Thursday, October 29, 2009
In an effort to inject some more life in the offense, Joe Girardi has benched Nick Swisher for tonight's second game of the World Series. The only problem is that he replaced him with the light hitting Jerry Hairston Jr., who is also not an outfielder by training.
Hairston is 10-27 (.370) lifetime against tonight's starter Pedro Martinez, but hasn't faced him in five years. Meanwhile, as expected, Girardi stuck with Jose Molina behind the plate in an effort to placate Yankees starter A.J. Burnett.
Unlike that car rental commercial, the Yankees were in the wrong end of "Total Domination" last night. Phillies starter Cliff Lee was nearly unhittable. He allowed an unearned run, four hits, and struck out in tossing a complete game. He also didn't walk a batter.
The Yankees hitters were off balance all night as CC Sabathia did his best to keep his team in the game. Despite not having his best stuff or control, the big man allowed just two runs, both Chase Utley solo home runs, in seven innings of work.
The Phillies scratched across four more against a suddenly very shakey Yankees bullpen. Phil Hughes, David Robertson, and Brian Bruney were chief among those who didn't get their job done.
The Yankees had never been shut out in the opening game of a series, but nearly were last night. They got a run in the 9th, in part thanks to a Jimmy Rollins throwing error. It snapped a streak of 17 scoreless innings by the Yankees in World Series play (they had been shut out by Josh Beckett in the final game of the 2003 series).
Chase Utley joined Babe Ruth as the only left-handed hitters to have a 2-HR game against a left-handed pitcher. The Bambino accomplished the feat against the Cardinals in 1928.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
2009 World Series Preview
Time for some more head to head comparisons.
Manager - Charlie Manuel is at the helm of the defending World Champions. That alone gives him an edge over Joe Girardi.
Edge - Phillies
1B - Ryan Howard is a mashing machine. He's averagde 47 home runs and 143 RBI over the last four seasons. He's driven in 14 runs in eight post-season contests this year and had at least one RBI in eight straight games.
But the edge here goes to Mark Teixeira and the Yankees. Teixeira's defense is the difference between these two. Tex will need to step up at the plate though after hitting just .205 in his first nine post-season games. On the bright side, he's 5-14 (.357) with 4 RBI in the last three games.
Edge - Yankees
2B - Chase Utley is one of the most consistent players in all of baseball. But Utley was slowed by hip surgery this season and the discomfort may have returned in October. His inability to turn the double play was costly against the Dodgers, but could be even more so in the World Series. His all around play and ability to hit with men on base, gives the Phillies a slight advantage over Robinson Cano and the Yankees.
Edge - Phillies
SS - Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter are the respective captains of their teams. But while Jeter is relatively quiet and doesn't create message board fodder, Rollins loves to speak his mind. He also backs it up with his play. This season though Rollins struggled at the plate with a .250 average and is batting six points lower in the playoffs.
Edge - Yankees
3B - Pedro Feliz is a nice player. A good defender who drove in 82 runs this year. He's not Alex Rodriguez.
Edge - Yankees
LF - Raul Ibanez had a monster season in his first year in Philly. He hit a career high 34 HR and drove in 93. Though just an adequate fielder, he's still stronger right now than his counterpart, Johnny Damon. Ibanez, who is in a 3-23 slide, will probably DH at Yankee Stadium in favor of Ben Francisco.
Edge - Phillies
CF - Shane Victorino, along with Rollins, is an emotional spark plug. The Flying Hawaiian has also gotten better year by year. He set career highs this season in hits, walks, RBI, and OPS. Melky Cabrera had a fine season and a very good ALCS, but Victorino is the more consistent player.
Edge - Phillies
RF - Jayson Werth often gets overlooked due to the bigger name stars around him. But the stepson of former Yankee Dennis Werth is a force all his own. This was the first season Werth got the opportunity to play more than 150 games and he took full advantage with 36 HR and 99 RBI. His hitting has continued in the post-season where he has belted 5 home runs and driven in 10 runs. The Yankees need Nick Swisher to break out of his slump to help the bottom of the order, which will be one hitter short in the NL ball park.
Edge - Phillies
C - Carlos Ruiz is a solid player, especially with his glove and arm. But the .246 career hitter also steps up on the biggest stage- he's hitting .346 with 7 RBI thus far. Jorge Posada's offense will be critical in Philly. Joe Girardi cannot have Jose Molina catch A.J. Burnett when the right-hander takes the mound in Philadelphia.
Edge - Yankees
DH - The Phillies will use Ibanez in NY, which means Francisco is inserted in the lineup. Even though he's struggling of late, Hideki Matsui is still a much better hitter and could break out at any time.
Edge - Yankees
Bench - The Phillies bench has better hitters and will be relied upon more in the NL parks.
Edge - Phillies
Starting Rotation - Though Joe Girardi still has not fully committed to a 3-man rotation, the trio of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte is better than Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, and Cole Hamels. Chad Gaudin could pitch a Game 4 and Charlie Manuel will probably use either J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, or Jamie Moyer in that same game.
Edge - Yankees
Bullpen - Mariano Rivera clearly trumps Brad Lidge and Phil Hughes, despite recent struggles, is just as good, if not better, than Ryan Madson. Philly's pen has struggled all season.
Edge - Yankees
PREDICTION - YANKEES IN 6
The Yankees are once again opening Yankee Stadium to the public for a World Series Game 4 viewing party. The contest is scheduled to start at 8:20 p.m. ET (remember clocks go back on Sunday a.m.), and will of course be played in Philly.
Gates 4 and 6 will open up at 7 and you can watch from either field level on the big board or in the great hall. Concession stands as well as the NYY Steak and Hard Rock Cafe will be open.
"Only in America" (said with Yakoff Smirnoff accent). Seems one Susan Finkelstein took out an ad on Craigstlist. Said ad was a promise of "personal services" in exchange for World Series tickets.
Apparently they were very personal services. Some law enforcement personnel busted her (I wonder if that's all they did to her) and now she could go to jail just to see a WS game in person.
