Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yankees Acquire Hinske

In apparent attempt to strengthen their bench, and possibly a sign of other moves to come, the Yankees have acquired utility man Eric Hinske from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In return, the Pirates received minor leaguers Eric Fryer and Casey Erickson.

Hinske was hitting .255 with 1 HR and 11 RBI in 54 games this season. The soon to be 32-yr old was rookie of the year with the Blue Jays in 2002, but his career has been in decline since. He’s also spent time with the Red Sox and Rays. Originally a 3rd baseman, Hinske has been used at 1st base and right field since.

It’s a curious acquisition, considering Xavier Nady gave the Yankees a solid right-handed bat and a pretty good defensive player. Hinske is neither of those. The Yankees didn’t really need another left-handed bat.

Joel Sherman has much more on the deal and the potential ramifications.

Moving Forward....to Mt. Kisco

Bernie Williams will be in Mt. Kisco tonight at the Borders book store (hurry before they go out of business as has been rumored) on East Main St. to promote his CD, "Moving Forward".

Bern Baby Bernie will autograph copies of the CD (no memoribilia) as well as perform. Check out Bernie's website for videos of some of his recent appearances.

Chat with Tex

Mark Teixeira will taking part in a live chat this afternoon at mlb.com. It starts at 3 p.m. ET.

Among the topics - the new Stadium, the current state of the Yankees, and the upcoming All-Star Game.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mo Saves 500th

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
4 4 0
NY Mets
0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
2 5 0

Mariano Rivera earned his 500th career save tonight in the Yankees 4-2 win over the New York Mets. Making it even more memorable was the first career RBI of Rivera's illustrious career.

Francisco Rodriguez walked Rivera with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the top of the 9th for a big insurance run. Rivera came on in the 8th inning to strike out Omir Santos with two men aboard and then picked up his milestone stay by retiring Alex Cora on a game ending ground out to Robinson Cano.

The save also preserved Chien-Ming Wang's first victory of the season. Rivera becomes just the second player in major league history, along with Trevor Hoffman, to earn 500 saves.

Box Score

Burnett Dominates Weakened Mets Lineup

A.J. Burnett fans Jeremy Reed for one of his 10 K's

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0
5 8 0
NY Mets
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 1 0

WP - Burnett (6-4) LP - Redding (1-3)

No one would have expected A.J. Burnett to go out and top CC Sabathia’s performance from Friday night (7 IP 3 H 1 ER), but that’s exactly what the fellow “initialed” starter did last night. Burnett had a no-no for 5 innings and threw 7 innings of 1-hit, shutout baseball in the Yankees 5-0 win over their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets.

The Yankees bats also continued their offensive resurgence in picking up their 4th straight win. Home runs by Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher sent Tim Redding to the showers in the 6th inning and broke up again a close game. Burnett was the story in this one though as the veteran right-hander took advantage of a Mets lineup weakened by injuries. He walked two batters in the 2nd inning, but got catcher Brian Schneider to pop out to...

Read the rest of my recap at Baseball Digest Online.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yankees Wallop Sloppy Mets

The big man does it with the bat too!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
9 14 0
NY Mets
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
1 3 3

WP - Sabathia (7-4) LP - Pelfrey (5-3)

The Yankees picked up where they left off in the Subway Series, drubbing the Mets 9-1 tonight at Citi Field. The last time the two teams met on June 14, the Yankees pounded Johan Santana in 15-0 white washing at Yankee Stadium. That was the same series that Luis Castillo committed the “E-4 heard ’round the world“. Tonight’s game was a combo of both of those Yankees victories- great pitching, great hitting, and sloppy Mets play. They didn’t even need the birthday boy, the now 35-yr old Derek Jeter, who sat out the game with a bad cough.

CC Sabathia was outstanding in winning his 7th game of the season. The big man showed no signs of the bicep tightness that knocked him from his start last Sunday in the 2nd inning. He retired the first 12 Mets he faced and retired the side in order in 6 of the 7 innings he worked. His lone “bad” inning was the 5th when he allowed a home run to Gary Sheffield and worked his way out of further trouble to preserve a 4-1 lead. Sabathia’s fastball topped out at 98 mph and was consistently in the mid-90s....

Read the rest of my recap at Baseball Digest Online.

Nady's Yankee Career is Over

Nady Officially Done as a Yankee

The New York Post is reporting this evening that Xavier Nady will indeed have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will be done for the 2009 season. In fact, the free agent to be may be miss all of 2010.

Nady had injured his elbow back on April 14 and was on his way back to the majors with a minor league rehab stint. But Nady felt something in his elbow after making a throw from the outfield for the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Wednesday.

