Results tagged ‘ Hideki Matsui ’
It has been a very powerful week…
Meanwhile, back in the Bronx…
The Yankees bid farewell to World Series MVP Hideki Matsui today when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels (one year, $6 million). Clearly, if Matsui’s knees had held up, the ending would not have come like this. The Yankees will miss his clutch bat. Time and again, I can recall games where every bat was ice cold, but Godzilla still delivered the key hit to win the game. He was always in the right place at the right time against the dreaded Boston Red Sox. The Yankees haven’t fared well with Japanese players when it comes to pitchers (see Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa), however, they struck gold with a position player. Matsui arrived with much fanfare and was billed as Japan’s best player when he came to the United States. Expectations were high, and I’d say that he delivered. He was a class act and he will be missed. I am not excited that he went to a bitter rival, however, he does deserve the opportunity to show that he can be a major contributor. I wish him the best of luck in Southern California.
Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register
Of course, this does prove that old Yankee outfielders don’t die, they just sign with the Angels…
It was a busy day for my friend Julia. Her Red Sox announced the free agent signings of pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron today, and showed that GM Theo Epstein is truly a “man with a plan”. I agree with Boston’s decision to cut ties with Jason Bay and move forward with Mike Cameron. After all the reports about Bay, I’d have to say that I’d be very hesitant to sign him to a long-term deal. I am glad that the Yankees are staying out of the negotiations for Bay at this point. Let him go to the Mets. As for Lackey, I wanted the Yanks to sign him to fill the #3 spot in the rotation. Andy Pettitte did a great job last year, but I really think that he is no more than a #4 at this stage of his career. Boston does have a very impressive rotation (Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Dice-K, and/or Clay Buchholz). I really do not expect Buchholz to be on the Opening Roster since I feel the Sox will be successful in securing Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres for first base (sliding Kevin Youkilis to third) at a cost which will include Buchholz. So, congratulations to Julia for a very successful week. However, I will caution her that it is a long way from April 4th! Much can happen between now and then…
From my perspective, I’d take a chance on a low-risk, high reward pitcher to fill the #3 in the Yankees rotation. I like the rumors for either Ben Sheets or Justin Duchsherer. I’d probably prefer Sheets because he has the stronger pedigree and an established relationship with CC Sabathia. It’s always tough to transition from the National League to the American League, but a support system like CC would help. However, I wouldn’t be disappointed if the team pursued Duchsherer. Julia may brag about her rotation, however, I’d be okay going to battle with Sabathia, Burnett, Sheets/Duchsherer, Pettitte, and Hughes. For the record, I have switched my position on Joba Chamberlain, and I now think his return to the bullpen would be the best fit for his talent and we knew all along that Phil Hughes is a starting pitcher regardless of his bullpen success.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
So, this brings us to left field. The latest reports have Johnny Damon expecting a $13 million per year payday. Frankly, I am losing interest in retain Damon for 2010. Mark DeRosa has been mentioned as a possibility, and I am okay with him as Damon’s replacement. I do have concerns about Nick Swisher repeating his 2009 success, or Curtis Granderson learning to hit lefties, so the Yanks would probably be seeking a corner outfield upgrade at the July trading deadline. However, in the interim, I would like the team for the first half of the season with Sheets or Duchsherer in the rotation and DeRosa in left. I would certainly like the Yankees to become players for Matt Holliday but I just don’t think it will happen.
I do wish the Yankees would give the perception (right now) of being a proactive organization doing everything possible to ensure a repeat championship in 2010 rather than one mired in financial constraints. Who knows if the reports of payroll cutting are real or just negotiating ploys, but the team needs to strike before all of the premium players are gone. I’d also re-engage Florida to see if Josh Johnson could be had at the right price…
I don’t want to dissect the Roy Halladay trade to the Phillies, but I am surprised that the Philles gave up both Cliff Lee and Kyle Drabek to secure Doc’s services. Granted, Roy Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball but how could he outperform the brilliant performance given by Cliff Lee in a Phillies uniform? I know that Lee will be demanding outrageous monies at the end of his contract next year, and the Phillies felt that they needed to re-tool after relinquishing great talent like Drabek for Doc. But wow, what a rotation it would have been featuring Halladay, Lee, and Cole Hamels. Plus, J.A. Happ is still in the rotation. I’d rate this trade better for the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays than the Phillies. I might even say the Oakland A’s emerged stronger with their acquisition of Michael Taylor for a player caught in a glut of corner infielder/DH types (Brett Wallace). As a Yankees fan, I am glad to see Halladay exit the AL East. However, it won’t be long before we hate to face Kyle Drabek…
Meanwhile, back at Yankee headquarters…
It has been a very busy week for the almighty¹ Yankees…
¹Word ‘almighty’ is for the exclusive benefit of my friend Julia!
