Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

I must be in the front row!…

 

Slip, slidin’ our way to first place…

Here I was getting concerned about the uneven start to the 2012 season and the Yankees have quietly showed up at the threshold of first place in the AL East.  A few weeks back, there was just a game I believe that separated the Yankees from the Red Sox.  Ironic since Boston had gotten off to such a horrid start.  But the Yankees started to win, and they now share first place with the Tampa Bay Rays after defeating the New York Mets tonight.  The Mets game, by the way, shows that Hiroki Kuroda misses the National League.  He was stellar tonight in the 9-1 victory.

Speaking of pitching, I have continued to be very pleased with the return of Andy Pettitte.  He had a not-so-great start followed by perhaps his best start in years.  Andy has been a great Yankee.  Yes, there is the association with steroids but Andy has taken far more personal accountability than most of the ‘roid users that we have seen.  When I think of the great Yankees, the guys that should be forever immortalized as part of the great Yankees franchise, Andy is in the same room.  When Whitey Ford passes, Andy will be the greatest living lefthander in franchise history.  I can still remember when he first came up from the minor leagues.  I certainly never thought that he’d have such an illustrious career.  There’s those Houston years, but the Yankees could have and should have done more to keep Andy in the fold.  Conversely, maybe Andy needed a few years away to realize how much he loved the Yankees.  He may be a Texan by birth and by heart, but he’s a Yankee forevermore.

Glad to see that Mark Teixeira is hitting again, but then again, it’s June so he is supposed to be…

I am anxious to see how much better the Yankees can be when Brett Gardner gets back on the field.  Nothing against Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, or the rest of the fill-in’s, but the Yankees lineup has been missing Gardner’s speed…

Russell Martin deserves a contract extension.  Get ‘er done!

I love David Robertson but the only place for him to go is the 8th inning.  Rafael Soriano has earned the closer’s role in his absence and the team is stronger with Robertson-Soriano than it is with Soriano-Robertson…

I like the draft pick of pitcher Ty Hensley, and I appreciate his excitement about being a member of baseball’s most storied franchise…

Robinson Cano has been and still is the team’s MVP…

But Curtis Granderson gets honorable mention…

I enjoy having Joe Girardi as manager, but I am very impressed by the growth and maturity Don Mattingly has exhibited as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I will always be a Donnie Baseball fan and it is sad that he’s not a part of the Yankees organization currently.  Maybe one day he can find his way home…

It’s still a long season, but I like where the Yankees are at.  I fully expect an upcoming hard run by the Boston Red Sox and there’s no way that the Tampa Bay Rays are going to go away.  But it should be a fun ride to the end of the season…regardless of the outcome.  Go Yankees!

–Scott

 

The Yankees did what?…

 

Yankees sign top free agent…

Well, it wasn’t exactly Prince Fielder but I’ve felt all off-season that re-signing Andruw Jones was important for the 2012 Yankees.  In this off-season of inactivity, I was concerned that the Yankees would let Jones slip away to a team like the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers.  There’s no question that Jones is NOT the player that he used to be (that’s a given), but he fills a valuable fourth outfielder role and I prefer him over Justin Maxwell, Chris Dickerson, or Melky Mesa.

When I read that the Red Sox were potentially interested in Jones, I was worried that it would drive up his price tag (which was probably the prime reason for the Red Sox “interest”).  But the base salary of $2 million (with additional incentives that could push the package to $3.4 million) was very reasonable for Team Suddenly Frugal.  The Yanks have a good outfield with Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, but Jones allows the Yankees to play match-ups and move guys around.  Plus, if any of the aforementioned starters spend any time on the DL, Jones is certainly a capable fill-in.

Wanted:  Non-starting starting third baseman…

Now that the outfield depth has been filled, I am anxious to see what the Yankees do about the mandatory need to acquire a strong backup for third base.  I remain in favor of the return of Eric Chavez, but regardless of what happens, the Yankees need a proven performer that does not weaken the team during the inevitable A-Rod absences.

