Results tagged ‘ Lakers ’
A 7-game lead is nice, but…
As the All-Star Break comes to a close, I should be very happy the Yankees hold a 7-game lead in the AL East (7 ½ and 9 ½ games over their chief rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox, respectively). There were times during the early weeks of the season that I really questioned the makeup of the 2012 team. At one point, after the horrific start of the Red Sox, only one game separated the two teams. Fortunately, the Yankees began to put together consistent pitching performances and powered their way to first before July arrived.
But, as I sit here waiting for the second half to start, it’s evident the Texas Rangers have the most balanced squad in the league even if the Yankees have the slightly better record. Last year, the Detroit Tigers simply shut down the Yankee bats to eliminate the Pinstripers in the play-offs. The old adage, good pitching beats good hitting. The problem is the Yankees didn’t have and still do not have a true, legitimate clutch bat. I am not trying to take anything away from Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and others, they’re good hitters. But there’s always doubt in key situations. There are certain hitters that always come through in the clutch or at least it seems like it. I’d put former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis in that category. You know that he’s not going to get cheated in an at-bat…win or lose, he’s going to grind.
While the Yankees have gotten good pitching lately, it’s still a fact that their top two starters are on the DL. Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes have pitched very well in their absence, but even with CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, the Tampa Bay Rays have a better pitching staff. I still find it hard to believe that the Red Sox are as bad as their record indicates. The realist in me keeps expecting them to go on a tear sometime in the second half. Neither the Rays or the Red Sox are finished, and I am confident both will be making noise in September.
While it is likely the Yankees do not make any moves this month as the trading deadline nears, the team needs to be aware that the competition is not going to sit back and go with the status quo. I fully expect the powerful Rangers to make a move to further improve their team. It’s scary to think of them potentially acquiring a frontline starter like Cole Hamels. I recognize and understand that the Yankees are more budget conscious under Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner than they were under the Boss. I get the reasons for reducing payroll by 2014 to avoid additional penalties. Plus, there’s always the fear that the Yankees trade a strong prospect or good player for a risk, only to see the player hit a home run and win the MVP award in an All-Star Game wearing an opponent’s jersey.
It will be good to see the return of Sabathia, Pettitte, and Brett Gardner in the coming weeks. Plus, Joba Chamberlain will finally begin his rehab starts this weekend. So, there is help on the horizon. But will it be enough? Time will tell.
Farewell to the better Twin City…
I moved from Minneapolis to the San Francisco Bay Area so I no longer have my great downtown view of Target Field. I so loved downtown Minneapolis, living in the Warehouse District. It was a great experience in a great city. Northern CA is a wonderful place to live, but it will take time for me to re-adjust to California after enjoying Minneapolis so much. So, now instead of being within walking distance of Target Field, I am a BART ride away from the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants. It’s not quite the same thing. Of course, ask me in December or January and my response will probably be substantially different.
The Kidd from Cal…
After completing my first year as a fan of the New York Knicks, I was pleased to see the team sign veteran point guard Jason Kidd to back up starting guard Jeremy Lin. I have always felt a connection with Kidd. I lived in Dallas when he was drafted by the Mavericks, and I moved to Phoenix shortly after he was traded to the Suns. Yes, I have moved a fair amount during the course of my life. I am not sure that the Knicks will win in 2012-13, but they should be very fun to watch.
So wrong on many levels…
Speaking of basketball, it was hard to see Steve Nash don a Lakers jersey. Despite his years in Dallas, I will always associate Nash with the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers, of course, are a chief nemesis of the Suns, so Nash’s move would be like Derek Jeter signing with the Red Sox at this stage of his career. I was a Lakers fan prior to moving my allegiance to the Knicks, but still, I hate to see players join a chief rival in any sport or league. I know that whenever a Yankee or a Minnesota Viking leaves as a free agent, I am always hoping they sign in the other league or conference.
