Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

A Nice Start!…


It was great to see Mark
Teixeira
homer in the Yankees’ Opening Day win against the Detroit Tigers.  Hopefully, it is a sign that we won’t see the
April freeze this year with Tex.  He has
worked hard to try and overcome his history of slow starts.


Mark Teixeira watches his three-run homer on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium as the slugging first baseman tries to shake his usual slow start.

Sipkin/NY Daily News  

So far, I really like what I
have seen of catcher Russell Martin.  He
seems to have captured the respect of the pitching staff in a very short period
of time.  For as much as I feel pitching
coach Larry Rothschild will have a positive impact on A.J. Burnett, I cannot
underestimate what Martin will do for him also. 
I don’t know why the relationship between Burnett and Posada was never
an easy one, but it would be a terrific boon for the team should Burnett and
Martin click together.

Speaking of A.J., he goes
today against the Tigers so we’ll soon see…

What a great game for Curtis
Granderson
on Thursday!  He homered and
came up with a few defensive gems that made the highlight reels.  Last year, I had started to regret the trade
that sent Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to Detroit for Granderson, with Ian
Kennedy
going to Arizona.  But late in
the season, with a few adjustments, Curtis started to show us the player he
could be.  Some players take time to
adjust to New York, while others can slide right in (like Nick Swisher).  Granderson is probably more in the former
category, especially given the high expectations of the multi-player
trade. 

So, Cliff Lee pitches
tonight in Philadelphia against Wandy Rodriguez and the Houston Astros.  If he had joined the Yankees, he’d be
starting today against the Tigers.  It’ll
be hard not to wonder ‘what could have been’ this year when Lee starts.  That feeling will probably be present until
the Yankees can make a move to acquire another top flight pitcher.  I do know that I’ll be cheering for the
Astros tonight…

Although I am pulling for
Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League, it was
horrible to hear about the Dodger fans that beat up the Giants fan in the
parking lot of Dodger Stadium after the season opener.  Obviously, the violence is not condoned by
the Dodgers, and Mattingly said it was crossing the line.  I know that I am always cautious about
wearing a Yankees hat in certain cities. 
For example, if I went to Fenway Park, I would not take any Yankees gear.  But that is a sad statement that you cannot openly
support your team without concern for your health and safety. 


–Scott


Live from New York, Play Ball!…


CC Sabathia versus Justin
Verlander


Larry W. Smith/EPA


Because the Tigers hope rookie Justin Verlander will pitch for years, they're cutting back on his work.

Tony Dejak/AP


Finally, Opening Day is upon
us!  It has been a long and at times
disappointing off-season.  Optimism
returned in Spring Training as there were a few success stories and
surprises.  The pitching match-up for the
Yankees against the Detroit Tigers is perfect as I expect banner years by both
pitchers.  They both will most likely be
finalists for the Cy Young Award at the end of the year if all goes right.

For Opening Day, here are the 2011 New York
Yankees:

 

Manager

Joe Girardi

 

Coaches

Kevin Long, Batting Coach

Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach

Mick Kelleher, First Base Coach

Rob Thomson, Third Base Coach

Tony Pena, Bench Coach

Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach

Roman Rodriguez, Bullpen Catcher

 

Starters

1B – Mark Teixeira

2B – Robinson Cano

SS – Derek Jeter

3B – Alex Rodriguez

C – Russell Martin

RF – Nick Swisher

CF – Curtis Granderson

LF – Brett Gardner

DH – Jorge Posada

 

Bench Strength

Bench – 1B/3B – Eric Chavez

Bench – 2B/SS/3B – Eduardo Nunez

Bench – OF – Andruw Jones

Bench – C – Gustavo Molina

 

Starting
Rotation

1SP – CC Sabathia

2SP – A.J. Burnett

3SP – Phil Hughes

4SP – Ivan Nova

5SP – Freddy Garcia

 

Bullpen

Closer – Mariano Rivera

Setup – Rafael Soriano

RP – Joba Chamberlain

RP – David Robertson

RP – Boone Logan

RP – Bartolo Colon

RP – Luis Ayala

 

Several of the spots are held by injury replacements
(Molina for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, and Ayala for reliever Pedro
Feliciano
) so they’ll go down to the minors when the regulars return.  I am sure that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo
Colon
will be on short leashes, and it’s very possible that one of their spots
could be taken by Kevin Millwood should either one falter.

