Results tagged ‘ Joba Chamberlain ’
The agony of defeat…
It’s amazing how you can go from a very high “high” to a very low “low” in 24 hours. A night after a walk-off home run by Marcus Thames, he was a goat in last night’s 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox. His drop of Marco Scutaro’s fly ball in the 9th inning was a crucial blow that set the stage for Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double that gave Boston the runs it would need to win.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
There were several goats in this loss. Thames didn’t shoulder the blame alone. You really have to start with the awful performance by Joba Chamberlain. On Sunday, he allowed the floodgates to open for the Twins and the momentum crushed Mariano Rivera. In many ways, it happened again last night. Chamberlain didn’t allow the runs in the 9th (Rivera did), however, the Red Sox had clearly taken the momentum of the game with the 4 run 8th inning to tie the score. I could tell after a couple of batters that Joba didn’t have it last night, but manager Joe Girardi stuck with Chamberlain to erase the 5-1 advantage.
Keivom/NY Daily News
The Yankees had their chance for late inning heroics but this time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door. The Yanks were able to pick up a run on a Robinson Cano double in the bottom of the 9th. However, with the game-tying and game-winning runs on 2nd and 3rd, Juan Miranda grounded out and Randy Winn struck out to end the game.
The Yankees (25-14) fell another game behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the loss. The Rays, who are in town for a two-game series before the start of the weekend’s matchup against the Mets, beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 and are now 28-11. Unless Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera can return the bullpen to a strength, the series against the Rays will be very difficult to win. It’s too bad that a very strong performance by CC Sabathia was wasted last night, The Yanks could have used it against the Rays. Let’s hope that A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are up to the task.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
On the bright side, I did somehow manage to win the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. After the Sox had taken the 7-5 lead, we were tied with total runs (16 runs for both teams). But Cano’s 9th inning RBI gave the Yankees a total of 17 runs, so I won on that basis despite the split of the two-game series. So, stay tuned for a post by Julia which will detail the Yankees’ first World Series championship. She has assured me that she will use as few words as possible! Of course, I say when is Julia ever at a loss for words!
It was not a particularly good night for me as the San Jose Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, to fall behind 2 games to none in the NHL Western Conference Finals.
At least Lee Dewyze gave a masterful performance on the American Idol stage so the night wasn’t a total loss. His rendition of Hallelujah clearly set him apart from his competition (Crystal Bowersox and Casey James), and as Randy Jackson says, he’s in it to win it. Unless American Idol is nothing more than a popularity contest, Casey James should be heading back to Texas tonight for an AI final pitting Bowersox against Dewyze. It should be a great one!
Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he has learned about life in three words. “It goes on”…
It was one of those days for the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees had controlled the majority of the game after a Randy Winn triple in the bottom of the 2nd inning had given them an early 2-1 lead.
Sergio Mitre did everything asked of him as he went 5 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 1 run. David Robertson, who has been struggling, came on in relief of Mitre and was effective for two innings.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
So, the Yankees had the perfect formula for victory (Chamberlain + Rivera), right? Wrong. Joba allowed the first batter to reach base during the top of the 8th inning when Denard Span singled. Following a fielder’s choice which left Orlando Hudson at first, Joe Mauer walked. Joba struck out the next batter (Justin Morneau), and it looked as though he might escape the inning without any further damage. Unfortunately, an infield single by Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases and ended Joba’s afternoon. Manager Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save. Mo quickly fell behind the first batter he faced (Jim Thome) and eventually walked him to bring in a run (closing the Yankees lead to 3-2). Mo was unable to shut the door as the next hitter, Jason Kubel, smashed a grand slam to right to give the Twins the lead, 6-3.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
The Yankees tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th and had the first two men on base. But Twins closer Jon Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to end the game.
This was a very disappointing loss. The Yankees have had great success against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and had won the first two games of this series. A win today would have put a psychological knife into the Twins or the very least would have given them doubts about their ability to win at the Stadium in October. For the Twins, it was a huge win and it lifted the monkey off their backs. Prior to the game, former Twins great Bert Blyleven labeled it as a “must win”
So, the weekend ends on a down note for the Yankees as they await the arrival of their fiercest rival, the Boston Red Sox, for a two-game series in the Bronx starting on Monday.