I want but cannot have…
I feel bad for Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. After openly expressing his desire to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, the teams were unable to consummate a deal. Given that Howard has no desire to stay in Orlando, it will be interesting to see where he ends up. But Brooklyn would have been a lot of fun with the upcoming inaugural season for the former New Jersey team. I guess the Magic didn’t want Kris Humphries. Well, maybe Kim Kardashian was right after all…
Okay, let’s throw the first pitch for the second half! Time to race to October!
Whew, it’s over…
On one hand, I do feel bad because there’s no denying the talent in A.J. Burnett’s arm, even if it has lost some of its zip over the past couple of seasons. If he had the mental fortitude of his good buddy, Roy Halladay, there’s no telling what he could have done with his extraordinary gift. But it was the mental lapses in difficult situations, magnified on the big stage in New York, that led the Yankees to make the only move they could have made. So, it’s exit Stage Left, or I guess Stage Right in Burnett’s case, as he moves on to the Steel City.
I am hopeful that the new and less-pressurized environment will allow Burnett to pitch more like the guy he was in Toronto with the Blue Jays. If that happens, it will be a win-win for both the Yankees and the Pirates. Granted, the two “prospects” the Yankees acquired in the Burnett trade (pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones) are considered low-level, but the salary relief for the Yanks (Pirates absorbing $13 million of what’s left on Burnett’s remaining $33 contract) is a positive. Even for the almighty Yankees. If neither Moreno or Cayones ever develop into major league talent, it was still a good trade for the Yankees. So, anything out of either of those players would be a bonus.
Of course, the haters will come out in full force if Phil Hughes fails to seize the opportunity and Freddy Garcia proves he overstayed his welcome by one year. But even in that worst case scenario, I’d prefer to see the talented arms in the farm system get the audition.
The Yankees will apparently sign both third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder Raul Ibanez once the Burnett trade is finalized. Those are two good pieces for the 2012 squad. I like the idea of an Ibanez-Andruw Jones tandem at DH, with occasional time for Alex Rodriguez. Ibanez may not be the slugger he once was, but with 20 homers in Philly last year, he proved he can swing it on occasion. For sentimental reasons, it would have been nice to see the return of either Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, but Ibanez is clearly the better choice.
He did it the RIGHT way in more ways than one…
Pitcher Tim Wakefield has been a long-time nemesis as the member of the Yankees’ arch rival, but it was still sad to see him call it a career. I know, it was time, and there’s always the chance the Red Sox call his number later in the season if they need help, but he leaves the game as a champion. The city of Boston and the Red Sox organization are very privileged to have one of baseball’s most charitable and classiest individuals in the game as one of their own.
Both Wakefield and David Ortiz proved that anything can happen after they were both released by their previous organizations but flourished with the Red Sox in the major leagues. It gives me hope for guys like Preston Mattingly and others. Wakefield makes for an incredible role model, and hopefully, he’ll continue to be a fixture in baseball in some capacity.
The Los Angeles Vikings didn’t really sound very good any way…
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings have a tentative stadium deal. Like the Burnett trade negotiations, this has been drawn out through eternity. I know, there are still many hurdles to be cleared before actual construction begins, but at least it was the first positive move forward for the Vikings. As a Vikings fan, there’s always been the fear in the back of one’s mind that the team would decide to move to greener pastures in Los Angeles (much like the Minneapolis Lakers did years ago). The tentative stadium deal would keep the Vikings in Minneapolis, as opposed to a suburban area like Arden Hills. Hopefully, this deal will get passed by the city and state, and will ensure that the Vikings are in Minnesota…and Minneapolis…for the long haul.
All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight, but I’ll just listen to Beethoven…
The Miami Marlins make a big splash to create perhaps the best Marlins squad since 2003 in signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes. The Los Angeles Angels rock the largest Hispanic community in the United States by nabbing #1 Baseball Superstar Albert Pujols. Oh yeah, they also picked up former Ranger ace C.J. Wilson along the way. Even the Boston Red Sox, in a season of chaos with the prolonged managerial search, managed to do SOMETHING with the acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Kyle Weiland. Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, nothing…
I know, how do you improve upon a 97-win team? Baseball is a game of constantly trying to improve. A little here, a little there…a big splash here, a big splash there. This off-season the Yankees haven’t fallen into any of those categories. They haven’t even moved to re-sign outfielder Andruw Jones or third baseman Eric Chavez which, in my mind, are important cogs for the 2012 team.
