Monday, May 31, 2010

Yanks Take Finale and Series From Indians

The Yankees managed to thump the Indians for the third time in four days. They thumped the Indian pitching on the other game, but managed to throw away leads of three runs and six runs twice to hand Cleveland a victory.

Andy Pettitte kept the Yankees and himself rolling with a dominating performance against a sad Cleveland team. Pettitte's performance was exemplary. At 37 going on 38 the lefty has been keeping hitters off balance all season and, along with Phil Hughes, he has been the ace of the staff.

Pettitte never wavered against the Indians and after a one-out single by Mark Grudzielanek he sat down the next 14 Cleveland batters to step up to the plate. Match that with how he kept the Twins from getting anything on the board late in his previous start and you have a pitcher who is riding a hot streak.

It also seems that Pettitte's mental prowess has reached a level that matches his physical ability. If he can stay healthy then the Yankee rotation will be the best in baseball when Sabathia and Burnett heat with the weather.

The last two series are exactly what the Yankees needed. Cleveland and Minnesota are two teams the Yankees tend to beat on and they came at the perfect time for New York to rebound from a tough stretch of games. May in general was the Yankees most difficult month in terms of opponents. Now they will enter June with a chance of catching the Rays and putting some serious distance between themselves and the Red Sox.

June will see New York take on sad-sack teams such as the Astros, Diamondbacks, Mets, Orioles and Blue Jays. Not to mention the seven games against Seattle at the end of June and the start of July, plus more games against the Blue Jays and a rematch of Braden vs. A-Rod. It will be a great way to pump up the Yanks record before the All-Star break.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sox Destroy Rays

Boy was I wrong. Last night's 11-3 drubbing in Tampa completed the Sox three game sweep of the Rays. The Sox touched up nemesis Matt Garza for 6 runs in 5 innings. And who wants to trade David Ortiz now after hitting his 10th HR of the season? Adrian Beltre also had a small contribution...with 6 RBI!

This is just a drop in the bucket as far as the division and Wild Card are concerned, but these wins provided a shred of hope. Of course, you can't have disappointment without hope either. For the time being I'm going to relish the smack down of Matt Garza. Take that Lizard Boy!

Naturally all of this junk I'm talking with probably lead to a woeful performance against KC in the coming days. But for now, I'm going to bask in this win.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sox Show Phils Who's Boss

After losing game one, Boston bounced back to take two of three from the NL Champ Phillies in their own building. Tim Wakefield followed Dice-K's near no-no with a gem of his own as the Sox stymied Philidelphia's potent line up two games in a row. There would have been a second shut out as well if not for Ramon Ramirez throwing batting practice in the ninth. Boston also pounded familiar foe Roy Halladay for 7 runs over 5 2/3. Sox batters struck out just once.

The Sox start a three game series with the Rays tomorrow before heading home to face ego booster Kansas City. They may need it. The Trop has proved completely vexing for the Sox for three seasons now. I don't have very high hopes for that series. It's just another opportunity for the Rays to pad their divisional lead.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I can't believe it. My wife is out. My son is in bed. And I cannot watch the galldern Red Sox game because Fox has the rights to both Red Sox vs. Phillies and Yankees vs. Mets. My TV market gets the Yankees. This has got to be the only game of the year when I can't watch the Sox anywhere, and it's at a time when I could actually sit down and watch the whole thing. Thanks Fox for giving me yet another reason to hate you!!

Update 9:44pm - Dice-K has a no-hitter in the 8th. Ruppert Murdoch, I am going to personally kick your fascist behind.

Update 9:51pm - Dice-K just gave up a single and the no-no is no more. Maybe I'll beat down Murdoch anyway just for fun. That is if I can get past the dogs or the bees or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Message to Yanks and Sawks Fans: Pack it in.

We can start to pack it in and I am not only talking to Red Sox fans. Clearly, this isn’t the year for the red sox. A team supposedly bit on pitching and defense has allowed 222 runs this year the most in the AL, and the offense is what everyone thought it would be: average. Epstein should use this year to develop young talent and get something in return for the wilting flowers of the locker room known as JD Drew, Mike Lowell, and David Ortiz.

Conversely, the Yankees have been playing fairly well. Sabbathia and Hughes have carried the rotation. Robinson Cano is having an MVP year and Jeter, Rivera, and Pettitte refuse to get old. But if you look at the facts it seems unlikely the Yankees will repeat. And the reason for that is obviously : The Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays are the best team, and I stress team, in baseball and it is not even that close. They have enough pitching to choke a horse, a dynamic lineup, and if you have see the Rays play, it seems like they can get to any ball hit in the field of play.