 

I am very pleased to see Eric Chavez on the
roster.  It was a foregone conclusion
that he’d make the team after the spring he had, but going into camp, there
were certainly plenty of questions about his health and durability.  I am sure that Jason Giambi has probably been
on the phone to his good buddy to let him know the inner workings of the
Yankees organization and the city of New York. 

 

Congratulations to Manny Banuelos for winning the
James P. Dawson Award as the team’s outstanding rookie in camp.  I am definitely looking forward to his
arrival in the Bronx, even if it is still a few years down the road.

 

Even though there were no major additions in the
off-season, I do like this year’s team. 
The hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild was huge, and I think he’ll
be able to get into A.J. Burnett‘s head and rebuild the pitcher’s
confidence.  I expect continued
progression from Phil Hughes, and if Ivan Nova continues to build upon his
outstanding spring, I think the Yankees rotation will be quite strong. 

 

What can you say about the bullpen?  They will definitely shorten games for the
starters.

 

As for the regulars, I expect Derek Jeter to
rebound from last year and put up his usual DJ-like numbers.  Robinson Cano will continue his progression
of one of the game’s elite, and Alex Rodriguez looks charged and ready for a
fantastic season.  I am expecting more
consistency and better timely hitting from Curtis Granderson this year, and if
Brett Gardner stays healthy, the outfield should be significantly
improved. 

 

The health of Russell Martin is a concern,
particularly since neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine was able to prove
they are ready for the major leagues.  If
the Yankees have to start Posada at catcher, it will definitely be a sign of
trouble ahead. 

 

In my mind, the positives will outweigh the
negatives, and the Yankees will be in the hunt at the end. 

 

Nevertheless, with all things considered, I do
think the league champions, as it stands right now, will be the Boston Red Sox
and the San Francisco Giants.  A World
Series matchup would put the Sox over the Giants for the championship.  This is not what I want, but rather, on
paper, it is the most logical conclusion. 
Much can happen between now and October, and I certainly expect the
Yankees to acquire a #3 starter (or better) for the starting rotation by the
July trading deadline.  I did like the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I think the loss of Chase Utley to injury and Jayson
Werth
to free agency will be too much to overcome.  Pitching staff to pitching staff, I like the
Giants rotation better than the Phillies.

 

Win or lose, this should be a tremendous baseball
season for all of us!  Go ahead, throw
the first pitch…

 

–Scott

 

 

 

A Day of Rumors…


Next week (the Baseball Winter Meetings) is my favorite
time of the off-season.  Like the trading
deadline in July, each day of the meetings bring anticipation and the hope that
your team can improve themselves in some way. 
For this year’s Yankees, it will hopefully bring pitcher Cliff Lee to
the Bronx and perhaps bring an end to the impasse between the team and star
shortstop Derek Jeter. 



Today was an interesting day with reports that the Texas
Rangers had approached free agent pitcher Andy Pettitte.  Subsequently, the Rangers were denying those
reports.  However, I wonder if the “rumor”
had been strategically placed in the media by the Rangers or an alliance to
tweak the Yankees.  Pettitte is already
on record saying that if he plays, it will be with the Yankees or no one.  If his only attraction was to play in Texas
to be closer to home, then maybe I could be convinced that the Rangers rumor
has legs.  However, at this stage of Andy’s
career, it is simply whether or not he wants to stay home with his family with
no baseball distractions or play one more year with the Yankees to build upon
his legacy.  The three years in Houston
already cost him the status of the greatest lefthander in Yankees history.  At this point, he is playing for the way he
wants to be remembered (if he decides to play). 


Julie Jacobson/AP

There was also a report that the San Francisco Giants, on
a day that saw shortstop Juan Uribe sign with the division rival Los Angeles
Dodgers, had reached out to the agent of Derek Jeter.  Financially-speaking, there is no way the
Giants can compete with the Yankees offer. 
Yes, they have the money, thanks to the World Series championship, but
it would be foolish on their part to invest that kind of money in an aging
shortstop when the money could be better spent in other areas to improve the
team in its 2011 title defense.


San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson gestures as he rides in a victory parade for the World Series baseball champions in San Francisco, California November 3, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNI


For as loud as the Jeter negotiations have been, there
has hardly been a peep about the Yankees negotiation with closer Mariano
Rivera.  Tonight, the Toronto Sun is
reporting the parties are close to an agreement that will pay Mo $17 million
next year.  There is still a question
about whether it will be for one or two years. 
Every time I hear those kind of dollars, it always makes me remember
when George Steinbrenner said that he’d never pay a pitcher a million dollars a
year.  I think that was the year Ron
Guidry had to settle for $900,000. 


