With nothing to talk about, the speculation continues
about what free agents the Yankees are looking at. The latest has pitcher Justin Duchscherer and
outfielder Andruw Jones within the team’s sights…
UPI/David Richard via Newscom
I like Duchscherer, although he has been beset with
injuries and depression in recent years.
I recognize that he is considered an “average” pitcher, but he does know
how to win. He’ll never be the second
coming of Chris Carpenter, but when the alternative at the 5th spot
in the rotation is Sergio Mitre, he’d be worth the shot. I have quietly been hoping the Yankees would
sign former Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis but there has been no activity on that
front. It wasn’t that long ago
(pre-Ubaldo Jimenez) that Francis was considered the ace of the Rockies
staff. If the signing of Francis is not
meant to be, then I like Duchscherer over other options like Jeremy
Bonderman. I like the addition of either
Francis or Duchscherer even if somehow and magically Andy Pettitte decides to
return for one last season.
The other rumor has the Yankees considering outfielder
Andruw Jones. I actually wanted the
Yankees to sign Jones last off-season.
He ended up with the Chicago White Sox and hit 19 home runs. I realize that he will never be the Atlanta
Braves’ version of Jones, but in the right role, he can excel. I lived in the Los Angeles during his final
year with the Dodgers and it was pathetic to see Jones as a shell of what he
used to be. Still, I think he’d be a
good fit as a role player for the Yankees.
Jones could also step into left if either Brett Gardner or Curtis
Granderson missed any time due to injury.
What can Larry Rothschild do to restore Joba Chamberlain’s
confidence? With A.J. Burnett and Joba
at the top of his to-do list, I wonder if Larry fully understood what he was
getting himself into. If he can somehow
turn both of these guys around, he will be a legend in Yankees history.
Speaking of Rothschild, the Yankees announced their 2011
coaching staff and the only change was Larry in for former pitching coach Dave
Eiland. All things considered (and
nothing against Eiland), but I feel very good about the pitching being in the
hands of the long-time Cubs pitching coach.
It’s also good to know that Tony Pena will return to his role as bench
coach for manager Joe Girardi. I think
that’s a good pairing, even if Pena will have to coach against his son, Tony
Pena Jr., who is currently a member of the dreaded Boston Red Sox.
There has been so much talk lately about the impending
free agency of St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. Personally, I do not want to see Albert in
anything other than a Cardinals uniform.
Hopefully, the first ballot to be Hall of Famer and the Cardinals can
find a way to ensure that Albert stays in St. Louis for the duration of his
Scott Rovak/Getty Images
There are going to be some really great pitching
performances in the National League this season. Granted, the class of the rotations is the
Philadelphia Phillies, but so many teams have improved (like the Brewers, Cubs,
and Marlins to name a few). Plus, let’s
not forget the solid starting five of the World Champion San Francisco
Giants. Give me the #5 starter, Madison
Bumgarner, for the Yankees rotation…please!
I have to admit that I was pleased to see future Hall of
Fame closer Trevor Hoffman retire today.
It fixes his save total at 601, and certainly makes it within reach for
also future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.
With a two year contract and standing at 559 saves, there’s no reason in
the foreseeable future that Mo can’t erase the difference. I think both Trevor and Mo should be first
ballot elections, although I’d admit that Lee Smith should go in before either
one. With Mo, I have definitely been
grateful in recent years that I’ve been able to watch one of the all-time great
New York Yankees. It’s a lengthy list
but Mo will exit at the head of the class for his position. I am envious of anyone who actually saw my
idol, Lou Gehrig, play, but I’d also say that I’ve been very fortunate to see
Mo pitch. It’s nice to know that when
#42 is retired at Yankee Stadium for Jackie Robinson, it will be shared by
Mo. Nevertheless, I wish the very best
for Trevor Hoffman, who I hear is headed back to the San Diego Padres for their
Finally, I wanted to say how much I miss former Yankees
beat writer/blogger, Peter Abraham. I
keep up with him with Boston.com, and his latest post shows why he is simply
one of the best…if not the best.
Okay, one more thing.
