Results tagged ‘ Seattle ’

No Fan of DH by Committee…

 

All I want are a few home runs…

Lately, more has been written about the potential of the Yankees signing someone like Raul Ibanez to fill the void at DH.  Given all available options, he is probably as good as any, plus he most likely would understand his role if he was offered and accepted a contract with the Yanks.  He’s still got some pop in his bat, and he could occasionally take the field when/if needed.  I am not overly enthused about a former Phillie being on the team, but Ibanez is a former teammate of A-Rod’s from their Seattle days together.

It would be preferable to see a former Yank, i.e., Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon, if for no other reason than what they’ve already accomplished in pinstripes.  I recognize that Ibanez might be the better fit in 2012, even if he is pushing 40.

In his days with the Montreal Expos, Vladimir Guerrero was one of my favorite players but at this point, I don’t really see him as an option.

He looks great…in a different uniform…

Whatever the Yankees do, I hope they are successful in moving A.J. Burnett.  This one is tough, because I was so in favor of his signing when he first came to the Yankees.  I always admired his arm when he played for the Florida Marlins and later with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He’s largely been a disappointment since the successful 2009 voyage.  There have been flashes of brilliance, but more times than not, his performances have ended on a disappointing note.  Some guys are better served in less pressurized environment, and Burnett would probably excel in a place like San Diego.  If Burnett doesn’t make the starting rotation, I think he would be a distraction to the team in the bullpen.  Therefore, best case scenario would be to move Burnett. Of course, that means he will be accompanied by lots of cash to pay his freight, but sometimes its addition by subtraction.  Sadly for Burnett, that time is now.

“Manny being Manny”…

As for the rotation, my preference is to give Phil Hughes the opportunity to either grab hold of his place on the team or perhaps prove that it is time for him to seek employment elsewhere.  If the latter situation occurs, Dellin Betances should be ready to step in to fill the void (or Freddy Garcia, if he is kept on the roster).  Manny Banuelos will probably make noise this year, but he’ll probably not surface on the major league level until late this year.  Now, if Banuelos comes to Tampa this spring with a ‘refuse to lose’ mentality and takes the job (much like Michael Pineda did last year with the Seattle Mariners), so be it.  Banuelos is the eventual star of the rotation, with Pineda.

Striving to be regular contributors to the daily Transactions column…

I was surprised to see the Boston Red Sox trade starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies.  It’s being said that the move was made to free payroll to sign a free agent pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.  Personally, I think it was a move to set up another move, in addition to rebuilding the rotation.  I would be surprised if the Red Sox broke camp with the tandem of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto as their starting shortstop.  I keep hearing that a trade for the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez is out of the question, but somehow I could still see that happening.  Whatever happens, I do expect the Sox to break camp with a quality shortstop, in other words, someone not named Aviles or Punto…

The Prince of Bel Air?…

It’s too bad that the Los Angeles Dodgers are still an organization in a state of flux until new ownership can take over.  It would make so much sense for the Dodgers to go after free agent first baseman Prince Fielder, and it would be a move that would help begin the healing process for the Dodger fan base, who have suffered under the reign of Frank McCourt.  A lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Fielder would certainly steal some thunder from the Albert Pujols-led Angels.

Checkmate…

There’s still a lot of drama to unfold before pitchers and catchers report next month.  The Yankees and Mariners should finally be in position to announce the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade early this week.  Hopefully, that will open the gridlock at DH and set the stage for other moves that will hopefully produce the 28th World Championship in franchise history.  Whatever happens, I am ready for some baseball…

–Scott

Disappointment replaced by Optimism…

 

After some thought, I’ve come around…

Now that I’ve had time to digest the Friday night whirlwind that brought pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda to the Bronx, my initial disappointment was evaporated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the power potential of Jesus Montero, and I know full well that he’ll be as devastating against the Yankees as Jay Buhner was if not more.  But I recognize that from a position of need, a top of the rotation starter is better than a player without a position.

Ever since I first heard Jesus Montero’s name, it always included a statement that he’d eventually have to find a new position because he would outgrow catcher.  The obvious moves would be to either first base or left field, but last time I checked, both of those positions were occupied by long-term tenants.  Putting an offensive juggernaut at DH is great for offense but it does nothing to help with the defensive aspects of catching or learning a new position.  With Russell Martin in the fold for the foreseeable future, there was no way that Montero would gain the starting position at catcher.  Martin’s ability to handle the pitching staff is simply too important to the team even if his bat is nothing remotely close to Montero.

With Montero, I was always worried about the other young Yankee catchers.  Of course, there’s Francisco Cervelli on the active roster.  If Montero were to take the backup catching job, where would that leave Cervelli?  Most likely playing for the Twins, backing up oft-injured Joe Mauer or someone like that.  I like the defensive reports that I’ve heard about both Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, but if their path was clogged by Martin and Montero, where did that leave them?  Sanchez needs more time in the minors, but Romine is nearing major league ready status.  With an injury or two, I fully expect him to get his chance to make an impression at Yankee Stadium in 2012.  The trade of Montero ensures that Romine will get his major league opportunity with the Yankees so that’s a good thing.  He doesn’t have Montero’s bat (who does?) but good defense is essential for championships.

Maybe just tell us who the Yankees haven’t talked to…

As for the DH slot, it seems like the Yankees have expressed interest in about everyone.  There have been reports they’ve spoken to the agents for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui.  There are pros and cons with all three players, but whoever the Yankees bring on board will have to share time at DH with Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, and Derek Jeter so I’d be okay with any of the three.  I’ve always liked the clutch bats of Damon and Matsui, and the swing for the fences power of Pena is nice even if the average is hovering slightly above the Mendoza line.  With all the reports that the Yankees only have a $1 million or two to spend on a DH, I half expect a report that they’ve talked to Reggie Jackson!  Okay, that might be a stretch, but I’d consider letting ‘all or nothing’ slugger Jorge Vazquez.  He does deserve a shot.  If not, the Yanks should cut him loose and let him pursue a team that will.

