I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi. It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi.
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York. Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.
From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager. Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team? Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years.
For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre. Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi. Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.
2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees. They have an albatross or two
to deal with. It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett). I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett. That’s bad.
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being. Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off? Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so). As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants. It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games. I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season. With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas. I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series.
I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often. You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees. Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers. Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago.
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots. While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre. So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball.
As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history. I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60’s and 70’s.
I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season. I will
try to make good this weekend.
Caffalo/NY Daily News
Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…
Revenge is best served cold…
Unfortunately, the last laugh belongs to former Yankees manager Buck Showalter. A funny thing happened to the Yankees on their way to the AL East Championship; they were derailed by Showalter’s Baltimore Orioles. Following an 8-game winning streak, the Yanks have now lost three games in a row including the first two of their latest series with the O’s. As the O’s were pounding the Yankees tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays were thumping the Boston Red Sox to move closer to first.
The Boston Globe
In a dead heat, it is hard not to give the Rays the advantage due to their superior pitching staff. Frankly, I am not so sure that the Yankees have the pitching to advance very deep into the play-offs regardless of whether they win the AL East or get in as the Wild Card. I want the Yankees to win, of course, but when the O’s can pummel your ace like a batting practice pitcher, and the next pitcher in line, A.J. Burnett, no longer trusts his stuff, how can you get excited about your team’s chances? No one knows how Andy Pettitte will perform, and there is a very good chance he’ll have some rust to shake at a time when there is no time. Javier Vazquez is finished as a frontline starter in New York at least, and Phil Hughes is about done as he nears his innings ceiling. The second best starter on the staff right now is rookie Ivan Nova. The missed opportunities to get either Cliff Lee (regardless of his recent health issues) or Ted Lilly will haunt the Yanks in October. I realize that it wasn’t necessarily Brian Cashman’s fault, but looking back, I was so surprised last off-season when the decision was made to bring future ex-Yankee Vazquez back to New York. I thought it was a mistake at the time, and now it appears to be a catastrophic error.
When the Yankees win, things are fantastic, but when they lose, it’s doom and gloom, I know. But realistically speaking, win or lose, the Yankees simply do not have the horses in the starting rotation beyond CC Sabathia to excel in the play-offs when clearly good pitching beats good hitting.
The Yankees have a great offense, but without top line pitching, their hitters can’t power their way to October wins. The injury issues with Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher have hurt, as has Derek Jeter’s slump. Lance Berkman is starting to figure out AL pitching but is it too little too late? Time will tell.
This off-season will be one of transition for the Yanks. They’ll have to make some hard decisions, and they’ll need to look at replacing some of the old guard. The Boston Red Sox have proven that no team should get too attached to any player. I know the Sox will most likely miss the play-offs but that’s only because of the toll the injuries have had on the team (which is beyond Theo Epstein’s control). Otherwise, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that the Yanks could be in third chasing the Rays and the Sox.
It’s hard to believe that the NFL season is now upon us. My team, the Minnesota Vikings, open the season on Thursday night against the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Brett Favre will get the chance to prove that he should have run instead of attempting to pass, but it will be hard to re-capture last year’s magic. Favre’s favorite target, Sidney Rice, is on the sidelines thanks to hip surgery. In reading many Minnesota news reports, you come to the conclusion that the media feels strongly this is the final year of the Vikings’ window of opportunity. I know so much rides on Brett Favre’s arm, but the rest of the team does have some talent. I was sad to see fellow Iowa native Sage Rosenfels traded to the New York Giants, but something had to give to protect QB prospect Joe Webb. I am not a fan of backup QB Tavaris Jackson, but I am also not so sure that Webb will be ready to take over at QB when Favre retires (for good) at the end of the year. I was quietly hoping the Vikings would make a play on free agent QB Matt Leinart before he signed with the Houston Texans. I know that Leinart failed in Arizona, but I do believe that he has the talent to succeed in the right system. He is signed to just a one-year deal so hopefully he’ll be one of the options the Vikings look at when trying to replace Favre for next season.
I guess this is a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of night…
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! 😉
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.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
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
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?…
I don’t get it…
On Monday, the Yankees are totally befuddled by Max
Scherzer, but on Tuesday, they defeat annual Cy Young contender Justin
Verlander. Monday’s game was so
disappointing. After a lethargic
performance the previous day against Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City
Royals, they continued the lackluster offensive ways against Scherzer
and the Detroit Tigers in losing 3-1.
The losing pitcher was Javier Vazquez. While only giving up 2 runs, he threw a
startling 106 pitches in just four innings.
At this point, the Yankees cannot depend upon Vazquez for the duration
of the season. The inability to acquire
Cliff Lee is even more magnified today than it was the day Lee was dealt to
Texas. The Yankees don’t have a Jeremy
Hellickson in the farm system (at least not one that’s ready to make the impact
Hellickson can for the Tampa Bay Rays).
So, Monday’s loss, which allowed the Rays to tie the Yanks in the AL
East standings was definitely ‘advantage-Rays’.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Tuesday, CC Sabathia was on the hill but things
started poorly when former Yank Austin Jackson hit a lead-off homer. After that, CC settled in and earned his 16th
win despite another home run in the 7th (a solo dinger by Brandon
Inge) as the Yanks won, 6-2. They merely
kept pace with the Rays, who also won, along with the charging Boston Red Sox
who also emerged victorious.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
This game was about how much Brett Gardner means to
the Yankees offense when he is hitting.
