Tagged: Justin Verlander

If the Yankees Can’t Get Cliff Lee, Then…

Who? I mean it’s possible that Lee will sign somewhere else, it really is. So if not him, then who else? That’s what everybody seems to be asking today so I’ll join the discussion – only I warn you: I won’t make any sense. Why should reality get in the way of a good blog post? The truth is, Lee isn’t the best non-Yankees pitcher in baseball; he’s just the best free agent non-Yankees pitcher in baseball. Which means that we have to look at those who aren’t free agents and would, therefore, require a miraculous, impossible-to-pull-off trade. Here are those I covet, regardless of availability or practicality.
1) The Freak
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So what if he just won a World Series for the Giants? Maybe he’s tired of the West Coast, not to mention the color orange.
2) Doc
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Yeah, he’s got some mileage on him, but I’ve made no secret of my affection for him and maybe he misses the American League East.
3) King Felix
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It’s true that his team hasn’t been a contender and he’s looked out of sorts on occasion, but he’s only 24 – plenty of time for him to mature into the game’s best pitcher.
4) The Zackster
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He’s already said he won’t come to New York, but that doesn’t mean he means it. And maybe CC and Amber will find him an historic old house in rural New Jersey with a barn and horses and it’ll feel just like Kansas, as in Missouri.
5) Justy
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That’s what Girardi would call Justin Verlander if he migrated to the Bronx. Sure, he’s the ace of the Tigers’ staff, but wouldn’t it be less pressure to be a #2 pitcher?
Those are my top five choices in case Cliff Lee doesn’t work out. Did I miss somebody? (This is why I don’t play fantasy baseball. I always miss somebody.)
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Rocky Road

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I wish I meant the ice cream. What a putrid trip to Detroit. Except for the outing by Hughes and Vazquez’s improved performance, what’s a Yankee fan to talk about? The boys looked flat and tired and just-plain eager to get home and sleep in their own beds.
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CC labored today and the bottom of the order was overmatched (I actually laughed watching Golson’s knees buckle on those swings and misses at Verlander’s curve balls). And I won’t be sorry not to see Miguel Cabrera for awhile. Total Yankee Killer.
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Bad trip aside, here’s the truth of the matter – the Yanks continued to win series for over a month, even with all the injuries piling up, and the party had to end sometime.
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So let’s look on the bright side. Mo is fine now. Posada’s back. Swisher’s injury doesn’t sound serious. Chan Ho is getting ready to return to the team. Gardner and Cervelli have been revelations. Joba is where he belongs in the pen. Tex is coming around. And, of course, Cano is off to his best start in, like, ever. What I really, really want is for Granderson and Aceves to get healthy. Nick Johnson too, although I haven’t heard a word about him since he left the Yanks in Boston. Is he still breathing? Anyone?
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Who I Want In My Christmas Stocking

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Last year I got CC, AJ and Tex for Christmas. This year all I’ve gotten so far is Curtis Granderson.
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I’m excited about Grandy, no question. I think he’ll be a quality player and a great guy in the clubhouse. But I really hope Cashman isn’t done shopping. One new Yankee does not a Merry Christmas make – especially with Matsui going to the Angels. Which reminds me. I haven’t said a proper goodbye to Godzilla.
非常にすばらしいDHおよびワールドシリーズ最高殊勲選手があることにあなた、Hidekiに、感謝しなさい。 私は逃すが、アナハイムの運のベストを望む。 それで、私は運の限り天使aren’最もよく望む; ヤンキーを演じるt。 愛、彼女ファン。

(Translation: “Thank you, Hideki, for being such a wonderful DH and the World Series MVP. I will miss you, and I wish you the best of luck in Anaheim. Well, I wish you the best of luck as long as the Angels aren’t playing the Yankees. Love, She-Fan.”)
Rumors are swirling that the Yanks are interested in Nick Johnson to replace Matsui. Will the former Yankee with the insane on-base percentage be in my Christmas stocking?
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He’s not my idea of a great signing. What’s the point? He’s injured a lot and won’t be playing first base, since Tex has the job. Shouldn’t Cashman bring back Damon? And why am I even talking about the DH spot, since what we need is another starting pitcher. Lackey, Halladay, Lee and Harden already have new homes, so it’s time to look elsewhere for a Christmas gift. I think I’ll do some window shopping on my own.
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OK, I found a few trinkets that would be perfect additions to the Yanks. No, they’re not Sheets, Marquis, Pineiro or Duscherererer (or whatever his name is). I was shopping for arms on the Halladay level. So how about one of the following?
* King Felix Hernandez
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Well? The Mariners just signed Lee. Why do they need King Felix too?
* Zack Greinke
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Sure he won the Cy Young. But maybe he’d like to be on a winning team.
* Mark Buehrle
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He pitched a perfect game. Why wouldn’t I want him?
* Justin Verlander
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The guy is really, really good. Enough said.
Yes, I know I’m dreaming. But Cashman has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Let him keep telling the media we can find pitching within the organization. I’ve heard it all before. What I want on Christmas morning is one of the above – all signed, sealed and delivered in a Yankees gift bag.
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P.S. Commenter Mike thinks we should be happy with Sheets for Christmas. Hmm.
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Five Ways To Rehabilitate Joba

