Tagged: Lance Berkman

Does A.J. Still Play For Toronto?…


And then they were tied…



Tied.JPG

 


I realize that there is nothing that can be done
about it, but I am tired of A.J. Burnett. 
I’ve always admired the arm, but the head leaves so much to be desired.  It seems as though he has to be coddled by
pitching coach Dave Eiland, and of course, A.J. fell off the map when Eiland
took a temporary leave of absence earlier this season.  Tonight, he imploded during a 7-run 5th
inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Against
his old teammates, A.J. let Toronto runs get to his head and he absolutely
crumbled on the mound.  I am disappointed
that Joe Girardi stayed with him as long as he did because it was clear that
Burnett had lost control of the game.  It
bothers me that the Yankees are relying on two pitchers (Burnett and Javier
Vazquez) that have to be mentally “right” to pitch effectively.  With Phil Hughes subject to an innings limit
and Andy Pettitte currently on the DL,  the only sure thing in the Yankees rotation is
CC Sabathia. 



Sabo/NY Daily News

 


The awful Burnett performance was too much for the
Yankees to overcome as they fell to the Blue Jays, 8-6, despite an attempt to
rally and Nick Swisher’s two home runs. 
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, to move
into a first place tie with the Yankees. 



Joe Girardi taking the ball from A.J. Burnett (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

I was glad to see Lance Berkman pick up his first
RBI on a run-scoring single.  He has
admitted that it will take some time to adjust to the Bronx, and it is clear
that his heart is still in Houston. 
However, I think he’ll be okay after he learns his way around.  Based on the things I’ve heard and read about
Berkman, you can’t meet too many nicer guys in the baseball so I am sure that
the city and the team will be very accommodating for him.  Yeah, even New York City can be nice at
times.



New Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Lance Berkman is excited to be back in an intense pennant race, something he missed over the last three seasons in Houston with the Astros.

Ted Mace/NY Daily News

 


Alex Rodriguez? 
0-for-5.  Can we send him down to
Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre?  Okay, I
am just kidding, but geesh, this is getting very old.  Hey A-Rod, please feel free to mix in a homer
with all those K’s…

 


AROD.JPG

Getty Images

 

August 2nd is always a tough date on the
calendar.  It is the anniversary of
Thurman Munson’s untimely death in a 1979 plane crash.  Thurman was my favorite player at the time,
and I had been concerned about losing him to free agency to the Cleveland Indians
at the time.  In retrospect, I would have
preferred to see Thurman in a Tribe uniform rather than the fate that awaited
him.  I knew how much Thurman’s family
meant to him, and of course, that’s why he took airplane lessons to begin
with.  Baseball has never been quite the
same to me since Thurman passed. 


So, Thurman, it’s been 31 years and you’re still
missed…



MUNSON.JPG

Courtesy of The Star Ledger



–Scott


Back to the Bronx to Re-Group…

 

Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…



New Addition.JPG

 


Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win.  Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston).  In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).



Robinson Cano gives the Yankees the win with a solo home run in the ninth inning, while new acquisition Lance Berkman (below) goes 0-for-4 in his Yankees debut.

Carlson/AP

 

But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0.  The
loser was CC Sabathia.



New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland (58) and catcher Jorge Posada (20) talk with starter CC Sabathia as the Bombers fall to the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0.

Steve Nesius/AP

 


Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out. 
So, he remains at 599 home runs. 



0801arod.JPG

Jeff Griffith/US Presswire

 

Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH). 
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.  

0801berkman.JPG



Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck out three batters in an inning of work.  However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP

 

As for the acquisitions, I do like the trade for Lance Berkman.  Reading the accounts of the trade, it was obvious that he had a difficult time leaving the only team he has ever known, but I think he’ll like New York as an alternative.  Batting behind Derek Jeter, and in front of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano has to be an ideal spot for any batter.  The experience should re-charge Berkman and give us a great final chapter to a great career.  As for Austin Kearns, I am not sure what I think.  He was impressive when he first came up with the Cincinnati Reds, but he’s been a disappointment in Washington and Cleveland.  He carried the Indians early this season but he couldn’t sustain it.  I realize that he won’t be a starter for the Yanks, and perhaps he’ll be ideally suited for his role with the team.  But I couldn’t help but think how much I would have preferred Melky Cabrera.  As for Wood, this one has to be all about manager Joe Girardi and his knowledge of his former Cubs teammate.  There is no doubt that Kerry has the talent, but his health has been an issue.  I really want Kerry to succeed.  I first heard about Kerry when I was living in Texas and I worked with a woman who’s son played high school baseball with Kerry at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.  They used to rave all the time about how great Kerry was.  Joe Girardi caught Wood for three years in Chicago, so if anyone knows him, it’s Joe. 