The loss of Dallas Green’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Christina Taylor
green, to the shooting in Arizona is devastating. I can’t help but think of the great things
that she could have and most likely would have accomplished in her
lifetime. It was a senseless tragedy and
we are clearly the worse for it.
Somehow, the world is a lesser place today because of her loss. I am also saddened for the others that lost
their lives, and I wish for a full and speedy recovery by Rep. Gabrielle
Giffords. The restoration of her life
and career is so important to the balance of life…
A well deserved day off while the Yankees head to Seattle…
Speaking of Seattle, I am always appreciative of the fact that Tom Paciorek no longer plays baseball. For my generation, he was the original Yankee killer. I know that there were many before him and many since, however, he was the first player that I personally witnessed as a single-handed destruction force against anything pinstripe-related.
It was an interesting week. Monday saw the Yankees defeat their nemesis, the Los Angeles Angels, in a makeup of the May 3rd rainout.
Tuesday was a mess. A brawl left Jorge Posada and Shelley Duncan with three-game suspensions. Posada, who had taken exception to an earlier pitch, threw an elbow at Jays pitcher Jesse Carlson, while scoring on a double by Brett Gardner. There were several bench clearing moments, and the latter occurred following the elbow by Posada. Hitting coach Kevin Long and pitcher Edwar Ramirez were also fined for their involvement in the fracas. Any way you slice it, it was an ugly representation of baseball. The Yankees dropped the game, 10-4.
Wednesday, the teams were more amenable to each other. The Yankees fell behind the Jays early and trailed 4-2 in the 7th inning. I had started to become concerned that the Yanks were on the verge of their second consecutive loss, but Hideki Matsui allayed my fears with a two-run homer in the 8th to tie the game. At that point, I had confidence that the team would mount yet another walk-off win. I was not denied, although I was a bit surprised by the source. I will first start by saying I love watching Brett Gardner work the base paths. Following a lead-off single in the 9th inning, he stole second. Derek Jeter grounded out to short, but it advanced Gardner, the winning run, to 3rd. That brought catcher Francisco Cervelli to the plate. His single to left scored Gardner, and the Yankees had a new recipient for the pie of the day…
Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News
This morning, I was looking at the AL East standings, and was surprised to see that the Red Sox were only 5 games behind the Yanks in the loss column. Boston has been playing very well lately as evidenced by the 7-game winning streak. Julia is quick to note that this team reminds her of the 2004 and 2007 World Championship clubs, and the way they’ve been playing, I do not necessarily disagree. Nevertheless, I have confidence in my guys and their ‘no-quit’ determination. Given that the Texas Rangers have performed the baseball equivalent of hara-kiri, there is no much mystery left regarding whether the Yankees and Red Sox will make the play-offs. The only question is who will take the AL East crown, and right now, the Yankees have the advantage. The Yankees continue their quest for the best record in the AL, but they cannot lose sight of the team in their rearview mirror. I learned long ago not to underestimate the Red Sox.
The Red Sox did see the end of their 7-game winning streak tonight, as they were clipped by the Angels, 4-3. The Yankees magic number has been reduced to 10, although the Angels were able to pick up a ½ game on the Yanks.
The Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees were unable to defend their International League crown. They were swept in the finals tonight by the Durham Bulls with a 3-2 loss in the third and final game. The Yankees did pick up championships in two other minor leagues. Class A Tampa won the Florida State League, while the Staten Island Yankees won the New York/Penn League. I’m thinking “three’s company”, so let’s go big league Yanks!
In a somewhat shocking announcement, Peter Abraham of the Yankees LoHud Yankees Blog announced that he will be moving to Boston to work for the Boston Globe. His blog has long been one of my personal favorites, and I will miss his Yankees insight. I am sure that he’ll provide Red Sox fans with the same robust and reliable information that we Yankee fans have been accustomed to, not to mention the quick wit. Pete Abe made a comment that some will call him a traitor, but I will not. He is a class act, and his decision was made for family reasons, which is a very admirable trait. I would like to thank him for his work over the years, and I wish him the very best in Boston. Of course, he’ll miss out on writing about the 2009 World Series Champions…
My fantasy football team faces a huge dilemma this weekend. My starting QB is Tom Brady, while my defense is the Jets D. So, I have one player working against another since the Patriots face the Jets this weekend. Who do I pull for? Yikes! As an 0-1 team (thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson’s ankle), I have to hope that best case scenario plays out.
