Results tagged ‘ Cleveland ’

Belated Congratulations for the AL East Championship…

 

All hail the Champions…

A quick post to congratulate the New York Yankees for winning the American League East Division Championship on the last day of the season.  Thanks to the Baltimore Orioles’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the division was a foregone conclusion when the Yankees completed their thrashing of the Boston Red Sox.  Still, I am glad that the team won on the day they clinched the division.  A loss on “clinching day” always seems so cheap.

Although it was disappointing the Yankees let a large lead slip, they definitely went into ‘bend but not break’ mode as they held at least a share of first throughout the O’s challenge in the final month of the season.  It was a constant back-and-forth…tied, then Yanks ahead, and then tied again.  But in the end, the team persevered.

A funny thing happened on the way to the World Series…

The big surprise to me on the last day of the season was the Texas Rangers’ failure to withstand a large charge by the Oakland A’s.  I remember looking at the standings in July and writing it off as a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would be the AL West champions.  In my mind, they were still the team to beat in the American League.  While I recognized the A’s had the spirited ‘don’t quit’ mentality, I still viewed them as inferior either the Rangers or the Los Angeles Angels.  This was a team that was throwing Triple A pitchers into the starting rotation in September.  All the way to Game 162, I fully expected the Rangers to take care of business.  But they failed, and were forced to play the one game Wild Card game against the Baltimore Orioles, which they subsequently lost.  Here was the team that was in my mind, the team most likely to go to the World Series and win it, yet they collapsed in the final two most critical weeks of the season.

The Rangers’ loss opens the door for all of the other AL play-off participants to advance to the World Series.  I can’t say there is a clear-cut favorite because even the Yankees, with the best record in the conference, have their share of questions.  The ALDS series format is odd given the first two games of the series will be held in the inferior team’s ballpark.  The Yankees are tied with the O’s late in Game 1 tonight but that always favors the home team with last at-bat.

It was real, it was fun, but it was not real fun…

I am not a Bobby Valentine fan, but I really do believe that firing Valentine was the best case scenario for the Boston Red Sox organization.  As a fan of an opposing team, I’d love for the dysfunction to continue, but the Red Sox fans deserve better.  I subscribe to the adage that ‘to be the best, you have to beat the best’ so I really hope the Red Sox can secure a manager who fits the organization and maximizes the potential and ability of its players.  I still think that recently named Phillies third base coach Ryne Sandberg would be an excellent fit, but maybe it is John Farrell despite the disappointing year in Toronto or other manager.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Respectful of the man who brought two World Championships to Boston…

Speaking of Boston, it was good to see former Red Sox manager Terry Francona return to the game as manager of the Cleveland Indians.  Even when he was the manager of the Red Sox, I had a great deal of respect for Tito.  I have long felt he was one of the game’s truly good guys.  Yes, that final year in Boston did get away from him, but there were so many factors and personalities at play, I feel it is unfair to pin all the blame on Tito.  I am looking forward to seeing what he can do in the Cleveland with his batteries recharged…

A few thoughts on the season…

  • Hey Albert, how did that first year in Los Angeles work out for ya?  Well, at least you have all those mega millions to enjoy your off-season while the team you bailed on continues the defense of its world championship…
  •  Miguel Cabrera has overcome those personal demons, I think…
  • Bryce Harper got the press, but Mike Trout is the stud…
  •  A.J. Burnett proved that he is the latest incarnation of Ed Whitson.  Wilt under the New York spotlight, but thrive in a smaller market with less glare…
  •  Melky Cabrera, disappointment is an understatement.  I respect the San Francisco Giants for their intention to cut ties with the Melk Man.  I really wouldn’t want to be the organization that extends him an olive branch.  In other words, I do not want to see Melky back in the Bronx.
  • How many more years are left on A-Rod’s contract?  Geesh, Jeter continues to pay dividends on his contract at age 38, while A-Rod just keeps making me think of that old Dire Straits’ tune “Money For Nothing”…
  • The Atlanta Braves may have made a quiet departure with their Wild Card loss to St. Louis, but there’s no question that the Braves will continue to be a force with those young pitchers…
  • Oh, Philadelphia Phillies, where for art thou?…
  • The American League Houston Astros?  That sounds so wrong!  But then again, I have finally accepted the Milwaukee Brewers as a National League team so I guess we’ll have to re-visit this in a few years…
  • Trade Ivan Nova and re-sign Hiroki Kuroda…that sounds like a good plan to me!…

