Results tagged ‘ A's ’

And The Winner Is…Me!…

 

Another wager, another victory!…

 

 

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Yet again, my friend, Julia of Julia’s Rants, came up on the short end of our latest wager.  After starting last year 0-8 against Boston, I was starting to wonder if the Yankees would ever beat the Red Sox.  Since then, the Yankees have dominated the series.  Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees will have captured another series.  Since the beginning of the season, the Yankees have only lost one series (versus the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim).

 

Saturday, in a nationally televised game, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 14-3.  The game featured three home runs by first baseman Mark Teixeira (although I temper that somewhat by the fact that the last home run was off outfielder Jonathan Van Every who was brought in to save the arms in the pen).

 

 

Mark Teixeira home run congratulations Yankees Red Sox

Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA

 

 

CC Sabathia missed picking up the win by one out.  While facing Victor Martinez, who could have been the third out of the inning, the game was interrupted by a rain delay that ended the night for CC.  When the game resumed, Alfredo Aceves was on the mound and it was he who picked up the win. 

 

 

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia drills Boston's Dustin Pedroia in the backside, sending the Red Sox a message on Saturday.

Sipkin/Daily News

 

The game marked several historic achievements.  Teixeira is the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig in 1927 to hit at least three home runs in one game against the Red Sox.  Also, catcher Francisco Cervelli, filling in for Jorge Posada, had 5 RBI’s, something that hasn’t been done by a Yankees catcher since the days of Yogi Berra.

 

 

 

 

Today, history was made in Oakland when pitcher Dallas Braden threw the first perfect game in A’s history since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968.  Given that I credit Catfish Hunter for being a Yankees fan (I rooted for the A’s as a child until Hunter signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 1974), it was rather bittersweet to see his A’s record matched by, of all people, Dallas Braden.  Braden, president of the Anti A-Rod Club or so it seems, nearly walked the final batter as he worked a 3-1 count but a ground-out upheld the gem.  The victory was especially sweet since it came against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays.  It was rather ironic that Braden would help the man he bitterly opposes.  For the record, I was on Braden’s side of his beef with A-Rod, but Braden does need to let it go (as he made further comments about it this week).  Nevertheless, congratulations to Braden for a very fine performance. 

 

 

Athletics Dallas Braden grandmother perfect game

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

 

The San Jose Sharks finally overcame their nemesis and advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 2-1 Game 5 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.  First or second round failures have become commonplace for the Sharks in recent years so hopefully the team has shaken its demons and is a collision course with the Stanley Cup.  The team now awaits the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks series (Chicago leads 3 games to 2).

 

 

Josie Lepe/Mercury News

 

 

Back to the Yankees, they weren’t so fortunate in Boston tonight as Jon Lester was on his game and A.J. Burnett wasn’t.  A.J. gave up 9 runs in 4 1/3 innings (8 earned), meanwhile, Lester went 7 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 7. 

 

 

The Red Sox needed a strong start from Jon Lester to stop the bleeding.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

 

 

So, congratulations to Julia for her victories today (the Celtics also won), and she was right, the Red Sox avoided the sweep.  But still the wager victory is mine and the series win goes to the Yankees, so until we meet again Julia!  By the way, don’t you have some shopping to do?….

Getaway Game Blues…

 

All good things must come to an end…

 

 

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CC Sabathia’s string of superior performances sadly came to an end today, but not before the Yankees had secured their fifth series win in five tries to start the season.  The Yankees took the first two games of the series in Oakland from the A’s (on Tuesday and Wednesday nights by scores of 7-3 and 3-1). 

 

 

Alex Rodriguez

Ray Chavez/Oakland Tribune/MCT

 

In the first game, Javier Vazquez, despite still not having his best stuff, finally got his first win of the season.  Backed by a mammoth home run by Alex Rodriguez, Vazquez was able to do in Oakland what he wasn’t able to do in New York.  Win.  Hopefully, this game is the start of a sustained upward trend for Javy and he’ll soon be able to turn those Yankee Stadium boos into cheers.