Nady told several teammates Thursday night that he was going to have to go through the same invasive surgery he had in 2001. Nady planned on meeting with Dr. Lewis Yokum, who performed the ‘01 surgery, earlier today, though he told teammates tests weren’t necessary. He already knew the outcome.

A-Rod Powers Yankees to Series Win

A-Rod connects for #563

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
2 1 3 2 0 0 2 1 0
11 16 1
1 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 1
7 13 3

WP - Aceves (5-1) SV - Rivera (17) LP - Lowe (7-6)

The Yankees and Atlanta Braves were in a tight 8-6 game last night when Braves manager Bobby Cox decided to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira and face Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded. It’s a move opposing managers might want to think twice about going forward. A-Rod, who had been slumping prior to Wednesday night’s game, powered a pitch into right field for a 2-run single that gave the Yankees some breathing room. The Bombers went on to an 11-7 win, led by the bat of Rodriguez, who drove in 4 runs.

It appeared the game would be a laugher after the Yankees knocked Braves starter Derek Lowe from the game in the 4th inning. But Andy Pettitte struggled all night, and despite being armed with an 8-1 lead, was forced from the game as the Braves rallied for 5 runs in the bottom half of the 4th. What was expected to be a pitcher’s duel...

Read the rest of my recap at Baseball Digest Online.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A-Rod, Yankees Wake From Slumber

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 3 1 2 2
8 10 1
0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0
4 8 2

WP - Chamberlain (4-2) SV - Rivera (16) LP - Medlen (2-3)

The Yankees were on their way to being shut out for the second straight night, and possibly no-hit, when a play at first base seemed to turned things around. Brett Gardner led off the 6th inning with a walk, but was picked off by Atlanta Braves reliever Kris Medlen. Gardner leapt to his feet and began arguing, along with first base coach Mick Kelleher. Joe Girardi came out to replace both in the fray and was eventually ejected from the ball game by first base ump Bill Welke. Whether or not that was the reason, Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees suddenly woke up, scored 3 runs in the inning, and went on to an 8-4 victory over the Braves.

Not only did replays clearly show that Gardner, who was the Yankees’ first base runner of the night, was safe on the play, but Medlen never came to a complete stop in his motion and should have been called for a balk. The very next hitter, rookie Francisco Cervelli, turned the tide, with a game tying solo home run that broke up the no-hitter and shutout. It was the first home run of his major league career....

Read the rest of my recap at Baseball Digest Online

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yankees Go Cold in Hot-lanta

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 4 1
0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 X
4 7 1

WP - Hanson (3-0) LP - Wang (0-6)

The Yankees hitting woes continued tonight, as the punch-less Bombers dropped the opener of their 3-game series with the Atlanta Braves, 4-0. New York had a number of opportunities in the early innings against Braves rookie starter Tommy Hanson, but couldn’t manage to come up with a clutch hit. Hanson and the Braves bullpen didn’t allow a hit over the final 3 2-3 innings.

Chien-Ming Wang
continued his improvement, but was tagged for three runs in the 3rd inning and the loss. After a pair of strikeouts to start the frame, Wang gave up a single to Yuniel Escobar and walked Chipper Jones. Brian McCann followed with an RBI double and Garrett Anderson brought home two more runs...

Read the rest of my recap at Baseball Digest Online.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Time to DFA Tomko

I was glad to be at a barbecue today, blissfully unaware of what was transpiring down in South Florida.

First and foremost, let's hope the injury to CC Sabathia is nothing serious. Bicep tightness could be due to just about anything. It wouldn't be surprising if the big man missed a start and Phil Hughes got a spot start.

While I don't know what will happen with CC, I've known all year that the bullpen must be overhauled. Designating Jose Veras for assignment was a start and now it's time for Brett Tomko to join him.

Let me say right off the bat, I have NEVER liked Tomko as a major league pitcher. He did a decent job when he first came up this year, but there's a reason Tomko doesn't stick with teams. Quite simply, he stinks. And he showed it quite succinctly today in the Yankees 6-3 loss that started out as a 3-1 lead.

I've continually beat on Brian Cashman for his inability to put together a quality bullpen and this year is different. Some people have pointed out to me that last year's pen was good until Kyle Farnsworth was traded. They had a good stretch, no more than that people.

Make no mistake, putting together a pen is one of the most difficult things to do in all of baseball. Other than a starting rotation, it will make or break a team more than any other ingredient. Especially in today's game, where front office people are ready to cream themselves if a starting pitcher goes a whole 6 innings. All it does is put more of a burden on the bullpen.

But more disturbing than the lack of a good pen, is sticking with a bad pen. It's time for Cashman to get off the dime and get some reinforcements in the Bronx.
Mark Melancon and Anthony Claggett should get another shot with the big club. David Robertson should be used in key situations rather than just as a mop up man.

