• June 30th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on June 30th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    You know, you can look at this game and say that the Yankees batters did a poor job through the first five innings with runners on base, Joba Chamberlain hit his pitch limit too early, and Brian Bruney was Scott Proctor-like, once again.

    But, at the end of the day, if you were at Yankee Stadium today, and sat through a 58 minute rain delay at the start of the game, and then saw all nine innings of this one, you’d be walking away from this event with a pretty big smile on your face – thanks to the win here. So, I’m going to leave it at that – it’s a good game for the Yankees…thanks to that “W” you can hang on this puppy.

    All told, the Yanks went 15-11 in the month of June – after going 17-11 in May and 12-10 in April. Again, things could be a lot worse. It will be interesting to see how July, August and September unfolds for this Yankees team.

    June 28th @ The Mets

    Posted by on June 29th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    You can watch baseball for the next 100 years, and, I’ll bet that you’ll never see a player get career RBI #1 and career save #500 in the same game, again. Wow.

    I think the Yankees may have gotten away with one here – as their offensive attack in this one left a little to be desired. Basically, they were no-shows for the seven innings between the first and the ninth. But, a win is a win – and any win against the Mets is a good one.

    Back to Mo, how can you not be happy for this guy right now? He, along with the rest of the Yankees, should have a fun off-day on Monday. They deserve it.

    Lastly, was it just me, or, was A-Rod extra animated in this one? What’s up with that?

    June 27th @ The Mets

    Posted by on June 28th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    I missed this game. We took the kids to FirstEnergy Park this evening to see the Lakewood BlueClaws and Delmarva Shorebirds play some baseball. I did get to hear the end of the recap on WCBS 880 on the way home. Sounds like A.J. Burnett stuffed the Mets in this one.

    Then again, it’s not like facing the Mets, right now, is the same as having to deal with the 1978 Brewers, 1993 Tigers, or the 2003 Cardinals. In fact, in the post-game coverage that I heard, Mets manager Jerry Manuel even called his team “depleted” and then said something like needing to catch a team on a bad day in order to get a win. (Manuel also said that Burnett had better stuff when the Mets last faced the Yanks. Is that an attempted slap on his team, Burnett, or both?)

    When I got home, I checked the stats and saw that A.J. Burnett had a “Game Score” of 82 this evening. That’s pretty impressive. That’s the best Game Score posted by Burnett since he was a Blue Jay and faced the O’s on May 16, 2007. In fact, A.J. – with this game included – only has ten career starts with a Game Score of 82+ (on his resume). And, seven of those ten came when he was pitching for the Marlins.

    In any event, this is a nice win for the Yankees – as now, in the series finale, they get to play with house money.

    While at the BlueClaws game this evening, I had a chance to meet Jayson Stark and his wife Lisa. Jayson was at the ballpark to meet fans, sign autographs and promote his new book “Worth the Wait: Tales of the 2008 Phillies.” It was wonderful to meet Jayson and his wife in person – as they’re both very pleasant and down-to-earth people. Here’s a photo of my kids, me, and Jayson (along with a copy of his book):

    JaysonStarkLakewood

    Thumbing through Jayson Stark’s new book this evening, it looks like a great and entertaining chronicle of the 2008 Phillies championship run that ended a quarter-century “title” wait in Philadelphia. And, having also read and enjoyed Jayson’s first book, I’m looking forward to reading this one – and will share a review on it here once done.

    June 26th @ The Mets

    Posted by on June 26th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    I’m going to do this one machine gun style – and just let the comments fly.

