Such a great start…
Such a disappointing middle and end…
Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in
St. Petersburg, FL, started so strong, but then the team’s offense
flatlined. After a Derek Jeter single
and a Nick Swisher home run to start the game, the Yankees could only manage
two more hits (singles by Robinson Cano) the rest of the way against winner
Wade Davis and the Rays bullpen.
Similarly, Phil Hughes started strong and it looked
like he was cruising with a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the 6th
inning when a three-run home run by Matt Joyce put the Rays up, 3-2 (which
proved to be the final score).
Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger
Alex Rodriguez was a huge disappointment…again…as
he went 0-for-4 in his extended quest for 600 home runs. The only way that A-Rod could have gotten a
hit would have been for Mark Teixeira to smack him. I’ll be glad when he finally does hit #600
because this is getting painful watching the pathetic at-bats.
Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger
The Rays found themselves just a game out of first
place, with Matt Garza on the mound Saturday against Javier Vazquez. Garza threw a no-hitter against the Detroit
Tigers in his last outing, so he’ll be looking to extend the scoreless, hitless
streak against the Yankees. Hopefully,
Javy will be up for the challenge.
With less than 24 hours to the trading deadline,
the Yankees finally pulled off a couple of deals, neither of which address the
more pressing needs (bullpen help and a backup third baseman to spell A-Rod). Granted, GM Brian Cashman is not finished,
but so far, he has added a DH and a part-time left fielder to the mix. I had wondered who would be the first player
of the post-Boss Steinbrenner era. The
award goes to first baseman Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros. He agreed to the deal that would send him to
New York for a couple of minor leaguers, but as a 10-and-5 player, the Yankees
must wait 24 hours before the deal can be finalized.
The Yankees later acquired outfielder Austin Kearns
from the Cleveland Indians, so, technically, he’ll arrive on the Yankees roster
sooner than Berkman.
Berkman effectively replaces injured Nick Johnson
as the full-time designated hitter. Nick,
who is still on the DL due to a wrist injury, is nearing his return, but he
obviously cannot be relied upon given his injury history (something the Yankees
should have recognized when they signed him last fall). Berkman is a good friend of Andy Pettitte’s
from their days in Houston so I am sure that played in Berkman’s decision to
join the Yanks after nixing previous deals like the one that would have sent
him to Anaheim as a replacement for Kendry Morales.
The 34-year-old Berkman has begun the downward
descent of his career, and is batting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI’s. It is
the Yankees’ hope that the excitement of a pennant chase will energize
Berkman. The Yankees sent minor leaguers
Mark Melancon, a reliever, and Jimmy Paredes, an infielder, to Houston in the
deal. Melancon, 25, was once being groomed as an eventual
successor for Mariano Rivera, but he’s failed to achieve his potential.
The other new Yankee is former Reds, Nationals and
Indians outfielder Austin Kearns. Kearns
was in the Tribe’s lineup tonight and had a couple of hits until he was lifted
in the 7th for a pinch runner.
Kearns will move from a starting role to a part-time one with the Yanks,
and he’ll most likely start in left when Brett Gardner slides to center in
relief of Curtis Granderson against certain lefthanders. Kearns is batting .272 with 8 HR’s and 42 RBI’s.
Both players will probably be long gone by Spring
Training 2011, but for now, they have a chance to play a major role in the
Yankees’ drive for the play-offs.
The Yankees do not plan to be quiet before the end
of the trading deadline as they are rumored to be one of several teams involved
in discussions with the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ted Lilly, a former Yank, and
according to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney, they are working on a deal for a
back-up third baseman.
Regardless of what happens, the Rays are guaranteed
of seeing faces tomorrow that weren’t present at Tropicana Field tonight. I just hope that tomorrow doesn’t find Adam
Dunn in the opposing dugout.
At least the Boston Red Sox lost tonight…
What a difference a day makes!…
Of course, the Yankees could have used a few of
those runs on Tuesday night, but at least they were facing a proven major
league pitcher (Fausto Carmona) which they definitely have greater success
against than unproven, unknown rookies.
The Yankees got the scoring going early, building
up to a 6-0 lead after just three innings, and then coasted to the 8-0 win
against the Indians in Cleveland.
