I guess that A-Rod should have held one of those
homers in reserve for Sunday…
The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense against
Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City Royals as the former number
one Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick but still a no-name 29-year-old journeyman earned his first major league victory in beating the Yankees
Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger
On the other side was loser A.J.
Burnett, who was magnificent if you throw out the first inning.
John Rieger/US Presswire
On Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez homered three
times (the first time he has accomplished the feat since 2005). However, the last homer merely padded the
score as the Yankees coasted to the 8-3 win.
It’s too bad that he couldn’t have waited until Sunday to homer. Any offense at all would have probably won
the game. But like Derek Jeter said, the
way Bullington was pitching, there was no way they were going to beat him.
The Yankees have been very pedestrian thus far in
August. They are 6-8, and have been
underperforming in every series. They
have the occasional outbursts like Saturday night, but they have not been able
to sustain any success. If the Tampa Bay
Rays didn’t encounter their own struggles, they most likely would be in first
place today. As it is, they are just one
game behind the Yankees after another solid performance by Jeremy Hellickson, a
native Iowan like myself. If the Yankees
don’t kick it into gear soon, they’ll be left to fight for Wild Card
scraps. The team is certainly capable of
getting on a roll and reeling off 10 straight victories, so the sooner the
I was afraid that today was going to feature a
sluggish Yankee performance. I was
reading the LoHud Yankees blog before the game, and they posted a report that
it was a lazy Sunday morning in the clubhouse with absolutely nothing going on. To me, that translated to a lack of energy
and the team was just ready to board the plane to return home. Unfortunately, it showed up in how they
played today against the Royals. Nothing
against Bullington, he pitched a great game, but then again, he had a receptive
Now, the Yankees head home to face former teammates
Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson, and the Detroit Tigers. If they play like they played in Kansas City,
the results won’t be favorable.
I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (obviously),
however, I am glad to see that Dustin Pedroia will return to second base for
the Sox on Tuesday night. He will also
be celebrating his 27th birthday, so birthday wishes are in order
for the Sox warrior. I certainly do not
want to see the Sox get on a roll, but it will be good to see Pedey back at
second for “those” guys.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
Somewhere my friend Julia is on vacation and loving
every minute of today’s Yankees loss…
Enjoy Pedey’s birthday, Julia…
Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he has learned about life in three words. “It goes on”…
It was one of those days for the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees had controlled the majority of the game after a Randy Winn triple in the bottom of the 2nd inning had given them an early 2-1 lead.
Sergio Mitre did everything asked of him as he went 5 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 1 run. David Robertson, who has been struggling, came on in relief of Mitre and was effective for two innings.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
So, the Yankees had the perfect formula for victory (Chamberlain + Rivera), right? Wrong. Joba allowed the first batter to reach base during the top of the 8th inning when Denard Span singled. Following a fielder’s choice which left Orlando Hudson at first, Joe Mauer walked. Joba struck out the next batter (Justin Morneau), and it looked as though he might escape the inning without any further damage. Unfortunately, an infield single by Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases and ended Joba’s afternoon. Manager Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save. Mo quickly fell behind the first batter he faced (Jim Thome) and eventually walked him to bring in a run (closing the Yankees lead to 3-2). Mo was unable to shut the door as the next hitter, Jason Kubel, smashed a grand slam to right to give the Twins the lead, 6-3.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
The Yankees tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th and had the first two men on base. But Twins closer Jon Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to end the game.
This was a very disappointing loss. The Yankees have had great success against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and had won the first two games of this series. A win today would have put a psychological knife into the Twins or the very least would have given them doubts about their ability to win at the Stadium in October. For the Twins, it was a huge win and it lifted the monkey off their backs. Prior to the game, former Twins great Bert Blyleven labeled it as a “must win”
So, the weekend ends on a down note for the Yankees as they await the arrival of their fiercest rival, the Boston Red Sox, for a two-game series in the Bronx starting on Monday.
Of course, Yankees-Red Sox can only mean one thing. It’s time for another wager between me and my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser must write a blog about the opposing team’s first World Series victory. If the teams split the series, the winner will be the team with the highest run total. The Red Sox did lose today to Johnny Damon and the Detroit Tigers so neither the Yanks or Sox carry any momentum into the latest series.
The Yankees received some bad news when it was announced that DH Nick Johnson may need wrist surgery. They’ll first try a cortisone shot, but if it doesn’t work, surgery will be the next option which would most likely shelf Johnson until August. This is exactly what Yankee fans had feared when Johnson signed with the Yanks during the off-season as Johnny Damon’s replacement. GM Brian Cashman says that Johnson’s injury potential was taken into consideration, however, it doesn’t appear that there is a solid Plan B in place. I like the lineup with Posada at DH and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, however, that may or may not be a good long term solution. I’d prefer more of a sure thing (trade for Johnny Damon?), but unfortunately, the trade market will not be open until July (or June at the earliest).
