October 2009

I Know, It Was A Gimme…

Off to a great start…


Kathy Willens/AP


The Yankees, as expected, emerged victorious in Game 1 of the ALDS against the high flying Minnesota Twins.  Behind the frontline starting pitching of CC Sabathia, the Yanks took down the Twins, 7-2.


Kathy Willens/AP


The game started slowly with several passed balls and an early 2-0 lead for the sleep-deprived Twins.  But a two-run homer by Mr. November, Derek Jeter, tied the score in the 3rd and the Yanks were off to the races.


Julie Jacobson/AP


Hideki Matsui continued to show the Yankees might be making a mistake in allowing Godzilla and his creaky knees to walk at the end of the season.  Time and again, he has delivered the timely, clutch hits the team has needed.  He did not disappoint on Wednesday night as he came through with a two-run homer in the 5th inning.  Throw in a mixture of Phils (Hughes and Coke), a dash of Joba Chamberlain, and a touch of Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees had the ingredients for success.




The series resumes on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.  Then, the series will move to Minnesota.  As a Vikings fan, I am used to pulling for the home team at the Metrodome, but for a few days next week, I may as well be a Packers fan because I definitely will not be pulling for soon-to-be ex-tenants.  Hopefully, the Yankees will be the team to end the Twins’ Metrodome stay…


To the Twins’ defense, they won an unlikely AL Central division championship in a 12-inning, highly intense play-off game against the Detroit Tigers, celebrated the victory, caught a flight to New York, and stood ready to play at Yankee Stadium less than 20 hours later.  I suspect we’ll see a more relaxed and resilient Twins squad on Friday.  The series is far from over despite the Yankees’ 8-0 record against the Twins this year.  I seem to remember what happened to another ballclub that had an 8-0 record against the Yankees earlier this season…



I had hoped for a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, but it looks as though the Cards will be making an early exit.  They held a 2-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning at Dodger Stadium today when Matt Holliday dropped a liner that would have been the game-ending third out.  It was not meant to be as the extra out allowed the Dodgers to score 2 runs, and steal the victory, 3-2.  The series moves to St. Louis with the Dodgers up, 2 games to none.  In a short series format, I simply do not see any way for the Cards to dig out of their self-imposed hole.


Mark J. Terrill/AP


Of course, it only proves to never underestimate the power of Joe Torre…


Matt Sayles/AP


There is a series in Philly as the Colorado Rockies tied the NLDS at one game apiece with a 5-4 victory over the Phillies today.  They defeated last year’s play-off ace, Cole Hamels.  Hamels left immediately after being pulled to be with his wife, who was delivering the couple’s first child.  All things considered, Cole can be excused for having other things on his mind.  The series resumes in Denver on Saturday.


Mel Evans/AP

This brings us to the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.  Game 1 in Anaheim is underway, and the Angels hold a 3-0 lead in the 7th inning.  Ouch Julia!  What time is it in Boston?  😉  It’s a long night for you unless Big Papi can bring the Sox back in the late innings.  Nevertheless, Julia and I have agreed to a final wager for what will hopefully be the final meeting between the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.  Of course, there are obstacles in the way called the Angels and Twins that could derail our plans.  The winner will be decided by a) the team that advances the furthest into the play-offs, or 2) the winner of a possible head-to-head match-up in the ALCS.  The loser must post photos wearing the winning team’s hat and t-shirt, while holding a sign declaring that the winning team “is better”.  I’m ready, Julia!  How about you?



Back to the Yanks, Jorge Posada needs to back off his criticism of Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett in Game 2.  Burnett and Molina have clicked and Jose helped A.J. end his summer slide in early September.  Jorge, bite your tongue and take one for the team…


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The Real Season Begins…


Thus, endeth the regular season…


Reinhold Matay/AP


The Yankees emerged as the 2009 American League Eastern Division Champions with a 102-59 mark, finishing 8 games ahead of the not-so-beloved Boston Red Sox.  Of course, now the real season begins…if the Yankees can ever figure out who they are going to play!  Seriously, their opponent will be determined on Tuesday when the Detroit Tigers take on the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.




The Twins are hoping that the good vibes from Brett Favre’s victorious first game against the Green Bay Packers carries over until Tuesday.  If not, it will be the Twins’ final game in the Metrodome as they prepare to move to a new park next season.  The Vikings, by the way, defeated the Packers 30-23 behind the arm of Favre and the sacks of jared Allen…

Tom Olmscheid/AP

Morry Gash/AP

I really do not have a preference of which team to face in the AL Divisional Series.  Justin Verlander concerns me, but it’s not like the Twins don’t have their own “terrorists”.  I wouldn’t really want to face Joe Mauer with the game on the line.  Admittedly, I do not know a great deal about either team, but the Yankees are prepared to face whomever makes the journey to the Bronx on Wednesday.



