• June 30th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 30th, 2006 · Comments (8)

    Once again, the Yankees struggle to score runs. And, this is strange, as every Yankees starter reached base in this game, at least once, with the exception of A-Rod and Cairo. You have to tip your cap to El Duque. He battled. He came back out after the rain. And, he battled some more. He may be a PITA to some, but, if he can stand out there, he’s going to go at it. And, while he might bend some, he won’t break a lot.

    It’s just a good thing that the Mets offense is even more inept right now than the Yankees offense at this moment.

    Everyday Scottie Proctor and Kyle “Do I play polo? Not really, sir.” Farnsworth were huge in this game. I know that there are not many options for the Yankees these days, out of the pen, sans Rivera. But, I was still repeating “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway.” to myself in my head when they came into the game – thinking this is what Torre should be thinking as he went to these two in such a close game.

    Man, if not for the rain delay, this game would have been over around 9:45 local time. Two and a half hour games are nice once in a while.

    Lastly, thank you Florida Marlins (for showing the world that the Red Sox can be beaten) tonight.

    June 28th vs. The Braves

    Posted by on June 28th, 2006 · Comments (18)

    As I type this, it’s 3-2 Braves, top of the 12th…….

    even if the Yankees come back and win this game, it’s bothersome that they have to struggle against teams like the Braves, Marlins and Nationals.

    This weekend against the Mets may be very painful for Yankees fans.

    If the Yankees lose today, they will be 4 games back of Boston – and maybe 4 1/2 if the Red Sox win tonight. This time last year – after 76 games – they were 5 1/2 back of Boston. The more things change, the more they……..

    I hope the Yankees comeback in this game. But, I don’t expect it. Why should I, given the way they have played this month?

    The shame is that they are blowing games where their starting pitching has been OK. Today was another prime example of that. Who would have thought that the Yankees offense would be the weak link this season?

    Update: 6/28/05 5:06 PM – Yanks down by one. There’s one out in the bottom of the 12th, Giambi on 1st, A-Rod up……could he???????

    Update: 6/28/05 5:08 PM – OK, now, that was clutch!

    The turning point of the season?

    June 27th vs. The Braves

    Posted by on June 27th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    With the exception of Jaret Wright and Melky Cabrera, the Yankees played (today) like a team that partied way too hard last night. They were flatter than Debra Messing before she had her baby.

    Really, where was the Yankees offense in this game? Or, the last four games (for that matter)?

    Just look at the 8th inning of tonight. Yankees down by two, runner on 2nd, one out, and the batter has a 2-0 count. Who’s the batter? A-Rod. What does he do? He whiffs. It’s almost predictable.

    Looking at how Atlanta has played this month, and how bad their starter for this game pitches on the road, the Yankees have to win this game. Throw in 6 good innings from Jaret Wright and it stings even more.

    I’m starting to think that the month of May was a fluke (for New York). The Yankees were just about a .500 team in April. And, this month they’re just about a .500 team.

    Really, if the Yankees played .500 ball for the next two months, I would not be shocked (at this point). They’re not playing like a playoff contender. That much is obvious.

    If they lose tomorrow, then I expect something to happen on Thursday (in terms of a trade). With the Mets coming into the Stadium, George will want something to shake the Yankees cage. It’s an even money bet.

    June 26th vs. The Braves

    Posted by on June 26th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Seeing the Braves’ Bobby Cox come out in the 9th of this game, to beef with home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, after getting tossed, was sad. He looks very old. Maybe it’s just the combo of the huge pot belly and the bad legs? But, he looks more like a 75-year old than a 65-year old. Maybe he should retire?

    Hey, a win is a win, right? And, the Yankees won tonight – with Randy Johnson looking great in the process. What’s not to like about the results of this game?

    Actually, two things tonight concern me.

    First, why can’t the Yankees batters play a full nine innings lately? It just seems like, at least to me, again, these days, the Yankees score some runs and then take the rest of the game off.

    This evening, thanks to Giambi, New York got five on the board in the first two. Then what happened?

    3rd inning: They get the first two batters to reach (with no outs!) and score none.

    5th inning: They have a runner on 2nd with one out and cannot get him home.

    6th inning: Same thing as the 5th inning.

    7th inning: They get a runner to 3rd, albeit with two outs, and he’s left there.

    8th inning: The lead-off batter in the inning reaches with the top of the order coming up. And, they cannot move him over and score any runs.

    It just seems like the Yankees line-up is not capable of an A-B-C type attack. And, that’s bad. Good teams can do that.

    Secondly, and this might just be me, but, I did not see many smiles on Yankees faces during the post-game high-five parade tonight. (In fact, the only player that I noticed cracking a smile was A-Rod.)

