Results tagged ‘ Ian Kennedy ’

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!…

Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…



Fenway Park.JPG 



My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants.  The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees.  For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win.  But then along came August, and the tide turned.  Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship. 





There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas.  Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter.  I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester. 



Barry Chin/Boston Globe



Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan).  Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.  If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…



Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start.  I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox.  His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early.  Precisely!  Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox.  There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City.  The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning.  I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect.  However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox.  There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn.  However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox.  As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.






For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment.  The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure).  If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:



Dawn of a Dynasty: The Incredible and Improbable Story of the 1947 New York Yankees


Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from!  The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia!  I chose this book because it had special meaning to me.  1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s.  If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time.  But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next.  The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years. 


Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio - 1947 AL



Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger!  You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! 🙂


If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:





I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger!  Go Julia!  Lose to the Yankees and write that book report!  As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’.  😉




Courtesy:  Julia’s Rants



Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success.  It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.  Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees.  But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax.  He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training.  Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring!  😉



Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire



I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s.  It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen.  I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.


Getty Images


Is this really the last season of 24?  Wow, those were eight fast years!  On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer.  Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…



Jack Bauer.JPG 



How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock?  I don’t get it.  She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.






I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry.  I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol!  Go Crystal!  Keep up what you are doing.  You are special!




Move the Ghosts Aside, A New Yankee Centerfielder…

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





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

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

John Grieshop/Getty Images


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




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




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




No. 2 Is Just Fine…

When is Number 2 quite acceptable?…


Number 2.JPG


It’s not the Boston Red Sox who move closer to clinching at least a Wild Card berth.   It’s not the Yankees who lead the American League East by 6 games.  Finally, the Yankees number 2 starter, A.J. Burnett, has successfully righted the ship…


Chris Carlson/AP


After struggling in August, A.J. turned in his second consecutive solid start by pitching into the sixth inning, giving up 7 hits but only 2 runs.  He struck out 11 batters (just one shy of his season high).   The Yankees need an effective Burnett as they move into October, and his recent performances have shown that he is up to the task.  The Yankees made a 3-run 4th inning hold up today as they defeated the Angels, 3-2.


Chris Carlson/AP 


Following Burnett were a bevy of relievers, but the most notable was Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy entered in the 8th inning to make his 2009 season debut.  Kennedy had surgery for an aneurysm in his right armpit in May.  I am not so sure that I would have gone to Kennedy in a tight situation, with the Yankees leading by 1.  However, manager Joe Girardi must have felt that he had no choice due to a depleted pen.  Kennedy made it interesting with 2 walks and a hit batter to load the bases, but he avoided any damage by getting Erick Aybar to fly out ending the inning.  Congrats to Ian for a successful return.  I have been critical of Kennedy in the past, but he has the talent to succeed.


Chris Carlson/AP 

Mariano Rivera came on in the 9th to close it out for his 42nd save.  With the victory, the Yankees took 2 of 3 games in Anaheim, and proved that they can win in the Angels backyard.  I was very worried about this road trip going in since the Mariners had a winning record and have historically played the Yankees very tough at Safeco Field and prior to this series, the Yankees had not won a game in Anaheim this year.  The Yankees did struggle in Seattle after Friday night’s walk-off homer by Ichiro, but the two wins in Anaheim salvaged a 3-3 record on the road trip.  All things considered, I am very happy with the result.




After losing ground over the weekend to the Red Sox, the Yankees were able to pick up one game during the Angel series.   Therefore, they head back to the Bronx for a weekend series against the Red Sox and a 6 game lead.  Mathematically, the Red Sox still have a chance to win the AL East, however, the odds are against them.  At some point, Red Sox manager Terry Francona will begin resting his regulars to get ready for, as Julia puts it, Soxtober.   It obviously won’t happen this weekend, but so long as the Yankees don’t get swept, I think they’ll take the AL East crown. 



The Yankees have possibly lost supersub Jerry Hairston, Jr.   Batting in the 7th inning, he felt something pop in his wrist and left the game.   He will be undergoing a MRI but it doesn’t sound good.   Ramiro Pena has quite possibly landed in the very high profile position as October approaches.  Maybe a call should be placed to Brian Doyle to be Ramiro’s private coach…




The Yankees have pushed CC Sabathia back by one day so that he properly aligns with the start of the play-offs.  Joba Chamberlain will take CC’s place as Friday night’s starter against the Red Sox and Jon Lester.  CC will pitch on Saturday.


I have to say that I get excited every time Brett Gardner gets on base.  He is simply the most exciting Yankee to watch on the base paths.  In Tuesday night’s game, he stole a base (on a pitch out) in the 9th inning and scored the winning run on Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly.  Gardner, with a dirt stained jersey, is becoming common place, and he is always instrumental in making things happen.  He may not be a starter, but he is invaluable to the 2009 Yankees.   As A-Rod said, Gardner is a pain in the butt, and we wouldn’t want it any other way…



As the Boston Red Sox head for the Bronx, this weekend will pit…

I’m A Headline Guy




Julia’s Rants

We are ready to engage in our final match of the regular season.  After early season success, Julia has found the last couple of months to be very Yankee-oriented.  Let’s hope that trend continues.  Plus, Julia is just so good at writing about the Yankees.  We need to see more of the same!  J  Hey Julia, the time has arrived, Game On!


yankees.jpg image by Skee-Skee


For Julia, I am glad to see that one of her personal favorites, Tim Wakefield, will be starting next Tuesday night.  Wake has had a great season, but he has had some unfortunate setbacks health-wise that prevented this from being one of his most successful seasons.  He is a good guy, even if he plays for THAT team, and I do wish him the best for his next start.  This is a guy who was once cut by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but has carved out a tremendous career for the Red Sox.



