Tagged: Kevin Youkilis

Those Red Sox People Are So Amusing

Here’s the headline that generated my laughter today.

2011 Red Sox Will Challenge 1927 Yankees for Title of Greatest Team in Major League History

It was from a blog on NESN that was brought to my attention by Paul Lebowitz’s blog earlier. Now don’t get me wrong; the Red Sox made terrific deals to upgrade their team this off-season, and my Red Sox fan friends (yes, I do have a few) are rightfully delirious with their shiny new acquisitions, just as we were when CC, AJ and Tex landed in our laps. But “the greatest team in major league history?”


That’s just plain hilarious. For starters, I wouldn’t be caught dead writing a headline like that, given how superstitious I am. (Talk about a jinx.) For another thing, isn’t it a little nutty to make such a grandiose prediction this early, particularly after 2010 when the Red Sox were supposed to be locked and loaded and instead ended up sending everybody to the DL? And finally, the author of this masterpiece decided to compare the 2011 Red Sox with the 1927 Yankees? 
There’s a reason the ’27 Yanks were called “Murderers’ Row.” (And it wasn’t because they had a bunch of murderers on the team, which reminds me: Did everyone read about O’s pitcher Simon? Allegedly, he shot and killed a guy in the Dominican over the weekend and wounded another. I hate when that happens.) Babe Ruth hit 60 homers that year and Gehrig 47, and the others in the lineup were no slouches either. The team dominated, absolutely dominated. So my question is this…Will the 2011 Red Sox dominate in the same way? Can any team dominate in the same way, given the competition these days? And who would comprise Boston’s Murderers’ Row? Crawford and Gonzalez are really good but are they Ruth and Gehrig? Are Pedroia and Youkilis? No doubt they’ll all score a ton of runs, but I’m just not ready to anoint them as the “greatest team in major league history.” That’s like saying the chicken and barley stew I made last night was the “greatest comfort food in culinary history.” I mean, it was excellent, if I do say so myself, but….Well, you get my drift.

Tonight’s Game Nearly Killed Me

I’m serious. I mean, how is a fan supposed to deal with up innings and down innings and pitchers who can’t pitch, followed by miraculous bottom-of-the-ninth home runs? How? All I know is this:
* My heart soared when the Yankees went up 5-0 in the first inning off Dice K. I figured, “Wow. We’re gonna crush them.”
* My heart sank when Hughes made it clear he wasn’t as sharp, aggressive or efficient as he’s been and allowed the Sox to climb back in it in the fifth.
* My heart soared again when Thames’s RBI gave us seven runs. Shouldn’t seven runs be enough to win a ball game?
* My heart sank again when Chan Ho Park was forced to come back for the eighth (having literally just been activated) and gave up not one but two shots. 
* My heart soared again when Vazquez, the forgotten pitcher, got Youkilis to strike out to end the top of the ninth. The crowd was cheering for him instead of booing him! Sweet!
* My heart jumped into my throat when A-Rod hit Papelbumkin’s first pitch into the seats to tie it up. It was clearly not the Irish jigger’s night, but A-Rod has been nothing but clutch.
* And my heart swelled as I watched Thames – Thames! – win it with his own two-run blast. Obviously, he’s well liked in the clubhouse because the players couldn’t wait to hug the guy and show him some love. And yes, I teared up, even when I watched the replay about 16 times, pie and all.
So you see why I said this game almost killed me. I just hope it didn’t kill any of the Yankees. If I wake up tomorrow and find out that Cervelli is our latest casualty because he got hit on the arm, I’ll be very unhappy. He and Gardner are about the most exciting Yankees in years.

Since We Face Rick Porcello First…

…in tomorrow’s doubleheader against the Tigers, I thought I’d do a little due diligence on the kid. I remembered his fight with Youkilis, of course.

Clearly, he’s not shy about plunking guys. But given our mounting injuries (Aceves! No! Who’s next?), I really hope he keeps the ball away from the Yanks or I’ll charge the mound myself.
(Tell me I’m not the only one old enough to remember Morganna, the kissing bandit?)
Anyhow, what I didn’t remember about Porcello was this.
Yeah, he was a phenom before he hit the big time. But here’s the good news. He’s 2-and-3 this season with a 7.50 ERA. We can do this…if Vazquez gets it together. So let’s all think positive thoughts about our Javy. Right now. Come on, people. 
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Anyone Have A Cardiologist On Call?