    What’s up with that? Were they just pissed that Mo had to come into the game and that he was off a bit? Or, is this team not having fun – even when they win?

    I’m just starting to get the feeling that, maybe, this Yankees team is lacking the proper attitude that seems to go with a winner. Maybe they had it in the Spring and all the injures have sucked the life out of them? Or, maybe they never had it at all?

    I don’t know the answer. And, this all may be the wrong take (on my part). But, something just seems missing. I hope that I’m mistaken on this read. Because, if I am right, it’s going to be a long summer in the Bronx.

    June 25th vs. The Marlins

    Posted by on June 25th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    The Yankees have now scored 2 runs in their last 21 innings at the plate. How is that possible when you have players like A-Rod, Giambi, Jeter, Damon, and Posada in your line-up?

    And, now, with Cano’s hammy, it could be more of a struggle to score runs – if Robinson is out as long as it took Bubba Crosby to heal his hamstring.

    Thank goodness for Mussina’s effort in the first game today.

    The Yankees are now 11-11 for the month of June – with 4 games to go this month. That’s bad news. This was supposed to be an easy month for New York.

    The Yankees schedule in July and August is tough. We may just be looking at a killer June swoon here. The Yankees better play better against the Braves now – with the Mets coming after that.

    June 23rd vs. The Marlins

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 · Comments (5)

    This game was…….

    TCFC.jpg

    PS – Happy 63rd Wedding Anniversary to Scooter and Cora. I thought I once heard Phil say, during a broadcast (from Seattle?) that he would never book a round hotel room because then he would never be able to corner Cora.

    Hopefully, there’s an octagon-shaped room somewhere up at Penny’s house. I have no idea how old Cora is now – but, Scooter is eighty-eight. They deserve to have some fun tonight.

    Holy Cow!

    June 21th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (4)

    When I left work today, I asked one of my Yankees fan friends there what the odds were of Jaret “Five & Pine” Wright throwing a good game in the Philly bandbox. He laughed and said “You never know.” I answered back with “Sorry, I don’t have a lot of confidence in him tonight.”

    So, it’s not an understatement to say I’m surprised – but happy – that Wright posted goose eggs tonight (albeit in his customary five spot). With an off-day tomorrow, it’s not so bad that he didn’t pitch the 6th today. (And, I buy into what they said on YES – that it may have been all those LHB coming up, in what was then a 1-0 game, that was the driver to go with Villone.)

    In closing tonight, I would like to personally “thank” the Washington Nationals for rolling over to the Red Sox (for three straight) like a patient at the proctologist after playing the Yankees like it was the 7th game of the World Series for three days in a row. Everybody wants to beat the Yankees but nobody ever shows up against the Red Sox. Let’s just say that I’ll be rooting against the Nationals now, when given the chance, whereas before they were never on my radar. They’ve made my “list” after this past week.

    June 20th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    I wonder how many Yankees fans, like me, given the events of the three games prior to this contest, expected (at some level) to see Ryan Howard blast another HR to win the game in the bottom of the 9th?

    Whew!

    Maybe all that fisting that Jeter did with that kid in the stands tonight has brought on some good luck?

    Before I forget – is Bernie Williams really batting .294 now? Yes, this is true. But, it’s a strange thing – because his OBA, now, is only around .334 (by my rough count). So, he’s not really like the Bernie Williams of old – he’s more like the Robinson Cano of now. But, given the Yankees’ choices for outfielders these days – Kevin Reese anyone? – Bernie’s helping the team as best he can (at this stage of his career).

    It was sort of scary seeing Mo Rivera swing a bat for the first time since Game 4 of the 2000 World Series. Why was he swinging from the heels? Torre should have ordered him to stand there for three pitches and not risk any injury. Just imagine if Mariano ended up on the D.L. this year because he hurt his shoulder swinging the bat in an inter-league game?

    Lastly, yes, A-Rod, Melky, Damon…..fill in the blanks. But, more importantly, Arthur Lee Rhodes Jr., well, thank you for being you. It’s nice to know there are still some things that you can count on almost every time.

    June 19th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Something like 20-years ago, the “Magic Eye” thing was really big. I first remembered seeing them in the local mall. Then, they got so popular that the newspaper was carrying them in the comics section.

    The way it worked was – you would stare at a point in the picture, and then relax your eyes, and then you would see these “magical” things inside the picture – like rivers of color, or a funky space alien, or something silly like that.

    It never worked for me. All my friends would carry on about all the “cool” stuff that they could see – like it was an acid trip. Me? I would stare, and stare, and stare – and I’d get nothing.

