Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

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


A September To Forget…


The going gets tough, the Yankees decide to bail…



 


The Yankees should be able to clinch the Wild Card
slot at some point, but I’ve given up hope of taking the AL East unless things
change very quickly.  The Tampa Bay Rays
have great momentum right now, and the Yankees don’t.  So far this month (going into Saturday’s
game), the Yankees are 10-12.  When you’re
racing for the pennant, that kind of record is not going to get it done
(obviously).  The Yankees’ magic number
remains at 3.  With a single win against
the Red Sox, they could reduce the number to 1 but at this point, the Red Sox
are playing like the superior team and they certainly have not given up
hope.  After the end of the home stand
against Boston, the Yankees take to the road to play the Blue Jays and the Red
Sox (both challenging places to play). 



 


This month, the Philadelphia Phillies have definitely
shown they are ‘in it to win it’.  They’ve
clearly distanced themselves from the Atlanta Braves and they’ll head into the
play-offs as the hottest team in the National League.  It’s been a great season for the Cincinnati
Reds, but I think the Phillies, even with their injuries, are the better
team.  The trading deadline pick-up of
Roy Oswalt was huge and it gave the Phillies pitching superiority (even against
the likes of the San Francisco Giants who boast a very strong rotation).  Speaking of the Giants, they’ve also been
playing good baseball and currently lead the NL West by a slim margin.  I like the Giants as an underdog if they can
stay on top against the San Diego Padres, but I don’t think anyone is going to
beat the Phillies and they’ll head to the World Series for the third straight
year.



Shane Victorino is congratulated by Placido Polanco after giving the Phillies an early lead with a leadoff home run. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Michael Bryant, Philly.com, Staff Photographer

 


Back to the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays and
the Minnesota Twins are playing the best baseball.  As much as I would like to say “Rays suck!”
or “Twins suck!” or “Yankees are going to win it again!”, the truth is that the
AL Championship Series will most likely feature the Rays and the Twins.  The Rangers are fading and of course so are
the Yankees.  If the Yankees’ freefall
results in a miraculous achievement of the play-offs by the Boston Red Sox, it
will definitely rank as one of the greatest September flops in recent
memory. 



RETURN FRIGHT: Javier Vazquez (above) was battered around in his return to the Yankees, allowing eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 9-3 loss last night at Tropicana Field. Reuters

Reuters

 


In the NL, the Atlanta Braves and the Colorado
Rockies are fading, and the Padres aren’t far behind.  For a time this season, I thought the Padres
were the team to beat, but now they’re fighting to make the play-offs. 



Miguel Tejada and first base coach Rick Renteria after Tejada's 2-rbi single in the 7th.

John R. McCutchen/San Diego Union-Tribune

 


At this point, it is hard to visualize the 2010
World Series involving any teams other than the Tampa Bay Rays and the
Philadelphia Phillies (a repeat of the Phillies’ championship year in
2008).  More than likely, the outcome
will be the same.



 


Congratulations to my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants
), for winning the latest wager between she and I.  With today’s 7-2 victory, the Boston Red Sox
have ensured that they will take at least two of the three games in the Bronx
and they’ll go for a sweep on Sunday.  I
guess the Yanks could have used those 6 home runs today instead of yesterday.  The Yankees, now 10-13 for September,
continue to give the Red Sox hope that they can reach high enough to eclipse
the Yanks for the Wild Card slot.  The
Sox are now just 5 ½ games behind the Yankees. 
I guess there’s a Red Sox cap on its way to my home in CA… 
L



0925berkman.JPG

Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger 



Maybe I think a motivational pep talk by Tony
Dungy.  Then again, it didn’t seem to
help the Yankees.  Let’s hope that next
weekend is more exciting than this weekend is turning out to be…





–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’. 



95724163JM028_Detroit_Tiger.JPG

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

Back to the Bronx to Re-Group…

 

Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…



New Addition.JPG

 


Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win.  Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston).  In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).



Robinson Cano gives the Yankees the win with a solo home run in the ninth inning, while new acquisition Lance Berkman (below) goes 0-for-4 in his Yankees debut.

Carlson/AP

 

But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0.  The
loser was CC Sabathia.



