Life beyond 3,000 hits…
I hate to make any anti-Derek Jeter comments but I was fearful that the Yankees’ recent winning roll would get derailed by DJ’s return to the lineup. Sure, the recent losses are not his fault, but for whatever reason, the team fared better when he was out of the lineup. I didn’t like the errors made by Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena, but Nunez in particular seemed to have a fresher bat.
Art by Scott Dalgleish, http://scottydal.deviantart.com/
I would like to see more batting orders in the second half of the season with Brett Gardner leading off. I suspect that will happen anyway, but Jeter is clearly the focal point of baseball right now as he approaches 3,000 hits.
Will he get those 2 hits that he needs today against the Tampa Bay Rays? He could, but I think it’s more likely that the 3,000th hit will come tomorrow. Of course, I could be completely wrong and DJ might go 0-4 both days.
Don’t get me wrong…I like Jeter and what he has meant to the organization. I will enjoy the day that they retire #2 and make the speeches at Yankee Stadium to induct a commemorative stone into Monument Park on his behalf. But as great as it is to see a player spend his entire career with one organization, I can definitely see the downside which is the deterioration of the player’s skills and ability.
Don Mattingly was in a fast decline when he retired after the 1995 season, however, I don’t think that I was mentally ready for his departure. Perhaps it was because I really wanted to see him win a championship. But with DJ, he has the championships and will soon be the only player in Yankee history with 3,000 hits. He has done everything you could ask for in pinstripes. My only request is that he steps away from the field when he realizes that his skills have eroded to the point that he is a liability. It’s not there yet, but the day is rapidly approaching. As the saying goes, time stops for no one.
A tear in the team’s hopes…
I just read that Alex Rodriguez might have a meniscus tear in his right knee which could require surgery. If Alex and the team decide now is the time for the surgery, it is speculated that he would miss a month. That’s definitely not good news as the Yankees have fallen behind the Boston Red Sox in the standings. I’d feel better if there was a healthy Eric Chavez on the roster but as it stands, it would be necessary for Eduardo Nunez to fill in at third. A-Rod’s loss definitely weakens the Yankees and it puts some pressure on GM Brian Cashman to find a replacement third baseman (in addition to his search for pitching).
I do not know the ramifications of A-Rod playing through the injury, but I hope that he takes the path that leads to good health by September. Of course, if the Yankees fall too far out, there won’t be an extended playing season this year.
What can we find at Nordy’s Rack?….
As far as moves the Yankees are looking at, it appears that there is a dearth of quality starting pitching available on the trade front. The Yankees are apparently looking at relief pitching, like many other teams. Reports have the Yankees interested in, among others, Sean Burnett of the Washington Nationals and Randy Choate of the Florida Marlins. I have liked what Choate has done since he left the Yankees as he became a very solid lefty option for the Tampa Bay Rays and now the Marlins. Burnett probably has the better potential at this point although I am not enamored by his 5.76 ERA. But ERA can be deceiving and I don’t know the reasons behind Burnett’s number as I don’t follow the Nats.
These are the times that I am appreciative that Brian Cashman is the team’s general manager. It is his job to find what ails the team and hopefully bring in the necessary chips to ensure that the team is playing meaningful baseball in October. I am full confidence in his abilities and I’d never underestimate the power of his network throughout baseball.
This month should get very interesting as the days go by…
A sad day in baseball…
I would be remiss if I did not mention the tragedy in Arlington, Texas where the fan reaching for a ball thrown into the stands by Josh Hamilton fell to his death. I have never caught a ball at a game, and I can remember as a kid how much I wanted to catch one during every visit to the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I can see how the ball would become your prime focus. The loss of the fan, Shannon Stone, was horrible by itself but it was made worse by the presence of his 6-year-old son. I lost my father as a child but I wasn’t there when he died. I simply cannot imagine how difficult it will be for Shannon’s son in the days and years ahead. I definitely hope that he and his family are taken care of by the Texas Rangers organization and Major League Baseball.
Now there’s talk the players could be barred from throwing baseballs into the stands (they’d have to hand the ball to a fan or hand it to an usher who, in turn, would hand it to the fan). While I am in favor of additional safety measures to prevent future unnecessary deaths like Shannon, I would hate to see the players lose the ability to toss a ball into the stands.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (AP Photo)
No, really, I don’t want to go to Phoenix…
When the All-Star Team was announced, I was excited about the number of Yankees making the team. But it appears that many of them won’t be making the trip to Phoenix. First, Mariano Rivera pulled out, and now, both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have withdrawn from the game. I am still surprised that CC Sabathia did not make the team, but then again, I am okay avoiding the added wear and tear on his arm. So, as it is, I will be cheering for Robinson Cano and Russell Martin. As for A-Rod, it is a bit ironic that his All-Star replacement would be Boston’s Kevin Youkilis. Former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre (Texas) moves up to the starting position.
One week, everything can be coming up roses, and the next it is doom and gloom. I guess that’s just life as a Yankees fan…
I have to admit that I am embarrassed almost every time Hank
Steinbrenner opens his mouth. The latest
comments that seemingly were aimed at Derek Jeter although Hank denied it were
very inappropriate. 2010 was a
disappointing year with the way it ended, but it’s done. There is nothing more that can be learned or
derived from the loss to the Texas Rangers.
