The World certainly looks better when the Yankees are winning. We have our own problems but somehow they seem more manageable when the Yankees win.
While it was technically a quality start by definition, Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have his best stuff on Friday night. He got off to an ominous start when he gave up a two-run first inning home run to Matt Carpenter of the St Louis Cardinals. Carpenter, by the way, makes a strong point for the Yankees Facial Hair policy as he proves not everyone looks good with a beard. Fortunately, the Yankees answered Carpenter’s homer very quickly when Starlin Castro, no stranger to the Cards from his days with the Chicago Cubs, launched a two-run bomb of his own to tie the game.
An Austin Romine solo homer and a run courtesy of a throwing error by Cardinals second baseman Kolton Wong were the only additional runs the Yankees needed to hold off St Louis for their fifth consecutive win. Tanaka was strong after the shaky first inning until he got into trouble in the seventh. He finished the game with 6 2/3 innings, five hits, three runs, two walks and five strikeouts to pick up his first win of the year.
The game was in doubt in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings as the dynamic trio of Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman succeeded Tanaka. Clippard, replacing Tanaka with runners at second and third and only one out, got both Wong and Dexter Fowler on fly outs with a great play by Aaron Judge on the latter as it looked like it could have been an extra base hit. Betances was solid as he recorded all three outs in the eighth by strikeout, but he did have brief trouble throwing strikes as he nearly walked Matt Carpenter and then did walk the next batter, Stephen Piscotty, on four consecutive balls. In the ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the third consecutive day, walked Randal Grichuk after easily getting the first two outs of the inning. The next batter, pinch hitter Jose Martinez, hit a solid double to left, which Brett Gardner got back to the infield quickly keeping Grichuk from scoring. The Cardinals third base coach initially wanted to send Grichuk but quickly changed his mind when the ball was returned by Gardner so quickly. That brought Chapman’s former Cubs teammate Dexter Fowler to the plate in a match-up of World Series Champions. Chapman won the battle as Fowler grounded out to Starlin Castro, and the baseball safely made it to first base before the speedy Fowler did.
It was an intense game but with Yankees-Cardinals, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
I watched Matt Holliday with great interest as this was the first time he had played against the Cardinals since May 8, 2008 when he was a member of the Colorado Rockies. For the game, Holliday did nothing as he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. I am sure that it was an emotional night for Holliday, being reunited with his former Cardinals teammates. It would be hard to spend eight years with a team and not have emotional attachments. Holliday’s last game against the Cardinals in 2008 was a much greater success. He was 4-for-5, with three runs scored, in Colorado’s 9-3 victory over St Louis. On that same night (to put into perspective how long it has been), Mike Mussina was beating the Cleveland Indians, 6-3, with a save by Mariano Rivera. Hopefully, Holliday will have greater success against his former team today and tomorrow.
I know that Greg Bird has struggled with the foot injury and the flu, but I am concerned about his 1-for-23 start. He hasn’t indicated any signs of the hitter he was during Spring Training. I had hoped the days of Mark Teixeira and his ice-cold starts were a thing of the past with the new first baseman but so far that’s not been the case. Hopefully, Bird will get untracked soon and start hitting like we know he can. I prefer Bird at first over Chris Carter, but if Bird continues on this path, we’ll be seeing more of Carter.
The Yankees are currently 2nd in the AL East Standings behind the Baltimore Orioles. The biggest surprise to me isn’t that the Boston Red Sox are in the 4th place with a .500 record (they’ll catch fire sooner rather later), but rather the last place Toronto Blue Jays with only one win on the year (1-9). I think I heard a stat that no team that has lost 9 of its first 10 games has ever made the playoffs. The Blue Jays were predicted to battle the Red Sox at the top of the division.
