• September 30th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on September 30th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Another Spring Training type game today.

    Still, a win is a win – and this one gave the Yankees 94 for the season (which is their lowest season victory total since 2000). Considering how they started, getting to 94 wins is, well, in the words of Larry David, prittay, prittay, good.

    Nice that Torre let Posada run the team today. I actually think Posada will make an excellent manager someday in the future. He’s a catcher – so, he knows pitching. He’s worked hard to make himself a great switch-hitter. And, he comes from a baseball family. It’s in his blood. Plus, he can speak Spanish too. There’s a lot of things going for him there, if he wants to lead a team after his playing days are over.

    September 29th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on September 30th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Andy Pettitte’s ERA for the season took a beating with this game. It was 3.81 coming into the contest and it’s now 4.05 (on the year). That’s a shame – because the 3.8 mark was more fitting to his effort this year than the mark of 4-plus.

    Call me crazy, but, I would love to see Shelley Duncan get the start at first base against C.C. Sabathia in the ALDS.

    That’s about all one can say after watching this game. It really was more like a Spring Training game. As such, you can’t take too much out of it and give it serious consideration.

    September 28th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on September 29th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    When you throw 6 pitchers out there, including Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera, and Kyle Farnsworth is the one who gives you the best performance, you know things are not good.

    Moose was strange in this one. Some innings, he looked great – yet, in others, well, not good at all. At this point, you do have to wonder which Mussina will show up in October? Will it be the one that got pounded by the Tigers and Angels and lost his spot in the rotation? Or, will it be the one that was great when he returned to the rotation after losing his spot? We saw a little of both those Mussinas in this game.

    Rivera? Well, let’s just see how he does in his next game. I would guess that he’ll get one more inning in, somewhere, before the ALDS. It will be interesting to see if he has issues again there.

    What about Edwar Ramirez? Well, at this point, if it’s not clear that he has no business whatsoever being on the post-season roster, there’s no other way to convince anyone of it. He’s just been awful lately.

    Hey, it was not nice to lose this game. But, look at it this way: It’s not as painful as the Mets loss in Shea on this date, is it? Plus, in a way, it’s probably a good thing. (Wow, look at me saying that a Yankee loss is a good thing!) If they Yankee had finished first in the A.L. East, there was a chance that they would have faced the Angels in the ALDS. Now, that’s moot – thanks to losing this game.

    Yes, there can be serendipity in suckiness sometimes, even in Yankeeland.

    September 27th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on September 27th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    I met a friend for dinner tonight at “The Thirsty Turtle.” (Really, that was the name of the place.) It’s a casual setting. No complaints on the service or food. If in the area, I would go there again.

    It’s about 50 miles north of my house. So, I had a bit of a drive home.

    I decided to listen to this game on X-M Radio – which picks up the feed of the home-team broadcasters. I think the Rays’ radio guys were Andy Freed and Dave Wills. In any event, I thought they did a pretty good job doing the game. It was a nice change to hear the Yankees covered from someone other than Sterling and Waldman. (And, it reminded me of days gone by when the Rays’ radio guys mentioned that some of the remaining Tampa Bay games would not be on TV. Remember what it was like before every game was on TV? We really are lucky in New York these days.)

    I got home just in time to see Jose (the new Luis Sojo) Molina get the hit to break the tie in the game. Between listening to the Rays’ radio broadcast, and seeing the game on YES from the point that I got home, I was impressed with Phil Hughes tonight. I think Al Leiter made a good point on YES when he said that Hughes using all his pitches made his fastball feel electric – even though it was on the gun around 88-91.

    If you ignored the radar readings, and went by batter’s reactions, it looked like Hughes was over-powering this evening. Joe Torre, in his post-game, even said that this was Hughes best start – even better than his “no-hitter” in Texas.

    Getting Hughes peaking at this point is great news for the Yankees. They’re going to need some Roger Clemens insurance – between Rocket’s elbow and hammy – and there’s a chance that Hughes might be called upon to be a big part of the Yankees chances this October. If Phil throws like he did tonight, that will be awesome for the Yankees.

