Results tagged ‘ Shelley Duncan ’

It’s A New Year, What’s New?…

 

New Year, same problems in left…

 

 

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Okay, I didn’t really want to start the new year with any mention of left field, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been much more to talk about.  2010 begins where 2009 left off…the Yankees are still in search of the right combination for left field.  Perhaps the answer is already on the roster in the form of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann, or maybe the Yanks should move Curtis Granderson to left and install Gardner back in center.  Ultimately, I don’t think either of those options will be viable ones when training camp opens in Tampa.  But they do underscore the lack of urgency on the Yankees’ part.

 

 


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I am a big proponent of finding a low-cost option with high upside.  When Paul O’Neill was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, he wasn’t a “big” name and he only cost the Yankees the long-forgotten Roberto Kelly.  At the time, I was miffed that the Yanks would give up on Kelly, but history clearly showed that it was one of the most astute moves in Yankee history.

 

 

 

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I read a blog that speculated David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals would be a good fit.  I do not disagree.  Today, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues suggested Travis Buck of the Oakland A’s.  Regardless of the latter’s health history, I am okay with either player.  Ideally, there’s no question that I’d prefer Johnny Damon first and foremost.  But I just don’t think it will happen for whatever reason.  So, short of Damon, I like the idea of inserting a player with potential.  It is a given that the Yankees will aggressively pursue Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out.  I don’t think the Mets would give him up at this point, but I have liked Jeff Francoeur.  I still think that he’ll turn it around and live up to his early career promise.  The Indians signed free agent and former Yankee Shelley Duncan today.  In retrospect, it is too bad that the Yankees never gave him a chance.

 

 

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

 

At the end of the day, I think that GM Brian Cashman won’t leave the Yanks short-changed in left.  I have faith in the man with the plan…

 

 

 

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Allegedly, 15 teams have expressed interest in pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (with the Yankees included).  I hope that the team can find a way to bring Wang back home.  If Wang is right, how awesome would the Yanks bullpen be with both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes?  

 

 

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images 

 

So, the Boston Red Sox finally solved their third base woes with the signing of free agent Adrian Beltre.  I do not dispute that he is masterful with the glove, but anybody who has owned him in fantasy baseball knows that he is brutal offensively.  He is clearly not the slugger he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years ago.  So, if you ask me if I am disappointed the Red Sox signed Beltre?  No, if it means that the team can no longer pursue San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (financially speaking).  Gonzalez is a difference-maker; Beltre is not.  The sad part of the Beltre signing is that it will relegate Casey Kotchman to the bench or at the most, DH.  At DH, he has potential, but of course, it means the end of David Ortiz.  Also, this almost certainly ensures that Mike Lowell will be dealt.  The latest rumor has him going to the Mets for Luis Castillo, which is kind of funny considering that the Mets haven’t been able to unload Castillo on anybody.   So, the Beltre signing is “nice”, but it doesn’t improve the Sox in the long run, in my opinion.

 

 

Infielder Adrian Beltre #29 of the Seattle Mariners bobbles the ball before fielding a ground ball out against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game at Angel Stadium on August 12, 2008 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Mariners 7-3.

 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

 

Did the Vikings’ total domination of the New York Giants and capture of the NFC second seed restore my faith in the Minnesota Vikings?  Not really.  The New York Giants gave up last week, so they pretty much rolled over for the Vikings on Sunday.  It is hard for me to believe that the Vikings are truly a team capable of laying a 44-7 whuppin’ on a play-off foe.  It’s funny that the Vikings were rooting for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday considering that the Cowboys have long been my “second” favorite team dating back to the Roger Staubach days.  I admit that I was a bit miffed with the Cowboys beat the Vikings on the Hail Mary pass, but I did enjoy the Cowboys’ success under Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman in the 90’s.  Of course, I did live in Dallas at the time, so it was a bit more enjoyable.  Nevertheless, I still remain on the Purple side, so I’ll await the outcome of the NFC wild card games to see if the Vikings can legitimately move the closest to the Super Bowl that they’ve been since 1998.  I am not a great fan of the current Dallas Cowboys so I don’t know who I’ll root for should my Vikings stub their toe.  Perhaps I’ll root for Julia’s New England Patriots, but admittedly, they’ll have a tough road sans Wes Welker.