The team with the most money is…
Tonight’s wait is to hear whether the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers have won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. In the days of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees would have been the highest bidder and there would have been no speculation about who placed the highest bid (through a few “unnamed sources” within the Yankees organization). I am not saying that it is prudent to spend $50 million plus just to have the right to talk to Darvish, nor do I feel the Yankees made a bad decision by not going after him harder. But this is definitely a different Yankees ownership and one that is not particularly fond of footing the bill for the other owners through luxury tax payments. It’s too bad the Yankees have so much wrapped up in Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. A-Rod, in particular, is not the player he once was and no longer worthy of his behemoth contract. I’ll give Jeter the benefit of the doubt since he did finish 2011 strongly.
If the Yankees are gauging what they need to do by the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re severely underestimating the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees had trouble with that team last year, and the 2012 Jays will only be stronger (with or without Darvish).
If you’re not winning, you’re losing…
This has been a tough sports year for me. The Yankees felt like a team with shortcomings entering October and it revealed itself in the play-offs against the Detroit Tigers. They are still essentially the same team, minus a few players. There’s nothing to lead me to believe that the World Series is in their immediate future. Meanwhile, my pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, continues their march to become the worst team in professional football (only one game separates them from the Indianapolis Colts and the right to draft future NFL superstar QB Andrew Luck). I am sure that even Peyton Manning is a Vikings fan these days. It really stinks when you hope your team loses so that they can place higher in the draft.
I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do live within view of Target Field so it’s been tough watching local favorites Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) and Jason Kubel (D-Backs) sign elsewhere.
Clearly, I am someone that needs a ‘pick me up’ in sports. I want to see a player acquisition that I am excited about. Someone that brings energy, drive and commitment to the team, and helps them reach just a little bit further…
I will say that the Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero regardless of whether it could bring Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx. I’d love to see Gio in pinstripes, but I think that Montero has a chance to be a special talent. You just don’t let guys like him get away, even if it means no acquisitions this off-season.
Is that too much to ask? Sometimes I wish Hank Steinbrenner’s impulsiveness would prevail over Hal Steinbrenner’s calculated intellect. Fiscal responsibility, with a dash of insanity. C’mon, we were “raised” by George Steinbrenner. Weren’t you too, Hal?…
At least somebody is doing something…
Recently, I changed my NBA allegiance from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New York Knicks. I’ve been thinking about this move for several years, but adding Carmelo Anthony to Amare Stoudemire was the clincher. The latest news has the Knicks signing Baron Davis. As a former Bay Area resident, I was saddened when Davis left the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Clippers. He was perhaps the most popular basketball player in the area. I have a great deal of respect for him, and it’s tremendous that he and I have come together on the same team. I know Baron is hurt so his Knicks debut will be delayed, but I really like the off-season moves the Knicks have made. I’d be foolish to think that they are suddenly a NBA finals team, but they are definitely getting better.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, just crickets…
Right player, wrong uniform…
The acquisition of reliever Mark Melancon by the Boston Red Sox reminded me of how much I dislike seeing former Yankees in Boston gear. At one time, Melancon was mentioned as the possible successor to future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. He did not fulfill his promise with the Yankees and was subsequently traded to the Houston Astros in the deal that brought present St Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman to New York. Melancon was forced into a closing role in Houston due to injuries, but he doesn’t project to be a closer for the Red Sox. Time will tell if he can become Boston’s version of David Robertson.
With Alfredo Aceves already on the Boston pitching staff, that makes two Yankees on the roster with no Sox players on the Yankees roster. Granted, it doesn’t hurt quite like it did when David Wells and David Cone pulled on the Sox cap after success in the Bronx, but still, I’d rather see ex-Yankees experience success away from the AL East. There are 28 other teams that these players could have gone to.
