Milestone achieved at Yankee Stadium but not that one…
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
On a night when everyone was watching and hoping for the 600th home run by Alex Rodriguez (which he failed to do), Jorge Posada delivered his 1000th RBI of his career. He hit a RBI double in the first inning off Kansas City Royals starter Brian Bannister.
Al Bello/Getty Images
A.J. Burnett looked much better in the 7-1 win over the Royals. His performance was shortened by a rain delay which limited him to 5 innings, but he only gave up 4 hits and no runs. He also walked a batter, and struck out 3. It was enough for A.J. to even his mark at 8-8, as relievers Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo secured the victory for him. Albaladejo’s stay with the Yankees was brief as he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for today’s starter, Sergio Mitre (who was activated off the DL).
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
A-Rod went 2-for4 but no home runs in his quest for 600. In today’s game, he will face the pitcher who gave up his 500th career home run (Kyle Davies). Hopefully, Alex will get the home run sooner rather than later so that he can move on. I remember watching when Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run, and how magical the night was. I realize it won’t be like that for Alex, given his steroids admission, but it is still a monumental feat. Hitting home runs takes great hand/eye coordination and Alex, regardless of his past admissions, is still one of the better players of his era.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
Nick Swisher missed the game when he woke up with soreness in his Achilles heel. He had been penciled in to start in right. Colin Curtis, who has really proven that he is a good hitter, took his place. Curtis will get another start today in place of Brett Gardner in left. Gardner is dealing with an acid reflux problem that apparently dates back to his childhood. Swisher is still out so Marcus Thames will start in right.
There have been rumors that the Yankees are talking with the Arizona Diamondbacks about starting pitcher Dan Haren, but all reports this morning are that the teams are far apart and nothing is imminent. I know that I voiced frustration with Joba Chamberlain in my last post, but I would hate to see him go to Arizona for Haren. I keep hearing that the D-Backs want a major league ready pitcher in addition to prospects, so it is very unlikely the Yankees could get Haren for, say, Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister. It just seems that the price tag would be too high, not to mention Haren’s high salary. He is certainly no Cliff Lee, so it would be very hard for me to justify paying a King’s ransom for him. I know that I want another option in the starting rotation than Mitre, but I suspect the Yankees will wait until closer to the deadline when there is a greater sense of urgency for teams to move certain guys. Perhaps the Yankees make no moves, but if there is none out there that make sense, then they should pass. Hopefully, guys like Curtis and Albaladejo can step up to fill crucial needs.
It was probably the most anticipated start in major league baseball for as many years as I can recall. I don’t remember a time when a rookie was as hyped as Stephen Strasburg was this year. I know the opponent was only the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it is still a team of major league players. Strasburg was brilliant despite the incredible pressure of high expectations. He matched the season high in strikeouts for any pitcher by striking out 14 batters (Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers struck out 14 on May 30th against the A’s). It was also the highest strikeout total in a pitching debut since James Rodney Richard of the Houston Astros in 1971 and Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. Strasburg went 7 innings until he was lifted for a pinch hitter, allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs. Matt Capps closed out the game to give Strasburg his first major league victory in his first major league start. I’d say expectations were met…
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
I am happy for the Washington Nationals and their fans. The Expos/Nationals have historically been the Los Angeles Clippers of Major League Baseball. Great baseball players have passed through the organization, but too often they achieved their greatest successes elsewhere. However, they’ve finally started to collect good, young talent and are the new Tampa Bay Rays. Their future is very bright, and Strasburg gives the team a leg up on everyone else. Five years from now, when many current stars will be fading or retired, Strasburg should be at the top of the heap with the Nationals, with an outfield that include 2010 #1 overall pick Bryce Harper, and primed for championships.