Yeah, that’s the ticket…

It’s too bad that MLB teams don’t get a mulligan for bad contracts.  They should give every team a one player exemption that could be called the “Stupidity Clause”.  Given A-Rod’s $30 million annual salary with $5 million production, the Yankees could get a waiver for luxury tax on the bulk of A-Rod’s salary.  Same goes for the Angels and Vernon Wells, the Cubs and Alfonso Soriano, or the Red Sox and Carl Crawford (although CC does have the ability to re-earn his money).  It does stink knowing how much the Yankees will be paying A-Rod and Derek Jeter in several years in terms of the return.  I remain hopeful that Derek Jeter will depart gracefully when he realizes that his performance is not equal to his compensation.  But I know that A-Rod is into his contract for every undeserved cent.

Hats off to a rival…

In a statement of the obvious, I knew that Mark Melancon was not destined to be the closer for the Red Sox when they acquired the former Yank from the Houston Astros.  This week’s acquisition of Andrew Bailey by the Sox from the Oakland A’s was a solid move.  Bailey, a native Easterner, will thrive in Boston.  He matches Jonathan Papelbon in ability, and exceeds him in character and integrity.  The risk with Bailey is his health, but the Sox do have relievers with closing experience in Melancon and Bobby Jenks.  While I don’t think that the Bailey acquisition is the big bold move I’ve been expecting from new Boston GM Ben Cherington, it is certainly one that improves the team.

Not looking forward to the day…

With the surplus of closer talent available this off-season, I hope that it is a similar environment when the ‘Greatest Closer Who Ever Lived’ decides to take his ageless arm and signature cutter home to Panama.  I like Derek Jeter but I will be ready for the day when a younger, talented option becomes available.  I will cry the day Mariano Rivera walks off the mound for the final time.  I loved Goose Gossage as the Yankees closer, but it took so many years for an equal (or in this case, greater) replacement to emerge.  There’s always been something so magical about a great closer.  I grew up watching the wild antics of the Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky, in St. Louis, so the role of the closer became the “it” position for me at a very early age.  There’s nothing better than a game-ending punch-out with high intensity.

Game plan:  Success!…

Well, as 2011 comes to a close, I want to wish everyone a very Happy and Joyous New Year!  May your dreams come true and your happiness reach heights never before imagined!  It will be a fun and rewarding new year, and I’m glad you are here…

–Scott

One month down, check!…


Usually, April has not been
kind to the Yankees.  So to finish the
month with a winning record and in first place is clearly an accomplishment.  After the Yankees were ripped in the
off-season for their failure to sign Cliff Lee while the Boston Red Sox were
signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, the expectations were
greater in Beantown. As a result, there is a bit of satisfaction in the respective teams’ starts.  Perhaps it was a good
thing as the Yankees finally shook the April curse and controlled the month of
April instead of letting the month control them. 


Cano.JPG

John Munson/The Star Ledger


Boston, meanwhile, has
gotten off to a sluggish start, with a 13-15 mark entering play tonight.  I’d be a fool to think the Sox will continue
to underperform.  I have no doubt that
they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point, and I can only hope
the Yanks have built a sufficient cushion to withstand any Sox charge. 
Roster to roster (today), I’d still give the edge of the Sox over the
course of the full 162 game schedule.

I think the keys for the
Yankees to hold off the inevitable Sox charge will rest primarily with
pitching.  I’ve been pleased by what the
Yanks have gotten from Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon, but I still
do not think that all three have the sustainability for the duration of the
season.

The health of Phil Hughes
will be a key determinant.  The recent
tests have been positive, but the fact remains that the Yankees are no closer
to getting Hughes on the mound than they were before.  What if he isn’t able to come back this
year?  What’s Plan B?  The Yankees already needed a #3 starter or
better when Hughes was in the rotation.  For
now, the Yanks have to hope that Nova, Garcia and Colon continue to perform
above expectations.

