Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’
The weather is Minnesota was beautiful…
Last Sunday, I attend a simply great baseball game. Well, outside of a few harmless errors and miscues. As a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, I went to Target Field and saw the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 3-0. It was a great afternoon for baseball (temperature in the upper 70’s, with lots of sun).
The game was a pitcher’s duel in the early going. I was surprised when the Twins pulled starter Nick Blackburn in the second inning despite not giving up any runs, but later heard that he had been injured. The Twins bullpen did a good job until the 7th inning when Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run. I was watching him run between second and third, and his stride is so long that he almost looks like he is going slow motion. There wasn’t much hesitation as he rounded third and headed home. I always cringe when players go in for headfirst slides but Curtis slide his hand across home plate before the ball arrived and the Yanks were up 2-0. In retrospect, the Twins outfielders blew the play when both the right and center fielders went to the wall on Granderson’s hit ball which bounced off the wall. One of the outfielders should have backed up the other, but that’s the hazard of fielding a young, inexperienced outfield.
Mark Teixeira followed with one of those line drive shots that never drop as the ball was deposited in the left field stands.
The Twins definitely had their chances. At one point, they had men on second and third with no outs and couldn’t score. David Robertson worked out of a jam in the 8th when the bases were loaded despite no balls leaving the infield. There were miscues, like when a ball dropped between Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson (you get it, no, you get it…) or A-Rod’s bobble of what should have been a routine fielding play. Fortunately, the Twins couldn’t do anything with the opportunities, so the Yankees emerged the victor. I had a decent seat (lower level, left field) but for the 9th inning, I moved over to the standing area behind the home plate lower level seats. I had a perfect line to watch Mariano Rivera throw his cutter to catcher Russell Martin, and it was great to catch that view. It was also nice to see Mariano walk off the field with another save…
I am always amazed at how many Yankees fans are in attendance on road games. Not that I’d feel threatened in Minnesota, but it’s nice having “support” nearby!
So close yet so far away…
Monday night’s game was a disappointment. After the Yanks fell behind 6-0, I wrote the game off. But then, in the final two innings, the Yanks brought it to within one at 6-5, with the bases loaded. I started to get excited about the potential huge comeback, but Nick Swisher hit a fly ball that was caught near the fence to end the game. That was harder to accept than if the Yanks had just lost 6-0. Then, of course, every time I looked at the TV, the loss was scrolling across the ticker on ESPN. While A.J. Burnett is my personal favorite to be yanked (no pun intended) from the rotation, I realize that there are financial reasons for why that move won’t be made. Therefore, the next to go would be Bartolo Colon. I’d definitely take Freddy Garcia over Colon, and there is no way that Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova will be coming out of the rotation anytime soon.
Of course, as I sit here typing this blog, Nick Swisher has just hit a home run to put the Yanks up 2-1 over the Oakland A’s in the 6th inning. Dude, where was that shot last night?…
Wasn’t he a Yankee for about 5 minutes a few years ago…
I saw the blurb today that the Yankees had claimed Chicago Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena on waivers. Listening to comments from GM Brian Cashman, it doesn’t sound like the Yanks will do anything, but it would be nice to acquire Pena as an option at DH and a backup to Mark Teixeira. He is definitely familiar with the AL East having played with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. I don’t like Pena’s batting average, but his other stats are respectable. The Yanks clearly need a clutch bat on the bench and perhaps Pena could be the guy if the Yanks and Cubs can work out a trade.
Fat, dumb, and happy…
Entering play tonight, the Yankees held an 8 ½ game lead over the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays. While that’s certainly not insurmountable, it’s nice to have such a large cushion as we enter the final days of August. Granted, I’d prefer to win the AL East, but then again, with the current play-off structure, it doesn’t really matter. If the Yanks can keep the lead in the WC standings, they should be able to rest some guys in September to allow the team to head into October at full strength. At this point, my biggest concern is getting a healthy Alex Rodriguez on the field.
Have a good night!
With their backs to the wall, the Yankees rebounded
on Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Texas to bring the series to a 3-2
advantage for the Rangers.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
It can be argued that the Rangers played less than
their best to ensure clinching on their home turf, but the Yankees clearly
played with a purpose and showed the heart that has been missing for the last
The last time to overcome a 3 games to 1 deficit
was the Boston Red Sox in their World Series winning year of 2007. They also erased a 3-to-0 deficit in the 2004
ALCS against the Yankees enroute to their first championship since 1918. So, it can be done, but the Yankees face a
long road that would end with Cliff Lee staring them down from the mound
(assuming they can get past Colby Lewis on Friday night). CC Sabathia is done for the series, except
perhaps in a relief role.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
The Yankees will also be without Mark Teixeira who
has been lost for the duration of the play-offs due to a hamstring injury. The acquisition of Lance Berkman now looms
very large as he’ll be asked to cover first.