 

 

Javier Vazquez

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

I was supposed to go to Wednesday night’s game, but had to cancel at the last minute.  Naturally, it was a huge night for Phil Hughes.  Like CC did earlier this season, Phil took a no-hitter into the 8th inning.  The no-hitter was broken up by Eric Chavez with a shot back to the pitcher that glanced Phil’s forearm and chest and he momentarily lost sight of the ball.  By the time, he retrieved the ball, Chavez was on first.   Not that I wanted Phil to lose his no-hitter, but I really would have been disappointed at missing the game if I had missed a historical moment (as if I wasn’t disappointed enough).  Phil lost his shut-out when he was pulled after walking Gabe Gross.  Joba Chamberlain was brought in, and he gave up a run-scoring single to Jake Fox (which scored Chavez and charged the run to Hughes since the runner was his responsibility).  Nevertheless, it was a win (made even more special for Phil by the presence of his parents at the game). 

 

 

Phil Hughes, Yankees

Cary Edmondson/US Presswire 

 

Today, the Yankees could have completed a sweep but the game got started on the wrong foot when A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first.  It was a deficit that the Yankees could never overcome.  CC was solid the rest of the way, but the damage had been done. 

 

The Yankees did manage their first triple play since 1968 in the sixth inning.  With the A’s Daric Barton on second and Ryan Sweeney on first, Kurt Suzuki came to the plate again.  Suzuki hit the ball to third where A-Rod touched third base and threw to Robinson Cano at second.  Cano swiped the bag and fired the ball to first where Mark Teixeira caught it just before Suzuki arrived.  Maybe Suzuki should take some speed lessons from Brett Gardner! 

 

 

Sanchez/AP

 

The A’s Dallas Braden picked up his third win of the season with the 4-2 victory.  Outside of solo homers by Marcus Thames and Mark Teixeira, he really didn’t give the Yankees anything.  Braden is definitely a rising star, but then again, when doesn’t GM Billy Beane come up with quality young pitching talent. 

 

 

Dallas Braden

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

There was a bit of controversy when Alex Rodriguez jogged across the pitching mound following a foul ball by Robinson Cano.  Braden took offense, and accused A-Rod of violating an unwritten rule not to cross the pitcher’s mound.  As much as I would like to say ‘what does it matter?’, Braden probably has a point.  It doesn’t matter that he has only 17 career wins, A-Rod should have been more respectful. 

 

The Yankees now head for Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels and Hideki Matsui.  A.J. Burnett will take the mound against Ervin Santana as the Yankees try to extend their series win streak to six series.  It’s great to see that Mark Teixeira is starting to warm up.  Hopefully, he’ll feel comfortable in his former home stadium and help propel the team to yet another series win.

 

 

Mark Teixeira seems to be breaking out of his slump with a solo home run in the sixth. But the inning's highlight was the 5-4-3 triple play initiated by Alex Rodriguez (below).

Sanchez/News

 

I am still not sure what I think about starting the NFL Draft on a Thursday night with one round.  How strange is it that three of the first five picks are Oklahoma Sooners?  Nevertheless, there were a few surprises.  The guys I wanted (Tim Tebow and Devin McCourty) went ahead of the Minnesota Vikings selection at #30.  The Denver Broncos traded up to get Tebow (Brady Quinn has gone from being a QB of the Future with the Browns to a just-for-now backup to Kyle Orton with the Broncos in a very short period of time), while the New England Patriots tabbed McCourty. 

 

 

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Bob Rosato/SI

 

So, with the 30th pick, here is the newest Minnesota Viking:  Nobody!  They traded the pick to the Detroit Lions who selected RB Jahvid Best (who would have been a great choice for the Vikings).  I hope it was worth it for the Vikes.  Disappointing…

 

 

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How many more days until my next battle with Julia of Julia’s Rants?  The Yankees head for Boston two weeks from tomorrow, so we’ll be getting ready for Round 2.  Meanwhile, I wonder how the book assignment is coming along for Julia?  Hmmmm….

 

 


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Welcome to California!…

 

The Yankees are in town and I’m writing this blog…

 

 

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Yes, I am missing out on the first game of the Yankees series in Oakland against the A’s.  Well, I don’t exactly live in Oakland but I am only a BART trip away.  I will be at the game tomorrow night when Phil Hughes pitches.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.  This morning started out with nothing but rain.  It didn’t look promising, but it has been clear most of the afternoon so we’ll soon find out if Javier Vazquez has finally brought his A game with him.  Good luck to Javy and company as the Yanks look to get the West Coast road trip started on a positive note. 