  • This was the first time that I ever watched a game played at Citi Field (even on T.V.). Sure, I’ve seen clips of games, in highlights, played on YES, SNY, ESPN, The MLB Network, and the local news broadcasts – but, that’s about it. Personally, I don’t see anything special about the playing field. Sure, it’s deep in LCF-CF-RCF and there seems to be a fair amount of foul territory between the dugouts and the infield. Yet, I don’t see anything about the field that makes it standout in a Fenway, Wrigley, Camden, Jake (Progressive Field), Kauffman, PNC Park, Minute Maid, or PacBell (AT&T) kind of way.
  • Wanting to hear the lamentation of their women, I watched the last inning of this one on SNY instead of My9. But, actually, Darling, Hernandez and Cohen did a pretty good job of taking this one on the chin. (By the way, did you know that Lawrence Goldberg story about wanting to rub it in the face of his friends is a myth?)
  • Dude, how ’bout the Magic Gardner?
  • After the fourth inning, I was really starting to think that CC had a shot at a no-no. Sheffield quickly ended that in the fifth when he got a hold of that hanger. Still, as Keith Hernandez said on SNY at the end, this one was all about “Too much CC Sabathia.” Great job by the big man.
  • Was that top of the second inning fun, or what? Wright makes an error. Five batters later, Cora throws one away. And, then, next, Evans bobbles one. I sooooo wanted Luis Castillo to also make an error in that frame. It would have been awesome-cool to see the entire Mets infield make errors in the same inning against the Yankees.
  • Hey, somebody tell Ramiro Pena that it wasn’t his birthday today. El Niño sure had a party in this one, didn’t he?
  • As bad as some of the Yankees relief pitchers have been, at times, this year, Mets fans must want to puke when Elmer Dessens comes into a game. That guy is 38-years old and hasn’t been an effective pitcher since 2006. On the other hand, A-Rod enjoyed seeing him in the game.
  • By the way, Yanks were only 3 for 17 with RISP during this game – and yet scored nine runs. Good luck figuring that out.
  • Lastly, sure, it was 7-1, Yanks, in the eighth inning. But, I still got just a tad nervous when Tomko came into this game for the Yanks. Did you?
  • O.K., and, now, for a little machine gun post-game victory celebration music…

    June 25th @ The Braves

    Posted by on June 25th, 2009 · Comments (19)

    He’s back!

    No, not Cody Ransom – although he’s back too. Yes, A-Rod’s mashing the ball again. Jeter and Damon were ripping in this one too.

    Then again, Derek Lowe, coming into this game, had an ERA of 5.46 and a BA allowed of .306 over his last 5 starts (covering 29.6 IP and 131 Opp PA).

    And, in the end, the Yankees did allow an 8-1 lead after 4 1/2 innings turn into a 11-7 win where the Braves had the tying run on deck in the bottom of the 9th inning. That’s not too pretty.

    Hey, bottom line, if you have to play a 9-inning game, in June, in Atlanta, in 90 degree heat, over three hours and forty nine minutes, it’s better to win it than to lose it, right?

    And, it’s now off to Metsville for three games. Let’s hope there’s no let-down in Camp Girardi for this set in Queens.

    June 24th @ The Braves

    Posted by on June 24th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Finally!

    A win! Seems like forever, don’t it?

    Hey, I guess the lack of offense was Joe Girardi’s fault? As soon as he was tossed from the game, and Tony Pena took over, the Yankees bats came alive. (Yes, I’m just kidding with this one.) By the way, was that a terrible call by Bill Welke, or what? Brett Gardner was back safe by a mile. General Joe had to get run on that one.

    Great game by Joba. Then again, it was expected – since he had an extra day’s rest between today’s game and his last start, and, if you’ve been paying attention, you know what that means.

    And, nice nights at the plate for Damon, Teixeira, A-Rod and Swisher. Now, of course, the key is…doing it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…

    Lastly, was it just me, or, did Francisco Cervelli’s homerun trot seem like it was under 15 seconds?

    June 23rd @ The Braves

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Chien-Ming Wang was not terrible in this one. Granted, he was not great – or even very good. But, he only allowed the Braves to score in one of his five frames – and that was somewhat assisted by a poor throwing choice from Jorge Posada. (By the way, tough night for ‘Sado, or what? Four “K’s” and not even bothering to run to first on the last one when the ball got away from the Braves catcher? What’s up with that?)

    The Yankees offense in this one was beyond bad. You can’t blame Wang for not coming through in a big spot, with the bat, in the second – because he’s not a hitter. But, A-Rod and/or Cano have to get hits in the third. And, Swisher has to come through in the fourth. Lastly, Jeter has to make it happen in the sixth. If just one of those Yankees plates some runners, it’s a lot closer ballgame. Actually, Alex Rodriguez, on the whole, still looks totally lost. Maybe it’s time to stop batting him clean-up, for a while, until he starts to bat well, again?

    New York has now lost 9 of their last 13…and it should be 11 of their last 13 (if not for Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo gifts).

    At this point, this team needs a spark. I’m not sure what it is – picking the line-up out of a hat, or, turning over a buffet table? – but, something needs to happen…and soon.

    You know, just three weeks ago, the Yankees were on a run, closing out a string where they won 16 of 20, and their dugout looked full of life. But, since that time, the Yankees have lost 11 of 18 (and it should have been 13 of 18, if not for those aformentioned gifts) – and now it looks as if this team has zero energy…zip, nada, zilch.

    Somebody call a doctor, huh?

