Results tagged ‘ Daisuke Matsuzaka ’

None of it makes any cents…

Wells, that was not quite the answer I was looking for…

I have never been a big fan of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vernon Wells, and was one of many who quietly laughed when the Angels took his financial albatross of a contract off the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.  But I guess it is apparently better to have the last laugh and that would not be me.  The move allowed the Blue Jays to re-group to the point that they now have arguably the best team in the American League East.  And, as health would have it (or lack there of), the Yankees find they have the need to take what’s left of Wells off the Angels hand so that they can pay those hefty contracts belonging to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.  Granted, the Angels will be paying most of the freight to bring Wells to the Bronx (assuming the deal goes through as expected), but he has been the Crown Prince of Disappointment for so many years.  Yes, he’s had a good spring, but so have a lot of guys who didn’t amount to a hill of beans in the big leagues.

At first I heard that the Yankees would be paying less than $10 million on the Wells contract which has $42 million more to go until it expires following the 2014.  But the latest word has the Yankees paying up to $13 million which means it will probably be more like $15 million or more when the deal is finally announced.

With the opening day absences of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees need proven production in the lineup.  Robinson Cano is only one man.  There’s question marks at every turn, but the likelihood of Curtis Granderson’s return is far better than Mark Teixeira (who some say could miss the season).  This means I would have preferred to see the Yankees allocate resources toward an alternative first baseman.  The prospect of outfielder Juan Rivera playing first on a full or part-time basis is just not very satisfying for me.

But speaking of first base, the only talk I hear is the potential acquisition of first baseman Lyle Overbay from the Boston Red Sox.  Overbay can opt out of his deal this week and that would put him at the forefront of Yankees’ attention.

None of these acquisitions will give anyone illusions of a championship.

At some point, the Yankees are going to have to just blow it up and start over…

This is the time of hard cuts.  I saw today that the Cleveland Indians cut Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Okay, I don’t consider that a hard cut, but there will be notable names mentioned in the coming days.  It is hard to believe that the Yankees will be powering up Yankee Stadium just one short week from tomorrow.  As for the Yankees, I remain hopeful that both Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch will travel north with the club despite the apparent acquisition of Vernon Wells.  While I’ve been pulling for Boesch, I have to say that Francisco has played well enough to start at least as part of a platoon.  I seriously doubt that Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis will make it through the season injury-free so at some point, Wells will probably start to take the majority of the at-bats at DH.

I guess there should be plenty of drama this week as MLB teams shape up their opening day rosters.

It’s just a number…

As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I am still trying to wrap my head around Greg Jennings playing for the Vikings.  After Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, and Brett Favre, I should be used to this.  Jennings may not have the athleticism of departed slot receiver Percy Harvin, but if healthy, he is a weapon.  It’s interesting that he selected #15.  I can’t say that I can remember another Viking who wore the number although I am sure a few have.  Of course, #15 for me is always going to be Thurman Munson but that’s a different sport.  Greg Childs currently holds Jennings’ Packer number, #85.  After missing his first season due to injury, I can’t say that his grasp on #85 is very strong.  Perhaps Jennings is just biding his time until he can retrieve #85.  Childs’ childhood friend and lifelong teammate, Jarius Wright, is clearly the favorite to fill Harvin’s role.

Decisions…

Part of me wants the Vikings to sign former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, but of course, the sensible part of me only wants guys that can be part of the future as the door is starting to open for the Vikings again as a play-off contender.  I would like to see the Vikings to find a way to bring Antoine Winfield back to purple and gold.  I have faith in the younger guys and GM Rick Spielman has shown that he knows a thing or two about the NFL Draft so I am sure the secondary will be addressed next month.  I am anxious to see what Josh Robinson is capable of, but it would be nice to have Winfield to help the transition.

Hey Zygi…

I like the job that Leslie Frazier has done with the Vikings and I am hopeful that it will lead to a long-term contract.

Next month is a big sports month.  Opening day in Major League Baseball and the NFL Draft.  It should be a very fun time.  And for my friends in the East and Midwest, it should mean a little less snow…

–Scott

Mission (nearly) Accomplished!…

 

The day brought several victories on the homefront…

 

Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, on Saturday behind the stellar pitching of CC Sabathia.  The game featured the potent formula that the Yankees hope will take them deep into October.

CC Sabathia + Phil Hughes + Mariano Rivera = Win, Hold, and Save!

CC was locked into a pitchers’ duel with Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Dice-K pitched masterfully on the day.  His only mistake was a pitch left out over the plate with Robinson Cano batting to lead off the 6th inning.  Cano took advantage of the opportunity, and gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead with his career high 24th home run of the season.  It would be the only run that CC needed.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

It would have been the final score except for an error in the 8th inning by Red Sox third baseman Chris Woodward.  The Sox had speedster Brett Gardner caught in a rundown between third and home, but Woodward couldn’t handle a throw from catcher Victor Martinez.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The play extended the inning and allowed Johnny Damon to bat after Derek Jeter struck out with the bases loaded.  Damon delivered a two-run single to raise the score to 3-0.