From the Sox perspective, I am not sure that Melancon justified the cost. I know that Jed Lowrie wasn’t the answer at short, but there was always something that I respected in the player, even as a member of an opponent. I don’t know about the other player the Sox sent to Houston (pitcher Kyle Weiland), but it would appear to be a fairly high cost for a setup guy. I just don’t see Melancon as Jonathan Papelbon’s replacement.
Maybe this trade turns out wonderfully for the Sox, maybe it doesn’t. I guess baseball is a game of chances and as the saying goes ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. But I wish the Sox would quit loading up on Yankees (and Rays). At least they replaced Lowrie with a former Twin and Cardinal (Nick Punto).
Never underestimate the power of the woman behind the man…
I am still in disbelief that Albert Pujols is no longer in St Louis, but after previously reading comments by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that he felt Albert was frustrated with the Cardinals about the negotiations and the subsequent comments by his wife about how the Cardinals didn’t give Albert the proper respect, I can better understand why he would leave the organization that had meant so much to him for 11 years. At this point, his present and future are associated with the Los Angeles Angels and he will be the face of the organization. I doubt Angels fans are missing Mark Teixeira too much these days.
Turning nothing into something…
I am still amazed that former Yankees reliever Jose Veras brought the Pittsburgh Pirates the Milwaukee Brewers former third baseman Casey McGahee. McGahee has his issues, but Veras was a disaster for the Yanks. I know that he pitched effectively before his gradual descent in pinstripes but I cringed every time he entered a game during his final season in the Bronx.
C’mon, the weather really isn’t that bad…
I was listening to MLB Radio the other night when they mentioned that the Minnesota Twins had signed former Oakland A’s (and Marlins) outfielder Josh Willingham. One of the guys, I don’t remember which one, then proceeded to bash Minnesota for its weather. Granted, I am a new arrival to Minnesota and I did not experience the 87 inches of snow last winter, but I have yet to complain about Minnesota weather. Actually, I have enjoyed the change of seasons after life in California where there are only two seasons (warm and not so warm). I wore my winter coat one week last year and that’s when I went back East to New York. I’ve been wearing that coat since early November this year and I love it. I am disappointed that they are now saying that we won’t have a White Christmas in Minneapolis.
Back to Willingham, I am sad that it means the end of the Twins career for Michael Cuddyer. It’s too bad that the Yankees don’t have a role for a guy like that. Mr. Versatility. It doesn’t sound like the Phillies or the Red Sox are options for him at this point, but I was fearful to see him on either of those rosters. He may not be THE guy, but he is the type of guy that helps win championships.
Nevertheless, welcome to Minneapolis, Mr. Willingham!
50 years brings total futility; this must be what it feels like to be a Cubs fan…
My first year living in Minnesota has been a disaster as far as being a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. 1983 was a miserable year with horrific coach Les Steckel and the franchise’s worst record in its history. This year, the record of futility may be eclipsed by the current squad. I feel bad for coach Leslie Frazier. I like him, but there is no patience when it comes to the NFL. I read an article about how the Vikings would have been better off if they had just stayed with Mike Tice after the Wilf’s bought the team. As it stands, I’d prefer to see Frazier get at least another year, but if he is cut loose, I would not be opposed to someone like Brian Billick. I was frustrated with him when he was the Vikings offensive coordinator, but he was a good coach in Baltimore. I doubt the Vikings would be competitors for someone like Bill Cowher. I could definitely see Cowher going to the Miami Dolphins if he decides to return to coaching, especially if Carl Peterson takes over the leadership of the team. Cowher was an assistant for Kansas City, Peterson’s former team, prior to coaching the Steelers.
