Results tagged ‘ John Lackey ’

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx!…

 

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx reminds me of Tommy John for some reason…

Welcome to New York, Hiro!  It was a terrific debut at Yankee Stadium for #2 starter Hiroki Kuroda, as he shut down the Los Angeles Angels, 5-0 in the team’s 2012 home opener.  The Angels, historically, play the Yankees very well in New York, so Kuroda’s performance was significantly more impressive than if it had come against a team like the Minnesota Twins.  Obviously, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is not going to pitch like this every time out, but I do feel more confident in the #2 slot in the rotation than I did when it was held by A.J. Burnett.

The game also marked the 630th home run by Alex Rodriguez, which tied him with his former teammate, Ken Griffey, Jr.  The script couldn’t have been written any better for a marvelous day in New York.

A proud day for a Yankees legend and his father…

It was also a very classy move to have Jorge Posada throw out the first pitch, which is the good karma that set the stage for the wonderful day.  I am sure that it was a thrill for Jorge to throw the pitch to his father.  I lost my own father as a child, but who doesn’t love the scene in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner plays catch with his father.  It has to be an absolute thrill, and I am sure that it was for Jorge as his father was able to take the field at Yankee Stadium.  I had heard the Yankees wanted Mariano Rivera to catch Posada’s throw, but Jorge wanted his dad.  You certainly cannot find fault in his decision.  Mariano’s day will come.  Both players have reservations for Monument Park.

DL-R-Us…

I was sorry to see the injury suffered by Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.  The word is that he’ll be out 6-8 weeks with the shoulder injury he suffered during Boston’s home opening day win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  Boston may be a fierce rival, but I take so satisfaction in seeing the loss of one of their better players.  To be the best, you have to beat the best which means that I want Boston and Tampa to have their best players on the field.  The Red Sox probably have more dollars committed to guys on the DL than the team payrolls for a number of teams in major league baseball, with the likes of John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and Bobby Jenks currently disabled.

Hopefully, Ellsbury will make a smooth and speedy recovery, and will be back on the field soon.

The team name on Damon’s jersey should come with Velcro…

I know it’s a paycheck but it seems like Johnny Damon will have played with every team in the AL by the time he’s finished.  He’s been with so many teams, I honestly can’t say what team he should be remembered for.  Maybe Boston because of the Caveman look and helping them secure their first World Series win in a century, maybe the Royals because that’s where he got his start, who knows.  I can’t look at him and say that ‘he’s forever a Yankee’ because his time was too brief and now it’s too watered down with other teams.  Damon as a Cleveland Indian just seems strange.  If Cleveland is out by July, I am sure that Damon will be moved to a contender, adding yet another team.  Or Damon doesn’t get enough at-bats and opts out of his Cleveland deal, and heads elsewhere.  Regardless, he just seems like a rent-a-player at this point.  Maybe MLB should incorporate 10-day contracts like the NBA…

Purple People are better…

I am looking forward to the upcoming NFL Draft.  The Minnesota Vikings, with the third selection and the top two picks already pre-determined, have some tough choices to make.  I’ve been in favor of OT Matt Kalil, but an argument can be made for WR Justin Blackmon or CB Morris Claiborne.  I thought it was interesting when Colts owner Jim Irsay made comments that teams interested in QB Ryan Tannehill should talk to the Vikings about their #3 pick.  I have not followed the story closely enough to understand his motivation, but I’d prefer to see the Vikings hang on to the pick (despite the opportunity to add more picks) given the strength of the talent available.  I am sure the Miami Dolphins are drooling over the idea of nabbing Tannehill so I guess it would depend upon how desperate they are to make a move.  Unless the Vikings are overwhelmed, I want to see Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne wearing purple at a mini-camp coming soon.

Actually, it’s hard to believe that we are already starting to talk about football again.  It seems like the season just ended.  But then again, it’s hard to believe that the 2012 MLB Season is well underway.  It should be a fun sports year for all…

–Scott

 

A couple of wins in Boston would be nice for the road team…

  

Have Gun (partially loaded), Will Travel…

Headed to Boston with minus a few bullets…

With the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, the Yankees are certainly in a precarious situation as they head for Boston after wrapping up the O’s series in Baltimore tonight.  A-Rod was sent to New York have a MRI on his thumb, and he’ll re-join his teammates at Fenway Park.  The results were negative, however, it doesn’t sound like he’ll play in the Sox series so the focus will definitely be on Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez.

Jeter fouled a pitch off his right kneecap in the first game of Sunday’s double header, so he should be back on the field when the team arrives in Beantown.

