August 2010

Game 1 To The Other Guys…

 

On the bright side, the Yankees are still in first place…

 

 

 

 

Despite the loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, the Yankees remain in first place, ½ game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays who also lost (2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays).  The team needs to relax, re-group and come back on Saturday with a vengeance. 

 

In tonight’s 6-3 loss, the Red Sox scored three runs, thanks in large part to an error by Francisco Cervelli (he dropped a pop-up that he should have handled).  Thanks to the extra out, the Red Sox were able to push across three runs before the last out of the inning.  It turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit and with Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Yankees were never able to recover. 

 

 

17 SPYANKEES HINDASH.JPG

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger

 

If there is one thing that stood out to me about Friday night’s game, it is the 12-pitch at-bat by Derek Jeter with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.  He battled and battled hard before eventually drawing a walk.  THAT exhibited the heart of a Lion.  It went for naught when Nick Swisher flied out to end the game, but it was a tremendous at-bat by the Captain.

 

Somehow, the Yankees need to get Lance Berkman untracked.  Lance went 0-for-4 and is now batting .105 since his arrival in the Bronx.  Hopefully,  he’ll have that defining moment with the Yankees and it will come sooner rather than later.  He can play a huge part in the stretch run for the Yankees despite the overall down year for him. 

 

It was good to hear that Andy Pettitte threw in the bullpen and is planning a late August return.  He threw 35 to 40 pitches and felt good.  He is planning to throw again on Sunday.  That’s good news, and he’ll be a welcome sight for the rotation when he is able to return.

 

After Season 1 of Curtis Granderson (so far), I’d have to say that I would be a proponent for the Yankees to move Granderson in the off-season and pursue Tampa Bay free agent-to-be Carl Crawford and slide Brett Gardner back to center.  Hopefully, Grandy can change opinions between now and the end of the season but he’s running out of time.

 

As for Derek Jeter, put me in the column that feels there is no way that the Yankees would let him leave.  Using Cal Ripken as an example (or Carl Yastrzemski), it is great that those guys were able to go an entire career in one uniform.  Watching the NFL’s Hall of Fame inductees, I still hate to think of Emmitt Smith, the Arizona Cardinal.  It’s great that if you think of Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin, you can only associate them with one team.  It’s bad enough when a great player puts on another uniform at the tail end of his career, but when they go to a bitter rival it’s worse.  Case in point is long-time hockey star Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars who recently signed with the Detroit Red Wings.  I realize that Detroit is home for Mike, but, still, the Red Wings are a bitter rival for the Stars.  Mike has been one of my favorite players for so many years, yet for his final season, I won’t be a fan.  I feel strongly that the Yankees will do whatever it takes to bring Jeter back for his final years.  Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra are a few of the great franchise names and they wore only the pinstripes.  DJ deserves the same…

 

 

 

 

 

Lance Berkman, an all-time great for the Houston Astros, won’t get the chance to wear an Astros uniform from beginning to end, but I’d hate to see him bounce around with several teams at the end of his career.  I am pulling for him to hit well enough for the Yankees to re-negotiate his deal to ensure a return in 2011. 

 

Now, if Cliff Lee wants to change uniforms this off-season and put on pinstripes, I am okay with that…

 

–Scott

 

P.S. Hey Julia, tomorrow is a new day!  Go Yankees! 

 

 

It Is High, It is Far, It is GONE!…



Finally!…


 


It seemed like an eternity, but Alex Rodriguez
finally did it.  With a huge weight
lifted off the Yankees Universe, A-Rod went deep early today against the
Toronto Blue Jays to bring his career home run total to 600.  So, hats off to Alex for his huge
accomplishment…


 


I saw one of his comments that when he thinks “small”,
he usually comes up “big”.  Obviously,
when he thinks big, the results were microscopic so I am just glad to get this
one behind us.  The rest of the team
seemed to lower themselves to the level of A-Rod’s slump in losing three
straight games prior to today.  The home
run, a two-run blast, gave the Yankees the runs they would need to win in the
5-1 victory. 



alex-rodriguez-new-york-yankees-600th-home-run-804.jpg.JPG

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 


It was a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes
who previously couldn’t get away with a single bad pitch.  He fared much better today, so hopefully, the
results will help propel Hughes to the form he held earlier in the season. 



