Results tagged ‘ Robinson Cano ’
The Ace of Scranton/Wilkes Barre…
I kept hoping that the Yankees would be able to find a way to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation, but inevitably, the team made the only decision it could by sending him down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I agree that it is in Nova’s best interests to keep him on rotation, and not stunt his development by moving him to the pen.
I find it highly unlikely that either Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia will make it through the remainder of the season without any health issues. So, almost assuredly, Nova will be back and he’ll prove why he is a long-term option for the starting rotation.
Larry knows best…
Nothing against former pitching coach Dave Eiland, but his replacement, Larry Rothschild, has certainly shown why he was a great hire in the off-season. The Yankees struck gold with both Colon and Garcia when they were hopeful that they’d be able to get something out of at least one of the pitchers. I thought the Colon signing was a joke, and didn’t really begin to take the former Cy Young Award winner seriously until after the regular season began.
Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday
Rothschild has also overseen the return of A.J. Burnett as a viable force in the rotation, which, after last season, was no small task.
In the bullpen, the Yankees have overcome the loss of set up man Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain with the superb play of David Robertson. Robertson has shown that he is not only a great bridge to Mariano Rivera, but is perhaps a very viable alternative as Mo’s eventual replacement. GM Brian Cashman was right to be against the Soriano signing, and now the Yanks will have Soriano for two more years since there’s no way that he’ll opt out of his lucrative contract. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation when Soriano returns.
As great as Larry Rothschild is, there are still going to be those moments when all goes wrong like today’s loss to the New York Mets. Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the 9th, and the Yanks subsequently lost in 10 innings. But the nice thing about the Yankees bullpen is that they have a very short memory, and I’m sure that they’ll be back in stellar form tomorrow.
Congratulations, you’re an All-Star! As your reward, here is a ticket to the face of the Sun…
Congratulations to the players that will represent the Yankees during next week’s All-Star Game in Phoenix. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will be in the starting lineup, while Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin were also added to the squad. Count me as one of those who hope that a spot opens for David Robertson. The All-Star Yankees will need to get used to the heat as it has been blistering hot in the Valley of the Sun. Yesterday, the official high was 117 degrees in Chandler, AZ, however, I saw temperature readings over 120 degrees. It may be a dry heat, but it’s just plain hot. Fortunately, Chase Field will be covered and the indoor temps should be very mild.
Nearing the end of the first half…
I am quite please with the way the Yankees have played the first half of the season. I still feel that the Boston Red Sox have the superior team on paper, but the Yankees have held their own and currently lead the Sox by 1 ½ games. I don’t think the Yanks can stay ahead of the Sox without any changes to the roster, but the team has definitely gotten more out of less.
Have a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone!
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
CC Sabathia versus Justin
Larry W. Smith/EPA
Finally, Opening Day is upon
us! It has been a long and at times
disappointing off-season. Optimism
returned in Spring Training as there were a few success stories and
surprises. The pitching match-up for the
Yankees against the Detroit Tigers is perfect as I expect banner years by both
pitchers. They both will most likely be
finalists for the Cy Young Award at the end of the year if all goes right.
For Opening Day, here are the 2011 New York
Kevin Long, Batting Coach
Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach
Mick Kelleher, First Base Coach
Rob Thomson, Third Base Coach
Tony Pena, Bench Coach
Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach
Roman Rodriguez, Bullpen Catcher
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Robinson Cano
SS – Derek Jeter
3B – Alex Rodriguez
C – Russell Martin
RF – Nick Swisher
CF – Curtis Granderson
LF – Brett Gardner
DH – Jorge Posada
Bench – 1B/3B – Eric Chavez
Bench – 2B/SS/3B – Eduardo Nunez
Bench – OF – Andruw Jones
Bench – C – Gustavo Molina
1SP – CC Sabathia
2SP – A.J. Burnett
3SP – Phil Hughes
4SP – Ivan Nova
5SP – Freddy Garcia
Closer – Mariano Rivera
Setup – Rafael Soriano
RP – Joba Chamberlain
RP – David Robertson
RP – Boone Logan
RP – Bartolo Colon
RP – Luis Ayala
Several of the spots are held by injury replacements
(Molina for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, and Ayala for reliever Pedro
Feliciano) so they’ll go down to the minors when the regulars return. I am sure that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo
Colon will be on short leashes, and it’s very possible that one of their spots
could be taken by Kevin Millwood should either one falter.
