After more than a year of speculation and news about the Albert Pujols contract negotiations, he shocks the world and accepts Arte Moreno’s $250 million to go to Anaheim. I guess you can blame the Yankees for this one. Don’t they always get the blame? If the Yanks hadn’t gone on a spending binge several years to secure the services of then-Angels first baseman Mark Texeira, the Los Angeles Angels would not have been in the market for a top shelf first baseman. Albert, of course, is more than top shelf, he is THE top shelf. Still, I was surprised by the move. The Angels have Mark Trumbo returning, a player they control, and a healthy Kendrys Morales. I am sure that there are other areas of the team that could have used upgrades.
The Angels did follow up immediately with the signing of top free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. I had a feeling that Wilson would be headed to the West Coast despite the Miami Marlins pursuit of the former Texas Ranger. He leaves the top of the rotation for perhaps the #3 or #4 slot with the Angels. The Philadelphia Phillies have been recognized for the best rotation, but the Angels cannot be too far behind with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and now Wilson leading the rotation. I don’t know who the #5 starter is for the Angels off the top of my head, but does it really matter? You could probably go grab Mark Langston out of retirement and throw him in the rotation…it wouldn’t matter.
This has to be a reactionary move by owner Arte Moreno. The Los Angeles Dodgers are primed to re-capture the LA market once a reputable, financially-sound owner or ownership group takes control of the team. After being considered the class of the AL West for years, the Angels have become an understudy for the Texas Rangers. Today’s moves clearly re-establish the Angels as the class of the AL West, and perhaps of the American League.
I do feel bad for the St Louis Cardinals and their fans. As an iconic player, the fans deserved to see Albert play his entire career in St Louis. Stan “The Man” Musial is beloved to this day, and Albert is the first Cardinals player that could have rivaled Musial after his playing days are over. Now, Albert will never be automatically thought of as a Cardinal. He’ll carve out a legacy as an Angel, and will give us reasons to remember him in Anaheim. A very disappointing day for the Cardinals. No offense to Lance Berkman, but that’s a big drop-off from Albert.
The Miami Marlins had looked like the crown prince of the Winter Meetings with their acquisitions of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, but they were torched on the last day by the Angels. It’s been a good off-season for the Angels, who earlier picked up a new backstop in Chris Iannetta.
Meanwhile, I can hear crickets at Yankee Stadium…
A little bit of nothing…
The Yankees did win the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, but based on the reports I’ve read, the Yankees will have difficulty signing him. The leading speculation is that he’ll return to Japan for another season and then sign with the Boston Red Sox next winter. That would really stink if the Yankees lost a prospect to their bitter rival. But from Nakajima’s perspective, Boston could offer him a starting role at shortstop (something the Yankees could not do) and their manager has tremendous experience with Japanese players. The posting I want the Yankees to win is for pitcher Yu Darvish, but reports indicate the Yankees interest is lukewarm. Of course, that could always be a ploy to help keep posting bids down, but the lukewarm comments certainly proved to be accurate for the Yankees interest in C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.
I remain hopeful that the Yankees have started the groundwork for a successful acquisition of a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez, John Danks, or Kyle Drabek. Brian Cashman may feel that he doesn’t need to do anything with a 97-win team, but I heard a GM on MLB Radio say that if you’re standing pat, you are getting worse. I agree that you need to consistently seek upgrades and for the most part, the Yankees stood pat last season. Catcher Russell Martin was huge, but at the time of the signing, it was very low key. Same with the signings of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. It’s been a very long time since Yankees fans have had a reason to feel great excitement and joy for a player acquisition like the Angels experienced today. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are getting older and certainly not better…
I know, we’re Yankees fans, we want it all…
Go New York!…
Now that the NBA is back, I am at the crossroads. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan in recent years, primarily because of my appreciation for Kobe Bryant as a player. But as funny as this sounds as a Yankees fan, I am tired of backing a team that is always expected to win and often does. I want a team that has suffered so that when the team does win, there is greater satisfaction. As a result, I am switching my allegiance to a team that has my favorite player, Amare Stoudemire as well as my second favorite player, Carmelo Anthony…the New York Knicks.
