Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yankees Send Mazzaro Back to Jersey

New Jersey native Vin Mazzaro had plenty of family and friends in attendance for tonight's Yankees-A's contest, but the Bergen County native wouldn't make it out of the 4th inning. The Yankees belted three home runs to help Phil Hughes earn his 16th win in a 9-3 victory. The win also put the Yankees in sole possession of first place for the first time in over a week. The Yankes got help from the Toronto Blue Jays, who belted the Tampa Bay Rays 13-5.

Hughes struggled with his control and neared 100 pitches when he completed his 5th and final inning. But the right-hander got plenty of run support early. Already up 1-0 in the 1st, the Yankees added a second run when Mark Ellis booted Nick Swisher's potential inning ending ground out. The error allowed Derek Jeter to come home for a 2-0 lead. The A's continued their Bad News Bears impersonation when left fielder Jeff Larish got to close to the wall on Jorge Posada's RBI drive. Posada should have been a dead duck at third as he tried to stretch his double into a triple, but Kevin Kouzmanoff couldn't handle throw that clearly had the Yankees' catcher beat. It was Posada's first triple of the season.

Up 3-1 in the 3rd, Nick Swisher got the green light on a 3-0 fastball and drilled it into the seats for a 5-1 Yankees advantage. An inning later Curtis Granderson went yard to give the Bombers a 6-2 edge before Mark Teixeira busted the game open with a 3-run blast. It was the 30th home run of the year for the first baseman, the seventh straight year he's accomplished the feat.

Chad Gaudin (3 IP) and David Robertson finished up for Hughes, who told the YES Network's Kim Jones that he was embarrassed by his performance. Knowing he was done after five innings, he thanked each of his teammates as they came off the field at the end of the inning.


Lance Berkman played another rehab game at Trenton and said he's ready to rejoin the big ball club. Alex Rodriguez is expected back on Sunday.

Andy Pettitte felt sore, but good one day after another throwing session. He's expected to give it another go on Wednesday.

A.J. Burnett fights for his spot in the rotation Wednesday night against left-hander Brett Anderson.

Yankees Crush A's, But Javy's The Story

With Dustin Moseley still trying to make a name for himself, Andy Pettitte still on the DL, and A.J. Burnett still pitching crazy after all these years, Javier Vazquez knows he has an opportunity to step up. He did just that last night, throwing 4.2 innings of relief in the Yankees 11-5 laugher over the Oakland A's. A minor adjustment made by pitching coach Dave Eiland seemed to make the difference for Vazquez, who was unusually animated during last night's game.
All it took was Vazquez moving his leg kick backward and in, which, in turn, allows him to have more momentum going forward. And, as a result, according to the right-hander, his ball doesn’t tail inside as much, because he’s throwing more over the top instead of dropping his arm slot. (Source: NJ.com)
The game didn't start off well as Moseley struggled, allowing three runners to cross home plate in the 1st inning. The Yankees immdiately answered back and took a 5-3 lead. But when Moseley gave up another run in the 4th and put runners on base in the 5th, Joe Girardi had seen enough. Vazquez was making his third relief appearance of the season and earned the win (his second in relief) after allowing just a single run the rest of the way. His fastball was clocked at a consistent 90 mph and was offset by low-to-mid 70's off speed stuff that kept hitters off balance all night. And Vazquez's own hitters game him more than ample support.

Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup after missing most of the weekend series with the Chicago White Sox with a bruised thumb. Tex hit back to back home runs with Robinson Cano and added a double, single, and three runs scored. Nick Swisher enjoyed a 3-hit, 3-RBI night, and Marcus Thames continued his torrid streak with a 3-run bash of his own. In his last five starts, Thames has six home runs and 11 RBI.

Oakland starter Trevor Cahill entred the game with a 2.43 ERA, but saw it rise nearly 40 points after he allowed eight earned runs in four innings.

Now Vazquez must sit and wait. He could replace Moseley, who has allowed 14 earned runs in his last 19.2 innings or A.J. Burnett if were to have another rocky outing on Wednesday. For now, the Yankees are glad they have an experienced starter to pick up some long relief innings.


Lance Berkman began the first of two game Trenton rehab stint and went 2-5. He could be activated in time for Wednesday night's Yankees game.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I've Lost That Loving Feeling

In the early part of the 2009 season there was no way you could realistically believe that the Yankees were a championship caliber team. The bullpen was in shambles. The hitting was inconsistent. The team seemed uninspired (except for some pie shots). But, the key to things staying steady and eventually improving was the starting rotation.

CC Sabathia was, well, CC Sabathia. A.J. Burnett had his ups and downs, but there were more ups than downs. Chad Gaudin stepped up to the point where he was actually being considered for a playoff start. And of course there was the Yankee of all Yankees, Andy Pettitte, doing his Pettitte best.

Things started out well this season despite an inconsistent offense and a prolonged slump by Mark Teixeira. But as we near the beginning of September this team is back to not looking like a championship caliber team. All you have to do is look at the starting pitching to figure that out.

