May 2010

Red Sox 0, Red Cross 2…

In the “W” column, the Yankees have gotten the weekend off to a great start…

 

 

Nick Swisher (33) finds mates embrace efforts as his 3-run shot in 4th puts Yanks on board.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Unfortunately, there were also a few casualties in Friday night’s 10-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.  Robinson Cano left the game in the 6th inning after he was hit in the left knee by Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett.  Nick Johnson is most likely headed for the DL due to his problematic wrist which he aggravated on a swing in the first inning and left in the 5th inning when he was unable to play through the injury. 

 

This is a tough formula for the Yankees so far…win a game and lose a player.  With Curtis Granderson on the DL and other Yankees like Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada hurting, the Yankees can ill afford to lose Cano for any extended period of time.  Fortunately, it sounds like it is a day-to-day situation so more than likely, he’ll be back after missing a game. 

 

Marcus Thames becomes the Yankees’ primary DH.  I’d probably be more in favor of moving Jorge Posada to DH, when/if healthy, in order to keep Francisco Cervelli’s bat and attitude in the game.  It would also help save some wear and tear on Posada. 

 

The Yankees have already recalled pitcher Romulo Sanchez as a bullpen replacement for Sergio Mitre, who will take Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation on Monday.  Outfielder Greg Golson’s short stay with the team ended as he was sent back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for Sanchez. 

 

In retrospect, Brian Cashman’s decisions run the gamut.  Clearly, his call to move Phil Hughes into the starting rotation, with Joba Chamberlain returning to the pen, was one of the best decisions made in the off-season so far this young season.  But conversely, the jury is still out on the Curtis Granderson trade.  Austin Jackson has performed well in Detroit, and Ian Kennedy has adapted very well to the Sonoran Desert environment in Arizona.  Also, the decision to sign Nick Johnson as the DH and forego pursuit of Johnny Damon was a mistake.  Granted, the Damon camp was asking too much at the time the Yankees had to make a decision.  If Damon had been willing to accept from the Yankees what he got from the Tigers, he’d still be in the Bronx today (well, Boston today, but you know what I mean). 

 

How Cashman responds to his team’s current needs will be critical in the coming weeks and months.  I am not saying that the Yankees should go out and trade top prospects for All-Star players and call it a day.  But they need to make smart, under the radar moves that help bring quality production.  Of the injuries, Nick Johnson concerns me the most since he’s had surgery on the wrist twice before (2000 and 2008).  This could be a potential issue that shuts him down for an extended period of time.  Andy Pettitte should be back after missing a start, but at his age, any injury bears watching as there could be continued issues throughout the season.  If the Yankees were getting what they had hoped for from Javier Vazquez, they could probably get by on smoke and mirrors.  But the hole in the 4th spot of the rotation and the inability of the Tampa Bay Rays to lose has magnified the Yankees’ short-comings somewhat. 

 

My friend, Julia, may have had a good night at Fenway Park last evening but obviously she did not have a great night since the Red Sox lost.  However, I’d be a fool if I gloated about a single win.  This series is far from over, and Julia stands no closer to losing our best than I do.  Even with CC Sabathia on the mound today, I am expecting a very charged and resilient Red Sox squad on the field today.  It will be a tough game today, as it will be again tomorrow. 

 

How about the impressive debut of Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro?  He had a homer and 6 RBI’s in his debut.  What a great way to introduce yourself to Major League Baseball fans.  “The kid – what a debut!”, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after the game.  Yeah, there’s not much more that you can say about such a tremendous performance in the 20 year old’s first major league game.  I wish him the very best on a long and successful career at Wrigley Field.

 

 

Starlin sterling in Cubs debut

 

 

 AP

 

Well, it’s just about time to watch Game 2 of Yankees-Red Sox.  Best of luck to me, Julia!  J

The Battle of Beantown, Part II…

 

Bring out the broom…

 

 


 
Sweep.JPG 

 

The Baltimore Orioles have proven to be very challenging for the Yankees in recent years.  The Orioles are one of the AL’s young and improving teams, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the not-so-distant future.  Despite the slow start, the Orioles came into the Bronx fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox.  But pitching prevailed as the Yankees completed a three game sweep before heading to Boston for their own weekend series against the Red Sox. 

