Results tagged ‘ Lance Berkman ’

Aren’t the Yankees supposed to rule the Winter Meetings?…

Wow…

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!

–Scott

The Improbable Championship…

 

The 2nd winningest team in baseball history…

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for their World Series championship over the Texas Rangers.  It was a thrilling World Series, especially the three home run game by Albert Pujols and the edge-of-your-seat Game 6 that saw the Cards eliminate two 2 run deficits with two outs and two strikes in the 9th and 10th innings.  The Cardinals now have 11 World Series Championships, only 16 more needed to catch the Yankees…

2005 Astros and 2010 Yankees were nice, but…

A year after experiencing play-off failure with the Yankees, Lance Berkman achieved his first championship and played a significant role for the team.  I wish the Yankees could have seen the Berkman that played in 2011, rather than the 2010 version, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Berkman made the right choice in selecting the Cardinals over the Rangers in the off-season.

Remember me?…

I kept wondering how Arthur Rhodes felt after spending the majority of the 2011 season with the Rangers before being released in August, only to sign with the Cardinals and help them to the championship over his former team.  Sweet vindication…

I liked the Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars…

I lived in Dallas for 14 years, however, I could never embrace the Rangers.  I am not quite sure why.  I don’t care for the Arizona Diamondbacks after living in Phoenix, but I can attribute that to how rudely fans treated me during the 2001 World Series.  I am not a rude, “in your face”, obnoxious type of fan, but that’s how I was treated simply for wearing a Yankees cap.  Still, I am not sure why the Rangers bother me, but I just am not a fan.  I would prefer to see any of the AL West teams succeed over the Rangers.  So, I did take some satisfaction that the Rangers were SO CLOSE, but ultimately SO FAR AWAY in their quest for the organization’s first championship.  Of course, they’ll be a contender again next year so I recognize that their time may still come.

A signing that makes sense…

It was good to hear that the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman have apparently agreed on a new three year deal that will be announced on Monday.  Wrapping up Cashman before the expiration of his contract was essential for the Yankees to have a successful off-season.  Next up is re-signing CC Sabathia before he exercises his opt-out by midnight on Monday.  I really do not want to see CC hit the open market because it will take away the Yankees focus in finding other pieces to the puzzle.

Plus another signing that would make great sense…

As for free agents, I do hope the Yankees pursue C.J. Wilson.  I recognize that he lost Game 7 of the World Series, however, he is a talented pitcher and I think that he’d excel under pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  A top three rotation of Sabathia-Wilson-Nova would be very competitive.  It’s too bad that Phil Hughes took such a step back this year, and that A.J. Burnett continues to under-achieve.  But I really do not want to go another year relying on the aging arms of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.  The Yankees have to improve the rotation, and I do not believe that Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos are quite ready for the challenge yet.

Admittedly, a sense of relief…

Congratulations to Jerry DiPoto for being named the new GM of the Los Angeles Angels, but I still think it’s an injustice that Kim Ng doesn’t get stronger consideration.  She is as well qualified (if not more) than her male counterparts, and she’ll make a terrific GM one day.  If I owned a team, she’d certainly be on my short list of people to hire.  As for DiPoto, it had seemed like he was destined for the Baltimore Orioles just a few weeks ago.  I don’t think they’re top candidates, but I’d hate to lose either Billy Eppler or Damon Oppenheimer to an AL East rival.  So, hopefully, the O’s will either go with an internal candidate or select someone without ties to the Yankees.  I do hope that Eppler and Oppenheimer get recognized for their great contributions, but I’d prefer to see it happen outside of the division (well, except for the Rangers).