Another night, another homerless evening for Alex Rodriguez who remains
stuck on 599. It would be nice for him
to just hit the home run so that he’d stop pressing so hard.
Andrew Weber/US Presswire
It was also a great pitching performance by the
hotheaded A.J. Burnett, who managed to avoid a meltdown in throwing scoreless
ball for 6 1/3 innings (he gave up 7 hits and 3 walks, while striking out
I did think that it was a good idea to bring in
Joba Chamberlain in the 7th inning despite the 8 run lead. He needs to build his confidence back up
again, and become the pitcher that we know he can be. The 8th inning went to starter
reject Sergio Mitre as manager Joe Girardi continued to experiment with the
bullpen. Mitre was effective with two
strikeouts as he retired the 3 batters he faced in the 8th, although
he did struggle somewhat in the 9th (allowing two baserunners
through a hit and a walk). But he did
end the game on a swinging strikeout. I
think he’s definitely better in spots than as a starting pitcher, so perhaps he’s
found a niche. His replacement in the
rotation, Dustin Moseley, starts against the Indians tomorrow in the getaway
game. Hopefully, Dustin will enjoy
greater success than Mitre did in the last start.
Despite the Yankees’ win, they failed to pick up
any ground on either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Boston Red Sox as both team won
today. The pressure will be on the
Yankees tomorrow night, especially if the Rays win their earlier game against
the Tigers. The Rays are presently two
games back in the AL East, so they could be within a game after tomorrow’s
results. The Red Sox, 7 games back, are
I can’t say that there have been many trade
speculations this week that I have been excited about, but I agree with Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues about the potential of adding Adam Dunn to
the lineup at DH. His swing would be a
great fit for Yankee Stadium, and unlike Nick Johnson, he is someone that can
be counted on to be around when October rolls around. He would also provide great protection for
Robinson Cano in the batting order. I
think Dunn and a solid reliever would make the July trading deadline a huge
success for the Yanks.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
I want to send out my best wishes for former
Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf who was hit in the face on a ball hit by
Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. The line
drive hit which struck the right side of Ohlendorf’s face occurred in the first
inning of tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado
Rockies. Ohlendorf remained upright and
never lost consciousness. He underwent
further tests after the incident, but hopefully, all is well and he’ll be back
in the Pirates rotation soon.
Do you want to beat the New York Yankees?…
Just call up a pitcher to make his major league
debut and he is assured of getting his first major league victory against the
Yanks. Put Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett,
Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke and others on the mound, and the Yankees have a great
chance at winning. Put Cleveland’s Josh
Tomlin on the mound, and it’s lights out Yankees. I don’t get why the team has always struggled
so much against the unknown pitchers.
Surely, the Scouting Department has a portfolio on minor league
pitchers. For whatever reason, no info
is getting conveyed to the Yankee hitters.
The 25-year-old Tomlin simply pitched much better
than 13-game winner CC Sabathia, as the
Indians rolled over the Yankees, 4-1. He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 earned run; he struck out 2. CC, on the other hand, gave up 9 hits in 7
innings, and allowed 4 runs abeit 2 earned.
He also walked 3 while striking out 5.
Alex Rodriguez put another goose egg on the scoreboard
(0-for-4) in his attempt to reach 600 home runs. He could have been a hero in the 9th
inning. A home run with two outs would
have tied the game, but unfortunately, he hit into a fielder’s choice to end
the game. Today was A-Rod’s 35th
birthday, but I am sure that the post-game celebration will be subdued.
It was a disappointing loss, which was definitely a
team effort. I guess the flight from New
York City to Cleveland was too much.
Hopefully, the players will come out on Tuesday ready to play.
A sore left knee scratched Jorge Posada from the
lineup tonight. I’d really like to see
Jorge take the necessary time to fully recover before he attempts to play
again. The Yankees don’t need to go into
September with a questionable Posada.
The Yankees lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL
East has dropped to just two games as the Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers
again tonight (following yesterday’s no-hitter by Matt Garza, the first in Rays
Jason Behnken/The Tampa Tribune
It doesn’t seem like the Yankees are getting
anywhere on trade rumors. Their latest
speculated target, Royals closer Joakim Soria, apparently has the Yankees on
his no-trade list. I am not expecting a
blockbuster deal, because there just aren’t any players of that magnitude
available. But the Yankees do need to
try and address the shortcomings of the team.