Count me as one of those who
believe that it is time to drop Derek Jeter down in the order.  His days as a lead-off hitter are over, and
it’s time to get Brett Gardner at the top of the order.  I realize that Gardner isn’t hitting, but I think
that leading off would revitalize his bat and of course his speed on the bases
with the guns coming to bat would be huge.

The Yanks could definitely
use timely hitting, but I fully expect the bats to come around.  I saw the highlights of last night’s game
showing Hideki Matsui hitting a game-winning home run for the Oakland A’s, and
thought to myself, yeah, we could use that…

With the 2011 NFL Draft
behind us, I am still pondering the Minnesota Vikings first round selection of
QB Christian Ponder.  There’s no doubt
that I would have loved to have DT Nick Fairley who went to the Detroit Lions
with the next pick.  However, the Vikings
had to emerge from this draft with a franchise QB.  Andy Dalton may turn out to be a great
quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Colin Kaepernick may do wonderful
things in the Golden Gate City, but all things considered, I am glad that
Ponder is in Minnesota.  There’s no doubt
that I would have preferred Jake Locker but the Tennessee Titans made that an
impossibility.  I had mixed feelings
about Blaine Gabbert, so short of Cam Newton and Jake Locker, I am satisfied
with Ponder. 


Minnesota Vikings


I’d be surprised if the
Vikings go to the training camp (assuming the lockout is lifted) with Ponder,
Joe Webb, and Rhett Bomar as the only QB’s. 
I fully expect them to pursue a veteran. 
I don’t think that Kevin Kolb would be worth the price since Ponder
should be ready to take over the position within a couple of years.  So, I guess it depends how cheaply the
Vikings can get someone like Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Vince
Young
.  It definitely makes me wish that
Sage Rosenfels was still on the roster. 

When the lockout is finally
resolved, I definitely hope the Vikings find a way to retain WR Sidney
Rice
.  I don’t want to lose free agent DE
Ray Edwards
, but I think that Rice would be much harder to replace.

I was glad to see the Tampa
Bay Rays activate 3B Evan Longoria for tonight’s game.  I may not be a Rays fan, but Longoria is
arguably the best third baseman in the league. 
Win or lose, I’d rather see Longoria in the Rays lineup than not. 

Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier who has hit safely in 28 games entering play
tonight.  I am sure that this is a trip
down memory lane for manager Don Mattingly, who once had a consecutive home run
streak going.  I am sure that Donnie
Baseball has shared his insight into how to handle the pressure from the press
in these situations.  Ethier’s a great
guy and I’d definitely like to see him continue this streak.

The San Jose Sharks are up
2-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, but who in the world can
possibly be comfortable with playing Game 3 in Joe Louis Arena?…

The Los Angeles Lakers lost
Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks?  Really?  What are they trying to do?  Give a happy ending to the LeBron James
Championship Show?…


–Scott

 

All I want for Christmas (err 4th of July) is a friggin’ pitcher…


This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers).  First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies.  Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family.  And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.



Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova
, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected).  But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up? 
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way.  Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks.  At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away. 

As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft.  I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick.  As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick.  I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man.  My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker
from the University of Washington. 
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post.  If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder
or Andy Dalton.  As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s. 

For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera.  It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest.  Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night.  Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.

Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base?  I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…

We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert
is still on the board.  Why
is that important?  Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available.  Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.

It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning).  With CC
Sabathia
on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split. 
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
innings…

Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…

Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!  

Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now.  There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up.  It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection.  Bummer for me…

This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair
when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings.  Drats, those Titans!

Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning.  The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around. 
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix. 

The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada.  Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting. 
His batting average stands at .134. 
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH.  Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.

Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk.  8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far).  So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.

It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert
with their trade up with the Washington Redskins.  So much for the QB for the
fu
ture for
Minnesota…  D
oes this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb?  Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
Stafford

My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft.  Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.  


Drew Weatherford, front, is competing with Christian Ponder, left, and D'Vontrey Richardson to start at quarterback.

AP


Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early. 
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb
and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position.  I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers
just sitting there for the taking. 
Oh well, Go Seminoles!

Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0.  Nice…


–Scott

 

Let’s Kick It Into Gear…


I don’t get it…


IDK.JPG

 


On Monday, the Yankees are totally befuddled by Max
Scherzer, but on Tuesday, they defeat annual Cy Young contender Justin
Verlander.  Monday’s game was so
disappointing.  After a lethargic
performance the previous day against Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City
Royals, they continued the lackluster offensive ways against Scherzer
and the Detroit Tigers in losing 3-1. 

 

The losing pitcher was Javier Vazquez.  While only giving up 2 runs, he threw a
startling 106 pitches in just four innings. 
At this point, the Yankees cannot depend upon Vazquez for the duration
of the season.  The inability to acquire
Cliff Lee is even more magnified today than it was the day Lee was dealt to
Texas.  The Yankees don’t have a Jeremy
Hellickson in the farm system (at least not one that’s ready to make the impact
Hellickson can for the Tampa Bay Rays). 
So, Monday’s loss, which allowed the Rays to tie the Yanks in the AL
East standings was definitely ‘advantage-Rays’. 



95724163JM028_Detroit_Tiger.JPG

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Tuesday, CC Sabathia was on the hill but things
started poorly when former Yank Austin Jackson hit a lead-off homer.  After that, CC settled in and earned his 16th
win despite another home run in the 7th (a solo dinger by Brandon
Inge) as the Yanks won, 6-2.  They merely
kept pace with the Rays, who also won, along with the charging Boston Red Sox
who also emerged victorious. 



New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (l.) receives a hand pound from Derek Jeter during a seven-inning, nine strikeout outing that gave Sabathia his 16th win of the season.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

This game was about how much Brett Gardner means to
the Yankees offense when he is hitting. 
As long as he can get on base, things happen.  He scored a run in the bottom of the first on
Nick Swisher’s single, and he doubled in the 6th when any other
Yankee would not have made it past first base. 
He subsequently scored on Derek Jeter’s single. 

 

The Yankees have their share of injury woes, with
Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman in the dreaded DTD status.  Despite the recent offensive woes, hopefully,
the team can build upon today’s win to put together a nice winning streak. 

 

I would be remiss for not acknowledging the passing
of legend Bobby Thomson.  What baseball
fan who appreciates the history of the game hasn’t heard the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round
the World”?  His home run in the decisive
1951 play-off game with the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the New York Giants the NL
Pennant (“The Giants win the Pennant! 
The Giants win the Pennant!”).  The
team would go on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series, but there is no
doubt that Thomson’s home run was one of the greatest in major league
history.



AP  

 

In my usual off-topic comment, it appears that
Brett Favre will be quarterbacking the Minnesota Vikings in 2010.   He flew to Minnesota today, and an
announcement regarding his decision is forthcoming.  However, close friend, kicker Ryan Longwell, is
saying that Favre has decided to return (surprise, surprise).  The only person that’s probably disappointed
is Tavaris Jackson, but T-Jack should be ready if Favre falters.  If I were the Vikings GM, I’d be on the phone
trying to deal QB Sage Rosenfels.   I’d
like to see the Vikings give the third QB slot to rookie Joe Webb.  Is it really time for football again?  Wow, this has been an incredibly fast
off-season.  It seems like just yesterday
that Favre should have just ran instead of trying to throw in the loss to the
New Orleans Saints…



Brett Favre

AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles

 

–Scott

The 8th Inning Highwire Act Continues…

The Yankees won, but I am growing tired of Joba
Chamberlain…


Tired.JPG

 


The Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals
tonight, 10-4.  The game was actually
much closer than the score might indicate. 
With the Yanks ahead 6-4 in the 8th inning, Joba started the
inning in relief of David Robertson. 
Robertson had entered the game an inning earlier in place of CC Sabathia
with two men on base and one out.  He got
both batters out that the faced, and I would have stayed with the hot hand, at
least for one more inning.  Nevertheless,
Joe Girardi remained committed to Chamberlain. 
After getting the first batter out, the next two hitters reached on
infield singles.  He struck out the rusty
Rick Ankiel (who had been activated off the DL earlier in the day), but walked
Billy Butler to load the bases. 
Fortunately, Jose Guillen hit into a fielder’s choice, but had he gotten
a hit, the game would have taken a completely different turn.  Joba should be thankful he was facing the
Royals and not the Angels, Rangers, or Rays.  
Is this what it was like when former Orioles manager Earl Weaver
referred to his closer as “Fullpack”?  I
always get so uneasy when Joba enters the game. 
I am not sure how much long I will be in support of him remaining with
the team.  At some point, a change of
scenery might do him wonders.