    Nice moments for Gonzalez and Sardinha today as well – both getting their first big league hits. It will be night that they both will always remember.

    Lastly, how ’bout those Amazin’s? It’s almost time to tell the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers to move over, huh? I still feel sorry for Willow. This is something that he does not deserve to have on his resume.

    September 26th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on September 27th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    When you can clinch with a blow-out, it seems to add to the party mood. Good job in this one by the Yankees.

    After losing 29 of their first 50 games, the Yankees have now secured their 13th consecutive post-season berth. (This streak is now one shy of the record set by the Atlanta Braves from 1991-2005.) New York has gone 70-38 in their last 108 games, a winning percentage of .648 to comeback from their terrible start this season. That’s impressive.

    The first thought that I had, about the Yankees locking up #13 now, was: “Man, all Yankees fans who are 21-years old or younger, have been spoiled. They really know nothing but making the post-season.” But, then I thought: “Too bad that those who are 14-years old or younger probably don’t know what it’s like to see them win a ring.”

    Hopefully, the Yankees will win one for the youngsters this season.

    After the game, Derek Jeter said: “This definitely has been the hardest one. We really battled.” Derek may or may not be right about that one – after all, 2005 was a battle too – but, this one is surely right up there with the more recent tough seasons for New York.

    In any event, now, a new season begins for the Yankees – October, 2007. Let’s hope that they don’t get off to a slow start in this second season.

    Good to hear that George Steinbrenner was at the game – even if he left after 7 innings. It’s nice that the boys put on a good show for the Big Stein on a special day.

    In addition to doing it for the youngsters, hopefully the Yankees will now win one for Stein, an old-timer, as well. This could be his last shot at seeing one while he knows what’s going on…

    September 25th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on September 26th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    So, now, the Yankees are 8-8 this year against the Devil Rays – the team with baseball’s worst record.

    The arson twins did it again. Last Friday, I wrote:

    Well, at the least, it was a preview of what you will see if the Yankees have to use Edwar “Boom Boom” Ramirez and/or Brian “The American Armando Benitez” Bruney in a post-season game this year.

    So, that’s twice in the last five games for Ramirez and Bruney. I think we’ve seen enough – and they should be sent packing for October.

    With this loss, the Yankees can forget about catching Boston – and even the Indians and Angels too. There’s just not enough time to match their win totals. It’s time to just limp into the post-season…too bad.

    Lastly, where were all those D-Ray relievers who were so good at blowing games to the Red Sox recently? I would have liked to have seen some of that happen for New York last night too. Why did the Rays decide to start pitching better out of the pen now?

    September 24th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 24th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    It will be so nice, after today, not to have that “1/2 game” in the standings hanging around any more.

    Update, 9/24/07, 1:15 pm ET: Andy Pettitte has now faced 123 batters in the 1st inning of games this season and retired 97 of them. That’s 79%. Maybe he should be the next Yankees closer? (Just kidding.)

    Update, 9/24/07, 1:21 pm ET: The Blue Jays’ Jesse Litsch has one of the more interesting MLB.com Gameday photos out there:

    Litsch.jpg

    Anyone else see a little Fire Marshall Bill there?

    Update, 9/24/07, 2:57 pm ET: F.M. Bill gave the Jays a neat and tidy first 6 innings in this contest. Only 5 Yankees reached base in the first six – and one of them was on an error.

    Update, 9/24/07, 3:39 pm ET: Now I get it. Litsch may look like F.M. Bill, but, today, he pitched like Rick Waits.

    Update, 9/24/07, 3:53 pm ET: I think the Yankees packed their bats a little early today. Oh, well, Wilcard it is…no shame in that, after all, according to Terry Francona.

    September 23rd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2007 · Comments (6)

    What, no extra innings today?

    When it was around ten after two, and it was only the second inning, and the score was tied, 3-3, I thought that today was going to end up like Friday and Saturday – with one of those long days in the Bronx.

    In the end, compared to the last two games, this one turned out to be quick.

    Another big win for the Yanks. I still want them to (at least) tie Boston for first place – as that would give them home-field in the ALCS if they face the Red Sox. Sure, yeah, I know they had home-field in 2004 and it did not help. But, I think it did help in 2003, no? In a close series, or a close game, it helps to get that last At Bat. Plus, Wang and Clemens pitch so much better at Yankee Stadium.