New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland (58) and catcher Jorge Posada (20) talk with starter CC Sabathia as the Bombers fall to the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0.

Steve Nesius/AP

 


Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out. 
So, he remains at 599 home runs. 



0801arod.JPG

Jeff Griffith/US Presswire

 

Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH). 
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.  

0801berkman.JPG



Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck out three batters in an inning of work.  However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP

 

As for the acquisitions, I do like the trade for Lance Berkman.  Reading the accounts of the trade, it was obvious that he had a difficult time leaving the only team he has ever known, but I think he’ll like New York as an alternative.  Batting behind Derek Jeter, and in front of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano has to be an ideal spot for any batter.  The experience should re-charge Berkman and give us a great final chapter to a great career.  As for Austin Kearns, I am not sure what I think.  He was impressive when he first came up with the Cincinnati Reds, but he’s been a disappointment in Washington and Cleveland.  He carried the Indians early this season but he couldn’t sustain it.  I realize that he won’t be a starter for the Yanks, and perhaps he’ll be ideally suited for his role with the team.  But I couldn’t help but think how much I would have preferred Melky Cabrera.  As for Wood, this one has to be all about manager Joe Girardi and his knowledge of his former Cubs teammate.  There is no doubt that Kerry has the talent, but his health has been an issue.  I really want Kerry to succeed.  I first heard about Kerry when I was living in Texas and I worked with a woman who’s son played high school baseball with Kerry at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.  They used to rave all the time about how great Kerry was.  Joe Girardi caught Wood for three years in Chicago, so if anyone knows him, it’s Joe. 




Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck
out three batters in an inning of work. 
However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th
after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP



The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays.  Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game. 


I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York.  I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman.  I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August.  It would be nice if it
involved Lowell…

 



I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline.  Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
situation. 

 

I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly.  The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was. 
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).

 

As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0.  Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers.  Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs.  He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter.  An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.



 


Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
victory…

 

–Scott

You Win Some…You Lose Some…

 

Whew!  I’ll take it!…

 

 

Robinson Cano belts a two-run homer in the tenth inning, a game-winner made possible when Joe Torre (b., r.) leaves closer Jonathan Broxton in to give up four runs in the ninth inning.

Hong/AP

 

 

It was the top of the 9th inning and the Yankees were trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 6-2.  On the mound was Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton with an 0.83 ERA and 16 saves.  He struck out the first batter, Mark Teixeira, so it looked as though the Yankees would head back to New York with only 1 win in 3 games against their former manager, Joe Torre.  Then, Alex Rodriguez singled and there was a slight glimmer of hope.  Robinson Cano followed with a double to score A-Rod to close the gap to 3 games.  The next batter, Jorge Posada, singled.  After a walk to Curtis Granderson, the bases were loaded with the tying run on first.  I was excited, but the excitement was tempered by the fact the next hitter was rookie Chad Huffman, who had entered the game earlier as an injury replacement for Brett Gardner.  Huffman proved up to the task as his single scored Cano and Posada.  Suddenly, the Yankees were just one run down.  The next batter was Colin Curtis.  Again, I had some trepidation given Colin’s major league inexperience.  But fate was smiling on the Yankees, thanks to a poor fielding decision by Dodgers first baseman James Loney.  Curtis hit a grounder to Loney.  With Curtis Granderson breaking for home, Loney stepped back to first to secure the out and then attempted to throw home but was too late to nail Granderson…game tied.  Had Loney disregarded Curtis and went directly home with the throw, he would have easily gunned down Granderson.  A ground out by Francisco Cervelli ended the inning, but the Dodgers still had last at-bat. 

 

 

0628granderson.JPG

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

 

Despite the tied score, manager Joe Girardi went with certainty in bringing in closer Mariano Rivera.  I would later read that Joe Torre had told Girardi before the game, he wouldn’t bring in Rivera with the game tied.  Fortunately, the younger Joe is his own man, and he went with his instinct.  Mo easily retired 3 Dodger batters, so it was off to the 10th inning. 

