Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’
I fully expect the Yankees to re-sign Derek Jeter…
There has been much speculation about DJ’s next deal and
if the Yankees would truly let #2 walk away or if they could afford to from a
historical perspective. It is not
outside of the realm of possibility for the Yankees to decide they’d be better
off putting the dollars in a younger talent.
However, I really do not expect that to happen.
I do think that it is important to see DJ record his
3,000th hit in pinstripes, although I agree if his play continues to
erode in 2011, it will be time to begin the search for his long-term
replacement. Frankly, I don’t think he
is done and I fully expect a few more strong seasons of play before the sunset
begins. Granted, they may not be
All-Star caliber but DJ can still man short on a championship squad. But obviously they’ll need a strong back-up
when training camp breaks next Spring.
Hopefully, Derek’s deal will include a role with the
organization when his playing days are over.
I do not know what he intends to do in his post-playing days but he is a
face of the organization and the continued association between the two parties
is mutually beneficial for all.
Here’s hoping the Yankees can come up with a creative
contract that entices DJ to finish his career with the Yankees while not
causing the Yankees to seek improvements in other areas due to financial
constraints. Life under Hal Steinbrenner
is different than life under George, and the Yankees won’t throw dollars at a
player simply because they can like they did in the old days.
As for the Cliff Lee chase, I am not sure what I
think. As much as I would like Cliff on
the Yankees, I definitely do not underestimate the Texas Rangers. When you read about Cliff Lee and his
Arkansas roots, it is clear that he is not a “me-first” kind of guy. On one hand, playing in Texas would be good
for him due to its close proximity to his home.
But conversely, if he signs a big deal with the Rangers, he will be THE
GUY in Texas. Success and failure will
be attributed to him. Whereas, signing
in New York, although he’d be on baseball’s biggest stage, he’d line up as the
#2 starter behind CC Sabathia. So, there
would actually be less pressure in New York, as hard as that is to
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Yankees clearly need to improve their starting
rotation if they intend to succeed next season.
I expect CC to come back strong, but after that, the rotation is a
question mark. Phil Hughes has to take
it to the next level so the new pitching coach, whenever he is announced, will
have two major projects in Hughes and A.J. Burnett. I read the comments made by Andy Pettitte
where he said that he hasn’t decided yet and is enjoying being home in Deer
Park, Texas right now. He went on to say
that if he does play, it will only be for one more season and only for the
Yankees. At this point, I do think he’ll
come back for that final season. But if
not, I am prepared to accept Ivan Nova as the #5 starter. So this winter, the key is clearly coming up
with an ace to team with Sabathia.
From the sounds of it, the next pitching coach is the
current highest priority. Bullpen coach
Mike Harkey, Triple A pitching instructor Scott Aldred and former Yankees
pitcher Gil Patterson have been mentioned.
I am probably leaning toward Patterson, who is currently a pitching
coordinator in the Oakland A’s organization.
Nevertheless, I certainly would not be displeased to see Harkey get the
job. I don’t know much about Aldred but
I am sure that GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi will make the right
choice. Maybe they consider hiring two…one
exclusively for A.J. Burnett!
At this point in his career, I’d probably prefer to see
the Yankees sign Mariano to a short-term deal.
He showed no effects of age last season, but the day will come when he
no longer has it. Ask Trevor
Hoffman. It would be sad seeing Mo
bounce around with a few teams at the end of his career. I’d prefer to see him step away on his own
terms when the time comes. Until then, I
do hope that it is in pinstripes.
I am completely in favor of the Yankees plan to move
Jorge Posada to full-time DH. I think he
still has a productive bat that can be enhanced by avoiding the rigors of
catching. Plus, it is time to see what
Jesus Montero and Austin Romine can do.
It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with
the bullpen. Now that Kerry Wood has
been cut loose and will most likely sign a deal to be a closer elsewhere, the
Yankees need to ensure that they have choices in training camp for the bridge
to Mo (beyond Joba Chamberlain and other in house options like David
Robertson). Both are certainly capable
pitchers and I’d like to see one of them step forward in training camp. But there definitely needs to be a safety
net, plus an option for a back-up closer given Mo’s age.
This will be a critical off-season for the Yankees. The moves they make with Jeter, Rivera and
Posada have to be made with the future in mind.
