available for long relief should Wang falter…and of course the ever reliable Alfredo Aceves.

 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

 

In Detroit, Tim Wakefield pitches against the Tigers’ Dontrelle Willis.  Wake has been the source of consistency for the Red Sox this season, so it will be a challenge for the Yanks to maintain a share of first place.  But, c’mon, an unhappy Julia is a great thing…at least when it comes to baseball!  So, hopefully today will see a Yankees win and a Red Sox loss.  The perfect day!

 

 

Have a great day!  Well, everyone except Red Sox fans…  ;)

 

–Scott

   

13 Hits, 12 Runs, and 1 Error…

 

Perfect no more…

 

The Yankees errorless streak was halted at a major league record 18 games. I had expected Derek Jeter or Robinson Cano to boot a routine grounder to end the streak, but it was a throwing error by catcher Jorge Posada that sailed into center field on a stolen base attempt. Truth be told, I am glad to see the streak come to an end so that it removes the “pressure” of trying to maintain the streak.

 

John Dunn/MCT

 

During the streak, Yankee players fielded 660 chances without an error.

But the end of the streak was the only negative to an otherwise joyous evening…well, for everyone except Mark Teixeira, who was hit by two Vicente Padilla pitches.

 

AP

 

The Yankees won the game, 12-3, over the Texas Rangers, and maintained their one game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who also won, in the AL East Standings. Early on, it looked like the game could go either way. The Yanks had taken an early 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, thanks to a run-scoring single by Brett Gardner and a bases loaded balk by Padilla. After Mark Teixeira was hit by a Vicente Padilla pitch for the first time, Alex Rodriguez grounded out with the bags full to prevent further scoring. The next inning, the lead was quickly erased when Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz hit a three-run shot to left.

 

exas Rangers' Nelson Cruz, right, is greeted at the plate by Hank Blalock (9) and Michael Young (10) after hitting a third-inning, three-run home run off New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett

AP

In the bottom of the 4th inning, both Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter walked. Johnny Damon hit a single which scored Cabrera with the tying run. Teixeira, the next batter, was hit by a pitch from Padilla for the second time. With Jeter at third and the bases loaded, Alex Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice. Teixeira was out at 2nd but his slide upended shortstop Elvis Andrus and prevented a double play. However, Jeter scored with his 1,500th career run and the Yankees had forged ahead, 4-3. Robinson Cano singled to right, to bring home Damon and Padilla’s night was finished. Texas reliever Derek Holland entered the game, and promptly surrendered a run scoring single to Jorge Posada. The next batter, Hideki Matsui, cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right center field, his 8th of the season. Cabrera, batting for the second time in the inning, hit a grounder to second for the third out. However, the Yankees had scored 7 runs in the inning, and the 3-2 deficit had become a 9-3 lead.

 

New York Yankees' Hideki Matsui watches his fourth-inning, three-run home run in a baseball game against the Texas Rangers

AP

Jorge Posada closed out the scoring in the 6th with a three run homer to right.

A.J. Burnett (4-2) picked up his first Yankee Stadium win of the year. He went 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and 1 walk. He allowed three runs on the Cruz homer, and struck out 8 batters.

 

A.J. Burnett (34), pitches to the Texas Rangers in the first inning.

John Dunn

 

The unsightly duo of Brett Tomko and Jose Veras pitched the final two innings of scoreless relief. When Veras entered the game, I have to admit that I began to feel somewhat uncomfortable…even with a 9 run lead.

Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 16 games. However, Mark Teixeira did not get a hit so his streak ended at 14 games.

The hostility between Teixera and Padilla dates back to June 5, 2005 when Teixeira’s Rangers played Padilla’s Philadelphia Phillies. Tex homered in his first two at-bat’s against Padilla, and when he came to the plate for the third time, Padilla plunked him with a pitch. The two were Texas teammates in 2006-07, however, the ill feelings between the two were never resolved. “That’s not the right way to play the game and, unfortunately, that guy’s been doing that his whole career,” Teixeira said after the game. Padilla, by the way, has hit a major league high 97 batters since 2002.

 

 

It was nice to see Tex play with emotion and without losing control.

 

It was also nice to see my friend Julia stay in second place…  :)

–Scott

A Yankees Win Cures All…

 

Okay, I am better now…

 

 

It’s amazing what a Yankees win will do for one’s morale!  Especially, when it means some added ground on the Boston Red Sox, who had the night off.

