Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’

Maybe McCourt should have said ‘I don’t’…


It is weird starting off a
post without talking about the Yankees, but I was shocked to see Major League
Baseball announce that they are taking over the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They apparently will appoint a trustee to
oversee all aspect of the organization, including the day-to-day operations.  The Dodgers have been a mess since the
divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt became public.  It’s too bad because the Dodgers were playing
toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia Phillies when the divorce fiasco began.


Frank and Jamie McCourt

AP

Most likely, this will lead
to the eventual sale of the franchise so I hope that the next owner of the
Dodgers will bring the stability and the passion that the team sorely
needs.  There is something wrong in the
world when one of the most storied franchises in baseball becomes a daily
tabloid soap opera. 

The Dodgers situation
definitely makes me grateful that George Steinbrenner set up the succession of
power prior to his demise.  For years, it
seemed as though neither Hank or Hal had any interest in running the
Yankees.  For a time, it appeared that
the next managing general partner of the Yankees might be one of his daughter’s
husbands.  Given the subsequent divorces
they’ve experienced, I am so glad that they weren’t given the reigns only to
have the organization muddled in a divorce situation.  So, if anything else, I hope that Hal loves his
wife and she loves him.  Let’s keep the
Yankees in the Steinbrenner family for generations to come.

Speaking of the Dodgers, I
saw that Donnie Baseball turned 50 today. 
Both Donnie and I were born in the same year so my turn will be
following shortly.  It doesn’t seem that
long ago that I was watching a game where the Yankees first baseman #23 was
celebrating his 23rd birthday while playing a game.  I can still see that game in my mind.  The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 behind
Ron Guidry.  Mattingly was 3-for-4.  It’s funny how that game sticks out in my
memory.  Perhaps it was because it was
the year of his number.  Whatever the
reason, I wish the Dodgers skipper a very happy and memorable 50th
birthday!

Tonight, the Yankees beat the
Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 behind the great pitching performance of Bartolo
Colon
.  I have been a Colon naysayer
since the Yankees signed him but it was a great first start.  I am concerned about his ability to sustain
it over the course of the season, but the guy definitely knows how to
pitch.  This is not the same guy that
failed during his days in Boston. 
Admittedly, I don’t want to go into October with Colon as the #3
starter, but for now, he is exactly what the doctor ordered. 


Yankeexs.JPG

Scott Halleran/Getty Images


The stat that really stands
out to me about tonight’s game is Curtis Granderson‘s sixth home run of
April.  I am very excited that he has
continued the great progress that he’s made in pinstripes.   His early tenure was painful but he’s become
a force in the outfield.  Given the
questions with Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, it is great to see so hats off
to the Grandy Man!

Now if Derek Jeter could
just start hitting…

–Scott


How About Leaving A.J. in Toronto?…


After losing 2 of 3 to the Boston Red Sox and
ensuring the mail delivery of a Red Sox cap to my home (ugh!), the Yankees went
to Toronto with a chance to clinch a play-off spot.  What happened?  A.J. Burnett started, so the rest is
self-explanatory.  Instead of smelling
blood and delivering a season high performance, A.J. did what he often does
this season, he stuck his head in the sand. 



 


The situation was a perfect set-up.  Going back into his former home stadium to
face his former teammates with a golden opportunity to right the earlier wrong’s
of the season and propel his current mates into baseball’s promised land.  Instead, A.J. was long gone by the end of the
third inning as he put the team in a hole they could not climb out of.  The pitching line was horrific…2 ½ innings, 7
hits and 7 runs.  For $82.5 million, we
got this and a 5.33 ERA in 2010. 



 


Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox won so the RSN
continues its belief that the Red Sox can win all their remaining games, while
the Yankees get swept in Toronto and Boston. 
Burnett could have ended all of that tonight…



 


It sucks that at this stage of the season, I have
to root for the Chicago White Sox.  The
Yankees need to re-group, think about what Tony Dungy said the other day, and
come out to play like a play-off contender on Tuesday night.  Win to get in, don’t back in…



 


I was saddened to hear the passing of former
Oakland Raiders great George Blanda.  I
remember first becoming aware of him as an aging kicker for the Raiders when I
was a kid.  I also remember being shocked
when I learned that he had been a quarterback earlier in his career.  His 26-year career contained several careers
within a career.   Anyone who grew up in
the 70′s will always remember #16 trotting onto the field to line up for a
game-winning kick regardless of whether or not you were a Raiders fan (I wasn’t
but I certainly had great respect for Blanda). 



