• July 31st vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (4)

    So, round one of ten goes to the Angels. And, it’s by unanimous decision.

    Three three-run homers. It’s tough to beat that hand.

    This was an important game for the Yankees – because it was Pettitte on the mound against Garland. New York had to win this game. Why? Follow this logic…

    Sidney Ponson starts tomorrow for the Yankees and Darrell Rasner starts on Sunday. How do you think those two are going to do against the Angels?

    Also, Mike Mussina pitches on Saturday. And, that day will be a mess for the Yankees. There’s going to be seventy old-timers in the Yankees clubhouse before the game – and tons of media – with it being the last Old-Timer’s Day at the Stadium. Bottom line…it will be a zoo. It’s going to be a huge distraction for the Yankees team. And, we know how well Mussina does when things are not “typical” for him.

    Honestly, I can see the Angels pounding Ponson tomorrow. And, I can see the zoo-nature of Old-Timer’s Day being something that will be an issue for the Yankees on Saturday. So, say the Yankees end up losing on Friday and Saturday. Add this loss. That puts Rasner on the hill, Sunday, against the best team in baseball, trying to break a three-game losing streak for his team. No pressure there, huh?

    Oh, and, by the way, Ponson will be facing All-Star Ervin Santana, Mussina will face Jered Weaver, and Rasner gets to face John Lackey (and his ERA of 2.93).

    We could be looking at a sweep now…given that Pettitte failed in this one and New York played their way into a “L” tonight.

    July 30th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Ah, a laugher…always good for the soul.

    Just a side note…Kay, Flaherty, and O’Neill (in the YES booth) were convinced that Edwar Ramirez went after Kevin Millar on purpose. Hey, I’m all for moving this dolt off the plate – in fact, the Yankees are five years too late in that department. But, there’s a way to do it…and perhaps a better time too.

    With the Angels coming to town, Edwar Ramirez cannot afford to get himself suspended…now.

    Stupid move.

    July 29th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    I’m going to be polite, for now, and just say one thing about this game:

    Click here to hear it.

    (I’ll probably have more to say tomorrow, after I cool off.)

    Update, 7/30/08. 9:25 am ET: More thoughts on this game…

    Rasner only gave up 2 runs in the first six innings. I’ll take six innings and two runs from my number four guy in the rotation every time. Sure, he lost it in the seventh, but, the pen should be able to help him out there. Marte? Hey, I warned you – way back in March. For the last two days, Mad Dog Russo on WFAN has been going on, and on, about how the Yankees ripped-off the Pirates…getting Marte “the best lefty specialist-slash-closer in baseball.” At the least, maybe this will now shut up Russo for a day on that insane rant. Rivera? Hey, that look on his face when he allowed that homer just about says it all.

    Switching gears…is it just me, or, is George Sherrill the John Wockenfuss of pitchers? His pitching delivery is just as funky as Wockenfuss’ batting stance.

    To big thumbs up to Peter Abraham for summing up the state of the Yankees with this one:

    Get this, the Yankees are 4-10 at home against the Orioles, Indians, Tigers and Reds.

    Those teams are 74-124 (.374) against everybody else on the road. If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, it’ll be because they didn’t take care of business at the Stadium.

    The Yankees just cannot afford to keep losing these games – with just two months left to the season. Yes, it was great to see them try and fight their way back in this one – and I give them credit for that. But, this loss was a killer. Even the G.M. is feeling it. Via the Bergen Record:

    Brian Cashman exited the elevator door into the lobby of Yankee Stadium, frustration etched in his face and obvious in his words.

    “I hate this game,” sighed the team’s general manager, who just minutes before was bouncing the back of his head off the compartment wall.

    I feel you on that one Cash.

    July 28th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Forget about the Yankees pitching performance, this evening, for a moment. Actually, forget about it completely. I could get carpal tunnel if I attempted to write about how bad the Yankees pitchers were tonight – as it would require quite a bit of typing.

    More importantly, let’s focus on the Yankees offense.