Of course, Yankees-Red Sox can only mean one thing. It’s time for another wager between me and my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser must write a blog about the opposing team’s first World Series victory. If the teams split the series, the winner will be the team with the highest run total. The Red Sox did lose today to Johnny Damon and the Detroit Tigers so neither the Yanks or Sox carry any momentum into the latest series.
The Yankees received some bad news when it was announced that DH Nick Johnson may need wrist surgery. They’ll first try a cortisone shot, but if it doesn’t work, surgery will be the next option which would most likely shelf Johnson until August. This is exactly what Yankee fans had feared when Johnson signed with the Yanks during the off-season as Johnny Damon’s replacement. GM Brian Cashman says that Johnson’s injury potential was taken into consideration, however, it doesn’t appear that there is a solid Plan B in place. I like the lineup with Posada at DH and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, however, that may or may not be a good long term solution. I’d prefer more of a sure thing (trade for Johnny Damon?), but unfortunately, the trade market will not be open until July (or June at the earliest).
It was a particularly tough sports day for me today as the San Jose Sharks lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals. I am sure that if I need to hear some positive sports news, Julia will be more than happy to tell me all about the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals… L
San Jose Mercury News
The day did have a great start for me before the games began. I participated in the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco. The run started near the Bay by Embarcadero and headed west (up the Hayes Street Hill and through Golden Gate Park) to the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco Chronicle
In San Francisco, you have to be prepared to see just about anything…and I did! Many runners (and walkers) chose to wear costumes while some opted for nothing at all. I took the more conservative and traditional route myself. I do not know the total headcount but the run was very slow at the beginning and going up the Hayes Street Hill due to the sheer volume of people.
San Francisco Chronicle
Personally. I accomplished my modest goal of running the race inside of an hour. It was a fun and very enjoyable day…well, at least until the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium!
Two out of three ain’t bad!…
The trend continues. The Yankees have played three series so far this young season, and have won two out of three in each. The schedule makers were very unkind to the Yankees as they pitted their top 3 foes to start the season. Fortunately, the results have been very favorable. I realize that there are many games to be played but given the Yankees are historically slow starters, at least in recent years; this season has gotten off to a great start.
Tonight, despite an inability to get Hideki Matsui out, the Yankees prevailed against the Los Angeles Angels, 6-2. The game saw the return of Angels starter Scott Kazmir (fresh off the DL) and starter-turned 8th inning setup guy-turned starter Phil Hughes. The Yankees made it a short night for Kazmir (4 innings, 6 runs) but Hughes did struggle somewhat with his control as he gave up 5 walks and was gone in the 6th with no outs. He did strike out 6 and only gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in picking up the win.
Robinson Cano was the star of the game with 2 tremendous home runs. Derek Jeter also contributed with a homer and 2 RBI’s. I don’t think Curtis Granderson will need an adjustment period. He has already shown that he likes being a Yankee and his two triples tonight were fantastic. Meanwhile, I am getting a bit tired of seeing goose eggs next to Mark Teixeira’s name but fortunately April will soon be over. Mariano Rivera, as efficient as ever, came on to pick up his 4th save in relief of Joba Chamberlain. I have to admit, there was some satisfaction that it was Bobby Abreu who grounded out to end the game. A good win and a good series…
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
Now, the Yankees await the arrival of the Texas Rangers for a weekend series in the Bronx. What can CC Sabathia do to follow up on the one-hit performance in his previous start? All is well at 161st and River…
I will admit that Javier Vazquez has had a rough start in his reunion with the Yankees. He is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA. However, I am not so sure he deserved to be booed as he walked off the mound during Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Angels. I’d really like to see a few more starts before fans rush to judgment. If you want a player to be the best that he can be, boos and cat calls are probably not the answer. Save those for Fenway Park or Tropicana Field. In Yankee Stadium, the fans should be united in their support of the players. If a player is bad or ill-suited for New York so be it, but 2 games does not a season make! Back off and give Javy some room. He’ll be fine…
Today was Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball as players honored the late Dodgers great by wearing his jersey number (42) which was previously retired throughout baseball except for those players who wore the number at the time.