Another important factor is this is likely the last year for a few key players in Florida. This is their chance to win the Series. They will pull out all the financial stops and get the best team on the field. They have the experience of the 2008 postseason under their belt and a manager who seems smart enough to get out of the way.

I know some fans of the blog will remind me that there is another league of teams to consider, but none of them are as complete as the Rays. The Giants can pitch and if they get into the playoffs could give some teams problems. The Phillies are good, but not unbeatable. They have a weak bullpen and lack depth at the major league and minor league level. [On a sidenote: I heard a report by a scout say something like the Rays have something like 12 major league ready pitchers in the organization. (5 in Tampa Bay and 7 other in the minor leagues. 7!!!)] If someone is hurt or loses focus they can be replaced easily and at a low cost.

This is the year of the Rays and it is not even that close.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lester Outlasts Liriano

While Francisco Liriano was chased from tonight's game after 4 2/3, Jon Lester pitched the 5th complete game of his career as the Sox won 6-2. Though he allowed a couple of runs late, Lester was untouchable throughout. All the off-speed stuff, particularly the change up, looked nasty. The most impressive sequence was when Lester struck out the side in order in the seventh. Among the victims were both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Lester was incredibly efficient as well completing his start with only 103 pitches, 27 less than his no-hitter in '08.

On the offensive side, the Sox jumped all over Liriano early. Kevin Youkilis contributed with a three run homer and an RBI double as the Sox built up a 5-0 lead before Liriano left. Victor Martinez joined the party with three doubles scoring two runs as a result.

Finally the Sox really handle a quality opponent. The problem all year has been that the Sox fold when matched against a team that will directly compete with them for a playoff spot. They've been mediocre at best against the likes of the Yankees, Rays, Tigers, and until tonight and last night, the Twins. It's nice to beat up on the Royals and all that, but the Sox need success against the legit AL contenders.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ramirez Acts Like a Baby

No not Manny... Hanley. Apparently his loafing incident was not his first transgression. Perhaps Theo knew something when he traded him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yanks and Sox ...Again

Sorry to say folks, but I just can't get up for a Yanks vs. Sox game in mid-May with absolutely nothing on the line. I was watching "Six Feet Under" on DVD instead. (Only two more episodes in the fifth and final season! It's truly one of the best shows ever in my opinion. Being on HBO was a blessing and a curse. HBO gave Alan Ball the freedom to make an amazing show. But not everyone could watch it.)

I did manage to tune in during all the pivotal moments as I checked in here and there. Third inning: Dice-K beat up. Yanks lead 5-1. Sixth inning: Sox inevitable comeback. Yanks lead cut to 7-6. Eighth inning: Sox complete comeback. Sox lead 9-7. 7:30am, Tuesday: I wake to find Sox defeated 11-9. I've seen it all before and I'm too old to stay awake for it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yanks Smack Around Twins

The Yankees must almost feel pity for the Twins when the come to Yankee Stadium. Minnesota simply cannot win in the Big Apple. The Twins haven't won a new game in the new Yankee Stadium and before that hadn't won in New York since Johan Santana defeated Mike Mussina 6-4 on the July 4, 2007.

Saturday was no different than the last few years. Unlike Friday the Yankees didn't even tease Minnesota by falling behind early. They jumped on Liriano and scratched three runs off the tough lefty in six innings. That was plenty for Andy Pettitte who showed little rust after missing his last start with inflammation in his elbow.

Pettitte mixed and matched his pitches well and kept the Twins off balance. He was economically and while Girardi lifted him after just 95 it was probably for the best to stay on the safe side. The old lefty is now 5-0 and along with Phil Hughes, is tied and three others for the AL lead in wins.

Today will be tougher for New York since they have to send Sergio Mitre to the mound. Still its hard not to envision the Yankees finding a way to rally if necessary against the Twins bullpen.

Nick Blackburn is on the mound for Minnesota and the righty seems to have a Jekyll and Hyde mentality. When He wins he is lights out, posting a 2.11 ERA during his 25 career victories. During his 25 losses Blackburn has posted a 7.01. It stands to reason that the Yankees will jump out early or be forced to rally late.

Mitre has been solid for New York but he isn't exactly what you want to throw against the likes of lefty mashers like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. A-Rod and Teixeira will have to continue their resurgence if the Yankees want to sweep.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Has Dice-K Figured It Out?

I wish I could speak Japanese. If I could speak Japanese I could be a translator for a Fortune 500 company and travel to that Asian archipelago six times a year to close important deals. Perhaps I'd swing over to L.A. to talk business over cocktails with corporate bigwigs hosting their Japanese counterparts for lunch at Spago. Yeah, I'd be an insufferable toadie, but I'd probably make six figures. I could also tell Daisuke Matsuzaka in that delicate, surreptitious way that only the Japanese can to "Throw your freaking fastball and don't stop until I tell you!" I would have told him this a long, long time ago. Ask my friends.

