Turning the page…
After getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles, it was a relief to see the team head to Minneapolis for a four-game set against the Minnesota Twins. I didn’t expect the Yankees to sweep the Twins, but I had hoped for at least 2 or 3 wins in the Twin City. Fortunately, the Yankees did better, taking all four games from the Twins.
Most believe the Yankees have held it together with smoke and mirrors this season, but I am hardly one to disagree. The Yanks have gotten good production from guys who other teams were glad to vacate. Today’s hero was Vernon Wells, and clearly the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels were glad to move him on when they did.
Lyle Overbay is a good guy but he’s not exactly going to suddenly emerge with his best season ever. I think those days are far behind him. With no return of Mark Teixeira this year, the Yankees need to find a stronger first base solution. Unfortunately, I think there are too many holes to fill and I’d certainly hate to see the Yankees give up quality prospects in trades that will probably still result in no October success for the Yankees. As always, I am hopeful the team proves me wrong, but clearly, the odds are against them.
Boo-yeah! Great accomplishments…
Congratulations to Joe Girardi, CC Sabathia and Max Scherzer. For Girardi, he won his 600th game earlier this week. Not bad for a guy who lasted only one season as the manager for the then Florida Marlins. CC achieved success through his 200th win, and Max Scherzer, an opponent’s “ace” gets kudos for starting the season 13-0. When a staff is led by the great Justin Verlander, you certainly do not expect anyone to challenge his tag as the staff ace. But with Verlander’s struggles this year and Scherzer’s legendary start, Verlander is no better than #2 on the Detroit Tigers’ staff this year. As for CC, it just doesn’t seem that long ago he was a promising rookie pitching for the Cleveland Indians. Hard to believe that he’s already at 200 wins. Still, it’s a great accomplishment and I hope that we’ll soon be seeing CC win his 250th game in pinstripes.
Chasing the rumors…
When you hear of possible deadline trades, I have to admit that it’s sad to hear Chase Utley’s name mentioned. He’s been a great Phillie although a bit injury-plagued in recent years. Still, I identify the guy with the Phillies and it would be good to see him play in the City of Brotherly Love for the remainder of his career. Michael Young is another name mentioned and given that he made his name in Arlington, Texas, I’d rather see him moved if the Phillies do anything.
I am fairly certain the Yankees will move Joba Chamberlain by the deadline. It would also not surprise me to see Phil Hughes go considering that Michael Pineda should finally be able to make his Yankees pitching debut soon.
The Yankees need to do what it takes to re-sign Robinson Cano…
Ugh, I really dislike the possible return of Alex Rodriguez. Maybe there’s still something in the bat, but I am not a fan and I’d prefer to see Alex as the starting third baseman for some team in Siberia. With Yankee GM Brian Cashman’s recent outburst against A-Rod and Yankee President Randy Levine’s back-pedaling, I am clearly on Team Cashman regarding A-Rod.
I am also convinced that this is the final season in pinstripes for free agent-to be Curtis Granderson. His final season has been a disappointment given his extended stays on the DL. Same goes for Andy Pettitte. I think if the team finishes third or lower in the AL East, Andy will no longer have the fire to compete. It’s the thrill of playing October baseball that drives Andy at this point so an unsuccessful season will probably prove to him that it’s time.
Say, Mo, isn’t that your spot in Monument Park?…
Speaking of impending departures, I loved the gift the Minnesota Twins gave to Mariano Rivera. The Chair of Broken Dreams. A rocking chair constructed of broken bats. How great was that? Mariano is a living legend, and I am so thankful that I got to watch him pitch for the duration of his Yankees career. This is a guy who could still be a very effective closer in 2014 despite his age, so clearly, he’s going out on top regardless of what the team does.
Ask me how much I wish that I still lived in Minneapolis so that I could have experienced the past four games?…
Better them than us…
I thought it was a bad decision for the Texas Rangers to sign Manny Ramirez. Yes, I’ve always admired Man-Ram’s ability to hit, but it’s the baggage that goes with the guy that is too much. I guess he is usually on his best behavior during his first year so maybe the Rangers are on to something. But this should be a very short-term relationship. If I were Nolan Ryan, I would not want Manny as part of my strategy for 2014.
Jamie Foxx for President…
I saw White House Down today and thought it was very good. Quite predictable, but still, as an action flick, it had all of the right ingredients. Felt a little like Die Hard in the White House but hey, there have been a lot worse movies!
I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! Enjoy the fireworks!
CC Sabathia versus Justin
Larry W. Smith/EPA
Finally, Opening Day is upon
us! It has been a long and at times
disappointing off-season. Optimism
returned in Spring Training as there were a few success stories and
surprises. The pitching match-up for the
Yankees against the Detroit Tigers is perfect as I expect banner years by both
pitchers. They both will most likely be
finalists for the Cy Young Award at the end of the year if all goes right.