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
The last player to wear 42 in either league is, of course, the great Mariano Rivera. As Mo so eloquently put it, “It’s a privilege, an honor to be the last one to wear 42; it’s a blessing for me. I definitely have a job to do to represent him well.” Mo, I think you’ve succeeded. Here’s to Jackie Robinson and how he changed baseball for the better.
The Bully has spoken…
As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine. I agree with Levine’s words: “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend. Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams).
I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully. I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine. Or maybe this truly is the real Levine. Either way, I am not a fan of his…
After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:
Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)
2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s
Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)
2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s
Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register
The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!
At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves. Well, he did score a run. Ugh!
The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston. The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey. Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!
In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base. With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4, Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run. Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.
Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst. I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time. I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.
It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him. I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan. Beckett and Lackey? Not so much…
We’re off to the races…
It was Game 1 of 162 tonight as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox kicked off the 2010 season on a warm night at Fenway Park. After a cold and rainy day in Northern California, I turned on the TV to ESPN and was surprised to see it was 67 degrees at game time. I had not checked out the weather forecast, and had expected to see a game played in the 30′s or 40′s. It sounds like the warm weather will stay through the duration of the three game series. Hopefully, the Yankees can keep things hot at Fenway (well, maybe not tonight but there’s still two games to play)…
The night got off to a great start for new Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson. In the bottom half of the first inning, he recorded the first out of the Yankees season by catching a fly out by Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Then, in the top of the 2nd inning, after Jorge Posada had hit a liner off the foul pole in right for a home run, Curtis hit the first ‘no doubt about it’ home run of the season to put New York up 2-0, his first official at-bat as a Yankee.
Speaking of impressive beginnings, not-so-new Yankee but new left fielder Brett Gardner showed why the team has shown faith in him. After reaching base in the fourth, Gardner advanced to third and later scored on a double steal. His speed on base is a difference maker so if he can continue to hit, this could be the beginning of a great season. Not bad for the shortest guy on the team. Long live short guys!
On the downside, the short guy didn’t look so good in the 5th inning when his throw home was way off line, allowing two rather than just one runner to advance into scoring position. Fortunately, no damage was done aside from the run that scored during the errant throw. Still, Gardner is going to have to work on his play in left and adjust to the angles.
Neither starting pitcher figured into the outcome of the game. Josh Beckett was chased early (in the 5th), but CC Sabathia met the same fate the next inning. Clearly, neither has the stamina they will have in August. But bullpen to bullpen, I like the Yankees chances. Last year at this time, there were few reliable arms in the pen outside of the great Mariano Rivera. It took several months until Joe Girardi was able to make some moves that gelled. This year, the pen is a strength from top to bottom. Boston’s pen does scare me if Daniel Bard realizes his potential, but until then, the Yankees have a chance against the Boston relievers.
Tonight was not meant to be for the Yankees bullpen as the Red Sox rallied for the 9-7 victory. The primary culprits were Chan Ho Park and David Robertson, although Jorge Posada figured into the equation with what should have been a passed ball. Still, I think the Yankees bullpen will be a strength over the course of the season. Joba Chamberlain gave up a run, but I fully expect him to thrive in the 8th inning role and grab it permanently over the course of the next month or so. As the ESPN announcers related, Joba throws with a sense of urgency in a relief role, and that was missing during his time as a starter. Chamberlain-to-Rivera should be a good combo in later games. I loved Rivera-to-Wettleland, so hopefully, Chamberlain-to-Rivera can become equally as good if not better.
I know, Julia is ahead 1-0 with the advantage in our latest wager. Congratulations to her for the Game 1 victory. On the bright side, we still have 161 more games before anything is decided.
