Tagged: John Lackey

A-Rod Knocked Down By Extremely Hairy Berkman

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Now that the x-rays were negative and A-Rod is listed as day-to-day, I can’t help but joke about the incident. I mean poor Fat Elvis. He hasn’t done much to endear himself to Yankee fans, and the mishap during BP didn’t help. But the best line belonged to Jeter when the writers asked him if A-Rod would be okay after writhing on the ground in pain. “He’ll be all right,” said the Captain. “He always looks like that when he gets hit.” Was Jeet inferring that his teammate was a drama queen?
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Onto to the game. CC scared me early, giving up those two runs, but he settled right down and got to work, shutting the door on the Red Sox and making it look pretty effortless. He had offensive help from Granderson and Pena (who’s been the most unlikely RBI machine!), as well as some great defense behind him. Mo pitched a perfect ninth to secure the “W.” But the Yanks were also aided and abetted by Victor Martinez, who made me realize how lucky we are to have Posada, even if he’s 100 years old. Martinez simply cannot throw runners out, much to Lackey’s dismay.
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Anyhow, I’m still feeling the “rivalry” isn’t as intense as it used to be, but maybe with Beckett on the mound tomorrow I’ll feel more fired up. He does bring out the worst in me.
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Rookie + Bad Defense + So-So CC = Loss

Tonight’s game against the Indians felt like a replay of every other game featuring a rookie starter for the opposition. Taking nothing away from Josh Tomlin, the Yankees are incapable of hitting pitchers they’ve never faced. They stand there at the plate looking absolutely clueless.
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Why is that? They can watch videotape beforehand. They can make adjustments each time through the order. They can use their experience to figure it out. So why don’t they? Boggles my mind.
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CC wasn’t his usual dominant self, but his defense definitely let him down. Ugh. There’s nothing positive to say about tonight’s loss except that Chan Ho Park didn’t give up a run. Oh, and Brett Gardner made a great throw home. That’s about it.
After the Yankees were done, I switched over to Angels-Red Sox, curious to see how Lackey would be greeted by the fans in Anaheim. I’d heard he was hopeful that they’d give him a warm reception, seeing as he spent his entire career there before going to Boston. Here’s what happened: people booed him. A lot. And there were signs like this:
“LACKey of Loyalty”
and
“Traitor John.”
I can’t stand Lackey, but I felt sorry for him. I guess I should have remembered the way they always boo Tex when the Yankees play the Angels. Do their fans not realize that management decided not to retain the services of Lackey and Tex, not the other way around? Sure, the players became free agents, but that’s baseball. Why not applaud your former heroes for the great work they did when they helped you win ball games? Easy for me to say, you’re thinking. I haven’t lost Jeter or Mo to free agency. But even if I did, I’d like to think I’d always cheer for them. When Pettite went to play for the Astros I didn’t boo him or call him a traitor. I don’t get the sense of betrayal, I really don’t. Someone needs to explain it to me.
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Anyone Have A Cardiologist On Call?

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I know. That thing looks gross, but the point I was trying to make is that my heart can’t take these Yankees-Red Sox games. Must they always be so, well, heart-stopping? First, there was that collision between Pettitte and Ellsbury at first, with Andy taking a tumble.
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(Oops. Wrong sport.)
Then Andy gave up an RBI single to Lil’ Mami, and the Sox went ahead 1-0. Both starters were effective through six, but – as with the previous two games in the series – neither would last long enough to get a decision. With Boston bringing in Schoeneweis (did I put too many “e’s” in there?), Posada, the king of doubles, doubled. In came Bard, up came Swisher and home came JoPo, who also took a tumble.
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(Sorry. Still wrong sport.)
Suddenly, we had a tie game in the seventh and my nerves really kicked in. I mean, 1-1 at Fenway? Anything could happen, right? When they brought in Papelbon for the ninth and tenth and he gave everybody The Stare…
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…I thought the Yankees were in big trouble, but no! Granderson, that tower of power who’s making himself a hero already, took JP deep for 2-1. But with such a slim lead, I hardly allowed myself a breath. “Insurance,” I kept saying to the TV. “We need insurance.” 
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(Am I the only one who can’t stand those Progressive commercials? Especially when the actors start yelling at each other?)
Anyhow, I asked for insurance and the Yankees obliged. After walks to Gardner and Jeter, Papelbon headed for the dugout. His replacement, a guy named Atchison who looks like a high school science teacher, walked the ever-walkable Johnson to load the bases. A dribbler by Tex was enough to score Gardner, and Mo took the mound with a 3-1 lead – and held it. Which gives me yet another excuse to flash his pic.
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Kudos to Chan Ho Park for his three scoreless innings of relief, although those warning track fly balls in the ninth almost sent me to the hospital.
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Oh, and Pettitte popped one on Youkilis’ helmet and Lackey nailed Jeter on the arm, and the ump issued a warning. But it was all very Aren’t-we-grownups, so no harm done.
I’m glad the Yanks are off tomorrow. They usually have a letdown after playing the Red Sox, and I want them hungry when they face the Rays.
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P.S. Here’s your nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookies contest. The deadline for entries is April 11th at midnight, PST.

