Tagged: Nick Markakis

It’s Way More Fun To Sweep Than To Be Swept (Duh)

That nightmare series in Anaheim before the break seems like ages ago. Now, all the Yankees do is win, and every game feels like a party.


With their second 6-4 victory in a row (after having won three 2-1 games in a row), the Yanks swept the hapless O’s behind an excellent performance by AJ. I really look forward to the days he pitches and I get a kick out of his pie-in-the-face pranks. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m starting to fall for the guy.
Well, just a little. I mean, he wears a snarl most of the time, but then look at how he gives props to Swisher for making that great catch on Wigginton in the third. So sweet and generous and tattoo-y.
He could have stood there sulking, because Swisher inexplicably dropped Roberts’ so-what fly ball for an error to lead off the inning.
Speaking of Swisher, he’s an adventure in right field. One minute, he reminds me of this guy.
The next, he makes run-saving plays like these.
He even smacked a two-RBI single to put the Yankees up 4-0. I’ll give him this: He’s a whole lot better than the guy Cashman dealt to get him.
He told Kim Jones after the game that if he were an ice cream, he’d be rocky road.
Does that mean he knows he’s kind of nutty?
His answer does raise an interesting question: What kind of ice cream would you be? I spent the afternoon pondering this weighty issue (too much time on my hands) and decided I would be vanilla fudge ripple. I have no idea why.
Berken, the Orioles pitcher, was woeful in the early going, and allowed the Yankees hitters to jump all over him. I thought I’d be seeing an actual blowout. But the offense stranded runners, and it was maddening. For example:
Tex with two on in the 7th: GIDP.
Jeter with bases loaded in the 8th: K.
Still, no complaints. Phil Hughes, who is impossibly great as a reliever, threw yet another scoreless eighth. 
I was glad to see Bruney in the ninth, considering that he hadn’t pitched since early July, but what is up with him? He strikes out Andino and Roberts, then gives up back-to-back homers to Jones and Markakis? 
Clearly, he has more work to do. Or is he still hurt and not telling anyone?
The worst part is that Girardi was forced to bring in Mo for the fifth time in six games. He got the save (#510), but he needs some rest now.
Mo? If you’re reading this, there’s an extra bed at my house. I’ll make you dinner, massage your feet, let you have a nice, relaxing evening while the Yankees deal with the A’s. There’s just one thing: You’ll have to watch the games with me. It’ll be fun to laugh together at the various batting stances of your teammates, won’t it?

Breaking News: Sergio Isn’t Halladay

In the first inning, I started worrying. Sergio looked so hittable, giving up a run on a double, a single and a wild pitch before I even settled into my favorite TV-watching chair.
“Oh, great,” I said to my husband Michael. “This guy is another Darrell Rasner. The score will be 10-0 before you know it.”
“You’re such a pessimist,” he said. “He got out of the inning without much damage. He’s not bad at all.”
Then came the third inning. With the score tied 1-1, Sergio not only served up a single to Roberts but made a throwing error trying to pick him off. Suddenly, it was 2-1 Baltimore.
“See?” I said. “He stinks.”
“He does not,” said Michael, after Sergio struck out Markakis and Scott.
We had our third and final debate about Sergio in the sixth inning, after the Orioles scored two more.
“He just lays ’em in there,” I muttered.
“One of those runs wasn’t his fault,” said Michael. “Damon should have been charged with an error.”
In came Aceves, Sergio’s night was over, and he ended up notching his first win since ’07 as the Yanks went on to beat the O’s 6-4. The truth is, he didn’t stink. I was much too hard on him.
He pitched quickly, was around the strike zone (only walking one), and kept the Yankees in the game. Will he be a serviceable fifth starter going forward? As far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out.
But I’ll keep an open mind. What choice do I have, since it’s clear that Wang won’t be pitching in the foreseeable future and hasn’t been the same since this happened?
Meanwhile, could we talk about how the Yankees got their six runs? They only had six hits. The O’s starter, Rich Hill, was very gracious and walked five in his short appearance. I had the Baltimore TV feed, and it was pretty funny how Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne went on and on about how bad Hill was. Talk about ripping your own guy.
A-Rod has been very clutchy lately and came through again tonight with a two-RBI single.
(Quick aside: Who does the Yankees’ laundry and how do they get the dirt stains out?)
Cano, who took a single away from Roberts in the seventh with a great play, silenced those critics who said he wasn’t clutchy (me, for instance) by homering with Swisher aboard.
Mo earned save #509, and the win put the Yanks back in first place in the division. They’ve played well since the break and deserve to be there. I’m feeling on top of the world right now. 
I’m also very excited that I’ll be going to see the Dodgers on Friday night. Yes, the Dodgers. Thanks to Cat of the Cat Loves the Dodgers blog, I got an invite to sit in the Dugout Club that she often writes about. I’ll be able to see what Joe and Donnie and Bowa have been up to since they left the Yankees. Josh Ravich, the Dodgers’ director of media relations, has rolled out the red carpet for me. It’ll be a revelation to watch a game without having a nervous breakdown, which is the beauty of having a “second favorite team.”
To put me in the mood for Friday…

Eight Is NOT Enough!

