June 2010

A Vote For Cliff Lee…

 

The calendar is getting ready to turn the page to July so that means we’ll be on the home stretch for the trading deadline.  

 

 

 

 

Of course, there have been so many rumors about Seattle’s Cliff Lee and whether or not the Yankees will make a play.  If it meant raiding the farm system, then a deal for Lee doesn’t make sense.  He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, so as long as he doesn’t sign a pre-trade extension with another team, he should be there for the Yankees to pursue in the off-season. 

 

 

John Angelillo/UPI

 

Now, if they can put together a package now that makes sense without sacrificing the future, they should do it.  The Yankees could easily free up a spot in the rotation by trading Javier Vazquez to a National League club, and getting Lee would be a hedge against Andy Pettitte retiring in the off-season.  Right now, the Yankees really have only one shutdown ace…CC Sabathia.  A.J. Burnett has decided to become a batting practice pitcher, Andy is always going to give up runs although he’ll keep it close, and Phil Hughes is handicapped by the innings limit placed on him by the team so there are no other guarantees in the rotation.  A rotation led by the former Indians duo of Sabathia and Lee would be very formidable.  So, here’s hoping the team can find a way, although admittedly, another bat is probably the wiser route to take.

 

The Yankees have the lead in the American League but it is by the slimmest of margins.  Entering play tonight, they were just a game ahead of the injury-decimated Boston Red Sox and three games up on the Tampa Bay Rays.  The injuries have been tough, but I’d say that the Red Sox have had it worse yet they are playing the better baseball despite a lineup of players that you may not have heard of prior to the season.   I am not sure what the Yankees should do, but complacency is not the answer.

 

 


Do Nothing.JPG 

 

 

Well, it’s time for the third installment of my lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  We bet on last Sunday’s Red Sox-Giants game, and I lost.  Being a Bay Area resident, I was pulling for the home team as if there was any question about which team a Yankee fan would pull for.  With the loss, I have to include a paragraph about every player on the Red Sox roster (as of the game day when the Giants lost). 

 

For my third player, I will go with the player who started the scoring for the Red Sox last Sunday with a deep smash to right…

 

 

#34   David Ortiz

 

 

 Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

Over the years, there have been players released that surprised me but probably none more than when the Minnesota Twins let Ortiz go.  I was not close to the situation so I do not know the exact reasons behind his release, but the move helped ensure the end of the Curse of the Bambino.

 

David Americo Ortiz Arias was born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners, and after spending four years in their farm system, he was traded to the Twins for Dave Hollins.  Ortiz showed glimpses of his power in Minnesota, but injuries and inconsistency held him back, ultimately leading to his release.

 

 

 

 

He signed with the Red Sox on January 22, 2003, and the Red Sox Nation has never been the same.  One of the greatest free agent signings in Boston’s history (in any team’s history), Ortiz hit .301 in 2004 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI’s in helping lead the Red Sox to their first World Championship in 86 years.  Three years later, with 35 home runs and 117 RBI’s, Ortiz would be hoisting the championship trophy over his head once again. 

 

Ortiz has started the downward descent of his career that comes with age, but he’ll forever be interlinked into the fabric of Red Sox history. 

 

I personally won’t miss those walk-off home runs when his Boston career comes to an end…

 

–Scott

Home Not So Sweet Home…

 

 

That thud you heard was just the Yankees back in the Bronx…

 

 

New York Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes suffers his first loss since May 22, surrendering seven runs and ten hits in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday to Seattle.

Sabo/NY Daily News

 

Unfortunately, like the first game in Arizona when the Yankees flew across the country, they were soundly defeated by their opponent shortly after stepping off the plane.  This time, they had an off day to buffer jet lag but alas it didn’t help. 

 

On the mound was World Series nemesis Cliff Lee, the former Philadelphia Phillie who now temporarily resides in Seattle.  Lee, the most likely to be traded by the July trading deadline, was the winner, pitching a complete game in the 7-4 victory over the Yanks.  The home team did try to make it interesting in the bottom of the 9th with two runs, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

Phil Hughes, who was skipped during his last turn in the rotation in an attempt to limit innings, had his worst outing of the season.  He allowed 10 hits and 7 runs (6 earned) in 5 2/3 innings. 

