Results tagged ‘ Toronto ’
Whew, it’s over…
On one hand, I do feel bad because there’s no denying the talent in A.J. Burnett’s arm, even if it has lost some of its zip over the past couple of seasons. If he had the mental fortitude of his good buddy, Roy Halladay, there’s no telling what he could have done with his extraordinary gift. But it was the mental lapses in difficult situations, magnified on the big stage in New York, that led the Yankees to make the only move they could have made. So, it’s exit Stage Left, or I guess Stage Right in Burnett’s case, as he moves on to the Steel City.
I am hopeful that the new and less-pressurized environment will allow Burnett to pitch more like the guy he was in Toronto with the Blue Jays. If that happens, it will be a win-win for both the Yankees and the Pirates. Granted, the two “prospects” the Yankees acquired in the Burnett trade (pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones) are considered low-level, but the salary relief for the Yanks (Pirates absorbing $13 million of what’s left on Burnett’s remaining $33 contract) is a positive. Even for the almighty Yankees. If neither Moreno or Cayones ever develop into major league talent, it was still a good trade for the Yankees. So, anything out of either of those players would be a bonus.
Of course, the haters will come out in full force if Phil Hughes fails to seize the opportunity and Freddy Garcia proves he overstayed his welcome by one year. But even in that worst case scenario, I’d prefer to see the talented arms in the farm system get the audition.
The Yankees will apparently sign both third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder Raul Ibanez once the Burnett trade is finalized. Those are two good pieces for the 2012 squad. I like the idea of an Ibanez-Andruw Jones tandem at DH, with occasional time for Alex Rodriguez. Ibanez may not be the slugger he once was, but with 20 homers in Philly last year, he proved he can swing it on occasion. For sentimental reasons, it would have been nice to see the return of either Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, but Ibanez is clearly the better choice.
He did it the RIGHT way in more ways than one…
Pitcher Tim Wakefield has been a long-time nemesis as the member of the Yankees’ arch rival, but it was still sad to see him call it a career. I know, it was time, and there’s always the chance the Red Sox call his number later in the season if they need help, but he leaves the game as a champion. The city of Boston and the Red Sox organization are very privileged to have one of baseball’s most charitable and classiest individuals in the game as one of their own.
Both Wakefield and David Ortiz proved that anything can happen after they were both released by their previous organizations but flourished with the Red Sox in the major leagues. It gives me hope for guys like Preston Mattingly and others. Wakefield makes for an incredible role model, and hopefully, he’ll continue to be a fixture in baseball in some capacity.
The Los Angeles Vikings didn’t really sound very good any way…
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings have a tentative stadium deal. Like the Burnett trade negotiations, this has been drawn out through eternity. I know, there are still many hurdles to be cleared before actual construction begins, but at least it was the first positive move forward for the Vikings. As a Vikings fan, there’s always been the fear in the back of one’s mind that the team would decide to move to greener pastures in Los Angeles (much like the Minneapolis Lakers did years ago). The tentative stadium deal would keep the Vikings in Minneapolis, as opposed to a suburban area like Arden Hills. Hopefully, this deal will get passed by the city and state, and will ensure that the Vikings are in Minnesota…and Minneapolis…for the long haul.
Joe says it so it must be true!…
So now even manager Joe Girardi is expressing interest in a left-handed bat! Joe’s joined the club of us overly intelligent, know-more-than-Brian Cashman fans! LOL! Just kidding. But it is interesting to see a key Yankee figure express the need for additional help. With free agents Raul Ibanez (wow, I almost typed Mondesi!), Hideki Matsui, and Johnny Damon lurking on the sidelines, GM Brian Cashman recently indicated the Yankees would pursue help via trade.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Obviously, the Yankees need to unload a pitcher. With three starters vying for the #5 spot in the rotation (Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes), it’s clear that this is going to end badly for one or two pitchers. All things considered, I think you have to put Phil Hughes in the rotation. The Yankees HAVE to prove that 2010 was not a fluke (or not). Plus, Hiroki Kuroda, at 37, is not destined to be a long-term Yankee. Sure, the Yanks could go hard after Cole Hamels or Matt Cain as a replacement following the 2012 season but I still subscribe to the ‘dance with the one who brung ya’ theory. Well, at least until he proves us wrong. I know, the leash is overly long, but Hughes is still young, and he can still be a force in the rotation. He’d certainly be cheaper than either Hamels or Cain in the foreseeable future.
