Tagged: Jose Veras
Fun Finale At The Tropicana Club
Oops. Not that one.
As effective as Scott Kazmir was last night, Joba absolutely dominated the Rays tonight in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory.
He’s been brilliant since going home to Nebraska during the break. I’d like to know what they fed him while he was there, because he’s been a different pitcher since he came back.
No more shaking off Jorge. No more strolls around the mound between pitches. No more nibbling around the strike zone. He’s been aggressive, no-nonsense, focused. As a result, he only gave up three hits over eight innings – a memorable performance.
It was such a positive outing that I’m not even going to bring up the reliever who shall remain nameless, except to say he’s struggling and I don’t know why and he’s starting to remind me of guys who are no longer with the team.
I was fuming that Girardi had to drag Mo into the game in the ninth, but he took care of business in his usual it’s-just-my-job sort of way.
(Is there a stat for how many times he’s shaken Jorge’s hand after getting the final out?)
Jeter’s triple in the first inning set the tone, as did Tex’s single to drive him in. Then the home run derby kicked in: Cano (after fouling a ball off his knee – ouwww), Melky, Tex. The boys were unstoppable.
Speaking of Tex, on Twitter tonight I was kidding around with MLBlogger Yankeemeg about the resemblance between Jarrod Washburn and Kiefer Sutherland. Have you noticed?
Then we moved on to Eric Hinske (I kind of figured he’d play in this series, giving Damon or Swisher a night off from the turf) and how he reminded us of Kevin James.
I was trying to come up with a celebrity double for Tex and couldn’t think of one. And then Yankeemeg said, “He looks just like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.” And you know what? He does!
It’s easy to be lighthearted when your team is in first place and they just won a big series. Let’s see how jokey I am after the Yanks and White Sox go at it tomorrow night. I’d really like to keep the train moving, but I know better than to take anything for granted.
Vigilante Justice In The Bronx
No, I’m not talking about AJ Burnett versus Nelson Cruz. By the time AJ threw over Cruz’s head in the fifth, prompting the home plate umpire to warn both dugouts, the Yankees had a comfortable 9-3 lead over the Rangers.
I’m talking about Mark Teixeira versus this guy.
If Vincente Padilla is the Rangers’ idea of improved pitching, the Angels have nothing to worry about in the AL West.
When Padilla came in high and tight to Cano in the first inning, I figured it was just one of these.
But when he plunked Tex on the arm in the second, I started to pay attention – especially since he also pitched inside to Jeter and went up and in on A-Rod. I said to my husband, “This guy better not go all Daniel Cabrera on us,” referring to the former Orioles pitcher who made a career out of disabling various Yankees.
Then the fourth: Padilla hit Tex again, this time on the butt. Mark was not amused, and Girardi accompanied him to first base in an attempt to talk him down.
But Tex continued to seethe, his nostrils flaring.
When A-Rod grounded into a potential double play, Tex slid hard into second, lifting Andrus high into the air. (Elvis almost left the building.)
Jeter scored the go-ahead run, and it was his 1,500th, making him the fourth such active player and placing him in the company of Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle as the only Yankees to achieve the mark.
The rest was gravy.
Cano had a big RBI single. So did Posada. Matsui hit a three-run shot off Holland, Padilla’s replacement (the same guy he homered off in Texas last week). Posada added his own three-run dinger against Madrigal in the sixth, boosting the Yanks to 12-3.
AJ pitched well, even without his A-grade curve ball, and Bombko and Veras finished it up.
Did I cringe when Veras came in for the ninth? You bet, even with a nine-run lead. Michael Kay was yammering on yet again about what great stuff Jose has. “You don’t give up on a guy who throws 96 mph,” he said.
Um, did he forget about Kyle?
I digress. It was a very satisfying win for the Yanks, who now have the best record in the AL at 10 games over .500. The error-less streak is over, due to an errant throw by Posada, but I’ll take good pitching and timely hitting every time.
My Mercy Flight To Cleveland
No, the Yankees aren’t going to win every game for the rest of the season, but I thought I’d better get myself on a plane after their 5-4 walkoff loss to the Indians and talk to them before Monday night’s series finale. The game is on ESPN, and I don’t want them embarrassing me in front of the entire country.
My sources told me the players would be having dinner at The Chophouse and Brewery, a steak place in Cleveland’s trendy Warehouse District.
So I took a cab from the airport and went straight there. I found them in a private room. They were, without exception, eating this.
