Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’

Mr. Personality…

 

The Bully has spoken…

 

 

WFAN

 

 

 

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). 

 

 


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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…

 

 


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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

 

Said Johnny Damon after the game: "We battled. We never quit. I'm very happy with what I saw today."   (JOHN SLEEZER/McClatchy-Tribune)

John Sleezer/McClatchy-Tribune

 

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

 

Article Tab : hideki-angels-run-home

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!

 

 

AP

 

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…

 

 

Jorge Posada #20, Derek Jeter #2, Nick Swisher #33 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on April 6, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Yankee defeated the Red Sox 6-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Elsa/Getty Images

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!…

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

 

 


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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. 

 

 

AP 

 

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

 

 

Barry Chin/Boston Globe

 

 

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

 

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from 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. 

 

Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio - 1947 AL

AP

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Courtesy:  Julia’s Rants

 

 

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

 

 

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire

 

 

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

 

Getty Images

 

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

 

 


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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.

 

 


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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!

 

 


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Us Against Them…

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…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

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.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

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

 

Quite Simply, A Wonderful Weekend!…

 

An unexpected sweep…

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

The Yankees struck first with a solo home run by Alex Rodriguez in the 7th inning.

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

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.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

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.

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

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!

 

 

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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:

 

Runs

Red Sox                                  8

Yankees                  25

 

Home Runs

Red Sox                                  3

Yankees                  9

 

Wins

Red Sox                                  0

Yankees                  4

 

Winner:                                 Scott!

 

 

It was a very enjoyable weekend!

–Scott

A Very Unenjoyable Day…

 

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.

 

Jeff Zelevansky/AP

 

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.

 

sportsgrumblings.com

 

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.

 

Photo 

AP

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.

 

Coming off his best start of the season, Lester looked even better against the Rangers. Lester fanned 11 on Saturday night, and has 23 strikeouts in his last two starts (he struck out a career-high 12 in his last start).

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!

 

 

Go Yankees!

 

–Scott

Escape from the Red Sox Nation!…

Freedom!

 

Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has graciously reduced my sentence by one blog!  Yeah, I am free!  Well, I guess I will be after this blog!  ;)

 

 

For my last Red Sox blog, I thought long and hard about what player I wanted to write about.  I thought about David Ortiz since I think the man is personally responsible for the end of the Curse of the Bambino.  He gave Manny Ramirez huge protection in the line up, and he instilled a ‘don’t quit’ attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse.  For the life of me, I still don’t understand why the Minnesota Twins released Big Papi…or why Brian Cashman didn’t react quicker. 

 

Cataffo/New York Daily News

 

I also thought about manager Terry Francona.  For years, Red Sox managers were always guys that you loved to hate.  Even though he later occupied the Yankees bench along side Joe Torre, I couldn’t stand Don Zimmer when he was the manager of the Red Sox.  With Tito, the Red Sox finally had a manager who commands respect.  I am hopeful that Joe Girardi will one day be the man that Tito is today.

 

 

Ultimately, I decided to go with the Man of the Hour.  Fresh off the newly signed contract, Jon Lester seems to be the most appropriate current Boston player for my final Red Sox blog. 

 

 

So, here goes my final blog as a temporary but involuntary member of the Red Sox Nation…

 

 

Odd One Out?

 

 

Future 20-Game Winner

 

I first became aware of Jonathan Tyler Lester in 2006.  I had started to hear about the latest Red Sox pitching phenom early that year (he made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 at Fenway Park).

 

 

In his first game, Jon pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 4 walks.  He also had 4 strikeouts.  He received a no-decision, but the Red Sox lost the game to the Texas Rangers, 7-4.

 

Over the next couple of months, Jon pitched very well.  He had racked up 7-2 record, with 4.76 ERA in 81 1/3 innings by late summer.  But on August 27, 2006, he was scratched from a start in Oakland against the A’s.  The reason listed was a sore back, and there were concerns it was related to an auto accident that had occurred earlier that month.  He was placed on the DL, and sent back to Boston for further tests.  On August 31st, it was reported that Jon had enlarged lymph nodes.  A few days later, the doctors confirmed that he had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. 

 

In December of that year, after a sixth round of chemotherapy, the doctors reported no evidence of visible cancer cells and declared that Jon was in remission.  It will be a five year process before Jon can be declared cancer free, but it has been all good so far. 

 

Jon was born in Tacoma, WA on January 7, 1984.  He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma.  He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000.  He had the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship, but opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2002 draft (57th selection overall).