 

The only bright spot was Nick Swisher and his two home runs (giving him 13 on the season).  I have to admit that I really had my doubts about Swish going into the season.  I was fearful that he’d be closer to the player he was with the Chicago White Sox than the player who helped the Yankees win the World Series last year.  He has definitely proven me wrong, and the team was right to let Xavier Nady walk in the off-season.

 

As I write this post, the Boston Red Sox are winning big against the Tampa Bay Rays, so the Yankees will most likely find themselves only one game up on the injury-decimated Red Sox later this evening.

 

Speaking of the Red Sox, it’s time for the second installation of my lost wager.  As a result of the Red Sox victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, I lost a bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants and now must write about a member of the Red Sox (as of Sunday’s game).  For today’s mention, I am going to go with a player who was designated for assignment since his days with the Red Sox have come to an end.

 

#55  Fabio Castro

 

 

Castro, a left-handed reliever, was designated for assignment when the team added infielder Eric Patterson, who was acquired this weekend from the Oakland A’s.  Castro had just been called up on June 25th, but did not appear in any games.  He had been on the roster for several days in April, but also did not see any action during that time either.  Castro signed with the Red Sox in December after stints with the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies.  He is only 25, and as a lefty, he should get another shot with some team looking for help in the bullpen if he departs the Red Sox organization. 

 

Castro was originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as a non-drafted free agent in December 2001.  He last pitched in the majors for the Phillies in September 2007. 

 

–Scott

 

 

You Win Some…You Lose Some…

 

Whew!  I’ll take it!…

 

 

Robinson Cano belts a two-run homer in the tenth inning, a game-winner made possible when Joe Torre (b., r.) leaves closer Jonathan Broxton in to give up four runs in the ninth inning.

Hong/AP

 

 

It was the top of the 9th inning and the Yankees were trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 6-2.  On the mound was Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton with an 0.83 ERA and 16 saves.  He struck out the first batter, Mark Teixeira, so it looked as though the Yankees would head back to New York with only 1 win in 3 games against their former manager, Joe Torre.  Then, Alex Rodriguez singled and there was a slight glimmer of hope.  Robinson Cano followed with a double to score A-Rod to close the gap to 3 games.  The next batter, Jorge Posada, singled.  After a walk to Curtis Granderson, the bases were loaded with the tying run on first.  I was excited, but the excitement was tempered by the fact the next hitter was rookie Chad Huffman, who had entered the game earlier as an injury replacement for Brett Gardner.  Huffman proved up to the task as his single scored Cano and Posada.  Suddenly, the Yankees were just one run down.  The next batter was Colin Curtis.  Again, I had some trepidation given Colin’s major league inexperience.  But fate was smiling on the Yankees, thanks to a poor fielding decision by Dodgers first baseman James Loney.  Curtis hit a grounder to Loney.  With Curtis Granderson breaking for home, Loney stepped back to first to secure the out and then attempted to throw home but was too late to nail Granderson…game tied.  Had Loney disregarded Curtis and went directly home with the throw, he would have easily gunned down Granderson.  A ground out by Francisco Cervelli ended the inning, but the Dodgers still had last at-bat. 

 

 

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images

 

Despite the tied score, manager Joe Girardi went with certainty in bringing in closer Mariano Rivera.  I would later read that Joe Torre had told Girardi before the game, he wouldn’t bring in Rivera with the game tied.  Fortunately, the younger Joe is his own man, and he went with his instinct.  Mo easily retired 3 Dodger batters, so it was off to the 10th inning. 

 

Ramon Troncosco replaced Broxton at the top of the inning, and Mark Teixeira greeted him with a single.  A-Rod followed with a fielder’s choice to short, which easily erased Teixeira at second.  With Robinson Cano coming up, Joe Torre opted to go with reliever George Sherrill.  Cano’s lifetime record against Sherrill entering the game was 0-for-11.  Cano promptly conveyed a message that numbers don’t mean anything when he crushed a home run to give the Yankees a two-run lead.  Mo came back out for the bottom of the 10th inning, yielding only an infield single in shutting down the Dodgers.  With the win, the Yankees were able to claim a 4-2 road record against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and headed back to the Bronx where they will face nemesis Cliff Lee and the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. 

 

By the way, I was pleased to see Alex Rodriguez reach out to Joe Torre before the game.  Too much was being read into the relationship between A-Rod and Torre, and I thought Alex showed class in being the one to extend his hand.