Guess she wanted to hub their stub.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Yankees Wrap Up 40th Pennant
Joe Saunders, who performed so well in Game 2, blanked the Yankees through three innings, but trailing 1-0 in the 4th, the Yankees broke through. Robinson Cano drew a lead-off walk and Nick Swisher followed with a bust-out-of-a-slump single to left. After Melky Cabrera successfully sacrificed the runners over, Saunders walked Derek Jeter to load the bases. Johnny Damon got the Yankees off the schneid with runners in scoring position with a base hit to left field for a 2-1 lead. After a single by Mark Teixeira loaded the bags again, Saunders walked Alex Rodriguez to force in the third run of the inning. After that it was all up to Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera.
Pettitte allowed an RBI single to former teammate Bobby Abreu in the third, but was spotless the rest of the night. His biggest challenge came in the 6th when Torii Hunter reached on a two-out single and Vlad Guerrero followed with a double. But Pettitte knocked down Kendry Morales’ comebacker and threw him out at first to escape the jam.
Pettitte received a standing ovation after he allowed a one-out single to Juan Rivera in the 7th and departed in favor of Chamberlain. The right-hander bridged the gap to Rivera by retiring pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar to keep the game at 3-1.
The Sandman actually looked human in the 8th inning when he gave up a two out RBI single to Guerrero to cut the deficit to 3-2. But the Angels, so sound fundamentally, gave the Yankees some breathing room in the home half of the inning.
After a walk to Cano, Nick Swisher laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Howie Kendrick dropped Scott Kazmir’s throw to first for an error and the Yankees were in business. Cabrera followed with another sac bunt, which Kazmir “sky hooked” into right field for a run-scoring error. Teixeira’s long sac fly to center gave the Yankees an insurmountable 5-2 lead.
In the 9th, Rivera retired Kendrick on a ground-out and Juan Rivera on a fly-out before striking out pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. for the final out. Rivera strode off the mound, exchanged hugs with Jorge Posada, and the Yankees’ celebration was on.
Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday night. The Yankees will send the ALCS MVP, CC Sabathia, out against his former Indians teammate Cliff Lee.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
From the moment the Los Angeles Angels took a first inning lead in Game 5 of the ALCS, the national and local media began dredging up the New York Yankees 2004 ALCS collapse. Glee may have even been heard in the voice of lead Fox announcer Joe Buck. But whether or not this year’s Yankees advance to the World Series, one thing is for sure, this team has nothing in common with the ‘04 squad.
Pitching wins championship and that is the major difference between the current squad and the one five years ago that squandered a three games to none lead. Mariano Rivera is the only hurler to be on both team’s rosters. Had tonight’s Game 6 starter AndyPettitte taken the mound for Game 6 back then, there may have been a different outcome. And while CC Sabathia , already 3-0 in this post-season, waits in the wings in the event of a seventh game, the Yankees had to go with a creaky Kevin Brown in the decisive ‘04 contest.
The ‘04 team hit with a vengeance through the first three games of their showdown with Boston, and then, to a man, completely stopped hitting. DerekJeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Hideki Matsui are the only players left from the prior roster. And while the current team has struggled throughout these playoffs to score without the aid of a home run, they’ve proven throughout the season that no deficit is too small. Even before losing Game 5 Thursday night, the Yankees turn a 4-0 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
And this year’s opponent should not be overlooked. The Angels don’t have more than three-quarters of a century of losing hanging over the heads. They’re an established winning franchise, with arguably the top manager in baseball at the helm. They are a team capable of coming back from a three games to one deficit.
So while it remains to be seen if the Yankees will play for their 27th championship, there’s no question that this team has built its’ own reputation and will determine its’ own legacy.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has decided that the Hindu Goddess Durga will give the Yankees their best defense with A.J. Burnett starting Game 5 of the ALCS tonight. With Burnett's propensity to be wild with his breaking pitches, the versatile Durga gives the Yankees an excellent shot at no wild pitches or passed balls.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera, and Robinson Cano form the Yankees Airhead Society of America (YASA). Tip of the hat to Captain Pokecheck for the airhead idea. Jorge is the president. He wanted to be treasurer, but can't keep track of the count.
Alex Rodriguez really can hit when it counts. Alex Clutchriguez as @SunnySoCal calls him.
Jorge Posada has more steals than Brett Gardner.
So strange to see that Donnie Baseball is interviewing with the Indians and Nationals, but no weirder than seeing him wearing a Dodgers uniform. Is it bad thing to root for him to get the Nationals job?
There were so many story lines in last night’s ALCS Game 4 between the New York Yankees-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, that it’s hard to know where to begin. The dominant pitching of CC Sabathia. The continued hot streak of Alex Rodriguez. The suddenly explosive offense against nemesis Scott Kazmir. The horrendous display of umpiring by supposed professionals. Perhaps, the incredible bonehead plays by several Yankees that didn’t bite them in the end. Or maybe that Joe Girardi only had to make one pitching change. And of course there was the ridiculous accusation by jealous Angels fans of illegal saliva usage on the part of Mariano Rivera.
All of that did indeed happen last night as the Yankees took a commanding 3 games to 1 lead with a 10-1 blowout of the Halos. Except the game was really closer than that until late and the Yankees did not play a very smart or sharp game. Smart and sharp was CC Sabathia. The big left-hander showed little issue of pitching on three days rest. He struck out just four, but used his defense, which wasn’t tested with any difficult plays. A Kendry Morales solo home run was the only blight on his record. Sabathia threw 101 pitches, only nine in one inning, and allowed a run on five hits in eight innings. He’s 2-0, 1.13 in two ALCS starts and 3-0, 1.19 in the post-season.
Rodriguez homered for the third straight game and is now just one home run behind Bernie Williams (six) for the most home runs in a single post-season. A-Rod wasn’t just about home runs last night though. He doubled, singled, stole a base, and scored on an aggressive play at home plate. Oh, and he had a walk too. Counting the final regualr season game against Tampa Bay, A-Rod has 7 HR and 21 RBI in his last eight games.