I am adamant, and maybe not so much…
As for my other teams, I remain a devout San Jose Sharks fan and will be there when the Sharks come to St Paul, Minnesota to face the Minnesota Wild. But I had to make a decision in the NBA. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan the last few years, but I am tired of a team that is expected to win and often does (well, except for when it pertains to baseball!). Amare Stoudemire has been my favorite player since his days in Phoenix and despite his injury history. Carmelo Anthony was another favorite. So, with those two headlining the New York Knicks, I really don’t have any choice but to become a Knickerbockers fan. With the NBA, I have not maintained a constant loyalty to one team. It’s moved as I’ve moved. I started life as a Philadelphia 76ers fan in the days of Dr. J. (Julius Erving). In my early 20’s, I moved to Dallas and become a Mavericks fan. Later, I moved to Phoenix and became a Suns fan. About 6 years ago, I moved to California and became a Lakers fan (sorry, I just couldn’t embrace the Golden State Warriors or the Sacramento Kings as a Northern CA resident). Now, I am in Minnesota, but for whatever reason, I just can’t embrace the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, it’s time to move my basketball allegiance to the Big Apple. I am not really a fan of the New Jersey and soon to be Brooklyn Nets, so the stars were perfectly aligned for me to become a Knicks fan. So, let it be…
By the way, where did 2011 go?…
After more than a year of speculation and news about the Albert Pujols contract negotiations, he shocks the world and accepts Arte Moreno’s $250 million to go to Anaheim. I guess you can blame the Yankees for this one. Don’t they always get the blame? If the Yanks hadn’t gone on a spending binge several years to secure the services of then-Angels first baseman Mark Texeira, the Los Angeles Angels would not have been in the market for a top shelf first baseman. Albert, of course, is more than top shelf, he is THE top shelf. Still, I was surprised by the move. The Angels have Mark Trumbo returning, a player they control, and a healthy Kendrys Morales. I am sure that there are other areas of the team that could have used upgrades.
The Angels did follow up immediately with the signing of top free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. I had a feeling that Wilson would be headed to the West Coast despite the Miami Marlins pursuit of the former Texas Ranger. He leaves the top of the rotation for perhaps the #3 or #4 slot with the Angels. The Philadelphia Phillies have been recognized for the best rotation, but the Angels cannot be too far behind with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and now Wilson leading the rotation. I don’t know who the #5 starter is for the Angels off the top of my head, but does it really matter? You could probably go grab Mark Langston out of retirement and throw him in the rotation…it wouldn’t matter.
This has to be a reactionary move by owner Arte Moreno. The Los Angeles Dodgers are primed to re-capture the LA market once a reputable, financially-sound owner or ownership group takes control of the team. After being considered the class of the AL West for years, the Angels have become an understudy for the Texas Rangers. Today’s moves clearly re-establish the Angels as the class of the AL West, and perhaps of the American League.
I do feel bad for the St Louis Cardinals and their fans. As an iconic player, the fans deserved to see Albert play his entire career in St Louis. Stan “The Man” Musial is beloved to this day, and Albert is the first Cardinals player that could have rivaled Musial after his playing days are over. Now, Albert will never be automatically thought of as a Cardinal. He’ll carve out a legacy as an Angel, and will give us reasons to remember him in Anaheim. A very disappointing day for the Cardinals. No offense to Lance Berkman, but that’s a big drop-off from Albert.
The Miami Marlins had looked like the crown prince of the Winter Meetings with their acquisitions of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, but they were torched on the last day by the Angels. It’s been a good off-season for the Angels, who earlier picked up a new backstop in Chris Iannetta.
Meanwhile, I can hear crickets at Yankee Stadium…
A little bit of nothing…
The Yankees did win the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, but based on the reports I’ve read, the Yankees will have difficulty signing him. The leading speculation is that he’ll return to Japan for another season and then sign with the Boston Red Sox next winter. That would really stink if the Yankees lost a prospect to their bitter rival. But from Nakajima’s perspective, Boston could offer him a starting role at shortstop (something the Yankees could not do) and their manager has tremendous experience with Japanese players. The posting I want the Yankees to win is for pitcher Yu Darvish, but reports indicate the Yankees interest is lukewarm. Of course, that could always be a ploy to help keep posting bids down, but the lukewarm comments certainly proved to be accurate for the Yankees interest in C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.