    According to reports, by reaching 90 wins today, and for the seventh straight season, the Yankees now have the third-longest streak in major league history (of 90+ wins seasons) – behind the 1947-58 Yankees and the 1904-12 Chicago Cubs. That, is something. Very impressive.

    By the way, I was totally wrong about Jose Molina. That was an excellent pick up by New York, in retrospect.

    September 22nd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2007 · Comments (6)

    RockyDidIt.jpg

    They got knocked to the mat last night in a tough loss. They got knocked to the mat in the 4th inning today…and then again in the 7th and the 8th innings too.

    But, the Yankees kept getting back up and continued to fight.

    Being able to call on this experience is going to help the Yankees in October.

    And, with their bullpen, outside of Mo, Joba and Viz, they’re going to need it.

    Long day. Huge win. Let it now sit on the scoreboard tonight down in Tampa as the Sox play this evening.

    September 21st vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2007 · Comments (4)

    I called it – extra innings.

    Ugh. What a long night in the South Bronx. (Yes, unlike thirty-something thousand people, I stayed for the whole game.)

    You cannot lose this game after that ninth inning miracle comeback – not to mention the date, the standings, etc.

    You just cannot lose this game. But, they did.

    Well, at the least, it was a preview of what you will see if the Yankees have to use Edwar “Boom Boom” Ramirez and/or Brian “The American Armando Benitez” Bruney in a post-season game this year. (And, if you think I’m being unfair on Edwar, let me remind you that he’s allowed 6 homers this season in the bigs over 17 games – while facing 87 batters.)

    Lastly, regarding the Yankee Stadium cam-crew choosing “Harlan from Nebraska” for the “Match Game” on the big screen out in right (above the bleachers) – where he had to find the two numbers that had “Joba Chamberlain” behind them – well, guys, please, enough with the Harlan Chamberlain stuff. It’s played, dude. Way played.

    September 19th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 20th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    Brian Burres pitched a very good game against the Yankees in this contest – so, this was an impressive win for New York. Andy Pettitte was the man here for New York – getting his 200th career win in the process.

    And, thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees now trail the Boston Red Sox by one game in the loss column – and 1.5 games overall in the standings.

    More on that from the AP:

    It’s the closest New York has been to first place since the Yankees trailed by one game before play on April 20. They began play on May 30 down by 14 1/2 games to Boston.

    “Four months ago, nobody gave us credit. And now we’re close to winning the division,” [Mariano] Rivera said.

    The next four games are huge for the Yankees. The Blue Jays played the Red Sox tough – and they’ll be up for the Yankees as well. Here are the upcoming pitching match-ups:

     Fri, Sep 21  7:05 pm EDT   C. Wang vs. R. Halladay
    Sat, Sep 22  1:05 pm EDT   I. Kennedy vs. D. McGowan
    Sun, Sep 23  1:05 pm EDT   R. Clemens vs. A. Burnett
    Mon, Sep 24  1:05 pm EDT   M. Mussina vs. J. Litsch 

    The Monday game could be Phil Hughes instead of Mike Mussina – according to some reports that I’ve seen. We’ll probably know more about who gets the ball in the next few days.

    Bottom line, the Yankees will need to win at least 3 of these 4 games against Toronto to keep marching towards first place. It will be interesting to see how these games play out and see who steps up for their teams.

    September 18th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 18th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Retro-Moose?

    I’m not sure to make of it – because the O’s are playing terrible baseball these days – but, on a night where the Yankees needed a win (heck, they need wins everyday these days), Mussina was awesome this evening.

    Then again, we’ve seen Mike pitch like this before and then not do well afterwards.

    The next start should be very telling for Moose.

    The team was rolling today. Mientkiewicz, you name it, they all were banging the ball. If this keeps up, Torre is going to have a tough call on who to sit between Mientkiewicz, Giambi, Melky, Damon and Matsui. One of them has to ride the pine for the other four to play. Like trying to determine if Moose is really back, that’s a hard one to figure out the right answer…as they all offer different things.

