Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 2, Rangers 1…
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s Ronald Torreyes! The unlikely hero delivered in the 10th inning with a walk-off run-scoring single as the Yankees took the first game of a three game set from the Texas Rangers.
The game, delayed for an hour and forty minutes by rain, was a classic pitcher’s duel between Japanese greats Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka. The duel may have ended with goose eggs and no decisions for both pitchers, but they were incredible as the game did not see its first runs until the 9th inning. Worried about Tanaka prior to the game, he showed that he was anything but a concern as he pitched 8 innings of three-hit scoreless ball, Walking just two, he fanned nine. Darvish went 7 innings with no runs and two hits, and did one better than Tanaka with strikeouts (10). I am not sure what we’ll see the next time Tanaka takes the mound but with Darvish as his motivation on Friday night, he was magnificent.
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
I was worried that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo would torch Tanaka pitches but he struck out with two runners on in the third inning, and grounded out in a similar situation in the eighth as the last batter Tanaka faced. Gallo finished 0-for-4 and 3 strikeouts.
The Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman in for the 9th inning of the scoreless game. He struck out the first batter, Shin-Soo Choo, but Elvis Andrus followed with a single. Struggling with his command, Chapman, who was sweating profusely, hit Nomar Mazara with a pitch in the shoulder. With Adrian Beltre at the plate, Andrus stole third. A great defensive play by third baseman Torreyes in stopping a wide throw from Gary Sanchez prevented more damage at that point. But when Beltre struck out, the ball got away from Sanchez and Andrus ran home for the game’s first run.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th, Torreyes went down on a groundout for the first out. But no worries, Brett Gardner came up and delivered with a game-tying home run to right. Aaron Hicks grounded out for the second out. Aaron Judge singled to put the potential winning run at first. Unfortunately, Matt Holliday struck out to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, the Rangers loaded the bases against Chad Green and Chasen Shreve with two outs but Shreve got Andrus to pop out to end the threat. This set the stage for the home half of the 10th. With one out, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled, with Sanchez taking third. Chris Carter struck out on four pitches (surprise, surprise). But no fear, Ronald Torreyes stepped up to the plate. The little man with the big stick. A line drive single to center scored Sanchez with the winning run. The Yankees win.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The victory allowed the Yankees (40-31) to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East Standings. The Red Sox had defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 15-5, to remain 2 1/2 games back.
After the game, the Yankees mercifully ended the Chris Carter experiment. He seemed lost at the plate, with another 0-for-4 performance and three strikeouts.
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post
Carter had a chance to be a hero in the bottom of the 8th with Gary Sanchez on first and two outs. But he feebly struck out swinging. There was something about that weak final swing that gave me an “I’m done” feeling. It was reinforced in the 10th when Carter struck out with a huge opportunity to be the game’s hero. Apparently, GM Brian Cashman felt the same way as Carter was designated for assignment immediately after the game. Tyler Austin, who has homered in his last three of his last four games, was recalled to take Carter’s place. In the 27 games at Triple A after his reactivation from the DL in late May, Austin has hit .300/.366/.500 with 4 HR’s and 21 RBI’s for the RailRiders. Of his 30 hits in 100 at-bats, 17 have gone for extra-bases. The alarming statistic is 32 strikeouts but Austin has really been heating up with the bat over the past week. He has played error-free baseball at first. Welcome back, Tyler! Trust us, we are very glad to see you.
Big Papi, The Man Among Boys…
The Boston Red Sox retired the number of David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night in their game against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Big Papi was a thorn in the Yankees’ side for many years. Time and again, a game was ended with a Big Papi blast. I am very glad that #34 will no longer be an active number worn when the Red Sox come to town. My biggest fear was that he would “un-retire”.
