Feelin’ way too damn good…
It may be the name of a great song by Nickelback, but it also describes the feeling watching last night’s 9-1 rain-delayed win over the New York Mets by the Yankees.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Any concerns about the tendonitis in CC Sabathia’s biceps were put to rest early. Perfect through four innings, Sabathia showed why he deserved the ridiculously excessive contract in the off-season. Outside of the leadoff home run to former Yank Gary Sheffield to open the fifth inning, he shut down the Mets on 3 hits over seven innings with 8 strikeouts. He was consistently throwing 95 mph, and did not walk any batters. He even contributed to his own cause with a RBI single in the second inning. With the win, CC improved to 7-4. Brett Tomko pitched effectively for the final two innings in relief.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
Speaking of the second inning, it was a very ugly one for the Mets. Three errors allowed the Yankees jump out to a 4-0 lead and with CC dealing, the game was essentially over.
Simmons/New York Daily News
Admittedly, I do not follow the Mets and if I had a preference in the NL East, it would probably be the Philadelphia Phillies. So, I haven’t been keeping up with the Mets this year. Derek Jeter had a bad cough, and was given the night off (which was also his 35th birthday). I was a bit concerned with the insertion of Ramiro Pena into the starting lineup, particularly considering that Francisco Cervelli was playing in place of Jorge Posada (worried about the loss of potential offense). But then I browsed the Mets’ order and was surprised to see names like Alex Cora, Nick Evans (who?), Omir Santos, and Ryan Church playing center field. I knew that the Mets had been hurt by injuries, but I didn’t realize the decimation was this bad.
Alex Rodriguez homered again to officially signal that the slump is over. Kate Hudson was even in attendance, but fortunately she wasn’t wearing a pink A-Rod shirt like certain other celebrity girlfriends…
The home run by A-Rod, in the 8th inning, was the 564th of his career, which allowed him to pass Reginald Martinez Jackson. Reggie was in attendance to watch as he fell to 12th place on the All-Time HR List. Next up for A-Rod is Rafael Palmeiro in tenth place with 569 HR’s. I know that A-Rod is an admitted PED user, but it will still be nice to see Palmeiro bounced out of the top 10. A-Rod should also pass Harmon Killebrew at 573 home runs later this summer. Mark McGwire’s 583 will be more difficult to reach this year, particularly with A-Rod’s limited mobility.
Team PED All-Stars…
Brett Gardner has re-surfaced as a force in center. He is batting .387 over the past 27 games. Batting lead-off in place of Jeter, he had 5 hits, with 3 runs scored. He was a double short of hitting for the cycle, but raised his batting average to .303 with the great performance. When Gardner is hitting, he’s scary with his speed. He is making it very difficult for Joe Girardi to keep him out of the lineup.
Melky Cabrera will benefit from Xavier Nady’s misfortune (lost for the season), and will continue to platoon with Nick Swisher in right (barring any deadline trades by the Yankees).
The world looks so much better when the Yankees are winning. Right, Julia? 😉
Despite the win by the Yanks, there was no change in the AL East standings. It was a rare night that saw the AL East sweep the NL East, 5 games to none.
Yankees 9, Mets 1
Red Sox 4, Braves 1
Blue Jays 6, Phillies 1
Rays 7, Marlins 3
Orioles 11, Nationals 1
Of course, I am wondering why the Rays’ pitching staff was so inept compared to the others. LOL! It was definitely a good night for the AL East, which is why I am truly feelin’ so damn good! And, oh yeah, I am going home to California! Woohoo!
Speaking of Xavier Nady, he’s told friends that he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and will need surgery. He’s headed to California (like me!) for further medical evaluation, but he’s done for the year. Given that he is a free agent at the end of the year, his time with the Yankees may be over. Personally, I hope not. I’d like to see the team work out a new deal. However, given that there is doubt Nady will be able to play in 2010, the chances of returning to the Yankees are probably not good. Nady has been a good player and I hope we have not seen the last of him in pinstripes.
