Monday, May 31, 2010

Hey, It's Andy Pettitte

Forgot this tidbit about yesterday's game. As we were approaching the parking garage, doors opened in the middle of the Stadium, and a black SUV pulled out on to the road.

It was none other than Andy Pettitte behind the wheel. I jokingly said to my wife, "let's chase him".

By the time we got out of the parking garage he could have been in Florida.

The above pic, courtesy of Yahoo Sports, is from today's game. That's this year version of the holiday-let's make money off the consumers hat. Not as bad as last year's all red, but hideous nonetheless.

A Mark in the Park

Sunday was a great day for the first trip to Yankee Stadium this year (notice I didn't call it the 'new' Yankee Stadium). Good game, at least the last three innings anyway. Perfect weather, good crowd, etc.

For years, we've always parked in the River Ave. garage. That was until last year when we were informed it was for season ticket holders only, much as the garage that was beyond THE Yankee Stadium. Things changed this year though and it's back to being an open lot. A $23 open lot.

"Sir, any money you take out of your wallet will be considered a tip"

Needless to say I forgot that you don't pay as you enter any more. That's a direct quote from the parking lot attendant. You get a ticket, which at some point you insert into a machine in the lot to pay. I also forgot that last year we went to the museum after the game so there weren't many people left in the lot. Ugh. A half-hour to exit the lot this year. Very poor system that has been set up by Kinney or whomever owns the lots now.

Seats were section 420c, upper tier, a little to the left of home plate. Very good viewing.

As for the game itself, great game by A.J. Burnett. It really helped out the bullpen with an eight inning stint. He nearly came out on the short end though as the Yankees bats were silenced by Justin Masterson, who entered the game without a win. There weren't many good at bats leading up to the 7th, when the Yankees finally broke through.

Derek Jeter, whose error led to two insurance runs for a 3-0 hole, singled in a pair to cut the deficit to one.

Curtis Granderson doubled off lefty reliever Tony Sipp. That brought up Mark Teixeira, who has been swinging the bat better of late, but still not coming up with hits in clutch situations.

Let's go back to Saturday's game for a moment. Paul O'Neill, doing color commentary for YES, talk about Tex's struggles. O'Neill talked about how you tend to press. Before you know it, you're down 0-2 and you press even more. Back to Sunday.

Tex quickly fell behind 0-2 and O'Neill's words echoed in my head. But Tex worked the count back to 2-2 and then crushed a pitch deep to left for a go-ahead 3-run home run. The 250th career home run of Tex's career.

The Yankees added two more insurance runs in the 8th and then it was an easy 1-2-3 9th for Mariano Rivera, though he nearly didn't come out of it unscathed. Mo broke yet another bat, but this time the bat tried to get revenge. Luis Valbuena hit a comebacker and his broken bat was neck and neck with the ball. Basically in one motion Mo hopped over the bat and knocked the ball down with his glove. Calmly picked the ball up and threw to first to end the game. There's no one better.

Oh, one final note. The people who make up the nachos (this is just from witnessing, not eating them) - the food should look better going in then coming out. That is all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

10-4 Does Not Mean Over and Out

Give me 10 runs and the ace of the pitching staff and I'll get a win 99 out of 100 times. Unfortunately for the Yankees, today was that one time when everything went from all good to all bad in a hurry. Leading 10-4, the Yankees bullpen imploded and the Cleveland Indians pulled out a 13-11 victory before a stunned Yankee Stadium crowd.

The crowd had already had already gone silent earlier in the game with Alex Rodriguez smoked a line drive off the left side of Indians pitcher David Huff's head. Huff lay motionless for several minutes before he was placed on a back board and carted off the field. He gave a thumbs to the YS crowd as they gave him a standing ovation. Huff apparently never loss consciousness and was taken to the hospital for an MRI. The results were good, but Huff was being kept for observation.

Yankees starting pitcher and ace CC Sabathia (6 IP, 5 ER) had his second rough outing in three starts, but departed the game with a 10-5 lead. That's when the wheels came off. Back muscles too. David Robertson replaced Sabathia to start the 7th and hit Trevor Crowe to start the inning. Three batters later and the lead cut to 10-6, Robertson threw ball one to Jhonny Peralta and grabbed his back. Enter the Joe Girardi merry-go-round.

Sergio Mitre came on and despite having as much warm up as needed, proceeded to walk Peralta. That was apparently enough for Girardi, who sent for Damaso Marte to face lefty pinch-hitter Russell Branyan. That was the only move that worked as Marte retired Branyan for the second out of the inning. Signal to Joba Chamberlain. Signal end of lead.

To put it mildly, Chamberlain was awful. He gave up an RBI single to Mark Grudzielanek, walked Matt LaPorta, surrendered back to back 2-run doubles to Lou Marson and Jason Donald, and a come full circle, RBI single to Crowe. Seven runs and 12-10 deficit.

Just to show he's consistent, Chad Gaudin gave up a long ball to Branyan in the 9th. It was the second home run in as many games for Go-away. I mean Gaudin.

Needless the Yankees fandom was furious. Yours truly included. And while Joe Girardi isn't the guy throwing the pitches, he is the guy mixing and matching too much.

Remember when relievers faced right and lefty hitters? When a guy wasn't the "7th inning guy" or the "8th inning guy". Other than the long man and the closer there is no reason for any reliever to have a specific inning assignment.

Twitter was atwitter with frustrated tweets galore during the debacle and after. I for one was upset that Girardi yanked Mitre after one batter. One follower said he's not used to pitching on consecutive days. If that's the case then why was he the one brought in? While no fan of Gaudin, he is used to pitch consecutive games, so Girardi could have opted for him first.

Chamberlain on the other hand, has some major issues going on. He's been scored upon in three of his last five games (5 IP 10 ER) and has been hit extremely hard. There is a genuine overreaction towards his outings, good or bad, based on his 2007 work. Some were saying he would better off working on things in the minors. While far from perfect, he had a 2.16 ERA prior to those five games. And while a reliever's ERA can be misleading, Chamberlain had been decent.

Brian Cashman needs to work the phones for sure though. This is much of the same pen that won a title last year, but that was because Phil Hughes was added and David Robertson emerged.

Chan Ho Park is garbage. I can't say that enough times. One good year in the NL does not make a solid AL reliever. Mitre and Gaudin are mediocre. Marte is downright scary. Even Mariano isn't as reliable these days, but I do believe that is a physical issue that is not completely healed. Mariano is the man and will still go out there whether his cutter is biting or not.

Throw it all away and come back tomorrow and win..especially since we will be there.


Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano continued their torrid streaks. Though Swisher, representing the tying run, struck out to the end the game, he had three more hits, a walk, a ribbie and two runs scored.

Cano was 3-4 with 3 RBI and a run scored as well. He's 10-16 over the last four games.

