Results tagged ‘ Celtics ’

Time To Break The Ice…

 

On Tuesday, the Yankees were on top of the world
after defeating Doc Halladay and the Phillies…



Roy Halladay Yankees Phillies reax home run

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger


 

Since then, all they have managed to do is to lose
the series to the Phillies and allow the New York Mets to win their 8th
game in a row.  I am not quite sure how
you can from clubbing one of the best pitchers in baseball today to a total
inability to score runs.  Good pitching
beat good hitting, I know.   But still,
the Yankees have had their opportunities but the clutch hit just hasn’t come.

 

Hats off to Javier Vazquez’s performance on Friday
night despite the loss to the Mets.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run.  For the past month, he has been the team’s
most consistent pitcher.  Too bad the
bats weren’t there to support him.  I was
one of many who were booing Javy early in the season, but like they say, we
wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care.  This is
the Javy that we had expected to see, and hopefully, this will be the Javy that
will take us to October.



New York Yankees pitchers like Javier Vazquez (r.) recently are taking losses due to a lack of run support from Alex Rodriguez (b.) and the rest of the Bombers lineup.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Last night’s bullpen was disappointing.  Chan Ho Park and Boone Logan allowed the Mets
to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0. 
The Yankees still had their chances which included bringing the tying
run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th.  Granted, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher failed
to bring home any runs, but if the gap had been closer, it is possible that the
players would not have been trying so hard and could have made something
happen. 

 

Despite the losses, the Yankees remain tied atop
the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays who have encountered their own rough
patch.  The only team winning these days
is the Boston Red Sox who have crept to within one game of the lead (two in the
loss column). 

 

Today will be the battle of 9-1 pitchers as Phil
Hughes will face the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey. 
Pelfrey is 1-0 in this match-up so far this season so hopefully Phil
will be able to exact revenge.  It would
be great for him to reach 10 wins today.


 

Phil Hughes

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger



Another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and yet
another win!  We had bet on the NBA
Finals…Los Angeles Lakers versus Boston Celtics.  My state against hers.  Julia was so confident throughout the
series.  She was sure the Celtics were
going to win the championship in six games. 
She kept ranting that the Celtics would capture their 18th
NBA championship.  She insisted that the
Lakers would not win and that Kobe Bryant would not be the MVP.  Hey, Julia, how did that work out for
ya?  ;)



After title time comes decision time for Lakers

LA Times

 

As a result of the loss, Julia is now obligated to
post photos of herself on her blog wearing the newest addition to her collection…a
Lakers championship locker room t-shirt. 
The t-shirt was ordered through the Lakers website while the locker room
celebration was underway.  I knew that
Julia would be very anxious to get her new shirt.  She wouldn’t want to miss out on the
celebration of the LA Lakers as the 2010 NBA Champions!  Enjoy Julia!  I look forward to the Lakers post on your blog!  :)


Title

P.S.  The Lakers now have 16 NBA Championships.  Isn’t that just one less than the Celtics?  Well, that’s what we have next year for!  Go Lakers!  


–Scott

The Machine is Moving Again!…

 

When the season started, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes were 4th and 5th in the starting rotation.  It’s the 2nd of June, and both pitchers stand with 7-1 marks.  Given the struggles that Javier Vazquez has experienced and to a lesser degree, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes are the primary reasons the Yankees are in the thick of the AL East chase.  With Vazquez starting to pitch much better and knowing that Burnett and Sabathia will come around, the pitching potential for the remainder of the year is very bright. 

 

Today’s game was an all-around team effort as most of the starters played a role in scoring.  Mark Teixeira was 0-for-5 but it was a success to have him on the field given the ball he took off the foot yesterday causing him to exit that game prematurely.  Hughes went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits while striking out 7 in the 9-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  Chad Gaudin pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief. 

 

The game also marked the return of Jorge Posada who was penciled in at DH.  Posada was 1-for-3 with a run scored. 

 

The hitting star of the game was, of course, Robinson Cano.  Robby went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s.   He also hit his 12th home run of the season in the 7th inning.  He is batting .373 for the season and has been superb batting 5th behind Alex Rodriguez in the batting order. 