 

Ramon Troncosco replaced Broxton at the top of the inning, and Mark Teixeira greeted him with a single.  A-Rod followed with a fielder’s choice to short, which easily erased Teixeira at second.  With Robinson Cano coming up, Joe Torre opted to go with reliever George Sherrill.  Cano’s lifetime record against Sherrill entering the game was 0-for-11.  Cano promptly conveyed a message that numbers don’t mean anything when he crushed a home run to give the Yankees a two-run lead.  Mo came back out for the bottom of the 10th inning, yielding only an infield single in shutting down the Dodgers.  With the win, the Yankees were able to claim a 4-2 road record against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and headed back to the Bronx where they will face nemesis Cliff Lee and the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. 

 

By the way, I was pleased to see Alex Rodriguez reach out to Joe Torre before the game.  Too much was being read into the relationship between A-Rod and Torre, and I thought Alex showed class in being the one to extend his hand.

 

 

Alex Rodriguez hits his 594th home run in the sixth inning against the Dodgers Sunday night.

Hong/AP

 

My streak of wager wins against Julia of Julia’s Rants has sadly come to an end.  I suppose I deserved it when I went with a team other than the almighty New York Yankees.

 

The wager was for a single game, the Boston Red Sox versus the Giants in San Francisco.  I was in attendance at AT&T Park, and foolishly thought a wager was a good idea. 

 

 

Giants_06272010_0001.jpg

 

 

 

On paper, it looked like a marquee match-up with Jon Lester facing Tim Lincecum.

 

 


Lincecum.jpg 

 

Unfortunately for me, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner looked more like John Lackey at Fenway Park than he did the elite pitcher he is.  Lester, on the other hand, was expectedly masterful.  He gave up a game-tying run in the bottom of the first but that was it.  It never felt like the Giants were going to get back into it after the Red Sox had re-taken the lead. 

 

 

Eric Risberg/AP

 

I was amazed at the sheer volume of Red Sox fans at the game.  As a Yankees fan, I am always surrounded by fellow Yankees fans whenever I see the team play on the road.  But Boston definitely rivals the Yankees in their ability to draw on the road.    

 

So, congratulations are in order for Julia.  My sentence is to include a paragraph about a current Red Sox player (as of 6/26/10) for the next 25 blog posts.  With the first entry, I will go with the player of the game…

 

#31   Jon Lester

 

Meanwhile, Jon Lester held up his end of the pitching duel, holding the Giants to one run in a complete game effort.

 

Reuters

 

Jon Lester, at 9-3, is a virtual lock for a spot on the American League All-Star Team, and a leading candidate to start.  Lester, a native of Tacoma, Washington, won the clinching game of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies.  He followed it up the next year with a no-hitter.  Personally, going into the season, I was convinced this would be a breakout year for Lester…the year he becomes the “ace”.  As if a championship and a no-hitter aren’t enough for his resume, he’ll soon be collecting Cy Young Awards.  The Sox rotation is incredibly talented with Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Dice-K, and Tim Wakefield.  However, if I am starting a new franchise, and I need an ace to lead my staff, I’m calling Lester. 

 

Personal note about Lester:  Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma in August 2006.

 

“This is going to sound funny but God blessed Jon Lester with cancer just to show a lot of people that you can overcome something that’s so hard in your life you think, ‘I’m not gonna make it.’  He’s going to be able to take his faith in God and the strength God gave him and tell a lot of other people a great story.”

 

–former Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin

 

Lester is definitely one of the truly great guys in the game…

 

Only 24 more to go…  L

How Are You, Mr. Torre?…

Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…

 

 

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, right, gets a hug from Dodgers Manager Joe Torre prior to Friday's interleague game.

Gina Ferazzi/LA Times

 

 

 

Share the love!  Seriously, it was bittersweet to see Joe Torre wearing enemy colors while standing next to the likes of Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.  Much has been written in recent days about the rift that exists between Torre and the Yankees hierarchy.  One article speculated that if the Yankees wanted to have a special honor for Torre, he would most likely turn it down.  Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought that Torre would eventually be more forgiving than the Yankee brass.  Joe’s rift is how his relationship with the Yankees ended (lowball, token contract offer that represented a steep pay cut).  There is no way that the Yankees could have expected Torre to take the contract offer so it was obviously a ploy designed to show Torre the door while trying to show the Yankees Universe that they tried.  The Yankees problem is relative to Torre’s book and how he unveiled many thoughts that should have been left behind closed doors. 