I know there’s many more thoughts regarding the 2012 season, but these were a few that immediately came to mind.  It was a fun season and continues to be as we move forward in the AL and NL divisional series.  The idea of two Wild Card teams per league was a success, and win or lose, it was the right thing to do.  There was drama and intrigue up until the last day of the season, and no team “mailed it in”.  I still have too many questions about my own team to anoint them as the AL representative for the World Series.  As of the present moment, my best guess is a “Sparky Anderson” World Series…The Cincinnati Reds versus the Detroit Tigers.  Obviously, I’d prefer to see the Yankees and I hope they prove me wrong about their pitching and clutch hitting…

Ah, October baseball, I love this time of year!

 

–Scott

 

 

Forgiving Damon for that 2004 homer…

 

Sayonara, old friends…

This was a sad week for former Yankees stars as Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon were designated for assignment by their respective teams (Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians).  Matsui has subsequently been released and Damon’s release is imminent.  I doubt that either player will be picked up at this point in the season so it is most likely the sunset of both careers.

For Matsui, I think his original plan was to only play in the United States for three years but I am grateful that he extended his stay. He may not have been the “monster” player that he was in Japan (a/k/a Godzilla), but he knew and understood the power of the timely hit.  Time and again, Matsui had a key hit to propel the Yanks to victory.  He always seemed to rise to the occasion in the intense Boston-New York wars.  In terms of character, he could easily stand in the same room with guys like Derek Jeter.

It hasn’t been fun watching Matsui wear Angels, A’s, and Rays jerseys, but he will always be Yankee.

As for Damon, it is ironic that a player who played such a key role in the Red Sox breaking ‘The Curse of the Bambino’, plus the entire Caveman image, could become a valued Yankee.  Unlike Matsui, I won’t view Damon as a “Yankee” given his long tenure and success with other teams, but for his time in New York, he showed nothing but class and dignity.  Like Matsui, he was a clutch player who seemed to excel in the bright lights.

Introducing Billy Beane’s latest star pitcher…

With the apparent end of two great careers this week, I saw the opposite on a plane trip from Portland, OR to Oakland on Thursday.  The guy I was sitting next to was excited to be flying to Oakland to see his son, Dan Straily, make his major league pitching debut for the A’s on Friday night.  He was proud to say that his son led all of baseball in strikeouts, and talked about the hard work his son had accomplished to get to this point.  For the game, Straily didn’t figure in the decision, but his performance was a success:

 

Oakland Athletics
Pitchers

IP

 H

 R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

ERA

D Straily

6.0

5

1

1

1

5

0

102-70

1.50

 

The A’s won the game, 5-4, in 15 innings.  I am sure that we’ve not seen the last of Mr. Straily.  Here’s hoping this is the start of a long and memorable career for Straily, his father and the rest of their family.

When in doubt, pick up a Pirate…

While the trading deadline was very active compared to recent years, it was another quiet period for the Yankees.  As the now fiscally conservative Yankees had been preaching, they did not make any moves for expensive, short-term rentals.  They picked up a need (third baseman Casey McGehee) to ensure that backup third baseman Eric Chavez is not over exposed to playing time while starter Alex Rodriguez is on the DL.  It’s a shame that Chavez is such an injury risk at this stage of his career, but I agree that it is best to limit his playing time for the good of his long-term health.

I thought the Yanks might try to make a move for a pitcher (someone like Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza) but it was clear that they would not overpay.  Time will tell if they made the right decisions, but I still have concerns about the team’s offense in the play-offs when every pitcher they face will be a #1 or #2 starter.  But September should see the return of top pitcher Andy Pettitte and a fresh Alex Rodriguez so perhaps those will be the team’s noteworthy “acquisitions” that boost team momentum.