And I repeat, CC Sabathia is, well, CC Sabathia. And then things go kind of off track.

Phil Hughes has had his struggles in the 2nd half, but he's still a 15 game winner. A 15 game winner with an innings limit that has about 30 innings left.

A.J. Burnett is about as lost as Hansel and Gretel were and he may just get baked by the witch. I'm tired of hearing from the YES and WCBS-AM announcers about how good his stuff is. Granted, he gets run support, but the White Sox Freddy Garcia, who does not have a lot left in the tank, is 11-5!

Andy Pettitte is the worrysome one. He threw 25 pitches off the mound yesterday, but didn't push off with any kind of resistance and didn't exactly sound upbeat when interviewed on Michael Kay's radio show. Without Pettitte the Yankees aren't going very far if they hang on and make the playoffs.

The pleasant surprise has of course been Dustin Moseley. But Dustin Moseley is not a household name just yet.

So what happens next: Chad Gaudin will not be in the rotation this year and Sergio Mitre blew his chance.

As expected, the Dodgers today placed Ted Lilly on waivers. You can bet the Yankees have an interest, but you can also bet another team lower in the standings is likely to claim him. Another possibility could be Lilly's teammate Hiroki Kuroda, a Japanese veteran who has just three years of MLB experience.

Looking at the list of pending 2011 free agents, there are no other pitchers out there substantially better than what the current staff is made up of. Perhaps a flier on Livan Hernandez, but that's unlikely.

Ideally, Pettitte gets physically healthy, Burnett gets mentally healthy, and the Yankees gear up for number 28. Without it, you can forget a serious run at a back to back title.

On a non-pitching note, don't be surprised if the Yankees were to claim a veteran catcher (if he's put out there), such as Brad Ausmus. Though Ausmus doesn't hit, his defensive skills and game calling are superior to Francisco Cervelli's.

Photo courtesy of NY Daily News

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Betances Makes Big Debut | Baseball Digest

Got a chance to cover the Trenton Thunder game on Tuesday for Baseball Digest. It was Dellin Betances Double-A debut. Please click the link to read all about it.

Betances Makes Big Debut | Baseball Digest

Oh Canada....Go Away

If you are a Yankees fan you are completely sick of the Toronto Blue Jays by now. Especially those games played up in Toronto where you hear the fans seranading the Bombers with "Yankees suck" chants. What happened to laid back Canuckers, eh?

You're especially sick of watching Jose Bautista hit home runs, ump Jerry Meals blowing calls, etc.

Unfortunately, the Blue Jays and Yankees aren't done yet-they meet again next weekend at Yankee Stadium. The Jays took 2 of 3 from the Yankees in early June and repeated the feat this week when they knocked off Phil Hughes last night, 6-3. In between the Jays, you guessed it, took 2 of 3 at the Stadium to start August. The only success the Pinstripes have had with the home run wrecking machine was their own 2 of 3 series win at home over the July 4th weekend.

Score Blue Jays 7 wins Yankees 5 wins

Oh and just to make matters worse...division/playoff race..three final games with the Blue Jays to end September...in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Javy To The Pen

The Yankees announce today that Javier Vazquez's next start will be skippe an he will temporarily move to the bullpen. Ivan Nova stays in the rotation for now and how he performs could dictate just how long Vazquez remains in the pen.

The dead armed right hander has averaged less than five innings in his last five starts and has been thoroughly thrashed.

Bautista Belts Bombers Again

Jose Bautista channeled his inner Reggie Jackson last night. Mr. October was famous for getting brushed back, dusting himself off, and then hitting a "take that" home run.

While Bautista didn't get decked, he took exception to a head high pitch from Yankees starter Ivan Nova, and got into a shouting match with the rookie. Both benches emptied, but nothing more came of it. That was until the 8th inning when Bautista, who had earlier hit his 39th home run off Nova, drilled his 40th off of David Robertson for a 3-2 Toronto Blue Jays win.

Bautista's season is one of mystery. This is a guy that never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. Now he's reached 40 faster (124 games) than other player in Blue Jays history and is 7 home runs short of George Bell's team record of 47.

Because of players like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, and yes, Alex Rodriguez, every batter is under suspicion, especially those with a sudden spike in home run power. I would never accuse of player of taking PEDs and I don't believe that Bautista is; not with today's strict testing.

Bautista, who has six bombs against the Yankees this season, is not happy with the speculation and who can blame him.
“I haven’t heard it once,” Bautista responded evenly when asked for his reaction to the unfounded allegations. “Nobody’s said anything to me, and I don’t see why they should. Baseball has a strict policy against those performance-enhancing whatever you want to call them.”

“It’s not a secret and I didn’t reinvent the wheel,” Bautista said. “I keep saying it because it’s the truth. It’s as simple as getting [his swing] started earlier, and I’ve got Cito and [hitting coach] Dwayne Murphy to thank for that.

