Tagged: Miami

Did Santa skip Yankee Stadium this year?…

 

The Bear is sleeping…

With the Yankees in hibernation for the winter, there’s not much for us Yankee fans to talk about.  The latest speculation centers on catcher Jorge Posada and where he might end up.  Of the three teams mentioned (Rays, Phillies, and Orioles), I don’t see Jorge as a good fit.

In Tampa, he’d back up his former back up, Jose Molina.  I suppose that he could earn additional starting time by the virtue of his superior bat, but why tarnish a great Yankees legacy by playing for a key divisional rival.  Same goes for the Orioles.  I think there’s a strong chance for Jorge to get pushed aside in either organization for younger, cheaper talent.  Neither the O’s or the Rays would be beholden to Posada as he didn’t carve out a borderline Hall of Fame career in their uniforms.  As for the Phillies, it would probably be a good way for one last shot at the World Series, but the Phillies have emerged as a chief rival for the Yankees.  He wouldn’t start for the Phillies, and his pinch-hitting opportunities and DH duty in interleague play would be limited with Jim Thome on the roster.

I would still like to see Jorge go to the Miami Marlins as a best-case scenario if he decides to continue playing.  He lives in Miami, and the team is in the opposing league.  They are not a natural rival by geography, and he wouldn’t tarnish his Yankees legacy.  But as Nick Cafardo said in his Boston Globe column yesterday, “Hope Jorge Posada retires as a Yankee”.

Short-term rental looks better every day…

With the list of prospective pitchers dwindling, I am in favor of a short term signing (such as Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson).  The recent trades of Mat Latos to the Reds and Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals has shown that the price is sky high for young, talented pitchers.  Giving up Jesus Montero and Manuel Banuelos in any trade would be a mistake.  I am not sure if this is akin to 1995 when Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera may have been considered potential prospect trade bait, but still, I’d rather see what the future holds with Montero and Banuelos than without.  I think that either Oswalt or Jackson would be a better option than either Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia, and would allow the Yankees more time to work on a more equitable trade or seek potential help in the 2012 free agent market.

Strengthening your team with ex-Yankees…

I really do not want to see the Boston Red Sox weaken the Yankees’ bench by signing Andruw Jones.  The Yankees had a great fourth outfielder in 2011, and they need to make his return a priority.  This is an area that I’ve been greatly disappointed by the continued silence.  I really do not feel that Justin Maxwell, Chris Dickerson or Melky Mesa can fill Andruw’s shoes.

Just like the Los Angeles Angels crept up and became the star of the Winter Meetings (overtaking the Miami Marlins), I keep expecting the Red Sox, who have been very dormant this winter despite their acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon, to make a big splash to improve their 2012 team for new manager Bobby Valentine.  It could be the signing of Hiroki Kuroda (whom the Yankees are also interested in) or a trade for the Cubs’ Matt Garza, but if they do improve, it will be difficult for the Yankees to adjust.

The Winter of (Y)our Discontent…

I never thought I’d feel bad for the New York Mets, but it has to be tough for their fans to watch their team move into rebuilding mode when every other team in the division has gotten better.  The Mets would appear to have a stranglehold on fifth place in their division, with no competition.  There is no great joy in watching the Mets as a defeated organization.

Don’t wake the Beast…

It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report in less than two months.  Of course, I am in Minnesota and it’s sunny with an expected high today of nearly 50 degrees.  Nothing is what you expect, or I suppose you could say what it seems.  There’s a winter beast that will soon be awakened in Minnesota.  Does the same hold true for The Bronx?…

 

–Scott

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Not your Daddy’s Yankees…

 

All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight, but I’ll just listen to Beethoven…

The Miami Marlins make a big splash to create perhaps the best Marlins squad since 2003 in signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes.  The Los Angeles Angels rock the largest Hispanic community in the United States by nabbing #1 Baseball Superstar Albert Pujols.  Oh yeah, they also picked up former Ranger ace C.J. Wilson along the way.  Even the Boston Red Sox, in a season of chaos with the prolonged managerial search, managed to do SOMETHING with the acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Kyle Weiland.  Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, nothing…

I know, how do you improve upon a 97-win team?  Baseball is a game of constantly trying to improve.  A little here, a little there…a big splash here, a big splash there.  This off-season the Yankees haven’t fallen into any of those categories.  They haven’t even moved to re-sign outfielder Andruw Jones or third baseman Eric Chavez which, in my mind, are important cogs for the 2012 team.

The team with the most money is…

Tonight’s wait is to hear whether the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers have won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.  In the days of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees would have been the highest bidder and there would have been no speculation about who placed the highest bid (through a few “unnamed sources” within the Yankees organization).  I am not saying that it is prudent to spend $50 million plus just to have the right to talk to Darvish, nor do I feel the Yankees made a bad decision by not going after him harder.  But this is definitely a different Yankees ownership and one that is not particularly fond of footing the bill for the other owners through luxury tax payments.  It’s too bad the Yankees have so much wrapped up in Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.  A-Rod, in particular, is not the player he once was and no longer worthy of his behemoth contract.  I’ll give Jeter the benefit of the doubt since he did finish 2011 strongly.

