Results tagged ‘ Tampa ’

Help Wanted: Pitcher to Beat Yankees; No Experience Necessary…


Do you want to beat the New York Yankees?…



Rookie.JPG

 


Just call up a pitcher to make his major league
debut and he is assured of getting his first major league victory against the
Yanks.  Put Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett,
Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke and others on the mound, and the Yankees have a great
chance at winning.  Put Cleveland’s Josh
Tomlin on the mound, and it’s lights out Yankees.  I don’t get why the team has always struggled
so much against the unknown pitchers. 
Surely, the Scouting Department has a portfolio on minor league
pitchers.  For whatever reason, no info
is getting conveyed to the Yankee hitters.



Mystery.JPG

 


The 25-year-old Tomlin simply pitched much better
than 13-game winner  CC Sabathia, as the
Indians rolled over the Yankees, 4-1.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 earned run; he struck out 2.  CC, on the other hand, gave up 9 hits in 7
innings, and allowed 4 runs abeit 2 earned. 
He also walked 3 while striking out 5. 



 


Alex Rodriguez put another goose egg on the scoreboard
(0-for-4) in his attempt to reach 600 home runs.  He could have been a hero in the 9th
inning.  A home run with two outs would
have tied the game, but unfortunately, he hit into a fielder’s choice to end
the game.  Today was A-Rod’s 35th
birthday, but I am sure that the post-game celebration will be subdued.



 


It was a disappointing loss, which was definitely a
team effort.  I guess the flight from New
York City to Cleveland was too much. 
Hopefully, the players will come out on Tuesday ready to play. 

 

A sore left knee scratched Jorge Posada from the
lineup tonight.  I’d really like to see
Jorge take the necessary time to fully recover before he attempts to play
again.  The Yankees don’t need to go into
September with a questionable Posada. 

 

The Yankees lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL
East has dropped to just two games as the Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers
again tonight (following yesterday’s no-hitter by Matt Garza, the first in Rays
history).



Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza celebrates his no-hitter against the Tigers on Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Jason Behnken/The Tampa Tribune

 


It doesn’t seem like the Yankees are getting
anywhere on trade rumors.  Their latest
speculated target, Royals closer Joakim Soria, apparently has the Yankees on
his no-trade list.  I am not expecting a
blockbuster deal, because there just aren’t any players of that magnitude
available.  But the Yankees do need to
try and address the shortcomings of the team. 
Right now, the bullpen is very leaky so that certainly deserves attention
as does a bat who can come off the bench to spell A-Rod. 

 

This is off-topic, but I am sorry to hear the news
that former Oakland Raider Jack Tatum has passed away at age 61.  Growing up, the “Assassin” was a force for
the Raiders.  It is unfortunate that he
will always be remembered as the guy whose hit paralyzed the New England
Patriots’ Darryl Stingley.  Sadly, both
Stingley (who died in 2007) and Tatum left us way too soon…





–Scott


Shoulder to Shoulder with the Iron Horse…

 

All hail the Captain…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

After a few games of goose eggs, Derek Jeter busted through with a 3-for-4 night to tie Lou Gehrig’s franchise hit record.  Both DJ and Larrupin’ Lou stand at 2,721 hits…

 

 

Congrats to DJ for a well-deserved achievement, and of course, all his future hits will be franchise records.  This adds another reason to why the Yankees need to do what’s right, and lock up Jeter for the remainder of his career.  We don’t need another Brett Favre in Minnesota saga…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays was a microcosm for what’s wrong with the 2009 Rays.  Great starting pitching…awful bullpen.  Rookie Jeff Niemann was masterful against the Yanks tonight.  In 7 innings, he did give up 8 hits, but only allowed one earned run and had 8 strikeouts.  Given that the East Coast games start while I am still at work, I was constantly checking the game score on my BlackBerry.  Despite a significant advantage in hits, the Yankees couldn’t seem to push any runs across the plate.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

