Results tagged ‘ Julia's Rants ’
The House that Hal…allowed deferred maintenance…
The season is fully underway and the DL is standing room only. 2013 did not get off to a great start with the season series opening loss to the Boston Red Sox, in Yankee Stadium no less. It was par for the course after an off-season that was satisfying, apparently, for Yankee ownership but not for its fans.
The series loss cost me my latest wager with former MLB Blogger Julia’s Rants. As a penalty for the loss, I have to read Terry Francona’s autobiography and provide Julia with my report. Had the Yankees won, she would have had to read Driving Mr Yogi, but it was not meant to be. I have the Francona book and I need to open it but I guess I can procrastinate for another day.
Fortunately, after the series loss to the Red Sox and one to the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees have started to right the ship. After tonight’s win over the Baltimore Orioles (which, by the way, included a triple play), the Yanks finally have a winning record for the season at 5-4.
Nevertheless, the injury concerns persist. While the news lately has been positive about Mark Teixeira and his ability to return on or around May 1st, Andy Pettitte has postponed his next start due to back spasms. This is unfortunate as Andy has been stellar out of the gate. Hopefully, it is just a temporary setback and not indicative of a season long affliction.
I am not ready to climb on the ‘old guys are good’ bandwagon, but Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner have played better than I had anticipated. The key is continuance and consistency so we’ll see. Check back with me in June or July. In a scenario where Wells and Hafner continue to hit, it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do when Curtis Granderson returns. It’s fairly evident that the odd man out would be Ichiro Suzuki.
It was tough to see two games in Cleveland get rained out considering the Yankees did not have any further trips to Cleveland scheduled this year. So, later on what would have been an off-day, they’ll have to play a double-header. Hopefully it doesn’t come at a time when the team desperately needs a break. I guess it could be worse. I saw that tonight’s game in Minneapolis was in the 30’s. Minnesota-cold is beyond cold in other parts of the country. But throwing that aside, I do miss Minneapolis. It was a wonderful city to live in…at least from my perspective.
As tough as the Yankees’ schedule is for April, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got swept at the end of the month by the Houston Astros…
How to destroy $147 million with a single shoulder blow…
I feel bad for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Thanks to the stupidity of San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, the Dodgers loose their $147 million investment (Zack Greinke) for eight weeks with a broken collarbone as a result of last night’s melee. As if the pressure wasn’t already intense on Donnie Baseball, the loss of an ace will certainly hurt. It’s rather disgusting that Quentin can get off with an 8-game suspension when he costs the Dodgers several months of one of their key pitchers. I can completely understand why the Chicago White Sox ditched Quentin.
Random Pinstripe Thoughts…
Nothing against Lyle Overbay but I suspect his Yankees career will be fairly short. Francisco Cervelli has done better than I had expected…so far. I am still a proponent for getting Austin Romine into the position when he’s ready but I don’t think Cervelli has been a drop-off from his predecessor, Russell Martin. I was glad to see Clay Rapada clear waivers and re-sign with the Yankees. I am in favor of a long-term Yankees tour for Brennan Boesch. Eduardo Nunez is not the solution for a post-Derek Jeter tenure. Give Robinson Cano his money. If Travis Hafner can hit like he did against his former team in other games, I will consider him an upgrade over former DH Raul Ibanez. If not, why is Ibanez in Seattle? Kevin Youkilis is as tough as advertised. I can see why the Red Sox fans loved the guy.
Baseball, I am glad it’s back…
Jorge Posada’s Meltdown…
MLBlogs decides to convert to Word Press over THE weekend that Jorge Posada decides to meltdown! Sheesh! After weeks of not much to write about, the most enticing piece of Yankees news comes at a time when we were unable to talk about it. Okay, I do applaud MLBlogs for upgrading our site, so we’ll forgive this one indiscretion.
Andrew Theodorakis/The New York Daily News
During Saturday night’s game when it was announced during the game that Jorge Posada, who had asked out of the lineup, would be addressing the media after the game, I was convinced that he was going to announce his retirement. Obviously I don’t know Jorge very well, because retirement is the furthest thing in his mind. Nevertheless, his latest action has ensured that 2011 will be his final season in pinstripes…regardless of whether intends to continue playing or not.
