Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’
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…
If I won the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, why do I feel as though I lost?…
The Yankees and Red Sox tied their four game series at two games apiece, but the Yankees took the tie-breaker in total runs scored, 16-12. Therefore, it will be Julia who has to appear in at least 6 photos showing her in different locations wearing a pink Yankees cap.
But although I won, I certainly do not feel like a winner. The most important game, to me, is always the getaway game. The Red Sox leave town as winners, while the Yankees head for Texas wondering what could have been. They had the chance to put the Red Sox 8 games back, but as it is, the Red Sox leave exactly the way the arrived, 6 games behind.
People are constantly trying to bury the Red Sox but I’ve long known that the team simply does not have any quit in them. Now, they are starting to get their guys healthy, so they’ll be a force to be reckoned with during the stretch run.
The Yankees lost today, 2-1, against Jon Lester, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon. Lester had entered the game on a four-game skid, but he is too talented to stay down for long. He proved he was up to the challenge today, and bested Phil Hughes in the pitching duel.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Yankees had their chances in the late innings but couldn’t convert. Marcus Thames just missed a home run in the 7th inning when the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back for a double. Just another inch or two and it would have tied the game. Bard also gets kudos for getting out of a bases loaded jam.
Mark Teixeira continued his hot hitting with an 8th inning home run, but that’s all the offense the team could manage.
The Yankees now head to Texas to play the guy who was nearly a Yankee, Cliff Lee, and the Texas Rangers. A.J. Burnett, scratched from Sunday’s start because of his back, will pitching the opening game against the surging C.J. Wilson who has enjoyed success as a starter this season. It will be a big test for the Yankees, and they’ll need to play better than they have in recent days. Maybe being in Texas will be good for Lance Berkman and he’ll hit his first homers for the Yankees.
A day after breaking Babe Ruth’s team hits record, Derek Jeter tied Mel Ott for the all-time record by a New York player at 2,876. When DJ was a skinny 16-year-old shortstop coming out of Kalamazoo, MI, I certainly didn’t envision the day that he’d be standing with baseball’s immortals. Congratulatons to DJ for another great milestone, but I suspect we’ll be doing this quite often between now and the end of his career.
Whew! I’ll take it!…
It was the top of the 9th inning and the Yankees were trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 6-2. On the mound was Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton with an 0.83 ERA and 16 saves. He struck out the first batter, Mark Teixeira, so it looked as though the Yankees would head back to New York with only 1 win in 3 games against their former manager, Joe Torre. Then, Alex Rodriguez singled and there was a slight glimmer of hope. Robinson Cano followed with a double to score A-Rod to close the gap to 3 games. The next batter, Jorge Posada, singled. After a walk to Curtis Granderson, the bases were loaded with the tying run on first. I was excited, but the excitement was tempered by the fact the next hitter was rookie Chad Huffman, who had entered the game earlier as an injury replacement for Brett Gardner. Huffman proved up to the task as his single scored Cano and Posada. Suddenly, the Yankees were just one run down. The next batter was Colin Curtis. Again, I had some trepidation given Colin’s major league inexperience. But fate was smiling on the Yankees, thanks to a poor fielding decision by Dodgers first baseman James Loney. Curtis hit a grounder to Loney. With Curtis Granderson breaking for home, Loney stepped back to first to secure the out and then attempted to throw home but was too late to nail Granderson…game tied. Had Loney disregarded Curtis and went directly home with the throw, he would have easily gunned down Granderson. A ground out by Francisco Cervelli ended the inning, but the Dodgers still had last at-bat.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Despite the tied score, manager Joe Girardi went with certainty in bringing in closer Mariano Rivera. I would later read that Joe Torre had told Girardi before the game, he wouldn’t bring in Rivera with the game tied. Fortunately, the younger Joe is his own man, and he went with his instinct. Mo easily retired 3 Dodger batters, so it was off to the 10th inning.