At this point, it doesn’t matter what happened leading up to that
series. There are a variety of reasons
for why the Yankees lost, but in the end, they were outplayed by a better
Hank justified his ‘mansions’ comment by indicating he was simply using
it as a euphemism. Personally, I think
Hal Steinbrenner is a euphemism for Hank but that’s another matter.
Back in the days of George Steinbrenner and particularly during the
losing years of the late 1980’s, the Boss used to infuriate fans with his
remarks. He seemed as though he was
always giving fodder to the press. As
mad as everyone used to get, I always found an honest truth in George’s
words. I could never condemn him even
when his popularity at Yankee Stadium was non-existent. However, I have trouble finding the honest
truth in Hank’s words. He comes across
as just an arrogant blow-hard. No
wonder that the family felt that the role of managing general partner was
better suited for the younger Hal.
To Hank’s defense, I do always believe that ownership has the right to
say whatever they’d like. It’s their
money and their team. But when it has
the potential to create a distraction for the team, then I get concerned. That’s probably where I am right now with
Hank’s words. There is no question that
the Boston Red Sox have the best team on paper.
Hank doesn’t need to add to the adversity; he needs to help reduce or
eliminate the talent gap between the two teams.
From the sounds of it, Freddy Garcia is leading the pack for a spot in
the rotation. I’ve been concerned about Garcia’s
history of poor springs as I’ve felt he had the most to offer in terms of the
competition for the two rotation spots.
He won 12 games with the Chicago White Sox last year and if he can
duplicate the season again this year, I think the Yankees would be very
pleased. No offense to Bartolo Colon,
but I really don’t want to see the team break camp with him in the rotation or
the final roster for that matter. I was
always very pleased to hear that prospect Andrew Brackman has been turning
heads. He is a top flight talent that
slid in the 2007 draft to the Yankees because of his injury history. He may not be ready for the major leagues
straight out of spring training but odds are that he’ll experience his Yankees
debut at some point this season.
Finally, I was saddened to hear that the St. Louis Cardinals have lost
ace Adam Wainwright for the season due to an elbow injury that will require
Tommy John surgery. I’ve always had a
soft spot for the Cardinals since I saw my first major league baseball game at
the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis when I was a kid. They are a classy organization with quality
fans. Losing Wainwright severely
downgrades the Cards’ chances this season and that’s unfortunate. Hopefully, there is someone in the
organization that is ready to step up their game to help provide a solid bridge
until Wainwright can return in 2012.
I am ready for some baseball…
With the franchise’s 9,500th win (dating back to the New York Highlanders in 2003), the Yankees moved into sole possession of first place…
The two central figures in today’s win against the New York Mets were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger
Sabathia has struggled at times this season, and held a 7-3 record heading into today’s action. Teixeira had a very cold April, started to warm up in May before lapsing back into a deep freeze in June. But today, they did what it took to win. CC pitched 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. The Mets couldn’t stop him but a 20 minute rain delay finally did as Mo Rivera finished the game in a non-save situation after the delay ended.
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger
Teixeira came up huge in the third inning with a grand slam that provided the former Highlanders with the only runs they would need. Credit Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for excellent play and hustle in loading the bases on three singles, only one of which made it out of the infield. It was very enjoyable to hear John Sterling’s trademark “Tex Message!” call.
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger
Despite losing Friday night’s game, the Yankees came back to win on both Saturday and Sunday to capture the series and end the season series in a split.
I was surprised to see Roy Halladay lose again. This time to Carl Pavano and the Minnesota Twins. Like his record against the Yankees, Halladay sported an excellent mark against the Twins. But it was not meant to be today against the Twins as he fell 4-1. I am not saying that Cliff Lee is a better pitcher than Halladay, but so far, the regular season performances in Phillies uniforms is tilted in Lee’s favor. Of course, it’s not all Doc’s fault given his 2.43 ERA which implies that he has not had run support given his 8-6 record.
I guess Joe Torre did not have a joyful return to Fenway Park, and neither did Manny Ramirez as the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. The AL East couldn’t be tighter with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees. The Toronto Blue Jays continue to lurk in the shadows, just 5 ½ games back although they did lose today.
The Yankees now head to Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. I don’t have great memories of the Yankees in Phoenix, but fortunately Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are no longer on the mound and Luis Gonzalez is not in the outfield. The D-Backs have a good team and former Yankee Ian Kennedy has done well in the rotation. Nevertheless, I will be hoping for redemption anyway. Besides, we have a one game lead to protect!
I was bummed after the 2010 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings did not draft a quarterback. They did select Joe Webb of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, however, the immediate talk was that Webb would be shifted to wide receiver. During the recent mini-camps, Webb, with his 11 inch hands and athleticism, showed that he can be a quarterback of the future. So, at least for now, the move to wide receiver has been postponed. The Vikings will take a long look at Webb as a QB in training camp.
I hope it was a great Father’s Day for all the baseball-loving Dads!