Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

The Hot Stove League Pre-Season is underway…

 

Yes, Brian, I want to believe…

“I am excited about the opportunities we have.”

I wish that I could say that was my quote, but unfortunately, I am not feeling as optimistic as GM Brian Cashman who spoke those words.

With the imminent departure of Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, and Hiroki Kuroda, combined with another year of age on Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, the future is not looking so rosy at the moment.  For a team that needs to upgrade its rotation, losing Kuroda would clearly be a setback.  I remain hopeful that the team will re-sign him to a one year deal since he appears willing to accept a short-term contract and all signs indicated he enjoyed his time in New York.  I really do not expect the Yankees to re-sign either Swisher or Soriano.  It’s unfortunate as I’ve appreciated the positive impact that Swisher’s personality had on the Yankees’ “corporate” clubhouse culture.  As Soriano, the excessively fat contract for a set up guy paid dividends when Mariano Rivera was lost for the season and he superbly stepped in to give the Yankees a top closer as a brief trial with David Robertson.

If the Yankees could sign Joaquim Soria to a set up role, I do think it would help neutralize the loss of Soriano.  There is also the possibility that reliever David Aardsma could move into the role, along with Robertson, if he successfully makes it back from his injury.

Replacing Swisher’s bat will be the tougher challenge.  No offense against Torii Hunter, but signing him to be the new right fielder does not make me excited.  I do like the talk of moving Brett Gardner to center and Curtis Granderson to left.  Hopefully, the Yankees can bring Ichiro Suzuki back for another year.  I am not sure what the best answer is for right.  The best options are only available through trade.

I read this morning that the Boston Red Sox had signed Atlanta Braves’ backup catcher David Ross, whom the Yankees liked.  I am surprised Atlanta let him get away given the health of starter Brian McCann, but it’s disappointing to see the Red Sox snatch away a player that could have helped the Yankees.

With a team that is trying so hard to reduce payroll by 2014 and one that devotes so much salary space to decreasingly productive guys like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, I just don’t see Brian Cashman being successful playing “Moneyball”.  When you consider how many dollars the Yanks have committed to A-Rod and his drain on the roster, it would appear to me that the team has less dollars to play with than any of their big city rivals if the end game is to avoid luxury tax and penalties in 2014.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been so appreciative of players like Jeter, Rivera and Andy Pettitte.  But the fact remains that they will be another year older in 2013 and at some point, they will begin to break down.  There doesn’t seem to be any high level prospects ready to step into their shoes.  I wish there was a way the team could move A-Rod and his albatross contract but that’s unlikely to happen.

I remain hopeful that Brian Cashman is able to make a move this winter to improve the team.  If the team stays status quo or struggles to replace those they will lose, I do not see the Yankees finishing any higher than third in the AL East next season.  But, of course, if Hal Steinbrenner lets Cash make the moves necessary to position the team for 2013, then they’ll be in the thick of the pack at the top of the division.

Tino, Tino, Tino!…

I am happy to see Tino Martinez become hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.  It is bittersweet to see him leave the Yankees organization, but much easier to see him go to his home state as opposed to being the hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox.  The latter was a real possibility as the Sox had gotten permission to talk to Martinez, but fortunately, he opted to go help Mike Redmond turn around the Marlins.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have been my favorite NL team in recent years due to manager Don Mattingly.  I enjoy seeing my favorites do well, even if they can’t do it in the Yankees organization.  Another example would be San Francisco Giants’ pitching coach Dave Righetti, fresh off his second World Series championship in three years.  Tino is certainly in the same class with those guys, and will always be someone that I will root for.  That’s why watching him go to Boston would have been so difficult.

Coach Giambino…

Speaking of hitting coaches, I am hopeful that manager “wannabe” Jason Giambi decides to take the hitting coach position with the Colorado Rockies.  Maybe he is not ready to hang up his bat just yet, but I think he would be a very positive addition to Walt Weiss’s staff and it would put him on the path of eventually reaching his goal to be a manager.  While I was surprised to see the Rockies go with Weiss as manager over Matt Williams, I recognize that Weiss knows the Rockies organization and they know him.  If he surrounds himself with the right coaching staff, I think Weiss can be highly successful in Colorado.

