Tagged: Lakers

One month down, check!…


Usually, April has not been
kind to the Yankees.  So to finish the
month with a winning record and in first place is clearly an accomplishment.  After the Yankees were ripped in the
off-season for their failure to sign Cliff Lee while the Boston Red Sox were
signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, the expectations were
greater in Beantown. As a result, there is a bit of satisfaction in the respective teams’ starts.  Perhaps it was a good
thing as the Yankees finally shook the April curse and controlled the month of
April instead of letting the month control them. 


Cano.JPG

John Munson/The Star Ledger


Boston, meanwhile, has
gotten off to a sluggish start, with a 13-15 mark entering play tonight.  I’d be a fool to think the Sox will continue
to underperform.  I have no doubt that
they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point, and I can only hope
the Yanks have built a sufficient cushion to withstand any Sox charge. 
Roster to roster (today), I’d still give the edge of the Sox over the
course of the full 162 game schedule.

I think the keys for the
Yankees to hold off the inevitable Sox charge will rest primarily with
pitching.  I’ve been pleased by what the
Yanks have gotten from Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon, but I still
do not think that all three have the sustainability for the duration of the
season.

The health of Phil Hughes
will be a key determinant.  The recent
tests have been positive, but the fact remains that the Yankees are no closer
to getting Hughes on the mound than they were before.  What if he isn’t able to come back this
year?  What’s Plan B?  The Yankees already needed a #3 starter or
better when Hughes was in the rotation.  For
now, the Yanks have to hope that Nova, Garcia and Colon continue to perform
above expectations.

Count me as one of those who
believe that it is time to drop Derek Jeter down in the order.  His days as a lead-off hitter are over, and
it’s time to get Brett Gardner at the top of the order.  I realize that Gardner isn’t hitting, but I think
that leading off would revitalize his bat and of course his speed on the bases
with the guns coming to bat would be huge.

The Yanks could definitely
use timely hitting, but I fully expect the bats to come around.  I saw the highlights of last night’s game
showing Hideki Matsui hitting a game-winning home run for the Oakland A’s, and
thought to myself, yeah, we could use that…

With the 2011 NFL Draft
behind us, I am still pondering the Minnesota Vikings first round selection of
QB Christian Ponder.  There’s no doubt
that I would have loved to have DT Nick Fairley who went to the Detroit Lions
with the next pick.  However, the Vikings
had to emerge from this draft with a franchise QB.  Andy Dalton may turn out to be a great
quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Colin Kaepernick may do wonderful
things in the Golden Gate City, but all things considered, I am glad that
Ponder is in Minnesota.  There’s no doubt
that I would have preferred Jake Locker but the Tennessee Titans made that an
impossibility.  I had mixed feelings
about Blaine Gabbert, so short of Cam Newton and Jake Locker, I am satisfied
with Ponder. 


Minnesota Vikings


I’d be surprised if the
Vikings go to the training camp (assuming the lockout is lifted) with Ponder,
Joe Webb, and Rhett Bomar as the only QB’s. 
I fully expect them to pursue a veteran. 
I don’t think that Kevin Kolb would be worth the price since Ponder
should be ready to take over the position within a couple of years.  So, I guess it depends how cheaply the
Vikings can get someone like Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Vince
Young
.  It definitely makes me wish that
Sage Rosenfels was still on the roster. 

When the lockout is finally
resolved, I definitely hope the Vikings find a way to retain WR Sidney
Rice
.  I don’t want to lose free agent DE
Ray Edwards
, but I think that Rice would be much harder to replace.

I was glad to see the Tampa
Bay Rays activate 3B Evan Longoria for tonight’s game.  I may not be a Rays fan, but Longoria is
arguably the best third baseman in the league. 
Win or lose, I’d rather see Longoria in the Rays lineup than not. 

Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier who has hit safely in 28 games entering play
tonight.  I am sure that this is a trip
down memory lane for manager Don Mattingly, who once had a consecutive home run
streak going.  I am sure that Donnie
Baseball has shared his insight into how to handle the pressure from the press
in these situations.  Ethier’s a great
guy and I’d definitely like to see him continue this streak.

The San Jose Sharks are up
2-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, but who in the world can
possibly be comfortable with playing Game 3 in Joe Louis Arena?…

The Los Angeles Lakers lost
Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks?  Really?  What are they trying to do?  Give a happy ending to the LeBron James
Championship Show?…


–Scott

 

The End of the Road…

 

Thus endeth the season…



The Yankees season is over after a bitter Game 6 loss where their offense fails to show up once again. The 6-1 drubbing ends their chance at a repeat title as the Rangers advance to their first World Series.