    And, that game in Toronto tonight? Don’t worry…I’ll have something posted on that soon.

    September 17th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 18th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    I only saw pieces of this game. I picked it up in the bottom of the 1st – when the Yanks were down 2-0. Then, after Mientkiewicz tied the score, I had to switch to the most exciting hour in television – Prison Break. I got back to the game just in time to see Hughes lose his stuff in the 6th – and then see Gator, Eiland and Hughes spend forever in the dugout working on Phil breaking his hands from the stretch. Geez, I hope the hands-thing doesn’t become an issue for Hughes in his next start…where it gets into his head and becomes a block or something.

    I was pretty gassed last night – and since the O’s are so bad these days, I felt safe leaving the game early and going to bed. The last thing I saw was Posada getting robbed at second to start the 7th – so, I missed Farnsworth melting in the 9th. It’s a sin on him that Rivera had to come into this game.

    Good win with the Tigers losing a close one. Seeing how bad the O’s really are now, the Yankees better run the table on them this week and the games that follow.

    Yankees magic number is now nine. Anytime it’s under 10 with a dozen games to go, is great. Looking good….

    September 16th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on September 16th, 2007 · Comments (15)

    Jeter beat Schilling; but, Ortiz could not beat Rivera. Cool.

    O.K., I do have to say this – and I dislike Curt Schilling as much as any player that I dislike in the game – Schilling pitched a great ballgame today…up until that Jeter homer. He only need 61 pitches to get through the first six innings…against the Yankees line-up. That’s something.

    Great effort from Clemens tonight too. That’s more than I expected. I hope he’s able to keep that up from here.

    Big win here for the Yankees. A loss would have meant another gain for the Tigers. And, New York cannot afford to allow the Tigers to get any closer in the Wildcard standings.

    Lastly, show of hands. How many other Yankees fans threw up when they saw Torre had Kei Igawa warming in the pen when Joba got into trouble in the seventh?

    September 15th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on September 15th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    I’ve been a Yankees fan now for 35 years. In that time, I’ve heard many a baseball axiom. One that has always been in my personal top ten is: Each season, every big league team is going to win 60 games, no matter what, and, every big league team is going lose 60 games, no matter what – and it’s what they do in the other 42 games that will define their overall record.

    The Yankees just picked the wrong day, today, to have one of those 60 games that you’re going to lose, no matter what. By getting their clocks cleaned in Boston today, New York loses any miracle shot that they had at winning the A.L. East, and, in the process, they also allow the Tigers to sneak-up into being now just 3 games back of the Yankees, in the loss column, of the Wildcard, with 14 games left to play.

    Yes, note that latter point. At this junction, the Wildcard is no longer as secure as it was for New York just a few days ago.

    The Tigers have now won 9 of their last 11 games and they get to close out their season with 9 games against the Twins, Royals and White Sox. Be concerned, Yankees fans, be very, very, concerned.

    Lastly, regarding this game, shame on the umps for allowing Beckett to stay in the game after hitting Giambi. They knew it was intentional. That’s why they issued the warning after that. So, if you knew it was intentional, then, why allow him to stay in the game? That was handled very poorly by the men in blue. And, I wonder what will happen now if some Yankees pitcher hits a Boston batter tomorrow night?

    September 14th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on September 14th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    Holy Bleeping Bleep!

    This game – this incredible, wacky, and wonderful game – is actually a 9-inning summary of the Yankees season, to date.

    This game (like this season) began with the Yankees starting pitching being highly ineffective.

    Through the first part of this game (like this season), the Yankees batters could not deliver when opportunities were at hand.

    For most of this game (like this season), the Yankees were hurt by the play of their first baseman.

    Lastly, in this game (like this season), Joe Torre’s middle-innings calls to the bullpen seemed to be the waving of the white flag.

    However, after all this happened, in this game (like this season), the Yankees did an absolute one-eighty in the eighth – that glorious, thrilling and delightful eighth – and an ugly duckling became a swan. A loser became a winner.