    Throw out every run that New York scored today. They were all “garbage time” runs. For the first six innings of this game, the Yankees had no stick – whatsoever.

    Now, go back to the game before this one. In that contest, the Yankees only scored two runs.

    Granted, two games before this one, the Yankees scored ten runs. However, most of that came from beating up Justin Masterson and Craig Hansen – two pitchers of limited major league experience and success.

    And, in the game before that ten-run game, the Yankees only scored one run – and that came on a cheap, gift, hit.

    So, when you boil it down, the Yankees offense has not been impressive, on the whole, in their last four games.

    Sure, the Yankees bats did do well in those three games against the Twins – which came before this four game spell. However, in the eight games before those three games against the Twins, the Yankees bats also (somewhat) struggled to score runs.

    Cano, Jeter and A-Rod have been swinging well in the last four weeks (or so). And, Damon has been acceptable – when he’s played this month. But, Abreu has been just O.K. (overall) and Jason Giambi has killed the Yankees in his last 21 games. Throw in the good-field, no-hit, guys like Jose Molina and Melky Cabrera and it’s not a pretty picture…as many days the Yanks line-up is half-dead.

    If I have to peg two guys in all of this, it would be Abreu and Giambi. For the most part, Abreu bats third and Giambi bats fifth. You expect a lot of production from those two slots in the line-up…and it’s not happening, lately, for the Yankees. And, until it does, expect the Yankees to continue to have issues scoring runs against decent to very good pitching.

    July 27th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    O.K., yes, in this game, we saw “Pitcher Piñata Ponson” do what he does best on a baseball field – allow base-hits.

    Still, the Yankees had a chance to make it a game…top of the fifth inning…down by five…bases loaded, no outs…and their meaty part of their line-up due up: A-Rod, Nady and Cano. But, none of those three could reach base safely or plate any runs via an out…and then this game was basically over.

    So, the Red Sox kicked the Yankees fanny in this one – just as the New York spanked Boston on their rear end in the game before this one. An eye-for-an-eye. Factor in that Friday’s game was sort of a tie…with the Yankees getting a lucky run to win it…and I would say that this series was a push. Neither team showing that it was better than the other. Makes sense…they have split 12 games, so far, this season.

    These two teams will meet again in a month – on August 26th. Should be fun.

    July 26th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 26th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    We went to the Monmouth County Fair today. So, I missed some of this one today – other than what I heard on the radio, driving to the fair. (When we left the car, the Yanks were up, 5-2, in the sixth – with Abreu coming up with runners on first and second.)

    From what I heard on the radio, and gathered together once we were home this evening, it looked like Andy Pettitte gutted it out after he was forced to work some in the first inning – giving the Yankees a respectable six frames.

    And, once you got past the seventh inning – where the Red Sox managed to get the tying run to the on-deck circle with one out – the game was in the bag for the Yankees…thanks to some weak pitching from Boston’s Craig Hansen in the eighth. (Although Hansen gained himself some Red Sox Nation favor when he drilled A-Rod with a pitch.)

    The Red Sox really seem back on their heels these days. I’m sure the whole “Manny” thing doesn’t help. Good effort by the Yankees, again, today, to keep the Sox from getting up on their toes.

    It’s also nice to see the new guys, Nady and Marte, get right into action today. Also good to see LaTroy Hawkins sent packing and Kei Igawa taken off the 40-man roster. And, it makes sense, now, to have Brett Gardner return to the minors for regular At Bats.

    Hey, today, the Yankees and I were doing the same thing – just having a fun day at the park. Gotta say “Thanks Yanks!” to that. When things synch-up like this…for me…it makes it a lot easier to sleep at night. Good day with the family. Nothing to lament about in Yankeeland. If that’s not a mental version of a summertime hot toddy…then nothing is…

    July 25th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 25th, 2008 · Comments (11)

    So, things were different at Fenway Park tonight – compared to what they were four years ago yesterday, huh?

    What can you possible say about Joba Chamberlain? How about “Move over Mel Stottlemyre and take 1964 off the board?

