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.
Where do I begin? With Joba? Dave Robertson? Chan Ho Park? How about all three. They took a beautiful outing by A.J. and turned it into a win for the Blue Jays. That just shouldn’t happen. I mean, the guy finally got Dave Eiland back, fixed whatever was wrong with his delivery, re-gained his confidence and got absolutely no help from his bullpen (excluding Mo, of course). If I were A.J., I throw something in all their faces only it wouldn’t be whipped cream.
That’s right. It would be pizza. And I’d save some to throw at the Yankees hitters. Could they have been any more inept? There were nice plays in the outfield (I’m talking about Gardner and Granderson), but Cervelli had another rough one behind the plate. I guess what I’m saying is that this team looks like the All Star break can’t come soon enough for them.
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.
I was just glad the Yankees were the lucky recipients. After Gardner’s triple, I thought, Wow. Maybe Roy won’t be “on” tonight. Then came the blasts from Grandy and Swisher and even Ramiro Pena hit a ball that looked like it might go out. By the way, whoever said Pena resembles a young Ray Romano nailed it.
OK, so they’re not that identical. Never mind.
Getting back to the game, everybody figured it would be a classic pitcher’s duel and it wasn’t. It was only a matter of time before Roy was out of there, and CC had a rough couple of innings before settling down and throwing a five-hitter. Tex’s homer was sweet, but it was Cervelli’s single that shut the door on the Phillies.
Plus it was great to see Chan Ho doing well against his former comrades, and Dave Robertson isn’t scaring me as much as he was earlier in the season. But, naturally, with the win came news of yet another injury.
You strained an oblique during batting practice, Sergio? Really? Do you not realize that we’re already without Aceves, our best long man? Seriously, thanks a lot for leaving us with Gaudin for that role now. Shivers.
I guess I just have to hope that A.J. will go at least seven tomorrow night. I also hope that both Paul O’Neill and Al Leiter will be back in the YES booth with Michael Kay. I still miss Coney, but O’Neill and Leiter were funny together.
I was watching the game at home until I had to leave for an appointment. The score was 10-4. “No problem,” I said to myself. “This one’s in the bag.” STUPID ME! Apparently, the bag was crumpled.
Never mind that CC wasn’t his sharpest and coughed up the first lead. We had offense – lots and lots of offense. Swisher is proving what a perfect #2 hitter he is, and Cano continues to amaze. And A-Rod….Well, it was horrible to watch his liner hit Huff in the head. I’m so relieved to know the guy is OK. Sheesh. Scary. Anyhow, I left my house thinking I’d be celebrating back-to-back wins this weekend – only to get in my car and turn on John and Suzyn…and be forced to listen to the Yankees’ complete and utter meltdown.
* Dave Robertson doesn’t get it done and leaves with back pain.
* Mitre walks a batter and Joe removes him.
* Marte retires his one batter and Joe comes back out to remove him too.
* Joba can’t retire anybody, because he’s absolutely, positively terrible.
* Chad gives up yet another run. Great pickup, so far.
My question is: Do we have a bullpen or not? It was supposed to be a strength coming out of spring training, but now it’s in shambles. Losing 13-11 to the Cleveland Indians is an embarrassment, but it’s not the problem. The state of the bullpen is.
On a more upbeat note, want to win tickets to the August 7th Yankees-Red Sox game? Of course you do. So check out this link to one of my fave blogs, Respect Jeter’s Gangster. They’re running a raffle with the Children’s Health Fund. If you donate to the fun and say you were referred by the RSJ blog, you’ll automatically be entered in the raffle. What are you waiting for? It’s Yankees-Red Sox and a good cause too.
Here’s to a better Yankees day tomorrow.
I said “almost.” I wouldn’t be writing this post if I’d been rendered completely speechless by today’s 14-3 drubbing of the Red Sox, but I’m still kind of stunned by the Yankees’ offensive outbursts the past couple of days. I mean who is this guy anyway?
We’ve all enjoyed Cervelli’s energy and enthusiasm, both behind and at the plate, and he’s fast for a catcher too. But five RBIs today? Seriously? Wasn’t he called up to the bigs because of his defense? He didn’t hit much at all in the minors. So is he just a case of a kid who’s maturing at precisely the right time? Or has Kevin Long worked some hitting coach magic on him? Either way, he’s so much more than Posada’s understudy the way Molina was.
