Results tagged ‘ Braves ’
The answer to the question is an old friend from the past…
It was no secret that the Yankees were actively seeking to fill an open spot in the rotation and the word was that it would be accomplished by year end. As it were, the Yankees wrapped the package up prior to Christmas. The result is the return of Javier Vazquez….
When I first heard the deal, I was a little upset at what the Yankees gave up (Melky Cabrera, Michael Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino). However, after having time to let it sink in, I am okay with it so long as the Yankees can come up with a decent alternative for left field. Brett Gardner is not an every day player, and at this point, neither is Jamie Hoffmann. Perhaps Gardner can be part of a platoon, but the other half is not currently on the roster.
Vazquez was a Yankee for one brief season. But it was a very painful season. For years, we had grown up knowing that the Boston Red Sox had been suffering from the Curse of Babe Ruth prior to our own births. However, in 2004, the Red Sox finally shook the curse and defeated the mighty Yankees despite being down 3 games to none in the American League Championship Series. The defining moment occurred in Game 7 when Johnny Damon hit a grand slam off Javier Vazquez. The win propelled the Red Sox to the World Series and an eventual championship that could have belonged to the Yankees. After the season, the Yankees packaged Vazquez in a deal to Arizona that netted Randy Johnson. At the time, Vazquez didn’t want to leave the Yankees but “public opinion” was clearly against him and the Yankees fans didn’t cry too much as Vazquez headed for the Sonoran Desert.
Nevertheless, spin forward 5 years, and Vazquez has proven consistency and durability. 2009 was perhaps his finest year with Atlanta Braves as he went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA. Injuries, including pink eye, kept 2009 from being even more successful. When you are throwing around names like Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Aaron Harang, and others, I have to admit that Vazquez is the best case scenario. Admittedly, I would have preferred a Bronx return by Ted Lilly but there probably wasn’t any way that the Chicago Cubs were going to let him go. The Yankees tried hard for Cliff Lee, but the Phillies felt they needed to send Lee as far from Philly as they could given the backlash they’d receive by dealing him. Understood. So all things considered, Javier Vazquez as your number 4 starter is a pretty good situation. I’d take Vazquez in a head-to-head match up against John Lackey so I think the move was a good counter to Boston’s free agent signing.
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution
It is ironic that Damon’s departure is met by Vazquez’s return. It is equally ironic that Vazquez and DH Nick Johnson will be teammates given they were once traded for each other. Hopefully, this ends the Yankees’ attempt at a 2003-04 reunion tour. We really don’t need to see a return performance by Jason Giambi. Sorry, G, I loved you in pinstripes but that day has passed.
The Yankees did manage to secure a bullpen part with the Vazquez trade. They also acquired pitcher Boone Logan. Gotta love the name. Logan is a lefty but is probably more of a one batter specialist. The Yankees are hopeful that Damaso Marte will continue at the level he displayed late in the season. Logan was acquired by the Atlanta Braves in the same trade that brought Vazquez from the Chicago White Sox. So, once again, Logan and Vazquez are intertwined…and hopefully the duo will prove to be very successful in the Bronx. Vazquez is a free agent after 2010, so it’s possible that this is another one-and-done Yankee performance, but it is my hope that he proves he belongs in pinstripes.
The Yankees also signed free agent catcher Mike Rivera (formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers). So long as Rivera is slotted for the third catching spot, I am okay with the move. I feel that Francisco Cervelli deserves the primary shot to be Jorge Posada’s backup, but a veteran influence like Rivera can’t hurt.
So, now the question is what the Yankees will do about left field? The Vazquez trade brings the payroll to nearly $200 million which is the alleged budget for 2010. Perhaps they’ll need to offload Chad Gaudin and/or Sergio Mitre (among others), but room can be made for a capable left fielder. Alas, it won’t be Matt Holliday or Jason Bay (or even Johnny Damon), but I have confidence that GM Brian Cashman won’t leave the team shortchanged.
All these moves do have the potential of disrupting team chemistry so I am hopeful that the team is able to mesh in spring training. From a character standpoint, I have no reservations with Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, or Javier Vazquez, so I think they’ll be fine. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding…
I really do not believe the headline, but it’s time to settle the bet so let’s begin the temporary journey back to the Red Sox Nation…
On June 9th through 11th, the Yankees played a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. Of course, they were once again swept by Boston, who are now 8-0 against the Bombers this season. The scores of the latest series were 7-0, 6-5, and 4-3, respectively. According to the rules of the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, the loser was to wear a t-shirt belonging to the opposing team. If I had won the bet, Julia would be wearing a Mark Teixeira t-shirt. I was originally slated for a Jason Bay t-shirt, but Julia, with my consent, opted for a t-shirt from the Life is Good series. T-Shirts were included for both me and my Yankee bear, Lou.