    An awesome job by Chamberlain to make that one gift run (that the Yankees “scored”) hold up. Sure, the plays by Melky and Cano in the second inning were web-gems. But, tonight was all Joba.

    I love Andy Pettitte. And, what Mike Mussina’s done this season has been magic. But, right now, you can make a case that Joba Chamberlain is the ace of the Yankees starting staff. And, if the post-season started right now, I want Joba to get the ball for Games One, Four and Seven.

    Oh, did Chamberlain throw at Youkilis? Let’s be honest. To me, the answer is yes. Know what? That’s just another reason why tonight is so much different from four years and a day ago.

    Two last items…

    I guess Kyle Farnsworth still has a little Kyle Farnsworth in him? Good job by General Joe to pull the plug on him – and quickly.

    And, I finally figured out who Coco Crisp, of the Red Sox, reminds me of…

    It’s “Elaan of Troyius” from Star Trek (The Original Series). Not sure yourself? Well, check this out:

    July 23rd vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 23rd, 2008 · Comments (7)

    LaTroy Hawkins aside – and, what a shame it was that Mo Rivera had to be used in this game – it was a great afternoon in the Bronx today.

    Pretty impressive the way that the Yankees handled the Twins, today – and this whole series. Add that to the way the Yankees handled the A’s in the series before this one. Hey, this is not the same as pushing around the M’s, Astros, and Padres. Both the Twins and the A’s came into Yankee Stadium with decent records. It’s great to see the Yankees take on good teams – and win…often.

    It’s also great to see how the Yankees are doing it lately…hitting with runners in scoring position, taking advantage of extra outs given to them (like on the rock pulled by Alexi Casilla today in the fifth), pitching well…in terms of both the starters and the bullpen.

    Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have looked…from top to bottom…and from inside to out…like a team firing on all cylinders.

    Speaking of peak performance…today, the Moose Magic continues…

    …bottom line, the Moose is just flat-out getting jiggy with it this season. And, it’s a pleasure to watch this hero type season from Mussina…

    July 22nd vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Nice “numbers” night in the Bronx. It’s game #100 (on the season for the Yanks). And, with this win, New York is now 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.

    It was also nice to see how this game was won – in terms of who made contributions for New York. The Yankees pitching was on point this evening…Rasner, Robertson, Veras, Farnsworth…and even Mr. “I pitch now about once every ten days”…aka Dan Giese.

    And, it was even nicer to see some guys who were not contributing earlier in the season – but, who have come on in the last few weeks – drive in key runs…like Jeter, Abreu and Cano.

    The Yankees should be the talk of the town tomorrow…pitching and hitting well, reaching new heights (in terms of their record) this season, winning 9 games now in a row at home, moving in on the leaders in the A.L. East…yet, it’s not going to happen. Why?

    Did you see what happened in Queens this evening? Holy shades of last September, Batman! Think Willie Randolph cracked any smiles this evening over this one?

    Hey, maybe I’m wrong on this…and maybe the media will give the Yankees the props that they deserve tomorrow…in the papers, on the radio, and on the tube…

    nah, right?

    Well, either way, as Yankees fans, we can deal with it…it’s all good. Hey, bring on the dancin’ girls!

    I think the lady in green, in the back, must be a Pavano. She quit way before the dance was over.

    July 21st vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 21st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Sir Sidney Ponson has now made four starts for the Yankees and New York has won all four games. I’m tellin’ ‘ya, that Cashman is a genius! Well, it also helps that the Yankees have scored 9, 18, 2, and 12 runs in the four games where Ponson was on the hill. It’s a lot easier to pitch when you have a huge lead. And, let’s face it…tonight’s game was over after the bottom of the third inning. (Is it just me, or, does it seem like it’s been a long time since a Yankees game was “over” after three – where it was a win for New York?)

    Dude (and dudette’s), the Yankees are streaking! This is now 8 wins in a row at home. Then again the Yankees own the Twins in the Bronx. Minnesota is now 3-17 at Yankee Stadium over the last seven seasons.