Last night Dice-K, relying mainly on his fast ball, made short work of the Toronto line up and may have had his best outing as a major leaguer. The best part: he didn't walk a soul. He only gave up three hits and one run over seven innings while striking out nine. I can't remember the last time he went seven innings. The Sox beat the Jays 6-1.

If Dice-K has truly altered his approach, that makes the the Sox pitching rotation even more formidable. If only Josh Beckett could figure out what the hell to do with himself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will Ferrell Makes His Pro Debut

This is just plain hilarious. I love watching the minor leagues around baseball. It's fun to watch the potential stars of tomorrow, especially considering there is a minor league team in my backyard. The minor leagues are known for the big show they put on to bring in fans, but this has to be the best gimmick I have seen yet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yanks Take Two in Beantown, Move on to Motown

This post isn't going to be too long. There isn't much to say about the Yankees weekend series in Boston. Like most of this season the Yankees win when their starting pitching shows up and when it hasn't been there it usually doesn't go to well. Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia showed up and the Yankees dominated the Sox. A.J. Burnett was terrible and they got blown out. Not much more to it.

Right now the Sox have more to worry about than the Yankees, dispite all of the Yankees' injuries. This is a big stretch for New York as they start to battle the better teams in the AL this month. Now they move on to Detroit for a four game set.

The Tigers are riding high with Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson leading the league in hitting. Jackson will start to come back down to earth as his strikeouts keep piling up and his BABIP starts dropping from its ridiculous height of .511. Still his great performance and Curtis Granderson's current position on the disabled list afford me the opportunity to harken back to the Yankees recent history of trading away prospects in the 1980s for assorted crap. At least Frank Costanza could tell it like it was.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

24-6 Yankees is the composite score in the first two games of this Yanks and Sox series. All I can say is I'm glad I was having a one liter beer on the roof top Biergarten of East Side Restaurant on Friday night. The deliciousness of the beer was the only thing keeping me from throwing the humongous mug through one of East Side's expensive new TV's. Cripes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Red Sox and Yankee History Breakdown

Flipping around online on the Yankees day off, I found an interesting couple of articles by Rob Neyer. Neyer broke down the Yankees and the Red Sox by eras on Thursday and he plans to breakdown ever team by era in the coming weeks something that should be very interesting.

Here is the Yankees eras from 1903-2010.

Here is the Red Sox eras from 1901-2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yanks Sweep O's, Lose Pettitte

The Yankees easy built a lead and put the Orioles into sleep mode early in Wednesday's matinee, but as the game progressed the Yankees fortunes and performance began to slip away.

Andy Pettitte had a stellar start and looked to be cruising until Girardi had to pull him after five innings and 77 pitches with tightness in his foreman. That is a phrase that tends to put dread into the hearts of fans of any player suffering from it. The tightness usually protends major elbow issues.

The Yankees sent Pettitte for an MRI and the results showed some inflammation but no structural damage. The veteran lefty will miss his next start as the Yankees evaluate him on a day-to-day basis. Things could have been far worse, but with the way Pettitte and the rest of the rotation, excluding Javier Vazquez, have been performing it is a blow to lose him for any amount of time.

It could also be something that limits Pettitte for the rest of the season and extended bouts of Sergio Mitre are not recommended. Mitre will have to step up against the Tigers on Monday and hopefully no one else. Really it would be more entertaining to see the Yanks call up Ivan Nova, but he probably wont be and option just yet.

While Pettitte was getting his elbow looked at, the Yankee bullpen was showing why the starters need to carry the team. Mitre was solid in 2.1 innings and Damaso Marte is performing slightly better, but Dave Robertson is a mess right now. Robertson could turn the pen into a huge strength for the Yankees along with Joba and Rivera or he could make it a question mark beyond those two.

Is it possible that Sports Illustrated has struck again?

Anyway the Yankees will have to press on and hope that Posada is back after the off day. Same goes for Rivera.

For now the only baseball on is the Sox. Hypocritical as they may be with their honoring of Nomar Garciaparra after his inglorious departure from Boston.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sox Send Angels to Hell

As gratifying as it was to see the Sox hang 17 runs on the Angels, I take the results with a grain of salt. The Angels are in the same position as the Sox this year. They are both struggling perennial playoff teams who lost key components in the off season. Both are floundering a few games under .500 and looking up from an unaccustomed position in the bottom portion of their divisional standings (although the Sox have to play much stiffer competition).