Who cares what that old TV show said. The Yankees clobbered the Orioles 11-4 for their eighth straight victory tonight and I’m not ready to say, “Enough.” Why should I? This streak is a blast and I hope it keeps going. Call me greedy, even piggish, but that’s how I am when it comes to the Yanks (and cake). More. More. More.
What’s great about streaks is that they’re never just about one player. They feature a different hero every night. A different villain, too.
Tonight’s hero? Phil Hughes. Hat tip right back at you, buddy.
He wasn’t exactly Nolan Ryan out there, but he did strike out nine over five innings with a wicked fast ball. He earned another start for sure. If Wang rediscovers his sinker and takes back his slot in the rotation, I wouldn’t mind seeing Hughes in the pen, especially if it means sending Veras down to Triple A.
Other heroes?
* The sizzling hot Tex, who got the offense cooking with an RBI double in the first.
* The Nickster, whose first Yankee Stadium homer just made it over Markakis’s head.
* Cano, whose dinger sailed four rows over Markakis’s head.
* Melky, who went back-to-back-to-back even deeper over Markakis’s head.
Speaking of Markakis’s head, it had to feel like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist.”
Oddly enough, Guthrie, who served up the above bombs, not only settled down but hung around through the seventh, allowing him the opportunity to plunk both A-Rod…
…and Tex.
I know. The ball “just slipped.” Whatever. Suffice it to say that if Guthrie drove over to my house and rang the doorbell, he’d be greeted by this.
Speaking of getting hit, poor Melky. In the third, he took one for the team after he fouled off a pitch. The ball came right up and bit him in an extremely sensitive place, causing Posada to break out laughing in the dugout and Michael Kay to lament in the booth: “It’s not funny when it happens to you.”
On a brighter note, the Yankees weren’t done scoring. They tacked on a bunch of runs off Baez and Walker in the eighth – another late-inning burst. Does anyone have a good pen? Even Mo got taken deep again.
No, I’m not complaining. Eight may not be enough, but it’ll do….until tomorrow when we finish up with the O’s and then host the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend.
Playing the champs will makes us the underdogs, with all the pressure on them.
Will they dominate us? Or will yet another pinstriped hero emerge and feel the love from his teammates?
I’m hoping for more pie.

(Final call for the Favorite Fan Moment photo contest. Deadline is Friday at midnight. I wish the people at Flip Video would give a camcorder to all 19 candidates, but only one will win!)

Check That….Seven In A Row Is Not A Freak Accident!

Two weeks ago, the Yankees were old and feeble and caving in under the weight of expectations. This week? They’re the hottest team in baseball, caving in to no one.
Tonight’s 9-1 win over the O’s started out as a nifty pitcher’s duel between Cee Cee and a rookie named Bergesen. A-Rod crushed a no-doubter in the first inning – his fourth homer in as many games. Yeah, he sure does look rusty.
But the score remained at 2-1 for, like, ever. Three up, three down. Side retired. Nobody doing much of anything. La la la. It was enough to make me yell at the TV: “GIVE POOR CEE CEE SOME INSURANCE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”
And then Chris Ray relieved Bergesen. All hell broke loose for Baltimore.
Jeter doubled, Damon singled and Tex hit his fourth homer in four games, putting the Yanks up by eight and confirming yet again that he has emerged from his April slumber.
I was surprised that the quartet of Roberts/Jones/Markakis/Huff didn’t do their usual damage, but all credit goes to Cee Cee, who dominated and got his first home win in pinstripes.
I know we’ve established this, but is he large or what? In the seventh, Mora lined one right at him and he swatted at the ball as if it were this.
He seems to enjoy throwing to Cervelli, who continues to be a spark plug on the team. And I thought he was just some kid whose wrist got broken in that spring training collision with the Rays guy last year. Little did I know.
The bullpen gained one and lost one tonight. Edwar got sent down to Triple A. Sweet kid with a nice change-up, but I hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out. Bruney came off the DL and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. I’m not wild about his shaved head, but who am I to judge if he wants to look like this? Same with Phil Coke.
Bombko took care of the O’s in the ninth, and the Yankees’ seventh straight “W” was in the books.
I love these games. Just when I think I know the outcome, the boys surprise me. If there’s something more entertaining on television right now than watching them pull off their late-inning heroics, I don’t know what it is. I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow night.
(Don’t forget to vote for your Favorite Fan Moment photo and help some lucky fan win a Flip Video Cam! Only three more days!)

Who ARE These People Anyway?