Please do not get me wrong. I’ve always appreciated Jorge’s intensity and passion, and how much he hates to lose. He has been a great Yankee for many years, and he certainly deserves to be in the same room with Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson. But I thought his reaction to batting 9th in the order Saturday night (asking out of the game) was completely inappropriate and it shows what is wrong with the 2011 Yankees. The Yankees are currently in a free fall, having lost 6 in a row after getting swept in Yankee Stadium by the Boston Red Sox and losing Monday night’s game to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s disappointing because the Yankees finally played April strong after years of slow starts. Of course, it is now all for naught as they’ve had an atrocious May. The signs were evident as the Yankees were winning by the home run in April and that’s not a sustainable winning strategy. I think the problems can be tied to three players…Posada, Derek and Nick Swisher. At some point, the Yankees have to break the Core and go younger. I really don’t think this team can afford both Posada and Jeter in the lineup unless one or the other starts to hit. Given the choice of the two, I’d prefer to see Derek Jeter stay. I don’t think the Yankees will release Posada, but he’s clearly a liability at this point.
Can we get to the Trading Deadline already?…
If Swisher doesn’t start hitting, the Yankees will be looking for an outfielder in addition to a left-handed starting pitcher at the trading deadline. I only hope that the team doesn’t fall too far out by then. The Rays are starting to separate themselves from the Yankees, and it won’t be long before they are passed by the Red Sox.
I don’t know what the best plan is, but clearly, GM Brian Cashman has his job cut out for him. With principal owner Hal Steinbrenner’s comment that the Yankees shouldn’t get swept at home even if they are playing the 1927 Yankees, his tolerance level is going to be very low. This will be a very critical year if Cashman and manager Joe Girardi intend to keep their jobs.
I am the gift that keeps on giving to my friend Julia…
Having lost the weekend series against the Red Sox to my friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants), there will be a bottle of Rodrigue Molyneaux’s Cabiovese (75% Sangiovese and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) on its way to the East Coast. Enjoy the wine, Julia. Yes, I am getting tired of losing these wagers but I am convinced ‘what goes around, comes around’. In other words, my turn will come.
Wow, did you see that?…
I participated in the 100th Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco on Sunday. Being San Francisco, you’re assured of seeing about everything and Sunday was true to form. This was my 4th time participating in the event, and it wasn’t my best time but I still had a great time figuratively speaking. I didn’t wear a costume and, unlike quite a few people, I kept my clothes on but I can say that ‘people watching’ was at its finest.
Anna Vignet/The San Francisco Chronicle
Who is Amaury Sanit?
The newest Yankee is a
31-year-old career minor league reliever who was most recently with AAA
Scranton/Wilkes Barre. A Cuban emigrant,
he is also the same pitcher that was suspended for 50 games in 2010 after
testing positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. Infielder Ramiro Pena was sent down to make room for Sanit. Pitcher Jess
Todd, recently signed after being cut by the Cleveland Indians, was
released to clear space on the 40-man roster for Sanit.
Despite giving up three runs
in 4 2/3 innings of work tonight, Sanit provided length after Ivan Nova
imploded (giving up 4 runs in the 2nd and 2 more in the 4th). So much for the quality Nova starts…
The Yankees have a tough
stretch coming up as they face the Boston Red Sox and then the Tampa Bay
Rays. For the three-game series against
the Sox this weekend, I have made yet another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. At stake is a bottle of wine. If the Sox win, I will give Julia a bottle of
a Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend (aptly named Cabiovese) from a fantastic
boutique winery in Northern California’s Livermore Valley, Rodrigue Molyneaux
Winery (www.rmwinery.com). The wine, which is 75% Sangiovese and 25%
Cabernet, was aged for 12 months in American Oak. The blend of the Sangiovese’s high acidity
with the Cabernet’s tannin structure makes for an incredibly smooth wine. Of course, the Sox won’t win so I’ll just
drink the Cabiovese myself! If I win,
then Julia has to pick a wine from the New England region to send to me. Somehow, I just don’t think that’s going to
compare with Livermore Valley!
As a Lakers fan, it was sad
to see the season come to an abrupt end at the hands of a sweep by the Dallas
Mavericks. It’s ironic that the Lakers
were defeated by Dallas given that I was a Mavericks fan for the 14 years I
lived in the city, but that was long ago.
When I was a Mavericks fan, Rolando
Blackman was the star and Roy
Tarpley was the problem child. It
was also pre-Mark Cuban. My biggest disappointment with the Lakers
loss is that Phil Jackson deserved a
better farewell. Still, he leaves as
perhaps the premier coach in NBA history.