Would You Let a Red Sox Fan Operate on You?

No, we’re not talking about brain surgery. But it’s a question I would never have thought to ask until this morning. I went for a root canal – what a way to start the new year – and discovered that the dentist who was about to shoot me in the gums with a giant needle and drill through my tooth for two straight hours cheers for the Red Sox! As if I hadn’t been nervous enough about the procedure!
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I had no clue what I was walking into. I arrived for my appointment in complete ignorance and was greeted by Corinna, who got me settled in my chair, brought me a warm and fuzzy blanket and immediately put me at ease.
She said I would take a nap? Perfect, I thought. I’ll dream about the 2010 Yankees and how they’re going to take the division, take the pennant, take the championship, la la la la la. So relaxing. (And yes, I brought the She-Fan Cam to my root canal appointment. You’d be surprised how many places it goes.)
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I was picturing Curtis Granderson drifting under a fly ball in center when my dentist, Dr. Cami Ferris, entered the room.
“Good to see you again, Jane,” she said, having done a previous root canal on me in ’09. “Your Yankees book was coming out the last time you were here. How did that go?”
“Great,” I said. “Thanks for asking. Are you a baseball fan, Dr. Ferris?”
I should mention that I was recording our conversation on the She-Fan Cam.
“I played softball in college,” she said. “So I follow it sometimes.”
“Really? Which team do you root for?”
“Well, since I’m from Boston, the Red Sox are….”
And just like that, the She-Fan Cam went dead. I swear! The very instant she said “Red Sox” and was about to declare her partisanship, my trusty video camcorder stopped recording. It was as if it KNEW I was in the company of a Sox fan and might be in grave danger!
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I was tempted to bolt out of the chair, but I remained calm, re-started the video cam and asked Dr. Ferris to explain her allegiance.
She was good sport, and I was more than satisfied that she would do an excellent job with the root canal.
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While she worked on my tooth, I was dying to ask her what she thought of the acquisitions of Adrian Beltre, John Lackey, Marco Scutero, Mike Cameron and Boof Bonser (quite a cast of characters), but I wasn’t in a position to ask anybody anything.
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Just as well. I followed Corinna’s advice and took a nap.

Now The Fun Begins

I was wondering when the Red Sox would start to stir.
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The slumbering team from Boston wasn’t about to stay quiet forever (not counting Boof Bonser). So what if their Lowell deal seemed stalled and their overtures to Bay were rejected? We knew they wouldn’t spend this off-season sitting around talking about the good old days. 
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So they got Lackey for five years. He’s a good pitcher and he’ll make their rotation stronger and it sounds like the perfect signing. But I never did like Big John and now the “B” on his cap will make the rivalry that much more intense. Besides, he was destined to wear red for the rest of his career.
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The Sox also made a deal with Mike Cameron, whom the Yankees talked about acquiring last year and the year before that but never did. The 37-year-old outfielder is said to be a terrific guy in the clubhouse, but is he really an upgrade over Bay in left?
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I guess we’ll find out this spring when the two teams face off to open the 2010 season. If tradition continues, they’ll kick our butts the first couple of times around and we’ll kick theirs later in the year and it’ll be another fight to the finish. But if you ask me, the team to watch will be the Mariners. What have they been smoking?
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Sure, the Phillies put the Halladay saga to rest and the Angels picked up Godzilla, but the Mariners, having already signed Figgins, ended up with Cliff Lee. I mean, seriously. The AL West just got a whole lot more interesting. Of course, while all this was happening today, US Weekly reported that A-Rod and Kate had broken up. Talk about a kick in the gut. I not only went to see her movie over the weekend but gave her the She-Fan Award for Best Girlfriend! How could she? How could they?
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Speaking of movies, I escaped all the baseball news this afternoon and went to see “The Blind Side.” I’m not a football fan, but this true story, based on Michael Lewis’ book, was inspiring and Sandra Bullock was terrific. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth a look.