 

Both Boston and Tampa won again tonight?  Bummer! 

 

In a statement of the obvious, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw the third perfect game of the season even if the record books won’t show it.  Unfortunately, first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call in the 9th inning when he ruled Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first even though Miguel Cabrera’s toss to Galarraga beat Donald to the bag.  Galarraga settled for the one-hitter, but it was the perfect game with the imperfect umpire.  “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” the ump said after the game. “I thought he beat the throw.  I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

 

I was saddened to see Ken Griffey, Jr.’s decision to retire today.    Until he left Seattle for Cincinnati, Junior was on track to have a historic career.  Injuries took their toll on Griffey during the Cincinnati years and he was never the same.  He departs with 630 career home runs, but he would have been in the land of Ruth, Aaron and Bonds had he stayed healthy.  I wish Junior the very best in his post-playing career.  Thanks for the memories! 

 

Well, it is once again time for another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  We had hoped for a Stanley Cup Final involving her Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks.  However, both teams fell victim to the number 4 in their respective conference finals.  The Sharks were swept 4 games to none by the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Bruins blew a 3 games to none lead on the Philadelphia Flyers.  Nevertheless, our respective NBA teams have made it to the finals so it gives us the opportunity to place another bet.  Besides Julia needs a team other than the Red Sox if she ever hopes to win a wager again!  ;)  Seriously, if the Boston Celtics win the championship, I will be the not-so-proud recipient of a Celtic championship t-shirt and of course proof will have to appear on my blog.   If the Los Angeles Lakers win, Julia will be seen wearing a purple and gold championship Lakers t-shirt.  For me, this is about revenge given the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics two years ago.  Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous career, but he needs a championship victory over Boston to add to his legacy.  So, here’s hoping that Kobe and the gang are victorious in their championship drive!  Let’s go Lakers! 

 

–Scott

It’s Just Another Manic Monday…

 

 

  

 

Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he has learned about life in three words.  “It goes on”…

 

 


Think Happy.JPG 

 

 

It was one of those days for the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday.  The Yankees had controlled the majority of the game after a Randy Winn triple in the bottom of the 2nd inning had given them an early 2-1 lead.

 

Sergio Mitre did everything asked of him as he went 5 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 1 run.  David Robertson, who has been struggling, came on in relief of Mitre and was effective for two innings.

 

 

Sergio Mitre pitched one-run ball through five innings.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

So, the Yankees had the perfect formula for victory (Chamberlain + Rivera), right?  Wrong.  Joba allowed the first batter to reach base during the top of the 8th inning when Denard Span singled.  Following a fielder’s choice which left Orlando Hudson at first, Joe Mauer walked.  Joba struck out the next batter (Justin Morneau), and it looked as though he might escape the inning without any further damage.  Unfortunately, an infield single by Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases and ended Joba’s afternoon.  Manager Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save.  Mo quickly fell behind the first batter he faced (Jim Thome) and eventually walked him to bring in a run (closing the Yankees lead to 3-2).  Mo was unable to shut the door as the next hitter, Jason Kubel, smashed a grand slam to right to give the Twins the lead, 6-3.

 

 

Mariano Rivera shows his frustration after giving up an 8th inning game-winning grand slam to the Twins' Jason Kubel.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

 

Jason Kubel Twins grand slam Mariano Rivera Yankees

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th and had the first two men on base.  But Twins closer Jon Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to end the game.

 

This was a very disappointing loss.  The Yankees have had great success against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and had won the first two games of this series.  A win today would have put a psychological knife into the Twins or the very least would have given them doubts about their ability to win at the Stadium in October.  For the Twins, it was a huge win and it lifted the monkey off their backs.  Prior to the game, former Twins great Bert Blyleven labeled it as a “must win”

 

 

Star Tribune

 

So, the weekend ends on a down note for the Yankees as they await the arrival of their fiercest rival, the Boston Red Sox, for a two-game series in the Bronx starting on Monday.

