Tagged: Royals

Will Joba Fold Towels in the Playoffs?

According to Sam Borden on the LoHud Yankees blog, Joba told the media after tonight’s 4-3 loss to the Royals that he’d fold towels if the Yankees asked him to. In other words, he gets that he didn’t exactly impress anybody by throwing 91 pitches in three-plus innings and giving up three runs and four walks.
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So will the Yankees put Joba Chamberlain on the postseason roster? In the pen, perhaps? Or will he spend the ALDS in the clubhouse doing this?
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We’ll find out soon enough. I’m still digesting the fact that tonight was the last home game of the 2009 regular season. How fast it all went, right? It would have been nice to close things out with a “W” before the team heads to Tampa for the finale against the Rays this weekend, but the offense was in sleep mode for the most part. Jeter homered to lead off the bottom of the first, but the bats were quiet until the fifth when Swisher hit a two-run bomb to tie the score at 3-3.
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If only he were a better outfielder. In the seventh, he bungled Buck’s fly ball and it went for a triple, handing the Royals the decisive go-ahead run – and the game. Graceful he’s not.
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I thought the Yanks might mount another miraculous comeback in the ninth when Cervelli singled and Guzman reached on an error. (Where was Farnsy when we needed him?) Instead, Soria shut the Baby Bombers down, and that was that.
Afterwards, I tried to talk to my husband about the game – and about possible roster scenarios for the ALDS. But he was studying for a course he’s taking and said, “Go on Twitter and talk to @YankeeMeginPHL, the one with the rally bra, or @irb123, the one who comments on your blog sometimes, or @Legendary23, the one who does the Yankee Twitter Roll Call. Maybe they’re not busy.”
“It’s the middle of the night on the east coast,” I said. “My Yankee Twitter friends are asleep.”
I shrugged and went into my office, where I found someone I could talk to. No, she couldn’t talk back, but it’s not as if she didn’t want to.

Baby Bombers Rock!

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For the Yankees’ opener against the Royals, Girardi rested the vets and played the kids. I figured we’d get clobbered. Wrong. We did the clobbering. Well, the kids did.
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How? With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth, Ramiro Pena smacked his first major league homer. It was hilarious when, as per custom, he walked into the dugout and all the vets turned their backs and gave him the silent treatment.
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When the score was knotted at 2-2 in the sixth, it was Shelley who came through with an RBI single to put the Baby Bombers up 3-2. I guess he can hit major league pitching after all.
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Then we moved into the seventh inning, and the kids broke the game wide open. How?
Cervelli: doubled. 
Pena: singled in Cervelli.
Gardner: singled.
Melky: walked.
Cano: hit a grand salami.
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It was Robbie’s second career grand slam and it shut me up about his inability to hit with runners in scoring position. It was also his 25th homer and set a new Yankees record for players with 25 or more dingers in a season (there are five).
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The Yankees won the game 8-2, and it wasn’t all about offense, obviously. Chad Gaudin went six-plus and held the Royals to only four hits. I admit I wasn’t thrilled about him at first, but his last few outings have been more than decent and I think he could help the Yanks in the playoffs as a long reliever or emergency starter.
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Marte got Alex Gordon to foul out (wasn’t Gordon supposed to be The Next Great Thing?) and Aceves was perfect the rest of the way. And so the Baby Bombers picked right up where the guys who just won the division left off. Nice job, kids. You deserve a treat!
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How Many Penas Does It Take To Screw Up A Ball Game?

Answer?

Four.
This Pena (Brayan) doubled off Phil Coke in the eighth inning, evening the score at 4-4 and wasting Joba’s fine performance.
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This Pena (Tony Junior) was the one who scampered home with the tying run.
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This Pena (Ramiro) should have been in the lineup instead of Ransom, who is now 0-for-900, or so it feels.
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And this Pena (Tony Senior) should have compelled Girardi to use Edwar or Albaladejo in the eighth – anybody but Veras, who invariably walks batters in close games. This Pena should also have leaned on the skipper to pull Coke, once it was clear he had nothing. Isn’t that what bench coaches are for? As a result, the Yankees went down to the Royals 6-4.
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Other grievances…
Yes, it was raining and the conditions weren’t optimal, but did Callaspo’s grounder really have to dribble through Swisher’s legs…before it dribbled through Cano’s legs too? The play was reminiscent of last year’s Cano-Betemit routine where a ball rolled between them for a hit. It also reminded me of this.
Other moments of hilarity? Whenever Kansas City’s official scorer ruled that an obvious error was, instead, a base hit.
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A moment of non-hilarity? When I found out that Tex was out of the lineup again because of his left wrist tendinitis. I really can’t stand the words: “We’re shutting him down.” They give me visions of this.
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Does anyone remember when I said I wanted to kidnap the Orioles’ Nick Markakis, because he was so tough against the Yankees? Well, now I’ve decided to kidnap Joakim Soria, the Royals’ closer, who struck out the side in the ninth and looked very, very nasty.
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If anyone sees this man, please let me know and I’ll alert my people.