Right now, the bullpen is very leaky so that certainly deserves attention
as does a bat who can come off the bench to spell A-Rod.
This is off-topic, but I am sorry to hear the news
that former Oakland Raider Jack Tatum has passed away at age 61. Growing up, the “Assassin” was a force for
the Raiders. It is unfortunate that he
will always be remembered as the guy whose hit paralyzed the New England
Patriots’ Darryl Stingley. Sadly, both
Stingley (who died in 2007) and Tatum left us way too soon…
8th inning relief…
I was so relieved (no pun intended) when the
Yankees went with David Robertson and Boone Logan in the 8th inning
as a bridge between Javier Vazquez and Mariano Rivera in New York’s 3-2 win
over the Cleveland Indians. Both Robertson
and Logan did their respective jobs with no drama (unlike recent escapades with
This game was about redemption. Javier Vazquez continued to show that he has
moved well past his early season struggles and has perhaps shaken, for the now,
the tag that he is purely a NL pitcher.
Of course, he hasn’t pitched a big game yet, but he continues to pitch
very solidly while the other starters have taken their turns with issues. Hopefully, this is the Javy that we’ll see
now through October.
Theodorakis/NY Daily News
As recent as this weekend, Curtis Granderson was
viewed as a failure in New York.
Everyone has waited for Curtis the Tiger to show up, and finally, in the
last couple of games, he has. On Sunday,
in the Yankees’ 12-6 romp over the Kansas City Royals, Grandy had two home
runs. Tonight against the Indians, and
unlike Alex Rodriguez, he hit another one.
With the homer, Grandy finally broke into double digits with his 10th
of the season. It is a far cry from the
guy who was predicted to hit 40 home runs in New York but still, it is great to
finally see Granderson as an offensive force in the lineup. As with Vazquez, Grandy is a key to the
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Nick Swisher hit another home run. I regret ever having preferred Xavier Nady
over Swish in right. Swisher has been
terrific this season and with his 18th home run of the season
tonight, he is just a mere two homers beyond team leader Mark Teixeira. Hey Swish, maybe you could give hitting
lessons to A-Rod! ;)
I will also put both Robertson and Logan into the
redemption category. Logan has seen his
share of the Bronx-Scranton/Wilkes Barre Shuttle, while Robertson has struggled
at times to match the success of last season.
Tonight, they were perfect in the 8th when anything less
could have been disastrous given the one run margin.
It was nice that on a night when the big guys
(Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Cano) went a combined 0-for-14 with 3 strikeouts,
the Yankees could still emerge with the victory. Some
great pitching, a few key hits, and Mariano Rivera are the perfect formula for
Apparently, the Yankees made a big, but
unsuccessful, push for Royals closer Joakim Soria. Soria would have made a great bridge to
Mariano Rivera, but it doesn’t appear that the two teams match up
trade-wise. The Yankees were rumored to
be the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, yet they lost out on both
pitchers. I was more disappointed about
Lee, who I am still hopeful the Yankees will pursue in the off-season.
The Canadian Press
I had mixed feelings about Haren, and I felt that
his salary would have been problematic in the Yanks’ chances to pursue Lee
during free agency. So, all things
considered, I am glad to see him go to the Los Angeles Angels. I don’t think the Angels will catch the Texas
Rangers so it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to make the
play-offs. Of the remaining pitchers on
the market, I’d probably rather go after someone like Ted Lilly than Roy
Oswalt. Lilly is a good pitcher and
knows how to pitch in New York.