Magic seems to be enjoying his new hobby…

The Los Angeles Dodgers have clearly re-emerged as a force in baseball with the new ownership group as they were the most active team in acquiring upgrades over the past couple of weeks (Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton).  I guess they’ve gotten over the reign of Frank McCourt and have shown that they are back in the game.  The San Francisco Giants are a strong team, but I think the Dodgers’ moves will help propel them past the Giants to the NL West pennant.  Good for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly who remains one of my favorite guys in Major League Baseball.

Nothing but crickets…

I was surprised the Boston Red Sox didn’t make any moves.  If there was a team that I had expected to make noise at the trading deadline, it was the Sox.  I don’t think they should give up quality guys like Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester, but there were moves they could have made to give the team a jolt.  I may not be a fan of the Red Sox so I might be biased in making this comment, but I hope that this is a ‘one and done’ season for Boston manager Bobby Valentine.

We’ve moved into August and the Yankees hold a 6 ½ game advantage at the moment, but admittedly, it’s hard to get comfortable when that team in the rear view mirror is the Tampa Bay Rays.  The next couple of months should be interesting.  Let’s win this thing!…

–Scott

 

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx!…

 

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx reminds me of Tommy John for some reason…

Welcome to New York, Hiro!  It was a terrific debut at Yankee Stadium for #2 starter Hiroki Kuroda, as he shut down the Los Angeles Angels, 5-0 in the team’s 2012 home opener.  The Angels, historically, play the Yankees very well in New York, so Kuroda’s performance was significantly more impressive than if it had come against a team like the Minnesota Twins.  Obviously, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is not going to pitch like this every time out, but I do feel more confident in the #2 slot in the rotation than I did when it was held by A.J. Burnett.

The game also marked the 630th home run by Alex Rodriguez, which tied him with his former teammate, Ken Griffey, Jr.  The script couldn’t have been written any better for a marvelous day in New York.

A proud day for a Yankees legend and his father…

It was also a very classy move to have Jorge Posada throw out the first pitch, which is the good karma that set the stage for the wonderful day.  I am sure that it was a thrill for Jorge to throw the pitch to his father.  I lost my own father as a child, but who doesn’t love the scene in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner plays catch with his father.  It has to be an absolute thrill, and I am sure that it was for Jorge as his father was able to take the field at Yankee Stadium.  I had heard the Yankees wanted Mariano Rivera to catch Posada’s throw, but Jorge wanted his dad.  You certainly cannot find fault in his decision.  Mariano’s day will come.  Both players have reservations for Monument Park.

DL-R-Us…

I was sorry to see the injury suffered by Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.  The word is that he’ll be out 6-8 weeks with the shoulder injury he suffered during Boston’s home opening day win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  Boston may be a fierce rival, but I take so satisfaction in seeing the loss of one of their better players.  To be the best, you have to beat the best which means that I want Boston and Tampa to have their best players on the field.  The Red Sox probably have more dollars committed to guys on the DL than the team payrolls for a number of teams in major league baseball, with the likes of John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and Bobby Jenks currently disabled.

Hopefully, Ellsbury will make a smooth and speedy recovery, and will be back on the field soon.

The team name on Damon’s jersey should come with Velcro…

I know it’s a paycheck but it seems like Johnny Damon will have played with every team in the AL by the time he’s finished.  He’s been with so many teams, I honestly can’t say what team he should be remembered for.  Maybe Boston because of the Caveman look and helping them secure their first World Series win in a century, maybe the Royals because that’s where he got his start, who knows.  I can’t look at him and say that ‘he’s forever a Yankee’ because his time was too brief and now it’s too watered down with other teams.  Damon as a Cleveland Indian just seems strange.  If Cleveland is out by July, I am sure that Damon will be moved to a contender, adding yet another team.  Or Damon doesn’t get enough at-bats and opts out of his Cleveland deal, and heads elsewhere.  Regardless, he just seems like a rent-a-player at this point.  Maybe MLB should incorporate 10-day contracts like the NBA…