 

Regardless of how it ended and despite how much I have always respected Joe Torre, it was time for a change.  The Yankees had not won a World Series since 2000 (losing in both 2001 and 2003) while the dreaded Boston Red Sox were winning two (2004, which included the ALCS meltdown by the Yankees; and 2007).  Torre is “old-school”, and it was time for a more current manager.  Joe Girardi was the right guy at the right time.  As a player, he was clearly a leader.  When I think of the death of Darryl Kile, I will always think of how Joe Girardi stepped up as the voice of the team.  He is always prepared and he clearly wants to win.  He is young enough to hold the position for many years, and I think he has shown improvement as a manager every year.  Joe Torre has moved on, the Yankees have moved on, and so have the fans.  It’s time for the media to let go…

 

 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre (r.) and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi talk before the series opener at Dodger Stadium Friday night. The Yankees won, 2-1.

Terrill/AP

 

 

I was reading today that the reason the Yankees are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers as opposed to Yankee Stadium was based on a decision by FOX television.  They wanted Manny Ramirez to return to Boston for a reunion against the Red Sox.  I think it was a missed opportunity for FOX.  Manny was not gracious to the Boston fans or media, and he didn’t really do anything in the series that was swept by the Red Sox.  On the other hand, it would have been tremendous to see Joe Torre set foot on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium given that he’s never managed there before. 

 

The first game of the Dodgers-Yankees series went to the visitors behind CC Sabathia who is beginning to pitch like “Second Half CC” when he becomes so utterly dominant.  It was ironic that the game-winning home run was hit by Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to speak to Joe Torre. 

 

 

0626arod.JPG

Dunn/Getty Images

 

 

CC went 8 innings in the 2-1 victory, giving up 4 hits and striking out 7.  Mariano Rivera, an old friend of Torre’s, closed out the game with three strike outs. 

 

There were lots of photos with Torre and the core Yankees, but none with Don Mattingly that I found.  It would have been interesting to see Donnie Baseball in the reunion photos too.  He will most likely be the next Dodgers manager, and based on recent reports, it could happen as soon as next year.  It’s hard to see one of my favorite all-time Yankees becoming so engrained with another organization, but he does deserve the opportunity to manage and it wasn’t going to happen with the Yankees.  Given that managers are hired to be fired, it’s probably best that Donnie manages elsewhere.  That proved to be a better route for Lou Piniella.  If Derek Jeter decides to stay in baseball after his playing days, I am sure that the day will come when he dons something other than Yankee pinstripes.  So long as there isn’t on “B” on the cap, I’m cool with it. 

 

 

Joe Torre Don Mattingly L.A. Dodgers

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

Friday night was a good night as not only did the Yankees win but the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox both lost.  The Red Sox are in San Francisco (where I will be on Sunday), and lost to the Giants, 5-4.  They also lost one of their warriors in Dustin Pedroia who fouled a pitch off his left foot.  X-rays were negative but the foot is still sore and further tests are scheduled for today.  I may not be a Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Pedey’s so hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon.  The Rays, meanwhile, were no-hit for the second time this season.  This time at the hands of former Ray and current Arizona Diamondback Edwin Jackson.  Frankly, I am not sure that I agree with the managerial decision to keep Jackson in the game despite the no-hitter.  He walked 8 batters, and he threw 149 pitches.  That sounds like something that Billy Martin would have done to the Oakland A’s pitching staff back in the 80′s when the pitchers later developed arm troubles.  No good can come from it.  The no-hitter is nice but at what cost? 

 

Speaking of Sunday’s game between the Giants and Red Sox (which of course includes a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants), the pitching match-up could not better.  Jon Lester, one of my personal favorite pitchers and clearly one of the AL’s best, against Tim Lincecum, arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  I’ll be pulling for Lincecum and the Giants, but it should be a classic pitching duel.  I am looking forward to it!   

 

By the way, the last wager didn’t go so well for Julia…

 

 

Courtesy of an unhappy Celtics fan

 

–Scott

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