Credit: Stuart Cahill
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr expressed it well when he said, “That just lets you know what a special impact he’s made in the community and the organization and all of baseball. What he’s done for the city, the team, people around him, it’s well deserved. I know we couldn’t be any happier for him.” I agree. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I couldn’t wait for the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton (may he rest in peace) to retire, and I felt the same about Papi. More than anything, it is a sign of how much respect I held for those men.
A close friend of mine who is a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan, and Boston-area resident, did post this comment on Social Media: “This is just my humble opinion, but I think it is much too early for the Red Sox to be retiring Ortiz’s number. With the exception of Johnny Pesky, the honor of having a number retired by the Red Sox was reserved for those players who entered the Baseball HOF.” My response…whatever it takes to keep him from coming out of retirement.
Odds & Ends…
Chance Adams is a friggin’ rock star. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 11-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, the RailRiders’ ace was magnificent. Pawtucket didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning. Adams (5-2) finished six innings strong, allowing just the one hit and no runs. He issued two walks, while fanning eight. The outstanding performance lowered Adams’ season ERA to 2.12. At some point in the not-so-distant future, it will be determined that Adams has nothing left to prove at the Triple A level. In my mind, he’s just a couple of Luis Cessa bumps and bruises away from stepping on the main stage (or the potential first call if another starter…I hope not…is injured). Why not take a Chance?…
The Boston Red Sox are going hog wild in an attempt to find help. Yesterday, they signed pitcher Doug Fister, released by the Los Angeles Angels, and shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta, who was cut by the St Louis Cardinals. Injuries to their pitching staff forced the Fister move. The disaster known as Pablo Sandoval brought in Peralta. I still think the Red Sox will be heavy players for Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas at the trading deadline. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Sox should have about $9 million to play with before they risk crossing the luxury tax threshold.
Happy Saturday! Let’s Go Yankees!
Waiting for Brian Cashman’s microphone-drop…
It’s November, the Presidential Election is behind us, and baseball free agency has begun. The Hot Stove League is officially underway.
The Yankees may be as inactive this off-season as they were last off-season, but the rumors that they’ve reached out to the agents for notable free agents is activity that we did not see or hear last year.
I am hopeful the Yankees land either Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen for the back end of the bullpen. I’d prefer Chapman for several reasons. The familiarity with the Yankees (for the player and the fans), and no draft pick compensation attached. But I would not be disappointed if the Yankees end up with Jansen. I view them as 1A and 1B. As good as he is, I am not really interested in a reunion with Mark Melancon. My 2A choice would probably be Greg Holland. The price tag for the elite closers may prove to be too much for the Yankees so there’s the chance that Dellin Betances retains his closer role. I’d place him as my 3A choice given that I’d really prefer to see him return to a setup role and be used more like the way Andrew Miller was handled by Tito Francona after Miller’s arrival in Cleveland.
Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Brian McCann will be traded. I have no doubt this will happen. Despite McCann’s desire to stay, it makes too much sense to move him. The backup catching role can be capably handled by Austin Romine or Kyle Higashioka. For years, Alex Rodriguez blocked DH, and if on the roster, McCann would do the same thing. Given the Yankees do not have a huge clutch bat for DH (like Boston did with David Ortiz), I’d prefer to see DH used by young hitters like Tyler Austin who might not otherwise have a spot in the starting lineup or rotate some of the older guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley. Granted, the Yankees are not going to get two top prospects for McCann even if they eat half of his remaining salary but they should be able to get a return that does provide help in other areas.
I did like the idea of Kendrys Morales as a potential DH signing but now that he’s a Blue Jay (3 years for $33 million), the Yankees will have to look elsewhere if they pursue a free agent or trade candidate.
I understand the reasons the Yankees will non-tender Nathan Eovaldi. He will miss the 2017 season following Tommy John surgery and it may be a couple of years before he can potentially get back to the progress point he had reached. It’s equally possible that he never becomes a consistent, dependable starter in the big leagues. Still, I’ll be saddened to see him go. I had hoped he would be able to harness his great stuff and prove to be a solid #3 starter in the rotation. I hope if the Yankees do non-tender him as expected, they attempt to re-sign him on a more reasonable deal that allows the pitcher to recuperate and get back to the Show.
