Tagged: Marcus Thames

Get to Class Before the (Yankees) Bell Rings…

Photo Credit: New York Daily News (Corey Sipkin)

Aaron Boone is present and accounted for in Tampa…

As we bear down on the reporting date for pitchers and catchers (with many players already at camp) in a few days, it has continued to be very quiet for the Yankees and their primary division rival, the Boston Red Sox.

It really does not feel like there is any team willing to match or exceed the alleged offer made to free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez by the Red Sox. There has been some talk that the Arizona Diamondbacks could come up with a $100 million contract offer but they’d need to move salary to make it happen (sounds like the Yankees and their interest in free agent starting pitcher Yu Darvish except their ‘Jacoby Ellsbury-like’ albatross is the heavy contract of starting pitcher Zack Greinke who at least remains a vital part of the team’s plans). Martinez would prefer to play right field which probably makes Phoenix more desirable (to him) than Boston but I remain convinced that dollars will win in the end and that Martinez will be on display at Fenway Park as the team’s primary DH. There’s always the chance they could trade Jackie Bradley, Jr and move Andrew Benintendi to center but that would weaken the outfield defense.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Jennifer Stewart)

If the Red Sox fail to sign Martinez, names like Mike Moustakas and Logan Morrison have been mentioned. None are easy fits. Signing Moose Tacos would require an adjustment with plans for young starting third baseman Rafael Devers. Morrison probably makes more sense as he could share 1B and DH with Mitch Moreland. Nevertheless, I really feel the Red Sox will persevere and eventually sign Martinez. The Red Sox know that they need a big bopper to compete with the Yankees this year. I am not quick to say the Yankees are the superior favorites in the AL East. I feel the Red Sox are the champions until proven otherwise. I also expect the Red Sox starting rotation to be stronger this year, with bounce backs by David Price and Rick Porcello. It was great that Chris Sale couldn’t get a victory against the Yankees last year, but the odds of that happening again are similar to the odds of the Yankees successfully trading Ellsbury. Boston is not going away and the Yankees won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year like they did in 2017. Baseball Prospectus released its annual PECOTA projections last week and they have the Yankees winning the division by 9 games over the Red Sox with 96 wins. I think the division will be much closer than that, especially if the Sox are successful in snagging Martinez.  I have been a Yankees fan too long to underestimate the Sox.

PECOTA, for what it’s worth, projects Aaron Judge with a batting average of only .247 (really?), with 37 home runs and 94 RBI’s. Giancarlo Stanton is projected at .259, 41 home runs and 106 RBI’s. Gary Sanchez is not far behind with .269 BA, 34 homers and 97 RBI’s.

The one that really stands out to me is first baseman Greg Bird. The projection has him getting over 500 plate appearances, while batting .246 with 28 homers and 86 RBI’s. I am really hopeful that this is the year that Bird finally stays healthy. I love his swing and his bat in the stacked Yankees lineup. But until he proves that he can stay on the field for the duration of the season, I am going to be a bit skeptical.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News (Andrew Savulich)

My fear is that the Yankees have to lean on Tyler Austin at first base more heavily than expected. I guess all things considered that’s better than rolling out Chris Carter, but I’d prefer no question marks at first base as the Yankees attempt to break in rookies at second and third bases.

The Tampa Bay Rays might actually play in Tampa…

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays announced that they’d like to build a new stadium in Ybor City, a historic Latin community northeast of downtown Tampa. There are many hurdles before it can come to fruition, but I hope the Rays are successful. I don’t know much about Tampa politics but it makes more sense to have the Rays in Tampa than St Petersburg. Watching a baseball game at Tropicana Field always feels like watching a game in an oversized warehouse. I really hope that Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg is successful in getting his stadium initiative approved and funded. This seems like such a win-win situation for the Rays and the greater Tampa metropolitan area.

Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Times (Marc Topkin)

Ybor City is about five miles east of Steinbrenner Field and Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I don’t like the smell of that rumor…

Speaking of the Rays, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported this week that the Yankees had checked in on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi is only 27 (28 in late March) but the right-hander had a down year in 2017. He was 10-8 with 4.14 ERA in 28 starts. He only struck out 127 batters while walking 61, the worst K/BB ratio of his career. A fly-ball pitcher, he gave up 30 home runs, which obviously would not play well in Yankee Stadium. One Rays blog proposed sending Odorizzi and reliever Alex Colome to the Yankees for outfielder Clint Frazier and a low-level lottery ticket. I wouldn’t do it. I would consider sending Frazier to Tampa for a trade circled around Chris Archer, but not Odorizzi.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Mark Cunningham)

“Odo” would not be a significant upgrade over any of the starters in the current Yankees rotation so I dismiss the thought that the Yankees might be interested. I’ll gladly take a promising young arm like Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield over Odorizzi. The only reason you’d make a trade for Odorizzi would be on his potential as a breakout candidate but I’d prefer the in-house options…and keeping Red Thunder in pinstripes.

But wait, weren’t we part of the exciting young Yankees?…

Yesterday, Tyler Kepner of The New York Times wrote an article about which teams stand a chance in 2018. It was kind of sad looking for the photo that he posted with the caption, “The Yankees reached the American League Championship Series last season, but fell short against the Astros.” Of the recognizable faces, only one player and one coach remain from this pic taken just last October.

Photo Credit: The New York Times (Chang W Lee)

Joe Girardi can now be found on the MLB Network sporting a suit and defending his managerial choices during last season’s post-season. Rob Thomson is helping set up training camp in Clearwater, Florida for the Philadelphia Phillies as new manager Gabe Kapler’s bench coach and most likely the lead training camp organizer. No word about the future plans for former hitting coach Alan Cockrell, seen in the photo standing next to current hitting coach Marcus Thames. Yankees centerfielder Aaron Hicks looks at a trio of ex-Yankees. Todd Frazier will soon be headed to Port St Lucie, FL for the New York Mets; Starlin Castro, assuming he is not traded, will go to Jupiter, FL for the Miami Marlins; while Chase Headley returns to the Valley of the Sun in Peoria, AZ to play for his original team, the San Diego Padres. Hicks, as we know, will help ensure that Jacoby Ellsbury is the most expensive bench player in baseball. Thames, I am sure, is salivating at the opportunity to work with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, and others. Good times…

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Go Yankees!

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Leading the Yankees to Great Success!…

The 2018 New York Yankees Coaching Staff (allegedly)…

The Yankees have yet to officially announce Manager Aaron Boone’s coaching staff but the names are taking hold.

Here’s what we know:

Bench Coach:  Josh Bard

Pitching Coach:  Larry Rothschild

Third Base Coach:  Phil Nevin

First Base Coach:  Reggie Willits

Infield Coach:  Carlos Mendoza

Hitting Coach:  Marcus Thames

Assistant Hitting Coach:  P.J. Pilittere

Bullpen Coach:  Mike Harkey

Josh Bard 

Bard is a first-time bench coach and was a former teammate with Aaron Boone in Cleveland. Last year, he was the bullpen coach for the World Series-losing Los Angeles Dodgers. Bard, 39, played for five teams between 2002 and 2011. He accumulated 586 plate appearances, with 39 home runs, 220 RBIs, and .254 batting average. His most notable accomplishment came in 2006 as a member of the Boston Red Sox when he opened the season with ten passed balls in his first five games, including three passed balls in his first appearance, with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on the mound. Bard was born in Ithaca, New York, but he grew up in Elizabeth, Colorado (just outside of Denver). After retirement, he joined the Dodgers as a special assistant before his appointment as the bullpen coach in 2016 for manager Dave Roberts.

Larry Rothschild

Larry needs no introduction to Yankees fans as he has been the team’s pitching coach since the 2011 season when he replaced the fired Dave Eiland. Eiland, ironically, will be back in New York this year as the new pitching coach for the Mets. Rothschild, 63, was the original manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now Rays) when they entered the American League, and, a native Chicagoan, he was a long-time pitching coach for the Cubs.

Phil Nevin

Nevin is remembered as the first pick of the 1992 MLB Draft, the year that Derek Jeter slid to the Yankees at the sixth position. Remembered primarily as the third baseman for the San Diego Padres, Nevin, 47, played for seven teams over 12 MLB seasons. In 1,217 games, Nevin hit 208 home runs and 743 RBIs to go with a .270 batting average. After his playing career, Nevin held a few minor league managerial positions before becoming the third base coach for the San Francisco Giants for the 2017 season. Although he was fired after the season (along with long-time pitching coach Dave Righetti), Nevin was rumored to become the Giants bench coach had the Yankees hired current bench coach Hensley Meulens as their manager. Nevin attend high school (El Dorado High School in Placentia, California) with Aaron Boone’s brother Bret and is a long-time friend of the Boone family. Nevin presently makes his home in Poway, California, near San Diego.