    Lastly, here’s a bit of news via the AP -

    Oft-injured RHP Carl Pavano, coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, could be back this year. In the final season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, Pavano has made just 19 starts with New York. “There’s certainly a chance for him to pitch in the majors this year if everything goes right,” general manager Brian Cashman said.

    Sure. Laugh at that…if you want. But, then again, Cashman found magic with Ponson…

    So, who knows about Pavano? Maybe he will make a comeback this season in the Bronx?

    Imagine…the Yankees make the post-season in 2008…and either Sidney Ponson or Carl Pavano starts a “Game 4″ in a post-season series for New York…yeah…it just might happen, right?

    July 20th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on July 20th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Two hours and twenty-six minutes. Great timing for a ballgame on a hot and muggy day like today.

    Is it just me, or, could the A’s Justin Duchscherer pass as a younger version of Patrick Bauchau? He sort of looks like him to me. Then again, when I see Duchscherer I think he could also pass as a member of the primitive “Morg” from the Star Trek episode “Spock’s Brain.”

    Anywho, back to baseball, it was just about a month ago that the duo of Giambi & Pettitte carried the Yankees to a win – as was the case in this game. Hey, whatever happened to that Mitchell Report thing, anyway?

    This one was a pretty big win for the Yankees. If the Angels can beat the Red Sox later today, this would mean that the Yankees would be 2 games back in the loss column in the Wildcard chase. All things considered, that’s an interesting spot to be in now…

    …but, again, as always…if the Yankees don’t start hitting (and they only scored two today), it’s not going to matter.

    July 19th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on July 19th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Through the first six innings of this game, I kept thinking “Damn, seems like the same ol’ Yankees here. Joba’s pitching a gem, and, yeah, they’re up (2-0 for the most part and then later 2-1); but, they’re leaving way too many runner on base. I’m not feeling good about this one. It just feels like they’re going to blow it.”

    And, then, in the seventh inning, when Veras had the melt-down with two outs and a runner on first, allowing the A’s to tie the score, I thought “Knew it. All those runners left on have come back to roost. Chamberlain’s effort is wasted. Ugh.”

    Later, when Mariano confused Jack Hannahan for Kevin Millar, and Rajai Davis for Dave Roberts, and Ryan Sweeney for Bill Mueller, in the ninth, and allowed the A’s to take a 3-2 lead, I thought “This is terrible. All things considered – the standings, the date, the number of games left, the opponent, this being a home game, the runners left on base, the game by Joba, etc. – the Yankees cannot lose this game. It would be a huge nail in their coffin. Further, a championship caliber team does not lose this game.”

    Soon after, when Justin Christian fell down trying to steal in the bottom of the ninth, I thought “You know, thirty or forty years from now, if someone wanted to know what the 2008 Yankees were like, they should watch a replay of this game. This one says it all. Everything you need to know was on display in this game.”

    So, you can imagine my shock when Cano doubled with two outs and then Betemit singled on an 0-2 count to tie the game at three. Yes, a game tying hit from Wilson Betemit on an 0-2, two out, pitch! My thought then? “Holy ef’in’ Lazarus Batman!”

    Ah, extra innings. But, it just seemed like something bad was about to break. Ramirez allowed two base runners in the top of the 10th. The Yankees stranded two runners in the bottom of the 10th. And, New York had a runner on second with one out in the 11th and could not plate him. Robertson allowed two base runners in the top of the 12th. It just seemed like Oakland was knocking on the door again and the Yankees were not taking advantage of chances to win.

    Finally, in the bottom of the 12th inning, the Yankees got to the A’s Lenny DiNardo. Yeah, the venerable Lenny DiNardo. Jose Molina wins it for the Yankees when he got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Or, did Lenny DiNardo lose it for the A’s when he loaded the bases and then hit Jose Molina with a pitch? It’s really hard to say which was the case.