And if need be, go out and get an arm. While everyone needs bullpen help, the Yankees certainly have enough young pitching prospects to barter a deal.

Possible relievers for the Pinstripes:

Jose Valverde, HOU: It's too early right now, but the Astros could move their closer once they fall farther out of the wild card race.

Huston Street, COL: I've never been a big fan of Street's, but I would be willing to give him a shot in a set up role.

Kerry Wood, CLE: He's having a rough year, no doubt, but he's a big time quality arm. Perhaps a change of scenery, and role, could change things. You would think the Indians would like to dump the rest of his contract.

Scott Linebrink, CHI (AL): On another team that won't be moving someone like Linebrink that early, but though he's overpaid, he's one of the most consistent set up men in the game.

Danys Baez, BAL: You've heard the name a lot this season. He's been one of the better arms out of a mediocre Orioles bullpen. But I think he's no better than what we've got.

Mike Gonzalez/Rafael Soriano, ATL: Too early for Atlanta to make moves, but this dynamite lefty/righty duo are both free agents after this season. Both have a history of arm problems, but would be worth a rental. Don't overlook one stat though, left-handed batters are hitting .295 against the southpaw Gonzalez, while righties are under .200. It's a consistent stat throughout Gonzalez' career.

Lesser Names: Matt Herges (CLE), Jon Rauch (AZ), David Weather (CIN), Kiki Calero (FLA, on DL),

But ya doesn't have to call me Johnson

Josh Johnson Dominates, Johnny Damon "error-ates"

Marlins’ Johnson Not Joshing Around

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
1 5 2
0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 X
2 5 0

WP - Johnson (7-1) SV - Lindstrom(13) LP - Burnett (5-4)

The Yankees have taken heat of late for not being able to hit pitchers they haven’t faced before, but last night’s starter for the Florida Marlins, Josh Johnson, is no ordinary pitcher. Possibly the most unheralded pitcher in MLB (and the best Josh not named Beckett), Johnson dominated the Yankees over 7 innings in a 2-1 Marlins victory. He allowed just one hit, a bloop single by A.J. Burnett, over the first five innings and allowed just three hits in total.

Burnett delivered his second straight excellent start. He allowed 5 hits in 6.1 innings and struck out 8, but was hurt by his team’s fundamental mistakes. With the Marlins up 1-0 in the 7th and a man aboard, left fielder Johnny Damon whiffed on a fly ball off the bat of Jorge Cantu. The 2-base error allowed Hanley Ramirez to score from first base with the run that proved to be the difference in the ball game.

The Yankees got a run back in the 7th on Nick Swisher’s RBI single and were set up for a rally in the 8th inning. Pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui singled off Leo Nunez to start the frame, and pinch-runner Brett Gardner swiped second base. A walk to pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez put two men aboard with the top of the order coming up. But Derek Jeter failed to get a bunt down and then bounced into a rally killing double play. Dan Meyer then struck out Damon to strand Gardner at third. (Perhaps they should have let him steal home.)

Mark Teixiera led off the 9th with a single, but closer Matt Lindstrom got Robinson Cano to bounce into a game-ending double play.

Dan Uggla put the Marlins on the board first with a deep blast to center field for his 13th home run of the season.

Game Notes

Johnson was still throwing in the mid-to-upper 90’s in the 7th inning. He’s 7-1, 2.66 with 88 strikeouts in 65 innings.

Alex Rodriguez received a huge ovation from the mostly Yankees’ partisan crowd at Land Shark Stadium. The local media, feeling deprived, have blasted the Yankees for not playing A-Rod in the first two games. Perhaps they should worry more about fans actually attending their games. Then again, A-Rod shouldn’t be out until 2:30 a.m. with Kate Hudson when he “needs his rest”.

The Yankees had won all of their previous 29 games when allowing 2 runs or less. It was the longest current streak in the majors.

The rubber game of the series this afternoon will see CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.67) square off with Chris Volstad (4-7, 4.75).

Happy Father's Day

A very happy Father's Day to my Dad and my Father-in-law, a couple of Charlies. And the same to all the Father's out there.

Scott Proctor Cleaning up Life and Elbow

A revealing article about former Yankee Scott Proctor, by Mark Feinsand, is in today's Daily News.

It seems Proctor's elbow wasn't the only thing giving him trouble. The Yankees one time reliever has confessed to living as hard as he was playing.

So he decided to quit drinking entirely, started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and vowed to live his life differently.

"I was miserable," Proctor said. "I'd lived my life miserable for so long, because I was living two different lifestyles. I just got to a point where enough was enough."

Proctor doesn't view himself as an alcoholic in the traditional sense of the word.