    I have to wonder if this game will have the same effect on the 2007 A.L. East crown confidence of the New York Yankees the way that Game 4 of the 2004 A.L.C.S. had on the pennant confidence of the Boston Red Sox?

    Can I say it again?

    Holy Bleeping Bleep!

    September 13th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 13th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    This started out as a beautiful, crisp, game. The contest was less than two hours old and it was already into the eighth inning. Ian Kennedy was dazzling for the Yankees tonight…and, then, well, it’s just an awful way to lose a game like this one…just awful.

    It’s not going to make for a happy flight to Beantown, that’s for sure.

    I know that Joba had the night off. And, I know that Farnsworth had a stiff neck. And, of course, you don’t bring in your closer when it’s a tie game on the road. But, were Chris Britton and Jose Veras the only options for the bottom of the ninth in a game like this one?

    Well, when you have already used Vizcaíno, and Edwar Ramirez has been used a lot lately, and that leaves Henn, Bruney, Villone, and a bunch of Triple-A pitchers….maybe that’s all you can do?

    Shame. It seems so wasteful to lose a game like this one from Kennedy and Vizcaíno.

    [insert your favorite curse word here]

    September 12th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 12th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    Don’t sweat the failures of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the heroics of David Ortiz this evening. Bottom line, the Yankees won this game – a contest where New York only had four hits and was robbed of a fifth via a blown call by an umpire. And, now, with seven wins in a row, the Yankees are just about a lock to make the post-season this year…no matter what happens with Boston.

    Interesting game for Mike Mussina here. You could make the case that he was pitching for his Yankee-life…at least for this season. Was he outstanding?

    I’m not sold – despite Moose’s five and two-third shutout innings. First of all, Cano made two hit saving plays behind Mussina – as did A-Rod as well. That helped Mike. And, it still seemed that Moose was gassed after (around) 75 pitches. I want to see another outing from Mussina before I would declare him “back.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I have a fear that the Yankees are going to need Mussina this year. It’s because I think Clemens’ elbow could explode at any minute. So, I would be thrilled to see Mussina be capable of providing the Yankees with an option (for him) to be a third starter (behind Wang and Pettitte) for October. It’s just that I want to see him pitch well, again, beyond this game.

    September 11th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 11th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    A tip of the cap to Phil Hughes today. When he threw 30 pitches in the bottom of the first, I thought to myself “He’s going to be lucky to go five innings today.” And, what happened? Hughes went six innings and held the Jays to just one earned run over that time. Awesome job by Mr. Hughes.

    Not a bad job either, tonight, from Edwar Ramirez. And, we had our first Ross Ohlendorf sighting too! Ohlendorf became the 9th pitcher to make his big league debut with the Yankees this season. That’s a franchise record (since 1957) – by far.

    Before this season, and going back to 1957, the record for most pitchers making their big league debut in the same season for the Yankees was five – and it happened five times: 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000 and 2004.

    Hey, how about those Devil Rays tonight? Thanks for nothing T.B.

    September 9th @ The Royals

    Posted by on September 9th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Ho, hum….Another day, another A-Rod homer. O.K. seriously, the A.L. record for most homers in a season by a right-handed batter is 58 (by Jimmie Foxx in 1932 and Hank Greenberg in 1938.) That’s a very, very, long standing record…and, I would love to see Alex break that, this season, as a member of the Yankees.

    And, what more can you say about Worm Killer Wang? He has an excellent shot at 19 wins this season. What’s the big deal with that? It would give him back-to-back seasons of 19 wins.

    The last time a Yankees pitcher had back-to-back seasons of 19+ wins was Tommy John (another sinkerball pitcher) during 1979-1980. That’s a long time ago too. (Before T.J., the last one to do it was Mel Stottlemyre in 1968-69. Before Mel, the previous one was Vic Raschi 1948-1951.)

    Magic Alex. Magic Wang. Oh, and, by the way, the Yankees magic number for the Wildcard is now 16. It’s all good.

    September 8th @ The Royals

    Posted by on September 9th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    A-Rod is amazing. I’ve never seen a Yankees player hit 50 homers in a season in my lifetime…and I’ve been following the team for close to 35 years. I’ll never forget watching this season unfold for Alex.