Purple People are better…

I am looking forward to the upcoming NFL Draft.  The Minnesota Vikings, with the third selection and the top two picks already pre-determined, have some tough choices to make.  I’ve been in favor of OT Matt Kalil, but an argument can be made for WR Justin Blackmon or CB Morris Claiborne.  I thought it was interesting when Colts owner Jim Irsay made comments that teams interested in QB Ryan Tannehill should talk to the Vikings about their #3 pick.  I have not followed the story closely enough to understand his motivation, but I’d prefer to see the Vikings hang on to the pick (despite the opportunity to add more picks) given the strength of the talent available.  I am sure the Miami Dolphins are drooling over the idea of nabbing Tannehill so I guess it would depend upon how desperate they are to make a move.  Unless the Vikings are overwhelmed, I want to see Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne wearing purple at a mini-camp coming soon.

Actually, it’s hard to believe that we are already starting to talk about football again.  It seems like the season just ended.  But then again, it’s hard to believe that the 2012 MLB Season is well underway.  It should be a fun sports year for all…

–Scott

 

Just Win, Baby!…

 

What a difference a day makes!…


Happy.JPG

 

Of course, the Yankees could have used a few of
those runs on Tuesday night, but at least they were facing a proven major
league pitcher (Fausto Carmona) which they definitely have greater success
against than unproven, unknown rookies. 

 

The Yankees got the scoring going early, building
up to a 6-0 lead after just three innings, and then coasted to the 8-0 win
against the Indians in Cleveland. 
Another night, another homerless evening for Alex Rodriguez who remains
stuck on 599.  It would be nice for him
to just hit the home run so that he’d stop pressing so hard. 



0728gamer.JPG

Andrew Weber/US Presswire

 

It was also a great pitching performance by the
hotheaded A.J. Burnett, who managed to avoid a meltdown in throwing scoreless
ball for 6 1/3 innings (he gave up 7 hits and 3 walks, while striking out
7). 

 

I did think that it was a good idea to bring in
Joba Chamberlain in the 7th inning despite the 8 run lead.  He needs to build his confidence back up
again, and become the pitcher that we know he can be.  The 8th inning went to starter
reject Sergio Mitre as manager Joe Girardi continued to experiment with the
bullpen.   Mitre was effective with two
strikeouts as he retired the 3 batters he faced in the 8th, although
he did struggle somewhat in the 9th (allowing two baserunners
through a hit and a walk).  But he did
end the game on a swinging strikeout.   I
think he’s definitely better in spots than as a starting pitcher, so perhaps he’s
found a niche.  His replacement in the
rotation, Dustin Moseley, starts against the Indians tomorrow in the getaway
game.  Hopefully, Dustin will enjoy
greater success than Mitre did in the last start. 

 

Despite the Yankees’ win, they failed to pick up
any ground on either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Boston Red Sox as both team won
today.  The pressure will be on the
Yankees tomorrow night, especially if the Rays win their earlier game against
the Tigers.  The Rays are presently two
games back in the AL East, so they could be within a game after tomorrow’s
results.  The Red Sox, 7 games back, are
idle. 


Red Sox Fan 2.JPG

 


I can’t say that there have been many trade
speculations this week that I have been excited about, but I agree with Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues about the potential of adding Adam Dunn to
the lineup at DH.  His swing would be a
great fit for Yankee Stadium, and unlike Nick Johnson, he is someone that can
be counted on to be around when October rolls around.  He would also provide great protection for
Robinson Cano in the batting order.  I
think Dunn and a solid reliever would make the July trading deadline a huge
success for the Yanks. 



Adam Dunn Adam Dunn #44 of the Washington Nationals poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 21, 2009 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Adam Dunn

Doug Benc/Getty Images



I want to send out my best wishes for former
Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf who was hit in the face on a ball hit by
Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki.  The line
drive hit which struck the right side of Ohlendorf’s face occurred in the first
inning of tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado
Rockies.  Ohlendorf remained upright and
never lost consciousness.  He underwent
further tests after the incident, but hopefully, all is well and he’ll be back
in the Pirates rotation soon.



