Results tagged ‘ White Sox ’

Time to look to October…

The 2011 AL East Division Champions…

 

Most importantly, congratulations to the New York Yankees for their AL East Division Championship.  They should have been AL East Champions last season but stumbled in the final days of the season to allow them to be eclipsed by the Tampa Bay Rays.  So, fortunately, the Yankees have returned to their rightful throne!  Well, at least for September.  Come October, nothing less than a World Series Championship is acceptable!

 

So, I was only half right…

 

Admittedly, I am surprised the way this season has played out.  At the beginning of the season, I had picked the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies as the World Series participants.  The Phillies still look like the odds-on favorite at this point given their stellar starting pitching, but the Red Sox have faded oh so quickly.  I remember listening to Sox fans who were predicting at least 114 wins or more for their revamped Red Sox, and while I openly scoffed at the notion, there was a part of me that was concerned that the Red Sox did have the necessary personnel to pull off a magical season.  The chances for the magical season faded quickly when pitcher Clay Buchholz was lost for the season, but the Red Sox had charged back after a sluggish start and were in the thick of things at the end of August.  Up to that point, the Red Sox had played the Yankees very aggressively with a significant advantage in the season series.  They showed they had the offense to destroy virtually any pitcher on any given night, and there is no doubt that Adrian Gonzalez is perfectly suited for Fenway Park.  But sadly for the Sox, the calendar turned to September and the deteriorated pitching staff started to show the stress and strain of the long season.  Still, I didn’t expect the free fall that has currently left the Sox tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card slot, while the Yankees have wrapped up the division championship and best record in the AL.  I never dreamed that the Yankees would be in position to walk to the finish line.

 

Pitching, pitching, pitching…

 

My lack of faith in the Yankees at the beginning of the season was due primarily to the pitching staff.  I was concerned about A.J. Burnett and his ability to bounce back from a disastrous season (and rightfully so).  I did not think the Yankees could replace Andy Pettitte with two scrapheap pitchers in Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.  Plus, the Yankees were placing much emphasis on Phil Hughes who, despite his 18-win season, had not proven that he was a reliable and dependable starter.  Rounding out the rotation was a rookie pitcher (Ivan Nova), who had not even been mentioned in the same breath with Yankees prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.   With CC Sabathia followed by a cast of characters, I did not see how the Yankees could compete with the Red Sox and felt that the Wild Card was the team’s best hope.  Now, I am very delighted that I was wrong.  While Burnett and Hughes have been disappointments, Ivan Nova has been huge and is now the second best pitcher in the rotation.  Garcia and Colon have been terrific even if Colon seems to be wearing down at this point in the season.  Garcia is definitely a play-off caliber starting pitcher.  If the Yanks go with a four man rotation, then the 4th man should be Burnett.  But he’ll have a very short leash with Colon and Hughes potentially in the bullpen.

 

Don’t play Poker with Brian Cashman…

 

If I had been the GM, I am sure that I would have made some impulsive and regrettable move at the trading deadline.  GM Brian Cashman, on the other hand, stood pat and played with the hand he was dealt.  In retrospect, he looks like a hero (which includes his anti-Rafael Soriano stance in the spring).  I hope the Yankees do whatever it takes to ensure Cash’s return to the Bronx.  I am sure that there would be significantly less stress in Chicago with the Cubs or some other major league team, but nobody understands New York better than Cash.  I definitely think the Steinbrenners need Cashman more than he needs them.  Hopefully, they’ll recognize it and make sure that Cashman is re-signed.

 

Passing of the Guard…

 

If the Yankees have learned anything in September (aside from the importance of quality starting pitching in watching the Sox freefall), it’s that Jesus Montero is ready for The Show.  This does not bode well for Jorge Posada who is most likely playing his final year in Yankee pinstripes.  If he continues his career season, it will be tough to see him play in different team colors.  My only request would be for him not to go to Boston or Tampa.  It’s always tough to see players cross those lines, and if it were me, I’d retain the respect for the Yankees and walk away from the AL East.