For a team that’s been focused on getting younger, I am so glad that the Yankees did not pursue the two 40-somethings that signed with the Atlanta Braves (R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon). I am a bit surprised that the Braves are investing in the older pitchers given the youth movement in Atlanta. This might actually increase the odds that McCann returns to Atlanta, although the Houston Astros are looming as a very strong possibility.
This is also the off-season to move Brett Gardner. The return may not be as great as it might have been just a year ago, but the Yankees need to open room in the outfield for the younger prospects. Assuming that Aaron Judge takes right field, the Yankees are stuck with Jacoby Ellsbury in center, so left field is needed for guys like Aaron Hicks, Mason Williams and potentially Clint Frazier. I guess eventually Ellsbury will need to move to left to make room for Frazier in center, and that could happen as early as the summer of 2017. Keeping Gardner just delays the inevitable.
With free agent signings and trades starting to happen, I am anxious to hear some Yankees news. The team definitely needs help for the starting rotation, but that will take a well researched trade or two since there is nothing on the free agent market outside of veteran Rich Hill. There are no shortage of options for GM Brian Cashman to improve the roster and continue the youth enthusiasm we saw in August and September.
Let’s get this party started!…
Credit: New York Daily News
Whew, it’s over…
On one hand, I do feel bad because there’s no denying the talent in A.J. Burnett’s arm, even if it has lost some of its zip over the past couple of seasons. If he had the mental fortitude of his good buddy, Roy Halladay, there’s no telling what he could have done with his extraordinary gift. But it was the mental lapses in difficult situations, magnified on the big stage in New York, that led the Yankees to make the only move they could have made. So, it’s exit Stage Left, or I guess Stage Right in Burnett’s case, as he moves on to the Steel City.
I am hopeful that the new and less-pressurized environment will allow Burnett to pitch more like the guy he was in Toronto with the Blue Jays. If that happens, it will be a win-win for both the Yankees and the Pirates. Granted, the two “prospects” the Yankees acquired in the Burnett trade (pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones) are considered low-level, but the salary relief for the Yanks (Pirates absorbing $13 million of what’s left on Burnett’s remaining $33 contract) is a positive. Even for the almighty Yankees. If neither Moreno or Cayones ever develop into major league talent, it was still a good trade for the Yankees. So, anything out of either of those players would be a bonus.
Of course, the haters will come out in full force if Phil Hughes fails to seize the opportunity and Freddy Garcia proves he overstayed his welcome by one year. But even in that worst case scenario, I’d prefer to see the talented arms in the farm system get the audition.
The Yankees will apparently sign both third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder Raul Ibanez once the Burnett trade is finalized. Those are two good pieces for the 2012 squad. I like the idea of an Ibanez-Andruw Jones tandem at DH, with occasional time for Alex Rodriguez. Ibanez may not be the slugger he once was, but with 20 homers in Philly last year, he proved he can swing it on occasion. For sentimental reasons, it would have been nice to see the return of either Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, but Ibanez is clearly the better choice.
He did it the RIGHT way in more ways than one…
Pitcher Tim Wakefield has been a long-time nemesis as the member of the Yankees’ arch rival, but it was still sad to see him call it a career. I know, it was time, and there’s always the chance the Red Sox call his number later in the season if they need help, but he leaves the game as a champion. The city of Boston and the Red Sox organization are very privileged to have one of baseball’s most charitable and classiest individuals in the game as one of their own.
Both Wakefield and David Ortiz proved that anything can happen after they were both released by their previous organizations but flourished with the Red Sox in the major leagues. It gives me hope for guys like Preston Mattingly and others. Wakefield makes for an incredible role model, and hopefully, he’ll continue to be a fixture in baseball in some capacity.
