Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yankees Break Ground on Heritage Park

What was once the land that held Yankee Stadium became the host to rubble. But soon it will rise again.

Okay, that was really over dramatic.

The Yankees broke ground yesterday on Heritage Park. The gift to the community that will sit atop the old Stadium grounds and will replace McCoombs Dam Park that was torn asunder for the new Stadium.

Brian Cashman and Randy Levine were joined by the Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., as well as (for some reason) Joba Chamberlain.

Read more about it here.

M's Ace Makes Bats Sick-Lee

Cliff Lee's days in a Seattle Mariners uniform may be numbered, but he's making the most of it. And so is the M's front office, licking their chops at the possible prospects they could get back for the 2008 AL Cy Young winner.

Lee wasn't at the extreme top of his game last night, but he still threw his third straight complete game to beat the Yankees 7-4 at the Stadium last night. In doing so, Lee became the first pitcher to accomplish that feat since Randy Johnson in 1998.

Nick Swisher hit a pair of solo home runs and the Yankees rallied for a pair of runs in the 9th when Lee tired a bit, but for the most part the Yankees went down pretty meekly. The normally inoffensive Mariners also gave him plenty of run support, knocking starter Phil Hughes out of the game with two outs in the 6th inning.

Hughes, whose last start was skipped to slow his innings progression, wasn't sharp from the start. He had plenty of life on his fastball, but left it and his breaking pitches up in the zone.

The M's scored single runs in the 2nd thru 5th innings before breaking the game open with three runs in the 6th. Franklin Gutierrez homered and he and Ichiro Suzuki drove in two runs each.

Until the 9th inning the Yankees only legitimate threat was in the 2nd when they put two aboard with one out. But Lee got rookie Chad Huffman to bounce into an inning ending double play.


Lee, who beat the Yankees twice during last year's World Series, lost (3-1) to the Bombers during interleague play like season and is 5-4 lifetime with a 4.72 ERA in 10 career regular season starts against the Pinstripes.

Marcus Thames is getting closer to returning to the Bronx. He'll start a rehab stint at Scranton on Wednesday.

Dave Eiland was back with the team last night, with Mike Harkey resuming his bullpen duties. Eiland is still staying private about what kept him away.

Joe West was the home plate ump last night and was soundly booed about his Yankees-Red Sox slow play comments earlier this year. West really deserves to be booed in general.

Monday, June 28, 2010

And You Wanted To Be My Latex Salesman

My pre-season pick for the AL MVP was none other than the Rays' B.J. Upton. I had a hunch this would be a bust out year for him. The one that took his game to another level.

Boy was I wrong.

Upton's splits - .223/.318/.392 stink. He's got just 29 RBI.

Back in 2007 it appeared Upton was ready for stardom. He hit .300, belted 24 HR and drove in 82 runs. His OPS was nearly .900.

But his lack of hustle, and it's not a perceived lack, at times and his attitude have diminished as has his game. Things came to a head on Sunday when Upton loped after a ball hit to the gap in left-center field. When the Rays got back in the dugout Evan Longoria got in his teammates face. Upton's reaction, as you can see in the video, was none too pleasant.

Ironically, the game ended when Chris Young hustled to catch a deep fly ball hit by Upton.

Upton's days in Tampa Bay very well becoming to an end. The Rays have shown their not afraid to move talented, but underachieving players (i.e. Delmon Young).

Perhaps a deal for Carlos Zambrano?

Zambrano's weekend flip out. Is there something in the dugout water?

photo courtesy of

Cano Scripts Hollywood Ending

Cano Gives A-Rod The Last Laugh...

A hitter steps into the batter's box. His current manager looks on with confidence. His former manager is concerned. The hitter's team has rallied from four runs down in the 9th to send the game into extra innings. Now the lefty gunslinger strides the mound. He's not as quick on the draw as he used to be.

The gunslinger goes into the delivery and fires. The crack of the bat can be heard for miles. The ball jumps off the hitter's bat and lands deep into the seats in left-center field. Quite a poke for a left-handed hitter. Teammates rejoice. The closer comes out of the dugout for another inning and slams the door shut, reminding his old manager that there is no one better. The good guys win.


It was a comeback for the ages last night at Dodgers Stadium. The Yankees had their stopper, Andy Pettitte, on the mound against the Dodgers' rising star Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw was as good as advertised, limiting the Yankees to an Alex Rodriguez 2-run home run in seven innings of work. He left with a 5-2 lead and watched as the Yankees rallied in the 9th and won it in the 10th when Robinson Cano homered off lefty George Sherrill for an 8-6 Yankees victory.

Pettitte, on the other hand, was a mess. After watching CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett forget to cover first base recently and Pettitte's two wild throws after fielding bunts last night, you would understand if Joe Girardi wants to run a little PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice) before this week's games.