 

Donna McWilliam/AP

 

I am not surprised that the Washington Redskins sacked head coach Jim Zorn.  I know they are wining and dining Mike Shanahan, and that would probably be a very good move for them.  I think Shanahan is a better fit than Steve Spurrier ever was.  He knows owner Daniel Snyder so I think the two could co-exist so long as Shanahan can produce.  Yeah, I wish the Vikings could be in play for a good coach…

 

 

 

Bill Ross/AP

 

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and a very happy New Year!  Just think, baseball training camps open next month.  I can’t wait.  I am anxious to resume my battles with a certain friend in Boston

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen…would you please rise…

 

The end of an era…

 

Bob Sheppard tells MLB.com that he's officially calling it a career after over 50 years as the public address voice of the Yankees.

Simmons/NY Daily News

 

The “Voice of God” has finally called it a career.  Bob Sheppard, 99, announced earlier today that he was finally retiring since he no longer had the stamina needed to return to his job as the PA announcer at Yankee Stadium.  Sheppard was last heard “live” at the old Yankee Stadium in 2007.

 

 

 

Health issues have kept Sheppard from returning the last couple of years, and at his age, he finally decided that he’ll never be strong enough to resume his duties.  Paul Olden, who took over for Sheppard, will continue as the Yankees PA announcer.

 

 

Sheppard began his career at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 1951.  It’s amazing how many great Yankee players have heard their names called by Sheppard.  Sheppard’s first game was the final opening day game for Yankee great Joe DiMaggio.

 

 

 

I am very thankful that I was able to hear the great voice of Bob Sheppard at many Yankee games over the years.  Derek Jeter continues to play a recording of Sheppard’s voice at each at-bat, so his voice will continue to resonate throughout the new Yankee Stadium despite never having set foot there. 

 

Yankee Stadium Inaugural Game: 1st Yankee at bat Derek Jeter - Babe Ruth's bat by skyliner72. 

 

Bob Sheppard will always be remembered as one of the Yankee Legends.  I wish him much happiness and joy in his final years.

 

Bob Sheppard

 

Shelley Duncan has joined the rank of ex-Yankees.  He refused an assignment to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre after being dropped from the Yankees 40-man roster.  I would like to see a team give Duncan the opportunity to play at the major league level.  He has earned the right with his play and work ethic.

 

Caffalo/NY Daily News 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 


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Take 2 Aspirin & Call Me In The Morning…

 

It was one of those nights…

 

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I knew the Yanks were in trouble with Doc Halladay scheduled to be on the mound Friday night.  Doc hadn’t pitched well during preceding weeks, but you knew that it was only a matter of time before you’d see vintage Halladay.  Given the Yanks’ struggles with him over the years, you also knew that there was a better than average chance that it would be against the Yankees.  Alas, it was…

 

Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press

 

I was appreciative of Jorge Posada’s walk in the 5th to end the perfect game for Halladay and Ramiro Pena’s 6th inning double to break up the no-hitter, although it was the only hit of the night for the AL East Leaders.

 

Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press 

 

At this point, I am not sure what to think of Joba Chamberlain.  I know that Joba Rules 2.0 are in effect, but Joba just hasn’t looked good.  Last night’s line was another disappointment…3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 2 K’s, and he hit Vernon Wells with a pitch.  No wonder he was striking the “Defeated Sabathia” pose on the mound…

 

Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press

AP

 

I have not been optimistic about this series with the Toronto Blue Jays.  I knew going in that the four game set would be a challenge.  Winning the first game, despite the pitching of Chad Gaudin, was a plus.  But with Sergio Mitre scheduled for Sunday, and Joba’s recent struggles, the only optimistic start is today with Andy Pettitte.  However,  as great as Andy has pitched in recent weeks, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst.  So, I guess I am a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy today…

 

 

On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Chicago White Sox, 12-2, so the Yankees retained their 7 ½ game lead.  However, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, to cut the overall lead for best league record to 6 games.