I remain hopeful that the Yankees have started the groundwork for a successful acquisition of a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez, John Danks, or Kyle Drabek. Brian Cashman may feel that he doesn’t need to do anything with a 97-win team, but I heard a GM on MLB Radio say that if you’re standing pat, you are getting worse. I agree that you need to consistently seek upgrades and for the most part, the Yankees stood pat last season. Catcher Russell Martin was huge, but at the time of the signing, it was very low key. Same with the signings of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. It’s been a very long time since Yankees fans have had a reason to feel great excitement and joy for a player acquisition like the Angels experienced today. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are getting older and certainly not better…
I know, we’re Yankees fans, we want it all…
Go New York!…
Now that the NBA is back, I am at the crossroads. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan in recent years, primarily because of my appreciation for Kobe Bryant as a player. But as funny as this sounds as a Yankees fan, I am tired of backing a team that is always expected to win and often does. I want a team that has suffered so that when the team does win, there is greater satisfaction. As a result, I am switching my allegiance to a team that has my favorite player, Amare Stoudemire as well as my second favorite player, Carmelo Anthony…the New York Knicks.
First year in Minnesota, worst year in the history of the franchise…
Despite my relocation to Minnesota, I remain committed in my support of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. And despite their 2-10 record, I am still a Vikings fan. On the bright side as a Vikings fan, I won’t have to wait long to find out who the Vikings select in the NFL Draft in April 2012. At this point in the season, you’re pulling for losses, hoping the team can overtake the Indianapolis Colts for the worst record. But of course, that’s a moot issue if the Colts can’t win a game. This is probably one of the first years ever that I’ve accepted and embraced that the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl. It’s easier to say that when your team was left for dead long ago.
I need one of my teams to step forward and win a championship. It’s been a drought since 2009, and I need something to cheer about!
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.
Usually, April has not been
kind to the Yankees. So to finish the
month with a winning record and in first place is clearly an accomplishment. After the Yankees were ripped in the
off-season for their failure to sign Cliff Lee while the Boston Red Sox were
signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, the expectations were
greater in Beantown. As a result, there is a bit of satisfaction in the respective teams’ starts. Perhaps it was a good
thing as the Yankees finally shook the April curse and controlled the month of
April instead of letting the month control them.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Boston, meanwhile, has
gotten off to a sluggish start, with a 13-15 mark entering play tonight. I’d be a fool to think the Sox will continue
to underperform. I have no doubt that
they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point, and I can only hope
the Yanks have built a sufficient cushion to withstand any Sox charge.
Roster to roster (today), I’d still give the edge of the Sox over the
course of the full 162 game schedule.
I think the keys for the
Yankees to hold off the inevitable Sox charge will rest primarily with
pitching. I’ve been pleased by what the
Yanks have gotten from Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon, but I still
do not think that all three have the sustainability for the duration of the
The health of Phil Hughes
will be a key determinant. The recent
tests have been positive, but the fact remains that the Yankees are no closer
to getting Hughes on the mound than they were before. What if he isn’t able to come back this
year? What’s Plan B? The Yankees already needed a #3 starter or
better when Hughes was in the rotation. For
now, the Yanks have to hope that Nova, Garcia and Colon continue to perform
Count me as one of those who
believe that it is time to drop Derek Jeter down in the order. His days as a lead-off hitter are over, and
it’s time to get Brett Gardner at the top of the order. I realize that Gardner isn’t hitting, but I think
that leading off would revitalize his bat and of course his speed on the bases
with the guns coming to bat would be huge.
