Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yankees and Rays In Flat Footed Tie

Zack Greinke gave the Yankees a better chance to win the AL East when he dominated the Tampa Bay Rays in a 3-2 Kansas City Royals win. The AL East leaders are both 94-65 with three games left this weekend.

The Yankees begin a series in Boston Friday night with Andy Pettitte facing Daisuke Matsuzaka. A.J. Burnett goes against Clay Buchholz on Saturday and Phil Hughes and John Lackey finish things up on Sunday.

The Rays won 10 of 18 meetings with the Yankees so if the teams finish in a tie the Rays will be the AL East title holders.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hang 'em Javy Keeps Yanks Looking Up

You know you had your doubts coming into tonight's Yankees-Blue Jays game when you saw that Javier Vazquez would make the start in place of Andy Pettitte. Joe Girardi talked before the game about how Javy was still in the mix for the post-season roster, blah blah blah.

Vazquez gave up three home runs on a night that the Blue Jays honored retiring manager Cito Gaston. The Yankees gave Gaston their own present, an 8-4 Blue Jays win. Vazquez should be joining A.J. Burnett on the sidelines during the division series since he has done nothing to gain Girardi's confidence.

The Blue Jays are a home run hitting monstrosity and Vazquez was happy to oblige them. Travis Snider, wearing a fake lamp black mustache in tribute to Gaston, homered to lead off the bottom of the 1st and you know things would only get worse from there. Aaron Hill and John Buck also went deep, with Buck reaching 20 home runs for the first time.

One of the few bright spots for the Yankees was the continued hot hitting of Alex Rodriguez. He homered for the fifth time in six games and reached the 30 home run mark for the 13 straight season and 14th overall. (I had predicted he would finish with 28; thankfully I didn't make any wagers on that.) He also added an RBI ground out to increase his team leading RBI total to 123.

The game started a half hour later than usual as the Toronto organization brought back some of Gaston's former players, such as 1992 World Series hero Joe Carter, and presented Gaston with a painting done by outfielder Vernon Wells' father, Vernon Jr. (the ball playing Wells is the III). Gaston then gave a very heartfelt speech.

The Yankees remained a half-game back of the Tampa Bay Rays thanks to a stellar pitching effort by the Baltimore Orioles staff. Kevin Millwood, who has had a horrendous year, limited the Rays to two hits over seven innings in the 2-0 O's win. The victory gave the Orioles the series victory with all three games being shutouts. The Rays now travel to Kansas City for their final four games of the regular season.

The Yankees have Thursday off and travel to Boston for a final three game set with the Red Sox beginning on Friday night.

CC Doesn't Flinch in a Pinch

Written for Baseball Digest.

With his team sputtering through the month of September, manager Joe Girardi wasn’t fooling around when it came to last night’s New York Yankees – Toronto Blue Jays game. Girardi altered his pitching plans to send ace CC Sabathia to the mound and the big man rewarded his skipper and his teammates with a dominant performance that clinched a playoff spot for the ball club.

Alex Rodriguez knocked in a pair of runs and Derek Jeter scored three times as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays 6-1. The story of the game without a doubt though was the performance of Sabathia, who got knocked around in his last start against Tampa Bay. He allowed two hits through the first eight innings, both by Travis Snider (Who also supplied the lone Toronto run with a solo home run), before putting the first two hitters aboard in the 9th. It wasn’t a save situation, but again Girardi was taking no chances- enter Sandman. Mariano Rivera retired the final two hitters to preserve Sabathia’s 21st win of the season and set off a celebration as the Yankees clinched a playoff spot for the 14th time in 15 years.

The Yankees remained in second place in the AL East as the Rays also clinched a playoff spot with a shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays had their ace, David Price (19-6), going as well in the 5-0 win over the O’s.