Plus, they need to give the team a starting rotation that can shut down
hot hitters in October (unlike this past season). But getting to October will be
challenging. A healthy Boston team has
to be viewed as the favorite. GM Theo
Epstein has already been active in picking up former Florida Marlins pitcher
Andrew Miller. A former top draft pick,
Miller hasn’t succeeded yet, but he is still young enough to achieve his
potential. The Tampa Bay Rays should be competitive
but they are a bit of a wild card until we have an idea of what their 2011 team
will look like. I fully expect improved
play from the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, both teams with quality
managers and strong young talent. I have
no doubt that Brian Cashman will continue racking up frequent flyer miles and
hotel award points as he looks to improve the 2011 squad…
But considering that he is the general manager of the New York Yankees, Brian knows the score. The moves he makes now must ensure success in October 2011. Nothing else matters.
Last week, I had the good fortune to travel to New
York on business. I delayed my return
home until Sunday so that I’d have a day to spend in the city…
There were really only two things that I really
wanted to do. One was to attend the New
York City Marathon Expo that was being held at the Jacob Javits Center on
Saturday, November 6th. The
other was to have dinner in Greenwich Village.
So, with some thought the night before, I embarked
on my journey when Saturday arrived.
First, I started the day by running on the hotel treadmill. 8 miles on a treadmill can be a long, long
experience, but it gave me some time to think about what I wanted to do. After my run, I got ready and headed out the
The first destination was to find H&H Bagels on
46th Street and 12th Avenue. I’ve been to other H&H Bagels locations
but I had not found this one before.
H&H Bagels has been featured on several TV shows, like Sex in the
City and Seinfeld, but, seriously, their bagels are tremendous. They’ve always been very fresh and
delicious. I have even gone as far as to
order two dozen bagels from H&H for shipment to California.
For this day, I purchased a blueberry bagel and a
bottle of orange juice. I walked over to
a nearby bench in close proximity to the USS Intrepid and enjoyed the bounty
from H&H Bagels. It was well worth
Next, I walked down to the Jacob Javits Center for
the ING New York City Marathon Expo. I
am a runner and although I’ve only run one marathon (2008 NYC Marathon), I do
have the ambition to run more. I had
intended to run in the 2009 NYC Marathon but a stress fracture in my leg forced
a hiatus from running that cost me to withdraw from both the San Francisco and
New York Marathons. 2010 has been about
trying to get back into running and I decided that I’d avoid trying a marathon
this year, however, 2011 is a different story.
I’ve already registered for the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon which will be
held on March 20, 2011. Still, the NYC
Marathon was such an incredible experience, it is something that I do want to
LA has a good route for their marathon. It starts with a run around Dodger Stadium,
heads through Hollywood and Beverly Hills and makes it way to Santa Monica and
the Pacific Ocean. I love that area, so
it will be a fun experience. But nothing
compares to New York. The marathon
starts in Staten Island and eventually makes its way through all five boroughs
before finishing in Central Park. To run
for 26.2 miles with New York crowds cheering you on for every step of the way
is phenomenal. Coming off the Queensboro
Bridge into Manhattan was probably one of my favorite spots. Well, the finish line was a welcome sight
Well, back to the Expo. I wanted to experience the marathon through
the Expo and did find a good running t-shirt and a back pack. However, I found that I was so envious of the
runners who had their entry packets in hand.
I definitely was wishing that I had been able to run this year’s
marathon. I walked the Expo for several
hours and then bought a sandwich for lunch.
Next, I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a
very long time. For all my trips to New
York, I’ve never gone to visit the grave of my idol, Lou Gehrig. Finally, I decided that today was the
day. So with just having the name of the
cemetery and name of the town, I hopped on the subway to Grand Central Station
and caught the Metro North Railroad Harlem Line to Valhalla, NY. From there, I walked a little under a mile to
the Kensico Cemetery. After walked the
cemetery and getting directions from other visitors, I found the grave. I was a bit surprised at how modest the
headstone was and for all I know about Lou, I didn’t know about the “typo” on
his headstone. The year of his birth is
erroneously shown as 1905 (he was born in 1903). But for as modest as the headstone was, the
location was so serene. I thought it was
the perfect place for burial and given its close proximity to Manhattan, I was
overtaken by the charm of the quaint, quiet town of Valhalla. Lou and Eleanor truly could not have picked a
better place to spend eternity. I sat at
the grave for awhile and just thought about the images of Lou that I’ve seen
and thought about what it must have been like to have watched him play
After leaving the cemetery, I had an hour to kill
before the train to Manhattan arrived.
By the train stop, there is a great restaurant/bar called The Valhalla
Crossing. It is inside an old train
station, and the ambiance of the establishment was first class, The service was probably one of the best I’ve
ever experienced. I could have stayed
there all night.