The Los Angeles Vikings didn’t really sound very good any way…
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings have a tentative stadium deal. Like the Burnett trade negotiations, this has been drawn out through eternity. I know, there are still many hurdles to be cleared before actual construction begins, but at least it was the first positive move forward for the Vikings. As a Vikings fan, there’s always been the fear in the back of one’s mind that the team would decide to move to greener pastures in Los Angeles (much like the Minneapolis Lakers did years ago). The tentative stadium deal would keep the Vikings in Minneapolis, as opposed to a suburban area like Arden Hills. Hopefully, this deal will get passed by the city and state, and will ensure that the Vikings are in Minnesota…and Minneapolis…for the long haul.
This weekend’s abbreviated
two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles was a positive despite the
postponement of one game that will cause its share of challenges later in the
Saturday featured a great performance
by CC Sabathia, along with a
plethora of hits and home runs for the Yanks, while Sunday saw the Yanks pull
out a game that they could have lost when Mariano
Rivera blew his second straight save opportunity. I am not concerned about Mo, as he has had
short stretches like this during the season in recent years.
Sunday saw a great hitting
performance by the ‘written off for dead’ Derek
Jeter, who went 4-for-6 with a run scored and a RBI to raise his batting
average to .257. I agree that it’s too
soon to write Jeter’s obituary, just like it is too soon to start questioning
if Mo is losing it. But still, I have
the right to ask. Is it time for Jorge Posada to call it a career? I know it’s still early, but a .153 batting
average is abysmal. Let’s hope that he
turns it around like David Ortiz
always seems to do for the Red Sox…
Congratulations to Freddy Garcia for another six inning
shut-out! Also, after wondering if the
Yankees made a huge mistake in unloading Ian
Kennedy, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to acquire Curtis Granderson for most of last
season, I am a fan of the Grandy Man! He
hit his 7th home run of this young season, and could be on track for
30+. He has definitely gained a comfort
zone in pinstripes.
Saturday’s hero, aside from
the great job by CC Sabathia, was
catcher Russell Martin. We are not out of April and he already has
one more home run than last season, and needs just one more to tie his total for
2009. Combined with good health, the
change of scenery has been very good for Martin. I am looking forward to Francisco Cervelli‘s return so that he can start spelling Martin on
occasion, but I am glad that GM Brian
Cashman had the foresight to sign Martin rather than go with the untested Jesus Montero. Montero’s time will come but it was obvious
that his time is not now. Martin has
been very instrumental in the Yankees’ strong start, especially when you
consider how sluggish the team has performed the last few Aprils. I don’t want to criticize Posada, but I like
the way Martin has meshed with the pitching rotation.
I hope everyone had a very
Happy Easter today. Easter time with the
family definitely brings back great memories…
The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants.
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.
With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees. So, here it goes…
Why the Boston Red Sox will win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League. Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over. Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season. I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win. Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back. The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was.
You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard. They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves). The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games.
Adrian Gonzalez. Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park. He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run.
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove.
Disruption. Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers.
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games.
The forgotten hitter. For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it.
The dead will rise. It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level. Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’. There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer.
The bench. If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo. Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory. They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns. Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald. It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars. I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers. If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.
Terry Francona. When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball. The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season). He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season.
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished.
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start. In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’.
Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry. These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary. I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years. These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin).
The RSN. The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced. I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other.
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced. Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade. The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion. I am not one of them, but I
Why the Yankees won’t win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing.
He has his moments where he struggles.
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound. Win
or lose, you expect the team to win. I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee. After CC, there is nothing but question
marks. A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good.
It is how he finishes. If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast.
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern. He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year. At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead. After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him? Can he make the
necessary adjustments? As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson (or even Michael Pineda). Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready. I
remain fearful that it’s the latter. I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation. In the fifth spot, who
knows. Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays. Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva. None of the options instill
The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba Chamberlain. Pedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today.
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements.
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age. Will this be the year?
