Tagged: Oakland A's

Vazquez As Mop Up Man

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He was good and Moseley was not, so why not use him in a game with a big lead? He was effective and held the A’s in check to get the win. Should he be put back in the rotation? I don’t know. I still don’t trust him. The person I do trust lately is Thames. My God, the guy has turned into a bona fide slugger.
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Swisher and Tex had hot bats too, and while Jeter continues to look schlubby at the plate his defense sparkled tonight.
But I need to change the subject. Sure, it’s great that we won the series opener, but could we talk about the weather for a sec? I’m going to the game on Friday – my first trip to the Stadium this year. Nova will be pitching and I have nice seats, and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s just one hitch.
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Earl. Category 4. Possible landfall on the East Coast on Friday. Will it land in the Bronx? Please no.

I Love Sweeps

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Last night the formula was CC + A-Rod = Victory. Tonight it was A.J. + Tex/Swisher = Victory. I know people don’t want to make too much of Dave Eiland’s return to the team, but it’s not a coincidence that A.J. has looked like a different pitcher since Eiland came back. He’s gone from God awful and grouchy…
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…to focused and fabulous.
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Sure, A.J.’s defense helped him out tonight (sometimes I just sit there and marvel at the plays Tex makes – I guess I didn’t realize he was that good), but his stuff was nasty and the Oakland hitters were overmatched. Luckily, the Yankees hitters weren’t. They worked Gio’s pitch count up and then pounced. Tex’s three-run shot got things going, but what a night for Swisher. A single, double, homer and a walk? Not too shabby for the All Star candidate. (Did we really get him for Wilson Betemit? I’m still pinching myself.)
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Even Ramiro Pena (I groaned when I saw Cano was out of the lineup – his back better not be all that sore) had a couple of hits. Marte and Joba did their jobs in the eighth and ninth, and that was the ball game. Oh, well there was one other moment that must be mentioned. Somebody ended up being very embarrassed.
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A-Rod overran a pop-up in foul territory and dropped the ball – and himself.
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He went face down onto the field, and it didn’t take long before Jeter was laughing hysterically. After A-Rod got up, the two of them kept cracking up and I couldn’t help smiling too.
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(Thanks to caitlin on Twitter for the screen grab.)
So for those east coasters who missed the game, it was basically more of the same: good pitching, hitting and defense – a pleasure to watch.

CC + A-Rod = Victory

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Once again, the Yankees beat the A’s in the most basic way: dominant pitching, excellent defense and timely hitting. CC amazes me. Even when he looks like he’s laboring, he manages to strike out ten, go seven-plus innings and get the “W.” A-Rod called him a horse in his post-game interview with Jack Curry, and he’s certainly durable. But I think of him as solid, as in this.
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A-Rod’s grand slam was the big offensive story, and his solo shot later pulled him to within three homers of 600. Will he hit the milestone in Seattle, the Yankees’ next stop? And if so, how awkward would that be, since the fans there haven’t forgiven him for leaving? My suggestion would be to stick to base hits and doubles until the team is back in New York, where he’ll get a better reception.
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OK, so we won the game and, except for Tex getting plunked and writhing in pain and Posada taking yet another ball off his hand, nobody went on the DL. That’s something. However – and this is a huge however – Mo isn’t going to the All Star game because he’s hurt! Don’t ask me why he didn’t tell anybody and how he kept pitching as well as he did. Apparently, his oblique injury that happened in May didn’t fully heal, and he screwed up his knee during warm ups at Dodger Stadium. This news freaked me out, I must admit.
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Supposedly, he just feels banged up and needs the rest. But still. He’s our jewel.
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Get well, Mo. The show in Anaheim will go on without you. It just won’t be the same.
P.S. Here’s a pic sent in by Friend of the Blog, cheshirecat. He and his Yankee fan sister Courtney were at the game over the weekend and had to buy a T-shirt in honor of their new favorite player. Courtney is modeling…
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Quick and Easy Recipe