The blockbuster trade of the Winter Meetings saw the arrival of Curtis Granderson as the newest centerfielder for the New York Yankees.
The price tag was very high and the Yankees lost a great opportunity to market “Ajax” but who knows if Austin Jackson will ever be the player that Grandy is today. Maybe he’ll be better but it probably won’t happen for several years. The Yankees have a window of opportunity right now and the heart of the team is not getting any younger. It is critical for the Yanks to infuse young, quality talent into the lineup now, not later. Grandy will be 29 on Opening Day and he can be expected to hold his position through the retirement of Derek Jeter and beyond.
I am looking forward to watching Grandy in the Bronx. One of my personal favorites in the ‘Wow’ factor (off the field exploits aside) was Darryl Strawberry. I am hopeful that Grandy will bring that level of excitement and energy to the team and that he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was selected first in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft by the Washington Nationals and was immediately dealt to the Yankees as compensation for the trade that sent reliever Brian Bruney to the Nats.
Hoffmann, a former hockey player, will compete for the 25th spot on the Yankees roster. Since Hoffmann will have to be offered back to the Dodgers if he fails to stick on the Yankees major league roster, I fully expect the Yankees to move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner if Hoffmann shows anything during spring training. You can make an argument for why the Yanks should keep either Cabrera or Gardner but Cabrera clearly has the highest trade value.
Hoffmann, 25, made his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 22nd. Two days later, he got his first major league hit, a two-run bomb off Matt Palmer and the Angels in Anaheim. Hopefully, it is a great sign of things to come…
Okay, it’s not really an arrival. However, it is a big deal that Andy and the team agreed on a one year deal so quickly after Andy announced his decision to play at least another year. We didn’t need another Brett Favre-like situation this off-season. Welcome back, Andy!
This could be called the ‘You’ll get your ring when we come to a city near you’ category…
Brian Bruney, to the Washington Nationals for the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Jamie Hoffmann).
Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Detroit Tigers, and Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Detroit’s Curtis Granderson.
Johnny Damon, unsigned. Talks with the Yanks have continued but the team is unwilling to go beyond two years. At this stage of his career, Damon has to get all he can get since this may be his last major league contract. I want Damon back, however, I am supportive of the team’s position.
Hideki Matsui, unsigned. Almost certain not to return unless the Yankees fail to sign Damon, Godzilla would be a good fit in the Bay Area if the Oakland A’s could unload Jack Cust.
Jose Molina, unsigned. I am ready for Francisco Cervelli to back up Jorge Posada, with Jesus Montero possibly in the mix. The Yankees do need to reduce their payroll and this is an area that they can still get value at a cheaper price.
Xavier Nady, unsigned. Personally, I would try to bring the X-Man back to the Bronx. But I recognize that he is not in the team’s plans, and it is virtually certain that he’ll sign elsewhere (perhaps with the Braves).
Jerry Hairston, Jr. A good complimentary player but his role can be easily replaced by Ramiro Pena.
The Yankees are not expected to tender a contract to pitcher Chien-Ming Wang so he’ll become a free agent later today (midnight ET). It’s unfortunate that it has come to this with the former 19-game winner. He was perhaps the Yankees most valuable starting pitcher until that fateful day running the bases in Houston several years ago. I suspect that he’ll be a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year so some team is going to get lucky by taking a chance on Wang. Hopefully, the Yankees will find a way to bring him back but for now, he’ll be up for grabs…
Former Yankee, and the Opening Day starting third baseman, Cody Ransom has been invited to camp with the Philadelphia Phillies as a non-roster player.
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As a California resident, this joke by Conan O’Brien bears repeating since it is oh, so true!
‘Los Angeles was hit by a massive storm that caused power outages and freeway closures. Meteorologists predict that the storm will head east next week where it will be known as rain.’
…or something like that! Nevertheless, it is an accurate description of life in California!
The oldest Yankee legend has passed away…
Tommy Henrich, 96, a Yankees outfielder in the 30′s and 40′s, died yesterday in Dayton, Ohio. Henrich was part of a tremendous outfield trio in the late 40′s that included Charlie Keller and Joe DiMaggio.
In Game 1 of the 1949 World Series, Henrich hit the first game-winning home run in Series history in a 1-0 victory over Don Newcombe and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Henrich, like many of the players from his era, missed three years due to military service during World War II.
Henrich, a five time All-Star, played 11 seasons and hit 183 home runs. His career batting average was .282. He retired following the 1950 season. During his career, Henrich was part of seven World Series Championships.
