• August 31st @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 31st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Missed this one. We took the kids to go see the Lakewood BlueClaws host the Hagerstown Suns – since the Chicken was there (and we had so much fun the last time we caught the Chicken when he was in town).

    I did catch the last out of the Yankees game when we hit the car in the parking lot – and then heard the whole post-game wrap-up. Boy, would I have kicked myself, hard, if I had missed Andy Pettitte throw a perfect game or no-hitter…chicken or no chicken.

    As it is, give Pettitte all the credit for this one. To be perfect, as long as he was, in a close (two-zip) game…and…then…to not cave in once he lost the perfecto and then the no-no on back-to-back batters in the seventh…after two outs…well…that’s focus ladies and germs. That’s how a pro handles it. Attaboy Andy.

    Coming into this game, over his last 12 starts, Pettitte had an ERA of 4.09 and had allowed an Opp BA/OBA/SLG line of .250/.316/.368 (facing 303 batters). And, that’s very good. But, four of those twelve starts were clunkers. So, that means when Pettitte has been “on,” lately, he’s “really on.” Let’s hope he’s “on” in October – because the Yankees will need him in that three-slot, and performing well, when that post-season bell rings.

    Getting back to the game I saw this evening…here are some photos…for those who like minor league ballparks, at night, at the end of the summer…

    SettingSunLightsHPFirstEnergy_WW1

    (more…)

    August 30th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on August 30th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Nice to see Alfredo Aceves have a strong performance in this game. And, seeing it, along with the performance of Phil Hughes today – combined with Hughes’ performance all season out of the pen – makes me wonder if the Yankees would consider using Aceves in the rotation next season and keep Hughes in the bullpen?

    Now, on to Joba Chamberlain. Girardi and crew elected to have him go three innings today – throwing 35 pitches. All this time, under the old and new Joba Rules, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have said that Chamberlain would be in the Yankees rotation come October. So, here’s the question: If you have Joba throw 35 pitches per start for the next month, what’s going to happen in the post-season when you ask him to start a game and throw 100 pitches? Will his arm be up for that after a month’s “vacation”?

    Hopefully, the Yankees will build his arm up – having him go 45 pitches, 55 pitches, 65 pitches, 75 pitches, and 85 pitches over his next (and remaining?) 5 starts. Otherwise, if you have him throw 35 pitches per start from here to October…well…you’re just asking for it in the post-season when he starts a game…if the plan still is to keep him in the rotation at that time…

    August 29th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on August 29th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Still feels great to pound on Jose Contreras. How he did what he did in 2005 is still beyond me. The guy is just terrible, and he killed the Yankees when he was on the team in 2004, and I love to see him get whipped…but, maybe that’s just me.

    Hey, how crazy would it have been if Sergio Mitre would have pitched a no-hitter today? Crazier than Mike Warren throwing one? Or, Jose Jimenez?

    I have to confess, when A-Rod made that play on Konerko, leading off the fifth, for a split second, I was thinking “Maybe…” But, Jim Thome, up next, put a quick end to that…

    …oh, well, in the end, all that matters is the “W.”

    August 28th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on August 28th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    This one would have been a tough one to lose…just because Sabathia pitched a great game…and because the Yankees have split their last ten games before this one.

    Sure, New York can play .500 for the rest of the season and still finish with 96 wins this year.

    But, of course, if New York had lost this game, that would have sliced their lead in the A.L. East down to five games…since Boston won today and has now won 8 of their last 11 games. And, while being up five with 32 to go is a nice cushion…six games is even sweeter.

    Good job by the Yankees pen in this one…although…personally…I expected Brian Bruney to blow it when I heard he was coming in to pitch…and thought it even more when he fell behind A.J. Pierzynski. 3-2, after starting him off with two strikes…

    …always nice to be wrong in these situations!

    August 27th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on August 27th, 2009 · Comments (24)

    The headline says it all: Coke Spills. This one was a must-win for the Texas Rangers. Unfortunatly for us, they came through and have proved that they are for real.

    The Yankees offense killed me today…putting together only 2 runs off of 7 walks and 4 hits within the first 3 and 2/3 innings is flat out pathetic. Cano and A-Rod each left 5 men stranded while Swisher and Matsui each left 4 men stranded.