First year in Minnesota, worst year in the history of the franchise…
Despite my relocation to Minnesota, I remain committed in my support of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. And despite their 2-10 record, I am still a Vikings fan. On the bright side as a Vikings fan, I won’t have to wait long to find out who the Vikings select in the NFL Draft in April 2012. At this point in the season, you’re pulling for losses, hoping the team can overtake the Indianapolis Colts for the worst record. But of course, that’s a moot issue if the Colts can’t win a game. This is probably one of the first years ever that I’ve accepted and embraced that the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl. It’s easier to say that when your team was left for dead long ago.
I need one of my teams to step forward and win a championship. It’s been a drought since 2009, and I need something to cheer about!
The 2011 AL East Division Champions…
Most importantly, congratulations to the New York Yankees for their AL East Division Championship. They should have been AL East Champions last season but stumbled in the final days of the season to allow them to be eclipsed by the Tampa Bay Rays. So, fortunately, the Yankees have returned to their rightful throne! Well, at least for September. Come October, nothing less than a World Series Championship is acceptable!
So, I was only half right…
Admittedly, I am surprised the way this season has played out. At the beginning of the season, I had picked the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies as the World Series participants. The Phillies still look like the odds-on favorite at this point given their stellar starting pitching, but the Red Sox have faded oh so quickly. I remember listening to Sox fans who were predicting at least 114 wins or more for their revamped Red Sox, and while I openly scoffed at the notion, there was a part of me that was concerned that the Red Sox did have the necessary personnel to pull off a magical season. The chances for the magical season faded quickly when pitcher Clay Buchholz was lost for the season, but the Red Sox had charged back after a sluggish start and were in the thick of things at the end of August. Up to that point, the Red Sox had played the Yankees very aggressively with a significant advantage in the season series. They showed they had the offense to destroy virtually any pitcher on any given night, and there is no doubt that Adrian Gonzalez is perfectly suited for Fenway Park. But sadly for the Sox, the calendar turned to September and the deteriorated pitching staff started to show the stress and strain of the long season. Still, I didn’t expect the free fall that has currently left the Sox tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card slot, while the Yankees have wrapped up the division championship and best record in the AL. I never dreamed that the Yankees would be in position to walk to the finish line.
Pitching, pitching, pitching…
My lack of faith in the Yankees at the beginning of the season was due primarily to the pitching staff. I was concerned about A.J. Burnett and his ability to bounce back from a disastrous season (and rightfully so). I did not think the Yankees could replace Andy Pettitte with two scrapheap pitchers in Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. Plus, the Yankees were placing much emphasis on Phil Hughes who, despite his 18-win season, had not proven that he was a reliable and dependable starter. Rounding out the rotation was a rookie pitcher (Ivan Nova), who had not even been mentioned in the same breath with Yankees prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. With CC Sabathia followed by a cast of characters, I did not see how the Yankees could compete with the Red Sox and felt that the Wild Card was the team’s best hope. Now, I am very delighted that I was wrong. While Burnett and Hughes have been disappointments, Ivan Nova has been huge and is now the second best pitcher in the rotation. Garcia and Colon have been terrific even if Colon seems to be wearing down at this point in the season. Garcia is definitely a play-off caliber starting pitcher. If the Yanks go with a four man rotation, then the 4th man should be Burnett. But he’ll have a very short leash with Colon and Hughes potentially in the bullpen.
Don’t play Poker with Brian Cashman…
If I had been the GM, I am sure that I would have made some impulsive and regrettable move at the trading deadline. GM Brian Cashman, on the other hand, stood pat and played with the hand he was dealt. In retrospect, he looks like a hero (which includes his anti-Rafael Soriano stance in the spring). I hope the Yankees do whatever it takes to ensure Cash’s return to the Bronx. I am sure that there would be significantly less stress in Chicago with the Cubs or some other major league team, but nobody understands New York better than Cash. I definitely think the Steinbrenners need Cashman more than he needs them. Hopefully, they’ll recognize it and make sure that Cashman is re-signed.