Heading back to Manhattan, there was just one more
thing on my to-do list. Dinner in
Greenwich Village. I took the train back
to Grand Central and then caught the Subway down to Greenwich Village. I did not have a particular restaurant in
mind (well, I had a couple but for this trip, I wanted to be open-minded). As I worked my way through Greenwich Village,
I stopped at my favorite coffee spot, the Porto Rico Importing Company at 201
Bleecker Street. It is the best way to
find coffee beans by the pound. When I
lived in Delaware, I would make a trip for no other reason than to go to Porto
Rico. Highly recommended.
As I continued my walk down Bleecker Street, I came
to Cornelia Street and remembered a Greenwich Village tour I had taken several
years ago. One of the stops was the
Cornelia Street Café. I remember
thinking at the time that it was someplace I’d like to have dinner. On this night, I thought my plan would be
rebuffed when the waiter asked me if I had reservations. Fortunately, there was a seat at the bar, so
I gladly accepted my option and had a great meal. It was fun listening to the couple next to me
talking about how their son would be running the New York City Marathon the
next day. It kind of brought the day
It was an incredibly enjoyable day in the city of
New York. The only thing better would
have been a 28th World Championship by the Yankees. Oh well, throw mega millions at Cliff Lee and
let’s crank up this machine for 2011!
By the way, I registered for the lottery for entry to the 2011 ING New York City Marathon! Wish me luck!
It seems weird that the Yankees season is over with
the World Series set to begin tonight.
When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, there was a cartoonist who worked
for The Des Moines Register that used to say it wasn’t an official World Series
unless the Yankees were in it. I have
always believed those words!
Seriously, it is interesting that we finally have a
World Series with two teams that do not have a history of World Series success. For the Texas Rangers, they’ve never been to
the World Series, and for the Giants, they’ve never won a World Series since
they moved to San Francisco although they have made a couple of trips. Given that I live in the Bay Area and the
Giants have generally been my preferred NL team over the years, I’ll be pulling
for them tonight as they embark on Game 1 against the Rangers.
There are no active Giants players with ties to the Yankees
organization, however, the Yankees do have a presence through the coaching
staff and back office. The two most
notable individuals are GM Brian Sabean who started in the
Yankees front office working for George Steinbrenner and pitching coach Dave Righetti. I always chuckle when I think of Rags as a
pitching coach. Please don’t get me
wrong. I think he’s a terrific coach and
he was a great player, however, when he was young…before he “made it” to the
big leagues for good, he used to struggle with his control. So, he was the guy who needed such intensive
coaching and now he is the master. I
lived in Dallas for 14 years and during many of those years, Rags was the
Yankees closer. So, I have so many
memories of Rags closing out games in Arlington, Texas. So, in many ways, he’ll be returning to an
area that he is well familiar with and has enjoyed success. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pass on that
success to Tim Lincecum and company.
Some of the other names in the Giants organization
who have past connections to the Yankees:
Roberto Kelly, First Base
I remember being upset when the Yankees traded
Kelly to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul O’Neill.
Ha! I think that trade worked out
well for the Yanks. Sorry Roberto…
Hensley Meulens, Batting Coach
I remember when “Bam Bam” was a much-hyped
youngster with so much promise. He never
achieved success with the Yanks and was eventually sold to a team in Japan.
Henry Cotto, Coordinator,
Cotto was a bench player for the Yankees during the
lean years (1985 to 1987). I think of
him more as a Chicago Cub although he only played one year for them
(1984). He had an undistinguished career
but he definitely could run.
Lee Smith, Coordinator,
Lee is obviously better known for his great years
with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, but he was with the Yankees in
1993 toward the end of his career. He
was a late season pickup and did well during his short stint even though the
Yankees did not that year.
J.T. Snow, Special Assistant
Snow, the son of former Los Angeles Rams great Jack
Snow, was originally drafted by the Yankees.
But he was traded in the deal that brought Jim Abbott to New York. He had some productive years for the Angels
but he achieved his greatest success with the Giants.
Dick Tidrow, Vice President,
Tidrow is definitely one of the more notable
Yankees as he played a very prominent role in the Yankees bullpen during their
two championships in the late 70′s. As a
kid growing up, he and Sparky Lyle were the faces of the bullpen.
Fred Stanley, Director, Player
Another player from those World Championship clubs
of 1977 and 1978, “Chicken” backed up shortstop Bucky Dent and was a valued
reserve during those years.
Joe Lefebvre, Senior Adviser,
Drafted by the Yankees, he only played for the team
one year (1980) before moving on to the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia
Phillies. However, he did play a part in
helping the Yankees win the AL East Division that year. I remember 1980 as the year the Yankees won
103 games but lost to the Kansas City Royals in the play-offs resulting in the
firing of late manager Dick Howser (back when George had a very itchy trigger
finger when it came to managers).