 

 

Alex Rodriguez hits his 594th home run in the sixth inning against the Dodgers Sunday night.

Hong/AP

 

My streak of wager wins against Julia of Julia’s Rants has sadly come to an end.  I suppose I deserved it when I went with a team other than the almighty New York Yankees.

 

The wager was for a single game, the Boston Red Sox versus the Giants in San Francisco.  I was in attendance at AT&T Park, and foolishly thought a wager was a good idea. 

 

 

Giants_06272010_0001.jpg

 

 

 

On paper, it looked like a marquee match-up with Jon Lester facing Tim Lincecum.

 

 


Lincecum.jpg 

 

Unfortunately for me, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner looked more like John Lackey at Fenway Park than he did the elite pitcher he is.  Lester, on the other hand, was expectedly masterful.  He gave up a game-tying run in the bottom of the first but that was it.  It never felt like the Giants were going to get back into it after the Red Sox had re-taken the lead. 

 

 

Eric Risberg/AP

 

I was amazed at the sheer volume of Red Sox fans at the game.  As a Yankees fan, I am always surrounded by fellow Yankees fans whenever I see the team play on the road.  But Boston definitely rivals the Yankees in their ability to draw on the road.    

 

So, congratulations are in order for Julia.  My sentence is to include a paragraph about a current Red Sox player (as of 6/26/10) for the next 25 blog posts.  With the first entry, I will go with the player of the game…

 

#31   Jon Lester

 

Meanwhile, Jon Lester held up his end of the pitching duel, holding the Giants to one run in a complete game effort.

 

Reuters

 

Jon Lester, at 9-3, is a virtual lock for a spot on the American League All-Star Team, and a leading candidate to start.  Lester, a native of Tacoma, Washington, won the clinching game of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies.  He followed it up the next year with a no-hitter.  Personally, going into the season, I was convinced this would be a breakout year for Lester…the year he becomes the “ace”.  As if a championship and a no-hitter aren’t enough for his resume, he’ll soon be collecting Cy Young Awards.  The Sox rotation is incredibly talented with Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Dice-K, and Tim Wakefield.  However, if I am starting a new franchise, and I need an ace to lead my staff, I’m calling Lester. 

 

Personal note about Lester:  Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma in August 2006.

 

“This is going to sound funny but God blessed Jon Lester with cancer just to show a lot of people that you can overcome something that’s so hard in your life you think, ‘I’m not gonna make it.’  He’s going to be able to take his faith in God and the strength God gave him and tell a lot of other people a great story.”

 

–former Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin

 

Lester is definitely one of the truly great guys in the game…

 

Only 24 more to go…  L

How Are You, Mr. Torre?…

Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…

 

 

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, right, gets a hug from Dodgers Manager Joe Torre prior to Friday's interleague game.

Gina Ferazzi/LA Times

 

 

 

Share the love!  Seriously, it was bittersweet to see Joe Torre wearing enemy colors while standing next to the likes of Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.  Much has been written in recent days about the rift that exists between Torre and the Yankees hierarchy.  One article speculated that if the Yankees wanted to have a special honor for Torre, he would most likely turn it down.  Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought that Torre would eventually be more forgiving than the Yankee brass.  Joe’s rift is how his relationship with the Yankees ended (lowball, token contract offer that represented a steep pay cut).  There is no way that the Yankees could have expected Torre to take the contract offer so it was obviously a ploy designed to show Torre the door while trying to show the Yankees Universe that they tried.  The Yankees problem is relative to Torre’s book and how he unveiled many thoughts that should have been left behind closed doors. 

 

Regardless of how it ended and despite how much I have always respected Joe Torre, it was time for a change.  The Yankees had not won a World Series since 2000 (losing in both 2001 and 2003) while the dreaded Boston Red Sox were winning two (2004, which included the ALCS meltdown by the Yankees; and 2007).  Torre is “old-school”, and it was time for a more current manager.  Joe Girardi was the right guy at the right time.  As a player, he was clearly a leader.  When I think of the death of Darryl Kile, I will always think of how Joe Girardi stepped up as the voice of the team.  He is always prepared and he clearly wants to win.  He is young enough to hold the position for many years, and I think he has shown improvement as a manager every year.  Joe Torre has moved on, the Yankees have moved on, and so have the fans.  It’s time for the media to let go…

 

 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre (r.) and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi talk before the series opener at Dodger Stadium Friday night. The Yankees won, 2-1.