The Red Sox have their own challenges, with Kevin Youkilis on the DL.  But even without Youk, the Red Sox boast three legitimate AL MVP Candidates in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez.  If the Yankees are to stop Boston’s run of success against them, the guys from the bench will need to be the difference makers.  Plus, some good pitching always helps.  I haven’t seen the starting rotation for the series yet, although I know that CC Sabathia is starting on Tuesday.  I suppose that means the other starters will be A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, neither of whom instill great confidence, particularly when the opposing match-up’s will be Josh Beckett and Jon Lester (John Lackey faces the Yanks on Tuesday night so that’s probably the only matchup that favors the Yanks in the series).

Where are those darned reinforcements? Signed, General Custer…

The August trading deadline has been very quiet, and of course, I am not expecting any moves by the Yankees.  I still wish the team would move to get a clutch bat for the bench (someone like Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon) but all indications are the Yankees will stand pat like they did at the July trading deadline.

Love means never having to say you’re Sori…

So, David Robertson is arbitration eligible at the end of the season?  The Yanks would be wise to lock him up to a deal before arbitration hearings.  He always seems to be in the most precarious situations yet, time and again, he comes through in big spots.  The way he struck out three batters in the 8th inning on Sunday night with the bases loaded was vintage D-Rob.  His 8th inning success definitely has me wondering what the Yanks will do with Rafael Soriano for the next couple of years…

He makes the world taste good…

I remember a few years ago when there were predictions that Curtis Granderson could hit 40 home runs playing at Yankee Stadium.  I thought those were aggressive remarks, but here he is on the verge of hitting that plateau.  Every one points to the adjustment he made with input from batting coach Kevin Long last August, but it’s clear he has become a complete hitter since that time.  It is ironic that one of the trading pieces, pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is leading the NL in wins.  Kind of makes one wish that the Yankees had traded Phil Hughes instead of Kennedy.  Still, the trade has worked out for all three teams involved (Arizona, Detroit, and the Yankees).  What?  Curtis Granderson just struck out in the game against the Orioles with Brett Gardner in scoring position?  The bum!  ;)  Just kidding…

They’re just games…

This is a big week for the Yankees with the Boston series so they’ll definitely be challenged.  It doesn’t get any easier after Boston because the Toronto Blue Jays will be coming to the Bronx for a weekend series, and the Jays have definitely played the Yanks tough this year.  Do we really have to pin our hopes on A.J. Burnett?  Really?…  L

Have a safe and enjoyable week!

–Scott

 

 

 

 

 

All Hail the Red Sox Nation…


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.


Red Sox.JPG


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
respect them. 


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
confidence.

The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba ChamberlainPedro 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
distraction.

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…

–Scott

 

No Royal Pains…

 

They got it right…

 

 

 

 

The homer pick was to go with CC Sabathia for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award.  However, it was clear that Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is THE right choice.  He had an incredible season.  Imagine what he could have done playing for Boston or New York.  The win-loss record wasn’t spectacular (16-8), however, the 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts were.  It was a dominating season and Greinke was the class of the American League. 

 

 

Ed Zurga/AP

 

Of course, “dessert” for Greinke is his upcoming nuptials this weekend to former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Emily Kuchar.  Okay, Zack lives in a world that I will never know…

 

 

 

Congrats, Zack, on a tremendous season! 

 

 

 

I am not so sure that I like the Yankees very slow and non-reactionary approach to the early off-season.  I know that GM Brian Cashman is trying to see how many dollars in his wallet, however, the team is costing themselves money by not proactively seeking to retain certain free agents like Johnny Damon. 

 

IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Johnny Damon

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

The Yankees would be wise to start talking about an extension with Derek Jeter now rather than wait until the expiration of his current contract.  By waiting, it will most likely cost the team more than if they’d put forth the deal to secure Jeter’s pinstripe-only career.

 

 

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times 

 

I was really shocked to hear that the only coach signed for next season is hitting instructor Kevin Long.  Even manager Joe Girardi is a lame duck with a contract set to expire after next season.  Maybe it’s just me, but it would be kind of nice to have a first or third base coach.

 

 

 

 

Maybe the Yankees have a grand master plan that will work to perfection.  They’ll walk off with top free agents John Lackey and Matt Holliday signed to very reasonable deals.  But then again, maybe they won’t and they’ll be scrambling to retain the likes of Sergio Mitre, who’s option they declined earlier today.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

Admittedly, I am a bigger fan of Theo Epstein’s quick-strike approach.  I’d rather make the moves with swiftness and confidence.  Act before your opponent has time to react.  Take a chance on the sleepers.  I dislike going into September of a pennant chase with Sergio Mitre as your fifth starter.  I know that you can’t have an All-Star at every position, however, there are a number of low budget moves the Yanks can make to strengthen the team for its defense of the World Series championship.  If he’s ready, I would like to see Austin Jackson in center, but that does mean the team needs proven production from the corners.  I liked Boston’s pickup of Jeremy Hermida and I think the Yankee scouts should be doing their homework on the next breakout players.  Last off-season, I would have loved to have acquired the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier.  Now, after the successful season he had in 2009, he’d be impossible to acquire.  But he could have been had pre-2009.  I know, I keep waiting for the next Paul O’Neill, however, those type of deals can be made.