Chris Schneider/AP


–Scott



Help Wanted: Pitcher to Beat Yankees; No Experience Necessary…


Do you want to beat the New York Yankees?…



Rookie.JPG

 


Just call up a pitcher to make his major league
debut and he is assured of getting his first major league victory against the
Yanks.  Put Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett,
Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke and others on the mound, and the Yankees have a great
chance at winning.  Put Cleveland’s Josh
Tomlin on the mound, and it’s lights out Yankees.  I don’t get why the team has always struggled
so much against the unknown pitchers. 
Surely, the Scouting Department has a portfolio on minor league
pitchers.  For whatever reason, no info
is getting conveyed to the Yankee hitters.



Mystery.JPG

 


The 25-year-old Tomlin simply pitched much better
than 13-game winner  CC Sabathia, as the
Indians rolled over the Yankees, 4-1.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 earned run; he struck out 2.  CC, on the other hand, gave up 9 hits in 7
innings, and allowed 4 runs abeit 2 earned. 
He also walked 3 while striking out 5. 



 


Alex Rodriguez put another goose egg on the scoreboard
(0-for-4) in his attempt to reach 600 home runs.  He could have been a hero in the 9th
inning.  A home run with two outs would
have tied the game, but unfortunately, he hit into a fielder’s choice to end
the game.  Today was A-Rod’s 35th
birthday, but I am sure that the post-game celebration will be subdued.



 


It was a disappointing loss, which was definitely a
team effort.  I guess the flight from New
York City to Cleveland was too much. 
Hopefully, the players will come out on Tuesday ready to play. 

 

A sore left knee scratched Jorge Posada from the
lineup tonight.  I’d really like to see
Jorge take the necessary time to fully recover before he attempts to play
again.  The Yankees don’t need to go into
September with a questionable Posada. 

 

The Yankees lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL
East has dropped to just two games as the Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers
again tonight (following yesterday’s no-hitter by Matt Garza, the first in Rays
history).



Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza celebrates his no-hitter against the Tigers on Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Jason Behnken/The Tampa Tribune

 


It doesn’t seem like the Yankees are getting
anywhere on trade rumors.  Their latest
speculated target, Royals closer Joakim Soria, apparently has the Yankees on
his no-trade list.  I am not expecting a
blockbuster deal, because there just aren’t any players of that magnitude
available.  But the Yankees do need to
try and address the shortcomings of the team. 
Right now, the bullpen is very leaky so that certainly deserves attention
as does a bat who can come off the bench to spell A-Rod. 

 

This is off-topic, but I am sorry to hear the news
that former Oakland Raider Jack Tatum has passed away at age 61.  Growing up, the “Assassin” was a force for
the Raiders.  It is unfortunate that he
will always be remembered as the guy whose hit paralyzed the New England
Patriots’ Darryl Stingley.  Sadly, both
Stingley (who died in 2007) and Tatum left us way too soon…





–Scott


The Perfect Formula…

 

8th inning relief…



 


I was so relieved (no pun intended) when the
Yankees went with David Robertson and Boone Logan in the 8th inning
as a bridge between Javier Vazquez and Mariano Rivera in New York’s 3-2 win
over the Cleveland Indians.  Both Robertson
and Logan did their respective jobs with no drama (unlike recent escapades with
Joba Chamberlain). 

 

This game was about redemption.  Javier Vazquez continued to show that he has
moved well past his early season struggles and has perhaps shaken, for the now,
the tag that he is purely a NL pitcher. 
Of course, he hasn’t pitched a big game yet, but he continues to pitch
very solidly while the other starters have taken their turns with issues.  Hopefully, this is the Javy that we’ll see
now through October.



Theodorakis/NY Daily News

 

As recent as this weekend, Curtis Granderson was
viewed as a failure in New York. 
Everyone has waited for Curtis the Tiger to show up, and finally, in the
last couple of games, he has.  On Sunday,
in the Yankees’ 12-6 romp over the Kansas City Royals, Grandy had two home
runs.  Tonight against the Indians, and
unlike Alex Rodriguez, he hit another one. 
With the homer, Grandy finally broke into double digits with his 10th
of the season.  It is a far cry from the
guy who was predicted to hit 40 home runs in New York but still, it is great to
finally see Granderson as an offensive force in the lineup.  As with Vazquez, Grandy is a key to the
second half.