A-Rod finally got some help at the plate last night in the person of Melky Cabrera. The Yankees have been beyond bad with runners in scoring position this post-season, but got some big hits last night. Cabrera’s 2-run single in the 4th gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead and his 2-run double in the 9th made Joe Girardi’s decision to bring in Chad Gaudin an easy one. Johnny Damon also contributed an 8th inning, 2-run home run.
Now to get to the crazy parts and there were plenty of them. The post-season has already been marked with bad calls- see Phil Cuzzi and the Minnesota Twins- but last night’s calls were inexplicable.
Case 1 – Nick Swisher is clearly picked off of second base, but is ruled safe by Dale Evans (insert Roy Rogers joke here). Many have asked why didn’t manager Mike Scioscia argue the call? Simple. Shortstop Erick Aybar, who applied the tag, did not argue the call. The manager has the worst seat in the house, so he relies on his player’s reactions. No reaction, no argument. It will be interesting to see if MLB fines the Angels though for showing the instant replay on the stadium scoreboard to a loud chorus of boos.
Case 2 – It’s hard to say this was a make up call since it wasn’t the same umpire involved. With Swisher on third base, Damon lofted a fly ball to center field. Swisher tagged up and scored what would have been a big insurance run at the time. The Angels quickly appealed, feeling that Swisher had left third base early. Veteran umpire Tim McLelland agreed and the run was taken off the board. Replays showed Swisher definitely did NOT leave early and McLelland was looking out at center field, not at the base runner during the play.
Case 3 - This one was a combination of bonehead play by the Yankees and another bad call by McLelland, who was probably wishing for a “simple” pine tar case like back in the day. Jorge Posada drew a walk in the 5th inning and remarkably stole second base as Hideki Matsui struck out. That should have been the tip-off right there that strange things were to follow.
Robinson Cano hit a laser to center that Hunter bluffed having a play on. Posada fell for it, hook, line, and sinker and went back to the base to tag up. He should have been playing it half way, but instead only ended up at third base despite Cano pulling into second with a double. Wait, it gets better.
Posada took off on contact when Swisher hit a comebacker. Posada was a dead duck and headed back to third as Cano was approaching. Posada ran past the bag while Cano stopped a foot short of the base. Catcher Mike Napoli wisely tagged out both runners for an easy double play. But nothing is easy in these playoffs. McLelland ruled that Cano was safe. In his post-game press conference, Scioscia said McLelland told him he felt Cano was on the bag already. The Halos’ manager was exasperated, but knew he had no argument if that’s what the umpire felt had happened. In his own press conference later, McLelland would admit to blowing both calls.
As if Posada and Cano’s “boneheadedness” was enough on that play, Posada also forgot how many outs there were later in the game after the Yankees turned a double play. His teammates had to quickly get his attention before the Angels scored an easy run from third. And of course, Posada has also lost the count while batting this season.
Gaudin had a nice easy 1-2-3 inning in the 9th and Yankees fans, ready to stone Girardi the night before, could relax. They could also laugh, as Rivera himself did, at the spitball accusations made earlier in the day. And most importantly, the Yankees are just one win away from their first World Series in six years.
With Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett in Thursday’s Game 5, Joe Girardi may consider going with Jorge Posada as the DH gainst John Lackey. Hideki Matsui has fallen into a 2-11 skid and looked lost last night.
Derek Jeter led off Game 4 with a single, but was picked off, resulting in a caught stealing. Brett Gardner was also caught stealing and is 0-2 in the series. And yes, Jorge Posada is 1-1.
Scott Kazmir was less than stellar last night. The Yankees as a lineup have struggled against Kazmir throughout their careers, but the left-hander didn’t have his control. He lasted just four innings, allowing six hits, four runs, four walks, and threw a wild pitch.
Nick Swisher was limping around after beating hit on the foot by an Ervin Santana pitch.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Rick Peterson has been hired by the Milwaukee Brewers as their new pitching coach. In doing so, he'll be reunited with Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph, who was the manager during Peterson's time with the Mets.
Peterson will bring his unique philosophy, annoying hair cut, and strange mannerisms to the midwest.
Here's the video from youtube (as far as we know it has not been doctored, though the baseball may have been).
UPDATE - 2 PM As expected Mariano was cleared of any wrong doing.
Courtesy of Chad Jennings and LoHud:
Lame guys, lame.
“We have all the matchups and all the scouting reports,” Girardi said of the Aceves decision. “And we felt that, you know, it was a better matchup for us.”
“I’m not going to get into specifics of why,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “We just liked the matchup better, and Ace had (Howie Kendrick) where he wanted to, he just couldn’t make the pitch to put him away. And still, it was a five-hopper up the middle or a 10-hopper up the middle, but he just wasn’t able to make that one pitch to put him away.”
Monday, October 19, 2009
Throughout this current post-season, New York Yankees fans and the metropolitan area media have waited for Joe Girardi to screw up. It’s not that anyone wanted him to, but Girardi’s managerial style during the playoffs, though successful in outcome, were not conducive to good baseball. His use of the bullpen proves he’s managing scared, not aggressively, as some would have you believe. Earlier this evening that style came back to biteGirardi as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won Game 3 of the ALCS, 5-4, in 12 innings.
Just as he had done in Game 2 and in the series with Minnesota, Girardi countered every move or non-move by the opposing manager with a pitching change. While David Robertson was retiring Kendry Morales for the second out in the bottom of the 12th, Fox TV cameras caught Girardi checking his scouting reports.
No sooner had Howie Kendrick stepped in to face Robertson, then Girardi hop out of the dugout ,despite the fact that Kendrick had faced Robertson just twice. Those match ups had produced one hit and one strikeout. It was also despite the fact that Robertson has been pitching much better over the last several months than the fellow right-hander, Al Aceves, that Girardi opted for.
Kendrick ripped a single back up the middle in his first at-bat against Aceves. Then light-hitting Jeff Mathis ripped a hanging fastball off the wall in left-center to score Kendrick with the game winning run. While there is no question that the Angels may have won the game anyway,Girardi did his best to help shift the momentum away from his ball club. The series now stands at two games to one in favor of the Yankees, with Game 4 scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) night.