Chris Faytock/The Star Ledger
Per Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, Mariano Rivera will be on ESPN’s Sunday Conversation. Mo was asked about performance enhancing drugs, and he replied, “The reason why I’m laughing is because I don’t even drink coffee. And if I don’t drink coffee, I would never put in my mind or think to put that in my body. If the talent that God has given me is not enough, well, I’ll have to quit. When I leave this game I know deep in my mind, deep in my heart that I was clean.”
John Munson/The Star Ledger
I remember being somewhat disappointed when John Wetteland left, breaking up the deadly late inning combo of Rivera-Wetteland. Little did I know that it was the dawn of greatness, the creation of a new Yankees legend. It will be a sad day when #42 is no longer in the bullpen, but it won’t take very long for it to make its way to Monument Park…and Cooperstown. Mo can stand next to Jackie Robinson and be proud.
No updates on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings, but I am taking much abuse from my friends…
Derek Lowe versus Andy Pettitte…
It was a match-up that reminded me of some great Red Sox battles of the past. Unfortunately, this one was not memorable as neither pitcher was around very long. The Yankees had built an 8-1 lead by the 4th inning against Lowe. It should have been an easy win for Andy Pettitte, but he struggled too. In the bottom of the 4th inning, he gave up 5 runs, thanks in part to an error by center fielder Brett Gardner, and was lifted for Alfredo Aceves. Aceves was the eventual winner in the 11-7 Yankees victory over the Atlanta Braves.
I am concerned about Pettitte. He pitched great during his last start, but otherwise, his starts have been very spotty. He is definitely no longer the pitcher he once was, or at least I do not recall him being so consistently “hittable”.
But the one player we do not need to be concerned about is Alex Rodriguez. After a month long slump that saw his batting average slide to .207, A-Rod was back last night. He had a key hit on Wednesday, and followed that up with his 563rd home run (tying Mr. October, Reggie Jackson on the all-time list). He was 3-for-5, with two runs scored, a walk, and 4 RBI’s (pushing his BA to .223).
The key hit for this game, in my opinion, was delivered by Johnny Damon. With the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd inning, Damon came to bat against his former Red Sox teammate and delivered a triple to clear the bases. The hit increased the Yankees’ lead to 6-1 at the time. Even though the Braves scratched and clawed to get back in the game, they could never recover from the huge hole created by Damon.
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald
The bullpen did a good job with Aceves, Phil Coke, and the great Mariano Rivera. The only questionable performance was by David Robertson who gave up a 9th inning home run to Brian McCann, and had runners at the corners, before Mo came in to get the final out. Robertson did have two strikeouts in the frame. Hopefully, he was just upset by the Mets’ recent release of his brother Connor, and he’ll perform the next time he is placed in a key situation.
The Yankees now head to Queens for a weekend Subway Series against the Mets. I am concerned about the health of CC Sabathia, but it appears that he is a ‘go’ and should be fine this evening. A.J. Burnett will return from his suspension tomorrow so it should be a fun weekend in Flushing Meadow. With A-Rod coming around, I am sure that the biggest beneficiary will be Mark Teixeira. The team responded to Brian Cashman’s call to arms, and hopefully that will continue. The Toronto Blue Jays lost last night, so the Yankees once again have sole possession of 2nd place and are now 4 games behind Boston. Meanwhile, those pesky Rays keep winning…
Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune
Happy 35th Birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter!
Xavier Nady had a major setback during his minor league rehab with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Brian Cashman is calling it a possible worst case scenario as Nady felt pain while throwing. Not a good sign. At some point, you have to wonder if surgery is the only option. Best wishes to the X-Man for a “best case” scenario outcome…
Finally, Thursday was a very sad day in the Entertainment World with the loss of two icons… Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.
Say what you will about MJ in recent years, but he was truly the King of Pop during the early 80’s. His music was everywhere, and I can still so vividly remember waiting to watch the MTV world premiere of the video for Thriller in late 1983. Like Elvis, Michael has left us way too soon.
