The Yankees played a hard fought series in Boston, and escaped with two out of three despite their “pathetic and embarrassing”¹ play. They had a day off and traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to face their other primary AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.
With Javier Vazquez on the mound, it looked as though the Yankees would stack up very nicely against David Price and the championship-contending Rays. Staked to an early 2-0 lead, Vazquez promptly gave it up in the bottom half of the 4th inning. Former Yankee Carlos Pena tied the score with a two-run homer, and Jason Bartlett had a two-run double in the 5 run inning. Another former Yankee, Dioner Navarro, hit the single that put the Rays in the lead. Those would be the only runs that Price would need enroute to the Rays’ third victory of the season.
Marcus Thames made his second start of the season in left (in place of starter Brett Gardner), and Mark Teixeira continued his traditional ice cold start. After four games, he is 0-for-16 which matches the worst hitless start of his career. Let’s hope that he ends the streak on Saturday.
The weekend games will pit CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as the rotation begins its second go-around this young season. I am expecting a much stronger start from Sabathia than we saw in Boston, and the same with Burnett. They’ll face Wade Davis and James Shields, respectively.
On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost too as the Kansas City Royals rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 4-3. It was a great start by the ageless and reliable Tim Wakefield, but once again, the bullpen was the Achilles heel for the Red Sox.
¹I found Umpire Joe West’s comments about the Yankees and Red Sox as “pathetic and embarrassing” to be, well, pathetic and embarrassing. His frustration was over the slow play of the opening series between the two teams. In my opinion, West should voice any concerns he has internally within his own organization and not air the negative comments publicly. I am biased and if I were a San Francisco Giants fan, I’d vehemently disagree, but there’s nothing like baseball’s best rivalry, the Yankees and the Red Sox. I am a Minnesota Vikings fan, and I dislike the Green Bay Packers. I am a San Jose Sharks fan and I dislike the Anaheim Ducks. I am a Los Angeles Lakers fan and I dislike the Boston Celtics. But there is simply nothing like Yankees-Red Sox. Right Julia?
Speaking of the Vikings, the wait for Brett Favre continues. It is a given that Favre won’t make any decisions that would actually require him to show up for training camp, so this is going to be long and drawn out once again. It’s frustrating because it is very hard for me to get excited about either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels at quarterback. It’s rumored that the Vikings are taking a look at Tim Tebow. However, he is a major project and many think he’ll never succeed at the pro level. On the plus side, his former teammate Percy Harvin is on the Vikings and it would ease Tebow’s transition. We’ll see how this plays out. I definitely agree that the Vikings need to be thinking about the quarterback of the future regardless of what Favre may do. I’d love for the Vikings to pick Jimmy Clausen in the NFL Draft, but he’ll be long gone by the time the Vikings select unless they can move up.
Both the Sharks and the Lakers are set to play in their respective sports’ play-offs. I am hopeful that this is the year for Joe Thornton and company. For the Lakers, it’s ‘here we go again’ with Andrew Bynum unavailable until the play-offs due to injury. Unfortunately, that’s an all too familiar song, but hopefully he’ll be ready to play once the play-offs do start. If both teams could play and beat Boston, I’d be a very happy man. Of course, that would mean championship series for both, but hey, so long as WE win, what does it matter? 😉
The Yankees quietly picked up former San Diego Padres outfielder Chad Huffman on waivers and assigned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Huffman was placed on waivers to make room for Matt Stairs (hasn’t he played for like every major league club?). I didn’t think much of the move when I first saw it, but later I saw comments about how frustrated fans were and how they saw the fingerprints of Kevin Towers all over this one. Towers, the former Padres GM, is now a special consultant for the Yankees. It would appear that the Padres had hoped Huffman would clear waivers for a minor league assignment but were, perhaps, thwarted by their former general manager. I saw these comments about Huffman by Padres assistant Paul DePodesta and it makes me a little jazzed about the pickup (and not so disappointed that the Yankees had to return Rule 5 pickup Jamie Hoffmann to the Dodgers):
“We lost the player. And, he’s a pretty good one. Chad was a 2nd round pick in 2006 out of TCU and has been a successful minor league hitter throughout his pro career, posting an OPS over .800 in each season. While crushing lefties early in his career, Chad had his most successful year yet against RHP during his first season in AAA in 2009. He always controlled the strike zone and also hit for some power–a combination we like. We think he’ll be a good Major League hitter.
“This wasn’t an easy decision, as we feel good about our 40-man roster at this point. We talked about a number of different guys and worked through various scenarios–who had the best chance to clear waivers, what depth did we have, what depth did we anticipate needing during the year, etc.
“We hate to lose good players. Additionally, we hate to lose good people, and Chad is a tremendous clubhouse guy. Getting beyond the selfish aspect, we’re excited for Chad. We truly wish him the best with the Yankees and will be rooting for him to make it to New York and contribute to the big league team.”
Works for me… J
P.S. I am headed to Arizona for the week on business so I might not have any blog updates until after I return on Saturday, April 17th. Let’s hope the Yankees get on a roll by that time!