    Gee, I really want to feel better about this win for the Yankees. But, I can’t do it. Sure, it would have been devastating to lose this game. Yet, because the Yankees play today was not very impressive – outside of the game from Chamberlain – I cannot come away from this one with my Yankees fan chest sticking out, proud, for the world to see…

    It just feels like the Yankees, with some help from the A’s, got lucky and dodged a bullet, with this win today. Sure, it’s better to be lucky than good – no question. But, at this stage of the season, I want to see the Yankees playing good too. Because, you can’t get lucky all that often over the next 65 games…right?

    July 18th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on July 18th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    A good win – despite Bobby Meacham’s attempts to put two of the Yankees marquee players on the disabled list. Someone needs to shut Meacham’s windmill act down before it’s too late.

    Then again, when you get seven walks in a game, like the Yankees had in this one, and, when you hit 2 homers in the same game, like the Yankees did tonight, you’re usually going to win.

    In fact, since 2000, there have only been 9 regular season games where the Yankees had “7+ BB AND 2+ HR” in a game and they lost. That’s nine times in just about nine years.

    Hey, how about Mike Mussina? Moose sure is making it an interesting question in terms of what to do with him after this season – sign him or let him walk. Very interesting…indeed.

    And, congrats to Richie Sexson. This evening, he became the only non-pitcher 80 inches or taller to ever come to bat in a Yankees uniform. Prior to this, Tony Clark was the tallest non-pitcher to bat for the Yankees…at 79 inches tall. The tallest Yankee, ever, to bat in a game? That would be Randy Johnson at 82 inches tall.

    July 13th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 13th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Yes, I know A.J. Burnett has great stuff. But, he also had 8 losses and an ERA of 5.23 coming into this game – so, he can be beat. But, yeah, I know…these are the 2008 New York Yankees.

    Remember that Yankees game of July 3rd? After that “contest,” Joe Girardi called his team on the carpet and told them that time was running out and that they needed to play better, now. And, what’s happened since that time? In the nine games which have followed, the Yankees have gone 5-4. Worse, in these nine games, the team has batted .220 – yes, two-twenty.

    So much for playing better, huh?

    O.K., we’re at the All-Star break now. And, in their last 15 games, the Yankees are 7-8. Further, in their last 22 games, the Yankees are 10-12.

    As Yankees fans, why should we believe that this team will play anything better than .500 after the All-Star break? Because some recent Yankees teams have played well after the break? Really? Is this team the same as those teams? I don’t think so.

    Besides…just because something may have occured in the past for a baseball team, it’s not a rule that it’s going to happen again. There are no guarantees when it comes to baseball seasons…none at all.

    July 12th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 12th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Folks will want to talk about Jeter and A-Rod’s homeruns in this game – because that’s sexy…with Derek’s being career jack #200 and with Alex’s passing Mickey Mantle on the all-time list.

    But, you can also make the case that Brett Gardner’s hit in the 3rd inning was the blow that iced this win for the Yankees. In fact, it was a really nice day for Gardner: 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs, and 3 RBI.

    Also, give credit to Ramirez, Veras and Farnsworth for shutting the door after five from Rasner.

    Speaking of Darrell Rasner, hey, nice job hanging in there for this one. He could have melted after that first inning – but, he didn’t. And, there’s something to this Chad Moeller thing with Rasner. Including this game, here’s Rasner’s OPS allowed by catcher:

    Moeller: .675 (in 149 PA)
    Posada: .933 (in 71 PA)
    Molina: 1.014 (in 81 PA)

    As long as Chad Moeller is on the team, if I’m Girardi, I’m having him catch Rasner all the time.

    July 11th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 11th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Let’s be honest here…

    The way the Yankees have not been scoring runs over the last two weeks, what chance did you think they possibly had of beating Doc Halladay this evening?

    Put it this way, the chances of the Yankees scoring off Halladay tonight where probably about the same as Paul “Pee-wee” Reubens being asked to star in the lead role for a movie depicting the life and times of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    And, please, can we stop playing the injury card? Anyone notice the line-up for the Jays this evening? Toronto was sans some stars tonight…and they scored five runs.

    When you have Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Giambi and Posada still remaining in your line-up, you should be able to score some runs…once in a while…no?

    Two more days till the All-Star break…

    Man, it cannot come fast enough in Yankeeland.