Passing of the Guard…
If the Yankees have learned anything in September (aside from the importance of quality starting pitching in watching the Sox freefall), it’s that Jesus Montero is ready for The Show. This does not bode well for Jorge Posada who is most likely playing his final year in Yankee pinstripes. If he continues his career season, it will be tough to see him play in different team colors. My only request would be for him not to go to Boston or Tampa. It’s always tough to see players cross those lines, and if it were me, I’d retain the respect for the Yankees and walk away from the AL East.
He surprised me yet again…
Count me as one of the skeptics in Ozzie Guillen’s decision to orchestrate his departure from the Chicago White Sox so that he could join the Florida Marlins. While I realize that Guillen will sell tickets in Miami, I don’t see it as a good fit with ownership. I am still not quite sure how someone could have issues with Joe Girardi, but fortunately, Miami did and he’s the highly successful manager of the Yankees. But Joe is far less out-spoken than Guillen, so if Joe’s comments got him into trouble, what’s going to happen with Guillen who always openly and freely speaks whatever is on his mind. I had always heard that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf loved Ozzie like a son, so there’s no way the relationship in Miami will be anything comparable. His on the field performance had better outweigh the baggage that comes with Ozzie as your manager. He may regret taking the money and running…
Two game sabbatical from ‘Red Sox Suck!’…
With the Red Sox and Rays tied for the Wild Card tonight, I’ll have to go with the Red Sox as my preferred team to advance. I don’t think the Sox will be the easier opponent in the play-offs but that doesn’t concern me. I’ve always believed that you have to ‘beat the best to be the best’. This comes down to respect and I simply respect the Red Sox more…
Doc or Josh…
Joel Auerbach/US Presswire
To repeat as World Champions, the Yankees clearly have to upgrade the middle of their pitching staff. No offense to Andy Pettitte, but going into the play-offs with a three man rotation is not the recipe for continued success…especially if Bud Selig is successful in shortening the off-days during play-off series. At this point in his career, Andy is better served by bringing up the rear of the rotation. So, if the Yankees decide to pursue a frontline starter to go with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, should they go after Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays or Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins?
Pitcher to pitcher, it’s easy to say that the choice should be Roy Halladay. He is arguably the best pitcher in the American League, and he knows how to win in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto. He is not intimidated by the Los Angeles Angels, and at 32, he is primed for a few more years of dominance.
But if it were my decision, I’d have to go with Josh Johnson. I know that he doesn’t have Doc’s resume, and there is the age old argument that National League pitchers struggle in the American League. However, it goes beyond just Johnson’s age (he will be 26 next season). After undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-2008, he is 22-6 since his return and according to FanGraphs, he ranked third in average fastball velocity this past season with 95.1 mph (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Verlander). He enjoyed a very fine 2009 season, going 15-5, with 3.23 ERA. He struck out 191 batters in 2009 innings. He will continue to get better, and will soon be an elite ace if he’s not already there.
Probably the bigger reason I’d pursue Johnson is that either pitcher is going to require a hefty bounty in return. There is no doubt that the Yankees will lose the likes of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, and other high level talent to make a trade. Realistically, if we are going to lose those guys, I’d rather see them pitching in the National League instead of right here in the AL East. The counter-argument is that some team is going to pay the Blue Jays a very high price, so they’ll walk away with a much stronger team either way. But still, I am not prepared to see Joba Chamberlain pitching for the Jays. The AL East should be very competitive next year. Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox, you know that the Tampa Bay Rays will be a force to be reckoned with. The fine young talent in Baltimore is finally starting to gel and should result in a much improved Orioles squad. So, if the Jays are smart about the pieces they receive in a Halladay trade, there will be no pushovers in the division.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The Yankees have A.J. Burnett locked up for four more years so I am not concerned about him. However, CC Sabathia still has the right to opt out of his contract after two more years so I think it would be wise for the Yankees to go with the younger option so that they can build a cornerstone for future years. I don’t think CC will opt out, however, as long as it exists as a possibility, it has to be considered. Much can happen in two years.
