Results tagged ‘ Daniel Bard ’

You had me at ‘Yankees win!’…

 

For away games, I prefer to see a Yankees pitcher on the mound for the last out…

Finally, the first win of the year has arrived.  It was a bit delayed in coming, but alas, the victory came with the Yankees’ first game away from Tropicana Field.  Hopefully, the Tampa Bay Rays’ home won’t become a house of horrors for the Yankees this season but it was clear for the first three games of the year that the Rays were the better team.

Still, despite the Yankees’ 0-3 record as they departed Florida (the same mark as the Boston Red Sox at the time of their departure from Detroit), I never felt the sense of doom and despair that usually accompanies losses.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, the momentum of a series goes with one team.  Sure, you can say better hitting and pitching will do it every time, but the Yankees could easily take the series they play against the Rays…or not.  I don’t think the Yankees will sweep their latest opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, even though they’ve won something like 40 out of the last 55 games against them.  But there is no doubt that the Yankees rotation will right the ship.  In Minnesota, where the Twins also lost their opening series by sweep (to the Orioles) and now stand at 0-4 after a home opening loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Minneapolis, there is a sense of dread and gloom already.

While Boston matched the Yankees loss-for-loss, and finally last night, win-for-win, I haven’t sense of feeling of desperation from the Sox fans yet either.  So, it’s clear in both New York and Boston that the fans expect their respective teams to perform (unlike those in the Gopher state).  The main thing I hear from Boston fans is the overwhelming belief that Daniel Bard should be the team’s closer, not former Yankee Alfredo Aceves.  I tend to agree as I’ve always felt that Aceves is better suited for long relief and spot starts.

Back to the Yankees, if you asked me who would pick up the first win among the quartet of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, there’s no question that I would not have picked Nova.  I wasn’t crazy about the 10 hits he allowed, but he kept the O’s from scoring as they were only able to push 2 across home plate.  I would never be foolish enough to expect Nova to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he is perfectly cast in the back of the rotation and I don’t care what he has to do as long as it produces W’s.  With both Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda looming on the horizon within the next couple of months, there are two starters who won’t be starting.  If Nova can continue to produce, he increases the possibility that Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes are the odd men out.

Please tell me more about the medical insurance…

With so many closers on the DL (Drew Storen, Andrew Bailey, and Ryan Madson to name a few), it amazes me that not only has Mariano Rivera thrived at such a high level for so long, he’s done it without too much down time.  It reinforces to me that he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer despite the Hall’s reluctance to bring closers into the fold.  I am still amazed when I think that I was once disappointed that Mariano had been named closer after the departure of John Wetteland (I didn’t want Wetteland to leave via free agency).  Instead, Mo has rewarded me by allowing me to witness one of the all-time Yankee greats.  As a big fan of Lou Gehrig, I love the history and the tradition of the Yankees, and it’s reassuring to know that my grandchildren and their children will hear the name of Mariano Rivera.

A 5-day sabbatical and an apology is fine, but learn from the experience…

I am not quite sure what I think about the Ozzie Guillen fiasco in Miami with his pro-Fidel Castro comments.  I do know that I do not feel he should lose his job so long as he shows remorse and learns from the situation.  We all know that Ozzie is going to say whatever is on his mind and he’s not going to edit it first.  He speaks to provoke reactions and I am not convinced that he always believes what he says.  I know that’s no excuse for making insensitive comments in one of our country’s top Cuban communities.  He needs to realize that his words can and will hurt.  He now has a 5-game suspension to think about what he said.  I don’t think it will put a muzzle on him as he is, after all, Ozzie and there’s no changing that.  But I hope that he embraces Miami’s Cuban community and can show them he is on their side.

I know, sports history is littered with ruined careers thanks to misguided words.  But I hope that we can find forgiveness for Ozzie so long as he doesn’t later give us a reason to regret it.  I know that I will not always agree with Ozzie, but I respect him for being his own man.  So, for those who say fire him, I say keep him.

I am glad that baseball is finally underway.  Now, if just a few more wins could follow….

 

–Scott

 

Did I Win? I Am Not So Sure…

 

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. 

 

 

 

Elise Amendola/AP

 

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. 

 

 

Jon Lester started the game for the Red Sox and held the Yankees scoreless through the first five innings.

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.