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Cano Slams Door on Tribe

It used to be that Yankees fans would cringe whenever Robinson Cano came to the plate with runners in scoring position. The mantra, "don't hit into a double play" could be heard when the bases were loaded. But this is not your, well, your own Robinson Cano any more.

The red hot Cano had three hits, including a back breaking grand slam, as the Yankees opened their four game series with the Cleveland Indians with an 8-2 win. Phil Hughes struck out eight over seven innings to improve to 6-1.

With Alex Rodriguez getting a routine day off, Cano batted clean up for the first time in his career. Prior to this season, it's doubtful Joe Girardi or Joe Torre would have even considered putting Cano in the big hitter spot. But this is the new Robinson Cano, who has worked hard with hitting coach Kevin Long to be more selective in his hitting approach.

After hitting .207 with runners in scoring position (RISP) and .204 with RISP and 2 outs last season, Cano has boosted those numbers to .327 and .259 this season.

Cano was aboard when Nick Swisher put the Yankees ahead 2-0 in the 2nd inning with a home run high off the foul pole in right field. Cano's second single of the game helped loaded the bases against Indians' starter Fausto Carmona in the 6th.

Juan Miranda drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run before Cano came home on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly for a 4-1 Yankees lead.

Hughes bounced back from two straight rough outings with an impressive performance. He struck out the side in the first inning and limited the Tribe to five hits. He allowed an RBI double to Jhonny Peralta to cut the Yankees lead to 2-1 in the 3rd, but struck out Luis Valbuena with two on and two out to escape further trouble. A Russell Branyan solo home run was the only other run Hughes allowed.

Left-hander Tony Sipp replaced Carmona in the 7th with the Indians down 4-2. Derek Jeter reached on an infield single and Curtis Granderson doubled in the gap in right-center. Mark Teixeira drew his second walk of the game before Cano drilled a pitch into the right field seats for his 10th home run of the season.

Just another good at-bat with runners in scoring position for the new and improved Robinson Cano.

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Friday, May 28, 2010

Randy Winn Unemployed | Baseball Digest

Randy Winn Unemployed | Baseball Digest

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

Yes, it is a Brady Bunch reference to when Peter was trying to find himself and decided to be Humphrey Bogart reincarnate. It also has to do with last night's Yankees game with the Minnesota Twins.

You probably have heard all about it by now, but in case you haven't, while Javier Vazquez was getting chopped up by the Twins, YES' Kimberly Jones was having her pork chop assaulted. Wait, that sounded really unseamly. More precisely, Kimwas demonstrating a Target Field food item - pork chop on a stick, when a Yankees fan leaned over and took a bite out of the "other white meat" (not Kim's arm). She was disgusted. Announcers Michael Kay and Leiter were disgusted and hysterical all at the same time. And despite Kim's tweet later on that the incident will all be forgotten about when she returns to work next week, the porkchop horror will most certainly live on.

As for the game itself, yeah, that was pretty much a horror show as well. Vazquez reverted back to his pre-Tigers and Mets contests self and was smacked around by the Twins lineup. It didn't help any that the Yankees lineup continued to stagnate. And for a final show stopper, Chad Gaudin marked his return to the Yankees by giving up a 3-run home run to Jason Kubel to put the game completely out of reach.

Vazquez looked uncomfortable most of the night. His fastball continued to be unimpressive and his mechanics and psyche seemed off. He put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole after just two innings and the RISP-less Bronx Bombers, despite 10 hits, couldn't come back.

Robinson Cano did his best to prove otherwise, driving in both Yankees runs with a single in the 4th and double in the 6th. But down 4-2 in the bottom of the 6th, Vazquez allowed a solo home run to Kubel, who was just getting started.

Joe and Mauer and Justin Morneau each reached against the always unreliable Chan Ho Park to start the 7th and two batters later Kubel crushed a Gaudin meatball into the right field seats. Welcome back Chad.


Some bats are starting to come around a bit. Derek Jeter's two hits last night put him on an 8-18 (.444) streak. Mark Teixeira had his second straight two hit game, though both he and Alex Rodriguez continued to deliver in the big spots.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big Game Andy

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Andy Pettitte has had a lot of big game starts in his career. More often than not, he's come out on top. You wouldn't think a late May game would qualify in the big game category, but that was the case tonight when Pettitte took the mound and the win in the Yankees 3-2 triumph over the Minnesota Twins.

With a slumping offense and a shortened bullpen, Joe Girardi needed Pettitte to come through with a huge game and that's just what he did. Eight innings, two earned runs and a 3-2 victory.

Pettitte threw 94 pitches and was warming up to start the 9th, but it was merely a ploy to give Mariano Rivera additional time to get ready.

Rivera, who struggled through a save in the conclusion of game one, breezed through the 9th to give Pettitte his sixth win of the season against just a single defeat. In picking up career win no. 235, Pettitte didn't walk a batter and struck out four. He's now in sole possession of 61st place on the all-time wins list and is 3rd on the Yankees' franchise list with 198 victories).

The win, which gave the Yankees two on the day after a victory in the completion of Tuesday night's suspended game, came in the 9th when Nick Swisher drove a Jon Rauch delivery over the fence in right field for a solo home run.


The Yankees gained 1 1/2 games on the Rays, who lost for the second straight night to the resurgent Red Sox.

Kevin Russo once again came through with a clutch hit when he doubled in the Yankees first run of the game. Brett Gardner later added an RBI triple.

One Down, One to Go

photo courtesy of

Derek Jeter's offense and defense helped carry the Yankees to a victory in the completion of last night's suspended game.

Jeter's solo home run was the game's lone run in a contest that began at 8:05 ET last night. A.J. Burnett picked up the victory, but the win didn't come without some close calls.

Joba Chamberlain escaped a two on, two out jam in the 8th and then Mariano Rivera held his breath as J.J. Hardy flew out to the warning track in left to start the 9th. Rivera then issued a one out walk to Jim Thome, but got Denard Span to bounce into a 4-6-3 DP to end the game.

In addition to the offensive play of the game, Jeter also sparkled defensively, making his patented jump play.

Help Is On The Way

Zero (n). the arithmetical symbol or 0 or 0, denoting the absence of all magnitude or quantity. The most common figure the Yankees lineup has posted on home and visitor’s scoreboards.

As the rain fell on Target Field last night, one could only hope that the sun would come out tomorrow. Or in this case on Friday. Why wait until then? Well, that’s the day the friendly and exuberant Curtis Granderson is expected to return to the Yankees lineup.

The Yankees centerfielder has been out since May 1 with a groin strain. It’s been one of the numerous injuries that have dented the Yankees run scoring machine this month. Granderson’s return would mean Brett Gardner goes back to left field full time and the anemic bat of Randy Winn gets put back in storage.

Though he was hitting just .225 at the time of the injury, Joe Girardi and company knows just how good a hitter the former Detroit Tiger is, and what a huge asset he is to the lineup. That could be one of the factors that has Girardi mulling a lineup switch that would see Granderson get some time in the number two slot. The first year Yankee has not hitter higher than seventh thus far.