I will close with a photo of my pride and joy. She has been the master of self portraits since she was very small, and has developed a great sense of humor (despite her dad)…
A walk-off “Gift”…
With the Yankees trailing the Mets 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound, Brett Gardner started the inning with a pop-out. Derek Jeter came up next and hit a solid single up the middle. Johnny Damon worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a splitter from K-Rod. Mark Teixeira came to the plate and K-Rod was determined to give him nothing to hit. His first three pitches to Tex missed the strike zone, so manager Charlie Manuel decided not to take any chances and gave Tex a free pass. Alex Rodriguez was up next…A-Rod versus K-Rod.
The setting was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback. The YES Network’s Michael Kay indicated that any win by the Yankees would be a walk-off win (statement of the obvious?), and they have had six walk-off wins so far this year. The stars seemed to be aligned for A-Rod to be the hero. Like with Tex, K-Rod threw the first three pitches outside of the strike zone and A-Rod didn’t bite. The fourth pitch came in for a called strike. With a 3-1 hitter’s count, A-Rod got under the next pitch and lifted a pop fly to short right field. Second baseman Luis Castillo charged under the ball and it appeared to land in his glove. A-Rod slammed his bat into the ground, and started to gently run to first base. The feeling of defeat sunk in, and I was thinking that the Yankees had just lost their fourth consecutive game. But miraculously, the ball hit Castillo’s glove and bounced out.
Noah K. Murray/New York Daily News
Castillo slid to the ground so he wasn’t able to get up immediately to retrieve the ball. When he did get up, he threw the ball to the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Cora. Derek Jeter had already scored the tying run, but third base coach Rob Thomson had sent Teixeira home. Cora fired the ball to catcher Omir Santos, but it was too late…Tex had already scored the winning run…
UPI (Courtesy New York Post)
Whoa, talk about high drama! After the game, A-Rod was being interviewed and Kimberly Jones mentioned that Francisco Rodriguez hadn’t blown a save this season. A-Rod responded, “He still hasn’t”. True, but I’ll take it…
Richard Perry/The New York Times
The Yankees should have given the pie in the face to Castillo…
The Yankees had started the scoring with a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the second inning. I was a bit frustrated the next inning when Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. Carlos Beltran drew a walk to bring home a run. After David Wright struck out, Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to bring home Alex Cora. So, with no hits in the 3rd, the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead over the Yanks.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees regained the lead, 3-2, with a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira. Joba Chamberlain was pulled after four innings. Although he only gave up one hit and two runs, he walked 5 and had two hit by pitches. So, to start the 5th inning, Manager Joe Girardi brought in Brett Tomko. My first reaction, of course, was “Ugh!”. Unfortunately, as they say, always trust your first instinct. Carlos Beltran doubled and subsequently stole third. David Wright walked. Ryan Church doubled to score Beltran and Wright. The Mets had the lead, 4-3. Former Yankee Gary Sheffield came up and promptly hit a two-run homer, his 505th, to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Isn’t there a minor league team somewhere (anywhere but Scranton/Wilkes Barre!) that could use Tomko? He needs to go wherever it is that Julia wants Julio Lugo to go…or where Mets fans want Luis Castillo to go…
In the bottom of the 5th, Derek Jeter cut the deficit to 6-4 with a solo home run. In the 6th, with Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada at first and second, thanks to a single and walk, the birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, slammed a three-run homer to allow the Yanks to recapture the lead, 7-6. Happy 35th Birthday to Godzilla!
Marc Carig/The Star Ledger
The Mets tied the score, 7-7, in the 7th on a double play grounder by Fernando Tatis with men on the corners.