My t-shirt simply made the following statement…
Lou’s t-shirt issued the following proclamation…
Lou and I got ready for the photos, but of course, you-know-who had to make an appearance and get in on the act…
Wally thought it would be great if we could take a group pic…
I had to take my punishment alone…
However, Lou had made a new friend…
Nevertheless, Lou could simply take no more, and convinced another Bear to wear his “shame”. Of course, he lost the girl too…
Meanwhile, Lou needed some time alone to overcome his embarrassment.
So, the trip to the Red Sox Nation is over. Julia, by my count, that’s 8 photos to match the Red Sox streak. The debt is paid, and this blog can return to all-Yankees programming…
Yankees Win Subway Series…
A.J. Burnett returned from his 5-game suspension on Saturday, and brought his “A” game with him. He had a no-hitter going until the 6th inning, when Alex Cora opened with a single. But that’s all the offense the Mets could muster against Burnett, as he finished with a 7-inning one-hitter, and a season high 10 strikeouts.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I knew that A.J. was going to be tough to beat after watching him strike out two of the first three batters he faced in a 3-up, 3-down first inning. Burnett, 6-4, was removed after the conclusion of the 7th inning despite the fact that he was still cruising. He had thrown 108 pitches, and was working under a team-imposed pitch limit of 115 pitches. With a 5-run lead, I thought it was the right thing to do. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Cora hadn’t gotten that hit. But I recognize that a healthy A.J. is better than a complete game performance. Brian Bruney and David Robertson each pitched an inning of hitless relief to keep the one-hitter intact. A terrific performance by A.J., with great support from the Pen. Hopefully, this is a recipe that we’ll see again…soon and often!
The New York Post
The Yankees only scored in two innings, the 3rd and 6th innings, but it was enough. Aside from a RBI single by Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees scored the rest of their runs on homers (by Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada).
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star Ledger
The Yankees have won this Subway Series by taking the first 2 games of the 3 game series, and have won their first season series against the Mets since 2003. Yes, I think I kind of like the new Citi Field…
I had forgotten that the Mets losing pitcher, Tim Redding, had once pitched a game for the Yankees. On July 15, 2005, he faced the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the results were disastrous. He started but was only able to record three outs. During those forgettable first two innings, he faced 11 batters, and allowed 6 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks. The Red Sox went on to a 17-1 victory that day…
Redding was designated for assignment the next day.
The flu bug has been tearing through the Yankees clubhouse like the Red Sox playing at Yankee Stadium. It hasn’t been pretty. Derek Jeter has missed two games, although you could tell that he was frustrated to sit out Saturday’s game. Girardi’s hand was forced when the medical staff advised him that Jeter should not play. Also sitting out the game with the flu was Johnny Damon.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Now comes word that Phil Hughes has been bit by the bug. Perhaps there was some sort of virus on that David Ortiz jersey that they dug out of the Stadium…
Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals! They outfoxed all other major league clubs, including the Chicago Cubs, to acquire the Cleveland Indians’ super utility man Mark DeRosa. He’s the guy that I felt would be perfect for the Yankees. As hard as the Cubs tried to re-acquire him, I am still amazed that they ever traded him to begin with. Losing him to the Cards must be salt in the wound.
Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune
As the other contenders start to add talent in the coming days leading up to the trading deadline, I am hopeful that GM Brian Cashman is working overtime to convince the Steinbrenners to loosen the purse strings and allow the team to pursue additional depth. DeRosa is lost, but there is still plenty of talent available for the right price. Shelley Duncan is having a tremendous season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (21 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, .289 BA), but he unfortunately fills the same role as Nick Swisher so he most likely won’t be getting an opportunity with the big league club anytime soon.
With his next save, the great Mariano Rivera will reach 500 saves for his career.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
The final game of the Subway Series pits Chien-Ming Wang against Livan Hernandez. Although Chien-Ming has pitched better lately, he’s still seeking his first win of the season. Hopefully, he’ll get that out of the way today but I’ll hold my breath anyway…
I know that Julia has a preference for the number “5″, but I am hoping for “3″ to be the magic number at the conclusion this day’s games. Best wishes to the Braves’ Tommy Hanson. May he show the Red Sox what he showed the Yankees last week…
Note: Tommy Hanson proved me correct as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Red Sox, 2-1. Hanson, despite the flu, was masterful and pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball.