The Dodgers quest to overtake the Giants…

Regressing back to the Dodgers but staying on the theme of hitting coaches, I was mildly surprised by Mark McGwire’s decision to move from the Cardinals to the Dodgers.  I know that McGwire is a Southern CA guy, but still, the Cardinals were his organization.  Maybe that’s why it is best to move to another organization so that your legacy as a player is the primary association.  Granted, McGwire does not have the untarnished reputation like Mattingly had in New York, but hopefully it works out for Big Mac.  Performance-enhancing drugs or not, the guy knows how to hit.

It’s funny, particularly given my long history of being a Yankees fan, but I am a little put off by the free spending ways of the new Dodgers ownership group.  While I believe that you have to spend to put a quality team on the field, spending frivolously seems excessive.  For the Yankees, I only need to use A-Rod as the example.  Over $30 million in one season devoted to a player whose skills are rapidly eroding.  $30 million would go a long way toward bringing in multiple quality…and productive…players.  The Dodgers should no qualms about picking up the contracts of Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford when it remains to be seen if they can rise to the current level of their contracts.  It looks like high stakes poker to me with much potential for disaster.

In a couple of weeks, the Hot Stove League should start heating up and it will be interesting to see what form this off-season takes.  I am cautiously optimistic, but understand that it’s very possible the Yanks go into next season hoping some young guys from the farm system are ready to take it to the next level.  I guess I now know what it’s like to be a fan of the Minnesota Twins or Kansas City Royals…

–Scott

 

Melky, what were you thinking?…

 

Disappointing…

I am not quite sure what was reaction was when I heard that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had been suspended for 50 games due to substance abuse.  As a former Yankee, I watched his career as it went through Atlanta and Kansas City before his arrival in the City by the Bay.  The year in Atlanta was forgettable, but Melky rebounded in Kansas City and continued his renaissance in San Francisco.  The highlight of the year for him was capped with the MVP Award for the All-Star Game.

When Melky was a Yankee, he was often in the mix for game-winning hits and the recipient of one of A.J. Burnett’s pies.  It was tough to see him go to Atlanta in the ill-fated trade for Javier Vazquez but I had hoped that he would have a chance to thrive outside of Yankee Stadium and the platoon situation he found himself in.  Even with his recent success, I still feel that Brett Gardner, when healthy, is a better fit for the Yankees.  Nevertheless, I was glad to see that Melky had found major league success as a regular.

Well, until the day it was announced that he had been suspended.  I lost most if not all respect that day.  Melky’s quick acceptance of his suspension only rubbed salt in the wound, and now there’s a report that he staged a bogus website in a botched attempt to mask his guilt.  I can gladly say that I am glad that Melky is not a Yankee today.  I would not want him on my team and if I was the Giants’ GM Brian Sabean, I’d cut my losses and move on.  The last thing the Giants need is a player with the aura of substance abuse, particularly on the heels of former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds.  Character should be the first criteria when determining if a player is a good fit for any organization.  Yes, athletic ability and talent rank very highly but it means nothing if the player is one of poor character.

News of the totally irrelevant…

Speaking of substance abuse, it’s ironic that another former Yankee is again in the news.  There were reports that Roger Clemens has signed with an independent team.  Seriously?  A 50-year-old pitcher trying to make a comeback?  The only guy who could make Jamie Moyer look like a teenager?  I don’t care if Clemens was acquitted in June.  He is one guy that I never want to see wear pinstripes again or ever set foot on Yankee Stadium soil.

I have been supportive of current Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.  There was something very honest about Pettitte’s admission of substance abuse a few years back.  Maybe he has all of us fooled.  Maybe not.  I tend to believe the latter.  On the other hand, I don’t believe anything Roger Clemens has to say.  Nor do I believe Alex Rodriguez for that matter.  I tolerate Rodriguez because he is on the Yankees but I am not a fan of his.

I’d like to put Melky in the category of guys that should be forgiven, but he just strikes me as another Clemens or A-Rod at this point.  It is incredible that a guy, at this point in time, would risk millions by doing something that is so closely watched.  He was on the fast track for failure.  I doubt we’ve seen the last of Melky but I hope that he learns something from the time off.

I was a Yankee for two months…

I know that the Ichiro in Pinstripes Era is very short-lived and will be expiring at the end of the season, but it was a joy to see him hit two home runs off Josh Beckett in the weekend series against the Red Sox.  Although the Yankees only took two of three from the Sox, this is not the same Red Sox squad of years passed.  Although Bobby Valentine has gotten a vote of confidence from the Front Office, I don’t see how he makes it past just one season in Boston.  It is no secret the Sox covet Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell so if there’s a way to pry him from Canada, I am sure that he will be immediately named the next manager of the Sox.

