The Yankees signed him instead of re-signing Marcus Thames because, unlike Thames, Jones can play every position in the outfield?
Okay, I get that he’s lost weight since his unfortunate stint with the Dodgers, but how confident will any of us be to see him out there? I wish him the best and hope he gets a hit every time he’s called upon. I just hope kids like Colin Curtis are ready to fill in if necessary.
Speaking of kids, Friend of the Blog Wendy alerted me to this story on the MLB web site about a terrific kid, an avid Brewers/Prince Fielder fan, who lost his life to a drunk driver. His family is trying to raise money to build a state-of-the-art field in Wisconsin in his honor, and you can help. Take a look – and grab a box of Kleenex while you’re at it.
I’m thinking about it. Why? Because her name is Joyce. As in this guy.
He broke my heart with his home run off Huuuuughes last night, and he nearly broke it again tonight when he took Vazquez deep. But the Yankees prevailed. Here’s what I learned from our win at the Trop. The running game is fun if you’re the Rays.
But the Yankees can mash.
The Rays kept taking the lead, and these guys kept taking it back.
Nice performance by Javy to give the boys a chance to come back. Really nice outings by Robertson, Logan and, of course, Mo. All of a sudden, our pen doesn’t look so bad. Which brings me to today’s official comings and goings.
We’ll see Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis later in the season, so I’m not crying over them. But Chan Ho? He’s gone. I felt sorry for him when I read that he asked A-Rod for a signed #13 jersey on his way out the door.
Well, two out of the three are in Tampa already and one played in today’s game (going 0-for-4 but who’s counting). Lance Berkman was actually quite entertaining from the quotes I’ve read. In his session with the media, he said the magic words: His favorite player growing up was Donnie Baseball and his dad’s favorite was The Mick. Good enough for me. He also said that in addition to “Big Puma,” his other nickname is “Fat Elvis.” I’m going with that one.
Austin Kearns was described as a quiet guy who was just happy to have been shipped to a contender and will play wherever and whenever he’s asked. I like the team spirit. That leaves the impending arrival of Kerry Wood, who probably spent today shaving off his beard.
I admit I wasn’t wild about this deal. Yeah, he didn’t cost much, but isn’t he on the DL all the time?
On the other hand, if he can stay healthy he could be a terrific pickup for the pen. I just hope he realizes we already have a closer.
Anyhow, looking forward to the rubber game of this series tomorrow. So far the match-up has really lived up to its billing.
It wasn’t raining here in Santa Barbara, but I sang while it rained in the Bronx. Why?
* Because the Yanks jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Royals in the first.
* Because A.J. threw five shutout innings before the storm blew in.
* Because Cano is so damn good this year with runners on base.
* Because Jorge knocked in his 1,000th career RBI.
* Because A-Rod, while unable to hit #600, helped the team anyway.
* Because Colin Curtis got the start in right field.
* Because we won the game and only had to use Chad and Alby in relief.
* Because Swisher claims he hurt his Achilles while he slept, and there has to be more to that story.
* Because when we play the Royals there’s always a chance that I’ll see Farnsy again.
What a time to hit your first home run in the majors….You’re sitting on the bench, not planning to get in the game today against the Angels, when Brett Gardner is tossed by the home plate ump for arguing balls and strikes in the middle of his at bat. Suddenly, you’re a pinch hitter. You walk to the plate, with two base runners aboard, and BAM! You smack one into the seats off Scot Shields, putting the Yanks up 10-6 and sealing the win and a series split. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I loved the offense in general in this one. Jeter, Swisher, Tex, Cano and Miranda really stepped up, which was nice for Vazquez, since he doesn’t usually get much run support. And congrats to him for becoming one of only three active pitchers who’ve beaten all 30 teams.
I do wish my stomach didn’t get tied up in knots when I see Joba coming in. He gave up a run and just isn’t lights out. Is not. It wasn’t a terrible outing for him, obviously, but as someone said on Twitter during the game, “He gives me the heebie jeebies.” I don’t want heebie jeebies.
Update: Just read that former Yankees manager Ralph Houk died. I’m actually old enough to remember when he managed the Bombers in the ’60s after taking over for Casey Stengel. RIP, Ralph.
On the eve of the All Star break, I thought it was the perfect time to assess the state of the Yankees Universe and discuss what needs to be done to insure a successful second half. Here goes…
“With the best record in baseball, the Yankees are already on a pace to win it all – again.”
“Our starting rotation is strong, Cliff Lee or no Cliff Lee.”
“The Captain is perking up at the plate. He just has to stop swinging at first pitches.”
“Swisher is a better #2 than Nick Johnson ever would have been.”
“Tex is finally heating up – for real – and his defense has been outstanding.”
“A-Rod keeps knocking in runs. And HR #600 will quickly lead to #601, #602, #603, etc.”
“Is there really anything Robinson Cano can’t do this season?”
“Having Posada healthy means that Cervelli can go back to being a good backup.”
“Granderson has been somewhat disappointing so far at the plate. More productivity would go a long way toward making people stop wishing AJax would suddenly re-appear.”
