July 2009

A Rainout Would Have Been Nice…

 

It was just a bad day all the way around…

 

Bad Day.JPG

 

The Yankees lost to the Seattle Mariners, 8-4, to end their seven game winning streak.  The loss also prevented the Yankees from closing the gap on the Boston Red Sox and they fell to three games behind the AL East Leaders.

 

Failure.JPG

 

You knew it was going to be one of those days when Mark Teixeira couldn’t snare Ichiro Suzuki’s lead-off hit which bounced off Tex’s glove for a double.  In the 6th, Ryan Langerhans led off with a hard grounder that Tex attempted to make a play on but missed, giving the newest Mariner a double.  But the official error that ended Teixeira’s 107-game errorless streak didn’t occur until the 9th inning.  He threw wide to pitcher Alfredo Aceves, who was covering first, and it allowed Ichiro to reach base safely.  He would later score on Russell Branyan’s 451-foot home run to dead center.   Texeira’s last error occurred August 19, 2008 while he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels.  He has also gone 65 at-bat’s without a home run…

 

Bad Day 2.JPG

 

CC Sabathia was throwing in the mid-90′s, but he could not keep his fastball or his change-up down.  With the pitches staying in the zone, CC gave up 10 hits and 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

Manager Joe Girardi said after the game, “We had been playing so well and CC was throwing well so I felt good about our chances. He showed he was human”.  The only problem is the Yankees don’t pay CC to be human.  Anything less than complete domination is unacceptable.  Okay, I am just kidding, but you’d expect more than a win-loss record of 7-5 for $161 million.

 


CCs Contract.JPG  
 

 

The Yankees had their opportunities, but the clutch hits never came.  In the 9th, it appeared the Yankees were getting something going when the first two batters, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, both singled.  But fly outs by Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera, and a swinging strikeout by pinch hitter Jorge Posada ended the game.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

It does not get any easier for the Yankees as they open the four-game holiday weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays.  A.J. Burnett will face his former teammates in tonight’s opening game.  I’ve never heard of the Blue Jays starter, Brian Tallet, but it seems that’s never a good thing…

 

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer

 

Meanwhile, the Mariners travel north to Boston to face the Red Sox.  Felix Hernandez, who I am glad the Yankees missed, will open their series against 10-game winner Tim Wakefield.  If anything came out of the Mariners’ win on Thursday, I hope they can use the momentum to carry them to victory over the Red Sox.  I’ll borrow these words that Julia used all week,  Go Seattle!”

 

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

 

Speaking of Julia, she mentioned on her Julia’s Rants blog that it has been 70 years since Lou Gehrig gave his immortal farewell speech at Yankee Stadium.  She also has some good words to say about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease as it is more commonly referred to.

 

 

Courtesy als.net

 

ESPN Outside The Lines has a great piece on their site about final letters written by Lou Gehrig.  The letters are primarily between Gehrig and a doctor in Minnesota, Dr. Paul O’Leary, who helped first diagnose Gehrig’s illness.  The letters cover the final two years of Gehrig’s life.  You can feel Gehrig’s hopes rise and fade through the letters, and I was surprised at how Dr. O’Leary and Eleanor Gehrig withheld the severity of the illness from him.  The letters are definitely an interesting read.  Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of Lou’s farewell speech.  Lou is my favorite all-time baseball player, and it will be a day to remember how truly special he was…not just as a ballplayer but as a man.

 

Posted on YouTube by InitialBlackNotice

 

In other news, the Yankees signed 16-year old catching prospect Gary Sanchez from the Dominican Republic for a signing bonus of nearly $3 million.  One Latin American scout said, “He’s a big kid, with a big arm”.  Sanchez is 6’2″, 210 lbs.  The Yankees would seem to be set at catcher for years to come when Jorge Posada decides to call it a career.  Their best catching prospect is 19-year old Jesus Montero, but there’s been some talk he may physically outgrow the position.  Montero, 6’4″ and 225 lbs, was recently promoted to the Trenton Thunder (AA).  The other key catching prospect in the organization is Austin Romine.  Of course, Francisco Cervelli is probably wondering, ‘What about me?’  Cervelli will most likely head back to Scranton/Wilkes Barre for further development once Jose Molina completes his injury rehabilitation in the next week.

The Yankees also signed two other Dominican players, shortstop Damian Arredondo and right hander Christopher Cabrera.

 

 

Yet another all-Williams final at Wimbledon?  I was really pulling for Dinara Safina, who was ranked #1.  But she was a complete no-show, and Venus looked like she was practicing with a high schooler.  Nevertheless, for the final, I’ll go with Serena…

 

 

Let me close with a video of what Julia must have been like as a baby.  In fact, I am sure of it…

 

Posted on YouTube by dmccomp

A Little A-Rod Goes A Long Ways…

 

A “Half Day Off” works…

 

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger

 

With the installation of Alex Rodriguez at DH last night, Joe Girardi coined the term “half day off” when describing A-Rod’s temporary switch from third.  The result?  Very good, as evidenced by the towering two-run homer to dead center in the 6th to cap the scoring in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The homer came after Ken Griffey, Jr. had tied the score at 2 in the top half of the inning with his 621st career home run.  Griffey has now hit home runs in 44 stadiums, and trails only Sammy Sosa (by one stadium).

 

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

A-Rod’s home run was the 566th of his career, and he trails Rafael Palmeiro by 3 for 10th place on the All-Time HR List.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau (per The New York Times), the last time a game featured home runs by two players with at least 550 career home runs was May 8, 1971.  On that date, the Atlanta Braves defeated the San Francisco Giants, 5-2, at Candlestick Park.  The Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays, hit one out in the 6th to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.  Hank Aaron responded with a three-run shot in the 8th as the Braves scored 5 runs to take the game.

