Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Bad Day for Baseball…

 

The Pride of the Red Sox…

I am sure that there are Yankee fans rejoicing tonight at the news the Boston Red Sox and manager Terry “Tito” Francona have mutually decided to part way.  There is no rejoicing on this Blog.  I have a great deal of respect for Tito and he was/is arguably one of the best managers in baseball.

When Joe Girardi was named manager of the Yankees, I was a bit disappointed.  Of course, I’ve been a huge fan of Don Mattingly since he came up through the Yankees farm system and he was my favorite choice for manager despite his lack of managerial experience.  I liked Girardi the player, but he was never one that I was able to fully embrace.  I was concerned about the red flags that he exhibited during his year of managing the Florida Marlins and didn’t think that he’d be able to make the transition to the ‘Bright Lights, Big City’.  I was envious of the Red Sox and their manager because he was the standard that I wanted Girardi to achieve.  To Joe’s defense, he has but he is still not quite on the same level as Tito.

When the Red Sox first hired Tito, I simply viewed him as a Philadelphia Phillies reject.  To me, he hadn’t proven himself as a manager and it was hard for me to take him seriously (kind of reminds me what I felt when the Yankees named Joe Torre as their manager).  For years, the Red Sox had brought in guys that I just viewed as the manager of THAT team.  None were able to capture my respect and admiration, and that includes Don Zimmer who I didn’t develop respect for until years later as a Yankees coach.  But Tito was different.  In 2003, the Red Sox lost a heartbreaker in the ALCS, thanks to Aaron Boone’s home run.  Yet, the following year, the Sox were back.  Even though his team fell down 3 games to none, they stayed calm and persevered toward the AL Championship, and the first World Series Championship since 1918.  He was responsible for the end of the phrase “Curse of the Bambino”.  He followed up with another World Series Championship in 2007, making him the most successful manager in the modern history of the Red Sox.

When I look at the 2011 Red Sox, it is a team that should have prevailed.  They had a superior pitching staff, and the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford made it a much better team than the 2010 version.  But the injuries, most notably, starting with starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and later Kevin Youkilis, were devastating.  That’s really beyond the control of the manager.  He has to play with the hand he has been dealt.  The Red Sox recognized the flaws in the starting rotation, yet the best they could do was former Seattle pitcher Erik Bedard.  Nothing against Bedard, but it has been years since he was considered a stopper due to injuries.  So, if there is any blame, it has to reside with GM Theo Epstein for failing to make the right move.  While Epstein made the unsuccessful Bedard deal, the Detroit Tigers made a deal with the same Mariners team to bring them a starting pitcher (Doug Fister) that is as responsible as any for the Tigers’ late season success.  Epstein was clearly outdone by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, and had he made the right move, the Red Sox would be playing Game 1 of the AL play-offs tonight and Tito would still be manager.

If I am Jerry Reinsdorf, I am already on the phone calling Tito’s agent.  He is the perfect choice to follow the highly volatile Ozzie Guillen for the Chicago White Sox.  Chicago has a sound and supportive ownership group and the team is willing to make the necessary moves for success.  I think it would be a great fit, although it would probably be better as a Yankees fan to see Tito in the National League.  Another option would be the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It’s not that I want to see Don Mattingly fired, but I think any change in ownership will also result in a change at the managerial level.  Regardless of where Tito goes, some team is going to  benefit greatly.  If he doesn’t take a managerial job and becomes an ESPN analyst, we still win because we’ll get a first-hand view of his wisdom and insight.

Tito, you were a worthy opponent and a great champion.  I wish you nothing but the absolute best in whatever the future holds for you.  We look forward to your next adventure!

–Scott

First Place, but hardly reason to gloat…

 

I am an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, I am used to build up then disappointment…

It’s ironic that the Yankees currently hold the lead in the American League East since it has seemed as though the Boston Red Sox and their fans have had more reason to gloat this year.  Every time I get excited about the Yankees, they do something to temper the excitement.  Headed in September, the team was playing at an incredibly high level, with solid pitching from the entire rotation including A.J. Burnett (well, one start).  During the first two games of a four game set with the Baltimore Orioles and the manager I love to hate, Buck Showalter, the Yankees looked like they could hang with the Philadelphia Phillies in a 7-game play-off series.

But alas, all good things must end, and the Yankees promptly lost two consecutive extra-inning affairs with the O’s.  Fortunately, the Red Sox were struggling with the Toronto Blue Jays, losing 2 of 3, so the Yanks didn’t lose any ground (they currently lead the Sox by 2 ½ games).

For the record, I don’t take any joy in the health issues surrounding Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis.  I’d rather beat a Red Sox team at full strength than one depleted by critical injuries.