So, I say go with Josh Johnson and send the premium Yankee talent to the National League…even if that means Doc Halladay calling Fenway Park “home”. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is familiar with Johnson from his year as the Marlins manager in 2007, so it would aid Johnson’s transition to the Bronx.
There is a question of whether the Marlins organization will be willing to part with Johnson, but it should be interesting to see what develops in the coming weeks…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
But tonight, I choose to see Kelly Clarkson… 🙂
When does age not matter?
I guess it is when the Yankees sign a “prospect” who was suspended for claiming he was only 17 years old when he was actually 20. Eladio Moronta, a Dominican outfield prospect, was suspended earlier this year for the age discrepancy, but was reinstated on September 28th. He is 6’1″, 183 lbs, and has been compared to Raul Mondesi.
It is not clear how Moronta fits into the Yankees system, particularly with Austin Jackson nearly major league ready. But for a prospect who could have commanded a signing bonus in the millions, he was signed for only $570,000. I could live rather comfortably on $570K, but for the Yankees, that’s a drop in the bucket. Let’s hope the signing works out…
I have to admit that I am becoming a believer in Brett Favre. I was very skeptical when he finally signed with Minnesota Vikings after a season of ‘is he retired? Is he not?’. I was ready to turn over the QB reins to Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. Of course, had that happened, there is absolutely no way that the Vikings would have been 9-1, with a 3-game lead on the Green Bay Packers.
Prior to Sunday, there was much talk about how that was the point in the season where Favre begin his fade with the New York Jets in 2008. So what did Brett do on Sunday? He threw for 4 TD passes and completed a career-high 88 percent of his passes as the Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 35-9. So, I guess in the Vikings case, age does not matter.
The Boston Red Sox named DeMarlo Hale as their new bench coach, replacing Brad Mills who was named as manager for the Houston Astros. As much as I hate to admit it, it was a good move. The Red Sox promoted AAA Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson who will become the new first base coach. Last year’s first base coach, Tim Bogar, moves to third, replacing Hale. I have always admired Red Sox manager Terry Francona despite my dislike for anything-Red Sox. He showed once again that he is a master tactician. I think the Red Sox are building a great second or third place team for 2010! 😉
I kind of like the talk about the Yankees pursuing Florida ace Josh Johnson. I’d prefer that to signing free agent John Lackey, even if we have to give up quality talent in return. I think Josh as part of the trio with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett would be the perfect formula for a 28th world championship. Admittedly, it wouldn’t hurt to have Matt Holliday or Jason Bay in left field! J
Congrats to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer for their respective MVP awards. They were both the obvious choices and I see a trip to Cooperstown, NY for both players. Why does Derek Jeter always lose to the Twins? At least the Yankees, as a team, don’t share the same problem. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the Yankees won the World Series because of Jeter. He meant more to the team than Mauer would have. That doesn’t mean that I think Jeter should have beaten Mauer for MVP (I don’t), but for the Yankees, Jeter was the MVP.
Okay, when do the free signings start?…
The Yankees lost…again…
Derek, you had the chance to be the hero, and to show the city of Miami why you are so beloved in New York City. But, unfortunately, and unlike the shortstop in Boston, you failed to deliver the key hit with that grounder in the 9th inning and two outs against the Florida Marlins. Alas, the Yankees’ comeback was stalled at 2 runs and the Yanks lost the game, 6-5. For a moment, I thought that I was going to get a special Father’s Day treat but it was not meant to be.