 


On the bright side, the Minnesota Vikings did
finally win on Sunday…



Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Lions.   (AP)

AP


–Scott


Adrian Peterson rushed for 160 yards against the Lions on Sunday, including a career-best 80-yard run in the third quarter.Adrian Peterson rushed for 160 yards against the Lions on Sunday, including a career-best 80-yard run in the third quarter.

Have Arm, Will Travel…

 

Say what you will, it was a win…

 

 

0824granderson.JPG

Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire

 

A night after losing 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game that probably could have been won if a clutch hitter like Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui or Jerry Hairston, Jr. were on the roster, the Yankees returned to their winning ways with a 11-5 victory over the Jays.  It was another solid fill-in performance by Dustin Moseley.  He was only responsible for 2 of the runs, as the remainder were charged against Chad Gaudin.  Moseley has definitely stepped up in a big way during the absence of Andy Pettitte.  After fretting what life would be like with Sergio Mitre after Andy went on the DL, manager Joe Girardi quickly reversed course and went with Moseley, a decision that has proven to be very fruitful.  Moseley is not the front-end starter you want in the play-offs, but for a team trying to battle its way to the AL East Championship, he has been exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

After losing to the Jays last night, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Mention has to go to Rays closer Rafael Soriano who threw a 9-pitch 9th inning that resulted in 3 strikeouts.  It was quite an impressive feat.  Why did the Atlanta Braves let Soriano get away again?…

 

Johnny Damon has apparently invoked his no-trade clause to stay in Detroit after being claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox.  All things considered, I am glad that Johnny opted to leave his Yankees legacy intact.  Damon was clearly one of the primary players responsible for the fall of the Curse of the Bambino as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, however, he was later able to cut the cords with the Red Sox after failed contract negotiations (or lack thereof) to sign with the Yankees where he ultimately won another championship.  Had he returned to Boston, he would have tarnished his Yankees legacy and turned the Yankees Universe against him.  David Cone was one of my favorite Yankees, but I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for going to Boston.  I would have hated to see Johnny return to Boston.  When I broached the possibility to my Red Sox friends, I received responses like “ugh!”, “ick!”, and “no!”.  While Jason Varitek and David Ortiz may have welcomed Johnny back, I am not sure that he would have been embraced by the RSN.  Perhaps he would have, but did the Red Sox claim Damon because they truly wanted him or did they do it to block the Rays?  As an aging player, I could have understood the player’s desire to play meaningful September games.  However, for Johnny, there was so much at stake personally.  He was a good Yankee, and hopefully, he’ll let that legacy stand on its own merits.  No reason to ruin it by going back to Beantown.  If the Yankees had just waited out Damon’s demands and brought him back to the Bronx, none of this would have been necessary.  Who knows where he’ll play in 2011, but for now, I remain proud of Damon for standing by his principles and commitment.

 

 

Johnny Damon Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees stands during the national anthem before taking on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angels Stadium on August 21, 2007 in Anaheim, California.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

 

In an off-topic comment, I was dismayed to hear that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice will miss at least half of the season following hip surgery.  Given that the injury was suffered during the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints, I am not quite sure why Rice waited until now to have surgery.  He was the first true threat since the Vikings traded Randy Moss, so Brett Favre is definitely facing a challenge in what should be his final season.  This morning, there were reports the Vikings were close to signing former Packers wide receiver Javon Walker who clashed with Favre at times during their days in Green Bay.  With Percy Harvin’s on-going bouts with migraines, the best receiver at this point is probably Bernard Berrian which does not bode well for the Vikings and Favre. 

 

 

Seattle Times

 

Sports can be so brutal at times…

 

–Scott

 

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


A Day Filled with Fireworks!…

Welcome back, Marcus Thames!…

 

 

thames_mills_yanks.jpg

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Despite a brief time away (trip to the DL), Marcus Thames made the most of his return to the team with a pinch-hit run-scoring single to drive in the winning run in the Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  Nothing like July 4th and a day at Yankee Stadium to celebrate Thames return with a little pie…

 

 

Yanks beat Blue Jays, 7-6, on Marcus Thames RBI single

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees had taken the early lead in the game, but the continued struggles of Phil Hughes allowed the Jays to go ahead in the top of the 5th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the 6th with a two-run inside-the-park home run by speedy Brett Gardner. 