I wish the Zen Master the very best for whatever he decides to do next. I’d like to see Phil stay connected with the
NBA so a TV role would be fantastic unless he aspires to be an exec with a
team. It would be great for us as fans
to experience the wit and wisdom of the legendary coach.
My other sports team, the
NHL’s San Jose Sharks, is also having its own set of problems. Once possessing a commanding 3-0 series lead
against the storied Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks face a do-or-die situation
tonight in Game 7. The Sharks are the
more talented team, but time will tell if talent will prevail or if it will be
the gut, guile and determination of a championship Detroit squad.
I’d mention the Minnesota
Vikings to get a full representation for all of my teams, but of course with
the lockout, QB Christian Ponder is
probably sitting by the pool, sipping Mojitos…
Lastly, I will be participating
in the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco
on Sunday. Being San Francisco, you see
about everything which is probably more than you ever wanted to, but it is
still a fun experience. From the
Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean, the day is a thrill. There’s nothing like getting slapped by
hurled pancakes at the starting line, and of course, enduring the drive up the
Hayes Street Hill. But it’s always a
thrill to reach Golden Gate Park. This
will be my fourth time with the run, and the first in an odd year.
So, was the injury to Eric Chavez unfortunate or
inevitable? Sadly, it’s a little of both…
Kim Klement/US Presswire
I enjoyed watching Chavez
rebound his career with the Yankees, but I was always concerned that he was
just a play away from the DL. That time
finally reared its ugly head when Chavez fractured his foot. Hopefully, best case scenario proves out…Chavez
wears the protective boot for two weeks and is ready to begin rehabilitation
play soon over. On the bright side, the
injury is unrelated to past injuries so this should not be a recurring theme
I was surprised that the
Yankees brought up Ramiro Pena
instead of Jorge Vazquez. I had really thought that Vazquez would get
the first call if/when Chavez went down.
I realize that he isn’t on the 40-man roster, there was talk of the
Yankees making a move with minor league infielder Kevin Russo. The Yanks did
DFA Russo today, but they signed Cleveland Indians cast-off Jess Todd, a reliever, to take his
place on the 40-man roster. I don’t know
much about Todd but he has gotten off to a poor start with the AAA Columbus
Clippers. He does have strikeout
potential so I am sure that his youth (he is only 25) and pedigree (a former
second round draft pick for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007) were factors that
led to the Yanks decision to take a bite.
Unfortunately, the move
keeps Vazquez at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
All he has done this year is hit (9 homers, 27 RBI’s, .300 BA). I am sure that he’s wondering what it takes
to crack the bigs. At age 29, he’s not
getting any younger.
After losing the four game
series to the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees look to rebound tonight in Arlington,
Texas against the Rangers. I’ve been
concerned about the Yankees reliance on the home run and lack of timely
hits. So far, the pitching had been
compensating for the hitting deficiencies but it’s impossible to ask the
pitchers to continually walk a line with no margin for error.
Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier as he
extended his hitting streak to 30 games tonight against the New York Mets. Ethier is now just one game from tying the
franchise mark which was set by Willie
Davis in 1969. I like Ethier’s
approach which was typified by his pre-game comment that he is “not losing a
wink of sleep about it”. Ethier has been
one of my favorite Dodgers on a team managed by perhaps my all-time favorite
living ballplayer so it’s a great situation all the way around. I continue to cheer for Ethier with each hit.
I am a fan of the Los
Angeles Lakers but I don’t like their current situation…down 2 games to zero
and in Dallas tonight to play Game 3.
Plus, Ron Artest has been
suspended for one game so that’s one less bullet in the gun. The Lakers will be hard pressed to win in
Dallas. It looks like destiny is removing
the barriers for Team LeBron. I know,
Chicago and Dallas are formidable opponents, but I really thought that either
the Lakers or the Boston Celtics would be able to stop the Miami Heat. So far, the Celtics have done nothing against
the Heat and the Lakers have put themselves in a life support situation.
My friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants, attended a charity event
this week that featured the release of two new wines…Clay Buchholz ChardonClay and Jon
Lester CabernAce. Clay’s 2009
Chardonnay benefits Jimmy’s Fund, while Jon’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon benefits
the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Count me in as I’ve bought both wines.
More info can be found at charitywines.com.
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…
So far, the Yankees have started like last season…winning their series as they’ve taken the first two from the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. As the saying goes, ‘Two outta three ain’t bad!’. Keep it all season and it would equate to a divisional championship.