 

 

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Don’t look now but who was that?  Like a blur, and despite the Yankees fourth series win in four tries, the team now finds themselves chasing the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East Standings.  The Rays beat Boston to complete a four game sweep on Monday, which put the idle Yankees ½ game back.  Tampa definitely has the pitching to sustain their perch, so this is going to be a dogfight throughout the summer.  I am sure that, sooner or later, the Boston Red Sox will decide to join the party too.

 

 

Rays Red Sox Baseball

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

Prior to tonight’s game, former Yankees and current A’s Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez received their World Series rings.  I had definitely hoped that the Yankees could have found a way to keep Gaudin, but I am sure that he’s glad to be back with a club where he can grow his standard goatee or whatever you call that growth on his chin.

 

 

Yankees Athletics Baseball

 

So, the Yankees have a detour on their way to Baltimore following the conclusion of the weekend series in Anaheim.   They are scheduled to stop by the White House on Monday to see President Barack Obama on a scheduled off day.  The next day, they’ll begin a series against the young and talented Baltimore Orioles.  It should be an exciting time for the World Champions.  Hopefully, they will have just finished a successful California adventure!

 

 

 

 

I am not sure what I think about the schedule for this year’s NFL Draft.  In years past, it was always fun to get up early Saturday morning and watch the first 10 picks.  The rest of the day, I’d listen to the draft on the car radio or other medium.  On Sunday, I’d usually check in to see some of the later names selected.  This year will be very strange with the first round being held Thursday night.  Since it starts while I am still at work, I probably won’t get home until around the 5th or 6th selection.  Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday night, and the draft concludes on Saturday.  I will hold judgment until after the draft, but I am a bit skeptical.  We’ll see.

 

My team, the Minnesota Vikings, will open the NFL Season on Thursday, September 9th against the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game.  Hey Brett (assuming you return), run, don’t throw! 

 

 

Saints D

Mark Humphrey/AP 

 

It was sad to hear the passing of the Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor.  He was found dead in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Initial speculation is that the death was the result of natural causes.  At 48 years of age, this is quite unexpected.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Keli’s wife, Lori, and their four children. 

 

 

DENVER - OCTOBER 15:  Team President of the Colorado Rockies, Keli McGregor celebrates in the locker room after the Rockies 6-4 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Coors Field on October 15, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.

Getty Images

Lock and Load, Welcome to Fenway…

 

The showdown resumes…

 

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The Yankees begin a three game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night.   After losing the first 8 games of the season series to the Red Sox, the Yankees rebounded during the last four game set to sweep the series from the Red Sox.  So, here we are on August 20th, and the Yankees hold a 6 ½ game lead over the Red Sox.  At the All-Star Break, I said that the Yankees just needed to win four more games than the Red Sox.  They have done that and then some, but the key is to hold the lead.  This weekend’s series can go a long ways toward deciding the eventual 2009 AL East Champion.

 

 

 

For the latest series, I have once again made a wager bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  I so enjoyed finally emerging victorious during the last series, and I have to admit that Julia impressed me with her “payment” for the loss.  She wrote a fantastic Top 11 about positive Yankee statements, and her photos with the Yankees flag attached to her SUV were exactly as required under the terms and conditions of our bet.  For the latest series, we have decided to retain the Top 11 post (once again the credit goes to Jimmy Curran for the idea) but for the second part, we have opted to spending a day wearing the opposing team’s ballcap.  I do recognize that Julia is at a disadvantage since it would be more painful to wear a Yankees cap in Boston than it would be wearing a Red Sox cap in the San Francisco Bay Area.  So, I will toss in an extra.  If the Yankees lose the series, I will wear the pink Red Sox hat for a day following a day of wearing the traditional Red Sox cap.  Not that I intend to lose, but I recognize that Julia needs a handicap.  So, Julia, my friend, game on!

 

 

The latest road trip, so far, has been successful for the Yanks.  They took 3 of 4 from the Mariners in Seattle, and 2 of 3 from the A’s in Oakland.  I attended the second game in Oakland, and had a few observations.  I knew that CC Sabathia was a big guy, but seeing him close-up as he warmed up prior to the game, I’d have to say that the dude is absolutely huge.