Farrah’s passing was more expected but no less difficult. I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a teenager (like every other guy my age).
Goodbye to both…they will be missed…
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 first game of the Yankees home series against the Oakland A’s was postponed due to rain, and will be made up in July. Fortunately, there was much better weather on hand for Tuesday.
The Yankees emerged victorious, with a 5-3 victory. Andy Pettitte (2-0) was the winning pitcher, and most notably, he did not give up any home runs. Johnny Damon hit the day’s only home run in the ballpark which has become a launching pad in its short history due to the apparent wind tunnel. Brian Bruney was touched for a run, but he and Mariano Rivera successfully closed out the game…as usual.
John Munson/The Star-Ledger
It was nice to see Jason Giambi do good…but not too good. He had a hit and a run scored, but no homers or RBI’s. Brett Gardner also made a leaping catch to take away a potential base hit. I won’t mind seeing Giambi hit some home runs in this series, so long as the Yanks have a comfortable lead, of course.
Nathan Denette/The Star-Ledger
On the good news front, right fielder Xavier Nady has been diagnosed with a ligament strain in his elbow and he won’t need season-ending surgery after all. He is expected to miss six weeks. All things considered, that’s great news!
Also, the Yanks announced that pitcher Chien-Ming Wang will miss his next start and will go to Tampa to pitch in an extended spring training game. Wow, why didn’t I think of that??!! Too funny! But that is the ONLY solution that I could see when Wang stunk it up the last time he pitched. Well, the other option was to put him on waivers…which obviously was not going to happen. Hopefully, Wang will be able to work out his mechanics in Florida.
Wang had been scheduled to open the series in Boston on Friday night. Instead, Joba Chamberlain will get the start. I feel much better heading into the weekend showdown with Julia of Julia’s Rants…
I don’t know what to say about my San Jose Sharks. I am disappointed that they’ve lost the first two games of their series against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks were playing much better at the end of the season than an eighth seed, while the Sharks were struggling. The playoff series has been more of the same.
Gary Reyes/San Jose Mercury News
Game 3 is tonight in Anaheim. Obviously, this game is huge for the Sharks and will most likely determine if they can turn this series around. I remain hopeful of a Sharks-Bruins Stanley Cup Final, but I recognize for I am failing my part of the equation. Rest assured Julia, it is not a sign of things to come this weekend…
No, there will not be a dedication to Roger Clemens on this blog…
Before I begin the tribute for the special Yankees player who wore #22, I do want to give special mention to the current Yankees #22, Xavier Nady.
Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger
As you may have heard, the X Man had a MRI on his right elbow and the results were “not good”. He’ll head to the disabled list for an extended period of time and there is speculation that he could be lost of for the season. If that happens, it is possible that Nady has worn the pinstripes for the final time since he is a free agent at the end of the year. So, I would like to express sadness at the news of the injury and to thank Nady for his significant contributions to the Yankees over the past year. Whatever happens, I wish him the very best. Hopefully, he’ll take his place in right field at the new Yankee Stadium at some point in the future, but if it is not meant to be, then I hope he’ll return as a visitor, receiving a standing ovation.
My #22 tribute is to former Yankees pitcher Allie Reynolds or “Superchief” as he was known…
Reynolds grew up in Oklahoma and was a quarter Creek Indian, hence the nickname. He made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1942. In 1946, he was traded to the Yankees in a deal for All-Star second baseman Joe Gordon. Legend has it that the Indians wanted Gordon so badly they were willing to give up any pitcher except Bob Feller. Yankee executive Larry MacPhail consulted with Joe DiMaggio, and Joltin’ Joe said “Take Reynolds. I’m a fastball hitter, but he can buzz his hard one by me any time he has a mind to.”
His arrival in the Bronx coincided with the beginning of the Dynasty years. In 1948, Reynolds headlined a starting rotation that included Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat and that team won the first of five consecutive World Series championships.