Making the loss all the more painful was the fact that Yankees blew a 3-0 lead, built on solo home runs by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Johnny Damon. The Halos cut the lead to 3-1 on Kendrick’s solo home run off Andy Pettitte in the 5th and tied the game an inning later when Vlad Guerrero belted a 2-run home run.
The Angels took their first lead of the night off of Joba Chamberlain in the 7th. Kendrick accounted for another run scored when he came home on Maicer Izturis‘ sacrifice fly. The Yankees tied things back up in the top of the 8th when Jorge Posada went deep off hard throwing right-hander Kip Jensen.
The Yankees had a chance to break things open against Angels starter Jered Weaver in the 2nd and 4th innings, but the lower part of the order failed to produce each time. Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera went 0-9 and left 12 men on base.
The Angels had a chance to win it in the 10th when Mathis led off with a double against Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera made an errant throw of Eric Aybar’s bunt. With runners on the corners and no one out, the Yankees brought the infield and outfield in. Mark Teixeira made a diving stop of a Chone Figgins‘ grounder for the first out and froze the runner at third in the process.
Rivera issued an intentional walk to Bobby Abreu to load the bases. With the infield still in, Torii Hunter hit a bullet to Teixeira, who threw home for the force out. Rivera then got Guerrero to ground out to Teixeira unassisted for the final out of the inning.
Due to all of the substitutions by the time the game was over, the Yankees had no DH, Jerry Hairston Jr. was in left field and batting 5th, and the pitcher’s spot was hitting second. Girardi also wasted another roster spot when he used Brett Gardner to pinch-run for DH Hideki Matsui, but later pinch-hit for Gardner.
Bobby Abreu had his first two hits of the series, but is just 2-13 overall. Kendry Morales (1-13, 3-23 in post-season), Mark Teixeira (1-13, 3-25) and Nick Swisher (2-10, 3-22) are among those slumping in October.
Putting the cart before the horse a bit, I can tell you that Joe Girardi confirmed that CC Sabathia will be the Game 4 starter. No shocking news there.
Due to the generosity of friends and family, I was able to raise $1,310 to contribute to the cause and walked the 3 mile trek yesterday. It was damp out, but no one's spirts were dampened.
Thanks again to everyone for their support, both through contributions and emotional support.
Keep fighting the good fight!
The Yankees may be out on the west coast for Game 3 of the ALCS, but you can watch it in Yankee Stadium. That's right, the Steinbrenner's have opened up the house that George built to the fans, for free, to catch today's game with the Angels on the incredibly jumbo Jumbotron scoreboard (or whatever brand it is).
The field level seats will be open and the concession stands will make a few extra thousand bucks off of ya. The good news is the temps will be much warmer than Games 1 or 2.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I would like to start off by thanking Maicer Izturis for his 13th inning error last night. Those of us who had a morning walk for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, are grateful for the little bit of sleep we got last night.
It was Izturis' throwing error that allowed Jerry Hairston Jr. to score the game winning run in the Yankees 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The victory game the Bombers a 2-0 advantage in the best of seven ALCS.
Hairston led off the inning with a single to center off Ervin Santana. Not bad for a guy who had been sitting on the bench for 12 innings. Brett Gardner sacrificed him to second base, so Mike Scoscia opted to walk Robinson Cano to set up a double play situation. Melky Cabrera did indeed hit the ball on the ground, but it was far enough in the whole between first and second base that Izturis should have gotten the sure out at first.
But the Halos' second sacker ignored one of the golden rules of baseball and spun towards second, firing a wild throw in the the general direction of shortstop Erick Aybar. The ball bounded towards the foul line where third baseman Chone Figgins was in the proper back up position. But the Yankee killer couldn't get a handle on the baseball, allowing Hairston to score the winning run uncontested.
Hairston, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal, leaped into the high five of teammate Jorge Posada before all of the Yankees poured out of the dugout and on to the field. Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, who allowed two runs in 6-plus innings, finished his night with a pie to the face of the Yankees utility man.
The odd play ended a roller coaster, nail biter of a game after five hours and 10 minutes. The Angels took a 3-2 lead in the 11th off Al Aceves when Gary Matthews Jr. drew a lead off walk, moved to second base on Aybar's sac bunt, and scored on Figgins' single.
But with closer Brian Fuentes on, the Yankees newest Mr. October, Alex Rodriguez, came through again. After taking two straight strikes to start his at-bat, Rodriguez slugged a solo home run over the outreached glove of right fielder, and former teammate, Bobby Abreu to tie the game at three apiece. It was A-Rod's third home run in five post-season games.
Burnett and Angels starter Joe Saunders had locked into a good pitcher's duel. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead on Cano's RBI triple in the 2nd and Derek Jeter's solo home run in the 3rd. It was Jeter's 19th career post-season home run, the third highest in baseball history.
Burnett's fastball was popping catcher Jose Molina's mitt all night and his off-speed stuff was nasty. But it was a little too nasty in the fifth inning. Izturis led the inning off with a double and two batters later scored on an Aybar single. Burnett got in further trouble when Aybar stole second and the right-hander hit Figgins on the foot with a stray breaking pitch.
Bobby Abreu fouled out for the second out, but Burnett walk Torii Hunter to load the bases and threw an extremely wild pitch on an 0-2 count to Vlad Guerrero to tie the game at 2-2. Burnett finally escaped the inning when Guerrero grounded out to Jeter.
The Yankees blew several opportunities to score during the night, bouncing into three rally killing double plays. The Angels couldn't take advantage of three Yankee errors- two by Cano and one by Jeter.
Mariano Rivera, who recorded a four out save in Game 1 on Friday, came back to throw 2 1-3 scoreless innings in Game 2. Remarkably he needed just 25 pitches to do so.
Vlad Guerrero had a very poor night at the plate, leaving eight men on base.
David Robertson earned his first post-season victory with 1 1-3 scoreless innings.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Before I get into Game 2, a little more about Game 1. Specifically, Alex Rodriguez. Those of you who trashed him on radio call in shows this morning sounded like complete idiots. The guy made a mistake and then tried to make up for it with a hard play at the plate. Some of you acted as if he committed a heinous crime.