“They kind of brought it to my attention and they worked with me extensively and it’s sort of the renaissance of my hitting. I owe it to them because without them it wouldn’t have been possible.”

Bautista said he doesn’t consider himself a power hitter – “I don’t aim over the fence” – but he sees no reason why he can’t continue to hit with the same authority in years to come.

“If I can remain consistent, I don’t see why not,” he said. “I think I’m still pretty young. I keep myself in shape and don’t abuse my body.”

Whether you believe him or not, Bautista does deserve the benefit of the doubt.

As for the Yankees, there weren't too many positives coming out of last night's game. One exception was the performance of Nova, whom Joe Girardi pulled after just 5.1 innings pitched and 73 pitches. He allowed the 2-run home run by Bautista that put the Jays up 2-1, but that came with some controversy.

Yuniel Escobar could/should/would have been the third out of the 3rd inning, but 1st base umpire Mark Wegner ruled Mark Teixeira had not kept his foot on the 1st base bag on shortstop Eduardo Nunez's throw. Bautista then made the Yankees pay.

Robinson Cano was right in the middle of the action as usual, doubling in the Yankees 1st run and then tying the game at two apiece when he walked and came home on Nick Swisher's single.

The Yankees struck out 15 times, 12 by starter Brandon Morrow, but none was more upsetting than a horrible called third strike on Curtis Granderson in the 9th inning.

Cano had led off the inning with a walk against closer Kevin Gregg and Jorge Posada followed with a deep fly that just missed leaving the park. That brought up Granderson who got punched out by home plate ump Jerry Meals, who finished a bad night with one more bad call. The strike three pitch was clearly out of the strike zone, in fact it was nearly in the right-handed hitter's batters box.

Meals, shouldn't have earned a post-game one, after also ejecting Escobar and Jays' manager Cito Gaston in the 5th inning.

The series continues tonight with Dustin Moseley facing Marc Rzepczynski (and no, I didn't spell that right the first time.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Head Idiot Back With Old Town Team?

Rumors are circulating that Johnny Damon, waived by the Detroit Tigers, has been claimed by none other than his old team the Boston Red Sox. None of this of course has been verified as of yet.

Perhaps Boston can claim Manny Ramirez too.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Hell, I'm not, but today I participated in my first ever fantasy football draft. I've been doing roto baseball for 16 years and hockey on and off during that time. I figured I'll give it a shot so I joined a public Yahoo league as a newbie.

Here's my roster.

QB - Drew Brees
QB - Eli Manning
RB - Cedric Benson
RB - Jonathan Stewart
RB - Ahmad Bradshaw
RB - LaDainian Tomlinson
WR - Marques Colston
WR - Wes Welker
WR - Vincent Jackson
WR - Kenny Britt
TE - Vernon Davis
TE - Greg Olsen
K - David Akers

Defense - Pittsburgh Steelers
Dallas Cowboys

I had the 2nd pick in the draft. With Chris Johnson chosen, the 2nd pick was a Brees. I was hoping for the Jets or Vikings defense, but they were gone before I decided to go for some 'D'.

Looks like a decent team. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

CC and Yankees Storm Past M's

The weather didn't look promising for a ball game today, but good things happen when CC Sabathia toes the rubber at Yankee Stadium. The big man's outing was cut to six innings by a rain delay, but Robinson Cano and the Yankees rained on the Seattle Mariners' parade 10-0.

Sabathia improved to 17-5 and 10-0, 2.46 at Yankee Stadium this season. Austin Kearns snapped a scoreless tie when he hit a solo home run off Luke French in the 4th and inning later the Yankees' MVP busted the game open.

Cano, also a front-runner for league MVP, smacked his second grand slam of the season in the 5th for a 5-0 lead. "Don'tcha know" was done though. The one time monumental failure with the bases juiced, came up again with the sacks full the very next inning and delivered again. This time with a 2-run single for an 8-0 lead. For the season, Cano has delivered 21 RBI and is 8-13 (.615) with the bases loaded.

Sabathia meanwhile limited the M's to three hits and struck out eight while not walking a batter. The left-hander is 13-2 since June 1.


On the 49th anniversary of Roger Maris become the first major leaguer to reach 50 home runs in August, Jorge Posada also homered. It was Sado's 258 career home run in Pinstripes, one behind Alex Rodriguez. Oddly the team is 12-0 without A-Rod this year.

Derek Jeter picked up career hit 2,891. He scored his 1,662 run, which put him 14 runs behind Mickey Mantle for 3rd place on the franchise list. The Captain's 930th walk placed him 4 back of Roy White for 6th on the team top 10.

Austin Kearns has been an afterthought compared to the acquisitions of Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood, but the outfielder has quietly and successfully gone about his business. With a 1-4 day today he's 14-41 (.341) with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 doubles, and a .989 OPS.

Band On The Run

Just for the hell of it.

Breaking News: Lou Piniella Retiring Today

Lou Piniella had already announced he would be retiring after this season, but he's cut the season even shorter to be with his ailing 90-yr old mother.