Kerry Wood relieved CC Sabathia, and struck
out three batters in an inning of work. 
However, he did leave the game with the bases loaded in the 8th
after two walks and a single. 



kerry-wood-yankees-080110.jpg

AP



The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays.  Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game. 


I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York.  I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman.  I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August.  It would be nice if it
involved Lowell…

 



I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline.  Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
situation. 

 

I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly.  The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was. 
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).

 

As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0.  Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers.  Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs.  He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter.  An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.



 


Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
victory…

 

–Scott

Too Close For Comfort…


Such a great start…



 


Such a disappointing middle and end…



Ouch.JPG

 


Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in
St. Petersburg, FL, started so strong, but then the team’s offense
flatlined.  After a Derek Jeter single
and a Nick Swisher home run to start the game, the Yankees could only manage
two more hits (singles by Robinson Cano) the rest of the way against winner
Wade Davis and the Rays bullpen. 

 

Similarly, Phil Hughes started strong and it looked
like he was cruising with a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the 6th
inning when a three-run home run by Matt Joyce put the Rays up, 3-2 (which
proved to be the final score).



A-Rod still looking for 600 as Yanks lose to Rays, 3-2

Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger

 


Alex Rodriguez was a huge disappointment…again…as
he went 0-for-4 in his extended quest for 600 home runs.  The only way that A-Rod could have gotten a
hit would have been for Mark Teixeira to smack him.  I’ll be glad when he finally does hit #600
because this is getting painful watching the pathetic at-bats. 



A-Rod still looking for 600 as Yanks lose to Rays, 3-2

Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger

 

The Rays found themselves just a game out of first
place, with Matt Garza on the mound Saturday against Javier Vazquez.  Garza threw a no-hitter against the Detroit
Tigers in his last outing, so he’ll be looking to extend the scoreless, hitless
streak against the Yankees.  Hopefully,
Javy will be up for the challenge. 

 

With less than 24 hours to the trading deadline,
the Yankees finally pulled off a couple of deals, neither of which address the
more pressing needs (bullpen help and a backup third baseman to spell A-Rod).  Granted, GM Brian Cashman is not finished,
but so far, he has added a DH and a part-time left fielder to the mix.  I had wondered who would be the first player
of the post-Boss Steinbrenner era.  The
award goes to first baseman Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros.  He agreed to the deal that would send him to
New York for a couple of minor leaguers, but as a 10-and-5 player, the Yankees
must wait 24 hours before the deal can be finalized.


The thing that ate Lance Berkman, really.

 


The Yankees later acquired outfielder Austin Kearns
from the Cleveland Indians, so, technically, he’ll arrive on the Yankees roster
sooner than Berkman. 



Cleveland Indians beat Nationals, 7-2

 

Berkman effectively replaces injured Nick Johnson
as the full-time designated hitter.  Nick,
who is still on the DL due to a wrist injury, is nearing his return, but he
obviously cannot be relied upon given his injury history (something the Yankees
should have recognized when they signed him last fall).  Berkman is a good friend of Andy Pettitte’s
from their days in Houston so I am sure that played in Berkman’s decision to
join the Yanks after nixing previous deals like the one that would have sent
him to Anaheim as a replacement for Kendry Morales. 

 

The 34-year-old Berkman has begun the downward
descent of his career, and is batting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI’s.   It is
the Yankees’ hope that the excitement of a pennant chase will energize
Berkman.  The Yankees sent minor leaguers
Mark Melancon, a reliever, and Jimmy Paredes, an infielder, to Houston in the
deal.  Melancon, 25,  was once being groomed as an eventual
successor for Mariano Rivera, but he’s failed to achieve his potential. 