    On the pitching side, while Burnett tossed a quality start striking out an impressive 12 batters, he is still susceptible to the consequences of walking too many batters.  The league leader in bases on balls was up to his usual tricks, surrending 3 walks in his 6 innings. Want an interesting/frustrating stat about Burnett? Take a guess when the last time AJ Burnett started a game and didn’t give up a walk this year. Can’t think of it? That’s because he hasn’t. In fact, the last time Burnett failed to surrender a walk in an outing was on July 23rd, 2008. This is nothing new for AJ, in fact, as in his entire career he’s had 14 starts where he hasn’t surrended a walk out of 236 career starts. I realize he tossed a pretty good game, but there’s nothing that bothers me more then surrendering a walk.

    The real goat of the game, however, was Phil Coke. Once Philthy, Coke is now just pitiphil. Since July 11th, Coke has appeared in 18 games, hurling 14 and 1/3 innings, surrending 13 runs on 18 hits, 5 walks and 1 hits batsman. His ERA in that time is 10.05. How long do the Yankees keep sending him out for?

    - Posted By Corey

    August 26th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on August 27th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    I have to admit, I got a little scared during the 1st inning of this game. Pettitte getting out of that bases loaded jam was huge, and set him up to toss another gem. With this latest outing, Andy improves to 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 51.2 innings since the All Star Break. He looks as good as I’ve ever seem him lately and, with him pitching like this, it’s a no-brainer to pencil him in the 3rd spot of the playoff rotation.

    As for the offense, they got the better of young Derek Holland roughing him up for 6 earned runs in 6 innings. The offense was pretty much running on all cylinders, with even Hairston getting in the mix with a solo jack. Speaking of Hairston, what a pick up for the Yanks huh? This guy has played almost every position on the field and has not embarassed the team with his bat. While with the Yanks so far this year, he has hit to the following slash rates :  .314/.415/.543. While it’s obvious that he won’t continue to hit at such a high level, he is, right now, exactly what the yankees want Ramiro Pena to become.

    Lastly, did anyone else cringe when Posada’s glove hand got clipped with the foul tip? I was afraid that maybe he actually broke it this time.  Luckily, it’s relatively fine and the Yankees are in a position where they can give Jorge a few days off to let his finger heal a little bit.

    When it’s all said and done, after a tough loss the Yankees came firing right back with a nice victory against a playoff caliber team. Is it just me, or does it feel like this team, this year, is playing out a Yankeeography?

    - Posted By Corey

    August 25th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on August 26th, 2009 · Comments (21)

    Wow, that one got close in the 9th huh? I thought the Yanks were going to pull off the come back there for a minute. Regardless, there’s a lot of fight in this team day in and day out and they never seem to be completely out of it.

    And now, for Joba. Last night featured the same old, same old from Joba. I think it’s time for Posada (if he has already, do it again) to sit Joba down and tell him that he’s going to throw whatever pitch Posada tells him to throw. Everytime Joba shakes off Posada, it makes his pitches become predictable. How many times with 2 strikes did Joba shake Posada off to throw the slider? At this point, I don’t think I want to see him get the ball in October. Line up CC, AJ, and Andy and let’s roll.

    Lastly, another 2 hits and a walk for the captain. It tells you a lot about your season when it’s been 114 PA since your last walk and your OBP is still .390+. If he continues to hit and get on base at this clip, and steal bases like he has been, he may give Tex and Mauer a run for their money for that MVP award.

    - Posted By Corey

    August 23rd @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 24th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Excellent scouting/strategy by the Yankees in this one…having a game plan to attack early in the count against Beckett. Even Terry Francona referenced it during the in-game interview on ESPN. Somebody on the New York coaching staff, and/or the scouting department, derserves a gold star for that one. And, two thumbs up to the players for executing it.

    The A.L. East, while not carved in stone, is pretty much a done deal now with this Yankees victory. New York is up on Boston by 7 games in the loss column with 38 games left to play. Sure, yeah, I know about the 1969 Mets, the 1993 Braves, the 1995 Mariners, the 1978 Yankees and the 2007 Phillies. But, it ain’t happening for Boston this year – not with the condition of their starting pitchers. At this point, all the Yankees need to do from here out is win as much as they lose, avoid injuries to key players, not underestimate who they play in the ALDS, and figure out a way to beat the Angels (should they face them sometime in October). If New York can do that, there’s no reason why we can’t see the World Series come to the Bronx in October.