 


SA siberia

Stockphoto.com



The Royals broke out to an early 2-0 lead against
CC Sabathia, who was making his first start as a 30-something pitcher (he
turned 30 yesterday).  The Yankees
quickly answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.  The Royals added a run in the 2nd
inning to move in front again, and it remained that way until the bottom of the
3rd when Derek Jeter hit a shot to center.  David DeJesus, one of those all-out kind of
players, went for the ball and actually had it momentarily when he crashed into
the wall but lost it in the collision. 
DJ, running at full steam, motored around for his first inside-the-park
home run since 1996, which tied the game at 3.  



Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger



DeJesus was removed from the game and it was later announced that he had
sprained his thumb. 



Kansas City Royals center fielder David DeJesus lies on the ground after running into the wall trying to catch a ball hit by New York Yankees' Derek Jeter in the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, July 22, 2010, in New York. Jeter ended up with an inside-the-park home run. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kathy Willens/AP

 

The Yanks picked up a couple of runs in the 5th
and gave up a run on a Jorge Posada throwing error in the 6th,
but the hit of the night occurred in the bottom of the 7th when Alex
Rodriguez homered for the 599th time in his career to put the Yanks
up 6-4.



Alex Rodriguez 599th home run

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th
after Joba had escaped the bases loaded jam to put the game out of reach.  It was a huge night for A-Rod, who went
3-for-5 with 4 RBI’s.  Mark Teixeira also
went 3-for-5, with a RBI, to continue showing that his slump is definitely
over.  Nick Swisher had another great
night with 2 RBI’s.  Defensively, it was
a great night for Brett Gardner, who threw out two runners including one at the
plate to end the top of the 5th. 

 

With the win, the Yankees lead on the Tampa Bay
Rays in the AL East has been restored at 3 games. 

 

On Tuesday, Sean O’Sullivan had just been called up
by the Los Angeles Angels from Triple A Salt Lake City and found out that he’d
be starting against the Yankees when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.  Despite a rocky first inning, O’Sullivan was
the winner in the 10-2 romp over the Yanks. 
Today, he is a member of the Kansas City Royals.  Earlier in the day, he was traded by the
Angels to the Royals, along with a minor league pitcher Will Smith, for third
baseman Alberto Callaspo.  So, within
days of making the trip to New York City, he is on his way back to join the
Royals.



Article Tab : Sean O'Sullivan beat the Yankees for the Angels on Tuesday. He could make his Royals debut back at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

AP

 


The tributes for owner George Steinbrenner continue
as the Yankees unveiled a 40 foot banner above the home bullpen (just
underneath the Hess and Budweiser billboards) honoring the Boss.  He is the man responsible for the new
ballpark so it is only fitting that his name be prominently displayed.

 

Speaking of tributes, the Yankees will wear black
sleeve bands (directly beneath the patch honoring Bob Sheppard) in memory of
former manager Ralph Houk who died yesterday. 
With any more patches, the Yankees jersey would look like a Nascar race
car.  Hopefully, there will be no more
deaths in the Yankees family for the duration of the year.  This has definitely been a very difficult
month.


–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

 

 

Have Bat, Will Travel…

 

“Robby Cano!  Dontcha know!”…

 

 

 

Cano.JPG

AP

The words flowed so smoothly from Yankees radio voice John Sterling when Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the Yankees’ 12-3 romp over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. 