Who Would You Rather Keep? Hughes Or Joba?

Once upon a time in Yankeeville, in a place called Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, there were three starting pitchers designated for greatness: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. (Just pretend Shelley isn’t in the picture.)
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Now Kennedy has been shipped off to Arizona to become a Diamondback.
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That leaves two surviving members of the trio. Cashman says pitching is still a priority, even after luring Pettitte back for another year. Does he mean he’ll be forking over serious dollars for Lackey? Is he planning to cobble together a staff from among Joba, Hughes, Gaudin, Aceves, Mitre and the traveling secretary? Or will he shock us by trading for Halladay in an effort to give us another ace and reunite Doc with AJ?
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If Halladay is an option, it surely will mean having to bid farewell to either Hughes or Joba. As much as I adore Doc, am I ready to part with either H or J? I’m having some sleepless nights over this one.
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Joba’s ups and downs have been well documented, so I won’t bore anyone with the Rules, the flashes of brilliance, the decreased velocity, the fact that he wants to be a starter but seems better suited to the bullpen. Does he get another crack at the rotation? And if he falters, how long will his rope be?
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Hughes looked tremendous out of the pen prior to the playoffs, and setting up successfully for Mo had to boost his confidence. But I always saw him as a starter. 
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OK, the truth is I don’t want to part with either of these kids. Let them both start, relieve, who cares. Keeping them affords the Yankees lots of flexibility. So I’m going to completely reverse myself and advocate that we forget Halladay and sign Lackey, who won’t cost us players and will make our pitching staff stronger. I know, I know. I said I couldn’t stand Lackey and his tantrums. 
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But maybe his supporters are right, and he’s just a “fierce competitor.” And maybe Girardi will take him aside and school him in the Yankees Way of doing things.
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Anyhow, I want Joba and Hughes to hang around. I want Lackey instead of Halladay since we wouldn’t have to give up Joba/Hughes. And I want Gaudin/Mitre only as a last, very remote resort.
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That’s where I stand at 8:08 p.m. Pacific Time. I could change my mind within the next ten minutes.
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Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 4

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With She-Fan Awards already handed out to Dr. Marc Phillipon (Best Surgeon), Brad Lidge (Best Postseason Enemy) and Junichi Tazawa (Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy), it’s time to spotlight another deserving individual who, by virtue of being unlucky, unfocused or just-plain unskilled, aided and abetted the Yankees in their quest for Championship #27.
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And so we turn our attention to the umpires who made a difference in the 2009 postseason. There were several whose calls were controversial and/or downright terrible. Some of the calls went against the Yankees, but it’s the ones that helped our cause that will be singled out for the solid gold fan tonight, along with the men responsible for them.
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Now, without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Umpire. We thank them all for being in the service of the Yankees.
Phil Cuzzi, Left Field Umpire, Game 2 ALDS Versus Twins –