So, where does that leave Burnett and Garcia? I think Garcia is the best option to plant in the bullpen as the long man and #6 starter in the event of injury in the rotation…at least until Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos are ready later in the year. This means shipping Burnett and lots of money to another team is probably best case scenario. Trading Hughes would be foolish since the return, following his poor 2011 season, would be under market value. Plus, Hughes has more long-term value to the team than Burnett. There’s no way the Yankees re-sign Burnett at the expiration of his contract. He’ll see the same door as Jason Giambi with a slight push from behind.
But, and that’s a big but, what does Burnett bring in trade? He is not going to bring a young slugger, that’s for sure. More than likely, it would only be someone else’s albatross, ala Alfonso Soriano. I still think one of the available free agents is the best option for the left-handed bat, but I am sure whatever move Cashman makes will be the best one for the organization.
Wanted: Someone who’s butt can withstand splinters…
As for the additional infield bench support to accompany Eduardo Nunez, I still would really like to see the return of Eric Chavez even though Bill Hall’s name has been mentioned more frequently as of late.
“Buck, we really need to be the focus of the tabloids”…
I have to admit that I am surprised to see the teams mentioned as possibilities for Manny Ramirez. No, I don’t want Man-Ram calling 161st and River home, but the teams mentioned…Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays…seem like odd fits for a guy that has to spend 50 games on the suspended list. With the emphasis on youth in Oakland and Baltimore, I’d question whether having Manny on the team is worth it in terms of the negative impact he can have. Younger players are far more impressionable, and no team, even the Blue Jays, need a distraction. Maybe Manny can still swing it. I acknowledge that he was once the most feared hitter in the AL, but I don’t think he’ll ever be close to the hitter he once was. Age sucks, but it happens to us all…
A funny thing happened to the Phillies on their way to the World Series…
Edwin Jackson to the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal was a good move for the Nats. Outside of the New York Mets, the NL East is a scary division. Yeah, the Philadelphia Phillies have the Big 3 (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels), but there are too many other question marks to make them the clear favorite. I don’t think the Miami Marlins will win the division but they’ll make noise. The Braves, the Nats. That’s a tough division. Then, there’s the Mets…
With a New York-Boston Super Bowl upon us, it’s weird that I, as a Yankees fan, find myself on the Boston side of the battle. That seems so wrong on so many levels. But it is what it is…go Patriots!
I said ‘NO’, oh, by the way, here’s a $30 million contract for you…
There is still not much to write about in the Yankees Universe. There’s a report that Managing GM Hal Steinbrenner has talked with super agent Scott Boras about pitcher Edwin Jackson, but other than that, not much to talk about. Given that Steinbrenner orchestrated the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano last season (much to the disagreement of GM Brian Cashman), it would be interesting to hear what Cash has to say about Jackson. Universally, any team would be happy to sign Jackson on a short term, but a longer term deal is perceived as problematic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Yankees need a solid #2 or #3 pitcher in addition to the current roster, but it is not worth the price of paying Jesus Montero and/or Manuel Baneulos.
Personally, I would not be opposed to Jackson in the rotation as I feel that pitching coach Larry Rothschild would be a very strong influence on the pitcher. He certainly has the potential of being better than anything in the rotation outside of CC Sabathia.
It’s a given that the Yankees need to do something. I think standing pat is the wrong approach. It would most likely ensure a second or third place finish behind the Boston Red Sox and/or Tampa Bay Rays. They need to improve the rotation. There are too many question marks attached to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will be another year older. The Yankees need a pitcher other than Sabathia that is completely capable of shutting down the opposition. Jackson can be that guy. I don’t like the idea of “saving your bullets” for another off-season in terms of projected free agents. In 2013, A-Rod and Jeter will be another year older and further from their prime. Why couldn’t have George Steinbrenner instilled this win at all costs mentality in his sons? Okay, fiscal responsibility is a good idea, but the Yankees need to ensure that they can withstand improved Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays squads.
I like the Yankees’ signing of former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. Granted, Donnie Baseball is one of my all-time heroes. But I’d like to see what the Yankee coaches and instructors can do with the former first round pick. He certainly has the pedigree to succeed. But time will tell if he can be Ken Griffey, Jr… or Pete Rose, Jr. His current path leans toward the latter, but he is only 24 years old. This goes into the category of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. For Preston’s sake, I hope that he succeeds in the organization that his father starred.