This “prayer” was making its rounds on email
yesterday. I do not know who the author
ors, as we forgive those who home run against us. Lead us not into defeat, but help us beat the
Rangers…with the help of the Beard, the Buster and
the Dirty Dozen.
Here’s hoping the former Yankees enjoy a World
Series championship in 2010!
As for the Yankees, they are apparently negotiating
a new 3-year deal with manager Joe Girardi.
I am glad to see that they are working to resolve Girardi’s situation
quickly so they can focus on the critical needs of the team. GM Brian Cashman acted very swiftly in
announcing that pitching coach Dave Eiland would not return. I have no issues with the decision. The Yankees starting pitching underperformed
this year, and A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez were the biggest reasons
why. I also think that Phil Hughes was
capable of more than he showed down the stretch. I am not sure who’d be the best candidate to
replace Eiland. Hey, I’d love to see
Dave Righetti back in New York but unfortunately he’s not going anywhere. Hopefully, Cashman and Girardi will be very
selective about who they chose for the very important role.
I saw this morning that CC Sabathia will be having
minor knee surgery. While this procedure
does not sound serious, I hope it is not indicative of the start of future
problems associated with CC’s weight.
This does show how critical it is for the Yankees to secure another ace
for the staff. Like everyone else, I am
strongly in favor of signing free agent to be Cliff Lee, however, I am very
dismayed at the reports of the poor treatment his wife received from the
Yankees fans during the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.
That type of abuse is completely unacceptable and it is an embarrassment
to be associated with those types of Yankee “fans”. I use the term “fans” very loosely because
those idiots are very poor representation of “fans”.
Hopefully, this does not keep the Lee’s from
considering an offer to join the Yankees.
I know it will be a tough, uphill battle to sign Lee as it is, and they
certainly did not need ill-treatment by the fans to give Mrs. Lee a strong
reason for not wanting to come to New York.
I want the core Yankees to return (Derek Jeter,
Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte).
However, I do not feel that the Yankees should overpay to convince them
to stay. So, if it is time to sever
ties, I am prepared as I feel the money would be better served to help bring
younger, more talented (at this stage of their careers) to New York to help
pursue a championship in 2011. Of the
core, I think re-signing Mariano Rivera is the most vital. He is still performing at a top level,
although the Yankees would be well served to re-sign Kerry Wood if
possible. I don’t want Derek Jeter to
leave but at some point, he is going to start becoming a liability at
short. I’d rather see the team cut ties
before rather than after that happens. I
want Andy Pettitte to return, but I would not want to see high expectations
placed on him. Put him in the #4 or #5
spot in the rotation and be satisfied with the results if he decides to
return. I didn’t mention the last core
member, Jorge Posada, since he is still under contract. However, I am ready for a change at
catcher. Just like the Boston Red Sox
moved Jason Varitek to a reserve role, the Yankees should do the same with
Jorge. At 39, he is past his prime at
the catching position and now is the time for the highly heralded Jesus Montero
if he can show in spring training that he is ready for the job. If the Yankees do sign Cliff Lee, it would be
great to see Lee pitching to Montero since Montero would have been the cost of
a trade with Seattle to get Lee before they reneged and moved him to Texas.
As for the Hot Stove League rumors, I have to admit
that I am somewhat intrigued by the potential of bringing Jayson Werth to New
York to play right field. As much as I
like Nick Swisher, he is a streaky hitter and hasn’t shown the clutch bat in
October like Werth has. Of course, I
would love to have Carl Crawford in left, but I think right is a greater
need. I fully expect Brett Gardner to
continue to improve. Granted, he is no
Carl Crawford, but his speed is very disruptive on the bases and he showed a
much better ability to get on base this year.
Brian Cashman definitely has his work cut out for
him this off-season. It should be
Thus endeth the season…
http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.” />
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch. The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August. Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years. The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez. But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average. Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies.
A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year. I am not sure what happened. He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before.
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire. He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent.
I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL. At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy. If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him.
Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success. He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level. He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming.
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team. That’s
probably true. As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake. As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him. Those fears turned out
to be justified. A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back.
I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff. The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season.
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club. So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move. Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club. Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.
As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite.
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome.
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly. Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance. I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans. I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series. So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.
Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series. I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys. The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year. So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance.
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them. However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited. When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game.
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family.
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game. My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph. Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill. He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession. It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope.
However, the prospects do not look good at this point. The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks. Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction. As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm. I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year.
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too.