    July 10th @ The Pirates

    Posted by on July 10th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    The Yankees runs per game, including this contest, beginning the day following that split Yankee/Shea Stadium day-night double-header:

    June 28th: 3 runs
    June 29th: 1 run
    June 30th: 1 run
    July 1st: 2 runs
    July 2nd: 18 runs – Thank you, Warner Madrigal.
    July 3rd: 0 runs
    July 4th: 4 runs
    July 5th: 2 runs
    July 6th: 5 runs (in 10 innings)
    July 8th: 5 runs
    July 9th: 2 runs (in 10 innings)
    July 10th: 2 runs

    That’s 12 games in total – and, where New York has scored 2 runs or less in 7 of the 12 games. (And, in 8 of the 12 games they have scored 3 runs or less.)

    Some offense, huh? The Yankees are very lucky that they have won 6 of these 12 games.

    With a better offensive effort, they might have won 11 of the 12 games. Really. No kidding.

    What a waste.

    July 9th vs. The Rays

    Posted by on July 9th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Strange game.

    The Yankees offense was pretty bad today. Yet, their pitching – including Sidney Ponson (!) – was awesome this afternoon.

    I called out Bobby Abreu this morning – and he gets the game-winner today, in extras, his first Yankees walk-off hit…and he gets the Gatorade Bucket too (with Cano and Cabrera playing the roles of Jim Burt and Harry Carson).

    Wow. To paraphrase Alonzo Harris, “Hank Stein ain’t got nothin’ on me!

    So, the Yankees end up taking four of six from the Sox and Rays….

    Maybe there’s some life in this team, after all?

    Still, man, they have to hit better than what we’re seeing…because it’s been the Yankees pitching who has been doing the job in these wins. Moose, Joba, Pettitte and now Ponson – along with, of course, the great Mariano Rivera.

    July 8th vs. The Rays

    Posted by on July 8th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    A big game on the big stage at the big ballpark in the Bronx.

    And, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter come through – and then some! – for the Yankees. Should we be surprised by any of this?

    Say whatever you want about this game…in terms of who did what, etc. But, there’s no way that you cannot say that 90% of this win, if not more, was all about Andy Pettitte throwing an absolute gem of a game for eight innings – along with Derek Jeter providing both a huge two-out, two-run, double in the bottom of the third and a (at the time) game-saving play in the field, in the top of the seventh inning (ending the frame and snuffing out a Rays rally before they could plate a run).

    The two old pros, Pettitte and Jeter, really got the job done for the Yanks tonight.

    Score this one: Big win.

    Granted, in the first seven innings, there were some items of concern for New York:

    Bottom of the third, runners on second and third, no outs, and the next two batters whiff (before Jeter’s big double).

    Bottom of the fourth, runner on second with one out and the Yanks cannot move the runner.

    Bottom of the fifth, runners on first and second, no outs, and the next batter whiffs – followed by an inning-ending GIDP.

    For a while, it looked like the Yankees failures (above) may have come back to haunt them in this one. But, that Jeter play in the seventh, followed by the offense waking up in the eighth, was enough to lock this one down for New York.

    Again: Big win. Especially with Sir Sidney going for the Yankees tomorrow afternoon.

    July 6th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 6th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    When you factor in everything, really, I mean, all things considered…the Yankees season to date, the way the team has played lately, all the stuff going on around the team, the news about a trade that happened which means there’s one less player on the market that could have potentially helped New York, who the Yanks were playing today, how they came back in this game, the timing of comeback following Girardi’s spark, who came through for the Yankees, who failed for the Red Sox…when you look at the great big ball that is the Yankees Universe at this moment along with examining every detail of this particular contest, it’s not unreasonable to proclaim this game as being the Yankees best day of the 2008 season, so far…is it?

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Not at all.

    Perfect timing too. The entire Yankees organization and their fans can now ride this good vibe for the forty-something hours that follow this game…and it will somewhat offset all the ugly news tomorrow that’s expected around the martial problems for the new face of the franchise.

    Thank goodness.

