Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’
Who is Amaury Sanit?
The newest Yankee is a
31-year-old career minor league reliever who was most recently with AAA
Scranton/Wilkes Barre. A Cuban emigrant,
he is also the same pitcher that was suspended for 50 games in 2010 after
testing positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. Infielder Ramiro Pena was sent down to make room for Sanit. Pitcher Jess
Todd, recently signed after being cut by the Cleveland Indians, was
released to clear space on the 40-man roster for Sanit.
Despite giving up three runs
in 4 2/3 innings of work tonight, Sanit provided length after Ivan Nova
imploded (giving up 4 runs in the 2nd and 2 more in the 4th). So much for the quality Nova starts…
The Yankees have a tough
stretch coming up as they face the Boston Red Sox and then the Tampa Bay
Rays. For the three-game series against
the Sox this weekend, I have made yet another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. At stake is a bottle of wine. If the Sox win, I will give Julia a bottle of
a Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend (aptly named Cabiovese) from a fantastic
boutique winery in Northern California’s Livermore Valley, Rodrigue Molyneaux
Winery (www.rmwinery.com). The wine, which is 75% Sangiovese and 25%
Cabernet, was aged for 12 months in American Oak. The blend of the Sangiovese’s high acidity
with the Cabernet’s tannin structure makes for an incredibly smooth wine. Of course, the Sox won’t win so I’ll just
drink the Cabiovese myself! If I win,
then Julia has to pick a wine from the New England region to send to me. Somehow, I just don’t think that’s going to
compare with Livermore Valley!
As a Lakers fan, it was sad
to see the season come to an abrupt end at the hands of a sweep by the Dallas
Mavericks. It’s ironic that the Lakers
were defeated by Dallas given that I was a Mavericks fan for the 14 years I
lived in the city, but that was long ago.
When I was a Mavericks fan, Rolando
Blackman was the star and Roy
Tarpley was the problem child. It
was also pre-Mark Cuban. My biggest disappointment with the Lakers
loss is that Phil Jackson deserved a
better farewell. Still, he leaves as
perhaps the premier coach in NBA history.
I wish the Zen Master the very best for whatever he decides to do next. I’d like to see Phil stay connected with the
NBA so a TV role would be fantastic unless he aspires to be an exec with a
team. It would be great for us as fans
to experience the wit and wisdom of the legendary coach.
My other sports team, the
NHL’s San Jose Sharks, is also having its own set of problems. Once possessing a commanding 3-0 series lead
against the storied Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks face a do-or-die situation
tonight in Game 7. The Sharks are the
more talented team, but time will tell if talent will prevail or if it will be
the gut, guile and determination of a championship Detroit squad.
I’d mention the Minnesota
Vikings to get a full representation for all of my teams, but of course with
the lockout, QB Christian Ponder is
probably sitting by the pool, sipping Mojitos…
Lastly, I will be participating
in the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco
on Sunday. Being San Francisco, you see
about everything which is probably more than you ever wanted to, but it is
still a fun experience. From the
Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean, the day is a thrill. There’s nothing like getting slapped by
hurled pancakes at the starting line, and of course, enduring the drive up the
Hayes Street Hill. But it’s always a
thrill to reach Golden Gate Park. This
will be my fourth time with the run, and the first in an odd year.
The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants.
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.
With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees. So, here it goes…
Why the Boston Red Sox will win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League. Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over. Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season. I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win. Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back. The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was.
You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard. They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves). The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games.
Adrian Gonzalez. Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park. He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run.
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove.
Disruption. Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers.
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games.
The forgotten hitter. For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it.
The dead will rise. It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level. Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’. There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer.
The bench. If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo. Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory. They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns. Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald. It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars. I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers. If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.
Terry Francona. When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball. The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season). He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season.
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished.
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start. In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’.
Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry. These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary. I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years. These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin).
The RSN. The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced. I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other.
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced. Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade. The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion. I am not one of them, but I
Why the Yankees won’t win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing.
He has his moments where he struggles.
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound. Win
or lose, you expect the team to win. I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee. After CC, there is nothing but question
marks. A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good.
It is how he finishes. If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast.
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern. He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year. At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead. After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him? Can he make the
necessary adjustments? As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson (or even Michael Pineda). Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready. I
remain fearful that it’s the latter. I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation. In the fifth spot, who
knows. Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays. Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva. None of the options instill
The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba Chamberlain. Pedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today.