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the Yankees first round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft. They selected a player that did not appear on any mock draft boards and wasn’t targeted to be selected until possibly the 4th or 5th round. When his name was read, an internet search yielded nothing. Cito Culver/RHP. I was surprised that the Yanks would go for a high school pitcher, but later reports indicated that his name was actually Christopher Culver (Cito is his nickname) and he was drafted as a shortstop. It’s possible that he may be Derek Jeter’s future replacement. Before the draft, I had heard that the Yankees had intended to go for the best player available. Given that Culver is a New York-area player, I am hopeful that the lack of praise for Culver is the product of a very astute Yankees scouting department and not simply a reach for a player with potential promise. Time will tell…
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Oh yeah, the Yankees did play a game tonight. Granted, the Yankees generally struggle against lesser teams but the next two series involving the Baltimore Orioles and the Houston Astros should serve the team well as they start revving up the momentum for interleague play which ultimately leads to Dodger Stadium. Behind Phil Hughes, the Yankees defeated the O’s 12-7. Hughes’ performance wasn’t quite Strasburg-like, but it was enough to win his 8th game of the season. He only went 6 innings, giving up 9 hits but only 3 runs, and struck out 4. Kevin Millwood (0-7) continued his no-luck pitching for the O’s in taking the loss.
If it is possible to blow a 9-run lead, Chad Gaudin did his best to try. He allowed a two-run homer to Adam Jones in the 8th, and gave up a two-run scoring double in the 9th. Personally, I thought that Manager Joe Girardi let Gaudin pitch too long and if it were up to me, I would designate Gaudin for assignment after the game. Just like he did for Oakland, he has done nothing for the Yanks and is occupying valuable roster space.
Unfortunately, both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Ray won so no ground was gained in the AL East standings.
Oh well, tomorrow is a new day! J
Who knew that all it would take to put me in a good mood is a little rain, a couple of homers and great pitching?…
The Yankees picked up two wins today against the Minnesota Twins. The first game was the continuation of Tuesday’s game which had been suspended after five innings due to rain. At the time, the game was scoreless, and the game was stopped after the conclusion of the bottom half of the inning. So, for the game before the game today, it was essentially a short four inning game.
In an interesting stat, Derek Jeter’s home run in the 6th inning (or first inning of the continued game today) made a winner of Tuesday’s starter, A.J. Burnett. It’s not often you can pitch on one day and receive the win on a different day. Jeter backed up the homer with a great defensive play in the bottom of the 6th to preserve the Yankees’ 1-0 lead which was subsequently the final score. If this game had been in New York, Derek’s play would have been worth a pie!
Mariano Rivera gave fantasy baseball owners a great thrill when he saved both games today. Andy Pettitte went 8 innings in the regularly scheduled game to pick up his sixth win of the season. The Twins had taken an early 1-0 lead, but the score was tied at 2 in the top of the 9th inning when Nick Swisher homered to give the Yankees a 3-2 advantage. Once again, Mo trotted out and retired three batters in order to earn the second save of the day. While Swisher’s homer was huge, the hitting star was once again rookie Kevin Russo. He hit a game-tying double in the fourth, and his two-out single in the sixth led to another run. Despite limited opportunity, Russo’s bat has been more effective than Alex Rodriguez in recent days.
The wins against the Twins are definitely a great start to putting last week behind us. The Tampa Bay Rays, who had appeared invincible, have lost three straight games (a sweep) to the Boston Red Sox. So, while the Yankees haven’t lost ground to the Rays, the Red Sox have been climbing. Before the season, if you had said Josh Beckett would be on the DL, John Lackey struggling, and Jacoby Ellsbury ailing, I would not have given the Sox a chance. Instead, they’ve stolen the “invincible” title from the Rays…at least for now.
Boston Globe staff
He’s back! With two ex-Yankee relievers on the street following their respective releases (Chad Gaudin by the Oakland A’s and Brian Bruney by the Washington Nationals), the Yankees added one to their roster today (Gaudin). To make room for Gaudin, lefty reliever Boone Logan was optioned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre and recent minor league free agent pickup Shane Lindsay was released from the 40-man roster. Hopefully, Gaudin didn’t throw away his razor when he left the A’s…
The Yankees are in town and I’m writing this blog…
Yes, I am missing out on the first game of the Yankees series in Oakland against the A’s. Well, I don’t exactly live in Oakland but I am only a BART trip away. I will be at the game tomorrow night when Phil Hughes pitches. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. This morning started out with nothing but rain. It didn’t look promising, but it has been clear most of the afternoon so we’ll soon find out if Javier Vazquez has finally brought his A game with him. Good luck to Javy and company as the Yanks look to get the West Coast road trip started on a positive note.