I am very pleased to see Eric Chavez on the
roster. It was a foregone conclusion
that he’d make the team after the spring he had, but going into camp, there
were certainly plenty of questions about his health and durability. I am sure that Jason Giambi has probably been
on the phone to his good buddy to let him know the inner workings of the
Yankees organization and the city of New York.
Congratulations to Manny Banuelos for winning the
James P. Dawson Award as the team’s outstanding rookie in camp. I am definitely looking forward to his
arrival in the Bronx, even if it is still a few years down the road.
Even though there were no major additions in the
off-season, I do like this year’s team.
The hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild was huge, and I think he’ll
be able to get into A.J. Burnett‘s head and rebuild the pitcher’s
confidence. I expect continued
progression from Phil Hughes, and if Ivan Nova continues to build upon his
outstanding spring, I think the Yankees rotation will be quite strong.
What can you say about the bullpen? They will definitely shorten games for the
As for the regulars, I expect Derek Jeter to
rebound from last year and put up his usual DJ-like numbers. Robinson Cano will continue his progression
of one of the game’s elite, and Alex Rodriguez looks charged and ready for a
fantastic season. I am expecting more
consistency and better timely hitting from Curtis Granderson this year, and if
Brett Gardner stays healthy, the outfield should be significantly
The health of Russell Martin is a concern,
particularly since neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine was able to prove
they are ready for the major leagues. If
the Yankees have to start Posada at catcher, it will definitely be a sign of
In my mind, the positives will outweigh the
negatives, and the Yankees will be in the hunt at the end.
Nevertheless, with all things considered, I do
think the league champions, as it stands right now, will be the Boston Red Sox
and the San Francisco Giants. A World
Series matchup would put the Sox over the Giants for the championship. This is not what I want, but rather, on
paper, it is the most logical conclusion.
Much can happen between now and October, and I certainly expect the
Yankees to acquire a #3 starter (or better) for the starting rotation by the
July trading deadline. I did like the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I think the loss of Chase Utley to injury and Jayson
Werth to free agency will be too much to overcome. Pitching staff to pitching staff, I like the
Giants rotation better than the Phillies.
Win or lose, this should be a tremendous baseball
season for all of us! Go ahead, throw
the first pitch…
All hail the Sultan of $$$$$$$$$$$$…
Unfortunately, the Yankees are going to be seeing super agent Scott
Boras more than they’d like given his newest clients are Robinson Cano and Nick
Swisher. I have to admit that I was
dismayed to see the two Yankees sign on with Boras because it will mean the
potential for contentious negotiations in the not-so-distant future. It also felt like the chances the players
stay in the Bronx behind their current deals lessened substantially when I
heard the news.
From the players’ standpoint, Boras makes complete sense. He has shown an uncanny knack for getting the
most for his clients (sometimes in seemingly impossible situations). While I may not like Boras personally, he is
clearly on a different level than most agents.
I can only hope that it does not eventually lead to Cano’s departure.
I have to admit that it looks strange to see former Oakland A’s third
baseman Eric Chavez in Yankees gear.
Chavez was always an Athletic that I held high regard for, but as with
former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, injuries have taken their toll on a
once outstanding career. I am really
pulling Chavez and I hope that he earns a bench role for the Yankees (even at
the expense of Ramiro Pena). I’d like to
see Chavez backing up the corner positions, with Eduardo Nunez covering the
middle infield positions.
