Results tagged ‘ David Robertson ’

A couple of wins in Boston would be nice for the road team…

  

Have Gun (partially loaded), Will Travel…

Headed to Boston with minus a few bullets…

With the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, the Yankees are certainly in a precarious situation as they head for Boston after wrapping up the O’s series in Baltimore tonight.  A-Rod was sent to New York have a MRI on his thumb, and he’ll re-join his teammates at Fenway Park.  The results were negative, however, it doesn’t sound like he’ll play in the Sox series so the focus will definitely be on Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez.

Jeter fouled a pitch off his right kneecap in the first game of Sunday’s double header, so he should be back on the field when the team arrives in Beantown.

The Red Sox have their own challenges, with Kevin Youkilis on the DL.  But even without Youk, the Red Sox boast three legitimate AL MVP Candidates in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez.  If the Yankees are to stop Boston’s run of success against them, the guys from the bench will need to be the difference makers.  Plus, some good pitching always helps.  I haven’t seen the starting rotation for the series yet, although I know that CC Sabathia is starting on Tuesday.  I suppose that means the other starters will be A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, neither of whom instill great confidence, particularly when the opposing match-up’s will be Josh Beckett and Jon Lester (John Lackey faces the Yanks on Tuesday night so that’s probably the only matchup that favors the Yanks in the series).

Where are those darned reinforcements? Signed, General Custer…

The August trading deadline has been very quiet, and of course, I am not expecting any moves by the Yankees.  I still wish the team would move to get a clutch bat for the bench (someone like Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon) but all indications are the Yankees will stand pat like they did at the July trading deadline.

Love means never having to say you’re Sori…

So, David Robertson is arbitration eligible at the end of the season?  The Yanks would be wise to lock him up to a deal before arbitration hearings.  He always seems to be in the most precarious situations yet, time and again, he comes through in big spots.  The way he struck out three batters in the 8th inning on Sunday night with the bases loaded was vintage D-Rob.  His 8th inning success definitely has me wondering what the Yanks will do with Rafael Soriano for the next couple of years…

He makes the world taste good…

I remember a few years ago when there were predictions that Curtis Granderson could hit 40 home runs playing at Yankee Stadium.  I thought those were aggressive remarks, but here he is on the verge of hitting that plateau.  Every one points to the adjustment he made with input from batting coach Kevin Long last August, but it’s clear he has become a complete hitter since that time.  It is ironic that one of the trading pieces, pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is leading the NL in wins.  Kind of makes one wish that the Yankees had traded Phil Hughes instead of Kennedy.  Still, the trade has worked out for all three teams involved (Arizona, Detroit, and the Yankees).  What?  Curtis Granderson just struck out in the game against the Orioles with Brett Gardner in scoring position?  The bum!  ;)  Just kidding…

They’re just games…

This is a big week for the Yankees with the Boston series so they’ll definitely be challenged.  It doesn’t get any easier after Boston because the Toronto Blue Jays will be coming to the Bronx for a weekend series, and the Jays have definitely played the Yanks tough this year.  Do we really have to pin our hopes on A.J. Burnett?  Really?…  L

Have a safe and enjoyable week!

–Scott

 

 

 

 

 

Land of 2 Seasons: Winter is coming, Winter is here…

I don’t have a beret to throw in the air…

I am finally living in an American League city once again.  Today is my first day as a resident of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Somehow, recent years have found me in National League cities, which is tough as an American League fan.  Nevertheless, I persevered and now reside in a city that houses good baseball tradition.  In fact, from my living room window, I can see the lights of Target Field.  Sweet!  Of course, I will never be able to admit that I am a Yankees fan in public given the bad blood between the Yankees and Twins.  I’d probably have better luck wearing a Sox cap…

 

Target Field

 

I am looking forward to learning about my new city, and I am excited about the opportunity and potential the area provides.  Yes, I’ll have to get used to winters again, but after living in areas where winter meant a 20 or 30 degree dip in average temps, I am looking forward to true changes of seasons.  Growing up in the Midwest, I never complained about snowfall and it was always one of my favorite enjoyments.  The only issue I have with winter is ice.  Outside of that, I can deal with the cold temps and the white, frosty surroundings.