As champagne was sprayed about in the visitor’s locker room, Girardi would only confirm one thing- CC Sabathia will get the ball in Game 1 of the Division series. All that remains to be seen is who the Yankees opponent will be and whether or not they have home field advantage.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bring On The Doom and Gloom

Rivera Of Invincibility

The chatter has begun again, among the fans and the media. Is this the end of Mariano Rivera's dominance? Has he lost it? We’re all doomed! Okay, maybe not that last one. But every few years or so, it happens. Rivera goes through a bad stretch and the naysayers come out of the woodwork. One of these days they have to be right. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

Yankees Clinch Tie With Wild Win

Written for Baseball Digest

Yankees Get The Tie That Binds

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a move Sunday night that he felt was necessary. Instead of pushing back Phil Hughes to Wednesday night, Girardi decided he needed his young gun to take the ball in prime time against the Boston Red Sox. Hughes gave his skipper everything and more, but it took a trio of Yankees rallies to pull out a 10 inning, 4-3 win that enabled the Yankees to clinch a tie for a playoff berth. It also moved them back to within a half-game of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East as the last week of the regular season arrives with Monday’s sun.

Click here to read the rest of the story for free, as always, on

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Move to Hughes Not a Panic

You can't blame Joe Girardi if he's a little antsy (anskY?) right now. His team has slept walked it's way through the last 15 games. Ten of those games have resulted in losses. The two biggest issues have been poor starting and relief pitching, and a lack of timely hits. Maybe I should consider that three issues.

With the team really in need of win, both for the standings and psychologically, Girardi and/or Brian Cashman decided that Phil Hughes should face the Red Sox tonight instead of Dustin Moseley. This was originally Hughes' regular spot, but the Yankees decided to push back Hughes to Wednesday in order to preserve his innings limit (app. 175) and possibly have him pitch closer to the beginning of the playoffs.

After having lost four straight games, dropping into second place in the AL East, and seeing the Red Sox suddenly pull to within 5.5 games of them in the wild card race, the Yankees obviously realized they needed to try to do something different tonight. Something to give them a boost in the arm.

So while it's not a panic, it is certainly time for a shake up and wake up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

10 Things That Need To Go Away

Call them pet peeves - no they're much worse than pet peeves. 10 things or people/persons that need to go away.

1. Reality TV of all kinds. There is nothing real about it. It's just a bunch of scripted, "I want to be famous" idiots that get way more than their 15 minutes of fame. Not too mention how much money these idiots are paid. Especially egregious - Jersey Shore, the Real Housewives (has there been anything less real) of Wherever, and the people who created these dumb shows. Put them into a rocket to, you guessed it,'s fitting.

2. FOX News. Go away all of you truth twisting, garbage reporting, phony (Well some of you aren't phony and that's scarier) morons. Let's make them really useful, send them to Afghanistan to look for Bin Laden. And take Rush Dimbulb with you.

3. Athletes Who Don't Appreciate What They've Got. If you want to snort your paycheck, impregnate half of America, or beat your wife, give your spot on the roster to someone who'll appreciate it more. Just don't let Braylon Edwards drive you out of town.

4. Commissioners of Sport. Seriously. You're all puppets of the owners and each of you is more annoying than the next.

5. Jim Dolan. You run my cable company like crap. You run my Rangers like crap. You run my friends' Knicks like crap. If it walks like a duck, yeah you know where I'm going. And take Glen Sather with you.

6. Sarah Palin. Give the moose a helicopter and a semi-automatic rifle and make it a fair fight.

7. That quit smoking commercial where stuff oozes...okay, I'm going to throw up.

8. Puppy Mills. The people that run these things should be subjected to living in a too small crate for years. Hmm, wait that's called prison.

9. The Pledge to America - What a load of crap.

10. Umpires, referees, whatever you go by. You stink. Just grab fans out of the stands to officiate games.

Ugly, Uglier, Ugliest

The last 3 games could be described in the title above, pretty much in any order you choose. Just as things were looking back up again - 4 wins in 5 games, a 2.5 game lead in the AL East - things went to pot again. Three straight losses and back into 2nd place in the division.

It started out on Wednesday when a 2 hour-11 minute rain delay forced starter A.J. Burnett from the game. Now obviously you know what you're going to get from Burnett on any given evening, but when play resumed Joe Girardi chose to go with the back end of the bullpen to finish the final six innings. Why?

Girardi continues to baffle the mind with his moves. Did he figure he had his ace CC Sabathia pitching the finale against the Rays and since he had a 2.5 game lead he could just reserve the top pen guys? He seemed to forget that the Rays were throwing David Price against Sabathia and nothing is ever a given.