Of the other players in camp on minor league deals, I’d say that I am
most supportive of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia. If the Yankees don’t trade for a starting
pitcher or sign someone like Kevin Millwood, I’d like to see Garcia earn a spot
in the rotation ahead of Sergio Mitre and the other cast of characters. While I recognize that the other spot will
most likely go to Ivan Nova, I am very intrigued by Hector Noesi and I am
looking forward to seeing what he can do in camp. Of the younger guys, I most excited about lefty
Manny Banuelos but he is still a few years away from the majors.
It was tough to see Alfredo Aceves sign with the Boston Red Sox. I know the Yankees were interested in
bringing Aceves back, but Boston’s willingness to extend a major league
contract was the difference maker.
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report on Monday but I’m
ready for the new season. I still think
that the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies have the best teams on
paper but there’s still a lot that can happen between now and October. And, oh yeah, they still have to play the
So, where do we go from here?…
The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately. They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again.
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy. In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0.
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.
As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game).
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s. Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season.
Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2. The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason. With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.
Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound. To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk. He struck out 3. Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level.
It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves. Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother. At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category. It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date. As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role. It would be nice to have him back in the
As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left. I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.
With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear.
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge. If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys.
After the series opener loss to the Detroit Tigers,
I was a bit dismayed. The Yankees, the
team that started the year on a consecutive series win streak, hadn’t won a
series since late July after splitting a four game set with the Royals in
Kansas City. They returned to the Bronx
and promptly lost a disappointing game to the Tigers with Detroit ace Justin
Verlander looming the next day.
Fortunately, the Yanks beat Verlander and went on
to the win the next two games afterwards to take 3 of 4. The wins were definitely part of the Robinson
Cano Show as he homered in the three consecutive wins. Also, the bat of Curtis Granderson has come
to life since the adjustments he made with hitting coach Kevin Long. I was not an immediate believer in Austin
Kearns, but he has steadily begun to make an impact. With Alex Rodriguez nursing a sore calf and
Lance Berkman on the DL, it was imperative for some of the lesser known guys on
the roster to begin carrying their weight.
It couldn’t have happened at a better time as the Yankees are trying to
stave off the Tampa Bay Rays who they were tied with at the beginning of today’s
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
With September right around the corner, I am
concerned about pitching. The only
certainty is ace CC Sabathia. With A.J.
Burnett, you’re never really sure what you are going to get. Javier Vazquez has been pitching poorly
lately with reduced velocity. Dustin
Moseley is never going to overwhelm you, and Phil Hughes is rapidly approaching
an innings limitation. Andy Pettitte
remains on the DL after a setback, so there are a series of question marks with
the starting rotation. It is fortunate
that the bullpen has begun to gel with Kerry Wood, Joba Chamberlain, David
Robertson and Boone Logan pitching very effectively. The long men, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre,
have performed well in their roles. The
Yankees certainly have the bats to win the division, but I obviously have less
confidence in the pitching. If healthy,
they’d be among the league’s elite. But
in their current state, I’d have to give the advantage to the Tampa Bay
Rays. As for the Red Sox, I can only
hope that Josh Beckett and John Lackey continue their season-long
struggles. With their injuries this
year, it’s amazing that they’ve remained within striking distance so they are
certainly a threat as the page gets ready to flip to September.
But for now, all is well in the Bronx. If the Yankees can get on a roll and win a
few series over the next couple of weeks, they should be in great shape for the
stretch run despite their issues and challenges.
Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…
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).
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.
Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out.
So, he remains at 599 home runs.
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.