I introduced myself to the group, and explained that while I didn’t want to interrupt their good time, I felt it necessary to address them, fan to team. They were very polite and invited me to join them. CC was kind enough to order me a steak after I admitted that all I’d eaten on my flight was this.
“What’s on your mind, She-Fan?” asked Jeter as he was scarfing down onion rings.
“You were safe on that bang-bang play in the sixth inning today,” I said. “I know the calls even out over the course of the season, but if the ump had gotten this one right, you’d have scored on Tex’s homer.”
“Did I hear my name?” asked Teixeira from the other end of the table. He was eating his steak with his hands, not a care in the world.
“Congratulations on your thirteen-game hitting streak,” I said. “Longest of your career, right?”
“You got it,” he said, then patted A-Rod on the back, causing him to choke momentarily on his carrot, which he had ordered without salt or butter. “Since this guy came back to us, I’m on fire.”
I met A-Rod’s eyes. He seemed a little down. “You’re not a hundred-percent, are you?” I said.
“No, She-Fan,” he said. “My lateral movement just isn’t there. My surgeon told me not to put too much pressure on myself, but I feel like I cost us the game today. I couldn’t make a play on Peralta’s hit.”
“It was Coke who gave up the leadoff walk to Crowe,” I pointed out.
With that, I moved over to where all the relievers were sitting and delivered a stern lecture about throwing strikes and challenging hitters, instead of nibbling and falling behind in counts. I think Jose Veras cursed at me in Spanish, but Mo couldn’t have been nicer. He asked me how long I’d been a Yankee fan. When I said I was coming to see them play the Nationals on June 17th, he offered me free tickets. “I already bought some on StubHub, but thanks,” I said. What a sweetheart.
I spent some time with Matsui and his translator. I told him I was very concerned about his knees and wondered if they were the cause of his weak hacks at the plate.
“I’m not ready to retire,” he said testily. “And I’m not going to the Giants in a trade.”
“Fine,” I said. “Then stop pulling off the ball. You looked awful today.”
I got up from my chair and walked to the center of the room. “Listen, I didn’t come here to criticize. I just want to say thanks for a great month of May. You guys really got it together and I’m proud of you.”
“Woohoo! We rock! We roll! We have the most fun of any ballplayers!” exclaimed Nick Swisher. He did a little dance in his seat and then high-fived Johnny Damon.
“Tomorrow’s game against the Indians marks a brand new month,” I continued. “I want you to keep up your winning ways. That means effective starting pitching.” I cast a long, piercing look at Joba, tomorrow’s starter. “It means hitting with men in scoring position.” I wagged a finger at Jorge, who struck out and hit into a double play today. “And no misplays in center field.” I shrugged at Gardner, who was still grumbling about that ball that sailed over his head for a double.
“It goes both ways, She-Fan,” said Jeter. “We need you to do something for us.”
“Name it,” I said. “Anything.”
Before I could speak, AJ came running out from the restaurant’s kitchen and slammed a banana cream pie in my face.
My trip was so worth it.
Oh, Say Can You Cee Cee?
He was dominant in tonight’s 10-5 win over the Indians, but indulge me a sec.
Before I start pontificating about the game, I absolutely must rave about the movie I saw this morning. My film festival group showed a screening of Disney/Pixar’s animated feature “Up,” which opened around the country yesterday. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, male or female, romantic or cynic. It’s just plain great – a funny, heartwarming story about living life to the fullest. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Here’s the trailer, which doesn’t do it justice.
Back to the game. I wasn’t sure how CC would react to pitching in front of the Cleveland fans, but he didn’t display any nerves at all. In fact, the only drama in the first inning was when Victor Martinez fouled a ball off his knee and stayed down on the ground for an eternity.
I admired his desire to play hurt, but come on! He was holding up the game!
Basically, this contest boiled down to the following formula:
great starting pitching + flawless defense + solid offense = win.
The Yankees had it all going on. CC lost a bit of focus with a 7-0 lead in the fifth, but for the most part he cruised.
Tex and A-Rod, in particular, made some great plays behind him, and the offense seemed very relaxed, as if they knew they wouldn’t have to play catch-up.
Jorge – tater!
Swisher – tater!
Jeter – 2 RBI single!
Cano – ditto!
And all seven runs came off of Carmona, who’d been tough on the Yankees in the past. We tacked on three more against a reliever named Ohka, not to be confused with Okra.
Everybody contributed in some way. A-Rod isn’t running well, but his arm is one of these.
Matsui can’t run well either, but he had a couple of doubles.
And Gardner runs really well, of course, and scored after taking a simple walk.