This week should be interesting with all the trade
speculation and actual trade results as we move toward the end of the
week. Of course, this is probably another
case of ‘all bark, no bite’ as the speculation will exceed the actual
results. With so many teams unwilling to
add to payroll, there should still be decent trading activity in August as
players clear waivers. Still, I am
anxious to see what player will get the tag of being the first post-George Steinbrenner
In a note of good news, manager Joe Girardi has
announced that Dustin Moseley will start Thursday’s game in place of Sergio
Mitre. I am anxious to see what Moseley
can do in his first start for the Bronx Bombers. Anything has to be an upgrade over Meat Tray…
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion,
but I’d like to say that Bill “The Spaceman” Lee is a jerk. According to the USA Today Sports Weekly, Lee
told WMUR-TV (New Hampshire) “As far as Steinbrenner’s passing…good”. He went on to say, “If hell freezes over, he’ll
be skating”. Hey Lee, how did you enjoy
that World Series Championship? Oh yeah,
you never won one!
IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…
Okay, that’s a lousy pitching line any way you slice it. I recognize that Sergio Mitre, fresh off the DL, was rusty, and you can’t expect perfection. But I was not a Mitre fan before and I am not one now. I think there are better pitching options on the roster as fill-in’s for injured Andy Pettitte. I would rather see Dustin Moseley get a shot to start before taking another chance on Mitre. Moseley, by the way, pitching yesterday too, and his line was much more appealing:
IP 4.2, H 1, R 0, ER 0, BB 1, SO 1, HR 0
As for trading for an option like Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am reluctant at best. I really want to see the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee in the off-season, and I am fearful that adding a pitcher like Haren and his salary would be a detriment. We saw last off-season when the Yankees held the line and allowed Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui walk rather than increase payroll above $200 million. I do think that Andy Pettitte will give hard consideration to retirement after the season. There is uncertainty with Javier Vazquez who will be a free agent, and there are still questions about Phil Hughes who has been mired in a slump for the past month (not to mention a innings limitation).
This is a tough call. The Yankees do need to maximize their own resources for starting talent, but in my opinion, it doesn’t start with Mitre. If Moseley is not the answer, then reach into the farm system and give Ivan Nova or Zach McAllister a shot.
The awful performance by Mitre put the Yankees into a hole that they were unable to recover from in losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-4. It did hurt in the 4th inning when Robinson Cano hit into a double play on a great play by Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. The DP left the bases empty with two outs after the Yankees had scored a run at the start of the inning with Mark Teixeira’s lead-off home run. Facing a 6-1 deficit, Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo home run. Had Betancourt not made such a great play on Cano, the Yankees would have had two men on base when Posada came to the plate. Had he homered in that situation, the score could have been 6-4 instead of 6-2 which would have given the game a completely different complexion.
Still, the Yankees had a shot in the bottom of the 9th inning with Mark Teixeira at the plate with two men on. He had hit two home runs earlier in the game, so this was a terrific opportunity for three home runs. But he grounded out to end the game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Today, the Yankees will see if Phil Hughes can turn it around. He’ll face Sean O’Sullivan, who beat Hughes and the Yanks 10-2 last Tuesday while wearing a Angels uniform.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Both Nick Swisher (Achilles heel) and Brett Gardner (acid reflux) will be back in the starting line up today so that’s a positive sign.
This is a great day for a Yankees win!
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Milestone achieved at Yankee Stadium but not that one…
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
On a night when everyone was watching and hoping for the 600th home run by Alex Rodriguez (which he failed to do), Jorge Posada delivered his 1000th RBI of his career. He hit a RBI double in the first inning off Kansas City Royals starter Brian Bannister.
Al Bello/Getty Images
A.J. Burnett looked much better in the 7-1 win over the Royals. His performance was shortened by a rain delay which limited him to 5 innings, but he only gave up 4 hits and no runs. He also walked a batter, and struck out 3. It was enough for A.J. to even his mark at 8-8, as relievers Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo secured the victory for him. Albaladejo’s stay with the Yankees was brief as he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for today’s starter, Sergio Mitre (who was activated off the DL).
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
A-Rod went 2-for4 but no home runs in his quest for 600. In today’s game, he will face the pitcher who gave up his 500th career home run (Kyle Davies). Hopefully, Alex will get the home run sooner rather than later so that he can move on. I remember watching when Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run, and how magical the night was. I realize it won’t be like that for Alex, given his steroids admission, but it is still a monumental feat. Hitting home runs takes great hand/eye coordination and Alex, regardless of his past admissions, is still one of the better players of his era.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
Nick Swisher missed the game when he woke up with soreness in his Achilles heel. He had been penciled in to start in right. Colin Curtis, who has really proven that he is a good hitter, took his place. Curtis will get another start today in place of Brett Gardner in left. Gardner is dealing with an acid reflux problem that apparently dates back to his childhood. Swisher is still out so Marcus Thames will start in right.