The news is not all good on the injury front though. Al Aceves, out with a back injury, suffered a setback while throwing on flat ground down in Tampa. He’s returned to New York and is expected to undergo some tests.

Update: The NY Daily News has reported that the Yankees have re-signed Chad Gaudin to add to the bullpen mix. Gaudin was recently released by the Oakland A’s.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

RIP Jose Lima

Shocking news from the baseball world today- former big leaguer Jose Lima was found dead of an apparent heart attack. He was just 37 years old.

Whether you loved or hated him, or were ambivalent, there's no question that Lima was one of the biggest characters in the game. His strutting, motioning, and endless talking (mainly to himself), made him fascinating to watch. You might have thought he was nuts, but you would never find him boring.

EPSN's Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney talk about Lima here.

RIP Jose and condolences to your family and friends.

Stop the Slide - I Want To Get Off

"As Unclutch As Unclutch Gets" - Drew Sarver (Me), Twitter 5/22/10

Last night's Mets 5-3 win over the Yankees was a microcosm of the Yankees month of May. Poor pitching, no clutch hitting, and shoddy defense. After a tremendous month of April, the Yankees have hit the skids in May.

Things specifically started to go downhill after pounding the Red Sox up in Boston on May 8. The Yankees were 21-8 after the win. They're 5-9 since and just 11-10 overall in the second month of the season.

One of the things that everyone marveled at early on was the Yankees depth. But with a number of injuries, the Yankees depth has been exposed. Good players, but not good enough to be playing on a regular basis. With Nick Johnson, Curtis Granderson, and Jorge Posada hurting, players like Randy Winn and Marcus Thames aren't getting it done offensively and/or defensively.

To make matters worse, the players the Yankees rely on most - Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, aren't carrying their share of the load. Let's take a quick look, shall we, starting with the Captain. Rookie Kevin Russo had the best at-bats the last two nights, delivering a 2-run double on Friday and a bases loaded walk on Saturday.

Derek Jeter, just like the team he leads, got off to a tremendous start in April. An .875 OPS, 4 HR, and 18 RBI in 21 games. 31 hits, including nine for extra bases. Then May came around - a pathetic .522 OPS and 19 strikeouts. It hasn't helped that Brett Gardner, the team's secondary table setter, has just seven hits in his last 34 at-bats.

Mark Teixeira always starts badly in April, so it was no surprise when that happened again. When the calendar turned to May, Tex got going. That included a 3-HR, 5 RBI barrage on that Saturday in Boston when the Yankees reached their high watermark (to borrow a phrase from Michael Kay).

Tex is in a 1-20 skid (and 2-24) and has just one RBI in his last six games. He's also struck out seven times in those 20 at-bats, including three in last night's loss.

Tex would be helped if Alex Rodriguez starts devouring pitchers, but the Yankees third baseman really hasn't gotten into a consistent groove all season. Whether or not a painful knee is part of the problem remains to be seen, but his .877 OPS is nearly 100 points below his career average.

Though hitting .351 in May, just eight of A-Rod's 27 hits have been for extra bases. Pitchers will be more than happy to serve up singles to the player who is 7th on the all-time home run list.

Those three players and the rest of the lineup have failed time and again with runners in scoring position. They barely held on for a 2-1 win in Friday's Subway Series opener after squandering numerous opportunities. Saturday it cost them dearly as Phil Hughes was human and the Yankees bullpen stumbled yet again. The latter has been an issue that actually goes back to last season.

The pen is once again trying to find themselves. There's no question that the bullpen was vital to the Yankees winning their 27th championship. But the biggest part of that success was moving Phil Hughes into the 8th inning set up role and the emergence of David Robertson. Now, basically, the same cast is struggling during the regular season again.

We'll take Mariano Rivera out of the equation immediately. Every season sees some bumps in the road and Mo is in one of those ruts right now. If the reason for this particular instance is because of his mysterious side strain, then this could go on longer than usual. But for now, he gets a pass.

Joba Chamberlain finally told Kim Jones, who was doing a WFAN radio show on Saturday, that he prefers to work out of the bullpen. Perhaps he's realized that's where he's had his most success (somewhere Mike Francesa is doing cartwheels...let's not go there). Joba has stumbled some here and there, including poor back to back performance against the Twins and Red Sox this past week, but overall has been decent. You have to figure he'll get better as he gets more re-accustomed to his role. It would also help if he didn't shake off his catchers so much.

The remainder of the pen though is up for grabs. Robertson has gone back to being the unsure, under confident hit machine. Chan Ho Park was a horrendous signing- I said it immediately and will stand by it. Damaso Marte is as bad as he was in 2009. Boone Logan has been terrible and taking up a roster spot that should go to someone else. Al Aceves went and got himself hurt. Okay, that last one was said tongue in cheek. Aceves' injury has not only hurt him, but has really wrecked the pen as well. And to his credit, Sergio Mitre has stepped up.

Overall though, the pen has been incredibly shaky. They've allowed leads to get away and deficits to increase. Simply, they have not done their jobs.

Okay, not all is bleak. The Yankees are nine games above .500 because of the cushion they built. And players will be back, the soonest of which could be Curtis Granderson this coming week. That means much less playing time for the anemic bat of Randy Winn (and poor judge of fly balls last night) and the the scary glove of Marcus Thames.

Javier Vazquez has given the Yankees two straight solid or better starts. Maybe most importantly, the schedule will lighten up soon and the Yankees won't have to face the best of the American League. Hopefully they can hold out their best play for those meetings in October.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Javy Drives the Train

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

The Yankees took the first game of the current version of the interleague Subway Series with a pair of unexpected contributions. The Yankees topped the Mets 2-1 at Citi Field behind six top notch innings from Javier Vazquez and a 2-run double from rookie Kevin Russo.

Vazquez was beyond good (some would say Jella Good), allowing just one hit, a 5th inning single by Angel Pagan before exiting with an injury. Yes, yet another Yankees injury. This one doesn't seem to be too bad though according to Vazquez himself. Just before laying down his second successful sac bunt of the night, the Yankees hurler took a pitch off his finger as he bunted foul. Bleeding and swelling ensued and Vazquez's night was done.

Vazquez wasn't the only one having trouble with the bat though. The Yankees couldn't solve Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi all night. The left-hander scattered five hits and a walk over six innings and struck out five. He struck out Derek Jeter and got Brett Gardner to ground to strand two runners in scoring position in the third inning.

The Yankees put two more in scoring position in the 4th, but Takahashi struck out Nick Swisher and retired Francisco Cervelli on a fly out. The Yankees finally got on the board in the 7th with the help of the Mets bullpen and their defense.