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.
(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.
(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…
…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.” 
(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.
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.
P.S. Here’s your nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookies contest. The deadline for entries is April 11th at midnight, PST.

Trying To Stay Calm

I got home late from my Thursday night writer’s workshop, and immediately starting thinking about Yankees-Red Sox. Will the Yankees break their 2009 losing streak at Fenway? Will they continue their winning ways? Or will the suddenly hot Sox reassert themselves in The Rivalry and succeed in inching closer to first place?
I decided to put my musings here. Let’s go to the videotape.
What’s your prediction for Game 1?

A Passion That Knows No Bounds

While the Yankees were putting together their workmanlike 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Blue Jays, there was an actual public display of disaffection going on in Boston. When I saw this photo of the participants…
…the movie fan in me couldn’t help thinking of the old weeper “From Here to Eternity.”
So romantic. Be still my beating heart.
Back to the game in the Bronx, I was not feeling the love for Joba tonight. He put me through such anguish and torment. One minute, I thought he was Cy Young. The next, I thought he was Sergio Mitre. Pitching with a 3-0 lead in the third, he promptly allowed the Jays to tie the score on two walks, a single, a fielder’s choice and a double. And then in the fourth? Boom. A homer to Ruiz, a call-up from Vegas, to put Toronto ahead 4-3. Who are you, Joba? Do you even know?
As the Yankees headed into the eighth, still down a run, I started to growl at the TV. I mean, we weren’t facing Halladay and we didn’t have to deal with Rios or Rolen. So what was the problem? Why weren’t we scoring runs? Growl.
But then a hero strode to the mound. His name was Godzilla, and he was breathing fire.
(Whoa. How about a Tic Tac, Matsui. Seriously.)
Matty, as Girardi calls him, smacked one into the seats to tie the game at 4-4 and launch yet another Yankees late-inning comeback. Posada went back-to-back. Hinske doubled. Melky singled, scoring pinch runner Hairston (I’m really falling for this guy). And Damon singled. When it was all over, it was 7-5 Yanks and I was no longer growling. Quite the opposite.
After brilliant relief performances by Bruney, Coke and Robertson, in came Mo for the ninth, Talk about true love. But – shock – he gave up a homer to Encarnacion. He looked as surprised as I was.
Not to worry, Mo. You got the save and the Yanks won, and all is right with the world again. It’s a Yankees Universe and I’m just living in it.

Hartford (CT) Courant on Tex Vs. Youk

The sports editor of the Courant asked a few bloggers to weigh in on the tight contest between Teixeira and Youkilis for the All-Star spot at first base. I could hardly refuse.

Youkilis or Teixeira As All-Star Starter? Bloggers Speak Up

We asked some Yankees and Red Sox bloggers to weigh in on whether Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox or Mark Teixeira of the Yankees should start at first base for the American League in the All-Star Game (all stats and comment before Wednesday’s games):

>>Allan Wood, The Joy of Sox, joyofsox.blogspot.com: Youkilis’ batting average is 42 points higher (.317 to .275), his on-base percentage is 59 points higher (.443 to .384) and, despite Teixeira having hit seven more home runs, Yook’s slugging is 20 points higher (.588 to .568). According to Baseball-Reference.com, a team of nine Yooks would have a winning percentage of .776 against a league average team; a team of nine Teixeiras would have a .695 winning percentage. Kevin Youkilis belongs in the 2009 AL starting lineup.

>>Jane Heller, Confessions of a She-Fan,http://janeheller.mlblogs.com: I’m not much for stats, so I’ll leave that type of comparison to others. But here’s my take on why Teixeira should be the 2009 All-Star at first base … The Yankees haven’t seen the likes of Tex since Don Mattingly, and that’s saying something. At first base, he makes the other infielders shine. He can scoop an errant throw out of the dirt or make a great stretch on a wide throw. He can leap, dive and even smother any ball hit in his direction. And, unlike the hapless Giambi, he can throw the ball with speed and accuracy. As a batter, he hits for power and average, and hustles on every ball (hence his ability to score on the recent dropped pop-up by the Mets‘ Castillo). And here’s what really separates him from Youkilis — he’s a switch hitter, which disables a manager from using the lefty-righty pitching strategy against him. Although All-Stars aren’t necessarily Mr.Congeniality, Tex is the first out of the dugout to congratulate his teammates. That should count for something too. In my opinion, he’s the missing piece the Yankees have needed to reach the World Series and win it.