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Darryl Webb)

Reggie Willits

Willits was an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels during the course of his MLB playing career from 2006 to 2011. Willits, 36, was named after Yankees great Reggie Jackson. The Oklahoman joined the Yankees organization in 2015 as a minor league outfield and base-running coordinator. This will be his first MLB coaching job. Willits did not hit any home runs during his MLB career (1,014 plate appearances) but he’ll certainly have the opportunity to see MANY guys round first base on their home run trots this year.

Photo Credit: The Oklahoman (Chris Landsberger)

Carlos Mendoza

Mendoza, 43, was primarily a minor league outfielder.  He made it to the Show with the New York Mets in 1997 and the Colorado Rockies in 2000 (total of 28 games). The Venezuelan native has coached or managed in the Yankees minor league system since 2009. As the new infield coach for the Yankees, he’ll be in uniform in the dugout during games.

Marcus Thames

Last year, Thames served as the assistant hitting coach under Alan Cockrell on Joe Girardi’s staff. This year, he becomes the hitting coach for the new manager.  Thames, 40, came up in the Yankees organization, and the outfielder played for four MLB teams, primarily the Detroit Tigers, from 2002 to 2011. The Yankees traded Thames to the Texas Rangers in the 2003 deal that brought Ruben Sierra to New York. Thames, originally from Mississippi, played in 640 games, batting .246 with 115 home runs and 301 RBIs. He became the Yankees Assistant Hitting Coach for the 2016 season when Cockrell was elevated to Hitting Coach to replace Jeff Pentland. Thames will never forget his first MLB at-bat when he jumped on the first pitch from Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 10, 2002 for a home run.

P.J. Pilittere

Pilittere, 36, was a former minor league catcher who has spent his entire career in the Yankees organization. He was selected in the 13th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, and advanced as high as Triple A when his playing career ended in 2011. 2017 will be Pilittere’s seventh year coaching in the Yankees organization. The Buffalo, New York native (and die-hard Bills fan) served as hitting coach for then-manager Al Pedrique last year with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Pilittere has strong relationships with current Yankees like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.

Asked about his promotion to Assistant Hitting Coach for the big league club, Pilittere told the Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), “The thing that doesn’t change is it’s still about players, and players still want to get better. The good ones and the best ones and the ones on our roster want to get better until the day that the uniform is taken away from them, and I think that is what creates a championship atmosphere and I think that’s what we want to promote around the clubhouse. I know that’s what we want to promote — is always looking to do better and always doing what it takes to help the team. The only thing that I think that slightly might change a little bit is that it still is developing guys at the big-league level and getting the most out of our players, but that only thing that does change is at the end of the day it’s about getting the win a 7 o’clock. It’s, ‘What can we do to win ball games. What can we do to have a championship season in 2018?’”

P.J. Pilittere, holding camera on left

Mike Harkey

Harkey, 51, is expected to return as the Yankees bullpen coach. Harkey, a native of California, is a former MLB pitcher who played for five teams from 1988 through 1997. Over eight years, Harkey pitched in 131 games, including 104 starts. He was 36-36 with 4.49 ERA and 216 strikeouts. He served as the Yankees bullpen coach from 2008 until 2013 when he was hired as the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After his dismissal by the D-Backs at the end of the 2015 season, he returned to the Yankees as their bullpen coach the following season.

Mike Harkey, right (as if the guy on the left is unrecognizable)

Aaron Boone has done a good job bringing diversity to his coaching staff. I would have preferred a veteran bench coach but there’s plenty of experience to be offered by guys like Larry Rothschild and Phil Nevin. Despite the lack of experience as a bench coach, Josh Bard seems to be a manager-in-training and will most likely be leading another team against the Yankees at some point in the not-so-distant future if he proves successful in his current role.

It’s sad to see the old faces depart. Former bench coach Rob Thomson will serve the same role for first-time manager Gabe Kapler with the Philadelphia Phillies. Third base coach Joe Espada replaced new Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora as the bench coach for the World Champion Houston Astros. Guys like Tony Pena and Alan Cockrell served the Yankees well, and I wish them the best with their coaching careers. Nevertheless, I am excited about the potential of the new coaching staff that Boone has assembled. They’ve been charged with bringing the Yankees, a team that came within a game of reaching the World Series, their 28th World Series championship (and more). No pressure. So, welcome to the Yankees Family, Newcomers and welcome back, Holdovers! We’re happy and excited to see you in Pinstripes in 2018!