Oddly, as a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, this will be the first time that I’ve been surrounded by Vikings fans.  Admittedly, that’s going to be very strange.  Growing up in southeast Iowa, Vikings fans were mixed among fans of the Bears, Packers, Chiefs, and the then St. Louis football Cardinals with the Bears as perhaps the predominate favorite.  I’ve seen the Vikings play in person over the years, but they’ve always been road games.  I never made it to the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington nor have I been to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.  That’s obviously going to change, but admittedly, it will be strange seeing everyone around me wearing purple and gold.

I am glad to be in Minnesota, and I am looking forward to a very long stay.  And, no, I am not suddenly going to become a fan of Carl Pavano…

 

Fundamentals, is it really that hard?…

I was very disappointed to see the Yankees lose a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays last night due to errors.  When you are playing one of your key rivals, anything less than your best is unacceptable.  The Yankees had a chance to bury the Rays and couldn’t do it.  While the Boston Red Sox are running away with the AL East, the Yankees need to make sure that they put distance between themselves and the other wild card challengers like the Rays.  Losing a game because you are outplayed is one thing, but to lose a game because of your own incompetence is wrong.  The Rays had encountered a tough stretch of games with the 16 inning loss to the Red Sox, followed by the baseloaded walk loss to the Yankees.  Another loss last night could have started driving a stake in the heart of the Rays.  But the Yankees allowed the Rays to resume their Wild Card drive, and last year those types of games allowed the Rays to best the Yanks in the East.

 

Mike Carlson/AP

 

The Rays clearly have the superior pitching rotation, but the Yankees are the offensive club…even with Alex Rodriguez on the DL.  With the series tied after two games with two to play, the Yankees have to ensure that they leave St. Petersburg with no less than a split.

 

The price of an ace…

The trade rumors involving the Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez are great, but I am hesitant given the high cost that would be involved.  I get that Jimenez is young (27) and has a very affordable contract for the next few years, but giving up Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero (and others) seems like such a high price to pay.  I like Jimenez and his road splits away from Coors Field are ridiculous, but I simply cannot condone giving away the farm to bring him to the Bronx.  That’s tough because who really knows if Banuelos and Montero will be genuine stars.  The cool demeanor of Banuelos seems like a perfect play in Yankee Stadium, and I do really believe that he is destined for greatness.  I also recognize that if CC Sabathia opts out of his contract and signs elsewhere this off-season, the Yankees will be lacking an ace.  Nevertheless, I do not think the Yankees should make the Jimenez trade unless the price is right.  Given the completion for the pitcher, I just don’t think that will happen.  The best deal for the Yankees would be one that no one is talking about.  Once the talk goes public, there is too much potential for other teams, like the Red Sox, to muck things up for no other reason than to drive up the price it would cost the Yankees.

 

Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez

 

When the Red Sox acquired Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins, there was not much speculation ahead of the trade.  The Yankees need that same stealth like approach to their next major acquisition.

 

And the young respond…

 

I am glad to see some of the guys from the Yankees farm system get their opportunity.  Guys like Brandon Laird, who was called up when Ramiro Pena went on the DL, and pitcher Steve Garrison.  I’ve really wanted to see what Laird could do in a platoon situation with Eduardo Nunez at third so now is his chance.

Yes, I thank my lucky stars every night for David Robertson…

 

POSTSEASON WINNER: David Robertson's two postseason victories have not only added big-game experience for young relief pitcher, but also have given the Yankees confidence in him.

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Daily News

 

Mutual respect…

I was listening to MLB Radio this week and I heard a Red Sox fan give kudos to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.  I was glad to hear those types of comments because I hold a similar high respect for certain Red Sox players like Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester.  It seems so un-Yankee like to respect a Sox player, but Pedey and Lester play the game the way it is supposed to be played.  There’s no way that I could ever root against those guys.  If I was a team owner, they would be among the first players that I would want to acquire for my team.

 

Dustin Pedroia Of The Red Sox

 

You have to go back to the 1920’s?  Really?