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Ingredients:
* Really good starting pitching by Javy Vazquez
* Excellent defense by A-Rod and the two Curtises (Grandy and Colin)
* Timely hits by Swisher, Grandy and Cervelli, plus a homer by Tex
* Back-to-back one-two-three innings by Joba and Mo
Mix the above ingredients together and you get a delicious win by the Yanks over Ben Sheets and the A’s – the perfect way to start the road trip.
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A few random thoughts…Congrats to Andy Pettitte for making the All Star team following the injury to Buchholz. He was next on the list of players voted on by other players, so clap clap clap for him….Since Alfredo Aceves is clearly not coming back to the team any time soon, thanks to his latest setback, can Cashman please go out and get us another arm for the pen?…The Brett Gardner leadoff experiment tonight wasn’t wildly successful. He was 0-for-4. Small sample size, I know, but I like him in the #9 spot where there’s less pressure to get on base. He’s been doing a tremendous job there all season, so why not leave him there?…What’s the matter with Dallas Braden? Seriously, how can anyone be mad that the A’s have been selling “Get Off My Mound” T-shirts? Lighten up, guy….And did the Twins really offer the Mariners a couple of prospects for Cliff Lee? If so, does this mean he won’t be a Yankee next year?
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Triple Play!

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I know. That’s a lot of A-Rod, but he started the play and it was fun to watch. I’d never seen one in real time. And it was extra satisfying since Suzuki was the unlucky recipient and he’d hit a three-run shot off CC in the first inning. The guy just feasts off Yankees pitching.
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CC was all over the place – six walks? – but he only gave up four runs and ended up throwing a complete game. If the Yankees had mustered some offense, not counting the solo shots by Thames and Tex, he could easily have squeezed out a “W.” Instead, their winning streak, like all good things, came to an end.
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Actually, I’m not crying at all. We won another series. Tex looks like he might be waking up from his April slumber. A-Rod is playing a nifty third base. Nick Johnson didn’t break a bone playing first base. We didn’t have to use Mo again. Life is sweet.

Huuuuuuuuughes!

What a difference a day makes. Tuesday night’s game was kind of a snooze, but tonight’s? I was on the edge of my seat every second.
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From the first inning, it was clear that Phil Hughes had it going. He worked quickly, threw strikes, had good velocity, looked determined. The A’s batters went down, one after the other (well, except for a walk), and before I knew it, it was the seventh inning – and Hughes hadn’t given up a hit. Would he throw a no-hitter? Would he? My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty.
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Into the eighth we went. Hughes got out #1. Big sigh. Then up came Eric Chavez, Oh, no! His stupid chopper back to the mound bounced off Hughes’ chest and he made it to first for an infield single. What a way to break up the no-no! Bummer!
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The Yankees offense, by the way, wasn’t exactly teeing off on Ben Sheets. He gave up back to back triples to A-Rod and Cano (yes, triples!), and an RBI ground out to Posada, but that was it. So when Hughes started to falter in the eighth, the Yanks were only up 2-0. Joba allowed one of Hughes’ base runners to score for 2-1. I felt my throat close up at that point.
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But the inning ended without further damage and the Yanks provided some insurance in the ninth (huge single for Gardner, scoring Granderson to put us up 3-1). Then came Mo.
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Normally, I figure “game over.” But Mo – shockingly – gave up a single to Sweeney, then he hit Suzuki. He looked sort of annoyed by the whole thing and promptly got down to business. The A’s didn’t score, the win was preserved for Hughes and the Yankees’ consecutive series streak is now at five – which hasn’t been matched for the franchise since 1926.
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Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira still aren’t hitting, Randy Winn may never get a hit, and the A’s fans and their “Yankees suck” chant were obnoxious, but who cares. The night belonged to Hughes. He was brilliant.

Our Chanting For Javy Worked!

Clearly, all Vazquez needed was for people on this blog to chant something, like members of a cult.
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He had a high pitch count, but was otherwise impressive over five innings, only allowing a run. But Girardi brought him back for the sixth (why?) and Granderson and Cano let a ball drop between them (why?), and Suzuki hit a two-run shot that was probably the result of Javy thinking: I should be out of this inning. But he pitched well enough to get the win and he did. As for offense, the first three runs were cheap ones thanks to Gio Gonzalez’s control problems. But then came A-Rod.
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I think that ball is still traveling. By now it should be somewhere over the Pacific, heading for Bora Bora. Boone Logan made sort of a mess of things in the seventh, loading the bases. But Joba came to our rescue in that inning and the next.
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Marte walked the leadoff batter in the ninth. Girardi immediately pulled him for Mo, even though it was a non-save situation. I love seeing The God of Closers, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t love when the other relievers force him to be his own set-up man. And am I missing something? What’s the point of having Mitre on the roster if Girardi never uses him? I suddenly feel the urge to post a pic of Sergio, just to remind myself of his existence.
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The good news is the Yankees continued their winning ways. It was cold in Oakland. They were jet lagged. Jeter was coughing. But all is well in Yankeeville.
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