He was nicknamed “Old Reliable” by the great Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen due to his knack for coming up with clutch hits in big games. On a sad note, Henrich was the final surviving teammate of the legendary Lou Gehrig and the last member of the 1938 World Champions.
An autographed picture of Henrich has long been one of my prized possessions. In Yankees history, he ranks as one of my personal favorites. I never got to meet Henrich, but he will be missed.
The Yankees did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents. So, Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui are free to sign with any team without compensation to the Yanks. I understand the reasons (they couldn’t take the chance that any of the players accept arbitration), but it does feel that the bonds to the players have lessened considerably. I still think that Andy Pettitte will come back on a one year deal, but I am getting pessimistic that Damon will return. It was a given that Matsui most likely will not be back.
With the talk of Boston’s interest in Matt Holliday, it will be interesting to see if that sparks any Yankee interest in Jason Bay. If both Damon and Matsui leave, the Yankees will lose a tremendous amount of production that needs to be replaced.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
Derek Jeter was named Sport Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Surprisingly, he is the first Yankee to win the award in its 56 year history. It was a great year for the Yankee captain, and of course, just another noted achievement, in what is becoming a long list of achievements, for the future plaque that will be placed in Monument Park when DJ retires. Congratulations to Derek for the well-deserved honor and recognition!
The New York Jets brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach QB Mark Sanchez how to slide? Seriously?…
New York Post
Ready, set, go!…
It’s the start of free agency, and teams now have the right to negotiate with available free agents as teams’ exclusive rights period ended Thursday night. Of course, there were no significant signings on Friday, but activity should pick up in the coming weeks.
The big three for the Yankees are obviously Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. Regardless of what other moves the Yanks have in mind for their rotation, I feel very strongly they should bring back Andy assuming that he wants to come back for another season. Had he not gone to Houston for three years, Andy would potentially be in position to challenge Whitey Ford for the Yankees record for most career wins (The Chairman of the Board holds the record with 236 wins, while Andy stands at 229 career wins with the Yankees and Astros). Andy may never reach Ford’s Yankees record, however he still has the chance to reach the 200 win milestone wearing pinstripes, needing just 8 more wins. I think Andy is very proud of his Yankees legacy, and I do expect to see him back in the Bronx next season.
I would like to see the team re-sign Johnny Damon. The only thing about Damon that concerns me is his arm-strength in left field. Otherwise, he is still playing the game like a young man despite his age (36). He simply makes things happen and his double-steal in the World Series was classic but typical Damon-like. The Yankees would be wise to allow Damon to return next year on a two year deal.
As much as I like Hideki Matsui and how great his timely hits have been, I see this as the end of his career in the Bronx. Since he’s limited to DH, he simply wouldn’t get enough at-bats in the coming seasons with the need to increase the DH rotation to include older players like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (to allow them more rest from playing the field).
I am sad to see Xavier Nady go, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any interest on the Yankees’ part to bring him back. Some team is going to get a high quality guy and if healthy, a productive player. Of course, that means he’ll probably be signing with Boston any day now…
The rumor mill regarding Roy Halladay is gaining steam once again. A free agent after next season, it is very likely that the Toronto Blue Jays will move Doc this off-season rather than wait until the trading deadline. The list of teams not interested in Doc is probably shorter than the list of team who are. The Blue Jays will be able to get a King’s ransom for Halladay and it should set them up for a bright future. Of course, the Yankees and Red Sox are always rumored to be in the mix, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doc go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Assuming that Frank McCourt isn’t too distracted or financially drained by his divorce proceedings with wife Jamie, the Dodgers need a frontline ace to compete against the Philadelphia Phillies for supremacy in the National League. The Dodgers have a window of opportunity so they should certainly make every attempt to secure the final pieces of the puzzle in what could be Joe Torre’s last hurrah.
Wow, with 15 wins, Tim Lincecum captured the NL Cy Young Award for the second consecutive year? I am not trying to take anything away from Lincecum (15-7, 2.48 ERA), but I was surprised. I know and understand that win total is the one statistic that a pitcher has the least amount of control over, however, I thought that Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals was the deserving choice (he led the NL with 19 wins). His ERA was slightly higher than Lincecum’s at 2.63, but it was still very good. You could also argue that Chris Carpenter should have won, as he had a remarkable season (17-4, 2.24 ERA despite missing time with a pulled muscle in his side). Wainright, 19-8, captured the most first place votes, but finished third behind Lincecum and Carpenter. I can’t help but think that if Wainright had pitched for the Mets or the Dodgers, he would have won the award. Even the local Bay Area press was surprised by Lincecum’s win. I was listening to San Francisco sports talk radio on Friday, and all they could talk about was how long Lincecum’s hair was going to be by Opening Day next season. Lincecum lead the league in strikeouts with 261, and was second in ERA and third in innings pitched. If you ask Lincecum which stat is most important, it’s WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Timmy finished fourth with a WHIP of 1.047 (behind Dan Haren, Carpenter, and Javier Vazquez). I am not saying that Lincecum was a bad choice…it was simply unexpected, in my mind.