Ramon Troncosco replaced Broxton at the top of the inning, and Mark Teixeira greeted him with a single. A-Rod followed with a fielder’s choice to short, which easily erased Teixeira at second. With Robinson Cano coming up, Joe Torre opted to go with reliever George Sherrill. Cano’s lifetime record against Sherrill entering the game was 0-for-11. Cano promptly conveyed a message that numbers don’t mean anything when he crushed a home run to give the Yankees a two-run lead. Mo came back out for the bottom of the 10th inning, yielding only an infield single in shutting down the Dodgers. With the win, the Yankees were able to claim a 4-2 road record against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and headed back to the Bronx where they will face nemesis Cliff Lee and the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
By the way, I was pleased to see Alex Rodriguez reach out to Joe Torre before the game. Too much was being read into the relationship between A-Rod and Torre, and I thought Alex showed class in being the one to extend his hand.
My streak of wager wins against Julia of Julia’s Rants has sadly come to an end. I suppose I deserved it when I went with a team other than the almighty New York Yankees.
The wager was for a single game, the Boston Red Sox versus the Giants in San Francisco. I was in attendance at AT&T Park, and foolishly thought a wager was a good idea.
On paper, it looked like a marquee match-up with Jon Lester facing Tim Lincecum.
Unfortunately for me, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner looked more like John Lackey at Fenway Park than he did the elite pitcher he is. Lester, on the other hand, was expectedly masterful. He gave up a game-tying run in the bottom of the first but that was it. It never felt like the Giants were going to get back into it after the Red Sox had re-taken the lead.
I was amazed at the sheer volume of Red Sox fans at the game. As a Yankees fan, I am always surrounded by fellow Yankees fans whenever I see the team play on the road. But Boston definitely rivals the Yankees in their ability to draw on the road.
So, congratulations are in order for Julia. My sentence is to include a paragraph about a current Red Sox player (as of 6/26/10) for the next 25 blog posts. With the first entry, I will go with the player of the game…
#31 Jon Lester
Jon Lester, at 9-3, is a virtual lock for a spot on the American League All-Star Team, and a leading candidate to start. Lester, a native of Tacoma, Washington, won the clinching game of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies. He followed it up the next year with a no-hitter. Personally, going into the season, I was convinced this would be a breakout year for Lester…the year he becomes the “ace”. As if a championship and a no-hitter aren’t enough for his resume, he’ll soon be collecting Cy Young Awards. The Sox rotation is incredibly talented with Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Dice-K, and Tim Wakefield. However, if I am starting a new franchise, and I need an ace to lead my staff, I’m calling Lester.
Personal note about Lester: Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma in August 2006.
“This is going to sound funny but God blessed Jon Lester with cancer just to show a lot of people that you can overcome something that’s so hard in your life you think, ‘I’m not gonna make it.’ He’s going to be able to take his faith in God and the strength God gave him and tell a lot of other people a great story.”
–former Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin
Lester is definitely one of the truly great guys in the game…
Only 24 more to go… L
Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…
Gina Ferazzi/LA Times
Share the love! Seriously, it was bittersweet to see Joe Torre wearing enemy colors while standing next to the likes of Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Much has been written in recent days about the rift that exists between Torre and the Yankees hierarchy. One article speculated that if the Yankees wanted to have a special honor for Torre, he would most likely turn it down. Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought that Torre would eventually be more forgiving than the Yankee brass. Joe’s rift is how his relationship with the Yankees ended (lowball, token contract offer that represented a steep pay cut). There is no way that the Yankees could have expected Torre to take the contract offer so it was obviously a ploy designed to show Torre the door while trying to show the Yankees Universe that they tried. The Yankees problem is relative to Torre’s book and how he unveiled many thoughts that should have been left behind closed doors.
Regardless of how it ended and despite how much I have always respected Joe Torre, it was time for a change. The Yankees had not won a World Series since 2000 (losing in both 2001 and 2003) while the dreaded Boston Red Sox were winning two (2004, which included the ALCS meltdown by the Yankees; and 2007). Torre is “old-school”, and it was time for a more current manager. Joe Girardi was the right guy at the right time. As a player, he was clearly a leader. When I think of the death of Darryl Kile, I will always think of how Joe Girardi stepped up as the voice of the team. He is always prepared and he clearly wants to win. He is young enough to hold the position for many years, and I think he has shown improvement as a manager every year. Joe Torre has moved on, the Yankees have moved on, and so have the fans. It’s time for the media to let go…
I was reading today that the reason the Yankees are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers as opposed to Yankee Stadium was based on a decision by FOX television. They wanted Manny Ramirez to return to Boston for a reunion against the Red Sox. I think it was a missed opportunity for FOX. Manny was not gracious to the Boston fans or media, and he didn’t really do anything in the series that was swept by the Red Sox. On the other hand, it would have been tremendous to see Joe Torre set foot on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium given that he’s never managed there before.