My best wishes go out to Lou and his family in this tough time.

Not everyone likes or loves Sweet Lou (my Mrs. included), but he will always have a special place in my heart for his time as a Yankees player. One of a kind.

Sunday Not in the Park With No George - An AL Look

It's Sunday, August 22...the baseball season is into the full stretch drive. Football is around the corner. And that really annoys me. Love football, but not this soon. I hate seeing people throw a football when I'm down the shore (that's on the beach to you non-Jersey types).

Today we'll just take a look at American League

The AL East race is going to the finish for sure. And I still stand by my words that it will between the Yankees and Rays for the division title as well as the wild card. Boston has hung in remarkably well despite a plethora of injuries, ineffectiveness from Josh Beckett, and a human Jon Papelbon.

Pitching is the key as always. I talked about the Yankees pitching concerns yesterday, and the Rays have them as well with both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann expected back from the DL this week. Jeremy Hellickson was sent back to the minors to work out of the bullpen, but could still be placed back in the rotation if Davis or Niemann continue to struggle with their health.

Player to Watch - Derek Jeter. Lots of players I could have chosen here, but the Captain needs to be consistent down the stretch to set the table for the Yankees big guns.

The AL Central race should go to the wire as well with the Twins emerging as the cream of the crop. They were my pick all along and that hasn't changed. Now they have a 4 game lead over the White Sox.

The Twins pitching, outside of Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano, has been incredibly inconsistent. Kevin Slowey has been suffering from tendinitis. It caused him to be pulled after 7 no-hit innings two starts ago. Yesterday he lasted only 3 innings. Scott Baker has been better of late and the Twins are recalling Nick Blackburn who has had a miserable year and killed my fantasy team until I kicked him to the curb. But they're still the better all around team.

Player to watch - Jim Thome. The masher has been mashing and that's great news for the Twins, especially since no one knows when and if Justin Morneau will be back.

The AL West is the Texas Rangers division to lose and I don't see that happening. Oakland has crept back to within 6 1/2 games, but this Texas team is too good not to hold on.

Cliff Lee had one of his worst outings yesterday (5.1 IP 8 ER) and has allowed 16 earned runs in his last 19.2 innings pitched. Overall he's 2-4, 4.18 in 9 starts since being acquired from Seattle. Tommy Hunter has crashed back to earth. After an 8-0 start, he's 1-2, 9.40 in his last four starts. He's lasted only three innings in three of those starts.

The Rangers really need Ian Kinsler back in the lineup. He's missed significant time twice this season with ankle and groin injuries and the lineup misses him. But Texas has the guy who is still my front runner for the MVP Award, Josh Hamilton.

The A's have gotten back in the race thanks to young pitchers Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill, and a decent bullpen. A pen that is missing closer Andrew Bailey.

Player to watch - Cliff Lee; he needs to get back on track.

Early Awards

MVP- Josh Hamilton; runner up - Robinson Cano; third - Adrian Beltre

CY Young - There are number of players, including the guy I would like to see win - CC Sabathia- but for now I am going to give a slight edge to David Price. Clay Buchholz, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Felix Hernandez are all in the mix.

Manager of the Year - Cito Gaston. The Blue Jays skipper is retiring after this season, just like his mentor Bobby Cox. In baseball's toughest division, Gaston has the Blue Jays playing over .500 and abusing their division rivals. Ozzie Guillen and Ron Washington are also in the mix.

Rookie of the Year - Neftali Feliz. The rookie has stepped right in to close for a first place team and has been outstanding. Others who have shown top form at times - Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Wade Davis, John Jaso, Mitch Talbot, and Reid Brignac.

Biggest surprise - The Chicago White Sox. I really didn't see this coming despite the Chisox rotation. I figured they would have sold off most of their parts by now.

Biggest disappointment - Seattle Mariners, again. Seriously. A team with that much talent that is that bad.

Has his work cut out for him in '11 - Buck Showalter in remaking the Orioles image, ability, and performance.

Worst free agent signing - Nick Johnson; Everyone knew but you Cash.

Best free agent signing - Adrian Beltre; runner up - Carl Pavano

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BD.com - A-Rod to DL, Javy Should Follow

Written for BaseballDigest.com

Shortly after the Yankees 9-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners this afternoon, the team announced it had placed Alex Rodriguez on the 15-day DL with his troublesome strained calf. The Yankees would be wise to have Javier Vazquez join him on the sideline.

The Yankees were able to overcome the right-hander's shortest outing since May 1, when Vazquez also lasted just three innings, by beating up on Jason Vargas and the Mariners' bullpen.

Vazquez was diagnosed with a dead arm several starts ago and has regressed rapidly. His last five starts have gone from bad to worse - 6.1, 5.1, 4.1, 4, and 3 innings pitched. He's been tagged for 16 earned runs in 20 innings and has seen his ERA rise from 4.45 to 5.05 since July 10. He's also been ripped for 35 hits during the stretch and has walked 12 batters to boot.