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
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
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’
IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…
Okay, that’s a lousy pitching line any way you slice it. I recognize that Sergio Mitre, fresh off the DL, was rusty, and you can’t expect perfection. But I was not a Mitre fan before and I am not one now. I think there are better pitching options on the roster as fill-in’s for injured Andy Pettitte. I would rather see Dustin Moseley get a shot to start before taking another chance on Mitre. Moseley, by the way, pitching yesterday too, and his line was much more appealing:
IP 4.2, H 1, R 0, ER 0, BB 1, SO 1, HR 0
As for trading for an option like Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am reluctant at best. I really want to see the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee in the off-season, and I am fearful that adding a pitcher like Haren and his salary would be a detriment. We saw last off-season when the Yankees held the line and allowed Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui walk rather than increase payroll above $200 million. I do think that Andy Pettitte will give hard consideration to retirement after the season. There is uncertainty with Javier Vazquez who will be a free agent, and there are still questions about Phil Hughes who has been mired in a slump for the past month (not to mention a innings limitation).
This is a tough call. The Yankees do need to maximize their own resources for starting talent, but in my opinion, it doesn’t start with Mitre. If Moseley is not the answer, then reach into the farm system and give Ivan Nova or Zach McAllister a shot.
The awful performance by Mitre put the Yankees into a hole that they were unable to recover from in losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-4. It did hurt in the 4th inning when Robinson Cano hit into a double play on a great play by Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. The DP left the bases empty with two outs after the Yankees had scored a run at the start of the inning with Mark Teixeira’s lead-off home run. Facing a 6-1 deficit, Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo home run. Had Betancourt not made such a great play on Cano, the Yankees would have had two men on base when Posada came to the plate. Had he homered in that situation, the score could have been 6-4 instead of 6-2 which would have given the game a completely different complexion.
Still, the Yankees had a shot in the bottom of the 9th inning with Mark Teixeira at the plate with two men on. He had hit two home runs earlier in the game, so this was a terrific opportunity for three home runs. But he grounded out to end the game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Today, the Yankees will see if Phil Hughes can turn it around. He’ll face Sean O’Sullivan, who beat Hughes and the Yanks 10-2 last Tuesday while wearing a Angels uniform.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Both Nick Swisher (Achilles heel) and Brett Gardner (acid reflux) will be back in the starting line up today so that’s a positive sign.
This is a great day for a Yankees win!
John Munson/The Star Ledger
I’ll take a split…
Fortunately for the Yankees, they emerged victorious today against the Los Angeles Angels to split the two game series. The mediocre pitching line continued, albeit with no injuries, but the Yankee bats were active enough to ensure sufficient runs by the time the Angels recorded their last out in the top of the 9th inning.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Javier Vazquez gave up 9 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings, but it was enough to earn his 8th victory (against 7 losses). The key hit was a pinch hit three-run homer in the 7th by Colin Curtis. Robinson Cano and Juan Miranda also homered in the game, but Alex Rodriguez did not so he remains at 598 home runs. Curtis was an interesting story as he entered the game after Brett Gardner was thrown out of the game while batting. So, the strike count stood at two before Curtis even got warmed up.
Vazquez, with the victory, has defeated all 30 major league teams.
Playing against the Yankees definitely helped Hideki Matsui break out of his slump. He had only hit only one home run since June 7th before playing the Yankees. In the two game series, he homered in each game. I am okay with Godzilla getting his hits so long as they aren’t the game winners. Fortunately, they weren’t either day.
Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register
The Yankees split the season series with the Angels, 4-4, and won’t see them again unless they meet in the play-offs. The Yankees now await the arrival of the Kansas City Royals.
Happy Birthday to CC Sabathia, who celebrated his 30th birthday today!
Joel Sherman ran a piece in his New York Post column this morning where he speculated that Yankees manager Joe Girardi could be a potential target for managerial vacancy created with the Chicago Cubs when Lou Piniella announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season. I completely agree with his analysis. I’ve always considered Girardi to be a “Chicago” guy. He was born and raised in the area, as was his wife, and he started professional baseball with the Cubs and played there again after he left the Yankees.