Have we seen the end of the term ‘Lovable Losers’ in Chicago?…

I have to admit that I am anxious to see how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer put their stamp on the Chicago Cubs.  I hope it doesn’t involve signing free agent slugger Albert Pujols, whom I really hope finishes his career in St. Louis.  But someone like Prince Fielder might make great sense for the Cubs.  I am sure that they’d love to find a way to get out from under Alfonso Soriano’s contract.  While I can’t say that I am thrilled about Alex Rodriguez and view the weight of his contract as an albatross, the Yankees made the right decision in parting with the free swinging Soriano and of course it eventually opened a spot for the Yankees true MVP, Robinson Cano.  I expect Epstein to be aggressive and it will be interesting to watch the 2012 Cubs take shape.  I just don’t see how manager Mike Quade survives, but I could be wrong.  I believe that Ryne Sandberg would be the best field general for the Epstein regime.

My favorite NL team continues to be the Los Angeles Dodgers, primarily because of manager Don Mattingly, but I’ll definitely be pulling for the Cubs as well.  I would like to see them win a championship in my lifetime, well, so long as the opposing team is not the Yankees.

Bright Lights, Great City…

When the Minnesota Twins played their final home game at the end of the regular season, I knew that I was going to miss the magical lights of Target Field from my downtown Minneapolis home.  I don’t know why, but the lights were on at the stadium a few days ago and it is amazing how much they enhance the already beautiful Minneapolis skyline.  I am looking so forward to the lights next April.  However, I recognize that there is still about 50 to 80 inches of snow that stand between me and those lights.  Let the Hot Stove League begin…

 

–Scott

 

 

 

And I thought all the sports talk about Jeter was bad…


I was disappointed to see no resolution for the Albert Pujols contract
negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals. 
With the passing of Albert’s deadline, we’ll have to tolerate an entire
season of discussion regarding Albert’s future before the contract negotiations
resume after the season.  I may be a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have no desire to see Albert play his career
anywhere except St. Louis. 


Albert Pujols - 2004

Scott Rovak/Getty Images


I really thought that the Cardinals organization would have put forth a
highly competitive offer prior to the deadline. 
It really makes me wonder why the Cardinals would invest $8 million in
former Yankee Lance Berkman who has clearly seen his better days rather than
look for a less expensive option with similar production to invest the Berkman
dollars toward the re-signing of Pujols. 
I realize that $8 million for one year is insignificant in terms of what
it would take to sign Pujols over 10 years but there are ways the organization
could subsidize the contract without sacrificing the team’s play-off
chances. 

If Albert does become a free agent after the season, I agree with those
that say the Chicago Cubs would make a very strong play for the future Hall of
Famer.  Nothing against the Cubs, but I’d
hate to see that happen.  It’s not unlike
Brett Favre and his decision to play for the Minnesota Vikings after a Hall of
Fame career with the Green Bay Packers. 
Granted, they were separated by Favre’s one year in New York with the
Jets but his decision to play for the Vikings did adversely impact the way he
is viewed by the Packers fans.  Perhaps
Favre will be able to salvage a relationship with the Packers fans but he’ll
never hold the stature of former Packer QB Bart Starr or current Green Bay QB
Aaron Rodgers now that he has won a Super Bowl in Green Bay.  Albert deserves an untarnished legacy and he
should be remembered the way that Stan Musial is when his playing days are
over.  Hopefully, the Cardinals
organization will use the days and months between now and the end of the season
to sharpen their pencil…

I wish reliever Neal Cotts the best of luck in his attempt to come back
from injuries.  The Yankees released him
today after reviewing the results of his physical.  I had hoped Cotts would experience a re-birth
under his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, but it was not meant to
be.  Hopefully, this does not mean the
end of Cotts career but wherever he goes and whatever he does, I wish him the
best.

I had hoped that reliever Brian Schlitter would clear waivers and return
to Yankees camp but he was selected by the Yankees latest nemesis, the
Philadelphia Phillies.  Losing Schlitter
wasn’t so bad since he probably would not have found a spot in the bullpen, but
losing him to the Phillies was bittersweet. 
It used to be that my second favorite is any team that beats the Boston
Red Sox.  My new second favorite team is
now any team that beats the Phillies.  In
a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, I would pull for Boston and that’s something
that I thought I’d never do…

Personally, I want a Yankees-Dodgers World Series!  A Bay Area resident, I am withdrawing my NL support for the Giants and aligning myself with the Don Mattingly-led Dodgers.  There is no way that I could root against my baseball idol from younger days…unless he is playing against the Yankees, of course.  Granted, I am not crazy about the whole Frank McCourt divorce situation and the Dodgers don’t have the Giants pitching staff but I have faith in Donnie Baseball…


–Scott

 

Playing With Heart…


With their backs to the wall, the Yankees rebounded
on Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Texas to bring the series to a 3-2
advantage for the Rangers. 



