Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Time To Step It Up…


Whew, a series win!…


The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova.  Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits.  He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.

New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova shuts down the White Sox as the Bombers and Curtis Granderson (below) upend Chicago.



The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4.  It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point.  It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.

New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is 0-9 combined in the months of June and August.



In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win.  They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column. 


The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday.  He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins.  At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.  


Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT

Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and 
Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday. 

New York Yankees third baseman Eduardo Nunez gives thanks after hitting a two-run homer against the Chicago White Sox. Mark Teixeira (b.) is not sure whether he'll play Sunday with a bruised thumb.



I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season.  Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
banned substance. 


It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte.  Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova.   I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of


Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s.  With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup.  As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key


Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night.  He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play. 
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal.  I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial.  Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category.  It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.

Hitting .321 with 45 homers and 120 RBI through Wednesday's action, Albert Pujols is once again in the middle of the NL MVP race.

Scott Rovak/US Presswire


I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays).  But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…




Reset the Record Book!…

Roger Maris, 61 Home Runs*






For years, the asterisk was a negative mark against Roger Maris.  It signified that his record was accomplished in a 162-game schedule whereas Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs occurred when the regular season consisted of only 154 games.  There is no question that the asterisk was unfair to Maris and baseball in general.






However, with the admission by Mark McGwire that he juiced during the record breaking year when he hit 70 home runs, it stands to reason that the asterisk should again be placed by Maris’s record…only this time it should be construed as a positive.  When you look at the guys who have hit more than 61 home runs, all are confessed, proven or highly suspected steroid users (McGwire, Sammy Sosa and current single season HR leader Barry Bonds).  Roger’s mark should stand alone as THE record…accomplished by a player who set the record with natural ability.  Ruth did not have to withstand the incredible pressure that Maris faced in 1961, and of course, Ruth didn’t have to contend with “juicers” breaking his record.  Once and for all, Roger Maris deserves the recognition of being that champion he is. 





I hope that I do not see McGwire, Bonds, or Sosa in the Hall of Fame in my lifetime.  I refuse to be hypocritical, so I will say that the same should apply to Alex Rodriguez.  There are obviously reasons that guys like Ty Cobb, records aside, should not be in the Hall of Fame, but those decisions cannot be undone.  The Hall of Fame can prohibit the entry of any proven or confessed steroid abusers, and I feel very strongly that they should.  I would probably be more willing to consider Pete Rose (well, maybe not while he is still living), but if the Hall can take action against Rose, why can’t the same prohibitions apply to the cheaters of the game? 





I feel the game owes a huge debt of gratitude to the players who stood “clean” in an era of deceit.  Whether it is Derek Jeter, Dwight Evans, Cal Ripken, or Chase Utley, they played the game the right way and deserve special recognition for staying true to the integrity of the game.  Hats off to the good guys…





Time for some non-baseball talk (sorry, there just isn’t much happening in the Yankees Universe)…



Yankees_Country.jpg yankees country image by Ivan1818-roc-


I was surprised to see Pete Carroll jump at the opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks.  Pete has an unsuccessful record as a NFL head coach, and his style of leadership seemed to be best suited for the college level.  USC is certainly one of the plum college coaching jobs, and the departures of top college coaches to the NFL has generally been met with less than desired results.  Granted, I wouldn’t want the job of babysitting the college kids and making sure that they do not do anything to violate NCAA rules, but the USC job seemed like it would be Carroll’s for as long as he wanted it.  I was surprised when John McKay left USC back in the 70’s, and I am equally surprised about Carroll.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to “recruit” the right players to Seattle.




John W. McDonough/SI


Speaking of USC, I was even more shocked that the school was able to land Lane Kiffin as their next coach.  This morning, the breaking news on ESPN was that the school had offered the job to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.  That actually made sense to me since Del Rio doesn’t have that many years left unless he starts to win.  But by the end of the day, Del Rio had announced that he was staying in Jacksonville, and USC had a new coach in Kiffin, who is bringing his father, Monte, along as defensive coordinator.  The school also successfully brought UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow back too.  The loser in this whole ordeal (sorry Rick Neuheisel!) is the University of Tennessee.  They gave a great opportunity to Kiffen when he was dumped by Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders.  He rewarded them with some questionable coaching practices, confrontation with SEC coaches, and a less-than-stellar 7-6 mark.  For $800,000 (payable over 36 months), Kiffin can simply walk away.  Incredible.  Hopefully, Tennessee will rebound with a solid coaching hire, but they didn’t deserve this treatment from Kiffin.  I think I will be a UCLA fan next season (how sick is that?)…



Nick Ut/AP


Given that the San Francisco Giants have signed Aubrey Huff which would potentially keep Pablo Sandoval at third, and Mark DeRosa in left field, the Atlanta Braves appear to be the only viable option outside of the Yankees for free agent Johnny Damon.  Personally, I think the Braves will opt for a less expensive option, so it really means that the Yankees and Damon need to sit down and determine a fair salary that works for both sides.  This is not rocket science.  But of course, the negative factor is agent Scott Boras.  I vote for the removal of Scott Boras from the Scott Club!  😉  Johnny, pick up the phone and call Brian or Hal.  You can get this deal done…



John Munson/Newark Star-Ledger



How many more days until the Yankees beat the Red Sox?  That’s right, I just need to check Julia’s website


I Know, It Was A Gimme…

Off to a great start…


Kathy Willens/AP


The Yankees, as expected, emerged victorious in Game 1 of the ALDS against the high flying Minnesota Twins.  Behind the frontline starting pitching of CC Sabathia, the Yanks took down the Twins, 7-2.


Kathy Willens/AP


The game started slowly with several passed balls and an early 2-0 lead for the sleep-deprived Twins.  But a two-run homer by Mr. November, Derek Jeter, tied the score in the 3rd and the Yanks were off to the races.