    Basically, looking at these things was a total waste of my time – and the more I did it, the more annoyed I would become (since I knew there was “something” good in there, according to others, but all I could see was a blur of seemingly nothingness).

    For roughly two decades, since the height of the “Magic Eye” craze, I do not recall having this experience – of watching something, staring at it with great intent, thinking it was going to be good, and it essentially becoming a mind numbing waste of time.

    But, I swear, watching this game tonight, it all came back to me. The more that I stared at this game, the more I saw nothing. The whole thing is just one big blur. And, it’s not pretty – at least not to me.

    June 18th @ The Nationals

    Posted by on June 18th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    I was spared today. I missed this game. We took the kids to go see the Sussex Skyhawks play at Skylands Park in Augusta (NJ). It was 75 miles (each way) to get there – but, it was worth it.

    It’s a cozy park, with quiet fans – at least they were today, and the staff is very polite. We had a fun time at the ballpark today – unlike the Yankees.

    When the Yankees play the Washington Nationals, they’re supposed to win either two or three out of three games. They’re not supposed to win one game and then blow the other two for losses.

    When we got to the car today, and I heard the score of the Yankees final, and then how it happened, all I could think about was what Joe Torre said after yesterday’s game:

    [It's] “As bad as you can get…”

    Guess what Joe – it just got worse. This is a devastating loss.

    The Yankees have now lost 7 of their last 10 games. And, one of those wins was by the score of 1-0. So, we could be looking at 8 of 10 right now. New York is lucky that Boston and/or Toronto has not taken advantage of this slump.

    The way the Yankees are playing right now, it seems like this team needs a shot of adrenaline, or something. How that happens, I don’t know? In the absence of adrenaline, maybe a slap in the face will do?

    It just seems like, if they do nothing, then nothing will happen.

    June 17th @ The Nationals

    Posted by on June 17th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    I know that Mo Rivera got the loss in this ugly game, but, if it were up to me, I would give it to Chacon.

    Your team just scored 7 runs in one inning, to give you a lead of 9-2, and then you come back in the bottom of the inning and allow the other team to get back into the game (by eventually scoring 4 runs in their frame).

    Did you know that, this season, Chacon has only logged more than 6 1/3 IP in a game once? He’s just another Yankees starter who is lucky to make it past the 6th inning. How many games this season has the Yankees starting pitcher failed to make it past the 6th inning? Let’s check:

    Mussina – 6 times
    Johnson – 9 times
    Wang – 7 times
    Wright – 10 times
    Chacon – 6 times
    Small – 3 times

    So, that’s 41 times in 66 games where the Yankees starting pitcher failed to log more than 6 IP in his game. That’s 62%.

    Well, at least it looks like Mattingly has fixed A-Rod, right? You have to try and look for something positive in a terrible loss like today, no?

    June 16th @ The Nationals

    Posted by on June 16th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    This was a great game to win because it would have been a painful game to lose. What I hope does not get lost this evening in the win are three items of note (that need to be addressed):

    1. While Bernie Williams was the hitting star in this contest, his lack of arm in RF nearly cost the Yankees this game. Nick Johnson, not a speedster of any quality, twice (running the bases) made the point of how Williams throws weakly. Now, in Yankee Stadium, with the very short RF, having Bernie play RF is not that big of an issue. (And, it makes sense to play Melky Cabrera in LF in the Bronx – since it’s such a big field and he has the legs and arm to cover it.)

    Back in the day, when Babe Ruth played for the Yankees, for most of his time with the team, the Yankees would play Ruth in RF in the Bronx and then play him in LF on the road. Basically, this was done to keep him in the easier field to play. Why can’t the Yankees do this now with Bernie Williams? Having Cabrera play RF on the road, where he can prevent runners from going first-to-third and second-to-home, makes more sense (than having Bernie out there).

    2. As much as Jaret Wright does his best and guts it out each turn, he’s hurting the team by not being able to get through the 6th inning every time. Being a 5-inning pitcher, in the 5th slot of the rotation, is fine if you have four horses in front of you. But, just about everyone on the Yankees staff is a 100-pitch pitcher these days. The Yankees need to get someone in the rotation, to replace Wright, who can give them some innings each time out. He doesn’t need to be a star. Even if his ERA is 4.80, he would be worth it – if he can average 6.3 IP per start. At this point, even someone like Doug Davis would be an upgrade on Wright – and welcome.

    3. A-Rod. I mean, really, if you saw this in a movie it would be unbelievable. There’s no way that someone that good could be this bad. It’s the 7th inning, Yanks down by two, with one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd – and he gets caught looking. Then, in the next inning (the 8th) it happens again – game tied, bases loaded, two out and he whiffs.