<br><br>Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch.  The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August.  Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years.  The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez.  But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching. 



... David Robertson, who let up the homer, can't do much once it's in the air.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average.  Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies. 

 

A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year.  I am not sure what happened.  He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before. 
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire.  He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent. 

 

I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL.  At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy.  If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him. 

 

Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success.  He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level.  He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming. 
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team.  That’s
probably true.  As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
year. 

 

The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake.  As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him.  Those fears turned out
to be justified.  A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back. 

 

I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff.  The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season. 
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club.  So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
signing Lee.



Texas' ace Cliff Lee throws two perfect innings to start the game.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move.  Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club.  Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.



 


As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite. 
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome. 
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly.  Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance.  I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans.  I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series.  So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.



Sisters Julia Erle and Melissa Erle watch Game 4 of the N... Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle

Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle

 


Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series.  I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys.  The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year.  So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance. 
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them.  However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited.  When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game. 
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family. 
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game.  My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph.  Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill.  He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession.  It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan. 



... and the fireworks light up the Arlington skyline.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope. 
However, the prospects do not look good at this point.  The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks.  Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction.  As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm.  I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year. 
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too. 

 

So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…

 

–Scott


Time To Break The Ice…

 

On Tuesday, the Yankees were on top of the world
after defeating Doc Halladay and the Phillies…



Roy Halladay Yankees Phillies reax home run

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger


 

Since then, all they have managed to do is to lose
the series to the Phillies and allow the New York Mets to win their 8th
game in a row.  I am not quite sure how
you can from clubbing one of the best pitchers in baseball today to a total
inability to score runs.  Good pitching
beat good hitting, I know.   But still,
the Yankees have had their opportunities but the clutch hit just hasn’t come.

 

Hats off to Javier Vazquez’s performance on Friday
night despite the loss to the Mets.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run.  For the past month, he has been the team’s
most consistent pitcher.  Too bad the
bats weren’t there to support him.  I was
one of many who were booing Javy early in the season, but like they say, we
wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care.  This is
the Javy that we had expected to see, and hopefully, this will be the Javy that
will take us to October.



New York Yankees pitchers like Javier Vazquez (r.) recently are taking losses due to a lack of run support from Alex Rodriguez (b.) and the rest of the Bombers lineup.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Last night’s bullpen was disappointing.  Chan Ho Park and Boone Logan allowed the Mets
to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0. 
The Yankees still had their chances which included bringing the tying
run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th.  Granted, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher failed
to bring home any runs, but if the gap had been closer, it is possible that the
players would not have been trying so hard and could have made something
happen. 

 

Despite the losses, the Yankees remain tied atop
the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays who have encountered their own rough
patch.  The only team winning these days
is the Boston Red Sox who have crept to within one game of the lead (two in the
loss column). 

 

Today will be the battle of 9-1 pitchers as Phil
Hughes will face the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey. 
Pelfrey is 1-0 in this match-up so far this season so hopefully Phil
will be able to exact revenge.  It would
be great for him to reach 10 wins today.


 

Phil Hughes

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger



Another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and yet
another win!  We had bet on the NBA
Finals…Los Angeles Lakers versus Boston Celtics.  My state against hers.  Julia was so confident throughout the
series.  She was sure the Celtics were
going to win the championship in six games. 
She kept ranting that the Celtics would capture their 18th
NBA championship.  She insisted that the
Lakers would not win and that Kobe Bryant would not be the MVP.  Hey, Julia, how did that work out for
ya?  😉



After title time comes decision time for Lakers

LA Times

 

As a result of the loss, Julia is now obligated to
post photos of herself on her blog wearing the newest addition to her collection…a
Lakers championship locker room t-shirt. 
The t-shirt was ordered through the Lakers website while the locker room
celebration was underway.  I knew that
Julia would be very anxious to get her new shirt.  She wouldn’t want to miss out on the
celebration of the LA Lakers as the 2010 NBA Champions!  Enjoy Julia!  I look forward to the Lakers post on your blog!  🙂


Title

P.S.  The Lakers now have 16 NBA Championships.  Isn’t that just one less than the Celtics?  Well, that’s what we have next year for!  Go Lakers!  