It will be interesting to see if some teams try to bunt more against Pettitte after last night's debacle, which was both physical and mental.

Reed Johnson led off the Dodger 3rd with a double to right. Kershaw then bunted to the left side of the infield. Despite Rodriguez imploring Pettitte to throw to first base, the big Texan fired a wild throw to third, well out of Rodriguez's reach. 1-0 Dodgers and the beginning of some "not in the glove" cursing from Pettitte.

Rafael Furcal thought a bunt looked like a good idea and laid one down on the left side as well. Rodriguez charged, bare handed and fire to first, but not in time. Two on, no one out. Yeah, you know what's coming next.

Ronnie Belliard laid down another bunt, which Pettitte fielded cleanly...and threw wide of Cano for another error and another Dodgers run. Cano may have been able to record the putout, but Pettitte's thrown was in the baseline, which caused Cano to get alligator arms. Andre Ethier tacked on another run on a sac fly for a 3-0 LA lead.

The Dodgers added two more runs in the 4th, including a solo home run by Belliard, and things looked bleak. But A-Rod, who spoke briefly with Torre before the game, came up with the first of two very big hits on the night. One would argue his hits were even bigger than Cano's game winning home run.

A-Rod took Kershaw deep with a man aboard in the 6th to get the Yankees on the board. Though down 5-2 it gave the team some life and some spark. After the Dodgers added an insurance run off Joba Chamberlain in the 8th, it was A-Rod once again who got things going in the 9th with a one out single.

After moving to second base on defensive indifference, A-Rod came home when Cano ripped a double past first baseman James Loney. Then the Yankees really started to make closer Jonathan Broxton work.

Jorge Posada's 10 pitch at-bat resulted in a single to right, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Curtis Granderson. The Grandy man worked an eight pitch at-bat to draw a walk to load the bases. Chad Huffman got three straight 96 mph fastballs, lining the last one to right for a 2-run single to cut the Dodgers lead to 6-5. Granderson moved to third on the play to set up a big confrontation between Broxton and pinch-hitter Colin Curtis.

Curtis worked another 10 pitch at-bat before grounding to Loney at first. Instead of throwing home immediately, Loney chose to step on first for the second out of the inning and then made an off-balance throw home. The throw was the right side of home plate, allowing Granderson to beat catcher Russell Martin to the plate to tie the game.

After intentionally walking Derek Jeter, Broxton finally retired Francisco Cervelli to end the inning. The Dodgers closer threw a career high 48 pitches in the inning after throwing 19 the day before.

Rivera retired the side in order in the 9th, but Loney reached on a lead off single in the 10th to make things interesting. No problem as Rivera struck out Martin and Johnson, and got Jamey Carroll on a game ending ground out.

Just another day in the Hollywood.


Garrett Anderson and Russell Martin were both ejected after facing Rivera. Anderson was upset at a strike call in his pinch-hit at-bat in the 9th and said a no-no to home plate ump Chris Guccione on his way back to the dugout. Anderson and Torre pleaded the outfielder's case, but to no avail. Martin then K'ed looking in the 10th and slammed his bat down to garner another ejection from Guccione.

George Sherrill had not allowed a home run to a left-hander entering play last night. Cano was also 0-11 against him lifetime.

Brett Gardner had to leave the game after being hit with a Kershaw pitch in the forearm. Gardner stayed in the game at first, but then the arm began to swell. He'll have it further evaluated today.

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Have You Seen April-May Burnett?

Tell me have you seen him, seen him..ohhhhhhhh.
The April version of A.J. Burnett was amazing. The May version of A.J. Burnett was decent. The June version...a horror show...a really bloody horror show.

Look at his face. It's the same every month. But something is inside that tattooed noggin' of his.

Okay, I don't know if his noggin' is tattooed, but he's been getting tattooed the entire month of June, which thankfully for him, is coming to a close.

Burnett absolutely sizzled in April. We all thought - come on you did - that A.J. had finally figured it out. Never mind that he was 3-0. Burnett recorded a 2.43 ERA in 331. innings. 20 strikeouts compared to 9 walks.

Then May rolled around. That's when the trouble really began. A 4.03 ERA for the month is deceiving. Two starts with the Twins and one each against the Orioles and Indians gave Burnett three wins. He allowed just three earned runs in 27 innings. Great stuff. But his starts against the Rays, whom he had beaten in April, and Boston were horrendous. 14 earned runs in just 11 innings and a pair of losses.

Now we come to the explosive month of June. It's really hard to put into words just how lost Burnett is on the mound right now. I've seen it before. Jeff Weaver comes to mind. Great stuff, weak mentality. Only I think Burnett has the capability of harnessing it where as Weaver never bounced back.

29 earned runs in 23 innings in June. Three starts of four innings or less. 17 walks and 35 hits. It actually might look worse in print than in watching it unfold.