I am going to see a show by comedian Lisa Lampanelli tonight. I don’t know anything about her except that she is the so-called “Queen of Mean”. I found this review of Lisa’s show by Larry the Cable Guy: “Front row tickets to Lisa’s show are $100, and obstructed view tickets are $150″. I’ve heard she is very raunchy so I might want to get those obstructed view tickets!
The 2009 World Champions!…
Nick Laham/Getty Images
I knew that Andy, at his best would give up about 3 or 4 runs, and I had a feeling that this would come down to the bullpen.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
On my FaceBook page, I started the day by posting this Bob Lemon quote:
It was sad that George Steinbrenner could not be in attendance, but perhaps this championship was for Hal Steinbrenner. In 1923, the original Yankee Stadium opened with a World Championship. In 2009, it’s a new stadium but the same result. What a way to christen the new home of Aura and Mystique!
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Manager Joe Girardi earned the number on his back, and he can always wear it with pride. He personally delivered it to the fans of New York, and it will be great to see the parade return to the Big Apple.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that Mariano Rivera will be a first ballot Hall of Famer? It has been tough for closers to gain entry to Cooperstown, but the legend of Mo Rivera will be long remembered. He is the greatest closer in Yankee history, and certainly one of the best ever in Major League baseball.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Going away from the Series, I have to say that I am glad the Yankees didn’t have to face Chase Utley more than they did. The guy is a stud, and certainly one of the premier players in the game. Cliff Lee also proved that he is truly an ace. It’s not like he had anything to prove before the Series, but on the grandest stage of all, he showed that he is a champion. There is no doubt that the Phillies will be back…
Nick Laham/Getty Images
A World Championship celebration in the Bronx…the way it was meant to be. Life is good.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Hey Julia, I am ready for Opening Day 2010! Bring on the Red Sox! My friend, it is Game On!
I knew it!…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I was afraid that Cliff Lee would dominate the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series. He has always pitched very well against the Yanks, and he won the very first game in the new Yankee Stadium in April while a member of the Cleveland Indians.
Lee’s performance was masterful and he deserves all accolades for a job well done. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have Chase Utley as your second baseman.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Phillies’ 6-1 victory took away home field advantage from the Yankees and leveled and the playing field.
I was stunned at the trading deadline when the Phillies acquired Lee from the Indians. Everybody had been talking about Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies quietly dropped an ace into their starting rotation. I had wanted the Yankees to upgrade the #5 pitching slot. They did acquire the San Diego Padres’ Chad Gaudin but I’d hardly call that a major move. Even the Los Angeles Angels were able to acquire a stud for their rotation with the acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Scott Kazmir. The Philles had signed free agent Pedro Martinez a few days earlier. Pedro was another pitcher that I felt the Yankees should have pursued, but they were never a player. I can so clearly remember hoping that the moves wouldn’t come back to haunt the Yankees. Well, it is now October, and the moves are staring us straight in the face…
Fortunately, Game 2 was a reversal of fortune. Early on, it was a great pitching duel between the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett and the Phillies’ Pedro Martinez. It had the “feel” of an old Yankees-Red Sox game. Hmmm, I wonder what my friend Julia is doing these days? Probably watching Celtic basketball. Nevertheless, Burnett was stellar, while Pedro gave up homers to Mark Teixeira and later Hideki Matsui.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Yankees added a run in the 7th inning before a botched call by the umpires cost the Yanks the possibility for more runs. With one out (why the heck was Derek Jeter bunting with two strikes???!!!), Johnny Damon hit a liner at Ryan Howard. The runner at first (Jorge Posada) had broken for second and would have made it safely on an errant throw. However, the ump called it a double play when Posada was tagged since they ruled Damon had lined out to Howard. Subsequently, replays showed that the ball had one-hopped into Howard’s glove so the runners should have been safe at first and second. I hate it when the umpires are in position to decide a game…
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Burnett was pulled after 7 magnificent innings. Manager Joe Girardi wasted no time in going with legendary closer Mariano Rivera. I thought it was a bit premature, but after a few bumps and bruises but no runs, the Yankees had emerged with a 3-1 victory. The win tied the Series at one game apiece.
The Series now heads for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday. Andy Pettitte versus last year’s post-season ace Cole Hamels.
For the record, sitting Nick Swisher was an excellent move even if Swish didn’t agree. His bat could be likened to the Artic Front. He was replaced by Jerry Hairston, Jr.