 

While Cano has carried the team so far this year, Brett Gardner was the catalyst for today’s win.  He hit a run-scoring single in the 2nd inning for the first run of the game, and added his annual home run in the 4th.  Gardner has certainly seized his starting opportunity this year, and has been a bright spot in the lineup. 

 

 


Gardy 050110.JPGAnthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

Cano followed with his three-run blast in the fifth… 

 

 

Cano 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

After a two-run homer by Nick Swisher in the 6th inning, the Yankees closed their scoring with 5 runs in the 7th.  After a Jorge Posada double to start the inning, the Yankees loaded the bases, thanks in part to an error by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Derek Jeter walked to force in a run, and both Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira followed with two-run doubles to the cap the 5-run outburst.  Jorge Posada came to the plate a second time but struck out to end the inning.

 

Mark Melancon lost the shutout in the 9th when Paul Konerko connected on a three-run shot, but the story of the game was the masterful pitching of Phil Hughes.  Unlike Javy Vazquez, Phil Hughes has been terrific. 

 

 

Hughes 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

It was three years ago today when Phil Hughes was in the midst of a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers when a pulled left hamstring forced him to leave the game after 6 1/3 innings.  The batter at the plate at day when Hughes pulled the hamstring?  Current Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.  Nevertheless, after contributing to the Yankees World Series run last year as setup man for Mariano Rivera, Hughes has shown that he belongs in the starting rotation.  His pitching line today is what you would expect from the ace of the staff, not the #5 starter…

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

ERA

7.0

4

0

0

1

6

0

99-69

1.44

 

 

In Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the White Sox, the Yankees lost centerfielder Curtis Granderson who strained his groin while running between 2nd and 3rd on a hit and run single.  He was placed on the 15-day DL after the game, and will most likely be out for a month.

 

 

Yankees' Curtis Granderson

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

The goat for Saturday’s loss was former White Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez who continued his string of pathetic performances.  Following the game, I heard much speculation that Vazquez should be pulled from the rotation for his next start (Friday night in Boston).  I think it is still too early to give up on Vazquez.  He is too talented and I think he’ll work through this difficult stretch.  No good would be gained by pulling Vazquez and it would be very damaging to the pitcher’s psyche.

 

 

Javier Vazquez Yankees White Sox

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

 

With today’s win, the Yankees have now captured 7 of their first 8 series this season.  At 16-8, they are still in second place, 1 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.   All things considered, I feel good about where the team is as we head into May.  I feel very confident that players like Teixeira, Vazquez, and Nick Johnson will start playing to the levels we’ve been accustomed to.  The rotation is solid, despite Vazquez, so if he comes around, it could be a very dominating staff. 

 

The Yankees now await the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx for a series beginning Monday night.  The O’s know they can beat the Yankees and they are fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox so they’ll be coming to town with newfound confidence.  It should be a good series.  After the O’s depart on Wednesday, the Yankees will head to Fenway Park for a weekend series against the Red Sox.

 

 

Orioles complete sweep of Red Sox with 3-2 win

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

Speaking of Yankees-Red Sox, Julia of Julia’s Rants fulfilled her part of the wager for the loss of the first season series between the two teams.  Her punishment was reading Dawn of a Dynasty:  The Incredible and Improbably Story of the 1947 New York Yankees by Frank Strauss.  You’ll find her excellent book report here.

 

 

 

 

Excellent job Julia!  You get an A+!  J

 

 


A Plus.JPG 

 

For our next wager, we have opted to add a sense of adventure.  If the Red Sox lose the series, Julia will be forced to search for an inexpensive piece of Yankee memorabilia.  It can’t be something current and easy to find.  It must be older and relate to the opposing team’s past.  The loser will detail the adventure on their blog, along with photos of the journey and the piece of memorabilia found.  If I lose, I will have to search the San Francisco area for Red So memorabilia.  Here’s to hoping for a most excellent adventure in Julia‘s future!

 

 

 

 

 

Good luck to QB Ryan Perrilloux!  He had a tryout at the Minnesota Vikings mini-camp this weekend.  Hopefully, his performance will net a contract so he can continue his audition in training camp.  There would be nothing better than grabbing a clipboard to study under Brett Favre (assuming that Favre returns as expected).   