Hats off to Dustin Pedroia for his play in tonight’s Red Sox victory. I admit that he has the heart of a lion, and Boston is very fortunate to have such a great second baseman.
Boone Logan found out it’s not good to be the 25th man, when he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to today’s game to make room for outfielder Marcus Thames.
Leading up to the Opener, I heard constant reminders of Aaron Boone’s home run to win the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Boston got its revenge a year later, but Boone will forever be defined by that home run. Actually that’s rather silly in mind given that he spent over six years in Cincinnati as a Red, compared to a couple of months in 2003 as a Yankee. He also played with the Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. Given that Boston did win the following year, I don’t think Boone’s home run will stand the test of time like Bucky Dent’s 1978 home run. Nevertheless, it continues to be the hit people talk about when his name comes up.
In a trade that surprised me, the Washington Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles. You never expect a team to trade with a bitter division rival and that’s exactly what transpired today. Now, the Eagles will face McNabb twice a year. The Eagles did not get the first round pick they were seeking, but did secure a second round pick in this year’s draft and either a third or fourth round pick next year. I thought that McNabb would have fit well with the Minnesota Vikings since they play a similar scheme to the Eagles, but perhaps the Vikings’ lack of interest is a sign that Brett Favre will return this summer.
I hope everyone had a very happy and enjoyable Easter!
Joe Girardi went with the right choice…
Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated
As expected, Phil Hughes was named to the Yankees starting rotation this week. While he may not have had the best spring of the contenders, he offers the greatest potential and we should look back in a few years with very appreciative eyes.
As soon as the move was announced, the blogs about how the Yankees have destroyed Joba Chamberlain started rolling in. I cannot say that the path Joba has taken has been the best for a young pitcher’s success, however, at the time of the original Joba Rules, he was compared to Boston’s Josh Beckett. He had pitched very effectively in the bullpen and it seemed as though he had the stuff to make the transition to staff ace. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it was not meant to be. I truly believe the Yanks are better with Joba in the pen so long as he has a clearly defined 8th inning role setting up Mariano Rivera.
I knew that either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre would be the odd man out. I had expected a minor trade of Mitre for a prospect. So I was a bit surprised when the Yankees placed Gaudin on waivers and subsequently gave him his outright release. Gaudin is young and talented enough to land on his feet. His stay in New York was short but he walks away with a ring.
After defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, the team became impossible to beat this spring. In five meetings, the Yankees were able to win only one game. Fortunately, they cannot take away the World Series championship for the ‘what have you done for me lately’ situation. Joe Girardi listened to me when I said he should choose Phil Hughes. Perhaps he should listen to me again…win World Championship #28!
It was a sad week with the removal of a significant part of the old Yankee Stadium.
Howard Smith/US Presswire
Derek Jeter wants to be a team owner? Well, he should certainly have the financial wherewithal if he has invested his money wisely. Still, it will be a sad day when Derek Jeter is associated with a team other than the Yankees. Hopefully, it won’t happen until after his playing days are over. I will always be a huge fan of Don Mattingly but the Dodgers uniform does consistently give me a jolt.
The Red Sox have announced their Opening Day starter so it will be Josh Beckett versus CC Sabathia. Hey Julia, are you ready? I am! Game on, my friend! P.S. You are going down…again!
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald
“To keep our focus toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeated.”
– Helen Keller
So much has been written about the vacancy in the Yankees’ starting rotation, but I still think it’s Phil Hughes’ job to lose…
The competition has been tough. The early leaders were Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, thanks to their consistently solid performances. However, in my mind, it’s always been Hughes. Aceves could go the entire spring without allowing an earned run and I’d still be behind Hughes for the 5th spot in the rotation. Aceves, for the record, was blasted for 5 runs in 4+ innings today in an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
Keivom/NY Daily News
I know the Yankees invested much time trying to make Joba Chamberlain a starter. The “Joba Rules” date back to the Joe Torre era as the Yankees tried, albeit very cautiously, to build up Joba’s arm strength and stamina for 200 innings plus per season. But the truth is Joba is ideally suited for the bullpen. His make-up, demeanor, and approach is much more aggressive in a defined relief role. He has looked uncomfortable and at times lost as a starter.