It’s been funny following the suggestions for the home run call that Yankees radio play-by-play announcer John Sterling will use for Giancarlo Stanton. I don’t recall who made the suggestion, but I really like “Giancarlo dropped the Mike”. There have been some great suggestions, but it will be interesting to hear what Sterling actually uses when Stanton goes yard for the first-time as a Yankee. I am sure that he’ll come up with something that none of us have heard before.

Photo Credit: YES Network (E.H. Wallop)

We only have two more weekends beyond this one until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa. Players and coaches have already begun their migration to the Sunshine State. Soon, very soon…

Go Yankees!

Roll camera, on your mark, ACTION!…

The Dawn of the Baseball Winter Meetings…

This week is always the most eventful one of the entire off-season.  A flurry of activity followed by relative silence as we head into the holidays.

hal-steinbrenner-brian-cashman

Credit:  AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Before the meetings start later this evening, the Yankees have already lost one option with Houston’s free agent signing of former Yankee Carlos Beltran.  I had mixed feelings about his possible return to New York.  He was arguably the team’s best hitter last season but he is also 40 years old.  For a team that has aggressively gotten younger, adding “old” does not necessarily make sense.  There is no guarantee that Beltran will be as good as last year, and it’s a near impossibility that he’d be better.  Going with older veterans, I’d rather sign either Matt Holliday or Mike Napoli to a short-term deal that keeps the Yankees on the right path toward World Series contention in 2018 or 2019.

Back in the old days under George Steinbrenner, I am sure that both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista would be Yankees by now.  Of the two, I’d prefer Encarnacion but I don’t feel the Yankees should lock up huge long-term dollars for either player even if it would severely weaken the Toronto Blue Jays in the short run.  In a couple of years, they’ll just be over-paid, under-producing aging veterans.  We’ve seen enough of those in recent seasons.

12alexk-blog480

Credit:  Reuters/Ray Stubblebine

There are unofficial reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a deal in place with starter Rich Hill so that’s one less option on the pitching front.  A deal with Jason Hammel probably makes the most sense.  I like Hammel as a reliable, back of the rotation guy.  He would be a good complimentary piece to Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda as the team looks to fill other pitching spots with youth.  I would probably take a chance with either C.J. Wilson or Tyson Ross if given the opportunity.

It’s possible that GM Brian Cashman can uncover a quality arm via trade but it’s a virtual certainty the team won’t be involved in the Chris Sale sweepstakes.  Sale alone would not make the Yankees an immediate World Series contender and he would cost the best quality of the farm system to acquire.  So, the Yankees need to stay the course as they continue to add the pieces for future success.

I was disappointed to see minor league hitting coordinator James Rowson leave the organization.  I am happy to see him return to the major leagues as the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins, however, I thought he would have been a better hitting coach for the Yankees than current hitting coach Alan Cockrell or assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames.  When the Yankees had dismissed Jeff Pentland last year, I was hopeful that Rowson would get the job.  It was not meant to be.  I think he’ll be a good addition to Paul Molitor’s staff in Minneapolis and should help former Yankee and current Twins’ co-catcher John Ryan Murphy to hit again.

I remain hopeful the Yankees re-sign pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Lindgren* as they recover from Tommy John surgery.  Granted, neither pitcher will help in 2017 but I would really prefer to see them stay.

Let’s hope this week brings good news for Yankees fans…

—Scott

 

*Several hours after this post, the Atlanta Braves announced they’ve signed Lindgren to a one year deal that will allow them to retain rights to Lindgren if they add him to their 40-man roster.

The Perfect Formula, plus a Red Sox Loss!…


Yankees Win + Rays Loss = 1 Game Lead in AL
East!…


Yankees win.JPG

 

Finally, after 8 days, the Yankees were able to
shake the Rays for at least a day with a 9-2 win over the Oakland A’s in the
Bronx on Tuesday night.  The Rays started
strong against the pesky Toronto Blue Jays, but they saw a 3-1 lead erased when
the Jays scored 10 runs in the 6th inning to win going away,
13-5.  So, the Yankees are 82-50 while
the Rays are 81-51.  Meanwhile, the
Boston Red Sox fell to the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 so it was a very good night!