Phil Coke retired the first two Mets in the top of the 8th, but then, in a surprising move, Joe Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game to face Carlos Beltran. In recent years, Mo has pretty much become a one inning relief specialist. It started in the latter years of the Joe Torre era as a way to keep Mo healthy. I suppose Joe didn’t want to take any chances with the dangerous Beltran at the plate and preferred to see Mo get four outs as opposed to three. Unfortunately, the move backfired. Beltran drew a walk, and the next batter, David Wright doubled to center field, scoring Beltran. The Mets had taken an 8-7 lead. It was three up and three down against Mo in the 9th, and the stage was set for the dramatic comeback win…
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog had a great story after the game. Joba’s three-year old son, Karder, was in the clubhouse and he interrupted the reporters talking to Joba by asking, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes!”. Joba responded, “He knows me. Pretty scary, huh?” That’s funny stuff! Of course, it’s easier to laugh about it when your team escapes with a 9-8 win rather than an 8-7 loss.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
This game was yet another example for why Mark Teixeira ranks as one of the greatest free agent signings in Yankees history. It remains to be seen if he has the post-season success of, say, Reggie Jackson, but so far, he’s earned every bit of his huge contract.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The Yankees remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in extra innings, 5-2. I had warned Julia about late inning heroics by the Phillies’ Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Howard came through with a game-tying 9th inning home run, but the Phillies couldn’t muster any magic in extra innings against the Red Sox bullpen.
So, the Yankees remain one of baseball’s best teams, so long as they aren’t at Fenway Park or playing the Red Sox…
OTHER “OFF TOPIC” STUFF…
Everyone doubted the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chances and until Game 7, the team with home ice had won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals. So, with Game 7 in Detroit, it appeared that the odds were stacked in the Red Wings’ favor. The Pens took a 2-0 lead after two periods, but you knew that the third period would be a ‘free for all’. The Red Wings played at a kinetic pace. You could definitely tell that there was a sense of urgency in their game, and they did appear to be the superior team on the ice for that period. They were able to score a goal to close the gap. The game hung in the balance down to the final seconds. Even with 6 seconds or so, you knew that the Red Wings were capable of scoring the tying goal.
Fortunately, it was not meant to be and the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions! It was a great game, a great series, and a great win by a deserving team. Granted, it would have been better (at least for me) had the San Jose Sharks won the Stanley Cup, or perhaps even Julia‘s Boston Bruins, but short of that, the Penguins are a worthy champion!
Now, hopefully, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy awaits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night…
The Brett Favre “fiasco” continues. The Vikings apparently have sent a coach and their head trainer to Mississippi to track the health of QB Brett Favre. No word on which coach made the trip, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has prior history with Favre during their time in Green Bay together. I really think this issue needs closure soon. Otherwise, it risks becoming a huge distraction for the team. The 2009 Vikings have a great deal of potential. I like many of the young guys, and I am excited about what Percy Harvin will mean to the offense if properly utilized. Guys like center John Sullivan and safety Tyrell Johnson will step up and fill the voids caused by the departures of veterans Matt Birk and Darren Sharper. Regardless of what Favre decides to do, the Vikings will be in contention this year. I am not ready to anoint them Super Bowl contenders, but they have the potential for great things. At this point, I am ready to let Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels fight it out, and let Favre starting counting his days for entry into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. But, of course, if he does sign with the Vikes, so be it…
Have a great weekend!
Friday night was so nice….dominating pitching performance…good defensive play…solid hitting…
Gene Sweeney Jr/Baltimore Sun
None of that happened on Saturday night…
At first, it appeared that the rain might be a problem. It had been fairly nice all day in Baltimore with partly cloudy to most cloudy conditions but no rain. I arrived at Oriole Park early, and found the way to my seat.
Then, the rain drops started fall. They covered the field, and I wondered if it would be a repeat of my experience last weekend when I went to Yankee Stadium for the game that was rained out.
Fortunately, the rain never really materialized in a significant way, so they took the tarp off the field. The rain did reappear briefly while they were pulling the tarp but it only caused a momentary delay. The rain quickly stopped, and didn’t return the remainder of the night. They rolled up the tarp, and the game began at its scheduled 7:05 pm.