If Jorge Posada had embraced the DH role last year, he’d be on his way back to the Bronx for an encore performance…

Upon second thought…

As for the pitching staff, my initial prediction about the rotation order was flawed.  I recognize that Micheal Pineda is the clear #2 in the rotation.  I’ve seen Ivan Nova slotted at #4, but I’d still keep him at #3 at least until he gives reason to drop him in the order.  I think Kuroda is a great addition, but he has to adjust to the American League in the most difficult division, while moving from a pitcher’s ballpark to a park that is less forgiving.  So, I’d give Nova time for pinstripes served and put him ahead of Kuroda.  After the former Dodger, it’s anybody’s guess who will win out…Phil Hughes, my personal favorite; Freddy Garcia, probably the better choice among the pitchers in terms of consistency; and A.J. Burnett, the candidate for most likely to depart the Bronx if the Yanks can find a willing trade partner that wants Burnett…and a boatload of cash to pay that ridiculous salary.  What happens if either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances pitches “lights out” in training camp?  This is going to be an interesting battle.

He’s really a cousin of Alcides and Kelvim Escobar?…

Back to Friday night’s trade, I was a bit dismayed when I saw that pitcher Hector Noesi had been included in the trade.  I kept hearing that his ceiling was the back end of the rotation but there was something that I liked about the pitcher.  At first, I didn’t know anything about the “other” Mariner included in the deal, Jose Campos.  But since the initial report of the trade, I’ve come to realize that he has great potential.  At 19, he’s 6’4” and throws in the mid 90’s.  He’ll more than make up for Noesi and fits a better timeline in terms of being major league ready given the high level pitching prospects already in the organization (Banuelos and Betances, for example).  The Curtis Granderson trade has been labeled as a ‘win-win-win’ for all concerned.  Hopefully, this M’s-Yankees trade will meet a similar fate.

What would I expect Bobby V to say?…

Contrary to what Bobby Valentine may think, the Yankees are a better team today than they were last Thursday.  But, I recognize the Boston Red Sox are not done yet.  They signed former Dodger pitcher Vicente Padilla today (a guy I loathe personally) and there’s rumors they could go after Roy Oswalt if they can move payroll.  I still think Boston could be a player for Cubs starter Matt Garza given Theo Epstein’s knowledge of the Red Sox minor league prospects.  Whether Ben Cherington or rather Larry Lucchino would trade with Epstein is another matter.  Still, I think there are changes to be made on both the Yankees and Red Sox between now and training camp.  Last year, I saw a Red Sox friend predict 118 or 119 wins for Boston.  Teams look great on paper, but as they say, the ‘proof is in the pudding’!

Moneyball II, starring Jorge Garcia…

It’s hard to think of the Oakland A’s signing former Yankees starter Bartolo Colon as a low-cost, high reward “Moneyball” kind of move.  At 39, I don’t think there’s really any upside to Colon at this point and in my opinion, he’s not capable of sustaining a full season of starts.  I’d rather have Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill in the rotation, but I guess since those are no longer options, they have to look at the scrap heap that served the Yankees so well last season.

Yes, I know the way to San Jose!…

Speaking of Oakland, I do hope they are successful in their desire to move to San Jose.  As a former San Jose resident, I think it’s very exciting for the city and its metro area to be on the verge of landing both the A’s and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to go with the NHL’s Sharks.  I saw that A’s owner bought the famed Hotel Sainte Claire in downtown San Jose.  He already owns one hotel in San Jose so I guess you can’t read too much into it, but he’s definitely positioning himself for the growth and excitement that San Jose could see in the coming years.  I’d be happy with a Stanley Cup Championship this year, but that’s a little off-topic…

I really don’t forsee another 99 losses when you place character first…

I was a little surprised to see the Minnesota Twins sign former Detroit Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya.  He suffered his devastating arm injury at Target Field in 2010.  So, in terms of Karma, you’d think that he’d avoid Target Field like the plague.   But I read comments in this morning’s paper about how he was touched by the reception he received from the Twins fans as he left the field that fateful day.  Stories like that certainly make me feel honored to be a Minneapolis resident, but I was still surprised by Zumaya’s decision.  I wish him the best as he begins the Comeback Trail.  Hopefully he can get back to the level he was before.  For the Twins, with Joe Nathan in Texas and Matt Capps scheduled to close games, they need Zumaya as the pitcher he once was and hopefully will be again.

When it’s tough being the son of Donnie Baseball, come home to the Bronx!…

Before I go, I want to say that I am really hopeful that the Yankees organization proves to be a blessing for former Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly.  I’ve always heard what a great athlete he is/was when he was younger.  I don’t know what happened through his time in the Dodgers and Indians organizations and I realize that he is getting a bit long in tooth for a prospect, but I really hope that he can find some level of success with the Yankees.  It would be very cool to see Mattingly make a debut at Yankee Stadium at some point in the future.  Who knows if it is in the cards, but being a late bloomer is not outside of the realm of possibility when it comes to someone with his bloodline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that we are just a month away from training camp.  I’m excited and looking forward to a great season.

 

–Scott

Didn’t see that one coming…

Yeah, but at what price?…

I am bummed…

After years of trade rumors involving Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, I thought he was finally home free and slated to be a member of the 2012 Yankees unless a trade for the seemingly untouchable Felix Hernandez were to materialize.  So, to hear tonight’s news that the Yankees have traded Montero to the Seattle Mariners is a shock since it did not involve the aforementioned King Felix.