    For the month of June, he’s now batting .156 in 45 ABs – with 18 Ks in those 45 ABs. That’s 4 Ks for every 10 ABs.

    Remember Phil Niekro? Remember his brother, Joe Niekro (also a pitcher)? They both pitched for the Yankees at one point. In his career, Joe Niekro (as a batter) had a lifetime average of .156 and he whiffed 2.5 times for every 10 ABs.

    This is how bad A-Rod has been so far this month – he’s hitting like Joe Niekro. Over their Yankees career, Enrique Wilson, Omar Moreno, and Alvaro Espinoza hit better (in terms of a success rate) than Alex Rodriguez has batted so far this June.

    Yes, it’s only been a half-month. But, what if this is still going on (at this terrible rate) when the calendar hits July 1st? If things seem bad now, it’s going to be a hundred times worse then. It will be a circus. This is why this situation needs to turnaround – and very soon. But, will it?

    June 15th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on June 15th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    I’m going to try some live-blogging on this one today. Stay tuned for updates.

    Update 1:14 pm ET: Just an in-game note – Alex Rodriguez, SLG% at Yankee Stadium to date: .295 vs. RHP and .806 vs. LHP. The Tribe has a LHP starting. Good.

    Update 1:33 pm ET: That was quick. BTBTB doubles by the Indians’ 6-7-8 hitters. Tribe has a 2-run lead and needs 24 outs to win.

    Update 2:00 pm ET: Bernie left stranded on 2nd after a one-out double. Oh, well, at least they won’t be no-hit today.

    Update 2:15 pm ET: Bottom of the order strikes again for Cleveland. Tribe has a 3-run lead and needs 18 outs to win.

    Update 2:19 pm ET: Stupid day game! I really wanted to see Melky’s first HR live in real time. Damn.

    Update 2:45 pm ET: It’s now a 4-inning game – with the Yankees down by two. The next two innings could be key.

    Update 3:01 pm ET: Once again, the bottom of the order kills Mussina in this game. It’s the same three guys as the 2nd inning and now New York trails 6-1.

    Update 3:28 pm ET: A-Rod homers, solo, when the Yankees are down 6-1 in the 7th. Talk about a straight-line.

    Update 3:33 pm ET: I guess Bernie missed the memo where I said he was going to be a dud this season. His HR now makes it a 3-run game.

    Update 3:51 pm ET: Bubba in for Damon?

    Update 3:55 pm ET: Bases, pardon the pun, juiced for Giambi. Sweet. Com’on Jason!

    Update 3:58 pm ET: FC is better than a DP! OK, now it’s 6-4 Tribe, two on, and A-Rod up. Any predictions?

    Update 4:01 pm ET: Alex whiffs. Boooooooooooo!

    Update 4:16 pm ET:
    Memo to Torre: Only let Small pitch when the game is out of hand. It’s now a three-run hole again.

    Update 4:34 pm ET: OK, now, for the Yankees, four runs are needed (to tie) and there’s one inning to get it done. What are the odds?

    Update 5:14 pm ET: It’s too bad that the Yankees 4-5-6 hitters today could not keep up with the Indians 6-7-8 hitters. For the record, last night, I wrote:

    In any event, Mussina needs to pitch well for the Yankees to win, on Thursday, in my opinion. I just have a feeling that the Yankees are only going to score something like four runs tomorrow. Just a hunch.

    And, what happened? The Yankees only scored four runs today, Mussina was bad, and the Yankees lost. That was some hunch.

    June 14th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on June 14th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    At the close of business today, the Yankees magic number is now 99. But, who’s counting?

    I’ve been Unit-Teased a few times now this season. So, I’ll take tonight as a win and will hold, still, on the “Randy’s Back” parade. Still, it was good to see him be pissy on the mound and be able to back it up.

    As far as Posada’s reaction to his HBP, I can live with that as well – even though the guys in the YES booth said that he over-reacted. To me, when Jason Johnson turned his back to Jorge, that was a mistake. It was a body-language-diss that only made things worse.

    I have a bad feeling about Cliff Lee tomorrow. After six bad starts, he’s been pretty good in his last two. But, he’s a lefty too – so, maybe tomorrow will be a big day for A-Rod? In any event, Mussina needs to pitch well for the Yankees to win, on Thursday, in my opinion. I just have a feeling that the Yankees are only going to score something like four runs tomorrow. Just a hunch.

    June 13th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on June 13th, 2006 · Comments (16)

    To borrow from Peggy Lee:

    Why this feeling? Why this glow?
    Why the thrill when you say Hello?
    It’s a strange and tender magic you do
    Mister Wang-der-full, that’s you.

    …..