Sunday, Alex Rodriguez continued to amaze me on his journey back from early season hip surgery.  He went into Sunday’s action needing 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s to reach 30 homers and 100 ribbies for the 13th consecutive year.  13 proved to be the magic number as lightning struck in the 6th inning when A-Rod homered twice, and drove in 7 runs to set a new AL mark for a single inning.  Move over, Big Papi!


Reinhold Matay/AP


Hopefully, Sunday’s game will launch A-Rod into a very productive post-season…


Reinhold Matay/AP

Also coming up huge Sunday was Joba Chamberlain in his 2009 bullpen debut in the 7th inning.  He went one inning, and gave up no hits or runs, striking out one.  The late inning trio of Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera looks like a good one for October success.



Today was the day that my friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants) paid off her debt to “society”.  She was the unfortunate loser of a recent Yankees-Red Sox series, and she served her penance wearing a Lou Gehrig Yankees t-shirt and a pink Yankees hat in the city of Boston.  Check out her site for the full report.  Congrats Julia, you did an amazing job!  You are just so good at losing!  😉  Seriously, it was a tremendous job…as usual!



Courtesy Julia’s Rants

For our next wager, I propose it will be determined by a) which team (Yankees or Red Sox) goes the deepest in the play-offs, or b) the winner of the AL Championship Series if both the Yankees and Red Sox advance.  In the unlikely event both the Yankees and Red Sox lose their ALDS series, the wager becomes null and void and we begin plotting our revenge for 2010.




We will determine what’s at stake during the next few days so please stay tuned…


Yeah Julia, I’m ready!  How about you?



Courtesy Julia’s Rants


Well, time to settle in for Tigers-Twins…let’s go Yankees!


Nothing Really Matters…until the ALDS…


I don’t like this week…


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Since the Yankees clinched the AL East and best league record, they haven’t had anything to play for.




The Yanks presently have 102 wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up as the season total.  With the Yankees relegated to spring training-like intensity, their possible first round opponents are engaged in a ‘knock down, drag out’ battle to the end.  The Tigers have the edge, but tonight the Tigers are losing and the Twins are winning so the 2 game lead may be reduced to 1.  This race will most likely go to the wire, so the winner of the AL Central will come into the AL Division Series at a very high intensity level.


Carlos Guillen#9 (L) Curtis Granderson#28 (C) and Josh Anderson #13 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate their come from behind win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 12-10, at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Carlos Guillen;Curtis Granderson;Josh Anderson

Kevork Djansevian/Getty Images

Jim Mone/AP


Hopefully, the Yanks will be able to kick start their own intensity level when the ALDS begins.  Otherwise, they could get off to a sluggish start.



Well, so much for a 20 win season for CC Sabathia.  Pitching tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, CC lasted just 2 2/3 innings.  He gave up 8 hits and 9 runs (4 of the runs were unearned due to a rare Mark Teixeira error).  It is my hope that the ALDS will feature the August-September version of Sabathia.  But of course, my good friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants) was very quick to note:  “It’s October – I see that CC is getting into playoff form…”.


Chris O’Meara/AP 


I know that CC has a career 7.92 ERA in postseason play, but he does have a chance for redemption.  A win in Game 1 of the ALDS would be a great start…


CC Sabathia shuts down Red Sox with nine strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings as Yankees win, 5-0.

McGrath/Getty Images


Back when Clint Hurdle was fired as manager of the Colorado Rockies, who would have guessed that the Rockies would enter the final weekend with a chance to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Entering tonight’s game between the two teams, the Dodgers hold a slim 2 game lead.  The Dodgers are assured of a playoff spot, but they’ve definitely struggled the second half.  At this point, I’d have to say that I like the St. Louis Cardinals as the eventual National League Champion.  I have always wanted to see a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, so hopefully this is the year.  My first baseball game (in person) featured the Los Angeles Dodgers in St. Louis against the Cardinals, so a Cards-Yanks series is definitely a sentimental choice for me.


The Green Bay Packers travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Monday, so the hype should definitely be building over the next couple of days.  Of course, this won’t be anything like the game in November when the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field, but it will still be strange watching Favre work against the Packers.  Nevertheless, I still think Favre looks strange in purple…