I was perusing the MLB Trade Rumors tonight when I saw the blurb that the Mariners were close to acquiring an “young impact hitter”.  Of course, there aren’t too many guys that fit that description and Montero is near or at the top of the list.  I didn’t suspect a King Felix trade since there have been no signals that the Mariners are interested in trading him, so my immediate reaction was the fear of trading Montero for something else.  My fear has been justified as the word has come the Yankees traded Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi, a potential candidate for the starting rotation, to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league pitcher Jose Campos.  I  know nothing about Campos (whether he is a high or mid level prospect or just fodder for the lower leagues).  So, this trade was clearly about Pineda, 22, who made the All-Star Team as a fill-in for Justin Verlander last year during his rookie season.  I recognized that Pineda was a quality pitcher, and I had him on a few of my fantasy baseball teams.

But still, I bought into the hype that Montero was going to be an offensive force.  I recognized that he was a liability at catcher, and that Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli represent the best catching tandem at the moment until Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are ready to advance.  To ask a young player to start at DH does seem to be a poor major league decision, but I was looking forward to seeing Montero star in pinstripes.  His bat would have found a good spot in the starting lineup.  Maybe a few years down the road, this trade will look great for the Yankees if Pineda wins the Cy Young or becomes the ace of the staff.  But right now, I am just shocked.  It’s not the type of move that one can embrace or create excitement among the fan base.  I truly would have preferred a short term deal to Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt as opposed to giving up young, quality talent.  I also liked Noesi, and knew that he was a viable candidate for the starting rotation.

At the moment, and this could change in time, I think the advantage goes to the Seattle Mariners.  I am assuming that they have the young pitching talent, to go with Noesi, to find a suitable replacement for Pineda in the rotation.  Meanwhile, they get one of the best young bats in the game today.  This takes a little heat off first baseman Justin Smoak so perhaps now he can thrive.  Right now, I rate the Yankees rotation as CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and A.J. Burnett.  This means that Freddy Garcia is the pitcher most likely to be cut unless the Yankees can find a home for Burnett.

Maybe he missed pitching to #55…

Okay, after an off-season of solitude, Friday the 13th has just become Yankees Night.  The latest word is the Yankees have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  Based on recent reports, I had expected Kuroda to sign with the Boston Red Sox.  Bobby Valentine’s experience with Japanese players, in my mind, gave the Sox the clear advantage.  Regardless of what transpired and why he decided to come to New York (Russell Martin?), he’s an innings-eater and fits nicely in the back of the rotation.  So, if the news of Kuroda’s signing is accurate, I need to update my starting rotation…CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and Kuroda (although an argument could be made for why Hughes should be at the back end of the rotation).  The wild card is Hughes, so do the Yankees keep Burnett for long relief and a potential return to the starting rotation if Hughes falters or do they simply cut their losses?  I suspect that it will be the latter with Freddy Garcia held in reserve.  I also think this virtually confirms that we’ll see Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos in the starting rotation at some point during the season.

My second favorite team is my National League favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers, so I have to say that I enjoyed the starts I saw from Kuroda in his Dodger days.  He may be older, but he’s a quality pitcher.  He’s not going to shut down the opposition but he’s going to keep you in the game.  I would have preferred Edwin Jackson if no other reason than age (and Jackson’s ability to occasionally be a very dominating pitcher).  But still, it’s hard to find fault with the Kuroda signing.  I’d rather go with Kuroda over Roy Oswalt.  I’ve got to believe that the Yankees figured out the game plan for A.J. Burnett before the events of today unfolded so it’s likely that another deal is forthcoming before pitchers and catchers head for Tampa next month.

The fingerprints of Cash or Hal?…

I always wonder on these types of days if these moves were effected by GM Brian Cashman or if Hank and Hal Steinbrenner got bored and decided to take matters into their own hands.  I am not sure that there’s a move out there that could excite me at this point, but there’s no question the Yankees have a better rotation.  My primary concern still remains a quality backup third baseman for those inevitable A-Rod absences (i.e., trips to the DL).  But now, with Montero in Seattle and Posada on the beach waiting for Old Timer’s Day, who is going to be the DH?  At the moment, it’s a DH by committee with a rotation of A-Rod, Andruw Jones, and others.  It does make one believe that there is a potential acquisition for a veteran hitter in the making.  Bring back Johnny Damon?  It’s certainly within the realm of possibility.

The sleeping giant has awakened…

I know the Yankees objective is to get under $189 million in salary by 2014, but the team is always a sleeping giant.  If the Texas Rangers can come up with $51 million just to talk to Yu Darvish, you know the Yankees are capable of so much more.  It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks unfold.  After a season of inactivity, the Hot Stove League just got warmed up for the Yankees…

–Scott

Your Attention Please…A Yankee Great Remembered…

The “Voice of God” has been silenced…



Bob Sheppard Yankees

Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger

 


The voice of Yankees Stadium, Bob Sheppard, has
passed away at the age of 99.  Sheppard’s
health did not allow him to handle the PA duties at the new Yankee Stadium, so
he will forever be linked as a part of the old Yankee Stadium which ended its
run following the 2008 season. 
Sheppard’s last game was September 17, 2007.

 

Paul Olden has been the PA announcer since the team
opened the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, however, Derek Jeter has continued to
use a recorded tape of Sheppard’s voice to announce his plate appearances.  He’ll continue the practice even though
Sheppard has departed.

 

I am glad that I had the numerous opportunities to
hear Sheppard’s voice at the old Stadium. 
He will always be a huge part of Yankees history, and his voice will
live on.