So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…
Congratulations to the New York Yankees for their
ALDS series win over the Minnesota Twins!
Neil Miller/New York Post
I don’t know why the Yankees have enjoyed success
against the Twins. Perhaps it is why the
Toronto Blue Jays love playing the Yankees.
Some teams have other teams number and the Yankees certainly hold a psychological
edge over the Twins.
I’ve been reading many articles about which team
the Yankees would prefer facing in the American League Championship
Series. While I am still not convinced
that the Yankees have “it” this year to see them through a World Series that
most likely will feature a frontline rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and
Cole Hamels, the two potential AL contenders (Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers)
certainly have their own issues.
As for a potential ALCS opponent, I’d have to say
that I’d prefer to see the Tampa Bay Rays.
I don’t really want to see the Texas Rangers advance to the World Series
(not that I want to see the Rays go there either), but a series with the
Rangers would result in very bitter confrontations with Rangers ace Cliff
Lee. Win or lose, it could potentially
impact Cliff’s decision this offseason regarding where to sign (or
re-sign). CC Sabathia neutralizes the
advantage of David Price, and with the other starters rested, I like the team’s
chances against the other Rays starters.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for
their NLDS ouster of the Atlanta Braves and future Hall of Fame manager Bobby
Cox. It was a tough fought series, and I
give the Giants credit for much heart in this series. They thrived on stellar pitching and used
small ball to topple the Braves and send Cox away at the end of the long and
successful managerial career. It was odd
seeing the final out recorded by former Yankee Melky Cabrera, who had seemed to
thrive in walk-off situations in 2009.
With the tying and winning runs on base, Melky hit a grounder to third
to end the game. With the series win in
Game 4, the Giants saved scheduled Game 5 starter Tim Lincecum for a first
round NLCS match-up against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies. It should be a terrific pitchers’ duel…
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Well, with just one division series left to go, I
guess I’ll end with saying, ‘Go Rays!’…
I am pleasantly surprised at the Yankees’ success,
so far, against the Minnesota Twins…
I had been so disappointed with the team’s pathetic
September performance that saw them lose any chance of winning the AL
East. Within a matter of days or even
hours, they went from the possibility of the AL East Championship with home
field advantage to a road-traveling Wild Card team. It was hard to be excited about the start of
the play-offs with the team playing so poorly.
For the first two games of the ALDS series against the Twins, the
Yankees have risen to the challenge.
Granted, the Yankees have a history of success against the Twins, but I’d
be the first to say that past domination does not guarantee future domination. 2004 wasn’t that many years ago…
Vincent Laforet/The New York Times
While the Yankees have the series advantage and are
now headed for the Bronx to resume the series on Saturday night, the Twins are
far from out of it. If they can get
solid pitching and timely hitting in New York, they have a chance to take the
series back to Minnesota for the deciding Game 5. Outside of perhaps CC Sabathia, the Yankees simply
do not have a pitcher that is capable of putting up a Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee
type of performance. Even CC has his bad
days. But going into the play-offs, I
knew that the lesser guys would need to stand up and so far, Lance Berkman and
Curtis Granderson certainly have.
Sipken/NY Daily News
I am very surprised to see the AL East Champion
Tampa Bay Rays trailing their ALDS series to the Texas Rangers (down two games
to none). I realize that the Rays
struggled in September like the Yankees but I felt they were probably the best
team in the American League based primarily on their pitching staff. Like the Twins, the Rays can still get back
in the series but the Rangers have to like their chances.
There have been great pitching performances in the
National League with the no-hitter thrown by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy
Halladay and last night’s 14-strikeout, complete game shut-out thrown by San
Francisco’s Tim Lincecum in the Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Atlanta
Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
Regardless of what happens, the League Championship
Series in both leagues should be very exciting this year. I still think the Phillies will win it all,
but the Yankees certainly have as much talent as anyone to get on a roll.
Going off-topic but staying with the ‘Minnesota to New York’ theme, I was very pleasantly surprised to
see the return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings play the Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday night. I have retained my purple #84 jersey all
these years but never thought that I’d get a chance to wear it again. I knew that Randy had become quite vocal in
recent weeks about the lack of a contract extension and of course there was
last weekend’s blow-up with a coordinator.
Still, I did not expect the New England Patriots to trade Moss. The Vikings have clearly been missing Sidney
Rice who will be out until at least mid-season due to hip surgery. It will be interesting to see if chemistry
develops between Moss and QB Brett Favre.
It is going to be weird watching Moss catching passes from Favre after
all those years of playing against each other in the Packers-Vikings series.
At 1-2, the Vikings face a very challenging
October. After the game against the Jets, they will face the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and
New England Patriots to close out the month.