>>C. Williams, Behind the Moat,http://behindthemoat.wordpress.com: It’s a close one. I vote for Teixeira, not solely because he’s a Yankee, but because of three major points: 1) While from a purely sabermetric point of view, Youkilis might have an edge over Teixeira, as far as pure run-production goes, Teix is hands-down the choice. 2) Teixeira has had to carry the Yankees on his back for more stretches; whereas Youkilis has had a lot more help. 3) Youkilis is no slouch, but Teixeira has played flawless defense at first. You can’t go wrong with either, but I believe Teixeira has the edge.

>>Ian Bethune, Sox & Dawgs, http://soxanddawgs.comObviously being a Red Sox fan, I’m going to say Kevin Youkilis is the best choice to start in the All-Star Game. It’s one thing to lose the voting, but it’s another thing to lose it to a Yankee. Youk to me deserves
the start because he’s been one of the rocks of the Red Sox all season long. Teixeira really didn’t get going until A-Rod came back while Youk has been Mr.Consistent and at times, Mr.Clutch, for the Red Sox. While some of Youk’s stats (HR, RBIs) are close to Teixeira’s, Youk brings more to the table with a better average and better on-base percentage. Both are outstanding fielders and both deserve to be All-Stars, but Youk deserves the start again at first base.

>>Steve Silva, Boston Dirt Dogs, www.bostondirtdogs.comYouk had gone ice cold until this last series in Baltimore when he started swinging the bat better. Teixeira has put up impressive numbers for New York. But the player who may be most deserving of an All-Star nod for the American League at first base may be Justin Morneau: .311 BA, 19 HR, 54 RBI, .391 OPB, .578 SLG … and he’s homered in his last three games [heading into Wednesday night].

>>Ed Valentine, Pinstripe Alley, www.pinstripealley.comWhy should Mark Teixeira get the nod over Kevin Youkilis at first base for the American League All-Star team? Well, geez, the Sox have taken everything else away from the Yankees since 2004. They don’t even let us win an occasional game any more, having taken all eight 2009 meetings between the teams. C’mon, Boston fans! Throw us a bone — let us have something!

Seriously, there is no wrong choice when picking between these two. Both are terrific players in the primes of their careers who are key cogs in the middle of their respective lineups, excellent defenders and team leaders. And both guys play the game hard.

Tex seems like a guy made for the pinstripes, and he has been invaluable to the Yankees in so many ways. If you want to argue numbers, and that is splitting hairs, Teixeira has played 72 games while Youkilis has played only 63 of Boston’s 77.With 20 homers and 60 RBI, he is on pace to top last season’s 33 and 121. I don’t think Youkilis will touch those numbers

>>Chuck Korb, Sons of Sam Horn, www.sonsofsamhorn.com: From a stat geek perspective, Kevin Youkilis is a clear choice offensively. His on-base percentage, which of the easily calculated stats corresponds most closely with runs scored, is almost 60 points higher than Mark Teixeira’s. To put that into perspective, in 60 fewer plate appearances Youkilis has reached base only seven less times than Teixeira. Teixeira does have 20 home runs to Youkilis’ 13 (more on this later), but Youkilis still has a 20-point advantage in slugging percentage, which makes his OPS (on-base plus slugging) almost 80 points higher than Teixeira’s. 

Concerning Teixeira’s home runs, 13 of his 20 have come at the launching pad which is the new Yankee Stadium, and these despite 20 fewer plate appearances at home than on the road. The Yankees as a team have hit 21 more home runs at home than on the road in four less games. Certainly a case can be made that Teixeira’s home run total for 2009 is inflated. Defensively, both Teixeira and Youkilis are outstanding first basemen, although I would give the advantage to Teixeira. This would not, however, be nearly enough to negate the larger difference in the players’ respective offensive contributions for the first half of 2009. Youkilis should start over Teixeira in the 2009 American League All-Star Game.

My favorite answer was from Steve Silva of Boston Dirt Dogs, who picked Morneau. Now that’s fair and balanced! Kudos.