It started me to think who the Yankees would turn to if the worst case scenario played out (Girardi leaving at the end of the season, which is, by the way, the expiration of his current contract). The first guy I thought about for the position was Don Mattingly. Mattingly is the assumed replacement for current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre. However, Torre still hasn’t decided if he’ll manage next year, and of course, the whole situation with the Dodgers ownership (the McCourt divorce situation) could create the right circumstances to woo Mattingly back to New York.
But when I turned on ESPN this morning, they were showing the highlights of last night’s Dodgers-Giants game where Mattingly had assumed management of the team after both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer had been ejected. In the 9th inning, with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound, Mattingly went out to pay a visit. As he started to walk away, he decided that he wanted to say something else to Broxton and turned back around. He realized that he had made a mistake when the umpires were saying “no” but by then, it was too late. When he made the about face, it counted as a second trip to the mound so he had no choice but to pull Broxton. George Sherrill was brought in and the Dodgers let a 5-4 lead slip away as they ultimately lost the game 7-5. Now, I agree, the faux paux would not be reason to avoid hiring Mattingly but the timing couldn’t have been worse (at least for me).
It’s tough. As much as I like Mattingly, I am not sure that I am a proponent for a rookie manager. I think the year in Florida as the Marlins manager was invaluable for Joe Girardi. He is a better manager today for the experience. Same with Terry Francona in Boston. He is one of the best managers in baseball, and I think it can be directly attributed to his learning opportunity with the Phillies. For the Cubs, I still think Ryne Sandberg is the best fit for the organization. But if you were the owner of the Cubs, would you want a Triple A manager who has never managed in the bigs or a highly prepared and accomplished major league manager with a World Series resume? There are just not that many attractive managerial candidates in my opinion. I am sure that Bobby Valentine will re-surface at some point, as well Buck Showalter, but neither of those guys excite me. If the Steinbrenner Family is smart, they’ll take care of Girardi and never let him have the chance to consider the Cubs.
The deaths in the Yankees family have, unfortunately, continued into this week. The latest is the Yankees manager from the great 1961 season of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (the year that Roger hit 61 home runs and the Yankees won the World Series), Ralph Houk. His World Series championships (he also won in 1962) were the last before the demise of the team under the ownership of CBS and before George Steinbrenner purchased the team. He had taken over as the Yankees manager replacing Casey Stengel in 1960 after the Yankees had lost the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houk would manage until 1963, when he stepped into the front office. He returned to managing the Yankees in 1966 and stayed through 1973, Steinbrenner’s first year. I primarily remember Houk as the manager for the Detroit Tigers, although he did manage the Boston Red Sox at the end of his managerial career. Houk apparently died today at his home in Winter Haven, FL of natural causes. He was 90.
Who said that you can’t go home again?…
CC Sabathia finally put his problems with pitching “at home” behind him as the Yankees defeated the A’s 6-1 on Tuesday night in Oakland. CC, who grew up in nearby Vallejo, CA, has struggled at McAfee Coliseum. CC, an Oakland Raiders season ticket holder, had a 2-5 career mark prior to last night’s game. The best quote I saw after the game was when CC stated that he is over playing at home and it’s just another place to play.
So, last night, for a change, it was the A’s pitcher who was too amped up. Trevor Cahill, an All-Star, tried too hard to impress his All-Star manager (Joe Girardi) and surrendered two home runs to Alex Rodriguez (one of which was a grand slam). For A-Rod, it was home runs 596 and 597 for his career.
Following a sluggish start to the season, CC improved his record to 11-3 and enjoyed his highest strikeout total of the season with 10. He has won seven straight starts. Clearly, this is the reason the Yankees signed CC to the huge deal several years ago. Admittedly, I am not looking forward to the end of next season when his ‘opt-out’ clause kicks in. Hopefully, life as a Yankee has been good for CC to the point that he won’t yearn to be a Giant, Athletic, Angel or Dodger.