I have a good friend that is a die-hard Rays fan.  For many years, Kelly has held a single season ticket to games at Tropicana Field and she is generally there without fail.  She was going to Rays games when you needed binoculars to see the person sitting next to you and parking was free.  After the double-header sweep on Monday, Kelly sent me an email the next day that said “I would rather lose like we did yesterday to the Yankees than to play like we did last week. We were winning the games until the late 8th or even 9th inning and then the bullpen just gives the games away. Sunday we gave up a grand Slam in the 9th to lose the game. That is just brutal. No matter what the score is when the starting pitcher leaves the game, the fans can rest assured that the bullpen will screw it up.”  Unfortunately (for her), the next two games proved to be the exact formula she was hoping to avoid.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

It is an unfortunate situation because I was hoping that the Tampa Bay Rays would beat out the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card spot (sorry Julia!).  Most likely, the Rays would not have beaten Boston had they retained Scott Kazmir.  However, that trade just seemed to draw the life out of the Rays.  He couldn’t have helped their bullpen woes, but it seemed like Rays management were throwing in the towel.

 

defeat.jpg image by teddygross

 

Tonight’s game had another great finish.  Trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning, and unable to get any runs across despite an advantage in hits, the Yankees started their patented late inning comeback.  It was an inning early but why wait if you have the bats.  Alex Rodriguez ended Jeff Niemann’s night with a single.  Enter Lance Cormier.  Hideki Matsui singled to advance A-Rod to third.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. entered the game as a pinch runner for Godzilla.  Nick Swisher reached first base on a throwing error, scoring A-Rod.  Hairston advanced to third.  Brian Shouse relieved Cormier.  The stage was set for Robby Cano to be the hero, but he promptly struck out.  Next up was Jorge Posada, who batted for Brett Gardner.  The Rays brought Grant Balfour in the game to face Posada, but the move failed.  Jorge launched a three-run homer to right, and the Yankees had their first lead of the game, 4-2.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

Brian Bruney secured the first two out of the 9th inning, and I had some choice words for Joe Girardi when he brought Phil Coke in to relieve Bruney.  But Joe, showing why he is the Yankees manager and not me, watched Coke strike out Gabe Kapler to end the game.

 

 

 

The Red Sox also won tonight, 7-5 over the Baltimore Orioles, to stay 2 games ahead of the Texas Rangers.  Sorry Julia, but I was pulling for the O’s.  They tried, but couldn’t quite do it…

 

Steven Senne/AP

 

However, the Yankees’ magic number is still reduced to 14.  Ah, Sweet Lou, those were some great years…

 

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The Yankees are now 40-13 since the All-Star Break.  I remember sitting 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and I told Julia that the Yankees could win 4 more games than the Red Sox by the end of the year.  She thought I was talking rubbish…

 

 

This night belonged to Derek Jeter, but I will close my post with a tribute to my idol.  Lou, you have been and always will be the greatest Yankee (to borrow some words from Spock).  Your records may be tied and broken, but you were a lasting inspiration and there’s no doubt that had you been able to play out your career to the fullest, you would have set marks that never would have been broken.  But regardless of what may happen, you will always remain the true Pride of the Yankees…

 

 

 

–Scott

In A Swish of Time…

 

Give the man a pie…

 

Pie Time.JPG

 

This game belonged to the Swish.  With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic.  When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi.  But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira.  Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield.  At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.  But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today.  The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive.  Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s.  This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s.  But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality.  He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief.  Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6.  He walked 2 batters.  Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb.  The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts.  Ouch!  He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500.  They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight.  Yes, Julia, life is good…

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…

 

The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson.  This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective.  In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief.  He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.  Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing.  Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson.  Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.

 

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images   

 

I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296).   This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs.  But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN.  Congrats!