Robinson Cano follows Nick Swisher's third-inning with one of his own as the Yankees race out to a 5-0 lead and cruise to a 6-2 Game 5 victory.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

It can be argued that the Rangers played less than
their best to ensure clinching on their home turf, but the Yankees clearly
played with a purpose and showed the heart that has been missing for the last
few months. 

 

The last time to overcome a 3 games to 1 deficit
was the Boston Red Sox in their World Series winning year of 2007.  They also erased a 3-to-0 deficit in the 2004
ALCS against the Yankees enroute to their first championship since 1918.  So, it can be done, but the Yankees face a
long road that would end with Cliff Lee staring them down from the mound
(assuming they can get past Colby Lewis on Friday night).  CC Sabathia is done for the series, except
perhaps in a relief role. 



Sabathia can't hide his emotions after escaping the sixth inning having only let up two runs.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

The Yankees will also be without Mark Teixeira who
has been lost for the duration of the play-offs due to a hamstring injury.  The acquisition of Lance Berkman now looms
very large as he’ll be asked to cover first. 
It will be good to get both his bat and that of Marcus Thames into the
lineup at the same time, but it will still be a step down from Teixeira.  With Robinson Cano moving to the third spot
in the order, hopefully, he’ll continue his hot hitting and maybe give A-Rod a
spark. 

 

Realistically, I do not think the Yankees will be
able to win two games in Texas.  But, of
course, stranger things have happened. 
The Yankees certainly have the talent and potential to succeed. 

 

Win or lose, I am proud of today’s effort by the
Yankees.  I am glad that they didn’t roll
over and let the Rangers celebrate on Yankee Stadium ground.  Now, if the Rangers win, it’ll be on their
own turf, in front of their own fans.  It
will be a long plane flight back to New York, but that’s better than watching
the visitors pouring champagne in your house. 



The Bleacher Creatures do their traditional first-inning roll call.

Simmons/NY Daily News

 

Here’s hoping the Yankees can keep up the intensity
and continue playing with the same heart they showed today.  A 3-game winning streak.  Is that asking too much?…



Derek Jeter and the Yankees have plenty to smile about after returning to form in a 7-2 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the ALCS.  <br><br> Check out the best shots from Game 5.

Simmons/NY Daily News

 

I was surprised to see that the Chicago Cubs have
already named their manager, removing the interim tag from manager Mike
Quade.  I really thought the Cubs would
try to woo Joe Girardi back to Chicago. 
Or at the very least, they’d give Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg a shot.  By hiring Quade, it kind of reminds me of how
the Yankees bypassed Don Mattingly to hire Joe Girardi when Joe Torre
left.  Circumstances were different, but
the outcome will most likely be the same…the departure of the legend to another
team.  I am proud of Mattingly and he’ll
always be one of my favorite Yankees, but it’s still tough watching him in a
Dodgers uniform.  Don’t get me wrong, I
will be rooting for him to succeed but it will still sting that he doesn’t wear
the pinstripes anymore.  On the same
token, it will be hard for Cubs fans to see Sandberg get an opportunity with
another team. 



 


Speaking of Girardi, the Cubs decision virtually
guarantees that he’ll be back as Yankees manager (assuming the team and the
manager are able to come to terms on a new deal).  So much for leverage…





–Scott



What Happened Tuesday Night?…

 

Mo showed why he is great…



Perfection.JPG

 


A day after losing a game in walk-off fashion to
the Texas Rangers, Mariano Rivera bounced back to save the Yankees’ 7-6 comeback
victory over the Rangers.  So many
relievers have a tough time “forgetting yesterday”, but not Mo.  After allowing a lead-off triple to Elvis
Andrus, he retired the next three batters to strand Andrus at third with what
would have been the tying run. 