Getty Images


One Yankees is gone. 
The Florida Marlins signed former Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez.  I saw one headline that said the Marlins
stole Vazquez from the Yankees, but of course, the team made no effort to
re-sign Javy after the very disappointing 2010 campaign.  Early last season, one writer called Javy a
National League pitcher and I have to agree. 
I wanted him to succeed in New York, but I am just not convinced that
would ever happen.  It’s too bad.  I like Javy and I wish him the best in the
National League East.  He certainly knows
the division from his days with the Atlanta Braves.  The competition is steep but you have to like
the Marlins starting rotation.  I am not
going to anoint them as the next World Series champion and they still have to successfully
replace the production of former second baseman Dan Uggla, but the Giants
proved that as long as you have pitching, nothing else really matters.  I say that in jest but there is a certain
degree of truth assuming that you have the players capable of scoring runs and
playing defense.  The Yankees pick up a
supplementary draft pick due the free agent loss since they offered Vazquez
arbitration (which he had agreed to decline). 


javier-vazquez


I liked the Texas Rangers signing of catcher Yorvit
Torrealba.  The Yankees will be in the
market for a strong backup catcher in light of the decision to permanently move
Jorge Posada to DH and make minor leaguer Jesus Montero the starter.  At some point, Austin Romine will be in the
Bronx and perhaps the starting catcher, but I don’t think the Yanks can afford
to go into the season with both Romine and Montero on the roster.  I like Francisco Cervelli but I don’t think
he’s the answer either.  The Yankees need
to find a solid, veteran backup for Montero. 
John Buck, who has since signed with the Marlins, and Torrealba are
certainly guys who could have fit the bill. 
Now, the team will need to look at guys like Bengie Molina if they
decide to go externally for a backup. 



Congratulations to all the former Yankees on the Hall of
Fame ballot.  Of course, I’ll always pull
for my favorite living former Yankee, Don Mattingly, but I agree that his back
problems robbed him of the additional years he really needed for
induction.  The other former Yanks
include Tino Martinez, Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Fred McGriff (why did we trade
him again?), Raul Mondesi, John Olerud, Tim Raines, and Lee Smith.  Of the group, Martinez was really the only
one who defined himself in pinstripes but I don’t see him making the Hall of
Fame.  Sorry Tino, but I can assure you
that I was a huge fan every game you played for the Yankees.


Barton Silverman/The New York Times


I was very saddened today to hear the news of the passing
of former Yankees infielder Gil McDougald. 
Growing up as a kid, I’d read about the great Yankees of the 1950’s
dynasty and they always included mention of McDougald.  He only played for 10 years but they were
perhaps the greatest 10 years of Yankees history as he teamed with Mickey
Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Billy Martin to dominate the 50’s with 5
World Series championships.  I remember
thinking as a kid how cool his name was. 
I wish I could have seen those 50’s teams playing for Casey
Stengel.  It would have been a great time
to be a Yankees fan.



–Scott




Congratulations to the Champs…


Congratulations to Bruce Bochy and the World Champion San Francisco Giants!  It was an improbable series win (at least from the perspective at spring training).  It clearly showed the power of pitching and why the Yankees MUST throw $$$ at Cliff Lee…

Nevertheless, tonight belongs to the Giants.  They proved they are the champions of baseball and finally, the city of San Francisco has a baseball world championship to add to its long history of accomplishments.


Gutierrez/AP




Enjoy it…for now.  The Yankees will be back…

–Scott

The Return of #28…

 

I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi.  It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi. 
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York.  Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.



 


From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager.  Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team?  Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years. 



 

For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre.  Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi.  Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.

 

2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees.  They have an albatross or two
to deal with.  It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett).  I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett.  That’s bad. 
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being.  Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. 
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off?  Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so).  As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Jesus Montero. 


Jesus Montero Yankees catcher spring training

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
Yankees.

 

So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants.  It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games.  I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season.  With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas.  I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series. 



 


I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often.  You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees.  Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers.  Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago. 
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Giants. 



 


Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots.  While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre.  So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball. 



Tom Olmscheid/AP


As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. 
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history.  I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60’s and 70’s. 



Zuma Press

 

I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season.  I will
try to make good this weekend.