There have been rumors that the Yankees are talking with the Arizona Diamondbacks about starting pitcher Dan Haren, but all reports this morning are that the teams are far apart and nothing is imminent. I know that I voiced frustration with Joba Chamberlain in my last post, but I would hate to see him go to Arizona for Haren. I keep hearing that the D-Backs want a major league ready pitcher in addition to prospects, so it is very unlikely the Yankees could get Haren for, say, Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister. It just seems that the price tag would be too high, not to mention Haren’s high salary. He is certainly no Cliff Lee, so it would be very hard for me to justify paying a King’s ransom for him. I know that I want another option in the starting rotation than Mitre, but I suspect the Yankees will wait until closer to the deadline when there is a greater sense of urgency for teams to move certain guys. Perhaps the Yankees make no moves, but if there is none out there that make sense, then they should pass. Hopefully, guys like Curtis and Albaladejo can step up to fill crucial needs.
The Yankees won, but I am growing tired of Joba
The Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals
tonight, 10-4. The game was actually
much closer than the score might indicate.
With the Yanks ahead 6-4 in the 8th inning, Joba started the
inning in relief of David Robertson.
Robertson had entered the game an inning earlier in place of CC Sabathia
with two men on base and one out. He got
both batters out that the faced, and I would have stayed with the hot hand, at
least for one more inning. Nevertheless,
Joe Girardi remained committed to Chamberlain.
After getting the first batter out, the next two hitters reached on
infield singles. He struck out the rusty
Rick Ankiel (who had been activated off the DL earlier in the day), but walked
Billy Butler to load the bases.
Fortunately, Jose Guillen hit into a fielder’s choice, but had he gotten
a hit, the game would have taken a completely different turn. Joba should be thankful he was facing the
Royals and not the Angels, Rangers, or Rays.
Is this what it was like when former Orioles manager Earl Weaver
referred to his closer as “Fullpack”? I
always get so uneasy when Joba enters the game.
I am not sure how much long I will be in support of him remaining with
the team. At some point, a change of
scenery might do him wonders.
The Royals broke out to an early 2-0 lead against
CC Sabathia, who was making his first start as a 30-something pitcher (he
turned 30 yesterday). The Yankees
quickly answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. The Royals added a run in the 2nd
inning to move in front again, and it remained that way until the bottom of the
3rd when Derek Jeter hit a shot to center. David DeJesus, one of those all-out kind of
players, went for the ball and actually had it momentarily when he crashed into
the wall but lost it in the collision.
DJ, running at full steam, motored around for his first inside-the-park
home run since 1996, which tied the game at 3.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
DeJesus was removed from the game and it was later announced that he had
sprained his thumb.
The Yanks picked up a couple of runs in the 5th
and gave up a run on a Jorge Posada throwing error in the 6th,
but the hit of the night occurred in the bottom of the 7th when Alex
Rodriguez homered for the 599th time in his career to put the Yanks
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th
after Joba had escaped the bases loaded jam to put the game out of reach. It was a huge night for A-Rod, who went
3-for-5 with 4 RBI’s. Mark Teixeira also
went 3-for-5, with a RBI, to continue showing that his slump is definitely
over. Nick Swisher had another great
night with 2 RBI’s. Defensively, it was
a great night for Brett Gardner, who threw out two runners including one at the
plate to end the top of the 5th.
With the win, the Yankees lead on the Tampa Bay
Rays in the AL East has been restored at 3 games.
On Tuesday, Sean O’Sullivan had just been called up
by the Los Angeles Angels from Triple A Salt Lake City and found out that he’d
be starting against the Yankees when he arrived at Yankee Stadium. Despite a rocky first inning, O’Sullivan was
the winner in the 10-2 romp over the Yanks.
