It was a great win by Freddy
Garcia on Saturday (six innings, two hits and no runs) in the Yankees’ 5-2
victory over the Texas Rangers. The
superlatives about Garcia poured in after the game including one comment that
compared Garcia to David Cone in terms of the latter pitcher’s ability to find
ways to win when he didn’t have his best stuff.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I do not doubt Garcia’s
ability. I can recall many times over
the years when Garcia completely shut down the Yankees. It didn’t matter if he had been struggling at
the time or was fighting some ailment.
He always seemed to shine in the most difficult moments. My concern with Garcia is his ability to
sustain the effectiveness he showed yesterday.
There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we’ll see Kevin Millwood and/or
Carlos Silva in the rotation at some point.
I am not trying to be
pessimistic, but rather just a realist.
With Phil Hughes on the DL, it is not an automatic that he’ll regain his
velocity by simply receiving rest and treatment. A.J. Burnett showed that he is still
vulnerable after giving up two home runs in one inning against the Baltimore
Orioles last week after pitching so well in the prior six innings. We’ll have the opportunity to see what
Bartolo Colon can do, but my concern about him is not with his arm. His weight and ability to stay healthy are
the key issues.
It was disappointing to hear
that reliever Pedro Feliciano will need season-ending surgery. Given that lefty Damaso Marte is also on the
shelf, the Yankees will need to find another lefty to complement Boone
Logan. Unfortunately, the rest of the
league knows that and they’ll be looking for a King’s ransom in any potential
At this point in the season,
it’s nice to see the Yankees in first place with an 8-5 mark, while the Boston
Red Sox sit in last place at 3-10.
However, with just under 150 games still remaining, I would be very
foolish to think that the current standings will stay unchanged. The Red Sox will figure it out and they’ll be
an offensive force through the summer. I
am concerned that the key reason the Yankees have been winning is their home
run production (24 homers in 13 games).
Hopefully, they’ll begin to find other ways to win as the season
It bothers me that the
Boston Red Sox will avoid a luxury tax penalty by delaying the announcement of
Adrian Gonzalez‘s extension until this week.
Perhaps they did the same thing with Clay Buchholz, but the Gonzalez
signing was a foregone conclusion. It
was obvious that the Sox had reached an agreement with Gonzalez before the
start of the season. It was clear they
simply circumvented the system to avoid paying the additional tax.
To go a bit off topic, I am
excited about the upcoming NFL Draft despite the current lockout. I remain hopeful that the owners and players
will reach an agreement before the loss of any games. With the draft, I really hope the Minnesota
Vikings can find a quarterback. However,
their draft position at #12 is not ideal for their search for a franchise QB. The top tier QB’s, like Blaine Gabbert and
Cam Newton, will be gone and it will be too early to take somebody like Jake
Locker. It will be interesting to see
what the Vikings can do. The Vikings
chief rival, the Green Bay Packers, seem to have a knack for finding QB’s. They coaxed one great season out of Don
Majkowski. They traded for Brett Favre after
they missed out on the opportunity to draft Troy Aikman. They drafted Aaron Rodgers despite having
Favre and a few other highly touted former college QB’s on the roster. Hopefully, the Vikings can replicate the
Packers blue print to find their next great QB…
“I must be in the front row!”…
Bob Uecker, by Steve Moore/Getty Images
The Yankees capped a very successful weekend in sweeping the Houston Astros by moving into a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, the Yankees need to keep the pressure on to avoid falling behind the Rays again but they should be in good shape if CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett can keep the momentum going.
With Alex Rodriguez still on the bench due to an ailing hip, the Yankees rode Jorge Posada’s second grand slam in as many days to a 9-5 victory at Yankee Stadium.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Manager Joe Girardi stayed with starter Phil Hughes a bit too long in the 6th as the Astros scored four runs after trailing 7-1. When the Astros scored the first two runs of the inning, I thought that Hughes should have been pulled. He was over 100 pitches but I know Girardi wanted to see him finish the inning. It turned out to be a big mistake as light-hitting Kevin Cash delivered a two run homer to end the day for Hughes.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
The Yankees answered with several runs of their own and the bullpen was up to the task of securing the win for Hughes. It was his 9th win of the season to tie him for the league lead with David Price and Clay Buchholz. I thought Damaso Marte’s strikeout after relieving Hughes was huge. The Astros had seized the game momentum but it quickly evaporated with Marte’s strike out of Michael Bourn.