David Pokress/MCT

 

Also, congratulations to Joba Chamberlain for
another solid outing (a scoreless 7th inning).  And what can you say about Mariano
Rivera
?  In a non-save situation, he
lowered his season ERA to 0.91.  I can’t
say that I was fortunate to see very many Yankee legends, but you can put Mo
into that category.  With a storied
franchise that has won 27 World Series Championships, he has been the franchise’s
best at his position and one of the all-time greats.  When he retires, his number will be retired
because of Jackie Robinson, however, it is certainty that it will be a dual
retirement to include Mo. 



 


Chan Ho Park is now an ex-Yankee as he was claimed
on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It’s
unfortunate that Park couldn’t re-capture the form he displayed with the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I wish him the best in Pittsburgh.



 


The Yankees are off on Thursday, and await their
bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox, on Friday. 
It is a four game set that will feature Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia,
A.J. Burnett, and Dustin Moseley. 
Moseley against Josh Beckett on Sunday looks like a mismatch, but stranger
things have happened.  It should be a
good series.  Boston needs to take 3 of 4
or sweep the series, otherwise, they’ll have a long road to October.  For the series, my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants
) and I are engaging in yet another wager. 
This time, the loser has to wear the opposing team’s cap in photos to be
posted on both blogs.  I say that at
least five (5) photos must be posted, so I’ll see if Julia accepts that offer
or wants to up the ante.  I have also
taken it a step further to say that I’ll have photos of me in a Boston cap AND
t-shirt should the Yankees lose (which, of course, I do not expect them to
do).  If the teams split the series, the
team with the most total runs for the series will be the winner. 



 


After ESPN ran continual stories about the career
of Brett Favre, now comes word that perhaps he really isn’t ready to
retire.  I wish the media would just
delete the name ‘Brett Favre’ from their database until the Minnesota Vikings
make an official announcement either way. 
I really don’t want to go through another round of ‘will he, won’t he’…



AP

 

Bring on the Red Sox!…


–Scott


A Man’s Got To Believe In Something; I Believe I’ll Have Another Drink…


Conceding first place…


 


To be in first place, you have to play like you
want to be champions.  Unfortunately, the
Yankees have played like anything but since their weekend acquisitions of
Austin Kearns, Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood. 
I thought the moves were meant to upgrade the roster.  Instead, the life of the team has been
sapped.



 


Of course, at the forefront, is the enigma known as
Alex Rodriguez.  For a guy who is
supposed to eventually assault Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record, he has
made trying to get a single home run so incredibly painful to watch.  The paparazzi are constantly following A-Rod
in anticipation of the 600th home run, but it has proved to be a
long and winding road.   



 


Tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays pummeled the
Yankees, 8-2.  The Yanks took an early
2-0 lead on a Mark Teixeira home run in the first, but then, the bats went
silent.  A-Rod posted another 0-fer,
going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.



Alex Rodriguez, after strikeout, 8/3/10 (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger


 

I am not sure what it is going to take to snap the
team out of its current funk, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the easiest schedule
for the remainder of the season and now sole possession of first place.  With arguably the best pitching rotation in
baseball, they won’t be losing too many games so the Yanks chances for winning
the division definitely took a turn for the worst with this past weekend’s
series loss to the Rays. 



Jason Bartlett leaps over a sliding Minnesota Twins Michael Cuddyer as Bartlett throws to first to turn a game-ending double play Monday night.

Dirk Shadd/St. Petersburg Times

 


There are reports that Brett Favre is finally
calling it a career, which leaves the Minnesota Vikings with Tavaris Jackson
and Sage Rosenfels at QB.  Suddenly, a
potential NFC Championship rematch between the Vikings and the New Orleans
Saints doesn’t look so likely.  With
Favre out of the picture, I’d have to say the Green Bay Packers, with Aaron
Rodgers, are the best of the NFC North. 
If there is anything gained by Favre’s decision (if true), it is that
his off-season indecisiveness will no longer impact the team’s plans.  I hope that T-Jack learned under Favre last
season, but I can’t say that I am overly optimistic.



MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte (not pictured) were a tandem act in 2008. The Vikings added Sage Rosenfels and are pursuing Brett Favre because questions linger regarding Jackson's ability to take over.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

 


This is definitely a ‘glass is half empty’
post.  I guess I had better close it out
while I am behind…



 

–Scott

Does A.J. Still Play For Toronto?…


And then they were tied…



Tied.JPG

 


I realize that there is nothing that can be done
about it, but I am tired of A.J. Burnett. 
I’ve always admired the arm, but the head leaves so much to be desired.  It seems as though he has to be coddled by
pitching coach Dave Eiland, and of course, A.J. fell off the map when Eiland
took a temporary leave of absence earlier this season.  Tonight, he imploded during a 7-run 5th
inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Against
his old teammates, A.J. let Toronto runs get to his head and he absolutely
crumbled on the mound.  I am disappointed
that Joe Girardi stayed with him as long as he did because it was clear that
Burnett had lost control of the game.  It
bothers me that the Yankees are relying on two pitchers (Burnett and Javier
Vazquez) that have to be mentally “right” to pitch effectively.  With Phil Hughes subject to an innings limit
and Andy Pettitte currently on the DL,  the only sure thing in the Yankees rotation is
CC Sabathia. 