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements.
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age. Will this be the year?
Aging lineup. Mark Teixeira is already
31? Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex. He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox. He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone.
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come. Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH. He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team?
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older. Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you. If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night.
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball. If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.
The bench. Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee. But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury.
What if Derek Jeter is done? Is
Nunez ready to take over at short? I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen. It
eventually happens to all superstars.
Hank Steinbrenner. Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret. I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
The off-season. As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult. CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano. If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover.
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink. Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September. I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start. This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated.
Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom.
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.
Julia, I’m out…
It was a nice win by the “kid”
of the pitching staff. With 24-year-old
Ivan Nova on the mound, the Yankees bolted to a 4-0 lead behind Alex Rodriguez
and Jorge Posada and then held off the Minnesota Twins for the 4-3
Antonelli/NY Daily News
I’ll admit that I had the
fears from last year when Nova had men on first and third and Jim Thome at the
plate after recording two outs with the bases empty. Thome sliced a double to score two runs, and
I was worried the floodgates were about to open. Fortunately, he escaped the inning without
further damage. Despite giving up a run
the next inning, Nova went six innings before turning the game over to the
bullpen combo of Chamberlain-Soriano-Rivera.
Nova is definitely the wild
card of the pitching staff. Stuff-wise,
I am not really expecting much from him.
It’s not like he has the talent of a David Price or a Jeremy Hellickson,
but he does have a chance of being a solid contributor on an outstanding club.
Okay, I know that I am a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have to admit that I was a bit embarrassed listening
to MLB Radio this morning when a guy claiming to be a Yankees fan was gloating
about the Red Sox Opening Series loss. 3
games out of 162 mean nothing. The Red
Sox are a sleeping Giant and when they wake up, they are going to be very
powerful. I know when the Yankees travel
to Boston, records won’t mean anything.
The series will be the first intense test of the season and I’m sure
that we’ll see the real Red Sox in prime form.
I am not disappointed to see the Red Sox lose (naturally), but there’s
no way I’d gloat about the situation.
The Yankees will have their own bumps in the road along the way…
Like everyone else, I am
concerned about the drop in Phil Hughes‘ velocity, but we need a greater body of
work before deciding if this is a trend.
I think he’ll be okay after a few more starts.
I keep reading about how
Jorge Posada needs to fill the time between his at-bats as he adjusts to the DH
role, but with 3 home runs, he must be doing something right.
So Andruw Jones hasn’t
appeared in a single game yet? Geesh, I’d
like to collect his salary for doing nothing!
CC Sabathia versus Justin
Larry W. Smith/EPA
Finally, Opening Day is upon
us! It has been a long and at times
disappointing off-season. Optimism
returned in Spring Training as there were a few success stories and
surprises. The pitching match-up for the
Yankees against the Detroit Tigers is perfect as I expect banner years by both
pitchers. They both will most likely be
finalists for the Cy Young Award at the end of the year if all goes right.
For Opening Day, here are the 2011 New York
Kevin Long, Batting Coach
Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach
Mick Kelleher, First Base Coach
Rob Thomson, Third Base Coach
Tony Pena, Bench Coach
Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach
Roman Rodriguez, Bullpen Catcher
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Robinson Cano
SS – Derek Jeter
3B – Alex Rodriguez
C – Russell Martin
RF – Nick Swisher
CF – Curtis Granderson
LF – Brett Gardner
DH – Jorge Posada
Bench – 1B/3B – Eric Chavez
Bench – 2B/SS/3B – Eduardo Nunez
Bench – OF – Andruw Jones
Bench – C – Gustavo Molina
1SP – CC Sabathia
2SP – A.J. Burnett
3SP – Phil Hughes
4SP – Ivan Nova
5SP – Freddy Garcia
Closer – Mariano Rivera
Setup – Rafael Soriano
RP – Joba Chamberlain
RP – David Robertson
RP – Boone Logan
RP – Bartolo Colon
RP – Luis Ayala
Several of the spots are held by injury replacements
(Molina for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, and Ayala for reliever Pedro
Feliciano) so they’ll go down to the minors when the regulars return. I am sure that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo
Colon will be on short leashes, and it’s very possible that one of their spots
could be taken by Kevin Millwood should either one falter.