The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates in first place?  I can’t believe how much media attention that has gotten.  I do not expect either team to be a factor come October, but it’s nice to see their fans having reason to cheer this late in the season.   I enjoyed the early 1990’s when the Pirates were a factor in the play-offs every year.  After years of trading stars for prospects, it is nice to see the team thriving on those prospects.  But much of the credit has to go to first year manager Clint Hurdle.  Similarly, the Tribe’s success has to be attributed to Manny Acta.  Both men know how to get the most out of their guys.  It is very refreshing to see.  Nevertheless, I still do not see anything that’s going to derail a Boston Red Sox-Philadelphia Phillies World Series.

 

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

 

Yes, I am finally home…

“…You can have a town, why don’t you take it.   You’re gonna make it after all.”  I finally get what Mary Tyler Moore was saying after all these years…

 

 

–Scott

 

The difficult life of Yankee decision-makers…

 

The Ace of Scranton/Wilkes Barre…

I kept hoping that the Yankees would be able to find a way to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation, but inevitably, the team made the only decision it could by sending him down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  I agree that it is in Nova’s best interests to keep him on rotation, and not stunt his development by moving him to the pen.

I find it highly unlikely that either Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia will make it through the remainder of the season without any health issues.  So, almost assuredly, Nova will be back and he’ll prove why he is a long-term option for the starting rotation.

 

0909nova.JPG

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

Larry knows best…

Nothing against former pitching coach Dave Eiland, but his replacement, Larry Rothschild, has certainly shown why he was a great hire in the off-season.  The Yankees struck gold with both Colon and Garcia when they were hopeful that they’d be able to get something out of at least one of the pitchers.  I thought the Colon signing was a joke, and didn’t really begin to take the former Cy Young Award winner seriously until after the regular season began.

 

New York Yankees pitching coach LArry Rothschild speaks

Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday

 

Rothschild has also overseen the return of A.J. Burnett as a viable force in the rotation, which, after last season, was no small task.

In the bullpen, the Yankees have overcome the loss of set up man Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain with the superb play of David Robertson.  Robertson has shown that he is not only a great bridge to Mariano Rivera, but is perhaps a very viable alternative as Mo’s eventual replacement.  GM Brian Cashman was right to be against the Soriano signing, and now the Yanks will have Soriano for two more years since there’s no way that he’ll opt out of his lucrative contract.  It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation when Soriano returns.

As great as Larry Rothschild is, there are still going to be those moments when all goes wrong like today’s loss to the New York Mets.  Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the 9th, and the Yanks subsequently lost in 10 innings.  But the nice thing about the Yankees bullpen is that they have a very short memory, and I’m sure that they’ll be back in stellar form tomorrow.

Congratulations, you’re an All-Star!  As your reward, here is a ticket to the face of the Sun…

Congratulations to the players that will represent the Yankees during next week’s All-Star Game in Phoenix.  Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will be in the starting lineup, while Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin were also added to the squad.  Count me as one of those who hope that a spot opens for David Robertson.  The All-Star Yankees will need to get used to the heat as it has been blistering hot in the Valley of the Sun.  Yesterday, the official high was 117 degrees in Chandler, AZ, however, I saw temperature readings over 120 degrees.  It may be a dry heat, but it’s just plain hot.  Fortunately, Chase Field will be covered and the indoor temps should be very mild.

 

 

Nearing the end of the first half…

I am quite please with the way the Yankees have played the first half of the season.  I still feel that the Boston Red Sox have the superior team on paper, but the Yankees have held their own and currently lead the Sox by 1 ½ games.  I don’t think the Yanks can stay ahead of the Sox without any changes to the roster, but the team has definitely gotten more out of less.

 

Have fun!…

Have a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone!

 

 

–Scott

 

Finally, there’s action in the bullpen!…


After the long, off-season drought where the Yankees didn’t succumb to we, the fans, comes word that the Yankees have signed former Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano…



The signing was reported by SI’s Jon Heyman according to MLB Trade Rumors. 