 

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the 7th, but like recent games, the bullpen was not up to the task.  However, this time, the game tying run was not scored against Damaso Marte or Joba Chamberlain, but against Mariano Rivera in the 9th.   With go-ahead run on third, Alex Gonzalez grounded into a force out to end the threat.  The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the frame, so it was off to extra innings.

 

Like the inning before, the Blue Jays had their chances in the 10th.  With David Robertson starting the inning in relief of Rivera, he allowed the first two hitters to reach base (a single and a walk).  The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play on a bunt attempt, which pushed the go-ahead run to third.  Robertson intentionally issued a free pass to Lyle Overbay, who had homered earlier in the game, before getting former Yankee Jose Molina to strike out. 

 

So, it was off to the bottom of the 10th.  As usual, Robinson Cano was involved in the action as he walked to lead things off.  He was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Francisco Cervelli.  Curtis Granderson struck out, but Brett Gardner reached base on a two-out walk.  Up to the plate came Marcus Thames, who had just been re-activated from the DL.  Thames worked the count full before slashing a hit to center to score Cano with the winning run.  Welcome back, Marcus, you’ve been missed! 

 

 

Uli Seit/The New York Times

 

 

It was an exciting day for the Yankees, particularly since the Boston Red Sox were losing to the Baltimore Orioles.  It would have been nicer for Hughes and Mo to post more memorable appearances on the day they were selected to the All-Star team, but of course, being an All-Star is not about one game.   

 

When American League manager Joe Girardi takes the field at the All-Star Game in Anaheim on July 13th , he’ll have plenty of familiar faces joining him (and Hughes and Rivera as previously mentioned) as MLB announced the following Yankees had made the All-Star team:

 

Derek Jeter

Robinson Cano

Alex Rodriguez

CC Sabathia

Phil Hughes

Mariano Rivera

 

 


Congrats.JPG

 

Jeter and Cano are starters, Jeter’s 11th All-Star appearance and Cano’s second.  Rodriguez was tabbed as a reserve by Girardi primarily since A-Rod is third in the AL with RBI’s at 62 (behind fellow All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera). 

 

The Yankees have a chance for a 7th All-Star with Nick Swisher in the running for the Final Vote.  Special voting is open until Thursday at 4 pm Eastern.  Swish faces steep competition from Kevin Youkilis (Boston), Delmon Young (Minnesota), Michael Young (Texas), and Paul Konerko (Chicago). 

 

Congratulations to all of the AL and NL All-Stars! 

 

Well, alas, it is once again time for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player (thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  Before, I embark on yet another painful journey, I do have to say that I am quite amazed at what the Red Sox have been able to do (within striking distance of the AL East lead) with a disabled list that looks like an All-Star team:

 

Disabled List

NO.

NAME

POS

BAT

THW

AGE

HT

WT

BIRTH PLACE

SALARY

19

Josh Beckett DL

SP

R

R

30

6-5

220

Spring, TX

$12,100,000

17

Manny Delcarmen DL

RP

R

R

28

6-2

205

Boston, MA

$905,000

2

Jacoby Ellsbury DL

LF

L

L

26

6-1

185

Madras, OR

$496,500

32

Jeremy Hermida DL

LF

L

R

26

6-3

200

Atlanta, GA

$3,345,000

25

Mike Lowell DL

DH

R

R

36

6-3

210

San Juan, Puerto Rico

$12,500,000

41

Victor Martinez DL

C

B

R

31

6-2

210

Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

$7,700,000

15

Dustin Pedroia DL

2B

R

R

26

5-9

180

Woodland, CA

$3,750,000

33

Jason Varitek DL

C

B

R

38

6-2

230

Rochester, MI

$3,000,000

 

 

I also read today that All-Star Clay Buchholz is most likely headed for the DL.  I may not be a fan of the Red Sox but I am not a fan of these injuries.  Hopefully, these guys will return to health in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m sure the Red Sox will keep knocking on the door. 

 

For the latest installment, I will go with one of the so-called replacement players who has done a good job helping to fill in for the loss of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (and Mike Cameron when he was out)….