How did I go from Ichiro to John Farrell?  I am not quite sure about that one myself…

Where did all these former Dodgers come from?…

It’s only a brief sample, but I really wouldn’t mind seeing Derek Lowe return as the long man in the pen next season.  I’ve always admired Lowe’s competitiveness and determination.  It’s still a bit weird watching him in pinstripes, but he is a welcome addition.  There’s no doubt that I want to see the return of pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  He’s been even better than I had anticipated.  I always wondered why Dodger fans were so endeared to him as I had viewed him as a middle of the road starter.  But, wow, I was wrong!  I totally get why he meant so much to Dodger fans.  The team would be lost without Kuroda, particularly after the DL stints of most notably CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte.

It’s hard to believe that September is right around the corner.  I guess we will soon be inundated with magic numbers.  There is only one number I am concerned about…#28.  Let’s go, Yankees!

–Scott

 

$189 Million by 2014 or bust…

 

His accounting degree was the first tip-off…

So, it’s true that the fiscal conservative in Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is coming to the forefront.  It’s clear that the Yankees have shown considerable restraint in their financial decisions in recent years and none more evident than this off-season when the Yankees watched and let others pay exorbitant dollars for free agent talent.  It was widely rumored that the Yankees have their eye on 2014 and the desire to get their payroll under the $189 million threshold for luxury tax purposes.  But now that Hal Steinbrenner is on record for the stated goal, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years.

While there are other guaranteed contracts, the most notable in 2014 will be Alex Rodriguez.  If he continues his deterioration as a star player, that $25 million in 2014 is going to look like a huge albatross.  I haven’t tallied the guaranteed dollars, but it’s clear that the next few years will see similar off-seasons like the one we just experienced.  No significant free agent signings, bargain basement ‘right before training camp’ deals like the one given to Raul Ibanez, and trades for young (and cheap) talent.  It will also mean the Yankees won’t overpay to retain talent, which probably shows the door to Nick Swisher.

Meanwhile, teams like the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers are profiting from regional TV deals (not to mention previous dollars they received through revenue sharing at the Yankees’ expense).  So, it will be other teams splurging on big talent, and the Yankees as a passive by-stander.  There is some logic in the team’s decision but I am concerned that it will bring an end to the winning run the Yankees have been on since the early 1990’s.  As a Yankees fan, the 1980’s were very difficult.  Yes, we were spoiled by George Steinbrenner’s win at all costs mentality, but 90 to 100 loss teams wearing the grand tradition of the pinstripes seems sacrilegious to me.  I am sure that the YES Network is not excited at that prospect either.  But if the stars, like A-Rod and Derek Jeter, continue to wither while eating up valuable salary dollars, the team is going to develop a Pittsburgh Pirates feel to it.  Very limited dollars to fill the holes.

In many respects, it is unfair that the salary threshold is equal among teams given the higher cost of living in New York, combined with the increased pressure that goes with playing on the biggest stage.  Once the ownership situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers is settled, there will be a slugfest in LA as the Dodgers spend to rebuild their legacy and prominence in the City of Angels.  Meanwhile, in New York, the Mets and Yankees will be scooping up the leftovers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

Okay, I might be a bit pessimistic but there will be a number of very difficult decisions to be made between now and 2014 as the Yankees attempt to reach their goal.  If the Yankees win the 2014 World Series, then credit Hal Steinbrenner for being one of the greatest owners in Yankees history.  If not, how long will it take to recover?…

Open mouth, insert foot…

You know, I don’t really care what Bobby Valentine is saying in Red Sox camp.  I know that if he were the Yankees manager, he’d be making disparaging remarks about the Sox.  It just goes with the territory when it comes to Bobby V.  Whatever helps him get motivated.  Speaking of Red Sox managers, it was really weird seeing the ESPN clips of Terry Francona in Yankees camp, hugging Yankees and talking with Joe Girardi and his coaches.  Unlike Valentine, I have a great deal of respect for Terry Francona.  Regardless, the Bobby V ingredient should make the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry very spicy this year.  It kind of sets the stage for Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays to steal the show…

I’m sure that A-Rod wasn’t saddened by the news…

Since I am on the topic of the Red Sox, I should say congratulations to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who announced his retirement today.  He was a hated players at times, but like Jorge Posada, his intensity was off the charts.  He is the kind of guy you hate on another team but you’d love to have him on your team.  I think his baseball career is only getting started as I see future success as a manager for him.  I could even see him being an eventual replacement for Bobby Valentine.  Regardless of what he decides to do, we haven’t heard the last of Tek.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…again…

Back to the Yankees, I am glad to see the return of third baseman Eric Chavez.  It took a long time…right up to the start of training camp…but it got done.  I liked Chavez in his years as an Oakland A, and while he isn’t the player he once was, he is a great role player and teammate.  He is also a very sorely needed third baseman given the fragility of the guy in front of him.  Yes, Chavez is an injury risk but if he can stay healthy, he’ll be an invaluable part of the 2012 Yankees.