Caffalo/NY Daily News

 


Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…



Maybe the Yankees ARE in the World Series!…


It seems weird that the Yankees season is over with
the World Series set to begin tonight. 
When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, there was a cartoonist who worked
for The Des Moines Register that used to say it wasn’t an official World Series
unless the Yankees were in it.  I have
always believed those words!  ;) 



 


Seriously, it is interesting that we finally have a
World Series with two teams that do not have a history of World Series success.  For the Texas Rangers, they’ve never been to
the World Series, and for the Giants, they’ve never won a World Series since
they moved to San Francisco although they have made a couple of trips.  Given that I live in the Bay Area and the
Giants have generally been my preferred NL team over the years, I’ll be pulling
for them tonight as they embark on Game 1 against the Rangers. 



san-francisco-giants--05-logo-cap-a.jpg giants image by selene-17_2009

 


There are no active Giants players with ties to the Yankees
organization, however, the Yankees do have a presence through the coaching
staff and back office.  The two most
notable individuals are
GM Brian Sabean who started in the
Yankees front office working for George Steinbrenner and pitching coach Dave Righetti.  I always chuckle when I think of Rags as a
pitching coach.  Please don’t get me
wrong.  I think he’s a terrific coach and
he was a great player, however, when he was young…before he “made it” to the
big leagues for good, he used to struggle with his control.  So, he was the guy who needed such intensive
coaching and now he is the master.  I
lived in Dallas for 14 years and during many of those years, Rags was the
Yankees closer.  So, I have so many
memories of Rags closing out games in Arlington, Texas.  So, in many ways, he’ll be returning to an
area that he is well familiar with and has enjoyed success.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to pass on that
success to Tim Lincecum and company. 





Some of the other names in the Giants organization
who have past connections to the Yankees:

 

Roberto Kelly, First Base
Coach

I remember being upset when the Yankees traded
Kelly to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul O’Neill. 
Ha!  I think that trade worked out
well for the Yanks.  Sorry Roberto…


 


Hensley Meulens, Batting Coach

I remember when “Bam Bam” was a much-hyped
youngster with so much promise.  He never
achieved success with the Yanks and was eventually sold to a team in Japan.




 

Henry Cotto, Coordinator,
Baserunning

Cotto was a bench player for the Yankees during the
lean years (1985 to 1987).  I think of
him more as a Chicago Cub although he only played one year for them
(1984).  He had an undistinguished career
but he definitely could run.

 

Lee Smith, Coordinator,
Pitching

Lee is obviously better known for his great years
with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, but he was with the Yankees in
1993 toward the end of his career.  He
was a late season pickup and did well during his short stint even though the
Yankees did not that year.

 

J.T. Snow, Special Assistant

Snow, the son of former Los Angeles Rams great Jack
Snow, was originally drafted by the Yankees. 
But he was traded in the deal that brought Jim Abbott to New York.  He had some productive years for the Angels
but he achieved his greatest success with the Giants.

 

Dick Tidrow, Vice President,
Player Personnel

Tidrow is definitely one of the more notable
Yankees as he played a very prominent role in the Yankees bullpen during their
two championships in the late 70’s.  As a
kid growing up, he and Sparky Lyle were the faces of the bullpen. 



 


Fred Stanley, Director, Player
Development

Another player from those World Championship clubs
of 1977 and 1978, “Chicken” backed up shortstop Bucky Dent and was a valued
reserve during those years.



81344934, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

 


Joe Lefebvre, Senior Adviser,
Player Personnel

Drafted by the Yankees, he only played for the team
one year (1980) before moving on to the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia
Phillies.  However, he did play a part in
helping the Yankees win the AL East Division that year.  I remember 1980 as the year the Yankees won
103 games but lost to the Kansas City Royals in the play-offs resulting in the
firing of late manager Dick Howser (back when George had a very itchy trigger
finger when it came to managers).

 

This “prayer” was making its rounds on email
yesterday.  I do not know who the author
is:

 

Our Father who art in San Francisco, baseball be thy
game. 
 

Thy will be done when the World Series is won on the field,

as well as in the bullpen. Give us this day our
bat and glove,

and forgive us our errors, as we forgive those who home run against us.  Lead us not into defeat, but help us beat the
Rangers…with the help of the
 Beard, the Buster and
the
 Dirty Dozen.

Amen.

 

Here’s hoping the former Yankees enjoy a World
Series championship in 2010!