 

 

#54        Darnell McDonald

 

 

Courtesy of The Boston Herald

 

 

I can remember when Darnell and his older brother, Donzell, were highly touted youths with the Orioles and Yankees, respectively.  Neither materialized with their respective teams, and I had long forgotten the McDonald brothers when Darnell’s contract was purchased from AAA Pawtucket in April when Ellsbury went to the DL.  He had been signed as a minor league free agent in January.  Julia was very quick to inform me when McDonald homered in his first at bat with the Red Sox.  He has done a capable job since he joined the Red Sox (5 home runs, 20 RBI’s, and .260 batting average).   

 

Darnell played high school baseball with Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado.  He was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997.  He would stay in the minors for the duration of his Orioles career, enjoying only a brief call up in 2003.  His stops between Baltimore and Boston included the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds.  He hit his first major league home run on August 30, 2009 against Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

 

At 31 years of age, Darnell is enjoying the greatest stretch of his professional career.  He showed that he was a wise off-season acquisition by GM Theo Epstein who is notorious for the low cost, high upside approach to free agency.  He has believed in the dream since his days as one of the best high school players in the nation, and it is finally happening for him in Boston. 

 

So, whatever happened to brother and former Yankee Donzell?   He currently plays for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. 

 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 

–Scott

 

 

Feeling The Heat…

Two games in two days, but only one win to show for it…

 

 


Lonely.JPG 

 

 

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind.  On Thursday, Alex Rodriguez won the game with an 8th inning “walk-off” home run…except there were still 3 more outs to go.  Today, despite a very strong rebound by a Dave Eiland-supported A.J. Burnett, the Yankees fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings due to a porous bullpen.

 

 

New York Yankees vs Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2010.

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

In Thursday’s game, CC Sabathia was solid.  He didn’t have his best stuff, however, he was pitching a shutout into the 8th inning when he surrendered a game-tying two-run single to Russell Branyan.  In the bottom of the 8th, Alex Rodriguez homered to right with Mark Teixeira on base.  Thinking it was the 9th inning, A-Rod raised his arms and looked toward the dugout before realizing there was more baseball to be played.  Fortunately, Mariano Rivera ensured the hit was the game-winner as the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners, 4-2, to avoid getting swept at home.

 

 

Mark Teixeira waits at the plate to celebrate with Alex Rodgriguez after A-Rod's eighth-inning blast breaks a 2-2 tie and lifts Yankees to 4-2 win.

Sabo/NY Daily News

 

On Friday, the bats decided to take the day off even though the team was scheduled to play an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays (the offense must have thought game time was 7:05 p.m.).  With pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the fold and working to help A.J. Burnett correct the flaws in his delivery, A.J. pitched the best he has in several months.  He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up only 4 hits, 3 walks and no runs, with 6 strikeouts.  But Joba Chamberlain did what he does best in giving up the lead by allowing a run-scoring single in the 8th which tied the game.  In the 11th inning, the bullpen came undone with David Robertson and Chan Ho Park as they gave up 5 runs in the 6-1 loss.  The Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 3rd with the bases loaded and no outs, but couldn’t push any runs across the plate. 

 

 

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain allows the game-tying run in the 8th inning, wasting 6-2/3 shutout innings from A.J. Burnett (below).

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

 

With Boston’s win tonight (3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles), the Yankees hold only a very slim ½ game lead over the injury-riddled Red Sox.

 

 

Bill Hall, left, congratulated J.D. Drew on his home run in the second inning.

Boston Globe staff

 

 

Boston keeps losing players but it hasn’t slowed them in the least.  The latest casualty is catcher Jason Varitek who was placed on the DL with a broken foot.  Since Victor Martinez is also on the DL, the team reached out to the Houston Astros to bring back former Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash (who spent time with the Yankees in 2009).

 

 

Catcher Kevin Cash of the New York Yankees runs out a hit against the Toronto Blue Jays February 25, 2009 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Cash

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images 

 

Let’s see, for the fourth player installment of my “forced” spotlight on the Boston Red Sox, I’ll go with the first baseman of the Red Sox.  As the result of a lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, I have to include a paragraph about every member of the Red Sox roster as of 6/26/10, so today the spotlight is on the player affectionately known as “Youk”. 

