So much has been written about the vacancy in the Yankees’ starting rotation, but I still think it’s Phil Hughes’ job to lose…
The competition has been tough. The early leaders were Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, thanks to their consistently solid performances. However, in my mind, it’s always been Hughes. Aceves could go the entire spring without allowing an earned run and I’d still be behind Hughes for the 5th spot in the rotation. Aceves, for the record, was blasted for 5 runs in 4+ innings today in an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
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I know the Yankees invested much time trying to make Joba Chamberlain a starter. The “Joba Rules” date back to the Joe Torre era as the Yankees tried, albeit very cautiously, to build up Joba’s arm strength and stamina for 200 innings plus per season. But the truth is Joba is ideally suited for the bullpen. His make-up, demeanor, and approach is much more aggressive in a defined relief role. He has looked uncomfortable and at times lost as a starter.
My preference is for Aceves to resume his long relief role, Joba to set up Mariano Rivera (and spelling him on occasion), and Gaudin find his niche in the bullpen. Sergio Mitre has pitched well, but I’d try to trade him for a young prospect.
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When making the decision for who will be the starter, you really have to project who has the best chance for long-term success. Regardless of who pitches the best in March, the winner needs to be someone who can give the Yankees the best chance for October success. The answer is obvious…Hughes.
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Curtis Granderson was hit on the right hand in Friday night’s game, but it sounds like he’ll be fine and should be back in the lineup on Sunday. It’ll be just in time to see Phil Hughes nail the final spot in the starting rotation.
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The talks of the Yanks’ interest in Joe Mauer reminds me of the talk we’ve heard in the past about the Yankees getting Carlos Beltran, Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, Matt Holliday, Aroldis Chapman et al. All smoke and no fire. As great as Mauer is, the Yankees do not need an injury risk at the catching position. I still think that Mauer will eventually land with the Boston Red Sox if the Minnesota Twins don’t re-sign him. Perhaps it will be a great move for the Sox, and Mauer will make fans forget Jason Varitek and Carlton Fisk. But I don’t he is a good fit for the Yankees. They’ll be fine with Jesus Montero, assuming that he doesn’t “out-grow” the position, as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor. If Montero does have to move because of his physical size, then I am willing to take my chances with Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine.
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I am amazed that Jamie Moyer, at age 47, is on the verge of nailing down a spot in the rotation for the championship-contending Philadelphia Phillies. He is definitely the Energizer Bunny…
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Personally, I think the Washington Nationals should have kept super-prospect Stephen Strasburg in the major league starting rotation. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should buy a house or sign a long-term lease in Harrisburg, PA. He won’t be there long…
As you know, I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (regardless of how much my friend Julia would like for me to be). However, I do want to send my prayers and best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland, Boston’s 19-year-old outfield prospect, who underwent successful brain surgery last week. He faces a tough road and a long recovery, but at least the initial news was promising. Let’s hope the news continues on its current positive, upward trend. Regardless of whether he ever plays baseball again, I will always be a fan of his in whatever he does. I only hope that it will be nothing short of complete and absolute recovery. Ryan, we are all on your team!
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When I saw that the University of Northern Iowa had defeated top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I could only think of one thing…never underestimate the power of an Iowan! Signed, an Iowan. J
I am headed to Dallas for the week on business. I pulled up the weather forecast and was shocked that it was snowing in Dallas on the first day of spring! Meanwhile, in Boston, it was 71 degrees today! What’s up with that? And why do I have to leave this gorgeous, sunny California weather?…
Wow, what a Sports weekend!…
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It started with a thrilling college football game on Saturday as the University of Iowa Hawkeyes overcame the Indiana Hoosiers, 42-24. The Hawks had trailed at one point, 21-7. However, due to some great defensive plays by the Iowa defense and the play of QB Ricky Stanzi, the Hawkeyes improved their record to 9-0. Iowa Is currently 4th in the BCS Standings, and this has been the greatest Hawkeye season of my life.
Saturday night, the Yankees gained the advantage in the World Series with an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. In the early stages of the game, it appeared that it would be short night for Andy Pettitte. I saw two games in the 2001 World Series in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and one included Game 6 which saw Pettitte get blasted in a 15-2 defeat. I had concerns that I was seeing a repeat performance, however, Andy showed that he has learned a few things since then and he held firm with the ‘bend but don’t break’ mantra.
I thought Andy’s game-tying single in the 5th was the key hit of the game. Andy definitely showed that the three years spent in Houston was well worth the time as he was able to gain experience hitting at the major league level.
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I was surprised that the Yankees were able to get to Cole Hamels. Hamels was last year’s MVP, and I had expected a performance commensurate with the Game 1 start of Cliff Lee. Fortunately, the Yankees were able to capture the victory as well as the momentum in the Series. They had lost home field advantage while at Yankee Stadium with the Game 1 loss. However, they’ve ensured that for Philly to have a chance, the series would have to return to Yankee Stadium. So much for Jimmy Rollins prediction that the Phillies would win this one in five games…
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Sunday, saw Brett Favre make his first return to Lambeau Field as a visitor. Favre looked tremendous as he threw for four touchdowns. It looked like it would be a rout early, however, Aaron Rodgers brought the Green Bay Packers back to within a score. However, the Vikings pulled away at the end to win the game, 38-26. Favre won both games against the Packers this year, and that is a rare feat for the Vikings. It gives them a commanding lead in the NFC North with a 7-1 record.
Speaking of commanding leads, the Yankees grabbed the Series by the throat with a 7-4 victory on Sunday night. On short rest, CC Sabathia did very well, but he was long gone by the time the game was decided. CC had the lead when he departed, but a game-tying home run by Pedro Feliz off Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the 8th inning left a no-decision for Sabathia.
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At that point, it appeared that the Phillies had the series advantage. If they could pull out a win tonight and Cliff Lee on the mound tomorrow, they could have potentially gone ahead 3-2 before the series headed back to New York. But it was not meant to be as the Yankees rallied for three runs in the 9th. Johnny Damon showed why he is such a catalyst for the Yankee offense. After a two-out single in the 9th, he stole second and seeing that there was no one covering third, he outraced Pedro Feliz to advance two bags. The play was critical as it forced Phillies closer Brad Lidge to alter his pitch selection and it gave Alex Rodriguez a chance to line a go-ahead single to score Damon.
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With Mark Teixeira on base along with Rodriguez (Tex had been hit by a pitch after Damon had stolen third), Jorge Posada lined a single to score both runners and give the Yankees a three run cushion heading into the bottom of the 9th. Posada was thrown out attempting to stretch the single to a double, but it didn’t matter. The three runs were enough for Mariano Rivera, and he closed out the game with 3 up and 3 down to pick up his 39th career post-season save.
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There is one more game in Philadelphia as A.J. Burnett, the Game 2 hero, faces Cliff Lee, the master of Game 1. While it would be nice to close out the series in Philly, I have a feeling that this one is headed back for the Bronx. Regardless of what happens, to win two out of three in Philly was a tremendous feat by the Yankees. The Phillies are definitely a championship club and they’ve proven that last year was no fluke…not like the 2004 and 2007 World Series Champs! Sorry Julia, I had to throw one in there for you!
So, I had a great weekend. How about you?…
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