 

He surprised me yet again…

 

Count me as one of the skeptics in Ozzie Guillen’s decision to orchestrate his departure from the Chicago White Sox so that he could join the Florida Marlins.  While I realize that Guillen will sell tickets in Miami, I don’t see it as a good fit with ownership.  I am still not quite sure how someone could have issues with Joe Girardi, but fortunately, Miami did and he’s the highly successful manager of the Yankees.  But Joe is far less out-spoken than Guillen, so if Joe’s comments got him into trouble, what’s going to happen with Guillen who always openly and freely speaks whatever is on his mind.  I had always heard that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf loved Ozzie like a son, so there’s no way the relationship in Miami will be anything comparable.  His on the field performance had better outweigh the baggage that comes with Ozzie as your manager.  He may regret taking the money and running…

 

Two game sabbatical from ‘Red Sox Suck!’…

 

With the Red Sox and Rays tied for the Wild Card tonight, I’ll have to go with the Red Sox as my preferred team to advance.  I don’t think the Sox will be the easier opponent in the play-offs but that doesn’t concern me.  I’ve always believed that you have to ‘beat the best to be the best’.  This comes down to respect and I simply respect the Red Sox more…

 

–Scott

All I want for Christmas (err 4th of July) is a friggin’ pitcher…


This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers).  First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies.  Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family.  And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.



Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova
, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected).  But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up? 
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way.  Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks.  At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away. 

As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft.  I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick.  As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick.  I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man.  My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker
from the University of Washington. 
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post.  If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder
or Andy Dalton.  As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s. 

For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera.  It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest.  Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night.  Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.

Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base?  I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…

We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert
is still on the board.  Why
is that important?  Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available.  Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.

It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning).  With CC
Sabathia
on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split. 
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
innings…

Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…

Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!  

Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now.  There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up.  It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection.  Bummer for me…

This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair
when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings.  Drats, those Titans!

Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning.  The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around. 
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix. 

The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada.  Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting. 
His batting average stands at .134. 
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH.  Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.

Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk.  8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far).  So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.

It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert
with their trade up with the Washington Redskins.  So much for the QB for the
fu
ture for
Minnesota…  D
oes this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb?  Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
Stafford

My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft.  Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.  


Drew Weatherford, front, is competing with Christian Ponder, left, and D'Vontrey Richardson to start at quarterback.

AP


Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early. 
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb
and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position.  I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers
just sitting there for the taking. 
Oh well, Go Seminoles!

Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0.  Nice…


–Scott

 

A BIG Part of the Rotation…


Nineteen and counting…


 



After a season of overusing words like stellar and
incredible when trying to describe CC Sabathia, he continued with more of the
same in one of his best pitching performances of the year in defeating the
Oakland A’s 5-0 this afternoon in the Bronx. 
The win moved CC’s record to 19-5, and put him in outstanding position
to win 20 games in his second year with the Yanks.

 

Over the years, the Yankees have had some great
free agent signings and some not so great. 
CC has clearly put himself in the Top 5 best signings in just under two
years in New York.  Then there’s A.J.
Burnett.  Oh well, nobody’s perfect…except
maybe CC!  ;)



CC Sabathia ties career high with win No. 19 as ace throws one-hit ball over eight innings as Yankees sweep Oakland A's at the Stadium, 5-0.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

CC’s game today was a one-hit shutout.  Fortunately, the hit occurred early in the
game on a legitimate hit (single in the second inning).  It would have been much worse had the hit
happened late in the game.  September 1st
call-up, Jonathan Albaladejo pitched the 9th to secure the win and
shutout for CC. 

 

The game also featured two home runs by the
recently rejuvenated Curtis Granderson. 
He has definitely found his sea legs in New York, and is starting to
play like the player the Yanks thought they were getting when they acquired him
from the Tigers.  I am sure that New York
City is starting to look much better through Grandy’s eyes now that his bat is
starting to catch up with his reputation. 