 

When Austin Kearns bounced into a double play with
the bases loaded to end the top half of the 8th inning with the
score 6-5 Texas, I thought the Yankees may have exhausted their chances for
victory.  However, or rather , fortunately,
Marcus Thames proved me wrong.  He
homered in the 8th, and drove in the eventual winning run in the 9th.  Not bad for a guy who gets mentioned as an
afterthought when you name off Yankee players.  



Yankees Rangers Baseball

AP


I am a bit disappointed with Kearns, who has failed to hit in key
situations since his arrival in the Bronx. 
But to his credit, he did make a great shoestring catch in the 9th
in helping Mo to the save. 

 

The other two recent acquisitions, Kerry Wood and
Lance Berkman, both played roles in Wednesday’s win.  Wood pitched the 7th and 8th
innings in scoreless relief to pick up his first win as a Yankee.  Berkman drove in a run in the 7th
on a ground rule double as the Yankees chipped away at what once had been a 6-1
Texas lead.  Berkman, it should be noted,
was the only Yankees starter who did not strike out on a night when 17 Yankees
did, tying the dubious franchise record. 
Nick Swisher, in particular, was an awful 0-for-5, with 4 SO’s.

 

Javier Vazquez, who had recently been diagnosed
with a “dead arm”, was very ineffective in the match-up against the almost
Yankee, Cliff Lee.  Javy was out after 4 1/3
innings after he gave up 6 runs.  I am
not quite sure what it will take to get Javy back to the level of pitching he
was at last month, but he needs to improve if the Yankees intend to hold off
the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.  



0812javy.JPG

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire



Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was solid in striking out 11 Yankees although the Yankees were able to score against him late as he gave up a total of 4 runs through 6 1/3 innings.  I remain hopeful that Lee will be the Yankees prime target in the free agent market after the season. 



The Rangers turn to Cliff Lee to get a mini sweep over the New York Yankees tonight on ESPN. 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images



The Yankees were fortunate to get a win out of a
two game series that looked like it would be a sweep for Texas.  The Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers, but the
Boston Red Sox steamrolled over the team that gave the Yankees and Rays so much
trouble, the Toronto Blue Jays.  For all
of the key injuries Boston has suffered this year, they are within striking
distance at just 5 games back.



Bill Hall (right), who had two home runs, celebrates his second blast with teammate Ryan Kalish in the fourth inning.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

 


The series in Texas was tough.  It started with news that hot-hitting Mark
Teixeira would remain in New York with his wife, who gave birth to their third
child, William Charles.  I hated to see
the removal of Teixeira’s bat from the lineup, and it was compounded when
Robinson Cano couldn’t start the first game of the series due to illness
(although he did later pinch hit and entered the game as a replacement at 2nd
late in the game despite his weakened condition).  Jorge Posada also missed the game, so those
were three huge voids in the lineup. 

 

The Yankees now head for Kansas City for a
four-game set against the Royals. 
Teixeira will rejoin the team, and should be in the lineup tonight.  On paper, tonight’s game looks like a
mismatch (CC Sabathia versus Bruce Chen), however, the Yankees have not been
playing great ball lately.  They missed a
great opportunity to bury both the Rays the Red Sox and couldn’t do it.  Hopefully, the team can catch fire soon and
put the pressure on the other teams instead of carrying the weight on their own
shoulders.


–Scott



 

 

 

 

 

Locked In A Dead Heat…

 

Tied after two games…

 

 

 

 

With a wager on the line against Julia of Julia’s Rants, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are tied after two games of a four games series.  The Yankees won on Saturday behind a very solid and new proud papa CC Sabathia, 5-2.  The win means the teams are tied at 1 game apiece and totat runs at 8.  So, the wager is down to what happens in the next two games. 