 


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After seeing a few games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, it was somewhat of a disappointment to go to Oakland Coliseum.  My wife and I took BART up to the stadium, and my first thought was that the “drive up” appeal of the stadium was sorely lacking compared to AT&T Park.  As you approach the stadium, you quickly realize that you are in Raiders territory.  I hate to knock a stadium, but after a year that has seen my attendance at AT&T Park, the new Yankees Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I’d have to say that Oakland Coliseum is a major letdown.  I am optimistic that the A’s relocate to San Jose, so we’ll see.  They definitely need a new home.  Back to the game, I was disappointed when CC gave up a home run to catcher Kurt Suzuki after throwing a brushback pitch.  But the disappointment was short lived as the scoreboard announced that my section and row had won a free pizza from Roundtable Pizza as a result of the home run.  Hey, c’mon, it’s pizza!  The game remained tight until the sixth inning when the Yanks finally broke through with 5 runs, and eventually won 7-2.  The crowd was very pro-Yankees as the chants of “Let’s Go Yankees!” drowned out the cries of “Let’s Go Oakland!”. 

 

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There were many Derek Jeter jerseys in attendance.  I like DJ and I know that he’s headed for Cooperstown, but I’ve never fully understood the attraction that DJ has on fans.  Personally, I prefer watching the home run guys, like Mark Teixeira.  It’s not that I wouldn’t want Jeter on my team (I do), but I don’t see the power he has over women.  I heard one older woman Red Sox fan (not Julia, she’s not old!) once say, “I hate Derek Jeter, but he’s so cute”.  I don’t get it. 

 

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My wife took this photo with her cell phone and posted it on Facebook.  It was amazing how many people thought this was an actual photo from the stadium.  It does look kind of real though…

 

 

So, with Boston’s win over Toronto tonight, the Yankees arrive at Fenway Park with a 6 ½ game lead.  Regardless of what happens, they’ll leave Boston in first place.  But will the Red Sox be close enough that Julia can return to her “obnoxious” ways (j/k), or will the Yankees put further distance between them and the boys from Beantown.  This is ‘to be determined’ but I can assure you that I do not intend to wear a pink hat!

 

 

The San Diego Padres have apparently accepted cash from the Yankees for pitcher Chad Gaudin in lieu of the player to be named later.  Considering that the cost was only $100K, I suppose that meant GM Brian Cashman just had to reach into petty cash to settle the account.  Rumor has it that the Accounting Department doesn’t know how to write any checks with 6 figures or less.  LOL!

 

 

So, the St. Louis Cardinals are counting on John Smoltz to help them stave off the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central?  Yikes!  Good luck with that.  Then again, the Yankees are going with the two-headed monster of Mitre/Gaudin so I guess I have no room to talk…

 

 

Yes, it’s off topic but how can I resist making comment about new Vikings QB Brett Favre.  As you may (or may not) know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan.  I have been one all my life, and it has been a roller coaster ride.  I resigned as a Vikings fan when they made Bob Lee the starting QB following Sir Francis Tarkenton’s retirement.  But I came back around with Tommy Kramer.

 

  

The Dallas Cowboys were always my second favorite team, so I followed them in those in-between years.  But fast forward to present day, the QB position has always been very important to me.  I had been a big fan of Dante Culpepper’s and it was disappointing when his Vikings career ended because of the knee injury and a difference in philosophy with coach Brad Childress.  It has been frustrating to see ex-Vikings go elsewhere and thrive, like Rich Gannon  previously in Oakland, Shaun Hill in San Francisco or even Tyler Thigpen who started a few games for the Chiefs last season.  I was never a fan of Tavaris Jackson, and I was somewhat skeptical of Sage Rosenfels.  The only connection I have with Rosenfels is that we are both native Iowans, like Kurt Warner.  I like John David Booty, but I do wonder if he’ll ever achieve professional success.  So, I am begrudgingly warming up to the idea that Brett Favre is now the Vikings starting QB.