 

It’s incredible to think of the players that
Sheppard announced over the course of his career.  His first game was April 17, 1951, which,
ironically, was also Mickey Mantle’s first game.  Here is the box score from the game:

 

April 17, 1951 at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees 5, Boston Red Sox 0

Red Sox

AB

R

H

RBI

Dom DiMaggio, cf

3

0

2

0

Billy Goodman, rf

3

0

1

0

Ted Williams, lf

3

0

1

0

Vern Stephens, 3b

4

0

0

0

Walt Dropo, 1b

4

0

1

0

Bobby Doerr, 2b

4

0

0

0

Lou Boudreau, ss

4

0

1

0

Buddy Rosar, c

2

0

0

0

Bill Wight, p

2

0

0

0

   Ellis
Kinder, p

0

0

0

0

   Charlie
Maxwell, p

1

0

0

0

   Mickey
McDermott, p

0

0

0

0

Totals

30

0

6

0

 

Yankees

AB

R

H

RBI

Jackie Jensen, lf

4

2

2

2

Phil Rizzuto, ss

3

1

0

0

Mickey Mantle, rf

4

1

1

1

Joe DiMaggio, cf

4

0

1

1

Yogi Berra, c

2

0

1

1

Johnny Mize, 1b

3

0

0

0

   Joe
Collins, 1b

0

0

0

0

Billy Johnson, 3b

2

0

0

0

Jerry Coleman, 2b

3

1

2

0

Vic Raschi, p

2

0

0

0

Totals

27

5

7

5

 

Boston Red Sox

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

-

 

0

New York Yankees

0

0

2

 

0

0

3

 

0

0

x

-

 

5

 

E-Boudreau (1). 
DP-Boston 2 (Wight-Boudreau-Dropo, Boudreau-Doerr-Dropo), New York 3 (DiMaggio-Mize,
Rizzuto-Coleman-Mize, Rizzuto-Coleman-Collins).  2B-NY Jensen (1, off Wight).  HR-NY Jensen (1, 3rd inning off
Wight, 1 on 1 out).  Team LOB-7.  SH-Raschi (1, off Wight), Rizzuto (1, off
Wight).  Team-2.  U-HP-Bill McGowan, 1B-Bill McKinley, 2B-Jim
Honochick, 3B-Hank Soar.  T-2:12.  A-44,860.

 

Red Sox

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Bill Wight (L, 0-1)

5.0

7

5

5

2

1

Ellis Kinder

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

Mickey McDermott

2.0

0

0

0

0

1

Totals

8.0

7

5

5

2

2

 

Yankees

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Vic Raschi (W, 1-0)

9.0

6

0

0

4

6

Totals

9.0

6

0

0

4

6


For Bob Sheppard’s final game, the Yankees won
again to bookend his legendary career with wins.

 

September 17, 2007 at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees 8, Baltimore Orioles 5

Orioles

AB

R

H

RBI

Brian Roberts, 2b

4

2

2

0

Tike Redman, cf

5

1

2

1

Nick Markakis, rf

5

1

2

3

Miguel Tejada, ss

2

0

0

0

   Luis
Hernandez, ph

1

0

0

0

Kevin Millar, 1b

5

0

3

0

Aubrey Huff, dh

4

0

1

1

Melvin Mora, 3b

5

0

1

0

Ramon Hernandez, c

4

0

1

0

Jay Payton, lf

4

1

1

0

   Brandon
Fahey, lf

0

0

0

0

Totals

39

5

13

5

 

Yankees

AB

R

H

RBI

Johnny Damon, cf

4

0

0

0

Derek Jeter, ss

5

1

2

0

Bobby Abreu, rf

5

0

2

2

Alex Rodriguez, 3b

3

0

1

1

Hideki Matsui, lf

5

1

1

1

Jorge Posada, c

5

1

3

0

Jason Giambi, dh

1

2

0

0

   Shelley
Duncan, pr-dh

0

0

0

0

Robinson Cano, 2b

4

1

2

1

Doug Mientkiewicz, 1b

1

1

1

2

Totals

33

8

13

8

 

Baltimore Orioles

2

0

0

 

0

0

0

 

1

0

2

-

 

5

New York Yankees

0

2

1

 

2

0

2

 

0

1

x

-

 

8

 

2B-Roberts (41, off Hughes), Markakis (41, off
Hughes), Millar (25, off Hughes), Payton (21, off Ramirez), Huff (31, off
Rivera), Cano (37, off Cabrera), Abreu (36, off Hoey), Jeter (33, off
Birkins).  HR-Matsui (24, 3rd
inning off Cabrera, 0 on 2 out). 
RBI-Markakis 3 (103), Redman (13), Huff (69), Mientkiewicz 2 (18),
Matsui (95), Cano (85), Damon (59), Abreu 2 (98), Rodriguez (142).  S-Mientkiewicz.  SF-Rodriguez.  LOB-Balt 11, NYY 12.  SB-Redman (5).  DP-NYY 1 ( Cano-Mientkiewicz).  U-HP-Jeff Kellogg, 1B-Eric Cooper, 2B-Andy
Fletcher, 3B-Mike Reilly.  T-3:54.  A-52,548.