Many Yankees fans are probably already counting on the AL East Flag, but like last year, I know how easy it can slip away and of course a 2 ½ game lead is nothing on September 9th.  The Sox have plenty of time to make up the difference and they are certainly a team capable of getting on a roll.  That’s why I consider those two O’s losses as lost opportunities.  It doesn’t get any easier for the Yanks as they are now in Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels.  Tonight, they are pitted against Jered Weaver who is arguably the best pitcher in the American League not named Justin Verlander.  Plus, the Yankees generally do not fare well on those West Coast swings.  So, the Red Sox certainly have a golden opportunity to re-take the AL East.

Hip-hip, Jorge!…

While I am one that feels this should be the last year in the Bronx for Jorge Posada (almost a virtual certainty given how well Jesus Montero has performed), I do hope that he gets his moment in Yankee Stadium like Paul O’Neill did when the fans started chanting his name.  Posada can leave knowing that his name will rank up there with Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson.  It will be odd seeing Posada in a different uniform if he chooses to play next year, and I definitely hope that he is not one of those who travel north to Boston.  I’d rather see him play for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Best case scenario would be the National League, but I doubt he’d switch leagues at this late juncture in his career.  Of course, his catching days are behind him so a team with a DH is where he is best suited.  I am sure that he’ll be more prepared for DH next season.

Random thoughts…

I am ready for the Scott Proctor reunion to end…

So, how can we convince some team to offer Rafael Soriano a ridiculous amount of money to walk away from his contract with the Yankees after the season?  Sadly, I think he’ll be a Yankee for all three years…

Tell me again why we kept Phil Hughes and traded 19-game winner Ian Kennedy?  Okay, I can’t fault the Yankees on this one as I was ready for Kennedy to leave and he probably would not have achieved the same level of success in the pressure cooker known as New York…

Funny how Derek Jeter drop-kicked Minka Kelly on the eve of her becoming a national sex symbol with the new Charlie’s Angels TV series.  When you are DJ and you can have any girl in the world, why settle for one?  I am sure that he has no shortage of friends, and he can certainly buy a few if he needs them…

When I saw the photo of Cameron Diaz “pregnant” (costuming for a movie), my first thought, thinking it was real, was definitely about Alex Rodriguez and additional future child support payments.  But fortunately, A-Rod has been able to afford “protection” and he doesn’t have to worry about any unexpected A-Rod, Jr’s in the world…

Are you ready for some football?…

Getting a little off-topic, it was disappointing to see that Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning had to undergo a second surgery on his neck that will keep him out of action for 2-3 months, if not all season.  Some are saying that he should just retire rather than risk further injury, and I’d certainly agree that he doesn’t have any more to prove.  He’ll definitely go down in history as one of the great ones.  Kerry Collins has a good knack for being in the right place at the right time…

Two years ago, as a Vikings fan, I had to learn to root for a former hated quarterback (Brett Favre).  Now, as a former resident of the Philly area who witnessed the fan apathy toward Donovan McNabb, I have to pull for him as the QB of my team.  I am a fan of Christian Ponder, and I suspect that he’ll get his opportunity to take a few snaps at some point in the season.  Actually, I hope McNabb proves me wrong and leads the Vikings to the promised land.  But I see this as just another attempt to capture glory from a faded star…

I keep hearing how great it is that LB Erin Henderson has landed a starting role with the Vikings (alongside his brother, E.J.) as an undrafted free agent.  But in the year of his draft, I was somewhat surprised that he did go undrafted.  It was evident that he was a quality player at Maryland, and I would have thought some team would have taken a shot in the later rounds.  Just as I liked Erin that year, I like RB Caleb King this year.  He didn’t make the final cut when the team pared its roster to 53 players, but he was retained on the practice squad.  Hopefully, a position on the roster will materialize before some other team realizes the diamond in the rough…

If I am Mike Shanahan, and my choices for starting QB are Rex Grossman and John Beck, I am retiring to see what NBC Sports has to offer…

As a resident of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis, I am really hopeful that the city will find a way to step forward to retain the Vikings.  Presently, the proposal is for a new stadium in Arden Hills, and I know the ownership group is highly in favor of the area.  I’d really like to see the Vikings stay in Minneapolis with the Twins and the Timberwolves.  The options are either the existing Metrodome/Mall of America Field area or the Farmer’s Market.  I’d prefer the latter.  But all things considered, I would accept Arden Hills over Los Angeles.   Whatever it takes, I hope Minnesota does the right thing to retain the Vikings.  It would be horrific for the Land of 10,000 Lakes to lose a second professional team to the city of Los Angeles…