 

 

 

–Scott

 

Just Another Game…

 

Who said that you can’t go home again?…

 

 


CC.JPG 

 

 

 

CC Sabathia finally put his problems with pitching “at home” behind him as the Yankees defeated the A’s 6-1 on Tuesday night in Oakland.  CC, who grew up in nearby Vallejo, CA, has struggled at McAfee Coliseum.  CC, an Oakland Raiders season ticket holder, had a 2-5 career mark prior to last night’s game.  The best quote I saw after the game was when CC stated that he is over playing at home and it’s just another place to play. 

 

 

Robert Galbraith/Reuters

 

So, last night, for a change, it was the A’s pitcher who was too amped up.  Trevor Cahill, an All-Star, tried too hard to impress his All-Star manager (Joe Girardi) and surrendered two home runs to Alex Rodriguez (one of which was a grand slam).  For A-Rod, it was home runs 596 and 597 for his career.

 

 

Alex Rodriguez flips his bat after belting a grand slam in the third inning in Oakland, his first of two round trippers in support of CC Sabathia (b.), giving him 597 for his career.

Ben Margot/AP

 

Following a sluggish start to the season, CC improved his record to 11-3 and enjoyed his highest strikeout total of the season with 10.  He has won seven straight starts.  Clearly, this is the reason the Yankees signed CC to the huge deal several years ago.  Admittedly, I am not looking forward to the end of next season when his ‘opt-out’ clause kicks in.  Hopefully, life as a Yankee has been good for CC to the point that he won’t yearn to be a Giant, Athletic, Angel or Dodger.

 

I was not pleased to see that Robinson Cano had accepted an invitation to the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.  Too often, we’ve seen sluggers mess up their swing and suffer subpar second halves after derby participation.  Cano has excelled this season behind A-Rod in the order, and his job is not to hit home runs but to drive in runs.  It didn’t sound like Joe Girardi or hitting coach Kevin Long were in favor of his participation, although Long took the softer approach to say that he understood why it would be an honor for Cano.  I can only hope that Cano stays injury-free and that his second half is equal to or greater than the first.

 

In a news report released by the New York Daily News, Robinson Cano has apparently had a change of heart (or a forced one) and has removed himself from the Home Run Derby.  Hopefully, the news report is true.

 

 

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has bowed out of the Home Run Derby.

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

Buster Olney had a good column on ESPN.com about Cliff Lee’s impact on various contenders today.  He had consulted with Stephen Oh of Accuscore, and was given this short description of Lee’s impact on the Yankees:

 

Lee with Yankees

Yankees are finishing 6 games ahead of Boston and Tampa in AL East.

New York Yankees

Win

Loss

%

Win Div.

Playoffs

Current Forecast

97

65

59.9

65

88

w/ Cliff Lee

99

63

61.1

77

94

Lee Impact

+2 wins

 

1.2

12

6

 

 

As much as I’d like Lee on the Yankees, I recognize that it remains a long shot and the team does have greater needs.  But you can never underestimate the Yankees and they do have the tendency to lie in the weeds waiting to strike if they feel the market conditions are right. 

 

Trades are not always about what they can do for your team, but sometimes it is to keep other teams, like the Rays, from becoming stronger.  Based on the projection above, Lee would improve the Yanks by 2 games.  So, if you subtracted the 2 games from the Yanks and gave the additional games to the Rays, the projected standings would be tighter…with much less margin for error. 

 

My preference would be for the Seattle Mariners to trade Lee back to the National League (perhaps back to Philadelphia since they’ve expressed interest).  But of course, the downside is a potential World Series match-up against the Phillies, assuming both teams make it but that’s too far away to think about.  Right now, the goal is to simply make the play-offs, and then worry about those games at that time. 

 

I have no doubt that the Boston Red Sox will be much stronger.  Their players will begin to get healthy, and it is almost a certainty that Theo Epstein will be very active in the days leading up to the trading deadline.  As strong as the Red Sox rotation is with Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz healthy, I’d hate to think of Lee in the rotation in place of Dice-K. 

 

It should be an interesting July…

 

It is time once again for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants.  So far, I have profiled 6 Boston players.  The original wager penalty was a paragraph about the entire 25 man roster as of 6/26/10.  Julia has shortened my “sentence” by 15 players which means that I only need to spotlight four more players.  Hopefully, with my final choices, I won’t disappoint.

 

For the latest entry, I want to mention the closer-in-waiting.  I’ve already talked about Jonathan Papelbon.  I don’t know what the future holds for Pap and the Red Sox, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Pap is eventually traded or departs as a free agent.  If that happens, the new Boston closer would most likely be…

 

 

#51     Daniel Bard

 

 

 

Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal

 

Daniel Bard just turned 25 last month (he was born June 25, 1985 in Houston, Texas).  He was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft.  Ironically, Bard had previously been drafted by the Yankees in 2003 but did not sign; he chose the University of North Carolina instead (bummer!). 