Terrill/AP

 

 

I was reading today that the reason the Yankees are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers as opposed to Yankee Stadium was based on a decision by FOX television.  They wanted Manny Ramirez to return to Boston for a reunion against the Red Sox.  I think it was a missed opportunity for FOX.  Manny was not gracious to the Boston fans or media, and he didn’t really do anything in the series that was swept by the Red Sox.  On the other hand, it would have been tremendous to see Joe Torre set foot on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium given that he’s never managed there before. 

 

The first game of the Dodgers-Yankees series went to the visitors behind CC Sabathia who is beginning to pitch like “Second Half CC” when he becomes so utterly dominant.  It was ironic that the game-winning home run was hit by Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to speak to Joe Torre. 

 

 

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Dunn/Getty Images

 

 

CC went 8 innings in the 2-1 victory, giving up 4 hits and striking out 7.  Mariano Rivera, an old friend of Torre’s, closed out the game with three strike outs. 

 

There were lots of photos with Torre and the core Yankees, but none with Don Mattingly that I found.  It would have been interesting to see Donnie Baseball in the reunion photos too.  He will most likely be the next Dodgers manager, and based on recent reports, it could happen as soon as next year.  It’s hard to see one of my favorite all-time Yankees becoming so engrained with another organization, but he does deserve the opportunity to manage and it wasn’t going to happen with the Yankees.  Given that managers are hired to be fired, it’s probably best that Donnie manages elsewhere.  That proved to be a better route for Lou Piniella.  If Derek Jeter decides to stay in baseball after his playing days, I am sure that the day will come when he dons something other than Yankee pinstripes.  So long as there isn’t on “B” on the cap, I’m cool with it. 

 

 

Joe Torre Don Mattingly L.A. Dodgers

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

Friday night was a good night as not only did the Yankees win but the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox both lost.  The Red Sox are in San Francisco (where I will be on Sunday), and lost to the Giants, 5-4.  They also lost one of their warriors in Dustin Pedroia who fouled a pitch off his left foot.  X-rays were negative but the foot is still sore and further tests are scheduled for today.  I may not be a Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Pedey’s so hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon.  The Rays, meanwhile, were no-hit for the second time this season.  This time at the hands of former Ray and current Arizona Diamondback Edwin Jackson.  Frankly, I am not sure that I agree with the managerial decision to keep Jackson in the game despite the no-hitter.  He walked 8 batters, and he threw 149 pitches.  That sounds like something that Billy Martin would have done to the Oakland A’s pitching staff back in the 80′s when the pitchers later developed arm troubles.  No good can come from it.  The no-hitter is nice but at what cost? 

 

Speaking of Sunday’s game between the Giants and Red Sox (which of course includes a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants), the pitching match-up could not better.  Jon Lester, one of my personal favorite pitchers and clearly one of the AL’s best, against Tim Lincecum, arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  I’ll be pulling for Lincecum and the Giants, but it should be a classic pitching duel.  I am looking forward to it!   

 

By the way, the last wager didn’t go so well for Julia…

 

 

Courtesy of an unhappy Celtics fan

 

–Scott

But It’s A Dry Heat!…

 

The schedule makers have not been kind…

 

 


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Following the Yankees victory over the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, they had to hop on a plane destined for Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks the next day.  The jet lag showed in the Yankees’ dismal 10-4 loss.  A.J. Burnett looked like he was pitching batting practice as he gave up 3 home runs in the first inning. 

 

 

Beaten.JPG

Marc Carig/The Star Ledger 

Earlier this season, the starting pitching was stellar…except for Javier Vazquez.  I read so many articles about how Javy just wasn’t suited for the American League and so many felt that he would not be able to rebound.  But rebound he did as he has quietly become the Yankees’ most efficient starter.  But as quickly as Javy has bounced back, A.J. Burnett has disappeared.  Hopefully, Monday’s loss was truly the product of jet lag and not indicative of more serious problems.   However, it is critical for A.J. to start pitching to his ability.  Otherwise, the Yanks’ hold on first place will be brief.