I was not pleased to see that Robinson Cano had accepted an invitation to the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Too often, we’ve seen sluggers mess up their swing and suffer subpar second halves after derby participation. Cano has excelled this season behind A-Rod in the order, and his job is not to hit home runs but to drive in runs. It didn’t sound like Joe Girardi or hitting coach Kevin Long were in favor of his participation, although Long took the softer approach to say that he understood why it would be an honor for Cano. I can only hope that Cano stays injury-free and that his second half is equal to or greater than the first.
In a news report released by the New York Daily News, Robinson Cano has apparently had a change of heart (or a forced one) and has removed himself from the Home Run Derby. Hopefully, the news report is true.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Buster Olney had a good column on ESPN.com about Cliff Lee’s impact on various contenders today. He had consulted with Stephen Oh of Accuscore, and was given this short description of Lee’s impact on the Yankees:
Lee with Yankees
Yankees are finishing 6 games ahead of Boston and Tampa in AL East.
New York Yankees
w/ Cliff Lee
As much as I’d like Lee on the Yankees, I recognize that it remains a long shot and the team does have greater needs. But you can never underestimate the Yankees and they do have the tendency to lie in the weeds waiting to strike if they feel the market conditions are right.
Trades are not always about what they can do for your team, but sometimes it is to keep other teams, like the Rays, from becoming stronger. Based on the projection above, Lee would improve the Yanks by 2 games. So, if you subtracted the 2 games from the Yanks and gave the additional games to the Rays, the projected standings would be tighter…with much less margin for error.
My preference would be for the Seattle Mariners to trade Lee back to the National League (perhaps back to Philadelphia since they’ve expressed interest). But of course, the downside is a potential World Series match-up against the Phillies, assuming both teams make it but that’s too far away to think about. Right now, the goal is to simply make the play-offs, and then worry about those games at that time.
I have no doubt that the Boston Red Sox will be much stronger. Their players will begin to get healthy, and it is almost a certainty that Theo Epstein will be very active in the days leading up to the trading deadline. As strong as the Red Sox rotation is with Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz healthy, I’d hate to think of Lee in the rotation in place of Dice-K.
It should be an interesting July…
It is time once again for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants. So far, I have profiled 6 Boston players. The original wager penalty was a paragraph about the entire 25 man roster as of 6/26/10. Julia has shortened my “sentence” by 15 players which means that I only need to spotlight four more players. Hopefully, with my final choices, I won’t disappoint.
For the latest entry, I want to mention the closer-in-waiting. I’ve already talked about Jonathan Papelbon. I don’t know what the future holds for Pap and the Red Sox, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Pap is eventually traded or departs as a free agent. If that happens, the new Boston closer would most likely be…
#51 Daniel Bard
Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal
Daniel Bard just turned 25 last month (he was born June 25, 1985 in Houston, Texas). He was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft. Ironically, Bard had previously been drafted by the Yankees in 2003 but did not sign; he chose the University of North Carolina instead (bummer!).
An early attempt was made to make Bard a starter but it didn’t pan out and he was moved into the bullpen in late 2007. Out of the bullpen, Bard thrived in 2008 with a 1.51 ERA and 107 strikeouts (in 77 ½ innings) and was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year.
On May 13, 2009, Bard made his pitching debut with the Red Sox by throwing two scoreless innings against the Los Angles Angels. He only gave up one hit and had a strikeout.
Bard is one of the few pitchers in the majors capable of throwing 100 MPH. So far this season, he has continued his growth and development as the eventual successor for Jonathan Papelbon. In 40 games, he has an ERA of 1.99 and 44 strikeouts. He has only given up 22 hits, 12 walks, 9 earned runs, and 4 home runs. He also has 3 saves.
Bard may not be Boston’s closer in 2011, but his day will come. Like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and others, Bard’s Red Sox future is very promising. And to think he could have been Mariano Rivera’s future replacement… L