 

With the win, the Yanks moved to 1 ½ games up on
the Tampa Bay Rays, who had the day off. 
They remained 8 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who defeated Buck
Showalter and Baltimore Orioles 6-4.  I
would never count the Red Sox out, but on September 2nd, I certainly
feel much better about an 8 game lead than I would if it were only 2 or 3 games
(okay, that’s a statement of the obvious…sorry).  This has been a tough year for the Sox, and I
would never seek to found glory in their injuries.  The latest word has Dustin Pedroia seeking
season-ending foot surgery in an attempt to avoid any setbacks that would cause
him to miss time in 2011.  Pedey is a
gamer so I am sure that whatever decision he makes will be in the best
interests of both he and the Red Sox organization.



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

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 

Off-topic
stuff…

 

It’s hard to believe the NFL season is upon us once
again.  My team, the Minnesota Vikings,
will once again be quarterbacked by 20-year vet Brett Favre.  I have my doubts if Favre will be able to
last the entire season so hopefully Tavaris Jackson has grown during his time
as a backup to Favre.  The team may not
have needed T-Jack in 2009, but he’ll see plenty of the pigskin in 2010. 

 

My hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, now have the
reigning Stanley Cup goalie in the fold. 
Antti Niemi won salary arbitration against the Chicago Blackhawks and as
a result forced himself out of Chicago’s budget.  They subsequently severed ties with Niemi and
signed former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco. 
The Sharks signed Niemi on a one-year, $2 million deal.  He’ll join another free-agent signee and
fellow countryman Antero Niittymaki plus Thomas Greiss in net.  Former goalie Evgeni Nabakov, who the team
cut ties with earlier in the off-season, signed to play in Russia.  Will this be the year the Sharks finally make
the Stanley Cup?  Well, I certainly hope
so.

 

Roger Clemens deserves jail time…

 

Aroldis Chapman is the real deal.  The Cincinnati Reds are having a terrific
season and they’ve just added an ace arm to the bullpen for the stretch
run.  There must have been collective
groans in St. Louis when the Reds called Chapman up from the minors.  Here’s hoping that he has a much better run
than fellow rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg who is now on the shelf for 12-18
months due to Tommy John surgery.  I
still wonder why the Yankees never entered into the bidding for Chapman.  I hope they don’t make the same mistake
when/if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish comes available.

 

I was really surprised to see Andy Roddick make
such an early exit from the US Open in Flushing Meadow, NY (second round).  I’ve been to the US Open a number of times,
and Roddick has always been a fixture in the later rounds.  This year, he’ll be watching from the stands
like the rest of us.

 

Manny Ramirez looks pathetic in a White Sox
uniform.  It wasn’t that long ago that I
admired Manny the Hitter, but I have to admit that I’ve been turned off by his
ugly departures from both Boston and Los Angeles.  Chicago may be excited for now, but it is
inevitable that they’ll be glad to see Manny leave town.

 

Is it really September?…

 

–Scott

Time To Step It Up…

 

Whew, a series win!…



 


The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova.  Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits.  He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.



New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova shuts down the White Sox as the Bombers and Curtis Granderson (below) upend Chicago.

Huh/AP

 

The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4.  It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point.  It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.



New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is 0-9 combined in the months of June and August.

Arbogast/AP

 


In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win.  They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column. 

 

The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday.  He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins.  At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.  



0828thames.JPG

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT



Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and 
Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday. 



New York Yankees third baseman Eduardo Nunez gives thanks after hitting a two-run homer against the Chicago White Sox. Mark Teixeira (b.) is not sure whether he'll play Sunday with a bruised thumb.

Smierciak/AP

 


I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season.  Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
banned substance. 

 

It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte.  Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova.   I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of
trouble. 

 

Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s.  With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup.  As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key
ingredient.

 

Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night.  He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play. 
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal.  I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial.  Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category.  It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.



Hitting .321 with 45 homers and 120 RBI through Wednesday's action, Albert Pujols is once again in the middle of the NL MVP race.

