All hail the Captain…
After a few games of goose eggs, Derek Jeter busted through with a 3-for-4 night to tie Lou Gehrig’s franchise hit record. Both DJ and Larrupin’ Lou stand at 2,721 hits…
Congrats to DJ for a well-deserved achievement, and of course, all his future hits will be franchise records. This adds another reason to why the Yankees need to do what’s right, and lock up Jeter for the remainder of his career. We don’t need another Brett Favre in Minnesota saga…
Tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays was a microcosm for what’s wrong with the 2009 Rays. Great starting pitching…awful bullpen. Rookie Jeff Niemann was masterful against the Yanks tonight. In 7 innings, he did give up 8 hits, but only allowed one earned run and had 8 strikeouts. Given that the East Coast games start while I am still at work, I was constantly checking the game score on my BlackBerry. Despite a significant advantage in hits, the Yankees couldn’t seem to push any runs across the plate.
I have a good friend that is a die-hard Rays fan. For many years, Kelly has held a single season ticket to games at Tropicana Field and she is generally there without fail. She was going to Rays games when you needed binoculars to see the person sitting next to you and parking was free. After the double-header sweep on Monday, Kelly sent me an email the next day that said “I would rather lose like we did yesterday to the Yankees than to play like we did last week. We were winning the games until the late 8th or even 9th inning and then the bullpen just gives the games away. Sunday we gave up a grand Slam in the 9th to lose the game. That is just brutal. No matter what the score is when the starting pitcher leaves the game, the fans can rest assured that the bullpen will screw it up.” Unfortunately (for her), the next two games proved to be the exact formula she was hoping to avoid.
It is an unfortunate situation because I was hoping that the Tampa Bay Rays would beat out the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card spot (sorry Julia!). Most likely, the Rays would not have beaten Boston had they retained Scott Kazmir. However, that trade just seemed to draw the life out of the Rays. He couldn’t have helped their bullpen woes, but it seemed like Rays management were throwing in the towel.
Tonight’s game had another great finish. Trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning, and unable to get any runs across despite an advantage in hits, the Yankees started their patented late inning comeback. It was an inning early but why wait if you have the bats. Alex Rodriguez ended Jeff Niemann’s night with a single. Enter Lance Cormier. Hideki Matsui singled to advance A-Rod to third. Jerry Hairston, Jr. entered the game as a pinch runner for Godzilla. Nick Swisher reached first base on a throwing error, scoring A-Rod. Hairston advanced to third. Brian Shouse relieved Cormier. The stage was set for Robby Cano to be the hero, but he promptly struck out. Next up was Jorge Posada, who batted for Brett Gardner. The Rays brought Grant Balfour in the game to face Posada, but the move failed. Jorge launched a three-run homer to right, and the Yankees had their first lead of the game, 4-2.
Brian Bruney secured the first two out of the 9th inning, and I had some choice words for Joe Girardi when he brought Phil Coke in to relieve Bruney. But Joe, showing why he is the Yankees manager and not me, watched Coke strike out Gabe Kapler to end the game.
The Red Sox also won tonight, 7-5 over the Baltimore Orioles, to stay 2 games ahead of the Texas Rangers. Sorry Julia, but I was pulling for the O’s. They tried, but couldn’t quite do it…
However, the Yankees’ magic number is still reduced to 14. Ah, Sweet Lou, those were some great years…
The Yankees are now 40-13 since the All-Star Break. I remember sitting 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and I told Julia that the Yankees could win 4 more games than the Red Sox by the end of the year. She thought I was talking rubbish…
This night belonged to Derek Jeter, but I will close my post with a tribute to my idol. Lou, you have been and always will be the greatest Yankee (to borrow some words from Spock). Your records may be tied and broken, but you were a lasting inspiration and there’s no doubt that had you been able to play out your career to the fullest, you would have set marks that never would have been broken. But regardless of what may happen, you will always remain the true Pride of the Yankees…
Give the man a pie…
This game belonged to the Swish. With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.
When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic. When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi. But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira. Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield. At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira. But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today. The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive. Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s. This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s. But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality. He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.
The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief. Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6. He walked 2 batters. Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb. The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.
Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Ouch! He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.
The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500. They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight. Yes, Julia, life is good…
And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…
The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson. This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective. In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief. He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing. Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson. Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296). This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs. But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN. Congrats!
Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns. The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension. It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football. The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…
Okay, I feel better now…
The Yankees cured my “momentary depression” by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in a Labor Day Doubleheader. They took Game 1 behind CC Sabathia, 4-1. CC didn’t figure in the decision, but he certainly continued his post-All Star Break brilliance and a possible march toward the AL Cy Young. Personally, I hope it’s a march to the World Series but who am I?…
Courtesy Hunt Auctions
The game had been knotted at 1 for most of the game. A-Rod had put the Yanks up early, but the Rays tied it. It stayed that way until after CC departed. But given the Rays now had to face Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera, the stage was set for another late inning Yankees comeback. They weren’t denied. Robinson Cano broke the tie in the 8th inning with a sac fly. The Yankees scored a couple of more runs in the inning to close the book on the scoring, but after that, it was Mariano Rivera, a/k/a game over…
Despite the no-decision, CC went 7 innings and gave up only 3 hits and one run while striking out 10 Rays batters. He walked 4. This is why the Yanks paid so heavily in the off-season…
In the nightcap, an 8-run third inning ended any suspense or drama. After that, it was evident that the Yankees would record their 89th victory of the season, matching last season’s win total. It is very reassuring to know that the Yankees would have to go 0-23 to match last year’s record. Of course, Julia is probably saying “It could happen!”…
The nightcap saw a return to dominance by A.J. Burnett, who had struggled in recent weeks. In the 11-1 victory, A.J. went 6 innings and gave up 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks, with 8 K’s. I am impressed with Yankees reliever Mike Dunn, who was called up last week. I had heard comparisons to the Red Sox’ Daniel Bard, and I’d have to agree based on what I’ve seen so far. Control is an issue, but he’ll overcome that with work and maturity.
A few notes regarding the Doubleheader…
Derek Jeter failed to get a hit in either game, so he remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the Yankees’ all-time career hits record.
Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is out for the season after breaking his finger in two places, thanks to a 95-mph CC Sabathia pitch. It is a disappointing way to see the AL home run leader’s season come to an end, and I wish him the best for a successful offseason recovery and look forward to his return in 2010. Pena ends the season with 39 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. I hate to see injuries caused by Yankee pitching (the Toronto Blue Jays’ Randy Ruiz was hit in the face by Josh Towers on Sunday). I do not feel that either pitch was intentional, but it is definitely the unfortunate part of the game. No one wants to see anyone get hurt. I have always heard that actor John Travolta is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, but the same can be said about Carlos Pena in Tampa (or anywhere for that matter).
The doubleheader sweep gives the Yankees their largest lead of the season, 9 games over the Boston Red Sox. The magic number stands at 16. Julia, I’m sorry, but I think I hear the fat lady singing…
Courtesy David Otto
For the remaining two games against the Rays, the Yankees will pitch Chad Gaudin on Tuesday and Joba Chamberlain on Wednesday. The Rays will counter with David Price and Jeff Niemann, respectively.
Courtesy Yankees Magazine
After a year lay-off, I am looking forward to watching October baseball again…
P.S. I am glad that the Minnesota Vikings were able to retain QB John David Booty on the practice squad after he cleared waivers. Of course, any team is free to sign him, so hopefully, the Vikings will clear space on the 53 man roster to restore what Booty lost when the Vikings signed ancient Brett Favre. Booty will be throwing touchdowns while Favre is searching for retirement homes, so hopefully, Booty’s greatest Viking days are yet to come…
Brian Bahr/Getty Images North America
I hate it when I am right…
I knew that the Toronto Blue Jays series was going to be tough, and I had predicted a split at the start. After the Yankees had taken 2 out of 3, I was hopeful of another win today but it was not meant to be.
Sergio Mitre reverted to the pitcher that I fully expected him to be and why I felt that Brian Cashman should have been more aggressive at the trading deadline to secure a proven, reliable #5 starter. If the Los Angeles Angels can rummage through the bargin bin to find a Scott Kazmir, why couldn’t the Yankees find someone?