 

Charlie Riedel/AP

It is amazing that the Yankees have 7 players with 20 home runs and at least 70’s RBI’s.  As great of a season Derek Jeter is having, he is not one of them but he can join the club by the end of reason as he currently has 17 home runs and 61 RBI’s.  DJ did not play last night and remains 9 hits from breaking Lou Gehrig’s club record for career hits (2,721).  Hopefully, the off night for Jeter will help him break out of his recent slump (3 for his last 17 at-bat’s).  Good luck to Derek as he continues to the drive for the hits record…

 

Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press

 

Mariano Rivera, still recovering from his groin injury, hopes to pitch Sunday.

 


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Led by Shelley Duncan, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees captured their fourth consecutive International League North Division title last night.  Duncan hit the decisive home run in the 8th inning off former Yankee Sean Henn as the Yankees defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 7-3.  I am all in favor of the Yankees beating anything with “Red” in their name!  J  Of course, the IL play-offs, which begin September 9th, will be missing the Pawtucket Red Sox who are 21 games behind the Yankees at 58-81.  Hoping that losing feeling will catch on with their big league club too!  Sorry Julia, but one can hope!

 

 

Off-Topic Stuff…

Maybe the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t trade Tavaris Jackson after all.  His stats weren’t great but he played error-free ball in the Vikings’ 35-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.   But he had the team ahead of the Cowboys until the other two QB’s, Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty, made costly mistakes to prevent the team from finishing the preseason with a perfect mark.  Brett Favre didn’t play, and was on the sidelines in a hat and t-shirt.  I saw an interview with him, and my only thought was how old he looked…

 

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Maybe Julia knows better than I, but the New England Patriots must be betting that they’ll get a solid backup QB in the next couple of days.  Or they must feel that Brian Hoyer is the next coming of, well, Matt Cassel.  After releasing Kevin O’Connell last week, the Pats cut Andrew Walter yesterday.  There has to be a master plan because guys from Boston are smart…right Julia?  Seriously, it would be foolish to think that the Pats didn’t have a plan in place or several possibilities in mind.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have made the cuts they did.  But until their final moves play out, it does look curious…

 

 

What’s up with all the offensive coordinators losing their jobs before the first regular season snap is taken?  Chan Gailey, Turk Schonert, and Jeff Jagodzinski have all been given pink slips in the past couple of weeks.  I wonder how many times Jagodzinski has wished that he had kept his mouth shut and stayed at Boston College.  Oh well, don’t feel bad for him, he just pocketed a $1 million for a few weeks work…

 

Bucs Jagodzinski Football

AP

 

Hey Mark Kotsay, congrats on the big game last night!  The Texas Rangers, now only 2 games behind your former teammates, appreciate it!  J

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

 

Did Jonathan Papelbon really get fined $5,000 for working too slow?  Whoa, I know a few too many people who should get that fine!

 

 

 

Finally, thanks for my friend Julia for her grace and professionalism in accepting the penalty for the recent loss in our last Yankees-Red Sox wager.  Her blog with the photos and Top 11 post of all things good about the Yankees was first class.  An excellent job!  I look forward to her next defeat! 

 

coffee.jpg Courtesy Julia’s Rants

Santa Didn’t Bring Any Presents…

 

A disappointing trade deadline day…

 

 

Leading up to the trade deadline, I felt that the Yankees needed to do something to plug the hole in the rotation.  As great as it was to think about Roy Halladay in pinstripes, I was realistic in my thinking that Jarrod Washburn would have been a good fit.

 

Steve Nesius/AP 

 

Yankee interest in Washburn has been rumored for several years so it seemed liked he was destined for the Bronx.  Apparently, the Seattle Mariners desired center field prospect Austin Jackson in return and it was a deal-killer.  I agree with the decision, as I would have not given up Ajax either, but it was tough to see Washburn go to the Detroit Tigers for a couple of minor league pitchers that I’ve never heard of. 

I know that GM Brian Cashman feels that there will be quality pitchers who slip through waivers in August because teams will be fearful of incurring additional salaries.  But it’s not like Roy Halladay will clear waivers.  The quality of the available talent will be limited, and a good fit for the Yankees will be even narrower. 