 

Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre

Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune 

 

The 2009 Vikings have the most talent of any Vikings team that I’ve seen since at least 1998.  All the pieces to the puzzle are in place for a great year…except QB, until now.  Perhaps Favre comes out and repeats his performance with the New York Jets last year (great start, but fizzle down the end), but conversely, there is a chance that he could replicate his final season with the Green Bay Packers.  So, based on that, I do feel that I have to give him a chance.  If anything, it has to be a great learning experience for Jackson, Rosenfels and Booty to be around Favre.  Granted, one of those guys will probably be holding a clipboard for a different team when the regular season starts, but there is value in Favre’s presence among the other QB’s.  Maybe Favre should have considered ‘Just For Men’ but then again, if memory serves correctly, Kenny Stabler had grey hair in defeating the Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl.  Not one of my fondest memories…

Receiver Fred Biletnikoff, left, and quarterback Ken Stab... AP File 1977

 

Nevertheless, I’ll give #4 a chance.  I am not ready to mail in my fan membership.  But, hey, my expectations are only ‘Super Bowl or Bust’…

 

Hey Julia, we’re coming for you!  Get ready for that Yankees cap!  J

A New Attitude…and a Few More Wins…

 

The Yankees won Friday night, thanks to the late game heroics of Mark Teixeira…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

As a Yankees fan since the early 70′s, I have seen many highs and lows.  1998 was clearly a special year so excluding that year, this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons, so far, that I’ve experienced.  Granted, the Yanks may still fall short but the ride has been enjoyable as we near the stretch run.

 


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The April woes of the bullpen, Cody Ransom as the starting third baseman, Chien-Ming Wang’s disastrous starts, among other things, are a forgotten memory…

 

 

I really thought that Jason Giambi would change the Yankees clubhouse with his personality when he joined the Yanks back in 2002.

 

 


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But it never happened, and the clubhouse remained very “corporate” as G changed his persona to fit the team.

 

Frederic Larson/AP

 

But along came Nick Swisher…

 

 

He is not a superstar.  He’s not going to lead the league in hits, average or home runs.  He’ll make some painful defensive plays to watch.  But at the end of the day, there is not another guy you’d want on your team.  He, along with A.J. Burnett and others, have successfully loosened up the Yankees clubhouse, and I think he is a big reason why the team is enjoying success this season. 

 

 

 

Friday night, the Yankees began a road trip in Seattle that will conclude with a three game set at Fenway Park beginning on Friday.  Andy Pettitte pitched another quality game but was gone before the outcome of the game was decided.  With a lead-off homer in the 9th, Mark Teixeira put the Yanks up by a run.  Nick Swisher added a RBI single, and the rest was left to Mariano Rivera.  In his 900th major league appearance, Mo got his 34th save in 35 chances.  I guess the “cranky” shoulder is in a better mood now!

 

 

Tonight, the Yanks are up 4-2 in the fifth.  Swisher has a home run, as the Yanks scored 4 unearned runs in the top of the second inning.

 

John Froschauer/AP

I’d like to say that I am confident, but not with Sergio Mitre on the mound…

 

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Meanwhile in Texas, unable to mount a comeback for a second day in a row, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Rangers, 7-2.  So, the Yanks have a chance to pick up another game on the Sox should they beat the Mariners tonight.  Hey Julia, are you back there?  I don’t seem to be able to see you anywhere.  Wait a minute!  That speck!  Is that you?  ;)

 

 

I didn’t realize that Derek Jeter is on the verge of a major milestone.  The MLB record for hits by a shortstop is held by Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio (2,673).  After last night, DJ was just three hits shy.  He has a hit tonight, so he is just two away from tying Aparicio.  Congrats DJ!  Another record on your way to Cooperstown!  Very well done!

 

John Froschauer/AP

Congratulations to Julia of Julia’s Rants for her successful completion of the wager loss for last week’s Yankees-Red Sox series.   Due to the Yankees’ sweep, she had to:

1.      Post a pro-Yankees Top 11 List.

2.      Take photos of her car at various prominent locations in the Boston area…with a Yankees flag attached.

 

 

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http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

 

She did an excellent job with both.  So good, in fact, I think she should lose again next week just so we can see more of her creative side!

 

 

 

The Yankees will head for Oakland after Seattle, and I will be attending the second game of the series.  Like fine wine from Napa Valley, older players like Rivera and Jeter are aging very gracefully and the AL East leaders are showing they are the right vintage for success this year.  Hey guys, see you in Oakland! 

Go Yankees!

 

Maybe I Should Go Away More Often…

 

A great day for a birthday…

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Today is my birthday, and it couldn’t have had a happier ending than a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss.  All week, a certain blogger from Boston kept telling me that I couldn’t have a Red Sox loss for my birthday since she would be in attendance at Fenway Park.  Hey Julia, how did that work out for ya?  ;)

 

John Smoltz leaves the mound after...