 

 

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune

Cano Singles A-Rod Home for the Winning Run!…

 

Is Robby Cano ready for the spotlight?…

 

 

 

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

 

There has been much talk in recent days about Manager Joe Girardi’s expressed belief that Robinson Cano may be ready to move up to fifth in the batting order behind Alex Rodriguez.  I agree with those who feel that 2010 will be a breakout season for Cano.  So, I am in favor of the move.  I do feel that Curtis Granderson will see marked improvement against lefties thanks to the tutelage of batting coach Kevin Long, however, it is now time for Cano to shine.  I think Robby will prosper in the middle of the order, and A-Rod, Tex and others will be very appreciative…

 

 

AP

 

Well, it appears that Alfredo Aceves has become the frontrunner for the back end of the starting rotation.  I like Aceves and there is no question that he’s pitched marvelously this spring.  He would be fine as the #5 starter, however, I still think the Yankees should give the job to Phil Hughes.  If Hughes fails during the season, then switch to Aceves.  Nothing against Ace, but I feel that Hughes has ‘front of the rotation’ stuff.  He might not be the ace, but he can certainly be a solid #2 or #3 if he realizes his potential.  Regardless of how this plays out, it appears that Joba Chamberlain is headed back to the pen and I think that’s a huge plus for the Yankees.  As Julia Roberts would say, “HUGE!”…

 

 


Julia Roberts.JPG 

 

 

 

The Yankees have experimented a couple of times with Curtis Granderson in left, and Brett Gardner in center.  Assuming that Gardner can hit well enough to hold the position, that’s the alignment I like most (with Nick Swisher in right).  But if Gardner fails, the next best thing would be Randy Winn in left, Grandy in center, and Swish in right.  I like Gardner’s speed and how disruptive he can be on base, so hopefully, his bat catches up with the rest of his game this year.

 

 

 

AP

 

It has been rumored for weeks but it was good to see Kevin Towers join the Evil Empire as a special assignment scout.  I held Towers in high regard when he was GM of the San Diego Padres.  There is no doubt he’ll get another GM opportunity but until then, the Yankees can leverage his talent, knowledge and expertise.  It’s a win-win situation for both sides.  Welcome to New York, Kevin!  We’re glad to have you on our side!

 

 

Larry Goren/Icon SMI

 

 

My friend Julia alerted me to a sad story.  Good for her; bad for me.  I have always had much respect for Irish tenor Ronan Tynan.  There was nothing like hearing his rendition of ‘God Bless America’ at Yankee Stadium.  Dismissed by the Yankees in the post-season after he allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks, Ronan relocated to Boston earlier this month.  At a gathering of Boston politicians on Sunday, Tynan pulled on a Red Sox jersey.  I was dismayed at the news but I do hope that Ronan finds happiness and respect in Beantown.  He’ll be missed…

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Julia, it seems that our first wager might involve a book assignment.  If I were to lose…which of course won’t happen…I would have to read a Red Sox-themed book chosen by Julia.  After reading the book within a preset time period, I would have to devote a blog to writing a review of the book.  We’ll work out the details in the coming weeks but it should be a fun year in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.  Well, at least until the Tampa Bay Rays kick both of our teams’ “arses”!  ;)

 

 

 

I was a bit disappointed when LaDainian Tomlinson spurned the Minnesota Vikings to sign with the New York Jets.  However, how can I argue with LT’s logic when he says that he wants to live and win in New York City.  That sounds like a terrific combination to me!

 

 

Jets bet on future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, signing aging star to two-year deal.

Miralle/Getty Images

 

 

 

I went to see the Ides of March taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Burbank, CA.  It was a fun experience.  I went to see The Late Show with David Letterman last May, and I’d have to say that The Tonight Show feels less like a cattle call than The Late Show.  Also, Jay is much more personable than Dave, and more willing to laugh at himself.  The Tonight Show set is also more intimate than The Ed Sullivan Theater.  The wait was long (three hours) but it was worth it.  The guests were Terry Bradshaw (so energetic and entertaining, as usual); Kara DioGuardi (much more beautiful and engaging than she appears to be on American Idol); and Ziggy Marley (he does his father proud!).  The only thing that would be better?  Why a repeat Yankees World Championship, of course!