Swisher led off the frame with a single off Elmer Dessens and Cervelli followed with a potential double play grounder to Alex Cora at second base. Playing in place of Luis Castillo, who had the disastrous drop in last year's Subway Series, Cora cleanly fielded Cervelli's bouncer, but threw the ball well out of the reach of shortstop Jose Reyes. Both runners moved into scoring position and Russo, who had picked up his first major league hit earlier in the game, brought them home with a double into the right field corner.

Joba Chamberlain retired all five men he faced, three by strike out, to set up the bridge to Mariano Rivera. The Yankees closer was on the verge of an easy 1-2-3 inning, but Jason Bay doubled on a 2-strike, 2-out to keep the Mets alive and Ike Davis followed with a double of his own to get the Mets on the scoreboard. But Rivera bounced back, retiring David Wright on a first pitch ground out to preseve the win and end the Yankees three game losing streak.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's My Line

On today, the 64th anniversary of the birth of Bobby Murcer, I stumbled upon this clip from 1971. Bobby Murcer, cool 1971 do and all is the mystery guest.

Posada Out With Fractured Foot

They call it the tools of ignorance, but most catchers know what they're getting into. Pain. Jorge Posada has had plenty of it in his career. That includes a foul ball he took off his foot while catching against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Needless to say, it hurt like hell. Posada sat out the next two games with swelling under his foot and last night it was announced he had a hairline fracture that will keep him out from 3-4 weeks. We'll now get to see just how well Francisco Cervelli can hold up playing on a full time basis.

The Yankees will also have to bring up a catcher from Scranton and that means someone may need to be nixed from the 40 man roster. No catchers other than the Yankees current duo exist on the list. The Yankees could also shift Nick Johnson to the 60 day DL, which is definitely an option.

Chad Moeller, who caught for the Yankees in 2008 and was re-signed after being released by Baltimore in spring training, would be the most likely candidate (not a LOST reference).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Good Thames, Bad Thames, you know I've had my share" - Peter Botte via Twitter

I hadn't seen such similiar back to back games played since games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series, Unlike those two unbelievable World Series finishes, the Yankees only came out on top in half of this duo with the Red Sox. Oh, and these games were a lot uglier.

Previously on Yankees baseball - you remember Monday night...Marcus Thames becomes an instant hero with a 2-run walk-off home run off of enemy closer Jon Papelbon. Flash forward to Tuesday (perhaps I should call it Lost instead of Flash Forward...either way neither will be on the air for ABC next year). The goodwill towards Marcus Thames disappears in an instant as he drops a 9th inning fly ball. The error led to a pair of Red Sox runs and the Yankees lost 7-6 after building a 5-0 lead against Josh Beckett.

The problems started for the Yankees though an inning earlier. The Red Sox torched Joba Chamberlain for four runs, three of them earned. The inning started with a close play at first that could have altered the outcome of the game. Alex Rodriguez made a nice stop of a Marco Scutaro hard grounder, but threw wide of first base. Mark Teixeira stretched to make the grab, but 1st base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Teixeira's foot was off the bag. Replays were inconclusive. Though many Yankees fans felt it was an out, there was no way you could tell from the replays available.

Consecutive hits by Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, and Kevin Youkilis cut the lead to 5-4 before Chamberlain finally retired Victor Martinez. But David Ortiz's one out single tied the game and set up the 9th inning craziness.

An umpire again had an influence as Darnell McDonald appeared to be out on strikes for the second out of the 9th inning. But Mariano Rivera's pitch which hit the inside corner was ruled a ball by home plate ump Angel Campos and McDonald took advantage with a one out single.

Scutaro's bat caused another error as Thames dropped the shortstop's pop up to put two men aboard. Pedroia grounded out, but Jeremy Hermida, who had replaced Drew earlier, lofted a deep fly to left. For some reason, the Yankees had Randy Winn playing shallow as if he were facing the number 9 hitter in a little league lineup. The ball fell in easily for a go ahead 2-run double.

The Yankees rallied once again against closer Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th, but this came up short. Scutaro partially returned the favor by whiffing on Rodriguez's grounder to start the inning for an error. A Robinson Cano double cut the deficit to one, but with two men aboard, Juan Miranda grounded out and Winn struck out to end the game.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yankees Blast Their Way to Victory

The Yankees won, they lost, they won again. It was a crazy night in the Bronx this evening as the Yankees rolled Dice-K, watched their bullpen get pounded, and then saw Alex Rodriguez and Marcus Thames take Jonathan Papelbon deep for an 11-9 Yankees win.

The Yankees led 6-1 before Phil Hughes ran out of gas and Boone Logan and Chan Ho Park turned the lead into a 9-7 deficit. As the bottom of the 9th inning started, YES commentator John Flaherty mentioned that Papelbon had pitched two and one-third innings on Saturday and may not have his best fastball. His words were prescient.

Brett Gardner started the inning with a double that sliced under a sliding Darnell McDonald in left field. After Mark Teixeira flied out to deep center, Rodriguez hit a no mistake about it home run to center to tie the game at nine apiece.

Papelbon put the winning run on base by plunking Francisco Cervelli and then served up a fat first pitch fastball to Thames, who drilled into the left field seats for the game winner. Needless to say there was pandemonium on and off the field. It also resulted in the first walk off pie of the season as A.J. Burnett delivered a spot on facial to an unsuspecting (well, not totally unsuspecting) Thames.

The most ironic part of the night though may have been the winning pitcher. It was none other than Javier Vazquez who came on and struck out Kevin Youkilis to end the top of the 9th inning.

The Yankees had jumped all over Datsuke Matsuzaka for five runs in the first inning, which included a pair of RBI for Rodriguez and one for Thames. But down 6-1, the Red Sox started chipping away.

David Ortiz hit a solo shot in the 4th and an inning later J.D. Drew blasted a 3-run home run off Hughes to cut the Yankees lead to a single run. A gassed Hughes got the final out of the 5th, but was done after 105 pitches.

Thames' RBI double in the bottom of the 5th put the Yankees back up by a pair of runs, but Victor Martinez's answered back with a solo home run off Boone Logan in the 6th.

With a shortened bullpen, Chan Ho Park had to go two innings and it caught up to him in the 8th. First, Youkilis put the Red Sox on top for the first time with a 2-run home run. Then Martinez made it back to back shots and home runs from each side of the plate when he drove Park's delivery into the night.

It appeared the Yankees might be done, but Damaso Marte and Vazquez quieted things down before the Yankees bats got Yankee Stadium rocking again.


As expected, Ivan Nova was optioned to Scranton to make room on the roster for Park.

Joba Chamberlain was unavailable because he warmed up two different times on Saturday in addition to pitching on Sunday.

Nick Johnson, The New Face of Operation

Yankees GM Brian Cashman had to have his doubts when he signed oft-injured Nick Johnson to a free agent contract this past off-season. Barely a month into the season, those doubts have come to fruition.

Johnson, who missed most of the 2008 season due to a torn sheath tendon in his right wrist, was placed on the DL earlier this month after the wrist flared up again. A cortisone shot was administered, but it did not achieve the desired result. So Johnson will have surgery on an unspecified date.