 


As for the Yankees, they are apparently negotiating
a new 3-year deal with manager Joe Girardi. 
I am glad to see that they are working to resolve Girardi’s situation
quickly so they can focus on the critical needs of the team.  GM Brian Cashman acted very swiftly in
announcing that pitching coach Dave Eiland would not return.  I have no issues with the decision.  The Yankees starting pitching underperformed
this year, and A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez were the biggest reasons
why.  I also think that Phil Hughes was
capable of more than he showed down the stretch.  I am not sure who’d be the best candidate to
replace Eiland.  Hey, I’d love to see
Dave Righetti back in New York but unfortunately he’s not going anywhere.  Hopefully, Cashman and Girardi will be very
selective about who they chose for the very important role.

 

I saw this morning that CC Sabathia will be having
minor knee surgery.  While this procedure
does not sound serious, I hope it is not indicative of the start of future
problems associated with CC’s weight. 
This does show how critical it is for the Yankees to secure another ace
for the staff.  Like everyone else, I am
strongly in favor of signing free agent to be Cliff Lee, however, I am very
dismayed at the reports of the poor treatment his wife received from the
Yankees fans during the ALCS at Yankee Stadium. 
That type of abuse is completely unacceptable and it is an embarrassment
to be associated with those types of Yankee “fans”.  I use the term “fans” very loosely because
those idiots are very poor representation of “fans”. 

 

Hopefully, this does not keep the Lee’s from
considering an offer to join the Yankees. 
I know it will be a tough, uphill battle to sign Lee as it is, and they
certainly did not need ill-treatment by the fans to give Mrs. Lee a strong
reason for not wanting to come to New York. 

 

I want the core Yankees to return (Derek Jeter,
Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte). 
However, I do not feel that the Yankees should overpay to convince them
to stay.  So, if it is time to sever
ties, I am prepared as I feel the money would be better served to help bring
younger, more talented (at this stage of their careers) to New York to help
pursue a championship in 2011.  Of the
core, I think re-signing Mariano Rivera is the most vital.  He is still performing at a top level,
although the Yankees would be well served to re-sign Kerry Wood if
possible.  I don’t want Derek Jeter to
leave but at some point, he is going to start becoming a liability at
short.  I’d rather see the team cut ties
before rather than after that happens.  I
want Andy Pettitte to return, but I would not want to see high expectations
placed on him.  Put him in the #4 or #5
spot in the rotation and be satisfied with the results if he decides to
return.  I didn’t mention the last core
member, Jorge Posada, since he is still under contract.  However, I am ready for a change at
catcher.  Just like the Boston Red Sox
moved Jason Varitek to a reserve role, the Yankees should do the same with
Jorge.  At 39, he is past his prime at
the catching position and now is the time for the highly heralded Jesus Montero
if he can show in spring training that he is ready for the job.  If the Yankees do sign Cliff Lee, it would be
great to see Lee pitching to Montero since Montero would have been the cost of
a trade with Seattle to get Lee before they reneged and moved him to Texas.



jesus-montero

 


As for the Hot Stove League rumors, I have to admit
that I am somewhat intrigued by the potential of bringing Jayson Werth to New
York to play right field.  As much as I
like Nick Swisher, he is a streaky hitter and hasn’t shown the clutch bat in
October like Werth has.  Of course, I
would love to have Carl Crawford in left, but I think right is a greater
need.  I fully expect Brett Gardner to
continue to improve.  Granted, he is no
Carl Crawford, but his speed is very disruptive on the bases and he showed a
much better ability to get on base this year.



 


Brian Cashman definitely has his work cut out for
him this off-season.  It should be
interesting…


–Scott



The End of the Road…

 

Thus endeth the season…



The Yankees season is over after a bitter Game 6 loss where their offense fails to show up once again. The 6-1 drubbing ends their chance at a repeat title as the Rangers advance to their first World Series.</p>
<p><br><br>Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="<a href=http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos&quot; target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.” />

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch.  The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August.  Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years.  The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez.  But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching. 



... David Robertson, who let up the homer, can't do much once it's in the air.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average.  Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies. 

 

A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year.  I am not sure what happened.  He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before. 
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire.  He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent. 

 

I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL.  At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy.  If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him. 

 

Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success.  He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level.  He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming. 
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team.  That’s
probably true.  As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
year. 

 

The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake.  As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him.  Those fears turned out
to be justified.  A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back. 

