It’s good to be home again…
The Yankees started the latest home stand on the right foot with an 8-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Phil Hughes was the winner in a game that was relatively tight until Robinson Cano broke it open in the bottom of the 7th inning with a grand slam.
For Hughes, it was great to see him return to top form after a few subpar performances. He allowed 5 hits, 2 runs, and just 1 walk in seven innings of work, striking out 8. Hopefully, the improved pitching will spill over to CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, both of whom have struggled in recent starts.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
The game also marked the return of center fielder Curtis Granderson, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored. The activation of Grandy had an effect on the roster as the Yankees designated outfielder Randy Winn for assignment. It is a sad end for Winn’s brief Yankee career, but he was ill-suited for the backup role on the team. I think he can still be a productive player, but he needs to play every day to be the player he was with the San Francisco Giants. He was not going to get that opportunity with the Yankees, so this move is for the best. It also allowed young, versatile Kevin Russo to remain on the roster. Russo has already been instrumental in several Yankee wins this season, and he is a much better fit for the roster than Winn. I do wish Randy the very best and thank him for his contributions to the team this season.
Nick Swisher hit his 9th home run in the game. I am pleasantly surprised with Swisher’s play this year. I had been fearful that 2009 was an aberration and that Nick would revert to the player he was with the Chicago White Sox. So far, he has proven me wrong. After two months of the season, Nick has a .301 batting average and 27 RBI’s to go with his 9 home runs. His numbers are definitely superior to former starter and current Chicago Cub Xavier Nady.
Keivom/NY Daily News
I saw the question posed if the Yankees should pursue a trade for Andy Pettitte’s pal, Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt. While it would seem that if the Astros do decide to trade Oswalt, the Texas Rangers would be the obvious choice. Personally, I do think the Yankees should consider pursuit of him. Clearly, Javier Vazquez has proven that he can’t handle the pressure of New York and the American League. But he can still excel in the National League. Houston’s low-pressure environment would be the right setting. If the Yankees were to package Vazquez, plus cash to pay a large part of his salary, and the right combination of prospects, it would seem that the team could be successful in acquiring Oswalt. It would slot very nicely into the rotation, and he’d be a great replacement for Andy Pettitte if/when Pettitte retires after the season.
Tonight was the perfect night in the AL East. A win by the Yankees, combined with losses by both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. The perfect combination!
Boston Globe Staff
Speaking of winners, congratulations to American Idol winner Lee DeWyze. Lee had become my choice in recent months, and it was great to see his victory on Wednesday over Crystal Bowersox. Mama Sox would have been a terrific champion too, and I am sure that both will be very successful as they embark on their professional careers.
Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!
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!
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…