    August 22nd @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Joe Girardi, after the game, when asked about A.J. Burnett’s performance today: “It’s not what we expected.” Gotta love ol’ General Joe, when it comes to commenting on his players, don’t cha? (For the record, when asked about Robbie Cano getting thrown out at second, by ten feet, in the second, Joe said “He got a bad read.” See what I mean?)

    Burnett allowed a career high 9 runs in this one. In his career, A.J. has allowed 8 runs in a game just 6 times…with the last time being…heyApril 25th of this season in a game at Fenway Park. In fact, as a Yankee, Burnett has now pitched three games at Fenway Park, throwing 12.6 IP and allowing 20 earned runs. Yikes.

    Here’s all you need to know about the game: The Red Sox scored 14 runs with 13 of them coming with two outs. And, the Yankees had 15 runners reach base, left at least one base runner on in each of their nine innings, and only scored one run on the day. In a nutshell, the Yankees allowed too many big hits and couldn’t get any big hits for themselves. You do that, and, most of the time, you’re going to get an “L” branded on your fanny…which is what New York got today in this one.

    August 21st @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 21st, 2009 · Comments (4)

    I cannot believe Nick Swisher dogging it…and costing the Yankees their 21st run in this game. (Yes, I’m kidding here.)

    This one was two games – the first five innings and the last four innings.

    New York killed Boston in that first game, 12-4. But, New York barely got by Boston in that second game, 8-7. In the end, when you combine the two, the Yanks won by nine – and, thank you, Terry Francona, for leaving Michael Bowden in this contest, for as long as you did, because the seven runs that he allowed (in 2 innings) was a huge part of the cushion in this overall blowout.

    Speaking of thanks, how about “No thanks!” to Brian Bruney for making this one…uminteresting in the 6th and 7th innings? There were a couple of moments in those frames where I thought “Oh, no, a slam here and this thing is going to start and shift…” Happy to say, that never happened. Whew.

    So, how about tomorrow?

    Well, on September 26, 2008 the Yanks pounded the Sox, 19-8, at Fenway and then did not play the next day. And, of course, on October 16, 2004, in the ALCS, the Yanks pounded the Sox, 19-8, at Fenway and we all know what happened the next day. Also, on June 19, 2000 the Yanks pounded the Sox, 22-1, at Fenway and won the next day, 3-0.

    So, that’s one day-after zero, one day-after loss, and one day-after win. That makes it 1-1-0, right? Let’s hope that tomorrow’s day-after result is another “W” and changes that day-after line to 2-1-0…

    …because, if the Yankees win tomorrow, and can then sweep on Sunday, we will be able to shout out “Los calcetines rojos son muertos!” – for the first time since August of 2006.

    August 19th @ The A’s

    Posted by on August 20th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    This was a close one.

    The Yankees have now played 60 games this season where the margin of victory was two runs or less and New York is 39-21 in those games…best mark in the A.L. for this slice…with only the Tigers being close to them. That’s a lot of close games. Not sure what that means…if it means the Yankees are lucky, good, or some combination of the two?

    Unrelated, anyone else not like the look on Chad Gaudin’s face when Joe Girardi came to the mound to take him out of this game?

    August 18th @ The A’s

    Posted by on August 19th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    With this win, the Yankees are the first team in baseball to reach 75 wins this season. Sweet.

    This was the first time in 6 years, and 6 tries, that C.C. Sabathia pitched a good game in Oakland. And, it came at a good time. Nice job as well on throwing behind Kurt Suzuki in the first inning. Speaking of behind Kurt Suzuki…

    Hey, Melky, don’t forget to send Suzuki some flowers this morning after the good time he showed you in this one.

    August 17th @ The A’s

    Posted by on August 18th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Brett Tomko? Really? Brett Tomko?

    Oh, well, at least it was a fast game – 2 hours and 15 minutes. Shame, overall, A.J. Burnett pitched good enough to win.

    First time this month that the Yanks have lost back-to-back games. (Their last back-to-back losses were against the White Sox on July 31st – August 1st.) This is the first time the Yankees have been shutout since June 23rd – when Cashman went to Atlanta the next day. Time for another meeting? Sure, the Yankees averaged 5.8 runs scored per game between June 24th and August 16th. But, that was then and this is now…yeah, I am kinda kidding here.