    June 21st @ The Marlins

    Posted by on June 21st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Yanks showed some fight in the end of this one. But, it was not enough. Actually, it just makes this one sting a little more. Put another “L” on the board.

    New York has now lost 8 of their last 12…and it should be 10 of their last 12 (if not for Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo gifts).

    Cross your fingers on the biceps tendinitis issue for CC Sabathia. If he’s got an issue, given the way that the rest of the Yankees rotation has been inconsistent, if you’re the Yankees, you might as well start planning vacation activities for October – because this year’s Yankeeland baseball journey this year will end in September.

    And, by the way, don’t lose sight of the fact that “the second place Yankees,” with this loss, are now closer to 3rd place (1 game) and 4th place (2 games) in the A.L. East than they are to the division leader (4 games). If things keep trending the way they are, you might have to call New York “the fourth place Yankees” by the end of next week.

    June 20th @ The Marlins

    Posted by on June 21st, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Man, is that Josh Johnson, a beast, or what?

    Well, yeah, he’s no Brandon Weeden, but, he’s a beast, nonetheless.

    Yanks have now lost 7 of their last 11…and it should be 9 of their last 11 (if not for Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo gifts).

    Yes, that’s nine of their last eleven games where New York played bad enough to lose. Can you say “June Swoon”?

    June 19th @ The Marlins

    Posted by on June 20th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    At the start of this one, I thought that maybe the Yankees would have a laugher. It was 1-0, New York, after one. It was 4-0, New York, after two. And, it was 5-1, New York after three. But, then, all the scoring stopped.

    Actually, around the sixth inning, I was starting to get nervous – with the fear that the lack of “tack on” runs by the Yankees would allow the Marlins to get back into this game. Good thing that never happened.

    In the end, the Yankees had 13 hits and collected 5 walks. But, they “only” scored those five runs. It’s interesting, over the years, the Yankees would have maybe five or six games all season where they would have 18 batters or more reach base and score five runs or less. And, now, with this game, they already have six such games this season – and there’s 95 games left to play. Does that mean the Yankees offense is good, or, does it mean that they’re leaving too many runners on base? It’s probably some combination of both.

    Nice to see Pettitte have a good game – even if he’s still not feeling 100% yet. It’s funny, when Jorge Cantu flied out to center, against Pettitte, to end the sixth inning, I was thinking “Boy, I bet the Yankees pitchers would love to throw in a ballpark this size everyday.” And, then, after the game, I saw that Peter Abraham was thinking the same thing.

    Somehow, some way, they have to fix the new Yankee Stadium next year. It would be so nice to see the Yankees pitchers actually have a chance to be successful at home too.

    June 18th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    pathetic

    Main Entry: pa·thet·ic
    Pronunciation: \pə-ˈthe-tik\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French pathetique, from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathētikos capable of feeling, pathetic, from paschein (aor. pathein) to experience, suffer — more at pathos
    Date: 1598
    1 : having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity
    2 : marked by sorrow or melancholy : sad
    3 : pitifully inferior or inadequate [the restaurant's pathetic service]
    4 : absurd, laughable [a pathetic costume]
    5 : the way the New York Yankees played the Washington Nationals during the games of June 16, 17, and 18 in 2009.

    You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? The Yankees in their last 14 games where they’ve gone 6-8 and should have gone 4-10 if not for gifts from Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo.

    Joe Girardi must feel like he’s wet nurse to an overpaid, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club, and he’s choking to death.

    June 17th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 17th, 2009 · Comments (20)

    Ouch!

    Man, I was all set to start typing “The Yankees Brett Gardner is to the Washington Nationals as former Red Sox Dave Roberts is to the Yankees…” But, the rally in the 9th stalled. Shame that it even had to come down to a rally in the last frame. I mean, hey, these are the Washington Nationals, right?

    Oh, well, anyway…this one must have been a thrill for Washington’s John Lannan…and, know what? He earned it.

    Before I forget, by the way, I’m loving Phil Hughes out of the bullpen. He just seems like a different pitcher, to me, in relief. He’s throwing harder and seems to have an attitude…

    In one of his books, Sparky Lyle talked about Jim Beattie and Ken Clay coming out of nowhere to win Game 1 of the ‘78 ALCS. The way he described them was like:

    They were throwing hand grenades – the way their stuff was so nasty. Plus, they were pitching with a look on their mug that said “OK, go ahead, try and hit this!”

    That’s the vibe that Hughes is giving off now…“OK, go ahead, try and hit this!”