 

Tuesday was a better barometer as the Yankees returned to the win column with a 9-3 decision over the D-Backs.  Andy Pettitte did allow two hits to the opposing pitcher, Dan Haren, one of which was a two-out two-run game tying single in the second inning.  Arizona would not score again against Pettitte, who went 7 innings to pick up the win.  The game was actually much closer than the final score indicated.  After Haren’s single, the Yankees quickly answered with a go-ahead run in the 3rd on a single by Alex Rodriguez.  The game stayed 3-2 until the Yankees struck late with 6 runs in the 8th. 

 

 

Derek Jeter congratulates Alex Rodriguez on his two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday. Andy Pettitte (b.) surrenders just two runs in seven innings, striking out seven Arizona hitters.

Franklin/AP

 

There is little question that Andy Pettitte will be on the All-Star Team.  At 38, he is having perhaps his finest season.  Phil Hughes should also make the team with 10 wins, although he is being skipped in the rotation this week as the Yankees look to limit his innings over the course of the season.  As for who should start, that’s a tough question.  Both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox are certainly deserving, as is David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Suffice it to say that I think the American League starter in the All-Star game will be an AL East starter!  Seriously, AL manager Joe Girardi couldn’t go wrong with any of those choices.  At least he doesn’t have to worry about A.J. Burnett being one of the options!  L

 

Tonight, the Yankees will send Vazquez against Arizona’s Dontrelle Willis.  They missed former teammate Ian Kennedy who pitched for the D-Backs on Sunday.  Following tonight’s game, the Yankees will be heading to Los Angeles for a reunion series with Joe Torre and Don Mattingly over the weekend.  Given the flight is less than an hour and Thursday is an off day, the Yankees won’t have jet lag available for an excuse come Friday night.  The Yankees must simply do what the Boston Red Sox did…beat LA!  Hey Julia, the slogan does work! 

 

 

 

Sunday, I will get the chance to root against the Boston Red Sox in person as I’ll be at the game in San Francisco.  Of course, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without making another wager with my good friend, Julia, of Julia’s Rants.  For our latest wager, if the Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, I will have to include a short paragraph about a Red Sox player with my next 25 blog posts following the game.  25 represents each player on the roster as of June 26, 2010 (regardless of whether the player is later traded, demoted or released before I mention them on the blog).  The paragraphs can be short and simple, but they must be positive and include a personal note about the player that others might not be aware of.  If the Giants win, then Julia has to do the same for my beloved New York Yankees.  Based on the Yankees roster as of 6/26, she’ll have to include a paragraph about a Yankee player for her next 25 blog posts.  So, on Sunday, I’ll be a huge Giants fan! 

 

 

Attpark

John G. Mabanglo/European Pressphoto Agency

 

–Scott

Moving Forward…

With the franchise’s 9,500th win (dating back to the New York Highlanders in 2003), the Yankees moved into sole possession of first place…

 

 

The two central figures in today’s win against the New York Mets were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. 

 

 

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Sabathia has struggled at times this season, and held a 7-3 record heading into today’s action.  Teixeira had a very cold April, started to warm up in May before lapsing back into a deep freeze in June.  But today, they did what it took to win.  CC pitched 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.  The Mets couldn’t stop him but a 20 minute rain delay finally did as Mo Rivera finished the game in a non-save situation after the delay ended. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Teixeira came up huge in the third inning with a grand slam that provided the former Highlanders with the only runs they would need.  Credit Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for excellent play and hustle in loading the bases on three singles, only one of which made it out of the infield.  It was very enjoyable to hear John Sterling’s trademark “Tex Message!” call. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Despite losing Friday night’s game, the Yankees came back to win on both Saturday and Sunday to capture the series and end the season series in a split. 

 

I was surprised to see Roy Halladay lose again.  This time to Carl Pavano and the Minnesota Twins.  Like his record against the Yankees, Halladay sported an excellent mark against the Twins.  But it was not meant to be today against the Twins as he fell 4-1.  I am not saying that Cliff Lee is a better pitcher than Halladay, but so far, the regular season performances in Phillies uniforms is tilted in Lee’s favor.  Of course, it’s not all Doc’s fault given his 2.43 ERA which implies that he has not had run support given his 8-6 record. 

 

I guess Joe Torre did not have a joyful return to Fenway Park, and neither did Manny Ramirez as the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.  The AL East couldn’t be tighter with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees.  The Toronto Blue Jays continue to lurk in the shadows, just 5 ½ games back although they did lose today.