There's no point in continuing to run Burnett out there. It's not going to change overnight and at the very least he should skip a start. The Yankees were better off with Phil Hughes going this weekend and giving Burnett a mental breather, especially on the heels of losing his grandfather.

So who do you put in there? It doesn't matter. Call up a pitcher for a spot start. Get a sports psychologist. Burn some incense. Sacrifice a Red Sox fan..oops, just kidding.

Just get A.J. out of there.

Last night's game.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A-Rod and Yankees Take Round 1 in LA

Alex Rodriguez decided at some point last year to talk with his bat rather than his mouth. That wasn't more evident than the week leading up to the Yankees-Dodgers series and its corresponding Joe Torre reunion this weekend.

A-Rod and Torre didn't have any meet and greets beforehand, but A-Rod's bat certainly got his former manager's attention. The third baseman snapped a 1-1 tie in the 6th with his 10th home run of the year and the Yankees took the first game of the series, 2-1.

CC Sabathia (9-3) never played for Torre, but gave him a game to remember. After struggling with his control early, the big man bore down and limited the Dodgers to four hits over eight innings. He also protected his teammates when he drilled Vincente Padilla (1-2) in the leg after Padilla hit Robinson Cano. Padilla had also left his mark last year when he hit Mark Teixeira twice in the same game while pitching for the Texas Rangers.

Torre also now knows how it feels to have Mariano Rivera close out your loss. Rivera did it in style, striking out Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and James Loney in the 9th for his 17th save.

The Dodgers took advantage of Sabathia's early lack of command to pick up their only run in the 1st inning. Rafael Furcal drew a lead off walk, swiped second base and scored on Ramirez's single. The Yankees tied it in the 2nd when A-Rod reached on a lead off double and scored on a one out single by Jorge Posada.


"Manny being Manny" dropped a fly ball in the 8th that gave the Yankees an opportunity for an insurance run, but Padilla retired Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher to escape the jam.

James Loney was ejected from the ball game, even though the ball game was over, when he was called out on strikes by home plate ump Phil Cuzzi. That set off hitting coach Don Mattingly who screamed at Cuzzi as he walked off the field.

A-Rod's home run was the 593rd of his career.

Derek Jeter turns 36 on Saturday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yankees Head To Torre Territory.

This is a piece I wrote for

One of the first lessons I ever learned in life was, “Don’t ever burn your bridges”. It didn’t matter if you hated the job you were leaving, the boss you worked for, your co-workers, or life in general. You never know what might come back to bite you in the behind.

Apparently, Joe Torre didn’t learn that lesson. (Hmm, wonder if it’s in his motivational book or part of his speeches?) When Torre turned down a one year, incentive laden offer from the Steinbrenner clan after the 2007 season, he still had the support of a lot of Yankees fans. It’s difficult to tell if there was a majority of support for him at the time though, because many of those who liked him as Yankees manager still felt it was time for a change.

Click here to continue this article at Baseball Digest.

Derek Jeter Andy Pettitte Mariano Rivera Jorge Posada Alex Rodriguez

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yankees Outlast Dbacks in 10

Mariano Rivera must have been experiencing some deja vu, or at the very least, some near deja vu last night. But thankfully for the greatest closer of all time this is June, 2010 not November, 2001. Rivera worked out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the 10th inning and the Yankees defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 last night. In doing so, the Yankees took two of three and picked up a game on the Rays and Red Sox, both of whom lost.

The Yankees did everything they could to not win the game, particular on the basepaths, but the Diamondbacks bullpen was much more giving. After Alex Rodriguez's sac fly tied the game against Aaron Heilman in the 9th, Curtis Granderson smacked a solo home run off Carlos Rosa in the 10th inning to give the Bombers a 6-5 lead. Granderson is the only major leaguer with more than one home run in extra innings this season.

The Diamondbacks immediately rallied against Rivera in their half of the 10, loading the bases on a Stephen Drew single, a double off the bat of Justin Upton, and intentional walk to Miguel Montero. Rivera got Chris Young to foul out to Francisco Cervelli and Adam LaRoche, who had driven in all five Dbacks runs, to pop out to third. That left things up to Mark Reynolds, king of home runs and strikeouts. Rivera made it the latter, pushing Reynolds strikeout total to 103 with a swing and a miss at strike three.

This was a game that was ugly for the start. Dontrelle Willis couldn't throw strikes, but the Yankees made a pair of base running blunders to ruin a potential big 1st inning. Nick Swisher was picked off 1st base (though it was recorded as a caught stealing) and Mark Teixeira was thrown out on ill time double steal time as Robinson Cano struck out.

Javier Vazquez lasted just five innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 6th. LaRoche victimized for a pair of 2-run singles, but he got off the hook when the Yankees tied the game at 4-4 in the 6th with a pair of runs. That included a pinch-hit RBI single for Colin Curtis.