As long as he can get on base, things happen. He scored a run in the bottom of the first on
Nick Swisher’s single, and he doubled in the 6th when any other
Yankee would not have made it past first base.
He subsequently scored on Derek Jeter’s single.
The Yankees have their share of injury woes, with
Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman in the dreaded DTD status. Despite the recent offensive woes, hopefully,
the team can build upon today’s win to put together a nice winning streak.
I would be remiss for not acknowledging the passing
of legend Bobby Thomson. What baseball
fan who appreciates the history of the game hasn’t heard the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round
the World”? His home run in the decisive
1951 play-off game with the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the New York Giants the NL
Pennant (“The Giants win the Pennant!
The Giants win the Pennant!”). The
team would go on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series, but there is no
doubt that Thomson’s home run was one of the greatest in major league
In my usual off-topic comment, it appears that
Brett Favre will be quarterbacking the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. He flew to Minnesota today, and an
announcement regarding his decision is forthcoming. However, close friend, kicker Ryan Longwell, is
saying that Favre has decided to return (surprise, surprise). The only person that’s probably disappointed
is Tavaris Jackson, but T-Jack should be ready if Favre falters. If I were the Vikings GM, I’d be on the phone
trying to deal QB Sage Rosenfels. I’d
like to see the Vikings give the third QB slot to rookie Joe Webb. Is it really time for football again? Wow, this has been an incredibly fast
off-season. It seems like just yesterday
that Favre should have just ran instead of trying to throw in the loss to the
New Orleans Saints…
AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles
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…
It was a dream…
Yes, that’s it! Wednesday and Thursday did not happen. The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t come into the Bronx and spank for the Yankees for two days. They didn’t race to their 30th win of the season and show a superior starting rotation , did they?
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Maybe if I go back to bed, when I get up it will be Wednesday morning, the Yankees can re-do those two forgettable days. Seriously, the Rays didn’t just beat the Yanks, they stomped them. The final scores are deceiving (10-6 and 8-6) only because the Yankees made it close in the final inning of each game.
The games told me that the Rays need to do something about their bullpen, but otherwise, they are a complete team. Given the injury trouble the Yanks have encountered, it’s tough to compete with the Rays when you are playing at about 80% strength. That’s not an excuse though because the Yankees starting pitching was just, well, bad.
Kevin R. Wexler/The Record
Hopefully, the Yankees can re-group and play more competitive baseball the next time they face the Rays. This has been a tough stretch but it was bound to happen with the adversity the team has faced (injuries, playing every day, added pressure on schedule caused by rainout in Detroit and subsequent double-header, etc.).
In both games, the Yankees did try to launch 9th inning rallies, scoring 4 runs in the first game and 2 runs in the 2nd. It was not quite enough, but at least the team showed fight until the end.
Tonight, the Yankees were in Flushing Meadow to face the New York Mets at CitiField. After facing the Rays and Red Sox, it is probably a welcome relief to see the Mets who have struggled this year.
It was a great night for Javier Vazquez until a hand injury ended his night. With, by far, his best performance of the season (6 innings of one hit, no run ball and 6 strikeouts), Javy picked up his third win of the season. He was at home in a National League ballpark. The argument is that he is a better NL pitcher than AL, and on this night, he proved it. Hopefully, the hand injury is not serious, and this start catapults Vazquez back to respectability with Yankees fans. I know that he can pitch so much better than what he has regardless of the stadium location, so if he can right himself mentally, he’ll be okay and will provide the lift the rotation needs.
Kevin P. Coughlin/McClatchy
In addition to Javy, the star of the game was a name not many people know, Kevin Russo. The infielder was recently called up from the minors, and his double in the 7th inning scored Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli.
I was a bit concerned when Joe Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the 7th, but he did his job. Joba, who I blamed for the losses to the Twins on Sunday and Red Sox on Tuesday, was very effective. He went 1 2/3 innings and had three timely strike outs. Now, Mariano Rivera is a different story. He continues to struggle. The shut-out was lost when Jason Bay and Ike Davis hit back-to-back doubles. But he settled down to get David Wright on a ground out to end the game. The Yankees won, 2-1.
The night was further enhanced by Boston and Tampa losses. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Red Sox, 5-1, while the Houston Astros defeated the Rays, 2-1.
Steven M. Falk/Philly.com
Speaking of the Red Sox, the Yankees have signed minor league utility player Jeff Natale who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005. The 27-year-old heads for Scranton/Wilkes Barre. It was also interesting to see three former Yankee relievers in the transactions column within the past day. Chad Gaudin was released by the Oakland A’s, who also outrighted Edwar Ramirez to AAA Sacramento, while the Washington Nationals placed Brian Bruney on waivers (which he has cleared). From World Series ring to what have you done for me lately…hopefully, the guys will re-surface in the bigs in the not-so-distant future.
Michael Stobe/US Presswire
It’s almost over for my San Jose Sharks. They lost tonight in overtime to fall down 3 games to none to the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Western Conference Finals. I think I hear the fat lady warming up her vocal cords… L
Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News
So, Brett Favre has told the Southern Mississippi baseball team that he’ll return to the Minnesota Vikings if they make the College World Series. Also, it was reported today that Brett had surgery on his left ankle and could be ready to play by training camp. I’ve suspected all along that he’ll be back. The team has been too nonchalant and these latest reports are signs that Brett intends to play. It still remains to be seen, but it is looking like we’ll see an encore performance by #4 in purple and gold. I am sure Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels are thrilled…
Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune
Hey Javy, nice job! J
Simmons/NY Daily News