This is great news!  With the problems facing the starting rotation, the Yankees desperately needed to have a shut-down combination in the bullpen (particularly after Kerry Wood spurned the Yankees money to take a “hometown” discount from the Chicago Cubs).  The team knows what they have with David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, and I don’t think the team could have withstood continued inconsistency from those two during the upcoming season.  Perhaps they pitch lights out in 2011, but fortunately, it will be in the 7th inning or earlier giving the Yankees the opportunity to really shorten up games.

When I say the Yankees didn’t succumb to the fans, I mean that they didn’t overreact and simply stayed the course.  They were able to take advantage of Soriano’s free agent slide, although it did cost closer dollars (allegedly 3 years for $35 million, however, he can opt out after either the first or second year).  This gives the Yankees some time to make improvements on the starting rotation and hopefully allow Robertson or Chamberlain to prove that they can set up in 2012.  

On a sad note, I caught the news blurb that Touched by an Angel star John Dye has passed away at the very young age of 47 due to a heart attack.  That’s very sad news and it definitely makes one realize how short our stay is here.  May he rest in peace…



–Scott


The Perfect Formula…

 

8th inning relief…



 


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

 

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



Theodorakis/NY Daily News

 

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



0726granderson.JPG

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images 



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


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

 

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

 

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



Cliff Lee (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press  

 

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



 


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


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



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

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

 

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





–Scott


So Close Yet So Far Away…again…

A wasted Phil Hughes performance…

 

From the movie, Hangover

 

Hughes did his part.  Unfortunately, no one else did.  Pitching into the 6th inning with only one run allowed, Hughes saw a potential victory evaporate in the hands of relievers Boone Logan and David Robertson.

 

 

 

Thanks, in part, to a throwing error by Jorge Posada in the 8th, and a subsequent hit by Cesar Izturis, the Baltimore Orioles had the insurance run they would need to hold off a late rally by the Yankees.

 

A fielder’s choice groundout by Alex Rodriguez in the 9th inning ended the game after two runs had scored in the inning to bring the Yanks within one run, 5-4.  The blazing hot Robinson Cano was left standing in the on-deck circle.

 

 

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

 

This was a very disappointing performance by the Yankees, who have been very uninspired of late in losing four of the last five games.  Not even a Monday trip to Washington to meet President Barack Obama helped motivate the squad. 

 

 

Obama Yankees Baseball

AP 

 

After a terrific start, the Yankees are now 12-7, 2 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.  The Boston Red Sox have won two straight to pull within 3 games of the Yankees and into third place.

 

 

Clay Buchholz

 

Boston Globe

 

In typical Curt Schilling fashion, controversial remarks were abound as he indicated Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez was not an American League guy.  Manager Joe Girardi defended Vazquez.  “Guys are asked to analyze situations, and so they make their analysis.  We still believe Javy’s going to be successful, and he’s going to pitch at a very high level for us.”  I hope Joe’s right, but I have to admit I had the same reservations when I first heard the Yankees had re-acquired Vazquez.  His greatest successes have come in Montreal and Atlanta, both National League cities.  I am still hopeful Javy will succeed in the Bronx but the concerns and fears will remain until he proves me wrong…

 

 

The Yankees are bringing pitcher Javier Vazquez back to the Bronx...

Bazemore/AP

 

 

Hats off to San Francisco pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for outdueling the great Roy Halladay in the Giants’ 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night.

 

 

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez th... Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

 

 

 

 

Huh? That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen!…

A bitter taste…


Loser3.JPG 

Finally, A.J. Burnett was pitching like the guy that the Yankees expected when they signed him as a free agent in the off-season.  After a series of poor starts, he had dominating stuff last night and was in position for a win.  He went 7 innings, and gave up only 1 run on 7 hits.  He struck out 6, and walked only 3.  He was leading 2-1 at the time of his exit, and the Yankees seemed to be in control despite the close score.

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

The 8th saw a business-as-usual performance from Phil Hughes, with 3 up and 3 down.