The first game of the Dodgers-Yankees series went to the visitors behind CC Sabathia who is beginning to pitch like “Second Half CC” when he becomes so utterly dominant. It was ironic that the game-winning home run was hit by Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to speak to Joe Torre.
CC went 8 innings in the 2-1 victory, giving up 4 hits and striking out 7. Mariano Rivera, an old friend of Torre’s, closed out the game with three strike outs.
There were lots of photos with Torre and the core Yankees, but none with Don Mattingly that I found. It would have been interesting to see Donnie Baseball in the reunion photos too. He will most likely be the next Dodgers manager, and based on recent reports, it could happen as soon as next year. It’s hard to see one of my favorite all-time Yankees becoming so engrained with another organization, but he does deserve the opportunity to manage and it wasn’t going to happen with the Yankees. Given that managers are hired to be fired, it’s probably best that Donnie manages elsewhere. That proved to be a better route for Lou Piniella. If Derek Jeter decides to stay in baseball after his playing days, I am sure that the day will come when he dons something other than Yankee pinstripes. So long as there isn’t on “B” on the cap, I’m cool with it.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Friday night was a good night as not only did the Yankees win but the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox both lost. The Red Sox are in San Francisco (where I will be on Sunday), and lost to the Giants, 5-4. They also lost one of their warriors in Dustin Pedroia who fouled a pitch off his left foot. X-rays were negative but the foot is still sore and further tests are scheduled for today. I may not be a Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Pedey’s so hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon. The Rays, meanwhile, were no-hit for the second time this season. This time at the hands of former Ray and current Arizona Diamondback Edwin Jackson. Frankly, I am not sure that I agree with the managerial decision to keep Jackson in the game despite the no-hitter. He walked 8 batters, and he threw 149 pitches. That sounds like something that Billy Martin would have done to the Oakland A’s pitching staff back in the 80’s when the pitchers later developed arm troubles. No good can come from it. The no-hitter is nice but at what cost?
Speaking of Sunday’s game between the Giants and Red Sox (which of course includes a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants), the pitching match-up could not better. Jon Lester, one of my personal favorite pitchers and clearly one of the AL’s best, against Tim Lincecum, arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. I’ll be pulling for Lincecum and the Giants, but it should be a classic pitching duel. I am looking forward to it!
By the way, the last wager didn’t go so well for Julia…
Courtesy of an unhappy Celtics fan!
Another wager, another victory!…
Yet again, my friend, Julia of Julia’s Rants, came up on the short end of our latest wager. After starting last year 0-8 against Boston, I was starting to wonder if the Yankees would ever beat the Red Sox. Since then, the Yankees have dominated the series. Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees will have captured another series. Since the beginning of the season, the Yankees have only lost one series (versus the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim).
Saturday, in a nationally televised game, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 14-3. The game featured three home runs by first baseman Mark Teixeira (although I temper that somewhat by the fact that the last home run was off outfielder Jonathan Van Every who was brought in to save the arms in the pen).
CC Sabathia missed picking up the win by one out. While facing Victor Martinez, who could have been the third out of the inning, the game was interrupted by a rain delay that ended the night for CC. When the game resumed, Alfredo Aceves was on the mound and it was he who picked up the win.
The game marked several historic achievements. Teixeira is the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig in 1927 to hit at least three home runs in one game against the Red Sox. Also, catcher Francisco Cervelli, filling in for Jorge Posada, had 5 RBI’s, something that hasn’t been done by a Yankees catcher since the days of Yogi Berra.