If the Yankees are gauging what they need to do by the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re severely underestimating the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Yankees had trouble with that team last year, and the 2012 Jays will only be stronger (with or without Darvish).

If you’re not winning, you’re losing…

This has been a tough sports year for me.  The Yankees felt like a team with shortcomings entering October and it revealed itself in the play-offs against the Detroit Tigers.  They are still essentially the same team, minus a few players.  There’s nothing to lead me to believe that the World Series is in their immediate future.  Meanwhile, my pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, continues their march to become the worst team in professional football (only one game separates them from the Indianapolis Colts and the right to draft future NFL superstar QB Andrew Luck).  I am sure that even Peyton Manning is a Vikings fan these days.  It really stinks when you hope your team loses so that they can place higher in the draft.

I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do live within view of Target Field so it’s been tough watching local favorites Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) and Jason Kubel (D-Backs) sign elsewhere.

Clearly, I am someone that needs a ‘pick me up’ in sports.  I want to see a player acquisition that I am excited about.  Someone that brings energy, drive and commitment to the team, and helps them reach just a little bit further…

I will say that the Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero regardless of whether it could bring Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx.  I’d love to see Gio in pinstripes, but I think that Montero has a chance to be a special talent.  You just don’t let guys like him get away, even if it means no acquisitions this off-season.

Is that too much to ask?  Sometimes I wish Hank Steinbrenner’s impulsiveness would prevail over Hal Steinbrenner’s calculated intellect.  Fiscal responsibility, with a dash of insanity.  C’mon, we were “raised” by George Steinbrenner.  Weren’t you too, Hal?…

At least somebody is doing something…

Recently, I changed my NBA allegiance from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New York Knicks.  I’ve been thinking about this move for several years, but adding Carmelo Anthony to Amare Stoudemire was the clincher.  The latest news has the Knicks signing Baron Davis.  As a former Bay Area resident, I was saddened when Davis left the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Clippers.  He was perhaps the most popular basketball player in the area.  I have a great deal of respect for him, and it’s tremendous that he and I have come together on the same team.  I know Baron is hurt so his Knicks debut will be delayed, but I really like the off-season moves the Knicks have made.  I’d be foolish to think that they are suddenly a NBA finals team, but they are definitely getting better.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, just crickets…

 

–Scott

Yankees should be forbidden from crossing the MA state line…

 

Right player, wrong uniform…

The acquisition of reliever Mark Melancon by the Boston Red Sox reminded me of how much I dislike seeing former Yankees in Boston gear.  At one time, Melancon was mentioned as the possible successor to future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.  He did not fulfill his promise with the Yankees and was subsequently traded to the Houston Astros in the deal that brought present St Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman to New York.  Melancon was forced into a closing role in Houston due to injuries, but he doesn’t project to be a closer for the Red Sox.  Time will tell if he can become Boston’s version of David Robertson.

With Alfredo Aceves already on the Boston pitching staff, that makes two Yankees on the roster with no Sox players on the Yankees roster.  Granted, it doesn’t hurt quite like it did when David Wells and David Cone pulled on the Sox cap after success in the Bronx, but still, I’d rather see ex-Yankees experience success away from the AL East.  There are 28 other teams that these players could have gone to.

From the Sox perspective, I am not sure that Melancon justified the cost.  I know that Jed Lowrie wasn’t the answer at short, but there was always something that I respected in the player, even as a member of an opponent.  I don’t know about the other player the Sox sent to Houston (pitcher Kyle Weiland), but it would appear to be a fairly high cost for a setup guy.  I just don’t see Melancon as Jonathan Papelbon’s replacement.

Maybe this trade turns out wonderfully for the Sox, maybe it doesn’t.  I guess baseball is a game of chances and as the saying goes ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.  But I wish the Sox would quit loading up on Yankees (and Rays).  At least they replaced Lowrie with a former Twin and Cardinal (Nick Punto).

Never underestimate the power of the woman behind the man…

I am still in disbelief that Albert Pujols is no longer in St Louis, but after previously reading comments by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that he felt Albert was frustrated with the Cardinals about the negotiations and the subsequent comments by his wife about how the Cardinals didn’t give Albert the proper respect, I can better understand why he would leave the organization that had meant so much to him for 11 years.  At this point, his present and future are associated with the Los Angeles Angels and he will be the face of the organization.  I doubt Angels fans are missing Mark Teixeira too much these days.

Turning nothing into something…

I am still amazed that former Yankees reliever Jose Veras brought the Pittsburgh Pirates the Milwaukee Brewers former third baseman Casey McGahee.  McGahee has his issues, but Veras was a disaster for the Yanks.  I know that he pitched effectively before his gradual descent in pinstripes but I cringed every time he entered a game during his final season in the Bronx.