 

 

 

Behind the best start of Joba Chamberlain’s brief career, the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians, 5-2.  With the victory, they took three of four games from the Tribe, and completed the latest road trip with a 5-2 record.

I don’t think anyone told the Yankees about “the birds and the bees” in Cleveland, but they seemed to be everywhere.  Nevertheless, Joba was able to focus on the game and didn’t let them get into his psyche like the play-off game a few years back.  Regarding the bugs, he finally decided that if you can’t beat them, eat them.  “Man, I started to see them come, I’ll be honest with you”, Joba said about the 8th inning.  “I actually swallowed one when I was walking around the mound to start that inning”.  So long as you can keep those fastballs coming in at 98 mph, Joba, you can eat whatever you’d like!

 

 

The play of the game clearly occurred in the 5th inning.  The teams were deadlocked at 1, but Ryan Garko started the bottom of the 5th with a walk.  Jamey Carroll was up next, and he singled to right to advance Garko to second.  After the homer by Victor Martinez the previous inning, I was starting to worry that the Tribe was getting ready to get untracked for a potential big inning.  Kelly Shoppach was the next batter, and popped the ball up toward third base.  The ball looked like it was going to drop quickly, so Garko was running toward third.  Joba ran toward third and dove for the ball in a full airborne sprawl, and caught it while he was falling to the ground.  He was a little disoriented regarding Garko’s location, but the other players yelled out and Joba had time to spin around and throw Garko out at second. 

 

Mark Duncan/AP

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer 

 

Just like that, the fear of the big inning was over, and the Tribe had two outs with a runner at first.  Bases loaded or if he hadn’t thrown Garko out, Cleveland would have had at least two runners in scoring position and the inning would have looked much different.  The cameras caught Andy Pettitte in the dugout.  He was standing next to CC Sabathia, and laughing hysterically.  After the game, Pettitte said that it looked like Joba was diving into a swimming pool.  Regardless of what it looked like, it was two outs and Joba never looked back.

 

LM Otero/AP

 

The next inning, Cleveland walked the first three batters so the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs…and of course, no hits.  Greg Aquino relieved Jeremy Sowers, and struck out A-Rod.  The next two  batters were easily retired, and the threat was eliminated. 

By now, Joba was on top of his game and breezed through the Tribe in the 6th.  The Yanks broke through for 4 runs in the 7th.  A double off the left field wall by Nick Swisher, started the scoring by bringing home Ramiro Pena and Brett Gardner.  After an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, former Yankee Luis Vizcaino came in and gave up a two-run single to Alex Rodriguez. 

Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the 7th to pull within 3 runs, but that was it.  Joba pitched effectively through 8 innings, and Mariano Rivera was his usual stellar self in the 9th. 

Per Mark Feinsand’s Blogging the Bombers column in the New York Daily News, the quote of the night was by Nick Swisher:  “There were like, what, 8,000 seagulls out there?  Come on, this ain’t even the beach, it’s Cleveland!”

 

 

 

It was a fun game to watch.  You could easily see the team chemistry at play.  One shot of the bench showed CC Sabathia getting up and walking toward Johnny Damon’s direction.  With his right hand, he flipped a handful of sunflower sands on Damon as he walked past.  Damon had a feigned look of disgust, and you could tell that these guys genuinely like each other.  That is something that could not always been said of Yankee teams in recent years.  For me, it reminds me of the camaraderie of the late 90’s.  The results may not match the achievements of those teams, particularly the great season of 1998.  However, this is a team destined for the play-offs if GM Brian Cashman can make the right moves to solidify the bullpen.  No pressure, Brian!

 

 

Other news…

Not only did Jose Molina suffer a setback in his injury rehab, so did Xavier Nady.  He felt discomfort as he threw on Monday.  Hopefully, this is just a temporary setback and X will be able to resume his journey back to the active roster. 

Derek Jeter now has 1,499 runs scored, and Alex Rodriguez is three homers away from Reggie Jackson who is 11th on the all-time list with 563 home runs.  Jeter has also hit safely in 15 consecutive games, while Mark Teixeira is at 14 games.

The Yankees successfully completed their 18th consecutive game without an error to set the new major league record previously held by the 2006 Red Sox. 