Dead arm, tired arm, call it what you want, it's not something a pitcher can work through. What it does, however, is wear out the bullpen. The Yankees got exceptional work from the pen today, specifically the beleaguered Chad Gaudin who shut down the M's after entering the game in a 4-4 tie.

When Vazquez has no velocity, which has been the case in his last five starts, he has to be perfect with his location. That's just as hard to do as it sounds. And when Vazquez doesn't hit locations, home runs are sure to follow. Today it was a pair from Ichiro Suzuki and a monster upper deck shot, the first in the new Yankee Stadium, to right field by Russell Branyan.

I had a Twitter discussion a short time ago with Jack Curry of YES, who felt there was no need for the Yankees to bring in another starting pitcher. I disagreed then and I do now. How long the call up will last remains to be seen, but Ivan Nova has been summoned from Scranton to take A-Rod's place on the 25-man roster and is scheduled to start Monday night in Toronto.

With Andy Pettitte probably not back until early September and A.J. Burnett's continued inconsistency, the Yankees should definitely take a long look at Nova or another minor leaguer. Brian Cashman's daily to-do list should also include checking the waiver wire for a decent starter. While they're not likely to land a top notch starter, perhaps a serviceable arm will be available.

With an off day this coming Thursday, manager Joe Girardi is also likely to revise the rotation so that Burnett and Vazquez are not throwing on back to back days.

Speaking of waiver wires, the Detroit News reported earlier today that both Johnny Damon and Brandon Inge have been placed on waivers. Stop before you start, the Yankees do NOT need Damon back. It shouldn't even be up for discussion.

Inge, on the other hand, should be a player the Yankees put in a claim on. The third baseman is pretty slick with the glove, and though he doesn't hit for average, he does have pop; he had career highs in HR (27) and RBI (84) last season. Inge's numbers are down this season, but he missed a large chunk of games with a broken hand. The former catcher could also be used in that position in a pinch- he caught 60 games as recently as 2008, and has some outfield experience as well.

In the meantime, Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena figure to split the bulk of the work at third base. Nunez had his first major league hit and RBI in this afternoon's contest.

Yankees Bow Down To The King

Won-Loss records in baseball aren't indicative for starting pitchers. Just look at Felix Hernandez. "The King" dominated the Yankee for a third time this season, yet has the same number of wins (9) as the bumbling, stumbling, inconsistent A.J. Burnett.

His royal pitchness has allowed one, I said one, earned run in 26 innings with 31 strikeouts against the supposedly potent Yankees lineup. The Yankees have hit just .176 (16 hits) in the three starts.

Burnett put the Yankees in an immediate hole last night when he gave up the first of two bombs to Russell Branyan to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead in the 1st. The audible groan from the crowd was expected since the King was toeing the rubber for the M's.

Just that quickly a team can lose it's good feeling. The Yankees just took 3 of 4 from the Tigers, but now after losing the opener to an inferior Mariners team, the Yankees are in danger of losing the three game series. You can't have much confidence, again, in Javier Vazquez these days. His loss of velocity has returned along with an associated lack of pinpoint control. This is a problem.

Vazquez's last four starts have regressed from 6.1 to 5.1 to 4.1 to 4 innings pitched. He's allowed 16 earned runs in those 20 innings. By the way, Vazquez also has the same number of wins as the King.

Jorge Vargas, wow..9 wins too, gets the start for the M's today. He limited the Yankees to a run over 7 innings in his previous start (no decision) against them this year. He's got a 4.15 ERA in three career appearances, two of which were starts.

There will be no Alex Rodriguez in the lineup tonight either. One at-bat is all A-Rod lasted last night after his calf prevented him from doing more than loping down to first base. Can't even imagine why he was in the lineup at all; his calf couldn't have felt that good beforehand. A DL trip is a definite possibility as well as a look at the waiver wire again. In case A-Rod is out for a substantial amount of time you really don't want Ramiro Pena's bat in the lineup on any consistent basis (esp. when Francisco Cervelli is in there too).

Is Edwin Nunez the Yankees heir apparent to the Captain? Who knows, but Nunez will get a look while Lance Berkman is on the DL with a sprained ankle.

Back with more later.

In the meantime, whose better than Eric Clapton and BB King?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A-Rod Can Hit Home Runs Again

Alex Rodriguez's days of pressing to hit home runs are behind him. With #600 in the rear view mirror, A-Rod exploded tonight for three home runs as the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3.

The game was tied at one apiece when A-Rod stepped to the plate in the 6th and drilled a Sean O'Sullivan pitch to deep center field for his 19th home run of the season. Two batters later Jorge Posada went even deeper to center with a tremendous blast for a 3-1 Yankees lead. The Yankees were still not done. The next hitter, Curtis Granderson, pulled an O'Sullivan pitch into the right field seats to increase the lead to 4-1.

