The agony of defeat…
It’s amazing how you can go from a very high “high” to a very low “low” in 24 hours. A night after a walk-off home run by Marcus Thames, he was a goat in last night’s 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox. His drop of Marco Scutaro’s fly ball in the 9th inning was a crucial blow that set the stage for Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double that gave Boston the runs it would need to win.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
There were several goats in this loss. Thames didn’t shoulder the blame alone. You really have to start with the awful performance by Joba Chamberlain. On Sunday, he allowed the floodgates to open for the Twins and the momentum crushed Mariano Rivera. In many ways, it happened again last night. Chamberlain didn’t allow the runs in the 9th (Rivera did), however, the Red Sox had clearly taken the momentum of the game with the 4 run 8th inning to tie the score. I could tell after a couple of batters that Joba didn’t have it last night, but manager Joe Girardi stuck with Chamberlain to erase the 5-1 advantage.
Keivom/NY Daily News
The Yankees had their chance for late inning heroics but this time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door. The Yanks were able to pick up a run on a Robinson Cano double in the bottom of the 9th. However, with the game-tying and game-winning runs on 2nd and 3rd, Juan Miranda grounded out and Randy Winn struck out to end the game.
The Yankees (25-14) fell another game behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the loss. The Rays, who are in town for a two-game series before the start of the weekend’s matchup against the Mets, beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 and are now 28-11. Unless Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera can return the bullpen to a strength, the series against the Rays will be very difficult to win. It’s too bad that a very strong performance by CC Sabathia was wasted last night, The Yanks could have used it against the Rays. Let’s hope that A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are up to the task.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
On the bright side, I did somehow manage to win the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. After the Sox had taken the 7-5 lead, we were tied with total runs (16 runs for both teams). But Cano’s 9th inning RBI gave the Yankees a total of 17 runs, so I won on that basis despite the split of the two-game series. So, stay tuned for a post by Julia which will detail the Yankees’ first World Series championship. She has assured me that she will use as few words as possible! Of course, I say when is Julia ever at a loss for words!
It was not a particularly good night for me as the San Jose Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, to fall behind 2 games to none in the NHL Western Conference Finals.
At least Lee Dewyze gave a masterful performance on the American Idol stage so the night wasn’t a total loss. His rendition of Hallelujah clearly set him apart from his competition (Crystal Bowersox and Casey James), and as Randy Jackson says, he’s in it to win it. Unless American Idol is nothing more than a popularity contest, Casey James should be heading back to Texas tonight for an AI final pitting Bowersox against Dewyze. It should be a great one!
How can we enjoy the Championship off-season when the Red Sox are just so darn busy?…
The champagne on the Yankee Stadium clubhouse floor hadn’t dried when it was announced that the Red Sox had acquired promising outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins. Hermida, 25, has underachieved in Miami but something tells me that he is about to blossom in Beantown.
As expected, the Red Sox exercised the option for Victor Martinez, the 2010 starting catcher and they re-signed the ageless Tim Wakefield for two years. The team did not pick up the option of former starting catcher Jason Varitek, however, I fully expect him to exercise his player option for a return in 2010 to back up Martinez. I agree with Julia that Tek is a manager in waiting so I see next year as a transition year to coaching. It would not surprise me at all to see him on Terry Francona’s staff in 2011.
Bob Breidenbach/The Providence Journal
As much as I would like to see Jason Bay sign with the Yankees, I fully expect him to return to Boston. I think the Yankees need a solid addition for the outfield, but I do not expect them to pursue either Bay or Matt Holliday. I’d like to see them pursue someone like Jeremy Hermida…oops, too late! Nevertheless, I am sure that there are other deals that could be made under the radar for a potential horse.
There have been rumors that Boston will acquire San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. That’s a deal, if it happens, which would not surprise me and would significantly strengthen the Sox.
Brad Mangin/Sport Illustrated
That, in turn, could force the Yanks to be major players for Angels starter John Lackey. Imagine Lackey as the #2 starter behind CC Sabathia, sliding A.J. Burnett to third. That would be a top trio in baseball, and one that would virtually guarantee a return to the post-season next year.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
I hope this off-season does not turn into another Brett Favre-like ordeal with pitcher Andy Pettitte. If Andy wants to come back for at least one more year, and I think he does, the Yanks should move quickly to wrap him up on a one year deal. The Red Sox showed Tim Wakefield much respect by how quickly they tore up his contract and signed him to a new two-year deal. The Yankees need to give Andy the same respect.
Jae C. Hong/AP
I saw that the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Joe Torre’s staff would return intact for 2010. It will be Torre’s final year on his current contract, although I read he is in negotiations for a new contract. During his final years, I remember always hearing how his wife wanted him to retire and spend time with their daughter. Here we are years later and the daughter is getting older. Yet, Torre continues to manage. Maybe he just can’t get managing out of his blood. I hope it is something more like that than possible revenge against the Yankee brass or the desire to prove that he can win without the support of the Steinbrenner’s money. I don’t want to take away from Don Mattingly but if he wants to be a future manager, is hitting coach the right spot? I have always heard that Bench Coach or Third Base are better positions for future managers. I still think that Donnie Baseball will replace Torre as Dodgers manager, however, it looks like it may be a few more years.
Pedro Feliz may have hit a home run in Game 4 of the World Series, however, it didn’t take the Philadelphia Phillies long to say goodbye to their third baseman. Thanks for all you do Pedro, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
Why is my worst fear that the Yankees will be staring at Roy Halladay on the mound when April 5, 2010 rolls around? I hope not, but of course, I am sure that a certain Red Sox blog will be gleefully delighted…
I wish we could do this more often…
Josh Haner/The New York Times
Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.
I am right there with ya, Yogi! Let’s do it again next year!
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World. Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible? A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third baseman was Cody Ransom. The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras. Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa. And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown. Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back. When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The off-season acquisitions were tremendous. I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country. I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”. While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win. Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry. Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness. GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees. I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.
During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels. But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat. We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field. A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011. So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it. His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
A few memories from yesterday’s parade…
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Kevin P. Coughlin
Victoria Will/New York Post
Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…
New York Yankees!
Sipkin/NY Daily News
In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal. It is a good move on their part. He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins. What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox? This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50’s. Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25. The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent. This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.
The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte. Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte. I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas. Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain. Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks. However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types. I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field. You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…
I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday. I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year. I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension. It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.
The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern. I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community. The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season. They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon. The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game. I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat. Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…
Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”. I hope they’re okay! LOL! So much for the streak! J