Tagged: Jose Molina

The Second Day After…

I went to another movie screening. Yesterday’s film was a very good distraction and helped me forget that THE YANKEES AREN’T GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES, so I was looking forward to this morning’s offering. It was “The King’s Speech,” which is coming out in December and will – I guarantee it – be nominated for Best Picture come Academy Awards time. It’s hard to imagine Colin Firth not giving a great performance and he doesn’t disappoint in the role of King George VI, a man with a horrible stammer who nevertheless had to reassure a country at war.

the-kings-speech1-530fp092110.jpgHere’s the trailer.

Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific too, and the director told us after the screening how meticulously he researched the story to insure its authenticity. Two thumbs up from me. Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.” And then it will be on to Wednesday night and Game 1 of Rangers-Giants. I’ve decided to jump on the Giants’ orange-and-black bandwagon.
The Dodgers are sort of my “second” team after the Yankees, because of Mattingly, and I know it’s heresy for Dodger fans to root for the hated Giants. But Michael’s brother and cousins live in SF and I live in California, and it’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement of castoffs like Cody Ross making it all the way to the big event. That said, someone needs to explain to me why Brian Wilson and other members of the bullpen have those dyed black beards.
It must be some solidarity thing? Like: “Let’s all do this and see if it’s lucky for us?” And I get why Sandoval is called “Panda,” but isn’t that what everybody called this guy?
I guess you can have more than one “Panda” in baseball. What you can’t have more than one of is “Mo, “Jeet,” “Tex,” “A-Rod”….Uh-oh. I’m feeling sad again. Better go watch a movie or something. How is everyone else doing? Do we need a group hug?

Goodbye, Old Friends

Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.

World Series Game 2: AJ Handcuffs Phillies

Officer handcuffing camper.jpg
The above photo is of Ryan Howard after AJ struck him out three times tonight. OK, no it isn’t, but I’m sure that’s how Howard felt – especially after Mo struck him out too, making him eligible for this.
Everybody was so nervous (including me) about AJ and whether he’d be able to control his emotions, avoid the wildness that’s plagued him in the past and perform on the big stage.
Obviously, he performed so well that the Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1.
He wasn’t just good. He was masterful, working seven innings and only giving up a run on four hits. After the game, he told the media: “It’s the funnest I’ve ever had on a baseball field.” So what if “funnest” is not an actual word. It was AJ’s night and if he wanted to say “funnest,” then “funnest” it was!
Pedro was keeping the Yanks off balance in the early innings, and when the Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead I thought, Please don’t let this be a repeat of Game 1. But Tex came to the rescue with a solo shot in the fourth to tie the score and break out of his slumber.
After Matsui put the Yanks ahead with his own blast into the seats, I decided it was safe to eat dinner. The “lucky” turkey club sandwich had lost its effectiveness during the ALCS, so I turned to the only food that was deliverable to my house at that hour.
The pizza was delicious, but then – after Posada knocked in Gardner in the seventh for 3-1 – the umps made that questionable ruling on Damon’s “double play ball” and I needed some of these.
Not to beat a dead horse, but is the umpiring bad or what? Seriously. These guys….
…were reminding me of these guys.
With AJ done after seven, Girardi went right to Mo for the six-out save and got it – Mo’s 38th career postseason save. It’s staggering how many times Yankee fans have witnessed this scene over the years.
Other plays of note:
Molina’s pickoff of Werth in the fourth.
Singles by Hairston and Melky in the seventh.
Jeter getting the Clemente award and Fox not showing it.
Ditto for Paul O’Neill’s first pitch.
Alicia Keys’ purple boots.
jayz wsgame2_5.jpg
Oh, and Pedro’s post-game press conference during which he wore a dark pinstriped version of this.
“If I was on the Yankees, I’d probably be like a king over here,” he told the media.
The man is never dull. And he can still pitch. But AJ was better, and the Yanks evened the series at 1-1. Now they’re off to Philly by train. All aboard, boys.

CC Could Pitch Three Times….And Maybe Catch

I’ve been thinking a lot about CC Sabathia today.
There’s been speculation about whether he’ll make three starts for the Yankees in the ALCS – and whether it’s a good idea if he does. I guess it’ll depend on the weather and how the days off line up. But my opinion? It’s a great idea. Here’s why.
* I’d be terrified of sending Joba out there at this point.
* I don’t have a ton of confidence in Chad Gaudin.
* CC is a horse and can carry the team (or vice versa).
* CC does strenuous stretching exercises to stay in shape.
sabathia fat.jpg
* CC also lifts weights as part of his strict workout regimen.
* CC has a magic heating pad that protects him from oblique strains and evil spirits.
* CC is the perfect pitcher to start Game 1 at Yankee Stadium – our ace.