I am very pleased to see Eric Chavez on the
roster. It was a foregone conclusion
that he’d make the team after the spring he had, but going into camp, there
were certainly plenty of questions about his health and durability. I am sure that Jason Giambi has probably been
on the phone to his good buddy to let him know the inner workings of the
Yankees organization and the city of New York.
Congratulations to Manny Banuelos for winning the
James P. Dawson Award as the team’s outstanding rookie in camp. I am definitely looking forward to his
arrival in the Bronx, even if it is still a few years down the road.
Even though there were no major additions in the
off-season, I do like this year’s team.
The hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild was huge, and I think he’ll
be able to get into A.J. Burnett‘s head and rebuild the pitcher’s
confidence. I expect continued
progression from Phil Hughes, and if Ivan Nova continues to build upon his
outstanding spring, I think the Yankees rotation will be quite strong.
What can you say about the bullpen? They will definitely shorten games for the
As for the regulars, I expect Derek Jeter to
rebound from last year and put up his usual DJ-like numbers. Robinson Cano will continue his progression
of one of the game’s elite, and Alex Rodriguez looks charged and ready for a
fantastic season. I am expecting more
consistency and better timely hitting from Curtis Granderson this year, and if
Brett Gardner stays healthy, the outfield should be significantly
The health of Russell Martin is a concern,
particularly since neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine was able to prove
they are ready for the major leagues. If
the Yankees have to start Posada at catcher, it will definitely be a sign of
In my mind, the positives will outweigh the
negatives, and the Yankees will be in the hunt at the end.
Nevertheless, with all things considered, I do
think the league champions, as it stands right now, will be the Boston Red Sox
and the San Francisco Giants. A World
Series matchup would put the Sox over the Giants for the championship. This is not what I want, but rather, on
paper, it is the most logical conclusion.
Much can happen between now and October, and I certainly expect the
Yankees to acquire a #3 starter (or better) for the starting rotation by the
July trading deadline. I did like the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I think the loss of Chase Utley to injury and Jayson
Werth to free agency will be too much to overcome. Pitching staff to pitching staff, I like the
Giants rotation better than the Phillies.
Win or lose, this should be a tremendous baseball
season for all of us! Go ahead, throw
the first pitch…
With the selections of Ivan
Nova and Freddy Garcia as the #4 and #5 starters in the Yankees rotation, I
think that manager Joe Girardi made the right choices (even if those were
really the only viable options).
J. Meric/Getty Images
I agree with those who
speculate that Bartolo Colon is better suited to be the long man in the
pen. Given his physical conditioning,
there are clearly concerns about his stamina.
His arm may be alright but that wouldn’t get him through long
innings. The trade of Sergio Mitre to
the Milwaukee Brewers opens the way for Colon to make the Yankees roster.
I am not sure what I think
about the Yankees signing pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal. I realize that he is strictly an insurance
policy, but I’d really like to see one of the younger guys, like Andrew
Brackman, Hector Noesi, or Dellin Betances, get the opportunity should Nova or
Garcia falter. Millwood is probably just
coverage for the next month, while the prospects will be options later in the
The Yankees gave Chris
Dickerson, the outfielder they acquired in the Mitre trade, Darryl Strawberry‘s
old jersey number (39). Those are big
shoes to fill. I love great home run
swings and for as many sluggers that have come through the Bronx, few can
compare to the swing that Straw had.
Dickerson is not a home run guy, so we won’t be seeing #39 swinging for
the fences. But the number did bring
back some great memories of Strawberry at the plate. Dickerson was the player the Reds sent to the
Brewers last summer in the deal that brought Jim Edmonds to Cincinnati. He turns 29 on April 10th so he is
no longer really considered a prospect, but I’d like to see him carve out a
role on the team. With Curtis Granderson
hurting, the Yankees will definitely need help in the outfield and Andruw Jones
can’t do it all by himself.
With all the talk about
catchers Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine, it’s strange
that Gustavo Molina has emerged as the frontrunner to capture the backup
catching position behind starter Russell Martin. I suspect that Cervelli will take the
position once he is healthy but I am disappointed that neither Montero or
Romine could hit well enough to stay on the major league roster. I know that it just means their arrivals are
simply delayed. Hopefully, they can draw
positives from the heavy focus this spring and use it to power forward when
their next opportunity comes.
I was surprised that Baltimore
Orioles manager Buck Showalter took potshots at Derek Jeter and the Boston Red
Sox. I would have expected better from
Showalter, but I can honestly say that I have never missed him from the day he
left the Yankees.