I saw that Buddy Ryan was delaying surgery (he has been diagnosed with cancer…again) so that he could witness the Week 1 match-up between Rex Ryan and the New York Jets and Rob Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys.  I am hopeful that he’ll see a Jets victory, but then again, the Cowboys have always been my second favorite team so I won’t be disappointed if Tony Romo and company pull out the victory.  Buddy apparently has a history of beating cancer so hopefully this is just another one of those dominating Ryan situations…

I know that I kept jumping back to the Vikings (hey, I am a Vikings fan!), but I have to say that I really like what I’ve seen from new head coach Leslie Frazier.  I have not always been a big fan of the team’s coach.  When you grow up with Bud Grant as the man, it’s hard to see others in the role.  The worst, of course, was Les Steckel, but there have been varying degrees over the years.  I did like Mike Tice but recognize that he was limited from a coaching perspective.  Leslie Frazier is the first coach since Grant that I’ve been able to fully embrace.  I hated to see the Vikings lose former defensive coach Mike Tomlin when he was named coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I felt the Vikings were facing the same situation with Frazier (just like they had with Tomlin and Tony Dungy in previous years).  Fortunately, the Vikings canned Brad Childress (sorry Brad!) and promoted Frazier to the top job.  I was slow to accept Joe Girardi as the Yankees manager (I was a Don Mattingly supporter), but today, there’s not really anyone that I’d rather see as manager of the Yankees.  I feel the same way about Leslie Frazier.

We are now in the midst of perhaps one of the best sports months of the year.  It is the pennant race in baseball, and the opening of the NFL Season.  Granted, my focus is on baseball, but it will still be fun to watch some football this Sunday.  Down, set, 247, 247, hutt, hutt…

–Scott

 

 

Maybe 3,000 hits is a distraction…

Life beyond 3,000 hits…

I hate to make any anti-Derek Jeter comments but I was fearful that the Yankees’ recent winning roll would get derailed by DJ’s return to the lineup.  Sure, the recent losses are not his fault, but for whatever reason, the team fared better when he was out of the lineup.  I didn’t like the errors made by Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena, but Nunez in particular seemed to have a fresher bat.

 

Art by Scott Dalgleish, http://scottydal.deviantart.com/

 

 

I would like to see more batting orders in the second half of the season with Brett Gardner leading off.  I suspect that will happen anyway, but Jeter is clearly the focal point of baseball right now as he approaches 3,000 hits.

Will he get those 2 hits that he needs today against the Tampa Bay Rays?  He could, but I think it’s more likely that the 3,000th hit will come tomorrow.  Of course, I could be completely wrong and DJ might go 0-4 both days.

Don’t get me wrong…I like Jeter and what he has meant to the organization.  I will enjoy the day that they retire #2 and make the speeches at Yankee Stadium to induct a commemorative stone into Monument Park on his behalf.  But as great as it is to see a player spend his entire career with one organization, I can definitely see the downside which is the deterioration of the player’s skills and ability.

Don Mattingly was in a fast decline when he retired after the 1995 season, however, I don’t think that I was mentally ready for his departure.  Perhaps it was because I really wanted to see him win a championship.  But with DJ, he has the championships and will soon be the only player in Yankee history with 3,000 hits.  He has done everything you could ask for in pinstripes.  My only request is that he steps away from the field when he realizes that his skills have eroded to the point that he is a liability.  It’s not there yet, but the day is rapidly approaching.  As the saying goes, time stops for no one.

 

A tear in the team’s hopes…

I just read that Alex Rodriguez might have a meniscus tear in his right knee which could require surgery.  If Alex and the team decide now is the time for the surgery, it is speculated that he would miss a month.  That’s definitely not good news as the Yankees have fallen behind the Boston Red Sox in the standings.  I’d feel better if there was a healthy Eric Chavez on the roster but as it stands, it would be necessary for Eduardo Nunez to fill in at third.  A-Rod’s loss definitely weakens the Yankees and it puts some pressure on GM Brian Cashman to find a replacement third baseman (in addition to his search for pitching).

I do not know the ramifications of A-Rod playing through the injury, but I hope that he takes the path that leads to good health by September.  Of course, if the Yankees fall too far out, there won’t be an extended playing season this year.

 

 

What can we find at Nordy’s Rack?….

As far as moves the Yankees are looking at, it appears that there is a dearth of quality starting pitching available on the trade front.  The Yankees are apparently looking at relief pitching, like many other teams.  Reports have the Yankees interested in, among others, Sean Burnett of the Washington Nationals and Randy Choate of the Florida Marlins.  I have liked what Choate has done since he left the Yankees as he became a very solid lefty option for the Tampa Bay Rays and now the Marlins.  Burnett probably has the better potential at this point although I am not enamored by his 5.76 ERA.  But ERA can be deceiving and I don’t know the reasons behind Burnett’s number as I don’t follow the Nats.