The New York Yankees beat the Oakland A's 9-3 at Yankee Stadium.

John Munson/The Star Ledger


 

I was toggling back and forth on MLB Radio between
the Yankees and Rays games and I think I missed about a dozen runs scoring
between both games.  I was very surprised
about the ineffectiveness of the Rays’ Jeff Niemann.  He has been roughed up in both games he’s
pitched since his return from the DL.  As
for the Yankees, it was painful with Phil Hughes on the mound, given his
inability to throw strikes.  Of 98
pitches, only 52 were strikes, resulting in 5 walks in 5 innings.  However, he was able to last long enough to
pick up his 16th win of the season. 



Phil Hughes

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 


The only surprise of tonight’s game was that Marcus
Thames didn’t homer.  He had homered in
his 5 previous consecutive games.  It
will be interesting to see what happens when Lance Berkman returns from the
DL.  I’d be surprised if the Yanks sat
Thames given his hot bat, but it would be sad to see a great player like
Berkman on the bench.  I am glad that I
don’t have to make Joe Girardi’s decisions.



Marcus Thames Yankees tight file

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 


It was great seeing Mark Teixeira back in the
lineup, especially after he hit his 30th home run of the
season. 



Teixeira, August 31

David Pokress/Newsday/MCT


The Yankees are close to returning to full strength
as Alex Rodriguez should be back on the field on Sunday.  Of course, with a 16-3 record, the Yankees
haven’t exactly missed A-Rod in the win column. 
Still, it will be nice to have Berkman, A-Rod, and Andy Pettitte back in
action as the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox head for the stretch run.



 


On a side note, I was disappointed the Los Angeles
Dodgers pulled back pitcher Ted Lilly after he was claimed on waivers by the
Yankees.  With the pitching struggles of
Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett, it would have been nice to have a security
blanket like Lilly around.  Plus, he know
New York and that’s hard experience to find.



 


Oh well, time to protect that one game lead…

 

–Scott

Time To Step It Up…

 

Whew, a series win!…



 


The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova.  Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits.  He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.



New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova shuts down the White Sox as the Bombers and Curtis Granderson (below) upend Chicago.

Huh/AP

 

The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4.  It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point.  It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.



New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is 0-9 combined in the months of June and August.

Arbogast/AP

 


In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win.  They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column. 

 

The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday.  He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins.  At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.  



0828thames.JPG

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT



Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and 
Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday. 



New York Yankees third baseman Eduardo Nunez gives thanks after hitting a two-run homer against the Chicago White Sox. Mark Teixeira (b.) is not sure whether he'll play Sunday with a bruised thumb.

Smierciak/AP

 


I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season.  Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
banned substance. 

 

It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte.  Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova.   I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of
trouble. 

 

Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s.  With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup.  As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key
ingredient.

 

Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night.  He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play. 
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal.  I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial.  Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category.  It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.



Hitting .321 with 45 homers and 120 RBI through Wednesday's action, Albert Pujols is once again in the middle of the NL MVP race.

Scott Rovak/US Presswire

 


I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays).  But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…

 



–Scott


 

What Happened Tuesday Night?…

 

Mo showed why he is great…



Perfection.JPG

 


A day after losing a game in walk-off fashion to
the Texas Rangers, Mariano Rivera bounced back to save the Yankees’ 7-6 comeback
victory over the Rangers.  So many
relievers have a tough time “forgetting yesterday”, but not Mo.  After allowing a lead-off triple to Elvis
Andrus, he retired the next three batters to strand Andrus at third with what
would have been the tying run. 

 

When Austin Kearns bounced into a double play with
the bases loaded to end the top half of the 8th inning with the
score 6-5 Texas, I thought the Yankees may have exhausted their chances for
victory.  However, or rather , fortunately,
Marcus Thames proved me wrong.  He
homered in the 8th, and drove in the eventual winning run in the 9th.  Not bad for a guy who gets mentioned as an
afterthought when you name off Yankee players.  



Yankees Rangers Baseball

AP


I am a bit disappointed with Kearns, who has failed to hit in key
situations since his arrival in the Bronx. 
But to his credit, he did make a great shoestring catch in the 9th
in helping Mo to the save. 