"Did I wake up starving for a drink every day? No. Did I know how to say no? No," Proctor said. "Was I an alcoholic? Yes, but it wasn't due to the fact that I had to have alcohol. It was due to the fact that it was affecting my life in negative ways. AA, to me, it's not just about alcohol; it's about everything. Every day, you have decision-making to do, and you can do it the right way or the wrong way. I was choosing the wrong way a lot."

As a result of those choices, Proctor believes his performance on the field suffered, though he insists he was never intoxicated during a game.

"When your body's that dry from all the booze, it's got to have an effect," Proctor said. "Do I know exactly what it did? No. I can't sit here and say, ‘I remember that home run that guy hit, it was because I was blasted.' You can't be as consistent when you're doing that kind of thing."

Proctor gave his all to the Yankees and we hope he can make a full recovery from both problems.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Papelbon Pitching for a New Deal?

Red Sox' closer Jonathan Papelbon was on Sirius radio yesterday with Jody McDonald and made a pitch for a new long term deal. The Sox closer can be a free agent in 2011 and told Jody Mac he wasn't adverse to playing anywhere, even the Bronx. This info from Andrew Fitzpatrick of Sirius:

Host, Jody McDonald: “If you couldn’t work out a contract with the Red Sox before free agency comes up and you eventually become a free agent, is the Bronx ever a possibility?”

Jonathan Papelbon: “Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can’t come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean, I think that’s pretty much the writing on the wall. If they can’t come to terms with you they’re letting you know that, ‘Hey you know what? We can go somewhere else.’ And I think it’s the same way on the other side, ‘Hey if ya’ll can’t come to an agreement with me then I can go somewhere else.’ Not only in the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, ‘Oh I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.’ Because nowadays that is very, very rare and hopefully we can because there’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted and play on a team where I’m wanted and that’s all I can really say about that, you know?”

Now, you know Papelbon is throwing the Yankees out there to get his home fans riled up and to get the Sox front office off the dime for a new big money contract. The chances of him ending up in New York are quite slim.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Joba Nibbles Way to Loss

Nationals are Wet Blankets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
3 8 0
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 7 0

WP - Stammen (1-2) SV - MacDougal (2) LP - Chamberlain (3-2)

Imagine waiting through a 5 hour rain delay to then come out and completely fall flat on your face. That’s what the Yankees did tonight in a lackluster 3-0 loss to the lowly Washington Nationals. The least of the NL East came into the series with only 16 wins, but took 2 of 3 from the Yankees, who have suddenly lost 6 of 9.

For the second straight night, the Yankees struggled against a pitcher they had never seen before. Wednesday night John Lannan limited the Yankees to 2 runs in 8 1-3 innings. Tonight rookie Craig Stammen picked up his first major league win with 6 1-3 scoreless innings. On the losing side of the ledger, Joba Chamberlain’s 6 innings will look pretty good on paper, but he again nibbled his way to a loss.

Chamberlain has a lively fastball, but continues to throw off speed pitches when he’s ahead in the count. The result more often than not is a full count and a quickly escalating pitch count. Down 1-0 in the 4th, he loaded the bases with a hit and a pair of walks, then walked light hitting Wil Nieves to force in a run.

His teammates didn’t help him any either. Nick Swisher started the 5th with a line drive off the base of the wall in right, and despite being down three runs, tried to stretch it into a double. Austin Kearns‘ throw arrived well ahead of Swisher for an easy out. The mistake became even more significant when Hideki Matsui followed with a base hit of his own.

The Yankees had their best chance to score in the 7th inning when Robinson Cano reached on a one out single and Swisher followed with a double. Ron Villone came on and struck out Matsui on a 3-2 pitch, that would have been ball four, for the second out before walking pinch-hitter Jorge Posada to load the bases. Nats manager Manny Acta sent for right-hander Julian Tavarez when Derek Jeter was announced as a pinch-hitter for Ramiro Pena. Jeter, who probably would have started had the grounds not been in such bad shape, bounced into a force out to end the threat.

The Yankees had the lead off man on in each of the final two innings, but came away with nothing. Mike McDougal picked up the save, for the second straight game, with the help of a double play ball in the 9th.

Game Notes

Alex Rodriguez has not missed a game since returning from hip surgery. Perhaps Joe Girardi would like to rethink that status. A-Rod has gone into a 4-37 slide.

Brett Gardner made a fine running catch in the 8th inning, but crashed hard into the wall and had to leave the game. He had a headache afterwards, but otherwise felt fine.

The smattering of fans who remained for the game were all allowed to sit down in the lower deck. Those who had tickets will also be able to get tickets to another non-premium game.

Wang Remains in Rotation

Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon that Chien-Ming Wang will remain in the rotation. Girardi watched a replay of last night's game to get a better idea of Wang's performance.
"I thought he threw some really good sinkers," Girardi said. "His slider was really good last night. He mixed his pitches well. I thought he threw the ball pretty well. I just wanted to watch it on video to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing."