It was a particularly tough sports day for me today as the San Jose Sharks lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals. I am sure that if I need to hear some positive sports news, Julia will be more than happy to tell me all about the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals… L
San Jose Mercury News
The day did have a great start for me before the games began. I participated in the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco. The run started near the Bay by Embarcadero and headed west (up the Hayes Street Hill and through Golden Gate Park) to the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco Chronicle
In San Francisco, you have to be prepared to see just about anything…and I did! Many runners (and walkers) chose to wear costumes while some opted for nothing at all. I took the more conservative and traditional route myself. I do not know the total headcount but the run was very slow at the beginning and going up the Hayes Street Hill due to the sheer volume of people.
San Francisco Chronicle
Personally. I accomplished my modest goal of running the race inside of an hour. It was a fun and very enjoyable day…well, at least until the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium!
The string comes unwound…
The Yankees had been successful in every season series this year except for their trip to Anaheim, CA, but the string of success came to a resounding thud in Detroit. The Tigers were victorious in winning 3 of 4 games against the Yankees.
The Tigers took a close game on Monday, 5-4, when a late Yankees rally fell short. Tuesday was rained out, so the team played two the next day. Despite a strong performance by Javier Vazquez (his best of the season, by far), the Yanks fell 2-0 in the first game. They rebounded in the nightcap behind a very strong performance by Phil Hughes, which is rapidly becoming “the norm” for #65. The game was close most of the way until the Yankees scored 6 runs in the 9th to win, 8-0.
In the getaway game, the Yanks were shut out for the second time in three games, 6-0. The game was highlighted by a disappointing outing by CC Sabathia.
Tonight, the Yankees are back in the Bronx for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins.
As it stands right now, I am concerned about the team. Andy Pettitte pitches on Saturday and there is uncertainty regarding his health. He has missed a start due to elbow stiffness and it would not be realistic to expect his high level of performance in April to continue.
The rainout in Detroit, forcing Javier Vazquez to pitch on Wednesday, has pushed Javy’s next start back a day so Sergio Mitre will start Sunday against the Twins.
My biggest concern is the ongoing health challenges the team has faced. For awhile, it seemed as though every win was accompanied by an injury. I know the Yankees spare no expense, but at times, I do wonder about the team’s strength and conditioning program. It is a completely unsubstantiated remark, but the constant little injuries do make you wonder what the cause might be.
Curtis Granderson is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but he has yet to begin running again. He is scheduled to do some light running this weekend, and has been vigorously working out. However, if he hasn’t started running, it does not appear he’ll be back immediately. Nothing against Marcus Thames, Randy Winn or Greg Golson, but I’d prefer to see those guys coming off the bench…not starting in the outfield.
Other Yankees have been dinged up…Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, et al. Chan Ho Park and Alfredo Aceves are on the DL with Granderson, although Park is expected back soon.
A trip to October always includes a bit of luck so hopefully the Yanks will be able to overcome these string of injuries without losing too much ground to the Tampa Bay Rays…or let the dreaded Boston Red Sox catch up.
On the bright side (for me), the San Jose Sharks will soon begin the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup. I had hoped for a Stanley Cup collision against my friend, Julia, but unfortunately, her Boston Bruins let a 3 games to none lead slip away. That also included a 3-0 lead in Game 7. So close Julia, “but so far away”. Sorry, my friend. At least we still have hope in the NBA play-offs as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are in their respective conference finals. So, we’ll have to hope for Lakers-Celtics in the finals, with a Sharks-Bruins match-up just a dream for future years.
The Bully has spoken…
As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine. I agree with Levine’s words: “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend. Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams).
I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully. I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine. Or maybe this truly is the real Levine. Either way, I am not a fan of his…
After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:
Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)
2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s
Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)
2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s
Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register
The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!
At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves. Well, he did score a run. Ugh!
The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston. The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey. Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!
In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base. With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4, Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run. Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.
Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst. I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time. I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.