It was only $35.5 million…
I really feel bad for former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson. Once rumored to be close to a 4-year, $44 million contract with the Phillies, he signs with the Cincinnati Reds for a one year contract at $8.5 million. He’ll close for a fraction of the money that the Yankees pay 7th inning guy Rafael Soriano. The hope, obviously, is that liquidity will return to the closer market during the next off-season so that Madson can capture a lucrative long-term deal. I don’t know what went wrong with his negotiations with the Phillies and what led to their acquisition of former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, but he’ll long wonder what could have been.
We’ll give you over $50 million, but we’d really prefer to keep his salary at a couple mil…
For as much as the Texas Rangers bid for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I will be very surprised if they fail to come to contract terms with Darvish returning to Japan. But at this point in the negotiations, you have to wonder if that’s not the likely outcome. It would be interesting to see Darvish on the open market after next season. I wonder if that would change the Yankees interest level…
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp next month. I’ve been in Minnesota all winter long hoping for snow…and being sadly disappointed. At least the opening of baseball camps gives me something to be excited. I am looking forward to the debut of the 2012 Yankees! Bring it on!…
All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight, but I’ll just listen to Beethoven…
The Miami Marlins make a big splash to create perhaps the best Marlins squad since 2003 in signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes. The Los Angeles Angels rock the largest Hispanic community in the United States by nabbing #1 Baseball Superstar Albert Pujols. Oh yeah, they also picked up former Ranger ace C.J. Wilson along the way. Even the Boston Red Sox, in a season of chaos with the prolonged managerial search, managed to do SOMETHING with the acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Kyle Weiland. Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, nothing…
I know, how do you improve upon a 97-win team? Baseball is a game of constantly trying to improve. A little here, a little there…a big splash here, a big splash there. This off-season the Yankees haven’t fallen into any of those categories. They haven’t even moved to re-sign outfielder Andruw Jones or third baseman Eric Chavez which, in my mind, are important cogs for the 2012 team.
The team with the most money is…
Tonight’s wait is to hear whether the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers have won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. In the days of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees would have been the highest bidder and there would have been no speculation about who placed the highest bid (through a few “unnamed sources” within the Yankees organization). I am not saying that it is prudent to spend $50 million plus just to have the right to talk to Darvish, nor do I feel the Yankees made a bad decision by not going after him harder. But this is definitely a different Yankees ownership and one that is not particularly fond of footing the bill for the other owners through luxury tax payments. It’s too bad the Yankees have so much wrapped up in Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. A-Rod, in particular, is not the player he once was and no longer worthy of his behemoth contract. I’ll give Jeter the benefit of the doubt since he did finish 2011 strongly.
If the Yankees are gauging what they need to do by the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re severely underestimating the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees had trouble with that team last year, and the 2012 Jays will only be stronger (with or without Darvish).
If you’re not winning, you’re losing…
This has been a tough sports year for me. The Yankees felt like a team with shortcomings entering October and it revealed itself in the play-offs against the Detroit Tigers. They are still essentially the same team, minus a few players. There’s nothing to lead me to believe that the World Series is in their immediate future. Meanwhile, my pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, continues their march to become the worst team in professional football (only one game separates them from the Indianapolis Colts and the right to draft future NFL superstar QB Andrew Luck). I am sure that even Peyton Manning is a Vikings fan these days. It really stinks when you hope your team loses so that they can place higher in the draft.
I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do live within view of Target Field so it’s been tough watching local favorites Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) and Jason Kubel (D-Backs) sign elsewhere.
Clearly, I am someone that needs a ‘pick me up’ in sports. I want to see a player acquisition that I am excited about. Someone that brings energy, drive and commitment to the team, and helps them reach just a little bit further…
I will say that the Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero regardless of whether it could bring Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx. I’d love to see Gio in pinstripes, but I think that Montero has a chance to be a special talent. You just don’t let guys like him get away, even if it means no acquisitions this off-season.