 

The Yankees now head to Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I don’t have great memories of the Yankees in Phoenix, but fortunately Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are no longer on the mound and Luis Gonzalez is not in the outfield.  The D-Backs have a good team and former Yankee Ian Kennedy has done well in the rotation.  Nevertheless, I will be hoping for redemption anyway.  Besides, we have a one game lead to protect!

 

I was bummed after the 2010 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings did not draft a quarterback.  They did select Joe Webb of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, however, the immediate talk was that Webb would be shifted to wide receiver.  During the recent mini-camps, Webb, with his 11 inch hands and athleticism, showed that he can be a quarterback of the future.  So, at least for now, the move to wide receiver has been postponed.  The Vikings will take a long look at Webb as a QB in training camp.

 

 

Andy King/AP

 

I hope it was a great Father’s Day for all the baseball-loving Dads!

 

–Scott

Time To Break The Ice…

 

On Tuesday, the Yankees were on top of the world
after defeating Doc Halladay and the Phillies…



Roy Halladay Yankees Phillies reax home run

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger


 

Since then, all they have managed to do is to lose
the series to the Phillies and allow the New York Mets to win their 8th
game in a row.  I am not quite sure how
you can from clubbing one of the best pitchers in baseball today to a total
inability to score runs.  Good pitching
beat good hitting, I know.   But still,
the Yankees have had their opportunities but the clutch hit just hasn’t come.

 

Hats off to Javier Vazquez’s performance on Friday
night despite the loss to the Mets.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run.  For the past month, he has been the team’s
most consistent pitcher.  Too bad the
bats weren’t there to support him.  I was
one of many who were booing Javy early in the season, but like they say, we
wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care.  This is
the Javy that we had expected to see, and hopefully, this will be the Javy that
will take us to October.



New York Yankees pitchers like Javier Vazquez (r.) recently are taking losses due to a lack of run support from Alex Rodriguez (b.) and the rest of the Bombers lineup.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Last night’s bullpen was disappointing.  Chan Ho Park and Boone Logan allowed the Mets
to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0. 
The Yankees still had their chances which included bringing the tying
run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th.  Granted, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher failed
to bring home any runs, but if the gap had been closer, it is possible that the
players would not have been trying so hard and could have made something
happen. 

 

Despite the losses, the Yankees remain tied atop
the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays who have encountered their own rough
patch.  The only team winning these days
is the Boston Red Sox who have crept to within one game of the lead (two in the
loss column). 

 

Today will be the battle of 9-1 pitchers as Phil
Hughes will face the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey. 
Pelfrey is 1-0 in this match-up so far this season so hopefully Phil
will be able to exact revenge.  It would
be great for him to reach 10 wins today.


 

Phil Hughes

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger



Another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and yet
another win!  We had bet on the NBA
Finals…Los Angeles Lakers versus Boston Celtics.  My state against hers.  Julia was so confident throughout the
series.  She was sure the Celtics were
going to win the championship in six games. 
She kept ranting that the Celtics would capture their 18th
NBA championship.  She insisted that the
Lakers would not win and that Kobe Bryant would not be the MVP.  Hey, Julia, how did that work out for
ya?  ;)



After title time comes decision time for Lakers

LA Times

 

As a result of the loss, Julia is now obligated to
post photos of herself on her blog wearing the newest addition to her collection…a
Lakers championship locker room t-shirt. 
The t-shirt was ordered through the Lakers website while the locker room
celebration was underway.  I knew that
Julia would be very anxious to get her new shirt.  She wouldn’t want to miss out on the
celebration of the LA Lakers as the 2010 NBA Champions!  Enjoy Julia!  I look forward to the Lakers post on your blog!  :)


Title

P.S.  The Lakers now have 16 NBA Championships.  Isn’t that just one less than the Celtics?  Well, that’s what we have next year for!  Go Lakers!  


–Scott

A Win And A Loss And A…

A split against Doc Halladay and Jamie Moyer is not so bad until you realize that the loss was against the latter…

 

The Yankees pummeled Philadelphia starter Roy Halladay on Tuesday night with three home runs in defeating the Phillies 8-3.  The victory was somewhat of a surprise given that Halladay held an 18-6 mark against the Yankees going into the game.  Time and again, Halladay has frustrated Yankee bats, but last night was not one of those times.  If memory serves correctly, Halladay has also lost to the Boston Red Sox this season so his reunion with the AL East has not been very enjoyable for him.