    Brett Tomko? Really? Now, that’s no joke…

    August 16th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 16th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Joba Chamberlain has now made 23 starts this season, including this game, and has gone 5 innings or less in 8 of those contests. For those keeping score at home, that’s 35% of the time. So, basically, a little over a third of the time, Joba’s been “Jaret Wright” like this season. And, I mean the “Jaret Wright” who pitched for the Yankees in 2005 and 2006 – and not the one who pitched for the Indians in 1997.

    And, then, in the seventh inning today, this game just got ugly for New York.

    Oh, well, at least Derek Jeter set the all-time shortstop hits mark.

    Other than the Chamberlain thing, not all that much to fret about here – the Yankees are still 7.5 games up on Boston even with this loss. (Thank you, Texas Rangers.)

    Really, at this point, it’s almost just about playing .500 or better for the rest of the season, not having anyone get hurt, and working out some player kinks…like the Joba inconsistency matter. There’s little question that the Yanks are going to finish with 95-100 wins this season…and that should be more than enough to lock down an October berth. Yup, the dress is in the bag.

    August 15th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 16th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Yanks caught some minor breaks in this one with bad Mariners’ defense and baserunning – along with at least one favorable umpire’s call on balls and strikes. Then again, the Yanks bullpen and defense was outstanding in this contest. Heck, the only negative thing about this win is that it probably means Sergio Mitre lives to see another day in the Yankees starting rotation.

    New York is now an insane 23-6 since the All-Star break. And, they are 36-11 since June 24th (when Cashman went to Atlanta). Yes, that’s a winning percentage of .766 over the last 7 1/2 weeks. Apply that rate to a 162 game schedule and it’s 124 wins. One-hundred and twenty four wins?

    This just in! There’s really little chance possible that a major league baseball team could play any better than the Yankees have been doing since June 24th.

    Somebody has to get the whole skinny on what went down that day in Atlanta – because the Yankees were 38-32 before that (and five games out) – and not playing well before that team meeting with Cashman.

    August 14th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 15th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Did Andy Pettitte turn himself around in this game, or what? Anyone watching Pettitte in the first couple of innings never would have figured that he would end up going six, allowing only two runs, and whiffing ten in the process.

    This is a huge win for me…actually, any time Pettitte wins, it’s huge…because you usually, now, have some combination of Mitre, Chamberlain and/or Gaudin following him the rotation. So, if the Yankees are ever going to have a four-game losing streak, it will probably start with a Pettitte loss…followed by Mitre, Chamberlain and Gaudin. And, that’s the only chance Boston has now, of getting back into this thing, is if the Yanks string together three or four losses in a row.

    Good job Andy – and Bruney and Hughes too – keeping the game close until Tex’s big fly.

    Side note from this game: Johnny Damon became the first player in more than 60 years to collect 600 hits for three different teams (Royals, Red Sox and Yankees). The others are Willie Keeler and Doc Cramer. That’s a cool stat.

    And, on the YES coverage, Ken Singleton was talking about Derek Jeter being on the doorstep of becoming the player to have the most hits in history as a shortstop. I didn’t hear all of what he said, but, its sounded like Jeter was within a few hits of the record. But, I cannot verify that as of yet…did anyone else hear that and remember the details?

    August 13th @ The Mariners

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

    This one was pretty much over after three innings. CC and Godzilla, what can you say? Huge win for the Yankees here – coupled with Boston’s loss to the Tigers – means the Yankees only need to split their next six games and then, no matter what the Red Sox do between now and August 23rd, the Yankees will start their next homestand, on August 25th, in first place.

    Think about that – if the Yankees can win just 3 of their next 6 games, even if the Red Sox go 9-0 in their next nine games, it’s a lock that New York will be in first place 12 days from now. Cool.

    August 12th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 12th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Robbie Cano…don’t cha know…this cream pie is for you! Another thrilling walk-off victory. What is that, like, a hundred of those now this season?

    Man, if the Yankees end up winning a ring this season, when MLB does the World Series video, I want to see all these in-season late comebacks and/or walk-off wins featured in that DVD – even if it’s just on the bonus features. It’s been an amazing season, so far, with all these crazy wins…

    …of course, if the Yanks don’t make it past the ALDS again, this is all moot, right? Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Nothing worse than a magic carpet ride that ends before the final destination.

