Results tagged ‘ Detroit ’

Here we are, Game 5 — Play Ball!…

 

The Yankees are playing an elimination game, so of course, I need something to take my mind off the game!  ;)

Maybe we’ll see the new White Sox manager run toward the Texas Rangers owner’s box in a fit of rage…

I was surprised to hear the announcement that former Yankees third baseman Robin Ventura had been named the manager of the Chicago White Sox.  I think Robin’s a great guy and he should be a good manager, but he’s definitely the anti-Ozzie Guillen.  I thought that Jerry Reinsdorf and company would go for a more experienced manager.  Personally, Terry Francona would be at the top of my list but I am sure that Reinsdorf had good reasons for taking a chance with Robin.

I have not done any research to see what Ventura has been up to in recent years but hopefully he’s prepared for the rigors of managing in a big city with high expectations.  If the Chicago Cubs somehow managed to land GM Theo Epstein and/or Terry Francona, it would put pressure on Ventura to produce quickly in the Battle of the Windy City.

Now you see them, now you don’t…

I was equally surprised to see the quick exit from the play-offs by the Tampa Bay Rays.  After they successfully caught the Boston Red Sox in September and captured the Wild Card, I did think they were a team of destiny.  They certainly have the starting pitching to contend, but it was not meant to be.  Red Sox fans were so hoping for the ouster of the Yankees and Rays on the same night.  Fortunately, they were disappointed.  I really hope the Yankees get the chance to play the Texas Rangers in the ALCS to, hopefully, avenge the play-off loss last year.  Texas has an incredible offensive machine, but they are not unbeatable.

Weren’t the Cardinals left for dead just a month or so ago?…

It is interesting that all division series, except Rangers-Rays, have gone the full 5 games.  I don’t expect the St. Louis Cardinals to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, but they’ve certainly shown they can play on the same field.  The Phillies remain the team I think will win the World Series, but I’d be foolish to underestimate the heart of the Cardinals.  The Arizona Diamondbacks were able to dig out of a 0-2 hole against the Brewers, but I don’t really expect them to beat the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night.  I think the NLCS will feature the Phillies and the Brewers, with the Phils advancing to the World Series.

The Vikings are dead…

Football has definitely not been fun this year as my team, the Minnesota Vikings, have lost all four games to open the season.  Every game has been close, but the Vikings simply do not know either how to win or how to close out games.  Is that the coach or the players?  I really want to see Head Coach Leslie Frazier succeed, but I am not a big fan of QB Donovan McNabb (he will never again approach the success he enjoyed in Philly).  Also, I was not a fan of Mike Singletary when he was coach of the San Francisco 49ers and now he has Leslie’s ear as his chief confidant and close friend.  Perhaps Frazier would be better off without Singletary and with Christian Ponder as the starting QB…

Thanks for my iPod…

The Yankees and Detroit Tigers are getting ready to play Game 5 so I’d better cut this short.  But before I go, I’d like to say my condolences to the family of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.  His passing this week was difficult news to hear.  Somehow it seems as though we’ve lost a great friend and the world will never be quite the same.  He is missed by so many and rightfully so.  When he stepped down as the CEO of Apple in late August, I didn’t realize that he was so close to the end.  Nevertheless, he lived his life his way and on his own terms.  He left a legacy for all of us to learn from.  If we could accomplish 2% of what he did, we’d be wildly successful…

 

–Scott

 

 

Finally, A Series Win!…


Confidence restored…



 


After the series opener loss to the Detroit Tigers,
I was a bit dismayed.  The Yankees, the
team that started the year on a consecutive series win streak, hadn’t won a
series since late July after splitting a four game set with the Royals in
Kansas City.  They returned to the Bronx
and promptly lost a disappointing game to the Tigers with Detroit ace Justin
Verlander looming the next day. 

 

Fortunately, the Yanks beat Verlander and went on
to the win the next two games afterwards to take 3 of 4.  The wins were definitely part of the Robinson
Cano Show as he homered in the three consecutive wins.  Also, the bat of Curtis Granderson has come
to life since the adjustments he made with hitting coach Kevin Long.  I was not an immediate believer in Austin
Kearns, but he has steadily begun to make an impact.  With Alex Rodriguez nursing a sore calf and
Lance Berkman on the DL, it was imperative for some of the lesser known guys on
the roster to begin carrying their weight. 
It couldn’t have happened at a better time as the Yankees are trying to
stave off the Tampa Bay Rays who they were tied with at the beginning of today’s
games. 



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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


 

With September right around the corner, I am
concerned about pitching.  The only
certainty is ace CC Sabathia.  With A.J.
Burnett, you’re never really sure what you are going to get.  Javier Vazquez has been pitching poorly
lately with reduced velocity.  Dustin
Moseley is never going to overwhelm you, and Phil Hughes is rapidly approaching
an innings limitation.  Andy Pettitte
remains on the DL after a setback, so there are a series of question marks with
the starting rotation.  It is fortunate
that the bullpen has begun to gel with Kerry Wood, Joba Chamberlain, David
Robertson and Boone Logan pitching very effectively.  The long men, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre,
have performed well in their roles.  The
Yankees certainly have the bats to win the division, but I obviously have less
confidence in the pitching.  If healthy,
they’d be among the league’s elite.  But
in their current state, I’d have to give the advantage to the Tampa Bay
Rays.  As for the Red Sox, I can only
hope that Josh Beckett and John Lackey continue their season-long
struggles.  With their injuries this
year, it’s amazing that they’ve remained within striking distance so they are
certainly a threat as the page gets ready to flip to September. 