It will be good to get both his bat and that of Marcus Thames into the
lineup at the same time, but it will still be a step down from Teixeira. With Robinson Cano moving to the third spot
in the order, hopefully, he’ll continue his hot hitting and maybe give A-Rod a
Realistically, I do not think the Yankees will be
able to win two games in Texas. But, of
course, stranger things have happened.
The Yankees certainly have the talent and potential to succeed.
Win or lose, I am proud of today’s effort by the
Yankees. I am glad that they didn’t roll
over and let the Rangers celebrate on Yankee Stadium ground. Now, if the Rangers win, it’ll be on their
own turf, in front of their own fans. It
will be a long plane flight back to New York, but that’s better than watching
the visitors pouring champagne in your house.
Simmons/NY Daily News
Here’s hoping the Yankees can keep up the intensity
and continue playing with the same heart they showed today. A 3-game winning streak. Is that asking too much?…
Simmons/NY Daily News
I was surprised to see that the Chicago Cubs have
already named their manager, removing the interim tag from manager Mike
Quade. I really thought the Cubs would
try to woo Joe Girardi back to Chicago.
Or at the very least, they’d give Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg a shot. By hiring Quade, it kind of reminds me of how
the Yankees bypassed Don Mattingly to hire Joe Girardi when Joe Torre
left. Circumstances were different, but
the outcome will most likely be the same…the departure of the legend to another
team. I am proud of Mattingly and he’ll
always be one of my favorite Yankees, but it’s still tough watching him in a
Dodgers uniform. Don’t get me wrong, I
will be rooting for him to succeed but it will still sting that he doesn’t wear
the pinstripes anymore. On the same
token, it will be hard for Cubs fans to see Sandberg get an opportunity with
Speaking of Girardi, the Cubs decision virtually
guarantees that he’ll be back as Yankees manager (assuming the team and the
manager are able to come to terms on a new deal). So much for leverage…
I’ll take a split…
Fortunately for the Yankees, they emerged victorious today against the Los Angeles Angels to split the two game series. The mediocre pitching line continued, albeit with no injuries, but the Yankee bats were active enough to ensure sufficient runs by the time the Angels recorded their last out in the top of the 9th inning.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Javier Vazquez gave up 9 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings, but it was enough to earn his 8th victory (against 7 losses). The key hit was a pinch hit three-run homer in the 7th by Colin Curtis. Robinson Cano and Juan Miranda also homered in the game, but Alex Rodriguez did not so he remains at 598 home runs. Curtis was an interesting story as he entered the game after Brett Gardner was thrown out of the game while batting. So, the strike count stood at two before Curtis even got warmed up.
Vazquez, with the victory, has defeated all 30 major league teams.
Playing against the Yankees definitely helped Hideki Matsui break out of his slump. He had only hit only one home run since June 7th before playing the Yankees. In the two game series, he homered in each game. I am okay with Godzilla getting his hits so long as they aren’t the game winners. Fortunately, they weren’t either day.
Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register
The Yankees split the season series with the Angels, 4-4, and won’t see them again unless they meet in the play-offs. The Yankees now await the arrival of the Kansas City Royals.
Happy Birthday to CC Sabathia, who celebrated his 30th birthday today!
Joel Sherman ran a piece in his New York Post column this morning where he speculated that Yankees manager Joe Girardi could be a potential target for managerial vacancy created with the Chicago Cubs when Lou Piniella announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season. I completely agree with his analysis. I’ve always considered Girardi to be a “Chicago” guy. He was born and raised in the area, as was his wife, and he started professional baseball with the Cubs and played there again after he left the Yankees.
It started me to think who the Yankees would turn to if the worst case scenario played out (Girardi leaving at the end of the season, which is, by the way, the expiration of his current contract). The first guy I thought about for the position was Don Mattingly. Mattingly is the assumed replacement for current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre. However, Torre still hasn’t decided if he’ll manage next year, and of course, the whole situation with the Dodgers ownership (the McCourt divorce situation) could create the right circumstances to woo Mattingly back to New York.
But when I turned on ESPN this morning, they were showing the highlights of last night’s Dodgers-Giants game where Mattingly had assumed management of the team after both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer had been ejected. In the 9th inning, with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound, Mattingly went out to pay a visit. As he started to walk away, he decided that he wanted to say something else to Broxton and turned back around. He realized that he had made a mistake when the umpires were saying “no” but by then, it was too late. When he made the about face, it counted as a second trip to the mound so he had no choice but to pull Broxton. George Sherrill was brought in and the Dodgers let a 5-4 lead slip away as they ultimately lost the game 7-5. Now, I agree, the faux paux would not be reason to avoid hiring Mattingly but the timing couldn’t have been worse (at least for me).