 

 

 

CC Sabathia fires eight innings of two-run ball at the Red Sox as the Bombers bounce back with a 5-2 win at the Stadium.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

 

Saturday didn’t start very good when I heard news that Alex Rodriguez had been scratched due to an injury.  When I heard that he had been hit during batting practice, my first thought was that I hoped it wasn’t struggling Lance Berkman who hit the ball that struck A-Rod in the ankle.  Of course, and unfortunately, it was.  I have been pulling for the former Astros star to show the New York fans what Houston knew about him and didn’t want to see his name attached to the loss of A-Rod.  But I was pleased with the comments that Lance made which showed he was apologetic and still had a sense of humor at the same time.  All Lance needs to do is get a significant hit against the Red Sox, and he’ll turn those boos to cheers.  I am confident that he can do it…

 

 

Charlie Neibergall/AP

 

 

A-Rod was taken for x-rays after the incident, but the results were negative so he is now in the dreaded ‘day to day’ category.  He may not return until after the Boston series is over. 

 

 

Alex Rodriguez goes down during batting practice after getting hit in the leg with a shot off the bat of new teammate Lance Berkman.

Fox

 

 

On the plus side, A-Rod’s replacement, Ramiro Pena, delivered 2 RBI’s in his absence.

 

Two days after the birth of Carter Charles Sabathia, his dad went 8 innings to pick up his 14th win of the season (to match Tampa’s David Price).  Despite allowing Boston to take an early 2-0 lead, he settled in and only gave up 6 hits and no further runs the rest of the way.  He struck out 4 batters but only one of them was not named David Ortiz.  It was CC’s 150th career victory, so congratulations to CC for the birth of the latest CC as well as the milestone win!

 

 

 


Congratulations.JPG 

 

 

Mariano Rivera pitched the 9th to pick up his 23rd save, while lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.89.  Amazing, but then again, that’s just Mo…

 

 


Mo.JPG 

 

 

With the win, the Yankees were able to increase their lead in the AL East to 1 ½ games over the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are finding out what the Yankees recently did…there’s a very good team north of the border.  The Toronto Blue Jays pounded the Rays, 17-11, behind two home runs by rookie J.P. Arencibia, who was making his major league debut.  The Jays hit a total of 8 home runs in the game.  With as much trouble as the Yankees had with Rays pitching, the Jays clearly didn’t encounter the same difficulty. 

 

 

 

Toronto rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia had a memorable major-league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday at the Rogers Centre. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Nathan Denette/Canadian Press

 

 

So, the Yankees are saying that Friday night’s pitcher and loser, Javier Vazquez, is dealing with a “dead arm”.  So, of course, that begs the question, ‘is A.J. Burnett dealing with a dead brain?’.  In his last start, against the Blue Jays on Monday, A.J. melted down during the 5th inning of the game as the Jays pounded out 7 hits off Burnett, including a monster home run by Edwin Encarnacion, to convert a 2-1 deficit to an 8-2 lead in a game the Yankees ultimately lost, 8-6.  Let’s hope that he fares better on Sunday night against Josh Beckett and the Red Sox…

 

 

 

A.J. Burnett acknowledges crowd as he leaves game Saturday night.

Sipken/NY Daily News

 

Hey Julia, Game On, my friend!…

 

–Scott

 

 

Game 1 To The Other Guys…

 

On the bright side, the Yankees are still in first place…

 

 

 

 

Despite the loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, the Yankees remain in first place, ½ game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays who also lost (2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays).  The team needs to relax, re-group and come back on Saturday with a vengeance. 

 

In tonight’s 6-3 loss, the Red Sox scored three runs, thanks in large part to an error by Francisco Cervelli (he dropped a pop-up that he should have handled).  Thanks to the extra out, the Red Sox were able to push across three runs before the last out of the inning.  It turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit and with Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Yankees were never able to recover. 