    Oh there’s much more I could say
    But the words keep slipping away
    And I’m left with one point of view
    Mister Wang-der-full, that’s you

    In his last five Yankee Stadium starts, Chien-Ming Wang has now thrown 37.2 IP and has an ERA of 1.69 in those innings. The Wanger likes home cooking.

    Now, on the other end of the world, let’s review A-Rod’s game this evening.

    First time up, runners on 1st and 2nd with one out – and Alex whiffs.
    Second time up, runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs – and Alex pops-out to left.
    Third time up, with no one on and two outs – Alex then K’s-looking.
    Last time up, leading off the 8th – Alex whiffs again.

    A-Rod is now batting .138 in his last 8 games. At a time where the team needs him the most, he’s gone into a shell. (The Yankees have gone 3-5 in those 8 games – and two of the three wins were scores of 1-0 and 2-1.)

    Nonetheless, the Yankees are in fine position in the standings with 100 games to go. But, the big question still is: Who will carry them over the next 100 games?

    To borrow from Bonnie Tyler:

    I need a hero
    I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
    he’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast
    and gotta be fresh from the fight

    I need a hero
    I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light
    He’s gotta be sure and he’s gotta be soon
    And he’s gotta be larger than life
    Larger than life

    Where’s Mitch Miller when you need him?

    June 11th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on June 11th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    No hit.
    No pitch.
    No field.
    No win.

    It’s pretty basic stuff.

    No hit: The Yankees team had 5 hits on the day – three by Robbie Cano.
    No pitch: Chacon could not get past the 6th inning.
    No field: Posada’s passed ball in the 4th, A-Rod’s error in the 6th, and Proctor’s failure to get the ball out of his glove in the 6th.

    Here’s the rub for me on this game – and even the 4-game losing streak.

    The Yankees pitching is what it is. Outside of the Randy Johnson tank job, there’s no valid reason to expect to see better efforts from the likes of Wright, Wang and Chacon. They’re all capable at times – but, none of them are going to turn into Cy Young Award winners this season because they each have their particular limitations.

    And, the Yankees’ fielding is what it is. Besides, when you pitch and hit well, you can survive an occasional error here and there.

    But, the Yankees hitting. Here, we have something.

    Yes, Sheffield and Matsui are out. And, Bernie Williams is old. And, Jeter only has one able thumb and Damon has a broken foot. Still, there’s a bunch of other guys on this team.

    Now, to expect Cabrera, Cairo, and Phillips to carry the load is unfair – and probably insane. This leaves A-Rod, Posada, Cano, and Giambi.

    Posada and Cano have been doing just fine. Which brings us to Giambi and Alex Rodriguez.

    Since June 6th, Giambi is 2 for 14 and A-Rod is 3 for 18. And, the Yankees are 1-4 since June 6th. Granted, they both came down with stomach disorders around three days before June 6th, and, that would be the excuse that many would point towards here.

    OK, I’ll give them the buddy-pass here too. But, as of the Yankees next game, it will be a week since they recovered from the bug. There can be no excuse beyond that point.

    But, wait, Giambi now sore left-hand as a result of the HBP yesterday. So, he does now have an excuse, I suppose.

    This just leaves A-Rod. He needs to start hitting. The Yankees team needs him to start hitting. This is true now – more so than ever – given the current status of the Yankees team. Eleven days ago, I wrote:

    This is the time where the Big Units, Giambis, A-Rods, and the like need to come through for the Yankees. This is why they were brought to New York. It will be interesting to see who rises to this occasion.

    For those scoring at home, it’s still a big goose egg for “the like” in this opportunity. But, there’s still lots of baseball coming up for this to change. I hope we see something happen soon.

    June 10th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on June 10th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    This is the first time that the Yankees have lost three games in a row (this year) since the first week of the season (when they lost 4 in a row from April 4th through April 8th).

    If they lose on June 11th, with the off-day that follows on Monday, when the Yankees play their next game, on June 13th, it will be one full week since they last won a game.

    I want to say that it’s a pretty big spot (tomorrow) for Shawn Chacón – because of all the aforementioned bad-streaking. But, in reality, it’s not just about starting pitching tomorrow.

    Chacón can do a good job – just as Mussina did in the game today – and still lose if the Yankees don’t swing the bats or make the plays in the field.

    In their last 27 innings played, New York batters have whiffed 22 times and only had 19 hits. In the field, in those same 27 innings, the Yankees have made 3 errors – which should have been four – and also had one passed ball.

    These last three games, including this one, have been a team effort for the Yankees – in terms of who’s helped ensure the losses. It’s been pitching one night, lack of hitting in another, and today it was the defense.

    OK, that’s the hat-trick. Congrats. How about a win now?