The Derek Jeter vs. Alex Rodriguez stuff has to stop. Comparing the two is asinine. Their different people, different players, and they have different styles. Rodriguez made a mistake, but it was no big deal, especially in light of a victory.
As everyone expected, Jose Molina will be behind the plate for A.J. Burnett tonight. As was not expected, as of 6:15 p.m. ET, it appears the teams will get the game in.
Written for Baseball Digest Online
Brian Cashman went hard after free agent CC Sabathia last winter for one reason and one reason only. Games in October. Sabathia paid out a huge dividend tonight with eight dominate innings and the Yankees took advantage of a rare sloppy performance by the Los Angeles of Anaheim to grab Game 1 of the ALCS, 4-1.
Sabathia came out firing bullets in the first inning and was still hitting 95-mph on the radar gun in his final frame. He threw 113 pitches, 76 of which were strikes, in winning his fourth career post-season game. Sabathia allowed just four hits, a walk, and struck out seven. His only difficulty came in the 4th inning with the Yankees up 2-0. Torii Hunter reached on a one out double and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Kendry Morales. But Sabathia retired Howie Kendrick on a line out to right to end the inning.
The Yankees jumped right on Angels’ starter John Lackey in the 1st inning. Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon reached on back to back singles, and Juan Rivera contributed a throwing error, to put both runners in scoring position with no one out. Lackey got a big out when Mark Teixeira popped out, but Alex Rodriguez flew to deep center for his 7th RBI of the post-season and a 1-0 Yankees’ lead.
The Yankees then got a huge break when Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar stared at Hideki Matsui’s pop up until it fell in for a gift RBI single. Figgins appeared to at first call for the ball, but neither infielder took charge and the Yankees took advantage.
Lackey appeared to be getting stronger in the middle innings, but then the Yankees mounted another threat in the 5th. Damon led off with a double and one batter later, A-Rod earned an unintentional intentional walk. Matsui ripped a clean hit to left-center to score Damon, but A-Rod ran through the stop sign at third and was out on a hard collision at home plate with catcher Jeff Mathis.
In the 6th, Melky Cabrera reached on a two out walk and moved to second on Lackey’s errant pick off throw. Jeter ripped a single back up the middle. Any chance Hunter had of throwing Cabrera out at home went out the window when the ball kicked off the heel of his glove and shot past him for an error.
Joe Girardi didn’t hesitate at all in sending Sabathia out for the 8th inning, but there was no doubt he was going to Mariano Rivera in the 9th. The Yankees closer walked Hunter to start the 9th, but retired the next three batters for his 36th career post-season save.
David Cone threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game after nearly not getting there on time. As Cone relayed on the YES post-game show, he appeared this afternoon on Michael Kay’s radio show at a bar across from the Stadium. Only Cone didn’t realize how late it was and nearly forgot his pre-game honor. Luckily, he made it on time and threw a slider strike to Jose Molina.
It was the Yankees first ALCS victory since Game 3 of the 2004 series, exactly 5 yeasrs to the day.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I was only 50/50 in picking the division series teams- the Yankees and Phillies being the correct ones. Still trying to figure out what happened to the Cardinals and I guess the Red Sox were even worse off than I thought.
But on to more important things- Yankees and the Angels in the American League Championship Series. Rotten weather on the east coast can affect games 1 and 2, and therefore beyond. The Yankees plans to use three starters could go out the window.
We're not going to rehash everything we talked about prior to the division series, but a couple of notes from that series. I'm concerned, as I have been all year, withover managing the bullpen. Joe Girardi was guilty of it for much of the stretch and again in the first round. So far it hasn't caught up with him, but it still could. On the plus side, now he has some experience under his belt.
The former Dodgers' catcher is one of the top five managers in baseball. He's got one World Series ring and five division winners.
Mark Teixeira went just 3-12 in the ALDS, but had a couple of big hits, including the game winning home run in game 3.
Kendry Morales came into his own this year, the first in which he got regular at-bats. He belted 34 home runs and drove in 108 runs while posting a .924 OPS. He's also a pretty good defender and a posted a .994 fielding percentage. He made up for the huge loss ofTeixeira to free agency. ALDS: 2-10, 1 HR 3 RBI
Robinson Cano was just 2-12 in the ALDS, with one key RBI.
Howie Kendrick experienced some of the same lows Cano did in 2008. Kendrick was sent to the minors after struggling in the first half of the season. But he was resurgent after the break, posting a .358 average and a .948 OPS. LikeCano he also doesn't like to take a walk. Kendrick absolutely loves hitting against the Yankees (.426), including .310 this year). ALDS: 1-5
Derek Jeter built on his regular season with 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 RBI, and 4 runs scored against the Twins. His home run in the ALDS woke up the home crowd and helped ignite the Yankees to a sweep in the first round.
Erick Aybar is an example of the excellent scouting and player development that the Angels organization is noted for. Aybar hit .312 in his first season with over 500 at-bats. His speed and defense are a spark. ALDS: 4-10, 2 RBI
Alex Rodriguez has to be still feeling the glow from his huge ALDS. Now he has to prove he can hit in October against teams other than Minnesota.
Chone Figgins is the Angels' spark plug and a huge nemesis to the Yankees- a .327 avg. in 17 steals in 25 attempts. Don't underestimate his fielding either. The Yankees may want to take a look at how Boston pitched him in round one. ALDS: 0-12, 6 K
Johnny Damon struggled over the last month of the season and those struggles continued in the ALDS, where he went just 1-12. That included a "Golden Sombrero" in Game 3.
Juan Rivera quietly put together a very solid season for the Angels. The former Yankee hit 25 home runs and drove in 88 runs in just 137 games. He's also a solid defensive player with a very good arm. ALDS: 3-11, 2 RBI
Edge: Angels (the defense gets it)
Melky Cabrera has been up and down all year and right now he may be on the downside. If the 2-12 he put up in the ALDS continues, Brett Gardner may find some playing time.