Of course, on Deadline Day, the Yankees #5 starter, Sergio Mitre, gets pummeled in Chicago and lasts only three innings in a 10-5 loss to the White Sox.  This only added salt to the wound of the day’s earlier inactivity.  Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were very active and acquired the Cleveland Indians’ Victor Martinez.  Martinez, a good friend of CC Sabathia, was a solid pickup for Boston.  I didn’t fully understand the trade of recently acquired Adam LaRoche to Atlanta for first baseman Casey Kotchman.  It was mentioned that LaRoche was no longer a fit with the addition of Martinez, but I do not know what Kotchman brings that LaRoche didn’t other than an additional year on his contract.  I guess GM Theo Epstein decided that if he couldn’t have Mark Teixeira, he’d take the guy who was once trade for Tex.  Seriously, I wonder if the Kotchman trade is a precursor to another deal this month.  Knowing Theo, there is a method to the madness and of course that concerns me…

 

 

The Yankees have now dropped two straight games to the White Sox, which has allowed the Boston Red Sox to close the gap to 1 ½ games in the AL East.

 

 

 

The Yankees did pick up one player yesterday, when they found a centerfield solution in Jerry Hairston, Jr.

 

Kirby Lee/US Presswire 

 

To acquire Hairston from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yanks gave up minor league catching prospect Chase Weems.  Hairston will take the super utility role that is currently occupied by Cody Ransom upon Brett Gardner’s return from the DL.  Hairston has joined the Yankees in Chicago, and is starting in left field.  It is ironic that his first game will be against his father’s long-time team.

 

 

 

I saw a quote where Brian Cashman mentioned that Hairston is a better version of Clay Bellinger.  Somehow it’s hard to get enthused about that, but I will admit that Bellinger did play in a World Series so perhaps there’s a silver lining to the Hairston pickup…

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Hopefully, the Yankees will get back on track today.  A.J. Burnett will be on the hill and he has proven to be the cure for stopping Yankee losing streaks so far this season. 

As for the Yankees #5 rotation spot, the sooner the Yankees replace Mitre, the better.  Unfortunately, the only in-house possibility appears to be…yikes!…Kei Igawa.  So, I trust that Brian Cashman knows what he is doing, and he’ll find a solution sooner rather than later.  Meanwhile, the fate of the AL East hangs in the balance.  No worries…

 

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Poor Shelley Duncan.  He has had a very good season for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees.  He had started to wonder if he’d ever return to the big leagues, and was very excited when the Yanks finally called yesterday.  Today, he was tapped on the shoulder and told to head back to Scranton-Wilkes Barre to make room for Hairston.  I feel bad for Shelley as he has definitely deserved an opportunity.  Hopefully, he will find his way back soon.

 

IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Shelley Duncan #17  of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Shelley Duncan

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

Well, it is almost time for Julia and I to resume our battle when the Yankees and Red Sox resume their rivalry on Thursday for a four-game set.  We are still working out the terms of latest wager and are open to any suggestions.  But I feel that the Yankees are much improved and will be ready to end the eight game skid against the Red Sox.  I may be down, but I am definitely not out.  The rotation has lined up for Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the Boston series.  Hey Julia, Game On!

 

Boston Herald

Great autograph of Shelley Duncan!  :)

–Scott 

Red Sox Are Better…

 

I really do not believe the headline, but it’s time to settle the bet so let’s begin the temporary journey back to the Red Sox Nation…

 

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On June 9th through 11th, the Yankees played a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.  Of course, they were once again swept by Boston, who are now 8-0 against the Bombers this season.  The scores of the latest series were 7-0, 6-5, and 4-3, respectively.  According to the rules of the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, the loser was to wear a t-shirt belonging to the opposing team.  If I had won the bet, Julia would be wearing a Mark Teixeira t-shirt.  I was originally slated for a Jason Bay t-shirt, but Julia, with my consent, opted for a t-shirt from the Life is Good series.  T-Shirts were included for both me and my Yankee bear, Lou.

My t-shirt simply made the following statement…

 

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Lou’s t-shirt issued the following proclamation…

 

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Lou and I got ready for the photos, but of course, you-know-who had to make an appearance and get in on the act…

 

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Wally thought it would be great if we could take a group pic…

 

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I had to take my punishment alone…

 

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However, Lou had made a new friend…

 

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Nevertheless, Lou could simply take no more, and convinced another Bear to wear his “shame”.  Of course, he lost the girl too…

 

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Meanwhile, Lou needed some time alone to overcome his embarrassment.