"As I've said all along, this guy has won a lot of games and I don't think you forget how to pitch," Girardi said. "You do have struggles. This game is a game where you're going to struggle from time to time, and you have to find a way to fight your way out of those struggles."
Wang's ERA dropped to a season low 12.65.

Pesky Nats Nip Yankees

Yankees Comeback Thwarted in 9th

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0
3 7 0
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
2 4 0

WP - Lannan (4-5) SV - MacDougal (1) LP - Wang (0-5)

Robinson Cano had a marvelous day and night on Tuesday and was looking to repeat his feat as hero in last night’s Yankees game. Down 3-2 to in the 9th to the Washington Nationals, the Yankees had runners on the corners with one out and the hot Cano at the plate. He had a great at-bat against hard throwing Mike MacDougal, fouling off one pitch after another, but ultimately McDougal won the battle. Cano bounced into a game ending 6-4-3 double play, much to the chagrin of the 46,000+ in attendance. The loss also left the Yankees with a split of the first two games of a three game series with the worst team in baseball.

New papa Chien-Ming Wang took the hill for the Yankees with the weight of his pitching future resting squarely on his shoulders. He showed some improvement - allowed 3 runs in 5 innings, his longest start of the season - but didn’t have his best velocity and still left pitches in the hitting zone. As MLB Network Studio Analyst (and YES announcer) Al Leiter pointed out afterwards, Wang was still not coming over the top on his pitches, causing his sinker to tail rather than dart down. One of this pitches was ripped by former Yankee Nick Johnson to the gap in left-center and just out of the reach of a diving Melky Cabrera in the 5th inning. The resulting 2-run triple proved to be the difference in the ball game. Adam Dunn had given the Nats a 1-0 lead in the 4th with his 18th home run of the year.

The Yankees struggled against the Nats’ top starter John Lannan, who defeated the Mets in the Nats last trip to the Big Apple. He held the Yankees hitless until the 5th when Cano broke up the no-no and got the Yankees on the scoreboard with his 12th home run of the year. Johnny Damon doubled with one out in the 6th, but was stranded.

The Yankees finally doubled their hit output in the 9th when Damon cut the deficit to a single run with his 14th home run of the year and one out later, Mark Teixeira singled. With MacDougal on in relief, pinch-runner Brett Gardner stole 2nd and 3rd base to put the tying run 90 ft. away. McDougal walked Alex Rodriguez and things were set up for Cano. But you can’t be a hero every night.

Game Notes

Derek Jeter sat out the game as a precaution after leaving Tuesday’s game with a stiff ankle. He is expected to play today, though the 1:05 p.m. ET start will probably be a washout.

Brett Gardner’s 2 steals made him successful in 14 of 16 attempts. Imagine if he were a .300 hitter.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Deck the Hall

Back in the early '90s, the Yankees dumped outfielder Mel Hall, because they didn't like the way he was constantly harassing a young Bernie Williams. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Hall was convicted in a Texas court room yesterday of sexually assaulting a 12-yr old girl he coached on an elite basketball team a decade ago.

A jury took about 90 minutes to convict Hall, 48, on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. He will go through the sentencing phase today and faces up to life in prison.

Hall's accuser, now 23, testified Monday that he engaged in sex acts with her in various places, including her home and his apartment. Hall, who played for the Cubs from 1981 to 1984 as part of a 13-year career, was arrested in 2007 by police investigating allegations of sexual abuse.

The woman testified Hall first exposed himself to her and her younger brother in their home, when their parents were away. His interaction with her progressed to inappropriate touching and to him showing her how to perform oral sex, she testified. She said he also showed her pornographic movies at an apartment he shared with his girlfriend and their infant son.

''I trusted him,'' the woman testified. ''I looked up to him.''

Sentencing is set for today. Hall could be facing life in prison.

Sosa Revelation a Stunner....NOT

The news that Sammy Sosa failed a drug test in 2003 was about as shocking as Clay Aiken coming out of the closet (not that there's anything wrong with that). All the news did do was further destroy that magical '98 home run race.

The supposedly anonymous testing named104 players in violation of MLB's drug policy. And as usual, only certain names ended up getting leaked out.

For sure, a wing in Cooperstown must be built for the "Hall of Shame". I still can't believe NYC actually gave him a parade in the Canyon of Heroes. Nice going Rudy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Principal Cano, Don'tcha Know

Yankees Capitalize on Cano’s Big Night

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
3 6 1
NY Yankees
0 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 X
5 8 0

WP - Sabathia (6-4) SV - Rivera (15) LP - Villone (3-4)

Robinson Cano spent Tuesday afternoon at P.S. 55 in the Bronx as the school’s honorary principal. Tuesday night he schooled the Washington Nationals, going 4-4 with the game winning RBI and made several stellar plays in the field in the Yankees 5-3 victory.