 

 

17 SPYANKEES HINDASH.JPG

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger

 

If there is one thing that stood out to me about Friday night’s game, it is the 12-pitch at-bat by Derek Jeter with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.  He battled and battled hard before eventually drawing a walk.  THAT exhibited the heart of a Lion.  It went for naught when Nick Swisher flied out to end the game, but it was a tremendous at-bat by the Captain.

 

Somehow, the Yankees need to get Lance Berkman untracked.  Lance went 0-for-4 and is now batting .105 since his arrival in the Bronx.  Hopefully,  he’ll have that defining moment with the Yankees and it will come sooner rather than later.  He can play a huge part in the stretch run for the Yankees despite the overall down year for him. 

 

It was good to hear that Andy Pettitte threw in the bullpen and is planning a late August return.  He threw 35 to 40 pitches and felt good.  He is planning to throw again on Sunday.  That’s good news, and he’ll be a welcome sight for the rotation when he is able to return.

 

After Season 1 of Curtis Granderson (so far), I’d have to say that I would be a proponent for the Yankees to move Granderson in the off-season and pursue Tampa Bay free agent-to-be Carl Crawford and slide Brett Gardner back to center.  Hopefully, Grandy can change opinions between now and the end of the season but he’s running out of time.

 

As for Derek Jeter, put me in the column that feels there is no way that the Yankees would let him leave.  Using Cal Ripken as an example (or Carl Yastrzemski), it is great that those guys were able to go an entire career in one uniform.  Watching the NFL’s Hall of Fame inductees, I still hate to think of Emmitt Smith, the Arizona Cardinal.  It’s great that if you think of Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin, you can only associate them with one team.  It’s bad enough when a great player puts on another uniform at the tail end of his career, but when they go to a bitter rival it’s worse.  Case in point is long-time hockey star Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars who recently signed with the Detroit Red Wings.  I realize that Detroit is home for Mike, but, still, the Red Wings are a bitter rival for the Stars.  Mike has been one of my favorite players for so many years, yet for his final season, I won’t be a fan.  I feel strongly that the Yankees will do whatever it takes to bring Jeter back for his final years.  Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra are a few of the great franchise names and they wore only the pinstripes.  DJ deserves the same…

 

 

 

 

 

Lance Berkman, an all-time great for the Houston Astros, won’t get the chance to wear an Astros uniform from beginning to end, but I’d hate to see him bounce around with several teams at the end of his career.  I am pulling for him to hit well enough for the Yankees to re-negotiate his deal to ensure a return in 2011. 

 

Now, if Cliff Lee wants to change uniforms this off-season and put on pinstripes, I am okay with that…

 

–Scott

 

P.S. Hey Julia, tomorrow is a new day!  Go Yankees! 

 

 

Does A.J. Still Play For Toronto?…


And then they were tied…



Tied.JPG

 


I realize that there is nothing that can be done
about it, but I am tired of A.J. Burnett. 
I’ve always admired the arm, but the head leaves so much to be desired.  It seems as though he has to be coddled by
pitching coach Dave Eiland, and of course, A.J. fell off the map when Eiland
took a temporary leave of absence earlier this season.  Tonight, he imploded during a 7-run 5th
inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Against
his old teammates, A.J. let Toronto runs get to his head and he absolutely
crumbled on the mound.  I am disappointed
that Joe Girardi stayed with him as long as he did because it was clear that
Burnett had lost control of the game.  It
bothers me that the Yankees are relying on two pitchers (Burnett and Javier
Vazquez) that have to be mentally “right” to pitch effectively.  With Phil Hughes subject to an innings limit
and Andy Pettitte currently on the DL,  the only sure thing in the Yankees rotation is
CC Sabathia. 



Sabo/NY Daily News

 


The awful Burnett performance was too much for the
Yankees to overcome as they fell to the Blue Jays, 8-6, despite an attempt to
rally and Nick Swisher’s two home runs. 
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, to move
into a first place tie with the Yankees. 