 

 

 

 

Of course, Yankees-Red Sox can only mean one thing.  It’s time for another wager between me and my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants.  For the latest wager, the loser must write a blog about the opposing team’s first World Series victory.  If the teams split the series, the winner will be the team with the highest run total.  The Red Sox did lose today to Johnny Damon and the Detroit Tigers so neither the Yanks or Sox carry any momentum into the latest series.

 

 


No Momentum.JPG 

 

 

The Yankees received some bad news when it was announced that DH Nick Johnson may need wrist surgery.  They’ll first try a cortisone shot, but if it doesn’t work, surgery will be the next option which would most likely shelf Johnson until August.  This is exactly what Yankee fans had feared when Johnson signed with the Yanks during the off-season as Johnny Damon’s replacement.  GM Brian Cashman says that Johnson’s injury potential was taken into consideration, however, it doesn’t appear that there is a solid Plan B in place.  I like the lineup with Posada at DH and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, however, that may or may not be a good long term solution.  I’d prefer more of a sure thing (trade for Johnny Damon?), but unfortunately, the trade market will not be open until July (or June at the earliest).

 

 

Tigers designated hitter Johnny Damon steals second as Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias applies the late tag during the fourth inning of the Tigers' 8-4 win Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Brandon Wade/AP

 

 

It was a particularly tough sports day for me today as the San Jose Sharks lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.  I am sure that if I need to hear some positive sports news, Julia will be more than happy to tell me all about the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals…  L

 

San Jose Mercury News

 

 

The day did have a great start for me before the games began.  I participated in the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco.  The run started near the Bay by Embarcadero and headed west (up the Hayes Street Hill and through Golden Gate Park) to the Pacific Ocean. 

 

 

 


Bay to Breakers Intro.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle 

 

In San Francisco, you have to be prepared to see just about anything…and I did!  Many runners (and walkers) chose to wear costumes while some opted for nothing at all.  I took the more conservative and traditional route myself.  I do not know the total headcount but the run was very slow at the beginning and going up the Hayes Street Hill due to the sheer volume of people. 

 

 

Bay to Breakers 1.JPG

 

 

Hayes Street Hill.JPG

 

 

Bay Breakers 2.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle

 

Personally.  I accomplished my modest goal of running the race inside of an hour.  It was a fun and very enjoyable day…well, at least until the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium!

 

–Scott

 

 

 

Motor City Misery…

 

The string comes unwound…

 

 

Unwound.JPG

 

The Yankees had been successful in every season series this year except for their trip to Anaheim, CA, but the string of success came to a resounding thud in Detroit.  The Tigers were victorious in winning 3 of 4 games against the Yankees.

 

 

Sancya/AP

 

 

The Tigers took a close game on Monday, 5-4, when a late Yankees rally fell short.  Tuesday was rained out, so the team played two the next day.  Despite a strong performance by Javier Vazquez (his best of the season, by far), the Yanks fell 2-0 in the first game.  They rebounded in the nightcap behind a very strong performance by Phil Hughes, which is rapidly becoming “the norm” for #65.  The game was close most of the way until the Yankees scored 6 runs in the 9th to win, 8-0. 

 

 

New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes collects eight strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings.

Burleson/AP

 

 

In the getaway game, the Yanks were shut out for the second time in three games, 6-0.  The game was highlighted by a disappointing outing by CC Sabathia.

 

 

CC Sabathia surrenders six runs on nine hits as the Tigers blast the Bombers 6-0 and become just the second team to win a series from the Yankees.

Burleson/AP

 

Tonight, the Yankees are back in the Bronx for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. 

 

As it stands right now, I am concerned about the team.  Andy Pettitte pitches on Saturday and there is uncertainty regarding his health.  He has missed a start due to elbow stiffness and it would not be realistic to expect his high level of performance in April to continue. 

 

The rainout in Detroit, forcing Javier Vazquez to pitch on Wednesday, has pushed Javy’s next start back a day so Sergio Mitre will start Sunday against the Twins.

 

My biggest concern is the ongoing health challenges the team has faced.  For awhile, it seemed as though every win was accompanied by an injury.  I know the Yankees spare no expense, but at times, I do wonder about the team’s strength and conditioning program.   It is a completely unsubstantiated remark, but the constant little injuries do make you wonder what the cause might be. 