For Opening Day, here are the 2011 New York
Kevin Long, Batting Coach
Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach
Mick Kelleher, First Base Coach
Rob Thomson, Third Base Coach
Tony Pena, Bench Coach
Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach
Roman Rodriguez, Bullpen Catcher
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Robinson Cano
SS – Derek Jeter
3B – Alex Rodriguez
C – Russell Martin
RF – Nick Swisher
CF – Curtis Granderson
LF – Brett Gardner
DH – Jorge Posada
Bench – 1B/3B – Eric Chavez
Bench – 2B/SS/3B – Eduardo Nunez
Bench – OF – Andruw Jones
Bench – C – Gustavo Molina
1SP – CC Sabathia
2SP – A.J. Burnett
3SP – Phil Hughes
4SP – Ivan Nova
5SP – Freddy Garcia
Closer – Mariano Rivera
Setup – Rafael Soriano
RP – Joba Chamberlain
RP – David Robertson
RP – Boone Logan
RP – Bartolo Colon
RP – Luis Ayala
Several of the spots are held by injury replacements
(Molina for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, and Ayala for reliever Pedro
Feliciano) so they’ll go down to the minors when the regulars return. I am sure that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo
Colon will be on short leashes, and it’s very possible that one of their spots
could be taken by Kevin Millwood should either one falter.
I am very pleased to see Eric Chavez on the
roster. It was a foregone conclusion
that he’d make the team after the spring he had, but going into camp, there
were certainly plenty of questions about his health and durability. I am sure that Jason Giambi has probably been
on the phone to his good buddy to let him know the inner workings of the
Yankees organization and the city of New York.
Congratulations to Manny Banuelos for winning the
James P. Dawson Award as the team’s outstanding rookie in camp. I am definitely looking forward to his
arrival in the Bronx, even if it is still a few years down the road.
Even though there were no major additions in the
off-season, I do like this year’s team.
The hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild was huge, and I think he’ll
be able to get into A.J. Burnett‘s head and rebuild the pitcher’s
confidence. I expect continued
progression from Phil Hughes, and if Ivan Nova continues to build upon his
outstanding spring, I think the Yankees rotation will be quite strong.
What can you say about the bullpen? They will definitely shorten games for the
As for the regulars, I expect Derek Jeter to
rebound from last year and put up his usual DJ-like numbers. Robinson Cano will continue his progression
of one of the game’s elite, and Alex Rodriguez looks charged and ready for a
fantastic season. I am expecting more
consistency and better timely hitting from Curtis Granderson this year, and if
Brett Gardner stays healthy, the outfield should be significantly
The health of Russell Martin is a concern,
particularly since neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine was able to prove
they are ready for the major leagues. If
the Yankees have to start Posada at catcher, it will definitely be a sign of
In my mind, the positives will outweigh the
negatives, and the Yankees will be in the hunt at the end.
Nevertheless, with all things considered, I do
think the league champions, as it stands right now, will be the Boston Red Sox
and the San Francisco Giants. A World
Series matchup would put the Sox over the Giants for the championship. This is not what I want, but rather, on
paper, it is the most logical conclusion.
Much can happen between now and October, and I certainly expect the
Yankees to acquire a #3 starter (or better) for the starting rotation by the
July trading deadline. I did like the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I think the loss of Chase Utley to injury and Jayson
Werth to free agency will be too much to overcome. Pitching staff to pitching staff, I like the
Giants rotation better than the Phillies.
Win or lose, this should be a tremendous baseball
season for all of us! Go ahead, throw
the first pitch…
Here we go…
The World Series hits the home stretch with a return to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. Perhaps this is the way it was meant to be. A championship in front of the home crowd instead of a slew of Phillie Phanatics…
It was a gamble to pitch A.J. Burnett on short rest. CC Sabathia was one thing, but A.J. has proven this season that he is not CC. A.J. relies too much on the perfection of his pitches, so when he’s off, he is really off…
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
The result was a hole that the Yankees couldn’t dig out of, although to their defense, they tried. I really thought they had a chance in the 9th inning of Game 5 until Derek Jeter hit into the double play.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
In the end, the two home runs by Chase Utley were simply too much. So, the Phillies emerged with the 8-6 victory to cut the Yankees’ Series lead to 3 games to 2.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The Yankees are gambling in Game 6 with Andy Pettitte on short rest. With Andy, you are most likely not going to get a stellar performance. It will either be an average performance with no more than 3 or 4 runs to keep the Yankees in the game, OR it will be a disaster like Game 6 of the 2001 World Series when Andy lost to the D-Backs, 15-2. I was at the game, and accidentally dropped a beer in disgust (sorry to those of you who were around me!).