Scott Rovak/US Presswire

 


I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays).  But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…

 



–Scott


 

Have Bat, Will Travel…

 

“Robby Cano!  Dontcha know!”…

 

 

 

Cano.JPG

AP

The words flowed so smoothly from Yankees radio voice John Sterling when Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the Yankees’ 12-3 romp over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. 

 

While Cano has carried the team so far this year, Brett Gardner was the catalyst for today’s win.  He hit a run-scoring single in the 2nd inning for the first run of the game, and added his annual home run in the 4th.  Gardner has certainly seized his starting opportunity this year, and has been a bright spot in the lineup. 

 

 


Gardy 050110.JPGAnthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

Cano followed with his three-run blast in the fifth… 

 

 

Cano 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

After a two-run homer by Nick Swisher in the 6th inning, the Yankees closed their scoring with 5 runs in the 7th.  After a Jorge Posada double to start the inning, the Yankees loaded the bases, thanks in part to an error by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Derek Jeter walked to force in a run, and both Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira followed with two-run doubles to the cap the 5-run outburst.  Jorge Posada came to the plate a second time but struck out to end the inning.

 

Mark Melancon lost the shutout in the 9th when Paul Konerko connected on a three-run shot, but the story of the game was the masterful pitching of Phil Hughes.  Unlike Javy Vazquez, Phil Hughes has been terrific. 

 

 

Hughes 050110.JPG

Anthony J. Causi/NY Post

 

 

It was three years ago today when Phil Hughes was in the midst of a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers when a pulled left hamstring forced him to leave the game after 6 1/3 innings.  The batter at the plate at day when Hughes pulled the hamstring?  Current Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.  Nevertheless, after contributing to the Yankees World Series run last year as setup man for Mariano Rivera, Hughes has shown that he belongs in the starting rotation.  His pitching line today is what you would expect from the ace of the staff, not the #5 starter…

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

ERA

7.0

4

0

0

1

6

0

99-69

1.44

 

 

In Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the White Sox, the Yankees lost centerfielder Curtis Granderson who strained his groin while running between 2nd and 3rd on a hit and run single.  He was placed on the 15-day DL after the game, and will most likely be out for a month.

 

 

Yankees' Curtis Granderson

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

The goat for Saturday’s loss was former White Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez who continued his string of pathetic performances.  Following the game, I heard much speculation that Vazquez should be pulled from the rotation for his next start (Friday night in Boston).  I think it is still too early to give up on Vazquez.  He is too talented and I think he’ll work through this difficult stretch.  No good would be gained by pulling Vazquez and it would be very damaging to the pitcher’s psyche.

 

 

Javier Vazquez Yankees White Sox

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

 

With today’s win, the Yankees have now captured 7 of their first 8 series this season.  At 16-8, they are still in second place, 1 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.   All things considered, I feel good about where the team is as we head into May.  I feel very confident that players like Teixeira, Vazquez, and Nick Johnson will start playing to the levels we’ve been accustomed to.  The rotation is solid, despite Vazquez, so if he comes around, it could be a very dominating staff. 

 

The Yankees now await the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx for a series beginning Monday night.  The O’s know they can beat the Yankees and they are fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox so they’ll be coming to town with newfound confidence.  It should be a good series.  After the O’s depart on Wednesday, the Yankees will head to Fenway Park for a weekend series against the Red Sox.

 

 

Orioles complete sweep of Red Sox with 3-2 win

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

Speaking of Yankees-Red Sox, Julia of Julia’s Rants fulfilled her part of the wager for the loss of the first season series between the two teams.  Her punishment was reading Dawn of a Dynasty:  The Incredible and Improbably Story of the 1947 New York Yankees by Frank Strauss.  You’ll find her excellent book report here.