The Yanks could definitely
use timely hitting, but I fully expect the bats to come around. I saw the highlights of last night’s game
showing Hideki Matsui hitting a game-winning home run for the Oakland A’s, and
thought to myself, yeah, we could use that…
With the 2011 NFL Draft
behind us, I am still pondering the Minnesota Vikings first round selection of
QB Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt
that I would have loved to have DT Nick Fairley who went to the Detroit Lions
with the next pick. However, the Vikings
had to emerge from this draft with a franchise QB. Andy Dalton may turn out to be a great
quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Colin Kaepernick may do wonderful
things in the Golden Gate City, but all things considered, I am glad that
Ponder is in Minnesota. There’s no doubt
that I would have preferred Jake Locker but the Tennessee Titans made that an
impossibility. I had mixed feelings
about Blaine Gabbert, so short of Cam Newton and Jake Locker, I am satisfied
I’d be surprised if the
Vikings go to the training camp (assuming the lockout is lifted) with Ponder,
Joe Webb, and Rhett Bomar as the only QB’s.
I fully expect them to pursue a veteran.
I don’t think that Kevin Kolb would be worth the price since Ponder
should be ready to take over the position within a couple of years. So, I guess it depends how cheaply the
Vikings can get someone like Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Vince
Young. It definitely makes me wish that
Sage Rosenfels was still on the roster.
When the lockout is finally
resolved, I definitely hope the Vikings find a way to retain WR Sidney
Rice. I don’t want to lose free agent DE
Ray Edwards, but I think that Rice would be much harder to replace.
I was glad to see the Tampa
Bay Rays activate 3B Evan Longoria for tonight’s game. I may not be a Rays fan, but Longoria is
arguably the best third baseman in the league.
Win or lose, I’d rather see Longoria in the Rays lineup than not.
Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier who has hit safely in 28 games entering play
tonight. I am sure that this is a trip
down memory lane for manager Don Mattingly, who once had a consecutive home run
streak going. I am sure that Donnie
Baseball has shared his insight into how to handle the pressure from the press
in these situations. Ethier’s a great
guy and I’d definitely like to see him continue this streak.
The San Jose Sharks are up
2-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, but who in the world can
possibly be comfortable with playing Game 3 in Joe Louis Arena?…
The Los Angeles Lakers lost
Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks? Really? What are they trying to do? Give a happy ending to the LeBron James
Thus endeth the season…
http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.” />
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch. The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August. Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years. The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez. But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average. Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies.
A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year. I am not sure what happened. He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before.
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire. He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent.
I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL. At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy. If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him.
Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success. He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level. He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming.
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team. That’s
probably true. As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake. As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him. Those fears turned out
to be justified. A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back.
I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff. The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season.
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club. So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move. Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club. Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.
As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite.
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome.
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly. Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance. I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans. I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series. So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.
Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series. I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys. The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year. So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance.
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them. However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited. When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game.
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family.
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game. My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph. Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill. He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession. It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope.
However, the prospects do not look good at this point. The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks. Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction. As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm. I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year.
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too.
So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…
On Tuesday, the Yankees were on top of the world
after defeating Doc Halladay and the Phillies…
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
Since then, all they have managed to do is to lose
the series to the Phillies and allow the New York Mets to win their 8th
game in a row. I am not quite sure how
you can from clubbing one of the best pitchers in baseball today to a total
inability to score runs. Good pitching
beat good hitting, I know. But still,
the Yankees have had their opportunities but the clutch hit just hasn’t come.
Hats off to Javier Vazquez’s performance on Friday
night despite the loss to the Mets. He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run. For the past month, he has been the team’s
most consistent pitcher. Too bad the
bats weren’t there to support him. I was
one of many who were booing Javy early in the season, but like they say, we
wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care. This is
the Javy that we had expected to see, and hopefully, this will be the Javy that
will take us to October.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Last night’s bullpen was disappointing. Chan Ho Park and Boone Logan allowed the Mets
to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0.