I am glad that George Steinbrenner has been able to watch the games at Yankee Stadium. Given the decline in his health, you never know if this will be his final World Series appearance. I hope not…
“It’s great to see Pedro Martinez on the stage again” – ESPN Analyst Chris Berman
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
I don’t disagree, but I am still glad that he didn’t get the win…
In the post game press conference, Pedro said, “If I played for the Yankees, I’d be the King”. The comment was made in response to the boos he received as he walked off the field, but he’s probably right…
Off to a great start…
The Yankees, as expected, emerged victorious in Game 1 of the ALDS against the high flying Minnesota Twins. Behind the frontline starting pitching of CC Sabathia, the Yanks took down the Twins, 7-2.
The game started slowly with several passed balls and an early 2-0 lead for the sleep-deprived Twins. But a two-run homer by Mr. November, Derek Jeter, tied the score in the 3rd and the Yanks were off to the races.
Hideki Matsui continued to show the Yankees might be making a mistake in allowing Godzilla and his creaky knees to walk at the end of the season. Time and again, he has delivered the timely, clutch hits the team has needed. He did not disappoint on Wednesday night as he came through with a two-run homer in the 5th inning. Throw in a mixture of Phils (Hughes and Coke), a dash of Joba Chamberlain, and a touch of Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees had the ingredients for success.
The series resumes on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. Then, the series will move to Minnesota. As a Vikings fan, I am used to pulling for the home team at the Metrodome, but for a few days next week, I may as well be a Packers fan because I definitely will not be pulling for soon-to-be ex-tenants. Hopefully, the Yankees will be the team to end the Twins’ Metrodome stay…
To the Twins’ defense, they won an unlikely AL Central division championship in a 12-inning, highly intense play-off game against the Detroit Tigers, celebrated the victory, caught a flight to New York, and stood ready to play at Yankee Stadium less than 20 hours later. I suspect we’ll see a more relaxed and resilient Twins squad on Friday. The series is far from over despite the Yankees’ 8-0 record against the Twins this year. I seem to remember what happened to another ballclub that had an 8-0 record against the Yankees earlier this season…
I had hoped for a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, but it looks as though the Cards will be making an early exit. They held a 2-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning at Dodger Stadium today when Matt Holliday dropped a liner that would have been the game-ending third out. It was not meant to be as the extra out allowed the Dodgers to score 2 runs, and steal the victory, 3-2. The series moves to St. Louis with the Dodgers up, 2 games to none. In a short series format, I simply do not see any way for the Cards to dig out of their self-imposed hole.
Mark J. Terrill/AP
Of course, it only proves to never underestimate the power of Joe Torre…
There is a series in Philly as the Colorado Rockies tied the NLDS at one game apiece with a 5-4 victory over the Phillies today. They defeated last year’s play-off ace, Cole Hamels. Hamels left immediately after being pulled to be with his wife, who was delivering the couple’s first child. All things considered, Cole can be excused for having other things on his mind. The series resumes in Denver on Saturday.
This brings us to the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox. Game 1 in Anaheim is underway, and the Angels hold a 3-0 lead in the 7th inning. Ouch Julia! What time is it in Boston? It’s a long night for you unless Big Papi can bring the Sox back in the late innings. Nevertheless, Julia and I have agreed to a final wager for what will hopefully be the final meeting between the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Of course, there are obstacles in the way called the Angels and Twins that could derail our plans. The winner will be decided by a) the team that advances the furthest into the play-offs, or 2) the winner of a possible head-to-head match-up in the ALCS. The loser must post photos wearing the winning team’s hat and t-shirt, while holding a sign declaring that the winning team “is better”. I’m ready, Julia! How about you?
Back to the Yanks, Jorge Posada needs to back off his criticism of Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett in Game 2. Burnett and Molina have clicked and Jose helped A.J. end his summer slide in early September. Jorge, bite your tongue and take one for the team…
Wow, the winner is….ME!
When the season started and the Yankees promptly proceeded to drop the first 8 games of their season series to the Boston Red Sox, I was starting to develop an inferiority complex. At every turn, Julia was emerging victorious and I was wearing pink Red Sox hats. But finally the tide turned in early August.
At the All-Star break, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by four games. They had been swept in their last series before the break by the Los Angeles Angels, and admittedly, I was a bit pessimistic.
But after the break, the Yankees quickly caught and passed the Red Sox. Then, came the four game sweep at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox in early August that stopped the losing streak.
But the true test was the latest road trip. The Yankees first headed for Seattle where they took 3 of 4 from the Mariners. Next stop was Oakland. Former Yankee Brett Tomko silenced the Yankee bats in the first game, but the Yanks came back to win the next two to take the series. With a 5-2 road record, the Yankees headed for Boston. The Sox had been playing very well, and the 30 inning scoreless streak against the Yankees earlier in the month seemed to be a distant memory.