AP

 

This is my first blog in a week so I don’t really plan to delve into breakdowns of the games that have been played since my last blog.  I recently took a job with a new company that allowed me to return home to Silicon Valley, California.  I had been in Wilmington, Delaware for the past year.  For the past week, I packed my belongings and drove across the country (3,000 miles in 3 ½ days).  Since the focus of the week was the move, I did not take my laptop with me and as a result, I have been silent on this blog for a week.

 

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In seven days while I’ve been gone, the Yankees lost only one game.   The Oakland A’s snapped the Yankees’ winning streak on Saturday, when Alfred Aceves failed to bail out Andy Pettitte.  It was the end of the Yankees eight game winning streak, as well as an eight game streak against the A’s dating back to 2008 (they had taken the first four games of the series this year).

 

Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger 

 

Beating up the Tigers, Twins, and A’s has allowed the Yankees to extend their lead in the AL East to 2 ½ games over the Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees do have a challenging schedule for the remainder of the season, and it won’t get any easier with a 9-game road trip that begins in St. Petersburg, Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.  The Rays are currently in third place, 6 ½ games back.

 

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Jason Behnken/Tampa Bay Tribune 

 

I have been pleasantly surprised about the Yankees’ success so far in the second half of the season.  Admittedly, I was down after the Yankees had been swept by the Los Angeles Angels to close out the first half.  Prior to that series, the Yankees had tied Boston for the AL East lead.  While the Yanks were getting swept, Boston was doing their own sweeping so the first half closed with a three game Boston lead.  But as quickly as the Yanks went from a first place tie to three games back, they surged back to overtake Boston with only one loss since the All-Star Game.  I suspect that the lead will change hands a few more times before this is all said and done, but it is nice to see the Yankees reach 60 wins faster than any other AL team at this point in the season.

 

Christopher Pasatieri/US Presswire 

The news regarding Chien-Ming Wang has not been good.  He will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday.  Wang had a second MRI last week, according to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, and it revealed a possible rotator cuff tear.  If it is not a scar from Wang’s prior surgery in 2000, and has rotator cuff surgery, he will be lost for most, if not all, of next season.

 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

I do not think that Sergio Mitre is the answer in the rotation, and apparently neither do the Yankees.  According to Jenifer Logosch at MLB.com, the Yankees had scouts in attendance to watch Ian Snell pitch.  Snell struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season, going 2-8 in 15 starts, with 5.36 ERA.  He was demoted to AAA Indianapolis and has pitched lights out.  In four starts for Indy, Snell has pitched 26 1/3 innings with a 0.34 ERA and 34 strikeouts.  Snell apparently has no interest in rejoining the Pirates, and feels that he was made a scapegoat for their early season problems.  I am not sure if Snell is the answer or if his AAA success can equate to Major League success after past difficulties, but, for the right price, he is probably worth trying.  I’d rather go there before taking a chance with Kei Igawa.  I read that the Seattle Mariners wanted both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for Jarrod Washburn, so there’s no way that deal is happening unless the Mariners drop their asking price.  The Yankees won’t be contenders for either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, so they’ll continue to rummage through the bargain bins over the next couple of days as they continue to seek possible replacements for Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation.

 

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Speaking of Brett Gardner, he landed on the DL after suffering a fractured thumb in the first inning of Saturday’s game.  Of course, in that game, he had a run-scoring triple and played excellent defensively AFTER the thumb injury.  He is a huge loss for the team, but hopefully he’ll be out no more than three weeks or so.  I hope that Melky Cabrera maintains a high level of play during Gardner’s absence, and doesn’t lose any motivation or ambition without Gardner competing with him every day.  Hopefully, Gardner’s recovery will be as speedy as he is on the base paths…

 

Frank Franklin II/AP

 

Boston has a chance to make up ground on the Yankees during the upcoming 9-game road trip, but I have to admit that I am very shocked that John Smoltz is 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA.  I liked Boston’s pick up of Adam LaRoche (well, not as a Yankees fan, but looking at the trade objectively and knowing what it means for the Red Sox).  Of course, with Theo Epstein, you know that the next few days will be very interesting as Boston continues to seek upgrades.