 

But for now, all is well in the Bronx.  If the Yankees can get on a roll and win a
few series over the next couple of weeks, they should be in great shape for the
stretch run despite their issues and challenges.


–Scott



Let’s Kick It Into Gear…


I don’t get it…


IDK.JPG

 


On Monday, the Yankees are totally befuddled by Max
Scherzer, but on Tuesday, they defeat annual Cy Young contender Justin
Verlander.  Monday’s game was so
disappointing.  After a lethargic
performance the previous day against Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City
Royals, they continued the lackluster offensive ways against Scherzer
and the Detroit Tigers in losing 3-1. 

 

The losing pitcher was Javier Vazquez.  While only giving up 2 runs, he threw a
startling 106 pitches in just four innings. 
At this point, the Yankees cannot depend upon Vazquez for the duration
of the season.  The inability to acquire
Cliff Lee is even more magnified today than it was the day Lee was dealt to
Texas.  The Yankees don’t have a Jeremy
Hellickson in the farm system (at least not one that’s ready to make the impact
Hellickson can for the Tampa Bay Rays). 
So, Monday’s loss, which allowed the Rays to tie the Yanks in the AL
East standings was definitely ‘advantage-Rays’. 



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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Tuesday, CC Sabathia was on the hill but things
started poorly when former Yank Austin Jackson hit a lead-off homer.  After that, CC settled in and earned his 16th
win despite another home run in the 7th (a solo dinger by Brandon
Inge) as the Yanks won, 6-2.  They merely
kept pace with the Rays, who also won, along with the charging Boston Red Sox
who also emerged victorious. 



New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (l.) receives a hand pound from Derek Jeter during a seven-inning, nine strikeout outing that gave Sabathia his 16th win of the season.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

This game was about how much Brett Gardner means to
the Yankees offense when he is hitting. 
As long as he can get on base, things happen.  He scored a run in the bottom of the first on
Nick Swisher’s single, and he doubled in the 6th when any other
Yankee would not have made it past first base. 
He subsequently scored on Derek Jeter’s single. 

 

The Yankees have their share of injury woes, with
Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman in the dreaded DTD status.  Despite the recent offensive woes, hopefully,
the team can build upon today’s win to put together a nice winning streak. 

 

I would be remiss for not acknowledging the passing
of legend Bobby Thomson.  What baseball
fan who appreciates the history of the game hasn’t heard the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round
the World”?  His home run in the decisive
1951 play-off game with the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the New York Giants the NL
Pennant (“The Giants win the Pennant! 
The Giants win the Pennant!”).  The
team would go on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series, but there is no
doubt that Thomson’s home run was one of the greatest in major league
history.



AP  

 

In my usual off-topic comment, it appears that
Brett Favre will be quarterbacking the Minnesota Vikings in 2010.   He flew to Minnesota today, and an
announcement regarding his decision is forthcoming.  However, close friend, kicker Ryan Longwell, is
saying that Favre has decided to return (surprise, surprise).  The only person that’s probably disappointed
is Tavaris Jackson, but T-Jack should be ready if Favre falters.  If I were the Vikings GM, I’d be on the phone
trying to deal QB Sage Rosenfels.   I’d
like to see the Vikings give the third QB slot to rookie Joe Webb.  Is it really time for football again?  Wow, this has been an incredibly fast
off-season.  It seems like just yesterday
that Favre should have just ran instead of trying to throw in the loss to the
New Orleans Saints…



Brett Favre

AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles

 

–Scott

Move the Ghosts Aside, A New Yankee Centerfielder…

Anybody that played for the Mankato Moondogs is fine by me…

 

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Introducing the newest Yankee, centerfielder Curtis Granderson!  I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant when I saw the price tag (outfield prospect Austin Jackson and pitchers Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy).  I was looking forward to a career with Ajax in center, and I had grown very fond of bullpen specialist Coke over the course of the past season.  I wasn’t particularly enamored with Ian Kennedy’s attitude, but he did impress me with his return last season following surgery.  Nevertheless, I recognize that the Yankees are a better team today than they were yesterday.  Granderson hit 30 home runs with a home park that is pitching friendly.  Move him to the wind tunnel known as Yankee Stadium and this guy is going to be electric in center field.  He stole 20 bags this past season since he does have some speed.

  Granderson's acrobatic grab in July, robbing Boston of a home run, was the must-see clip of the summer.

John Grieshop/Getty Images

 

Granderson appeared in his first All-Star Game in 2009 and scored the winning run in the 8th inning following a triple.  This play was huge for the Yankees because it gave them home field advantage in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.  So, it appears that he was destined for pinstripes.