Here is Mitre’s line for Sunday’s 14-8 loss to the Blue Jays:
4 1/3 innings, 11 hits, 11 runs (9 earned), 2 walks, and 5 K’s.
I agree that the Yankee defense did absolutely nothing to help Mitre’s cause. The Yankees had four errors in the game. A throwing error by Jerry Hairston, Jr., and fielding errors by Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Ramiro Pena. A lost ball in the sun and other poor fielding decisions added to the follies. But I wasn’t a fan of Mitre’s before, and I am certainly not one now…
Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press/AP
Nevertheless, the Yankees are still 7 ½ games up on the Boston Red Sox so they are in good shape. But I hope the decision to stay with Mitre/Gaudin doesn’t come back to haunt the team. The Los Angeles Angels did win today (7-2 over the Kansas City Royals), so they’ve cut the deficit to 5 games for best record in the AL.
The Yankees will face a challenge on Monday with a day/night double-header against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia will pitch the first game, while A.J. Burnett, with Jorge Posada on the bench, will pitch the nightcap. Posada won’t play the second game because of the double header, not because of Burnett, but I am sure that A.J. will be glad to see Jose Molina behind the plate.
Derek Jeter went 3-for-3 in today’s game, and now stands just three hits away from Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s career hits record. It will be special to, hopefully, see the record fall at the new Yankee Stadium.
Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press/AP
I was glad to see the Jays’ Randy Ruiz is okay after getting hit in the face by Yankees reliever Josh Towers. It was a scary moment, but Ruiz was able to walk off the field. After the game, Ruiz said he had a bruised left cheek and some bleeding in his mouth. He is very fortunate that he was not more seriously hurt.
Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press/AP
Monday should mark the return of Brett Gardner. He has finished his rehabilitation starts in the minor leagues and appears ready to go.
Simmons, NY Daily News
Mariano Rivera, who has been suffering from a groin injury, is also ready to return. He was available today, but was obviously was not needed…
William Perlman, The Star Ledger
The Minnesota Vikings did what I had hoped would not happen. They cut former USC QB John David Booty. There are many who believe that Booty will never be more than a #3 QB, but I felt he showed talent and potential. This leaves Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson as the back-ups for starter Brett Favre. Favre initially cost Booty his number and ultimately his roster spot. Hopefully, this is not a move that will come back to haunt the Vikings, but it very well could. Just ask Shaun Hill or Tyler Thigpen…
It was one of those nights…
I knew the Yanks were in trouble with Doc Halladay scheduled to be on the mound Friday night. Doc hadn’t pitched well during preceding weeks, but you knew that it was only a matter of time before you’d see vintage Halladay. Given the Yanks’ struggles with him over the years, you also knew that there was a better than average chance that it would be against the Yankees. Alas, it was…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
I was appreciative of Jorge Posada’s walk in the 5th to end the perfect game for Halladay and Ramiro Pena’s 6th inning double to break up the no-hitter, although it was the only hit of the night for the AL East Leaders.
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
At this point, I am not sure what to think of Joba Chamberlain. I know that Joba Rules 2.0 are in effect, but Joba just hasn’t looked good. Last night’s line was another disappointment…3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 2 K’s, and he hit Vernon Wells with a pitch. No wonder he was striking the “Defeated Sabathia” pose on the mound…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
I have not been optimistic about this series with the Toronto Blue Jays. I knew going in that the four game set would be a challenge. Winning the first game, despite the pitching of Chad Gaudin, was a plus. But with Sergio Mitre scheduled for Sunday, and Joba’s recent struggles, the only optimistic start is today with Andy Pettitte. However, as great as Andy has pitched in recent weeks, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. So, I guess I am a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy today…
On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Chicago White Sox, 12-2, so the Yankees retained their 7 ½ game lead. However, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, to cut the overall lead for best league record to 6 games.