 

A look back at Theo Epstein's first season with the Red Sox -- 2003

 

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 

I am sure that most people have become familiar with Batting Stance Guy but I wasn’t.  I saw him on David Letterman this week and he was hilarious (his impression of Kevin Youkilis is priceless).  You can check him out at www.battingstanceguy.com.  His posts can also be found on YouTube.  Here is his impression of the 2009 Yankees:

 

 

As much as I will miss the close proximity to Yankee Stadium, I am looking forward to my first visit to AT&T Park this year when I attend next Sunday’s match-up between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.  After a year in Phillies country, I am excited about the opportunity to watch Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, J-Ro, and the other Phillies without being surrounded by those “calm and quiet” Philadelphia fans!  Seriously, there aren’t many things better than watching baseball near the Bay…

 

 

Have a great week!

–Scott

 

Fugetaboutit, It Was a Home Run!…

Brian Cashman, did I mention how much I appreciate the investment you made in A.J. Burnett?

The Yankees salvaged the final game of the four game series with the Cleveland Indians to settle for a split in the first series ever played at the new Yankee Stadium. Considering that the Yankees lost games of 10-2 and 22-4, taking 2 of 4 sounds like a fairly good deal.  The last time the Yankees gave up two big innings in a series like this, they were known as the New York Highlanders and it was 1907. 

Branch Rickey, who is best known as the Dodgers GM who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, was a left fielder on the team. 

The Sporting News

Jack Chesbro, who had won 41 games three years earlier, was winding down a great career.  San Jose’s own Hal Chase was the Yankees first baseman. 

Courtesy Hal Edward Chase III

Sunday brought the return of Carl “American Idle” Pavano, and he pitched the way he should have when he wore pinstripes. He pitched six innings, gave up 4 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 4. He turned over the game to the Cleveland bullpen, with a 3-1 lead. Fortunately, the Yankees rallied against the Tribe, thanks in large part to a disputed two-run pinch hit homer by Jorge Posada. The play represented the first time the officials used the video replay, but the upon review, the homer stood. The Indians had claimed fan interference.

Posada hits controversial HR in win

Newsday

A.J. Burnett had gotten into trouble earlier in the inning, when he loaded the bases with one out. A.J. struggled with his control today, walking 7 batters and throwing three wild pitches. But he kept the Yankees in the game, until he couldn’t go any further. Joe Girardi went to reliever Jonathan Albaladejo who did a great job in retiring the next two batters. Then, it was time for Posada’s heroics.

Cody Ransom (he’s still a toad) hit a three-run double in the 8th to provide the final margin of victory, 7-3. I am not quite sure why Shin-Soo Choo slowed up and let Ransom’s hit drop, but I’ll take it. Maybe the ghosts of The House That Ruth Built finally moved across the street after seeing Saturday’s debacle.

The game was closed out by the dynamic duo of Brian Bruney (8th) and Mariano Rivera (9th). It was not a save situation for Mo due to Ransom’s insurance runs. Albaladejo got the win (1-0).

A.J. Burnett may not have had his best stuff today, but again, he has proven he is a warrior and the guy knows how to pitch. I have great confidence when Burnett pitches. He may not get the decision and he might take the loss, but you know that he’s going to give it everything he’s got and clearly he’s nobody’s fool. The guy has heart, and the last guy who pitched like that in pinstripes (David Cone) had a memorable Yankees career.

David Cone after he pitched a perfect game against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999.

Reuters

The Yankees are in second place, 2.5 games behind the AL East Leader, the surprising Toronto Blue Jays. Julia‘s Red Sox are a half-game back, tied for third with the Baltimore Orioles.

Next up at Yankee Stadium is an old friend. Jason Giambi returns to the Bronx to check out the new Stadium with his team, the Oakland A’s.

Jason Giambi Picture

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

 

Nomar Garciaparra will be in tow. I think he’s played a meaningful game or two in the Bronx.

Speaking of old friends…well, maybe less emphasis on the “friends” part, congratulations to Randy Johnson for his stellar performance against his old team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a no-hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a double to Augie Ojeda. Johnson stranded Ojeda at third, and left the game after 7 innings. He gave up just one hit, Ojeda’s double, and struck out 7. It was Johnson’s first victory of the season (1-2) and the 296th of his career. As one who never minds seeing the D-Backs lose, congrats to the Big Unit for the vintage performance!