“Marcus Thames isn’t useless after all. It turns out he’s a decent DH/pinch hitter.”
“Brett Gardner is the most exciting Yankee in years. He has to keep getting on base though.”
“Mo is Mo – a precious asset never to be taken for granted.”
“Dave Robertson has pitched better lately, but more consistency would be helpful.”
“Chan Ho Park is OK for one inning maybe – but that is all.”
“Damaso Marte doesn’t scare me as much as he did early in the season.”
“Joba….Well, if Joe keeps running him out there in the 8th I’ll need a defibrillator. He must be fixed or I won’t make it through the rest of the season.”
“Chad Gaudin is not Alfredo Aceves. Alfredo Aceves is no longer Alfredo Aceves. Therefore, we need a better long man.”
“We need another reliable arm out of the pen, period – someone not named Jonathan Albaladejo.”
“We need a bat off the bench. I love Ramiro Pena and Colin Curtis, but are they the players I want to see pinch hitting in a big game? Nah.”
“We need better communication between the Yankees and the media when it comes to player injuries. No more ‘Yes, he’s hurt. No, he’s not hurt.’ Just tell us.”
“It’s not necessary to have the grounds crew dance to ‘YMCA’ anymore. It really isn’t.”
“Where’s Hank Steinbrenner? And why isn’t he firing off Steinbrennerisms this year?”
“Why can’t YES re-hire David Cone and phase out John ‘the Snooze’ Flaherty?”
“We need to keep Dave Eiland from ever leaving the team again.”
“And finally, there should be more Yankees merchandise for she-fans – from Yankees lipstick to Yankees nail polish (the same color Jorge wears) and especially Yankees hair products. I mean, who wouldn’t want pinstriped hair?”
That concludes my address. God Bless America and God Bless the New York Yankees.
* Really good starting pitching by Javy Vazquez
* Excellent defense by A-Rod and the two Curtises (Grandy and Colin)
* Timely hits by Swisher, Grandy and Cervelli, plus a homer by Tex
* Back-to-back one-two-three innings by Joba and Mo
Mix the above ingredients together and you get a delicious win by the Yanks over Ben Sheets and the A’s – the perfect way to start the road trip.
A few random thoughts…Congrats to Andy Pettitte for making the All Star team following the injury to Buchholz. He was next on the list of players voted on by other players, so clap clap clap for him….Since Alfredo Aceves is clearly not coming back to the team any time soon, thanks to his latest setback, can Cashman please go out and get us another arm for the pen?…The Brett Gardner leadoff experiment tonight wasn’t wildly successful. He was 0-for-4. Small sample size, I know, but I like him in the #9 spot where there’s less pressure to get on base. He’s been doing a tremendous job there all season, so why not leave him there?…What’s the matter with Dallas Braden? Seriously, how can anyone be mad that the A’s have been selling “Get Off My Mound” T-shirts? Lighten up, guy….And did the Twins really offer the Mariners a couple of prospects for Cliff Lee? If so, does this mean he won’t be a Yankee next year?
The third and final game in the Yankees’ series against the Dodgers was one of the most exciting contests of the season, in my opinion. Gone was the nonstop chatter about Torre leaving New York and A-Rod not talking to him and blah-blah-blah past history. Well, ESPN couldn’t resist bringing up “the soap opera,” as they called it, but once the game turned into a nail-biter, it was all baseball. After stinking up the early innings – how many bunts could Pettitte not handle? – the offense and relief pitching got serious. Robertson and Marte did their jobs (Joba, not so much) so that A-Rod could pop one into the seats and put the Yanks on the board. We were down 6-3 in the ninth when Torre brought in Broxton.
Yeah, he’s large, but he’s not Mo. A parade of hits greeted him, including a huge at bat by Chad Huffman. I know, I wasn’t thrilled to have Huffman up in that situation either. He’s just a kid we got off San Diego’s scrap heap.
But he came through big time to pull us to 6-5. Clap Clap Clap, Chad. I take back what I said about you on Twitter.
My boy Colin Curtis was up next, and his ground out after about 1,000 pitches (I exaggerate, but he really worked that at bat, didn’t he?) sent Granderson scurrying home (thank you, Loney, for not making the play at home). Wow. All tied up. My stomach was in one big knot.
Why was I so nervous? I mean, Mo was on the hill. What drama could possibly take place? Especially when the normally placid Garret Anderson was batting.
Oh. G.A. didn’t like Chris Guccione’s strike zone and got tossed. Torre came out to have his say, and he and the Guccione went at it – for like ever. Was Joe really that upset or was it a bit of gamesmanship to disrupt Mo’s rhythm? No matter. Mo took care of business. On to the 10th and George Sherrill.
Maybe his beard distracted him, or maybe Robinson Cano is just that good. All I know is that Cano’s homer put the Yanks up 8-6, capping an improbable six-run rally. Mo was a hammer again in the 10th – and again the Dodger hitters weren’t happy. This time Russell Martin slammed down his bat in anger, nearly hitting Posada with it, and there was more arguing with Guccione.
I’ve watched Mo fan batters over the years. I get the frustration. But the Yankees won fair and square to finish off a very entertaining series. Bravo.