 

 

Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images 

 

With the rumors of whether or not 2010 will be the final season for Dodgers manager Joe Torre, I do feel bad that he has to endure the divorce battle between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  There has been talk of contract negotiations between Torre and the team so hopefully the divorce situation won’t adversely impact Torre.  Ultimately, I am a fan of Don Mattingly as the next Dodgers manager, however, it should, respectively, be on Joe Torre’s terms.

 

Joe_torres_a_dodger_now 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the Yankees do non-tender Chien-Ming Wang, I do hope that they move quickly to sign him to an incentive-laden deal.  I still think that Wang can be the pitcher he was in 2006 and 2007.  I was frustrated last season, however, he clearly was not healthy.

 

 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters 

 

I’ll be headed to Arizona in a few weeks to finally see Brett Favre play as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ.  I haven’t seen the Vikings play (in person) for about 20 years.  The last time was against the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Texas.  The Vikings won a shoot-out in overtime, 44-38.  A quick Google search tells me that it was 22 years ago on Thanksgiving Day.  Hopefully, December 6th in the Sonoran Desert will be equally exciting and with the same result!

 

 

 

 

The previous week will start with a Kelly Clarkson concert (oh yeah!) and will also include a Broadway play in New York City, so here’s hoping for a GREAT week for ME!  J

 

 


Success.JPG 

 

Why Do We Always Worry About THEM?…

 

How can we enjoy the Championship off-season when the Red Sox are just so darn busy?…

 

 

The champagne on the Yankee Stadium clubhouse floor hadn’t dried when it was announced that the Red Sox had acquired promising outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins.  Hermida, 25, has underachieved in Miami but something tells me that he is about to blossom in Beantown.

 

Roger Williams/UPI 

 

As expected, the Red Sox exercised the option for Victor Martinez, the 2010 starting catcher and they re-signed the ageless Tim Wakefield for two years.  The team did not pick up the option of former starting catcher Jason Varitek, however, I fully expect him to exercise his player option for a return in 2010 to back up Martinez.  I agree with Julia that Tek is a manager in waiting so I see next year as a transition year to coaching.  It would not surprise me at all to see him on Terry Francona’s staff in 2011.

 

Bob Breidenbach/The Providence Journal 

 

As much as I would like to see Jason Bay sign with the Yankees, I fully expect him to return to Boston.  I think the Yankees need a solid addition for the outfield, but I do not expect them to pursue either Bay or Matt Holliday.  I’d like to see them pursue someone like Jeremy Hermida…oops, too late!  Nevertheless, I am sure that there are other deals that could be made under the radar for a potential horse.

 

AP 

There have been rumors that Boston will acquire San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.  That’s a deal, if it happens, which would not surprise me and would significantly strengthen the Sox.

 

Adrian Gonzalez

Brad Mangin/Sport Illustrated 

 

That, in turn, could force the Yanks to be major players for Angels starter John Lackey.  Imagine Lackey as the #2 starter behind CC Sabathia, sliding A.J. Burnett to third.  That would be a top trio in baseball, and one that would virtually guarantee a return to the post-season next year.

 

perlman_lackey_angels.JPG

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

I hope this off-season does not turn into another Brett Favre-like ordeal with pitcher Andy Pettitte.  If Andy wants to come back for at least one more year, and I think he does, the Yanks should move quickly to wrap him up on a one year deal.  The Red Sox showed Tim Wakefield much respect by how quickly they tore up his contract and signed him to a new two-year deal.  The Yankees need to give Andy the same respect.

 

Andy Pettitte, Angels, Yankees, pitcher

Jae C. Hong/AP

 

I saw that the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Joe Torre’s staff would return intact for 2010.  It will be Torre’s final year on his current contract, although I read he is in negotiations for a new contract.  During his final years, I remember always hearing how his wife wanted him to retire and spend time with their daughter.  Here we are years later and the daughter is getting older.  Yet, Torre continues to manage.  Maybe he just can’t get managing out of his blood.  I hope it is something more like that than possible revenge against the Yankee brass or the desire to prove that he can win without the support of the Steinbrenner’s money.  I don’t want to take away from Don Mattingly but if he wants to be a future manager, is hitting coach the right spot?  I have always heard that Bench Coach or Third Base are better positions for future managers.  I still think that Donnie Baseball will replace Torre as Dodgers manager, however, it looks like it may be a few more years.