 

The other new Yankee is former Reds, Nationals and
Indians outfielder Austin Kearns.  Kearns
was in the Tribe’s lineup tonight and had a couple of hits until he was lifted
in the 7th for a pinch runner. 
Kearns will move from a starting role to a part-time one with the Yanks,
and he’ll most likely start in left when Brett Gardner slides to center in
relief of Curtis Granderson against certain lefthanders.  Kearns is batting .272 with 8 HR’s and 42 RBI’s. 

 

Both players will probably be long gone by Spring
Training 2011, but for now, they have a chance to play a major role in the
Yankees’ drive for the play-offs. 

 

The Yankees do not plan to be quiet before the end
of the trading deadline as they are rumored to be one of several teams involved
in discussions with the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ted Lilly, a former Yank, and
according to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney, they are working on a deal for a
back-up third baseman.

 

Regardless of what happens, the Rays are guaranteed
of seeing faces tomorrow that weren’t present at Tropicana Field tonight.  I just hope that tomorrow doesn’t find Adam
Dunn in the opposing dugout.

 

At least the Boston Red Sox lost tonight…



 

–Scott

Nice To See Ya Again!…

 

A reunion victory for Andy…

 

 

AP/Eric Gay

 

 

In probably what will be Andy Pettitte’s only appearance against his former team, the Houston Astros, he emerged the victor tonight as interleague play got underway in the Bronx. 

 

It was a tight game throughout thanks to a pitching duel between Andy and Astros starter (and former Philadelphia Phillie) Brett Myers.  The Yanks scored first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.  A bases loaded walk by Nick Swisher and a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli gave Andy and the Yankees an early cushion.

 

The Astros quickly answered with two runs of their own in the top of the 2nd inning.  With two outs, Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella doubled to deep left to score two runs.

 

In the bottom of the 5th inning, with the score still 3-2, Mark Teixeira hit a single to score Kevin Russo. 

 

After settling down in the 2nd inning, Andy was breezing through the Astros lineup, allowing only one baserunner, until he got into trouble in the 8th.    A hit and an error put two men on base.  After a sacrifice moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Andy’s night was done.  Enter Joba Chamberlain.  Unfortunately, a sac fly by the next batter, second baseman Jeff Keppinger, scored Manzella, before Joba was able to end the inning by striking out first baseman Lance Berkman. 

 

Enter the Sandman in the 9th, and it was game over.   Mariano Rivera struck out the final two batters to pick up his 15th save, which gave Andy Pettitte the win and his 8th victory (8-1) of the season to match Phil Hughes for the team high. 

 

The rumor mill has spun that Berkman is a potential trade target for the Yankees.  He’d make a great DH at this stage of his career, and would be an excellent replacement for former DH Hideki Matsui.  I know that Nick Johnson will be back later this year, but given his injury history, there’s no way that he can be counted on.  At some point, Jorge Posada will be ready to start catching again so the DH will spot will return to a rotation.  It would be tremendous, so long as the price tag is not too high and does not involve any blue-chippers, to have Berkman’s bat in the lineup every day. 

 

I am sure that the win, Andy’s 200th as a Yankee, was bittersweet for him.  I know that he missed the Yankees during his days in Houston, but on the same token, I am sure that he’ll always hold a soft spot for his hometown Astros.  The game would have been harder on Andy if it would have been played in Houston.  By the way, congratulations to Andy for the 200th Yankees win!  How ironic that it would come against the only other team for which he has played.

 

The Yankees have a chance to close within a game of the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays.  The “team that never loses” is trailing by 8 runs late in a game against the Florida Marlins.  For any other team, I’d consider a deficit of 8 runs to be a loss.  But with the Rays, if you told me that they just scored 9 runs in the 9th, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

 

Wow, what a week for college football!  I had not been following the USC story very closely, so I was stunned when the two year probation was announced.  I also heard that their juniors and seniors can transfer to other schools without the standard one-year waiting period (unless it involves another Pac-10 school).  Aside from the fact that this will remove USC from significance for the short term, I couldn’t help but think what goes around comes around for new head coach Lane Kiffin.  I am sure that Raiders owner Al Davis and the great fans of the University of Tennessee are shedding no tears for Lane’s predicament.  Yeah Lane, good luck with that… 

 