 

Tonight, ancient starter Jamie Moyer got revenge in helping the Phillies defeat the Yanks, 6-3.  The seats at Yankee Stadium were barely warm by the time the Phillies had surged ahead 6-1 after three innings.  The relief contingent of Boone Logan (freshly called up from AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre to replace DL-bound Marcus Thames) and Chad (is he still around?) Gaudin pitched superbly and gave the Yankees a chance to climb back into it.   The Yankees weren’t really able to get anything going although they did bring the potential tying run to the plate before Jorge Posada struck out to end the game.  Where are those grand slams (or at least a 3-run dinger in this case) when you need them?  Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.  Fortunately, the Tampa Bay Rays also lost (6-2 to the Atlanta Braves) so the Yankees remain tied for the AL East lead despite the loss.

 

Moyer became the oldest pitcher to beat the Yankees at 47 years, 155 days.  The previous oldest pitcher was former Yankee Phil Niekro who was 47 years, 122 days when he last beat the Yanks according to the Elias Sports Bureau.   

 

Julia will be quick to point out that the Boston Red Sox are only three games back after their 6-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The city needs something to cheer about given that they will lose the NBA Finals to the soon-to-be World Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night!  J

 

There has been much speculation that the Yankees should pursue a trade for a frontline pitcher like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt.  That’s a tough one.  As much as I would like Cliff Lee, I have a tough time finding a spot in the rotation for him.  CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes are locks and not going anywhere.  A.J. Burnett, as frustrating as he can be at times, isn’t going anywhere.  So, the only spot would be Javier Vazquez but he’s been arguably the Yankees best pitcher for the past month.  I guess the question would then become whether you can trust Vazquez for the remainder of the season.   If the Yankees can trade for Lee contingent upon signing him to a new contract, perhaps it makes sense given Javy’s impending free agency.  But, of course, at what cost?  If you are talking about Jesus Montero or Austin Romine and other top talent, it is probably not worth it (and that is what it would take).  It would be better to take your chances during free agency in the off-season.  The downside is that you wouldn’t have Lee in the play-off rotation should the team get that far.  Okay, I know they’ll get that far, but it is a little early yet.  It’s probably better to build a stronger bench for the stretch run…

 

Apparently, the Yankees have tentatively reached an agreement with top 2010 draft pick shortstop Christopher “Cito” Culver.  Culver, who had signed a letter of intent with the University of Maryland, withdrew from his commitment to the school.  The Yankees cannot formally sign Culver until he officially graduates from high school. 

 

A Pac-10 match-up between Colorado and Utah?  It could happen if the Utes accept the conference’s invitation to join.  Wow, this has been a crazy off-season.  Colorado to the Pac-10, Nebraska to the Big 10, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others staying put in the Big 12.  Growing up in the Midwest, there was always something special about those Nebraska-OU games so it will be sad to see the rivalry, as we know it, come to an end.  Granted, Nebraska hasn’t done much in recent years, but the Cornhuskers are still a premier school.  As a fan of the University of Iowa, it will be fun to see Nebraska-Iowa on a consistent basis, but it won’t be the same. 

 

–Scott

 

And Then They Were Tied…

 

“I must be in the front row!”…

 

 

 

Bob Uecker, by Steve Moore/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees capped a very successful weekend in sweeping the Houston Astros by moving into a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Of course, the Yankees need to keep the pressure on to avoid falling behind the Rays again but they should be in good shape if CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett can keep the momentum going.

 

With Alex Rodriguez still on the bench due to an ailing hip, the Yankees rode Jorge Posada’s second grand slam in as many days to a 9-5 victory at Yankee Stadium.

 

 

Jorge Posada hits his second grand slam in as many days to lead the New York Yankees to a sweep of the Houston Astros.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

 

Manager Joe Girardi stayed with starter Phil Hughes a bit too long in the 6th as the Astros scored four runs after trailing 7-1.  When the Astros scored the first two runs of the inning, I thought that Hughes should have been pulled.  He was over 100 pitches but I know Girardi wanted to see him finish the inning.  It turned out to be a big mistake as light-hitting Kevin Cash delivered a two run homer to end the day for Hughes.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees answered with several runs of their own and the bullpen was up to the task of securing the win for Hughes.  It was his 9th win of the season to tie him for the league lead with David Price and Clay Buchholz.  I thought Damaso Marte’s strikeout after relieving Hughes was huge.  The Astros had seized the game momentum but it quickly evaporated with Marte’s strike out of Michael Bourn.