Today, he is a member of the Kansas City Royals. Earlier in the day, he was traded by the
Angels to the Royals, along with a minor league pitcher Will Smith, for third
baseman Alberto Callaspo. So, within
days of making the trip to New York City, he is on his way back to join the
The tributes for owner George Steinbrenner continue
as the Yankees unveiled a 40 foot banner above the home bullpen (just
underneath the Hess and Budweiser billboards) honoring the Boss. He is the man responsible for the new
ballpark so it is only fitting that his name be prominently displayed.
Speaking of tributes, the Yankees will wear black
sleeve bands (directly beneath the patch honoring Bob Sheppard) in memory of
former manager Ralph Houk who died yesterday.
With any more patches, the Yankees jersey would look like a Nascar race
car. Hopefully, there will be no more
deaths in the Yankees family for the duration of the year. This has definitely been a very difficult
I’ll take a split…
Fortunately for the Yankees, they emerged victorious today against the Los Angeles Angels to split the two game series. The mediocre pitching line continued, albeit with no injuries, but the Yankee bats were active enough to ensure sufficient runs by the time the Angels recorded their last out in the top of the 9th inning.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Javier Vazquez gave up 9 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings, but it was enough to earn his 8th victory (against 7 losses). The key hit was a pinch hit three-run homer in the 7th by Colin Curtis. Robinson Cano and Juan Miranda also homered in the game, but Alex Rodriguez did not so he remains at 598 home runs. Curtis was an interesting story as he entered the game after Brett Gardner was thrown out of the game while batting. So, the strike count stood at two before Curtis even got warmed up.
Vazquez, with the victory, has defeated all 30 major league teams.
Playing against the Yankees definitely helped Hideki Matsui break out of his slump. He had only hit only one home run since June 7th before playing the Yankees. In the two game series, he homered in each game. I am okay with Godzilla getting his hits so long as they aren’t the game winners. Fortunately, they weren’t either day.
Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register
The Yankees split the season series with the Angels, 4-4, and won’t see them again unless they meet in the play-offs. The Yankees now await the arrival of the Kansas City Royals.
Happy Birthday to CC Sabathia, who celebrated his 30th birthday today!
Joel Sherman ran a piece in his New York Post column this morning where he speculated that Yankees manager Joe Girardi could be a potential target for managerial vacancy created with the Chicago Cubs when Lou Piniella announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season. I completely agree with his analysis. I’ve always considered Girardi to be a “Chicago” guy. He was born and raised in the area, as was his wife, and he started professional baseball with the Cubs and played there again after he left the Yankees.
It started me to think who the Yankees would turn to if the worst case scenario played out (Girardi leaving at the end of the season, which is, by the way, the expiration of his current contract). The first guy I thought about for the position was Don Mattingly. Mattingly is the assumed replacement for current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre. However, Torre still hasn’t decided if he’ll manage next year, and of course, the whole situation with the Dodgers ownership (the McCourt divorce situation) could create the right circumstances to woo Mattingly back to New York.
But when I turned on ESPN this morning, they were showing the highlights of last night’s Dodgers-Giants game where Mattingly had assumed management of the team after both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer had been ejected. In the 9th inning, with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound, Mattingly went out to pay a visit. As he started to walk away, he decided that he wanted to say something else to Broxton and turned back around. He realized that he had made a mistake when the umpires were saying “no” but by then, it was too late. When he made the about face, it counted as a second trip to the mound so he had no choice but to pull Broxton. George Sherrill was brought in and the Dodgers let a 5-4 lead slip away as they ultimately lost the game 7-5. Now, I agree, the faux paux would not be reason to avoid hiring Mattingly but the timing couldn’t have been worse (at least for me).
It’s tough. As much as I like Mattingly, I am not sure that I am a proponent for a rookie manager. I think the year in Florida as the Marlins manager was invaluable for Joe Girardi. He is a better manager today for the experience. Same with Terry Francona in Boston. He is one of the best managers in baseball, and I think it can be directly attributed to his learning opportunity with the Phillies. For the Cubs, I still think Ryne Sandberg is the best fit for the organization. But if you were the owner of the Cubs, would you want a Triple A manager who has never managed in the bigs or a highly prepared and accomplished major league manager with a World Series resume? There are just not that many attractive managerial candidates in my opinion. I am sure that Bobby Valentine will re-surface at some point, as well Buck Showalter, but neither of those guys excite me. If the Steinbrenner Family is smart, they’ll take care of Girardi and never let him have the chance to consider the Cubs.