The Yankees need to go into the game with Plan A and Plan B. Plan B should be to have Chad Gaudin ready to go in case Pettitte doesn’t have it. I’d hate to be three or four innings in and down 7-0. If it’s obvious that Andy doesn’t have it, manager Joe Girardi should be quick to make a change. This is where a solid pitching acquisition at the trading deadline would have been huge. Not that I think the Rays would have been agreeable to trading within the division, but having a Scott Kazmir at this point would probably be much preferable to pitching Andy on short rest. Nevertheless, this is the hand that we have been dealt so it is up to the Yankees to make the most of it.
If Ryan Howard comes around, this Series is going to get ugly in a hurry. They’ve got to continue to keep him off the bases, and they need to figure out how to stop Chutley. They also need to keep the game close until they can get into the Phillies bullpen which is clearly a weakness. This has been the season of walk-off’s for the Yankees so it’s time to finish the season with one…
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post
Before the series is over, I do want to say that baseball is not the same without Harry Kalas. The long-time Phillies announcer passed away earlier this season, and he is missed. It is very unfortunate that he was unable to experience the back-to-back World Series for the Phillies. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:
“Swing … and a long drive, and this ball is … outta here! Home run <insert player’s name here>.”
I have been a fan of the University of Iowa since I was, as the saying goes, “knee-high to a grasshopper”. Kalas was a 1959 graduate. So, win or lose (hopefully lose!), this one’s for Harry…
I knew it!…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I was afraid that Cliff Lee would dominate the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series. He has always pitched very well against the Yanks, and he won the very first game in the new Yankee Stadium in April while a member of the Cleveland Indians.
Lee’s performance was masterful and he deserves all accolades for a job well done. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have Chase Utley as your second baseman.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Phillies’ 6-1 victory took away home field advantage from the Yankees and leveled and the playing field.
I was stunned at the trading deadline when the Phillies acquired Lee from the Indians. Everybody had been talking about Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies quietly dropped an ace into their starting rotation. I had wanted the Yankees to upgrade the #5 pitching slot. They did acquire the San Diego Padres’ Chad Gaudin but I’d hardly call that a major move. Even the Los Angeles Angels were able to acquire a stud for their rotation with the acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Scott Kazmir. The Philles had signed free agent Pedro Martinez a few days earlier. Pedro was another pitcher that I felt the Yankees should have pursued, but they were never a player. I can so clearly remember hoping that the moves wouldn’t come back to haunt the Yankees. Well, it is now October, and the moves are staring us straight in the face…
Fortunately, Game 2 was a reversal of fortune. Early on, it was a great pitching duel between the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett and the Phillies’ Pedro Martinez. It had the “feel” of an old Yankees-Red Sox game. Hmmm, I wonder what my friend Julia is doing these days? Probably watching Celtic basketball. Nevertheless, Burnett was stellar, while Pedro gave up homers to Mark Teixeira and later Hideki Matsui.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Yankees added a run in the 7th inning before a botched call by the umpires cost the Yanks the possibility for more runs. With one out (why the heck was Derek Jeter bunting with two strikes???!!!), Johnny Damon hit a liner at Ryan Howard. The runner at first (Jorge Posada) had broken for second and would have made it safely on an errant throw. However, the ump called it a double play when Posada was tagged since they ruled Damon had lined out to Howard. Subsequently, replays showed that the ball had one-hopped into Howard’s glove so the runners should have been safe at first and second. I hate it when the umpires are in position to decide a game…
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Burnett was pulled after 7 magnificent innings. Manager Joe Girardi wasted no time in going with legendary closer Mariano Rivera. I thought it was a bit premature, but after a few bumps and bruises but no runs, the Yankees had emerged with a 3-1 victory. The win tied the Series at one game apiece.
The Series now heads for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday. Andy Pettitte versus last year’s post-season ace Cole Hamels.
For the record, sitting Nick Swisher was an excellent move even if Swish didn’t agree. His bat could be likened to the Artic Front. He was replaced by Jerry Hairston, Jr.
I am glad that George Steinbrenner has been able to watch the games at Yankee Stadium. Given the decline in his health, you never know if this will be his final World Series appearance. I hope not…
“It’s great to see Pedro Martinez on the stage again” – ESPN Analyst Chris Berman
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
I don’t disagree, but I am still glad that he didn’t get the win…
In the post game press conference, Pedro said, “If I played for the Yankees, I’d be the King”. The comment was made in response to the boos he received as he walked off the field, but he’s probably right…