Somewhere in Boston, I can assure you that there’s a woman who couldn’t be happier…
Not so quick, Julia! There is an outside chance that Derek Jeter may get a second chance. After Alejando de Aza hit for Renyel Pinto in the 7th inning, Marlins manager Freddie Gonzalez did a double-switch and inserted relief pitcher Leo Nunez into left fielder Chris Coghlan’s lead off spot. In the 8th, Coghlan took the field with Nunez going to the mound. So, technically, two players listed as first in the batting order were on the field at the same time. De Aza should have been in left instead of Coghlan. After Nunez threw one pitch, a strike, to Derek Jeter, manager Joe Girardi protested. Coghlan left the game, but De Aza couldn’t return because of the no re-entry rule. Jeremy Hermedia took over left, and was placed 9th in the batting order. Nunez was allowed to continue pitching. Girardi felt that Nunez should have been disallowed to continue, but Gonzalez disagreed. Nevertheless, Girardi filed a protest. If upheld, the teams would have to resume the 8th inning with the Marlins ahead, 6-3. I doubt anything comes out of the protest, but, hey, you never know. Jeter might get the chance to be a hero in Miami after all…
Right fielder Xavier Nady is getting closer! He will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Wednesday. Soon…very soon, the X-Man returns!
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Despite being pulled after 1 1/3 innings on Sunday for left biceps tendonitis, CC Sabathia believes that he’ll be able to make his next start. Time will tell, but hopefully he’s right. Now that Phil Hughes is starting to establish himself as a presence in the bullpen, I’d hate to see him yanked (no pun intended) back and forth between the pen and the starting rotation.
Courtesy Yankees Online Magazine
A.J. Burnett’s suspension was decreased by one game to 5 games by Major League Baseball (for throwing near the head of the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz). He began serving the suspension on Sunday, so he’ll be able to start next Saturday. With Sabathia’s uncertainty, Burnett’s return is critical.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Alex Rodriguez feels better after some rest. That’s nice…
A two game losing streak, and the next game will feature Chien-Ming Wang on the mound? Yikes! Hopefully, the law of averages will kick in sooner rather than later and allow Wang to record his first win of the year. Of course, he’ll be facing the Braves pitching phenom Tommy Hanson. They might be a bit agitated after the walk-off homer by Boston’s Nick Green on Sunday…
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
More off-topic stuff…
It is really starting to sound like Brett Favre will be playing for the Minnesota Vikings this year. One website reported that he had already agreed to a contract, but that was quickly dismissed as a false rumor. Plus, there are rules that require prompt reporting of player contracts to the league so the Vikings would potentially be in violation of league rules if they failed to disclose a formal contract in a timely manner. Nevertheless, there is speculation that a post-dated contract for, say, July 3rd, is a possibility. Much of the media will be off on Friday, July 3rd for the holiday weekend, so the news wouldn’t be as magnified as it would be on a normal work day. By the following Monday, much of the hoopla would start to die down. So, the timing seems right. It would also allow some time of the news to settle before training camp begins at the end of July. I am hopeful that this doesn’t mean the loss of a roster spot for John David Booty, who has looked so much better this year. I would prefer to see Tavaris Jackson shipped elsewhere, but he was hand-picked by Head Coach Brad Childress, so it may be tough for Childress to let go of T-Jack.
Courtesy The Fan 740 AM
I have never heard of today’s winner of the U.S Open in Golf, Lucas Glover, but he’s a Yankees fan, so I’ll say CONGRATS to an absolutely great guy! 😉
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The roller coaster continues…
Meanwhile, the Yankees have fallen 3 games back of the AL East Leaders, Boston Red Sox. The Yankees fell to the Florida Marlins, 2-1, while the Boston Red Sox, behind Josh Beckett, beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-0. The Braves’ Derek Lowe, like the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett, pitched well against their respective former teams…just not as good as the other team’s guy. In the Yankees’ case, it was a solid performance by Josh Johnson that undid the Yankees. Johnson went seven innings and gave up only 3 hits, the lone Yankee run, and 5 strikeouts. He showed why he has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year.