–Scott

The Machine is Moving Again!…

 

When the season started, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes were 4th and 5th in the starting rotation.  It’s the 2nd of June, and both pitchers stand with 7-1 marks.  Given the struggles that Javier Vazquez has experienced and to a lesser degree, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes are the primary reasons the Yankees are in the thick of the AL East chase.  With Vazquez starting to pitch much better and knowing that Burnett and Sabathia will come around, the pitching potential for the remainder of the year is very bright. 

 

Today’s game was an all-around team effort as most of the starters played a role in scoring.  Mark Teixeira was 0-for-5 but it was a success to have him on the field given the ball he took off the foot yesterday causing him to exit that game prematurely.  Hughes went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits while striking out 7 in the 9-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  Chad Gaudin pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief. 

 

The game also marked the return of Jorge Posada who was penciled in at DH.  Posada was 1-for-3 with a run scored. 

 

The hitting star of the game was, of course, Robinson Cano.  Robby went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s.   He also hit his 12th home run of the season in the 7th inning.  He is batting .373 for the season and has been superb batting 5th behind Alex Rodriguez in the batting order. 

 

Both Boston and Tampa won again tonight?  Bummer! 

 

In a statement of the obvious, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw the third perfect game of the season even if the record books won’t show it.  Unfortunately, first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call in the 9th inning when he ruled Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first even though Miguel Cabrera’s toss to Galarraga beat Donald to the bag.  Galarraga settled for the one-hitter, but it was the perfect game with the imperfect umpire.  “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” the ump said after the game. “I thought he beat the throw.  I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

 

I was saddened to see Ken Griffey, Jr.’s decision to retire today.    Until he left Seattle for Cincinnati, Junior was on track to have a historic career.  Injuries took their toll on Griffey during the Cincinnati years and he was never the same.  He departs with 630 career home runs, but he would have been in the land of Ruth, Aaron and Bonds had he stayed healthy.  I wish Junior the very best in his post-playing career.  Thanks for the memories! 

 

Well, it is once again time for another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  We had hoped for a Stanley Cup Final involving her Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks.  However, both teams fell victim to the number 4 in their respective conference finals.  The Sharks were swept 4 games to none by the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Bruins blew a 3 games to none lead on the Philadelphia Flyers.  Nevertheless, our respective NBA teams have made it to the finals so it gives us the opportunity to place another bet.  Besides Julia needs a team other than the Red Sox if she ever hopes to win a wager again!  😉  Seriously, if the Boston Celtics win the championship, I will be the not-so-proud recipient of a Celtic championship t-shirt and of course proof will have to appear on my blog.   If the Los Angeles Lakers win, Julia will be seen wearing a purple and gold championship Lakers t-shirt.  For me, this is about revenge given the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics two years ago.  Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous career, but he needs a championship victory over Boston to add to his legacy.  So, here’s hoping that Kobe and the gang are victorious in their championship drive!  Let’s go Lakers! 

 

–Scott

Motor City Misery…

 

The string comes unwound…

 

 

Unwound.JPG

 

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.

 

 

Sancya/AP

 

 

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. 

 

 

New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes collects eight strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings.

Burleson/AP

 

 

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.

 

 

CC Sabathia surrenders six runs on nine hits as the Tigers blast the Bombers 6-0 and become just the second team to win a series from the Yankees.

Burleson/AP

 

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.

 

 

 

Glass Half Full to Glass Half Empty…

 

Thud!…

 

 


Thud.JPG 

 

The Yankees played a hard fought series in Boston, and escaped with two out of three despite their “pathetic and embarrassing”¹ play.  They had a day off and traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to face their other primary AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. 

 

Tampa Bay Rays Franchise Fitted Baseball Cap

 

With Javier Vazquez on the mound, it looked as though the Yankees would stack up very nicely against David Price and the championship-contending Rays.  Staked to an early 2-0 lead, Vazquez promptly gave it up in the bottom half of the 4th inning.  Former Yankee Carlos Pena tied the score with a two-run homer, and Jason Bartlett had a two-run double in the 5 run inning.  Another former Yankee, Dioner Navarro, hit the single that put the Rays in the lead.  Those would be the only runs that Price would need enroute to the Rays’ third victory of the season.

 

 

Photo

AP 

 

Marcus Thames made his second start of the season in left (in place of starter Brett Gardner), and Mark Teixeira continued his traditional ice cold start.  After four games, he is 0-for-16 which matches the worst hitless start of his career.  Let’s hope that he ends the streak on Saturday.