Teixera‘s three homers? Less surprising than Cervelli’s barrage of hits but no less awesome. I mean, Tex is a big star who always busts out in May and is doing what he was brought to the Yankees to do. But still. The guy was a beast today.
CC? He battled. He could have won the game if Mother Nature hadn’t intervened. He wasn’t perfect but I always feel secure with him on the mound.
A-Rod? No, he hasn’t been belting homers lately, but timely hits/walks/stolen bases? You bet. For a slugger, he sure can run.
Pena? How about his key double and great play at second today. I was so glad to see Cano inserted in the lineup as the DH, but Pena is such a valuable asset.
Swisher? Was it taking off the extra weight in the off-season? Making a conscious decision to focus harder on the job? Eating a few of Tex’s granola bars? All I know is he’s contributing in ways I never expected this year. And we got him for Wilson Betemit.
Gardner? I used to groan when he came to the plate. Now I can’t wait to see him in the on-deck circle because the chances that he’ll get on base and then steal are so much greater right now. Who doesn’t love having him on the Yankees? Especially with Granderson on the DL.
Joba? Good to have him in the pen where he belongs. Period.
The bad news about today’s game was, of course, watching yet another player go down. When I saw Aceves‘ foot slide during his delivery, I thought he had pulled a calf muscle or hammy and expected him to be lost to the DL. But it’s his back, so a few days of rest should do the trick. The problem is who pitches in his place? Mitre is starting for Pettitte. Park is on the DL. Robertson has been looking like someone who needs a demotion to Scranton. So who’s our long man tomorrow if A.J. falters? Can we put out an all points bulletin for Brett Bombko?
Well, I said I didn’t know what to say, but apparently I was wrong. The Yankees will do that to me. They keep getting hit with injuries and keep winning anyway. Pretty amazing.
Oh, one last thing. Can somebody please ask Fox to replace Buck and McCarver? They were particularly annoying today – from the discussion of whether the word “doves” is plural for “dove” to the miracle that is Dustin Pedroia. Thank you.
I can’t pretend to be inside Josh Beckett’s head. (The thought of going anywhere near his head is highly unappealing.) So I can’t say with any certainty that he hit anybody on purpose in tonight’s 10-3 massacre at Fenway. But here’s what I think. He was cruising along with pinpoint control, striking out batter after batter. Then Swisher drove one out of the park for three runs. And the Beckster wasn’t amused. Or, as MLB’s Bryan Hoch put it, he became unhinged.
He pitched inside to Cano, hit him on the knee and knocked him out of the game. Just what we needed: another injury. Actually, not just another injury but an injury to our hottest hitter. The Beckster threw in the vicinity of Cervelli’s head twice, including once after Cisco had the nerve to step out of the batter’s box. And then we get to Jeter, who was plunked squarely on the #2 on his back. I was watching via the NESN feed (thanks, MLB Network), but it was easy to see how angry some of the Yankees were — CC, A-Rod, even Mo. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mo mad, because normally he looks like this.
Anyhow, the Beckster basically handed the Yankees the ball game, but we did get timely hits too. (You go, Randy Winn.) And even better, we got another great performance by Huuughes. He got into trouble here and there but always managed to get himself out of it, and gave us seven strong innings. Kudos. I wish D-Rob would recapture his 2009 form, but maybe he needs some time in Scranton to work things out. Dunno. What I also don’t know is why the ump didn’t warn Beckett….and whether the Yankees will retaliate tomorrow with CC on the mound. If I were a Red Sock and CC plunked me, I sure wouldn’t charge the mound and risk looking at this.
On one hand, I want to see the Yankees send a message. On the other, we don’t need any ejections or suspensions, and we certainly don’t need more injuries. I mean, Nick Johnson. Wow. When I heard he had a sore wrist and was on his way to NY for an MRI, all I could think of was that he’s becoming this guy, only with a better attitude.
To sum up, in yesterday’s post I speculated that The Rivalry might be getting a little stale. Now? Not so much.
It’s my birthday tomorrow (Sunday, May 2nd), so I’ll be taking the day off from blogging, tweeting and watching/listening to the finale against the White Sox. While I’m out celebrating, here’s what I’d like to happen on your end.
* Heal Curtis Granderson’s groin. (Chan Ho Park’s hammy too.)
* Insist that Kevin Long fix Nick Johnson’s swing.
* Make Dave Eiland figure out what’s wrong with Robertson, Marte and, yes, Vazquez. (More on him in a sec.)
* Give Sergio Mitre a raise.