Joel Auerbach/US Presswire
The Yankees had their chances but couldn’t come up with the key hits to pull out a victory. Derek Jeter killed a potential rally in the 8th inning, failing to advance the runners and hitting into a double play grounder. Johnny Damon followed Jeter and struck out, leaving Brett Gardner stranded at third with what would have been the tying run. The Yankees hit into three double plays in total, including a game ending DP on a grounder by Robinson Cano after Mark Teixeira had singled in the 9th. Jeter had also hit into an inning ending DP earlier during the 3rd inning, after A.J. Burnett had singled.
In a situation that will likely be remembered at the end of the season when Johnny Damon becomes a free agent, Damon committed a brutal error in the 6th inning that allowed the Marlins to score their 2nd run. He had his sights on a line drive hit by Jorge Cantu, but his glove missed the ball. It almost looked like me playing softball!
Gary Dwight Miller/The Patriot News (Note: that’s not me, but it could be!)
The positives were great defensive play by catcher Jorge Posada, solid bullpen relief from the “Phil” duo (Coke and Hughes), and, of course, A.J. Burnett’s fine pitching.
The crowd, 46,427, was the third largest in stadium history for Land Shark Stadium. But seriously, I can’t say the name of that stadium without laughing…
In Sunday’s game, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia (6-4) faces the Marlins’ Chris Volstad (4-7). Hopefully, the Yanks will get back on track. In Boston, the Braves will have Jair Jurrjens (5-5) on the mound versus Tim Wakefield (9-3). The Yankees need to focus on keeping Boston’s lead to three games and perhaps pick up a game in the unlikely event that Wake loses on his home turf.
Jonathan Papelbon refuted reports that he’d be willing to sign with the Yankees after his contract with Boston expires in 2011. I think the quote was “I don’t want to go play for the (expletive) Yankees!”. Two immediate thoughts…1) What else is he going to say after the earlier comments received so much attention, and 2) There are some Red Sox players that I’d never want on my team and the list is headlined by Papelbon. But Julia, it doesn’t include Jason Bay! 😉
In the Battle of the Weavers, former Yankee Jeff Weaver outpitched his little brother, Jered, as the Dodgers defeated the Angels, 6-4. I was frustrated during Jeff’s time in New York, but he has always been someone that I’d like to see succeed. He did well in St. Louis a few years back, and has re-surfaced on Joe Torre’s staff. He’ll never reach the lofty heights that were predicted for him earlier in his career, but he is someone that I won’t root against.
Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times
The Weaver boys’ parents, Gail and Dave, had the right approach in attire while attending the match-up of their two sons…
Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times
The Yankees will apparently sign top international catching prospect, 16-year-old Gary Sanchez of the Dominican Republic when he becomes eligible to sign on July 2nd. One NL scout indicated that he is a big kid (6’2″, 210 pounds) with a big arm. But the scout also mentioned that he doesn’t hit like Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero, 19. Of course, there has been much talk that Montero will be moved to a different position by the time he makes it to the majors because of his physical size. Regardless, if the signing of Sanchez is true, the Yankees are in good shape when Jorge Posada decides to hang up the cleats.
For as well as Pedro Martinez pitched during the World Baseball Classic, teams seem to be stumbling over themselves trying to run away from him after watching him pitch in the Dominican Republic. Even if he had pitched well, he’s not someone I’d want on my team (see earlier comment about Jonathon Papelbon), but it is starting to sound like Pedro’s career may be over unless some team decides to give him a token offer. Time to wait for the Hall of Fame to call…
Per Peter Gammons of ESPN, Takaski Saito has emerged as the Red Sox pitcher most likely to be traded. Dice-K’s struggles, even with John Smoltz on hand, have made it unlikely that the team will part with Brad Penny. Gammons mentioned that the Red Sox had discussed a potential swap of Saito to the Texas Rangers for Hank Blalock, but decided that they needed to give David Ortiz more time to turn it around. I am convinced that the Red Sox will be a stronger team on July 31st than they are today, and they are obviously pretty good right now.