The team should definitely know where they stand by Halloween.
Mo showed why he is great…
A day after losing a game in walk-off fashion to
the Texas Rangers, Mariano Rivera bounced back to save the Yankees’ 7-6 comeback
victory over the Rangers. So many
relievers have a tough time “forgetting yesterday”, but not Mo. After allowing a lead-off triple to Elvis
Andrus, he retired the next three batters to strand Andrus at third with what
would have been the tying run.
When Austin Kearns bounced into a double play with
the bases loaded to end the top half of the 8th inning with the
score 6-5 Texas, I thought the Yankees may have exhausted their chances for
victory. However, or rather , fortunately,
Marcus Thames proved me wrong. He
homered in the 8th, and drove in the eventual winning run in the 9th. Not bad for a guy who gets mentioned as an
afterthought when you name off Yankee players.
I am a bit disappointed with Kearns, who has failed to hit in key
situations since his arrival in the Bronx.
But to his credit, he did make a great shoestring catch in the 9th
in helping Mo to the save.
The other two recent acquisitions, Kerry Wood and
Lance Berkman, both played roles in Wednesday’s win. Wood pitched the 7th and 8th
innings in scoreless relief to pick up his first win as a Yankee. Berkman drove in a run in the 7th
on a ground rule double as the Yankees chipped away at what once had been a 6-1
Texas lead. Berkman, it should be noted,
was the only Yankees starter who did not strike out on a night when 17 Yankees
did, tying the dubious franchise record.
Nick Swisher, in particular, was an awful 0-for-5, with 4 SO’s.
Javier Vazquez, who had recently been diagnosed
with a “dead arm”, was very ineffective in the match-up against the almost
Yankee, Cliff Lee. Javy was out after 4 1/3
innings after he gave up 6 runs. I am
not quite sure what it will take to get Javy back to the level of pitching he
was at last month, but he needs to improve if the Yankees intend to hold off
the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.
Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was solid in striking out 11 Yankees although the Yankees were able to score against him late as he gave up a total of 4 runs through 6 1/3 innings. I remain hopeful that Lee will be the Yankees prime target in the free agent market after the season.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Yankees were fortunate to get a win out of a
two game series that looked like it would be a sweep for Texas. The Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers, but the
Boston Red Sox steamrolled over the team that gave the Yankees and Rays so much
trouble, the Toronto Blue Jays. For all
of the key injuries Boston has suffered this year, they are within striking
distance at just 5 games back.
The series in Texas was tough. It started with news that hot-hitting Mark
Teixeira would remain in New York with his wife, who gave birth to their third
child, William Charles. I hated to see
the removal of Teixeira’s bat from the lineup, and it was compounded when
Robinson Cano couldn’t start the first game of the series due to illness
(although he did later pinch hit and entered the game as a replacement at 2nd
late in the game despite his weakened condition). Jorge Posada also missed the game, so those
were three huge voids in the lineup.
The Yankees now head for Kansas City for a
four-game set against the Royals.
Teixeira will rejoin the team, and should be in the lineup tonight. On paper, tonight’s game looks like a
mismatch (CC Sabathia versus Bruce Chen), however, the Yankees have not been
playing great ball lately. They missed a
great opportunity to bury both the Rays the Red Sox and couldn’t do it. Hopefully, the team can catch fire soon and
put the pressure on the other teams instead of carrying the weight on their own
If I won the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, why do I feel as though I lost?…
The Yankees and Red Sox tied their four game series at two games apiece, but the Yankees took the tie-breaker in total runs scored, 16-12. Therefore, it will be Julia who has to appear in at least 6 photos showing her in different locations wearing a pink Yankees cap.
But although I won, I certainly do not feel like a winner. The most important game, to me, is always the getaway game. The Red Sox leave town as winners, while the Yankees head for Texas wondering what could have been. They had the chance to put the Red Sox 8 games back, but as it is, the Red Sox leave exactly the way the arrived, 6 games behind.
People are constantly trying to bury the Red Sox but I’ve long known that the team simply does not have any quit in them. Now, they are starting to get their guys healthy, so they’ll be a force to be reckoned with during the stretch run.
The Yankees lost today, 2-1, against Jon Lester, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon. Lester had entered the game on a four-game skid, but he is too talented to stay down for long. He proved he was up to the challenge today, and bested Phil Hughes in the pitching duel.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Yankees had their chances in the late innings but couldn’t convert. Marcus Thames just missed a home run in the 7th inning when the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back for a double. Just another inch or two and it would have tied the game. Bard also gets kudos for getting out of a bases loaded jam.