 

Mariano Rivera appeared very loose in the bullpen prior to his entrance in the 9th.  The stage was set for another save on his way to Cooperstown.  Even the Seattle-based announcers made a comment that they should just waive the 5 year waiting period for Mo when he retires.  Mo easily set down the first two batters (getting the second, Mike Carp, out on his 1,000th career strikeout), but then pinch hitter Mike Sweeney stroked a double to right.  Okay, there were two outs, the Yanks were still in good shape.  Only Ichiro stood in the way of their 95th victory.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  Mo tried to go inside on a cutter but left the pitch out too much, and Ichiro got a hold of it and sent it into the outfield bleachers for the game-winning home run.  The Mariners walked off with a 3-2 victory…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

Mo saw his string of 36 consecutive saves snapped.  The only other time he has failed to convert a save this season was in April on a Jason Bay home run.

 

Sipkin/New York Daily News 

 

Ichiro may have been picked off twice in the game, but he clearly got the last laugh…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Red Sox shrank to 6 games.  This is definitely a tough stretch.  The Yankees are on a difficult road trip against winning teams and in cities they historically have troubles with.  Meanwhile, the Red Sox are playing the lifeless Orioles, and then move on to Kansas City for face the punchless Royals for four games.  Both the O’s and Royals stand at 87 losses prior to today’s games.  So, the Yankees’ three-game series against the Red Sox next weekend looms as the big AL East showdown.  It is very possible that the Red Sox may be in position to determine who enters the play-offs as the AL East champion and who backdoors it as the Wild Card entrant.  The Yankees’ magic number remains at 10, but their magic number for making the play-offs dropped to 3 with the Rangers’ loss to the Angels.  That one was a double-edged sword as the Angels gained a game on the Yanks for best record.  So, needless to say, Ichiro’s hit made for a very difficult night on many fronts.

 

 

Hopefully, the Yanks will show their mettle and rebound today with CC Sabathia taking the hill in search of his 18th victory.  Let’s hope it’s the Yanks’ 95th

 

 

I still can’t believe that the great Peter Abraham (who has been referred to as the “blogfather”) is leaving the LoHud Yankees Blog to go to work for the Boston Globe and write about the dreaded Red Sox…  L

 

Disbelief.JPG

 

The oldest living Yankee has passed away,  Lonny Frey, who played with the Yankees in the 1947 World Series, was a three-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds in the 30’s and 40’s.  Frey died on Sunday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the age of 99.  He was the last surviving player to play for the Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

Courtesy Richard Hirschman

 

Frey’s passing leaves Tommy Henrich, 96, as the oldest living Yankee.  Henrich played his entire career with the Yankees from 1937 to 1950.  He is the last surviving member of the World Champion 1938 Yankees.

 

193820Crosetti2C20Rolfe2C20Henrich2.jpg 1938 New York Yankees image by BillBurgess

Courtesy Bill Burgess

 

Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.  Andy missed his last start due to a “fatigued” shoulder, and hopefully, the rest has helped him.  Andy will be a huge part of what the Yanks will try to accomplish in October.  It was good to hear that he has reached most of his incentives to allow him to nearly double his $5 million salary for the year.  He has certainly earned his pay (relatively speaking of course, because $5 mil is a heck of a lot of money any way you slice it!).

 

John Munson/The Star Ledger 

Speaking of rest, reliever David Robertson, who was shut down for elbow stiffness, appears to be on track for a return by the final week of the season.  He is another arm that will be crucial to October success.  I am glad that his visit to Dr. Andrews did not reveal more serious problems and that rest was the prescribed treatment.  Robertson has been great in the pen this year.

 

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

Today is a new day.  Let’s get back to winning…

 

 

–Scott

In A Swish of Time…

 

Give the man a pie…

 

Pie Time.JPG

 

This game belonged to the Swish.  With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic.  When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi.  But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira.  Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield.  At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.  But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today.  The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive.  Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s.  This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s.  But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality.  He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief.  Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6.  He walked 2 batters.  Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb.  The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts.  Ouch!  He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500.  They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight.  Yes, Julia, life is good…

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…

 

The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson.  This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective.  In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief.  He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.  Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing.  Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson.  Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.