    Cool beans.

    Now, back to the bad stories from tonight – besides the stinging loss to the lowly Nats. Wang and A-Rod.

    I still don’t think Wanger is out of the woods. Lots of high pitches. Lots of pitches with no sink. And, according to Kay and Flash in the YES booth, some ticks off the radar readings. Yeah, sure, I give him another start. But, I’m not feeling like he’s back yet.

    A-Rod? What’s he hitting this month, so far, around a buck-seventy? What if he does that for the entire month of June? It has me thinking…

    At any time in his career, so far, has Albert Pujols hit a buck-seventy over a month? How about Manny Ramirez? Shoot, what about Chipper Jones? Or, David Wright? Or, Chase Utley?

    To be honest, I don’t know the answer. But, it’s an interesting question: How can a batter as “great” as Alex Rodriguez look so bad for an extended period of time like this? You would think that someone with that kind of talent could hit .240 with one hand tied behind their back, no? Hopefully A-Rod goes on a super hot streak over the next two weeks and makes this a moot question…

    June 16th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Totally missed this one. I went with some buddies to go see Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots host Gary Carter’s Long Island Ducks. We had nice seats – first row right next to the outfield side of the visitor’s dugout. Basically, it was like sitting on the end of the Ducks’ bench (since our row of seats started where the dugout ended).

    Former Yankee Brad Halsey started for the Ducks. It was strange…during the playing of the National Anthem, Halsey was standing no more than ten feet in front of me. And, all I could think, at that time, was “Wow. Just about this time five years ago, I’m sitting in Yankee Stadium, watching Halsey start a game for the Yankees against the Red Sox – where Jeter would dive head-first into the stands after catching a pop-up – and, now, here he is, standing no more than an earshot of a whisper away from me getting ready to play a game in Bridgewater, New Jersey. You never know where life is going to take you, do you?”

    For the record, Halsey looked pretty good – and I doubt that he’ll be in the Atlantic League for long, given that he’s still young, left-handed, can touch 90 MPH with his fastball, and change speeds.

    In any event, at one point, one of my buddies came back from getting a beer and he told me that the Yanks were losing, 3-2, at the end of six. Hearing that, I thought “Oh, no, don’t tell me that they’re going to lose this game to the Nationals!”

    As it turned out, the Patriots game ended about the same time as the Yankees game and I was able to listen to John Sterling’s post-game wrap-up and Suzyn Waldman’s clubhouse report on the drive home. Whew. It was nice to hear that the Yankees came back in this one. It will make sleeping tonight a lot easier. Sounds like Cano and Sabathia were the stars in this one. Actually, considering the state of the Yankees bullpen this year, to date, and the inconsistency of the Yankees starting pitchers, Sabathia just may be the team MVP – for the first half of the season – with all the innings that he gives you, each time out.

    Now, that all said, considering that it was CC Sabathia starting this game for New York, and the Yankees were playing the Nationals, and Washington was on the road and starting some greenhorn from Curacao named Shairon Martis, there’s no need to hold a parade for New York over the fact that they took this contest. This was a game that they’re supposed to win. So, mark this one down as complete on the “To Do” list and move on to tomorrow…

    June 14th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 14th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    This is why Pete Rose was an idiot.

    The way the Yankees have been playing this week, going 2-4 in their last 6 games with one of those being a gift win…and the way that A.J. Burnett has been pitching lately, allowing an opponent’s OBA of .373 over his last 6 starts prior to this one…and the fact that Johan Santana, with an ERA of 2.39 is his 12 starts this season prior to this one, was pitching for the Mets…who would have ever predicted that the Yankees would win this game, 15-0?

    Really, would you have bet on this outcome prior to this game being played?

    Joaquin Andujar was right: “There is one word in America that says it all, and that one word is, ‘You never know.’ ” And, it’s never more true than when it comes to baseball…

    Big game for the Yankees to win. Can you imagine the off-day tomorrow if the Yanks were coming off getting swept by the Red Sox and then losing two of three to the Mets where their one win was a gift from Luis Castillo? That would have been rough. As it is now, the Yankees, and their fans, can walk around town tomorrow with their heads up, chins out, and with a big smile. At the least, the Yankees have taken round one of the Subway Series. And, while that’s just good for bragging rights…at this junction, that’s not so bad.

    June 13th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 13th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Fernando Nieve?

    Really?