Don’t look now but who was that? Like a blur, and despite the Yankees fourth series win in four tries, the team now finds themselves chasing the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East Standings. The Rays beat Boston to complete a four game sweep on Monday, which put the idle Yankees ½ game back. Tampa definitely has the pitching to sustain their perch, so this is going to be a dogfight throughout the summer. I am sure that, sooner or later, the Boston Red Sox will decide to join the party too.
Prior to tonight’s game, former Yankees and current A’s Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez received their World Series rings. I had definitely hoped that the Yankees could have found a way to keep Gaudin, but I am sure that he’s glad to be back with a club where he can grow his standard goatee or whatever you call that growth on his chin.
So, the Yankees have a detour on their way to Baltimore following the conclusion of the weekend series in Anaheim. They are scheduled to stop by the White House on Monday to see President Barack Obama on a scheduled off day. The next day, they’ll begin a series against the young and talented Baltimore Orioles. It should be an exciting time for the World Champions. Hopefully, they will have just finished a successful California adventure!
I am not sure what I think about the schedule for this year’s NFL Draft. In years past, it was always fun to get up early Saturday morning and watch the first 10 picks. The rest of the day, I’d listen to the draft on the car radio or other medium. On Sunday, I’d usually check in to see some of the later names selected. This year will be very strange with the first round being held Thursday night. Since it starts while I am still at work, I probably won’t get home until around the 5th or 6th selection. Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday night, and the draft concludes on Saturday. I will hold judgment until after the draft, but I am a bit skeptical. We’ll see.
My team, the Minnesota Vikings, will open the NFL Season on Thursday, September 9th against the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Hey Brett (assuming you return), run, don’t throw!
It was sad to hear the passing of the Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor. He was found dead in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah. Initial speculation is that the death was the result of natural causes. At 48 years of age, this is quite unexpected. My thoughts and prayers go out to Keli’s wife, Lori, and their four children.
Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…
My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants. The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees. For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win. But then along came August, and the tide turned. Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship.
There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter. I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester.
Barry Chin/Boston Globe
Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan). Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start. I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox. His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early. Precisely! Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox. There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City. The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning. I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect. However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox. There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn. However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox. As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.
For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment. The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure). If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:
Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from Amazon.com! The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia! I chose this book because it had special meaning to me. 1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s. If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time. But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next. The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years.
Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger! You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! 🙂
If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:
I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger! Go Julia! Lose to the Yankees and write that book report! As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’. 😉
Courtesy: Julia’s Rants
Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success. It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees. But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax. He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training. Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring! 😉
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire
I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s. It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen. I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.
Is this really the last season of 24? Wow, those were eight fast years! On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer. Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…
How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock? I don’t get it. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.
I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry. I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol! Go Crystal! Keep up what you are doing. You are special!
Joe Girardi went with the right choice…
Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated
As expected, Phil Hughes was named to the Yankees starting rotation this week. While he may not have had the best spring of the contenders, he offers the greatest potential and we should look back in a few years with very appreciative eyes.
As soon as the move was announced, the blogs about how the Yankees have destroyed Joba Chamberlain started rolling in. I cannot say that the path Joba has taken has been the best for a young pitcher’s success, however, at the time of the original Joba Rules, he was compared to Boston’s Josh Beckett. He had pitched very effectively in the bullpen and it seemed as though he had the stuff to make the transition to staff ace. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it was not meant to be. I truly believe the Yanks are better with Joba in the pen so long as he has a clearly defined 8th inning role setting up Mariano Rivera.