The Yankees looked so robust, so enthusiastic, so good in spring training. They even looked good as recently as yesterday. And yet, after tonight’s 12-5 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards, they reminded me of them.
For those too young to remember, there was a 1963 sci-fi movie called “Children of the Damned” about a group of highly talented youngsters who had no ability to control their destiny.
Seriously. Am I supposed to believe that Phil Hughes has any idea how to pitch at the major league level? Was his outing in Detroit a fluke? Is he hurt again? What. Is. Wrong.
I know. The Daily News didn’t capture Phil in a very flattering pose. But he gave up eight runs in less than two innings!
Not that he had much help. Swisher’s throw to the backstop was amusing, but I wasn’t interested in watching a comedy show. Tex couldn’t stab Markakis’ line drive. And Cano didn’t even bend over on Scott’s “single.”
Then came Edwar Ramirez, who gave up homers to Markakis and Montanez. When did he become the change-up-throwing version of this guy?
Whatever. The Yankees might very well have chipped away against Eaton, who was staked to a 9-0 lead and nevertheless walked the first three batters in the fourth and served up back-to-back homers to Damon and Tex in the fifth.
As an aside, doesn’t Dave Trembly…
…have a slight resemblance to him?
Back to the game. For some reason, Girardi waited until the eighth inning to use the Yankees’ new “long man.”
Bombko had a great spring and an equally great stint in Scranton. But he lived up to his nickname when he threw one right down the middle to Jones. I nearly lost it when Jim Palmer (I was forced to listen to MASN, the Orioles’ feed) suggested that Brett might be groomed as our eighth-inning setup man. Over my this.
Oh, well. Tomorrow’s another day, and this one worked out much better than I thought. I woke up to fog and humidity and light winds – perfect conditions for getting the wildfires under control. Even though 8,700 acres have burned since Tuesday and there’s only 30% containment, I didn’t have to evacuate. The warning for my area is still in effect as a precaution and I’m not unpacking just yet, but things are definitely looking up.
I went for a beach walk this afternoon and it felt so good to resume normal activities. There were fire trucks everywhere, which was a little disconcerting, but I waved at each one and gave the guys the thumbs-up and said thanks. God, they’ve worked hard. Here’s a photo from the Santa Barbara News-Press showing them catching a much-deserved nap.
Surveying the damage (80+ residences were destroyed) has to be extremely tough for them.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to evacuate and then come home to this.
For now I don’t have to. To say I feel fortunate is an understatement.

Yanks-O’s Game 3: Order Was Restored


The Yankees’ 11-2 thrashing of the Orioles felt good and right and absolutely necessary – if for no other reason than to prevent me from climbing onto my roof and doing this.
We called on AJ to quell the insurgency and he did.
By spinning Markakis out on two inside pitches in the first inning, then striking him out. Loved that at bat.
Another fave moment involving the Orioles’ right fielder? Swisher belted a 3-2 pitch and it was the fan in the yellow shirt, not Cake-iss, who made the catch.
But there was so much to love about today’s game – from Tex’s homer to Swisher’s five RBIs….from Pena’s first major league hit to Cano’s continuing plate discipline…from Molina’s throw nabbing Pie to the scoreless relief of Coke/Veras/Bruney.
And, of course, there was the 2009 season debut of Mo.
Here’s how his ninth inning went.
Wigginton? Out.
Scott? Out.
Pie? Out.
Victory. At last.
Hysteria and panic were replaced by the sort of insane jubilation that people experience when something like this happens.


 Or this.
Or this.
I know. I’m going overboard as usual. It was only one baseball game. But still. I’m all for grabbing happiness whenever it presents itself.
Which brings me to the stunning news about Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, shown in this AP photo posted on MLB’s site.
Senseless. Tragic. Sad. A terrible loss for his family and teammates.
I didn’t know much about him before today, other than that he had a promising career with the Angels. If there’s a Baseball Heaven, I hope he’s up there having a couple of cold ones and talking fast balls with the greats of the game.

Yanks-O’s Game 2: I’m Kidnapping Nick Markakis


He looks fairly harmless, doesn’t he? Well, he’s not. He’s a human wrecking ball….a one-man demolition derby….a Yankee killer.
Seriously. I don’t think the Yanks have ever gotten him out. Not ever.
But he’s not the reason the Bombers were beaten by the Birds 7-5. For the second consecutive game, our starting pitching reminded me of this.
Wang left his sinker up in the zone and, therefore, it never did this.
It didn’t help that Tex had a tight sphincter again, popping up with a runner on base in the first, third and fifth before ripping an RBI double in the ninth.
“I don’t see any panic here,” Johnny Damon told the media after the game.
Was he not aware of what was going on at my house?
Actually, I avoided a meltdown by joining the party over at Flair for the Dramatic, where Vanessa hosted a “Cover It Live” thingie. I ended up laughing with other similarly afflicted Yankee fans and commenting my little fingers off.
Have teams lost their first two games of the season and won the World Series? Yep.
And I’m not saying there weren’t positives.
* The relievers – Edwar, Jessica Alba, Veras – held the O’s scoreless.
* Jeter hit his first homer of the season and is off to a fast start.
* Jorge threw out his first runner following his surgery.
* Cano looks like the 2007 model.
* Swisher can really work a count.
* Gardner was speedy on that catch of Roberts’ bullet in the sixth.
But Wang wasn’t the pre-Lisfranc-injury Wang.
Instead, he looked like the Wang who allowed himself to be photographed here.
I know he’ll be fine. Really I do. But now it’s up to AJ to get us a “w” and avoid this.