Needless to say the pen completely put Wednesday's game out of reach (7-2 loss). Then came Thursday and Sabathia didn't have it. Price wasn't as sharp as he was either when the two locked horns the prior week in Tampa, but he was able to watch as Sabathia lost the strike zone and the game, 10-3. Javier Vazquez also added some comic relief by hitting three straight batters. (I hope Cashman doesn't plan on bringing Vazquez back in 2016.)

The lead in the east had shrunk back to a half-game with the Boston Red Sox coming to town for the last regular season series at home this year. Andy Pettitte was making his second start since being activated off the DL last Sunday. As good as he was that day in a no-decision against Baltimore, that's how bad - actually more like 10 times worse - he was last night.

The Red Sox took batting practice against Pettitte and then Jonathan Albaladejo came on to throw some feul on the fire (Albaladejo looks like Mark Melancon 2.0 - great minors, poor majors) as the Yankees faced a 10-1 deficit. The Bombers banged out six home runs - two each by A-Rod and Mark Teixeira, and one apiece for Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson - but still came up short 10-8.

The Yankees now find themselves looking up at the Rays, a half-game back in 2nd place. Today they have to face Jon Lester and we have to listen to the idiots on Fox (Hopefully we'll be spared Buck, who may be already at an NFL site to set up for Sunday). Ivan Nova goes for the Yankees.

The series finishes Sunday night (Miller and Morgan, oy) with the unpredictable Dice-K going against the more unpredictable Dustin Moseley. What's the over/under on how many times Miller say Adrian "Bel-TRAY"?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bautista Hits the Half Century

This may or may not be as shocking as when Brady Anderson did it, but this afternoon Jose Bautista became the 26th different major leaguer to belt 50 home runs in a season.

It was the lone run and one of only two hits the Blue Jays had in a 1-0 victory over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners.

Not to be forgotten, Ichiro Suzuki picked up his 200th hit in the game. In doing so he became the first Major Leaguer with 10 straight 200-hit seasons. Not too shabby.

Rematch Deluxe

Can CC Sabathia and David Price match their output from last week's head to head start? Both tossed eight scoreless innings in a game the Yankees loss 1-0 when Reid Brignac "Sergio Mitred" the Yankees.

Didn't see much of last night's game, but I what I did see what disgusting. We lost power here in NJ as the game was starting and it lasted four hours. Came back on just in time to watch the crap (back) end of the bullpen completely throw the game away. I guess Joe Girardi figured, "what the hell it's only one game).

Needless to say I shut it off almost as quickly as the TV came back on.

Taking 3 of 4 from the Rays would be so much sweeter than a split.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yankees Go Big Game Hunting

Entering tonight's play, "Big Game" James Shields had a 2.51 ERA in five starts against the Yankees this season and a 5.35 ERA against the rest of the American League. Tonight, the Yankees finally caught up to the Tampa Bay Rays starter.

Nick Swisher's 1st inning home run ignited a 5-run inning and the Yankees went on to an 8-3 victory. Phil Hughes picked up his 17th win as he battled his way through six plus innings (He probably should have been out after six innings.)

The game started much the same way it did when Shields faced Hughes in Tampa Bay a week ago. Then it was Alex Rodriguez who hit an early home run and the Yankees followed with a rally. But on that night Shields riggled his way out of trouble. Not this time around.

Mark Teixeira followed Swisher's 27th home run with a walk and Rodriguez followed with a single. Shields looked like he might escape again when he struck out Robinson Cano, but Jorge Posada singled to center for a 2-0 lead. Lance Berkman drilled a 2-run double to the wall in centerfield and Curtis Granderson followed with an RBI single for a 5-0 advantage.

The Rays chipped away with the aid of a Matt Joyce home run to cut the lead to 5-3 in the 7th, but the Yankees put things away in their half of the inning when Cano delivered a bloop 2-run double.


Joba Chamberlain threw a solid 1.2 innings to earn his 3rd save of the season.

Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he's hitting .311 (14-45).

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Hate Bad Sports Days

I hate days like Sunday. I was already still fuming from the Yankees loss yesterday when I sat down to watch the Giants football game. I am not going to even get into that one...I shut it off at halftime before I was tempted to throw the TV out the window.