 

Curtis Granderson is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but he has yet to begin running again.  He is scheduled to do some light running this weekend, and has been vigorously working out.  However, if he hasn’t started running, it does not appear he’ll be back immediately.  Nothing against Marcus Thames, Randy Winn or Greg Golson, but I’d prefer to see those guys coming off the bench…not starting in the outfield.

 

Other Yankees have been dinged up…Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, et al.  Chan Ho Park and Alfredo Aceves are on the DL with Granderson, although Park is expected back soon.

 

A trip to October always includes a bit of luck so hopefully the Yanks will be able to overcome these string of injuries without losing too much ground to the Tampa Bay Rays…or let the dreaded Boston Red Sox catch up.

 

 

 

On the bright side (for me), the San Jose Sharks will soon begin the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup.  I had hoped for a Stanley Cup collision against my friend, Julia, but unfortunately, her Boston Bruins let a 3 games to none lead slip away.  That also included a 3-0 lead in Game 7.  So close Julia, “but so far away”.  Sorry, my friend.  At least we still have hope in the NBA play-offs as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are in their respective conference finals.  So, we’ll have to hope for Lakers-Celtics in the finals, with a Sharks-Bruins match-up just a dream for future years.

 

 

 

Playing Musical Chairs…

Ready, set, go!…

 

 


Musical Chairs.JPG 

 

 

It’s the start of free agency, and teams now have the right to negotiate with available free agents as teams’ exclusive rights period ended Thursday night.  Of course, there were no significant signings on Friday, but activity should pick up in the coming weeks. 

 

The big three for the Yankees are obviously Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui.  Regardless of what other moves the Yanks have in mind for their rotation, I feel very strongly they should bring back Andy assuming that he wants to come back for another season.  Had he not gone to Houston for three years, Andy would potentially be in position to challenge Whitey Ford for the Yankees record for most career wins (The Chairman of the Board holds the record with 236 wins, while Andy stands at 229 career wins with the Yankees and Astros).  Andy may never reach Ford’s Yankees record, however he still has the chance to reach the 200 win milestone wearing pinstripes, needing just 8 more wins.  I think Andy is very proud of his Yankees legacy, and I do expect to see him back in the Bronx next season.

 

 

Adrien Veczan/Reuters

 

 

I would like to see the team re-sign Johnny Damon.  The only thing about Damon that concerns me is his arm-strength in left field.  Otherwise, he is still playing the game like a young man despite his age (36).  He simply makes things happen and his double-steal in the World Series was classic but typical Damon-like.  The Yankees would be wise to allow Damon to return next year on a two year deal.

 

 

Elise Amendola/AP

 

 

As much as I like Hideki Matsui and how great his timely hits have been, I see this as the end of his career in the Bronx.  Since he’s limited to DH, he simply wouldn’t get enough at-bats in the coming seasons with the need to increase the DH rotation to include older players like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (to allow them more rest from playing the field).

 

 

Stubblebine/Reuters 

 

I am sad to see Xavier Nady go, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any interest on the Yankees’ part to bring him back.  Some team is going to get a high quality guy and if healthy, a productive player.  Of course, that means he’ll probably be signing with Boston any day now…  :(

 

 

 

 

 

The rumor mill regarding Roy Halladay is gaining steam once again.  A free agent after next season, it is very likely that the Toronto Blue Jays will move Doc this off-season rather than wait until the trading deadline.  The list of teams not interested in Doc is probably shorter than the list of team who are.  The Blue Jays will be able to get a King’s ransom for Halladay and it should set them up for a bright future.  Of course, the Yankees and Red Sox are always rumored to be in the mix, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doc go to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Assuming that Frank McCourt isn’t too distracted or financially drained by his divorce proceedings with wife Jamie, the Dodgers need a frontline ace to compete against the Philadelphia Phillies for supremacy in the National League.  The Dodgers have a window of opportunity so they should certainly make every attempt to secure the final pieces of the puzzle in what could be Joe Torre’s last hurrah.