Aging lineup. Mark Teixeira is already
31? Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex. He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox. He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone.
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come. Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH. He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team?
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older. Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you. If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night.
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball. If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.
The bench. Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee. But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury.
What if Derek Jeter is done? Is
Nunez ready to take over at short? I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen. It
eventually happens to all superstars.
Hank Steinbrenner. Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret. I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
The off-season. As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult. CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano. If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover.
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink. Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September. I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start. This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated.
Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom.
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.
Julia, I’m out…
The calendar is getting ready to turn the page to July so that means we’ll be on the home stretch for the trading deadline.
Of course, there have been so many rumors about Seattle’s Cliff Lee and whether or not the Yankees will make a play. If it meant raiding the farm system, then a deal for Lee doesn’t make sense. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, so as long as he doesn’t sign a pre-trade extension with another team, he should be there for the Yankees to pursue in the off-season.
Now, if they can put together a package now that makes sense without sacrificing the future, they should do it. The Yankees could easily free up a spot in the rotation by trading Javier Vazquez to a National League club, and getting Lee would be a hedge against Andy Pettitte retiring in the off-season. Right now, the Yankees really have only one shutdown ace…CC Sabathia. A.J. Burnett has decided to become a batting practice pitcher, Andy is always going to give up runs although he’ll keep it close, and Phil Hughes is handicapped by the innings limit placed on him by the team so there are no other guarantees in the rotation. A rotation led by the former Indians duo of Sabathia and Lee would be very formidable. So, here’s hoping the team can find a way, although admittedly, another bat is probably the wiser route to take.
The Yankees have the lead in the American League but it is by the slimmest of margins. Entering play tonight, they were just a game ahead of the injury-decimated Boston Red Sox and three games up on the Tampa Bay Rays. The injuries have been tough, but I’d say that the Red Sox have had it worse yet they are playing the better baseball despite a lineup of players that you may not have heard of prior to the season. I am not sure what the Yankees should do, but complacency is not the answer.
Well, it’s time for the third installment of my lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. We bet on last Sunday’s Red Sox-Giants game, and I lost. Being a Bay Area resident, I was pulling for the home team as if there was any question about which team a Yankee fan would pull for. With the loss, I have to include a paragraph about every player on the Red Sox roster (as of the game day when the Giants lost).
For my third player, I will go with the player who started the scoring for the Red Sox last Sunday with a deep smash to right…
#34 David Ortiz
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Over the years, there have been players released that surprised me but probably none more than when the Minnesota Twins let Ortiz go. I was not close to the situation so I do not know the exact reasons behind his release, but the move helped ensure the end of the Curse of the Bambino.
David Americo Ortiz Arias was born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners, and after spending four years in their farm system, he was traded to the Twins for Dave Hollins. Ortiz showed glimpses of his power in Minnesota, but injuries and inconsistency held him back, ultimately leading to his release.
He signed with the Red Sox on January 22, 2003, and the Red Sox Nation has never been the same. One of the greatest free agent signings in Boston’s history (in any team’s history), Ortiz hit .301 in 2004 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI’s in helping lead the Red Sox to their first World Championship in 86 years. Three years later, with 35 home runs and 117 RBI’s, Ortiz would be hoisting the championship trophy over his head once again.
Ortiz has started the downward descent of his career that comes with age, but he’ll forever be interlinked into the fabric of Red Sox history.
I personally won’t miss those walk-off home runs when his Boston career comes to an end…
Give the man a pie…
This game belonged to the Swish. With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.
When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic. When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi. But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira. Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield. At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira. But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today. The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive. Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s. This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s. But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality. He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.
The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief. Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6. He walked 2 batters. Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb. The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.
Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Ouch! He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.
The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500. They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight. Yes, Julia, life is good…
And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…
The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson. This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective. In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief. He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing. Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson. Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296). This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs. But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN. Congrats!
Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns. The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension. It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football. The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…