Hey Julia, it’s probably a good thing that you are so focused on re-signing Jason Bay and thinking about 2010.  This year is just going to be a disappointment for you.  Sorry, my friend!  On the bright side, the New England Patriots will be breaking camp next month so maybe you’ll have a chance for some play-off success this year…considering that you are 0-2, and soon-to-be 0-3…

–Scott

No Fair, It’s Not Supposed to Happen to Me!…

 

Aarrgghh, I hate walk-off wins…

 

 

 

Well, at least when the Yankees are on the road!  For some reason, they just seem so much sweeter at Yankee Stadium…

 

Frank Franklin II/AP

 

Without going into all the gory details, David Robertson gave up a run-scoring single by Jhonny Peralta in the bottom of the 9th inning to allow the Tribe to escape with a 5-4 victory.  Robertson and Phil Coke both walked a batter in the 9th to set the table for Peralta’s game-winning hit.

 

Tony Dejak/AP

 

But the burden of defeat cannot be placed squarely on the shoulders of Robertson and Coke.  Brett Gardner was also responsible with several poor plays.  In the 5th inning, Gardner misplayed a fly ball by Asdrubal Cabrera, which turned into a double.  He wasn’t charged an error, but I’d have to say that I am a little ashamed that the Yankees tied the Boston Red Sox with their 17th consecutive game without an “error” when, in my mind, it was an error in judgment. 

Gardner also helped extinguish a 9th inning rally by the Yanks.  Hideki Matsui walked, and Ramiro Pena came into the game to run for him.  Nick Swisher sacrificed Pena to second.  Gardner then reached first base on an infield single.  Despite the steal sign from the dugout, Gardner stayed at first and did not attempt a steal.  Jorge Posada subsequently hit into an inning ending double play.  Had Gardner stolen second, the Yanks would have had two men in scoring position with two outs.  By scoring a run or two, the Yankees would have brought Mariano Rivera into the game to close it rather than relying upon the unproven late inning duo of Coke and Robertson.

 

 

Larry W. Smith/EPA

 

Mark Teixeira almost single-handedly pulled the game out for the Yanks.  He hit a two-run homer in the 6th inning against Carl Pavano.  He also hit a two-run double in the 8th against Matt Herges (one of the runs was charged to Pavano, who allowed a single to Derek Jeter earlier in the inning).  Clearly, the Yankees had their opportunities against Pavano.  I guess if there’s a positive in the loss, it is that Pavano walked away with a no decision thanks to Teixeira.

 

Tony Dejak/AP

 

Phil Hughes had a disappointing outing, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings.

 

Tony Dejak/AP

 

Chien-Ming Wang continued his audition for regaining his spot in the starting rotation by relieving Hughes with three innings of shutout ball.  If this game is the determining factor, I’d say that Hughes next start will be in Scranton/Wilkes Barre and Wang will be back in his regular spot in the rotation.

 

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

 

With the loss combined with a Red Sox win, the Yankees lead in the AL East has fallen back to ½ game over Boston.

As of 5/31/09

AL East

W

L

Pct

GB

Home

Road

Last 10

Streak

Yankees

29

21

.580

14-9

15-12

6-4

Lost1

Red Sox

29

22

.569

0.5

17-6

12-16

5-5

Won1

Blue Jays

29

24

.547

1.5

18-7

11-17

2-8

Lost1

Rays

25

28

.472

5.5

13-11

12-17

4-6

Lost1

Orioles

23

28

.451

6.5

16-13

7-15

7-3

Lost2

 

I know, Julia, I hear your footsteps…

 

 

 

With one run scored, Derek Jeter now stands two runs away from 1,500.  Once he achieves that mark, he’ll join the exclusive trio of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle as the only players with 1,500 runs scored during their Yankee careers. 

To my disappointment, Buster Olney mentioned in his ESPN column that the Yankees probably will not be aggressive in their pursuit of Boston left fielder Jason Bay (wipe that grin off your face, Julia!) since they’ll be looking to keep the spot open for a possible switch of Derek Jeter from short to left as he continues to advance in age. 

Speaking of Jeter, his current hitting streak now stands at 15 games with a lead-off single in Monday night’s game against the Indians.

 

 

 

Catcher Jose Molina re-injured his left quad during an extended spring game today, so he’ll head back to New York for further evaluation.  This most likely means that his return is not imminent.  The Yankees may be disappointed, but I’m not.  It means that Cervelli will remain on the roster, and will have the opportunity to continue to show why he deserves the backup spot to Jorge Posada.

 

 

 

Tonight’s starting lineup has Alex Rodriguez at DH, and Angel Berroa at third.  Ugh, that’s not a good sign…

 

 

I know, I need an attitude adjustment…

 

 

–Scott 

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