 

 

 

Dunn/Getty Images

 

 

Wow, with 15 wins, Tim Lincecum captured the NL Cy Young Award for the second consecutive year?  I am not trying to take anything away from Lincecum (15-7, 2.48 ERA), but I was surprised.  I know and understand that win total is the one statistic that a pitcher has the least amount of control over, however, I thought that Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals was the deserving choice (he led the NL with 19 wins).  His ERA was slightly higher than Lincecum’s at 2.63, but it was still very good.  You could also argue that Chris Carpenter should have won, as he had a remarkable season (17-4, 2.24 ERA despite missing time with a pulled muscle in his side).  Wainright, 19-8, captured the most first place votes, but finished third behind Lincecum and Carpenter.  I can’t help but think that if Wainright had pitched for the Mets or the Dodgers, he would have won the award.  Even the local Bay Area press was surprised by Lincecum’s win.  I was listening to San Francisco sports talk radio on Friday, and all they could talk about was how long Lincecum’s hair was going to be by Opening Day next season.  Lincecum lead the league in strikeouts with 261, and was second in ERA and third in innings pitched.  If you ask Lincecum which stat is most important, it’s WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).  Timmy finished fourth with a WHIP of 1.047 (behind Dan Haren, Carpenter, and Javier Vazquez).  I am not saying that Lincecum was a bad choice…it was simply unexpected, in my mind.

 

 

Seattle Times

 

 

Hey Julia, I enjoyed reading the Boston Globe this morning…”Out of Synch:  Magic’s Act Again Surprises Celtics”.  Very nice!

 

 

Happy Orlando Magic beat the Celtics in playoff rematch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando Sentinel

 

I am going to see a show by comedian Lisa Lampanelli tonight.  I don’t know anything about her except that she is the so-called “Queen of Mean”.  I found this review of Lisa’s show by Larry the Cable Guy:  “Front row tickets to Lisa’s show are $100, and obstructed view tickets are $150″.  I’ve heard she is very raunchy so I might want to get those obstructed view tickets!  ;)

 

 

 

A Trip Down the Canyon of Heroes…

 

I wish we could do this more often…

 

Josh Haner/The New York Times

 

Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.

 

Alt Text

AP

 

I am right there with ya, Yogi!  Let’s do it again next year!

 

Yankees parade 1

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Yankee Fans Celebrate Their 2009 World Series Champions

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World.  Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.

 

Alt Text

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post 

 

When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible?  A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third  baseman was Cody Ransom.  The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras.  Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa.  And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown.  Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back.  When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.

 

The third baseman's huge hit ties the game up at 3 and the game heads into the 12th.

Antonelli/NY Daily News 

 

The off-season acquisitions were tremendous.  I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country.  I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”.  While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win.  Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry.  Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness.   GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees.  I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.

 

CC Sabathia (l.) celebrates with fans (and Mark Teixeira, r.) along Canyon of Heroes.

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels.  But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat.  We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field.  A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011.  So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it.  His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner. 

 

George Steinbrenner with daughter Jessica at the Yankees' home opener.

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

A few memories from yesterday’s parade…

 

Hideki Matsui at parade 11-06-09

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

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Reuters

 

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Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

 

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Kevin P. Coughlin

 

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Getty Images

 

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Victoria Will/New York Post

 

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Paul Martinka

Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…

 

New York Yankees!

 

Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees celebrate winning their 27th World Series championship, beating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal.  It is a good move on their part.  He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.

 

bobby-abreu.jpg 

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

 

The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins.  What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox?  This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50′s.  Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25.  The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent.  This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.

 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte.  Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte.  I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas.  Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain.  Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks.  However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types.  I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field.  You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…

 

 

I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.

 

Kim Klement/US Presswire

 

 

In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers.  Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday.  I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year.  I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension.  It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.

 

 

The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern.  I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community.   The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season.  They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon.  The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game.  I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat.  Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…

 

 

Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”.  I hope they’re okay!  LOL!  So much for the streak!  J

 

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, foreground, reacts to a foul called on him as Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) looks on during the second half.

Associated Press

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