Results tagged ‘ Giants ’
Thus endeth the season…
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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.
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
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
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.
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.
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?…
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…
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.
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
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.
Time for Mystique and Aura to make an appearance at
Congratulations to the New York Yankees for their
ALDS series win over the Minnesota Twins!
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.
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…
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Well, with just one division series left to go, I
guess I’ll end with saying, ‘Go Rays!’…
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…
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…
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…
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
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
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.
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
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…
I don’t get it…
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’.
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.
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
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…
AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles
Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…
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).
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.
Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out.
So, he remains at 599 home runs.
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.
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
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
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’
Whew! I’ll take it!…
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.
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.
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.
On paper, it looked like a marquee match-up with Jon Lester facing Tim Lincecum.
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.
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
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
Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…
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…
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.
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.
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!
The schedule makers have not been kind…
Following the Yankees victory over the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, they had to hop on a plane destined for Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks the next day. The jet lag showed in the Yankees’ dismal 10-4 loss. A.J. Burnett looked like he was pitching batting practice as he gave up 3 home runs in the first inning.
Marc Carig/The Star Ledger
Earlier this season, the starting pitching was stellar…except for Javier Vazquez. I read so many articles about how Javy just wasn’t suited for the American League and so many felt that he would not be able to rebound. But rebound he did as he has quietly become the Yankees’ most efficient starter. But as quickly as Javy has bounced back, A.J. Burnett has disappeared. Hopefully, Monday’s loss was truly the product of jet lag and not indicative of more serious problems. However, it is critical for A.J. to start pitching to his ability. Otherwise, the Yanks’ hold on first place will be brief.
Tuesday was a better barometer as the Yankees returned to the win column with a 9-3 decision over the D-Backs. Andy Pettitte did allow two hits to the opposing pitcher, Dan Haren, one of which was a two-out two-run game tying single in the second inning. Arizona would not score again against Pettitte, who went 7 innings to pick up the win. The game was actually much closer than the final score indicated. After Haren’s single, the Yankees quickly answered with a go-ahead run in the 3rd on a single by Alex Rodriguez. The game stayed 3-2 until the Yankees struck late with 6 runs in the 8th.
There is little question that Andy Pettitte will be on the All-Star Team. At 38, he is having perhaps his finest season. Phil Hughes should also make the team with 10 wins, although he is being skipped in the rotation this week as the Yankees look to limit his innings over the course of the season. As for who should start, that’s a tough question. Both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox are certainly deserving, as is David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Suffice it to say that I think the American League starter in the All-Star game will be an AL East starter! Seriously, AL manager Joe Girardi couldn’t go wrong with any of those choices. At least he doesn’t have to worry about A.J. Burnett being one of the options! L
Tonight, the Yankees will send Vazquez against Arizona’s Dontrelle Willis. They missed former teammate Ian Kennedy who pitched for the D-Backs on Sunday. Following tonight’s game, the Yankees will be heading to Los Angeles for a reunion series with Joe Torre and Don Mattingly over the weekend. Given the flight is less than an hour and Thursday is an off day, the Yankees won’t have jet lag available for an excuse come Friday night. The Yankees must simply do what the Boston Red Sox did…beat LA! Hey Julia, the slogan does work!
Sunday, I will get the chance to root against the Boston Red Sox in person as I’ll be at the game in San Francisco. Of course, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without making another wager with my good friend, Julia, of Julia’s Rants. For our latest wager, if the Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, I will have to include a short paragraph about a Red Sox player with my next 25 blog posts following the game. 25 represents each player on the roster as of June 26, 2010 (regardless of whether the player is later traded, demoted or released before I mention them on the blog). The paragraphs can be short and simple, but they must be positive and include a personal note about the player that others might not be aware of. If the Giants win, then Julia has to do the same for my beloved New York Yankees. Based on the Yankees roster as of 6/26, she’ll have to include a paragraph about a Yankee player for her next 25 blog posts. So, on Sunday, I’ll be a huge Giants fan!
John G. Mabanglo/European Pressphoto Agency