Tagged: Joe Maddon

So The Yankees Were “Meatloafed?”

Or maybe the proper way to say it is that the Rays “meatloafed” the Yankees. In any case, “meatloafed” is Joe Maddon’s adorable expression for winning two out of three, and that’s what the Rays did. Shields was great, CC was so-so and our offense was anemic.
We got out of Dodge clinging to first place. That’s the good news. Now let’s talk about a couple of our newcomers.
Fat Elvis is not Tex.
Why Girardi decided to use him at first today made me scratch my head, but whatever. More curious was why Berkman looked as if he’d never played the position. Was it stage fright, getting out there in front of his new team in a game that mattered? Or does Fat Elvis need to work out a little and get more agile? Either way, I don’t want to see him play first, the way I don’t want to see Thames play left.
Kerry Wood is going to try my patience.

I can tell. Yeah, he was probably pumped for his Yankees debut, and I did love his velocity. In fact, on that strikeout of Longoria I was pretty pumped myself. But then he came back out for his second inning of work, and I started to worry. He looked wild – the kind of “wild” that made me yearn for Joba. Maybe that was Cashman’s plan all along: trade for Wood so the fans would appreciate Joba more. My reaction to his performance today, strikeouts notwithstanding, was to have a bit of a panic attack.

Break’s Over

No more home run derbies, all star games and barbecues with the family. It’s time for the Yankees to get back to work in the Bronx. Yes, the weekend will be emotional with the tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard, but the Rays won’t be playing the role of sympathetic friend; they’ll be looking to bring us to our knees.
We must dominate the invaders from Tampa Bay, and who better to do that than CC. He has to neutralize Longoria, Crawford and company and send a message to our division rival that we are not handing over the American League East any time soon.
That means:
* keeping the Rays from stealing.
* not letting any of them make web gem-type catches.
* saying something that will get Upton mad.
* smashing Joe Maddon’s glasses.
What else…Oh, yeah, we need to score a lot of runs so that nobody in our bullpen can screw things up.
Go Yankees.

And The Yankees Lived Happily Ever After….

The Yankees’ regular season came to a close with a 10-2 drubbing of the Rays. Call me a romantic sap, but I do love happy endings. And here’s why it was a happy ending today for the Bombers.
* AJ gave up two runs (one earned) in his final tune-up.
* Joba looked like the old Joba in his one inning of relief.
* Mo retired the side in order in the ninth, so he’s ready to go.
* Jeter had a couple of singles and Damon had a couple of doubles. Even Molina had a double and he can’t hit to save his life.
The season concluded with such a happy ending vibe that I won’t even mention how Joe Maddon walked Mark Teixeira in the sixth, loading the bases. Did Joe do it to keep Carlos Pena tied with Tex for the most home runs in the AL? Oh, wait. I wasn’t going to mention it.
The intentional walk brought A-Rod to the plate for the second time in the sixth. He’d already hit one home run in the inning. Would he hit another? A granny? Absolutely.
Talk about a happy ending. A-Rod missed the month of April, rehabbing from hip surgery, and then came back to the team on May 8th and lined a homer off the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie.
His first pitch of the season = homer.
His last pitch of the season = homer.
Not only did he break an AL record with his seven RBIs in that sixth inning, but he broke a major league record by tallying 30 homers and 100 RBIs in 13 seasons. And yes, he also tied Mark McGuire with HR # 583. Happy ending.
(OK, who knows about the last pic. Those two could be broken up by the time I finish posting. The main thing is that the Yankees finished at 103-57 for the best record in baseball.)
Now the Yanks fly home to await the winner of Tuesday’s deciding game between the Tigers and Twins. Which team will be their opponent? Who will be the leading characters in the ALDS? How will the plot twists go? What will the cliffhangers be?
A wise person (can’t remember who) once said, “Baseball is a soap opera with box scores.” My sentiment exactly.
P.S. To celebrate the Yankees’ great season, Kevin at Zell’s Pinstripe Blog has gone through the vault and rounded up every SI cover to feature a Yankee or Yankees related theme on it. Here’s the link. If you’re a Yankee fan, it’s definitely worth a look.

Rays-Phillies Game 5: Singing in the Rain

It sure was pouring in Philadelphia tonight. Did you see the rain? The soaked grass? The puddles in the infield? Or were you, like the umpiring crew, pretending it was a perfect evening for Baseball’s Fall Classic?

Seriously. Was that how we want a potential clinching game to go? Why didn’t they stop things earlier? Instead, we were stuck with a sloppy play by Rollins, some questionable walks by Kazmir and at least one manager looking awfully grumpy.
Maybe Joe was still stewing over that dark spot on Blanton’s cap. Or maybe he was wondering why Crawford didn’t run out that ball in the first inning.
Still, he had to be relieved that Pena and Longoria finally got hits and that Upton slid home with the tying run. Whew, huh? Now the Rays are done with Hamels and will face the Phillies tomorrow night feeling a little better about their chances. Or will they play tomorrow night, given the forecast for more rain?
Poor Phillies fans, thinking the Series was a done deal. Speaking of which, did anyone see Chris Matthews rant about his team on “Hardball” tonight?
“If the Yankees or Red Sox were in the World Series, I’d call my friends who are fans of those teams and wish them luck,” he said. “Did any of them call me and wish my Phillies luck? Nobody. Not one call.” Man, was he a whiner. Wish I had the video.
In the meantime, here’s a little Gene Kelly “Singing in the Rain” remix to keep us feeling nice and soggy until tomorrow night – or whenever they finish Game 5.

Rays-Red Sox Game 5: Cough, Cough, Choke!

Wow. Talk about a meltdown. Which of these men were to blame for allowing the Red Sox to live another day?
Correct answer? All three of them. Nice fat pitch to Ortiz, Balfour! Way to groove one to Drew, Wheels! Congrats on that walkoff to blow the game, Howell! You all belong in the choker’s hall of shame.
But there’s another person who deserves mention here.
Yes, you, Mr. Maddon. Crafty move starting Kazmir, but what were you thinking when you pulled him after six innings? So what if he’d thrown over 100 pitches and sat in the dugout for 31 minutes? He had a two-hit shutout going. Plus, you must have noticed Balfour wasn’t exactly lights out and yet you left him in to pitch to Ortiz instead of calling for a lefty? I know. I’m such a second guesser. But the Rays had the American League pennant sewn up. You realize that, right?
I congratulate Red Sox fans (the ones that didn’t leave Fenway when the score was 7-0) on their team’s latest miraculous comeback. It brings back painful memories of ’04, but I’m trying not to go there.

The Little Known Secret of the Rays’ Success

Yes, there’s the maturing of their young pitching staff. Yes, there’s that perfect combination of rookies and veterans. And yes, there’s the fact that they’re scrappy and fast and fearless under Joe Maddon and have been that way since spring training (Yankee fans remember just how fearless). But now I’ve uncovered another reason – they’re a tobacco-less team. Sure, go ahead and laugh, but watch.

Very well intentioned. But – sorry to be so dense – what do they mean by, “I don’t DIP?” What the heck is DIPPING? We’re not talking about nacho chips in guacamole, right? Could someone explain while I wait for today’s games to start?