 

 

#20     Kevin Youkilis

 

 

 

Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox discusses his strike out with home plate umpire Andy Fletcher in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Elsa/Getty Images

 

 

Kevin Edmund Youkilis was born on March 15, 1979 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is of Romanian descent despite the Greek surname.  In an interesting note of fact, he had an uncredited one-line speaking role in the movie, Milk Money, when he was just 14 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Youk was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2001 after a solid collegiate career with the Cincinnati Bearcats.  After working his way up through the Red Sox farm system, he made his debut with the team during the championship 2004 season.  He homered in his first major league game against Pat Hentgen and the Toronto Blue Jays.  He would spend the next two years going back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket before finally landing in the majors to stay.  While he came up as a third baseman, he has been the starting first baseman since 2006.  On the roster during the 2004 World Series, he didn’t get to play but that was not the case in 2007.  While he did sit when the Series was played in Colorado (due to the loss of the DH and the move of David Ortiz to first base), Youk help the Red Sox secure their second championship in three years.

 

 

 

Youk is well known for his charitable work, and he founded Kevin Youkilis Hits For Kids, a non-profit dedicated to the health and safety of children.  Here is a link to the organization:

 

http://www.youkskids.org/

 

My frustration with Youk is that he is always in the middle of a rally.  Whether it is a hit or walk or simply his intensity and gritty play, he always seems to be in the thick of the action, making something out of nothing.  His uncanny ability to get on base is what coined the nickname “Greek God of Walks” in the best-selling book, Moneyball.  It’s never fun to see him come to the plate…unless you’re a Red Sox fan.  The Red Sox might lose players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett and others to the DL, but as long as Youk is in the lineup, they’re not going away.  As Julia is always so quick to point out, “things in the mirror are much closer than they appear to be”.   Unfortunately, because of guys like Youk, she’s right…

 

Tomorrow is a new day!  Go Yankees!  :)

 

–Scott

 

 

 

Road Trip Blues…

 

Not that we need further evidence, but the Yanks are clearly better at home…

 

 


Go Home.JPG 

 

 

Next to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees have the word road record in the AL East.  By salvaging the last game of the three game set with the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Yankees are 16-15.  By comparison, the Tampa Bay Rays hold a road record of 22-8.  The Yankees have the best home record in the division at 19-7 but they do need to figure out how to win on the road if they intend to be successful.

 

The Yankees had been playing great until their arrival in Canada.  Friday night’s loss was abysmal as the Jays battered their former teammate, A.J. Burnett.  Saturday, the problem wasn’t pitching as Andy Pettitte was great; it was the lack of hitting and scoring.  Credit Jays’ pitching but they kept the Yankees off the board in extra innings before they prevailed in the bottom of the 14th inning, 3-2.  Mark Teixeira had one of his worst games with 5 strikeouts.

 

 

Mark Teixeira, striking out, against Mets

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

The losses made Sunday’s game a “must-win” if there is such a thing in June.  After losing ground to both the Jays and the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees needed to turn the tables.  Early on, it was a stellar pitching duel between Toronto’s Brandon Marrow and New York’s Javier Vazquez. 

 

Javy had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning.  With two outs, he walked Adam Lind which brought Vernon Wells to the plate.  Wells homered in what would be the only hit off the day off Vazquez for a 2-0 Jays lead.

 

Vazquez breezed through the bottom of the 7th inning with three up and three down.  His day would be finished thanks to what would happen next.  In the top of the 8th inning, the Yankees broke through for four runs and their first lead of the game. 

 

Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner were both hit by pitches to start the innings (Cervelli by Morrow; and Gardner by Scott Downs).  Derek Jeter made the Jays pay for their miscues with a run-scoring double.  After Nick Swisher struck out, the Jays intentionally walked hitless Mark Teixeira (why?).  With the bases now loaded, Gardner scored on a Jason Frasor wild pitch.  After Alex Rodriguez struck out, Robinson Cano came up with the hit of the day when his single scored Jeter and Teixeira.  The Yankees would need those extra runs as the Jays would close the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the frame when former Yank Jose Molina scored on a single by Fred Lewis.  Joba Chamberlain, who had started the 8th in relief of Vazquez, needed help from Damaso Marte to get out of the inning but it was Mariano Rivera and “game over” in the 9th.