At a minimum, the Yankees’ designated hitter will miss 4-6 weeks. That means increased at-bats for Marcus Thames, Randy Winn, and Ramiro Pena as manager Joe Girardi rotates his players through the DH role.

You have to figure that Cashman will also be watching the waiver wire and making some phone calls in case Johnson is expected to be out longer, or if the current squad comes up short offensively.

The only thing that is known for sure is that Johnson won’t be making any contributions until late July/early August at the soonest.

Fasten Your Seat Beats, Full Week Ahead

Have you recovered from Sunday's loss to the Twins? Really, still a little pissed/upset/second guessing? Time to move on. Big week ahead.

The Red Sox come to town tonight for a quick two game series. That's followed by a pair of games with the AL East leading Rays and then it's off to Citi Field for a three game series with the Mets.

Dice-K and Josh Beckett face off against Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia as things kick off tonight at the Stadium. Dustin Pedroia, the team's leading HR and RBI man is expected to be back in the lineup for Boston tonight after sitting out Sunday's game with a sore knee.

Before going 0-3 on Sunday, David Ortiz went 12-28 (.429) in the prior seven games with 3 HR and 11 RBI.

Beckett has lasted just 10 innings in two starts against the Yankees this year, with 14 runs allowed. For his career he's 9-6, 5.96.

When the Rays come to town on Wednesday, they will do it without veteran Pat Burrell. Pat the Bat was designated for assignment on Sunday after a year-plus of underachievement. Burrell signed a 2-yr, $16 million deal prior to the 2009 season, but never came close to living up to it.

Wednesday night will see Wade Davis do battle with A.J. Burnett. The series concludes on Thursday with James Shields facing Andy Pettitte.

Javier Vazquez opens the Mets series...or will he. Joe Girardi is hedging his bets. The Yankees bullpen needs some help and Vazquez may be a contributor during the week. It really does not make sense for Girardi to mess with Vazquez to this degree. His confidence is lagging as it is.

The bullpen will get Chan Ho Park back tonight, with Ivan Nova likely ticketed back to Scranton.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Field of Screams

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Written for

"Field of Screams", the perfect title for a post about the New York Yankees sweeping the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. The perfect title for the Yankees abusing the AL Central leaders once again.

It in fact turned out to be the perfect title, but not for the original reason I expected. Sometime during the 3 o'clock hour on Sunday, there was a blood curdling scream heard throughout the Metropolitan area. You know, the kind of scream you hear in movies. The kind of scream that scares all of the pigeons from their perches in Central Park.

The kind of scream you hear from Yankees fans when Mariano Rivera gives up the rarest of rares, a game losing grand slam. Rivera may have been screaming inside, but he did his best not to show it. Working for only the third time since April 30, Rivera was asked to protect a 3-1 lead by recording the final four outs of the game.

But after the Twins loaded the bases with two outs against Joba Chamberlain, Rivera walked pinch-hitter Jim Thome to force in the tying run. While fans and the media scrambled to figure out when it was that it had last occured, Jason Kubel then became the first major leaguer since Bill Selby (in 2002) to go deep against the Yankees closer with the bases loaded. A sure fire Yankees win turned into a 6-3 defeat before a stunned Bat Day crowd.

It was the Twins first win in the Bronx since 2007. Oh, for the record, May 6, 2005 was the last time Rivera issued a bases loaded walk. The A's Keith Ginter was the lucky recipient on that day.

By now the pigeons should be back in the park.

Sunday in the Park With George..Steinbrenner

Gorgeous Sunday in the metro area. Sergio Mitre will have the task of beating the Twins once again. And he'll have a Bat Day crowd watching, so he'd better be go.

Bat Day was, and possibly still is, the best promotion day of all time. I was supposed to go in 1971, but got salmonella and had to miss it. But...back then there were two Bat Days in a season. I made it to the second one and got THE bat. A Bobby Murcer bat. Awesome. My sister also got one, which I eventually got a hold of as well. I used one to play baseball with and preserved the other.

The highlight of Bat Day was when Bob Sheppard would ask everyone in the crowd to raise their bats high in the air. Those 14-and under in the crowd of 55,000 would immediately do so. There was also the "off-label" use of the bats, protection on the way home through bad neighborhoods.

* * *

Brett Gardner is having a fabulous season. Yesterday he stole his 17th base in 18 tries, despite the fact that Joe Mauer's throw appeared to have him dead to rights. But Gardner managed to elude the tag of Orlando Hudson and then a re-tag after he slid passed 2nd base.

Marc Carig of the Star Ledger
has a nice profile on the Yankees speedy outfielder.

* * *

Nick Johnson received a cortisone shot in his troublesome wrist, but surgery has not been ruled out.

Curtis Granderson has begun running, but is expected to miss another two weeks.

Chan Ho Park will be activated today with Ivan Nova the likely candidate to be sent down.

* * *

Former Yankee Curtis Pride continues to inspire others.

Pettitte Keeps Twins Killing Going

You could tell that Andy Pettitte hadn't thrown (10 days) in a competitive situation in a while. But the veteran, who missed a start due to mild inflammation in his elbow, was still good enough to pick up a 6-plus inning victory as the Yankees continued their dominance of the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada hit tape measure home runs and the Yankees bullpen walked the tightrope to a 7-1 triumph.

Pettitte's stuff wasn't as crisp as usual, but it wasn't bad either. He threw 95 pitches and used his trademark double play grounder to escape a jam in the 2nd inning. He also had to be holding his breath when, clinging to a 2-0 lead, Joe Mauer crushed a Pettitte delivery with two aboard. But Brett Gardner made the putout in deep left-center field and Pettitte was on his way to a 5-0 record.

The Yankees built a 3-1 lead against Twins starter Francisco Liriano and then blew the game open against the Minnesota bullpen in the 7th. Teixeira absolutely crushed a Jesse Crain pitch into the luxury box/third tier in right field for a 5-1 lead. Posada added two more runs to the scoreboard when he blasted a Ron Mahay pitch to dead center. The ball hit a cement divider behind the center field wall and ricocheted up into the center field seats above Monument Park.

Despite being ineffective all season and having blown the lead on Friday night, Damaso Marte continues to get called upon in tough situations. This time it was to protect a one run lead with two on and two out in the 7th inning. Pinch-hitter Jim Thome swung and missed at a hanging Marte fastball before taking a called third strike to end the inning.


Sergio Mitre is on the hill for the Yankees today as they go for the sweep of the three game series. Nick Blackburn will toe the rubber for the Twins.

Javier Vazquez will be skipped on Monday/Tuesday so that Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia can start on regular rest. Vazquez will open the interleague series with the Mets on Friday.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Andy Pettitte and Hughes became the fourth set of Yankees teammates in the last 50 years to win their first five decisions. The others were Ron Guidry and Tommy John (1980), David Wells and Mike Mussina (2003), and Kevin Brown and El Duque (2004).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Help Wanted: Twins Interim Manager

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

At the conclusion of tonight's game with the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins general manager Bill Smith announced the team is looking for an interim manager. Don't worry, Ron Gardenhire, one of the best managers in the game, has not been fired. It's just that Smith figures maybe someone else will have better luck when his team plays the Yankees.