The Yankees get a much deserved day off on Monday. They’ll need it since they’ll be staring at Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. The Phillies will definitely be seeking revenge for last October. It should be a great series.
Speaking of grand slams, here is a look back at a great one…
Friend or Foe?…
Unfortunately, when Cliff Lee faces CC Sabathia on Wednesday night, they’ll have to put their close friendship aside and wage a battle of Champions. Lee and Sabathia were teammates in Cleveland and are very close.
When the new Yankee Stadium opened on April 16th, the winning pitcher was Lee in a matchup against Sabathia. On that day, Sabathia struggled with his command and was gone long before the bullpen imploded by allowing 9 runs in the 7th inning. Lee wiggled in and out of trouble but avoided any damage in the 9-2 victory by the Cleveland Indians. Jose Veras (remember him?) was the loser, so there are no chances of a repeat performance by the same guys. But note to Joe Girardi, stay away from Damaso Marte…far away!
So, Cliff Lee gets the honor of being the starting pitcher for the opposing team in the new Yankee Stadium for both the first regular season and first World Series. This will definitely be a future trivia question on Julia‘s website!
This will be a very tough World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies have a very strong rotation, led by mid-season acquisition Lee. The staff also features former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez, last year’s ace performer Cole Hamels, and former A’s pitcher Joe Blanton. And, oh yeah, there’s a young guy in the pen who’s not too bad, J.A. Happ. So, clearly, the Phillies are loaded with starting pitching and long relief. Fortunately, the bullpen is vulnerable so they do have an Achilles heel.
The bats, up and down the lineup, are strong. I like the way you can mention Jimmy Rollins as an after-thought…um, not really. That’s scary to think that if you managed to get by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, you still have guys like Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, and others ready to do damage. There aren’t really any weaknesses in the lineup, and if the Yankees had trouble trying to get the Angels’ Jeff Mathis out…
The Yankees will see former adversary Pedro Martinez in Game 2. The decision apparently came about given the history that Martinez has in New York against the Yankees, whereas Cole Hamels, the Game 3 starter, has been better at home this year. Still, at the beginning of the year, I never dreamed that Pedro would be starting the second game of the World Series…of course, I sure that he didn’t either. Nevertheless, this is no longer Pedro in his prime, but the question will be which A.J. Burnett shows up. Hopefully, we’ll have a classic pitcher’s duel, with the game decided in late inning, walk-off, pie-in-your-face fashion!
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
I am glad that the Yankees have home field advantage for this one. I guess I’ve never been so glad that the American League won the All-Star Game as I have this year. I never dreamed when I moved from Wilmington, DE to the Bay Area in California in July that the Yankees would be facing the “local” team in the World Series. It would be a very exciting time in Wilmington at the local sports bars. I was there last year when the Phillies won the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and it was a very exciting time for the Philly fans. But this is a new year and it’s time for the Yankees’ 27th World Championship!
Why was former Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta in such demand? Granted, I don’t know much about Acta, however, his record in Washington wasn’t exactly stellar and of course, he lost his job for a reason. However, that didn’t stop the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians from actively pursuing his services. The winner, ultimately, was the Cleveland Indians. The Astros, in turn, went with their second choice, Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. No offense but I think the Astros got the better end of the deal. Plus, it’s always a good thing to see Red Sox losses! J
Brett Comer/Houston Chronicle
If 2010 is truly the final year for Dodgers manager Joe Torre (the end of his contract), I wonder if he’ll move hitting coach Don Mattingly to the bench or at least third base if he is the likely successor.