Torii Hunter has always been known for his outstanding defensive play in center field, but he's also one of the AL's most consistent hitters. At 34 years of age, he hit a career high .299. His 3-run home run in Game 1 of the ALDS set the tone for the series with Boston. ALDS: 2-10, 1 HR 3 RBI
Nick Swisher has had some consistency problems at the plate, but always brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the game. But he'll need to better than his 2-12ALDS for the Yankees to top the Angels.
Bobby Abreu was the free agent signing of the off-season. The ex-Yankee found an unwilling market and had to settle for a one year, $5 million deal with the Halos. It should pay off this winter. The typicalAbreu line in '09 - .293, 30 steals, 94 walks, 15 home runs, 103 RBI. ALDS: 5-9, 1 RBI 4 BB 4 Runs.
Jorge Posada wasn't happy about sitting in favor of Jose Molina in Game 2, and seemed to affect his play in Game 1. But he bounced back with avengeance in the finale with a pair of big RBI and ended up 4-11. Girardi has not committed to using Molina this time around, but don't be surprised if he does. Either way, he and Molina will be tested by the Angels aggressive base running.
Jeff Mathis/Mike Napoli split the division series with Napoli getting two starts. Napoli has put together back to back 20-home run seasons, while Mathis isn't much of an offensive threat. Combined ALDS: 2-7
Hideki Matsui had some big at-bats in the ALDS, including a long 2-run home run. His knees need to hold up for about another 2-3 weeks.
Vlad Guerrero is not quite the hitter he was due to bad feet, back, and knees. But he's still dangerous. Just ask the Red Sox who mistakenly walk Hunter to face him in the ALDS finale. The result was the game winning hit. ALDS: 4-10, 2 RBI
The Angels will run like crazy on the Yankees pitchers, catchers, and outfielders, but that being said:
PREDICTION – Yankees in 6
TOH to @fletch788 on Twitter for pointing this article out from Big League Stew.
It looks like Ronan Tynan won't be singing "God Bless America" at Yankee Stadium any time soon. For that matter, he may not be singing it anywhere, except for perhaps Fox News or a John Birch Society gathering.
Seems Ronan made anti-semitic remark to a realtor that was showing an apartment in Ronan's building.
Oh Ronan...Ronan...Ronan...ya big jug earred dumb ass. 2009, the year of the not-so-heartfelt apology.
"The trouble started when Tynan, 49, bumped into a real estate agent showing an apartment in his East Side apartment building to a doctor from NYU Medical Center.
"The agent told Tynan, 'Don't worry, they are not Red Sox fans,' according to apartment-hunter Gabrielle Gold-von Simson.
"'I don't care about that, as long as they are not Jewish,' was Tynan's reply.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
25-man ALCS Roster
Eric Hinske is out, Freddy Guzman is in. That's the only change in the 25-man roster between the ALDS and ALCS.
The Yankees apparently feel that a guy with additional speed and limited other abilitiesis more important than a guy with some pop and limited other abilities.
Damaso Marte remains on the roster and Brian Bruney remains on the outside looking in. I thought Marte would be dropped with Bobby Abreu being the only lefty on the Angels roster. However, with seven switch-hitters on the roster, Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman must have felt they wanted to have the option of flipping a guy around to the right side. That would be especially true in lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium.
Game 1 - John Lackey vs. CC Sabathia
Game 2 - Joe Saunders vs. A.J. Burnett
Game 3 - Jered Weaver vs. Andy Pettitte
No truth to the rumor that every pitcher on the Angels has to have a first name beginning with the letter 'J'.
The Yankees are seriously tossing around the idea of a 3-man rotation with CC Sabathia getting three turns- games 1, 4, and 7. If not, Chad Gaudin would like start Game 4. Most likely it will be the 3-man, with Sabathia going on three days, and then full, rest before his subsequent starts.
Yankees Current Playoff Roster:
Position players (14)
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Seriously, I've been down this road before with other things MLB has done. This time it is the scheduled times for the ALCS. Specifically Games 2 and 6, which both have a 4:13 p.m. ET start.. Even more specifically Game 2, which is scheduled for Monday, October 19.
Game 2 is being played out in Anaheim, which means Angels fans have a 1:13 p.m. PT start. So..if you're at work, school, in your commute...you're screwed.
Game 2 of the NLCS is no better. That's this Friday, the 16th, at 4:07 p.m. ET. Obviously, the early start times are because of both league championship series occuring on the same day (TBS has the "fisted" coverage of the NLCS, while those "stalwarts" at Fox have the ALCS).
Why not schedule them even one hour later on the east coast. 5:00 for the early game and then move the later game back a half hour to 8:30.
Here are the complete schedules:
|Series begins Friday|
|Gm 1||LAA @ NYY||Fri||Oct. 16||7:57 pm||FOX|
|Gm 2||LAA @ NYY||Sat||Oct. 17||7:57 pm||FOX|
|Gm 3||NYY @ LAA||Mon||Oct. 19||4:13 pm||FOX|
|Gm 4||NYY @ LAA||Tue||Oct. 20||7:57 pm||FOX|
|Gm 5*||NYY @ LAA||Thu||Oct. 22||7:57 pm||FOX|
|Gm 6*||LAA @ NYY||Sat||Oct. 24||4:13 pm||FOX|
|Gm 7*||LAA @ NYY||Sun||Oct. 25||8:20 pm||FOX|
|Series begins Thursday|
|Gm 1||PHI @ LAD||Thu||Oct. 15||8:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 2||PHI @ LAD||Fri||Oct. 16||4:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 3||LAD @ PHI||Sun||Oct. 18||8:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 4||LAD @ PHI||Mon||Oct. 19||8:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 5*||LAD @ PHI||Wed||Oct. 21||8:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 6*||PHI @ LAD||Fri||Oct. 23||8:07 pm||TBS|
|Gm 7*||PHI @ LAD||Sat||Oct. 24||8:07 pm||TBS|
Monday, October 12, 2009
Solid starting pitching, timely hitting by Alex Rodriguez, and poor base running by the Minnesota Twins. That’s been the standard of this years AL Division Series playoff between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. The trend continued last night when the Yankees defeated the Central Division title winners 4-1 to to complete a three game sweep of the first round playoff. The Yankees will now face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who also completed a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, in the ALCS beginning Friday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees and Andy Pettitte trailed Carl Pavano and the Twins 1-0 after six innings. That’s right, the former “American Idle” had blanked the Bombers on just two hits up to that point. Pettitte was nearly Pavano’s equal, having not allowed a base runner through four innings, and just one earned run and three hits. That’s when the Yankees newest Mr. October, at least for round one round of the playoffs, struck.