The Yankees fell behind 3-2 in the 5th inning when CC Sabathia surrendered a 3-run home run to Anderson Hernandez. It was the first home run of the year for the former Met. But the Yankees jumped on one of their former players, Ron Villone, in the 7th inning. Johnny Damon led off with a single and scored from first when Mark Teixeira’s blast to left-center eluded a leaping Elijah Dukes for an RBI double.

Villone struck out Alex Rodriguez, but Cano’s hit a line drive over the head of Dukes, who misjudged the ball, to put the Yankees on top 4-3. Cano was credited with a double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Sabathia retired the first two hitters in the 8th before walking Nick Johnson with his 109th pitch. Joe Girardi called on Brian Bruney, who kept his mouth shut and retired Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning. The Yankees tacked on a run in the bottom half of the inning against Nats’ reliever Mike McDougal.

Hideki Matsui drew a lead off walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner. The speedy outfielder stole second base, moved to third on Nick Swisher’s ground out and scored on Ramiro Pena’s bloop over the drawn in infield. Pena had entered the game in the 7th for Derek Jeter, who left with stiffness in his left ankle.

Mariano Rivera converted his 11th straight save opportunity with a 1-2-3 9th inning. It was his 15th save of the season and number 497 all time.

Game Notes

The Yankees defense was on his display tonight. In addition to Cano’s glove work, Melky Cabrera made a diving ice cream cone catch in center, and Pena looked smooth on the game’s final play- a grounder up the middle that he ranged far to his left on, spun around and fired a strike to first base.

In addition to Nick Johnson and Villone, the Nationals roster also includes former Yankees Alberto Gonzalez and Wil Nieves.

Yankees’ first round draft pick Slade Heathcott attended the game and took batting practice beforehand.

New daddy Chien-Ming Wang goes for the Yankees on Wednesday in what could be his last start if he doesn’t show some improvement. Left-hander John Lannan starts for Washington.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Yankees Rout Mets in Series Finale

Santana not so Smooth.

This had to be the oddest Yankees-Mets interleague series to date. You had the Luis Castillo (Cas-tE-yo) error on Friday night that gave the Yankees an improbable victory.

Mets fans figured they were i
n trouble on Saturday with Fernando Nieve on the hill, but instead, he and another long time minor leaguer, Omir Santos, dominated the Yankees in a Mets win.

So you had to think that today, Sunday, the Mets would take the series with their ace Johan Santana going up against A.J. Burnett. The Yankees right-hander had been shredded in Boston and had been shaky of late, while Santana is one of the top 3 pitchers in all of baseball.

So what happened? The Yankees won in a 15-0 blowout of course. Santana was charged with 9 earned runs, the highest total of his career, in just 3 official innings. He faced 5 batters in the 4th and didn't retire any of them.

Burnett was the complete opposite of Santana on the day. He threw 7 shutout innings and got out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the 3rd inning when the score was just 4-0. He also gave the bullpen a much needed rest.

The Yankees put 4 runs on the board on Santana in the 2nd inning with Francisco Cervelli and Derek Jeter delivering RBI singles and Johnny Damon driving in a pair of runs with a single of his own.

Burnett did his Houdini act in the 3rd after a pair of walks and a single. He struck out Alex Cora and Fernando Martinez, and got Carlos Beltran on a line out to Jeter. Burnett was fired up by his great escape and so were his teammates.

They sent Santana to an early shower in the 4th after he allowed a 2-run home run to Hideki Matsui and an another RBI single to Jeter. Brian Stokes was greeted by Damon with an RBI double and an infield single by Mark Teixeira. An RBI ground out drove in another run and then Robinson Cano crushed a Stokes deep into the bleachers in right-center field for an 11-0 Yankees lead. Melky Cabrera capped off the inning with a 2-run double that hit the top of the wall in right-center and came back into play. He was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple or the inning might still be going.

In all, 12 batters, 9 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks (2 by Nick Swisher), and 2 home runs.
Ramiro Pena added and RBI single and Cano a sac fly with the bases loaded in the 7th for the 15-0 finale.

Game Notes

The Yankees have a much earned/needed day off on Monday before starting a series with the Washington Nationals Tuesday night.

Jerry Manuel was ejected from the ball game after he came out to protest the ball and strike calls by home plate ump Jim Wolf. Both Alex Cora and David Wright were upset with him too when they struck out.

The YES camera crews caught relievers Brian Bruney and Francisco Rodriguez "discussing" Bruney's comments about the Mets closer. Several players got in between them when K-Rod got heated up. According to Jon Heyman, several Yankees stopped a Bruney interview after the game when he was asked about the incident by the media.