Today, history was made in Oakland when pitcher Dallas Braden threw the first perfect game in A’s history since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968. Given that I credit Catfish Hunter for being a Yankees fan (I rooted for the A’s as a child until Hunter signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 1974), it was rather bittersweet to see his A’s record matched by, of all people, Dallas Braden. Braden, president of the Anti A-Rod Club or so it seems, nearly walked the final batter as he worked a 3-1 count but a ground-out upheld the gem. The victory was especially sweet since it came against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. It was rather ironic that Braden would help the man he bitterly opposes. For the record, I was on Braden’s side of his beef with A-Rod, but Braden does need to let it go (as he made further comments about it this week). Nevertheless, congratulations to Braden for a very fine performance.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The San Jose Sharks finally overcame their nemesis and advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 2-1 Game 5 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. First or second round failures have become commonplace for the Sharks in recent years so hopefully the team has shaken its demons and is a collision course with the Stanley Cup. The team now awaits the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks series (Chicago leads 3 games to 2).
Josie Lepe/Mercury News
Back to the Yankees, they weren’t so fortunate in Boston tonight as Jon Lester was on his game and A.J. Burnett wasn’t. A.J. gave up 9 runs in 4 1/3 innings (8 earned), meanwhile, Lester went 7 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 7.
Bill Greene/Globe Staff
So, congratulations to Julia for her victories today (the Celtics also won), and she was right, the Red Sox avoided the sweep. But still the wager victory is mine and the series win goes to the Yankees, so until we meet again Julia! By the way, don’t you have some shopping to do?….
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…
Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…
My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants. The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees. For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win. But then along came August, and the tide turned. Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship.
There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter. I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester.
Barry Chin/Boston Globe
Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan). Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start. I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox. His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early. Precisely! Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox. There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City. The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning. I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect. However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox. There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn. However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox. As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.
For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment. The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure). If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:
Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from Amazon.com! The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia! I chose this book because it had special meaning to me. 1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s. If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time. But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next. The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years.
Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger! You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! :)
If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:
I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger! Go Julia! Lose to the Yankees and write that book report! As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’. ;)
Courtesy: Julia’s Rants
Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success. It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees. But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax. He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training. Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring! ;)
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire
I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s. It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen. I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.
Is this really the last season of 24? Wow, those were eight fast years! On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer. Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…
How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock? I don’t get it. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.
I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry. I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol! Go Crystal! Keep up what you are doing. You are special!
“The” Rivalry continues…
When I was a kid, the Yankees chief rival seemed to fluctuate between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. But for the last decade (or so it seems), the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has been the most intense rivalry in sports. Well, at least from my perspective…
I lived in Dallas during the early 1990’s so I enjoyed the passion and the fire of the rivalry between the Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. I hated the 49ers during those years. But in the grand scheme of things, the rivalry was short-lived since it is hard to maintain dominance in the parity-balanced NFL.
Now, residing near San Francisco, I recently attended a game between the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry has been billed as very intense, but the game felt like a little league game compared to Yankees-Red Sox.
So, this is a great time to be a fan of the Yankees…or if you must, HER team…
Tonight, the Yankees made it ‘Advantage Scott’ in the latest wager between Julia and me. The Yankees emerged victorious with a 9-5 victory over the Red Sox to take the first game of a three-game set.
Paul J. Bereswill/AP
First and foremost, I want to say that I am glad Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was not seriously hurt tonight. He took a liner off the bat of Melky Cabrera in the 3rd inning, and the ball struck near his right knee. He collapsed to the ground in pain, but X-Rays showed that he had suffered only a contusion in the quadriceps above the right knee. I may “hate” the Red Sox, but Lester has been one of my favorite players. He has been fantastic this season and he continues his progression toward elite status. Not that I want the Red Sox to do well in the play-offs , but Lester is vital to their success and I am glad that he’ll be ‘in the game’.
Paul J. Bereswill/AP
After starting the season 0-8 against the Red Sox, the Yankees have won 7 of 8. It has been a complete reversal of the early season results. Hopefully, the trend continues into October because these two teams are destined to meet again.
The Yankees started the scoring first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Derek Jeter had left off the inning with a single and advanced with a stolen base, the first of 7 bags swiped on the night. With two outs, Alex Rodriguez scored Jeter with a single. It would prove to be a big night for the man who was almost a Red Sox (or is it Sock?) as he also had a two-run homer in the third and a run-scoring double in the sixth. His homer in the third set a Yankees single season record for most home runs at home with 127. Home sweet home…
After missing all of April and part of May, A-Rod has a shot for 100 RBI’s. With 4 RBI’s tonight against the Red Sox, he has 93 with 8 games left. Very impressive…
Paul J. Bereswill/AP
A-Rod, of all people, had three stolen bases.