    Hey, I hate to say this…but…check out the Yankees last ten games:

    Date    Where    Who  RS RA  
    June  3 Home Vs. TEX L 2  4  
    June  4 Home Vs. TEX W 8  6  
    June  6 Home Vs. TBR L 7  9  
    June  7 Home Vs. TBR W 4  3  
    June  8 Home Vs. TBR W 5  3  
    June  9 Road Vs. BOS L 0  7  
    June 10 Road Vs. BOS L 5  6  
    June 11 Road Vs. BOS L 3  4  
    June 12 Home Vs. NYM W 9  8  
    June 13 Home Vs. NYM L 2  6  
    

    In their last ten games, the Yankees are 4-6. And, that’s not good baseball. However, it’s actually worse than that. How? Simple. The Yankees wins on June 7th and June 12th were gift wins thanks to errors by Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo. So, if not for those extremely lucky wins, right now, the Yankees would be 2-8 in their last ten games (instead of 4-6). That’s really not good baseball.

    O.K., yeah, I know, as many of my readers like to remind me “There are no such things as lucky wins – or wins that should be discounted.” Personally, I think that’s hard to say, if you really watched those games on June 7th and 12th, and saw those errors by Aybar and Castillo. But, fine, if you want to say “a win is a win, no matter how you got it,” then, check this out:

    Since the Yankees had that nice run where their record got fat against the Orioles, Twins and Blue Jays – going 11-2 from May 8th through May 21st – New York has now gone 11-10 in their last 21 games (including the gift wins from Aybar and Castillo). That’s just one game over .500 over their last three weeks. Not very impressive play there, is it?

    And, they get to face Johan Santana tomorrow. Oh, boy…

    June 12th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 12th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    Muchas gracias Señor Luis Castillo!

    All of a sudden, Joba’s command, Tomko being Tomko, Swisher butchering another fly ball, A-Rod’s weak whiff in the 7th, and Mo not holding the tie…well…they just don’t seem important at this moment.

    This one has to go down in Subway Series history.

    Stunning. Just absolutely freaking stunning. And, on an Alex Rodriguez pop-up, on a 3-1 pitch with two out, no less? Awesome.

    June 11th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 11th, 2009 · Comments (18)

    Every time New York faces Boston this season, it’s a day at South Park and the Yankees are Kenny McCormick.

    George Steinbrenner must be rolling over in his senility.

    All things considered, this is the worst loss of the year, to date, for the Yankees.

    June 10th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 10th, 2009 · Comments (21)

    That was close. But, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. (I guess it counts in bocce, darts and water-balloon fights too. But, no one ever wants to talk about that, do they?)

    After four innings, this one looked ugly. But, the Yankees did make it close after six and a half. And, New York had their chances in the 8th and 9th innings to get the score tied. In the 8th, they had a runner on second with one out and Jeter and Damon failed. In the 9th, they had a runner on second with one out and Cano and Posada failed. So, this is now another loss to the Red Sox this season – and, New York is still stuck on “0″ wins against Boston this year (in seven tries to take one).

    Worm Killer Wang, who’s not killing many worms this season, had almost no command. He was followed by Phil Hughes who made a big mistake to Kevin Youkilis. And, there’s your Red Sox offense on the night. Between the two, Wang is the huge issue here for the Yankees – as they cannot keep running him out there like this. At this point, I almost want to say that New York needs to “Roy Halladay” Wang and send him down to the minors, have him work with someone to figure this out. (Too bad Neil Allen is gone – as it’s reported he taught Wang the sinker.)

    Do you know what really bothered me about this game? It was Nitwit Swisher. Now, I know that the F.O.N.S. (Fans of Nick Swisher) will come at me with torches and pitchforks for saying this – shouting “Didn’t you see that great catch by Nick in the 7th and didn’t you see that clutch walk of his in the 8th?” But, to me, as bad as Wang was, and as big as the mistake which Hughes made to Youkilis was, and as bad as the Yankees were in clutch spots in this game, it was Nitwit Swisher who cost the Yankees this one. Here’s how:

    It’s the top of the second inning. Wang somehow escapes the bottom of the first by only allowing one run. It’s a miracle, but, it’s true. Yanks are only down one-zip as they start their second. Posada leads off with a homer to tie the score. Matsui follows with a double. Swisher, via a double gift by the umpires, reaches on a push bunt. (It’s a double gift because the umps ruled Youkilis’ toe was off the bag – which was very questionable – and because Swisher was not called out for running outside of the runner’s lane on the play.) So, now, with the score tied, no outs, the Yankees have Wakefield on the ropes with runners on first and third. But, then, Nitwit Swisher allows himself to get doubled off first on a semi-hard liner (by Melky Cabrera) to short. It’s a play where even the guys in the YES booth question Swisher because the play was right in front of him. Now, with two outs, Jeter flies out and the frame is over – with the rally killed via Swisher’s bad baserunning. And, Wakefield lives to throw another four innings – instead of maybe getting knocked out of the game.

