April 2010

How Did The Yankees Do?…

 

And the winner is…

 

 


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The Yankees fan!  Um, that would be ME!  Sorry, Julia, but there had to be a winner and it may as well as be me.  ;)  Seriously, it was a hard-fought series.  After seeing the starters blown out in two successive games, it was a bit surprising to see a pitcher’s duel between the teams #3 starters (John Lackey and Andy Pettitte).  Lackey definitely proved he was a great pickup by Boston, and Andy showed that he still has it. 

 

 

Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees’ 3-1 win over Boston tonight was admittedly a surprise.  I know the Yankees had the streak on the line (16 consecutive wins after being tied in the 7th inning), but Fenway Park has been the House of Horrors over the years.  Too often, the highlight reel shows some Red Sox player with a walk-off homer and I was fearful of more of the same tonight.  I know that the Jonathan Papelbon we saw tonight will not be the Paps we’ll see the rest of the year.  But I am fortunate the Yankees were able to capitalize against the great Red Sox closer.  There’s probably not going to be too many games where Paps is pulled for another reliever. 

 

 

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

 

The acquisition of Curtis Granderson looks very good right now.  Against the Yankees’ most bitter rival in the most hostile environment, Grandy came up huge. 

 

 

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

 

His solo home run in the 10th inning put the Yankees up 2-1 and after an insurance run was scored, the game was left to the very capable hands of the great Mariano Rivera.  I was a bit concerned with Boston’s order in the bottom of the 10th (Ellsbury, Pedroia and Martinez), but Mo did what he always does.  Just another day at the office, and the Yankees had the series win. 

 

 

IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mariano Rivera

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

 

So, Julia, there is a book on its way to you.  Given that I do not know the actual delivery date (sorry, I opted for the free shipping option at Amazon.com!), I will extend the deadline for the book report from your birthday to May 15th.  If you can get the book report completed sooner, that’s fine, but the actual due date is not until May 15th. 

 

Dawn of a Dynasty: The Incredible and Improbable Story of the 1947 New York Yankees

 

 

This was an incredibly intense series.  I can’t say that I enjoy such intensity for the first three games of the season.  At least the outcome was favorable, but I am glad the Yankees do not see the Red Sox again until next month (a three game set in Boston…again?…on May 7th through May 9th).  Give me the Angels.  Give me the Rays.  Give me anybody but the Red Sox in the month of freakin’ April!  I know, it didn’t rhyme, but let’s get some homers under our belt before we start punching it out with the Sox. 

 

 


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When I say the Yankees are better than the Red Sox, it is not just my humble opinion.  It is a fact backed up by Forbes Magazine.  According to them, the Yankees are worth $1.6 billion, while the next franchise (the Red Sox) are valued at “only” $870 million.  So, there it is.  The Yankees are almost twice as great as the Red Sox!  Hey Julia, I’m just sayin’…  ;)

 

 


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The Boston series told me that:

 

·          Curtis Granderson is a gamer.

·         Joba Chamberlain is the 8th inning set-up guy.

·         Mariano Rivera could punch out hitters in his grave.

·         Andy Pettitte is going to make this a season to remember.

·         Nick Johnson is addicted to getting on base.

·         Nick Swisher gets it done.

·         Robinson Cano has raised the level of his game.

·         Mark Teixeira is still a slow starter.

 

I am sure there’s more but so far I like the makeup of the 2010 Yankees.  I am still concerned that we lost the clutch hit capability that Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui provided, but all things considered, Granderson is a great neutralizer to those losses.  You don’t have to hit 30 home runs.  You don’t have to hit .300.  You don’t have to knock in 100 RBI’s.  You just have to get the hit to beat Boston.  It’s a simple formula.  J

 

 

Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the 10th inning off Jonathan Papelbon to put the Yankees ahead 2-1.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

 

 

Okay, this has absolutely nothing to do with baseball or the New York Yankees.  Nevertheless, I came across the clip and it was too good not to share.  The Ross Sisters of the 1940′s were incredible.  It takes about 60 seconds before this really gets going, but their moves are amazing and almost unbelievable.  So, this is a tribute to the greatness of the Ross Sisters!  Enjoy!  J

 

 

Mr. Personality…

 

The Bully has spoken…

 

 

WFAN

 

 

 

As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine.  I agree with Levine’s words:  “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years.  Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend.  Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams). 

 

 


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I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully.  I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine.  Or maybe this truly is the real Levine.  Either way, I am not a fan of his…

 

 


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After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:

 

Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)

2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s

 

Said Johnny Damon after the game: "We battled. We never quit. I'm very happy with what I saw today."   (JOHN SLEEZER/McClatchy-Tribune)

John Sleezer/McClatchy-Tribune

 

Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)

2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s

 

Article Tab : hideki-angels-run-home

Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register

 

The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!