It’s tough. As much as I like Mattingly, I am not sure that I am a proponent for a rookie manager. I think the year in Florida as the Marlins manager was invaluable for Joe Girardi. He is a better manager today for the experience. Same with Terry Francona in Boston. He is one of the best managers in baseball, and I think it can be directly attributed to his learning opportunity with the Phillies. For the Cubs, I still think Ryne Sandberg is the best fit for the organization. But if you were the owner of the Cubs, would you want a Triple A manager who has never managed in the bigs or a highly prepared and accomplished major league manager with a World Series resume? There are just not that many attractive managerial candidates in my opinion. I am sure that Bobby Valentine will re-surface at some point, as well Buck Showalter, but neither of those guys excite me. If the Steinbrenner Family is smart, they’ll take care of Girardi and never let him have the chance to consider the Cubs.
The deaths in the Yankees family have, unfortunately, continued into this week. The latest is the Yankees manager from the great 1961 season of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (the year that Roger hit 61 home runs and the Yankees won the World Series), Ralph Houk. His World Series championships (he also won in 1962) were the last before the demise of the team under the ownership of CBS and before George Steinbrenner purchased the team. He had taken over as the Yankees manager replacing Casey Stengel in 1960 after the Yankees had lost the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houk would manage until 1963, when he stepped into the front office. He returned to managing the Yankees in 1966 and stayed through 1973, Steinbrenner’s first year. I primarily remember Houk as the manager for the Detroit Tigers, although he did manage the Boston Red Sox at the end of his managerial career. Houk apparently died today at his home in Winter Haven, FL of natural causes. He was 90.
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.
In the “W” column, the Yankees have gotten the weekend off to a great start…
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Unfortunately, there were also a few casualties in Friday night’s 10-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. Robinson Cano left the game in the 6th inning after he was hit in the left knee by Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett. Nick Johnson is most likely headed for the DL due to his problematic wrist which he aggravated on a swing in the first inning and left in the 5th inning when he was unable to play through the injury.
This is a tough formula for the Yankees so far…win a game and lose a player. With Curtis Granderson on the DL and other Yankees like Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada hurting, the Yankees can ill afford to lose Cano for any extended period of time. Fortunately, it sounds like it is a day-to-day situation so more than likely, he’ll be back after missing a game.
Marcus Thames becomes the Yankees’ primary DH. I’d probably be more in favor of moving Jorge Posada to DH, when/if healthy, in order to keep Francisco Cervelli’s bat and attitude in the game. It would also help save some wear and tear on Posada.
The Yankees have already recalled pitcher Romulo Sanchez as a bullpen replacement for Sergio Mitre, who will take Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation on Monday. Outfielder Greg Golson’s short stay with the team ended as he was sent back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for Sanchez.
In retrospect, Brian Cashman’s decisions run the gamut. Clearly, his call to move Phil Hughes into the starting rotation, with Joba Chamberlain returning to the pen, was one of the best decisions made in the off-season so far this young season. But conversely, the jury is still out on the Curtis Granderson trade. Austin Jackson has performed well in Detroit, and Ian Kennedy has adapted very well to the Sonoran Desert environment in Arizona. Also, the decision to sign Nick Johnson as the DH and forego pursuit of Johnny Damon was a mistake. Granted, the Damon camp was asking too much at the time the Yankees had to make a decision. If Damon had been willing to accept from the Yankees what he got from the Tigers, he’d still be in the Bronx today (well, Boston today, but you know what I mean).
How Cashman responds to his team’s current needs will be critical in the coming weeks and months. I am not saying that the Yankees should go out and trade top prospects for All-Star players and call it a day. But they need to make smart, under the radar moves that help bring quality production. Of the injuries, Nick Johnson concerns me the most since he’s had surgery on the wrist twice before (2000 and 2008). This could be a potential issue that shuts him down for an extended period of time. Andy Pettitte should be back after missing a start, but at his age, any injury bears watching as there could be continued issues throughout the season. If the Yankees were getting what they had hoped for from Javier Vazquez, they could probably get by on smoke and mirrors. But the hole in the 4th spot of the rotation and the inability of the Tampa Bay Rays to lose has magnified the Yankees’ short-comings somewhat.
My friend, Julia, may have had a good night at Fenway Park last evening but obviously she did not have a great night since the Red Sox lost. However, I’d be a fool if I gloated about a single win. This series is far from over, and Julia stands no closer to losing our best than I do. Even with CC Sabathia on the mound today, I am expecting a very charged and resilient Red Sox squad on the field today. It will be a tough game today, as it will be again tomorrow.