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

I realize that Red Sox manager Terry Francona is playing for October, as evidenced by his starting lineup (possible future Yankees left fielder Jason Bay had the day off).  Nevertheless, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is clearly playing for the AL East Championship.  I am sure that once the Yanks clinch the division, we’ll see a lineup that includes Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda, and Ramiro Pena, with Josh Towers on the mound.  For now, the Magic Number is 1 and the Yankees have a game to win.

 

 

Their next victory will be the 100th of the season.  Joe Girardi’s second season has been very successful, so far.  CC has played a huge role (no pun intended) in the team’s success.  I know Zack Greinke is being highly touted for the AL Cy Young Award, but the Kansas City Royals reside in the cellar of the AL Central.  Without Greinke, they’d still be among the AL’s worst teams.  Felix Hernandez has also pitched great this season, but the Mariners season will be coming to an end in about a week.  CC Sabathia, on the other hand, has the Yankees at the doorstep of the AL East Championship.  Without CC, it’s likely the AL East pennant chase would have been much closer or perhaps Boston would have been in the lead.  So, in my mind, CC has made a much greater difference on his team’s success than Greinke or King Felix.  Admittedly, the Cy Young is for individual accomplishment, but CC leads the AL with 19 wins and is fourth in ERA (3.21).  He hasn’t lost a game since late July and he has been the true definition of an ace for the Yankees.  I know that Greinke has an ERA of 2.08, with 229 strikeouts, but seriously, there’s more pressure pitching in the Bronx against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays than facing the Chicago White Sox in Kansas City.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP

 

By taking the first two games of the latest series, the Yankees accomplished several objectives besides cutting the Magic Number to 1.  First, I am the winner of the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  As her penalty for losing, Julia will once again grace us with a pro-Yankees blog entry.  She’ll post a list of Top 11 Yankees players, past or present (and can include managers).  The list will be in no certain order or ranking; she can simply choose 11 Yankees she feels have made a difference in the game.  I would like to see a mix of different eras, including the present, but it will be up to Julia to decide.  She will also be forced to wear a Yankees t-shirt in photographs near famous Boston landmarks.  The pink Yankees hat is optional.

 

 

I had a tough time trying to decide what t-shirt Julia should wear.  My initial thought was to go with the player I felt was most instrumental in the series win.  Despite CC’s great performance yesterday, the table was set on Friday night with the hitting (and stealing) show put on by Alex Rodriguez.  However, A-Rod has certain past indiscretions that made him an illogical choice.  I thought about Robinson Cano or CC, but I really wanted someone that represented the Yankees like no other.  With that in mind, the choice became clear.  “I’m Not A Headline Guy” is a tribute to Lou Gehrig so it is only right that Julia must wear a #4 jersey…

 

Lou Gehrig Yankees MLB Prostyle Player T-shirt

 

The second benefit of the Yankees victory is they have denied the Red Sox the opportunity to break champagne on Yankee Stadium soil.  If they had clinched the Wild Card slot while in the Bronx, they would have become the first team to break bubbly at the new stadium.  However, with two Sox losses and a win by the Texas Rangers yesterday, Boston’s Magic Number stands at 3, making it impossible to clinch on Sunday.  As a result, the Yankees are the only team with the chance to spill some champagne today so life is good…

 

Champagne.JPG

 

Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe wrote “Today might be a good day to employ the half-full theory.  Cover your eyes, let the Yankees celebrate, and think about October”.

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

Yes, today is our day to celebrate.  It is time for the Yankees to put closure on the AL East Championship!  Tomorrow, we can join the RSN in thinking about October!

 

 

By the way, nice play by Boston’s Victor Martinez. 

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

It’s the changing of the guard in Boston, as Jason Varitek makes his way to the exit door.  Tek has been a worthy opponent, and I am sure that we’ve not seen the last of #37 who is a future manager waiting to happen…

 

Credit:  Boston.com

 

Go Yankees!

 

Credit:  Simmons/Daily News

 

P.S.  Congratulations to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes for their 21-10 victory over the fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night.  The Hawkeyes upset Penn State last year, so the Nittany Lions were seeking revenge.  It was not meant to be as the unranked Hawks moved to 4-0 on the season.  As a lifetime Hawkeyes fan, success has been very fleeting so it’s always a great time when they can play with the big boys.  J

 

Credit:  Matthew Holst/Press Citizen

 

P.S.S.  Good luck to A.J. Burnett’s father, who undergoes surgery on Monday.  Bill Burnett will have triple-bypass surgery.  A.J.’s start was pushed back to Tuesday so that he could make the trip to Arkansas to be with his dad.  Best wishes for a successful surgery, followed by a speedy recovery!

 

Credit:  abcnews.com

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