It’s hard to believe that
Opening Day is next week! I am so glad
that the season is finally upon us. Win
or lose, it should be a great year!
Can I say that I am quietly rooting against Bartolo
Colon? Sorry, but I just don’t want to
see the 5th spot in the starting rotation go to such a high
risk. I would never fool myself into
believing that a few good spring starts will lead to a replication of Colon’s
2005 Cy Young year with the Los Angeles Angels.
My personal preference is for the 4th and 5th
spots to go to Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia, respectively. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility
that both Colon and Garcia head north with the Yankees when camp breaks, but I
hope that it means Garcia is in the rotation and Colon is bumping shoulders
with Sergio Mitre in long relief.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I am not looking for Garcia to be a full season option. I’d really like to see one of the Killer B’s
(Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos) step up at some point in
the season and prove they belong in the majors now. My favorite among the group is Brackman if
for no other reason that his age (25) and the fact that he’d have the maturity
to handle New York. My absolute favorite
among the group is Banuelos but I don’t want to see the Yankees rush him too
NY Daily News
Although the Yankees rotation looks questionable at this
point, there is definitely the potential that the staff will be among the
league’s best as the season progresses.
Either the Yankees will reach out at the trading deadline or one of the
Killer B’s takes it to the next level, but the end result will be a much closer
gap between the Red Sox rotation and the Yankees.
I am very pleased that Eric Chavez has done well so far in
camp. I am very hopeful that he, along
with Eduardo Nunez, nail down the infield bench roles for the team. I like what Jorge Vazquez has done, but
unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to the room on the roster (barring
injury). It will be interesting to see
what Brian Cashman does with the excess talent (notably Vazquez and catcher
Francisco Cervelli…once the latter recovers from the foot fracture). Both have proven they are major league ready,
but if Chavez and Jesus Montero make the team, there won’t be any room for
Cervelli or Vazquez.
Congratulations to former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng for
her new role with Major League Baseball (Senior Vice President for Baseball
Operations). She’ll report to former
Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre. I’ve
read the news reports that Kim took the job with the hopes it will help propel
her to an eventual GM job. I have had
great respect for Kim since her days with the Yankees, and I am hopeful that
she does become the first woman GM in baseball.
Northwest Asian Weekly
I can’t help it but I am definitely pulling for the Los
Angeles Dodgers this year as my favorite NL team. Go Donnie Baseball!
A day after Andy Pettitte’s retirement announcement, it is sad to think
that he’ll no longer be part of the team.
As much as I would have liked him back, I didn’t want him to return if
there was any doubt in his mind so all things considered, the retirement was
probably the best thing for both Andy and the team. If he had any doubts in his mind entering the
season, he most likely would not have performed at the level we’ve been
accustomed to over the years.
I will miss the personal attributes that went with being Andy
Pettitte. He was universally respected
and from afar it was apparent that he was a man of high integrity and very
respectful of others. I had admiration
for the way he was non-judgmental and would form his own opinions and beliefs
regardless of how others felt. I
recognize that Andy admitted steroid use, but it is a testament to the man that
he did come clean with full honesty and disclosure. Never for a minute have I believed Andy
misled or was less than honest with the fans.
He is a class act and will be hard to replace on the team without even
getting into what he meant to the team as a player and pitcher.
While I am hopeful that Andy stays in baseball in some capacity, it
really sounded like he was closing the door on life in baseball after his playing
days. I think he’d make a terrific
pitching coach if he ever wanted to get back into the game once his children
are older. He has so much to offer
younger players, and particularly those who are not as naturally gifted as
someone like Stephen Strasberg or Tim Lincecum.
I can still remember when Don Mattingly wore #46 before taking #23, but
I hope that Donnie Baseball was the last player to wear the number before or
after Andy. Andy deserves his place in
Monument Park and I look forward to the day of his induction.
When you hear the pitching options available to the Yankees, it is
rather disappointing. I am not looking
forward to the back end of the rotation being filled by Sergio Mitre, Bartolo
Colon, Freddy Garcia, and/or Ivan Nova.
While I wouldn’t mind either Garcia or Nova in the #5 spot, I am hopeful
that the #4 starter is not on the roster right now. Ideally, I’d like a #3 starter in front of
A.J. Burnett, but again, the options just don’t look that appealing. Even the San Francisco Chronicle was speculating
if the Yankees would look at taking Barry Zito and his mammoth contract off
their hands. Please, I hope not. I still think that the best case scenario, if
they could convince Cleveland to trade him, is to acquire Fausto Carmona. I really think that Carmona could flourish
under CC Sabatia’s wing. Okay, best case
scenario is actually Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, but I don’t see any way to
convince the Mariners to trade him. So,
Carmona represents the best realistic option.