Perhaps a rainout would have been better…
The Yankees looked decent through one inning, and then it all collapsed in the second. They looked like Keystone Cops as the Orioles sent 13 men to the plate, and scored 8 runs.
Hughes is now the latest member of the Yogi Berra Club (that is, pitchers with ERA’s of 8 or more). Unfortunately, there are too many members of the club at this point of the season. The list includes Hughes, 8.49; Brett Tomko, 9.00 (who also gained entry last night in his first appearance as a Yankee); Damaso Marte, 15.19; Chien-Ming Wang, 34.50; and Anthony Cleggett, 43.20. Jose Veras, 7.20, has petitioned for membership and we have no doubt that he’ll be accepted…
What was supposed to a strength has quickly turned to a major disappointment and is why the Yankees have started 14-16 for the third year in a row.
Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog raised the issue that the Yankees are just not a good Saturday team. After winning on April 11th against the Kansas City Royals, 6-1, the Yanks have been hammered on every subsequent Saturday.
4/18 – Cleveland Indians 22, Yankees 4
4/25 – Boston Red Sox 16, Yankees 11
5/02 – Los Angeles Angels 8, Yankees 4
5/09 – Baltimore Orioles 12, Yankees 5
The Yankees did hit three home runs last night, but by then, the damage had been done. There never really was a sense that the Yanks were going to climb back into the game.
Hopefully, the team will play more to their strengths and abilities today in the final game of the three-game set against the O’s.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have been passed in the AL East Standings by the defending AL champs, the Tampa Bay Rays. They are now in 4th place, 5.5 games behind the leading Toronto Blue Jays. They are just 1.5 games up on the O’s. Regardless of what happens today, they won’t leave Baltimore in last place but they’re perilously close.
Hey Girardi, time to start working on the resume…
SCENES FROM THE GAME
The last thing I want to remember is anything that happened last night, but I was impressed with Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It felt like a home game given the large number of Yankees fans in attendance. There were enough fans that they were able to create loud Yankee chants early in the game before the disaster of the 2nd inning. A nearby O’s fan said it is the same way when the Red Sox come to town.
The ballpark itself is very impressive. I have had mixed feelings about the newer stadiums (some I’ve liked, some not so much). Granted, Oriole Park was one of the first new “Retro” stadiums, but it has a terrific “feel” to it that has not been replicated by other stadiums. It’s simply a great place to watch baseball…unless your team tanks it and gives up 8 runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Surprisingly, this man didn’t raise the greatest chorus of boo’s…
The O’s fans saved their “appreciation” for Maryland native Mark Teixeira…
Hopefully, my next visit to Oriole Park will prove to be more enjoyable…
Joba Chamberlain has been listed as questionable for today’s game, thanks to a burst blood vessel in his thumb.
The Yankees held Alfredo Aceves in reserve for the possible start today, which is why we saw Edwar Ramirez relieve Phil Hughes last night during THAT inning instead of long reliever Aceves. Hopefully, Joba will be a ‘go’ at game time, but the Yankees are historically very conservative when it comes to injuries. From all reports, it does sound as though Joba will be on the mound as scheduled.
I saw that the Yankees had three scouts watching Yu Darvish pitch in Japan. He won’t be a free agent until 2014, but he’s only 22 years old. If you saw him pitch during the WBC, you know that he is a legitimate major league prospect. I am glad to see that the Yankees are tracking his progress.
Tuesday, pitcher Ian Kennedy will undergo surgery for an aneurysm in an artery near his right shoulder. The doctor who performed the surgery on David Cone’s aneurysm in 1996 will perform the same surgery on Kennedy. I have not been a big fan of Kennedy’s, but he was pitching well for Scranton/Wilkes Barre this year and I do wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Brett Tomko, as mentioned previously, is back in the major leagues. When he entered the game last night, the O’s radio announcers were saying how he had a sub 1.00 ERA in 10 Triple A relief appearances (0.64).
He promptly gave up a home run to the impressive Adam Jones…
Courtesy Militant Angeleno Blog
Yep, he is still Brett Tomko…
To Everyone, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!