    June 9th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on June 9th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    Watching this game, well, if it was a movie, it would have been called Deconstructing Randy.

    Flash, Kay and Murcer in the YES booth were having a great go at it – discussing what’s wrong with Randy Johnson. (By the way, I think John Flaherty is a rising star in the booth, if you ask me. I really enjoyed listening to him this evening.)

    And, then, the rain came. With the rain-delay, along came a Yankeeography episode filler – the Catfish Hunter story. As I was sitting through that, and factoring in how terrible Johnson was this evening, it dawned on me: The Yankees do not have that “Games 1, 4 & 7″ pitcher on their staff right now (like Hunter was for the A’s).

    Really, it’s not Johnson, Wang, or Chacon – they’re too inconsistent. Jaret Wright? Com’on now. That leaves Mussina.

    Now, I do agree that Mussina has been great so far this year. And, he was great in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS and Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. But, he was toast in Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS. And, he was knocked out of Game 3 of the 2002 ALDS as well. So, in the past, he’s been a mixed bag in the big game. Plus, he’s a 100-pitch pitcher. He’s not going to be the guy to throw 120 pitches and then come back on three days rest in the time of need. And, that’s what you want from your “ace” in the big series.

    I still think the Yankees are going to have a great season and win close to 99 games this year. But, seeing Randy Johnson tonight, I now have to question their chances in the post-season against a team with a legit-ace who is going to make 3 starts in a series.

    Randy Johnson was supposed to be that guy to match up against their best in the post-season. Right now, the Big Unit couldn’t even match up against Dave LaPoint. (And, this is considering the fact that LaPoint is almost 48-years-old now.)

    Aw, what the hey? At least Johnson gives the guys in the booth something to talk about during the game, right?

    June 8th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 8th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    First off, you can’t win every game. Secondly, even if you win almost all your games, you’re not going to win almost every time against the Boston Red Sox. So, I can sort of file this game in the “It’s bound to happen sometime” drawer.

    That all said, there are two things that I would have liked to seen happen differently in this game.

    In the top of the 6th, Alex Rodriguez has to make that play on the ball hit by Alex Gonzalez. A superstar third baseman has to make that play. And, at first, it was ruled an error. (Why they later changed it to a hit, well, I can only wonder.) If A-Rod makes that play for the out, then it’s a 3-3 game heading into the bottom of the sixth.

    Sure, the non-play only made the score 4-3 (in favor of the Sox). But, if Alex Rodriguez makes that play, and gets the double play, then Crisp and Loretta will lead off in the 7th inning – instead of Ortiz and Ramirez. And, if that happens, it changes the whole complexion of that inning (where Boston then scored five runs and iced the game).

    Also, in that Boston 7th inning, with runners on 1st and 2nd, with one out, and the Sox up by one, I would have brought in Mike Myers to face Varitek. It makes more sense to have Varitek bat right-handed and against a pitcher that is not going to supply a lot of power. Let him try and power the ball out to Death Valley on his own merit.

    If Varitek doesn’t homer in the 7th, then it’s still a close ballgame and then we never see Scott Erickson pitch.

    But, this is all hindsight – so, what can you do?

    At least Melky worked Papelbon for a walk in the 9th. That’s another brand name pitcher this year where he’s worked the guy for a walk. He also did it to Curt Schilling the last time in New York – and he did it to Billy Wagner in Shea this year. This kid knows the strike zone.

    June 6th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 7th, 2006 · Comments (14)

    0606park.jpg

    Not a bad little game to attend – not at all.

    I got to the Stadium around 5:45 pm-ish. Hey, it’s Sox-Yanks – you know it’s going to be crowded. That’s one thing I don’t get – actually, I mean I’m surprised that more don’t get it. You have to allow time to get to these games. Sitting in the Stadium, early in the game (during the 1st and 2nd innings), and seeing so many empty seats, it’s sad.

    The Yankees draw 40,000 on a bad night. If it’s a big game, like the Red Sox, you know there’s going to be a ton of traffic, etc. So, get there early. Those of us there on time will appreciate not having you walking in during the beginning of the game – and causing us to have to crane our necks to see pitches while we’re already in our seats.

    Speaking of seats, mine are in Section 15 of the Loge – right in front of one of those private suites. Guess who was at the game tonight? Darryl Strawberry stuck his head out of the window to wave to the fans. Funny, I thought he was now a Mets minor league instructor.

    I have to give Wang credit tonight. Early on, he threw so many pitches in the 1st and 2nd innings, I thought “He’ll be lucky to go five today.” And, yet, he was able to get seven innings done in this contest. And, he came in high and tight once to Manny – which the crowd loved.