    Watching what Rodriguez and Posada are doing together this season reminds me of what Don Mattingly and Rickey Henderson did together for the Yankees in 1985. It’s not everyday that you have two players on your team putting together MVP type years in the same season.

    Watching A-Rod last night in the dugout, and for the last few nights, actually, has been incredible as well. I’ve never seen him so happy as a Yankee. His smile is huge these days. And, his teammates love him too. The guys in the bullpen flexing their left shoulders after the homers in this game was a hoot. And, it tells you, that, on this team, the guys consider Alex to be “the man.”

    Of course, if the Yankees reach the ALDS (which they should), and if Alex goes 1-14 or 2-15 and the Yankees lose the series, you have to wonder what that event would do to the legacy of A-Rod’s 2007 season (albeit fair or not).

    Still, for now, this season for Alex Rodriguez – in terms of both his production and confidence – is one for the record books of baseball and one for the “all-time” memory lists of Yankees fans.

    Back to the game, I hope that Derek Jeter’s patellar tendinitis in his right knee does not turn out to be a big deal. And, there’s no way that Brian Bruney should be on the post-season roster. He’s an absolute dog of a pitcher.

    September 7th @ The Royals

    Posted by on September 8th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    A nine inning, 3-2 ballgame, that took 3 hours and 25 minutes to play – without any weather, injury, lighting, or brawl related delays.

    That’s a long time for a game like this one. It’s nice that the Yankees won in the end.

    For some perspective, the Yankees were in K.C. on August 18, 1998 – and they beat the Royals 3-2 in that game too…in 3 hours and 58 minutes…but that game was a 13 inning affair.

    Ian Kennedy didn’t break in this game – when he could have folded in many spots. You have to like that in a pitcher. Plus, I’ve noticed in both his starts now that he tends to mutter to himself on the mound. As a fellow person who is prone to talk to himself in spots where some motivation or self-control is required, I like to see that from Kennedy as well.

    So, the Yankees magic number is now 19…to clinch the Wildcard. All good stuff. September 7th was a good day in Yankeeland.

    Speaking of good things, finally, a word about Harlan Chamberlain. I’m both a son and a father, so, I am very touched by his story, challenges, achievement and the tremendous amount of love between him and his son, Joba. And, since I find it moving, I can understand all the media attention that’s being focused on the Chamberlain family.

    However, to be candid, we’ve been hearing from and about Harlan Chamberlain for five weeks now. There are many other players on the Yankees and I’m sure that many of them have fathers who are very proud of them. And, I would bet that many players on the Yankees have families with stories of things that they’ve needed to overcome, etc. (Jeter, Wang, Phillips, Posada and A-Rod quickly come to mind.) Yet, they’re not getting the focus and attention of Harlan, Joba, etc.

    Therefore, I think it’s time to have the Harlan Chamberlain story to come to a rest.

    Again, it’s not that I don’t think it’s an awesome thing (because it is)…and, there’s an appropriate level of exposure that it deserves…but, it seems to be bordering on sensationalism, at least to me, if Harlan Chamberlain is going to designated as “the official father of the New York Yankees” and we’re going to have to hear from him, etc., for the rest of this season and in the years to come.

    September 5th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on September 5th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    A magical night at the Stadium.

    Phil Hughes gave the Yankees everything that they needed from him in this game. Sans one mistake pitch to Raul Ibanez, Hughes kept the M’s at bay…with some help from the umps (Ichiro was safe in the 3rd and 5th) and some bad Seattle baserunning (Grinnin’ Shelley Duncan nailing Ibanez at second in the 6th). You really can’t expect more than 6 innings and 2 runs from Hughes at this stage of his career. Therefore, the kid really came through in this contest.

    And, of course, two-in-one inning A-Rod was the man tonight. I remember watching that game where Cliff Johnson hit two in one inning. Cliff loved tearing apart Exhibition Stadium. In 167 games where he batted there, Johnson hit 34 taters at Exhibition Stadium. And, that was back in the day when 34 homers was a lot of homers.

    Look for something on A-Rod’s numbers this year from me soon. I just need time to work it up. It is an incredible year – without question.