It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him. I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan. Beckett and Lackey? Not so much…
Unfortunately, Johnny Damon hasn’t forgotten how to beat the Yankees…
Gene J. Puskar/AP
In Damon’s first appearance against his ex-mates, he hit an RBI single and a solo home run to power the Tigers to victory, 6-2, in Lakeland, Florida. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a regular occurrence in Yankees-Tigers matchups. Two of the hopefuls for the fifth spot in the starting rotation were the victims of Damon’s abuse. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three earned runs in three and four innings of work, respectively. Austin Jackson even got in on the action with some great defensive plays.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
On the bright side, the Yankees also played the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa and won 5-3 behind the heroics of Jorge Posada. Javier Vazquez was the starter and winner, but Alfredo Aceves continued to impress. So, if Phil Hughes has competition for the starting rotation, I’d have to say that Aceves is the top contender at this point. I am convinced that Joba Chamberlain is headed to the pen, and either Mitre or Gaudin (or both) will find themselves pitching elsewhere.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Kei Igawa, perhaps the Yankees most disappointing free-agent signing in recent memory outside of anyone named Carl, saw his latest attempt to make the Yankees flame out. He was one of nine players cut and re-assigned to minor league camp. The other notable name, but not unexpected, was pitcher Andrew Brackman. The odds have definitely been against Brackman but I hope he can persevere and pitch in the big leagues one day.
Nick Latham/Getty Images
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, this has been a disappointing off-season so far. Of course, there’s the inevitable ‘will he or won’t he’ retirement talk about Brett Favre. If Favre does retire, it’s hard to get excited about the team’s offense being helmed by either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. We’ve already seen a great running back depart when Chester Taylor signed with the rival Chicago Bears. The team wined and dined free agent LaDainian Tomlinson, but he left Minnesota for New York with no agreement. Nothing against Minneapolis, but it’s hard to compete with the city of New York. There’s no telling where LT will eventually land, but he would be a nice backup for Adrian Peterson. So far, the Vikings biggest acquisition has been the free agent signing of long kicker Rhys Lloyd. Hopefully, the Vikings will be able to make the necessary moves to ensure that their current championship quality window does not close without any hardware.
Peter Read Miller/SI
This has been an interesting year on American Idol. I have seen most of my early favorites depart, so I’ve had to find new ones to back. At this point, I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze. I am surprised at some of those who advanced to the Top 12 and some who didn’t, but the show should start heating up in the coming weeks.
I am headed down to Burbank to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week. The scheduled guests are Terry Bradshaw and Kara DioGuardi. The musical guest is Ziggy Marley. It should be a fun and energetic show to watch. I am looking forward to it. I was able to see The Late Show with David Letterman last year, so it will be fun to see how it compares to Leno. Of course, from my perspective, I can’t wait until Conan O’Brien is back on the air…
Now that CC is getting warmed up, Spring Training is officially underway…
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
So far, Camp has been very quiet for Team World Champions. Of course, that figures to change when position players report next week. But it has been great to see the guys arriving in Tampa as they begin defense of their World Series championship.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I always enjoy hearing about the players who re-committed themselves during the off-season, and arrive in camp in better shape than ever. This year’s “Biggest Losers” are reliever Jonathan Albaladejo and right fielder Nick Swisher. Both reported significantly lighter than we lost saw them in October. I have been a bit concerned that Swisher will have difficulty matching last season’s success, but hopefully, the weight loss will help him build upon the success and we’ll continue to see the A’s version of Swisher and not the White Sox version.
It’s evident the players have a great deal of respect for Andy Pettitte. Andy could have had the perfect ending to a great career by riding off to the sunset after last year’s championship, but he decided that he is not ready to hang up the glove yet. Obviously, I was disappointed when Andy admitted steroid use, however, throughout his career and including the time of the admission, Andy has handled himself with nothing but class and dignity. CC Sabathia credited Pettitte for helping his transition, and I am sure that he’ll have a similar influence on Javier Vazquez as he re-adjusts to life with the Yankees. I would have preferred if Andy had never left to play in Houston for three years, but conversely, the time away definitely gave Andy a different perspective and he clearly values his Yankees legacy now more than ever before.
I saw the comment by Hideki Matsui on the Angels MLB.com website that although he feels physically strong, his knees aren’t 100%. As tough as it was to see Godzilla leave, I think the Yankees made the right decision. While I recognize that he may have a great 2010 season, sooner or later he’ll begin breaking down and missing more time. Besides, there’s not much more that he could have done for a Yankees farewell than being named the World Series MVP.
Speaking of ex-Yankees, Johnny Damon is now officially a member. He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million. Damon will definitely be the poster child for negotiating failures, at least for the short term. With better strategy, he could have secured a longer term deal for more money from the Yankees, but Damon and agent Scott Boras overvalued the market. Of course, the Yankees quickly moved on. I do not find fault with the Yankees approach because had they waited, they risked getting nothing. As it stands, the Yankees offense should be fine with Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Marcus Thames on-board. I am still puzzled by the Tigers since they moved Curtis Granderson because of money, and he would have made less this year than Damon will cost them. I guess Damon is an $8 million insurance policy as a hedge to see if Austin Jackson is capable of making the leap to the major leagues.