 

The other two recent acquisitions, Kerry Wood and
Lance Berkman, both played roles in Wednesday’s win.  Wood pitched the 7th and 8th
innings in scoreless relief to pick up his first win as a Yankee.  Berkman drove in a run in the 7th
on a ground rule double as the Yankees chipped away at what once had been a 6-1
Texas lead.  Berkman, it should be noted,
was the only Yankees starter who did not strike out on a night when 17 Yankees
did, tying the dubious franchise record. 
Nick Swisher, in particular, was an awful 0-for-5, with 4 SO’s.

 

Javier Vazquez, who had recently been diagnosed
with a “dead arm”, was very ineffective in the match-up against the almost
Yankee, Cliff Lee.  Javy was out after 4 1/3
innings after he gave up 6 runs.  I am
not quite sure what it will take to get Javy back to the level of pitching he
was at last month, but he needs to improve if the Yankees intend to hold off
the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.  



0812javy.JPG

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire



Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was solid in striking out 11 Yankees although the Yankees were able to score against him late as he gave up a total of 4 runs through 6 1/3 innings.  I remain hopeful that Lee will be the Yankees prime target in the free agent market after the season. 



The Rangers turn to Cliff Lee to get a mini sweep over the New York Yankees tonight on ESPN. 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images



The Yankees were fortunate to get a win out of a
two game series that looked like it would be a sweep for Texas.  The Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers, but the
Boston Red Sox steamrolled over the team that gave the Yankees and Rays so much
trouble, the Toronto Blue Jays.  For all
of the key injuries Boston has suffered this year, they are within striking
distance at just 5 games back.



Bill Hall (right), who had two home runs, celebrates his second blast with teammate Ryan Kalish in the fourth inning.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

 


The series in Texas was tough.  It started with news that hot-hitting Mark
Teixeira would remain in New York with his wife, who gave birth to their third
child, William Charles.  I hated to see
the removal of Teixeira’s bat from the lineup, and it was compounded when
Robinson Cano couldn’t start the first game of the series due to illness
(although he did later pinch hit and entered the game as a replacement at 2nd
late in the game despite his weakened condition).  Jorge Posada also missed the game, so those
were three huge voids in the lineup. 

 

The Yankees now head for Kansas City for a
four-game set against the Royals. 
Teixeira will rejoin the team, and should be in the lineup tonight.  On paper, tonight’s game looks like a
mismatch (CC Sabathia versus Bruce Chen), however, the Yankees have not been
playing great ball lately.  They missed a
great opportunity to bury both the Rays the Red Sox and couldn’t do it.  Hopefully, the team can catch fire soon and
put the pressure on the other teams instead of carrying the weight on their own
shoulders.


–Scott



 

 

 

 

 

A Day Filled with Fireworks!…

Welcome back, Marcus Thames!…

 

 

thames_mills_yanks.jpg

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Despite a brief time away (trip to the DL), Marcus Thames made the most of his return to the team with a pinch-hit run-scoring single to drive in the winning run in the Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  Nothing like July 4th and a day at Yankee Stadium to celebrate Thames return with a little pie…

 

 

Yanks beat Blue Jays, 7-6, on Marcus Thames RBI single

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees had taken the early lead in the game, but the continued struggles of Phil Hughes allowed the Jays to go ahead in the top of the 5th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the 6th with a two-run inside-the-park home run by speedy Brett Gardner. 

 

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the 7th, but like recent games, the bullpen was not up to the task.  However, this time, the game tying run was not scored against Damaso Marte or Joba Chamberlain, but against Mariano Rivera in the 9th.   With go-ahead run on third, Alex Gonzalez grounded into a force out to end the threat.  The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the frame, so it was off to extra innings.

 

Like the inning before, the Blue Jays had their chances in the 10th.  With David Robertson starting the inning in relief of Rivera, he allowed the first two hitters to reach base (a single and a walk).  The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play on a bunt attempt, which pushed the go-ahead run to third.  Robertson intentionally issued a free pass to Lyle Overbay, who had homered earlier in the game, before getting former Yankee Jose Molina to strike out. 

 

So, it was off to the bottom of the 10th.  As usual, Robinson Cano was involved in the action as he walked to lead things off.  He was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Francisco Cervelli.  Curtis Granderson struck out, but Brett Gardner reached base on a two-out walk.  Up to the plate came Marcus Thames, who had just been re-activated from the DL.  Thames worked the count full before slashing a hit to center to score Cano with the winning run.  Welcome back, Marcus, you’ve been missed! 