Mark Teixeira continued his hot hitting with an 8th inning home run, but that’s all the offense the team could manage.
The Yankees now head to Texas to play the guy who was nearly a Yankee, Cliff Lee, and the Texas Rangers. A.J. Burnett, scratched from Sunday’s start because of his back, will pitching the opening game against the surging C.J. Wilson who has enjoyed success as a starter this season. It will be a big test for the Yankees, and they’ll need to play better than they have in recent days. Maybe being in Texas will be good for Lance Berkman and he’ll hit his first homers for the Yankees.
A day after breaking Babe Ruth’s team hits record, Derek Jeter tied Mel Ott for the all-time record by a New York player at 2,876. When DJ was a skinny 16-year-old shortstop coming out of Kalamazoo, MI, I certainly didn’t envision the day that he’d be standing with baseball’s immortals. Congratulatons to DJ for another great milestone, but I suspect we’ll be doing this quite often between now and the end of his career.
So much for the idea of a day of rest doing some
After an off day on Monday to recover from the
events of the past week, the Yankees came out with a thud on Tuesday. Facing bitter rival Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees
took an early 2-0 lead and closed the book on their offense, while the Angels
pounded out 10 runs to take the first game of the series. It was another disappointing performance by
11-game winner Phil Hughes, who has looked pathetic since he was skipped in the
rotation back in June. Of course, he was
also the loser in the All-Star Game.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Hughes went 5 innings, and gave up 9 hits and 6
runs. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t
qualify as a quality start. With A.J.
Burnett’s flare up, Andy Pettitte’s strained groin, and now the stinker laid by
Hughes, the last three games have been very disappointing from a pitching
standpoint. And just think, we have
Sergio Mitre to look forward to on Saturday.
None of the other pitchers in tonight’s game fared
any better as the three relievers (Jonathan Albaladejo, Chan Ho Park, and Chad
Gaudin) all gave up at least a run. For
Albaladejo, it is a disappointing start to his return to the majors. For a guy who has been unhittable in the
minors (0.96 ERA with 31 saves), Albaladejo showed that he is still quite
hittable at the major league level.
Hopefully, he’ll shake the nerves and show New York what he has been
showing Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Park and
Gaudin are my favorites to be ex-Yankees should the team make any moves to
bolster the pen by the trading deadline.
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez so he stays at 598
home runs. Congratulations to the Angels’
Hideki Matsui who did homer. At least it
occurred in a rout and was not the difference maker.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
If the Tampa Bay Rays win tonight, the
Yankees lead in the AL East will be cut to just 1 ½ games. Cliff Lee would have really looked good in
pinstripes about now…
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News
I am not enamored with the idea of using Sergio
Mitre as the replacement for injured starter Andy Pettitte. Personally, I’d probably be more willing to
consider Dustin Moseley. Mitre, or “Meat
Tray” as I frequently see his name on other blogs (a very appropriate nickname,
I might add), just isn’t the consistent starter that I’d like to see in that
spot. Behind Moseley is Chad Gaudin,
although I’d be more inclined to try a minor league starter like Ivan Nova (7-2,
3.21 ERA, and 78 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings for AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre). Externally, I’d want a short term rental like
Ted Lilly or Jake Westbrook (guys who know New York) over long term
possibilities like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt as I want the Yankees to be in good
position to go after Cliff Lee at season’s end.
It is bittersweet to see Lou Piniella announce his
retirement after fours years as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. If Sweet Lou’s availability had coincided
with Joe Torre’s departure, I am convinced there was a good chance that he
could have been the current Yankees manager rather than Joe Girardi. I am happy the way it worked out, but still
it would have been good to see Lou enjoy success in Pinstripes for one last
For as many years as Lou played (18), it’s hard to
believe that he has managed longer (22) .
He had the misfortunate of managing the Yankees when George Steinbrenner
was his most volatile, not a good combination considering Lou’s temper. Lou managing for Hal Steinbrenner would have
yielded an entirely different result. I
don’t know what life after baseball will mean for Lou, but hopefully #14 will
be a fixture at future Yankees Old-Timers Games. I wish Lou the very best in his final season
with the Cubs.
As for a Cubs replacement, I have to believe that
favorite Ryne Sandberg is a shoo-in given his history with the organization and
status as manager for the team’s AAA in Des Moines, Iowa. It would be like Don Mattingly being named
manager for the Yankees, which of course will never happen since Donnie
Baseball will be the next Los Angeles Dodgers manager but it would certainly
have that type of impact.