My preference is for Aceves to resume his long relief role, Joba to set up Mariano Rivera (and spelling him on occasion), and Gaudin find his niche in the bullpen. Sergio Mitre has pitched well, but I’d try to trade him for a young prospect.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
When making the decision for who will be the starter, you really have to project who has the best chance for long-term success. Regardless of who pitches the best in March, the winner needs to be someone who can give the Yankees the best chance for October success. The answer is obvious…Hughes.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Curtis Granderson was hit on the right hand in Friday night’s game, but it sounds like he’ll be fine and should be back in the lineup on Sunday. It’ll be just in time to see Phil Hughes nail the final spot in the starting rotation.
Julian H. Gonzalez/McClatchy
The talks of the Yanks’ interest in Joe Mauer reminds me of the talk we’ve heard in the past about the Yankees getting Carlos Beltran, Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, Matt Holliday, Aroldis Chapman et al. All smoke and no fire. As great as Mauer is, the Yankees do not need an injury risk at the catching position. I still think that Mauer will eventually land with the Boston Red Sox if the Minnesota Twins don’t re-sign him. Perhaps it will be a great move for the Sox, and Mauer will make fans forget Jason Varitek and Carlton Fisk. But I don’t he is a good fit for the Yankees. They’ll be fine with Jesus Montero, assuming that he doesn’t “out-grow” the position, as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor. If Montero does have to move because of his physical size, then I am willing to take my chances with Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I am amazed that Jamie Moyer, at age 47, is on the verge of nailing down a spot in the rotation for the championship-contending Philadelphia Phillies. He is definitely the Energizer Bunny…
Lori M. Nichols
Personally, I think the Washington Nationals should have kept super-prospect Stephen Strasburg in the major league starting rotation. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should buy a house or sign a long-term lease in Harrisburg, PA. He won’t be there long…
As you know, I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (regardless of how much my friend Julia would like for me to be). However, I do want to send my prayers and best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland, Boston’s 19-year-old outfield prospect, who underwent successful brain surgery last week. He faces a tough road and a long recovery, but at least the initial news was promising. Let’s hope the news continues on its current positive, upward trend. Regardless of whether he ever plays baseball again, I will always be a fan of his in whatever he does. I only hope that it will be nothing short of complete and absolute recovery. Ryan, we are all on your team!
Ruben W. Perez/The Providence Journal
When I saw that the University of Northern Iowa had defeated top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I could only think of one thing…never underestimate the power of an Iowan! Signed, an Iowan. J
I am headed to Dallas for the week on business. I pulled up the weather forecast and was shocked that it was snowing in Dallas on the first day of spring! Meanwhile, in Boston, it was 71 degrees today! What’s up with that? And why do I have to leave this gorgeous, sunny California weather?…
Unfortunately, Johnny Damon hasn’t forgotten how to beat the Yankees…
Gene J. Puskar/AP
In Damon’s first appearance against his ex-mates, he hit an RBI single and a solo home run to power the Tigers to victory, 6-2, in Lakeland, Florida. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a regular occurrence in Yankees-Tigers matchups. Two of the hopefuls for the fifth spot in the starting rotation were the victims of Damon’s abuse. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three earned runs in three and four innings of work, respectively. Austin Jackson even got in on the action with some great defensive plays.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
On the bright side, the Yankees also played the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa and won 5-3 behind the heroics of Jorge Posada. Javier Vazquez was the starter and winner, but Alfredo Aceves continued to impress. So, if Phil Hughes has competition for the starting rotation, I’d have to say that Aceves is the top contender at this point. I am convinced that Joba Chamberlain is headed to the pen, and either Mitre or Gaudin (or both) will find themselves pitching elsewhere.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Kei Igawa, perhaps the Yankees most disappointing free-agent signing in recent memory outside of anyone named Carl, saw his latest attempt to make the Yankees flame out. He was one of nine players cut and re-assigned to minor league camp. The other notable name, but not unexpected, was pitcher Andrew Brackman. The odds have definitely been against Brackman but I hope he can persevere and pitch in the big leagues one day.