Still it was fun to see Boston hand out a beat down instead of losing another closing one. (The Sox are 1-5 in extra frames this season.) Even the much maligned J.D. Drew got in on the act going 4-5 with 3 RBI and 2 runs. Mike Lowell stayed hot with a perfect 4-4 night that included 4 RBI and 2 runs. (Can we make him the full time DH please?!) Clay Buchholtz continued to pitch pretty well. It wasn't his best start, but it was solid, and of course, he got plenty of runs. We'll see if Jon Lester can break out of his malaise tonight.

I usually don't care for Tom Verducci that much, but here's an interesting article from today. It's about the prevalence of the walk and the strike out in contemporary baseball. One stat, the walk, no one used to care about from a hitter's performance. The other stat, the strike out, used to be an absolute no-no for hitter. Now even elite hitters strike out 100 times a season. The combination of the two is cutting down on the amount of bat-to-ball contact in MLB games. It's an interesting observation.

Doesn't Everyone Want to Taser Philly Fans?

So I didn't think that this story would get as big as it has, but if you haven't heard a 17-year old Phillies fan was tasered last night when he ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park during the eighth inning of a 6-3 Cardinal victory over Philadelphia.

If you haven't seen the video here it is.

The incident seems to have generated a huge debate over the use of force by the officer and whether or not it was appropriate. My opinion would be that the officer was well within the bounds of appropriate force and the reality is the kid probably got off easy being tasered.

Now I've never been tasered and don't every plan on it, but I have been tackled to the ground by a person much larger than myself who was running full speed. That was the likely fate of the streaker even if he had given himself up and fell to his knees with his hands on his head.

I've been at sporting events with streakers and those guards definitely take pleasure in the physical abuse they can levy against a defenseless target. Either way that kid was going to get a little beat up for running onto the field and I don't really think the taser was any worse than what the security guards and officers would have done without the non-lethal device.

Oh and perhaps they should have tasered his father instead. That's when you're suppose to smack your kid upside his head not just stand there.

Despite Setbacks Yanks Need to Keep Rolling

It seems that every game the Yankees have played over the past three days has brought with it some kind of bad news. First there was yet another bad start from Javier Vazquez that resulted in a loss to the White Sox. Not only did New York lose that game, but they also lost Curtis Granderson in the process, probably until June, with a Grade II strain of his groin.

Then on Monday when it looked like the Yankees had dodge a bullet with Jorge Posada and his knee, he leaves the game with a mild strain in his calf. Right now he is day-to-day but injuries with 38-year old catchers can be a little more complicated than that.

On top of those two injury bugs, the Yankees also seem somewhat concerned with A-Rod's knee, forcing the Yankees to give him a day off on Sunday and now Mariano Rivera has tightness in his side. Oh the woes of being a team laden with veterans!

The Yankees can absorb the loss of Granderson for the time being and as weird as it sounds they can get by without Rivera for a little while with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. What they can't really afford is losing Posada for an extended period or A-Rod. Those two can't be replaced and the Yanks don't even have adequate stopgaps in their farm system right now with no impact third base prospects anywhere in their system and Jesus Montero struggling in his first month at AAA.

So far it hasn't slowed the Yankees down because they have been playing the White Sox and the Orioles and the starting pitching, sans Vazquez, has been stellar or better. That could change going into the weekend as the Yankees will have to face a quality opponent for every game over the next three weeks.

New York has six games against Minnesota, five against Boston, four against the Tigers, three against the Mets and just for hahas two against the hottest team in baseball the Rays.

The way the Red Sox are playing you could see that as being a break except the games are in Fenway and Boston is sure to get up for those games even if they can't beat the Orioles. The Mets could also be considered a low point especially if they keep leaking momentum like they did against St. Louis.

This is probably one of the toughest stretches in the Yankee schedule so its important for New York to battle through. The injuries will make it tough, but as long as the front four in the rotation keep performing as they have. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have a combined ERA of 2.27 in 135 innings. Hopefully they keep it up and A-Rod and Teixeira start hitting or else it could be a long month.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Bird Giveth; The Bird Taketh

As encouraging as it was for the Sox to sweep the Jays, it was just as disheartening to see the Sox give away the last two games to the Orioles. Last night was especially frustrating as Daisuke Matsuzaka's start began efficiently and ended in an unmitigated disaster. The first four innings were great, one hit, one run. In fifth however, he got blown up for seven runs and got the hook. It's gonna be "No-Dice" for him pretty soon. This signing is heading for Mike Hampton/Carl Pavano territory.

The bats of course made a mockery of the O's pitchers. You score nine runs against them (or anybody) and a win is expected. But the Sox can't seem to put all aspects of the game together. They pitch well and there's offense. They put up a crooked number, and they can't hold their opponents down. (I'm looking at you Josh Beckett.) "It's early" seems to be the mantra, but I think it's going to be a long season or sub par anyway. I place the over/under at 85 wins.

Can they at least get a win on my birthday galldangit!