    August 11th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 11th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Damon and Teixeira were the back-to-back big fly heroes on Sunday…and tonight it was Matsui and Posada. (Nice catch, by the way, out there on the ‘Sado homer by the mirror image of Billy Connors.)

    What a sweet comeback. I hope those Yankees fans who have tickets for the last home game of this season do something special for Hideki Matsui – in what will probably be his last regular season game as Yankee. He deserves it. In many ways, he’s the Japanese Roy White…if you ask me.

    This would have been a bad game to lose…having lost the day before…and losing a game in the standings…and potentially losing more ground as the Red Sox try and spark up their season in Boston.

    August 10th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 10th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    I couldn’t watch this one. After the intensity of the last four games against the Red Sox, I needed a night off. Plus, I figured the Yanks would not be on top of their game – and who could blame them after those games against Boston? Lastly, I knew that Sergio Mitre was pitching. ‘Nuff said? So, instead, I watched a movie tonight. It just seemed like the right time to take a break…

    I did peek in during the third and fifth innings. And, I caught Mitre being interviewed by Kim Jones on the YES post-game as well…talking about the play at second. So, I saw the Overbay homer and heard about the error. Did I miss anything else?

    Afterwards, I saw that Boston won today. Hey, it was all bound to happen. Tomorrow’s another day, right?

    August 9th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 9th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    Watching the Red Sox celebrate in their dugout during the top of the 8th inning, after Victor Martinez homered against Phil Coke, to give them a 2-1 lead, I thought to myself “Hmmm…they’re acting like they just won the game. Maybe they’ve forgotten that the Yanks have two more shots at this one?” Well, if they forgot, Damon, Teixeira, and the gang sure did remind them in the bottom of the inning!

    A-Rod’s homerun earlier in the game, against Lester – who was dealing – was huge, and, clutch. And, of course, Teixeira’s blast in the 8th inning was clutch too. But, the king of clutch tonight was Johnny Damon – with his homerun, after Matsui and Jeter were retired leading off the eighth, to tie the score at two. That’s the kind of hit that makes a Yankees fan jump out of his comfy couch, do a little jig, and let out a few fist pumps. Well, at the least, that’s what it made this Yankees fan do…

    Damon and Teixeira have been amazing with these back-to-back big flies this season – with this being the 6th time they’ve done it…which is a Yankees record. Think about that…Ruth and Gehrig…Maris and Mantle…and all the others…have not done it six times in a season. Amazing.

    Lastly, on the topic of amazing…how about Andy Pettitte, match zeros with Lester in this one? Really, like I said, Lester was shoving it down the Yankees throats tonight…and, I was starting to get that feeling…you know…that if he got some runs behind him, it was going to be bad news for New York. But, Pettitte kept the Red Sox off the board while he was in there…and that should not be lost in the story of this game.

    August 8th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 8th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Yankees now have back-to-back shutouts of the Red Sox, in Yankee Stadium, for the first time since their double-header sweep of Boston on August 27, 1963.

    Jim Bouton and Ralph Terry were the stars of those games for the Yanks…like CC Sabathia was today (and A.J. Burnett was last night).

    Is it just me, or, does Clay Buchholz look like a skeevy character that Steve Buscemi would play in a movie?

    Think the Yankees have “Sweep Dreams” about tomorrow? I know I do…

    …still, New York has not exactly been blasting the cover off the ball for the last two games…and they have to face Jon Lester…

    …in any event, this series is already a success for the Yankees…regardless if they win or lose tomorrow…and the only damper that could come out of it would be if something really bad, like an injury, happened in tomorrow’s game.

    August 7th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 7th, 2009 · Comments (23)

    This post is a chron-job…set to publish at 11 pm ET…

    Went to the Stadium tonight to watch this one…so, my commentary won’t appear on this contest until I get home…which will probably be after 1 am ET (allowing for traffic and travel time). In the interim, if you want to leave your thoughts and such on this game, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

    Update 2:13 am ET, 8/8/09:

    It was the game that time forgot…and, eventually, the game that no one seemingly wanted to win…but, in the end, it was the game that was great to win – and one that must sting like a mother to have lost…

    It was interesting to attend this one in-person. I do have to confess that I left at the stroke of midnight. At that point, I had seen 13 full innings and close to five hours worth of baseball. Normally, I would never leave a contest like this one. But, I had my father with me, who’s 73-years old – and who lives 75 miles south of the Stadium. So, leaving at midnight gets him home at 2 am ET. And, I really couldn’t ask him to stay until “Who knows when?” and then have him getting in closer to dawn than anything else.