The Seattle Mariners pipeline worked last time (Tino Martinez)…

I liked the Yankees signing of former Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma.  I don’t think he’ll be in the running for Mariano Rivera’s replacement when THAT day comes, but it was a low risk, high reward signing.  Having 7th and 8th inning options in late summer of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, and Aardsma is a manager’s dream.

Best wishes for a fast return…

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for former Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett.  In a batting incident the other day, a failed bunt attempt led to a broken right orbital bone in his face.  I was frustrated with Burnett as a Yankees pitcher, but I’ll never dispute that he is a great guy and a terrific teammate.  I am hoping that the move to Pittsburgh allows Burnett to flourish and hope the latest injury is not a precursor of things to come.

Don’t trip on the snow rounding first…

It is hard to think of baseball when it is snowing.  Snow has been a rare commodity in Minnesota this year, but we received slightly more than a dusting this week.  Living by Target Field, it’s strange to see the stadium and the surrounding snow while thinking that Joe Mauer and company are practicing to get ready to make the trip home to Minneapolis.  I have already bought my tickets for when the Red Sox and Yankees come to town, however, the Yankees don’t arrive in Minneapolis until late September.  I hope that AL East will be decided in the Yankees favor by that time…

Names I’ve known all of my adult life, and in some cases, when I was just a Daydream Believer…

Whitney Houston, Gary Carter and now Davy Jones?  This has not been a fun couple of weeks…

 

–Scott

Let’s pass on reclamation projects…

 

Pitching, pitching, pitching… 

The Yankees were very fortunate in the first half to get the mileage they did out of Bartolo Colon (even with his stay on the DL) and Freddy Garcia.  But two games into the second half, their performances have been very dismal as the Yanks have been crushed by the Toronto Blue Jays on successive days.

 

Yankees' starter Bartolo Colon is pulled in the first inning of a 16-7 loss to the Blue Jays.

Frank Gunn/AP

I think that both Colon and Garcia are capable to having respectable finishes to the season but all things considered, I’d rather go in a different direction.  I am sure that there is a good reason for why 8-game winner Ivan Nova is pitching for Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  I’d never claim to the talent evaluator that Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild are, but it would make more sense to me to let the younger pitcher grow and develop in the major league rotation.

Yankee scouts are out in full force scouring other major league ballparks.  I am sure that Brian Cashman has a short list of guys that he’d like to acquire even if he’d never publicly admit it.  I fully recognize that the trading deadline is not going to result in Felix Hernandez wearing pinstripes, but I am sure that there are a few arms out there capable of being major upgrades over Colon and Garcia.

The losses by Colon and Garcia aren’t just their faults.  This is a team game and the other guys simply did not pick up the veteran pitchers when they got hit hard. For whatever reason, the Blue Jays seem to have the Yankees number or at least they have for the last few years.  If the Yankees intend to win the division, they need to figure out how to beat Toronto and Boston since they haven’t really shown they are capable of beating either team.

 

The Villain…

I was surprised to see Derek Jeter crucified for not attending the All-Star Game in Phoenix.  While I think that he should have made an appearance at the game, I can understand and appreciate his reasons for not playing.  He had just finished a stint on the DL and he is vital to his team’s chances in the second half.  The ASG break was a good opportunity for DJ to ensure that he got good rest before resuming the rigors of every day play.  It’s not just Derek, I think any of the players who were voted as starters but withdrew for whatever reason should have made the trip to Phoenix to at least acknowledge the fans.

 

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter walks away after having words with home plate umpire Greg Gibson after striking out during the fifth inning of the Yankees' 7-1 loss in Toronto.

Frank Gunn/AP

Still, nobody received criticism for pulling out of the game like DJ did.  I know, that’s just life with the New York Yankees.