The Royals got a couple of runs back off Phil Hughes to cut the Yankees lead to 4-3, but A-Rod was just getting started. In the 7th, he went to center again with a man aboard for a 6-3 lead. Former Yankees farmhand Kanekoa Texeira was the victim for career home run #603.

Just as he had in the 7th, Mark Teixeira reached safely in the 9th prior to A-Rod going deep. Home run #21 on the year and 604 for his career came off Greg Holland and was his longest of the night- a 439 ft shot into the left field seats. It was the 4th 3-home run game of A-Rod's career.

Hughes had an up and down evening and had trouble locating his fastball, but was solid enough (6 IP 3 ER) to pick up his 14th win of the season.


A-Rod now has 97 RBI and stole his 4th base on the front end of a double steal. Jorge Posada picked up steal #2 on the back end of the play.

Derek Jeter extended his career high errorless streak to 51 games.

Joba Chamberlain has not allowed an earned run in his last 8.2 IP.

UPDATE - 1:00 PM 8/15 - According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since hitting home run #500 against the Royals, A-Rod has hit more home runs against KC (13) than any other team. He's gone deep 12 times against both the Angels and Rays.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Good Things Happen To Those Who Don't Watch

I admit it. I shut off the TV last night when the 6th Texas run crossed home plate last night. Down 6-1 against Cliff Lee there was no way the Yankees were coming back.

Only they did.

Now while I messed around on Facebook and played Spider Spolitaire and considered going to bed early, I also kept checking the score on Yahoo Sports.

A wild pitch, a Lance Berkman ribbie double. Brett Gardner finally gets a hit..hmm, 6-4.

Resisting urge to turn the game back on; they're doing fine without me.

Marcus Thames homers off Frank Francisco in the 8th to cut the lead to 6-5. Will NOT put the game on.

The game is tied and two are on...CLICK...we now return you to your normal programming day. Just in time to see Marcus Thames single through the left side to put the Yankees on top 7-6.

But this isn't over yet. Elvus Andrus triples off Mariano Rivera to start the bottom of the 9th. Perhaps I should have left the game off.

But Mo would make Houdini proud.

Michael Young bloops one to right for a sure game tying single. But wait. Austin Kearns shoe top catch saves the day for a moment. Even Mo said "Oh God" to himself when Kearns caught it.

Next Mo gets the league's leading hitter Josh Hamilton to hit a comebacker for the 2nd out. That leaves it up to the dangerous Nelson Cruz, but the big outfielder grounds out to A-Rod. Yankees win. THeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!


Kerry Wood picked up his first win as a Yankee. Though he's walked too many hitters, he's allowed just one earned run and struck out nine in six innings pitched.

Jorge Posada was back behind the dish after sitting out all of Tuesday's game with a sore shoulder.

George King of the NY Post reported that Andy Pettitte was scratched from a simulated start today. No reason was given.

Curtis Granderson has had his swing revamped by Kevin Long in hopes of turning his season around. Granderson will unveil the new look tonight in Kansas City.

Javier Vazquez's last three starts have not been good - 6.1 - 5.1 - 4.1 innings pitched. He's allowed 13 earned runs in the 15 innings with 22 hits and 7 walks.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


It's been a strange season for the NY Mets, but things got a whole lot odder tonight. Closer Francisco Rodriguez was arrested after punching his father in-law in the face.

No word yet on what led to the scuffle, but several news sources have stated that K-Rod was removed by stadium security and was arrested. Meanwhile, K-Rod's F-I-L was pretty marked up and reportedly had a head injury.

K-Rod's lone comment on the situation was, "None of your fucking business".

A Cycle Of Home Runs

Alex Rodriguez has never done it. Neither has Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds, Jim Thome, or anyone else that I am aware of. That is until now.

Toms River National little leaguer Kevin Blum did what all those (would be) future Hall of Famers haven't done. He hit for a cycle of home runs in this past Sunday's little league contest.

That's right- a solo shot, a 2-run home run, a 3-run blast, and the grand slammy of them all, the "ducks on the pond" home run.

The Capitol City, DC area team fell victim to Blum's10 RBI onslaught in New Jersey's 21-0 win in Little Little Baseball regional action in Bristol, CT. If Blum keeps this up, he'll be regularly featured on that little sports network down in the road in Bristol.

Blum followed up his weekend performance with two more home runs, both solo shots, on Tuesday when the NJ representatives handed Stony Brook, NY their first loss of the tournament.

Rangers Walkoff Cuts Bombers Lead To 1/2 Game

These nights are going to happen; when Mariano Rivera will be human. You just wish they wouldn't happen on nights when the Yankees offense was short handed and short on big hits. On nights when the Yankees have won only 3 of 7 coming in. But they do and tonight was one of them. Texas used three singles, none of them hit hard, and an intentional walk to beat the Yankees 4-3 in 10 innings.

Alex Rodriguez had forced the extra frame with his 601st career home run in the 8th, but the Yankees failed to take the lead despite opportunities in two of the final three innings.

Michael Young beat Derek Jeter's throw to first for an infield single to start the 10th and Josh Hamilton followed with a bouncer through the right side to put two men aboard.

