When I was a kid, the
overweight, aging dude with the beer belly was the starting pitcher on the
local softball team. Suddenly, I am
faced with the reality that the same guy may be starting for the New York
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post
I know that Bartolo Colon
has pitched well this spring, but c’mon.
I’d rather see him resurrect his career in Kansas City, Seattle, or
Florida. Heck, maybe even the Mets could
use the arm. I know that Freddy Garcia
has been rather disappointing the last couple of starts, but I still think that
he’d be the most effective starter over the course of the season. If the Yankees are concerned about Garcia,
then pull the trigger and sign Kevin Millwood to a major league deal.
My preference for the
rotation is clearly CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and
Freddy Garcia, with the potential mid-season call-ups of Andrew Brackman or
Dellin Betances. I’d love to have Manny
Banuelos but he needs to spend a few more years in the minors before he’s ready
to hit the show.
I know the Yankees will be
players for a starting pitcher at the trading deadline but that’s too difficult
to predict at this point in time. It
will really depend upon who has given up on the season by July.
It’s really weird that
Gustavo Molina has emerged as the front-runner for the backup catching
position. I had fully expected the Yanks
to break camp with Jesus Montero regardless of his offensive struggles this
spring. Granted, Molina is a temporary
solution but it definitely shows the Yankees were right about signing Russell
Martin to be their catcher, rather than entrusting the starting role to
Montero. I found it humorous that one
website described Molina as “not an authentic Catching Molina Brother”. I do have to say that the question did cross
my mind! LOL!
For as frustrated as Luis
Castillo may be about being dumped by the Mets, how can he be unhappy with the
gift horse that has potentially put him on the NL World Series team? Also, speaking of the Mets, I am so glad the
Yankees chose not to pursue Oliver Perez.
I didn’t think the Yankees would be foolish enough to go down that road,
but early speculation through the media indicated Yankee interest. Fortunately, it was just a fictional
tale. Good luck to the Nationals as they
look to resurrect Perez’s career.
As much as I don’t want to
see the Phillies win the World Series (call it anti-Cliff Lee bias), I hate to
see Chase Utley start the season on the DL.
I do wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he is back at Citizens
Bank Park sooner rather than later.
William Shatner is really 80
years old? Wow. Captain Kirk turned 80 on March 22nd. A belated happy birthday! He was such a huge
part of my childhood but of course I was watching Star Trek through syndication
and not through the first run shows. Although,
I admit, I could have watched the first run shows. As a kid, I was always Kirk when we played
Star Trek in the neighborhood so I definitely have an appreciation and fondness
for William Shatner.
–Signed, a Yankees fan
wondering who our #5 starter will be…
A walk-off “Gift”…
With the Yankees trailing the Mets 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound, Brett Gardner started the inning with a pop-out. Derek Jeter came up next and hit a solid single up the middle. Johnny Damon worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a splitter from K-Rod. Mark Teixeira came to the plate and K-Rod was determined to give him nothing to hit. His first three pitches to Tex missed the strike zone, so manager Charlie Manuel decided not to take any chances and gave Tex a free pass. Alex Rodriguez was up next…A-Rod versus K-Rod.
The setting was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback. The YES Network’s Michael Kay indicated that any win by the Yankees would be a walk-off win (statement of the obvious?), and they have had six walk-off wins so far this year. The stars seemed to be aligned for A-Rod to be the hero. Like with Tex, K-Rod threw the first three pitches outside of the strike zone and A-Rod didn’t bite. The fourth pitch came in for a called strike. With a 3-1 hitter’s count, A-Rod got under the next pitch and lifted a pop fly to short right field. Second baseman Luis Castillo charged under the ball and it appeared to land in his glove. A-Rod slammed his bat into the ground, and started to gently run to first base. The feeling of defeat sunk in, and I was thinking that the Yankees had just lost their fourth consecutive game. But miraculously, the ball hit Castillo’s glove and bounced out.
