Tagged: Mark Melancon

Bad Pitching + Weak Offense + More Injuries = Disaster

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So much for A.J. turning in a dazzling performance tonight. He was all over the place and the Rays capitalized. And if he’d been able to hang on a little longer, we wouldn’t have had to witness more of the mediocrity that is Boone Logan, followed by the sadly not-ready-for-prime-time Mark Melancon. Yuck. Just yuck.
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Aside from A-Rod, who added to his career home run total and seems to be on base every night, and Cano, who was four-for-four and shows no signs of cooling off, the offense was as dead as my phone when the battery conks out. Jeter got a hit, but still. He’s not acting Jeterian. And Tex. Dude, you were allowed to be AWOL in April, because we all know that’s not your month, but how about turning it on already?
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But the real problem tonight had to do with the fact that OUR PLAYERS ARE DISAPPEARING! It wasn’t bad enough that, going into this game, we were down
Nick Johnson
Curtis Granderson
Alfredo Aceves
Jorge Posada
Nick Swisher
and were, therefore, forced to continue using Thames and Winn in the outfield and at the bottom of the order – players who were never intended to be more than bench jockeys? Now Thames trips over his own bat and sprains his ankle? Really?
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And Pena – our utility infielder and only remaining bench guy – has to play right field in place of Thames? Scary. But scarier still was the news that Posada’s “sore foot” is actually BROKEN. Well, okay, so it’s a hairline fracture, not a complete break, but it sounds bad to me. I mean, here’s what I’d look like if my hairline were fractured.
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The point is we need bodies. Healthy bodies. If I were Brian Cashman, I’d raid other teams or start trolling for talent in the farm system – the younger the better.
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Big Win For The Yanks = Great Birthday For Me

Life was sweet on Sunday afternoon. My husband took me for a sail on the Pacific Ocean on a gorgeous California afternoon. He even let me steer the boat, which was a little crazy on his part; I have almost no sailing sense and there were seals, pelicans and other boats on either side of us.
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It was really fun. The best part? While he was tacking or coming about or whatever sailors call it when they change direction, I whipped out my iPhone just in time to hear John Sterling say the Yankees were up 12-0. I stood up in the boat and yelled, “Woohoo!” No, it didn’t tip over and nobody got hurt. And yes, Melancon gave up the three-run homer about two seconds later, but who cared; I got the birthday present I asked for.
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Apparently, I wasn’t the only one celebrating. What a day for Gardner and Swisher. Cano too. And Tex – wow. Even Nick Johnson woke up, and Thames made a web gem-worthy catch. I watched a replay of the game after I got home and saw it all – including, of course, the spectacular performance by Hughes. Number five pitcher? No way. So confident. Such command. And he kept the pressure on the White Sox, even though his offense gave him one of these.
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(The cushion, not the kid.)
I’m concerned that Granderson will be out for awhile, that A-Rod may or may not have a sore knee and that the bullpen needs some tweaking, never mind Vazquez. But the good news is that the 2010 version of the Yankees is reminding me of the 2009 version — i.e. when somebody goes down, somebody else steps up. The only thing we’re missing so far is this.
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No walk-off hero yet. But it’s still early. And speaking of food, my birthday involved a really good dinner at one of Santa Barbara’s most scenic restaurants, the Boathouse.
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This place isn’t just near the beach. It’s on it. Take a look at the view from our table, about a half hour before sunset.
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Thanks to all for the lovely birthday wishes — here and on Twitter and Facebook. They were much appreciated. Back to business on Monday. The O’s have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after their sweep of the Red Sox. It’ll be up to CC to squash their hopes and dreams — and to the hitters to stay out of Jeremy Guthrie’s way. If I were facing Guthrie, I’d step up to the plate wearing this.
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An Open Letter To The Yankees

Dear Yankees,

It’s my birthday tomorrow (Sunday, May 2nd), so I’ll be taking the day off from blogging, tweeting and watching/listening to the finale against the White Sox. While I’m out celebrating, here’s what I’d like to happen on your end.
* Heal Curtis Granderson’s groin. (Chan Ho Park’s hammy too.)