CC Heats Up

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I don’t know where CC Sabathia buys his heating pads, because the one I use whenever my back hurts wouldn’t cover his forearm, let alone his abdomen.
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What I do know is that he must have worked out the kinks in his delivery. He was a different pitcher in Kansas City than the guy in Baltimore, throwing seven-plus scoreless innings against the Royals with six strikeouts and zero walks. It was Veras who gave up a run in the ninth in the Yankees’ 6-1 victory.
How good was CC?
Let me count the ways.
1) He threw hard, hitting 97 mph on the radar gun.
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2) He wasn’t afraid to come inside to Gordon and DeJesus, and looked intimidating.
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3) He rarely got into a jam and, instead, mowed everybody down.
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4) Instead of getting flustered by Ransom’s Knoblauchian throw to Cano in the fifth, he retired the next batter and picked up his teammate.
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But CC wasn’t the only hero on Saturday. Nick Swisher walked, tripled and homered, giving him nine RBIs in three starts and making me eat my words that he was a dumb acquisition.
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Swisher played first base in place of Teixeira, who had a sore left wrist and was a late scratch.
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Tex, who was later diagnosed with tendinitis, told the media: “I don’t know how I got it or when I got it.”
I wonder. Is it possible he’s suffering from a little carpal tunnel thing as a result of blogging under an assumed name here at MLBlogs?
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I just have one piece of advice for Girardi regarding Sunday’s contest: Sit Ransom and play Pena at third. Why not? It’s just a short-term scenario. Pretty soon he’ll be back.
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Yanks Have Cordial First Meeting With Royals

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No, these Royals.
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In the opening game of the series, Andy Pettitte threw 99 mostly sparkling pitches to earn a 4-1 victory over old friend Sidney Ponson
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whose athleticism is strikingly similar to that of this Royal.
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Actually, Dame Sidney pitched pretty well. He wasn’t to blame when Jacobs couldn’t handle Posada’s hot shot in the first, allowing Damon and Tex to score.
There were other old friends present as well, like Farnsy
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who appeared in the seventh inning, struck out the side and exhibited his usual good humor, reminding me of this Royal.
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Also on hand was old friend Coco Crisp
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who still has the odd habit of resting his chin on his shoulder in the manner of this Royal.
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Highlights of the game?
Pro:
* Cano’s sizzling bat
* Swisher’s double
* Gardner’s sac bunt
* Tex’s double and two walks
* Tex’s effortless defense at first (I’d almost forgotten what that’s like)
* Pettitte’s nearly flawless seven innings
* Bruney’s three up/three down
* Mo’s continuing brilliance.
Con:
* Swisher’s non-catch in the second that would have been an error if not for KC’s generous official scorer
* Cano’s wild throw in the ninth that should have been an error too
* Gardner’s inability to field balls over his head; he gets too close to the wall
* Matsui’s seemingly dead bat.
The best part of the game?
Treats from Cooperstown Cookie Company.
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One of the truly great things about contributing the occasional article to the New York Times is that I get the most interesting emails after each piece runs. Last week, I heard from the president of Cooperstown Cookie, who asked if she could send me samples of her product.
I was not about to refuse.
Licensed by MLB, the cookies are delicious shortbread classics cleverly decorated in the shape of baseballs, seams and all. They’re available in both regulation baseball size and bite-sized “bunts” (as seen above). Plus, their packaging can be customized with the logo of your favorite team.
For more info, check out CooperstownCookie.com. Yum.

On The Eve Of The WBC….My Thoughts About “Age-Gate”

OMG! Jeter will be wearing another uniform when he faces the Yankees!