* CC is the perfect pitcher to start Game 4 at Angel Stadium.
* CC is the perfect pitcher to start Game 7 (if necessary) back in the Bronx – and win it.
OK, so I’ve established that I’m comfortable with CC in the role of Super Pitcher. But now that I really think about it, why shouldn’t the Yankees use him at other positions on days when he’s not pitching? Seriously.
* Like he could catch AJ instead of Molina, since they have such good chemistry.
* He could take over for Cano at second, since he’s such an accomplished fielder.
* He could give A-Rod a rest at third, turning nifty double plays with the Captain.

* And, speaking of the Captain, he could fill in at shortstop if need be and cover plenty of foul territory.
Derek Jeter Dive into Stands.jpg
This is all another way of saying that if Girardi decides to go with CC as the Yankees’ main man, I’m behind it 100%.

Is There Crying In Baseball?

Not according to Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “A League of Their Own.” But I’ve done my share of crying over the Yankees and I bet I’m not the only fan who’s cried over her team. I’m certainly not the only crybaby in baseball.
As we move deeper into the postseason, there’s bound to be plenty of crying if our favorite team doesn’t win. So just in time… I’m giving away the perfect T-shirt for the occasion!
Actually, it’s a company called Vintage Blue that’s giving away the tee – to one lucky winner on this blog. Vintage Blue owns the exclusive license to the All American Girls Professional Baseball League that was featured in “A League of Their Own,” and they sell adorable organic tees with graphics from the 40s and 50s. One of their most popular items is the famous “There’s No Crying in Baseball” tee.
Here’s the link to their site, as seen over to the right under “Cool Stuff.” And here’s specific info about the “There’s No Crying” tee. If you’re a she-fan who’d like to win a free tee – or you’re a he-fan who’d like a tee for the she-fan in your life – now’s your chance. All you have to do is be the 27th commenter on this post. (Yes, it’s in honor of the 27th World Series I’m praying the Yankees will win this year.) If you’re the 27th commenter, I’ll be in touch to ask for the size you’d like and the address where you’d like the tee mailed. It’s as simple as that. Just make sure you’re #27 and the shirt is yours!
For anyone who’d like to buy the tee, Vintage Blue is offering a special deal just for readers of this blog. From October 9th-16th, they’ll take $10 off the price. (Be sure to use the promo code yankees10.)
And now on to baseball…..
Tomorrow it’s AJ on the mound for the Yanks. I want him to keep his head in the game and not have a hissy if he gives up a run or gets a bad call. He has filthy, dirty stuff and he just needs to throw it!
I’d also like to see Tex get on the postseason train….Gardner steal a base if he comes in to pinch run….A-Rod continue to knock ’em in….Swisher keep up the good work in right….Damon smack one into Damon’s Deck…Jeter lead off with another hit…. Oh, and if humanly possible, I want Molina to put his bat on the ball and swing. Here’s proof that he has the capability.
By the way: My responses to comments don’t count toward the #27th comment!

UPDATE! We have a winner. It’s Wendy, who came in with Comment #27. (Remember, my own comments didn’t count toward the 27. See above.) Congrats, Wendy, and enjoy the tee. I can’t wait to wear mine, but I hope I’m not crying. 🙂

Now, it’s on to tonight’s Yankees-Twins Game 2. I hope the weather cooperates. GO YANKS! EAT THOSE TWINKIES!

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.

Yankees Star in “Little Rascals” Episode

Talk about comedy. I bet the guys below could have played better defense in today’s 14-8 slopfest in Toronto.
Mitre reverted to type – 4.3 innings, 11 hits, 11 runs (nine earned). He was not helped by the shoddy play behind him. Seriously, if the Yankees needed to get a stinker out of their systems, today did the trick. They’ve been on such an amazing roll that they were due for one.
Still, the game was like watching a car wreck.
It was oddly entertaining, and I couldn’t look away.
Every infielder except Jeter made an error, and there were assorted miscues by Swisher, Molina and a scary collision between Damon and Melky.
Melancon looked petrified of contact when he came in to relieve Mitre, and the just-called-up Josh Towers hit the Jays’ Ruiz in the face with a pitch. Thankfully, Ruiz only suffered a fat lip.
There’s not much to say about this one. The Toronto announcer said it all: “The Yankees are a first place club, but they didn’t play like one.” Hopefully, Girardi will sit everybody down before tomorrow’s marathon of baseball and remind them that they’re a great team. Right, Joe?