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Joba lasted his usual three innings in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Mariners, and they weren’t pretty: seven earned runs on six hits, including a three-run dinger to Griffey. The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense, either; only Tex had a pulse. The bright spot was Mitre, who threw five scoreless innings in relief.
So what’s the real reason Joba has baffled everybody with his ineffectiveness this year? Could it be that he never pitched a full season in Triple A? That he shouldn’t have been moved from the pen to the rotation? That the Joba Rules messed with his mind? That he’s injured and not telling anyone?
All of the above are plausible answers, but I’ve come up with some other possibilities that, if implemented, could salvage his season. Here we go.
#1) Joba Should Take Back His Birth Name.
As everyone knows by now, his little niece couldn’t pronounce his real name, Justin, and the nickname “Joba” stuck. But pitchers named Justin do extremely well in baseball, as in this guy. Change it back.
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#2) The Yankees should put Harlan Chamberlain, Joba’s father, on the payroll.
Joba went home to Nebraska during the All-Star break and pitched great when he first returned to the team. Whatever Harlan said or did worked miracles. Make Harlan an “advisor” and let him coach his son. He’d be better than Dave Eiland.
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#3) Joba Should Hang Out With Roger Clemens.
No, really. When Clemens was with the Yankees in ’07, he mentored Joba and preached throwing strikes, being aggressive, attacking the zone. Whether the Rocket also taught him about Icy Hot liniment treatments I couldn’t tell you, but what harm could they do?
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#4) The YES Network should produce a “Yankeeography” about Joba.
I realize that Yankeeographies are reserved for players who’ve been been with the team awhile, not to mention excelled as Yankees, but it would give Joba confidence to know that the organization still believes in him, despite his suckitude.
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#5) Joba should come over to my house while he’s in SoCal.
He won’t be pitching in the Angels series. He’ll have plenty of time on his hands. He should get in his rental car, drive up to Santa Barbara and let me explain the facts of life to him over a nice home-cooked meal. And then I’ll pop in the DVD of “Bull Durham” and make him watch the scene between Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) that goes like this.
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Crash: “You’ve got a gift. When you were a baby, the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You’ve got a Hall of Fame arm, but you’re pissing it away.”
Nuke: “I ain’t pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already. I got a 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt.”
Crash: “You don’t need a quadraphonic Blaupunkt. What you need is a curveball. In the show, everybody can hit a fastball.”
Nuke: “Well, how would you know? You’ve been in the majors?”
Crash: “Yeah, I’ve been in the majors. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You never handle your luggage in the show. Somebody else carries your bags. You get white balls for batting practice. The ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains.”
Nuke: “They’re really hot, huh?”
Crash: “Yeah, and so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the show – exploding sliders. You could be one of those guys.”
I hope Joba takes me up on my offer. There are lessons to be learned from baseball movies, whether you’re a pitcher named Nuke LaLoosh or Joba Chamberlain.
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Beauty And The Beast (The Beast Won)

Today’s Yankees-Tigers contest was a classic match-up between Verlander, who was nearly unhittable through six innings and looked beautiful doing it….
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…and CC, who threw seven shutout innings but looked, well, beastly.
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Aside from Jeter’s two hits, the Yankees offense was nonexistent – until the seventh. I admit I was about to tip my cap to Verlander and write this one off. But then along came A-Rod with a Yankee Stadium Special.
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It was hardly a moonshot like Tex’s homer last night, but good enough to make it into the seats and give the Yanks a 1-0 lead.
Beauty (aka Verlander) pouted.
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He should have re-focused, because Cano singled, Swisher doubled, and Melky beat out an infield hit, scoring Cano, to make it 2-0.
In the eighth, Aceves replaced CC, who really gutted it out today (no pun intended). Ace was pitching to Cabrera when the umpire called a ball on him for going to his mouth without stepping off the mound.
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He protested that he was really just wiping sweat off his cheek.
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Yeah, right, Alfredo. Good one!
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He got Cabrera out, but served one up to Thames before retiring Ordonez on a called third strike. Which reminds me: what happened to Magglio’s hair? He went from this…
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…to this.
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I thought only Yankees had to join the Clean Cut Club.
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Mo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, thanks to great defense by Jeter. He notched save #507, and the Yanks took their second straight 2-1.
Tomorrow is Old Timers Day at the Stadium. I wish I could be there to see Mike Mussina back in pinstripes, but for now I’ll just feast my eyes on this and say, “Thanks for the memories, Moose.” Oh, and if you’re not busy, how about starting on Tuesday?
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Watching The Yankees = Watching A Horror Movie

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For three straight days I was tortured by the Red Sox and their merriment. Tonight, in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica, I was tortured by Justin Verlander and his 99-mph fastball. Watching my team lately has taken on the feel of this.
Every horror movie has a few likable, heroic characters, and tonight’s game was no different. Cano kept hitting (why wasn’t he batting cleanup?). CC gave the pen a night off (loved the fourth when he K-ed Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen; he could have gotten a “W” if he’d had a little run support). And Pena continued to show why he’s a better utility infielder than both Ransom and Berroa (duh).
And then there were the scary villains….
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* Justin Verlander and his high cheese.
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* Placido Domingo Polanco and his oddly shaped head.
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* Magglio Ordonez and his oddly shaped hair.
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* Jorge Posada and his tendency to ground into rally-killing double plays.
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It’s true that the Yankees didn’t arrive in Detroit until the wee hours of the morning and were probably as tired as they looked. But isn’t that what this is for?
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Getting back to “Carrie,” I was thinking how empowering it would be to have her gift of telekinesis – to make things happen just by thinking about them.
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Here are a few ways I would use my power to help the Yankees…
* I would heal A-Rod, Nady, Bruney and the newly banged up Damon.
* I would fix Wang’s mechanics and, if necessary, his mind.
* I would turn Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher into better hitters. (Swish is spiraling back down to earth. I can feel it.)
* I would command Jose Veras not to walk anybody. Ditto: Marte.
* I would put ten pounds on Edwar Ramirez, as well as give him another pitch besides the change-up.
* I would make Jeter five years younger.
* I would leave Mo exactly the way he is.
* I would trade Kei Igawa for Roy Halladay straight up.
* I would insure that the Yankees win their 27th championship this year.
* I would haunt anybody who tried to thwart me.