Damaso Marte gave the run right back in the bottom of the sixth with the help of a balk and a wild pitch. LaRoche's ground out gave AZ a 5-4 lead and set up the late game drama.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The D-Train Has Sadly Derailed

Dontrelle Willis' days in the major leagues have to be numbered. For his own good.

The D-Train lasted just 2.1 innings tonight, walking seven Yankees in the process. Remarkably he allowed just two runs as the Yankees ran themselves out of a big number in the 1st inning.

Yankees fans, myself included, on Twitter were extremely sympathetic. It's difficult to see a good guy fail, even if he is facing the Yankees. Players have off nights, but Willis' far outweigh the good ones.

It's just the latest rough patch in the once bright career of the former Florida Marlins star. Willis is now with his third organization and it could be his last. He's battled anxiety and depression issues, and lost his fastball and his confidence.

Things didn't work out in Detroit, where they mistakenly gave him a three year, $29 million contract extension. Arizona, desperate for pitching, picked him up after Detroit waived him at the end of May.

Willis is a free agent after this season and needless to say there will be little call for his services. Perhaps a minor league deal or a contract with an independent league team. In his current state, Willis is not ready for prime time. Let's hope one day he is again.

Loria Cans Fredi Gonzalez

"Any asshole can be a father". - Keanu Reeves, Parenthood (1989)

Apparently the same can be said for the owners of professional sports teams. Well, rich assholes anyway.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria canned Joe Girardiafter one season in Miami despite a great effort by the current Yankees skipper and defending WS champion manager. Next up, Fredi Gonzalez, another promising manager.

Gonzalez led the Marlins to two 80+ win seasons in his three full seasons and had the team two games under .500 after 70 contests this year. All this despite a payroll that is next to nill and fan attendance that's barely more than a little league game.

So of course Loria fired Gonzalez today. Perhaps Loria was catering to his unhappy star Hanley Ramirez, who has had run ins with Gonzalez or perhaps, and more likely, Loria is just another owner who doesn't understand the sport he uses as a tax write off.

Miami Herald

Pettitte Exorcises Some Demons

A regular season game in June can't be compared to a World Series potential clincher, but Andy Pettitte had to feel some satisfaction after returning to the scene of his self proclaimed "worst start of my career". Pettitte limited the Arizona Diamondbacks to two runs over seven innings and the Yankees broke open a close game late for a 9-3 win.

Though he had been back to Chase Field (formerly "The BOB") as a member of the Houston Astros, this was the first time Pettitte stood atop the mound in his New York Yankees grey road uniform since his game six debacle (2 IP 6 ER) in the 2001 World Series. The Dbacks are not the same team in any way, shape, or form, but Pettitte sparkled in picking up his 9th win.

There was a slight bump in the road when Pettitte let a 2-0 lead, courtesy of Alex Rodriguez's first home run since June 3, get away in the 2nd inning. That's when Pettitte's counterpart, Dan Haren, poked a game tying 2-run single to right. Haren's batting average (.457) is nearly as high as his ERA (4.62)...let's not compare decimal places, shall we?...

The Yankees took the lead right back in the 3rd on an RBI single by Rodriguez and Pettitte made the lead stand up. He scattered seven hits, walked two, and struck out seven in earning his 238th career win (57th on the all time career wins list). His 2.48 ERA is the lowest of his career after 14 starts. Pettitte even amused his fellow pitchers with a base hit.

Pettitte also gave the bullpen some rest, finishing the 7th inning after going past the mystical 100-pitch mark. Haren also left after seven innings and the Yankees took full advantage of a shoddy Dbacks bullpen to bust the game open.

Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson each stroked RBI singles and a Jorge Poasada sac fly gave the Yankees a 7-2 lead. That set the stage for Colin Curtis' second big league at-bat. He didn't disappoint. The Yankees reserve outfielder lined a 2-run double to deep center, much to the delight of his family, who were in attendance for the second straight evening..


The Yankees gained a game on both Tampa Bay and Boston and lead the AL East by 1.5 games. The Rays dropped their series opener to San Diego and have lost 8 of 11.

It becomes quite clear in watching Alex Rodriguez run that he's well short of being at 100%. Kim Jones reported during the YES broadcast that A-Rod has begun daily work outs in a pool to strengthen his leg and help his mobility. Last night's home run snapped a streak of 49 at-bats without a long ball. It's the third time this season that A-Rod has gone at least 40 games without a home run.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Burnett's Performance No Mirage

Picture if you will A.J. Burnett wandering through the desert. Down on his hands and knees, crawling, gasping for...COMMAND. Burnett couldn't find any last night in the air conditioned confines of Chase Field as the Arizona Diamondbacks pounded him and the Yankees 10-4.