 

Orioles

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Daniel Cabrera (L, 9-18)

5.0

8

6

6

3

5

Jim Hoey

1.1

2

1

1

1

1

Kurt Birkins

1.1

3

1

1

3

1

Radhames Liz

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

8.0

13

8

8

7

7

 

Yankees

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Phil Hughes (W, 5-3)

5.2

6

2

2

2

3

Edwar Ramirez (H, 3)

1.0

3

1

1

0

1

Luis Vizcaino (H, 13)

1.1

1

0

0

0

2

Kyle Farnsworth

0.2

2

2

2

1

0

Mariano Rivera (S, 30)

0.1

1

0

0

0

1

Totals

9.0

13

5

5

3

7

 


So long, Bob Sheppard.  Joltin’ Joe and the Mick are waiting for you
to announce their next game…

 

Hoff/NY Daily News



Saturday night, the Yankees lost a
heart-breaker.  On a night, when Cliff
Lee gave up 6 earned runs in the Baltimore Orioles’ pounding of the Texas
Rangers, 6-1, the man who was mentioned as the likely odd man out had the
Lee-to-the-Yankees trade been successful was stellar.  Javier Vazquez, who probably would have been
dealt to a National League club, went 7 innings and have up only 3 hits and no
runs.  He struck out 7 batters, while
only walking 2.  He left with a 1-0 lead,
however, his replacement, Joba Chamberlain promptly allowed a couple of hits, a
wild pitch, and an intentional pass to load the bases in the bottom of the 8th
for Jose Lopez.  Showing that the Yankees
bullpen is a much greater need for GM Brian Cashman than starting pitching,
Lopez delivered Chamberlain’s offering into the seats for a grand slam.   The Yankees tried to rally in the top of the
9th but they couldn’t come through. 
So, what should have been an awesome night for Vazquez turned into yet
another disappointing Joba performance. 



Joba Chamberlain Yankees Oakland cropped file

Kyle Terada/US Presswire

 


Fortunately, the team rebounded on Sunday to win
big, 8-2, behind CC Sabathia.  It was CC’s
12th win of the season (12-3) which matches Tampa’s David Price for
the league lead.  Sunday saw the Big 3 of
the AL East win (New York, Tampa and Boston), but the Yankees (56-32) hold a two-game
edge over the Rays.  The Red Sox are 5
games back.  I was glad to see the
Yankees end the first half on a positive note, particularly after Saturday’s
tough loss.  The second half starts off
as intensely as the first half when the Yankees welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to
Yankee Stadium on Friday night.  But for
a now, a few days off (well, at least for only about ‘half’ the team!). 



 


Well, it is time for my final “forced” spotlight on
a Boston Red Sox player (thanks to a wager loss to Julia of Julia’s
Rants
).  I thought about a paragraph for
Dice-K or John Lackey or Adrian Beltre or Victor Martinez, but I decided to go
with a player that will be a fixture in the Red Sox rotation for years to come…


 

#11      Clay
Buchholz

 


Charles Krupa/AP



Clay burst onto the major league scene in 2007 with
a no-hitter in just his second major league start.  On September 1, 2007, against the Baltimore
Orioles, he became the first Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter and just the
third major league pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first and second start
since 1900. 



Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was hoisted up by catcher Jason Varitek after Buchholz pitched a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park last night, putting the perfect touch on a 10-0 victory.

Winslow Townson/AP

 

He was born in Lumberton, Texas, on August 14, 1984,
so he’ll just be 26 when his birthday rolls around next month.

 

Clay was drafted in 2005 as a supplement pick
received as compensation for the loss of free agent pitcher Pedro
Martinez.  I guess Pedro truly was the
gift that keeps on giving to the RSN. 

 

He made his first start against the Los Angeles
Angels on August 17, 2007, and picked up the win in the Red Sox victory. 

 

His stay in the majors would be interrupted by
injury and several trips to the minors for the next couple of yeas.  He started 2009 at Pawtucket, and came up in
July and won a total of 7 games through the duration of the year. 

 

In 2010, he picked up where he left off, and was,
for a time, the leading Red Sox pitcher with 10 wins (10-4, 2.47 ERA).  He injured his hamstring running the bases in
San Francisco in late June that led to a trip to the Disabled List, but he is
expected to start in Boston’s first series following the All-Star Break.  He and Jon Lester form a very deadly duo in
the Red Sox rotation, and both should be stalwarts in the rotation for a very
long time. 

 

Here is Clay’s scouting report from
SoxProspects.com:

 

Scouting Report: Buchholz has a low-to-mid-90s four-seam fastball, a two-seam
fastball with decent movement, a slider, a hard 12-to-6 curveball, and a
changeup. His fastball typically sits around 91-94 mph, topping out at about 97
mph. However, he let loose at the end of the 2006 season, and his fastball sat
around 96 mph. His plus changeup is generally a straight change that sits
around 78-82 mph; he also throws a circle change.  His curveball, the best
in the organization, sits between 76-81 mph with a knee-buckling bite.  On
any given night, Buchholz’s curve or change can be unhittable, and he tends to
rely on whichever one is on as his out pitch throughout the game.  His
slider, while average to above average, is a bit behind his other secondary
pitches and sits in the low-to-mid-80s.  Mixes in all of his pitches
phenomenally.  Good demeanor on the mound.  Pitches well under
pressure, pitching coaches have said he has ice water running through his
veins.  Nice pick-off move.  He has struggled with consistency early
in his big-league career, but otherwise has ace makeup. Might need to add and
maintain some weight to endure a full major league season. In September
2007, in just his second career major league start, Buchholz threw a no-hitter
against the Baltimore Orioles.   In 2008, he had major struggles with
command and confidence, leading to lackluster results. Returned to form in 2009.

 

Clay’s name has been mentioned in the past with
possible trades for the likes of Roy Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez.  With consistency and good heath, Clay should
make himself ‘untouchable’ and I have no doubt he’ll reach his potential as a
future ace for the Red Sox.    



AP


Julia, with that, I am done!  :)


–Scott

Racking Up Wins, But Still Disappointed…

 

First let me get the game out of the way, yeah, we
won 3-1 behind Alex Rodriguez’s two-run single in the top of the 9th
and excellent pitching by Andy Pettitte, blah, blah, blah…

 


Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte surrenders only five hits, including two by Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (b.), and strikes out nine batters in eight innings for his 11th win of the season.