It is amazing that the Yankees have 7 players with 20 home runs and at least 70’s RBI’s. As great of a season Derek Jeter is having, he is not one of them but he can join the club by the end of reason as he currently has 17 home runs and 61 RBI’s. DJ did not play last night and remains 9 hits from breaking Lou Gehrig’s club record for career hits (2,721). Hopefully, the off night for Jeter will help him break out of his recent slump (3 for his last 17 at-bat’s). Good luck to Derek as he continues to the drive for the hits record…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
Mariano Rivera, still recovering from his groin injury, hopes to pitch Sunday.
Led by Shelley Duncan, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees captured their fourth consecutive International League North Division title last night. Duncan hit the decisive home run in the 8th inning off former Yankee Sean Henn as the Yankees defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 7-3. I am all in favor of the Yankees beating anything with “Red” in their name! J Of course, the IL play-offs, which begin September 9th, will be missing the Pawtucket Red Sox who are 21 games behind the Yankees at 58-81. Hoping that losing feeling will catch on with their big league club too! Sorry Julia, but one can hope!
Maybe the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t trade Tavaris Jackson after all. His stats weren’t great but he played error-free ball in the Vikings’ 35-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But he had the team ahead of the Cowboys until the other two QB’s, Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty, made costly mistakes to prevent the team from finishing the preseason with a perfect mark. Brett Favre didn’t play, and was on the sidelines in a hat and t-shirt. I saw an interview with him, and my only thought was how old he looked…
Maybe Julia knows better than I, but the New England Patriots must be betting that they’ll get a solid backup QB in the next couple of days. Or they must feel that Brian Hoyer is the next coming of, well, Matt Cassel. After releasing Kevin O’Connell last week, the Pats cut Andrew Walter yesterday. There has to be a master plan because guys from Boston are smart…right Julia? Seriously, it would be foolish to think that the Pats didn’t have a plan in place or several possibilities in mind. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have made the cuts they did. But until their final moves play out, it does look curious…
What’s up with all the offensive coordinators losing their jobs before the first regular season snap is taken? Chan Gailey, Turk Schonert, and Jeff Jagodzinski have all been given pink slips in the past couple of weeks. I wonder how many times Jagodzinski has wished that he had kept his mouth shut and stayed at Boston College. Oh well, don’t feel bad for him, he just pocketed a $1 million for a few weeks work…
Hey Mark Kotsay, congrats on the big game last night! The Texas Rangers, now only 2 games behind your former teammates, appreciate it! J
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Did Jonathan Papelbon really get fined $5,000 for working too slow? Whoa, I know a few too many people who should get that fine!
Finally, thanks for my friend Julia for her grace and professionalism in accepting the penalty for the recent loss in our last Yankees-Red Sox wager. Her blog with the photos and Top 11 post of all things good about the Yankees was first class. An excellent job! I look forward to her next defeat!
Courtesy Julia’s Rants
I enjoyed my evening. How about you?…
The Yankees completed a three-game series sweep over the Orioles in Baltimore with a convincing 10-2 victory on Wednesday. CC Sabathia continued his recent hot streak (hasn’t lost since July 28th), and became the AL’s first 16-game winner.
There were three games of importance tonight:
Yankees 10, Orioles 2
Rays 8, Red Sox 5
Mariners 3, Angels 0
The outcomes meant that the Yankees increased their lead in the AL East to 7 games over the Red Sox, and best record in the AL to 6 ½ games over the Angels. It’s tough to gloat at this point in the season because the thought of Gene Mauch and the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies is never too far from memory. But I am pleased with where the Yankees are at this point in the season.
Walter Iooss, Jr/SI
The latest series sweep by the Yankees was very convincing. It featured a stellar pitching performance by Andy Pettitte, whose attempt for a perfect game was disrupted on an error by third base Jerry Hairston, Jr. A.J. Burnett continued his impression of an injured Chien-Ming Wang, but Yankee homers came to the rescue. Finally, it was the combination of Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez that secured the sweep.
The Yankees are 72-33 since A-Rod returned from hip surgery, and it’s starting to look like he may not need additional surgery after the season. Tonight, he notched his 2,500th career hit, and paced the Yankees with 4 RBI’s.
In an interesting stat, Eric Hinske has only 14 hits since he joined the Yankees, but 7 of those hits have been home runs including one tonight.