I have to comment on two incidents that occurred with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and two of their former tight ends in the last 24 hours. One was a very heartwarming story (no pun intended) and the other was one of life’s most devastating moments. In December, former Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland died of a brain aneurysm. On Friday, it was revealed that the recipient of his heart and kidney was none other than legendary Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Ironically, Reuland’s age (29) matched Carew’s playing number for the Minnesota Twins. Also, on Friday, former Ravens tight end Todd Heap accidentally struck and killed his three-year-old daughter while moving his truck in his driveway in Mesa, Arizona. This was such devastating news to hear and I cannot possibly imagine how Heap will be able to deal with this tragedy. I am so very saddened by this news, and my thoughts and prayers go out to Heap and his family.
It’s kind of hard to say ‘have a great day’ after that news, so I’ll only say hug your loved ones and be thankful they are in your life.
It may be brief, but the view from the top is magnificent…
After tonight’s games, the Yankees may or may not be in first place, but at least they started the day that way. Of course, the last time I was excited about this was at the start of the last series with the Boston Red Sox. That didn’t end so well for me, and a pink hat and a Red Sox shirt later; the Yanks were back chasing the Sox in the standings.
Once again, thanks to a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins, combined with a Red Sox loss last night, the Yankees were once again tied atop the AL East Standings with Boston (despite the 0-8 mark against same).
The Yankees open a weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim tonight. Of all the teams I want to face right now, the Angels aren’t one of them. For whatever reason, the Yankees have historically not done very well against the Angels. I don’t know the exact stats off the top of my head, but it seems that the team loses more than it wins against those pesky Halos. I’d like to say that this dates back to the 2002 play-offs, but it has been much longer than that. I remember teams with Bobby Grich, Rod Carew, and Reggie Jackson giving the Yankees fits.
You can’t say that the Angels’ mastery over the Yankees is because the team doesn’t match up very well against the Angels. If you compare the starters of Game 4 of the 2002 American League Division Series in Anaheim on October 5, 2002, only Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada remain with their original team (you could consider Juan Rivera but he has switched sides). The Yankees lost that night, 9-5, effectively ending the Yankees’ most recent World Series run. But despite the roster turnover, the Angels’ domination continues.
I wish I understood the reason, but the Yankees did to figure out the Angels if they want a chance to return to the World Series.
I know, they also need to figure out Baltimore and Boston. But one thing’s for sure, they know Minnesota!
For the record, the Red Sox won tonight, so pending the Yankees game against the Angels (which starts shortly), the Sox are up by a ½ game. Why is it that Boston gets the Royals while the Yankees get the Angels? It’s so not fair! 😉
I thought the New York Mets’ acquisition of Jeff Francoeur from the Atlanta Braves for Ryan Church was a solid move. I realize that Francoeur has struggled the last couple of years, but I still think that the “light bulb” will eventually come on and he’ll be every bit the productive player that he showed in Atlanta when he first came up.
I still think that there’s no way that either the Red Sox or the Yankees will trade for Roy Halladay. Both teams have done such a great job protecting their young talent in recent years, and it would “break the bank” to bring Doc to Boston or New York. They’ve mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies as the front-runner and I agree with that, or perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals. I’d like to see the San Francisco Giants become a player but I don’t think they have what it takes to make a deal. A starting rotation led by Tim Lincecum and Halladay would be incredible, and would definitely be a major roadblock in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ attempt to crush the NL West.
Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
I am definitely in agreement that the question is ‘when’ Brett Favre joins the Minnesota Vikings, not ‘if’. He has apparently placed a $30,000 deposit on a condo in Edina, Minnesota. I am sure that he didn’t do it just so he could go ice fishing this winter. The Vikings’ single-game tickets go on sale July 20th, so an announcement could be forthcoming prior to that date. I don’t think it is the right move and I think that Vikings coach Brad Childress will be forced to play Favre the entire season regardless of how he performs. There would be a huge stigma attached to the coach who “sat” Brett Favre. It’s really shaping up to be a ‘lose-lose’ scenario…
Well, it’s time to go check in to see how Mr. Chamberlain is doing…