    For the record, we were not the only ones to leave at midnight. There was just a shade over 48,000 there for this game. And, by the 12th inning, I would offer that there were probably about 36,000 fans left in the park. And, come midnight, when the last out was made in the bottom of the 13th inning, it was as if the house lights came on and it was time to leave…people were streaming out…and I would bet that there were only around 20,000 fans remaining as we left. Maybe less…

    We did get to listen to the 14th and 15th innings on the car radio driving home – along with the post-game wrap-up. So, whether you go by innings or time, we saw 87% of the game in-person and listened to the remaining 13% of it on the radio. Sure, it would have been great to stay for those last two innings. But, even if we knew it was only going to be two more, that would have got my father home at close to 3 am ET. And, again, the guy is 73-years old and usually in bed before 11 pm most nights.

    Moving to the game, you can’t say enough about what A.J. Burnett did in this one. If Josh Beckett really is the best pitcher in the league this season, which some claim him to be, Burnett went toe-to-toe with him and matched him, goose-egg for goose-egg, etc. It was great to shower A.J. with cheers when he left the mound in the 8th inning – because he deserved it. You also have to give Alfredo Aceves the unsung hero award for this one. Without what he did, the Yankees do not win this game.

    It’s funny, we saw Brian Bruney warming up in the bullpen during the bottom of the 12th and were praying that Melky Cabrera would get the big two-out hit in that frame to score Jorge Posada – so that Bruney would not be able to get into the game. But, Leche popped up to end the inning.

    When Bruney was announced into the game at the top of the 13th inning, many of the guys sitting around me starting joking around by pretending to make calls on their cell phones saying “I’ll be home soon now, honey” or by telling each other “Thanks for coming and please remember to drive home safely.” But, much to my amazement, and theirs, Bruney zipped through the first two batters of the 13th and eventually got past the third. And, as we heard once we hit the car in the parking lot, he dodged a bullet in the 14th inning. (I’m not sure I would have survived that one in-person. To be candid, I was pretty gassed after 11 innings and was working off fumes cheering during the 12th and 13th innings.)

    It would have been nice to have been there for the “A-Bomb by A-Rod” to win it. But, then again, there are at least another 30,000 fans saying the same thing now – so, at least I have company. Actually, it’s probably less than that – since there were a lot of Red Sox fans at the game too. I bet those Sox fans that left are happy that they missed Rodriguez’ homer.

    In the post-game, on the radio, John Sterling kept referring to this game as being “extraordinary” and “phenomenal.” He then went on to say that he’s been doing Yankees games for 21 years, never missed a game, and that he would place this game in the top ten of all Yankees games played during those 21 years. I don’t know if I would go that far?

    Yes, the pitching from Burnett, Hughes, Rivera, Aceves, Bruney and Coke was very impressive – going 15 innings, allowing only 13 baserunners (including the one via catcher’s interference) and zero runs – especially when you consider this was in the new Yankee Stadium. But, the Yankees batters had chances in the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th innings to make something happen before this game went into extra innings – and didn’t get the job done. And, the Yankees had chances in the 10th, 12th, and 14th innings that were wasted – before A-Rod ended it in the 15th. That’s seven innings for New York with no clutch hits – were a big blow would have been special.

    In any event, whether this is one of the best Yankees games of the last two decades or not, the bigger thing is that it was a win, in the end, against Boston – and, as mentioned in the opening…losing this one must really, really hurt…and, it’s nice to know that hurt is not in Yankeeland.