These are the times that I am appreciative that Brian Cashman is the team’s general manager.  It is his job to find what ails the team and hopefully bring in the necessary chips to ensure that the team is playing meaningful baseball in October.  I am full confidence in his abilities and I’d never underestimate the power of his network throughout baseball.

This month should get very interesting as the days go by…

 

 

A sad day in baseball…

I would be remiss if I did not mention the tragedy in Arlington, Texas where the fan reaching for a ball thrown into the stands by Josh Hamilton fell to his death.  I have never caught a ball at a game, and I can remember as a kid how much I wanted to catch one during every visit to the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  I can see how the ball would become your prime focus.  The loss of the fan, Shannon Stone, was horrible by itself but it was made worse by the presence of his 6-year-old son.  I lost my father as a child but I wasn’t there when he died.  I simply cannot imagine how difficult it will be for Shannon’s son in the days and years ahead.  I definitely hope that he and his family are taken care of by the Texas Rangers organization and Major League Baseball.

Now there’s talk the players could be barred from throwing baseballs into the stands (they’d have to hand the ball to a fan or hand it to an usher who, in turn, would hand it to the fan).  While I am in favor of additional safety measures to prevent future unnecessary deaths like Shannon, I would hate to see the players lose the ability to toss a ball into the stands.

 

Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton...

Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (AP Photo)

 

No, really, I don’t want to go to Phoenix…

When the All-Star Team was announced, I was excited about the number of Yankees making the team.  But it appears that many of them won’t be making the trip to Phoenix.  First, Mariano Rivera pulled out, and now, both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have withdrawn from the game.   I am still surprised that CC Sabathia did not make the team, but then again, I am okay avoiding the added wear and tear on his arm.  So, as it is, I will be cheering for Robinson Cano and Russell Martin.  As for A-Rod, it is a bit ironic that his All-Star replacement would be Boston’s Kevin Youkilis.  Former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre (Texas) moves up to the starting position.

 

 

One week, everything can be coming up roses, and the next it is doom and gloom.  I guess that’s just life as a Yankees fan…

–Scott

 

 

All Hail the Red Sox Nation…


The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.


Red Sox.JPG


With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees.  So, here it goes…


Why the Boston Red Sox will win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League.  Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over.  Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season.  I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win.  Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back.  The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was. 

You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard.  They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves).  The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games. 

Adrian Gonzalez.  Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park.  He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.  
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run. 
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove. 

Disruption.  Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers. 
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games. 

The forgotten hitter.  For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it. 

The dead will rise.  It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level.  Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’.  There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer. 

The bench.  If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo.  Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory.  They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns.  Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald.  It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars.  I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers.  If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.

Terry Francona.  When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball.  The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season).  He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season. 
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished. 
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start.  In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’. 

Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry.  These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth
to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary.  I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years.  These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin). 

The RSN.  The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced.  I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other. 
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced.  Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade.  The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion.  I am not one of them, but I
respect them. 


Why the Yankees won’t win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing. 
He has his moments where he struggles. 
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound.  Win
or lose, you expect the team to win.  I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee.  After CC, there is nothing but question
marks.  A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good. 
It is how he finishes.  If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast. 
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern.  He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year.  At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead.  After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him?  Can he make the
necessary adjustments?  As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson
(or even Michael Pineda).  Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready.  I
remain fearful that it’s the latter.  I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation.  In the fifth spot, who
knows.  Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays.  Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva
None of the options instill
confidence.

The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba ChamberlainPedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today. 
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements. 
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age.  Will this be the year?

Aging lineup.  Mark Teixeira is already
31?  Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex.  He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox.  He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone. 
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come.  Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH.  He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team? 
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older.  Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you.  If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night. 
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball.  If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.

The bench.  Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee.  But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury. 
What if Derek Jeter is done?  Is
Nunez ready to take over at short?  I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen.  It
eventually happens to all superstars

Hank Steinbrenner.  Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret.  I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
 

The off-season.  As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult.  CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano.  If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover. 
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink.  Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
distraction.

Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September.  I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start.  This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated. 

Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom. 
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.

Julia, I’m out…

–Scott

 

Feeling The Heat…

Two games in two days, but only one win to show for it…

 

 


Lonely.JPG 

 

 

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind.  On Thursday, Alex Rodriguez won the game with an 8th inning “walk-off” home run…except there were still 3 more outs to go.  Today, despite a very strong rebound by a Dave Eiland-supported A.J. Burnett, the Yankees fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings due to a porous bullpen.