Derek Lowe versus Andy Pettitte…
It was a match-up that reminded me of some great Red Sox battles of the past. Unfortunately, this one was not memorable as neither pitcher was around very long. The Yankees had built an 8-1 lead by the 4th inning against Lowe. It should have been an easy win for Andy Pettitte, but he struggled too. In the bottom of the 4th inning, he gave up 5 runs, thanks in part to an error by center fielder Brett Gardner, and was lifted for Alfredo Aceves. Aceves was the eventual winner in the 11-7 Yankees victory over the Atlanta Braves.
I am concerned about Pettitte. He pitched great during his last start, but otherwise, his starts have been very spotty. He is definitely no longer the pitcher he once was, or at least I do not recall him being so consistently “hittable”.
But the one player we do not need to be concerned about is Alex Rodriguez. After a month long slump that saw his batting average slide to .207, A-Rod was back last night. He had a key hit on Wednesday, and followed that up with his 563rd home run (tying Mr. October, Reggie Jackson on the all-time list). He was 3-for-5, with two runs scored, a walk, and 4 RBI’s (pushing his BA to .223).
The key hit for this game, in my opinion, was delivered by Johnny Damon. With the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd inning, Damon came to bat against his former Red Sox teammate and delivered a triple to clear the bases. The hit increased the Yankees’ lead to 6-1 at the time. Even though the Braves scratched and clawed to get back in the game, they could never recover from the huge hole created by Damon.
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald
The bullpen did a good job with Aceves, Phil Coke, and the great Mariano Rivera. The only questionable performance was by David Robertson who gave up a 9th inning home run to Brian McCann, and had runners at the corners, before Mo came in to get the final out. Robertson did have two strikeouts in the frame. Hopefully, he was just upset by the Mets’ recent release of his brother Connor, and he’ll perform the next time he is placed in a key situation.
The Yankees now head to Queens for a weekend Subway Series against the Mets. I am concerned about the health of CC Sabathia, but it appears that he is a ‘go’ and should be fine this evening. A.J. Burnett will return from his suspension tomorrow so it should be a fun weekend in Flushing Meadow. With A-Rod coming around, I am sure that the biggest beneficiary will be Mark Teixeira. The team responded to Brian Cashman’s call to arms, and hopefully that will continue. The Toronto Blue Jays lost last night, so the Yankees once again have sole possession of 2nd place and are now 4 games behind Boston. Meanwhile, those pesky Rays keep winning…
Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune
Happy 35th Birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter!
Xavier Nady had a major setback during his minor league rehab with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Brian Cashman is calling it a possible worst case scenario as Nady felt pain while throwing. Not a good sign. At some point, you have to wonder if surgery is the only option. Best wishes to the X-Man for a “best case” scenario outcome…
Finally, Thursday was a very sad day in the Entertainment World with the loss of two icons… Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.
Say what you will about MJ in recent years, but he was truly the King of Pop during the early 80′s. His music was everywhere, and I can still so vividly remember waiting to watch the MTV world premiere of the video for Thriller in late 1983. Like Elvis, Michael has left us way too soon.
Farrah’s passing was more expected but no less difficult. I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a teenager (like every other guy my age).
Goodbye to both…they will be missed…
To borrow the words of Johnny Cash, the Man Comes Around…
Posted on YouTube by MadSin69
The other Cash arrived in Atlanta, and made his presence known.
GM Brian Cashman, who apparently was supposed to watch AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre play, opted to travel to Atlanta for the Yankees game against the Braves. He did not go with axe in hand, but he met with manager Joe Girardi and the players. Clearly, he, like the rest of the fans and organization, is frustrated with the Yankees recent offensive slump and knows that the team is better than this.
Cash insists that the team does not need to make any player acquisitions to improve. As I said yesterday, the team has the talent and ability to succeed so the answer lies within. I still think the bench could use some upgrade, along with the pen. But from the top to the bottom of the order, the team is fine so long as they can snap out of the recent slide that has left them tied with the Toronto Blue Jays, 5 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
Xavier Nady should be back soon, and that will certainly help. But after watching the continued play of catcher Francisco Cervelli, I have to admit that I really do not want to see Jose Molina come back. I liked Cervelli’s throws to first, his intensity, the way he was openly communicating with pitcher Joba Chamberlain in the dugout between innings, his energy, his excitement…and of course, his first home run! So perhaps the Yanks should look to move Molina upon his return from the DL. As for Damaso Marte, I am hopeful that we’ll see the reliever who was among baseball’s best when he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates upon his return. There is no reason that he can’t be that player again. Cash might be right that the answer lies within. If the team’s response to Cash’s visit, an 8-4 win over the Braves, can be sustained in the coming weeks and months, I like the Yankees’ chances come October.