 

 

 

 

Excellent job Julia!  You get an A+!  J

 

 


A Plus.JPG 

 

For our next wager, we have opted to add a sense of adventure.  If the Red Sox lose the series, Julia will be forced to search for an inexpensive piece of Yankee memorabilia.  It can’t be something current and easy to find.  It must be older and relate to the opposing team’s past.  The loser will detail the adventure on their blog, along with photos of the journey and the piece of memorabilia found.  If I lose, I will have to search the San Francisco area for Red So memorabilia.  Here’s to hoping for a most excellent adventure in Julia‘s future!

 

 

 

 

 

Good luck to QB Ryan Perrilloux!  He had a tryout at the Minnesota Vikings mini-camp this weekend.  Hopefully, his performance will net a contract so he can continue his audition in training camp.  There would be nothing better than grabbing a clipboard to study under Brett Favre (assuming that Favre returns as expected).   

 

 

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune

Hahaha!…I Love It!…

 

It was in the Wall Street Journal so it must be true!…

 

 


So True.JPG 

 

Ask my friend Julia who the most hated team in baseball is and I’m sure she will point towards the Bronx.  Sorry Julia!  According to the Wall Street Journal, the Cleveland Indians are the most hated team followed closely by…the Boston Red Sox!

 

 

RSN.JPG

 

The Yankees may have finished fifth on the list (created by Nielsen Co. using an Internet algorithm), but they were better than the Red Sox (of course!) and that’s all that really matters!  The Boston Red Sox, more despised than the New York Yankees.  Ah, what a great feeling!  Just sayin’…  J

 

 

Yankee Country.JPG

 

Nice recovery by the Yankees in Baltimore.  After dropping the first game of the series in pathetic fashion, they rebounded to take the final two games by scores of 8-3 and 4-0, respectively. 

 

In the first win, the Yankees rode a season high 15 hits to victory.  CC Sabathia was off his game somewhat as he gave up 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings, but he only allowed 3 runs. 

 

 

Mark Theiler/EPA

 

 

Robinson Cano, off to a blazing start this season, homered in the third.  Like many people, I felt that this was going to be a huge year for Cano, particularly moving up to 5th in the batting order behind Alex Rodriguez.  So far, he has not disappointed.

 

 

Yankity Blanks.JPG

Mike Ricigliano/Baltimore Sun

 

The game wasn’t all smiles as the Yankees did lose catcher Jorge Posada in the second inning with a right knee contusion after he was hit by a pitch.  He won’t miss much time but he’ll be sore for a few days. 

 

 

New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada (r.) walks with Joe Girardi after getting hit by Oriole's pitcher Jeremy Guthrie on Wednesday.

Burton/AP

 

Tonight, the Yankees were led by the brilliant pitching of A.J. Burnett and the continued hot hitting of Robinson Cano.  Cano, with an AL-leading batting average of .407, hit his 7th and 8th home runs of the season in the fourth and eighth innings.  With Cano’s scorching bat, it’s too bad that A-Rod and Mark Teixeira aren’t hitting at the plate.  When they get going, the Yankees are going to be very hard to stop.  Sorry Julia!

 

 

Yankees' Robinson Cano

Mark Theiler/EPA

 

After Burnett left (8 innings, 3 hits, no runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts, with only one base runner getting past second base), the great Mariano Rivera finished up in a non-save opportunity.

 

It was a long road trip that saw the Yankees’ series win streak snapped in Anaheim, but they finished strong with the series win in Baltimore and an overall winning record (5-4).  Now, if somebody could just beat the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

 

Third base coach Tom Foley fist bumps Jason Bartlett after a triple to right field, which scored two runs in the second inning.

James Borchuck/St. Petersburg Times

 

 

The Yankees head back to the Bronx to face the Chicago White Sox in a weekend series. Hopefully, Javier Vazquez will get going against his former teammates.  It’s time for him to get the Yankee fans behind him, and start pitching like he is capable of. 

 

 

 

Off-topic alert!