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In the top of the 11th inning, with the Yanks and Twins tied and Marte on the mound, Mauer sliced one down the left field line and watched it bounce into the seats. Cuzzi called the ball foul, but replays showed it should have been a ground rule double. Mauer ended up singling but never scored, despite the two hits that followed. Had he doubled, he surely would have scored. (Great inning by Robertson to get out of the bases-loaded no-outs jam.) The Yankees went on to win the game 4-3.
Jerry Layne, Second Base Umpire, Game 2 ALCS Versus Angels – 
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It was in the bottom of the 10th inning of what was to be the longest ALCS game in history that Layne showed us his stuff. Jorge grounded into a routine double play, but Layne ruled that Aybar, who had received the throw at second from Izturis, never touched the bag before sending the relay on to first. Consequently, Melky was safe at second and the so-called “Neighborhood Play,” which we’ve seen called a million times, was suddenly a figment of our imagination. The Yanks won the game 4-3 and went up by two games to none in the series.
–  Dale Scott, Second Base Umpire, Game 3 ALCS Versus Angels – 
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With Kazmir on the mound in the top of the fourth and Jeter at the plate, Swisher led off second and got picked off – or did he? Kazmir’s throw to second and Aybar’s tag appear to nail Swishalicious according to the replays, but Scott called the runner safe. The Yankees blew the Angels away that night by the score of 10-1, and I was in Anaheim fending off the thunderstix. A great time was had by me.
Tim McClelland, Third Base Umpire, Game 3 ALCS Versus Angels – 
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In the fifth inning of the above game, with the Yankees already up 5-0 and Posada on third and Cano on second, Swisher hit a Darren Oliver pitch on the ground for a fielder’s choice. Posada broke for home and got caught in a rundown. Napoli chased him back to third base, but – oopsie! – Cano was already there! Napoli tagged both Cano and Posada, but McClelland, who was standing right on top of the play, called Cano safe. The Yankees didn’t score, but it was a bad night for McClelland, who had mistakenly (“in his heart”) called Swisher out in the previous inning for tagging up too early.
Fieldin Culbreth, Home Plate Umpire, Game 5 ALCS Versus Angels – 
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Fieldin should win the award just for his name alone. But here goes. The Yankees were down 4-0 in the seventh with one on and one out. Posada had a great at bat against Lackey, working the count full. Lackey’s next pitch was low and inside, and Posada trotted to first base with a walk, thanks to Culbreth’s tight strike zone. Big John was incensed at the ump, and Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher had to come out to the mound for a mental health chat. It didn’t work; Lackey walked Jeter, and Darren Oliver allowed the next three runners to score. The Yanks lost the game anyway 7-6, but Culbreth gave us his best shot.
Brian Gorman, First Base Umpire, Game 2 World Series Versus Phillies
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Mo was pitching in the eighth (since he was his own set-up man by this time), and the Phillies had a rally going – until Gorman said Utley didn’t beat Jeter’s relay to first on a ground ball. Replays were inconclusive, but Charlie Manuel thought his player was robbed. “I’m not saying nothing about the umpiring,” he told the media after the game. “I’m just saying that he was safe.” If Gorman hadn’t ruled in our favor, the Phillies would have had runners at the corners with two outs. The Yankees won the game 3-1.
Brian Gorman, Home Plate Umpire, Game 3 World Series Versus Phillies
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Yes, it’s Gorman
again. But this time he was minding his own business at home plate when A-Rod launched one to right field that hit the TV camera positioned there. Gorman signaled “double,” but Girardi protested and the umpires huddled together in some back room to watch the replay. When they returned to the field, Gorman waved A-Rod home. The call wasn’t just historic (the first use of instant replay in a World Series); it sparked the Yankees’ comeback off Hamels and we went on to win 8-5. The irony of the whole thing was that the ball hit one of the TV cameras whose purpose was to make the call.
Those are your nominees. And now, the envelope please.
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The winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Umpire is
***** Phil Cuzzi *****
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Yes, Tim McClelland’s bonehead move calling Cano safe deemed him a worthy runner-up for the award, but the Yankees had that game well in hand and the call didn’t affect the outcome. All it did was make everybody look like bit players in an Abbott and Costello routine.
Cuzzi’s call, on the other hand, was a game changer. The Twins very likely would have taken the lead and evened the series. Still not convinced? Here’s the evidence.
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Congratulations, Mr. Cuzzi!
Oh, wait. Apparently, Mr. Cuzzi is vacationing in Tampa at the Steinbrenner compound. Accepting the award on his behalf is his optometrist.
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Enjoy your award, Mr. Cuzzi.
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