Joe Girardi taking the ball from A.J. Burnett (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

I was glad to see Lance Berkman pick up his first
RBI on a run-scoring single.  He has
admitted that it will take some time to adjust to the Bronx, and it is clear
that his heart is still in Houston. 
However, I think he’ll be okay after he learns his way around.  Based on the things I’ve heard and read about
Berkman, you can’t meet too many nicer guys in the baseball so I am sure that
the city and the team will be very accommodating for him.  Yeah, even New York City can be nice at
times.



New Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Lance Berkman is excited to be back in an intense pennant race, something he missed over the last three seasons in Houston with the Astros.

Ted Mace/NY Daily News

 


Alex Rodriguez? 
0-for-5.  Can we send him down to
Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre?  Okay, I
am just kidding, but geesh, this is getting very old.  Hey A-Rod, please feel free to mix in a homer
with all those K’s…

 


AROD.JPG

Getty Images

 

August 2nd is always a tough date on the
calendar.  It is the anniversary of
Thurman Munson’s untimely death in a 1979 plane crash.  Thurman was my favorite player at the time,
and I had been concerned about losing him to free agency to the Cleveland Indians
at the time.  In retrospect, I would have
preferred to see Thurman in a Tribe uniform rather than the fate that awaited
him.  I knew how much Thurman’s family
meant to him, and of course, that’s why he took airplane lessons to begin
with.  Baseball has never been quite the
same to me since Thurman passed. 


So, Thurman, it’s been 31 years and you’re still
missed…



MUNSON.JPG

Courtesy of The Star Ledger



–Scott


Back to the Bronx to Re-Group…

 

Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…



New Addition.JPG

 


Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win.  Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston).  In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).



Robinson Cano gives the Yankees the win with a solo home run in the ninth inning, while new acquisition Lance Berkman (below) goes 0-for-4 in his Yankees debut.

Carlson/AP

 

But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0.  The
loser was CC Sabathia.



New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland (58) and catcher Jorge Posada (20) talk with starter CC Sabathia as the Bombers fall to the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0.

Steve Nesius/AP

 


Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out. 
So, he remains at 599 home runs. 



0801arod.JPG

Jeff Griffith/US Presswire

 

Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH). 
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.  

0801berkman.JPG



Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck out three batters in an inning of work.  However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP

 

As for the acquisitions, I do like the trade for Lance Berkman.  Reading the accounts of the trade, it was obvious that he had a difficult time leaving the only team he has ever known, but I think he’ll like New York as an alternative.  Batting behind Derek Jeter, and in front of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano has to be an ideal spot for any batter.  The experience should re-charge Berkman and give us a great final chapter to a great career.  As for Austin Kearns, I am not sure what I think.  He was impressive when he first came up with the Cincinnati Reds, but he’s been a disappointment in Washington and Cleveland.  He carried the Indians early this season but he couldn’t sustain it.  I realize that he won’t be a starter for the Yanks, and perhaps he’ll be ideally suited for his role with the team.  But I couldn’t help but think how much I would have preferred Melky Cabrera.  As for Wood, this one has to be all about manager Joe Girardi and his knowledge of his former Cubs teammate.  There is no doubt that Kerry has the talent, but his health has been an issue.  I really want Kerry to succeed.  I first heard about Kerry when I was living in Texas and I worked with a woman who’s son played high school baseball with Kerry at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.  They used to rave all the time about how great Kerry was.  Joe Girardi caught Wood for three years in Chicago, so if anyone knows him, it’s Joe. 




Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck
out three batters in an inning of work. 
However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th
after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP



The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays.  Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game. 


I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York.  I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman.  I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August.  It would be nice if it
involved Lowell…

 



I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline.  Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
situation. 

 

I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly.  The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was. 
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).

 

As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0.  Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers.  Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs.  He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter.  An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.



 


Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
victory…

 

–Scott

Too Close For Comfort…


Such a great start…



 


Such a disappointing middle and end…



Ouch.JPG

 


Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in
St. Petersburg, FL, started so strong, but then the team’s offense
flatlined.  After a Derek Jeter single
and a Nick Swisher home run to start the game, the Yankees could only manage
two more hits (singles by Robinson Cano) the rest of the way against winner
Wade Davis and the Rays bullpen. 