Greule/Getty Images



Today had to be one of the most difficult days I’ve
experienced in recent memory.  I woke up
this morning to find the New York Post report that the Yankees were on the
verge of acquiring pitcher Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. 

 


Cliff Lee is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA in his first season with the Seattle Mariners.

Wenig/AP



All morning, I checked news reports and blogs to
see the progress of the trade. It sounded closer and closer.  First, it was mentioned that the Yankees
would send highly touted catcher (future first baseman?) Jesus Montero and
minor league second baseman David Adams to the Mariners.  Later, it was increased to include minor
league pitcher Zach McAllister.  As a
proponent of a Lee trade, I was in favor of the move despite the loss of top
young talent.  Montero will be a huge bat
in a future lineup regardless of where he plays.  I’ve envisioned him as Jorge Posada’s
replacement, but there are other candidates (Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez to
name a few). 

 

The Mariners really liked Adams, but he currently
has an ankle injury and this was the point of their concern.  As soon as they found out that Justin Smoak
was available, they quickly shifted direction and closed a deal with the Texas
Rangers. 

 

I was very disappointed with the final
outcome.  I really think the Yankees
should have done what it takes to close the deal.  There are no sure things in the Yankees
pitching rotation outside of CC Sabathia, so the chance to acquire a dominant
pitcher like Lee doesn’t happen very often. 
Sure, the team will be able to pursue Lee in the off-season if he doesn’t
sign a contract with the bankrupt Rangers, but they’ll pay a high price given
that Lee is a Type A free agent and he isn’t able to help them now.  With Lee, the team could have shifted Phil
Hughes to the bullpen or traded Javier Vazquez, a free agent at year end, for a
quality return.

 

Perhaps one day, Montero, Adams and/or McAllister
will make me glad this day happened the way it did, but today, I am
disappointed.  Then, of course, the
Boston Red Sox go out and blast the Toronto Blue Jays 14-3.  Not a good day…



 


Well, back to the “forced” spotlight on a Boston
Red Sox player.  Thanks to a wager loss
to Julia of Julia’s Rants, I am obligated to write about a member of the
6/26/10 Boston Red Sox roster.  The
original bet was for all 25 players, but Julia shortened my sentence to 10
players for good behavior.  So far, I’ve
written about 8 Red Sox players so just two more.  For #9, I will go with the knuckleballer…


 

#49       
Tim Wakefield

 


His vaunted knuckleball was only one weapon Tim Wakefield employed in his eight shutout innings (two hits, six strikeouts).

Duane Burleson/AP



Tim Wakefield is the senior ranking member of the
Boston Red Sox, having joined the organization in 1995.  He was one of those cuts that Boston pounced
upon to seize a quality player (ala David Ortiz).  In a Red Sox uniform, he trails only Cy Young
and Roger Clemens in wins. 

 

Wake was born 14 years to the day before Thurman
Munson was killed in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio (August 2, 1966).  Sorry, I can’t pass August 2nd
without thinking about Thurman.  It’s the
curse of a Yankees fan.  Wakefield was
drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988. 
He started out as an infielder, but realized that his best path to the
majors was developing a pitching talent so he learned how to throw a
knuckleball.


In 1992, when Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla were
leading the Pirates to the play-off appearances, he went 8-1 down the stretch,
earning NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News.  The Pirates would lose the NLCS to the
Atlanta Braves, but it was through no fault of Wake who went 2-0 (both were
complete games). 



scan0409.jpg image by subjectochange13

 


Thanks to control problems, Wakefield spent the
next couple of years in the minors.  On
April 20, 1995, the Pirates gave up on Wakefield and released him.  He was signed by the Red Sox six days later,
and would prove his worth immediately as he went 16-8 in helping the Red Sox
win the AL East.  He finished third in
the Cy Young voting that year, and was also named the AL Comeback Player of the
Year.

 

Over the next few years, Wake would prove to be a
valuable part of the rotation even if he did struggle at times with control.  He even found himself as the team’s closer in
1999.  He is one of the few pitchers to
record four strikeouts in one inning.  He
earned 15 saves before he was replaced by Derek Lowe as the team’s closer. 

 

Because of his versatility, he would toggle back
and forth between starting and relieving for the next few years.  He enjoyed good success against the Yankees,
but was the pitcher on the mound when Aaron Boone hit his home run to win the
2003 ALCS.  He rebounded to play a
critical part in the team’s wins against the Yankees and the St. Louis
Cardinals the next year to claim the World Championship. 

 

With his unique fast and ultra-slow fastball,
Wakefield has been a consistent part of the Red Sox rotation for 15 years.  He won 17 games in their 2007 championship
season but he didn’t get to play in the World Series due to a shoulder
injury. 

 

Even today, when he is not counted on to be a major
part of the rotation, he simply steps in and does his job in a quiet, effective
manner.  He was a terrific signing for
the Red Sox, and he’ll go down in Red Sox history as one of their all-time
greats.  Wakefield is perhaps one of the
most giving players in the game today, and the Red Sox will never be the same
when he decides to call it a career…

 

 

 Just one more to go!  Whew!  J



 

 

Huh? That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen!…

A bitter taste…


Loser3.JPG 

Finally, A.J. Burnett was pitching like the guy that the Yankees expected when they signed him as a free agent in the off-season.  After a series of poor starts, he had dominating stuff last night and was in position for a win.  He went 7 innings, and gave up only 1 run on 7 hits.  He struck out 6, and walked only 3.  He was leading 2-1 at the time of his exit, and the Yankees seemed to be in control despite the close score.