Noah K. Murray/New York Daily News
Castillo slid to the ground so he wasn’t able to get up immediately to retrieve the ball. When he did get up, he threw the ball to the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Cora. Derek Jeter had already scored the tying run, but third base coach Rob Thomson had sent Teixeira home. Cora fired the ball to catcher Omir Santos, but it was too late…Tex had already scored the winning run…
UPI (Courtesy New York Post)
Whoa, talk about high drama! After the game, A-Rod was being interviewed and Kimberly Jones mentioned that Francisco Rodriguez hadn’t blown a save this season. A-Rod responded, “He still hasn’t”. True, but I’ll take it…
Richard Perry/The New York Times
The Yankees should have given the pie in the face to Castillo…
The Yankees had started the scoring with a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the second inning. I was a bit frustrated the next inning when Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. Carlos Beltran drew a walk to bring home a run. After David Wright struck out, Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to bring home Alex Cora. So, with no hits in the 3rd, the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead over the Yanks.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees regained the lead, 3-2, with a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira. Joba Chamberlain was pulled after four innings. Although he only gave up one hit and two runs, he walked 5 and had two hit by pitches. So, to start the 5th inning, Manager Joe Girardi brought in Brett Tomko. My first reaction, of course, was “Ugh!”. Unfortunately, as they say, always trust your first instinct. Carlos Beltran doubled and subsequently stole third. David Wright walked. Ryan Church doubled to score Beltran and Wright. The Mets had the lead, 4-3. Former Yankee Gary Sheffield came up and promptly hit a two-run homer, his 505th, to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Isn’t there a minor league team somewhere (anywhere but Scranton/Wilkes Barre!) that could use Tomko? He needs to go wherever it is that Julia wants Julio Lugo to go…or where Mets fans want Luis Castillo to go…
In the bottom of the 5th, Derek Jeter cut the deficit to 6-4 with a solo home run. In the 6th, with Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada at first and second, thanks to a single and walk, the birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, slammed a three-run homer to allow the Yanks to recapture the lead, 7-6. Happy 35th Birthday to Godzilla!
Marc Carig/The Star Ledger
The Mets tied the score, 7-7, in the 7th on a double play grounder by Fernando Tatis with men on the corners.
Phil Coke retired the first two Mets in the top of the 8th, but then, in a surprising move, Joe Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game to face Carlos Beltran. In recent years, Mo has pretty much become a one inning relief specialist. It started in the latter years of the Joe Torre era as a way to keep Mo healthy. I suppose Joe didn’t want to take any chances with the dangerous Beltran at the plate and preferred to see Mo get four outs as opposed to three. Unfortunately, the move backfired. Beltran drew a walk, and the next batter, David Wright doubled to center field, scoring Beltran. The Mets had taken an 8-7 lead. It was three up and three down against Mo in the 9th, and the stage was set for the dramatic comeback win…
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog had a great story after the game. Joba’s three-year old son, Karder, was in the clubhouse and he interrupted the reporters talking to Joba by asking, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes!”. Joba responded, “He knows me. Pretty scary, huh?” That’s funny stuff! Of course, it’s easier to laugh about it when your team escapes with a 9-8 win rather than an 8-7 loss.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
This game was yet another example for why Mark Teixeira ranks as one of the greatest free agent signings in Yankees history. It remains to be seen if he has the post-season success of, say, Reggie Jackson, but so far, he’s earned every bit of his huge contract.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The Yankees remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in extra innings, 5-2. I had warned Julia about late inning heroics by the Phillies’ Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Howard came through with a game-tying 9th inning home run, but the Phillies couldn’t muster any magic in extra innings against the Red Sox bullpen.
So, the Yankees remain one of baseball’s best teams, so long as they aren’t at Fenway Park or playing the Red Sox…
OTHER “OFF TOPIC” STUFF…
Everyone doubted the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chances and until Game 7, the team with home ice had won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals. So, with Game 7 in Detroit, it appeared that the odds were stacked in the Red Wings’ favor. The Pens took a 2-0 lead after two periods, but you knew that the third period would be a ‘free for all’. The Red Wings played at a kinetic pace. You could definitely tell that there was a sense of urgency in their game, and they did appear to be the superior team on the ice for that period. They were able to score a goal to close the gap. The game hung in the balance down to the final seconds. Even with 6 seconds or so, you knew that the Red Wings were capable of scoring the tying goal.
Fortunately, it was not meant to be and the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions! It was a great game, a great series, and a great win by a deserving team. Granted, it would have been better (at least for me) had the San Jose Sharks won the Stanley Cup, or perhaps even Julia‘s Boston Bruins, but short of that, the Penguins are a worthy champion!
Now, hopefully, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy awaits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night…
The Brett Favre “fiasco” continues. The Vikings apparently have sent a coach and their head trainer to Mississippi to track the health of QB Brett Favre. No word on which coach made the trip, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has prior history with Favre during their time in Green Bay together. I really think this issue needs closure soon. Otherwise, it risks becoming a huge distraction for the team. The 2009 Vikings have a great deal of potential. I like many of the young guys, and I am excited about what Percy Harvin will mean to the offense if properly utilized. Guys like center John Sullivan and safety Tyrell Johnson will step up and fill the voids caused by the departures of veterans Matt Birk and Darren Sharper. Regardless of what Favre decides to do, the Vikings will be in contention this year. I am not ready to anoint them Super Bowl contenders, but they have the potential for great things. At this point, I am ready to let Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels fight it out, and let Favre starting counting his days for entry into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. But, of course, if he does sign with the Vikes, so be it…
Have a great weekend!