Is that too much to ask? Sometimes I wish Hank Steinbrenner’s impulsiveness would prevail over Hal Steinbrenner’s calculated intellect. Fiscal responsibility, with a dash of insanity. C’mon, we were “raised” by George Steinbrenner. Weren’t you too, Hal?…
At least somebody is doing something…
Recently, I changed my NBA allegiance from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New York Knicks. I’ve been thinking about this move for several years, but adding Carmelo Anthony to Amare Stoudemire was the clincher. The latest news has the Knicks signing Baron Davis. As a former Bay Area resident, I was saddened when Davis left the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Clippers. He was perhaps the most popular basketball player in the area. I have a great deal of respect for him, and it’s tremendous that he and I have come together on the same team. I know Baron is hurt so his Knicks debut will be delayed, but I really like the off-season moves the Knicks have made. I’d be foolish to think that they are suddenly a NBA finals team, but they are definitely getting better.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, just crickets…
Baseball’s not a slow game but the off-season is…
It’s Thanksgiving, and the Yankees’ big moves this week were to sign journeyman utility infielder Jayson Nix and last year’s Andy Pettitte stand-in, Freddy Garcia. While I recognize that the Yankees needed to bring Garcia back, I hope that it does not deter them in their search for a legitimate #2 or #3 starter to go behind CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. I have not seen any updates on how potential talks are going with backup third baseman Eric Chavez, but hopefully, he’ll return to New York for one more season. At this point, I view Nix as spring training fodder that will be discarded by the time the team heads for the Bronx.
In recent weeks, I’ve heard the Yankees linked to potential trades for Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves and Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland A’s. My preference of the two is Gonzalez because of Jurrjens’ history of knee trouble. Gonzalez, ironically, has been involved in separate trades involving current Yankees players during his career (Nick Swisher, when he was traded from the A’s to the White Sox, and Freddy Garcia, when he was traded from the White Sox to the Phillies).
I am anxious for the Baseball Winter Meetings so that free agent and trade activity will begin to heat up. So far, the early winner of the Hot Stove League has to be the Philadelphia Phillies for no other reason than they’ve been aggressive while other teams have been idle. Jonathan Papelbon was a good choice for closer, especially when you have as much invested in the rotation as the Phillies do. Ryan Madson did a good job last year, but it’s really anybody’s guess if he would have enjoyed the same level of success this year since he simply does not have the history to support it…yet. I am not quite sure how Jim Thome fits in, but as a pinch-hitter off the bench, there’s certainly worse bats you could have.
The Texas Rangers also did a good job in picking up former Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan, even if it does come with significant risk. As long as they have a solid Plan B in place, Nathan could be a very pleasant surprise if he shows that he can still pitch at a very high level.
Who will be the Astros’ DH?…
It will probably be strange for the Houston Astros next season as they make their farewell from the National League. Andy Pettitte is probably wishing that this had happened during his playing days so that he could have been ensured of playing at home every season. I think Brad Mills is a good manager but it will be interesting to see if he is retained by new owner Jim Crane when the Astros enter the AL West in 2013. He certainly deserves the opportunity, but you have to wonder if he’ll be given sufficient time to succeed.
Happy north of the border or wishing that Yawkey Way was a daily routine…
It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox would love John Farrell as their manager, but the Toronto Blue Jays were obviously unwilling to allow that to happen. Nevertheless, I wonder how Farrell feels. Is he happy and delighted to be in Toronto, or does he have an unfulfilled desire for the Sox? Speaking of the Sox, I just don’t see how Bobby Valentine and the city of Boston are a good fit. I don’t dispute that he’s a good manager, but eventually he wears out his welcome and the pressure of Boston is greater than Arlington, Texas or even Flushing Meadows, New York. I don’t really know anything about Torey Lovullo’s managing background and Gene Lamont seems like an uninspired choice so I can’t say who I think would be a great fit for the job. Admittedly, I am a fan of former manager Terry Francona, so it does seem that whoever takes his place is going to an inferior choice. If it were my decision, I’d probably go with someone who has strong ties to the organization already, like bench coach DeMarlo Hale. But Boston’s late season collapse effectively removed any September participants from consideration and perhaps wrongfully so. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the next few weeks.
My first year in Minnesota coincides with the Vikings’ worst year in their 50 year history…
With the Minnesota Vikings standing at 2-8 heading into this weekend’s play, the baseball off-season has already seemed so incredibly long and it hasn’t even really started yet…
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
After losing 2 of 3 to the Boston Red Sox and
ensuring the mail delivery of a Red Sox cap to my home (ugh!), the Yankees went
to Toronto with a chance to clinch a play-off spot. What happened? A.J. Burnett started, so the rest is
self-explanatory. Instead of smelling
blood and delivering a season high performance, A.J. did what he often does
this season, he stuck his head in the sand.