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

The 8th saw a business-as-usual performance from Phil Hughes, with 3 up and 3 down.

 

Mariano Rivera appeared very loose in the bullpen prior to his entrance in the 9th.  The stage was set for another save on his way to Cooperstown.  Even the Seattle-based announcers made a comment that they should just waive the 5 year waiting period for Mo when he retires.  Mo easily set down the first two batters (getting the second, Mike Carp, out on his 1,000th career strikeout), but then pinch hitter Mike Sweeney stroked a double to right.  Okay, there were two outs, the Yanks were still in good shape.  Only Ichiro stood in the way of their 95th victory.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  Mo tried to go inside on a cutter but left the pitch out too much, and Ichiro got a hold of it and sent it into the outfield bleachers for the game-winning home run.  The Mariners walked off with a 3-2 victory…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

Mo saw his string of 36 consecutive saves snapped.  The only other time he has failed to convert a save this season was in April on a Jason Bay home run.

 

Sipkin/New York Daily News 

 

Ichiro may have been picked off twice in the game, but he clearly got the last laugh…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Red Sox shrank to 6 games.  This is definitely a tough stretch.  The Yankees are on a difficult road trip against winning teams and in cities they historically have troubles with.  Meanwhile, the Red Sox are playing the lifeless Orioles, and then move on to Kansas City for face the punchless Royals for four games.  Both the O’s and Royals stand at 87 losses prior to today’s games.  So, the Yankees’ three-game series against the Red Sox next weekend looms as the big AL East showdown.  It is very possible that the Red Sox may be in position to determine who enters the play-offs as the AL East champion and who backdoors it as the Wild Card entrant.  The Yankees’ magic number remains at 10, but their magic number for making the play-offs dropped to 3 with the Rangers’ loss to the Angels.  That one was a double-edged sword as the Angels gained a game on the Yanks for best record.  So, needless to say, Ichiro’s hit made for a very difficult night on many fronts.

 

 

Hopefully, the Yanks will show their mettle and rebound today with CC Sabathia taking the hill in search of his 18th victory.  Let’s hope it’s the Yanks’ 95th

 

 

I still can’t believe that the great Peter Abraham (who has been referred to as the “blogfather”) is leaving the LoHud Yankees Blog to go to work for the Boston Globe and write about the dreaded Red Sox…  L

 

Disbelief.JPG

 

The oldest living Yankee has passed away,  Lonny Frey, who played with the Yankees in the 1947 World Series, was a three-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds in the 30′s and 40′s.  Frey died on Sunday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the age of 99.  He was the last surviving player to play for the Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

Courtesy Richard Hirschman

 

Frey’s passing leaves Tommy Henrich, 96, as the oldest living Yankee.  Henrich played his entire career with the Yankees from 1937 to 1950.  He is the last surviving member of the World Champion 1938 Yankees.

 

193820Crosetti2C20Rolfe2C20Henrich2.jpg 1938 New York Yankees image by BillBurgess

Courtesy Bill Burgess

 

Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.  Andy missed his last start due to a “fatigued” shoulder, and hopefully, the rest has helped him.  Andy will be a huge part of what the Yanks will try to accomplish in October.  It was good to hear that he has reached most of his incentives to allow him to nearly double his $5 million salary for the year.  He has certainly earned his pay (relatively speaking of course, because $5 mil is a heck of a lot of money any way you slice it!).

 

John Munson/The Star Ledger 

Speaking of rest, reliever David Robertson, who was shut down for elbow stiffness, appears to be on track for a return by the final week of the season.  He is another arm that will be crucial to October success.  I am glad that his visit to Dr. Andrews did not reveal more serious problems and that rest was the prescribed treatment.  Robertson has been great in the pen this year.

 

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

Today is a new day.  Let’s get back to winning…

 

 

–Scott

A New Attitude…and a Few More Wins…

 

The Yankees won Friday night, thanks to the late game heroics of Mark Teixeira…

 

Ted S. Warren/AP

 

As a Yankees fan since the early 70′s, I have seen many highs and lows.  1998 was clearly a special year so excluding that year, this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons, so far, that I’ve experienced.  Granted, the Yanks may still fall short but the ride has been enjoyable as we near the stretch run.

 


Fun Ride.JPG 

 

The April woes of the bullpen, Cody Ransom as the starting third baseman, Chien-Ming Wang’s disastrous starts, among other things, are a forgotten memory…

 

 

I really thought that Jason Giambi would change the Yankees clubhouse with his personality when he joined the Yanks back in 2002.

 

 


JGiambi.JPG 

 

But it never happened, and the clubhouse remained very “corporate” as G changed his persona to fit the team.

 

Frederic Larson/AP

 

But along came Nick Swisher…

 

 

He is not a superstar.  He’s not going to lead the league in hits, average or home runs.  He’ll make some painful defensive plays to watch.  But at the end of the day, there is not another guy you’d want on your team.  He, along with A.J. Burnett and others, have successfully loosened up the Yankees clubhouse, and I think he is a big reason why the team is enjoying success this season. 

 

 

 

Friday night, the Yankees began a road trip in Seattle that will conclude with a three game set at Fenway Park beginning on Friday.  Andy Pettitte pitched another quality game but was gone before the outcome of the game was decided.  With a lead-off homer in the 9th, Mark Teixeira put the Yanks up by a run.  Nick Swisher added a RBI single, and the rest was left to Mariano Rivera.  In his 900th major league appearance, Mo got his 34th save in 35 chances.  I guess the “cranky” shoulder is in a better mood now!

 

 

Tonight, the Yanks are up 4-2 in the fifth.  Swisher has a home run, as the Yanks scored 4 unearned runs in the top of the second inning.