First let me get the game out of the way, yeah, we
won 3-1 behind Alex Rodriguez’s two-run single in the top of the 9th
and excellent pitching by Andy Pettitte, blah, blah, blah…
Today had to be one of the most difficult days I’ve
experienced in recent memory. I woke up
this morning to find the New York Post report that the Yankees were on the
verge of acquiring pitcher Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners.
All morning, I checked news reports and blogs to
see the progress of the trade. It sounded closer and closer. First, it was mentioned that the Yankees
would send highly touted catcher (future first baseman?) Jesus Montero and
minor league second baseman David Adams to the Mariners. Later, it was increased to include minor
league pitcher Zach McAllister. As a
proponent of a Lee trade, I was in favor of the move despite the loss of top
young talent. Montero will be a huge bat
in a future lineup regardless of where he plays. I’ve envisioned him as Jorge Posada’s
replacement, but there are other candidates (Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez to
name a few).
The Mariners really liked Adams, but he currently
has an ankle injury and this was the point of their concern. As soon as they found out that Justin Smoak
was available, they quickly shifted direction and closed a deal with the Texas
I was very disappointed with the final
outcome. I really think the Yankees
should have done what it takes to close the deal. There are no sure things in the Yankees
pitching rotation outside of CC Sabathia, so the chance to acquire a dominant
pitcher like Lee doesn’t happen very often.
Sure, the team will be able to pursue Lee in the off-season if he doesn’t
sign a contract with the bankrupt Rangers, but they’ll pay a high price given
that Lee is a Type A free agent and he isn’t able to help them now. With Lee, the team could have shifted Phil
Hughes to the bullpen or traded Javier Vazquez, a free agent at year end, for a
Perhaps one day, Montero, Adams and/or McAllister
will make me glad this day happened the way it did, but today, I am
disappointed. Then, of course, the
Boston Red Sox go out and blast the Toronto Blue Jays 14-3. Not a good day…
Well, back to the “forced” spotlight on a Boston
Red Sox player. Thanks to a wager loss
to Julia of Julia’s Rants, I am obligated to write about a member of the
6/26/10 Boston Red Sox roster. The
original bet was for all 25 players, but Julia shortened my sentence to 10
players for good behavior. So far, I’ve
written about 8 Red Sox players so just two more. For #9, I will go with the knuckleballer…
Tim Wakefield is the senior ranking member of the
Boston Red Sox, having joined the organization in 1995. He was one of those cuts that Boston pounced
upon to seize a quality player (ala David Ortiz). In a Red Sox uniform, he trails only Cy Young
and Roger Clemens in wins.
Wake was born 14 years to the day before Thurman
Munson was killed in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio (August 2, 1966). Sorry, I can’t pass August 2nd
without thinking about Thurman. It’s the
curse of a Yankees fan. Wakefield was
drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988.
He started out as an infielder, but realized that his best path to the
majors was developing a pitching talent so he learned how to throw a
In 1992, when Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla were
leading the Pirates to the play-off appearances, he went 8-1 down the stretch,
earning NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News. The Pirates would lose the NLCS to the
Atlanta Braves, but it was through no fault of Wake who went 2-0 (both were
Thanks to control problems, Wakefield spent the
next couple of years in the minors. On
April 20, 1995, the Pirates gave up on Wakefield and released him. He was signed by the Red Sox six days later,
and would prove his worth immediately as he went 16-8 in helping the Red Sox
win the AL East. He finished third in
the Cy Young voting that year, and was also named the AL Comeback Player of the
Over the next few years, Wake would prove to be a
valuable part of the rotation even if he did struggle at times with control. He even found himself as the team’s closer in
1999. He is one of the few pitchers to
record four strikeouts in one inning. He
earned 15 saves before he was replaced by Derek Lowe as the team’s closer.
Because of his versatility, he would toggle back
and forth between starting and relieving for the next few years. He enjoyed good success against the Yankees,
but was the pitcher on the mound when Aaron Boone hit his home run to win the
2003 ALCS. He rebounded to play a
critical part in the team’s wins against the Yankees and the St. Louis
Cardinals the next year to claim the World Championship.
With his unique fast and ultra-slow fastball,
Wakefield has been a consistent part of the Red Sox rotation for 15 years. He won 17 games in their 2007 championship
season but he didn’t get to play in the World Series due to a shoulder
Even today, when he is not counted on to be a major
part of the rotation, he simply steps in and does his job in a quiet, effective
manner. He was a terrific signing for
the Red Sox, and he’ll go down in Red Sox history as one of their all-time
greats. Wakefield is perhaps one of the
most giving players in the game today, and the Red Sox will never be the same
when he decides to call it a career…
Just one more to go! Whew! J