 

 


Frozen.JPG 

 

 

The weekend games will pit CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as the rotation begins its second go-around this young season.  I am expecting a much stronger start from Sabathia than we saw in Boston, and the same with Burnett.  They’ll face Wade Davis and James Shields, respectively.

 

 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost too as the Kansas City Royals rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 4-3.  It was a great start by the ageless and reliable Tim Wakefield, but once again, the bullpen was the Achilles heel for the Red Sox.

 

 

Red Sox Royals Baseball.jpg

AP

 

¹I found Umpire Joe West’s comments about the Yankees and Red Sox as “pathetic and embarrassing” to be, well, pathetic and embarrassing.  His frustration was over the slow play of the opening series between the two teams.  In my opinion, West should voice any concerns he has internally within his own organization and not air the negative comments publicly.  I am biased and if I were a San Francisco Giants fan, I’d vehemently disagree, but there’s nothing like baseball’s best rivalry, the Yankees and the Red Sox.  I am a Minnesota Vikings fan, and I dislike the Green Bay Packers.  I am a San Jose Sharks fan and I dislike the Anaheim Ducks.  I am a Los Angeles Lakers fan and I dislike the Boston Celtics.  But there is simply nothing like Yankees-Red Sox.  Right Julia?

 

 

Keith Srakocic/AP

 

Speaking of the Vikings, the wait for Brett Favre continues.  It is a given that Favre won’t make any decisions that would actually require him to show up for training camp, so this is going to be long and drawn out once again.  It’s frustrating because it is very hard for me to get excited about either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels at quarterback.  It’s rumored that the Vikings are taking a look at Tim Tebow.  However, he is a major project and many think he’ll never succeed at the pro level.  On the plus side, his former teammate Percy Harvin is on the Vikings and it would ease Tebow’s transition.  We’ll see how this plays out.  I definitely agree that the Vikings need to be thinking about the quarterback of the future regardless of what Favre may do.  I’d love for the Vikings to pick Jimmy Clausen in the NFL Draft, but he’ll be long gone by the time the Vikings select unless they can move up.

 

 

Jimmy Clausen

Joe Raymond/AP

 

Both the Sharks and the Lakers are set to play in their respective sports’ play-offs.  I am hopeful that this is the year for Joe Thornton and company.  For the Lakers, it’s ‘here we go again’ with Andrew Bynum unavailable until the play-offs due to injury.  Unfortunately, that’s an all too familiar song, but hopefully he’ll be ready to play once the play-offs do start.  If both teams could play and beat Boston, I’d be a very happy man.  Of course, that would mean championship series for both, but hey, so long as WE win, what does it matter?  😉

 

 

 

 

The Yankees quietly picked up former San Diego Padres outfielder Chad Huffman on waivers and assigned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  Huffman was placed on waivers to make room for Matt Stairs (hasn’t he played for like every major league club?).  I didn’t think much of the move when I first saw it, but later I saw comments about how frustrated fans were and how they saw the fingerprints of Kevin Towers all over this one.  Towers, the former Padres GM, is now a special consultant for the Yankees.  It would appear that the Padres had hoped Huffman would clear waivers for a minor league assignment but were, perhaps, thwarted by their former general manager.  I saw these comments about Huffman by Padres assistant Paul DePodesta and it makes me a little jazzed about the pickup (and not so disappointed that the Yankees had to return Rule 5 pickup Jamie Hoffmann to the Dodgers): 

“We lost the player. And, he’s a pretty good one. Chad was a 2nd round pick in 2006 out of TCU and has been a successful minor league hitter throughout his pro career, posting an OPS over .800 in each season. While crushing lefties early in his career, Chad had his most successful year yet against RHP during his first season in AAA in 2009. He always controlled the strike zone and also hit for some power–a combination we like. We think he’ll be a good Major League hitter.

“This wasn’t an easy decision, as we feel good about our 40-man roster at this point. We talked about a number of different guys and worked through various scenarios–who had the best chance to clear waivers, what depth did we have, what depth did we anticipate needing during the year, etc.

“We hate to lose good players. Additionally, we hate to lose good people, and Chad is a tremendous clubhouse guy. Getting beyond the selfish aspect, we’re excited for Chad. We truly wish him the best with the Yankees and will be rooting for him to make it to New York and contribute to the big league team.”