Alex Rodriguez came to the plate with out in the 7th and drilled a 3-2 fastball high atop the wall in right-center field for a game tying home run. In seven career post season game against the Twins, Rodriguez has now driven in nine runs. Pavano bounced back to strike out Hideki Matsui for the inning’s second out, but Jorge Posada went the opposite way for a solo home run to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
The Yankees bullpen then took over as Pettitte exited with one out in the bottom of the 7th. Joba Chamberalin allowed a double to Delmon Young, but retired Brendan Harris and Jose Morales to preserve the lead. Phil Hughes would need a little luck in the 8th inning to do the same.
Nick Punto doubled to lead off the inning and Denard Span followed with a bouncer back up the middle. Derek Jeter cut the ball off, but had no play on Span at first. But the Captain alertly spun and threw home to keep Punto at third. He did more than just that. Punto had gone half way down the line and was now caught in between. He scurried back to third but Posada’s throw beat him to the bag and A-Rod applied the rally crushing tag. Instead of runners on the corners with no one out, the Twins merely had a man on first with one out. Ron Gardenhire, hands a top his head in frustration, looked on in exasperation, his team having run themselves out of another potential big inning.
Hughes retired Orlando Cabrera for the second out and Joe Girardi sent for Mariano Rivera to face Joe Mauer. Rivera shattered Mauer’s bat as the soon to be AL MVP grounded out meekly to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the inning.
Posada and Robinson Cano added RBI singles in the 9th and, after allowing a lead off single to Michael Cuddyer, Rivera retired the next three batters for a four-out save and sent the Yankees back to the ALCS for the first time since 2004.
Alex Rodriguez was 5-11 (.455) with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in the series.
The Yankees three starting pitchers – CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte combined to allow three earned runs in 19 innings.
Johnny Damon was just 1-12 in the series and swung and missed his way to the “Golden Sombrero” in Game 3. It comes on the heels of a 22-89 (.247) last month of the season.
Andy Pettitte tied John Smoltz for the most career post season wins with 15.
Joe Mauer was 5-12 (.417) with two walks, but his RBI in Game 3 was his only one in the series.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Yankees have Posada back in the lineup tonight. No other changes.
The Twins dropped injured 3B Matt Tolbert from the roster and added Brian Buscher.
The Yankees strugged against Pavano in two starts while Pavano was a member of the Indians. Derek Jeter was 3-7, but Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were a combined 1-11. In his career, Mark Teixeira has gone 2-6 with a home run and 5 RBI.
Joe Mauer is 4-10 with a home run and 2 RBI against Pettitte, but that's nothing compared Brendan Harris, who has gone 8-17. And Delmon Young tops that with 9-14 (.643). In fact most of the Twins lineup has a good track record against the veteran left-hander.
It's amazing how dumb some reporters can be. During the Game 2 press conference, a reporter asked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire if the correct call would have changed the complexion of the game. Gardenhire did his best to keep from exploding before finally saying, "The next guy got a single. You tell me."
Twins closer Joe Nathan seems to have forgotten that it was he who blew the Twins lead in the 9th.
"...hopefully the umpire realizes he has to do something to get better,” as if Cuzzi needed more on-the-job training."Alex Rodriguez' hip surgeon Dr. Marc Phillepon watched his start client take batting practice before the game and also examined his hip. Phillepon came away impressed with what he saw and feels there's a 90% chance A-Rod won't need further surgery.
A-Rod's 3-RBI singles have knocked in Derek Jeter each time.
The Game 2 crowd was the new Stadium's first in excess of 50,000 fans.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Written for Baseball Digest Online
The Minnesota Twins have been this road before. Take a lead at the new Yankee Stadium, blow the lead late, and then watch as the New York Yankees celebrate a victory with pie ala A.J.. Tonight, the script played out to perfection with the added “bonus” of a blown call by the men in blue.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Mark Teixeira reached base with his first hit of the series. Alex Rodriguez then hit a deep drive off Twins’ closer Joe Nathan that landed well beyond the fence in center field for a game tying home run. Seconds after the ball left his bat, A-Rod looked over at his teammates and pumped his fist. It was a “jump on my back boys” moment for a player who won’t be hearing about post-season slumps any time soon. Oh, and A-Rod drove in the Yankees first run too.
Then after escaping a bases loaded, no out jam in the top of the 11th, the Yankees celebration began when Teixeira hit a bullet off left-hander Jose Mijares down towards the left field corner. The ball hit the top of the wall and ricocheted into the stands for a game winning homer. And yes, A.J. delivered hiscompensatory pie.
The victory ended a wild night at the new digs and put the Yankees up a commanding two games to none in the best of five series. Starters A.J. Burnett and Nick Blackburn got into a good ol’ fashioned pitcher’s duel before the Twins broke a scoreless tie in the 6th. Burnett, who walked five on the night, issued a one out free pass to Delmon Young, who stole 2nd base as Carlos Gomez struck out for the second out of the inning.
Ron Gardenhire sent light hitting Brendan Harris up to pinch-hit for Matt Tolbert, who had to leave the game with a strained oblique. Harris came through with a deep drive to left-center that eluded Johnny Damon and then caromed past Melky Cabrera for an RBI triple. Burnett got out of further trouble by getting Nick Punto to ground out to end the inning.
The Yankees, who didn’t have a hit until Robinson Cano’s single in the 5th, came right back in the home half of the 6th. Derek Jeter reached on a one out ground rule double and Damon followed with a walk. Blackburn retired Teixiera on a pop up for the second out, but A-Rod singled to left to even the game at a run apiece.