As for the Yankees game, a very disappointing loss considering they could have gone into tonight's series with the Rays 1.5 up instead of .5. Mariano is going to blow games, it happens. Andy Pettitte pitched very well and was a big silver lining. And relievers, like David Robertson, are going to give up a run to lose a game. It all happens.

The really aggravating thing is the complete lack of clutch hitting that has spread through the team at an epidemic proportion. I now cringe when the bases are loaded. They were in the top of the 11th when Lance Berkman stepped up and promptly bounced into an inning ending double play.

I was also not too happy about Alex Rodriguez sitting down with Mark Teixeira already out of the lineup. Michael Kay and Ken Singleton speculated that Joe Girardi wanted to be sure to have A-Rod for all three games against the Rays.

It doesn't make sense. Play A-Rod and sit him against Boston on Friday. Yes, you heard that correctly. The Red Sox are a non-factor now except for playing the role of spoiler. You can't have a lineup that is missing two of your three biggest guns.

Pitching Probables for Rays Series.

Tonight it's Matt Garza against rookie Ivan Nova in a rematch of a game in Tampa last week. The Yankees knocked Garza around and Nova couldn't hold a 6-0 lead. The Yankees eventually won the roller coaster ride.

Tuesday night has another rematch- James Shields vs. Phil Hughes. Shields has been average pitcher that looks like a Hall of Fame caliber hurler when he faces the Yankees. Hughes pitched a sound game, but threw two gopher balls to Dan Johnson that cost the Yankees the game.

Wednesday has Wade Davis going against A.J. Burnett, who will be trying to build off his strong start in Baltimore.

And the Thursday finale could be a rematch of the thrilling David Price-CC Sabathia duel that took place last week in Tampa. The Yankees have not officially named Sabathia the starter according to the MLB probables.


Okay, I can't resist. What a pathetic, no-show performance by this supposed football team. Did the defensive players forget to get off the team bus? Always a mistake to watch the Giants in prime time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Spare The A-Rod

A week ago Wednesday the Yankees were on the verge of another embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Not only a loss, but on the precipice of being swept in a three game series. Then Nick Swisher stepped up in the bottom of the 9th and smacked a game winning 2-run home run off of Koji Uehara to save the day.

It wasn't quite deja vu, but the Yankees were one strike away from losing the opening game of a three game set in Baltimore last night when Alex Rodriguez turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead when he drove an Uehara meatball into the left field seats. Mariano Rivera closed things out, and coupled with Tampa Bay's 9th inning loss to Anaheim, the Yankees were back in first place in the AL East.

Much like the series finale (Phil Hughes start) in Tampa, the Yankees got a decent performance from their starter (A.J. Burnett), but home runs allowed had put them in a hole. Jorge Posada, who had entered the game in the 7th inning as a pinch-hitter for Francisco Cervelli, led off the 9th with a base hit. After Derek Jeter struck out looking, Curtis Granderson singled to put the tying runs on base.

Mark Teixeira, who has struggled since breaking a toe at the end of August, popped out for the second out of the inning. That left things up to Rodriguez, who earlier in the game had accounted for the Yankees sole run with a solo home run. The comeback was nearly not to be as the Yankees third baseman stared down a potential third strike that just missed inside. Then Uehara threw one right down the middle and Rodriguez slugged his 25th home run of the season and 608th of his career.

A-Rod knows he nearly got punched out on strikes

Burnett pitched one of his better games in a while, but allowed solo home runs to Adam Jones in the 4th and Robert Andino in the 7th. David Robertson tossed a scoreless 8th to earn the win and evened his record at 4-4 in the process. Rivera notched his 31st save with a 1-2-3 9th inning.

As has been the case for the past few weeks, the Yankees had the chance to bust the game open early and couldn't. After Rodriguez's solo home run in the 2nd, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out against O's starter Kevin Millwood. But Cervelli struck out swinging and Jeter lined out hard to third.

Millwood settled down after that and didn't run into any trouble again until the 7th when the Yankees put two aboard with two outs. But the veteran right-hander struck out Teixeira to end the threat.