A.J. to Posada: “I’m Melting!”

Maybe A.J. Burnett was overheating in the 91-degree weather. Maybe he ate some iffy cream pie before the game. Maybe he couldn’t get on the same page as his catcher. Or maybe he was just plain bad.
Whatever the problem, A.J. had a nationally televised meltdown at Fenway, and it led to the Yankees’ 14-1 drubbing by the Red Sox. His pitches were up in the zone. His stuff wasn’t dipping and diving. His body language was crappy. In the fifth, after he teed one up for Ortiz to put Boston ahead 8-0, he was captured by the Fox cameras muttering to himself, “Why? Why did you do that?” I’ll tell you why, honey. You sucked today and we all saw it.
But the Yankees wouldn’t be 6.5 games up in the division if it weren’t for A.J., who’s been superb for the most part. So I forgive him for having a lousy outing. I just hope he doesn’t take it too hard. I hear he has a tendency to play the brooding hero.
Well? They kind of look alike.
AJ Burnett copy.jpg
OK. No, they don’t. Not like these two.
Moving right along…..While A.J. certainly set the losing tone today, he had plenty of company. Aceves gave up three runs and hasn’t been effective for awhile now. Robertson has the ability to strike people out, but he allowed two runs. Cano made a base running blunder. (Memo to Yankees: Stop trying to stretch singles into doubles at Fenway!) Hinske is ill equipped to handle left field duties. And the Yankees were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Oh, and we had no bench – not when Molina was pressed into service at third base.
Aside from Nick Swisher’s offense, the game was enough to make any Yankee tear out his hair.
But I expected it. This rivalry is all about insanely long games and extremely unlikely results. I don’t even want to speculate about CC versus Beckett on Sunday night, because I’m sure I’ll be wrong. All I know is that we’ll still be in first place when it’s over.

Sloppy Second Sinks Mariners

Glub. Glub. Glub. 
The Mariners have struck out 30+ times in this series, but it was their error in the second inning tonight that set the stage for their latest defeat at the hands of those happy, love-is-in-the-air Yankees.
Melky hit one to right center, and Gutierrez heard Ichiro creeping over and dropped the ball. I guess I-Row has that effect on people.
As a result, Jeter’s sac fly scored Melky to break a 1-1 tie.
Homers by Swisher and Jeter added to the fun, and the Yanks went on to beat Seattle 5-2. Was Sergio Mitre better than he’s been in previous starts? Or are the Mariners just a punchless, free-swinging team? Maybe a little of both, but it was Robertson who saved Sergio’s bacon.
With the bases loaded in the sixth, he came in and struck out the two batters he faced. Sweet. Coke and Mo did their jobs too. And then there was Molina. I-Row inexplicably tried to steal third base in the seventh and Jose nailed him.
Tonight’s win puts the Yankees 7.5 games up over the Red Sox. Anything can happen in the next six weeks, but I’m thinking only positive thoughts.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. 
Yeah, right. Here’s what I’m really thinking.

Yankees Lose And She-Fan Demands Answers

I know. Seven games in a row was a lot, and the winning streak couldn’t possibly last forever. I get it, I really do. But as I watched the Yankees go down 5-4 to the suddenly Alex Rios-less Blue Jays, I felt sick inside.

Mitre gave up his usual five runs in five innings. Yes, only three of the runs were earned, but so what? Cano may have been charged with the error, but Sergio was the one who made the lame throw. To be fair, he had good stuff, and his strikeouts were impressive. But Kei Igawa strikes out batters too, and the Yankees aren’t rushing to slot him into the rotation, are they?
Still, it was fun to see Jeter, Cano and Hairston go deep. Cano, in particular, has been hot at the plate and he couldn’t have picked a more opportune time. (It was less fun to watch Posada strike out seemingly every time he even looked at a pitch.) And Aceves was brilliant in relief.
But here’s the thing. The Yankees were a little flat, as I knew they would be after the Red Sox series. It was only natural. But I thought I’d better have a talk with Joe Girardi and make sure he understood that there is to be no letdown for the rest of the season. None. Nada. Zippo. Sure, we can drop a game here and there, but that’s it. No losing binges, rough patches or slumps. Especially no slumps.
Here’s our conversation.
I think the Yankees will come out smoking on Tuesday night. Joe will make sure of it.