I knew that either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre would be the odd man out. I had expected a minor trade of Mitre for a prospect. So I was a bit surprised when the Yankees placed Gaudin on waivers and subsequently gave him his outright release. Gaudin is young and talented enough to land on his feet. His stay in New York was short but he walks away with a ring.
After defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, the team became impossible to beat this spring. In five meetings, the Yankees were able to win only one game. Fortunately, they cannot take away the World Series championship for the ‘what have you done for me lately’ situation. Joe Girardi listened to me when I said he should choose Phil Hughes. Perhaps he should listen to me again…win World Championship #28!
It was a sad week with the removal of a significant part of the old Yankee Stadium.
Howard Smith/US Presswire
Derek Jeter wants to be a team owner? Well, he should certainly have the financial wherewithal if he has invested his money wisely. Still, it will be a sad day when Derek Jeter is associated with a team other than the Yankees. Hopefully, it won’t happen until after his playing days are over. I will always be a huge fan of Don Mattingly but the Dodgers uniform does consistently give me a jolt.
The Red Sox have announced their Opening Day starter so it will be Josh Beckett versus CC Sabathia. Hey Julia, are you ready? I am! Game on, my friend! P.S. You are going down…again! 😀
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald
“To keep our focus toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeated.”
— Helen Keller
Unfortunately, Johnny Damon hasn’t forgotten how to beat the Yankees…
Gene J. Puskar/AP
In Damon’s first appearance against his ex-mates, he hit an RBI single and a solo home run to power the Tigers to victory, 6-2, in Lakeland, Florida. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a regular occurrence in Yankees-Tigers matchups. Two of the hopefuls for the fifth spot in the starting rotation were the victims of Damon’s abuse. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three earned runs in three and four innings of work, respectively. Austin Jackson even got in on the action with some great defensive plays.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
On the bright side, the Yankees also played the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa and won 5-3 behind the heroics of Jorge Posada. Javier Vazquez was the starter and winner, but Alfredo Aceves continued to impress. So, if Phil Hughes has competition for the starting rotation, I’d have to say that Aceves is the top contender at this point. I am convinced that Joba Chamberlain is headed to the pen, and either Mitre or Gaudin (or both) will find themselves pitching elsewhere.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Kei Igawa, perhaps the Yankees most disappointing free-agent signing in recent memory outside of anyone named Carl, saw his latest attempt to make the Yankees flame out. He was one of nine players cut and re-assigned to minor league camp. The other notable name, but not unexpected, was pitcher Andrew Brackman. The odds have definitely been against Brackman but I hope he can persevere and pitch in the big leagues one day.
Nick Latham/Getty Images
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, this has been a disappointing off-season so far. Of course, there’s the inevitable ‘will he or won’t he’ retirement talk about Brett Favre. If Favre does retire, it’s hard to get excited about the team’s offense being helmed by either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. We’ve already seen a great running back depart when Chester Taylor signed with the rival Chicago Bears. The team wined and dined free agent LaDainian Tomlinson, but he left Minnesota for New York with no agreement. Nothing against Minneapolis, but it’s hard to compete with the city of New York. There’s no telling where LT will eventually land, but he would be a nice backup for Adrian Peterson. So far, the Vikings biggest acquisition has been the free agent signing of long kicker Rhys Lloyd. Hopefully, the Vikings will be able to make the necessary moves to ensure that their current championship quality window does not close without any hardware.
Peter Read Miller/SI
This has been an interesting year on American Idol. I have seen most of my early favorites depart, so I’ve had to find new ones to back. At this point, I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze. I am surprised at some of those who advanced to the Top 12 and some who didn’t, but the show should start heating up in the coming weeks.
I am headed down to Burbank to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week. The scheduled guests are Terry Bradshaw and Kara DioGuardi. The musical guest is Ziggy Marley. It should be a fun and energetic show to watch. I am looking forward to it. I was able to see The Late Show with David Letterman last year, so it will be fun to see how it compares to Leno. Of course, from my perspective, I can’t wait until Conan O’Brien is back on the air…