 

Give the young guy a shot…

I’d like to see the Yankees bring up Brandon Laird to give him a taste of third base at the major league level while Alex Rodriguez is on the DL.  It would be interesting to see what he could do in a platoon situation with Eduardo Nunez.  I would rather go that route than pursue an aging and high priced vet like Aramis Ramirez or someone like that.  Laird’s batting average leaves a little to be desired (.266) but he is driving in runs (47 RBI’s).

 

 

One if by land, two if by sea…

I was watching the Minnesota Twins play the Kansas City Royals on TV last night and I have to say that I am impressed with Minnesota’s Ben Revere.  The speedster lined a shot to right, and after he rounded second base, he started to fall and went into a somersault.  Yet, with his speed, he was still able to arrive at third ahead of the ball.  It was one of the most interesting triples that I’ve seen.

 

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune

The night didn’t fare very well for the Twins as their closer, Matt Capps, gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the top of the 9th in the 2-1 loss to the Royals.  Hosmer, by the way, is another young player that I am very impressed with.  As for Matt Capps, I wonder how much longer until Joe Nathan takes back his old job.  I know it all depends upon Nathan’s health, but Capps has been brutal.

 

Oh yeah, this is a pinstripe blog…

Back to the Yankees, they definitely need to find a way to salvage the series in Toronto today and tomorrow.  They have a tough four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg next week and they need to build some momentum going into the series.  There isn’t anyone better to have on the mound today than the great CC Sabathia.  Hopefully he’ll get his 14th win today…

Have a great weekend!

–Scott

 

I hit the ‘publish’ button too soon last night…

Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions  –Samuel Johnson

I expected a slowdown in Derek Jeter’s march to 3,000 hits but I didn’t anticipate a 15 day intermission until DJ can resume his hit parade.  I had been hoping that he could reach the illustrious milestone against this weekend’s opponent, the Chicago Cubs, but it was not meant to be as DJ was placed on the DL after straining his right calf.

It will be interesting to see what Eduardo Nunez can do for the next couple of weeks as the starting shortstop.  There is no chance that DJ is going to lose his job, but this is a great opportunity for Nunez to prove to the organization that he is capable replacement when the day does come for #2 to step down.

 

Eduardo Nunez

Paul J. Bereswill

 

What?  Was Ed Figueroa unavailable?…

Thursday’s starting pitcher is who?  It appears that Brian Gordon will be the starting pitcher for the Yankees on Thursday for the final game of their series with the Texas Rangers.  Pardon me if I don’t have the slightest clue who Gordon is.  He apparently opted out of his minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies to sign with New York.  I am assuming that he knows this is just a one start audition as Bartolo Colon will hopefully be back.  The 32 year old right-handed pitcher is a veteran of 15 minor league seasons.

 

Brian Gordon is in his 15th minor-league season. (Photo courtesy of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Ironically, Gordon made the switch from position player to pitcher after the 2006 season with the help of then Astros special assistant, Nolan Ryan.  Ryan, of course, is now the CEO and president of the team that Gordon will be facing on Thursday.

 

Sometimes the best trades are the ones never made, well, maybe not…

I wonder if the Kansas City Royals regret not trading Joakim Soria to the Yankees last year.  Soria has had his share of challenges this year, including losing his job briefly to Aaron Crow.  Meanwhile, the Royals are absolutely loaded with young talent as premier prospects Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have burst on the scene with more stellar talent on the way.  Add a few top Yankees prospects to the mix, and the Royals would clearly assert themselves as a contender for years to come.  They opted to keep Soria, but their future is still very bright.  It is just a question of how much brighter it could have been if they had been willing to part with the right pieces.

 

Ben Platt/MLB.com

If this year has proven anything to me, it is that you cannot rely on any relievers from year to year.  This year’s stud will be next year’s washout.  Well, unless your name is Mariano Rivera…

 

–Scott

 

Who was just called up?…


Who is Amaury Sanit?


TheTimes.Tribune.com


The newest Yankee is a
31-year-old career minor league reliever who was most recently with AAA
Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  A Cuban emigrant,
he is also the same pitcher that was suspended for 50 games in 2010 after
testing positive for a banned performance enhancing drug.  Infielder Ramiro Pena was sent down to make room for Sanit.  Pitcher Jess
Todd
, recently signed after being cut by the Cleveland Indians, was
released to clear space on the 40-man roster for Sanit. 