In 1951, he became the first American League pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a single season. In the second no-hitter which was against the Boston Red Sox (as Julia says, ‘Eeek!’), Reynolds had to get Ted Williams for the final out twice when Yogi Berra dropped an easy foul pop. He also won the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete that year.
He had a career record of 182 wins, 107 losses, and 49 saves (Yankees manager Casey Stengel once called him “two ways great” because of his ability to start and relieve). He won 20 games once, going 20-8, with a 2.06 ERA, in 1952.
Reynolds was brilliant in the post-season. He appeared in 15 World Series games for the Yankees, with a record of 7-2, four saves and ERA of 2.79. In six World Series relief appearances, Reynolds recorded a win or a save each time, including the clinching games in 1950, 1952, and 1953.
Reynolds’ career ended after the 1954 season due to a back injury that was suffered when the Yankees team bus crashed into an overpass in Philadelphia.
He died in 1994 due to complications from lymphoma and diabetes.
His number has never been retired and he is not in the Hall of Fame, although his accomplishments would certainly seem to justify it.
The aforementioned injury to Xavier Nady opens the door for Nick Swisher to assume a full-time position in right field. It certainly solves the problem manager Joe Girardi had with finding a spot in the lineup for Swisher. GM Brian Cashman is looking like a genius for not trading either Nady or Swisher during the off-season, and so far, Swisher has been an offensive success for the Yankees. Who knows where this will lead over the course of a long summer, but I certainly feel much better about Swisher in right than I do Cody Ransom at third.
For the record, Ramiro Pena made his second start at third base in Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. However, Ransom entered the game when Hideki Matsui pinch hit for Pena. Word is that Ransom will be starting at third base on Thursday…unfortunately.
Nevertheless, back to the Nady situation, it is unlikely that the Yanks will recall Austin Jackson since Girardi prefers that he continues to get every day starts in center field at Scranton rather than riding the bench in the Bronx. More than likely, Juan Miranda or Kevin Russo will be recalled when Nady is placed on the DL Thursday.
Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang altered his pitching routine between starts by facing batters while pitching from the mound at Tropicana Field rather than performing a bullpen session. Of course, he only faced one major league hitter considering that the two batters were Melky Cabrera and Cody Ransom.
The Yankees win! The Yankees win! The Yankees WIN!
Well, in the grand scheme of things, the Tampa Bay Rays won the first battle, but the Yankees won the war in their first series of the season. The Yankees were destroyed by the Rays, 15-5, on Monday. They came back to win yesterday, 7-2, behind the great pitching performance by A.J. Burnett (who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning). Today was the rubber-match, and the Yankees came through…
Robinson Cano was one of the hitting stars, with a fourth inning homer that tied the game. Johnny Damon hit a game-tying double in the 8th inning that scored Derek Jeter, and then in the 9th, Jeter hit what turned out to be the game-winning run-scoring double. Mariano Rivera, in a sea of number 42 jerseys (in recognition of Jackie Robinson), easily retired three Rays batters to end the game.
So, a series that started so poorly, ended on a strong note.
Now, the Yankees head for the Bronx to make their long-anticipated regular season debut at the new Yankee Stadium. CC, the lights of Broadway are upon you…
Leroy Neiman / The Lights of Broadway
Here’s a very special note of thanks to Julia‘s second grade class. They were working on Acrostic Poems today, and included one for me:
I am very touched by the generosity of Julia’s students to include me in their thoughts despite being their teacher’s antagonist. I owe them a great big…
THE COWBOY RIDES AWAY
Curt Schilling was definitely an acquired taste. He was a player you loved or you hated…nothing in between. I will make no bones that I fell into the latter category, but I respect his accomplishments.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
It was easier for me when Curt pitched for Philadelphia. I recognized him as a quality pitcher, but he was never a threat since the Yankees were not locked in any competitive battles with the Phillies. The Yankees were still a few years away from their championship run when Curt won the 1993 World Series with the Phillies. But all that changed when Curt was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 2001, Curt went 22-6 for the D-Backs and was 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the play-offs. He was co-MVP with Randy Johnson in Arizona’s 7-game World Series victory over the Yankees. I attended Games 2 and 6 in Phoenix, neither of which were enjoyable experiences for me. I disliked Curt and the Diamondbacks prior to that World Series, but the belligerent Arizona fans ensured a lifetime of disdain.