    The crowd tonight had some good reactions to specific items in the game: Phillips’ great play in the 3rd, Posada’s double in the 4th (which looked like it might go out), Bernie’s homer in the 5th, Phillips making another play in the 7th, Giambi’s walk in the 7th, and A-Rod’s whiff in the 7th.

    But, the biggest reaction had to be on the play that Melky Cabrera made on Manny Ramirez in the 8th.

    You know, superstars post the sexy numbers – but, play-makers win games. Melky Cabrera is a play-maker. I’m so glad that he’s on this team. So many play-makers from the recent ring-run are gone. And, it’s good to see more come along.

    I also enjoyed the hit that the NYC cop put on the jerk in the yellow shirt who ran on to the field in the 6th inning. That was an “LT”-like sack. He dropped that guy like a bad habit.

    By the way, if you saw a guy at the game tonight in the stands going through garbage looking for plastic red caps to Coke bottles, that was my friend Jeff. He was thrilled that he was able to get 22 of them for some contest that he’s doing on-line. I rode him pretty good about being silly on this – especially since he’s 48-years-old. Now, the joke will be on me if he wins something from this thing.

    But, it won’t beat the joke that we saw leaving the Stadium.

    We were stuck on the ramps in the Stadium, and they’re just crawling, because they’re packed. But, it’s cool – because everyone’s chanting “Let’s-Go Yan-kees” and “Bos-ton Sucks” and stuff like that.

    And, just then, a girl in front of me grabs another girl that she’s with and kisses her on the mouth – and she’s holding the other girl’s head so that she can’t break the kiss. I say to Jeff “Dude, did you just see that?” and he says “No, I was reaching for that empty Coke bottle on the floor.” And, then, the guy next to me says “No problem. I took a picture on my cell phone” and he shows us the picture.

    Turns out that the two girls, the guy with the cell phone, and another guy (there) all work together. And, they wanted to set up the one girl (the kiss-ee) who probably had a few beers at the game.

    The girl who got kissed ended up talking with Jeff for a while – since the crowd was moving so slow. It was a pretty funny conversation.

    And, just for good measure, later on, the “other” girl grabbed her friend again and locked lips with her – as the cell phone guy snapped another picture.

    Can you just imagine how much fun these four are going to have at work tomorrow?

    June 5th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 5th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Oh, what fun it was this evening to see the Yankees tar and feather Josh Beckett.

    I saw after the game that the Yankees and Red Sox are now 42-42 against each other during the last five regular seasons. Tomorrow’s game should be interesting. I just have to keep reminding myself: There’s no truth to the “I hate it when they score a ton because that means they’re going to hardly score at all tomorrow” thing.

    June 4th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on June 4th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    I decided to do some power-washing this morning. And, as usual, once I started, I ended up doing it for longer than I expected.

    Power-washing is always too tempting. The plan might be to do just one thing – like today, when it was the north side of the house – and then you decide that you want to do more while you’re at it (and you have everything out and hooked up). So, after doing the house siding, the garage door, two cars, and my entire driveway blacktop, it was just about game time for the Yankees and O’s.

    But, I had to run some errands first with the family. And, once those were done it was then around 3:30 pm (ET). Further, we were in need of a little snack by then – and decided to stop at the local Ralph’s Italian Ices. (I grew up less than 500 feet from the original Ralph’s – and after eating there everyday in the summer for about a decade as a small kid I’ve become addicted to their orange ice.)

    When we got to Ralph’s, there were two (I want to say eighteen year-old) boys in line behind us. I’m going to call them Vanilla Ice Jr. and Marshall Mathers II since that’s what they looked and sounded like – no kidding.

    To be candid, up until this point, I sort of forgot about the Yankees game. I was tired. We had stopped at several stores. The kids wanted a snack. The orange ice was calling to me. There were too many other things on my mind.

    But, then, one of the tweeners behind me asked the other tweener “Are the Yankees playing today?” And, just then, I thought “Shoot, the game, I never checked for a score.” Just as suddenly, Mathers II said to Vanilla Jr. “Man, da Orioles are killin’ ‘em, it’s like ten-nuthin’ in da 6th inning.”

    I refused to believe it. My logic: “If this kid is stupid enough to walk around dressed like that and acting like that, then maybe he screwed up the score.” But, I knew that I would have to check the game the minute that I got into the house.

    When we got home, I had my answer.

    I know that the Yankees don’t have many options these days, but, it’s time to return Aaron Small to Columbus. He’s now allowed nine homers in 22.3 innings this season. He’s not fooling anyone – and it’s not like he has this wonderful and robust resume to fall back on. It’s over for him. Last year was great – but that was last year. It was a fluke. We get it now.