Simmons/NY Daily News
I was a bit surprised about Rafael Soriano‘s implosion that cost the Yankees the second game in the series with the Twins. His career high three walks in an inning proved fatal as the Twins rallied in a game CC Sabathia should have won. But the bigger problem was avoiding the media after the game. Being in New York is about being a stand up guy through thick and thin. Frustration is understandable, but unfortunately, there is more to baseball than just a game. I think Soriano will learn from the situation and of course being around Mariano Rivera is sure to have its positive impact. There’s not too many people that understand New York better than Mo and Derek Jeter.
I was really sorry to hear that Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg on a hard slide at second base by Nick Swisher. I thought it was very classy of Swisher to visit Niskioka after the game to express his apology. Swish likes to have fun but he’s certainly not a dirty player and it would be unfair to pin that tag on him because of the incident. I thought Nishioka has done an admirable job in his MLB debut season and wish him the very best for a full and speedy recovery.
For all the problems that A.J. Burnett has endured in New York, I am amazed about the stat that he is undefeated in April. Of course, with today’s win, the streak continues. I want to say that Burnett is pitching so much better than last year and I don’t have the fear I used to have when he took the mound. But still, I guess I had better wait until May before forming any opinions. Whatever it is, I hope that A.J. can keep it going.
Who would have thought the biggest pitching concern in the rotation would be Phil Hughes?…
Freddy Garcia did miss out on his start because of a rain postponement when Joe Girardi skipped his turn in the rotation for the next game. So the Yankees still don’t know what they have at the back end of the rotation. If Hughes implodes again, I’ll definitely be concerned since it will put a fair amount of pressure on Ivan Nova.
I am very surprised that both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays are a combined 0-12. Despite the slow start, I still recognize that the Boston Red Sox have a very powerful and formidable team. With 156 games to go, I am sure the Red Sox will have a higher winning percentage than most teams over the same period of games and will be leading the way into October. Actually, I am not too excited about the Yankees facing their most bitter rival at a time when they’ve been backed into a corner. A win or two against the Yankees can definitely kick start the Red Sox Machine and give them the momentum to charge forward. I don’t think the series will be a sweep in either direction but it is going be a hard-fought battle, and the winner will have their share of bumps and bruises.
Of course, with the Yankees playing the Red Sox, it is time for yet another wager with my good friend, Julia, of Julia’s Rants. For the latest bet, the loser will write a critical analysis of what ails his/her team. The loser will also have to write about why the other team is better. Pride and ego will definitely have to be checked at the door for this one. The opening game of the series on Friday pits two huge question marks against each other…Phil Hughes versus John Lackey. The game will most likely set the tone for the rest of the series. May the best team win…which, of course, are the Yankees!
It should be a great weekend for baseball!
pre-season Yankees-Red Sox battle resumes on Monday as the New Yorkers travel
to Fort Myers to play Boston. The Red Sox won the first exhibition
meeting between the teams, and the odds are stacked against the Yanks as most
of the regulars stayed in Tampa.
Per the LoHud Yankees
Blog, the following players will not be making the trip to Fort Myers: Francisco
Cervelli, Russell Martin, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Derek
Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson and Andruw
Unfortunately for the
Yankees, both Boston newcomers Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will be in the
Red Sox lineup. The pitching match-up
will feature former Yankees starter/reliever Alfredo Aceves versus Sergio
The regular Yankees
outfielders (Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher) will be making
the trip, and will hopefully give the Yankees the offense they need to defeat
I realize that it is
only a meaningless exhibition game, however, I have placed another wager with
Julia of Julia’s Rants. Sorry, it’s just
too hard to let any Yankees-Red Sox game go by without a chance to fire a shot
at my friend from Boston! I guess she
and I are just starting to stretch ourselves out in anticipation of Opening
Day. For this game, the loser has to
sport the logo of the opposing team on their blog for one day (Tuesday, March
15, 2011). To take it a step further,
the loser also has to sport the Yankees or Red Sox logo for their FaceBook
profile photo for the same 24 hour period.