    And, pretty fun, for me, to be there – for most of it – considering that this game, which started on August 7th, ended on August 8th…which is also the 36th anniversary of the first Yankees game that I ever attended in-person also with my dad…

    August 6th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 6th, 2009 · Comments (23)

    I spent the afternoon before this game enjoying the boardwalk down in Point Pleasant (N.J.) with my family. While there, I noticed many Yankees fans – including several wearing Yankees uniform tops or navy T-Shirts with players names and numbers on the back. I saw a mother wearing a “Mark Teixeira” while her son wore a “Robinson Cano.” I noticed a guy about my age sporting a “Paul O’Neill.” At another point, I was on the “Starship 3000” – which, by the way, will really shift your internal organs around and then some – and I saw an Asian kid wearing a “Hideki Matsui.” And, I saw several people donning “Joba Chamberlain” shirts.

    You could really feel “Yankee” pride out there today – at the eve of this game. And, myself, I must confess, I was a bit amped up for this one like it was a playoff game or something. How nice it was…finally…to see it end in a win…against the Red Sox. It’s been so long…that I forgot how good it feels to beat Boston.

    Although, in the early innings, when Jorge Posada pulled a Jeremy Giambi and the Sox were launching homers into Trost’s Terrace, it felt like a little air was let out from the Yankees fandom hope-balloon. But, then came that long bottom of the fourth – let’s call it the “Hey, John Smoltz, it’s time to retire and go play golf with Tom Glavine” frame – and it was party time. Melky Cabrera’s blast started the music and Jorge Posada’s long homer to center popped the cork on the champagne…

    …all that was left was to get five innings in the books, in case it rained, and to keep the lucky charms going to ensure the Red Sox didn’t take advantage of the fact that there was still a half-game left to be played…and comeback to make it close.

    How about Joba Chamberlain in this one? Clearly, a team full of patient batters combined with a hitter’s umpire behind the plate is a bad mix for ol’ Joba, huh?

    In any event, Anthony Claggett’s bloated Yankees ERA aside, it’s a good win for the Yankees…as it means they will finish this series still in first place…and they’ve finally hung an “L” on the Bosox this season.

    Of course, Friday’s game brings Josh Beckett for the Sox…and he’s not the same as facing a 1,000-year old John Smoltz and Billy Traber. So, we in Yankeeland might be singing a different tune at the end of August 7th. But, that’s a ways away…for now…so, who cares?

    The first place Yankees just beat the Boston Red Sox. We haven’t been able to say that in August, in Yankeeland, since 2006. Let’s just enjoy that and worry about Beckett when that game starts…

    August 5th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 6th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Did Phil Hughes really need to pitch in this game – with him pitching the day before and the Boston series starting the day after? Joba Chamberlain pitches the first game of the Sox/Yanks four-game set. So, you have to figure New York is going to need their set-up men out of the pen for that one, no?

    Strange game for Sergio Mitre. Sure, there were some well placed balls that went for hits in the first. And, he did work his way out of trouble in other spots. But, you have to be able to go five innings in a start – and he’s not showing us that he can do that. Oh, well, at least the Yankees avoided pitching him against the Red Sox and did win the game he started this turn.

    Before moving off this game, as a kid, I thought that Rollen Stewart has annoying as heck back in the day. But, boy, Tim Williams and Joe Farrell take it to another level. I miss the days where the only distraction during a Jays-Yankees game in Toronto were the waitresses who worked the seats behind home plate…

    So, now it begins! Yankees/Red Sox for four at the Stadium. New York has won three straight and Boston has lost two straight coming in – giving the Yankees a 2 1/2 game lead over the Sox (in the standings) at this moment. Will that lead be 6 1/2 games on Monday morning? Or, will Boston have a 1 1/2 game lead over New York come Monday? Or, will it still be 2 1/2 games, for New York, after this big series? Of course, it could also be extended to 4 1/2 games for the Yankees, or, cut down to just a half-game lead for New York by Monday…

    The good news, to me, is that the Yankees now only need to win one of their next four games to ensure that they will still be in first place when the Red Sox leave the Bronx. That’s a nice safety net…assuming they can actually beat Boston, at least once, which would be the first time they’ve beaten them this year…

    August 4th @ The Blue Jays

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

    Wow. Every time you thought the Yankees had a little breathing room in this one…bam…it was back to being a nail-biter.

    A-Rod almost gets nailed, pushing it on the bases in the first on the Halladay error, but gets away with it when he kicks the ball (Ha!) out of Rod Barajas’ mitt. And, Johnny Damon gets a hanger from Halladay in the eighth, on a 2-2 pitch with two outs, and lifts it high and far enough for a homer.