 

 

 

After dispatching valuable bullpen parts in Brian Bruney and Phil Coke, GM Brian Cashman needs to focus on rebuilding the bullpen.  However, starting pitching should be the next course of action.  I still think the Yankees need to address left field.  I am not a fan of moving Melky Cabrera to left.  I do not think he hits for the power that you need in left, particularly considering that Nick Swisher is average in right.  I’d either like to see the Yanks re-sign Johnny Damon, or look elsewhere for a new left fielder.  I would not be a proponent of moving Granderson to left either as I feel his speed is best served in center.

 

AP

 

This commentary may be a bit premature since the trade has not been officially confirmed, however, at this point, it appears that it is a foregone conclusion that it will be.  Interestingly enough, Granderson wears #28 for the Detroit Tigers.  The number is available with the Yankees, unless Joe Girardi decides to upgrade his number to the new goal.  So, perhaps Granderson is the missing link for World Championship #28.  Time will tell.  I have no problem with my friend Julia suffering another year of disappointment!  J

 


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Extending the Lead…

The Boston Red Sox lost…

 

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

Life is good.

 

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Justin Verlander was throwing smoke today.  Not just in the 1st inning, but he was still hitting 100 mph with a couple of pitches to “future Yankee” Jason Bay in the 8th inning.  The Detroit Tigers were victorious in the game against the Red Sox that saw Verlander go 8 innings while giving up only 4 hits and no runs.  It was a very impressive performance and it couldn’t happen against a better team!  Right, Julia?  ;)

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

To the Red Sox’ defense, Clay Buchholz pitched a great game in a losing effort, and is a notable improvement over the departed John Smoltz (much to my chagrin).  Theo, can you bring Smoltzie back?

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

The Yankees closed out a very successful home stand against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays.  They could have (should have) won the first game against the Jays, but I think they were still coming down from the high of sweeping the Red Sox.  Nevertheless, they came back to win the next two games to take the series so all is good.

 

 

 

On the downside, the last victory against the Jays was a costly win.  Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada all suffered severe bruises.  DJ and A-Rod were hit by pitches, while Posada took a foul ball on his right hand.  Like Posada said, “I got hit everywhere.  It was like a boxing match.”

 

 

And, oh yeah, Mariano Rivera had a “cranky” shoulder and was unavailable.

 

 

 

It wasn’t a great way to start the road trip in Seattle.  Both A-Rod and Posada were out of the starting lineup for the opening game against the Mariners, however, Jeter was back in the lineup at the top of the order.

 

Elaine Thompson/AP 

 

I didn’t think that the acquisition of Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trading deadline was significant, but I’d have to say that I was wrong.  In a short amount of time, he has proven to be an invaluable commodity and he’s playing third base tonight.  He’s a quality player, and has performed better than I had expected.  Even though he isn’t used as much, I’d also have to say that I am impressed with Eric Hinske.  The Yankees’ bench is definitely much stronger today than it was on June 1st.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP 

As I finish this post, the Yankees have just beaten the Mariners 11-1 so they didn’t seem to be missing A-Rod and Posada too much.  Jeter and Matsui have home runs (Godzilla had 2), and Hairston had 2 RBI’s.  Hey, Julia, I wasn’t a math major in college, but I’d call it a 6 ½ game lead!  J

 

 

CC Sabathia picked up his 13th win while surrendering only three hits and one run in 8 innings, while striking out 10.  CC is definitely locked and loaded, and this is why Hal Steinbrenner signed off on the huge deal in the offseason despite budget constraints.  The pitcher the Yanks blew out was former Pirate Ian Snell.  Before the trading deadline, the Yanks had been scouting Snell, who was then with the Pirates’ AAA affiliate.  As the saying goes, sometimes the best trade is the one never made.

 

 

 

The Yankees still need to do something about the #5 slot in the starting rotation.  There are plans to insert Chad Gaudin for a start this week in order to skip Joba Chamberlain and limit his season innings.  But I am not expecting great things from Gaudin, who was 4-10 for the Padres this season.  In other words, note to Brian Cashman, try again…

 

 

The Tampa Tribune has settled on a name for the new Jeter mansion in Davis Islands, FL.  By way of an online poll, the winning name was St. Jetersburg.  I don’t even have to hear the other choices to know that they made the right selection.  The name is perfect.

 

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on this subject even though it’s off topic.  I can’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick.  I was listening to the guys on San Francisco’s sports talk radio station, KNBR, and they felt that Vick couldn’t have landed in a “softer” spot.  Personally, I think it was a bad decision for Eagles management.  I know that Donovan McNabb has had his share of critics, but he remains in the upper tier of NFL QB’s.  I know, it’s not like Vick is going to beat out McNabb, but his mere presence on the field shows that the Eagles will accept victories over moral responsibility.  Granted, I wasn’t an Eagles fan to begin with, but suffice to say that I am glad (and proud) that my team didn’t sign the morally corrupt Vick.  The only reason that Vick is asking for a second chance is because he got caught.  Good luck with that, Philly…

 

 

I know Julia, I saw that Tom Brady threw 2 TD’s…blah, blah, blah…  Go Vikings! 

 

 

 

 

 –Scott

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