* Insist that Kevin Long fix Nick Johnson’s swing.

* Make Dave Eiland figure out what’s wrong with Robertson, Marte and, yes, Vazquez. (More on him in a sec.)

* Give Sergio Mitre a raise.

* Let A-Rod know that no one will mind if he passes Frank Robinson on the home run list.

* Remind Cano that April streaks are nice, but it’s good to hit in May too.

* Congratulate Swisher for busting out of his Yankee Stadium slump.

* If you must call up Melancon, tell him not to plunk anybody.

* Instead of using Thames/Winn in left, how about calling up Jon Weber or Colin Curtis.

* Tell Javy I didn’t boo him today. Well, not out loud. Sure, I want him to pitch better, but it’s not as if he’s screwing up on purpose. So tell him I support him…for now.

* Please win on my birthday. You hardly ever do, but try.
Love and xxoo, She-Fan
P.S. I got birthday flowers from Mike Fierman, Friend of the Blog and all-around great guy. Take a look!
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P.P.S. I also got a cake from Melissa!!!
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Yanks-Phillies: Not Exactly Must-See TV

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OK, that was harsh. I’m sure it was more fun if you were actually at the game. (John, we want a full report.) And it’s always enjoyable seeing the prospects and trying to guess who has a major league future and who doesn’t. That said, the first two-thirds of the game were a bit of a snooze. CC got his work in. Halladay looked as sharp as ever. The Yankees didn’t send Jeter, A-Rod, Granderson or Tex on the long, arduous journey to Clearwater (doesn’t it take all of 20 minutes to get there???), so our “A-list” consisted of Swisher, Posada and Gardner, each of whom seemed rusty, and Cano, who got the first hit for the Bombers. Nick Johnson was scratched because of back stiffness. I woke up with back stiffness too, but it didn’t stop me from blogging, did it?
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Oh, Nick. Nick. Nick. Please don’t go all Pavano on us. I’ll chalk this one up to spring training fragility, but try to stay healthy, OK?
Among the Baby Boomers, Melancon did a nice job, striking out two. Boone Logan (really love that name) looked good on the mound. And my boy Colin Curtis got another hit. Actually, the kids staged one of the Yankees’ signature, late inning comebacks in the 9th, but the Phillies rebounded in their half off someone named Arias and won 3-2. The good news is it’s spring training time – finally. Today’s contest wasn’t the 7th game of the World Series, but I’d rather be watching baseball than just about anything else.

What Mark Muhlanson Means To Me

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I know, I know. It’s spelled Melancon. Every now and then I can’t help myself and go all phonetics with ballplayer’s names. What can I say. The point is that I felt compelled to write about Melly (I bet that’s what Girardi calls him) with pitchers and catchers showing up in Tampa as I type this. There’s been so much talk about whether Hughes or Joba should be in the pen, not to mention what the Yankees will do without lefties Coke and Dunn. It dawned on me tonight that Melly’s season could be just as key. Let’s take a closer look.
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OK, so he doesn’t have much of a neck. Big deal. Neither did Walt “No Neck” Williams, who was an All-Star with the White Sox once upon a time.
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And he’s very fair, in hair and skin, but so was Shane Spencer.
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Oh, wait. That didn’t work out very well. Here’s a much better example.
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But appearances aside, if Melly has a breakout season in 2010, it would be huge for the Yanks. And it’s not impossible. He was outstanding in Scranton in 2009, throwing 11 scoreless innings over his first six appearances, striking out 17 and walking only 3. That’s insane. Then he struggled with his control when he got called up to the Bronx – an understatement. Who can forget May 5th in Boston when he walked all three batters he faced and was promptly sent packing?
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When he was brought back to the majors late in the season, Girardi was reluctant to use him in pressure situations and with good reason; he was still somewhat of a wild man. 
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And yet baseball scouts seem to like his stuff (I know, that’s what they said about Jose Veras too). I’m just saying he could play a pivotal role in the pen this year if he figures out how to throw inside without hitting people.
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The Yanks Get Blown Out, Then Thrown Out