The Yankees took the first game at Fenway Park, but it wasn’t easy as ridiculous as it sounds. With a 12-1 lead, I was actually fretful of a Sox comeback. The Red Sox did starting scoring runs, but fortunately the Yanks stayed several steps ahead. At one point, I had sent an email to Julia to tell her guys to quit scoring. She didn’t listen. With a 20-7 lead in the 9th inning, the Red Sox scored 4 runs to close the gap to 20-11, but that was it…finally.
I knew that once the Yankees scored 20 runs, they were in trouble the next day. Generally, whenever the Yanks have scored 20 or more runs in a game, they struggle offensively the next night. I can really only recall one time that ever not being the case. Unfortunately, it held the next day as the Red Sox thrashed the Yanks, 14-1.
So, Julia and I went into the final game of the series tied. I wasn’t overly optimistic given that Josh Beckett was on the mound. But at least we had CC Sabathia on our side. I recognize that CC has had his share of failures at Fenway Park, but in August, CC seems virtually unstoppable. It wasn’t a great performance on Sunday, but he didn’t give up 5 home runs like Beckett. Plus, he had Hideki Matsui on his side. Matsui lived up to his nickname this series, “Godzilla”…
It was somewhat bittersweet given that this is perhaps his final year in pinstripes. There is virtually no chance that the Yankees will re-sign Matsui so this is his farewell tour. The Red Sox probably wish that he would have left a year earlier.
In the end, the Yanks had an 8-4 victory, and completed a 7-3 winning road trip. They had taken the Red Sox in the latest series, with only one more remaining. So, it means that my friend Julia will be posting a Pro-Yankee Top 11 List. Plus, she must spend a day wearing a Yankees cap and provide photos to prove it. A pink Yankees cap has been ordered through MLB.com, and is making its way to Boston.
Enjoy being a Yankees fan for a day, Julia!
…farewell until we meet again in September! We’ll need to come up with a memorable wager since it will be the last hurrah of 2009…well, at least until the Yanks meet the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series!
With the Red Sox’ win tonight over the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees’ lead in the AL East stands at 7 games. This one is far from over, but on August 24th, I like where the Yankees sit.
During the off-season, I liked the moves that Theo Epstein made for the Red Sox, including the one they didn’t make (Mark Teixeira). Overall, I thought that Theo did a better job of filling the holes, while Brian Cashman was focusing on big game. Even during the season, Theo has made some wise moves, such as the trade for Cleveland’s Victor Martinez. John Smoltz didn’t pan out, but he was better suited for the NL anyway. In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather have Clay Buchholz in the starting rotation than John Smoltz so it worked out for Boston. I was frustrated when the Yanks’ biggest in-season moves were Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Chad Gaudin. But the patience that Brian Cashman had (that I did not have) paid off as the bullpen solidified once Phil Hughes began his mastery of the 8th inning. I guess that’s why Cash gets the big bucks, and I only sit and write about it.
I am still not convinced that the Yankees have the starting pitching to go deep in the play-offs unless A.J. Burnett steps up his game. But the Yanks have the talent to get hot in late September/early October. Frank Miller, a late cartoonist for The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, used to say that it wasn’t an official World Series if the Yankees weren’t in it. I am thinking that it is time for an official World Series…
The Boston Red Sox lost…
Life is good.
Justin Verlander was throwing smoke today. Not just in the 1st inning, but he was still hitting 100 mph with a couple of pitches to “future Yankee” Jason Bay in the 8th inning. The Detroit Tigers were victorious in the game against the Red Sox that saw Verlander go 8 innings while giving up only 4 hits and no runs. It was a very impressive performance and it couldn’t happen against a better team! Right, Julia?
To the Red Sox’ defense, Clay Buchholz pitched a great game in a losing effort, and is a notable improvement over the departed John Smoltz (much to my chagrin). Theo, can you bring Smoltzie back?
The Yankees closed out a very successful home stand against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays. They could have (should have) won the first game against the Jays, but I think they were still coming down from the high of sweeping the Red Sox. Nevertheless, they came back to win the next two games to take the series so all is good.
On the downside, the last victory against the Jays was a costly win. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada all suffered severe bruises. DJ and A-Rod were hit by pitches, while Posada took a foul ball on his right hand. Like Posada said, “I got hit everywhere. It was like a boxing match.”
And, oh yeah, Mariano Rivera had a “cranky” shoulder and was unavailable.
It wasn’t a great way to start the road trip in Seattle. Both A-Rod and Posada were out of the starting lineup for the opening game against the Mariners, however, Jeter was back in the lineup at the top of the order.