 

 

 

Mariano Rivera

AP

 

The Yankees now head to Baltimore for a series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.  Since they last saw the O’s, the O’s have a new manager (Juan Samuel, replacing the fired Dave Trembley) and they are no longer mired in a long losing streak thanks to today’s 11th inning walk-off win against the Boston Red Sox.

 

Boston Globe

 

Hopefully, the Yanks can shake their road doldrums and end the current road trip on a high note.

 

Following the trip to Baltimore, the Yankees will return home for the continuation of interleague play.  They’ll see the Astros, Phillies and Mets before heading west for a trip down memory lane.  On June 21st through 23rd, they’ll be in Phoenix to face the Arizona Diamondbacks.  It is the scene of two of the worst baseball games I’ve ever personally attended, Games 2 and 6 of the 2001 World Series.  Then, in the climax of interleague play, they’ll be in Chavez Ravine on June 25th through 27th to confront old friends Joe Torre and Don Mattingly, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It should be a thrilling month, but PLEASE, work on the road record! 

 

 

Reuters

 

 

Life Is About Choices…

Doc or Josh…

 

 

Joel Auerbach/US Presswire

 

 

 

 

To repeat as World Champions, the Yankees clearly have to upgrade the middle of their pitching staff.  No offense to Andy Pettitte, but going into the play-offs with a three man rotation is not the recipe for continued success…especially if Bud Selig is successful in shortening the off-days during play-off series.  At this point in his career, Andy is better served by bringing up the rear of the rotation.  So, if the Yankees decide to pursue a frontline starter to go with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, should they go after Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays or Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins?

 

 


Choices.JPG 

 

 

Pitcher to pitcher, it’s easy to say that the choice should be Roy Halladay.  He is arguably the best pitcher in the American League, and he knows how to win in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto.  He is not intimidated by the Los Angeles Angels, and at 32, he is primed for a few more years of dominance.

 

 

89778752, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

 

 

But if it were my decision, I’d have to go with Josh Johnson.  I know that he doesn’t have Doc’s resume, and there is the age old argument that National League pitchers struggle in the American League.  However, it goes beyond just Johnson’s age (he will be 26 next season).  After undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-2008, he is 22-6 since his return and according to FanGraphs, he ranked third in average fastball velocity this past season with 95.1 mph (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Verlander).  He enjoyed a very fine 2009 season, going 15-5, with 3.23 ERA.  He struck out 191 batters in 2009 innings.  He will continue to get better, and will soon be an elite ace if he’s not already there.

 

 

APTOPIX Braves Marlins Baseball 

 

 

Probably the bigger reason I’d pursue Johnson is that either pitcher is going to require a hefty bounty in return.  There is no doubt that the Yankees will lose the likes of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, and other high level talent to make a trade.  Realistically, if we are going to lose those guys, I’d rather see them pitching in the National League instead of right here in the AL East.   The counter-argument is that some team is going to pay the Blue Jays a very high price, so they’ll walk away with a much stronger team either way.  But still, I am not prepared to see Joba Chamberlain pitching for the Jays.  The AL East should be very competitive next year.  Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox, you know that the Tampa Bay Rays will be a force to be reckoned with.  The fine young talent in Baltimore is finally starting to gel and should result in a much improved Orioles squad.  So, if the Jays are smart about the pieces they receive in a Halladay trade, there will be no pushovers in the division.

 

 

Nick Markakis #21 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards April 8, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nick Markakis

Greg Fiume/Getty Images 

 

 

The Yankees have A.J. Burnett locked up for four more years so I am not concerned about him.  However, CC Sabathia still has the right to opt out of his contract after two more years so I think it would be wise for the Yankees to go with the younger option so that they can build a cornerstone for future years.  I don’t think CC will opt out, however, as long as it exists as a possibility, it has to be considered.  Much can happen in two years.

 

 

 

 

So, I say go with Josh Johnson and send the premium Yankee talent to the National League…even if that means Doc Halladay calling Fenway Park “home”.  Yankees manager Joe Girardi is familiar with Johnson from his year as the Marlins manager in 2007, so it would aid Johnson’s transition to the Bronx.

 

 

AP 

 

 

There is a question of whether the Marlins organization will be willing to part with Johnson, but it should be interesting to see what develops in the coming weeks…

 

 

Nick Swisher pie Yankees

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

 

But tonight, I choose to see Kelly Clarkson…  :)

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.