 

 

New York Yankees vs Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2010.

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

In Thursday’s game, CC Sabathia was solid.  He didn’t have his best stuff, however, he was pitching a shutout into the 8th inning when he surrendered a game-tying two-run single to Russell Branyan.  In the bottom of the 8th, Alex Rodriguez homered to right with Mark Teixeira on base.  Thinking it was the 9th inning, A-Rod raised his arms and looked toward the dugout before realizing there was more baseball to be played.  Fortunately, Mariano Rivera ensured the hit was the game-winner as the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners, 4-2, to avoid getting swept at home.

 

 

Mark Teixeira waits at the plate to celebrate with Alex Rodgriguez after A-Rod's eighth-inning blast breaks a 2-2 tie and lifts Yankees to 4-2 win.

Sabo/NY Daily News

 

On Friday, the bats decided to take the day off even though the team was scheduled to play an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays (the offense must have thought game time was 7:05 p.m.).  With pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the fold and working to help A.J. Burnett correct the flaws in his delivery, A.J. pitched the best he has in several months.  He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up only 4 hits, 3 walks and no runs, with 6 strikeouts.  But Joba Chamberlain did what he does best in giving up the lead by allowing a run-scoring single in the 8th which tied the game.  In the 11th inning, the bullpen came undone with David Robertson and Chan Ho Park as they gave up 5 runs in the 6-1 loss.  The Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 3rd with the bases loaded and no outs, but couldn’t push any runs across the plate. 

 

 

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain allows the game-tying run in the 8th inning, wasting 6-2/3 shutout innings from A.J. Burnett (below).

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

 

With Boston’s win tonight (3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles), the Yankees hold only a very slim ½ game lead over the injury-riddled Red Sox.

 

 

Bill Hall, left, congratulated J.D. Drew on his home run in the second inning.

Boston Globe staff

 

 

Boston keeps losing players but it hasn’t slowed them in the least.  The latest casualty is catcher Jason Varitek who was placed on the DL with a broken foot.  Since Victor Martinez is also on the DL, the team reached out to the Houston Astros to bring back former Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash (who spent time with the Yankees in 2009).

 

 

Catcher Kevin Cash of the New York Yankees runs out a hit against the Toronto Blue Jays February 25, 2009 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Cash

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images 

 

Let’s see, for the fourth player installment of my “forced” spotlight on the Boston Red Sox, I’ll go with the first baseman of the Red Sox.  As the result of a lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, I have to include a paragraph about every member of the Red Sox roster as of 6/26/10, so today the spotlight is on the player affectionately known as “Youk”. 

 

 

#20     Kevin Youkilis

 

 

 

Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox discusses his strike out with home plate umpire Andy Fletcher in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Elsa/Getty Images

 

 

Kevin Edmund Youkilis was born on March 15, 1979 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is of Romanian descent despite the Greek surname.  In an interesting note of fact, he had an uncredited one-line speaking role in the movie, Milk Money, when he was just 14 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Youk was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2001 after a solid collegiate career with the Cincinnati Bearcats.  After working his way up through the Red Sox farm system, he made his debut with the team during the championship 2004 season.  He homered in his first major league game against Pat Hentgen and the Toronto Blue Jays.  He would spend the next two years going back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket before finally landing in the majors to stay.  While he came up as a third baseman, he has been the starting first baseman since 2006.  On the roster during the 2004 World Series, he didn’t get to play but that was not the case in 2007.  While he did sit when the Series was played in Colorado (due to the loss of the DH and the move of David Ortiz to first base), Youk help the Red Sox secure their second championship in three years.

 

 

 

Youk is well known for his charitable work, and he founded Kevin Youkilis Hits For Kids, a non-profit dedicated to the health and safety of children.  Here is a link to the organization:

 

http://www.youkskids.org/

 

My frustration with Youk is that he is always in the middle of a rally.  Whether it is a hit or walk or simply his intensity and gritty play, he always seems to be in the thick of the action, making something out of nothing.  His uncanny ability to get on base is what coined the nickname “Greek God of Walks” in the best-selling book, Moneyball.  It’s never fun to see him come to the plate…unless you’re a Red Sox fan.  The Red Sox might lose players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett and others to the DL, but as long as Youk is in the lineup, they’re not going away.  As Julia is always so quick to point out, “things in the mirror are much closer than they appear to be”.   Unfortunately, because of guys like Youk, she’s right…

 

Tomorrow is a new day!  Go Yankees!  :)

 

–Scott

 

 

 

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