 

I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff.  The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season. 
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club.  So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
signing Lee.



Texas' ace Cliff Lee throws two perfect innings to start the game.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move.  Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club.  Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.



 


As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite. 
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome. 
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly.  Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance.  I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans.  I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series.  So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.



Sisters Julia Erle and Melissa Erle watch Game 4 of the N... Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle

Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle

 


Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series.  I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys.  The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year.  So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance. 
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them.  However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited.  When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game. 
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family. 
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game.  My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph.  Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill.  He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession.  It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan. 



... and the fireworks light up the Arlington skyline.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope. 
However, the prospects do not look good at this point.  The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks.  Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction.  As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm.  I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year. 
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too. 

 

So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…

 

–Scott


To Lee Or Not To Lee…


I didn’t really expect the Yankees to go into Texas
and sweep the Rangers, so all things considered, I’ll take a split in the ALCS as the teams
make their way to the Bronx…



Happy Dog.JPG


 

The Yankees took the first game in dramatic fashion
as they overcame a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5, thanks to a five run 8th
inning.  It was a disappointing
performance by CC Sabathia at a time when you expect nothing but perfection
from your ace. 

 

As bad as Sabathia was, Phil Hughes was worse in
Game 2 as the Yankees fell to the Rangers, 7-2. 
The Rangers will now have Cliff Lee available in Games 3 and 7 if
necessary.  It definitely gives the
Rangers an advantage, but if the Yankees can start pitching like they are
capable of, they can neutralize the advantage.  



Phil Hughes gives up seven earned runs on 10 hits with three walks in Game 2 loss.

Sipkin/NY Daily News



As the San Francisco Giants showed in Game 1 of the NLCS, great pitching
can beat great pitching (Tim Lincecum over Roy Halladay).  For Game 3, the Yankees need for Andy
Pettitte to keep the game close until they can get Cliff Lee out of the
game.



Michael Macor/The Chronicle  

 

If they lose, the Rangers are almost certain to
face CC Sabathia rather than A.J. Burnett in Game 4.  Given the short outing in Game 1, it’s
possible that Sabathia may be a go for Game 4 regardless of what happens in
Game 3 against Lee.  The Yankees will
want to posture the rotation for a potential Sabathia-Lee showdown in Game 7 if
the series goes that far.  I know that
Joe Girardi is saying that Sabathia is still the scheduled Game 5 starter, but
I really think he’ll announce a change. 
I know Andy is a big-game pitcher, but I’d rather have Sabathia in an ‘all
or nothing’ situation. 



 


The Yankees also need to work on the bats.  In yesterday’s loss, the Yankees squandered
multiple scoring opportunities as they left 12 men on base.  They were 1-for-11 with men in scoring
position.  That’s definitely not the way
to ensure a return trip to the World Series.



AP

 


Time for Mystique and Aura to make an appearance at
Yankee Stadium…




–Scott



Back to the ALCS…


Congratulations to the New York Yankees for their
ALDS series win over the Minnesota Twins!



GOOD THAMES: Marcus Thames -- and Twins catcher Joe Mauer and home-plate umpire Greg Gibson -- watch the flight of Thames' two-run homer in the fourth.

Neil Miller/New York Post



I don’t know why the Yankees have enjoyed success
against the Twins.  Perhaps it is why the
Toronto Blue Jays love playing the Yankees. 
Some teams have other teams number and the Yankees certainly hold a psychological
edge over the Twins. 



 


I’ve been reading many articles about which team
the Yankees would prefer facing in the American League Championship
Series.  While I am still not convinced
that the Yankees have “it” this year to see them through a World Series that
most likely will feature a frontline rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and
Cole Hamels, the two potential AL contenders (Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers)
certainly have their own issues.

 

As for a potential ALCS opponent, I’d have to say
that I’d prefer to see the Tampa Bay Rays. 
I don’t really want to see the Texas Rangers advance to the World Series
(not that I want to see the Rays go there either), but a series with the
Rangers would result in very bitter confrontations with Rangers ace Cliff
Lee.  Win or lose, it could potentially
impact Cliff’s decision this offseason regarding where to sign (or
re-sign).  CC Sabathia neutralizes the
advantage of David Price, and with the other starters rested, I like the team’s
chances against the other Rays starters. 