The multi-tattooed right-hander got tattooed in the first inning after retiring the first two batters with ease. Justin Upton started the fireworks with a tape measure solo home run to center field. The next two hitters reached safely and came home on a 3-run blast by Andy LaRoche. Mark Reynolds then went back to back with LaRoche with a solo shot to left off Burnett. Two batters later Burnett finally struck out his counterpart, Rodrigo Lopez, on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame. In a matter of moments, the Yankees found themselves in a 6-0 hole that they wouldn't be able to climb out of.

Burnett gave up another run in the 2nd and has now allowed 23 earned runs in his last 20 innings (0-4, 10-35). He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 5th inning.

The best the Yankees offense could do was the cut the lead to 7-3 in the 6th on RBI from Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. But Upton put the game out of reach when he took Chan Ho Park deep with two aboard in the 8th. It was the sixth home run allowed by Park this season, one more than he surrendered all of last year.


Colin Curtis made his major league debut last night and lined out to center pinch-hitting for Burnett. With Jorge Posada ready to catch a regular or semi-regular rate, Chad Moeller became expendable and Curtis was added to the roster. His family flew in time for the game.

Andy Pettitte returns to Chase Field for the first time as a member of the Yankees since his disastrous 2001 World Series game 6 performance. The Yankees held a 3-2 lead in games, but Pettitte, who later found out he was tipping his pitches, got torched for six runs in two innings. He did face Arizona a number of times while with the Houston Astros.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yankees Return To The Scene Of The Crime | Baseball Digest

Yankees Return To The Scene Of The Crime | Baseball Digest

Special piece I just wrote for Baseball Digest. Please follow the link.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tex Slam Gives Yankees Subway Series II

Mark Teixeira has heard the grousing from the fans. He's been repeatedly asked what's wrong and when will he turn things around? Joe Girardi has stuck by his 1st baseman through his season long slump and it paid off dividends over the weekends with the Mets.

Teixeira's grand slam provided all the runs on the day as CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera blanked the Mets 4-0.

The Subway Series has lost a lot of it's sting and six games is three too many. That being said, the weekend games were very intense as a good amount of Mets fans filtered into Yankee Stadium.

Johann Santana matched zero with Sabathia for the first two innings, but ran into trouble in the 3rd. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter started the inning off with back to back singles. That brought up Nick Swisher, who was below the Mendoza line against Santana in his career.

No one was more aware of that than Swisher himself. Hitting right-handed, Swisher pushed a bunt down the first base line. It so confused the Mets that Santana and second baseman Ruben Tejada collided as they converged on first base and Ike Davis' flip.

With the bags juiced, Santana threw three straight change ups, but left the last one over the heart of the plate and Teixeira jumped all over it. It was the seventh grand slam of the season for the Yankees, tops in the majors.

Sabathia breezed through the first five innings before Tejada gave the Mets their best shot with a leadoff double in the 6th. But Sabathia retired Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, and David Wright to strand Tejada right where he started.

The Mets had their last shot against Sabathia an inning later when Davis singled and Jason Bay walked. But once again Sabathia bared down. He struck out Rod Barajas looking and then induced an inning ending double play from Fernando Tatis.

Sabathia's 100th pitch was his last as he completed the eighth having allowed just four hits. Rivera's 1-2-3 9th inning earned him his 16th save of the season and a split of the six games with the Mets.

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Hughes Joins Elite Company

This from Elias Sports Bureau - With his 10th victory on Saturday, Phil Hughes became the 12th Yankees starting pitcher to start a season winning at least 10 of his first 11 decisions.

Hughes joins Hall of Fame members Lefty Gomez (10-1 in both 1932 and 1934), Red Ruffing (10-1 in 1939) and Whitey Ford (10-1 in 1964), and Cy Young Award winners Bob Turley (10-1 in 1958), Ron Guidry (11-0 in 1978), and Roger Clemens (10-1 in 2001).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yankees Power Their Way To Subway Win

Perhaps it was the ineffective Phillies offense rubbing off on them or more likely an ill-time slump. Whatever the case the Yankees somewhat snapped out of their offensive doldrums today and powered their was past the crosstown Mets 5-3.

Jose Reyes hit a pair of home runs off of Phil Hughes to give the Mets a 3-1 lead, but Mark Teixeira went deep with a man aboard against Mike Pelfrey in the 3rd to tie it. One inning later Curtis Granderson replicated the feat to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

That was all that Hughes and the pen would need. The right hander joined Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price as the only major leaguers with double figure victories. Hughes allowed just three hits over his final four innings and retired the side in order in his final inning, the seventh.

After losing three straight, an audible grown could be heard when Reyes homered on the second pitch of the ball game to put the Mets on top 1-0. The Yankees tied it up in the bottom half of the inning when Brett Gardner, hitting lead off with Derek Jeter sitting with a bad heel, and Nick Swisher stroked back to back singles and Teixeira bounced in a double play.