Well, one Yankee got ejected.
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Jorge Posada was a bad, bad boy in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 10-4 drubbing by the Blue Jays. It was not his finest moment, and he could get a fat suspension by MLB for elbowing Jays reliever Jesse Carlson. You just can’t be in a pennant race and let your emotions get the better of you, putting yourself and your team at risk. I mean, who wants to act like this guy?
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The Yanks should have taken advantage of the fact that Halladay wasn’t at his best, but they couldn’t pitch with any consistency and couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position. It was a miserable night to be a Yankee fan.
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Mitre was pitiful, allowing seven runs over five-plus innings, four of the hits homers. Edwar, Melancon and Dunn weren’t much better in their collective role as The Mop Up Guy.
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But this one was all about the brawl, the scrum, the donnybrook, the fracas, the fist-a-cuffs, the altercation, the imbroglio, the ruckus, the rumpus, the rhubarb.
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Mitre and Melancon had plunked Encarnacion and Hill, respectively. Carlson retaliated by throwing behind Posada. The benches were warned and Posada eventually walked. That should have been that. But Gardner’s double sent Jorge home with the Yankees’ third run. As he was crossing home plate, he gave Carlson a little shove, and both teams came spilling out.
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Jorge had to be restrained by CC – a fate worse than whatever Bob Watson will hand down, if you ask me.
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And Carlson?
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He got a nasty bump on the head; a contusion is my guess.
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Even after his ejection, he stayed in the dugout, jawing. I would expect him to sit out a few games too.
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But this one was all on Jorge. He issued an apology for his conduct and was embarrassed, according to Pete Abe’s blog. I’m hoping the team gets it together on Wednesday night. No more forgetting how many outs there are. (Hello, Tex.) No more stranding runners. (That means you, Damon.) No more pitching like crap. (We need a good outing, Chad.) There’s still plenty to play for, Yankees, so act like it!
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P.S. My husband predicted in the previous post that the Yankees would win this one. Apparently, he is not psychic after all.

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.
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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.
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It was oddly entertaining, and I couldn’t look away.
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Every infielder except Jeter made an error, and there were assorted miscues by Swisher, Molina and a scary collision between Damon and Melky.
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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.
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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?
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A Tip Of The Cap

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I’ve made no secret of my appreciation for Roy Halladay’s gifts, not even during his recent slump. It was only natural that he’d have a letdown after all the hoopla at the All Star game surrounding a possible trade.
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Toronto’s 6-0 win over the Yankees tonight belonged to him. It’s no mean feat to one-hit the best offensive club in the majors, and he made the Yanks look feeble at the plate, especially A-Rod, who came up with bases loaded and took a called third strike.
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If Pena, subbing for Jeter at short, hadn’t doubled, Roy might have had a no-no. But that was it for the Yankees’ offense. So congratulations, Doc, for giving your team a lift. As for the Yanks….
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Joba gave me a headache. A migraine.
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I mean, what happened to him? He was pulled after three innings – the usual these days, given The Joba Rules – but he never seemed comfortable, never dominated like he used to. The defense behind him was nothing to jump up and down about, either.
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Hinske’s a really good hitter off the bench, but in right field he gives me the shakes.
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But this game was all about pitching. After Joba gave up three runs, two earned, it was time to call up the kids.
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Melancon started out OK, then couldn’t find the plate. Mike Dunn, in his major league debut, really couldn’t find the plate. Edwar found too much of the plate resulting in Hill’s two-RBI double. And Albaladejo avoided damage in spite of getting hit in the face by a ball a few days ago and ending up with raccoon eyes.
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To sum up, it was a night for Halladay to celebrate and for the Yankees to say, “So be it. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.” Yes, I’m actually OK with losing a game to a guy who deserved to win it. I must be mellowing. Yeah, right.
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“A Rare Train-Wreck Game”