 

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images   

 

I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296).   This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs.  But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN.  Congrats!

 

 

Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns.  The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension.  It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football.  The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…

 

Allen Frederickson/Reuters

–Scott

Finally, a Series Win! On to Queens!…

 

Derek Lowe versus Andy Pettitte…

 

 

It was a match-up that reminded me of some great Red Sox battles of the past.  Unfortunately, this one was not memorable as neither pitcher was around very long.  The Yankees had built an 8-1 lead by the 4th inning against Lowe.  It should have been an easy win for Andy Pettitte, but he struggled too.  In the bottom of the 4th inning, he gave up 5 runs, thanks in part to an error by center fielder Brett Gardner, and was lifted for Alfredo Aceves.  Aceves was the eventual winner in the 11-7 Yankees victory over the Atlanta Braves.

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

I am concerned about Pettitte.  He pitched great during his last start, but otherwise, his starts have been very spotty.  He is definitely no longer the pitcher he once was, or at least I do not recall him being so consistently “hittable”. 

But the one player we do not need to be concerned about is Alex Rodriguez.  After a month long slump that saw his batting average slide to .207, A-Rod was back last night.  He had a key hit on Wednesday, and followed that up with his 563rd home run (tying Mr. October, Reggie Jackson on the all-time list).  He was 3-for-5, with two runs scored, a walk, and 4 RBI’s (pushing his BA to .223).

 

John Bazemore,AP

 

The key hit for this game, in my opinion, was delivered by Johnny Damon.  With the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd inning, Damon came to bat against his former Red Sox teammate and delivered a triple to clear the bases.  The hit increased the Yankees’ lead to 6-1 at the time.  Even though the Braves scratched and clawed to get back in the game, they could never recover from the huge hole created by Damon.

 

Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald 

 

The bullpen did a good job with Aceves, Phil Coke, and the great Mariano Rivera.  The only questionable performance was by David Robertson who gave up a 9th inning home run to Brian McCann, and had runners at the corners, before Mo came in to get the final out.  Robertson did have two strikeouts in the frame.  Hopefully, he was just upset by the Mets’ recent release of his brother Connor, and he’ll perform the next time he is placed in a key situation.

 

 

The Yankees now head to Queens for a weekend Subway Series against the Mets.  I am concerned about the health of CC Sabathia, but it appears that he is a ‘go’ and should be fine this evening.  A.J. Burnett will return from his suspension tomorrow so it should be a fun weekend in Flushing Meadow.  With A-Rod coming around, I am sure that the biggest beneficiary will be Mark Teixeira.  The team responded to Brian Cashman’s call to arms, and hopefully that will continue. The Toronto Blue Jays lost last night, so the Yankees once again have sole possession of 2nd place and are now 4 games behind Boston.  Meanwhile, those pesky Rays keep winning…

 

Photo

Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune

 

Happy 35th Birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter!

 

Happy Birthday.JPG

 

Xavier Nady had a major setback during his minor league rehab with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  Brian Cashman is calling it a possible worst case scenario as Nady felt pain while throwing.  Not a good sign.  At some point,  you have to wonder if surgery is the only option.  Best wishes to the X-Man for a “best case” scenario outcome…

 

Charles Krupa/AP

 

Finally, Thursday was a very sad day in the Entertainment World with the loss of two icons… Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

 


Farrah.JPG 

 

Say what you will about MJ in recent years, but he was truly the King of Pop during the early 80’s.  His music was everywhere, and I can still so vividly remember waiting to watch the MTV world premiere of the video for Thriller in late 1983.  Like Elvis, Michael has left us way too soon. 

Farrah’s passing was more expected but no less difficult.  I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a teenager (like every other guy my age). 

Goodbye to both…they will be missed…

A Less Than Perfect Day…

 

It wasn’t a perfect, but all things considered, it could have been worse…

 

The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers, 8-6, while the Boston Red Sox won in Detroit against the Tigers, 6-3.  So, the two teams remain deadlocked atop the AL East Standings.

 

cat n dog.JPGThe Yankees survived a less than stellar return to the starting rotation by Chien-Ming Wang. 