    To me, those two runs were the margin of victory in this 5-3 game. The RBI double by Rodriguez in the first, the homerun by Teixeira in the eighth, and the bomb from Godzilla in the ninth were all hard hit balls. They were going no matter what…it’s that gift in the first on the kicked ball and that mistake by Halladay to Damon that were the deal breakers here.

    On the Yankees pitching side, Andy Pettitte, with the help of some at’em balls, a sweet 3-6-3 DP in the fifth by Teixiera, and a nice running catch by Leche in the seventh, had a heckuva game – banging out round after round with Halladay.

    Phil Hughes had his bumps in the eighth – but, that 1-2 curveball that Hughes threw to Jose Bautista, to get him looking, ending the seventh inning, was an absolute work of art. Seriously, send a video of that pitch to the Louvre.

    Lastly, we have Mo. Dunno what was up with Rivera today. He got away with that pitch to Jose Bautista in the ninth. And, I was a bit nervous when Aaron Hill came to the plate in that frame as well. Like I said, this one was a nail-biter at times. But, the Sandman closed the door and the Yankees came away with a win against Doc Halladay.

    As this is being posted, the Red Sox and Rays are tied at two after eight. But, regardless of whether Boston wins or loses, this win is huge for the Yankees – as it either helps them hold their position (should Boston win) or helps them add a game to their lead (should the Sox lose). The Yankees need to get greedy now…and get the sweep tomorrow.

    August 2nd @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 2nd, 2009 · Comments (6)

    There will be no harmonica throwing on the trip to Toronto! The sweep was averted!

    We had family plans for today that was supposed to keep us out of the house from 1:30 pm ET until very late this evening. But, the weather forecast washed them out. So, instead, we ended up having a late lunch in Sea Bright around 2:20-ish. They had the Yankees game on the T.V. in the bar at restaurant. But, I really couldn’t see it – sans when we were leaving. At that point, it was 7-4, Yanks, and Sabathia had just recorded the first out in the bottom of the fifth.

    From lunch, we decided to run some errands and I was in and out of the car a lot. I was able to hear a little bit of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on the radio. So, I knew that Melky Cabrera had a homer, double and single…but, that was the last I heard…until we were later back in the car and I got the post-game on the radio.

    Now, this is a true story: After we hit our last store, I decided to take the family to our local Ralph’s Italian Ices. I grew up around the corner from the first Ralph’s and have been eating their ices since 1967. If you’ve never had it, I highly recommend it. Back when I was a kid, it was pretty much orange, lemon, cherry, chocolate and maybe a couple of other flavors. But, today, they have more flavors than you can imagine possible.

    So, we get there and I order an orange, my wife orders a malibu bay breeze, and my son, age 5, orders a chocolate peanut butter cup ice. Now, my daughter, age 7, has been on a mission this summer. She’s out to try a different flavor every time we go to Ralph’s – and, today, all on her own, without any prompting, whatsoever, she decided that she wanted to order a “dulce de leche” cream ice.

    When daughter got her ice, my wife and son decided that they wanted to try a taste of it too. And, across the board, they all said it was “Awesome!”

    Then, later, when we were back in the car, and I heard the post-game on the radio, I found out that Melky, aka Leche, got the cycle with triple in the ninth. Dulce de leche (sweet milk) was “Awesome!,” indeed! Couldn’t have come at a better time Melky…attaboy!

    August 1st @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 1st, 2009 · Comments (8)

    With this loss, the Yankees are still “Oh’fer Sox” this season – now being 0-8 against Boston and 0-3 against Chicago.

    Three bases loaded walks allowed? Posada tagging a runner with his mitt and not the ball? Say, weren’t those plays out of the 1919 White Sox World Series playbook?

    In the end, when you get your fanny kicked, 14-4, I guess it really doesn’t matter…in terms of looking at individual misplays, etc. As a team, the Yankees were just flat out horse-bleep today. And, New York has now lost five of their last eight…and the losses have been ugly. The Yankees are not playing like a team that’s on a mission to win their division. More so, they’re playing as if they are devoid of passion. And, that’s the really bad news here.

    Christian Friedrich Hebbel was right when he said “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” The Yankees need to learn this – and fast. Hopefully, General Joe will rip them a new one after this game and maybe it will sink in…

    …if not, this season could be over by August 24th.