 

Similarly, Phil Hughes started strong and it looked
like he was cruising with a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the 6th
inning when a three-run home run by Matt Joyce put the Rays up, 3-2 (which
proved to be the final score).



A-Rod still looking for 600 as Yanks lose to Rays, 3-2

Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger

 


Alex Rodriguez was a huge disappointment…again…as
he went 0-for-4 in his extended quest for 600 home runs.  The only way that A-Rod could have gotten a
hit would have been for Mark Teixeira to smack him.  I’ll be glad when he finally does hit #600
because this is getting painful watching the pathetic at-bats. 



A-Rod still looking for 600 as Yanks lose to Rays, 3-2

Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger

 

The Rays found themselves just a game out of first
place, with Matt Garza on the mound Saturday against Javier Vazquez.  Garza threw a no-hitter against the Detroit
Tigers in his last outing, so he’ll be looking to extend the scoreless, hitless
streak against the Yankees.  Hopefully,
Javy will be up for the challenge. 

 

With less than 24 hours to the trading deadline,
the Yankees finally pulled off a couple of deals, neither of which address the
more pressing needs (bullpen help and a backup third baseman to spell A-Rod).  Granted, GM Brian Cashman is not finished,
but so far, he has added a DH and a part-time left fielder to the mix.  I had wondered who would be the first player
of the post-Boss Steinbrenner era.  The
award goes to first baseman Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros.  He agreed to the deal that would send him to
New York for a couple of minor leaguers, but as a 10-and-5 player, the Yankees
must wait 24 hours before the deal can be finalized.


The thing that ate Lance Berkman, really.

 


The Yankees later acquired outfielder Austin Kearns
from the Cleveland Indians, so, technically, he’ll arrive on the Yankees roster
sooner than Berkman. 



Cleveland Indians beat Nationals, 7-2

 

Berkman effectively replaces injured Nick Johnson
as the full-time designated hitter.  Nick,
who is still on the DL due to a wrist injury, is nearing his return, but he
obviously cannot be relied upon given his injury history (something the Yankees
should have recognized when they signed him last fall).  Berkman is a good friend of Andy Pettitte’s
from their days in Houston so I am sure that played in Berkman’s decision to
join the Yanks after nixing previous deals like the one that would have sent
him to Anaheim as a replacement for Kendry Morales. 

 

The 34-year-old Berkman has begun the downward
descent of his career, and is batting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI’s.   It is
the Yankees’ hope that the excitement of a pennant chase will energize
Berkman.  The Yankees sent minor leaguers
Mark Melancon, a reliever, and Jimmy Paredes, an infielder, to Houston in the
deal.  Melancon, 25,  was once being groomed as an eventual
successor for Mariano Rivera, but he’s failed to achieve his potential. 

 

The other new Yankee is former Reds, Nationals and
Indians outfielder Austin Kearns.  Kearns
was in the Tribe’s lineup tonight and had a couple of hits until he was lifted
in the 7th for a pinch runner. 
Kearns will move from a starting role to a part-time one with the Yanks,
and he’ll most likely start in left when Brett Gardner slides to center in
relief of Curtis Granderson against certain lefthanders.  Kearns is batting .272 with 8 HR’s and 42 RBI’s. 

 

Both players will probably be long gone by Spring
Training 2011, but for now, they have a chance to play a major role in the
Yankees’ drive for the play-offs. 

 

The Yankees do not plan to be quiet before the end
of the trading deadline as they are rumored to be one of several teams involved
in discussions with the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ted Lilly, a former Yank, and
according to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney, they are working on a deal for a
back-up third baseman.

 

Regardless of what happens, the Rays are guaranteed
of seeing faces tomorrow that weren’t present at Tropicana Field tonight.  I just hope that tomorrow doesn’t find Adam
Dunn in the opposing dugout.

 

At least the Boston Red Sox lost tonight…



 

–Scott

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