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Well, that’s what Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham called it on his blog. Taking nothing away from the excellent performance by Scott Kazmir, tonight’s game at the Trop was a sloppy one by the Yankees, who fell 6-2 to the Rays and looked as if they’d been out partying last night.
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Good pitching and defense? Not in evidence. CC struggled through five-plus and only intermittently had command of his pitches. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great second-half guy? He seemed pretty lost out there.
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Both Jeter and A-Rod made throwing errors, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Matsui got picked off of first base, and I can’t remember the last time that happened either. And Swisher? I’m sorry, but he’s just not the player I want in right field everyday. Sure, he comes up with the occasional brilliant catch, but most of the time he’s – how can I put this delicately – cringe worthy.
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Would Eric Hinske be that much worse? Would Shelley Duncan? Would this kid?
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I’m missing Bobby Abreu right now, wall phobia and all. Are you hearing me, Cashman?
I was delighted that Girardi finally allowed Mark Melancon to appear in public; it was starting to feel as if he’d contracted swine flu like Vincente Padilla and been shuttled off to an undisclosed location.
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Speaking of maladies, what awful news about Wang. Shoulder surgery tomorrow? Out for the rest of this season and possibly next? Talk about a blow.
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And what about Aceves, the guy we’ve been counting on in the pen and maybe in the rotation too? Now he tells the Yankees he has shoulder pain? How long has that been going on? I understand the whole spiel about athletes playing through injuries, blah blah, but did he think that keeping his “arm fatigue” quiet would make it go away? The strategy didn’t exactly work for Bruney.
OK. I’ll take a deep breath here.
Much better. It’s just that things have been going so well for the Yankees that I was hoping everybody would stay healthy and we wouldn’t have any big surprises and…
Would you listen to me? I’m acting all sky-is-falling, and it’s ridiculous. Baseball is nothing if not full of surprises. And with the trade deadline creeping up, there are bound to be more of them.
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Yanks Beat Rays While I Stuff My Face

When I left the house to meet my friends for dinner, the Yankees were up 3-0 over the Rays in the bottom of the fifth. Despite his rising pitch count, AJ looked downright nasty and I was feeling pretty optimistic about his outing.
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I was driving to the restaurant listening to the audio of the game when Cano and Swisher went back to back in the sixth to make it 5-0. I was so excited I nearly did this.
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But I kept it together and continued on to the restaurant, a cute Mexican place in Montecito.
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I was dying to monitor the score, but I didn’t want to be rude to my friends, neither of whom was hanging on the fate of the Yankees. So we sat there eating our chimichangas or enchiladas or whatever the hell they were. (Bottom line: they came with rice and beans and had cheese and guacamole on them.)
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I ate mine really fast, so I could get home and find out what happened. After I pulled in my driveway, I raced in the door and asked Michael, “So? Did we win?”
He can be really annoying the way he withholds information. Typical male. I tried again. “DID WE WIN?” I should add that I strangled him as I asked the question this time.
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“Yes, we did, OK?” he said after coughing for five straight minutes. “The score was 11-4.”
“A blowout? Are you kidding me?”
“We had four homers.”
“Wow. I thought Yankee Stadium was the home run palace. We went deep four times at the Troperoo?”
“Watch the replay and see for yourself.”
Which is exactly what I did. And yeah, the homers were sweet. I cheered as Swisher hit his second of the night, remembering when we were on the wrong side of a blowout at the Trop and he was called upon to pitch. Nice reversal of fortune.
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And Damon. Congrats to him on #200.
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There were so many other great offensive moments:
* A-Rod’s two-run double (happy birthday).
* Matsui’s sprint all the way home from first.
* Cano’s triple.
 * Jeter’s three hits.
Come to think of it, didn’t everybody in the lineup have a hit?
But the star of the game had to be AJ. Two hits and one run over seven innings? That’s just sick.
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He’s the guy I used to dread facing when he was with the Blue Jays. When people talk about pitchers having “live stuff,” I know what they mean when I watch him throw the ball.
I do wonder why Girardi didn’t use Melancon in relief. The kid hasn’t pitched in weeks. If you don’t use him in blowouts, why not send him back to Scranton?
But I quibble. It’s very satisfying to beat the reigning AL Champions. I realize it’s only one game and we’ll be back at it on Tuesday night. But I’m glad I wolfed down my dinner so I could get home and see….
Oh, no. I’m not glad. I’m having chimichanga kickback right now – that “burning sensation.”
I asked Michael if we had anything I could take for it. He handed me this.
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I chimichugged it right down.