 

It is no secret that I was disappointed the Minnesota Vikings passed on a quarterback of the future in the recent NFL Draft (when they could have selected Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy).  They did draft a QB in the sixth round (UAB’s Joe Webb) but he is targeted for a position switch to wide receiver.  They signed undrafted free agent QB R.J. Archer of William & Mary, but the most intriguing player is QB Ryan Perrilloux.  Ryan has been given a tryout during this weekend’s mini-camp.  He was highly touted coming out of high school in 2005.  He was considered the top prospect at the position, along with current New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez.  He went to LSU, where he played behind Oakland Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell.  Off-the-field transgressions and violation of team rules led to his suspension and subsequent ouster from the school.  He transferred to Jacksonville State where he had a largely unnoticed but successful career. 

 

 

Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI

 

I don’t know what happened at LSU, but Ryan appears to have learned from the errors in his past.  I do believe in character and attitude first, but he deserves a second chance assuming that he truly has “righted the ship”.  He shares an agent (Bus Cook) with Vikings QB Brett Favre, which may have led to the tryout with the Vikings.  He has also been seen practicing with Favre this off-season.  I wish Ryan the very best in his tryout and I hope to see both him and Favre on the field for the Vikings this fall. 

 

I hope everyone has a super fantastic weekend…including Ryan!  :)

 

–Scott

 

Yes, Ozzie, It Was ‘Very Nice’…

 

A “very nice” weekend…

Weekend.JPG

 

Asked about the weekend in New York City following the three game sweep by the Yankees, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would only say that Yankee Stadium is a very nice ballpark and that they had stayed in a very nice hotel.  Very nice, if I say so myself!  ;)

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

I doubt it was too much fun to be on the White Sox’ plane as they flew to Minneapolis following Sunday’s game.  The trip to Boston and New York was not a fun experience for the White Sox, who were once considered play-off contenders.

 

Ozzie Guillen argues a close play at second base with umpire Mark Wegner, who called Derek Jeter safe at second on a fielder's choice in the first inning. 

Paul J. Bereswill/AP

 

Mathematically, the White Sox are still in it as they are only 6 games behind the Detroit Tigers.  However, the past week, with only 1 win in 7 games against Boston and New York, showed that they are pretenders at this point. 

 

Yankees 8, White Sox 3

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

It was good to see the Yankees complete the three-game sweep, particularly considering the disappointment o f the prior series they lost to the Texas Rangers.  As it stands, the Yankees need every victory because the Boston Red Sox just keep on winning.  The Yankees’ lead in the AL East remains at 6 games.  Unlike Chicago, Boston does have the ability to win the division so the Yankees need to keep winning to stay ahead.

 

Winslow Townson/AP 

 

Yesterday’s one-hit shutout in the Yankees’ 10-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox was very satisfying.  Sergio Mitre was pitching a great game, his finest in pinstripes, but he suffered a forearm contusion off a liner hit by A.J. Pierzynski in the 7th inning and departed the game.  Chad Gaudin closed out the one-hit masterpiece.  My biggest fear is that Mitre’s gem came at the last opportunity for the Yankees to secure a reliable #5 starter for September.  If Mitre’s performance causes the Yankees to end their quest for an upgrade and he reverts to his usual mediocre ways, it will be a frustrating September.

 

Paul J. Bereswill/AP 

 

I think it is important for the Yankees to play for home field advantage in the play-offs, and that’s why I am so concerned about the #5 spot in the rotation.  I agree that by the time the play-offs start, the #5 starter becomes a long man out of the pen.  But given the Yankees’ struggles against the Los Angeles Angels, they need every advantage they can get between now and when they’ll have to face their nemesis with the chips on the line.  I was surprised that the Tampa Bay Rays traded Scott Kazmir, but it was tough to see him go to the Angels.  The Yankees have not done well against Kazmir and he solidifies the Angels’ rotation.  The Yankees were able to reverse their fortunes against the Red Sox; I only hope they’ll be able to do the same with the Angels when the time comes.