Okay, so all of the above is bs, but you could understand Smith thinking that way. With tonight's 7-4 Yankees victory, the Twins have lost 24 of the last 27 games played in the Bronx. Add to that playoff losses in 2003, 2004, and 2009. Things weren't much better in the Metrodome where the Twins won only 11 of their last 29 games with the Yankees.

Like many of their previous encounters, the Twins had a chance to win tonight's ball game. They rallied against Damaso Marte to take a 4-3 lead in the 7th, but the Twins' pen imploded in the bottom of the 7th.

Francisco Cervelli led the inning off with a single against Twins starter Scott Baker and Derek Jeter followed with a bullet off of Baker's leg for a double. Lefty Brian Duensing retired Brett Gardner, but Gardenhire made the dangerous decision to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira and face Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded.

Gardenhire had the unenviable task of picking his poison, but Rodriguez was 4-6 lifetime with a trio of home runs against the reliever, Matt Guerrier, that the Twins' skipper opted for.

Quicker than you could say, well, Gardenhire, A-Rod launched a grand slam to left to put the Yankees back on top for good. The Yankees third baseman also scored points in the post-game by taking the high road when YES' Kim Jones wondered if getting intentionally walked irritated him.

Joba Chamberlain (three K's) and Mariano Rivera made quick work of the Twins over the final two innings to hang yet another "L" on Gardenhire and the Twins.


Per Sweeny Murti on Twitter: "Joba has struck out 7 of last 10 batters (over 3 apps)." And this from Jack Curry on Twitter: "Memo to ML Managers: According to STATS, Inc., A-Rod is 4-4 w 2 HRS and 14 RBI in six plate apps after Teixeira was intent walked b4 him."

Nick Swisher left the game after one at-bat due to his bad bicep. (Correction) He went for an MRI, which showed nothing out of the ordinary a slight tear. He's listed as day to day.

Francisco Cervelli continues to be remarkable. Two more hits tonight, threw out a would-be base stealer, and delivered an RBI triple for an insurance run in the 8th inning. He's now 10-13 with runners in scoring position. Cervelli was even impressed by it during the post-game. "That's pretty good", he said with a chuckle.

A.J. Burnett started the game with a shaky first inning, but settled down and left the game with a 3-2 lead in the 7th. He did give up a scorched home run to Joe Mauer.

Long and Winding Road

It wasn't a spectacular road trip for the New York Yankees (3-4), but considering the number of injuries that affected the team, it wasn't all that bad either.

Obviously after taking 2 of 3 in Boston, losing 3 of 4 in Detroit was a letdown. But considering that Sergio Mitre and a struggling Javier Vazquez were penned in for starts, one could argue that the Bombers shouldn't have expected to do more than split with their Motown opponents. As it turned out Vazquez was very good, while ace CC Sabathia struggled.

The Yankees offense hit a slump in Tiger town, virtually disappearing save for one inning in the third game. Considering the number of at-bats given to Ramiro Pena, Marcus Thames, Randy Winn, Greg Golston, and Juan Miranda, that's not all that surprising either. Throw in a slumping Derek Jeter (5-43), and a banged up Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada, and you see what I'm getting at.

The season is a series of highs and lows. The Yankees offense is certainly riding one of those lows right now. There's absolutely nothing wrong with losing to Jon Lester and Justin Verlander, but not being able to muster offense against the likes of Jeremy Bonderman and Emilio Bonine is another matter.

The Yankees open a three game series with the Minnesota Twins tonight and the pitching won't be getting any easier. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Nick Blackburn are scheduled to go for the Twins this weekend.

Look more more at-bats for Miranda, who should supplant some of both Winn's and Thames' at-bats. In fact, Joe Girardi opted for Thames over Winn in left field tonight against the right-handed throwing Baker. It hurts the Yankees defensively, but Girardi is clearly looking to add some punch.

Swisher returns to the lineup tonight after sitting out the finale in Detroit with a sore bicep. Francisco Cervelli gets the call at catcher, so Jorge Posada gets the day time duty on Saturday and the task of facing the left-handed Liriano.

Getting back to the Tigers' series- another spectacular performance by Phil Hughes on Wednesday night. He's rounded into the pitcher that the Yankees had always hoped he would be. The guy that the hype was all about.

Hughes' mid-90s fastball, mixed with his change and curve have been out and out dominant. He's the first Yankees pitcher since Bob Turley in 1958 to go 5-0 and have a sub-1.50 ERA after 6 starts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Javy Shines But Yankees Lose 3rd Straight

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Javier Vazquez made his first trip to the mound in 11 days and threw his best outing of the season. Unfortunately for him, the Yankees couldn't solve Tigers starter Rick Porcello or the Detroit bullpen, falling 2-0. It was the Yankees third straight loss and assured them of no better than a four game split with the Tigers.

Vazquez was good from the get-go, retiring the first seven men he faced and allowed just a single hit through five innings. He escaped a two out, two walk jam in the 5th, striking out Adam Everett to keep the game scoreless.

Vazquez gave up consecutive singles to Austin Jackson and Johnny Damon to start the 6thand Magglio Ordonez followed with a run producing ground out. Two more singles by Miguel Cabrera and rookie Brennan Boesch put Detroit on top 2-0 before Vazquez got Brandon Inge to bounce into an inning ending double play.

The Yankees managed just four hits and hit (or is it no-hit) into bad luck all day. That was most evident in the 7th inning when Nick Swisher lined a sure single up the middle only to see it bounce off Porcello to an awaiting Everett at shortstop for a ground out.

Porcello got himself out of a base loaded, two out jam in the 2nd, by inducing a pop up from Ramiro Pena. He then struck out the Yankees young third baseman (Alex Rodriguez got the call at DH) with two aboard in the 4th to escape another Yankees threat.


Jonathan Albaladejo was holed up in a Detroit hotel in case the Yankees needed to activate him. With Vazquez going seven innings in the opener of the day-night doubleheader, it is unlikely he'll be needed.

Greg Golson was recalled from Scranton before the game with Al Aceves going on the DL.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some Vintage Matsui

With tonight's rainout in Detorit, it's time to take a look back at some early Hideki Matsui. I don't mean Yankee rookie Hideki Matsui, but Japanese All-Star Godzilla. Here goes deep against Al Leiter in a 1998 All-Star game in Japan.

A young guy named Kei Igawa strikes out Godzilla, not once, but twice. Like that would happen today.

Yankees Fans Come in Off the Ledge

photo courtesy of NY Daily News

Despite a 21-10 start there are a number of Yankees fans acting like Red Sox fans. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, the other leg to break, the other game to lose. STOP.