 

 

Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns.  The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension.  It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football.  The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…

 

Allen Frederickson/Reuters

–Scott

I Can Now See October…

 

Okay, I feel better now…

 

Feeling Great.JPG

 

The Yankees cured my “momentary depression” by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in a Labor Day Doubleheader.  They took Game 1 behind CC Sabathia, 4-1.  CC didn’t figure in the decision, but he certainly continued his post-All Star Break brilliance and a possible march toward the AL Cy Young.  Personally, I hope it’s a march to the World Series but who am I?…

 

 

Munson WS Ring.JPG

Courtesy Hunt Auctions 

 

The game had been knotted at 1 for most of the game.  A-Rod had put the Yanks up early, but the Rays tied it.  It stayed that way until after CC departed.  But given the Rays now had to face Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera, the stage was set for another late inning Yankees comeback.  They weren’t denied.  Robinson Cano broke the tie in the 8th inning with a sac fly.  The Yankees scored a couple of more runs in the inning to close the book on the scoring, but after that, it was Mariano Rivera, a/k/a game over…

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Despite the no-decision, CC went 7 innings and gave up only 3 hits and one run while striking out 10 Rays batters.  He walked 4.  This is why the Yanks paid so heavily in the off-season…

 

CCs Contract.JPG

 

In the nightcap, an 8-run third inning ended any suspense or drama.  After that, it was evident that the Yankees would record their 89th victory of the season, matching last season’s win total.  It is very reassuring to know that the Yankees would have to go 0-23 to match last year’s record.  Of course, Julia is probably saying “It could happen!”…

 

 

The nightcap saw a return to dominance by A.J. Burnett, who had struggled in recent weeks.  In the 11-1 victory, A.J. went 6 innings and gave up 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks, with 8 K’s.  I am impressed with Yankees reliever Mike Dunn, who was called up last week.  I had heard comparisons to the Red Sox’ Daniel Bard, and I’d have to agree based on what I’ve seen so far.  Control is an issue, but he’ll overcome that with work and maturity.

 

 

 

A few notes regarding the Doubleheader…

Derek Jeter failed to get a hit in either game, so he remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the Yankees’ all-time career hits record.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is out for the season after breaking his finger in two places, thanks to a 95-mph CC Sabathia pitch.  It is a disappointing way to see the AL home run leader’s season come to an end, and I wish him the best for a successful offseason recovery and look forward to his return in 2010.  Pena ends the season with 39 HR’s and 100 RBI’s.  I hate to see injuries caused by Yankee pitching (the Toronto Blue Jays’ Randy Ruiz was hit in the face by Josh Towers on Sunday).  I do not feel that either pitch was intentional, but it is definitely the unfortunate part of the game.  No one wants to see anyone get hurt.  I have always heard that actor John Travolta is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, but the same can be said about Carlos Pena in Tampa (or anywhere for that matter).

 

 

 

The doubleheader sweep gives the Yankees their largest lead of the season, 9 games over the Boston Red Sox. The magic number stands at 16.  Julia, I’m sorry, but I think I hear the fat lady singing…

 

Courtesy David Otto

 

For the remaining two games against the Rays, the Yankees will pitch Chad Gaudin on Tuesday and Joba Chamberlain on Wednesday.  The Rays will counter with David Price and Jeff Niemann, respectively.

 

Courtesy Yankees Magazine

 

After a year lay-off, I am looking forward to watching October baseball again…

 

 

Go Yankees!

 

P.S.  I am glad that the Minnesota Vikings were able to retain QB John David Booty on the practice squad after he cleared waivers.  Of course, any team is free to sign him, so hopefully, the Vikings will clear space on the 53 man roster to restore what Booty lost when the Vikings signed ancient Brett Favre.  Booty will be throwing touchdowns while Favre is searching for retirement homes, so hopefully, Booty’s greatest Viking days are yet to come…

 

Quarterback John David Booty #4 of the Minnesota Vikings prepares to throw against the Dallas Cowboys on August 28, 2008 at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.  The Cowboys won 16-10.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images North America

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