Robertson shut down the Indians in the eighth, but in came Veras for the ninth. The Yanks were up 10-3, but I couldn’t stand to watch.
I did hear Michael Kay say this: “If they could straighten out Veras, it would really stabilize the bullpen.”
Right. And pigs can fly.
What did Veras do this time?
Served up a solo shot to Choo.
Hit DeRosa in the arm.
Allowed a double to Francisco.
I’m sure he’s a very nice person and will perform admirably for some other team. But enough. It’s time for the Yanks to send him packing.
But I quibble. The important thing is that the Yanks won again, extended their errorless streak to 16 games and are still in first place for another 24 hours. Life is good.
Another Ridiculous Day But With A Happy Ending
It feels as if I’m at war with the entire service industry. Yesterday, I battled Delta, American Express and Apple. Today, it was this place.
Since I finally got my plane tickets for my New York trip, I figured the next item on my agenda was securing seats at Yankee Stadium. I bought tickets on StubHub.com, but when the site wouldn’t let me download them – and told me I hadn’t even made a purchase – I called their 800 number. It took them ONE HOUR to fix the problem and allow me to print out my tix. Come on, people! You’re making me crazy!
The good news is I’ll be going to see the Yanks on Wednesday, June 17th – my first time at the new Stadium. They’re playing the Nationals, not exactly the team of my dreams, but who knows? It could be a great game. If anybody is planning to be there that night, please leave a comment. It would be fun to meet up.
Now, onto tonight’s 9-2 win over the Rangers, which not only gave us the series win but also put us into a tie for first with the Red Sox – and represented our 14th straight game without an error.
Tex going yard in the first inning.
Jeter getting on base five times.
Cash lining a double and a single AND throwing out Andrus.
Matsui knocking two out of the park.
Gardner bunting for a single and scoring.
Damon making two great running catches.
Robertson throwing strikes.
Wang finally making an appearance – and looking like Wang.
And, of course, there was the brilliant outing by AJ. He wasn’t economical. He only lasted six innings. But he struck out seven and held the mighty Rangers offense to three measly hits. Good job, guy.
Veras serving up Kinsler’s two-run shot. ENOUGH ALREADY!
Swisher being our only option in right field.
Berroa “pinch running” with the speed of this.
Luckily, I got the Rangers’ feed again tonight, which meant more merriment from their two crack broadcasters, Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve.
They really make a game fun. Here’s a sample.
Josh, before the first pitch by Holland, the Rangers’ rookie starter: “Not to put any pressure on Holland, but it’s 79 degrees with low humidity.”
Tom, assessing the Rangers so far this season: “The batters haven’t walked that often. And they have 376 strikeouts – the most in the major leagues. And the pitchers have the fewest strikeouts in the majors. It doesn’t matter.”
Josh, referring to Saltalamacchia: “They traded Mark Teixeira for a bunch of green bananas, and Salty was the first to ripen.”
Tom, after being told that AJ did not lead the majors in strikeouts last year as he’d thought: “I appreciate the correction. I don’t like to misinformation people.”
Josh, after Matsui’s second homer: “Let’s change the subject. How much time have you spent in Japan, Tom?”
Tom: “I’ve never been to Japan, Josh.”
Tom, after Cano
tacked on a homer in the ninth: “Cano is a pretty good hitter.”
tacked on a homer in the ninth: “Cano is a pretty good hitter.”
And my absolute favorite, after the game was over…
Josh: “The Yankees have an off-day in Cleveland tomorrow.”
Tom: “The Rangers have an off-day in Cleveland in August.”
I’ll miss those two smooth talkers.
The Yankees almost staged another miraculous comeback against the Phillies, complete with a walkoff and the requisite pie in someone’s smiling face.
But it didn’t happen. Instead, the Yanks lost 4-3 in 11 innings and I collapsed onto my bed, exhausted.
I mean, we were totally supposed to win that game. It was all set up. We got eight good innings out of CC. We sent Hamels packing after six and made him shake his head in disgust after Tex hit one out with a broken bat.
We survived awful at-bats by A-Rod and Matsui, who looked like they were trying to hit the ball with one of these.
And we survived a ninth inning appearance by Veras, who walked a batter but didn’t give up a run.
“He possesses good stuff, but the problem is his location,” said Al Leiter, stating the obvious and forcing me to stand up and yell at the TV. “I DON’T CARE IF HE HAS ‘GOOD STUFF!’ HOW GOOD COULD IT BE IF HE CAN’T THROW IT WHERE HE WANTS IT?”