    Luis Vizcaino is hurting now? Well, Quantrill, Sturtze, and a few other guys will be shocked to hear that.

    Again, a great win for the Yankees tonight. They should be riding high after this game and the one before it. Now, comes the test: 9 road games in 10 days. The Yankees have not played well on the road this season, to date. New York needs to win 6 of these 9 games – maybe more. If the Yankees go 4-5, or worse, in these games, it would be depressing, to say the least – especially after the way they played tonight and yesterday.

    September 4th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on September 5th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    When you factor in the overall state of the Yankees starting pitching over the last three seasons, just how valuable has Worm Killer Wang been to this team? Without him, I doubt the Yankees make the post-season in 2005, for sure. Maybe the same in 2006. And, this season, without Wang, there’s no way the Yankees have a shot at the Wildcard. Man, his agent has a great job.

    That homerun into the upper tank in left by A-Rod was a monster. I’ve seen Jose Canseco hit one up there for the Yankees in 2000. And, I saw Cecil Fielder hit one up there for the Tigers (in 1990, if I recall correctly). But, that’s not an area where you see many homers land. It happens maybe once every ten years or so, I would guess. That’s something, for sure.

    You just have to hope that Rodriguez and Wang are O.K. after their health issues in this game. With less than four weeks to go, the Yankees cannot afford any injuries at this point.

    According to Joe Torre, Phil Hughes had “a good bullpen (session)” last week and worked on mechanical things with Dave Eiland. Since Hughes has allowed 15 runs, 10 walks, and 4 homers in 16.2 IP, over his last three starts, I hope that Eiland has some impact here that Guidry and Kerrigan were incapable of providing. The Yankees need a good game from Phil Hughes in game three of this series.

    September 3rd vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on September 3rd, 2007 · Comments (5)

    King Felix Hernandez of Seattle went seven against the Yankees in this game and allowed just one earned run.

    Here’s a list of all starters, this season to date, to face the Yankees and who went at least 6 innings and gave up 2 ER or less, before King Felix today:

    A.J. Burnett
    Andy Sonnanstine
    Brian Burres
    Chad Gaudin
    Curt Schilling
    Daniel Cabrera
    Dustin McGowan (twice)
    Edwin Jackson
    Erik Bedard (twice)
    Fausto Carmona
    Horacio Ramirez
    Jarrod Washburn
    Jeff Francis
    Jeremy Guthrie (twice)
    Joe Kennedy
    Johan Santana
    John Danks
    John Lackey (twice)
    Jon Garland (twice)
    Jose Contreras
    Josh Fogg
    Justin Verlander
    Kelvim Escobar
    Miguel Batista
    Mike Wood
    Oliver Perez (twice)
    Ramon Ortiz
    Rich Harden
    Roy Halladay
    Scott Kazmir (twice)
    Shaun Marcum

    Here’s a list of all starters, this season to date, to face the Yankees and who went 5 innings or less and who gave up 3 ER or more:

    Andrew Miller
    Bartolo Colon
    Boof Bonser
    Cha Seung Baek
    Chad Durbin
    Curt Schilling
    Danny Haren
    Doug Davis
    Edwin Jackson
    Ervin Santana
    Gil Meche
    J.P. Howell
    Jake Westbrook
    James Shields
    Jered Weaver
    Jeremy Guthrie
    Jeremy Sowers
    Jesse Litsch (twice)
    John Danks
    John Maine
    Jon Garland
    Jose Contreras
    Josh Towers
    Julian Tavarez
    Kameron Loe
    Kevin Slowey
    Kyle Davies
    Livan Hernandez
    Matt Cain
    Miguel Batista
    Mike Wood
    Odalis Perez
    Orlando Hernandez
    Paul Byrd
    Robinson Tejeda
    Scott Elarton
    Scott Kazmir
    Shawn Chacon
    Tim Wakefield (twice)
    Tom Glavine

    I have no idea what any of this means. But, it seemed to make more sense to share this now than to talk about this game today.