Burnett was sporting a black eye when he came to the ball park, but refused to tell the cause. Joe Girardi would not comment either.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jeterian Strikes Again

Written for Baseball Digest(Umps Failed, Not Jeter)

Once Derek Jeter got away with a faux hit by pitch Wednesday night, you knew that the radio talk shows, online and paper media would be having a field day with it. If you didn’t see it, Jeter took an inside pitch from Tampa Bay Rays reliever Chad Qualls squarely on the…handle of his bat. The sound and ensuing distance of the ricochet was obvious. Jeter flailed away from home and grabbed at his left elbow while keeping one eye on home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Jeter only relaxed when Barksdale signaled to take first base.

Here’s a little bit of what I heard and read today: Wally Matthews who covers the Yankees beat for ESPN New York was on 1050 ESPNradio with Michael Kay. The first thing Matthews did was to remind/point out that he does not create the headlines. In this case it was “Derek Jeter a Cheater?” (the headline was later changed to “Derek Jeter is flawed after all”.

Matthews felt Jeter was completely in the wrong; that maybe he (Matthews) was “old school”, but the move was a blemish on Jeter’s resume. He pointed out, as just about every fan has, that A-Rod would have been vilified for the move. Of course he would have been, but that’s irrelevant.

WFAN’s Mike Francesa took the tack that Jeter did absolutely nothing wrong and the play was part of gamesmanship. That it was no different than a wide receiver working the referee for a pass interference call or an NBA player flopping to draw a charge. Not all of his callers agreed. One, whom I would have to believe was a Mets fan, ripped into the Yankees shortstop. And of course, Alex Rodriguez’s name was invoked in the discussion.

Someone else brought up the old argument of “What should you tell your little leaguers?” Francesa was spot on (You will rarely ever read or hear me say that) in saying you cannot compare little league baseball with professional sports. They’re both baseball and that’s where the comparison ends.

Other than the usual sensational cover photos on the NY Post and NY Daily News, there wasn’t much discussion of Jeter’s Academy Award performance.

Instant replay was discussed as well. You expect it to be brought up any time a play like this one occurs. I’m still against it for these situations and most of the pundits and callers/readers seemed to express the same view.

The bottom line is that Derek Jeter did indeed do nothing wrong. He did what any athlete would do in that situation. You’re trying to get on any base any way you can. The mistake/bad play was made by Barksdale and his fellow men in blue – Ed Rapuano, Tom Hallion, and Ron Kulpa. Just as they have on a number of other occasions, the umpires should have gotten together and discussed whether or not anyone had a clear view of whether the ball hit Jeter or not. Barksdale never considered it despite the rightful protestations of Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Had a ball hitting body made the sound that was heard, bones would have broken. And no ball hitting an elbow pad would have made that sound. Just as with a check swing, there is no way a home plate umpire can keep his eyes on both the ball/strike call and the swing of the bat. Barksdale knows it and his fellow umpires do as well.

Just another bad night for the Major League’s bad umpiring.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hughes Comes Up Short in Big Situation

Don't let anyone fool you. By now you have probably read that Phil Hughes pitched a good game last night, except for "a couple of mistake pitches" to Dan Johnson. Sorry, that doesn't cut it.

Hughes made those two huge mistakes to Johnson, who hit both out of the park to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-3 victory over the Yankees. As a result, the Rays passed the Yankees and moved back into sole possession of first place in the AL East. Both teams have today off.

Hughes did look dominant early with a strong fastball and devastating curve. In fact, staked to a 1-0 lead, he retired the first 12 men he faced. Evan Longoria ended that streak with a single leading off the 5th, which was when Hughes made his first mistake.

Johnson, who never materialized into the hitter he was thought of as a highly regarded prospect in the A's organization, smacked his 3rd home run of the season to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

The Yankees continued to fail with runners in scoring position and blew a golden opportunity against Rays starter James Shields in the 1st inning. Shields who has the nickname "Big Game James", but only seems to pitch that way against the Yankees, has yielded the most runs in the American League this season. But entering play last night, he was 2-0, 2.77 vs. the Bombers this season. He got himself in immediate trouble by loading the bases on singles by Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, and a walk to Alex Rodriguez.

Robinson Cano drove in his 99th run with a single through the left side as Shields' pitch count rose rapidly. But as has been the case the last week and a half, the Yankees let an opposing pitcher off the hook. This time it was Lance Berkman bouncing into an inning ending double play. That would be the only run the Yankees would manage off Shields in six-plus innings.