A-Rod temporarily saved the day when he made a diving stop of a Vlad Guerrero ground out and threw out the big DH at 1st base. Rivera intentionally walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases and quickly fell behind David Murphy 3-0. The Yankees closer came back to get the count full, but then left a cutter up in the zone that Murphy laced to right for the game winning RBI.

A.J. Burnett bounced back from his rough outing against Toronto last week and back spams that pushed his start back three days, but gave up a go ahead 2-run blast to Murphy in the 6th.

The Yankees had pushed two runs across the board in 5.1 innings against Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, but it took Rodriguez's 18th home run of the year off of Frank Francisco to even things up. The Yankees, with a starting lineup missing Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, had a chance to do further damage in the inning when Austin Kearns drew a walk and pinch-runner Curtis Granderson advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch.

Granderson moved to 3rd on Lance Berkman's fly out, but Francisco Cervelli lined out softly to 1st and Brett Gardner grounded out to short.

The Yankees also had a chance in the 9th against Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. Robinson Cano, who entered the game in the 6th as a pinch-hitter, led off the inning with a single. That's when the Yankees luck ran out. With the hit and run on, Derek Jeter bounced a ball to the right side that Cano had to hold up on to avoid being out for interference. He might as well have been as the bouncer turned into a back breaking 4-6-3 double play.


Mark Teixeira will miss the conclusion of the series on Wednesday as well. He was with his wife Leigh for the birth of their third child, William Charles.

Robinson Cano sat out the start of the game with a bad cold.

Home plate ump Mike Estabrook was a thorn in the Yankees side all night. He reversed a safe call on Lance Berkman in the early going and had a moving strike zone, especially when Brett Gardner was up. Joe Girardi was so incensed after the call reversal (even though it was the right call), that bench coach Tony Pena came out to usher him off the field.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Red Sox Inch Past Yankees

Baseball is a game of inches. We've heard it a thousand times and it was never truer than this afternoon. Marcus Thames' 7th inning drive came within inches of being a game tying 2-run blast. Instead, the Yankees ended up stranding the bases loaded and the Boston Red Sox went on to a 2-1 win in the series finale.

Thames followed Jorge Posada's lead off single with a fly to right-center that hit the very top of the wall and bounced back into play for a double. Red Sox starter Jon Lester then hit Austin Kearns to load the bases. But that's where all the good came to an end. Lester struck out Curtis Granderson and Daniel Bard came on to blow away Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to escape the threat.

Phil Hughes struggled in the early going, throwing 57 pitches in the 1st two innings alone, but settled down thereafter. Bill Hall gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning with an RBI single and J.D. Drew added an RBI ground out later in the frame.

Lester was masterful and held the Yankees hitless until Kearns' single with one out in the 5th. The Yankees finally got on the board in the 8th when Mark Teixeira continued his hot second half with a deep blast off of Daniel Bard. to halve the lead. But the Yankees left two more aboard in the inning when Bard retired pinch-hitter Lance Berkman on a pop up and closer Jonathan Papelbon got Kearns on an inning ending ground out. Papelbon then struck out Swisher and Teixeira with Jeter representing the tying run at 2nd base in the 9th.


Teams continue to steal on the Yankees pitchers and catcher Jorge Posada. The Red Sox stole six bases, including a franchise tying four by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Nothing Like a Good Beckett Smashing

Getting ready for today's Yankees-Red Sox series finale, but still smiling over last night's Josh Beckett drubbing. A 7-2 win made even better by a remarkable performance by Dustin Moseley.

Subbing for A.J. Burnett, Moseley was solid all night, leaving after 6.1 innings with just a Bill Hall home run allowed. Moseley was given a heads up on Saturday after Burnett bullpen session led to back spasms on Friday.

The Yankees busted the game open and sent Beckett to the showers with a 5-run 5th inning. Derek Jeter drove in 3 runs on the night and passed Babe Ruth for 39th place on the all-time MLB career hits list. He's now one hit behind another Hall of Fame member, Mel Ott, for the next spot on the list.

Mark Teixeira continued his hot second half, with his fifth home run in eight games. It was also the first time Tex had success against Beckett. And Tex became the 4th players with 25 home runs or more in each of his first eight seasons.

Lance Berkman, for now, quieted the idiot boo birds with a 3-hit night and Alex Rodriguez got over his banged up shin to steal his 300th career base. He's just the third player, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds are the others, to have 600 home runs and 300 steals. A-Rod also became the 10th player with 300 steals, 200 home runs, 2,500 hits, and 1,500 runs scored. Seriously, they actually keep track of this.

One down note in this game was Joba Chamberlain. Yes, he was victimized by a cheap infield RBI single by Mike Lowell, but it was his 3-2 pitch to punch and judy hitter Marco Scutaro that was disturbing. A slider. A guy with a plus fastball and he threw a slider. Needless to say, Scutaro walked and Joba exited. He really needs some mental pitching lessons.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday in New York

The Sunday night match up between the Yankees and Red Sox is just a little over a half hour away. It was tough listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on Saturday, and will be almost as bad with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan tonight.