Works for me…  J

 

CHuffman.JPG

 

P.S.  I am headed to Arizona for the week on business so I might not have any blog updates until after I return on Saturday, April 17th.  Let’s hope the Yankees get on a roll by that time! 

 

–Scott

 

 

Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad…

 

A “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of weekend…

 

 

On Saturday morning, when I saw the Mets starting pitcher (an unknown, at least to me, by the name of Fernando Nieve), I figured that the Yankees were going to have an offensive field day.  Unfortunately, I forgot that the Yankees just don’t play very well against pitchers they’ve never faced before.  Nieve, a former Astro, got his first win since June 25, 2006 by allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte looked pathetic. 

 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

Former Yankee minor leaguer Omir Santos hit a two-run homer in the second inning to set the tone for the day.

 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

The Mets pounded out 17 hits enroute to the 6-2 victory.  Every Mets starter had at least one hit, and Gary Sheffield homered against his former team for the second straight day.  It was not a fun game, and it was obvious that the Yanks had mentally checked out of this game.  When you watch the Boston Red Sox, they never give up and battle to the end.  So, it was disappointing to see the Yanks throw in the towel…

 

Give Up.JPG

 

On Sunday, after the Yanks disappointing performance the previous day and Johan Santana on the mound for the Mets, it didn’t look promising.  My only hope was for A.J. Burnett to try and keep it close so that perhaps Tex or A-Rod could come up with a key hit in the later stages of the game.  What I saw shocked me, to say the least.  When you analyze the line scores for the two starting pitchers, you’d assume that Burnett must have had a bad day…

Pitcher A

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

3.0

9

9

9

2

3

1

82-48

 

Pitcher B

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

7.0

4

0

0

4

8

0

111-66

 

Fortunately, Pitcher A was the Mets’ Johan Santana, who suffered the worst start of his career.

 

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

A.J. Burnett pitched a terrific game.  Of course, it helps when your team stakes you to a 13-0 lead after only four innings.  But the Burnett of the last few starts, excluding the debacle in Boston, is the pitcher the Yanks thought they were getting in the off-season when they signed him to the big contract.

 


AJ Burnett.JPG 

 

As the Mets did the previous day, the Yankees pounded out 17 hits, including three by catcher Francisco Cervelli.  Jose Molina who?…

 

Jobs.JPG

 

The Yankees got the scoring started in the second inning with run-scoring singles by Cervelli and Derek Jeter, as well as a two-run single by Johnny Damon.  I guess he is over his “fluttering eye” issue…

 

 

What, no homers?  Don’t worry; they were on the way…

 

 

In the 4th, the Yankees scored 9 runs and ran Santana out of the game.  The weekend birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, hit a two-run homer to start the scoring.  Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon knocked in runs with an infield single and a double, respectively.  Jeter scored when Alex Rodriguez hit into a double-play.  Robinson Cano followed with a two-run homer, scoring A-Rod.  Melky Cabrera capped the scoring with a two-run double, but he ended the inning attempting to stretch out the double to a triple.

 

 

Sipkin/New York Daily News

 

Four innings, a 13 run lead, and Johan Santana in the showers…the game was effectively ended at that point.  The Yanks did pick up a couple more RBI’s by Ramiro Pena and Robinson Cano in the 7th inning, but the Fat Lady had already sung…

 

Its Over.JPG

 

Phil Hughes looked like he was going to ruin the shutout in the 9th inning, when he allowed two base runners.  But he settled down, and got the final outs.  So, thanks largely to Friday’s gift from Luis Castillo, the Yankees won the Subway Series, two games to one.

The Red Sox lost to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park, 11-6, so the Yankees closed the gap back to two games. 

 

Jimmy Rollins´ solo home run gave the Phillies the lead in the seventh inning. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer, Philly.com 

 

The two teams have a much needed break on Monday, before they resume interleague play.  The Red Sox return home to Fenway Park to face owner John Henry’s former team, the Florida Marlins.  Meanwhile, the Yanks will see old friend Nick Johnson when the Washington Nationals travel to Yankee Stadium.  Of course, I wonder who the manager of the Nationals will be…Manny Acta or someone else…

 

Manny Acta

Brian Blanco/AP

 

It’s been a great day…almost perfect, in fact!  The only thing that could be better would be the crowning of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers as the 2009 NBA Champions!

 

Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson

Chris Carlson/AP

 

Go Lakers, but more importantly…

Go Yankees!

–Scott