 

Don

latimes.com

 

Pedro Feliz may have hit a home run in Game 4 of the World Series, however, it didn’t take the Philadelphia Phillies long to say goodbye to their third baseman.  Thanks for all you do Pedro, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

 

AP

 

Why is my worst fear that the Yankees will be staring at Roy Halladay on the mound when April 5, 2010 rolls around?  I hope not, but of course, I am sure that a certain Red Sox blog will be gleefully delighted…

 

Paul Battaglia/AP 

Back to New York…

Unfortunately, the ALCS is far from over…

If I learned anything in 2004, it is to never take anything for granted.  At the moment, the Yankees lead the Los Angeles Angels 3 games to 1 in the 2009 American League Championship Series.  However, they are losing tonight, so far, as they’ve been dominated by Angels starter John Lackey.

The Angels started the game very abruptly by scoring 4 runs with no outs in the bottom of the first inning.  A.J. Burnett was able to keep his pitches down, but they were too far over the plate and the Angel hitters were teeing off him.  After the 4 runs were scored, Burnett settled down and has not allowed any runs through six innings. 

At the present time, the Angels still lead 4-0 in the top of the 7th inning.  However, the Yankees have loaded the bases, and the tying run is at home plate for the first time in the game. 

The Yankees have had their opportunities to chip away at the Angels’ lead, however, Lackey has successfully managed to avoid any damage.  The 7th is looking like more of the same as Johnny Damon just flied out so there are two outs with the bases still loaded.  John Lackey just exited the game so perhaps the Yankees can get a rally going against the Angels bullpen.

For the record, Robinson Cano has looked dreadful at the plate tonight…

If the Angels hang on for the win, the Yankees will head to New York with a 3-2 series advantage.  They play Game 6 on Saturday night in the Bronx (Joe Saunders versus Andy Pettitte).

If there is a positive to a potential Yankees loss tonight, it’s that they’ll have the chance to close it out at Yankee Stadium.

Nevertheless, Mark Teixeira just came through with a huge double to bring the Yankees within one run, 4-3.  So, perhaps a little champagne spilled on Angel Stadium turf is not out of the question. 

The downside to an Angels win in Games 5 and 6 is that Game 7 is ‘winner take all’.  In that situation, of course, anything can happen…and it often does!  I am hopeful that the series will be decided before then, but it is up to hitters like Cano to come through.

Hideki Matsui just tied the game with a single to score Mark Teixeira from second. 

Speaking of Matsui, it is going to be hard to see him leave after the season.  Time and again, he has delivered the clutch hit for the Yanks.  His numbers aren’t flashy, but he quietly delivers, day in and day out.  If he does leave the Yankees, I’d like to see him come to San Francisco but that would really depend upon the health of his knees. 

Redemption for Cano.  He just delivered a triple to score two runs to give the Yanks a 6-4 lead.  Swisher just flied out to end the inning but it was a hugely successful one for the Yanks as they scored 6 runs with 2 outs.  A tremendous performance by John Lackey…wasted…and I am okay with that!  J

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies sit back and wait.  Will they hop on the New Jersey Turnpike for the drive to New York or will they head to Philly International for the cross-country trip to continue their terrorism of the Los Angeles/Orange County Area?  Time will tell, but I like the Yanks’ chances…at the moment.  Phillies-Angels is simply too much red!  We need a nice mixture of red, white, and blue!  Yeah, blue baby! 

Damaso Marte?  Seriously?  The Yanks lead is down to one, 6-5. 

Phil Hughes is on now, but he just walked a batter so there are runners at the corner. 

Ugh!  The Angels just tied the game on a hit by Vladimir Guerrero.  Joe Girardi’s decision to go with Damaso Marte to relieve A.J. Burnett was a huge mistake.

Kendry Morales singled to score Vlad the Great…bummer…the Angels have a 7-6 lead.

Jered Weaver, who started the inning, just struck out Derek Jeter to end the top of the 8th.  The Yanks have three outs left.  The game will be in the hands of Alex Rodriguez, assuming that the bullpen holds the Angels in the 8th.

Here we are in the 9th inning.  Bases loaded but two outs.  The ice cold Nick Swisher at the plate.  7-6 Angels.  This is Nick’s defining moment.  Two fouls, two strikes.  Personality or not, this is the moment that he can prove he is a Yankee.  This is definitely a tense moment.  Is the game over or does it go to the Bronx for Game 6?  The count is full at 3-2.  Ugh!  The suspense!  So much for that, a popout ends it.  Off to New York we go.  Note to Cashman, look for a new right fielder…

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