Speaking of the Pac-10, I was equally shocked when the University of Colorado announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10.  All week the talk had been about whether the University of Nebraska would leave to join the Big 10, a move which happened today, however, the Buffaloes drew first blood.  There is no speculation that the University of Texas, and the other Texas schools, like Texas A&M and Texas Tech, may be joining the Pac-10 to become a ‘super-conference’.  All the rivalries we have grown to love over the years, like Texas-OU and Nebraska-OU, will soon become memories.   The expectation is that the Big 12 will collapse so it will be interesting to see what happens with the other schools.  Plus, of course, there is always the speculation about what Notre Dame may do.  Interesting times in the NCAA…

 

–Scott

Can We Talk About Baseball Yet?…

GLOVES, BATS, BALLS AND STEROIDS…

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly in that order.  I was very hurt and disappointed when I first heard about Alex Rodriguez on Saturday and I decided in my mind what he needed to do.  But I’ll admit what I expected him to do and what I thought he would do were two entirely different scenarios.  I did think that he’d come off smugly, trying to play the cameras.  I realize that many are taking issues with the words Alex said during his confession, but from my perspective, he was talking from the heart.  I really could not have asked for more.  Unlike others, I do not feel that Alex’s achievements should be stricken from the record.  There are many others who have cheated and weren’t caught, and the names of the other 103 players from the list of those who tested positive in 2003 are still unknown.  There were no penalties for what Alex did in 2001-2003, and assuming that he is telling the truth about no subsequent drug use, he has continued to put up numbers to justify the size of his contract. 

I am still very distrustful of Joe Canseco.  It does bother me that the entire A-Rod situation has given Canseco more credibility.  “I think I have the ear of the nation now,” Canseco said Tuesday.  “I think everyone realizes that I have not in any way, shape or form tried to create smoke and mirrors like Major League Baseball has and the players have.  I have been excrutiatingly honest about what’s going on in baseball”.  Why do I keep getting the visual of Tom Cruise?

Help Me Help You

I am in full agreement with Lance Berkman’s take on the steroid issue.  “Nobody’s going to be believed anymore.  I can sit here and crow and say I’ve never done steroids or never done anything illegal from a standpoint of performance enhancing drugs, but who’s going to believe me?  The point’s well made, because we’re all guilty by association.  One side of me is glad that these guys are getting outed”.  Lance, please be sure to tell Miggy hello for me…

 photo

Karen Warren Houston Chronicle

Derek Jeter is justifiably ready to talk about baseball and only baseball.  As he indicated in Tampa, “I’m not addressing Alex’s situation until everybody’s here.  I’ll do it the first day over there” (Steinbrenner Field for the first full squad workout on February 18th).  Jeter also stated “If you’ve got baseball questions, I’ll do that…I don’t want to talk to you guys today and tomorrow three more people.  It’s better to get everyone together”.  DJ, I bet you’re looking forward to giving A-Rod a big hug when you see him, huh?

Lastly, I also agree with Joe Girardi’s take.  I think I saw one blog that predicted an 18 HR, 45 BRI season from A-Rod due to the controversy/distraction.  But as Joe so aptly put it “I would probably be worried if he had never been through a controversy before…”.  Alex will have a rough couple of weeks when he reports to camp, and while he is playing in the WBC, but I think the controversy will die down as the season gets underway and Alex will put up his usual numbers.  Joe also lent his support to A-Rod by saying, “I felt he told the truth and we have to move on.  It’s going to take some time.  It’s going to take some time healing.  But we’ll get through this as a team.”  As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger”…

Joe Girardi, who has pledged his support to Alex Rodriguez, said of the team,

David Goldman The New York Times

STANLEY CUP PREVIEW?

A great win by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.  The Boston Bruins were 26-0-2 this season when leading after two periods.  With Boston ahead 2-1 after two periods last night, the Sharks scored four unanswered goals in the final period (including three in the span of 6:16 minutes by Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek and Joe Thornton).  Thornton, facing the Bruins for just the second time since the November 2005 trade that brought him to San Jose, said “We just turned it on, and usually when we turn it on, teams can’t handle us”.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

By the way, a very nice drop pass from Dan Boyle to Michalek who beat Boston goalie Tim Thomas high on the glove side.

The Western Conference leading Sharks, with 81 points, trail the Eastern Conference leading Bruins by four points.  Hopefully, these two teams will have the opportunity to meet again for the Stanley Cup championship…