I didn’t think that the acquisition of Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trading deadline was significant, but I’d have to say that I was wrong. In a short amount of time, he has proven to be an invaluable commodity and he’s playing third base tonight. He’s a quality player, and has performed better than I had expected. Even though he isn’t used as much, I’d also have to say that I am impressed with Eric Hinske. The Yankees’ bench is definitely much stronger today than it was on June 1st.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
As I finish this post, the Yankees have just beaten the Mariners 11-1 so they didn’t seem to be missing A-Rod and Posada too much. Jeter and Matsui have home runs (Godzilla had 2), and Hairston had 2 RBI’s. Hey, Julia, I wasn’t a math major in college, but I’d call it a 6 ½ game lead! J
CC Sabathia picked up his 13th win while surrendering only three hits and one run in 8 innings, while striking out 10. CC is definitely locked and loaded, and this is why Hal Steinbrenner signed off on the huge deal in the offseason despite budget constraints. The pitcher the Yanks blew out was former Pirate Ian Snell. Before the trading deadline, the Yanks had been scouting Snell, who was then with the Pirates’ AAA affiliate. As the saying goes, sometimes the best trade is the one never made.
The Yankees still need to do something about the #5 slot in the starting rotation. There are plans to insert Chad Gaudin for a start this week in order to skip Joba Chamberlain and limit his season innings. But I am not expecting great things from Gaudin, who was 4-10 for the Padres this season. In other words, note to Brian Cashman, try again…
The Tampa Tribune has settled on a name for the new Jeter mansion in Davis Islands, FL. By way of an online poll, the winning name was St. Jetersburg. I don’t even have to hear the other choices to know that they made the right selection. The name is perfect.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on this subject even though it’s off topic. I can’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick. I was listening to the guys on San Francisco’s sports talk radio station, KNBR, and they felt that Vick couldn’t have landed in a “softer” spot. Personally, I think it was a bad decision for Eagles management. I know that Donovan McNabb has had his share of critics, but he remains in the upper tier of NFL QB’s. I know, it’s not like Vick is going to beat out McNabb, but his mere presence on the field shows that the Eagles will accept victories over moral responsibility. Granted, I wasn’t an Eagles fan to begin with, but suffice to say that I am glad (and proud) that my team didn’t sign the morally corrupt Vick. The only reason that Vick is asking for a second chance is because he got caught. Good luck with that, Philly…
I know Julia, I saw that Tom Brady threw 2 TD’s…blah, blah, blah… Go Vikings!
A walk-off “Gift”…
With the Yankees trailing the Mets 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound, Brett Gardner started the inning with a pop-out. Derek Jeter came up next and hit a solid single up the middle. Johnny Damon worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a splitter from K-Rod. Mark Teixeira came to the plate and K-Rod was determined to give him nothing to hit. His first three pitches to Tex missed the strike zone, so manager Charlie Manuel decided not to take any chances and gave Tex a free pass. Alex Rodriguez was up next…A-Rod versus K-Rod.
The setting was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback. The YES Network’s Michael Kay indicated that any win by the Yankees would be a walk-off win (statement of the obvious?), and they have had six walk-off wins so far this year. The stars seemed to be aligned for A-Rod to be the hero. Like with Tex, K-Rod threw the first three pitches outside of the strike zone and A-Rod didn’t bite. The fourth pitch came in for a called strike. With a 3-1 hitter’s count, A-Rod got under the next pitch and lifted a pop fly to short right field. Second baseman Luis Castillo charged under the ball and it appeared to land in his glove. A-Rod slammed his bat into the ground, and started to gently run to first base. The feeling of defeat sunk in, and I was thinking that the Yankees had just lost their fourth consecutive game. But miraculously, the ball hit Castillo’s glove and bounced out.