 

The Yankees get a much deserved day off on Monday.  They’ll need it since they’ll be staring at Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.  The Phillies will definitely be seeking revenge for last October.  It should be a great series.

 

Speaking of grand slams, here is a look back at a great one…

 

 

Nice To See Ya Again!…

 

A reunion victory for Andy…

 

 

AP/Eric Gay

 

 

In probably what will be Andy Pettitte’s only appearance against his former team, the Houston Astros, he emerged the victor tonight as interleague play got underway in the Bronx. 

 

It was a tight game throughout thanks to a pitching duel between Andy and Astros starter (and former Philadelphia Phillie) Brett Myers.  The Yanks scored first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.  A bases loaded walk by Nick Swisher and a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli gave Andy and the Yankees an early cushion.

 

The Astros quickly answered with two runs of their own in the top of the 2nd inning.  With two outs, Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella doubled to deep left to score two runs.

 

In the bottom of the 5th inning, with the score still 3-2, Mark Teixeira hit a single to score Kevin Russo. 

 

After settling down in the 2nd inning, Andy was breezing through the Astros lineup, allowing only one baserunner, until he got into trouble in the 8th.    A hit and an error put two men on base.  After a sacrifice moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Andy’s night was done.  Enter Joba Chamberlain.  Unfortunately, a sac fly by the next batter, second baseman Jeff Keppinger, scored Manzella, before Joba was able to end the inning by striking out first baseman Lance Berkman. 

 

Enter the Sandman in the 9th, and it was game over.   Mariano Rivera struck out the final two batters to pick up his 15th save, which gave Andy Pettitte the win and his 8th victory (8-1) of the season to match Phil Hughes for the team high. 

 

The rumor mill has spun that Berkman is a potential trade target for the Yankees.  He’d make a great DH at this stage of his career, and would be an excellent replacement for former DH Hideki Matsui.  I know that Nick Johnson will be back later this year, but given his injury history, there’s no way that he can be counted on.  At some point, Jorge Posada will be ready to start catching again so the DH will spot will return to a rotation.  It would be tremendous, so long as the price tag is not too high and does not involve any blue-chippers, to have Berkman’s bat in the lineup every day. 

 

I am sure that the win, Andy’s 200th as a Yankee, was bittersweet for him.  I know that he missed the Yankees during his days in Houston, but on the same token, I am sure that he’ll always hold a soft spot for his hometown Astros.  The game would have been harder on Andy if it would have been played in Houston.  By the way, congratulations to Andy for the 200th Yankees win!  How ironic that it would come against the only other team for which he has played.

 

The Yankees have a chance to close within a game of the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays.  The “team that never loses” is trailing by 8 runs late in a game against the Florida Marlins.  For any other team, I’d consider a deficit of 8 runs to be a loss.  But with the Rays, if you told me that they just scored 9 runs in the 9th, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

 

Wow, what a week for college football!  I had not been following the USC story very closely, so I was stunned when the two year probation was announced.  I also heard that their juniors and seniors can transfer to other schools without the standard one-year waiting period (unless it involves another Pac-10 school).  Aside from the fact that this will remove USC from significance for the short term, I couldn’t help but think what goes around comes around for new head coach Lane Kiffin.  I am sure that Raiders owner Al Davis and the great fans of the University of Tennessee are shedding no tears for Lane’s predicament.  Yeah Lane, good luck with that… 

 

Speaking of the Pac-10, I was equally shocked when the University of Colorado announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10.  All week the talk had been about whether the University of Nebraska would leave to join the Big 10, a move which happened today, however, the Buffaloes drew first blood.  There is no speculation that the University of Texas, and the other Texas schools, like Texas A&M and Texas Tech, may be joining the Pac-10 to become a ‘super-conference’.  All the rivalries we have grown to love over the years, like Texas-OU and Nebraska-OU, will soon become memories.   The expectation is that the Big 12 will collapse so it will be interesting to see what happens with the other schools.  Plus, of course, there is always the speculation about what Notre Dame may do.  Interesting times in the NCAA…

 

–Scott

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