We hate K-Rod's end game histrionics as much as anyone, but Bruney, who has had a mediocre career, needs to shut the hell up.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mets Even Things Up

Omir, O my

After Friday’s night crushing loss, it would have been only natural for the Mets to come out flat for today’s game with the Yankees. But instead it was the home team that looked flat. Former Yankees’ farm hand Omir Santos and former Yankees’ major leaguer Gary Sheffield both played big roles in the Mets 6-2 win over the Yankees this afternoon.

Less than 24 hours after Mets second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball heard round the Bronx, the Mets got an unexpected starting performance from Fernando Nieve and jumped all over Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.

Nieve had made only 52 big league appearances since debuting with the Houston Astros back in 2006. But with John Maine on the DL, the Mets needed someone to step up and Nieve did just that.

The 26-yr old limited the Yankees to 4 hits over 6.2 innings for his 4th big league win. His battery mate, Santos, gave his teammate a quick lead to work with when he went deep with a man aboard in the 2nd.

The 28-yr old catcher had been a career minor leaguer (He appeared in 10 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season), before he took advantage of injuries to the Mets catching corp this spring. He nearly added a second home run, but settled for an RBI double that capped the Mets’ 3-run 5th inning.

Pettitte was done after five innings and continued his struggles of late. Though he’s 3-2 in his last six starts, Pettitte has allowed 20 earned runs in his last 34.2 innings (5.19 ERA), and hasn’t pitched past the 5th inning in three of them.

Sheffield, who many thought were done when he was released by the Detroit Tigers this spring, continued his recent resurgence. He homered off Brett Tomko Friday night and went yard on Al Aceves this afternoon. He also contributed an RBI single off of Pettitte, despite a balky knee that has him set for an MRI shortly.

The Yankees couldn’t muster much of anything against Nieve. Alex Rodriguez hit a solo shot to left that cut the Mets lead to 2-1 in the 2nd, but were held scoreless other than a Derek Jeter RBI single in the 7th.

Even though it was a non-save situation, Mets manager Jerry Manuel wasn’t taking any chances and sent for Francisco Rodriguez to pitch the 9th. He retired the side without incident and the Mets had themselves a split of the first two games of the Subway Series.

Game Notes

A-Rod’s home run was his 562nd, putting him one behind Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list. He was also hit again, this time on the left elbow by a Nieve pitch, and is clearly getting tired of it.

Nieve’s victory was his first since June 25, 2006 when the Astros beat the White Sox in interleague play.

Pop Goes Castillo

Some 10 1/2 hours later it is still hard to believe how last night's Yankees-Mets game ended. We do feel bad for Luis Castillo. If it had happened to a Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Millar, etc., so be it. Castillo has had a tough time of it at Shea/Citi Field since Omar Minaya ill advisedly signed him to a new 4-year deal at the end of the 2007 season.

Castillo hasn't hit much, has bad knees, and has had stuff happen to him like what occurred last night. Well, nothing quite like that.

In case you missed, the Yankees played a miserable game last night. Poor starting pitching, poor relief pitching, no timely hitting outside of Hideki Matsui's 3-run birthday blast. The only thing missing was Nick Swisher getting doubled off a base. They deserved to lose and then they didn't.

The Yankees were down to their last out. Derek Jeter had reached on a 1-out single, but Francisco Rodriguez struck out pinch-hitter Johnny Damon for the 2nd out. That's when things started getting interesting.

Even though K-Rod had great success against Mark Teixeira, 2-19 lifetime, he didn't want anything to do with the Yankees hottest hitter. After falling behind in the count 3-1, the Mets opted to intentionally walk Teixeira to face Alex Rodriguez. Also something you will not see every day.

But in some ways it made sense. A-Rod had been in a 2-17 slide and didn't have any career success against K-Rod either. The Mets closer again fell behind 3-1 and then threw a strike that A-Rod popped up. As he jogged to first, A-Rod smashed his bat on the ground in disgust.

As Castillo settled under the pop up, it seemed like it moved on him a little bit, possibly from a slight breeze. Even though it looked like the game was over, Jeter and Teixeira ran hard around the bases. And then the game was over. In the blink of an eye...or more precisely in the heel of a glove.

The ball bounced off Castillo's mitt, moved agonizingly past his eyes and outstretched bare hand and fell to the ground. Jeter easily scored the tying run. As Teixeira chugged towards 3rd, Castillo grabbed the ball off the grass and from his knees through to 2nd base, conceivably to keep A-Rod from advancing.

But those extra seconds allowed Teixeira to slide home safely ahead of Alex Cora's relay throw. A wild celebration ensued as K-Rod stood with his hands on his head, his first blown save of the season not really being a blown save.