Derek Jeter now stands 9 career hits behind the legendary Lou Gehrig for the most career hits with the Yankees. Larrupin’ Lou had 2,721 hits, while DJ has 2,713. Admittedly, it is bittersweet to see another Gehrig mark fall, but I am happy for Jeter. I am sure that Lou would be standing and clapping when Derek gets his 2,722nd hit.
There are reports that Mariano Rivera will miss the next few games with a slight groin injury. That hurts just to type it! ;) Hopefully, it isn’t too serious and he’s back soon. Meanwhile, the other guys in the pen will need to step it up. Hughes, I am not talking about you!
There’s a chance that Brett Gardner will be back in uniform by the Rays’ series. His hustle and ‘all-out’ style of play have been missed despite the Yankees’ continued success.
The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday. The scheduled starter is Chad Gaudin. It is anticipated that Sergio Mitre will pitch Sunday, so I can’t say that I am overly optimistic about the upcoming series. At first pass, I’d have to say that I’ll be pleased with a split. On Monday (Labor Day), the Yankees will open a four-game set with the Scott Kazmir-less Tampa Bay Rays. They’ll play two on Labor Day to get things started. So, it isn’t going to get any easier for the next week. I am sure that my friend Julia in Boston is licking her chops…
What is it with ex-Red Sox pitchers? They stink it up in Boston, and then go to the National League and pitch lights out. John Smoltz struck out 9 batters in his first start with the St. Louis Cardinals. Tonight, Brad Penny pitched eight scoreless innings for the San Francisco Giants to defeat the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Considering that the Giants are my team in the NL, I am pleased for the performance considering that the Giants are neck-and-neck with the Colorado Rockies for the wild card chase. I also liked the anti-Dodger comments that ex-Dodger Penny made. Given that he has made some disparaging comments about the Florida Marlins, I wonder how long before he rips into the Red Sox Nation…
Based on the Red Sox pitchers success in the National League, I guess that means Nick Green will be next year’s NL Cy Young winner! LOL!
Okay, I still can’t wrap my head around Brett Favre being my team’s starting quarterback. How do you suddenly begin cheering for a guy that you “hated” for 16 years. How many times did you think your team was going to win, only to see Favre throw a last second TD to pull out a win for the Pack? I’ll admit that I’ve embraced Johnny Damon despite his previous employer. But then again, I always liked and respected Damon. Even as a Red Sox player, he was always very classy and professional. So, I couldn’t “hate” him. I tried to think of a Red Sox player that I wouldn’t want on the Yankees roster. The first one to come to mind is Josh Beckett. But I still think of him more as a Florida Marlin, so that doesn’t really count. Maybe David Ortiz. But I can’t help but like the guy. I have no problems with Jason Bay, and he would be welcomed to left field in the Bronx with open arms. There really isn’t anyone in any sport that I can compare to how difficult it is to see a bitter rival where your team’s colors. Plus, Favre just looks kind of funny in purple. Maybe Favre should have went to play for Dallas. Watching all those Packers-Cowboys play-off and Thanksgiving games showed that Favre had an affection for throwing to the guys with a silver star on their helmets. Nevertheless, I guess I had better get used to #4. He is not going away. Not this season at least. I remain hopeful that the final Vikings roster of 53 includes John David Booty because I still think he’s the QB of the future. But I guess this season I’d better learn to enjoy eating cheese…
Chris Polydoroff/Pioneer Press
Finally, I went to see Nickelback perform last night at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Jose, CA. I am a huge Nickelback fan so I had high expectations. But this was easily the best concert I’ve ever attended. Chad Kroeger is a master showman, and he definitely knows how to engage a crowd. He’s the type of guy you’d love to have a beer with, except you’d never get in a word edgewise. I was thoroughly impressed, and I recommend the Dark Horse Tour for anyone who hasn’t seen it if it is coming to a city near you. Hinder was also excellent. The concert will leave you feelin’ way too damn good…
Given that his club hits record is being assaulted, I will end this blog with a call out to Lou Gehrig. Lou, you remain the Pride of the Yankees, and you are an inspiration for the world! We will never forget you…
Posted on YouTube by RUKidding05
P.S. I know that I’ve used this video before, but it remains one of my all-time favorites…