Bring out the broom…
The Baltimore Orioles have proven to be very challenging for the Yankees in recent years. The Orioles are one of the AL’s young and improving teams, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the not-so-distant future. Despite the slow start, the Orioles came into the Bronx fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox. But pitching prevailed as the Yankees completed a three game sweep before heading to Boston for their own weekend series against the Red Sox.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
I’d love to think that…if the Orioles can sweep the Red Sox and the Yankees can sweep the Orioles, then surely the Yankees can… Oh well, one can dream! It should be a fun series at Fenway Park.
After the Yankees picked up wins in the first two games against Baltimore behind the pitching of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, I was somewhat concerned that the Yankees would be caught looking ahead to the weekend on “getaway day”. Thanks to homers by Nicks Johnson and Swisher, Andy Pettitte was staked to an early 6-1 lead but he departed in the 5th inning due to a stiff elbow. An MRI later revealed mild inflammation in his left elbow, and he is expected to miss his next start. With Mariano Rivera still out and Joba Chamberlain unavailable after two consecutive nights of work, the game was left in the hands of the bullpen. Baltimore mounted a rally against the relief corps, but the Yankees held on for the 7-5 win. Alfredo Aceves picked up the save.
The Yankees have definitely dealt with their share of injuries lately. Fortunately, only one player was hurt enough for placement on the DL (Curtis Granderson; strained groin). The others, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, have simply taken a few days off. The Yankees will most likely skip Pettitte’s next start as a precautionary measure, but hopefully, Posada and Rivera will be ready for action on Friday night.
With the Yankees headed for Boston, it can only mean one thing…for me, anyway. It’s time for my latest battle against Julia of Julia’s Rants! This time, we’ve decided to make the loser go on a journey to find an inexpensive piece of memorabilia about the ‘other’ team. It can’t be something that is current and easy to find. Part of the loser’s obligation will be to document their journey by photographs in the quest. The loser will have until the end of Memorial Day Weekend to complete their adventure. It should be a very fun time for Julia as she explores Boston for Yankees paraphernalia! Hey Julia, Game On! J
Speaking of the Red Sox, they did the classy thing and had Nomar Garciaparra Day today at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels. Despite the 2004 trade and Nomar’s subsequent stays in Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland, he remains a fan favorite in Boston and the city was allowed to express their love and respect for a great former Red Sox player. A very nice touch by the Red Sox organization…
Boston Globe Staff
I’d also like to pay respects to the late great Ernie Harwell. The long-time Detroit Tigers announcer lost his battle with cancer at age 92. I may not have been a Tigers fan, but I was…correction, I am…an Ernie Harwell fan. For a wonderful tribute to one of the game’s greatest, you don’t have to go any further than Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press. His column entitled ‘Ernie Harwell: Gone now, but not forgotten’ is a must-read.
Daniel Mears/The Detroit News
So, Julia‘s Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks are both a game away for their respective conference finals. Both teams hold commanding 3 games to none leads in their current series, the Sharks against the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers. A Stanley Cup is not a certainty by any stretch as both teams still have to a) win their current series, and b) win the conference finals. But here’s at least one person hoping for a match-up against the great Ranter from Massachusetts! Hey Julia, Games on!
Another Loss from the Yankee Dynasty Years…
Another lesser known but important Yankee passed away this week. Tom Sturdivant, who was a member of Yankee teams that played in three consecutive World Series from 1955 through 1957, has died at age 78. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Sturdivant went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957. He led the American League in won-lost percentage in ’57, and was second in ERA at 2.54. He hurt his arm the next year, and was never the same. He was subsequently traded to Kansas City in 1959. He spent the remainder of his career, which ended in 1964, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.
Sturdivant was a member of the 1956 World Series rotation that threw five straight complete games, a feat that has not been matched since. The rotation consisted of Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks.
Sturdivant evened the ’56 World Series at 2 games apiece on October 7, 1956, with a complete game 6-2 victory. It set the stage for the next day when Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history.
In his final season, on May 31, 1964, Sturdivant combined with three other New York Met relievers to hold the Giants scoreless through 19 2/3 innings (in a game the Mets finally lost in the 23rd inning).
So Much For What’s His Name
Now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead of the Minnesota Vikings, it removes the pressure for me to learn how to pronounce his name. Surely, there is some free agent Wide Receiver somewhere named Smith or Jones…
Actually, there are some quality wide receivers available, although nobody quite in T.J.’s category. The Vikings still need a playmaker opposite Bernard Berrian.
The latest rumors indicate possible Vikings interest in Denver quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, refusing to speak with Broncos management over their denial of trade discussions, may hasten his departure from Denver with his current stance. Of course, it’s not exactly like he’s John Elway. I am not sure that he has done enough in the league to warrant his obstinate approach regarding alleged trade rumors. However, despite the Vikings acquisition of QB Sage Rosenfels, Cutler would be a very nice addition for the Vikings.
Odds & Ends…
On the heels of signing SS Orlando Cabrera, the Oakland A’s have inked Nomar Garciaparra. “No-mah” will be the starting DL for the A’s…
QB Kurt Warner’s flirtation with the San Francisco 49ers reminds me of Timothy Hutton’s new TV series…“Leverage“. Seriously, about 10 to 15 years ago, would a player have used to the 49ers to sign with the Cardinals? Um, probably not…
Derek Jeter hit a two-run single in the third inning to help power Team USA past the New York Yankees today in exhibition play. Granted, Kevin Youklis also added a two-run single, but it was painful to see DJ represent the primary reason for a Yanks loss. He also scored a run on a based loaded error in the sixth inning by Angel Berroa.
What’s with the influx of Baltimore Ravens to the New York Jets? First, there was coach Rex Ryan. Then, the Jets signed LB Bart Scott. Now, they’ve reached an agreement with S Jim Leonhard. If the exodus continues, I don’t think the Ravens will be a threat to prevent the Patriots from reaching the play-offs again anytime soon.
Randy Johnson pitched three scoreless innings, and struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced in a Cactus League match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Working out some anger management issues there, Randy? The Giants won the game, 7-6.