 

John Froschauer/AP

I’d like to say that I am confident, but not with Sergio Mitre on the mound…

 

Worried2.JPG

 

Meanwhile in Texas, unable to mount a comeback for a second day in a row, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Rangers, 7-2.  So, the Yanks have a chance to pick up another game on the Sox should they beat the Mariners tonight.  Hey Julia, are you back there?  I don’t seem to be able to see you anywhere.  Wait a minute!  That speck!  Is that you?  ;)

 

 

I didn’t realize that Derek Jeter is on the verge of a major milestone.  The MLB record for hits by a shortstop is held by Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio (2,673).  After last night, DJ was just three hits shy.  He has a hit tonight, so he is just two away from tying Aparicio.  Congrats DJ!  Another record on your way to Cooperstown!  Very well done!

 

John Froschauer/AP

Congratulations to Julia of Julia’s Rants for her successful completion of the wager loss for last week’s Yankees-Red Sox series.   Due to the Yankees’ sweep, she had to:

1.      Post a pro-Yankees Top 11 List.

2.      Take photos of her car at various prominent locations in the Boston area…with a Yankees flag attached.

 

 

driveway2.jpg

http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

 

She did an excellent job with both.  So good, in fact, I think she should lose again next week just so we can see more of her creative side!

 

 

 

The Yankees will head for Oakland after Seattle, and I will be attending the second game of the series.  Like fine wine from Napa Valley, older players like Rivera and Jeter are aging very gracefully and the AL East leaders are showing they are the right vintage for success this year.  Hey guys, see you in Oakland! 

Go Yankees!

 

Extending the Lead…

The Boston Red Sox lost…

 

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

Life is good.

 

Relax.JPG

 

Justin Verlander was throwing smoke today.  Not just in the 1st inning, but he was still hitting 100 mph with a couple of pitches to “future Yankee” Jason Bay in the 8th inning.  The Detroit Tigers were victorious in the game against the Red Sox that saw Verlander go 8 innings while giving up only 4 hits and no runs.  It was a very impressive performance and it couldn’t happen against a better team!  Right, Julia?  ;)

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

To the Red Sox’ defense, Clay Buchholz pitched a great game in a losing effort, and is a notable improvement over the departed John Smoltz (much to my chagrin).  Theo, can you bring Smoltzie back?

 

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

The Yankees closed out a very successful home stand against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays.  They could have (should have) won the first game against the Jays, but I think they were still coming down from the high of sweeping the Red Sox.  Nevertheless, they came back to win the next two games to take the series so all is good.

 

 

 

On the downside, the last victory against the Jays was a costly win.  Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada all suffered severe bruises.  DJ and A-Rod were hit by pitches, while Posada took a foul ball on his right hand.  Like Posada said, “I got hit everywhere.  It was like a boxing match.”

 

 

And, oh yeah, Mariano Rivera had a “cranky” shoulder and was unavailable.

 

 

 

It wasn’t a great way to start the road trip in Seattle.  Both A-Rod and Posada were out of the starting lineup for the opening game against the Mariners, however, Jeter was back in the lineup at the top of the order.

 

Elaine Thompson/AP 

 

I didn’t think that the acquisition of Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trading deadline was significant, but I’d have to say that I was wrong.  In a short amount of time, he has proven to be an invaluable commodity and he’s playing third base tonight.  He’s a quality player, and has performed better than I had expected.  Even though he isn’t used as much, I’d also have to say that I am impressed with Eric Hinske.  The Yankees’ bench is definitely much stronger today than it was on June 1st.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP 

As I finish this post, the Yankees have just beaten the Mariners 11-1 so they didn’t seem to be missing A-Rod and Posada too much.  Jeter and Matsui have home runs (Godzilla had 2), and Hairston had 2 RBI’s.  Hey, Julia, I wasn’t a math major in college, but I’d call it a 6 ½ game lead!  J

 

 

CC Sabathia picked up his 13th win while surrendering only three hits and one run in 8 innings, while striking out 10.  CC is definitely locked and loaded, and this is why Hal Steinbrenner signed off on the huge deal in the offseason despite budget constraints.  The pitcher the Yanks blew out was former Pirate Ian Snell.  Before the trading deadline, the Yanks had been scouting Snell, who was then with the Pirates’ AAA affiliate.  As the saying goes, sometimes the best trade is the one never made.

 

 

 

The Yankees still need to do something about the #5 slot in the starting rotation.  There are plans to insert Chad Gaudin for a start this week in order to skip Joba Chamberlain and limit his season innings.  But I am not expecting great things from Gaudin, who was 4-10 for the Padres this season.  In other words, note to Brian Cashman, try again…

 

 

The Tampa Tribune has settled on a name for the new Jeter mansion in Davis Islands, FL.  By way of an online poll, the winning name was St. Jetersburg.  I don’t even have to hear the other choices to know that they made the right selection.  The name is perfect.

 

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on this subject even though it’s off topic.  I can’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick.  I was listening to the guys on San Francisco’s sports talk radio station, KNBR, and they felt that Vick couldn’t have landed in a “softer” spot.  Personally, I think it was a bad decision for Eagles management.  I know that Donovan McNabb has had his share of critics, but he remains in the upper tier of NFL QB’s.  I know, it’s not like Vick is going to beat out McNabb, but his mere presence on the field shows that the Eagles will accept victories over moral responsibility.  Granted, I wasn’t an Eagles fan to begin with, but suffice to say that I am glad (and proud) that my team didn’t sign the morally corrupt Vick.  The only reason that Vick is asking for a second chance is because he got caught.  Good luck with that, Philly…

 

 

I know Julia, I saw that Tom Brady threw 2 TD’s…blah, blah, blah…  Go Vikings! 

 

 

 

 

 –Scott

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.