0726granderson.JPG

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images 



Nick Swisher hit another home run.  I regret ever having preferred Xavier Nady
over Swish in right.  Swisher has been
terrific this season and with his 18th home run of the season
tonight, he is just a mere two homers beyond team leader Mark Teixeira.  Hey Swish, maybe you could give hitting
lessons to A-Rod!  ;)


I will also put both Robertson and Logan into the
redemption category.  Logan has seen his
share of the Bronx-Scranton/Wilkes Barre Shuttle, while Robertson has struggled
at times to match the success of last season. 
Tonight, they were perfect in the 8th when anything less
could have been disastrous given the one run margin.

 

It was nice that on a night when the big guys
(Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Cano) went a combined 0-for-14 with 3 strikeouts,
the Yankees could still emerge with the victory.   Some
great pitching, a few key hits, and Mariano Rivera are the perfect formula for
success!

 

Apparently, the Yankees made a big, but
unsuccessful, push for Royals closer Joakim Soria.  Soria would have made a great bridge to
Mariano Rivera, but it doesn’t appear that the two teams match up
trade-wise.  The Yankees were rumored to
be the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, yet they lost out on both
pitchers.  I was more disappointed about
Lee, who I am still hopeful the Yankees will pursue in the off-season.



Cliff Lee (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press  

 

I had mixed feelings about Haren, and I felt that
his salary would have been problematic in the Yanks’ chances to pursue Lee
during free agency.  So, all things
considered, I am glad to see him go to the Los Angeles Angels.  I don’t think the Angels will catch the Texas
Rangers so it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to make the
play-offs.  Of the remaining pitchers on
the market, I’d probably rather go after someone like Ted Lilly than Roy
Oswalt.  Lilly is a good pitcher and
knows how to pitch in New York. 



 


This week should be interesting with all the trade
speculation and actual trade results as we move toward the end of the
week.  Of course, this is probably another
case of ‘all bark, no bite’ as the speculation will exceed the actual
results.  With so many teams unwilling to
add to payroll, there should still be decent trading activity in August as
players clear waivers.   Still, I am
anxious to see what player will get the tag of being the first post-George Steinbrenner
Era Yankee. 


In a note of good news, manager Joe Girardi has
announced that Dustin Moseley will start Thursday’s game in place of Sergio
Mitre.  I am anxious to see what Moseley
can do in his first start for the Bronx Bombers.  Anything has to be an upgrade over Meat Tray…



Dustin Moseley Dustin Moseley #40 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

 

I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion,
but I’d like to say that Bill “The Spaceman” Lee is a jerk.  According to the USA Today Sports Weekly, Lee
told WMUR-TV (New Hampshire) “As far as Steinbrenner’s passing…good”.  He went on to say, “If hell freezes over, he’ll
be skating”.  Hey Lee, how did you enjoy
that World Series Championship?  Oh yeah,
you never won one!  





–Scott


A Yankees Win Cures All…

 

Okay, I am better now…

 

 

It’s amazing what a Yankees win will do for one’s morale!  Especially, when it means some added ground on the Boston Red Sox, who had the night off.

 

 

 

Behind the best start of Joba Chamberlain’s brief career, the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians, 5-2.  With the victory, they took three of four games from the Tribe, and completed the latest road trip with a 5-2 record.

I don’t think anyone told the Yankees about “the birds and the bees” in Cleveland, but they seemed to be everywhere.  Nevertheless, Joba was able to focus on the game and didn’t let them get into his psyche like the play-off game a few years back.  Regarding the bugs, he finally decided that if you can’t beat them, eat them.  “Man, I started to see them come, I’ll be honest with you”, Joba said about the 8th inning.  “I actually swallowed one when I was walking around the mound to start that inning”.  So long as you can keep those fastballs coming in at 98 mph, Joba, you can eat whatever you’d like!