Hughes walked the nine hitter, Henry Blanco, with one out in the 3rd and it came back to bite him when Reyes took him deep for the second time. Hughes followed the home run with a walk to Angel Pagan, but Jorge Posada shut down a bigger inning by throwing Pagan attempting to steal second base.

Gardner set the table again in the 3rd with an infield single and moved into scoring position on Swisher's ground out. Teixeira took out his 1st inning frustration on a hanging Pelfrey change up and sent it into the right-center field seats for his 11th home run of the season.

Posada worked a walk to start the 4th and Granderson followed with a long home run to right when Pelfrey left a curve ball in the center fielder's wheelhouse.

Joba Chamberlain bounced back from a rough outing against the Phillies and tossed a scoreless 8th inning. He did give up a 2-out double to Pagan, but struck out David Wright by throwing a steady diet of sliders.

Mariano Rivera tossed a 1-2-3 9th inning to pick up his 16th save, and first since June 11.


Derek Jeter is expected to be back in the lineup for Sunday's game after bruising his heel on first base Friday night. Alex Rodriguez DH'ed so Ramiro Pena started at shortstop with Kevin Russo taking a turn at third base.

photo courtesy of NY Daily News

Friday, June 18, 2010

Love Hurts

If you are passionate about sports, you know how much joy there is when your team or an individual you follows succeeds. And you know just how painful and sorrowful it is when said team or player fails.

I'm there right now. For the first time in their illustrious NBA history, the Boston Celtics lost a 7th game of a playoff series. To make matters worse, it was the NBA finals where the Celtics couldn't hold off the Los Angeles Lakers and lost 83-79. The Celtics have 17 titles, just one more now than the Lakers. And it hurts.

It hurt last night when I couldn't fall asleep. It hurt today when I inadvertently saw things referring to the Lakers championship. No, I don't watch the post-game when the other team wins.

And let me interrupt myself to say, yes, I do have my priorities in order. I have much more on my plate to concern myself with. That being said..

Even if you don't follow pro basketball, you can identify with me if you are passionate about any team in any sport. This felt like the 2001 World Series all over again. A 3-2 lead, blown out on the road in game 6 and then come so close to winning game 7.

The huge difference here was that the Lakers really earned this, the Diamondbacks had it handed to them. I even wore my Mariano Rivera bp jersey with the 2009 WS logo for some good luck. That luck ran it out in the 4th quarter.

Sad. Mopey. Etc.

p.s. Kobe, you're still a douchebag.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yankees Phall Phlat

If the Yankees are looking for any positives after losing two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies, they just have to look back at last year's results. The Yankees captured just one contest in a three game series with the Phillies last May before topping the two time defending NL champs in the World Series.

It may be the only thing that helps Joe Girardi feel good about his squad after the last two games. After being baffled by the slower than slow pitching of Jamie Moyer, the Yankees could muster only a single run against Kyle Kendrick, who entered the game with a 4.80 ERA. The Yankees went 9-62 (.145) in the two losses combined.

Andy Pettitte (8-2) was sharp and didn't allow a base runner until the 4th inning when the Phillies scored an unearned run. But Shane Victorino pulled a Pettitte cutter into the left field seats for a 3-0 lead.

The Yankees finally got to Kendrick in the 6th on Robinson's Cano RBI single and had two on with two out. But third baseman Placido Polanco leapt onto the tarp to snare Nick Swisher's foul pop to end the inning.

The Phillies blew the game open in the 9th against an ineffective Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte.


Andy Pettitte made some history passing Ron Guidry for second place (1,779) on the franchise's all-time strikeout list. It came 32 years to the day that Louisiana Lightning struck out 18 California Angels. Pettitte also passed Bob Shawkey for 5th place on the team's career innings list. He should pass Lefty Gomez for 4th place in his next start.

The Yankees and Mets play the second half of the Subway Series beginning tomorrow (Friday) night. Hisanori Takahashi squares off with Javier Vazquez in the opener.

photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

The Old Man And The C

Crafty, change up, cunning, career, consistent. All words that could be used to describe Jamie Moyer. He of the fastball slowball and even slower change up. The 47-yr old who became the oldest pitcher ever to defeat the Yankees when he and the Philadelphia Phillies topped the Bombers 6-3 last night.

Moyer hasn't just seemingly been around forever, he has been around forever. I saw the Yankees beat him as a member of the Baltimore 1993. Bob Wickman was the Yankees winning pitcher. In fact, last night marked the 24th anniversary of Moyer's major league debut with the Chicago Cubs.

The lefty was at his slowest best last night, limiting the Yankees to three hits and two runs - solo home runs by Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada - over eight innings. He even struck out five batters. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but it is when you've only struck out 34 hitters in the previous 73.1 innings.

Moyer had plenty of help from his offense, which has been unusually anemic this year. Yankees starter A.J. Burnett served up pitches on a silver platter/batting tee and the Phillies knocked them out of the park.