    Next, it’s the bottom of the second inning. Wang is in trouble. After allowing a lead-off single and a double to the next batter, there’s one run in for Boston (who is now up 2-1 in the game) with no outs. Dustin Pedroia is the third batter to face Wang and he hits a fly ball to right field. Nitwit Swisher camps under it, raises his glove, and misses the ball. Michael Kay, in the YES booth, says (about the play) “I know that we’re supposed to explain things here, but, how do you explain that?” The ball bounces into the stands, Pedroia gets a ground-rule double and the runner on second (Kottaras) scores. It’s now three-one, Sox. Wang settles down after that getting Drew on a soft grounder and both Youkilis and Bay on strikes. If Swisher catches that ball, as he should have, the Red Sox do not score that second run in this inning – and that one run was the difference in the game.

    Oh, that Nick Swisher, he’s the Caucasian Mel Hall.

    Welcome to second place, New York.

    Lastly, whomever it was who taught Michael Kay the word “efficacy” should be tarred and feathered. Oh, my stars and garters, he’s beating that one to death.

    June 9th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on June 9th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Welcome to first place, Boston.

    And, now, the Yankees have played the Red Sox six times this season – and have yet to beat Boston.

    Think about that for a second, New York is 34-24 at this moment. They’re playing .654 against everyone not named the Boston Red Sox and they’re 0-6 against Boston. At some point, they have to beat these guys, right? But, not tonight.

    This game? In a word: Ouch.

    First, A.J. Burnett centers a fat fastball to David “I’m batting .197 and only have two homers on June 9th” Ortiz and it ends up half-way to the moon for a homerun. And, then, thanks to an A-Rod error, the floodgates open and “the big inning” is reality for the Red Sox. And, that’s all that Josh Beckett needed – as he was stuffing the Yankees bats down their own throats. Really, by the 7th inning, I was just rooting for the Yankees to score a run by that point – just one run – to avoid their first shutout of the season. But, it was not to be…

    Well, if anything, this game makes me now feel better about CC Sabathia being a Yankee. Watching Beckett in this game, all could think about was the string of mercenary pitchers that the Red Sox have “bought” through the years…Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and now Josh Beckett.

    Yes, I know that Boston “traded” for Mango Tree, Red Light, and Trailer Park Josh. But, be honest…they were only able to trade for them because their former teams could not afford to keep them. Each time, it was all about Boston being able to pay these guys what they wanted, etc.

    So, if it’s O.K. for Boston to buy pitching, then it should be O.K. for the Yankees to buy pitching. I just wish the Yankees “bought” better pitching than guys like Jeff Weaver, José Contreras, a broken down Kevin Brown, Javier Vázquez, Carl Pavano, an old Randy Johnson, Kei Igawa and, at this point, we have to say A.J. Burnett too, no?

    Sure, the pies in the face and all that team building stuff is nice. But, including this game, Burnett has made a dozen starts for the Yankees this season and four of them have been terrible – two against Boston, one against Toronto, and one against the Phillies. For what he’s getting paid, you want him to show up against those types of teams, right?

    June 8th vs. The Rays

    Posted by on June 8th, 2009 · Comments (19)

    I hope they keep a spare pair of dry pants in the YES booth at Yankee Stadium for Michael Kay…because Phil Hughes pitched a scoreless 7th inning out of the Yankees bullpen tonight!

    O.K., kidding aside…and while Michael dreams about running with “Two Phils & A Mo” as his new catch phrase…Hughes did look really good this evening – pumping it in there at 94 and touching 95 once (by my count). And, even Andy Petitte, in the YES post-game coverage, said that Hughes’ ball was darting like Rivera’s fastball. So, maybe, if the Yankees are willing to give this a try, Hughes can be an important part of the bridge to Mariano?

    Related, it was somewhat interesting to see Jason Isringhausen pitch in this game for the Rays…considering he was part of “Generation K” – the three big starter prospects for the Mets years ago…and now Hughes (part of the Yankees “Generation Trey”) is pitching out of the pen, in the same game, for the Yankees.