 

 

The play of the game clearly occurred in the 5th inning.  The teams were deadlocked at 1, but Ryan Garko started the bottom of the 5th with a walk.  Jamey Carroll was up next, and he singled to right to advance Garko to second.  After the homer by Victor Martinez the previous inning, I was starting to worry that the Tribe was getting ready to get untracked for a potential big inning.  Kelly Shoppach was the next batter, and popped the ball up toward third base.  The ball looked like it was going to drop quickly, so Garko was running toward third.  Joba ran toward third and dove for the ball in a full airborne sprawl, and caught it while he was falling to the ground.  He was a little disoriented regarding Garko’s location, but the other players yelled out and Joba had time to spin around and throw Garko out at second. 

 

Mark Duncan/AP

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer 

 

Just like that, the fear of the big inning was over, and the Tribe had two outs with a runner at first.  Bases loaded or if he hadn’t thrown Garko out, Cleveland would have had at least two runners in scoring position and the inning would have looked much different.  The cameras caught Andy Pettitte in the dugout.  He was standing next to CC Sabathia, and laughing hysterically.  After the game, Pettitte said that it looked like Joba was diving into a swimming pool.  Regardless of what it looked like, it was two outs and Joba never looked back.

 

LM Otero/AP

 

The next inning, Cleveland walked the first three batters so the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs…and of course, no hits.  Greg Aquino relieved Jeremy Sowers, and struck out A-Rod.  The next two  batters were easily retired, and the threat was eliminated. 

By now, Joba was on top of his game and breezed through the Tribe in the 6th.  The Yanks broke through for 4 runs in the 7th.  A double off the left field wall by Nick Swisher, started the scoring by bringing home Ramiro Pena and Brett Gardner.  After an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, former Yankee Luis Vizcaino came in and gave up a two-run single to Alex Rodriguez. 

Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the 7th to pull within 3 runs, but that was it.  Joba pitched effectively through 8 innings, and Mariano Rivera was his usual stellar self in the 9th. 

Per Mark Feinsand’s Blogging the Bombers column in the New York Daily News, the quote of the night was by Nick Swisher:  “There were like, what, 8,000 seagulls out there?  Come on, this ain’t even the beach, it’s Cleveland!”

 

 

 

It was a fun game to watch.  You could easily see the team chemistry at play.  One shot of the bench showed CC Sabathia getting up and walking toward Johnny Damon’s direction.  With his right hand, he flipped a handful of sunflower sands on Damon as he walked past.  Damon had a feigned look of disgust, and you could tell that these guys genuinely like each other.  That is something that could not always been said of Yankee teams in recent years.  For me, it reminds me of the camaraderie of the late 90’s.  The results may not match the achievements of those teams, particularly the great season of 1998.  However, this is a team destined for the play-offs if GM Brian Cashman can make the right moves to solidify the bullpen.  No pressure, Brian!

 

 

Other news…

Not only did Jose Molina suffer a setback in his injury rehab, so did Xavier Nady.  He felt discomfort as he threw on Monday.  Hopefully, this is just a temporary setback and X will be able to resume his journey back to the active roster. 

Derek Jeter now has 1,499 runs scored, and Alex Rodriguez is three homers away from Reggie Jackson who is 11th on the all-time list with 563 home runs.  Jeter has also hit safely in 15 consecutive games, while Mark Teixeira is at 14 games.

The Yankees successfully completed their 18th consecutive game without an error to set the new major league record previously held by the 2006 Red Sox. 

Hey Julia, it’s probably a good thing that you are so focused on re-signing Jason Bay and thinking about 2010.  This year is just going to be a disappointment for you.  Sorry, my friend!  On the bright side, the New England Patriots will be breaking camp next month so maybe you’ll have a chance for some play-off success this year…considering that you are 0-2, and soon-to-be 0-3…

–Scott

An Ace, A Legend, and a Few Mosquitoes…

 

The view from the top is excellent!

 

 

The Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians, 10-5, on Saturday to extend their AL East to 1 ½ games over the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays (the Red Sox lost to the Jays, 5-3). 