Burnett, who pitches like the love child of Roy Halladay and Jeff Weaver, was tagged for six runs over six innings. In his last three starts, the tattooed right-hander has been tattooed for 16 earned runs in 16 innings. After an easy-breezy 1st inning, Burnett was charged with four runs in the 2nd, three of them on a bases loaded triple by Shane Victorino.

Cano's home run cut the score to 4-1, but Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth hit back-to-back home runs off Burnett in the 3rd for a 6-1 Phillies lead.

The Yankees actually sent the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning against closer Brad Lidge. Alex Rodriguez, back in the lineup as DH, doubled in a run to halve the lead and Cano followed with a single. But Lidge came back to strike out Jorge Posada to end the game.


Twitter and the blogs were abuzz last night with people bashing Burnett and screaming at the Yankees for not having the ability to beat up on Moyer. I'm sure the latter came from Moyer's one inning, nine earned run performance against Boston in his last start.

It doesn't matter if you have a 95-mph fastball or one that barely breaks the speed limit. If you know how to pitch and have enough weapons in your arsenal, you can beat teams. Until recent years, Moyer had been consistent for much of his career. Last night he was on.

Conversely, Burnett is the model of inconsistency. His stuff is awesome, you hear about it every time he pitches. But whether it's mental, physical, or both, he does not always bring his 'A' game. That included forgetting to cover first base on a grounder to the right side last night. He is what he is and it's ridiculous for fans to demand he be traded or talk about how much money he's making. It's absurd for any Yankees fan to want the team to spend whatever it takes to land a player and then criticize said player for making that money.

The only bright spot from last night's game was the performance of recently recalled Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin. The two limited the Phillies to just a single walk over the final 5.2 innings.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yankees Doctor Up Halladay

It was a pitching match up the media and fans love and hitters hate. The Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies began a three game series at the Stadium tonight with aces CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay squaring off on the mound. Some things just don't live up to the hype. The Yankees hit three home runs and sent Halladay to the showers after six innings en route to an 8-3 win.

The Yankees had already put two runs on the board in the 2nd inning on a Brett Gardner triple and contined to slap the good doctor around in the third. Curtis Granderson made it a 3-0 game with a line drive home run to right. Three batters later, Nick Swisher hit one to the Bleachers Creatures with a man aboard for a 5-0 advantage.

The Phillies nearly came all the way back against Sabathia in the 4th. After dominating through the first three innings - including six strikeouts - the big man struggled with the lead.

The Phils loaded the bases on a pair of bouncers through the middle and a hit batter before Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez produced RBI singles. Ben Francisco bounced into a force out to cut the lead to 5-3 and the Phillies had the tying runs in scoring position with one out. But Sabathia struck out Juan Castro and induced an inning ending ground out from Carlos Ruiz.

The Yankees got their final run off Halladay in the 6th when Mark Teixeira went deep for just the second time in the last 13 games. The three homes run allowed by Halladay matched the total he had allowed for the year thus far and the most home runs the Yankees had hit in a single game against the right-hander.

Sabathia regrouped and gave the Yankees seven solid innings and Francisco Cervelli helped put the game away with a 2-run single in the 7th.


Prior to the game, Sergio Mitre was placed on the 15-day DL with a side injury. Boone Logan was recalled from Scranton to take his spot on the roster.

Phillies' shortstop Jimmy Rollins played his first minor league rehab game tonight.

Alex Rodriguez sat out again, but hopes to play on Wednesday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fathers and Sons: The Berras | Baseball Digest

Fathers and Sons: The Berras | Baseball Digest

I hope you enjoy this piece I wrote specifically for Baseball Digest. Please follow the link to the story.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yankees Top Pick to Pinstripe it to Prom

Cito Culver has yet to ink a deal with the New York Yankees, but the team's top pick in this year's amatuer draft is ready to wear pinstripes. To the prom that is.

Culver and his best friend Josiah Heath picked out matching white tuxedos with black pinstripes and blue ties.

photo and information courtesy of

Every O Has His Day

Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. That was the case when the Yankees lost for just their second time in12 meetings with the Baltimore Orioles.

Following the game plan that seems to be etched in stone for decades, the Yankees struggled with a rookie pitcher. Jake Arrieta, making his major league debut, limited the Yankees to four hits over six innings and settled down after he allowed three over the 2nd and 3rd innings. The Orioles' bullpen also had a rare solid outing with closer of the day David Hernandez notching his first big league save.

A.J. Burnett was handed a 3-2 lead and seemed to be in a groove after allowing a pair of runs in the 1st inning. But he surrendered Scott Moore's first home run of the year in the 5th to tie it and gave up a pair of one out rockets an inning later to give Baltimore the lead for good.