The Yankees rallied though in the 7th as soon as Shields was removed. Reliever Chad Qualls hit Derek Jeter, or did he? Jeter pulled off an Academy Award worthy performance, grabbing his elbow after Qualls' pitch rode inside and nailed him on his....bat handle. Replays clearly showed ball meeting bat. Needless to say, Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected after arguing that one.

After a short delay, Curtis Granderson lined his 18th home run into the right field seats for a 3-2 Yankees lead. That turned things back over to Hughes, who retired the first two men he faced in the 7th before Matt Joyce reached on a single to center. That brought up Johnson, whose career has included a year in Japan and 31 home runs in Triple-A this season. Despite hitting near the Mendoza line, Johnson ruined Hughes' and the Yankees' nights when he drove another ball into the right field seats for a 4-3 Rays lead.

Hughes allowed just six hits, but that stat is totally meaningless when you are on the wrong end of the scoreboard.


Joba Chamberlain had a strong relief appearance, retiring all four men he faced, two by strikeout.

Poor job by the official scorer last night for awarding Chad Qualls the victory. The veteran reliever last two-thirds of an inning and gave up the go ahead home run to Granderson. Grant Balfour, who threw a scoreless 8th, should have earned the win.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Had A Dream

I was watching the Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays. First place in the AL East was on the line. The Yankees had come into the game having lost of 7 of 8 and had dropped out of 1st place the previous night when Tampa won a 1-0 thriller.

The Yankees clung to a one run lead in the 9th. Speedster Carl Crawford was on 2nd base with one out when Mariano Rivera got Matt Joyce to lift a fly near the right field foul line. Greg Golson, playing in place of the injured Nick Swisher, camped under it for what would be the second out. But wait, what was Golson doing? He's firing the ball, flat footed, to 3rd base. And Crawford is out to end the game.

And then I woke up.

No wait, I was awake the whole time. It really happened. When did Greg Golson become Dave Parker, Ellis Valentine, and Ichiro all rolled into one? Golson's laser throw to 3rd cut down Crawford with the help of a nice one hop pick up and tag by Alex Rodriguez. There was much criticism of Crawford for making the last out at 3rd, but it was Crawford running and these are the aggressive Tampa Bay Rays. It was a wild finish to a wild game.

The Yankees had staked Ivan Nova to a 6-0 lead against Matt Garza with the help of a Robinson Cano line drive 2-run home run and a long solo blast by Alex Rodriguez. But in the 5th, things fell apart for the rookie. For the second time in a matter of weeks, he was pulled from the game before getting the final out that would qualify for a win. But he had to be pulled. The Rays had cut the lead to 6-4 and lefty Dan Johnson was due up.

So Joe Girardi went to his red hot lefty specialist Boone Logan, who hadn't allowed an earned run in his last 25 appearances dating back to July 18. Boom end of streak. Pinch-hitting from the right side, Willy Aybar smacked a 3-run home run that erased the Yankees lead completely and put Tampa ahead 7-6.

The Yankees came right back though in the 6th, tying the game on a Cano RBI double. It was the 98th ribbie for Cano, establishing a new career high. Then the real craziness began. Still tied in the bottom of the 9th, Ben Zobrist hit a 2-out drive to deep center that Granderson went vertical on to make a diving, inning ending catch.

In the top of the 10th, the Yankees took the lead when Jorge Posada hit a moon shot to dead center off Dan Wheeler. The ball landed atop the restaurant well beyond the centerfield fence for an 8-7 lead.

Crawford singled off Rivera to start the 10th and Evan Longoria followed with a blast to deep center that seemed ticketed to be a walk off game winner. But the ball landed in Granderson's glove in center for a loud out. It wasn't a game changer, but was nearly an underwear changer.

As expected, you knew Crawford would attempt to steal 2nd base and he did with Joyce at-bat. Then Joyce hit his fly and Golson flashed his skills, and the Yankees were back in 1st place.


Andy Pettitte allowed two earned runs in a five inning stint in the Trenton Thunder's 3-2, extra inning win in the Eastern League championship opener against Altoona. Pettitte is now scheduled to start against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards.

Andrew Brackman picked up the win for Trenton when he threw five shutout innings in relief of the Yankees veteran.

An MRI of Nick Swisher's troublesome knee showed nothing more than inflammation and he was given a cortisone shot. He could be back in the lineup on Friday.