 

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So, the trip to the Red Sox Nation is over.  Julia, by my count, that’s 8 photos to match the Red Sox streak.  The debt is paid, and this blog can return to all-Yankees programming…

 

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Courtesy myspace.com/theyankeenation

 

Yankees Win Subway Series…

A.J. Burnett returned from his 5-game suspension on Saturday, and brought his “A” game with him.  He had a no-hitter going until the 6th inning, when Alex Cora opened with a single.  But that’s all the offense the Mets could muster against Burnett, as he finished with a 7-inning one-hitter, and a season high 10 strikeouts. 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

I knew that A.J. was going to be tough to beat after watching him strike out two of the first three batters he faced in a 3-up, 3-down first inning.  Burnett, 6-4, was removed after the conclusion of the 7th inning despite the fact that he was still cruising.  He had thrown 108 pitches, and was working under a team-imposed pitch limit of 115 pitches.  With a 5-run lead, I thought it was the right thing to do.  It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Cora hadn’t gotten that hit.  But I recognize that a healthy A.J. is better than a complete game performance.  Brian Bruney and David Robertson each pitched an inning of hitless relief to keep the one-hitter intact.  A terrific performance by A.J., with great support from the Pen.  Hopefully, this is a recipe that we’ll see again…soon and often!

 

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The New York Post

 

The Yankees only scored in two innings, the 3rd and 6th innings, but it was enough.  Aside from a RBI single by Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees scored the rest of their runs on homers (by Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada).

 

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees have won this Subway Series by taking the first 2 games of the 3 game series, and have won their first season series against the Mets since 2003.  Yes, I think I kind of like the new Citi Field…

 

 

I had forgotten that the Mets losing pitcher, Tim Redding, had once pitched a game for the Yankees.  On July 15, 2005, he faced the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the results were disastrous.  He started but was only able to record three outs.  During those forgettable first two innings, he faced 11 batters, and allowed 6 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks.  The Red Sox went on to a 17-1 victory that day…

 

Brian Snyder/Reuters

 

Redding was designated for assignment the next day.

 

Other News…

The flu bug has been tearing through the Yankees clubhouse like the Red Sox playing at Yankee Stadium.  It hasn’t been pretty.  Derek Jeter has missed two games, although you could tell that he was frustrated to sit out Saturday’s game.  Girardi’s hand was forced when the medical staff advised him that Jeter should not play.  Also sitting out the game with the flu was Johnny Damon. 

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

Now comes word that Phil Hughes has been bit by the bug.  Perhaps there was some sort of virus on that David Ortiz jersey that they dug out of the Stadium…

 

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Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals!  They outfoxed all other major league clubs, including the Chicago Cubs, to acquire the Cleveland Indians’ super utility man Mark DeRosa.  He’s the guy that I felt would be perfect for the Yankees.  As hard as the Cubs tried to re-acquire him, I am still amazed that they ever traded him to begin with.  Losing him to the Cards must be salt in the wound. 

 

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Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

 

As the other contenders start to add talent in the coming days leading up to the trading deadline, I am hopeful that GM Brian Cashman is working overtime to convince the Steinbrenners to loosen the purse strings and allow the team to pursue additional depth.  DeRosa is lost, but there is still plenty of talent available for the right price.  Shelley Duncan is having a tremendous season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (21 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, .289 BA), but he unfortunately fills the same role as Nick Swisher so he most likely won’t be getting an opportunity with the big league club anytime soon.

 

 

 

With his next save, the great Mariano Rivera will reach 500 saves for his career.

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

The final game of the Subway Series pits Chien-Ming Wang against Livan Hernandez.  Although Chien-Ming has pitched better lately, he’s still seeking his first win of the season.  Hopefully, he’ll get that out of the way today but I’ll hold my breath anyway…

 

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I know that Julia has a preference for the number “5”, but I am hoping for “3” to be the magic number at the conclusion this day’s games.  Best wishes to the Braves’ Tommy Hanson.  May he show the Red Sox what he showed the Yankees last week…

 

Courtesy www.onlineathens.com

Note:  Tommy Hanson proved me correct as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Red Sox, 2-1.  Hanson, despite the flu, was masterful and pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball.   

Go Yankees!

–Scott

 

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