How about the impressive debut of Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro? He had a homer and 6 RBI’s in his debut. What a great way to introduce yourself to Major League Baseball fans. “The kid – what a debut!”, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after the game. Yeah, there’s not much more that you can say about such a tremendous performance in the 20 year old’s first major league game. I wish him the very best on a long and successful career at Wrigley Field.
Well, it’s just about time to watch Game 2 of Yankees-Red Sox. Best of luck to me, Julia! J
To all the great MLBloggers & Readers…
I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I hope that 2010 is our best year yet…one and all! It’s hard to believe that 2009 has come and gone, and it was quite a year. However, I am anxious and excited for the possibilities of 2010. Who knows if the Yankees will repeat or if the Phillies will recapture the crown thanks to Doc Halliday or if the Mariners move into the upper echelon with the brilliant moves to acquire Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins or if the dreaded Red Sox ride John Lackey and company to another championship. Regardless of what happens, it will be a very fun and exciting year for all of us. Who knows, maybe next year is this year…
Not much sports news to talk about but I’ll try…
I think that Jason Bay’s decision to join the Mets was foolish on his part. He had a great thing in Boston, and the park was very conducive to his offensive style. It’s unlikely that he’ll hit 36 home runs playing half of his games at CitiField. Given his weaknesses defensively and the poor second half that he experienced in Boston, the high expectations in Queens will be very difficult to meet. Bay could very easily become the player the fans love to hate. In an era where most of us are simply thankful for a paycheck, Jason will rue the day that he disregarded the very generous offer extended by the Red Sox. From the Red Sox’ perspective, I don’t blame them for moving on. The idea of moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left is intriguing given his offensive prowess (so long as he doesn’t move to San Diego in a potential trade for Adrian Gonzalez). Not that I want the best-case scenario to work out for the Red Sox, but it may have happened when they decided to move on without Bay. Meanwhile, it probably won’t be long before GM Omar Minaya is fighting for his job because of moves like Bay and other albatross contracts he has hung on the Mets.
I was not closely following the situation with Texas Tech University and head coach Mike Leach, but at first, I thought that Craig James was just using his position as an ESPN college analyst to blow a situation with his son out of proportion. However, after getting a better understanding of the facts, there is nothing that would justify locking a kid in a shed. Regardless of the reasons and aside from the fact that Leach had been very disrespectful to the university prior to the incident, I felt his firing today was justified. The sad part is that it is the university which will pay the highest price. Leach will land on his feet with another school because he has proven that he can win. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, will have to re-establish credibility with potential recruits and find a new coach who can continue the positive advancements made by Leach. Any way you slice it, it’s a bad situation and a black mark on Big 12 football…
I am a very disenchanted Vikings fan right now. I have been a fan of the team all my life. After enjoying several near misses with Fran Tarkenton at the helm, the team has suffered years of championship deprivation. 1998 looked like THE year, however, the season ended in disappointment with the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the play-offs (a game that the Vikings could have won with better play-calling). I almost gave up as a Vikings fan after Fran Tarkenton retired and the Vikings named Bob Lee the starting QB. I know other fans who quit after 1998. I have to admit that I am nearing the fork in the road once again. I have never been a fan of head coach Brad Childress and now the team is in a funk that I am not so sure they can recover from. Sure, 8 Vikings made the Pro Bowl. However, it means absolutely nothing if the Vikings lose the first play-off game. Several weeks ago, they were assured of a first round bye and had momentum on their side. Now, it’s possible that they could lose the first round bye to the Dallas Cowboys. There are many experts that say the two best teams in the NFC right now are the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. It would be hard for me to argue against it.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I recognized football before baseball when I was a kid, so for the first couple of seasons, I was a bigger Vikings fan than I was a Yankees fan. Of course, that turned rather quickly and I was a baseball fan first by 1975 even though the Yankees had endured many losing seasons under the ownership of CBS. George Steinbrenner was still a young and inexperienced owner, but I liked the guys on the team. Catfish Hunter was my idol and Thurman Munson quickly became my favorite Yankee. Nevertheless, I continued to follow the Vikings but it has never been the same since former owner Max Winter departed the organization. I like and respect owner Zygi Wilf, however, I think he is making a mistake by staying the course with Brad Childress. The 2009 team has so much potential, however, it won’t be realized because of Childress. Put a good coach like Bill Cowher in charge of the team and the Vikings would be challenging the Saints for the best record in the NFC.
The Vikings can turn things around on Sunday with a solid win against Wilf’s former favorite team, the New York Giants. However, I am not so optimistic about the team’s chances. Somehow, I see another lackluster performance with several key Adrian Peterson fumbles. I hope that I am wrong…
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Well, this does it for me in 2009. I am glad to be among such great MLBloggers and I look forward to a fantastic new year for each and every one of us!