    Cross your fingers on that MRI exam for Rocket’s right elbow. Pettitte, Wang, Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy might not be enough of a rotation to win the Wildcard. The Yankees will need to go close to 17-7 in their remaining games to win the ‘card. That’s going to be tough to do when you have two rookies and Moose starting 60% of your games.

    September 2nd vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on September 2nd, 2007 · Comments (14)

    I missed this one. We took the kids to Chester, and then to Clinton, to do some lunch, walking, and browsing. When we’re out for the day, like today, driving about, I try not to listen to the game on the radio. I’m always fearful that they’re going to have a bad game, which will make me depressed and pissy – and that’s never a good state of mind to have when you’re out with the family.

    Around 4:30 pm, I figured it was safe, as we were heading home, and had a great day, to check what happened in this game – so, I turned on 880. I was surprised to see that they were still playing. It was the bottom of the 8th, with two outs, and then I heard the score…

    Awwwww, nooooooooooooooo!

    That’s what I first thought, to myself. Then, I thought about what I wrote just before the start of this series:

    Now is the time for the Yankees to drop the Ed Norton/Tyler Durden routine that has been their modus operandi at times this season. New York cannot start to show up in a mild-mannered fashion for any of their remaining series. That team that lost 7 of 8 to the Rockies, Giants and O’s in June cannot show their head again now. The team that recently lost 8 of 13 from August 14th to August 27th cannot be allowed to return as well.

    I guess the Yankees were not listening when I wrote that three days ago.

    There’s just no excuse, if you’re the Yankees, to allow Tampa Bay to come into your ballpark and beat you twice (in three games) by the scores of 9-1 and 8-2. Well, there’s no excuse if you’re a good team.

    The Yankees will probably still win the Wildcard this year. But, when you look at them play, like this, you have to wonder if they’ll get past Game 3 of the ALDS.

    September 1st vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on September 2nd, 2007 · Comments (3)

    The story on this game is all about Ian Kennedy.

    This was the first time that I ever saw Kennedy pitch – and, he’s smaller than I thought he would be…at first, he reminded me a little of Matt DeSalvo or Mike Morgan (when he was a Yankee back in 1982) – just in terms of “looks.” Later, after watching Kennedy’s wind-up for seven innings, I thought he reminded me a little bit of Catfish Hunter – just in terms of mechanics.

    I love the fact that Kennedy didn’t melt after that 36-pitch second inning. (By the way, how glad are you that it was Charlie Hayes who had to squeeze the last out of the 1996 World Series and not A-Rod?) Sure, there were some nice plays behind Ian today – that one by Cano and Phillips in the fifth on Crawford was just outstanding – but, the kid got the job done here. Kennedy went seven, on 96 pitches, faced 6 batters over the minimum in that span, and allowed only one earned run.

    There have been a few guys (in recent years) who have started their big league and Yankees career with starts like this one from Kennedy: Matt DeSalvo (earlier this year on May 7th), El Duque Hernandez (on June 3, 1998), Mark Hutton on July 23, 1993), Sam Militello (on August 9, 1982, and Dave Eiland (on August 3rd, 1988).

    So, I’m not ready to say that this start means that Ian Kennedy is going to be a star in the league, and for a long time, etc. But, this start certainly warrants Kennedy getting another one when his turn comes up in the rotation again.

    It will be interesting to see how Joe Torre handles this – with the off day on September 6th (which would be Kennedy’s next turn). Do you skip Kennedy? How does Mussina factor into this as well? There’s another off day on September 10th too. And, of course, there’s the Boston series at Fenway from September 14th through 16th. How Torre handles Kennedy, Mussina, and those two off days will determine which Yankees starters throw at Fenway.

    Do you treat the off-days just like rain-outs and push people back a day, twice in five day span (from September 6th to the 10th), or, do you start moving the chess pieces to ensure some of the big guns (Pettitte, Wang, and Clemens) throw at Fenway?

    It appears, as of now, if Joe just keeps the rotation, it will be Clemens, Wang and Hughes at Fenway. Just looking at the rotation quickly, and trying to play around with the options, it doesn’t appear that you can avoid having Hughes throw one of those games in Fenway. So, I bet that Torre does nothing here and that Kennedy does get another start Friday against the Royals.