In my opinion, the Yankees cannot simply stand pat and hope that a lift is realized through the respective returns from injury by Xavier Nady, Jose Molina and Damaso Marte. I still like Cleveland’s Mark DeRosa, and feel he would be an ideal player to fill the infield utility role and allow Alex Rodriguez to take more days off. The bullpen is starting to come around, but they could still use a quality arm, like Arizona’s Chad Qualls, to take Brett Tomko’s place.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers on this great day! For a Father’s Day gift, I’m easy…I’ll take a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss! I know, I said at the top that a Yankees win would be sufficient. But c’mon, a Red Sox loss would be a great dessert! J
Enjoy your day!
No A-Rod in the line-up? No problem, just call Andy…
Andy had a run-scoring double in the 2nd inning to put New York on top of the Florida Marlins, 3-0. It was a lead that the Yankees never relinquished. They won the game, 5-1, behind Pettitte’s other skills….a solid pitching performance that saw only three hits in 7 innings, with 7 strikeouts. He had good control as he did not issue any walks, and became the first Yankees pitcher to reach 7 wins. He was, of course, quite winded after the long run to second base! Hahaha! The lone Marlin run was a homer by outfielder Cody Ross. Pettitte did say after the game that several other fly balls would have been home runs in Yankee Stadium. Nevertheless, they were in Miami and the Yankees easily won, snapping a two game losing streak.
The Yankees also got great production from their bullpen with two innings of hitless relief provided by Brian Bruney and Brett Tomko. I can’t say that I was excited to see Tomko enter the game, but he did his job.
The Yankees only had one home run, a solo shot by Melky Cabrera in the 3rd.
Before the game, it was announced that Alex Rodriguez would sit the first two games of the series in Miami against the Marlins. Alex has been struggling lately, and his batting average has plummeted to .212. Kevin Long tracks swings that are considered reaches, and indicated that since early June, A-Rod has extended his arms from his body in his swings nearly 85% of the time. He wants to work with A-Rod to bring his arms back in for a tighter, more compact swing. Hopefully, the rest will do A-Rod some good, although I am sure it’s frustrating for him to sit while the team is in his hometown. Angel Berroa filled in for A-Rod at third, while Jorge Posada batted clean-up.
It was a good game for the Yankees, beginning to end. I had some concerns that they were facing a pitcher they had never seen before (Sean West), but they easily figured him out and scored all 5 runs against West in his four innings of work.
Derek Jeter was back in the lineup Friday night, but you could tell that the ankle is still bothering him.
It was a reunion of sorts for manager Joe Girardi, who got his first managerial job with the Marlins in 2006. He was named NL Manager of the Year, and was subsequently fired by owner Jeffrey Loria. Girardi and Loria chatted briefly outside of the Yankees clubhouse prior to the game. Per Girardi, it was a pleasant conversation with Loria and they have a good relationship. Still, you just know that Girardi took satisfaction in taking the first game of the series with the Marlins…
The Yankees picked up a game on both first place Boston and third place Toronto as both of those teams lost on Friday night. The Yanks are two games behind the Red Sox and two games ahead of the Blue Jays. I wonder if the Red Sox could start Dice-K again tonight? I kinda like it when he pitches… 😉 Seriously, I have faith in the Braves’ Derek Lowe even though he is facing Josh Beckett. Vindication is always a sweet feeling, and Lowe is a gamer. Good luck to him as he faces his former teammates!
Despite watching Pedro Martinez pitch in the Dominican Republic, the Yankees expressed no interest in signing the 37 year old pitcher. Whew!
Brett Gardner is still feeling the effects of the collision with the outfield wall on Thursday, but is improving.
It has nothing to do with the game, but Miami always reminds me of one of my favorite singers, the late great Keith Whitley. This is one of my favorite Whitley songs…
Posted on YouTube by Victorcoral
Have a great Saturday!