Despite giving up three runs
in 4 2/3 innings of work tonight, Sanit provided length after Ivan Nova
imploded (giving up 4 runs in the 2nd and 2 more in the 4th).  So much for the quality Nova starts…

The Yankees have a tough
stretch coming up as they face the Boston Red Sox and then the Tampa Bay
Rays.  For the three-game series against
the Sox this weekend, I have made yet another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  At stake is a bottle of wine.  If the Sox win, I will give Julia a bottle of
a Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend (aptly named Cabiovese) from a fantastic
boutique winery in Northern California’s Livermore Valley, Rodrigue Molyneaux
Winery (www.rmwinery.com).  The wine, which is 75% Sangiovese and 25%
Cabernet, was aged for 12 months in American Oak.  The blend of the Sangiovese’s high acidity
with the Cabernet’s tannin structure makes for an incredibly smooth wine.  Of course, the Sox won’t win so I’ll just
drink the Cabiovese myself!  If I win,
then Julia has to pick a wine from the New England region to send to me.  Somehow, I just don’t think that’s going to
compare with Livermore Valley!  ;)



As a Lakers fan, it was sad
to see the season come to an abrupt end at the hands of a sweep by the Dallas
Mavericks.  It’s ironic that the Lakers
were defeated by Dallas given that I was a Mavericks fan for the 14 years I
lived in the city, but that was long ago. 
When I was a Mavericks fan, Rolando
Blackman
was the star and Roy
Tarpley
was the problem child.  It
was also pre-Mark Cuban.  My biggest disappointment with the Lakers
loss is that Phil Jackson deserved a
better farewell.  Still, he leaves as
perhaps the premier coach in NBA history. 
I wish the Zen Master the very best for whatever he decides to do next.  I’d like to see Phil stay connected with the
NBA so a TV role would be fantastic unless he aspires to be an exec with a
team.  It would be great for us as fans
to experience the wit and wisdom of the legendary coach. 


MyLakers.com


My other sports team, the
NHL’s San Jose Sharks, is also having its own set of problems.  Once possessing a commanding 3-0 series lead
against the storied Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks face a do-or-die situation
tonight in Game 7.  The Sharks are the
more talented team, but time will tell if talent will prevail or if it will be
the gut, guile and determination of a championship Detroit squad. 

I’d mention the Minnesota
Vikings to get a full representation for all of my teams, but of course with
the lockout, QB Christian Ponder is
probably sitting by the pool, sipping Mojitos…

Lastly, I will be participating
in the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco
on Sunday.  Being San Francisco, you see
about everything which is probably more than you ever wanted to, but it is
still a fun experience.  From the
Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean, the day is a thrill.  There’s nothing like getting slapped by
hurled pancakes at the starting line, and of course, enduring the drive up the
Hayes Street Hill.  But it’s always a
thrill to reach Golden Gate Park.  This
will be my fourth time with the run, and the first in an odd year. 


Reader photo from the 2009 Bay to Breakers.

sfphotoguy.com 


–Scott


Yet Another No-Name Pitcher…


I guess that A-Rod should have held one of those
homers in reserve for Sunday…



Good Bad Ugly.JPG

 


The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense against
Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City Royals as the former number
one Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick but still a no-name 29-year-old journeyman  earned his first major league victory in beating the Yankees
1-0.  



Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger



On the other side was loser A.J.
Burnett, who was magnificent if you throw out the first inning. 



Yanks blanked by Bullington, Royals, 1-0

John Rieger/US Presswire

 


On Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez homered three
times (the first time he has accomplished the feat since 2005).  However, the last homer merely padded the
score as the Yankees coasted to the 8-3 win. 
It’s too bad that he couldn’t have waited until Sunday to homer.  Any offense at all would have probably won
the game.  But like Derek Jeter said, the
way Bullington was pitching, there was no way they were going to beat him. 

 

The Yankees have been very pedestrian thus far in
August.  They are 6-8, and have been
underperforming in every series.  They
have the occasional outbursts like Saturday night, but they have not been able
to sustain any success.  If the Tampa Bay
Rays didn’t encounter their own struggles, they most likely would be in first
place today.  As it is, they are just one
game behind the Yankees after another solid performance by Jeremy Hellickson, a
native Iowan like myself.  If the Yankees
don’t kick it into gear soon, they’ll be left to fight for Wild Card
scraps.  The team is certainly capable of
getting on a roll and reeling off 10 straight victories, so the sooner the
better.