 

Shazam.JPG

 

Sunday, “Joba Rules 2.0″ were in effect so it was an abbreviated start for Joba Chamberlain who only went 3 innings (2 runs on 4 hits).  Alfredo Aceves, in the role perfectly suited for him, relieved Chamberlain and picked up his 9th win of the season.  The game had been tight until the 7th inning when the Yankees scored 5 runs (primarily on the strength of Mark Teixeira’s three-run homer, his 32nd of the season).  Teixeira, in picking up his 101st RBI of the season, now has hit 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s for the sixth consecutive season.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

The game also saw Johnny Damon hit the 200th home run at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in April.

 

Johnny Damon is congratulated by Derek Jeter after hitting a two-run homer in the third inning off of starter Freddy Garcia.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images 

The Yankees now head to Baltimore.  The Orioles have generally played very well against the Yankees, so it should be a challenging series.  Meanwhile, their chief rival heads to Tampa for a three-game series against the Rays.  Normally, I’d like the Rays’ chances in the match-up, but I have to believe that for a team still in contention, the trade of Scott Kazmir had t be somewhat demoralizing.  Therefore, the Red Sox are probably getting to Tampa at just the right time…not to mention that they’ve been on fire since they played the Yankees earlier this month.  The beginning of September should be interesting in the AL East…well, at least for the Yankees and Red Sox…

 

 

Standings as of 8/30/09:

TEAM

W

L

%

GB

Yankees

82

48

.631

Red Sox

76

54

.585

6.0

Rays

70

59

.543

11.5

Blue Jays

58

70

.453

23.0

Orioles

54

77

.412

28.5

 

I saw that Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassell was hurt this weekend.  I know the Chiefs are awaiting tests to determine the extent of the injury, but hopefully, the news will be good and he’ll return soon.  Even though he didn’t end up with the Vikings, I had been looking forward to see if Cassell could continue his success in Kansas City.

 

It was a painful sack for Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel on the third play from scrimmage in Saturday's game against the Seattle  Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. Cassel left the game because of a leg injury and did not return to the sideline.

The Kansas City Star 

 

I was very surprised that the New England Patriots have chosen to cut backup QB Kevin O’Connell.  Granted, I am not too close to the scene so I don’t know all the details, but I hope the Pats have a plan for a safety net behind Tom Brady.  I am sure they’ll be scouring the waiver wire and calling other teams looking for possible replacements.  The Pats do need more than Andrew Walter or Brian Hoyer should Brady go down for any extended period of time.  Maybe the Pats should have opted for Michael Vick…

 

Kevin O'Connell #5 of the New England Patriots shouts instructions against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Getty Images North America

 

I am anxious to see what Brett Favre is able to do when he plays the first half against the Houston Texans in tomorrow night’s exhibition game.  Last week, he was outplayed by Tavaris Jackson as he only went 1-for-4 for 4 yards.   I am sure that the word “schism” will be heard more than once on the telecast Monday night. 

 

 

Tuesday night, I will be going to my first Nickelback concert.  They’re my favorite band, and I am excited to finally see them in person.  Over the years, I’ve used different lyrics as a mantra, and these are some of my favorite lines from the song, If Today Was Your Last Day…

So do whatever it takes

‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life

Let nothing stand in your way

‘Cause the hands of time are never on your side

 

 

Hopefully, Tuesday night will find the Yankees 7 ½ games up on the Red Sox!  J

–Scott

Remembrance of a Legend…

 

Where were you 30 years ago today?

 

Getty Images

 

Well, many of you probably weren’t even born yet.  But those of us who were most likely will remember August 2, 1979…particularly Yankees fans.  The day saw the untimely demise of #15, the Yankee Captain, Thurman Munson.

 

 

As a teenage Yankees fan, Thurman had been my hero.  While I have always credited Jim “Catfish” Hunter and the legend of Lou Gehrig as the primary reasons I became a Yankees fan despite growing up in the Midwest, it was the tough and tenacious Munson that quickly became my favorite player. 

Thurman was his own man and he wouldn’t let anyone push him around.  Not George Steinbrenner, not Billy Martin, not Reggie Jackson, not Carlton Fisk.  I will always remember the 1976 World Series…not for the series sweep at the hands of the Big Red Machine but how Thurman wouldn’t quit.  He hit .529 in the series, and at one point, had six consecutive hits.  His performance laid the foundation for the championship years of 1977 and 1978. 