CC Sabathia made yesterday's game enjoyable with a gritty, masterful performance. After a shaky start the big man settled down and the Yankees offense jumped on John Lackey. Uglier? Randy Johnson or Lackey? Still have to go with the Big Unit.

The victory was #150 in CC's career, making him the 5th youngest start to reach the milestone since 1969. He's also now 8-0, 2.64 in 11 home starts this season.

Dustin Moseley gets moved forward a day to tonight's start after A.J. Burnett came up with back spasms. Phil Hughes will slide into Monday's start, with Burnett hopefully being able to go against Texas on Tuesday. Good news though on the injury front- Alex Rodriguez is back in today's lineup after taking a Lance Berkman BP ball off the shin on Saturday.

The Yankees have a chance to gain more ground in the AL East tonight after the Rays lost to Toronto once again today. After being outscored 17-11, with 8 home runs surrendered, on Saturday, the Rays were nearly no-hit today. Brandon Morrow, who was once Seattle's version of Joba Chamberlain, struck out 17 and had a no-no with two outs in the 9th before Evan Longoria broke it up with a single.

Tampa Bay had been red hot, taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees and the first two of a four game set with the Twins, but have dropped five straight.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A-Rod Down in a Heap

And back up...breath everyone.

Beat writers on the scene at the Yankees BP moments ago tweeted that Alex Rodriguez got hit in the left leg with a ball of the bat of Lance Berkman. As if things weren't going poorly enough for Berkman right now!

After being down for several minutes and tended to by trainer Gene Monahan, A-Rod limped off on his own and went directly towards the clubhouse for further eval.

UPDATE 2:15 pm - no word on A-Rod's status as of yet. The ball hit him in the shin, which is never a good thing.

UPDATE 2:35 pm - A-Rod replaced in the lineup by Ramiro Pena.

UPDATE 2:39 pm - Reports are that A-Rod has the leg elevated, iced, and is awaiting X-Rays. Derek Jeter told reporters the ball bounced before hitting A-Rod's leg.

UPDATE 4:30 pm - The game is underway at the Stadium and this little revelation came from Fox's Joe Buck. A-Rod was distracted by none other than Buck when Berkman hit the "shin fatal" ball. One more reason to hate Buck.

UPDATE 4:40 pm - Forgot to mention that X-Rays were negative.

Time to Call It A Day

There are a number of teams still in the MLB playoff race, but there are a number of teams that should be calling it quits by September 1. That's the day rosters expand and must include players that are to be part of a playoff squad.

A number of teams were buyers at the trade deadline when they clearly shouldn't have been. Between now and 9/1, some of those teams should be looking to waive dead weight and/or trade players to true contenders.

Johnny Damon - The Tigers are dead in the AL Central (9) and Wildcard (14) races. Damon signed a 1 year, $8 million deal in the off-season and is an ideal candidate for the Tigers to move. After a great start in April, Damon absolutely stunk over the next two months before a semi-revival in July. He's started August just 4-22, but perhaps all that could change if he is into a pennant race. Then again he's hitting just .268 against right-handers.

Manny Ramirez - The Dodgers were aggressive at the deadline, getting Ted Lilly among others. But LA is going nowhere. They're 8 back in the NL West and 7 back of division rival San Fran in the Wildcard. Time to throw Manny out there and see if there are takers. The downside of course is that he's on the DL right now with a bad calf. He then aggravated it this past week, but delayed an MRI after feeling claustrophobic. (Not sure why he would have to go in head first for a calf?) Because of the uncertainty, Manny being Nuthead is likely to pass through waivers unclaimed, allowing the Dodgers to move him to his next port of call.

Adam Dunn - The Nats were never in it, but if a team has claimed (as rumored) Dunn, Washington is crazy not to move the big slugger. You can always bring him back, but getting nothing for him other than draft picks is absurd. Dunn blasted a pair of 3-run blasts last night, causing GMs everywhere to salivate.

The Mets - Sorry Mets fans, but you know better than anyone that this team is finished. Some minor moves today- released Alex Cora, sent down Jesus Feliciano, called up Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada. It's time for the Mets to start making major moves, most likely in the off-season. But if you can move Jose Reyes with good results, go for it. The Mets need a change and it should start with their oft-injured, oft-under performing shortstop. Someone would probably take Jeff Francoeur. Unfortunately, no wants Luis Castillo.

Hideki Matsui - Oh beloved Godzilla; World Series hero; poor 2010 performer. Sorry for that last one, but so true. With the Angels getting further and further behind in the AL West and Wildcard races (10, 12 respectively), Tony Reagins should be moving "The Hideki" to a contender. Juan Rivera too. Torii Hunter too. The once proud centerfielder said he can't handle the position any more. With two years left on Hunter's deal, Reagins should look for a taker.