 

Following the cancer treatments of 2006, Jon’s velocity had returned by mid to late 2007.  He returned to the majors in the summer and finished the year with a 4-0 mark, 4.57 ERA and 50 strikeouts.

 

In October, Jon started and won the deciding Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.  He pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, and had 3 strikeouts.

 

Bill Greene/Boston Globe

 

As Jon moved to 2008, he had gained 25 pounds from the year before (almost all muscle) and looked to be in great physical condition. 

 

On May 19th, with the temperature only 56 degrees, Jon and the Red Sox faced the Kansas City Royals, and he promptly threw a no-hitter.  With 130 total pitches, to go with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks, Jon threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 29 batters he faced.  The game was highlighted by a diving catch of a sinking liner in the 4th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.

 

AP

 

In July, Jon made his debut at Yankee Stadium.  Unwilling to yield to the mystique and aura of the Stadium, he threw a complete game five-hit shutout.

 

AP

 

Jon finished the successful 2008 campaign with a 16-6 record, 3.21 ERA, and had 152 strikeouts.  He became the first Boston southpaw since Babe Ruth (1916) and Lefty Grove (1937) with as many as 15 wins, 30 starts, 200 innings, 150 strikeouts, and sub 3.50 ERA in a single season. 

 

Yesterday, the Red Sox and Jon finalized the much anticipated 5 year contract for $30 million.  The contract includes a club option for 2014.  “Everyone is excited about it,” 2B Dustin Pedroia said.  “You want to play for a long time with those guys you came up with.  Jon is going to keep getting better and better.  I’m sure by Year 5 of that deal he’s going to be an even better pitcher than he is right now.”

 

That doesn’t bode well for AL East opponents, including my beloved Yankees.  It’s no wonder the Red Sox held Jon out of trade discussions involving the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett, and Johan Santana over the years.

 

I wish #31 the very best…well except when he makes the trip to the Bronx or the Bombers travel to Fenway.  Jon is a champion competitor, a true ace, who plays the game the way it should be played.  He deserves our respect, but clearly the pleasure of watching him pitch is all ours…

 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

SO LONG RON SILVER…THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

 

Granted, it’s not sports-related; however, I would like to acknowledge the passing of actor Ron Silver who died Sunday at the age of 62.  He had been fighting esophageal cancer for the past couple of years. 

 

 

Through the years, Ron has been involved in so many television and film roles dating back to The Mac Davis Show in the early 70’s. More recently, he had a recurring role on “The West Wing” as a slick strategist for the president. 

 

He was a very good actor, he commanded your attention when he was on screen, and he’ll be sorely missed…

 

AND FINALLY, YANKEES NEWS…

 

Ah, let’s talk about the Yankees!  I love it!  Yankees, Yankees, Yankees…24/7 from here on out!  Yeah!

 

  • The Yankees routed the Philadelphia Phillies today, 12-0.  Nick Swisher played first base, and had 3 RBI.  Joba Chamberlain pitched three shutout innings of two-hit ball.  He also had 3 strikeouts.  Kei Igawa continues to pitch well, but I’d definitely take the ‘sell high’ approach with him (even if it means paying part of his contract to unload him).
  • LP Zach Kroenke, 25, who was chosen by the Florida Marlins in December’s Rule 5 Draft, was returned to the Yankees on Monday.  He has been assigned to AA Trenton.  Sorry, Zach, but I am glad you had a miserable time in the Florida training camp.  Welcome back…
  • Both 2B Robinson Cano and P Damaso Marte received good news from the results of their respective MRI’s.  Cano has bursitis of the right shoulder, and Mare has inflammation of the left shoulder.  So, both should be back in action before long…
  • Good luck to former Yankees C Pudge Rodriguez who has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros.
  • In a non-Yankees note of interest to most likely only me, Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler had a very acrimonious meeting with new head coach Josh McDaniels over the weekend, and has demanded to be traded.  The Vikings deny interest, but the Minnesota papers seem to follow every step of the action between Cutler and the Broncos with great detail.  I personally think Jay would look pretty good in purple and gold…

 

It is great to be back in Yankeeville!  Hopefully, my guys won’t let me down next month when the Great Showdown II with Julia of Julia’s Rants takes place (the weekend series between the Yankees and Red Sox on April 24th through 26th).  

 

With all sincerity, I do want to thank Julia for the incredible sportsmanship and good humor that she displayed during our first showdown.  I know, without a doubt, that it would have been no different had she lost.  We are very privileged to have her as one of our leading bloggers, and she continues to work harder than anyone I know at making MLB Blogs an incredible experience for everyone. 

 

But with that, I will still say…Go Yankees!  J

 

 

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