Julie Jacobson/AP


Hideki Matsui continued to show the Yankees might be making a mistake in allowing Godzilla and his creaky knees to walk at the end of the season.  Time and again, he has delivered the timely, clutch hits the team has needed.  He did not disappoint on Wednesday night as he came through with a two-run homer in the 5th inning.  Throw in a mixture of Phils (Hughes and Coke), a dash of Joba Chamberlain, and a touch of Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees had the ingredients for success.




The series resumes on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.  Then, the series will move to Minnesota.  As a Vikings fan, I am used to pulling for the home team at the Metrodome, but for a few days next week, I may as well be a Packers fan because I definitely will not be pulling for soon-to-be ex-tenants.  Hopefully, the Yankees will be the team to end the Twins’ Metrodome stay…


To the Twins’ defense, they won an unlikely AL Central division championship in a 12-inning, highly intense play-off game against the Detroit Tigers, celebrated the victory, caught a flight to New York, and stood ready to play at Yankee Stadium less than 20 hours later.  I suspect we’ll see a more relaxed and resilient Twins squad on Friday.  The series is far from over despite the Yankees’ 8-0 record against the Twins this year.  I seem to remember what happened to another ballclub that had an 8-0 record against the Yankees earlier this season…



I had hoped for a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, but it looks as though the Cards will be making an early exit.  They held a 2-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning at Dodger Stadium today when Matt Holliday dropped a liner that would have been the game-ending third out.  It was not meant to be as the extra out allowed the Dodgers to score 2 runs, and steal the victory, 3-2.  The series moves to St. Louis with the Dodgers up, 2 games to none.  In a short series format, I simply do not see any way for the Cards to dig out of their self-imposed hole.


Mark J. Terrill/AP


Of course, it only proves to never underestimate the power of Joe Torre…


Matt Sayles/AP


There is a series in Philly as the Colorado Rockies tied the NLDS at one game apiece with a 5-4 victory over the Phillies today.  They defeated last year’s play-off ace, Cole Hamels.  Hamels left immediately after being pulled to be with his wife, who was delivering the couple’s first child.  All things considered, Cole can be excused for having other things on his mind.  The series resumes in Denver on Saturday.


Mel Evans/AP

This brings us to the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.  Game 1 in Anaheim is underway, and the Angels hold a 3-0 lead in the 7th inning.  Ouch Julia!  What time is it in Boston?  😉  It’s a long night for you unless Big Papi can bring the Sox back in the late innings.  Nevertheless, Julia and I have agreed to a final wager for what will hopefully be the final meeting between the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.  Of course, there are obstacles in the way called the Angels and Twins that could derail our plans.  The winner will be decided by a) the team that advances the furthest into the play-offs, or 2) the winner of a possible head-to-head match-up in the ALCS.  The loser must post photos wearing the winning team’s hat and t-shirt, while holding a sign declaring that the winning team “is better”.  I’m ready, Julia!  How about you?



Back to the Yanks, Jorge Posada needs to back off his criticism of Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett in Game 2.  Burnett and Molina have clicked and Jose helped A.J. end his summer slide in early September.  Jorge, bite your tongue and take one for the team…


Muzzle It.JPG

Nothing Really Matters…until the ALDS…


I don’t like this week…


Cat Dislike.JPG


Since the Yankees clinched the AL East and best league record, they haven’t had anything to play for.




The Yanks presently have 102 wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up as the season total.  With the Yankees relegated to spring training-like intensity, their possible first round opponents are engaged in a ‘knock down, drag out’ battle to the end.  The Tigers have the edge, but tonight the Tigers are losing and the Twins are winning so the 2 game lead may be reduced to 1.  This race will most likely go to the wire, so the winner of the AL Central will come into the AL Division Series at a very high intensity level.


Carlos Guillen#9 (L) Curtis Granderson#28 (C) and Josh Anderson #13 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate their come from behind win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 12-10, at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Carlos Guillen;Curtis Granderson;Josh Anderson

Kevork Djansevian/Getty Images

Jim Mone/AP


Hopefully, the Yanks will be able to kick start their own intensity level when the ALDS begins.  Otherwise, they could get off to a sluggish start.



Well, so much for a 20 win season for CC Sabathia.  Pitching tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, CC lasted just 2 2/3 innings.  He gave up 8 hits and 9 runs (4 of the runs were unearned due to a rare Mark Teixeira error).  It is my hope that the ALDS will feature the August-September version of Sabathia.  But of course, my good friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants) was very quick to note:  “It’s October – I see that CC is getting into playoff form…”.


Chris O’Meara/AP 


I know that CC has a career 7.92 ERA in postseason play, but he does have a chance for redemption.  A win in Game 1 of the ALDS would be a great start…


CC Sabathia shuts down Red Sox with nine strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings as Yankees win, 5-0.

McGrath/Getty Images


Back when Clint Hurdle was fired as manager of the Colorado Rockies, who would have guessed that the Rockies would enter the final weekend with a chance to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Entering tonight’s game between the two teams, the Dodgers hold a slim 2 game lead.  The Dodgers are assured of a playoff spot, but they’ve definitely struggled the second half.  At this point, I’d have to say that I like the St. Louis Cardinals as the eventual National League Champion.  I have always wanted to see a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, so hopefully this is the year.  My first baseball game (in person) featured the Los Angeles Dodgers in St. Louis against the Cardinals, so a Cards-Yanks series is definitely a sentimental choice for me.


The Green Bay Packers travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Monday, so the hype should definitely be building over the next couple of days.  Of course, this won’t be anything like the game in November when the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field, but it will still be strange watching Favre work against the Packers.  Nevertheless, I still think Favre looks strange in purple…