 

Hank Aaron and Willie Mays dominated their eras. (Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery / Getty Images)

Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images 

 

A-Rod has been re-energized since the forced days off last weekend.  In his last 7 games, he is batting .435 (10-for-23), with 4 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, and 10 walks.  It is a huge contrast to the lethargic A-Rod we had seen in the weeks prior to the time off. 

“There’s no question I feel more energetic,” A-Rod said. “The swing only comes if you feel you have fuel in the tank.”

 

To the delight of Yankee Stadium fans, Alex Rodriguez rounds third after his two-run, six-inning broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the difference in the Yanks' 4-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday. (JIM McISSAC / Getty Images)

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Andy Pettitte, who struggled in earlier home starts at the new Stadium, was very effective, and picked up his 8th win of the season.  With Andy, you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but he managed to overcome the loss of two leads and persevered to get the win.  It seems as though he has finally learned how to pitch in the new Stadium.  His numbers at home had been significantly worse than his road stats.  He recognizes that the hits and homers will happen, but his job is to limit the damage and keep his team in the game.  It’s a skill that Andy is very good at…

 

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Johnny Damon had started the scoring with a home run of his own during the 3rd inning.

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

Melky Cabrera also added a solo shot in the 5th, which stood upon completion of a video replay by the officials. 

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times  

The Yankees have now won seven games in a row, and remain 2 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox.  While the Yanks didn’t gain any ground on the Red Sox, they did pick up a game on the hard charging Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays’ seven-game winning streak was snapped in a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press 

In a down note, it has been determined, as expected, that Xavier Nady does need reconstructive elbow surgery.  Everyone is saying positive words of encouragement, but it will be a long, uphill battle for Nady.  This will be Nady’s second Tommy John surgery.  It will be performed next Wednesday, and the recovery time is generally 10-12 months.  Our hearts go out to Nady.  He’s been the consummate team guy and I hope he’ll be playing on the ball field again soon.

 

 

Tony Gutierrez/AP 

Phil’er Up!…

 

The Yankees continued their winning ways on Tuesday night despite Brian Bruney…

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

After Alex Rodriguez had hit a two-run homer in the 7th inning to break a 3-3 tie with the Seattle Mariners, Bruney came on in the 8th inning and promptly surrendered the lead.  There was much controversy over whether Joe Girardi should have left Phil Hughes in the game.  Hughes had pitched a perfect 7th inning and given his current effectiveness, it would seem that he is ideally suited for setup work.  Nevertheless, the bullpen is stronger if Bruney is pitching right and the last thing that Girardi needs is more 8th inning controversy.  So, it was probably the right decision to go with Bruney despite the result.  Hughes is pitching great right now, as is Phil Coke, but there is no guarantee that will continue.

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

Bruney, of course, set himself up to get the victory, thanks to the Yankees’ late inning heroics.  Hideki Matsui led off the bottom of the 8th with a double.  Brett Gardner entered the game as a pinch runner for Matsui and advanced to third on a bunt single by Nick Swisher.  Melky Cabrera followed with a double to score Gardner.  Derek Jeter then singled to bring home both Swisher and Cabrera, giving the Yankees the final margin of victory, 8-5.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

From there, it was up to the great Mariano Rivera who quietly eliminated the Mariners in the top of the 9th and earned his 501st career save.

Mo had also thrown out the first pitch so he opened and closed the game.  Very appropriate…

 

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, congratulates closer Mariano Rivera last night after Rivera recorded his 501st career save. The Yankees defeated the Mariners 8-5. Kathy Willens/The Associated Press

Kathy Willens/AP

 

Joba Chamberlain continued to take heat for another underwhelming performance.  He pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up 9 hits and 3 runs.  He also walked 3 batters and struck out 4.  He allowed a home run to the light-hitting Ronny Cedeno in the 3rd.  It’s tough to criticize.  On one hand, I recognize that he is not pitching as well as he could or should, but conversely, he is keeping his team in games (the Yankees are 10-5 in games started by Chamberlain).

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger  

 

After the game, Joe Girardi offered this assessment of Chamberlain:  “He had too many long counts tonight. It seems like when he gets in the long counts, he slows down a little bit. And it seems to work against him … Joba is not what you would call an experienced big league starter. There’s some growing pains that you go through in learning how to pitch at this level.”

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

Eric Hinske arrived in the Bronx today following the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  His flight to New York last night was cancelled because of weather conditions, so he had to catch a flight to New York today.  Ramiro Pena was sent down to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for Hinske.  He seems to be saying the right things:  “It’s awesome to get on a team like the Yankees.”  Hopefully, he fills the void that the Yankees need from the bench with corner infield and outfield support.

 

David Zalubowski/AP 

 

It was nice to see the Boston Red Sox blow a 10-1 lead and lose to the Baltimore Orioles, 11-10, on Tuesday night.  The loss allowed the Yankees to close the gap to 2 ½ games.  But earlier today, the tables were turned as the Red Sox overcame a 5-1 deficit to win 6-5 in extra innings.  So, Boston’s lead has been increased to 3 games pending tonight’s outcome.  Julia‘s favorite player, Julio Lugo, delivered the winning hit in the 11th inning.  Jonathan Papelbon became Boston’s all-time career saves leader with 133, breaking a tie with Bob Stanley.  It was his 20th save of the season.  Personally, I would have preferred another Orioles victory…

 

Brian Roberts

Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun

 

Oh well, let’s just focus on closing the gap back to 2 ½ games…

 

 

Go Yankees!

–Scott

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.