The situation was a perfect set-up. Going back into his former home stadium to
face his former teammates with a golden opportunity to right the earlier wrong’s
of the season and propel his current mates into baseball’s promised land. Instead, A.J. was long gone by the end of the
third inning as he put the team in a hole they could not climb out of. The pitching line was horrific…2 ½ innings, 7
hits and 7 runs. For $82.5 million, we
got this and a 5.33 ERA in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox won so the RSN
continues its belief that the Red Sox can win all their remaining games, while
the Yankees get swept in Toronto and Boston.
Burnett could have ended all of that tonight…
It sucks that at this stage of the season, I have
to root for the Chicago White Sox. The
Yankees need to re-group, think about what Tony Dungy said the other day, and
come out to play like a play-off contender on Tuesday night. Win to get in, don’t back in…
I was saddened to hear the passing of former
Oakland Raiders great George Blanda. I
remember first becoming aware of him as an aging kicker for the Raiders when I
was a kid. I also remember being shocked
when I learned that he had been a quarterback earlier in his career. His 26-year career contained several careers
within a career. Anyone who grew up in
the 70′s will always remember #16 trotting onto the field to line up for a
game-winning kick regardless of whether or not you were a Raiders fan (I wasn’t
but I certainly had great respect for Blanda).
On the bright side, the Minnesota Vikings did
finally win on Sunday…
Say what you will, it was a win…
Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire
A night after losing 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game that probably could have been won if a clutch hitter like Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui or Jerry Hairston, Jr. were on the roster, the Yankees returned to their winning ways with a 11-5 victory over the Jays. It was another solid fill-in performance by Dustin Moseley. He was only responsible for 2 of the runs, as the remainder were charged against Chad Gaudin. Moseley has definitely stepped up in a big way during the absence of Andy Pettitte. After fretting what life would be like with Sergio Mitre after Andy went on the DL, manager Joe Girardi quickly reversed course and went with Moseley, a decision that has proven to be very fruitful. Moseley is not the front-end starter you want in the play-offs, but for a team trying to battle its way to the AL East Championship, he has been exactly what the doctor ordered.
After losing to the Jays last night, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Mention has to go to Rays closer Rafael Soriano who threw a 9-pitch 9th inning that resulted in 3 strikeouts. It was quite an impressive feat. Why did the Atlanta Braves let Soriano get away again?…
Johnny Damon has apparently invoked his no-trade clause to stay in Detroit after being claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox. All things considered, I am glad that Johnny opted to leave his Yankees legacy intact. Damon was clearly one of the primary players responsible for the fall of the Curse of the Bambino as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, however, he was later able to cut the cords with the Red Sox after failed contract negotiations (or lack thereof) to sign with the Yankees where he ultimately won another championship. Had he returned to Boston, he would have tarnished his Yankees legacy and turned the Yankees Universe against him. David Cone was one of my favorite Yankees, but I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for going to Boston. I would have hated to see Johnny return to Boston. When I broached the possibility to my Red Sox friends, I received responses like “ugh!”, “ick!”, and “no!”. While Jason Varitek and David Ortiz may have welcomed Johnny back, I am not sure that he would have been embraced by the RSN. Perhaps he would have, but did the Red Sox claim Damon because they truly wanted him or did they do it to block the Rays? As an aging player, I could have understood the player’s desire to play meaningful September games. However, for Johnny, there was so much at stake personally. He was a good Yankee, and hopefully, he’ll let that legacy stand on its own merits. No reason to ruin it by going back to Beantown. If the Yankees had just waited out Damon’s demands and brought him back to the Bronx, none of this would have been necessary. Who knows where he’ll play in 2011, but for now, I remain proud of Damon for standing by his principles and commitment.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
In an off-topic comment, I was dismayed to hear that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice will miss at least half of the season following hip surgery. Given that the injury was suffered during the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints, I am not quite sure why Rice waited until now to have surgery. He was the first true threat since the Vikings traded Randy Moss, so Brett Favre is definitely facing a challenge in what should be his final season. This morning, there were reports the Vikings were close to signing former Packers wide receiver Javon Walker who clashed with Favre at times during their days in Green Bay. With Percy Harvin’s on-going bouts with migraines, the best receiver at this point is probably Bernard Berrian which does not bode well for the Vikings and Favre.
Sports can be so brutal at times…
So, where do we go from here?…
The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately. They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again.
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy. In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0.
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.
As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game).
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s. Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season.
Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2. The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason. With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.
Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound. To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk. He struck out 3. Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level.
It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves. Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother. At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category. It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date. As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role. It would be nice to have him back in the
As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left. I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.