 

An early attempt was made to make Bard a starter but it didn’t pan out and he was moved into the bullpen in late 2007.  Out of the bullpen, Bard thrived in 2008 with a 1.51 ERA and 107 strikeouts (in 77 ½ innings) and was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year.

 

On May 13, 2009, Bard made his pitching debut with the Red Sox by throwing two scoreless innings against the Los Angles Angels.  He only gave up one hit and had a strikeout. 

 

Bard is one of the few pitchers in the majors capable of throwing 100 MPH.    So far this season, he has continued his growth and development as the eventual successor for Jonathan Papelbon.  In 40 games, he has an ERA of 1.99 and 44 strikeouts.  He has only given up 22 hits, 12 walks, 9 earned runs, and 4 home runs.  He also has 3 saves. 

 

Bard may not be Boston’s closer in 2011, but his day will come.  Like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and others, Bard’s Red Sox future is very promising.  And to think he could have been Mariano Rivera’s future replacement…  L

 

 

The Big Spark Comes Through (Again)…

 

The Big Spark…

I have written about the timely clutch hitting of Johnny Damon, and once again, he delivers.  In the 7th inning, with the Yankees trailing the Baltimore Orioles by 1, Damon hit a three-run homer off the O’s Jim Johnson to stake the Yankees to a 5-3 lead.

Rob Carr/AP 

The game started with drama in the bottom of the first inning, when Aubrey Huff connected off Joba Chamberlain for a three-run home run.  Huff displayed fist pumping as he rounded first and after he crossed home plate (mocking Joba’s notorious fist pumping gestures). 

Of course, Joba showed good sportsmanship in saying that if Huff wanted to do backflips, he could do backflips.  This isn’t the last time these two have faced each other, and honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Huff actually did a backflip the next time he homers off Chamberlain.

Aubrey Huff, Juan Samuel

AP 

Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run in the top of the 1st inning that had given the Yankees a temporary 1-0 lead, until it was erased by Huff’s blast.

New York’s other run also came via the long ball with a solo shot by Robinson Cano to start the scoring in the 7th before Damon hit the decisive bomb (his 6th home run in the last 10 games). 

“He’s been a big spark for us, and we’ve really needed him,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Johnny has won games for us and he’s given us opportunities to win games because of the big hits that he’s had late in games. It’s something that we need.”

Damon is a modern-day Paladin, ‘Have Bat – Will Travel’…

Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera did their jobs this time around and preserved the 5-3 victory for Chamberlain and the Yankees. 

I personally don’t mind Joba’s fist pumps.  It is an emotional reaction to game situations, and he is clearly a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.  I don’t think he is trying to show up the other team, and when he is beaten, he accepts it and moves on.  I would like to see him start games a little more smoothly, but I think Joba has proven he is in the starting rotation to stay.

New York Daily News 

I am also hopeful that the recent home runs by Mark Teixeira are signs that the “thaw” is beginning to happen and that he’ll become a key cog in the Yankees’ offense going forward. 

Robb Carr/AP 

The Yanks are off on Monday as they head for Toronto for a three-game series against the AL East Leaders.

OTHER NEWS

It’s interesting how the Dodgers are 1-3 at home since Manny Ramirez’s suspension after a 13-0 home start.  Today, the number 13 again became a bad omen for the Dodgers as they fell to the San Francisco Giants, 7-5, in the 13th inning. 

 

Julia of Julia’s Rants was particularly pleased today when the Boston Red Sox designated reliever Javier Lopez for assignment.  She’s been begging me to take Javier for weeks.  I know she’s excited to see flamethrower Daniel Bard in the majors, so now is his opportunity to shine…

The Sun Chronicle

The Houston Rockets lose Yao Ming for the remainder of the play-offs, and promptly go out and blast the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-87.  The series is now tied, 2 games apiece.

Saturday, I received a text message from my son that said “Star Trek is awesome”.  So, I went to see the movie today, and he’s right.  It’s awesome.  The new actors successfully captured the essence of the central characters, but were still able to make them their own.  I thought Chris Pine did a great job as Captain James T. Kirk, and Karl Urban was impressive as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.  Zachary Quinto did an excellent job in convincing me that he was Spock, and not Sylar (his character on Heroes).  It’s definitely a must-see movie…

I hope all the Mom’s had a great Mother’s Day!

 –Scott

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.