    Still, in all, considering all the injuries of late, the fact that the Yankees have won five of their last seven is cool.

    Bring on the Red Sox.

    But, before then, can someone help an old-timer out with a “Are we going to hell in a handbasket” question (related to my tweener-sighting today)?

    What’s with the kids/hoods today with wearing New Era caps and leaving the gold round label on the bill of the cap as they wear it around town? I see it all the time now. Is it a hip-hop thing or just a badge-type thing to signify to the rest of the world that you’re an idiot?

    June 3rd @ The Orioles

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2006 · Comments (8)

    It’s now official. Chien-Ming Wang is the all-time Yankees leader for most career saves by a pitcher born in Taiwan. Way to go Mr. Wang-der-full!

    Speaking of other lands, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Miggy Tejada……what is it about these guys from the Dominican Republic that makes it impossible for the Yankees to ever get them out?

    OK, yeah, the Yankees left a ton of runners on base today. And, Scott Proctor blew the win for Randy Johnson. But, just as sunlight is the best disinfectant, winning is the best deodorant. No one in the Yankees clubhouse right now cares that much about all those LOBs and the fat pitches allowed by Proctor in the 8th inning. Sure, maybe Randy Johnson cares – but, he’s only one guy.

    Staying on the Big Unit, this is now two starts in a row where he’s looking good. And, as crazy as this might sound – considering how terrible he was in May – Johnson is still on pace for a 20-win season. Imagine that.

    I feel bad for Darrell Rasner. Then again, this is The Season of The Injury for the Yankees. So, why should he be spared? Related, with both A-Rod and Giambi having now missed games this series with stomach disorders, maybe it’s time for the YES Network to expand their pre-game coverage? In addition “Yankees B.P. Today,” maybe they should start a segment called “Yankees T.P. Report” to provide updates listing who on the team is popping a gastric zit on that given day?

    Man, joking aside, someone should start a list of all the reasons why Yankees have missed games this year. From Rivera’s shoe-tying to Pavano’s butt bumping to A-Rod’s ralphing, it’s been some interesting season so far.

    And, if (as I type this) the Tigers can hang on to a 3-1 lead (in the 6th) and beat the Red Sox today, the Yankees will be in first place at the end of the day.

    I’m telling you – John Cameron Swayze would love this Yankees team.

    June 2nd @ The Orioles

    Posted by on June 2nd, 2006 · Comments (7)

    No Matsui.
    No Sheffield.
    No Rivera.
    No A-Rod.

    No problem!

    All you need is a dash of Jaret Wright, a sprinkle of Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, a pinch of Andy Phillips, a slice of Melky Cabrera, and a bowl-full of Derek Jeter, and……BAM! A Yankees win.

    Hey, not even Posada was needed this evening.

    Sure, it did look dicey at times during the game. But, in the end, it’s all about the final score, no?

    With all the YES coverage of Cal Ripken sitting in the stands tonight, something occurred to me. As Ripken is getting older, is he starting to look a little like Steve Wilkos? You tell me:

    ripsteve.jpg

    June 1st @ The Tigers

    Posted by on June 2nd, 2006 · Comments (15)

    The minute that Farnsworth walked Thames with one out in the bottom of the 9th, and the Yanks up by just one, I thought to myself “They just lost this game.”

    Yes, I know that, on May 28th, I wrote:

    And, now, the Tigers. Yes, they’re playing .700 ball so far this season. But, they’ve beat up on the Royals and Twins to get that record. (If I counted right, the Tigers are 15-2 against K.C. and Minny so far this year.) The Yankees better take three of four in this next series.

    And, the Yankees took three of four from the Tigers. So, I should be happy, right?

    Sorry. There’s just too many bad things from this game to be happy.

    Yanks had a runner on 2nd in the 2nd with one out and could not score him. Yanks had runners on 1st and 2nd in the 5th with no outs and could not score a run. Yanks had the bases loaded in the 7th with one out and could not score. And, in the 9th, the Yankees had runners on 1st and 2nd – albeit with 2 outs – and did not score.

    In all of these situations – 2nd inning, 5th inning, 7th inning and 9th inning, Terrence Long was at the plate with a chance to do something and made outs.

    If Long had come through in one of those spots, then maybe the lack of Rivera and the stupid pitching of Farnsworth is a non-issue?

    Torre has to stop playing Long now – with Thompson now on the roster. There’s no excuse for running this out-maker to the plate anymore.

    Wang was terrible in this game. And, the Yankees still had a chance to win it. And, the difference between winning and losing this one could have been as simple as deciding who to play in RF.

    Yeah, Farnsworth gets the “L” for this one – but Torre gets an assist too.