Luke Scott ripped a shot to right that appeared would be caught by a leaping Nick Swisher, but the Yankees right fielder seemingly mistimed his jump and Scott had himself a triple. Adam Jones followed with a gapper to right-center for a double and a 4-3 Orioles lead.

Robinson Cano's streak of nine straight multi-hit games at Camden Yards came to an end, but he did reach on a one out double in the 2nd inning. Two batters later Curtis Granderson plated him with a triple in the right field corner.

An inning later the Yankees took the lead when Chad Moeller reached on a lead off walk and scored on Derek Jeter's double. Jeter moved to third base on the play and scored on Nick Swisher's sac fly to give the Yankees their only lead of the game, 3-2.


Alex Rodriguez left the game after just a half inning of play due to stiffness in his groin. He barely moved on an RBI hit by Jones in the bottom of the 1st and was lifted for pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena in the top of the 2nd. For now he's day-to-day, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him sit out a couple of games against the Houston Astros this weekend.

Jorge Posada's catching sessions have gotten more intense, but there's still no word as to when he'll return to the position in a game.

photo courtesy of

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yankees 2010 Draft List

Here's the complete list of the Yankees amateur draft choices courtesy of Josh Norris, Trenton Thunder beat writer.

1 32 Cito Culver SS Irondequoit HS, Rochester, N.Y. N.Y.
2 82 Angelo Gumbs OF Torrance (Calif.) HS Calif.
3 112 Rob Segedin 3B Tulane La.
4 145 Mason Williams OF West Orange HS, Winter Garden, Fla. Fla.
5 175 Tommy Kahnle RHP Lynn (Fla.) Fla.
6 205 Gabe Encinas RHP St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Calif.
7 235 Jake Anderson OF Woodlawn HS, Baton Rouge La.
8 265 Kyle Roller 1B East Carolina N.C.
9 295 Taylor Morton RHP Bartlett (Tenn.) HS Tenn.
10 325 Ben Gamel OF Bishop Kenny HS, Jacksonville, Fla. Fla.
11 355 Zach Varce RHP Portland Ore.
12 385 Daniel Burawa RHP St. John's N.Y.
13 415 Tyler Austin C Heritage HS, Conyers, Ga. Ga.
14 445 Travis Dean RHP Newton (Mass.) South HS Mass.
15 475 Chase Whitley RHP Troy Ala.
16 505 Evan Rutckyj LHP St. Joseph's HS, St. Thomas, Ont.
17 535 Preston Claiborne RHP Tulane La.
18 565 Kevin Jacob RHP Georgia Tech Georgia
19 595 Kevin Jordan OF Northside HS, Columbus, Ga. Ga.
20 625 Mike Ferraro OF San Diego Calif.
21 655 Dustin Hobbs RHP Yavapai (Ariz.) JC Ariz.
22 685 Trevor Johnson LHP JC of the Desert (Calif.) Calif.
23 715 Shane Brown C Central Florida Fla.
24 745 Connor Mullee RHP Saint Peter's (N.J.) N.J.
25 775 Casey Stevenson 2B UC Irvine Calif.
26 805 Richard Hively RHP Santa Ana (Calif.) JC Calif.
27 835 Martin Viramontes RHP Loyola Marymount Calif.
28 865 Josh Dezse RHP Olentangy Liberty HS, Powell, Ohio Ohio
29 895 Stewart Ijames OF Louisville Ky.
30 925 Zach Nuding RHP Weatherford (Texas) JC Texas
31 955 Michael Gipson RHP Florida Atlantic Fla.
32 985 Kramer Sneed LHP Barton (N.C.) N.C.
33 1015 Michael Hachadorian RHP San Diego Mesa JC Calif.
34 1045 Keenan Kisch RHP Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa. Pa.
35 1075 Will Oliver RHP Palomar (Calif.) JC Calif.
36 1105 Nick McCoy C San Diego Calif.
37 1135 Cam Hobson LHP Dayton Ohio
38 1165 James Ramsay OF Brandon (Fla.) HS Fla.
39 1195 Jacob Brugman OF Desert Vista HS, Phoenix Ariz.
40 1225 Mike Gerber OF Neuqua Valley HS, Napierville, Ill. Ill.
41 1255 Tymothy Pearson OF Thurston HS, Springfield, Ore. Ore.
42 1285 Mike O'Neill OF Olentangy Liberty HS, Powell, Ohio Ohio
43 1315 Kyle Hunter LHP Kansas State Kan.
44 1345 David Middendorf LHP Northern Kentucky Ky.
46 1405 Nathan Forer RHP Southern Illinois Ill.
47 1435 Frederick Lewis LHP Tennessee Wesleyan Tenn.
48 1465 Alex Brown RHP Amphitheater HS, Tucson Ariz.
49 1495 Will Arthur OF Abbotsford (B.C.) SS
50 1525 Matt Rice C Western Kentucky Ky.