Brett Gardner also got a cortisone shot in his bad wrist and will be limited for the time being to pinch-running and playing defense.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Say It Ain't So Joe

Joe Girardi has everyone scratching their heads.

Girardi’s Moves Continue To Baffle

Written for Baseball Digest

Even though the New York Yankees won the 2009 World Series, there were a number of times that I watched with great curiosity at the in-game moves made last season by manager Joe Girardi. They occurred in the regular season, the divisional and league playoffs, and the Series itself. And even though Girardi came out smelling like a rose, his decisions left many scratching their heads, myself included.

Girardi has a tendency to over-manage in some games, under-manage in others. Or in some cases, he pulls off the daily double of doing both in the very same game. Last night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, which dropped the Yankees into second place in the AL East, highlighted some of those questionable moves.

Click here to continue to read for free as always at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Montero Has Minor Ankle Surgery

Jesus Montero is likely out for the remainder of the season after undergoing minor surgery to clear up an ankle infection.

This also means, of course, there's no chance that Montero will get a September "look-see" with the big club.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Here I Come To Save The Day

...that means that Nick Swisher is on his way.

The Yankees were down to their final two outs Wednesday; on the precipice of an embarrassing three game sweep at the hand of the Baltimore Orioles. An occurrence that hadn't happened since 1986. But have no fear, true believers (Apologies to Stan Lee), that superhero Nick Swisher came upon the scene to save the day.

With one on and one out in the bottom of the 9th, Swisher hit an opposite field 2-run HR off O's closer Koji Uehara to pull out a 3-2 Yankees win. The victory snapped the Yankees three game skid and pushed their lead over the Tampa Rays back to 2 1/2 games in the AL East. The Rays were outslugged 11-5 by the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night.

The Yankees spent much of the afternoon not able to figure out O's starter Brad Bergesen. But down 2-1 in the 9th, Alex Rodriguez singled on the first pitch he faced off Uehara. The O's closer retired Robinson Cano, but quickly fell behind Swisher 2-0. Uehara then left a fastball right down the middle for Swisher to deposit into the Orioles bullpen for a walk off game winner.

The Yankees got a strong start from Ivan Nova, who allowed a 2-run home run to Matt Wieters in the 5th, and from the pen. Joba Chamberlain (3-4) won his second game in a week after throwing a scoreless 9th inning.

The Yankees 1st run had come on a Curtis Granderson walk and RBI double by Brett Gardner. The speedster was thrown out trying to stretch the extra base hit into a triple.


Jorge Posada sat out after the Yankees feared he suffered a concussion in Tuesday's game. Tests came back negative and he's listed as day to day.

The Yankees recalled outfielder Colin Curtis from Scranton.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

Last night's brawl between Washington and Florida.

Yankes Polish Off A's Again

Here's my recap from game I covered for

A.J. Burnett may not have been pitching for his rotation spot, as Joe Girardi stated during his pre-game press conference, but a winless August had to have the tall right-hander concerned. Wednesday night he gave his manager six solid innings as the Yankees won their fifth straight, 4-3 over the Oakland A’s.

People talk about the great A.J., the good A.J., and the bad A.J.; tonight each made an appearance. But unlike that winless August, Burnett hung tough, finishing strong in his final inning and, in the process, gave the Yankees some length from their starter. Had it not been for a rested bullpen, Girardi said he most likely would have sent Burnett out for the 7th inning. Burnett said afterwards he can’t worry about “What the manager is saying/doing concerning the rotation. I just need to go out and do my job.”

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Yankees Make Rotation Change

Had the pleasure of working tonight's Yankees-A's game for

Joe Girardi said he is happy with his starting rotation, but with a slight adjustment. Girardi opened his pre-game press conference today by announcing that Javier Vazquez will be replacing Dustin Moseley in the rotation beginning this Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Girardi feels the rest Vazquez has had working out of the pen, coupled with an adjustment in mechanics, has gotten Vazquez back on track. Girardi feels the right-hander’s fastball has been “truer”, which has resulted in good location and success. Pitching coach Dave Eiland later added that he made an adjustment in Vazquez’s leg kick and moved him to the middle of the rubber to ensure he “gets behind the baseball.”

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