Noah K. Murray/New York Daily News
Castillo slid to the ground so he wasn’t able to get up immediately to retrieve the ball. When he did get up, he threw the ball to the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Cora. Derek Jeter had already scored the tying run, but third base coach Rob Thomson had sent Teixeira home. Cora fired the ball to catcher Omir Santos, but it was too late…Tex had already scored the winning run…
UPI (Courtesy New York Post)
Whoa, talk about high drama! After the game, A-Rod was being interviewed and Kimberly Jones mentioned that Francisco Rodriguez hadn’t blown a save this season. A-Rod responded, “He still hasn’t”. True, but I’ll take it…
Richard Perry/The New York Times
The Yankees should have given the pie in the face to Castillo…
The Yankees had started the scoring with a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the second inning. I was a bit frustrated the next inning when Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. Carlos Beltran drew a walk to bring home a run. After David Wright struck out, Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to bring home Alex Cora. So, with no hits in the 3rd, the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead over the Yanks.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees regained the lead, 3-2, with a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira. Joba Chamberlain was pulled after four innings. Although he only gave up one hit and two runs, he walked 5 and had two hit by pitches. So, to start the 5th inning, Manager Joe Girardi brought in Brett Tomko. My first reaction, of course, was “Ugh!”. Unfortunately, as they say, always trust your first instinct. Carlos Beltran doubled and subsequently stole third. David Wright walked. Ryan Church doubled to score Beltran and Wright. The Mets had the lead, 4-3. Former Yankee Gary Sheffield came up and promptly hit a two-run homer, his 505th, to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Isn’t there a minor league team somewhere (anywhere but Scranton/Wilkes Barre!) that could use Tomko? He needs to go wherever it is that Julia wants Julio Lugo to go…or where Mets fans want Luis Castillo to go…
In the bottom of the 5th, Derek Jeter cut the deficit to 6-4 with a solo home run. In the 6th, with Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada at first and second, thanks to a single and walk, the birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, slammed a three-run homer to allow the Yanks to recapture the lead, 7-6. Happy 35th Birthday to Godzilla!
Marc Carig/The Star Ledger
The Mets tied the score, 7-7, in the 7th on a double play grounder by Fernando Tatis with men on the corners.
Phil Coke retired the first two Mets in the top of the 8th, but then, in a surprising move, Joe Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game to face Carlos Beltran. In recent years, Mo has pretty much become a one inning relief specialist. It started in the latter years of the Joe Torre era as a way to keep Mo healthy. I suppose Joe didn’t want to take any chances with the dangerous Beltran at the plate and preferred to see Mo get four outs as opposed to three. Unfortunately, the move backfired. Beltran drew a walk, and the next batter, David Wright doubled to center field, scoring Beltran. The Mets had taken an 8-7 lead. It was three up and three down against Mo in the 9th, and the stage was set for the dramatic comeback win…
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog had a great story after the game. Joba’s three-year old son, Karder, was in the clubhouse and he interrupted the reporters talking to Joba by asking, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes!”. Joba responded, “He knows me. Pretty scary, huh?” That’s funny stuff! Of course, it’s easier to laugh about it when your team escapes with a 9-8 win rather than an 8-7 loss.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
This game was yet another example for why Mark Teixeira ranks as one of the greatest free agent signings in Yankees history. It remains to be seen if he has the post-season success of, say, Reggie Jackson, but so far, he’s earned every bit of his huge contract.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The Yankees remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in extra innings, 5-2. I had warned Julia about late inning heroics by the Phillies’ Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Howard came through with a game-tying 9th inning home run, but the Phillies couldn’t muster any magic in extra innings against the Red Sox bullpen.
So, the Yankees remain one of baseball’s best teams, so long as they aren’t at Fenway Park or playing the Red Sox…
OTHER “OFF TOPIC” STUFF…
Everyone doubted the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chances and until Game 7, the team with home ice had won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals. So, with Game 7 in Detroit, it appeared that the odds were stacked in the Red Wings’ favor. The Pens took a 2-0 lead after two periods, but you knew that the third period would be a ‘free for all’. The Red Wings played at a kinetic pace. You could definitely tell that there was a sense of urgency in their game, and they did appear to be the superior team on the ice for that period. They were able to score a goal to close the gap. The game hung in the balance down to the final seconds. Even with 6 seconds or so, you knew that the Red Wings were capable of scoring the tying goal.
Fortunately, it was not meant to be and the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions! It was a great game, a great series, and a great win by a deserving team. Granted, it would have been better (at least for me) had the San Jose Sharks won the Stanley Cup, or perhaps even Julia‘s Boston Bruins, but short of that, the Penguins are a worthy champion!
Now, hopefully, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy awaits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night…
The Brett Favre “fiasco” continues. The Vikings apparently have sent a coach and their head trainer to Mississippi to track the health of QB Brett Favre. No word on which coach made the trip, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has prior history with Favre during their time in Green Bay together. I really think this issue needs closure soon. Otherwise, it risks becoming a huge distraction for the team. The 2009 Vikings have a great deal of potential. I like many of the young guys, and I am excited about what Percy Harvin will mean to the offense if properly utilized. Guys like center John Sullivan and safety Tyrell Johnson will step up and fill the voids caused by the departures of veterans Matt Birk and Darren Sharper. Regardless of what Favre decides to do, the Vikings will be in contention this year. I am not ready to anoint them Super Bowl contenders, but they have the potential for great things. At this point, I am ready to let Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels fight it out, and let Favre starting counting his days for entry into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. But, of course, if he does sign with the Vikes, so be it…
Have a great weekend!