    All told, a solid outing from Pettitte tonight. Hughes, Coke and Mo handled the back-end…although who will close tomorrow, now, in Boston, if needed, is anyone’s guess…considering how many days Rivera has pitched in a row. And, of course, the Yankees homerun bats were clicking – including a blast from Nick “Don’t Call Me Mr. May!” Swisher…who has been as hot this month, so far, as he was cold last month.

    Nice to win this one before the big series up at the Fens. Game One of that series, for me, is key. A.J. Burnett, for the Yanks, against Josh Beckett, for the Red Sox. Beckett almost had a no-hitter in his last start and has a 0.40 ERA in his last three outings. But, the Yankees usually don’t roll over for him. Burnett? Who knows…

    With Wang primed to pitch poorly on Wednesday, the Yankees need to win on Tuesday to set up Sabathia to win the series for them on Thursday. And, right now, the Yankees need to take at least two of these three games – to show Boston that they are not the same team who has lost to them all five times that they have faced each other to date.

    June 7th vs. The Rays

    Posted by on June 7th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    BASEBALL/

    Hey, Joey Eye Glasses, what do you think of the smell of the place now?

    Betcha your boy Willy thinks the place stanks purdy good…

    June 6th vs. The Rays

    Posted by on June 6th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    We had a lot of family activites on the schedule today – and I was out of the house from 1 pm ET until about 7:30 pm ET. As such, I only had four quick peeks into this game.

    At one point, we were talking to one of my wife’s friends – whose husband, like me, is a big Yankees fan. He was monitoring the game at that time and shared that it was 1-0, Yanks, in the second via an A-Rod homer. And, then, I thought to myself “That’s a good start.”

    From that point I was unplugged for about two hours – give or take. But, after that span, I was able to quickly turn on a TV and look into the game for 5 minutes. By this time, it was the bottom of the 8th inning, the YES boys were talking about Teixeira’s long homer, and Posada just walked. It was 5-4, Rays, and I saw on the scoreboard that the Yankees had four runs on three hits. And, then, I thought to myself “Four runs on three hits? That’s strange. Sounds like the Yankees are lucky to even be in this one.”

    I had to run again after that chance to see the game. But, I had a feeling that this might be one of those games where the Yankees pulled it out in the end. When I saw Posada walk, I also saw that Rivera was warming up in the pen – in case the Yankees tied the game or took the lead. Maybe seeing that just put the positive thought in my head? (Big mistake there, I learned in the end…)

    Later, the opportunity came up to tune in the game on the radio. At this time, Coke just allowed a single to Crawford and Sterling said that made the score 8-5 in favor of the Rays. And, then, I thought to myself “Eight to five, Rays? What the…..?” With that, I allowed the channel to be changed on the radio.

    Shortly before five o’clock, I had to check the game again on eight-eighty. Now, Sterling was doing the post-game (or should I say post-mortem?) where I learned how Cabrera tied the game at five – just beating out a DP attempt and Rivera spit the bit in the ninth. I also heard how Crawford’s hit against Coke and an A-Rod error that followed hurt because the Yanks rallied for two in the ninth…but that was not enough. And, then, I thought to myself “Wow. All those poor Yankees fans who watched this whole game on TV – or, worse, in person at the Stadium – what a turd of a performance by New York today.”

    I mean…really…I only had four peeks at this game, with an aggregate elapsed time of less than 20 minutes, and I’m feeling like someone delivered a knee to the ‘nads. I think any Yankees fan who watched this whole mess has a right to throw something out of the window in disgust.

    So, now, the Yankees are 2-9 against the Red Sox and Rays, combined, this season (to date). You know…the Yankees can rip off as many streaks as they can this year where they go 19-7…but, if they can’t beat the Sox and Rays…that means New York’s October this year is going to be no different than the last three seasons where they played games in October.

    June 4th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on June 4th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    You probably know one of my favorite baseball truisms:

    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.

    Well, today was one of those “other 42 games.” And, it’s nice to get a win in one of those – always nice.

    Thank you Teixiera and Melky! Good job by the Yanks pen too.

    Yanks have now won 8 of their last 13 games. If they did that over a full season, it would net 100 wins. Can’t ask for a better pace than that, right?

    Of course, there is the issue of Wang’s performance today…but, I believe we have to see at least one more start from him before we really know anything on Worm Killer…

    June 3rd vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Well, this one ended up being a lot closer than it appeared it might be…back in the second inning. In the end, a 4-2 loss…very close.

    Is this what the Yankees offense looks like without a white (not red, it’s more than red) hot Mark Teixiera?