As for the game, I do want to send Braves pitcher Kenshin Kawakami best wishes for a speedy recovery. I am thankful he was not more seriously hurt when he was struck at the base of the neck by a ball hit by Joba Chamberlain. At the time, Kawakami had pitched three perfect innings and it looked like he was in the midst of a great game. He has a contusion, but it sounds like the ball didn’t hit a bone. Kawakami will be re-evaluated in a couple of days to determine if he’ll be able to make his next start. Hopefully, he is back in full action shortly.
The Braves scored first on a 5th inning home run by Jeff Francoeur. Considering that Francoeur hasn’t really hit anybody this year, it was disappointing to see him get untracked against the Yankees. Nevertheless, the Yankees came back at the top of the next inning. Brett Gardner walked to start the inning, becoming the Yankees first base runner. After a few pick-off throws, the Braves got lucky when Gardner was called out even though his hand had clearly reached first base before he was tagged out. The play brought manager Joe Girardi out of the dugout and although his tirade got him tossed, it served as the catalyst the Yankees needed to snap out of their offensive doldrums. Cervelli followed with his first career home run, and a few batters later, Alex Rodriguez, who had entered the game with a .207 BA, drilled a two-run single.
Although the Braves kept fighting back, the Yankees never relinquished the lead. In the 8th inning, with Brian Bruney struggling (two walks, a single and a run scored), Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game with two outs. Rivera struck out Kelly Johnson to end the inning. Rivera, who hadn’t pitched since June 16th, showed no signs of rust. The Yankees scored a couple more runs at the top of the 9th to pad their lead, but they were unnecessary runs as Rivera struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to end the game. Vintage Mo, and it was sweet!
The Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays all won, so there were no changes in the standings. But the victory was definitely something for the team to build upon. One game at a time. The path to the Red Sox is not that far away…
Jim Davis/Boston Globe staff
As expected, the Yankees designated Angel Berroa for assignment prior to the game to make room for infielder Cody Ransom. I was surprised to see that the Yankees were actually able to get cash for reliever Jose Veras (from the Cleveland Indians). I thought the Yankees would have to pay to get someone to take him. Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog had the best line when he said that the cash involved was “at least three figures”. Good luck in Cleveland, Jose…you won’t be missed. Of course, now that you are in Cleveland, you’ll probably start pitching lights out…
Denny Medley/US Presswire
The fielders made the trip to Atlanta, but the hitters were a no-show…
The Yankees, looking rather pathetic and tired, kind of like their third baseman, lost to the Atlanta Braves, 4-0. Another so-so start by Chien Ming-Wang, but on this night, it really wouldn’t have mattered how well he pitched. A no-hitter couldn’t have pulled out a victory for the Yanks.
A-Rod is definitely looking like anything but A-Rod as his batting average continues to its freefall to the dreaded Mendoza line.
After years of clutch hits, Derek Jeter is starting to become the guy to call when you are looking to kill a potential rally.
Cody Ransom is due to come off the disabled list today, so a move is expected. I doubt that the Yankees would designate Ransom for assignment, so that means either Angel Berroa or Ramiro Pena has to go. My guess is that Berroa has seen his final day in pinstripes.
Regarding Ransom’s return, manager Joe Girardi said, “He could help us a lot”. I am not a major league manager, but sorry, Joe, I can’t buy that one. The Yanks need help, but Cody Ransom is not going to be the savior.
In last night’s loss, the Yankees stranded 11 base runners. There was no shortage of candidates for the Goat of the Game. It was a disappointing loss, and the team is definitely reeling right now. At this point, you have to consider the Yankees to be lucky that they are only 5 games behind Boston. Next week, it could be much worse if things don’t change.
If the Yankees had gone down fighting last night and still lost, I would have felt much better than them simply mailing it in. The lackadaisical effort is a reflection of the manager and coaching staff. Girardi said after the game, “This is going to turn and when it does it is going to be a welcome sight”. I only hope that it is not too late. 5 games are not insurmountable, particularly not in July. But there is no question that the Boston Red Sox are the superior team right now. I do not recall a recent Red Sox game where I felt that the “team” had given up. They battle down to the last at-bat. That’s the type of effort and attitude that the Yankees need to model.
The Yankees are now tied for second with the Toronto Blue Jays. A loss today and the Yanks are potentially in fourth place with the Tampa Bay Rays tapping on their shoulder.
The Yankees protest of Sunday’s game was denied by Major League Baseball. I never expected the Yankees to get anywhere with the protest, but admittedly; it was fun to talk about. However, the Yankees need to win games because of their play, not because of technicalities.
The Star Ledger
It’s time to start hitting and fielding like May, and resume the charge on Boston. The talent and ability is there. Let’s Go Yankees!