C’mon, the weather really isn’t that bad…

I was listening to MLB Radio the other night when they mentioned that the Minnesota Twins had signed former Oakland A’s (and Marlins) outfielder Josh Willingham.  One of the guys, I don’t remember which one, then proceeded to bash Minnesota for its weather.  Granted, I am a new arrival to Minnesota and I did not experience the 87 inches of snow last winter, but I have yet to complain about Minnesota weather.  Actually, I have enjoyed the change of seasons after life in California where there are only two seasons (warm and not so warm).  I wore my winter coat one week last year and that’s when I went back East to New York.  I’ve been wearing that coat since early November this year and I love it.  I am disappointed that they are now saying that we won’t have a White Christmas in Minneapolis.

Back to Willingham, I am sad that it means the end of the Twins career for Michael Cuddyer.  It’s too bad that the Yankees don’t have a role for a guy like that.  Mr. Versatility.  It doesn’t sound like the Phillies or the Red Sox are options for him at this point, but I was fearful to see him on either of those rosters.  He may not be THE guy, but he is the type of guy that helps win championships.

Nevertheless, welcome to Minneapolis, Mr. Willingham!

50 years brings total futility; this must be what it feels like to be a Cubs fan…

My first year living in Minnesota has been a disaster as far as being a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.  1983 was a miserable year with horrific coach Les Steckel and the franchise’s worst record in its history.  This year, the record of futility may be eclipsed by the current squad.  I feel bad for coach Leslie Frazier.  I like him, but there is no patience when it comes to the NFL.  I read an article about how the Vikings would have been better off if they had just stayed with Mike Tice after the Wilf’s bought the team.  As it stands, I’d prefer to see Frazier get at least another year, but if he is cut loose, I would not be opposed to someone like Brian Billick.  I was frustrated with him when he was the Vikings offensive coordinator, but he was a good coach in Baltimore.  I doubt the Vikings would be competitors for someone like Bill Cowher.  I could definitely see Cowher going to the Miami Dolphins if he decides to return to coaching, especially if Carl Peterson takes over the leadership of the team.  Cowher was an assistant for Kansas City, Peterson’s former team, prior to coaching the Steelers.

I am adamant, and maybe not so much…

As for my other teams, I remain a devout San Jose Sharks fan and will be there when the Sharks come to St Paul, Minnesota to face the Minnesota Wild.  But I had to make a decision in the NBA.  I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan the last few years, but I am tired of a team that is expected to win and often does (well, except for when it pertains to baseball!).  Amare Stoudemire has been my favorite player since his days in Phoenix and despite his injury history.  Carmelo Anthony was another favorite.  So, with those two headlining the New York Knicks, I really don’t have any choice but to become a Knickerbockers fan.  With the NBA, I have not maintained a constant loyalty to one team.  It’s moved as I’ve moved.  I started life as a Philadelphia 76ers fan in the days of Dr. J. (Julius Erving).  In my early 20’s, I moved to Dallas and become a Mavericks fan.  Later, I moved to Phoenix and became a Suns fan.  About 6 years ago, I moved to California and became a Lakers fan (sorry, I just couldn’t embrace the Golden State Warriors or the Sacramento Kings as a Northern CA resident).  Now, I am in Minnesota, but for whatever reason, I just can’t embrace the Minnesota Timberwolves.  So, it’s time to move my basketball allegiance to the Big Apple.  I am not really a fan of the New Jersey and soon to be Brooklyn Nets, so the stars were perfectly aligned for me to become a Knicks fan.  So, let it be…

By the way, where did 2011 go?…

–Scott

 

Aren’t the Yankees supposed to rule the Winter Meetings?…

Wow…

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!

–Scott

We Lost…Or Did We?…

 

The Yankees lost…again…

 

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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.

 

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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…

 

Joe Girardi 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

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…

 

That's a wrap

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!  😉

 

Lucas Glover watches his tee shot on hole No. 11. Glover held off Ricky Barnes, David Duvall and Phil Mickelson to win the US Open on Monday.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

 

–Scott

 

A Father’s Day Wish…a Yankees win, that’s all!…

 

The roller coaster continues…

 

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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.

 


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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.

 

Lynne Sladky/AP  

 

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…

 

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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.

 

AP

 

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!  😉

 

 

Ron Wurzer/AP

 

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.

 

Jeff and Jered Weaver

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…

 

Gail and Dave Weaver

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.

 


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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.

 

U.S. Presswire

 

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

 

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Enjoy your day!

 

–Scott

 

Winning Cures All Ailments…

 

No A-Rod in the line-up?  No problem, just call Andy…

 

Hans Deryk/Reuters

 

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.

 

Alex Rodriguez celebrates with Hideki Matsui after the Yankees defeated the Florida Marlins 5-1.

AP

 

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.

 

Wilfredo Lee/AP 

 

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…

 

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, right, and Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez share a laugh as they watch Yankees' batting practice.

AP

 

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!

 

UPI

 

Despite watching Pedro Martinez pitch in the Dominican Republic, the Yankees expressed no interest in signing the 37 year old pitcher.  Whew!

 

Jeff Roberson/AP

 

Brett Gardner is still feeling the effects of the collision with the outfield wall on Thursday, but is improving.

 

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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!

–Scott