 

I was afraid that today was going to feature a
sluggish Yankee performance.  I was
reading the LoHud Yankees blog before the game, and they posted a report that
it was a lazy Sunday morning in the clubhouse with absolutely nothing going on.  To me, that translated to a lack of energy
and the team was just ready to board the plane to return home.  Unfortunately, it showed up in how they
played today against the Royals.  Nothing
against Bullington, he pitched a great game, but then again, he had a receptive
audience… 
L



 


Now, the Yankees head home to face former teammates
Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson, and the Detroit Tigers.  If they play like they played in Kansas City,
the results won’t be favorable.



Johnny Damon Detroit Tigers

AP

 

I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (obviously),
however, I am glad to see that Dustin Pedroia will return to second base for
the Sox on Tuesday night.  He will also
be celebrating his 27th birthday, so birthday wishes are in order
for the Sox warrior.  I certainly do not
want to see the Sox get on a roll, but it will be good to see Pedey back at
second for “those” guys.



David Ortiz (left) and Dustin Pedroia (right) celebrated Pedroia's first inning homer.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 


Somewhere my friend Julia is on vacation and loving
every minute of today’s Yankees loss…





 Enjoy Pedey’s birthday, Julia…


–Scott


It Wasn’t My Idea to Start Mitre…

 

IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…

 

 


Stinky.JPG 

 

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. 

 

 

Ivan Nova

 

 

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.

 

 

Yankees lose to Royals, 7-4. A-Rod goes without a home run.

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

 

No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.

 

 

Yankees lose to Royals, 7-4. A-Rod goes without a home run.

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. 

 

 

Sean O'Sullivan Pitcher Sean O'Sullivan #55 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles on July 4, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.

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! 

 

 

Yankees lose to Royals, 7-4. A-Rod goes without a home run.

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

–Scott

 

Applause for the Career Hit!…

 

Milestone achieved at Yankee Stadium but not that one…

 

 

New York Yankees vs Kansas City Royalss at Yankee Stadium on July 23, 2010.

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

On a night when everyone was watching and hoping for the 600th home run by Alex Rodriguez (which he failed to do), Jorge Posada delivered his 1000th RBI of his career.  He hit a RBI double in the first inning off Kansas City Royals starter Brian Bannister.

 

 

 

Jorge Posada 1000 RBI Yankees Royals

Al Bello/Getty Images

 

A.J. Burnett looked much better in the 7-1 win over the Royals.  His performance was shortened by a rain delay which limited him to 5 innings, but he only gave up 4 hits and no runs.  He also walked a batter, and struck out 3.  It was enough for A.J. to even his mark at 8-8, as relievers Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo secured the victory for him.  Albaladejo’s stay with the Yankees was brief as he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for today’s starter, Sergio Mitre (who was activated off the DL).

 

 

New York Yankees vs the Kansas City Royals, Friday July 23, 2010

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger

 

 

A-Rod went 2-for4 but no home runs in his quest for 600.  In today’s game, he will face the pitcher who gave up his 500th career home run (Kyle Davies).  Hopefully, Alex will get the home run sooner rather than later so that he can move on.  I remember watching when Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run, and how magical the night was.  I realize it won’t be like that for Alex, given his steroids admission, but it is still a monumental feat.  Hitting home runs takes great hand/eye coordination and Alex, regardless of his past admissions, is still one of the better players of his era. 

 

 

New York Yankees vs Kansas City Royalss at Yankee Stadium on July 23, 2010.

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

Nick Swisher missed the game when he woke up with soreness in his Achilles heel.  He had been penciled in to start in right.  Colin Curtis, who has really proven that he is a good hitter, took his place.  Curtis will get another start today in place of Brett Gardner in left.  Gardner is dealing with an acid reflux problem that apparently dates back to his childhood.  Swisher is still out so Marcus Thames will start in right. 

 

There have been rumors that the Yankees are talking with the Arizona Diamondbacks about starting pitcher Dan Haren, but all reports this morning are that the teams are far apart and nothing is imminent.  I know that I voiced frustration with Joba Chamberlain in my last post, but I would hate to see him go to Arizona for Haren.  I keep hearing that the D-Backs want a major league ready pitcher in addition to prospects, so it is very unlikely the Yankees could get Haren for, say, Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister.  It just seems that the price tag would be too high, not to mention Haren’s high salary.  He is certainly no Cliff Lee, so it would be very hard for me to justify paying a King’s ransom for him.  I know that I want another option in the starting rotation than Mitre, but I suspect the Yankees will wait until closer to the deadline when there is a greater sense of urgency for teams to move certain guys.  Perhaps the Yankees make no moves, but if there is none out there that make sense, then they should pass.  Hopefully, guys like Curtis and Albaladejo can step up to fill crucial needs.