The deaths in the Yankees family have, unfortunately, continued into this week. The latest is the Yankees manager from the great 1961 season of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (the year that Roger hit 61 home runs and the Yankees won the World Series), Ralph Houk. His World Series championships (he also won in 1962) were the last before the demise of the team under the ownership of CBS and before George Steinbrenner purchased the team. He had taken over as the Yankees manager replacing Casey Stengel in 1960 after the Yankees had lost the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houk would manage until 1963, when he stepped into the front office. He returned to managing the Yankees in 1966 and stayed through 1973, Steinbrenner’s first year. I primarily remember Houk as the manager for the Detroit Tigers, although he did manage the Boston Red Sox at the end of his managerial career. Houk apparently died today at his home in Winter Haven, FL of natural causes. He was 90.
So much for the idea of a day of rest doing some
After an off day on Monday to recover from the
events of the past week, the Yankees came out with a thud on Tuesday. Facing bitter rival Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees
took an early 2-0 lead and closed the book on their offense, while the Angels
pounded out 10 runs to take the first game of the series. It was another disappointing performance by
11-game winner Phil Hughes, who has looked pathetic since he was skipped in the
rotation back in June. Of course, he was
also the loser in the All-Star Game.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Hughes went 5 innings, and gave up 9 hits and 6
runs. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t
qualify as a quality start. With A.J.
Burnett’s flare up, Andy Pettitte’s strained groin, and now the stinker laid by
Hughes, the last three games have been very disappointing from a pitching
standpoint. And just think, we have
Sergio Mitre to look forward to on Saturday.
None of the other pitchers in tonight’s game fared
any better as the three relievers (Jonathan Albaladejo, Chan Ho Park, and Chad
Gaudin) all gave up at least a run. For
Albaladejo, it is a disappointing start to his return to the majors. For a guy who has been unhittable in the
minors (0.96 ERA with 31 saves), Albaladejo showed that he is still quite
hittable at the major league level.
Hopefully, he’ll shake the nerves and show New York what he has been
showing Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Park and
Gaudin are my favorites to be ex-Yankees should the team make any moves to
bolster the pen by the trading deadline.
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez so he stays at 598
home runs. Congratulations to the Angels’
Hideki Matsui who did homer. At least it
occurred in a rout and was not the difference maker.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
If the Tampa Bay Rays win tonight, the
Yankees lead in the AL East will be cut to just 1 ½ games. Cliff Lee would have really looked good in
pinstripes about now…
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News
I am not enamored with the idea of using Sergio
Mitre as the replacement for injured starter Andy Pettitte. Personally, I’d probably be more willing to
consider Dustin Moseley. Mitre, or “Meat
Tray” as I frequently see his name on other blogs (a very appropriate nickname,
I might add), just isn’t the consistent starter that I’d like to see in that
spot. Behind Moseley is Chad Gaudin,
although I’d be more inclined to try a minor league starter like Ivan Nova (7-2,
3.21 ERA, and 78 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings for AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre). Externally, I’d want a short term rental like
Ted Lilly or Jake Westbrook (guys who know New York) over long term
possibilities like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt as I want the Yankees to be in good
position to go after Cliff Lee at season’s end.
It is bittersweet to see Lou Piniella announce his
retirement after fours years as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. If Sweet Lou’s availability had coincided
with Joe Torre’s departure, I am convinced there was a good chance that he
could have been the current Yankees manager rather than Joe Girardi. I am happy the way it worked out, but still
it would have been good to see Lou enjoy success in Pinstripes for one last
For as many years as Lou played (18), it’s hard to
believe that he has managed longer (22) .
He had the misfortunate of managing the Yankees when George Steinbrenner
was his most volatile, not a good combination considering Lou’s temper. Lou managing for Hal Steinbrenner would have
yielded an entirely different result. I
don’t know what life after baseball will mean for Lou, but hopefully #14 will
be a fixture at future Yankees Old-Timers Games. I wish Lou the very best in his final season
with the Cubs.