As of 5/30/09…

AL East

W

L

Pct

GB

Home

Road

Last 10

Streak

Yankees

29

20

.592

14-9

15-11

7-3

Won 3

Red Sox

28

22

.560

1.5

17-6

11-16

4-6

Lost 2

Blue Jays

29

23

.558

1.5

18-6

11-17

2-8

Won 2

Rays

25

27

.481

5.5

13-10

12-17

5-5

Won 2

Orioles

23

27

.460

6.5

16-12

7-15

7-3

Lost 1

 

The Yankees have played much better since I saw them personally in Baltimore, so maybe I am responsible for the turnaround!  Okay, that’s probably not it.  The Yankees have been a different team since Alex Rodriguez returned to the team.  Mark Teixeira started to hit like fans in Texas, Atlanta, and Anaheim had become accustomed to, and the pitching has been great. The defense, which has been a liability in recent years, has been excellent.  Saturday’s game was the Yankees’ 16th consecutive game without an error.  If they avoid any errors on Sunday, they’ll match the major league mark set by the Boston Red Sox in 2006.

 

 

Against the Indians, CC Sabathia breezed through the first few innings, not allowing a hit until the 5th inning.  The Indians scored two runs in the 5th, thanks to a few hits and RBI singles, but the Yankees had built up a 7-2 lead by that time.

 

Dejak/AP 

 

Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher hit solo home runs in the second inning.  The Yanks added five runs in the 4th inning, primarily on two-run singles by Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano.  Johnny Damon also had a run scoring single in the inning.  In the 6th, Damon picked up another RBI on a groundout to first which brought home Brett Gardner.

 

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter watches his ball after hitting a two run single off Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona in the fourth inning

AP 

Sabathia gave up a home run to Grady Sizemore in the 6th, but you knew that Grady would be heard from sooner or later in this series (even with his sore elbow).  The guy is definitely a warrior…

 

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer 

 

The Yankees scored a couple of runs in the 9th on a run-scoring single by Cano, and a double by Hideki Matsui that scored Cano.

David Robertson pitched a perfect 8th inning, facing just three batters.  However, Jose Veras came out for the 9th and showed that he is, well, Jose Veras.  Despite the 10-3 lead, Veras gave up a homer to the first batter he faced (Shin-Soo Choo).  He hit the next batter, Mark DeRosa, to put a man on base.  DeRosa moved to second on a groundout, and then scored on Ben Francisco’s double.  All of sudden, I started to get flashbacks of the Indians’ 7-run 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-10 on May 25th.  Fortunately, Veras retired the next two batters to end the game.  Joe Girardi showed much more faith in Veras than I ever would have, but the end result was a Yankees win and adding a game to the AL East lead so all is good…

After the game, Indian manager Eric Wedge, when asked about Sabathia, responded, “He was very good tonight.  Better than he was when we saw him in New York [April 16th]”.  Hey Julia, that applies to the entire Yankees team!  See you on June 9th!  The Red Sox may be a team built for Fenway Park, but the Yankees now boast the best road record in the American League.

 

 

 

Derek Jeter now has 1,497 runs scored for his career.  There are only three active major players with 1,500 runs (Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, and Ken Griffey, Jr.).  With three more runs, he’ll join a very exclusive club of players who scored 1,500 runs as Yankees (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle).

 

MPI/Getty Images 

I was surprised to see Jorge Posada catch on Saturday, given he had played on Friday night.  I expected to see Francisco Cervelli play, with Posada perhaps at DH.  Nevertheless, it sounds like Posada will take a seat in Sunday’s game when Phil Hughes faces the American Idle…

 

 

Nope, not that guy!  This one…

 

The Plain Dealer

 

Pavano has pitched fairly well for the Indians, and has already appeared in 10 games for them (as opposed to 26 in four years with the Yankees).  He has won five of his six starts this month, and has defeated AL East heavyweights Boston and Tampa.  Let’s hope his May ends on a down note…

 

 

 

It was a tough night for Cleveland as the Cavaliers were easily eliminated in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in Orlando by the Magic.  King LeBron will have to wait at least another year for a trip to the finals.

 

Tracy Boulian/The Plain Dealer 

 

And what’s up with those mosquitoes and midges in Cleveland?…

 

Posted by pvictory on cleveland.com

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