    A-Rod had his chances in this one. Down by two, bottom of the third, bases loaded, one out, and a 3-1 count…and Rodriguez rolls into a 5-5-3 DP to end the frame. Down by two, bottom of the sixth, runner on third, one out, and Rodriguez whiffs on five pitches. If Alex comes through in either of those spots, even with just a productive out, it’s a whole different ballgame…but, no-go, amigo.

    Thanks for coming…see ya tomorrow afternoon.

    June 2nd vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on June 2nd, 2009 · Comments (16)

    First, give credit to A.J. Burnett for his outing today. Early in the game, he could not get his breaking pitches over for strikes. And, in the third inning, it looked like he might cave in when the Rangers plated three runners after two outs. However, in the end, A.J. ended up giving the team a picture-perfect seven innings in this one. Two big thumbs up there for #34.

    Now, on to the Padilla-Teixeira dust-up in the fourth inning. How cool was it to see how that whole thing was handled? From Tex breaking up the DP-attempt, the Yanks then knocking out Padilla, seeing Godzilla go big fly, busting the game open, and then Burnett buzzing Cruz in the fifth. While that was not as impressive as what we saw on May 19, 1998 (with Straw, Nelson and Lloyd making Benitez run for his life) it was a lot better than what we saw on July 24, 2004 (when A-Rod provided Varitek with a photo opportunity that RSN still gets a chubby over upon viewing).

    Actually, we’re seeing a lot of life and unity in the Yankees dugout these days – and a game like today, with the Teixeira thing, will only add to it. Yes, I know, it’s easy to have fun when you’re playing at a clip where you’re winning 16 of 20 games – and you’re in first place. But, maybe, just maybe, these Yankees are gellin’ like a felon right now and this 2009 squad just might have that cohesiveness and attitude which could make this team one to be remembered as special…when it’s all said and done? You know, like the 2004 Red Sox, 1998 Yankees, 1991 Twins, 1988 Dodgers, 1986 Mets, 1984 Tigers, 1979 Pirates, 1975-76 Reds, 1968 Tigers and the like…

    But, then again, maybe New York will go on to lose 7 of their next 12 games and then, all of a sudden, some warts and doubts begin to surface for this team?

    Maybe it’s best to expect nothing and be prepared for anything…at least for a few more weeks…and just enjoy the moment of a win like today’s game?

    June 1st @ The Indians

    Posted by on June 1st, 2009 · Comments (10)

    This is now 18 games in a row without an error for the Yankees – a new big league record. Not sure if that’s a meaningful record, but, since the Red Sox had the previous mark, it’s a nice one to have – and to take-away from Boston.

    Man…when Ben Francisco hit that ball against Mariano Rivera in the 9th, my heart stopped for a minute. That was too close. By the way, every time I see Ben Francisco, and I mean every time, I think of everyone’s favorite slag, Detective Samuel ‘George’ Francisco.

    O.K., staying on Indians players for a minute more – before moving to the important stuff – I cannot believe that Greg Aquino (who pitched in this game) is 31-years old. Is it just me, or, does that guy look like he’s twelve? In any event, I like his last name – because it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite baseball names: Arquimedez Pozo. Moving on…

    Yanks had 11 walks in this one. When was the last time they had that many in a 9-inning game? Been a while…with August 19, 2006 being the last time (when Josh Beckett went ball four crazy).

    The star of this game, to me, was Joba Chamberlain. And, here’s the deal: This game is another feather in the cap of my theory from last Thursday. When Joba pitches on 5 days rest, like today, he’s a super-stud. And, when he has 4 days or 6+days rest, not so much. Ladies and Gents, a trend is forming…

    I do owe Chamberlain an apology. While watching the game, just as Victor Martinez was batting in the fourth, I thought to myself “Hey, Joba hasn’t allowed a hit so far. How cool would it be, for the ‘Move him to the pen debate,’ if he pitches a no-hitter today?” – and, then, boom! Martinez goes big fly. Sorry, Joba. My bad there.

    That was some play by Chamberlain in the next inning – diving to snare that pop-bunt and turning it into a double play. You don’t see much better than that one. And, boy, I wish they had a field-microphone near CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte after that – to hear what they were saying, and cracking-up, about Joba’s dive.

    Now the fun starts: Texas for three, Tampa for four, Boston for three on the road, and then the Mets for three games. That’s 13 straight days of baseball against teams that are playing well and/or who give the Yankees a good fight.

    What’s reasonable to expect from this test, 8-5? More? Less? And, what will the Yankees actually do? Should be a fun two weeks in Yankeeland.