Another former Yankee, Chien-Ming Wang, signed with the Washington Nationals. I am surprised that he went with the Nats. Nothing against them, but I really expected to see Wang go with Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have a clear need for a fifth starter, and if healthy, Wang could have potentially filled the void. Whatever happens, I wish Wang the best of luck…and health. I hope he has learned to run the bases now that he’ll be hitting in the National League.
Now that Jose Molina is in Toronto, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi is going to make sure that Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett work as a team this spring. Hopefully, they’ll be able to build a good rapport. If not, I hope that Francisco Cervelli is up to the challenge of being A.J.’s personal caddy.
The Yankees will definitely encounter more than a few former players (and manager) during the upcoming season.
Hopefully, the “pies” will belong to the current Yankees and not the former crowd. It should be a fun season, and I am looking forward to the renewed battle with Julia. I was hoping that we’d have a few “warm-ups” during the Spring, but the Yankees and Red Sox are not scheduled to face each other until Opening Day. Oh well, I am looking forward to starting the season 1-0. Right, Julia? 😉
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
This is off-topic, but now that American Idol has reduced the field to 24, my early favorite is Janell Wheeler…
But then again, Ashley Rodriguez does have a great voice…
It should be a great Season 9 on American Idol! Music and Yankees baseball…sounds like it will be a great summer to me! If Julia doesn’t agree, this video says it all…
Despite record snowfalls on the East Coast, spring training is right around the corner…
Yankee pitchers and catchers report next week, and the battle will begin for the fifth spot in the rotation. Of course, everyone is quick to indicate that Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre have a shot, but this is really about a competition between Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Personally, I am putting my faith in Phil Hughes. I’d prefer to see Joba take over Hughes’ old spot as setup man for Mariano Rivera (positioning himself to be Mo’s successor when the eventual day comes). I am really anxious to see what Hughes can do in the rotation now that he has achieved success at the big league level.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
It will be interesting to see if Curtis Granderson stays in center, or if they ultimately decide to move him to left and return Brett Gardner to center. There should be good outfield competition among Jamie Hoffmann, Marcus Thames, and Randy Winn. Minor leaguer Colin Curtis and off-season pickup Greg Golson (from Texas) will also be on hand to compete. I am hopeful that Hoffmann, a good defensive player, finds a way to make the team. If not, the Yankees will have to offer him back to the Los Angeles Dodgers since he was a Rule 5 pickup.
Miles Chrisinger/Icon SMI
At catcher, Francisco Cervelli should break camp as backup to Jorge Posada. With each passing season, the backup catching position becomes more vital as Posada ages. I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero brings to camp. He’s not ready for the Bronx yet but he is getting close and will obviously be Posada’s eventual successor if they don’t move him to first base because of his physical size.
John M. Setzler, Jr.
It appears that Johnny Damon will sign next week, most likely with the Detroit Tigers based on the latest rumors. I do find it odd that the Tigers would pay Damon more than they would have owed Curtis Granderson yet Grandy was moved for financial reasons. It’s also disappointing that the Tigers will end up getting Damon for less than what the Yanks had been willing to pay at the start of the off-season. Agent Scott Boras forced the Yankees’ hand in signing DH Nick Johnson and outfielder Randy Winn, leaving no room for Damon. If Boras had shown a willingness to negotiate early on, perhaps Johnny would be returning to the Bronx for another go-around. But for as much as I will miss Damon’s ability on the bases and his offensive power, I won’t miss his throws from left field (which seemed to move in slow motion). I wish him the very best wherever he lands…Detroit, Chicago or Atlanta.
All things considered, it should be a fairly quiet camp compared to the past few years. I am not expecting any drug use admissions or sex scandals, but of course, you never know. I am just glad that it’s time for the guys to pick up the gloves, balls and bats and head back out for another summer of fun.
Josh Haner/The New York Times
By the way, congrats to Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal worth $23 million with San Francisco. With a pay increase from $650,000 to $8 million plus $2 million signing bonus in 2010, he can now afford to buy in Nob Hill…
Also, so long to the Big Hurt. Frank Thomas has decided to hang up his cleats and take his 521 home runs home. Of course, he’s been out of the game for a year, but now it’s official. No Brett Favre comebacks in Frank’s future…
Finally, I’d like to send my prayers to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, a luger for the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who died today during a trial run at the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columba. I cannot say that I am well familiar with Luge but it seems like there could have been better safety precautions. The Olympic Games start on a disappointing note, but I hope the other athletes from Georgia rise to the occasion and give performances their fallen teammate would have been proud of…