(Sorry. I lost it there for a sec.)
We not only got to Lidge for the second straight day and tied the score in the bottom of the ninth (thanks to Cano and Melky yet again), but we escaped trouble in the top of the tenth after Mo gave up a single to Ibanez, who was a Yankee killer for the entire series and made me want to strangle him.
But then came the bottom of the tenth. With some reliever named Condrey on the mound for Philadelphia, Jeter and Damon singled and we were THISCLOSE to a walkoff win. Except for two problems.
Tex: grounded into a double play.
Pena: flied out.
Inning over and Girardi turned to Bombko for the top of the 11th. (Supposedly, Aceves wasn’t available. Why not? He didn’t pitch yesterday.)
Here was the result.
Ruiz: doubled in the go-ahead run.
Just a word or two about Ruiz, who killed us like Ibanez did only on both offense and defense. The guy blocks the plate better than most catchers in the majors. Impressive.
We went down meekly, 1-2-3, in the bottom of the frame. Game over. No celebrating. At first, I was bummed, but who can complain about a team that goes 8-2 during a home stand?
In fact, I think I’ll celebrate anyway. The Yankees put the pies on hold, but that doesn’t mean I have to.
Another Day, Another Walkoff!
Yesterday I was down in the dumps. This afternoon I’m bouncing off the ceiling. Am I bipolar? No! I’m a baseball fan!
The day began very cheerfully. The Cinema Society I belong to as part of the Santa Barbara Film Festival started back up, and there was a screening this morning. I figured I could go see the movie and be back in time for the game.
The movie was called “My Life in Ruins,” and it’s a romantic comedy with Nia Vardalos, who starred in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It opens on June 5th and I recommend it to all chick flick lovers. Some funny lines. Beautiful scenery. A happy ending. Here’s the trailer.
There was a Q&A with the director after the screening, but I left the theater and raced home to catch the first pitch. Little did I know the game would have a happy ending, just like the movie.
As usual, the Yankees were having trouble getting anything going against a rookie pitcher. What’s up with that? Isn’t there video to look at, scouting reports to read? Why is this always a problem?
And speaking of rookies, when Mayberry hit that homer off Pettitte in the fifth to put the Phillies up 4-1, I admit I thought Andy and the Yanks were in big trouble.
But then Jeter’s solo shot in the sixth pulled us to 4-2, and suddenly I had hope. I started standing in front of the TV like a maniac, pleading with them do something – anything – against Happ, Durbin and Madson. Nothing. Nothing! They seemed totally handcuffed.
But Phil Coke held the Phillies in check, and Veras – yes, the guy who regularly walks leadoff batters – dispatched the Flyin’ Hawaiian. Definitely a good omen.
When Lidge took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the score still at 4-2, I had a hunch there would Yankees magic. And was there ever.
A-Rod: two run homer.
(Are those Chinese characters on his right arm?)
The Yankees won 5-4 in dramatic, late-inning fashion once again. A-Rod silenced those who say he never hits in the clutch. Cano continues to be impressive at the plate. And Melky…..Well, let’s just say I’m glad Cashman didn’t trade him for Mike Cameron.
There was joy in Yankeeville…
And lots of love for the Melk Man…
And a double dose of pie for these two.
These come-from-behind wins are the best thing on TV. As someone (wish I could remember who) once said, “Baseball games are like soap operas with box scores.” So true.
Six In A Row Is Not A Freak Accident!
The Yankees’ winning streak started in Toronto against the division-leading Blue Jays. It continued against the Twins, who not only boast the services of Mauer and Morneau but who could have won any of the four games in the series. And it occurred without Wang in the rotation and Posada behind the plate and anything remotely resembling a reliable bullpen.
Is it luck? A fluke? Mystique and aura? Or is it because the 2009 Yankees are simply playing like many prognosticators predicted they would?
All I know is that this team, despite the makeshift lineups consisting of no-names like Cervelli, Pena and Cash, despite the mostly awful performances by Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, despite the uncertainty of A-Rod’s health, is getting it done. There’s a different hero every day and a sense that everybody is gelling.
Take tonight’s 7-6 victory over the Twins. It wasn’t won in dramatic walkoff fashion, like the previous three games, but Pettitte, who wasn’t sharp, managed to get through six-plus for his fourth “W.” How?
* He had some sparkling defensive plays behind him, including a first-inning stretch by Tex..a second-inning shovel by Cano…a third-inning catch by Damon…and a fourth-inning throw by Cervelli to nab Punto stealing.