Nick Latham/Getty Images
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, this has been a disappointing off-season so far. Of course, there’s the inevitable ‘will he or won’t he’ retirement talk about Brett Favre. If Favre does retire, it’s hard to get excited about the team’s offense being helmed by either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. We’ve already seen a great running back depart when Chester Taylor signed with the rival Chicago Bears. The team wined and dined free agent LaDainian Tomlinson, but he left Minnesota for New York with no agreement. Nothing against Minneapolis, but it’s hard to compete with the city of New York. There’s no telling where LT will eventually land, but he would be a nice backup for Adrian Peterson. So far, the Vikings biggest acquisition has been the free agent signing of long kicker Rhys Lloyd. Hopefully, the Vikings will be able to make the necessary moves to ensure that their current championship quality window does not close without any hardware.
Peter Read Miller/SI
This has been an interesting year on American Idol. I have seen most of my early favorites depart, so I’ve had to find new ones to back. At this point, I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze. I am surprised at some of those who advanced to the Top 12 and some who didn’t, but the show should start heating up in the coming weeks.
I am headed down to Burbank to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week. The scheduled guests are Terry Bradshaw and Kara DioGuardi. The musical guest is Ziggy Marley. It should be a fun and energetic show to watch. I am looking forward to it. I was able to see The Late Show with David Letterman last year, so it will be fun to see how it compares to Leno. Of course, from my perspective, I can’t wait until Conan O’Brien is back on the air…
Mostly cloudy and 58 degrees…
So, that’s the forecast for the first workout scheduled on Thursday for pitchers and catchers. It seems very appropriate that the Yankees would face cloudy skies on their first official workout. The skies, during the upcoming season, are sure to be filled with dark clouds, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Nobody said it was going to be sunny skies on the road to a repeat World Series championship…
The Yankees will attempt to repeat without World Series heroes Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, or regular season “Pie King” Melky Cabrera. The team also said goodbye to Phil Coke, Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Brian Bruney.
But newcomers Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson, Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, Marcus Thames, and Boone Logan intend to give Yankees fans another summer to remember. Curtis Granderson was penciled into centerfield, particularly after the trade of Cabrera to Atlanta for Vazquez. However, talk in recent days has Grandy receptive to a potential move to left if Manager Joe Girardi decides to go that direction. Somehow, I think Grandy will always say and do the things that exhibit a ‘team first’ approach. Personally, I think Grandy should have gotten #28. However, he stepped aside so that Girardi could upgrade his number from 27 to 28 as the Yankees pursue their 28th World Championship. He’ll wear the number immortalized by Lou Piniella instead (#14). Hopefully, Girardi will hold the number for just one season and then switch to #29!
The presence of Javier Vazquez in the starting rotation should pay dividends. At various points during last season, there were times when the Yankees didn’t know what they were going to get out of their starting pitching outside of CC Sabathia. Vazquez should ensure no long losing streaks, and give consistency to the middle of the rotation. With slots 1 through 4 secure in the rotation, the battle is for the 5th spot. Best case scenario, in my mind, is Phil Hughes in the starting rotation, and Joba Chamberlain setting up Mariano Rivera. The others (Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin, and Alfredo Aceves) can vie for long relief.
While it is sad to see Jose Molina go, I am excited for Francisco Cervelli. He proved last year that he is a capable backup, and I look forward to watching him in a more critical role this year as Posada will see more time at DH than years’ past. Of course, Cervelli is just keeping the plate until Posada’s replacement, Jesus Montero is ready, but it will still be good to see his attitude and play during the upcoming season. If the Yankees decide to carry three catchers, the most likely candidate is veteran Mike Rivera.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
If the newcomers can quickly adapt to New York, and some of the younger guys can step up their play, the Yankees will be in good shape for another championship run. I know, it’s not a given that they will win, but they should be in position to determine who will be. For the upcoming season, I am most fearful of, in no particular order, the Boston Red Sox (don’t tell Julia!), the Seattle Mariners, the Tampa Bay Rays , and the Texas Rangers. I think the Los Angeles Angels will contend once again, however, their off-season losses outweighed their gains. I also think the Baltimore Orioles will be much improved and of course you can never count out the Minnesota Twins. It should be a very challenging and competitive run to the American League Championship!