* Let A-Rod know that no one will mind if he passes Frank Robinson on the home run list.
* Remind Cano that April streaks are nice, but it’s good to hit in May too.
* Congratulate Swisher for busting out of his Yankee Stadium slump.
* If you must call up Melancon, tell him not to plunk anybody.
* Instead of using Thames/Winn in left, how about calling up Jon Weber or Colin Curtis.
* Tell Javy I didn’t boo him today. Well, not out loud. Sure, I want him to pitch better, but it’s not as if he’s screwing up on purpose. So tell him I support him…for now.
* Please win on my birthday. You hardly ever do, but try.
Love and xxoo, She-Fan
P.S. I got birthday flowers from Mike Fierman, Friend of the Blog and all-around great guy. Take a look!
P.P.S. I also got a cake from Melissa!!!
Not this way…
Or this way…
Or even this way…
Not tonight in Baltimore anyway. What a putrid game for the Yankees, wasn’t it? Especially after Hughes gave yet another gutsy performance? I was working while the game was on, so I had the TV on in the background. Every time the Yanks would do something stupid (walk a batter, hit a batter, make a throwing error, kill a rally), I would turn around to look and then do this.
Well, I felt like it. Maybe the players were tired from all their parading around Washington. Or maybe they ate some bad crab cakes in Baltimore. On the other hand, maybe the O’s were just due for a win, poor darlings. All I know is that it was as if the real Yankees had been taken over by little league Yankees.
I also know that we need Chan Ho Park to come off the DL…And for Nick Johnson to stop walking and start hitting…And for A-Rod, Tex and Grandy to be the mashers we know they are…And for Cano to ride this beautiful streak of his until the end of the season when he will surely win the AL Batting Crown.
Things will be better with CC on the mound tomorrow. How do I know that? Because there’s not much for the players to do in Baltimore, so they’ll get a good night’s sleep.
Before I sign off, I’d like to give a shout out to she-fans extraordinaire and friends of this blog, Serena and Lisa, whose own Traveling Baseball Babes is one of my favorite blogs. They’re organizing a terrific fundraising event in Hicksville, LI in June called “Fred K’s Cancer.” Both of their fathers are named Fred and both men are cancer survivors (and big baseball fans), so Serena and Lisa decided to educate people about their diseases in a very special way. They created a Fred K’s Cancer blog, so please check it out and read about their fab event!
…and it would be exciting. They have a way of turning even the mundane into the dramatic. Not that today’s home opener was mundane – far from it – but there was so much emotion packed into one baseball game that my head almost exploded while I was watching on TV.
I mean, how about long-time head trainer Gene Monahan, in the midst of treatment for cancer, showing up to receive his World Series ring?
Or what about Steinbrenner putting in a rare appearance and Jeter presenting him with his ring?
And could there be a more moving moment than when the players mobbed Matsui or when the crowd gave him a huge ovation?
And, of course, I have to mention Bernieeeee throwing out the first pitch.
Sweet. And then there was the game itself. Pettitte never ceases to amaze me. Year in and year out, he’s on the mound delivering when it counts. Six scoreless innings against a very tough opponent? He took care of it, getting in and, more importantly, out of jams.
Nick Johnson smacked a homer in his first at bat, reminding us that number two hitters don’t have to be named Johnny Damon. Jeter and Posada, as they have on many an Opening Day, provided offense. Cano continued to hit the ball hard. Swisher made a tremendous running catch that ended in one of these.
In fact, for most of the game it felt as if the Yankees could do no wrong and the Angels would keep looking flustered and off balance – the exact opposite of the bad old days when the Yanks couldn’t buy a win from the Halos. But then came Chan Ho’s homer to Morales – one mistake pitch that cost him – followed by a truly lousy outing by Robertson, who hasn’t been as sharp in 2010 as he was last year. The only good thing about Abreu’s grand slam was that it created the need to bring in The God of Closers.
I suppose it was only fitting that Mo get the save, given the occasion. Oh, and the other positive aspect to the Angels’ late rally was that it made the final score:
Which made contest winners out of three lucky commenters on this blog who predicted the outcome:
Congratulations to them! A Vintage Yankee Stadium Tin filled with Cooperstown Cookies will be headed their way as soon as they send me their addresses. I hope they’ll report back after they’ve sampled their prizes. I also look forward to hearing from those who were at the game today. Watching it on TV was better than nothing (even though I was stuck with the Angels feed here in California), but being there in person must have been a day to remember.