 

 

AP

 

–Scott

The 8th Inning Highwire Act Continues…

The Yankees won, but I am growing tired of Joba
Chamberlain…


Tired.JPG

 


The Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals
tonight, 10-4.  The game was actually
much closer than the score might indicate. 
With the Yanks ahead 6-4 in the 8th inning, Joba started the
inning in relief of David Robertson. 
Robertson had entered the game an inning earlier in place of CC Sabathia
with two men on base and one out.  He got
both batters out that the faced, and I would have stayed with the hot hand, at
least for one more inning.  Nevertheless,
Joe Girardi remained committed to Chamberlain. 
After getting the first batter out, the next two hitters reached on
infield singles.  He struck out the rusty
Rick Ankiel (who had been activated off the DL earlier in the day), but walked
Billy Butler to load the bases. 
Fortunately, Jose Guillen hit into a fielder’s choice, but had he gotten
a hit, the game would have taken a completely different turn.  Joba should be thankful he was facing the
Royals and not the Angels, Rangers, or Rays.  
Is this what it was like when former Orioles manager Earl Weaver
referred to his closer as “Fullpack”?  I
always get so uneasy when Joba enters the game. 
I am not sure how much long I will be in support of him remaining with
the team.  At some point, a change of
scenery might do him wonders.

 


SA siberia

Stockphoto.com



The Royals broke out to an early 2-0 lead against
CC Sabathia, who was making his first start as a 30-something pitcher (he
turned 30 yesterday).  The Yankees
quickly answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.  The Royals added a run in the 2nd
inning to move in front again, and it remained that way until the bottom of the
3rd when Derek Jeter hit a shot to center.  David DeJesus, one of those all-out kind of
players, went for the ball and actually had it momentarily when he crashed into
the wall but lost it in the collision. 
DJ, running at full steam, motored around for his first inside-the-park
home run since 1996, which tied the game at 3.  



Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger



DeJesus was removed from the game and it was later announced that he had
sprained his thumb. 



Kansas City Royals center fielder David DeJesus lies on the ground after running into the wall trying to catch a ball hit by New York Yankees' Derek Jeter in the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, July 22, 2010, in New York. Jeter ended up with an inside-the-park home run. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kathy Willens/AP

 

The Yanks picked up a couple of runs in the 5th
and gave up a run on a Jorge Posada throwing error in the 6th,
but the hit of the night occurred in the bottom of the 7th when Alex
Rodriguez homered for the 599th time in his career to put the Yanks
up 6-4.



Alex Rodriguez 599th home run

Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th
after Joba had escaped the bases loaded jam to put the game out of reach.  It was a huge night for A-Rod, who went
3-for-5 with 4 RBI’s.  Mark Teixeira also
went 3-for-5, with a RBI, to continue showing that his slump is definitely
over.  Nick Swisher had another great
night with 2 RBI’s.  Defensively, it was
a great night for Brett Gardner, who threw out two runners including one at the
plate to end the top of the 5th. 

 

With the win, the Yankees lead on the Tampa Bay
Rays in the AL East has been restored at 3 games. 

 

On Tuesday, Sean O’Sullivan had just been called up
by the Los Angeles Angels from Triple A Salt Lake City and found out that he’d
be starting against the Yankees when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.  Despite a rocky first inning, O’Sullivan was
the winner in the 10-2 romp over the Yanks. 
Today, he is a member of the Kansas City Royals.  Earlier in the day, he was traded by the
Angels to the Royals, along with a minor league pitcher Will Smith, for third
baseman Alberto Callaspo.  So, within
days of making the trip to New York City, he is on his way back to join the
Royals.



Article Tab : Sean O'Sullivan beat the Yankees for the Angels on Tuesday. He could make his Royals debut back at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

AP

 


The tributes for owner George Steinbrenner continue
as the Yankees unveiled a 40 foot banner above the home bullpen (just
underneath the Hess and Budweiser billboards) honoring the Boss.  He is the man responsible for the new
ballpark so it is only fitting that his name be prominently displayed.

 

Speaking of tributes, the Yankees will wear black
sleeve bands (directly beneath the patch honoring Bob Sheppard) in memory of
former manager Ralph Houk who died yesterday. 
With any more patches, the Yankees jersey would look like a Nascar race
car.  Hopefully, there will be no more
deaths in the Yankees family for the duration of the year.  This has definitely been a very difficult
month.


–Scott


 

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