Well, how many hours until the first pitch?… 😉
Go YANKEES! 🙂
Unfortunately, the ALCS is far from over…
If I learned anything in 2004, it is to never take anything for granted. At the moment, the Yankees lead the Los Angeles Angels 3 games to 1 in the 2009 American League Championship Series. However, they are losing tonight, so far, as they’ve been dominated by Angels starter John Lackey.
The Angels started the game very abruptly by scoring 4 runs with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. A.J. Burnett was able to keep his pitches down, but they were too far over the plate and the Angel hitters were teeing off him. After the 4 runs were scored, Burnett settled down and has not allowed any runs through six innings.
At the present time, the Angels still lead 4-0 in the top of the 7th inning. However, the Yankees have loaded the bases, and the tying run is at home plate for the first time in the game.
The Yankees have had their opportunities to chip away at the Angels’ lead, however, Lackey has successfully managed to avoid any damage. The 7th is looking like more of the same as Johnny Damon just flied out so there are two outs with the bases still loaded. John Lackey just exited the game so perhaps the Yankees can get a rally going against the Angels bullpen.
For the record, Robinson Cano has looked dreadful at the plate tonight…
If the Angels hang on for the win, the Yankees will head to New York with a 3-2 series advantage. They play Game 6 on Saturday night in the Bronx (Joe Saunders versus Andy Pettitte).
If there is a positive to a potential Yankees loss tonight, it’s that they’ll have the chance to close it out at Yankee Stadium.
Nevertheless, Mark Teixeira just came through with a huge double to bring the Yankees within one run, 4-3. So, perhaps a little champagne spilled on Angel Stadium turf is not out of the question.
The downside to an Angels win in Games 5 and 6 is that Game 7 is ‘winner take all’. In that situation, of course, anything can happen…and it often does! I am hopeful that the series will be decided before then, but it is up to hitters like Cano to come through.
Hideki Matsui just tied the game with a single to score Mark Teixeira from second.
Speaking of Matsui, it is going to be hard to see him leave after the season. Time and again, he has delivered the clutch hit for the Yanks. His numbers aren’t flashy, but he quietly delivers, day in and day out. If he does leave the Yankees, I’d like to see him come to San Francisco but that would really depend upon the health of his knees.
Redemption for Cano. He just delivered a triple to score two runs to give the Yanks a 6-4 lead. Swisher just flied out to end the inning but it was a hugely successful one for the Yanks as they scored 6 runs with 2 outs. A tremendous performance by John Lackey…wasted…and I am okay with that! J
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies sit back and wait. Will they hop on the New Jersey Turnpike for the drive to New York or will they head to Philly International for the cross-country trip to continue their terrorism of the Los Angeles/Orange County Area? Time will tell, but I like the Yanks’ chances…at the moment. Phillies-Angels is simply too much red! We need a nice mixture of red, white, and blue! Yeah, blue baby!
Damaso Marte? Seriously? The Yanks lead is down to one, 6-5.
Phil Hughes is on now, but he just walked a batter so there are runners at the corner.
Ugh! The Angels just tied the game on a hit by Vladimir Guerrero. Joe Girardi’s decision to go with Damaso Marte to relieve A.J. Burnett was a huge mistake.
Kendry Morales singled to score Vlad the Great…bummer…the Angels have a 7-6 lead.
Jered Weaver, who started the inning, just struck out Derek Jeter to end the top of the 8th. The Yanks have three outs left. The game will be in the hands of Alex Rodriguez, assuming that the bullpen holds the Angels in the 8th.
Here we are in the 9th inning. Bases loaded but two outs. The ice cold Nick Swisher at the plate. 7-6 Angels. This is Nick’s defining moment. Two fouls, two strikes. Personality or not, this is the moment that he can prove he is a Yankee. This is definitely a tense moment. Is the game over or does it go to the Bronx for Game 6? The count is full at 3-2. Ugh! The suspense! So much for that, a popout ends it. Off to New York we go. Note to Cashman, look for a new right fielder…