So, you can imagine how excited I was when Curt was traded to Boston in 2003.
Naturally, Curt played a pivotal role in the Red Sox dramatic comeback from a three games-to-none deficit in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Thus endeth the Curse of the Bambino.
I am not sorry to see him go, but I will tip my hat to a champion competitor…
X MARKS THE SPOT
Manager Joe Girardi has said that if the season started today, Xavier Nady would be the Yankees starting right fielder (replacing Bobby Abreu). But even Nady recognizes that both he and Nick Swisher will see plenty of playing time.
The New York Post
Here’s hoping for a great 2009 season for the X-Man!
UH-OH, GUESS WHAT’S ON TUESDAY NIGHT?
Don’t look now, but the Red Sox and Tim Wakefield (again?) travel to Steinbrenner Field to face the Yankees and A.J. Burnett. The game is at 7:15 pm.
So, Julia, care to make a little wager?…
A-Rod – What else are we going to talk about?
I found it somewhat humorous Alex Rodriguez said that he will be under intense scrutiny for “the next 18 months to 24 months”. Interesting how one can predict the exact time frame involved in the ‘post-confession’ period. Does that mean we are guaranteed of no reference to A-Rod in March 2011? Looking forward to it!
Personally, I don’t blame Alex for not wanting to talk about his past drug use following the press conference earlier in the week. If he talked, he’d run the risk of contradicting his previous comments…
Wallace Matthews of Newsday wrote a great piece today about how GM Brian Cashman wanted to ‘move on’ when A-Rod opted out of his ‘drug-induced’ $250 million contract in 2007. Cashman’s position has gone largely unnoticed until now, but he could have saved the organization from much embarrassment. A-Rod’s return only came about when A-Rod bypassed agent Scott Boras and dealt with the Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner directly.
It should come as a welcome relief when A-Rod joins the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team early next month. Egads! The reporters in Yankees camp will have only baseball to talk about! Of course, there might be mention of the scandalous time that Mark Teixeira took a couple of Advil for a post-game headache…
More Yankees in the Headlines?
I have to admit that I was startled for a moment when I saw the headline about the frozen assets belonging to Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady. Of course, it is clear that they are innocent victims. The government’s freeze of a company affiliated with Robert Allen Stanford impacted accounts owned by Damon and Nady.
Neither Damon nor Nady invested directly with Stanford funds but rather they invested through broker dealers whose accounts were with a Stanford company.
It was reported that Damon complained of being unable to pay his bills and Nady could not put down a deposit on a New York apartment. I find it surprising that both would wrap up their assets through a single source. I guess diversification is not something they are concerned with. I also find it interesting that both players are represented by agent Scott Boras. Thanks for the sound financial advice, Scott! And, oh by the way, Jason Varitek sends his love!
Credit: Branimir Kvartuo/AP
The Return of Bernabe Figueroa Williams
Enjoy camp for a few days, Bernie, but don’t get used to it!
I have to admit that it was both strange and exciting to see Bernie Williams wearing Yankee gear with number 51 on his back. However, that does not mean I would want to see him make a comeback with the team. At this point, I’d clearly prefer Nick Swisher over Bernie. I thought Bernie was a great Yankee but time has moved on.
Credit: Antonelli/New York Daily News
Then again, Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer won a world championship at age 45, winning 16 games in 2008. But c’mon, this guy just doesn’t age…
Bernie had begun a significant decline by 2006, and there is no chance that future years will be any better. He played more and better than expected in 2006, but it was time to turn the page. His presence on the roster would potentially prevent the presence of a younger player with more potential.
Upon completion of the WBC, Bernie should focus on his musical career. His latest CD, Moving Forward, is scheduled for release on April 14, 2009. The CD includes a special live performance with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.