 

 

Alex Rodriguez Mark Teixeira Yankees World Series Game 6

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

 

Everything Will Be OK…

Silence is Golden…


Golden.JPG 

Courtesy:  

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5167719

Okay, it has been incredibly quiet around the Yankees Universe since they acquired pitcher Javier Vazquez late last year.  But all things considered, I think that GM Brian Cashman has the team exactly where he wants them.  There is much discussion about left field, but really, a platoon of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann is not necessarily a bad thing.  Or perhaps Colin Curtis makes major strides in training camp.  Regardless, the Yankees are in good shape regardless of what happens in left.  In fact, it was just last April when the Yankees broke camp with Gardner as their starting center fielder.  They now have a centerfielder who can match Johnny Damon’s lost production, so why not take a chance on Gardner in left?  If he could improve his on-base percentage, he would be a terror on the base paths.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Growing up, it always seemed as though owner George Steinbrenner would purposely leak stories about the Yankees to the tabloids just to keep the team in the news.  It has been a new world order since Hal Steinbrenner took over the team, but that doesn’t mean the younger Steinbrenner is any less motivated to win than his father.  He just wants to avoid those foolish long-term contracts that can haunt a team for years.  If greater efficiency ensures the sustainability of the team’s success in recent years, I am all for it.  The late 80’s were not a fun time to be a Yankees fan.

Deaf Dumb Blind.JPG

I am not saying that I wouldn’t be excited if the Yankees and Johnny Damon somehow came to an agreement for 2010, but at this point, I am not counting on it.  I am prepared for the team to move forward with its current cast of players.  I know that if a need develops, they’ll pursue a solution that makes sense for the team. 

 

But I respect Hal Steinbrenner, and I am pleased that he is in charge of the Yankees.  He has shown support for his manager and general manager, and he is willing to open the purse strings when it makes sense for the team.  I remember sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium during the 1980’s when fans used to yell negative comments about George Steinbrenner.  Somehow, I don’t think that will happen with Hal.  He is not going to run a frivolous organization, but it will be efficient, streamlined, and a winner.  Works for me…

Champs.JPG

On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship with a 34-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys.  The Vikings will face the Saints in New Orleans next weekend.

 

Favre finally prevailed against the Cowboys after compiling a 0-3 record against them in the play-offs while a member of the Green Bay Packers. 

 


Favre Rice.JPGHannah Foslien/AP

 

For me, it was vindication, in part, for the disappointing loss in the Hail Mary game of December 1975.


Hail Mary.JPG 

The Vikings have a tough match-up against the Saints, particularly considering that it is an away game.  The Vikings have been invincible at home, but on the road, they’ve met mixed results.  In facing the Saints, they’ll see a familiar player in former Viking safety Darren Sharper.  Sharper and Favre were teammates in Green Bay, but now Sharper stands in Favre’s way for a trip to the Super Bowl.

 

After the game against the Cowboys, a friend sent me the following “prayer”.  I don’t know who wrote it but it is excellent:

 

Our Favre-ther who art in Mississippi, hallowed be thy name.  Thy bowl will come, it will win, in Miami as it is in the Dome.  Give us this Sunday, our weekly win.  Give us touchdown passes, but do not let others pass against us.  Lead us not into frustration but deliver us to the Super Bowl.  For thyne is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and the glory of the Purple People Eaters now and forever…

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

 

Good luck to the guys in purple, but seriously, I am ready for some baseball…

Jeter is honored in Tickertape parade held in honor of New York Yankees' World Series win in New York

UPI

P.S.  Contrary to what Julia may think, ‘Yankees Suck’ did not win Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat through a write-in campaign!  ;)

Scott

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