It was a quality start for Joba Chamberlain, who went 6 innings. He gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 1 walk. He struck out 5. The performance earned Joba his 9th victory of the season (against 6 losses). He is clearly slotted for the bullpen when the play-offs begin (assuming that the Yankees win best record and their pick of the ideal play-off format), but it is good to see him regain a good form.
Paul J. Bereswill/AP
Hey Jonathan Albaladejo, I hear that the Pittsburgh Pirates are very interested in you. I’d go with them if I were you.
Outside of the performance of a future Pirates pitcher, it was a good night for the Yanks bullpen. A return to good health for David Robertson is all that this unit needs for October success. He didn’t pitch tonight, but I am still amazed that I am blessed to see the Hall of Fame career of closer Mariano Rivera. He caught the opening pitch by Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli, who wore the prestigious #42 jersey.
I felt that the only thing the Yankees needed to do to win the AL East was to win one game of this series, so that objective has been achieved. But my fear remains. If the Red Sox clinch the Wild Card slot during this series, they could become the first team to celebrate with champagne on the new Yankee Stadium grounds. The thought of that is horrific. Maybe the Sox won’t celebrate the Wild Card (like the Yankees win they clinched the play-off spot). After all, the Red Sox have won 2 of the last 5 World Series so just making the play-offs is no longer an excitement in Boston. Their magic number remains 3 with the loss, and a Texas Rangers win (they beat the long-forgotten Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3). All it takes is any combination of Red Sox wins and Ranger losses to clinch the Wild Card spot, so the risk of Sox champagne on Yankees carpet is very high. Of course, a Yankees sweep would give the Bronx Bombers the AL East Championship so that would be a great defensive mechanism!
Alright, one down, two to go. Let’s go Yankees! J
An unexpected sweep…
The Yankees rallied to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 5-2, on Sunday. With the win, the Yankees completed a four game sweep of the Red Sox, and increased their lead in the AL East to 6 ½ games over Boston.
The Baltimore Sun
Prior to the start of the weekend series, I had hoped that the Yanks would win enough games so that they’d finished the series on Sunday in first place. However, I never imagined that the lead would balloon to 6 ½.
The game had been another scoreless affair through the early innings. Jon Lester continued his dominance over the Yankees, with 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, and 7 strikeouts. He did not have any walks. Of the Boston pitchers, Lester is the one that I have the most respect for, and he did a masterful job.
The Yankees struck first with a solo home run by Alex Rodriguez in the 7th inning.
However, the Red Sox quickly struck back with a two-run homer by Victor Martinez off Phil Coke in the top of the 8th, which ended the team’s 30 inning scoring drought.
Coke had relieved Andy Pettitte, who, like Lester, pitched a terrific game. Pettitte also went 7 innings, with 5 hits, no runs, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Unfortunately, it was a no-decision for Pettitte’s effort, as Coke lost the lead but earned the victory with the Yankees’ 8th inning comeback.
The first batters went down quickly so it appeared that the Yanks would head to the 9th down by 1. However, Johnny Damon came to the plate and tied the game with a homer. He was followed by Mark Teixeira, who connected for a homer to put the Yanks up by 1. After a couple of more runs scored courtesy of a single by Nick Swisher, the Yankees had turned a 2-1 deficit to a 5-2 lead.
Mariano Rivera entered the game in the 9th, and looked a bit rusty. With a hit and a walk, he allowed the tying run to come to the plate. However, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a grounder that Mark Teixeira was able to field and step on first before Ellsbury could get there. So, although the 9th inning was tense, the Yankees emerged with the victory and the series sweep.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Congratulations to the Yankees for a job well done!