AP

I had told some Dodger friends that the Yankees would have a better record than their team by the end of week. The only problem? The Dodgers haven’t lost since. Yikes! Joe Torre and company continued their 8-game winning streak with a 14-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Manny Ramirez may be all that, but Matt Kemp is finally becoming the man for the Dodgers. Credit Donnie Baseball for his help in Kemp’s realization of his five-tool talent.

Getty Images

The Red Sox won. Bummer…

 

Just kidding, Julia:)

Have a great week!

-Scott

He’s The Man…

Finally!

The third baseman that I now refer to as the “Thin Toad”¹ was finally benched.  Ramiro Pena replaced Cody Ransom at third base when the Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

¹During a spring training game in the late 90′s, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner labeled pitcher Hideki Irabu as a ‘fat puss-filled toad’ when Irabu failed to cover first base on a routine ground ball.

Other lineup changes included a day off for left fielder Johnny Damon.  Damon has been enduring a personal issue involving his mother, and has been weakened both mentally and physically.  Also going to the bench is DH Hideki Matsui, who has struggled out of the gate with a .125 batting average.

 

Catcher Jorge Posada moved to DH, while catching duties were handled by Jose Molina.  Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup at first base, while Nick Swisher moved to left field.

The moves left Swisher batting clean-up.  Whoa!  An ace reliever one night, and Babe Ruth the next!…

Swisher responded with his fourth home run of the young season.

Reuters

Meanwhile, what can I say about Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett?  He’s the stopper.  He’s the ace.  He’s the man…

 

The Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2.  It had been a pitcher’s duel until Derek Jeter’s three-run homer blew the game open in the 9th.  But the night belonged to the Man…

THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT

I have continued to follow the career of Jason Giambi, and will be a big fan of his so long as the Oakland A’s aren’t playing the New York Yankees.  ESPN.com has profiled Giambi’s workout regiment, and it is a must-read for anyone looking to lose a few pounds!

If you are looking to fit into that bikini or swimsuit, you might want to try the G-Workout!  Well, maybe not.  Too funny!

 

Goodnight, All!

–Scott

Let’s Fast Forward to May…

This has not been a great start to the 2009 season…at least for Yankees fans…

April, in recent years, has proven to be a very challenging month for the Yankees.  With the most Grapefruit League victories and the new high profile acquisitions, I was hopeful that April would be a very powerful month for a change.

Don’t get me wrong, it is way too early to write off this month or even this week.  As I write this post, the Yankees are only 0-2, after losing to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 on Wednesday night. 

 

Today started off on the wrong foot as the Joba Chamberlain DUI Video hit the mainstream newspapers.  Joba, how could you say anything bad about Yogi Berra of all people?  Yogi laughed it off, and Joba apologized but there are now skeptics who wonder if Joba has truly matured beyond his 23 years.  I believe that he has and when he says that the DUI stop was the best thing that happened to him, I trust his words.

 Police video shows (top) Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain's October arrest for DUI.

It is now up to Joba to live his words, but I feel the new criticisms are unfair and not warranted.  He has been penalized for his actions, and, in my opinion, he has said and done the right things since the incident.  He even made nice with Big Papi over the winter…

David Ortiz and Joba Chamberlain at CES today

Back to the Yankees, I think it will only take a few key hits and some solid pitching to get the Yanks back on track.  I feel good about A.J. Burnett starting the next game.

AP

Trust me, I expect to be fully ready for Julia‘s birthday weekend when the Yankees travel to Fenway Park.  And, no, Julia, the Yankees will won’t be going 0-162! 

Getty Images

THE A’S

It was nice to see Jason Giambi back on the ESPN highlights.  In Tuesday’s 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Jason went 3 for 5, with a run scoring double in the 8th.  It was great to see the Giambino in action, although the stubble on his face, tinged in grey, looks a little odd…

The A’s also claimed pitcher Dan Giese off waivers from the Yankees.  Giese was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Ramiro Pena.

WALLY THE GREEN MONSTER

As everyone outside of me probably knows, Wally the Green Monster is the official Mascot of the Boston Red Sox.  On my weekend trip to Boston, Julia presented me with a gift for making the journey.  I am appreciative, and he has taken his rightful place at the FEET of my Yankee bear, Lou…

 

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–Scott

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