    July 5th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 5th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Anyone else have some post-season flashbacks while watching this game? (And, my apologies if any of this was mentioned on FOX today. I saw most of this one while I was in a restaurant – and the sound on the TV was off.)

    Bottom of the 2nd inning. Giambi walks with one out and moves to second on Cano’s single. Cabrera then singles to right…and, here comes Giambi around third….

    He slides…and what a slide! He’s safe!

    At that moment, I started to think about Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS against the A’s. You know…the Jeter flip game. And, my thoughts were: “Thank goodness we got the Giambi brother who knows how to slide!”

    Top of the ninth. Yanks up, 2-1. Sox have the bases juiced with no outs. Rivera, who just allowed a run before loading the bases, is pitching. Crisp, Varitek and Lugo are due up for Boston.

    I thought, for sure, the Red Sox were going to (at least) tie this game (at that point). However, Mo gets Crisp on strikes and Varitek on a pop-up. Two huge outs. One to go…

    At this moment, I started to think about the bottom of the 9th from Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks. When Arizona, who was trailing 2-1 to start their half of that inning, had runners on first and second with no outs, against Rivera, I was positive that Mo was going to work out of it with some strike-outs and pop-ups. But, as you know, it never happened. Now, today, Rivera was doing what I expected seven years ago…and all he needed was one more out.

    Bingo! Lugo strikes out and the Yankees win. Wow.

    Hey, the Yankees offense was still MIA today. We cannot forget about that. It’s still an issue. But, let’s just focus on the positives from today – the Yankees pitching.

    Mussina was a man on a mission. He did all you can ask from him – and more. Jose Veras…who is starting to win me over…pitches like the man he said he would be back in November of 2005. Shoot, even Kyle Farnsworth chipped in with a perfect eighth inning.

    It’s a “W” and the Yankees will take it – because they need it.

    How about this: In their last 21 games, the Yankees are now 12-9. And, three of those twelve wins were by the score of 2-1; and, another one of those twelve wins was by the score of 3-2.

    Pitching is the difference between the Yankees going 12-9 in their last 21 games and not going 8-13 (in those 21 contests). Thanks the stars above above for the great pitching that the Yankees have been getting, at times, over the last three weeks. Without it…things could be a lot worse in Yankeeland.

    July 4th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 4th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    For a split second, when Bobby Abreu first made contact on that drive to center in the bottom of the ninth, I thought those few who braved the 88 minute rain delay this afternoon may have earned something special. But, that was just for a split second. Bummer.

    Ballgame over. The Yankees lose. The-uh-uh-uh Yan-kees lose.

    Granted, it was somewhat close today. Yes, the Yankees had their chances…in the fourth, seventh and ninth…but, no cigar.

    So, the Yankees have now lost 9 of their last 14 games. It’s official…and it’s a slide. After their game of June 19th, the Yankees record was 40-33…and, now, it’s 45-42 (after this game). It’s just a matter of time…and not that long, actually…until the Yankees will be just a .500 team again.

    What might be lost, today, with the focus on the overall rotten play of the Yankees, was another poor outing by Darrell Rasner. He really struggled in the first, third and fifth innings today. And, this is now five starts in a row where he’s failed to go beyond five innings. Between him and Sidney Ponson, the back end of the Yankees starting rotation is now, again, just as ugly as it was earlier in the season (with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy stinking).

    This puts a lot of pressure on Pettitte, Mussina and Chamberlain.

    You know, for just about the same money that they spent on LaTroy Hawkins, the Yankees could have grabbed Kyle Lohse to eat up these starts that are being “covered” by guys like Ponson, etc. But, hey, that would have required some decent foresight and contingency planning, right?

    Those are two concepts that the Yankees front office lacks when it comes to dealing with pitching…at least in the last five years or so.

    As you sow so shall you reap…eh?

    July 3rd vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 3rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Gee, things sure are different when you don’t get to face Warner Madrigal, huh?

    Actually, I was spared viewing this one. My family and I attended a block party (held on a street where one of our friends lives) to watch a big fireworks show.