 

 

Nick Johnson homers in the second as the New York Yankees jump out to a 6-1 lead and hold off the Orioles for a 7-5 win on Wednesday.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

I’d love to think that…if the Orioles can sweep the Red Sox and the Yankees can sweep the Orioles, then surely the Yankees can…  Oh well, one can dream!  It should be a fun series at Fenway Park.

 

 

 

 

After the Yankees picked up wins in the first two games against Baltimore behind the pitching of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, I was somewhat concerned that the Yankees would be caught looking ahead to the weekend on “getaway day”.  Thanks to homers by Nicks Johnson and Swisher, Andy Pettitte was staked to an early 6-1 lead but he departed in the 5th inning due to a stiff elbow.  An MRI later revealed mild inflammation in his left elbow, and he is expected to miss his next start.  With Mariano Rivera still out and Joba Chamberlain unavailable after two consecutive nights of work, the game was left in the hands of the bullpen.  Baltimore mounted a rally against the relief corps, but the Yankees held on for the 7-5 win.  Alfredo Aceves picked up the save. 

 

 

pettittehurt.JPG

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT 

 

The Yankees have definitely dealt with their share of injuries lately.  Fortunately, only one player was hurt enough for placement on the DL (Curtis Granderson; strained groin).  The others, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, have simply taken a few days off.  The Yankees will most likely skip Pettitte’s next start as a precautionary measure, but hopefully, Posada and Rivera will be ready for action on Friday night. 

 

 

 

 

With the Yankees headed for Boston, it can only mean one thing…for me, anyway.  It’s time for my latest battle against Julia of Julia’s Rants!  This time, we’ve decided to make the loser go on a journey to find an inexpensive piece of memorabilia about the ‘other’ team.  It can’t be something that is current and easy to find.  Part of the loser’s obligation will be to document their journey by photographs in the quest.  The loser will have until the end of Memorial Day Weekend to complete their adventure.  It should be a very fun time for Julia as she explores Boston for Yankees paraphernalia!  Hey Julia, Game On!  J

 

 


Found.JPG 

 

 

Speaking of the Red Sox, they did the classy thing and had Nomar Garciaparra Day today at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels.  Despite the 2004 trade and Nomar’s subsequent stays in Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland, he remains a fan favorite in Boston and the city was allowed to express their love and respect for a great former Red Sox player.  A very nice touch by the Red Sox organization…

 

 

Nomar addresses the media

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

I’d also like to pay respects to the late great Ernie Harwell.  The long-time Detroit Tigers announcer lost his battle with cancer at age 92.  I may not have been a Tigers fan, but I was…correction, I am…an Ernie Harwell fan.  For a wonderful tribute to one of the game’s greatest, you don’t have to go any further than Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press.  His column entitled ‘Ernie Harwell:  Gone now, but not forgotten’ is a must-read.

 

 


Ernie.JPGDaniel Mears/The Detroit News

 

 

So, Julia‘s Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks are both a game away for their respective conference finals.  Both teams hold commanding 3 games to none leads in their current series, the Sharks against the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers.  A Stanley Cup is not a certainty by any stretch as both teams still have to a) win their current series, and b) win the conference finals.  But here’s at least one person hoping for a match-up against the great Ranter from Massachusetts!  Hey Julia, Games on! 

 

 

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44), winger Dany Heatley (15) and center Joe Thornton (19) surround center Patrick Marleau, not seen, behind Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski (28) after Marleau's overtime goal in a second-round NHL playoff hockey game in Detroit, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Carlos Osorio/AP

Have Bat, Will Travel…

 

“Robby Cano!  Dontcha know!”…

 

 

 

Cano.JPG

AP

The words flowed so smoothly from Yankees radio voice John Sterling when Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the Yankees’ 12-3 romp over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. 

 

While Cano has carried the team so far this year, Brett Gardner was the catalyst for today’s win.  He hit a run-scoring single in the 2nd inning for the first run of the game, and added his annual home run in the 4th.  Gardner has certainly seized his starting opportunity this year, and has been a bright spot in the lineup. 