To paraphrase John Sterling, "That is baseball...."

Friday, June 12, 2009

K-Rod, A-Rod, E-4

You'll be hard pressed to find anyone who saw a game end the way the Yankees-Mets game ended this evening. Mets up by 1, 2 on, 2 outs, bottom of the 9th. K-Rod facing A-Rod. A routine pop-up to 2nd baseman Luis Castillo. And nothing was routine.

Castillo dropped the ball. Derek Jeter scored easily with the tying run. Mark Teixeira ran hard from 1st base and was waved home by 3rd base coach Rob Thomson. To make matters worse for Castillo, he threw to 2nd base. Teixeira easily beat the relay home and the Yankees pulled out the most improbable victory imaginable, 9-8.

Where's Dave Winfield When You Need Him?

Cleveland's Progressive Field has apparently turned into Wild Kingdom. You saw the midges in that playoff game two years ago and now the place is suffering from sea gull infestation.

When the Yankees were in Ohio a couple of weeks back they were witness to the sudden influx of sea gulls. They were all over the place. The field, the stands, the roof. Michael Kay droned on and on about it. Well, he would have had a field day last night.

The Indians and Royals were tied 3-3 in the 10th inning when Shin-Soo Choo singled to center field. Mark DeRosa rounded third and headed for home. Center field Coco Crisp got himself lined up to make a throw to the play- but he never got the baseball.

The birds either deflected the ball or obliterated Crisp's view and the ball shot past him for the game winner. You can check out the play on the Indians' website.

Things might have been different had Dave Winfield been in town.

Fenway Failure

Yankees in Fenway - Fail

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
3 10 1
0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 X
4 8 0

WP - Saito (1-0) SV - Papelbon (16) LP - Sabathia (5-4)

When Nick Green singled off CC Sabathia to start the 8th inning last night, an ominous sense came over me. The feeling got stronger when Sabathia couldn’t put away Dustin Pedroia, after being ahead of him 1-2, and ended up walking him in a 10-pitch at-bat. The feeling became overwhelming when Joe Girardi left an obviously cooked Sabathia in the game. The end result was a 4-3 Red Sox win and a 2-game Sox lead in the AL East. It also gave Boston victories in all eight games the two teams have played this season.

The Yankees had rallied from a one run deficit to take a 3-1 lead in the 7th. Francisco Cervelli doubled down the left field line to score Melky Cabrera from first base with the tying run. Four batters later Alex Rodriguez ripped a 2-run double to the gap in left-center off Manny DelCarmen to give the Bombers their only lead of the night.

But things fell apart for Sabathia in the 8th. He had pitched an outstanding game, having just allowed a solo home run to David Ortiz (Yes, Papi did take a curtain call) in the 2nd inning. But as YES announcer John Flaherty prematurely praised Sabathia’s game, things went to pieces for the big left-hander. After Green and Pedroia walked, Sabathia hung an 0-1 breaking pitch to J.D. Drew. The right fielder laced it into center field for a run scoring single to cut the Sox deficit to one. Girardi finally pulled his starter after 123 pitches and sent for the normally reliable Al Aceves. He was anything but reliable last night.

Kevin Youkilis greeted Aceves will a soft single to right to load the bases with no one out and Jason Bay followed with a line drive to left that short hopped Johnny Damon for a game tying single. The Yankees lack of arms in the outfield hurt them on the very next play when Mike Lowell lofted a fly ball to medium left-center field. Take your pick, center fielder Brett Gardner or the even weaker armed Damon. Gardner made the catch and made a throw that was nowhere near home plate nor had any zip on it.

Just like that, Boston had the lead back. Jonathan Papelbon retired the side in order in the 9th, with Mark Teixeira making the only noise- a line out to Youkilis to end the game.

Game Notes

Red Sox’ starter Brad Penny hit Alex Rodriguez in the lower back with a pitch in the 1st inning. After all four umpires conferred, both sides were given a warning. If the umpires felt Penny had purposely thrown at A-Rod he should have been tossed from the game. Otherwise, no warning should have been issued until the Yankees had the chance for some payback.

Nick Swisher deserves to be benched for tonight’s opener with the Mets. One night after being doubled off first base on a soft liner hit right in front of him, Swisher was doubled off second base on a fly ball to the wall in left. Both plays killed potential rallies.

Chien-Ming Wang will get one more start and Girardi will take things from there. The Wanger is set to face the Florida Marlins on Wednesday.

The current Red Sox joined the 1912 Red Sox and 1990 A’s as the only teams to win their first eight games in a season against the Yankees.

The first part of the Subway Series starts tonight at Yankee Stadium. The Mets are coming off a series loss to their division rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.