 

 

Uli Seit/The New York Times

 

 

It was an exciting day for the Yankees, particularly since the Boston Red Sox were losing to the Baltimore Orioles.  It would have been nicer for Hughes and Mo to post more memorable appearances on the day they were selected to the All-Star team, but of course, being an All-Star is not about one game.   

 

When American League manager Joe Girardi takes the field at the All-Star Game in Anaheim on July 13th , he’ll have plenty of familiar faces joining him (and Hughes and Rivera as previously mentioned) as MLB announced the following Yankees had made the All-Star team:

 

Derek Jeter

Robinson Cano

Alex Rodriguez

CC Sabathia

Phil Hughes

Mariano Rivera

 

 


Congrats.JPG

 

Jeter and Cano are starters, Jeter’s 11th All-Star appearance and Cano’s second.  Rodriguez was tabbed as a reserve by Girardi primarily since A-Rod is third in the AL with RBI’s at 62 (behind fellow All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera). 

 

The Yankees have a chance for a 7th All-Star with Nick Swisher in the running for the Final Vote.  Special voting is open until Thursday at 4 pm Eastern.  Swish faces steep competition from Kevin Youkilis (Boston), Delmon Young (Minnesota), Michael Young (Texas), and Paul Konerko (Chicago). 

 

Congratulations to all of the AL and NL All-Stars! 

 

Well, alas, it is once again time for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player (thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  Before, I embark on yet another painful journey, I do have to say that I am quite amazed at what the Red Sox have been able to do (within striking distance of the AL East lead) with a disabled list that looks like an All-Star team:

 

Disabled List

NO.

NAME

POS

BAT

THW

AGE

HT

WT

BIRTH PLACE

SALARY

19

Josh Beckett DL

SP

R

R

30

6-5

220

Spring, TX

$12,100,000

17

Manny Delcarmen DL

RP

R

R

28

6-2

205

Boston, MA

$905,000

2

Jacoby Ellsbury DL

LF

L

L

26

6-1

185

Madras, OR

$496,500

32

Jeremy Hermida DL

LF

L

R

26

6-3

200

Atlanta, GA

$3,345,000

25

Mike Lowell DL

DH

R

R

36

6-3

210

San Juan, Puerto Rico

$12,500,000

41

Victor Martinez DL

C

B

R

31

6-2

210

Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

$7,700,000

15

Dustin Pedroia DL

2B

R

R

26

5-9

180

Woodland, CA

$3,750,000

33

Jason Varitek DL

C

B

R

38

6-2

230

Rochester, MI

$3,000,000

 

 

I also read today that All-Star Clay Buchholz is most likely headed for the DL.  I may not be a fan of the Red Sox but I am not a fan of these injuries.  Hopefully, these guys will return to health in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m sure the Red Sox will keep knocking on the door. 

 

For the latest installment, I will go with one of the so-called replacement players who has done a good job helping to fill in for the loss of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (and Mike Cameron when he was out)….

 

 

#54        Darnell McDonald

 

 

Courtesy of The Boston Herald

 

 

I can remember when Darnell and his older brother, Donzell, were highly touted youths with the Orioles and Yankees, respectively.  Neither materialized with their respective teams, and I had long forgotten the McDonald brothers when Darnell’s contract was purchased from AAA Pawtucket in April when Ellsbury went to the DL.  He had been signed as a minor league free agent in January.  Julia was very quick to inform me when McDonald homered in his first at bat with the Red Sox.  He has done a capable job since he joined the Red Sox (5 home runs, 20 RBI’s, and .260 batting average).   

 

Darnell played high school baseball with Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado.  He was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997.  He would stay in the minors for the duration of his Orioles career, enjoying only a brief call up in 2003.  His stops between Baltimore and Boston included the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds.  He hit his first major league home run on August 30, 2009 against Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

 

At 31 years of age, Darnell is enjoying the greatest stretch of his professional career.  He showed that he was a wise off-season acquisition by GM Theo Epstein who is notorious for the low cost, high upside approach to free agency.  He has believed in the dream since his days as one of the best high school players in the nation, and it is finally happening for him in Boston. 

 

So, whatever happened to brother and former Yankee Donzell?   He currently plays for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. 

 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 

–Scott