So, now it’s time for the resumption of THE series.  Bring on the Red Sox.  We’re ready…



Go Yankees!



Dead from New York, It’s Saturday Night!…


Friday night was so nice….dominating pitching performance…good defensive play…solid hitting…

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (right) receives congratulations from third base coach Rob Thomson after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Gene Sweeney Jr/Baltimore Sun

None of that happened on Saturday night…

Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff (right) receives congratulations from teammates Adam Jones (left) and Nick Markakis after hitting a three-run home run in the second inning.


At first, it appeared that the rain might be a problem.  It had been fairly nice all day in Baltimore with partly cloudy to most cloudy conditions but no rain.  I arrived at Oriole Park early, and found the way to my seat. 

Then, the rain drops started fall.  They covered the field, and I wondered if it would be a repeat of my experience last weekend when I went to Yankee Stadium for the game that was rained out. 



Fortunately, the rain never really materialized in a significant way, so they took the tarp off the field.  The rain did reappear briefly while they were pulling the tarp but it only caused a momentary delay.  The rain quickly stopped, and didn’t return the remainder of the night.  They rolled up the tarp, and the game began at its scheduled 7:05 pm.


Perhaps a rainout would have been better…

The Yankees looked decent through one inning, and then it all collapsed in the second.  They looked like Keystone Cops as the Orioles sent 13 men to the plate, and scored 8 runs. 

Hughes is now the latest member of the Yogi Berra Club (that is, pitchers with ERA’s of 8 or more).  Unfortunately, there are too many members of the club at this point of the season.  The list includes Hughes, 8.49; Brett Tomko, 9.00 (who also gained entry last night in his first appearance as a Yankee); Damaso Marte, 15.19; Chien-Ming Wang, 34.50; and Anthony Cleggett, 43.20.  Jose Veras, 7.20, has petitioned for membership and we have no doubt that he’ll be accepted…

What was supposed to a strength has quickly turned to a major disappointment and is why the Yankees have started 14-16 for the third year in a row.

Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog raised the issue that the Yankees are just not a good Saturday team.  After winning on April 11th against the Kansas City Royals, 6-1, the Yanks have been hammered on every subsequent Saturday.

4/18 – Cleveland Indians 22, Yankees 4

4/25 – Boston Red Sox 16, Yankees 11

5/02 – Los Angeles Angels 8, Yankees 4

5/09 – Baltimore Orioles 12, Yankees 5

The Yankees did hit three home runs last night, but by then, the damage had been done.  There never really was a sense that the Yanks were going to climb back into the game. 

Hopefully, the team will play more to their strengths and abilities today in the final game of the three-game set against the O’s. 

Meanwhile, the Yankees have been passed in the AL East Standings by the defending AL champs, the Tampa Bay Rays.  They are now in 4th place, 5.5 games behind the leading Toronto Blue Jays.  They are just 1.5 games up on the O’s.  Regardless of what happens today, they won’t leave Baltimore in last place but they’re perilously close. 


Hey Girardi, time to start working on the resume…

Seth Wenig/AP



The last thing I want to remember is anything that happened last night, but I was impressed with Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  It felt like a home game given the large number of Yankees fans in attendance.  There were enough fans that they were able to create loud Yankee chants early in the game before the disaster of the 2nd inning.  A nearby O’s fan said it is the same way when the Red Sox come to town. 


The ballpark itself is very impressive.  I have had mixed feelings about the newer stadiums (some I’ve liked, some not so much).  Granted, Oriole Park was one of the first new “Retro” stadiums, but it has a terrific “feel” to it that has not been replicated by other stadiums.  It’s simply a great place to watch baseball…unless your team tanks it and gives up 8 runs in the bottom of the second inning.





Surprisingly, this man didn’t raise the greatest chorus of boo’s…



The O’s fans saved their “appreciation” for Maryland native Mark Teixeira…


Hopefully, my next visit to Oriole Park will prove to be more enjoyable…



Joba Chamberlain has been listed as questionable for today’s game, thanks to a burst blood vessel in his thumb. 

The Yankees held Alfredo Aceves in reserve for the possible start today, which is why we saw Edwar Ramirez relieve Phil Hughes last night during THAT inning instead of long reliever Aceves.  Hopefully, Joba will be a ‘go’ at game time, but the Yankees are historically very conservative when it comes to injuries.  From all reports, it does sound as though Joba will be on the mound as scheduled.

I saw that the Yankees had three scouts watching Yu Darvish pitch in Japan.  He won’t be a free agent until 2014, but he’s only 22 years old.  If you saw him pitch during the WBC, you know that he is a legitimate major league prospect.  I am glad to see that the Yankees are tracking his progress.

Yu Darvish


Tuesday, pitcher Ian Kennedy will undergo surgery for an aneurysm in an artery near his right shoulder.  The doctor who performed the surgery on David Cone’s aneurysm in 1996 will perform the same surgery on Kennedy.  I have not been a big fan of Kennedy’s, but he was pitching well for Scranton/Wilkes Barre this year and I do wish him a full and speedy recovery. 

Brett Tomko, as mentioned previously, is back in the major leagues.  When he entered the game last night, the O’s radio announcers were saying how he had a sub 1.00 ERA in 10 Triple A relief appearances (0.64). 

He promptly gave up a home run to the impressive Adam Jones…

Courtesy Militant Angeleno Blog

Yep, he is still Brett Tomko…


To Everyone, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!


Go Yankees!