I don’t want to read
too much into Freddy Garcia‘s pathetic performance today. He gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and a
hit batter in 2 2/3 innings. I accept
that Garcia is historically a slow starter in spring training and do not feel
that today’s clunker should define whether or not he loses his grip on the 5th
spot in the starting rotation. I would
still prefer Ivan Nova and Garcia as the 4th and 5th
starters over any scenario that would allow either Mitre or Bartolo Colon into
I had hoped for a better
fate for Rule 5 draftee pitcher Daniel Turpen, but he never really had a chance
when the Yankees bolstered their bullpen (most notably the signing of former
Rays closer Rafael Soriano). Turpen was
returned to the Red Sox today. I do wish
him the very best, and I hope that he finds his way to the major leagues sooner
rather than later.
I feel bad for first
baseman Jorge Vazquez. He has done
everything to prove that he is ready for the major leagues now, but the Yankees
really need to go with former Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez as their
backup corner infielder. I wish there
was a spot for Vazquez but there just doesn’t appear to be one (barring any
injuries, of course). I am sure that he’ll
see the pinstripes at some point this season.
I am definitely
looking forward to hearing some good old Frank Sinatra soon…
And so the wagers begin…
With the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday
night, Julia of Julia’s Rants scores the first victory of the season. Of course, all things considered, a
meaningless loss in March is hardly anything to fret about. But still, a win is a win, and I am obligated
to write a post about Red Sox manager Terry Jon Francona.
Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Julia did send me some information to help get a head
start: Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on
April 22, 1959. So, is that it? Am I done writing about Francona? Sweet!
Seriously, when I was a kid, the Red Sox were so easy to
dislike because I did not have any sense of attachment to their players and
their manager was usually someone that I felt indifferent about. Darrell Johnson, Don Zimmer (sorry Zim!), Ralph Houk, John
McNamara, Joe Morgan, etc. The names
just ran together to me and had no particular meaning. It culminated in 2003 when Grady Little left
Pedro Martinez too long during Game 7 of the ALCS. It was a game that the Sox probably should
have won, but ultimately lost when Aaron Boone homered to advance the Yankees
to the World Series.
When Boston decided not to renew Little’s contract in the
off-season and chose to go with Francona, I probably had similar thoughts to my
perception at the time the Yankees announced “Clueless Joe” (a/k/a Joe Torre)
as their manager. Here was, in my mind
at the time, an unsuccessful major league manager the Sox think they can
re-cycle. Francona had been fired from
his only previous managing gig with the Philadelphia Phillies so I was very
quick to dismiss his hiring.
Boy, was I ever WRONG!
Putting everything known about Francona aside, all he has
done is win two world championships for an organization that could not win a
World Series since my grandmother was a teenager. He eliminated the phrase “Curse of the
Bambino” from the vocabulary of all baseball fans and has established the Red
Sox as one of the premier organizations in all of baseball.
Francona, the man, is perhaps one of the classiest acts in
major league baseball. To a fan of
Boston’s chief rival, Terry has been nothing short of the consummate
professional since his first day in a Red Sox uniform. He is always so humble, and his teams always
so prepared and unwilling to quit. He
has changed my perception of the Sox and has given me a reason…a very strong
reason…to hold the Sox in great respect.
I look forward to the day when Terry decides to step away from the game
so that I can go back to hating the Red Sox!
I remember Terry when he came up with the Montreal
Expos. He was not a great player and
only accumulated 16 home runs and 143 RBI’s in 10 seasons with 5 clubs. He did manage to pitch one game in 1989,
striking out Stan Javier.
His minor league managerial career began in 1991 with the
Chicago White Sox organization. He made
it to the big leagues as third base coach with Buddy Bell‘s 1996 Detroit
He spent four seasons as the Phillies manager from 1997 to
2000 but was fired after failing to finish higher than 3rd
place. In Philly, he did get the chance
to manage his future Red Sox ace Curt Schilling setting the stage for their
eventual and highly successful reunion.
When he was hired by the Red Sox, he had been the bench
coach for the Oakland A’s.
Terry and his wife Jaque live in Brookline,
Massachusetts. They have four child (one
boy and three girls).
For a largely undistinguished playing career, Terry is a
Hall of Fame manager in my opinion. I
may trash talk about the Red Sox but one thing is certain…I will never say a
bad word about the man who is arguably the best manager in baseball.
Julia, I am out!
Well, new year but same old battles. With the first Yankees-Red Sox match-up scheduled for Friday, it’s time to begin my annual grudge match with Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser of Friday’s spring training game has to post a blog about the opposing team’s manager. For me, if the Yankees lose, I have to write a post about Boston manager Terry Francona. Conversely, if the Red Sox lose, Julia will be writing about Yankees manager Joe Girardi.