I had known about Thurman’s interest in airplanes, and how he viewed it as a way to reach his family in Ohio more often.  Selfishly, I was hopeful that he’d never leave the Yankees in the late 70′s/early 80′s, but I had become increasingly fearful that he would leave at the end of his contract to sign with the Cleveland Indians (to be closer to his home).  Unfortunately, I never saw that day come and will never know if Thurman would have truly left or if he would have stayed to finish his career in pinstripes.

On August 2, 1979, I was in high school and employed by a local grocery store in a small Iowa town.  I was working when one of our customers told me that they had just heard Thurman Munson was killed in an airplane crash.  I vividly recall just standing there with a blank look of disbelief frozen on my face.   My hero had just died…

 

It is a loss that I personally will never forget.  I think about Thurman every August 2nd, and I see his spirit continue to thrive in present day Yankees like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.

 

Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images

 

Today was a day to remember Thurman and we continue to owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he wore pinstripes.  Thanks for the tremendous memories, Thurman.  You are still my hero…

 

 

For a great article about Thurman Munson, please read Moss Klein’s article in The Star Ledger, entitled Catcher Thurman Munson, The Captain, was the Heart and Soul of the NY Yankees.  It’s an excellent read.

 

YANKEES WIN…FINALLY…

The Yankees were able to beat the Chicago White Sox today, 8-5, to avoid being swept in the four game series which began last Thursday.

 

Mike Carlson/AP

Melky Cabrera became the first Yankee since Tony Fernandez in 1995 to hit for the cycle.  Melky went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  He staked the Yanks to an early lead with a three-run homer in the second inning.

 

Tannen Maury/EPA

In the 9th, needing only a tripe, Melky hit a liner off the right field wall.  Trying to do his best impression of Brett Gardner, Melky sped around the bases and just beat the relay throw to third for his first triple of the season and completed the cycle.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

 

It wasn’t a great game for CC Sabathia (perhaps he was still disappointed that his buddy, Victor Martinez, now calls Fenway Park home), however, he gutted it out and stayed in the game into the 8th inning.  Mark Buehrle, fresh off a perfect game just two starts ago, was the loser.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

 

With the win, the Yankees remain a ½ game ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  The Red Sox throttled the Baltimore Orioles today, 18-10.

 

Nick Wass/AP 

Hey Julia, just 4 more days until the showdown resumes.  From what I can tell, the Yankees have finally figured out a way to beat a team called the Sox!  Life is good! 

With today’s game, Derek Jeter has now played in 2084 games, which ties Babe Ruth for fourth place on the list of most games played with the Yankees.

 

AP file 

 

A DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO

My wife and I attended the San Francisco Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies today at AT&T Park.  It was a beautiful day for a game.  The weather forecast was cloudy and 59 degrees, however, after early cloudiness, it was all sunny skies and 66 degrees.  The Giants prevailed, 7-3, with Barry Zito getting the win over Cole Hamels. 

AT&T Park is one of my favorite ballparks, and today was definitely a treat…

 


 

IMG_0271sm.JPG

 

 

IMG_0278sm.JPG

 

 

IMG_0281sm.JPG

 

Okay, I did have to make sure that I kept an eye on a certain American League score…

IMG_0283sm.JPG

 

…but I managed to watch the Giants win a great game!

IMG_0287sm.JPG

 

Late in the game, a Dodgers fan walked up the stairs to leave the game.  The crowd booed and hissed unmercifully while the Dodgers fan just soaked it all in and waved his Dodgers cap with pride.  After the Dodgers fan had exited, a Boston Red Sox fan made the same exit except this time, no one said anything at all.  The Red Sox fan was ignored as he quietly left the stadium.  Ah, I love being back in the Bay Area…

 

IMG_0293sm.JPG

 

–Scott

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…

.

 

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…

 

Worried1.JPG

 

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 

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