 

 


Gardy 050110.JPGAnthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

Cano followed with his three-run blast in the fifth… 

 

 

Cano 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

After a two-run homer by Nick Swisher in the 6th inning, the Yankees closed their scoring with 5 runs in the 7th.  After a Jorge Posada double to start the inning, the Yankees loaded the bases, thanks in part to an error by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Derek Jeter walked to force in a run, and both Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira followed with two-run doubles to the cap the 5-run outburst.  Jorge Posada came to the plate a second time but struck out to end the inning.

 

Mark Melancon lost the shutout in the 9th when Paul Konerko connected on a three-run shot, but the story of the game was the masterful pitching of Phil Hughes.  Unlike Javy Vazquez, Phil Hughes has been terrific. 

 

 

Hughes 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

It was three years ago today when Phil Hughes was in the midst of a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers when a pulled left hamstring forced him to leave the game after 6 1/3 innings.  The batter at the plate at day when Hughes pulled the hamstring?  Current Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.  Nevertheless, after contributing to the Yankees World Series run last year as setup man for Mariano Rivera, Hughes has shown that he belongs in the starting rotation.  His pitching line today is what you would expect from the ace of the staff, not the #5 starter…

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

ERA

7.0

4

0

0

1

6

0

99-69

1.44

 

 

In Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the White Sox, the Yankees lost centerfielder Curtis Granderson who strained his groin while running between 2nd and 3rd on a hit and run single.  He was placed on the 15-day DL after the game, and will most likely be out for a month.

 

 

Yankees' Curtis Granderson

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

The goat for Saturday’s loss was former White Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez who continued his string of pathetic performances.  Following the game, I heard much speculation that Vazquez should be pulled from the rotation for his next start (Friday night in Boston).  I think it is still too early to give up on Vazquez.  He is too talented and I think he’ll work through this difficult stretch.  No good would be gained by pulling Vazquez and it would be very damaging to the pitcher’s psyche.

 

 

Javier Vazquez Yankees White Sox

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

 

With today’s win, the Yankees have now captured 7 of their first 8 series this season.  At 16-8, they are still in second place, 1 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.   All things considered, I feel good about where the team is as we head into May.  I feel very confident that players like Teixeira, Vazquez, and Nick Johnson will start playing to the levels we’ve been accustomed to.  The rotation is solid, despite Vazquez, so if he comes around, it could be a very dominating staff. 

 

The Yankees now await the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx for a series beginning Monday night.  The O’s know they can beat the Yankees and they are fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox so they’ll be coming to town with newfound confidence.  It should be a good series.  After the O’s depart on Wednesday, the Yankees will head to Fenway Park for a weekend series against the Red Sox.

 

 

Orioles complete sweep of Red Sox with 3-2 win

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

Speaking of Yankees-Red Sox, Julia of Julia’s Rants fulfilled her part of the wager for the loss of the first season series between the two teams.  Her punishment was reading Dawn of a Dynasty:  The Incredible and Improbably Story of the 1947 New York Yankees by Frank Strauss.  You’ll find her excellent book report here.

 

 

 

 

Excellent job Julia!  You get an A+!  J

 

 


A Plus.JPG 

 

For our next wager, we have opted to add a sense of adventure.  If the Red Sox lose the series, Julia will be forced to search for an inexpensive piece of Yankee memorabilia.  It can’t be something current and easy to find.  It must be older and relate to the opposing team’s past.  The loser will detail the adventure on their blog, along with photos of the journey and the piece of memorabilia found.  If I lose, I will have to search the San Francisco area for Red So memorabilia.  Here’s to hoping for a most excellent adventure in Julia‘s future!

 

 

 

 

 

Good luck to QB Ryan Perrilloux!  He had a tryout at the Minnesota Vikings mini-camp this weekend.  Hopefully, his performance will net a contract so he can continue his audition in training camp.  There would be nothing better than grabbing a clipboard to study under Brett Favre (assuming that Favre returns as expected).   

 

 

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune

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