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Honestly, I’ll live. I’m sure the game will be exciting and I’ll watch the tournament with interest. But tonight? I’m thinking about Angel Berroa.
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It’s been six long years since he won the Rookie of the Year award with the Royals.
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Who would have guessed the Yankees would invite him to spring training to compete for the utility infielder’s job – and that he’d hit a double and a homer in today’s game against the Astros?
Angel, you may remember, ran afoul with MLB in 2002 when he was embroiled in “Age-Gate,” the scandal involving several Latin American players who claimed to be younger than they really were.
Will he win a roster spot with the Yanks? Does it matter how old he is if he can hit the ball and field his position? Do I care if he has an AARP card or uses Botox or covers his gray like the guys in the Just For Men Haircolor commercial?
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Another Yankee who was cagey about his age was this guy.
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If a pitcher can contort his body into a pretzel like El Duque did and still manage to get batters out, he can be on my team any day.
Less amusing is the case of Esmailyn Gonzalez, the 19-year-old Dominican who scored a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals in 2008.
esmailyn_gonzalez.jpgEsmailyn’s real name turned out to be the far less melodious Carlos Alvarez David Lugo, and he was 23, not 19. The Nats were conned; this kid wasn’t who he said he was.
Still, far be it from me to judge someone who’s trying to climb the corporate ladder by shaving a few years off the resume. It happens every day.
What will really blow my mind is when a female ballplayer from the Dominican comes over here insisting she’s a guy and gets a big contract.
I mean, could you swear this person is a man or a woman? I defy you.
Seriously. Ramon? Or Rosa? You decide. But I’m seeing a faint mustache.
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And The Yankees Starter For Spring Training Game One Is….

…this guy.

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Who is also this guy.
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And this one.
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This one.
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This one.
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And, most recently, this one.
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Yes, it’s the well-traveled Brett Tomko, who found his way to the Yankees via a minor-league contract.
Will he have success against the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow, mowing the hitters down like a clone of Roy Halladay (well, there’s a slight resemblance)? Or will he reveal his propensity to give up home runs – a quirk that earned him the nickname “Bombko” when he was with the Dodgers? To put it in other terms, will he be any good or will he be LaTroy Hawkins?
We will know in a matter of hours. One thing is for sure, however: After the game he will head home to his playmate – literally. He’s married to Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for February 1998….the lovely and talented Julia Schultz.
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O.K., so she’s no Marilyn Monroe to his Joe DiMaggio. But I applaud her loyalty. How would you like to move to a different city every six seconds with a guy named Bombko?

Sending Good Thoughts to an Ex-Yankee

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I’m a big fan of Doug Mientkiewicz – so big that I finally learned how to spell his name. 
He played a stellar first base when he was with the Yankees in 2007. He missed a chunk of the season following a collision with Mike Lowell at Fenway, but he came back strong in September and was one of the reasons the Yankees squeaked into the playoffs.
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Maybe you remember him with the Twins, where he began his pro career.
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Or with the Red Sox, where he won the championship in ’04 and ignited some controversy after making the final out.

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 He was with the Mets in ’05, although it was an injury-plagued season for him.
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He moved to KC in ’06 for a stint with the Royals
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before joining the Yanks and flashing some leather. (Loved the crouch, loved his hustle, loved that he always got his uniform dirty.)
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When I was writing my book, Doug was candid and helpful and an all-around nice guy. I was hoping Cashman would bring him back in ’08, but the Yankees went with a parade of defensive replacements for Giambi that included Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan, Morgan Ensberg, Richie Sexson and Cody Ransom (not to mention Damon and Posada).
Instead, he signed with the Pirates and provided a stable, veteran presence in Pittsburgh.
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In August, he received a phone call with terrible news: His wife Jodi – his college sweetheart and the mother of their young son – had collapsed. Jodi needed heart surgery and a pacemaker, and Doug went on bereavement leave so he could be by her side.
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I spoke to Doug today. He said that Jodi had to undergo another operation but is doing okay. He also said that he’s had an outpouring of support from friends, players, even Joe Girardi.
“I don’t know him from Adam, but he took the time to call.”
Speaks well of Girardi, don’t you think?
I asked Doug, a free agent, if he’s had any job offers. He hinted that he’d love to play for his old manager out here on the west coast.
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Will it happen? He said he usually gets signed in January when clubs start looking for backup. Here’s wishing him and Jodi a Happy and Healthy New Year.