The Yankees still had their chances which included bringing the tying
run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th. Granted, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher failed
to bring home any runs, but if the gap had been closer, it is possible that the
players would not have been trying so hard and could have made something
Despite the losses, the Yankees remain tied atop
the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays who have encountered their own rough
patch. The only team winning these days
is the Boston Red Sox who have crept to within one game of the lead (two in the
Today will be the battle of 9-1 pitchers as Phil
Hughes will face the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey is 1-0 in this match-up so far this season so hopefully Phil
will be able to exact revenge. It would
be great for him to reach 10 wins today.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and yet
another win! We had bet on the NBA
Finals…Los Angeles Lakers versus Boston Celtics. My state against hers. Julia was so confident throughout the
series. She was sure the Celtics were
going to win the championship in six games.
She kept ranting that the Celtics would capture their 18th
NBA championship. She insisted that the
Lakers would not win and that Kobe Bryant would not be the MVP. Hey, Julia, how did that work out for
As a result of the loss, Julia is now obligated to
post photos of herself on her blog wearing the newest addition to her collection…a
Lakers championship locker room t-shirt.
The t-shirt was ordered through the Lakers website while the locker room
celebration was underway. I knew that
Julia would be very anxious to get her new shirt. She wouldn’t want to miss out on the
celebration of the LA Lakers as the 2010 NBA Champions! Enjoy Julia! I look forward to the Lakers post on your blog! :)
P.S. The Lakers now have 16 NBA Championships. Isn’t that just one less than the Celtics? Well, that’s what we have next year for! Go Lakers!
When the season started, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes were 4th and 5th in the starting rotation. It’s the 2nd of June, and both pitchers stand with 7-1 marks. Given the struggles that Javier Vazquez has experienced and to a lesser degree, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes are the primary reasons the Yankees are in the thick of the AL East chase. With Vazquez starting to pitch much better and knowing that Burnett and Sabathia will come around, the pitching potential for the remainder of the year is very bright.
Today’s game was an all-around team effort as most of the starters played a role in scoring. Mark Teixeira was 0-for-5 but it was a success to have him on the field given the ball he took off the foot yesterday causing him to exit that game prematurely. Hughes went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits while striking out 7 in the 9-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Chad Gaudin pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief.
The game also marked the return of Jorge Posada who was penciled in at DH. Posada was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The hitting star of the game was, of course, Robinson Cano. Robby went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s. He also hit his 12th home run of the season in the 7th inning. He is batting .373 for the season and has been superb batting 5th behind Alex Rodriguez in the batting order.
Both Boston and Tampa won again tonight? Bummer!
In a statement of the obvious, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw the third perfect game of the season even if the record books won’t show it. Unfortunately, first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call in the 9th inning when he ruled Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first even though Miguel Cabrera’s toss to Galarraga beat Donald to the bag. Galarraga settled for the one-hitter, but it was the perfect game with the imperfect umpire. “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” the ump said after the game. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”
I was saddened to see Ken Griffey, Jr.’s decision to retire today. Until he left Seattle for Cincinnati, Junior was on track to have a historic career. Injuries took their toll on Griffey during the Cincinnati years and he was never the same. He departs with 630 career home runs, but he would have been in the land of Ruth, Aaron and Bonds had he stayed healthy. I wish Junior the very best in his post-playing career. Thanks for the memories!
Well, it is once again time for another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. We had hoped for a Stanley Cup Final involving her Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks. However, both teams fell victim to the number 4 in their respective conference finals. The Sharks were swept 4 games to none by the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Bruins blew a 3 games to none lead on the Philadelphia Flyers. Nevertheless, our respective NBA teams have made it to the finals so it gives us the opportunity to place another bet. Besides Julia needs a team other than the Red Sox if she ever hopes to win a wager again! Seriously, if the Boston Celtics win the championship, I will be the not-so-proud recipient of a Celtic championship t-shirt and of course proof will have to appear on my blog. If the Los Angeles Lakers win, Julia will be seen wearing a purple and gold championship Lakers t-shirt. For me, this is about revenge given the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics two years ago. Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous career, but he needs a championship victory over Boston to add to his legacy. So, here’s hoping that Kobe and the gang are victorious in their championship drive! Let’s go Lakers!