The Yankees training camp is going to be filled with former major league
stars. The latest to sign a minor league
deal is former Oakland A’s slugger Eric Chavez.
I’ve always liked Chavez as a player but injuries have definitely taken
their toll in recent years. It would be
great to see him excel at a reserve role behind Alex Rodriguez and Mark
Teixeira, however, I am not expecting a lot.
Hopefully, Eric will surprise me.
The Yankees are also bringing in former Los Angeles Dodgers infielder
Ronnie Belliard. It will be interesting
to see if these players motivate Eduardo Nunez and/or Ramiro Pena to take their
game to the next level.
Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
With all the attention that the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and
Tampa Bay Rays have gotten this off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays are
definitely flying under the radar with a team that is fully capable of
challenging in the division. The AL East
is going to be a beast this year, and of course, it makes you wonder if
everyone will be beat each other up so badly that the Wild Card will come from
another division. Boston does look like
the favorite, but it wouldn’t take too many injuries to bring them back to the
pack. This should be a long, grueling
race for October…
Whew, a series win!…
The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova. Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits. He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.
The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4. It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point. It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.
In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win. They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column.
The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday. He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins. At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT
Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday.
I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season. Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte. Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova. I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of
Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s. With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup. As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key
Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night. He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play.
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal. I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial. Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category. It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.
Scott Rovak/US Presswire
I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays). But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…
So, where do we go from here?…
The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately. They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again.
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy. In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0.
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.
As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game).
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s. Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season.
Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2. The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason. With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.
Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound. To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk. He struck out 3. Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level.
It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves. Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother. At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category. It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date. As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role. It would be nice to have him back in the
As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left. I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.
With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear.
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge. If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys.
IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…
Okay, that’s a lousy pitching line any way you slice it. I recognize that Sergio Mitre, fresh off the DL, was rusty, and you can’t expect perfection. But I was not a Mitre fan before and I am not one now. I think there are better pitching options on the roster as fill-in’s for injured Andy Pettitte. I would rather see Dustin Moseley get a shot to start before taking another chance on Mitre. Moseley, by the way, pitching yesterday too, and his line was much more appealing:
IP 4.2, H 1, R 0, ER 0, BB 1, SO 1, HR 0
As for trading for an option like Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am reluctant at best. I really want to see the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee in the off-season, and I am fearful that adding a pitcher like Haren and his salary would be a detriment. We saw last off-season when the Yankees held the line and allowed Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui walk rather than increase payroll above $200 million. I do think that Andy Pettitte will give hard consideration to retirement after the season. There is uncertainty with Javier Vazquez who will be a free agent, and there are still questions about Phil Hughes who has been mired in a slump for the past month (not to mention a innings limitation).
This is a tough call. The Yankees do need to maximize their own resources for starting talent, but in my opinion, it doesn’t start with Mitre. If Moseley is not the answer, then reach into the farm system and give Ivan Nova or Zach McAllister a shot.
The awful performance by Mitre put the Yankees into a hole that they were unable to recover from in losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-4. It did hurt in the 4th inning when Robinson Cano hit into a double play on a great play by Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. The DP left the bases empty with two outs after the Yankees had scored a run at the start of the inning with Mark Teixeira’s lead-off home run. Facing a 6-1 deficit, Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo home run. Had Betancourt not made such a great play on Cano, the Yankees would have had two men on base when Posada came to the plate. Had he homered in that situation, the score could have been 6-4 instead of 6-2 which would have given the game a completely different complexion.
Still, the Yankees had a shot in the bottom of the 9th inning with Mark Teixeira at the plate with two men on. He had hit two home runs earlier in the game, so this was a terrific opportunity for three home runs. But he grounded out to end the game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Today, the Yankees will see if Phil Hughes can turn it around. He’ll face Sean O’Sullivan, who beat Hughes and the Yanks 10-2 last Tuesday while wearing a Angels uniform.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Both Nick Swisher (Achilles heel) and Brett Gardner (acid reflux) will be back in the starting line up today so that’s a positive sign.
This is a great day for a Yankees win!
John Munson/The Star Ledger