 

At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves.  Well, he did score a run.  Ugh!

 

 

AP

 

The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston.  The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey.  Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!

 

 

 

 

In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base.  With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4,  Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run.  Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.

 

Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst.  I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time.  I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.

 

 

 

 

It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him.  I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan.  Beckett and Lackey?  Not so much…

 

 

Jorge Posada #20, Derek Jeter #2, Nick Swisher #33 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on April 6, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Yankee defeated the Red Sox 6-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Elsa/Getty Images

1 Game Down, 161 Games To Go…

 

We’re off to the races…

 

 

It was Game 1 of 162 tonight as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox kicked off the 2010 season on a warm night at Fenway Park.  After a cold and rainy day in Northern California, I turned on the TV to ESPN and was surprised to see it was 67 degrees at game time.  I had not checked out the weather forecast, and had expected to see a game played in the 30′s or 40′s.  It sounds like the warm weather will stay through the duration of the three game series.  Hopefully, the Yankees can keep things hot at Fenway (well, maybe not tonight but there’s still two games to play)…

 

 

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The night got off to a great start for new Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson.  In the bottom half of the first inning, he recorded the first out of the Yankees season by catching a fly out by Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  Then, in the top of the 2nd inning, after Jorge Posada had hit a liner off the foul pole in right for a home run, Curtis hit the first ‘no doubt about it’ home run of the season to put New York up 2-0, his first official at-bat as a Yankee.

 

 

Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson gets congratulated by Nick Swisher after homering in the second inning in Boston.   (AP)

AP

 

Speaking of impressive beginnings, not-so-new Yankee but new left fielder Brett Gardner showed why the team has shown faith in him.  After reaching base in the fourth, Gardner advanced to third and later scored on a double steal.  His speed on base is a difference maker so if he can continue to hit, this could be the beginning of a great season.  Not bad for the shortest guy on the team.  Long live short guys!  ;)

 

 

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On the downside, the short guy didn’t look so good in the 5th inning when his throw home was way off line, allowing two rather than just one runner to advance into scoring position.  Fortunately, no damage was done aside from the run that scored during the errant throw.  Still, Gardner is going to have to work on his play in left and adjust to the angles. 

 

Neither starting pitcher figured into the outcome of the game.  Josh Beckett was chased early (in the 5th), but CC Sabathia met the same fate the next inning.  Clearly, neither has the stamina they will have in August.  But bullpen to bullpen, I like the Yankees chances.  Last year at this time, there were few reliable arms in the pen outside of the great Mariano Rivera.  It took several months until Joe Girardi was able to make some moves that gelled.  This year, the pen is a strength from top to bottom.  Boston’s pen does scare me if Daniel Bard realizes his potential, but until then, the Yankees have a chance against the Boston relievers. 

 

Tonight was not meant to be for the Yankees bullpen as the Red Sox rallied for the 9-7 victory.  The primary culprits were Chan Ho Park and David Robertson, although Jorge Posada figured into the equation with what should have been a passed ball.  Still, I think the Yankees bullpen will be a strength over the course of the season.  Joba Chamberlain gave up a run, but I fully expect him to thrive in the 8th inning role and grab it permanently over the course of the next month or so.  As the ESPN announcers related, Joba throws with a sense of urgency in a relief role, and that was missing during his time as a starter.  Chamberlain-to-Rivera should be a good combo in later games.   I loved Rivera-to-Wettleland, so hopefully, Chamberlain-to-Rivera can become equally as good if not better.

 

I know, Julia is ahead 1-0 with the advantage in our latest wager.   Congratulations to her for the Game 1 victory.  On the bright side, we still have 161 more games before anything is decided. 

 

 

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Hats off to Dustin Pedroia for his play in tonight’s Red Sox victory.  I admit that he has the heart of a lion, and Boston is very fortunate to have such a great second baseman.

 

 

www.projo.com

 

Boone Logan found out it’s not good to be the 25th man, when he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to today’s game to make room for outfielder Marcus Thames. 

 

Leading up to the Opener, I heard constant reminders of Aaron Boone’s home run to win the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox.  Boston got its revenge a year later, but Boone will forever be defined by that home run.  Actually that’s rather silly in mind given that he spent over six years in Cincinnati as a Red, compared to a couple of months in 2003 as a Yankee.  He also played with the Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.  Given that Boston did win the following year, I don’t think Boone’s home run will stand the test of time like Bucky Dent’s 1978 home run.  Nevertheless, it continues to be the hit people talk about when his name comes up.  