    At one point, during the party, I asked one of our friends to check the score on his blackberry. At that time, he shared it was 6-zip, Boston, in the fifth, and that the Yankees only had two hits. Ouch.

    The party ended at 10 pm, on the dot, and that was perfect timing – in terms of getting to the radio just in time for the start of the post-game wrap-up. Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling had some interesting things to say about this one. Sterling shared that the Yankees were never in this game. Waldman called the Yankees lackluster performance embarrassing.

    But, most importantly, Waldman said that there would be no post-game clubhouse report because (Yankees Media Relations Boss) Jason Zillo said that the clubhouse was closed – and that it would be closed for a while.

    Waldman and Sterling suggest that the entire team was getting a new one ripped over their performance in this game.

    Hey – and I know that many say I’m beating a dead horse with this one, but, it’s true – the Yankees, to date, now, this season are 33-41 when not playing teams named the Mariners, Astros and Padres. Point blank, this team is not good.

    And, in my opinion, if they manage to lose, say, four of their next five games, then, maybe it’s time to blow the thing up…start selling your pending free agents…and start working towards next season.

    July 2nd vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on July 2nd, 2008 · Comments (3)

    For an eventual blow-out…this game had some back-and-forth swings for me…in terms of a comfort level.

    When Jason Giambi hit that slam in the third, to turn a 3-1 hole into a 5-3 lead, I still wasn’t feeling too comfortable about getting a “W” here – because of how the Yankees have been playing lately and because Sidney Ponson was pitching for New York.

    And, when Chris Davis hit that long homerun off Ponson in the sixth to give the Rangers the lead again, 7-6, I thought “O.K., here we go again…”

    But, then came the bottom of the seventh. Wow. Welcome to the big leagues, Warner Madrigal.

    Once the Yankees had an 8-run lead with 6 outs to go, I was pretty darn comfortable. And, the dress was in the bag.

    However, before we get too giddy about this one in Yankeeland…we should remember that the big 9-run seventh inning did come mostly at the expense of Warner Madrigal – who, again, was making his big league debut; and, who just converted to pitching (after being an outfielder) three years ago. It’s not everyday that you get to run your $209 million team up against someone that green.

    Still, it’s better to face the Red Sox coming off a game like this in the Bronx – than to face them coming off a sweep, by the Rangers, for sure.

    July 1st vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on July 1st, 2008 · Comments (5)

    I’m beginning to think that Hank and Hal Steinbrenner have secretly sold this team to some guy named Murphy. You the guy…the one the law was named after…because this really is Murphy’s team…what can go wrong will go wrong.

    What can you possible say about this game tonight? Know what? Screw it. I don’t even want to talk about it. Just thinking about it leaves a knot in my stomach. Why give it any extra steam, in terms of working up my blood pressure, by talking about it?

    So, the Yankees have now played 84 games this season. And, at this moment, they are now 8 games back in the loss column behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays.

    Last season, after 84 games, the Yankees were 10 games back in the loss column behind the first place Boston Red Sox.

    In 2006, after 84 games, the Yankees were 3 games back in the loss column behind the first place Boston Red Sox. And, in 2005, after 84 games, the Yankees were 3 games back in the loss column behind the first place Boston Red Sox.

    Clearly, in terms of the “uphill” nature of the challenge before the Yankees, this season – at this junction – is more like 2007 (for New York) than it is like 2005 or 2006. And, in the end, last season, the hill was just too much for the Yankees to climb…and they did not finish in first place.

    Should this year be any different? Probably not. It’s time to think “Wildcard” in Yankeeland – as that may be the best this team can hope for…now.

    Tomorrow morning, even with their medicore play this season (to date), the Yankees will find themselves 4 games back, in the loss column, in the Wildcard chase. That’s not terrible. It’s attainable. But, man, they can’t keep losing games like this one…and the one before…and the one before that…and hope to get that Wildcard berth. At some point, you have to start playing like a winning team. And, all season long – sans some games against the Mariners, Astros and Padres – that’s not happening in Yankeeland. Not at all.