* He had powerful offense to pick him up, including two homers by Tex, who continues to heat up and prove why he will be the key to glory this fall.
* He had A-Rod back, not only smacking another one into the seats but providing protection for Tex in the lineup.
* He had Phil Coke to save the game for him, given Mo’s unavailability – Coke’s first save ever. It didn’t come easily. He walked Crede to lead off the ninth and allowed him to score on Cuddyer’s ground out, then walked Gomez, who is now Public Enemy #1 in the Bronx after his tiff with Tex. But he got Redmond to end the game and the sweep, and out came the broom.
The streak will end – I’m not completely naive – but I’m riding it as long as it’ll take me. Yee-hah!
(If you haven’t voted already, please show your support for the fans who submitted photos for the Flip Video Contest. Deadline is this Friday. Thanks!)
Two Walkoffs Are Better Than One
What a game.
The Twins are formidable with their M&M Boys.
Whenever the Yankees play them and they hit bomb after bomb no matter who’s pitching, I can’t help but be reminded of these two.
But the Yanks are hot right now and no amount of Morneau/Mauer firepower is enough. Coming off last night’s stunning walkoff win, today’s 6-4 walkoff in the 11th was equally satisfying. I’m still jazzed, and it’s hours after the final pitch.
Highlights for me…
– Joba’s new pre-game warmup seemed to do the trick, and he made it through the first inning without damage this time. He went six, gave up two runs and struck out six. He’s looking sharper with each outing. Yeeehaaaaaaaah!
– Tex came out of the gate like a man on a mission, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Was there really any doubt that he would thrive in pinstripes?
– Veras and Edwar, the twin devils, walked their leadoff batters and made me nuts as usual, but Aceves was lights out. And Mo was Mo, which was the same as this.
– A-Rod, who had looked off-balance all day, popped one into the seats for his first hit at the new stadium and his first walkoff of the year.
Yes, I know there are Yankee fans who will boo him even when he does hit in the clutch. Not me. He admitted he took steroids. If it’s proven that he’s guilty of other baseball crimes, I’ll cross that proverbial bridge when I come it. In the meantime, I was ecstatic when he brought the game home for my team.
Take a look/listen. Sorry for the quality of the video, but this is what I get for shooting the action off my MacBook Pro. Just pretend you have Vasoline in your eyes and it’ll look normal.
I get that the Yankees won’t win every game. I do. But this one against the Angels looked like a “W” on paper, and I figured I’d be celebrating the anniversary of my birth, not stomping around the house like a kid having a tantrum.
I mean, CC Sabathia versus this journeyman?
The Yankees should have battered Palmer. Instead they managed a measly three hits off him. Jeter’s error in the sixth didn’t help Sabathia, but it was in the seventh that CC allowed the small ballers to do their thing. Did he ever looked pissed when Joe came to get him.
Then it was left to our crack bullpen to stop the bleeding. Yeah, sure. When I saw Veras coming in to pitch, I yelled at the TV: “NOT ANOTHER LEADOFF WALK!” This time he listened. He gave up a leadoff homer instead. So I’m saying goodbye to Jose. If Cashman wants to keep him around, fine. But I’m done with him.
So no more yukking it up with Mo.
No more stealing dirt from the old stadium.
No more man-hugging Molina.
You’re out of my life, Jose. Best of luck to you….with the Pirates or somebody.
With the score 8-1 in the ninth, the Yankees mounted a comeback thanks to Rodriguez, the Angels’ version of Veras, who gave up a couple of walks, a wild pitch, and a homer to Posada. It was 8-4 after Gary Matthews, Jr. dropped Jeter’s routine fly ball, and I thought maybe a miracle would follow last night’s miracle. But no. What followed was only sadness and disappointment as I watched my husband Michael take the loss very hard.
Not only were the Yankees beaten by the Angels, but here’s what also happened:
* Cano’s hitting streak ended.
* Tex continued to slump (and hear boos).
* Nick Swisher’s elbow was still swollen and bruised.
* Erick Aybar got beaned in the face by a ricochet off Jeter’s helmet and was carted off to the Yankees’ dentist.
Worst of all, today marked the end of the Magic Pen and its promising career as the Yankees’ Lucky Charm. Its own four-game winning streak snapped, the pen became expendable and was, therefore, DFA-ed. I didn’t have the heart to tell the pen, so Michael walked it out to the backyard and did the deed.
Rest in peace, Pen. There will be another pen to fill your roster spot tomorrow, but just know that we’ll miss you and we thank you for your service.