The bottom of the Twins order had a big night and they came through in the clutch against Phil Hughes in the top of the 8th. Gomez reached on a two out walk and moved to 3rd on Harris’ single to right. Punto’s single to center put the Twins up 2-1 and knocked Hughes from the game. Denard Span showed the top of the Twins order could be productive too when the lead off man singled off of Mariano Rivera for a 3-1 Minnesota lead. Rivera kept it a two run game with a strike out of Orlando Cabrera.
Both teams blew big opportunities in the game due to base running mistakes. Burnett hit both Young and Gomez with two outs in the 4th and Tolbert singled to right field. But Gomez rounded 2nd base too far and Nick Swisher alertly threw behind him to an awaiting Jeter, who applied the tag before Young could score. A very “Timo Perez” moment in New York.
The Yankees had their own snafu as they appeared ready to win the game in the 10th. Jorge Posada reached on a one out single and was replaced on the bases by Brett Gardner. The Yankees top base stealing threat easily swiped 2nd base and then moved to 3rd when Nathan’s errant pick off throw sailed in center field. Gardenhire elected to walk Jeter to set up the double play and the Yankees unwittingly obliged.
Damon hit a line drive that ticked off Nathan’s glove towards Cabrera at short. Gardner misread the ball and took off for home. Cabrera snagged the line drive and easily doubled Gardner off the 3rd as the Twins finally got a break. But it was a break they couldn’t take advantage of, thanks in part to left field umpire Phil Cuzzi (pronounced Cuz-zee; and you know people in Minnesota will realize what that rhymes with).
Mauer sliced a fly ball down the left field line off of Damaso Marte and just out of the reach of Melky Cabrera, who had moved over from center field at the start of the inning. The ball clearly landed several inches in fair territory before bouncing into the stands for what should have been a ground rule double. But Cuzzi emphatically ruled it foul. Without a good angle to see it, no one from the Twins argued the call.
It seemed like it wouldn’t matter when Mauer and Jason Kubel stroked back to back singles, and David Robertson gave up another base hit to Michael Cuddyer to load the bases with no one out. But with the infield playing in, Teixiera gloved Young’s hot smash for the first out. Gomez then swung at the first pitch, as did Young, and grounded to Teixeira, who threw home for the force out. Robertson and the Yankees were then able to breath again when Harris flew out to Gardner in center field for the final out of the inning.
And then the players took their roles and Yankees Stadium witnessed its’ 16th walk-off victory of the season.
No surprises in the Yankees lineup (since we already knew about Molina)
For the visiting Twins:
Only Johnny Damon (3-11) and Nick Swisher (3-12) have double digit at-bats against Blackburn. Mark Teixeira is perfect against the right-hander, going 6-6 with a home run and 5 RBI. On the other end, Robinson Cano is 0-8.
Orlando Cabrera has the most at-bats (28) against Burnett, while 8 others have 10 or more. Joe Mauer is 5-13 (.385) with 1 RBI. Among them, Michael Cuddyer 2-13 (.154), Jason Kubel 5-17 (.235), and Delmon Young 3-10 (.300).
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tip of the hat to the Mrs. for finding this. Orlando Cabrera, never one afraid to cut the mustard, tried to break a bat across his knee last night. Tried being the key word.
Cabrera had just struck out on a 95-mph fastball, down in the zone, from Phil Hughes.
Here's the full sequence from Big League Stew.
The sun is always a little brighter after a nice win. Some thoughts about last night's win.
. How good does A-Rod feel this morning? A-Rod got the monkey off his back with a couple of RBI singles. It was strange seeing Kate Hudson and Jay-Z celebrating together.
. Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter. The Captain of Clutch comes through again with a 2-run, game tying home run that rocks the house. (Great piece on being Jeterian by the Star Ledger's Steve Politi)
.Was it necessary for Joe Girardi to go with Mariano Rivera in the 9th? With a day off today, Girardi probably wanted to keep Mo sharp. But after getting two quick outs, Rivera issued a walk and gave up a base hit. Suddenly his pitch count was to 23. No reason to yank Phil Hughes with two outs in the 8th either.
. Jorge Posada thought he had Game 1 off too. Posada and CC Sabathia crossed each other up, once each according to Sabathia, which resulted in a pair of passed balls for Posada. To make matters worse, Posada lolly gagged after one of the pitches, enabling Joe Mauer to score from third base.
Posada made a nice block on a pitch in the dirt later in the game, but couldn't locate the ball, allowing two runners to advance. The YES Network's John Flaherty pointed out that Posada didn't freeze the base runner at second with his eyes.
. TBS isn't as annoying as FOX. Okay, someone on Twitter pointed out to me that I set the bar pretty low on that one. Chip Caray is carrying on a family tradition of bad/annoying/inebriated (ok, that was just grandpa Harry, though maybe that applies to Dad Skip too) announcers. The "internets" are still laughing about Caray's overuse of the word "fisted" in the Twins-Tigers one game playoff.
I've always like Ron Darling as a commentator, but he was rambling last night and threw in a few malapropisms ("Joba needs to grab the antlers" - it's "grab the bull by the horns", Ron).
TBS had some of the same nonsense production as FOX though- Trying to break the record for talking about the Yankees payroll and failed playoff performances. They brought up all the negative stats for A-Rod, even when he did come through with a clutch hit.
There was sound/audtio problems, but nothing compared to those that took place in the two other division series games that TBS showed yesterday. The Cards-Dodgers was particularly bad.
. Mark Teixeira's start to the playoffs made me think of Tino in '96.
. Orlando Cabrera is annoying.
. Still surprised Ron Gardenhire pitched to A-Rod with a man in scoring position after A-Rod's earlier RBI hit.
As you may or may not know, we/me/I here at My Pinstripes tweet quite a bit during games. There's good interaction between the Yankees fans, beat writers, and other baseball people. I encourage you to join, if you haven't already, and follow me
Tweet of the Night - Have to go with Steve Politi (NJ_StevePoliti): "If Posada gets the game-winning hit, does Burnett send Molina out to pie him?"