On the National League side, I don’t really see any team that will dethrone the current NL champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. With Doc Halladay at the top of the rotation and starving for a championship, the Phillies will be in a league of their own. I’d like to see Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers make it to the World Series, but they weren’t able to do enough this off-season to bridge the gap with the Phillies. The Phillies do need to solve their bullpen woes, but I suspect they’ll make the necessary moves (with or without Brad Lidge).
Steven M. Falk/philly.com
Best wishes and prayers to longtime Yankees head trainer Gene Monahan. Monahan will miss his first spring training since 1963 with a “significant illness”. The Yankees also announced that he will most likely miss the first portion of the season as he undergoes treatment. Here’s hoping Gene makes a successful recovery and is able to resume his normal duties in the not-too-distant future…
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Doc or Josh…
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To repeat as World Champions, the Yankees clearly have to upgrade the middle of their pitching staff. No offense to Andy Pettitte, but going into the play-offs with a three man rotation is not the recipe for continued success…especially if Bud Selig is successful in shortening the off-days during play-off series. At this point in his career, Andy is better served by bringing up the rear of the rotation. So, if the Yankees decide to pursue a frontline starter to go with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, should they go after Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays or Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins?
Pitcher to pitcher, it’s easy to say that the choice should be Roy Halladay. He is arguably the best pitcher in the American League, and he knows how to win in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto. He is not intimidated by the Los Angeles Angels, and at 32, he is primed for a few more years of dominance.
But if it were my decision, I’d have to go with Josh Johnson. I know that he doesn’t have Doc’s resume, and there is the age old argument that National League pitchers struggle in the American League. However, it goes beyond just Johnson’s age (he will be 26 next season). After undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-2008, he is 22-6 since his return and according to FanGraphs, he ranked third in average fastball velocity this past season with 95.1 mph (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Verlander). He enjoyed a very fine 2009 season, going 15-5, with 3.23 ERA. He struck out 191 batters in 2009 innings. He will continue to get better, and will soon be an elite ace if he’s not already there.
Probably the bigger reason I’d pursue Johnson is that either pitcher is going to require a hefty bounty in return. There is no doubt that the Yankees will lose the likes of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, and other high level talent to make a trade. Realistically, if we are going to lose those guys, I’d rather see them pitching in the National League instead of right here in the AL East. The counter-argument is that some team is going to pay the Blue Jays a very high price, so they’ll walk away with a much stronger team either way. But still, I am not prepared to see Joba Chamberlain pitching for the Jays. The AL East should be very competitive next year. Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox, you know that the Tampa Bay Rays will be a force to be reckoned with. The fine young talent in Baltimore is finally starting to gel and should result in a much improved Orioles squad. So, if the Jays are smart about the pieces they receive in a Halladay trade, there will be no pushovers in the division.
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The Yankees have A.J. Burnett locked up for four more years so I am not concerned about him. However, CC Sabathia still has the right to opt out of his contract after two more years so I think it would be wise for the Yankees to go with the younger option so that they can build a cornerstone for future years. I don’t think CC will opt out, however, as long as it exists as a possibility, it has to be considered. Much can happen in two years.
So, I say go with Josh Johnson and send the premium Yankee talent to the National League…even if that means Doc Halladay calling Fenway Park “home”. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is familiar with Johnson from his year as the Marlins manager in 2007, so it would aid Johnson’s transition to the Bronx.
There is a question of whether the Marlins organization will be willing to part with Johnson, but it should be interesting to see what develops in the coming weeks…
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But tonight, I choose to see Kelly Clarkson…