 

 

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a Johnny Damon home run to right.

Wang looked good for the first couple of innings, but the trouble began in the 3rd.  Chris Davis started the inning with a ground rule double.  He advanced to third on a sacrifice by Taylor Teagarden.  After an by Elvis Andrus, Davis scored on a wild pitch when Wang slipped.  The next batters, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, reached base on a walk and an infield single, respectively.  That brought Hank Blalock to the plate who hit a single to left, scoring Kinsler and Young.  Nelson Cruz struck out to end the inning, but the Rangers resumed their offensive strike in the 4th.

David Murphy singled, and was followed by Marlon Byrd who doubled, advancing Murphy to third.  Chris Davis doubled to right to score the two runners ahead of him.  Wang was then able to retire the next three batters to end the inning, but the Rangers had increased their lead to 4-1. 

 

Simmons/NY Daily News

In the 5th, Wang was able to induce the first two batters to hit into ground outs, but the third batter, Nelson Cruz, unloaded a homer to center and Wang’s day was done.  He was relieved by Alfredo Aceves, He walked two batters, and an error allowed the lead runner to third.  But Chris Davis popped out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankee bats came alive against Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy.  Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena both singled, and Johnny Damon walked to load the bases.  Nick Swisher walked, which scored Cervelli.   Mark Teixeira, continuing his offensive surge which began in May, doubled to left with a shot near line past charging third baseman Michael Young, scoring all three base runners to tie the score at 5.  Alex Rodriguez singled, scoring Teixeira, and the Yankees had re-captured the lead. 

The next inning, Aceves was able to retire the first two batters without much difficulty, but then allowed a home run to left by Ian Kinsler.  Once again, the game was tied.  It stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th.  With C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Rangers, the first batter, Robinson Cano walked.  Hideki Matsui flied out, which brought Melky Cabrera to the plate.  Granted, it was a bit early for the “Walk Off” king, but Cabrera ignored that it wasn’t the 9th inning and launched a Wilson offering to left, giving the Yankees an 8-6 lead.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger

“What can you say?  He’s always coming through for us,” Mark Teixeira said after the game about Cabrera.

Mariano Rivera came on in the 9th to close out the game.  He made it interesting with two hits, and had runners at second and third when he induced David Murphy to pop out to end the game.  Bent, but not broken and the Yankees had the win and Rivera had earned his 12th save.  David Robertson, 1-0, was the winner after throwing just one pitch (a fly out to retire the Rangers in the 8th).  For a change, the Yankee bullpen was able to rescue the starting pitcher, and  the Yankees were able to win the series against the Rangers, two games to one.  It was disappointing to see the underwhelming performance by Wang, but all things considered, I’ll take the victory. 

I was disappointed to hear that Wang’s next start will be against the Boston Red Sox.  I am sure that their hitters started salivating when they heard the news.  The bad news was further compounded by the fact that A.J. Burnett was suspended for six games for his retaliatory pitch thrown near the head of Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz in the game where Vicente Padilla plunked Mark Teixeira twice.  I was surprised that Vicente Padilla was only fined for his actions.  Burnett has appealed the suspension.

I wonder if Julia would give me a three run handicap for our wager on the Yankees-Red Sox series next week?  Probably not.  She’s definitely living the good life, but hopefully there will be a few storm clouds on her Red Sox horizon…

 

Storm Clouds.JPG

Congratulations to…

Randy Johnson of my favorite National League team, the San Francisco Giants.  He because the sixth left hander and 24th major league player to win 300 games.  Johnson, 300-164, won on his first attempt at the milestone, and saved us the agony of watching the media follow him from city to city in his quest for 300 wins.  It was a good win for the Giants and a great performance by the Big Unit.

 

Nick Wass/AP

 

The Los Angeles Lakers, who thoroughly dominated the Orlando Magic, 100-75, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

 

Paul Buck/EPA

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who even the Stanley Cup Finals at 2 games, with a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

 

Jeff Kowalsky/EPA

 

Perhaps yesterday really was the perfect day… 

Have a fantastic Friday!

–Scott 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.