As for a Cubs replacement, I have to believe that
favorite Ryne Sandberg is a shoo-in given his history with the organization and
status as manager for the team’s AAA in Des Moines, Iowa. It would be like Don Mattingly being named
manager for the Yankees, which of course will never happen since Donnie
Baseball will be the next Los Angeles Dodgers manager but it would certainly
have that type of impact.
Have arm. Will travel…
Well, not me, but the Yankees will be looking for some arms after this weekend’s injuries to A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. Burnett should not miss any time after his boneheaded stunt on Saturday. He was frustrated about giving up three runs after two innings, and proceeded to take his frustration out on double doors in the clubhouse. The doors won as Burnett cut both hands on plexiglass lineup holders affixed to the doors. On Sunday, Andy Pettitte went the more honorable injury route as he was actually hurt while playing the game. He strained his left groin throwing a pitch to Kelly Shoppach in the 3rd inning after giving up back to back singles.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
There were no long man in the bullpen on Sunday thanks to Burnett’s episode on Saturday which required extended use of both Dustin Moseley and Chad Gaudin. So, the first guy out of the pen on Sunday was potential 8th inning set up man David Robertson. The pieced-together pitching staff worked well as the Yankees overcame an early 3-0 deficit against American League All-Star starting pitcher David Price to win 9-5.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
The win gave the Yankees the series win against the Tampa Bay Rays, who had won Saturday’s game against Burnett, 10-5.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
After the Yankees had won on Friday night in a thrilling 5-4 victory against the Rays on a night the team gave tribute to public address announcer Bob Sheppard and owner George Steinbrenner, I knew the Yankes would have a tough time on Saturday and Sunday facing Jeff Niemann and David Price. But if I had expected a pitcher to falter, it would have been Niemann and not Price so clearly the Yankees were fortunate that Price chose Sunday to have his worst start of the season.
Sergio Mitre, who is nearing return from the Disabled List, will slide into Pettitte’s spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. It is anticipated that Pettitte will be out for 4-5 weeks. Even though Burnett should be able to make his next start, the Yankees need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so I am sure that Joe Girardi will have Dustin Moseley and Chad Gaudin again waiting in the wings. I remember Moseley most as one of the guys that the Los Angeles Angels turned to after the death of Nick Adenhart last season. It would be good to see him excel in his opportunity with the Pinstripers.
After the missed opportunity for Cliff Lee, I did not expect the Yankees to pursue a starting pitcher prior to the trading deadline. However, I do wonder if that will change now that Pettitte is out for a month and Phil Hughes will be nearing his innings ceiling later in the year. The names on the market do not excite me (not like Cliff Lee did). Perhaps someone like Ted Lilly would be a good short term option, but he is hardly the front of the rotation starter that Lee would have been. The only guy I’d love to see in Pinstripes, outside of Lee of course, would be Florida’s Josh Johnson but I really doubt the Marlins would trade him.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 598th home run on Sunday (off Andy Sonnanstine on Sunday in the 7th inning).
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
The Yankees have a much-needed day off on Monday to recover from the events of the past week and the weekend tributes to two legendary men. They’ll face the Los Angeles Angels beginning Tuesday in the Bronx as Hideki Matsui comes home to face his ex-teammates.
In a game that George Steinbrenner had wanted to attend, the Yankees held their Annual Old-Timers Game on Saturday. I have heard so many ex-player quotes about how well the Yankees and George in particular had treated the former Yankee players. I hope the Steinbrenner Family keeps up the tradition with the same conviction and passion that George did. I was saddened to hear that in addition to Steinbrenner, the Old-Timers Game was missing Yogi Berra who was hurt in a fall at his home. The game is definitely not the same without #8 on the field so I look forward to his return next year. For this year’s game, the Yankees celebrated the 1950 World Champions. Like last year’s champions, the 1950 club defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to claim the championship.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
It is tough to see George Steinbrenner go, but it is time to move on. I look forward to the leadership of Hal Steinbrenner, and the rest of the Steinbrenner children, and I hope they share their father’s passion and commitment to the success of the New York Yankees.
The New York Times