 

 

Aaron Boone's pennant-winning home run in the 11th inning of the 2003 ALCS lifts the Yankees into the World Series ...

Druckman/AP

 

In a trade that surprised me, the Washington Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles.  You never expect a team to trade with a bitter division rival and that’s exactly what transpired today.  Now, the Eagles will face McNabb twice a year.  The Eagles did not get the first round pick they were seeking, but did secure a second round pick in this year’s draft and either a third or fourth round pick next year.  I thought that McNabb would have fit well with the Minnesota Vikings since they play a similar scheme to the Eagles, but perhaps the Vikings’ lack of interest is a sign that Brett Favre will return this summer. 

 

 

AP

 

I hope everyone had a very happy and enjoyable Easter!

 

 

–Scott

 

 

The Tradition Continues…

Without much surprise, Curtis Granderson was named the latest Yankees center fielder…

 

 

Curtis Granderson is pumped up about being named the starting center fielder for the New York Yankees.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

…in a long line of great center fielders. 

 

 

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Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

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AP

 

 

While I think playing catcher for the Yankees is very prestigious given the great catchers past and present, center field is clearly THE position for the Yankees.  Well, Derek Jeter would tell you shortstop, but there have been few ‘great’ Yankees shortstops until DJ came along.  Scooter held the unofficial title as franchise best until Jeter, but the rest have been good but not great.  Sorry Bucky, the home run in 1978 was fantastic, but you still have to be put in the ‘good, not great’ category…

 

 

 

 

Jack Curry of YES Network.com has written the article that I have feared.  This could very well be Andy Pettitte’s final season before he heads home for good to Deer Park, Texas.  I always thought that Andy would be one to retire too soon rather than too late.  I didn’t expect to see him pitching into his 40′s like his former good friend Roger Clemens or the Phillies fifth starter Jamie Moyer.  I actually thought Andy might call it a career after last year’s World Championship, so I was somewhat surprised he made the decision to return so quickly this past off-season. 

 

But the comments Andy makes in the Curry interview are the strongest yet that I’ve heard Andy publicly say and it does sound like someone who is starting to reconcile retirement in his own mind.  I will hate to see Andy go, but I will support whatever decision he feels is best for him and his family.  He will always be a part of the Yankees family.  It was tough to see him pitch in Houston for three years, so hopefully, the Yankees organization will keep him in the fold with spring training coaching invitations, old-timers games, and other related functions. 

 

Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy watching Andy win for the Yankees.

 

 

Sipkin/News

 

Introducing the 2010 New York Yankees:

 

Catcher: Jorge Posada

First Base: Mark Teixeira

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez

Right Field: Nick Swisher

Center Field: Curtis Granderson

Left Field: Brett Gardner

DH: Nick Johnson

 

1st Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia

2nd Starting Pitcher: A.J. Burnett

3rd Starting Pitcher: Andy Pettitte

4th Starting Pitcher: Javier Vazquez

5th Starting Pitcher: Phil Hughes

 

Closer: Mariano Rivera

 

Infield/Bench: Ramiro Pena

 

Outfield/Bench: Randy Winn

Outfield/Bench: Marcus Thames

 

Backup Catcher: Francisco Cervelli

 

Reliever: Joba Chamberlain

Reliever: Damaso Marte

Reliever: David Robertson

Reliever: Sergio Mitre

Reliever: Chan Ho Park

Reliever: Alfredo Aceves           

Reliever: Boone Logan

 

Is this the team that will propel the Yankees to their 28th World Championship?  Time will tell, but I like our chances.

 

 

 

 

I hate to date myself, but there are nine players on the Yankees 2010 roster that were born AFTER Don Mattingly had his major league debut with the Yankees in late 1982. 

 

 

 

 

Hey Julia, less than 48 hours until the first great Showdown of 2010!  Game on, my friend!  There will be a book headed your way!  J

 

 

 

 

Finally, I was saddened to hear the passing of former Baltimore Orioles pitching great Mike Cuellar.  Mike was only 72, and died today from stomach cancer in Florida.  He joined Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Pat Dobson as the only foursome other than the 1920 Chicago White Sox (Red Faber, Lefty Williams, Eddie Cicotte and Dickie Kerr) to win 20 games each.  Ironically, of the four, only Palmer survives, as McNally and Dobson passed away in 2002 and 2006, respectively.  From 1969 through 1974, Mike won 20 games four times as the Orioles dominated the American League East.  He also pitched and won the deciding fifth game of the 1970 World Series, a 9-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. 

 

 

 

 

–Scott

 

 

 

 

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