Oct. 6: Texas Rangers' Cliff Lee pitches during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the American League Division baseball series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

AP

 

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for
their NLDS ouster of the Atlanta Braves and future Hall of Fame manager Bobby
Cox.  It was a tough fought series, and I
give the Giants credit for much heart in this series.  They thrived on stellar pitching and used
small ball to topple the Braves and send Cox away at the end of the long and
successful managerial career.  It was odd
seeing the final out recorded by former Yankee Melky Cabrera, who had seemed to
thrive in walk-off situations in 2009. 
With the tying and winning runs on base, Melky hit a grounder to third
to end the game.  With the series win in
Game 4, the Giants saved scheduled Game 5 starter Tim Lincecum for a first
round NLCS match-up against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies.  It should be a terrific pitchers’ duel…



Giants finish off Braves

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 


Well, with just one division series left to go, I
guess I’ll end with saying, ‘Go Rays!’…  





–Scott



We Must Be In First Place!…


Interesting how the Yankees can lose their last
game and still end up in first place…



 


I went all week thinking that the Yankees were a
game and a half out of first place. 
After a very disappointing September that found the Yankees trailing the
Tampa Bay Rays, I’ve been very pessimistic about the team’s chances in
October.  I still am, but it would
definitely be better to go into the play-offs as the AL East Champion and
possibly holder of the league’s best record than it would be to go as the road
traveling Wild Card team.

 

I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that the
Yankees were only a ½ game back this morning. 
I don’t know how I got 1 ½ games stuck in my head.  The Rays were in Kansas City tonight to start
a four game series against the Royals and they had to face Zack Greinke.  It’s been a disappointing season for Greinke
but he still rose to the challenge tonight as he defeated the Rays, 3-2.  The loss dropped the Rays into a tie with the
Yankees with three games to play.  If
both teams finish in a tie, the division goes to the Rays by virtue of the
better head-to-head record.  So, the
Yankees really need to go into Boston seeking a sweep.  I seriously doubt that the Rays will drop
more than one more game to the Royals. 
The Yanks have not shown the killer instinct yet this month, but
hopefully, they’ll find it in Beantown. 



 


In a statement of the obvious, I pin the blame on
the Yankees potential inability to win the division on pitcher A.J.
Burnett.  At 10-15, he has been largely
ineffective most of the season.  When he
is bad, he is really bad.  Had he been
just 13-12 so far this season, the Yankees would hold a comfortable lead in the
East heading into the weekend.  I know,
there are more reasons for why the Yankees are in this predicament than just
Burnett.  But I am a fan so I can be
unreasonable and flawed in my thinking…



A.J. Burnett serves up nine earned runs in only five innings of work at Fenway.

Theodorakis/NY Daily News

 


I am still very pessimistic about the team’s
chances in October.  I simply do not feel
that a rotation of Sabathia-Pettitte-Hughes can provide the type of shutdown
performances that will be required.  The
Rays will find ways to score runs and so will the Twins.  If Josh Hamilton comes back strong, the
Rangers could make noise.  To me, there’s
only one team playing like they are the World Series champion and that’s the
Philadelphia Phillies.  I also give
credit to the San Francisco Giants who, unlike last year, rose to the challenge
this September and are on the verge of winning the NL West.  Of course it helps to have Tim Lincecum at
the top of your rotation.



 


Thanks to the loss of my last wager with Julia of
Julia’s Rants, I am awaiting the arrival of a Boston Red Sox cap in the
mail.  Upon receipt, I am obligated to
take photos wearing the hat along with a Red Sox t-shirt that I “acquired”
through a previous wager loss.  I have a
business trip to Texas next week so I may be delayed, but a bet is a bet so the
photos will appear on the blog sometime soon
L. 


But until then…


New York Yankees MVP Adjustable Cap

 

For the last wager of the baseball season, Julia and
I have decided the loser should post photos holding signs.  If the Red Sox win the 3 game series, I will
be forced to hold pro-Red Sox signs.  If
the Yankees win, then Julia will be holding pro-Yankee signs. 


 


It has been a fun season despite the
challenges.  I’ve enjoyed the battles
with Julia and I was glad to see the Red Sox eliminated from the play-offs
before the final series.  Boston has been
an incredibly resilient team despite the massive injuries they’ve
suffered.  I have been very impressed
with the ‘never quit’ mentality and I am relieved that the Yankees won’t have
to face it in October.

 

In a final non-baseball note, I’d like to express
sadness at the loss of actor Tony Curtis. 
He died yesterday of cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas home at age
85.  He’ll be missed…





–Scott


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