Last night's loss to the Detroit (5-4) was obviously frustrating. Spot starter Sergio Mitre was far from fantastic, but he wasn't horrendous either. An Alex Rodriguez throwing error led to two early runs, one of which was earned. Mitre is not part of the regular rotation and does all right as a long man in the pen. He's not going to be the guy to make or break the team.

Boone Logan was crap. There's no excuse for walks to guys who don't deserve to be pitched around. If he continues in that vein, he'll be gone.

Marcus Winn, Randy Thames, Winn matter how you combine their names, you really can't put a good ball player together between them. Thames has good power, but has never hit for average and his outfield skills..well, outfield and skills should not be used in the same sentence when it comes to Marcus Thames.

Winn was a good player. He is still a decent outfielder, but the speed left his bat a long time ago. Obviously, neither one of them would be getting many at-bats if not for the injuries to Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson. But the lineup and defense is still deep enough even with them.

Johnny Damon hits a home run last night and immediately there is an outpouring of "why didn't we keep him?" Because he was a pig when it came to money and it was time to move on. The same with Hideki Matsui (not the pig part). You can bet that if Matsui was still a Yankee and was hitting the .230 he's currently hitting with the Halos, Yankees fans would be screaming about how the team shouldn't have re-signed him.

The Yankee fan base has quickly forgotten how quickly a team can age. The 1996-2001 run ended with a sharp decline and even though the team made the 2003 World Series, there was some very obvious holes that took a long time to fill. 20/20 hindsight is easy, but looking back do you think it was smart to re-sign Scott Brosius or should the Yankees have made Mike Lowell their third baseman?

The Yankees have won 9 of 10 series, but apparently that isn't good enough for some people. Now, there's no question that the Nick Johnson signing was probably not the most well thought out plan. But most likely it was to go cheap for one year to make a run after Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth for next season.

Seriously, how do some of you people last through a 162 game season? Losses bother me. I was bitching and moaning last night. But I'll have moved on when tonight's game is played. Some of you won't have. Some losses hurt more than others. Losing to Boston always sucks, but the Yankees still took 2 of 3..that's all that matters. It's a marathon not a sprint, so chill.

On the Up side

There were some positives last night. Another home run for Mark Teixeira. A much better outing for David Robertson. Alex Rodriguez had a couple of solid hits. And a dominating performance by Joba Chamberlain, who hit the upper 90's with his fastball and struck out the side in the 8th inning.

No Play For Mr. Can't Stay Awake

If you didn't see it or hear about it by now, here it is, that chucker of chuckers...Keith Hernandez falling asleep in the broadcast booth over the weekend.

We've all felt tired at our desks and possibly even nodded off (no not me), but to do it in front of a television audience...lame...Elaine Benes would definitely feel that Hernandez is not spongeworthy.

Somewhere Kramer and Newman are having a good laugh.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dallas Braden is Now a Perfect DBag

First things first. I have to give major credit to Dallas Braden on his accomplishment on Sunday. Pitching a perfect game is the hardest thing to do in baseball. To do it against a formidable lineup such as that of the Tampa Bay Rays makes it an even greater accomplishment. Unfortunately, it was done before only 12,000 plus fans at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. (Catfish Hunter's perfecto in 1968 was in front of almost half that amount.)

Now back to Braden. He really reminds me of Billy Martin. Especially due to his close relationship with his grandmother, who raised him when Braden's mother died of cancer at just 39 years of age. Needless to say, Mother's Day had not been a good day for Braden in prior years.

Like Martin, Braden grew up in Northern California and had a bit of an attitude. While Martin's Mom was said to be even tougher than him, Braden's grandma, Peggy Lindsey, has some spunk herself. After the perfect game she said, "Stick it, A-Rod". Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

The perfecto comes on the heels of more statements Braden made last week about the A-Rod incident, hinting that a fight might be in store. A-Rod, to his credit, took the high road and said he was done talking about it (he did give Braden credit on Sunday.).

So while Braden has now given a major boost to his resume, things should still be interesting when and if he faces the Yankees. He should just let the whole thing go, but after shooting his mouth off so much, I doubt he will. Which would be a mistake for him, the A's, and the Yankees. No good could from it, but plenty of bad could result in injuries, bad feelings, and a black eye to baseball.

Let it go Dallas. Enjoy your time in the sun. And, oh yeah, STFU.

2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad

I want sweep (I want sweep),
I need sweep (I need sweep).
But there ain't now way that A.J.'s gonna sweep you,
Now don't be sad 'cause,
'Cause 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

What is about the combination of a New York Yankees uniform and Fenway Park that has turned A.J. Burnett from stud to dud? When Burnett was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays he dominated the Red Sox with ease, and that was a better Red Sox lineup.

But last year and so far this year, Burnett would settle for a quality start. (He came close on April 6, allowing three earned runs in five innings.)

Burnett had been red hot entering Sunday night's play - a 1.99 ERA. But after a promising start, Burnett began losing the strike zone. He wasn't just missing by inches either. And it doesn't matter if Francisco Cervelli, Jorge Posada, or Yogi Berra in his prime is behind the plate either.

To make matters worse, Marcus Thames did a great job of playing DH in left field. ESPN's John Miller kept talking about the how the wind was playing tricks on Thames, yet no other outfielder had such difficulties. As much as Joe Girardi would like to DH Posada, it does more damage to have Thames in left field or Randy Winn's bat in the lineup.

Jon Lester, a perennial April slow starter, pitched well again in May. He limited the Yankees to four hits over seven innings and has allowed just three earned runs in his last 27 2-3 innings.

But the Yankees still won their 9th series in 10 tries and have taken 4 of 6 from the Red Sox, all of which were in Fenway Park. 2 out of 3 is better than "ain't bad".

Friday, May 7, 2010

There's a New Sheriff in Town

On one side was the crusty old gunslinger. On the other side, the kid trying to prove himself in a hell hole. At the end of the night it was the old gunslinger who lost his composure and started firing stray bullets and it was the kid who remained tried and true. Old John Wayne movie? Nah, just the first of a three game set between the Yankees and Red Sox in Fenway Park.

Josh Beckett, not so old, but plenty crusty, started out like a house afire. He struck out five of the first six Yankees. But as the night wore on, the veteran right-hander lost control. Nick Swisher drove a hanging curveball from Beckett in the 4th over the wall in center for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

Beckett completely fell apart in the 6th, and though scoring, the Yankees weren't happy about it. Joe Girardi's squad had already lost Nick Johnson to a wrist injury (more on that further down) when Robinson Cano took a Beckett cutter to the inside of his left knee. Cano tried to stay in the game, but left shortly thereafter for a pinch-runner. He told the media after the game he wanted to get out before it felt worse. Girardi later said he wouldn't be surprised if Cano has to miss a game or two.