With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear.
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge. If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys.
It seemed like an eternity, but Alex Rodriguez
finally did it. With a huge weight
lifted off the Yankees Universe, A-Rod went deep early today against the
Toronto Blue Jays to bring his career home run total to 600. So, hats off to Alex for his huge
I saw one of his comments that when he thinks “small”,
he usually comes up “big”. Obviously,
when he thinks big, the results were microscopic so I am just glad to get this
one behind us. The rest of the team
seemed to lower themselves to the level of A-Rod’s slump in losing three
straight games prior to today. The home
run, a two-run blast, gave the Yankees the runs they would need to win in the
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger
It was a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes
who previously couldn’t get away with a single bad pitch. He fared much better today, so hopefully, the
results will help propel Hughes to the form he held earlier in the season.
Also, congratulations to Joba Chamberlain for
another solid outing (a scoreless 7th inning). And what can you say about Mariano
Rivera? In a non-save situation, he
lowered his season ERA to 0.91. I can’t
say that I was fortunate to see very many Yankee legends, but you can put Mo
into that category. With a storied
franchise that has won 27 World Series Championships, he has been the franchise’s
best at his position and one of the all-time greats. When he retires, his number will be retired
because of Jackie Robinson, however, it is certainty that it will be a dual
retirement to include Mo.
Chan Ho Park is now an ex-Yankee as he was claimed
on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s
unfortunate that Park couldn’t re-capture the form he displayed with the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I wish him the best in Pittsburgh.
The Yankees are off on Thursday, and await their
bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox, on Friday.
It is a four game set that will feature Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia,
A.J. Burnett, and Dustin Moseley.
Moseley against Josh Beckett on Sunday looks like a mismatch, but stranger
things have happened. It should be a
good series. Boston needs to take 3 of 4
or sweep the series, otherwise, they’ll have a long road to October. For the series, my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants) and I are engaging in yet another wager.
This time, the loser has to wear the opposing team’s cap in photos to be
posted on both blogs. I say that at
least five (5) photos must be posted, so I’ll see if Julia accepts that offer
or wants to up the ante. I have also
taken it a step further to say that I’ll have photos of me in a Boston cap AND
t-shirt should the Yankees lose (which, of course, I do not expect them to
do). If the teams split the series, the
team with the most total runs for the series will be the winner.
After ESPN ran continual stories about the career
of Brett Favre, now comes word that perhaps he really isn’t ready to
retire. I wish the media would just
delete the name ‘Brett Favre’ from their database until the Minnesota Vikings
make an official announcement either way.
I really don’t want to go through another round of ‘will he, won’t he’…
Bring on the Red Sox!…
Conceding first place…
To be in first place, you have to play like you
want to be champions. Unfortunately, the
Yankees have played like anything but since their weekend acquisitions of
Austin Kearns, Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood.
I thought the moves were meant to upgrade the roster. Instead, the life of the team has been
Of course, at the forefront, is the enigma known as
Alex Rodriguez. For a guy who is
supposed to eventually assault Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record, he has
made trying to get a single home run so incredibly painful to watch. The paparazzi are constantly following A-Rod
in anticipation of the 600th home run, but it has proved to be a
long and winding road.
Tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays pummeled the
Yankees, 8-2. The Yanks took an early
2-0 lead on a Mark Teixeira home run in the first, but then, the bats went
silent. A-Rod posted another 0-fer,
going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
I am not sure what it is going to take to snap the
team out of its current funk, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the easiest schedule
for the remainder of the season and now sole possession of first place. With arguably the best pitching rotation in
baseball, they won’t be losing too many games so the Yanks chances for winning
the division definitely took a turn for the worst with this past weekend’s
series loss to the Rays.
Dirk Shadd/St. Petersburg Times
There are reports that Brett Favre is finally
calling it a career, which leaves the Minnesota Vikings with Tavaris Jackson
and Sage Rosenfels at QB. Suddenly, a
potential NFC Championship rematch between the Vikings and the New Orleans
Saints doesn’t look so likely. With
Favre out of the picture, I’d have to say the Green Bay Packers, with Aaron
Rodgers, are the best of the NFC North.
If there is anything gained by Favre’s decision (if true), it is that
his off-season indecisiveness will no longer impact the team’s plans. I hope that T-Jack learned under Favre last
season, but I can’t say that I am overly optimistic.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
This is definitely a ‘glass is half empty’
post. I guess I had better close it out
while I am behind…