Meanwhile, my friend, Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has completed ½ of her wager loss with a tremendous Top 11 (eleven positive, memorable things about the Yankees). For the other half of the waiver, she has to take a photo of her SUV in three high profile, easily recognizable spots. One catch, the SUV has to be flying a Yankees flag. That’s easier said than done, at least in Boston. Good luck, Julia! The flag is in the mail! Julia, by the way, has been a great sport. It’s tough to be positive about the other team when your team loses to them (trust me, I have great experience!), but she’s held her head high and paid her debt while maintaining the pride and respect of the RSN. I realize that this is just a single victory…well, okay, four of them! ;) The Yankees and Red Sox will go at it again beginning August 21st at Fenway Park, and you can be assured that the Red Sox will be seeking revenge, as will a certain woman from Boston…
See you again on August 21st, my friend! The game is still on! :)
Pitcher Chad Gaudin joined the Yankees today, and as expected, pitcher Josh Towers was DFA’d without throwing a pitch for the Yanks (he had just been called up from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre for insurance after the long 15 inning ordeal on Friday night). Gaudin will pitch out of the bullpen, and was told by manager Joe Girardi that he could come in to face a batter or two, or he could be asked to pitch an entire game. I think he is just on Sergio Mitre start away from getting a shot in the rotation…
Here are the final totals for the Red Sox-Yankees series:
Red Sox 8
Red Sox 3
Red Sox 0
It was a very enjoyable weekend!
It was ugly…
When you have a game where the Yankees give up a total of 9 runs, it is surprising that the pitchers included CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. But that’s what happened in a disappointing Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Rays that saw the Yanks fall, 9-7.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
The Yankees had rallied from two runs down to tie the score at 5 in the 8th inning. CC Sabathia pitched 8 innings, but a homer by Ben Zobrist in the 5th inning and a three-run shot in the 6th by Willy Aybar had allowed the Rays to take a 5-3 lead.
In the Yankees’ 8th, Mark Teixeira greeted reliever Grant Balfour with a leadoff homer to pull the Yanks within one. The Yanks added another run when Melky Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, scoring Jorge Posada.
The stage was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback and walk-off win, but it was not meant to be.
The usually reliable Mariano Rivera came out to open the 9th inning. Ben Zobrist immediately hit a triple. The next batter, Joe Dillon, singled to left single to score Zobrist with the go-ahead run. The next two outs, a grounder and a fly out, advanced Dillon to third. In a move that backfired and one that Rivera openly disagreed with, manager Joe Girardi called for Evan Longoria to be intentionally walked. With Andy Sonnanstine running for Longoria, B.J. Upton followed with a single to score Dillon and advanced Sonnanstine to second. In a rare occurrence, Rivera was pulled and Phil Coke was brought in to face Carl Crawford. Crawford singled to left to score Sonnanstine, and Upton moved to third. An error by Alex Rodriguez allowed Willy Aybar to reach first base, scoring Upton. Crawford was thrown out attempting to steal third to finally end the horrific inning.
I do think it was inappropriate for Girardi to call for an intentional walk with Mo on the mound. When you have your closer on the hill, I feel strongly that it should be an all or nothing proposition. Mo wanted to pitch to Longoria, and he should have been allowed to. Who knows, perhaps Longoria would have belted a homer, but we were never given the opportunity to find out. Mo deserves better, and hopefully, he’ll be back to his usual stellar self before the current series concludes.
The Yankees attempted to rally in the 9th. Derek Jeter singled, and Johnny Damon doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Mark Teixeira followed with a two-run double to bring the Yankees within two. However, Tex was stranded at second as the next three Yankee batters were retired to end the game. Former Yankee Randy Choate even picked up the save, his third of the season.
Tampa’s pitching phenom, David Price, pitched a good game. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on two hits (only one run was earned), walking 5 and striking out 3.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 561st career home run, leaving him two shy of Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees remain winless at Yankee Stadium against their two key AL East Rivals, the Rays and the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have won 3 games at the Stadium this year, and have a 4-2 mark overall for the season series.
I know that my friend, Kelly, is probably doing the Happy Dance in Tampa. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from her yet but I know it’s coming if the games continue like this…
The loss, combined with the Red Sox win, dropped the Yankees out of first place. They are now a ½ game behind Boston. Boston beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 behind a tremendous pitching performance by Jon Lester. I do have to tip my cap to Lester…he was masterful. He had a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings. He finished with a complete game, and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11.
Globe Staff Photo/Barry Chin
The game also included a David Ortiz home run, so I guess it was a perfect night for Julia…
Matthew Healey/Boston Herald
It was a tough day, but in the words of the Governor, I’ll be back!