With two aboard and one out, the Red Sox elected to intentionally walk Brett Gardner to load the bases and set up a potential double play. But Beckett's 3-2 fastball nearly knocked Francisco Cervelli on his behind and forced in a run. Cervelli was visibly disgusted as he moved towards first base, having been dusted earlier in the game for calling a timeout when Beckett (or Suckett as I prefer) was about to pitch.

After a Randy Winn single gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead, Beckett drilled Derek Jeter in the back to force in another run. It also brought the Yankees bench to the top step of the dugout where Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia were among those jawing at the Red Sox starter.

After run producing singles by Marcus Thames and Mark Teixeira, Sox manager Terry Francona finally pulled his ace from the game. Afterwards, Beckett told the media he wasn't sure why he lost his command so quickly, and the Yankees Derek Jeter said there was no way Beckett was throwing out him with the bases loaded.

It will be interesting to see though if anything develops over the final two games. Once cooler heads prevail, it's quite possible the Yankees will feel Beckett really wasn't throwing at them and will let things go. Or they'll feel it doesn't matter whether it was on purpose or not and someone on the Red Sox will have to eat some rawhide. I have to agree with Michael Kay (yeah, it happens) that Beckett's expression and demeanor certainly were not of a guy who cared about where his pitches were going at that point.

Lost in all this, of course, was the terrific job once again done by Phil Hughes. He improved to 4-0 with a stellar seven innings of work. He allowed a pair of runs, scattered seven hits, walked one, and struck out seven. He had great command of all his pitches and made more than a few Red Sox look silly at the plate.


Nick Johnson will be placed on the DL and was being sent back to New York to evaluate his right wrist. It's been bothering him for a while, but felt worse after Johnson took some swings in Friday night's game.

Prior to the game, the Yankees sent down outfielder Greg Golson and brought up pitcher Romulo Sanchez. The Yankees will bring up a player for Saturday's game, likely an infielder to help out with Cano hurting. It's possible Juan Miranda will eventually get a call too with Johnson on the DL.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


That's the last time the Yankees had three straight saves that did not include Mariano Rivera.

Joba Chamberlain (2) and Al Aceves did the deed this time around. In 2002 it was Steve Karsay (2) and Mike Stanton.

Let's not make a habit of this.

The Sore Four

Let's get one things straight right from the start. There is no Sports Illustrated jinx. People would like you to believe there is. Especially those that work for SI. It means more circulation in a medium that has been losing circulation faster than an octogenarian.

That 3 of the 4 "Core Four" Yankees are now sitting out with ailments, just a short time after appearing on the SI cover, is a mere coincidence (Yes, there are too coincidences, Leroy Jethro Gibbs.).

No offense to Jorge Posada, but any length of time that Mariano Rivera and/or Andy Pettitte miss is much more crucial to the Yankees chances of repeating in 2010. It's hard enough to repeat with a healthy team.

We haven't gotten much information on the Yankees closer. Stiffness in his side. Could they be more vague?

Mild inflammation doesn't sound too worrysome until you realize that's the elbow issue that Pettitte was diagnosed with after his Wednesday start. Pettitte's past includes an elbow injury and, unfortunately, by some HGH usage. The Yankees need to be real worried (no, I am not implying he would use PED again).

Right now Pettitte is going to miss just one start. So far. Elbow willing. In the meantime, Sergio Mitre is the likely candidate to step in so that Al Aceves can remain in the bullpen. Pettitte's injury also means the Yankees really need Javier Vazquez to get his act together.

Pettitte struggled with his stuff on Wednesday, but allowed just one run in five innings, before departing after 77 pitches. He immediately was sent for an MRI, which brought up the inflammatory findings.

Here's to hoping Derek Jeter gets nothing more than the bad cold he had.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Orioles Get Cerved

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Francisco Cervelli hears the talk. Jesus Montero is the future catcher of the Yankees. If Montero DH's or has his position moved, then Austin Romine is the future catcher of the Yankees. But the only thing that should matter to Cervelli is the here and now. The Yankees current backup, filling in for the sore-calfed Jorge Posada, did all the right things last night to push the Yankees to a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Cervelli caught A.J. Burnett, who for the second straight game through what seemed to be an effortless game. The multi-tattoed right-hander had a nasty curveball, which he used more than any time in his own recent memory.

Already down 1-0, he relied on his curveball and a plus fastball to strike out Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters with two runners in scoring position in the third. He left with one out in the eighth and blew out a heavy sigh of relief as Miguel Tejada's fly out nearly tied the game.

Burnett might not have had a 4-1 lead at the time if not for Cervelli though. He tripled to lead off the bottom of the 3rd and scored on Ramiro Pena's ground out to tie the game at one apiece. With Brett Gardner on first in the 5th, Cervelli's single helped lead to a two run inning. He reached on a bunt single an inning later, then laid down a perfect sac bunt in the 8th to help set up the forth and final Yankees run.

Cervelli did it with defense too, falling over the railing in front of the Yankees dugout to snare a foul pop. Montero or Romine might be the future, but the Yankees are very happy to have the Cisco Kid right now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's a Winn Win

photo courtesy of Washington Times

"He's used to being an every day player. " "This is the first time he's been in a part-time role." "He's a great guy. The only active player that is on the board of directors of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT)." Those were some of the plaudits Michael Kay handed out last night for Yankees outfielder Randy Winn. Moments after I retorted, to the television screen, "What are you, his lawyer?", Winn turned on a Jeremy Guthrie fastball and sent it into the night for what proved to be a game winning 3-run home run. I bow to Mr. Kay.

The home run was a huge lift for the Yankees, who lost Jorge Posada during the game to a calf strain and were without the services of Mariano Rivera, who had felt stiffness in his side since the weekend. Joba Chamberlain came on in the 9th and picked up his second career save to secure the Yankees 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

It also helped to have the big man on the mound on Monday night. CC Sabathia scattered six hits over eight innings to improve his record to 4-1 while lowering his ERA to 2.74. The four non-Javier Vazquez starting rotation has combined on a 2.27 ERA and have won 13 of 14 decisions.

Matt Wieters took Sabathia deep in the 2nd inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, but the Yankees took control in the 4th. Nick Swisher, who has not hit well in a year-plus at Yankee Stadium, continued his new found love of home cooking, tying the game with an RBI single. After a Brett Gardner single, Winn hit his first home run in nearly 500 at-bats. It was also just his second hit of the season.


Swisher is 8-12 on the homestand with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 4 Runs scored.

After starting out the month 6-9, Mark Teixeira was hitless in four at-bats.

In his post-game, Joe Girardi said of Rivera, "Mo felt it Saturday after throwing Friday. Has gotten better each day. No further tests scheduled on Mo". Rivera later said he could have pitched if it were a big game situation.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's Gold Jerry, Gold

Prior to tonight's Yankees 4-1 win over the Orioles, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter received their 2009 Gold Glove Awards.

It was the 4th such trophy for Jeter, while Tex's first in Pinstripes was his third overall.