Sabo/NY Daily News

 


The awful Burnett performance was too much for the
Yankees to overcome as they fell to the Blue Jays, 8-6, despite an attempt to
rally and Nick Swisher’s two home runs. 
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, to move
into a first place tie with the Yankees. 



Joe Girardi taking the ball from A.J. Burnett (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

I was glad to see Lance Berkman pick up his first
RBI on a run-scoring single.  He has
admitted that it will take some time to adjust to the Bronx, and it is clear
that his heart is still in Houston. 
However, I think he’ll be okay after he learns his way around.  Based on the things I’ve heard and read about
Berkman, you can’t meet too many nicer guys in the baseball so I am sure that
the city and the team will be very accommodating for him.  Yeah, even New York City can be nice at
times.



New Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Lance Berkman is excited to be back in an intense pennant race, something he missed over the last three seasons in Houston with the Astros.

Ted Mace/NY Daily News

 


Alex Rodriguez? 
0-for-5.  Can we send him down to
Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre?  Okay, I
am just kidding, but geesh, this is getting very old.  Hey A-Rod, please feel free to mix in a homer
with all those K’s…

 


AROD.JPG

Getty Images

 

August 2nd is always a tough date on the
calendar.  It is the anniversary of
Thurman Munson’s untimely death in a 1979 plane crash.  Thurman was my favorite player at the time,
and I had been concerned about losing him to free agency to the Cleveland Indians
at the time.  In retrospect, I would have
preferred to see Thurman in a Tribe uniform rather than the fate that awaited
him.  I knew how much Thurman’s family
meant to him, and of course, that’s why he took airplane lessons to begin
with.  Baseball has never been quite the
same to me since Thurman passed. 


So, Thurman, it’s been 31 years and you’re still
missed…



MUNSON.JPG

Courtesy of The Star Ledger



–Scott


Back to the Bronx to Re-Group…

 

Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…



New Addition.JPG

 


Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win.  Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston).  In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).



Robinson Cano gives the Yankees the win with a solo home run in the ninth inning, while new acquisition Lance Berkman (below) goes 0-for-4 in his Yankees debut.

Carlson/AP

 

But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0.  The
loser was CC Sabathia.



New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland (58) and catcher Jorge Posada (20) talk with starter CC Sabathia as the Bombers fall to the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0.

Steve Nesius/AP

 


Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out. 
So, he remains at 599 home runs. 



0801arod.JPG

Jeff Griffith/US Presswire

 

Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH). 
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.  

0801berkman.JPG



Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck out three batters in an inning of work.  However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP

 

As for the acquisitions, I do like the trade for Lance Berkman.  Reading the accounts of the trade, it was obvious that he had a difficult time leaving the only team he has ever known, but I think he’ll like New York as an alternative.  Batting behind Derek Jeter, and in front of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano has to be an ideal spot for any batter.  The experience should re-charge Berkman and give us a great final chapter to a great career.  As for Austin Kearns, I am not sure what I think.  He was impressive when he first came up with the Cincinnati Reds, but he’s been a disappointment in Washington and Cleveland.  He carried the Indians early this season but he couldn’t sustain it.  I realize that he won’t be a starter for the Yanks, and perhaps he’ll be ideally suited for his role with the team.  But I couldn’t help but think how much I would have preferred Melky Cabrera.  As for Wood, this one has to be all about manager Joe Girardi and his knowledge of his former Cubs teammate.  There is no doubt that Kerry has the talent, but his health has been an issue.  I really want Kerry to succeed.  I first heard about Kerry when I was living in Texas and I worked with a woman who’s son played high school baseball with Kerry at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.  They used to rave all the time about how great Kerry was.  Joe Girardi caught Wood for three years in Chicago, so if anyone knows him, it’s Joe. 




Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck
out three batters in an inning of work. 
However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th
after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP



The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays.  Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game. 


I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York.  I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman.  I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August.  It would be nice if it
involved Lowell…

 



I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline.  Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
situation. 

 

I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly.  The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was. 
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).

 

As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0.  Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers.  Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs.  He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter.  An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.



 


Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
victory…

 

–Scott

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