Tagged: Seattle Mariners

Day 2 of “Operation Jeter Countdown”

As promised, there will be a Jeter-related video for each post until the Captain and the Yankees have officially made a deal – no matter how long it takes. (I mean, seriously. Was I supposed to write a post about how Javy Vazquez is going to the Marlins? Didn’t think so.) Tonight’s Jeter video takes us back to simpler times. Way back. So far back that he and A-Rod were close friends for real. My reaction when I watched it was, “Awwwww. Look how young they both were.” Not that I want Cashman to dwell on Jeter’s age. Instead, I want him to see that his shortstop was proud to be a New York Yankee and wasn’t afraid to tweak his buddy about it. (Love A-Rod’s line about how Jeter is “hip hop.”)

CC + A-Rod = Victory

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.
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.
yankee fans.jpg
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.
Supposedly, he just feels banged up and needs the rest. But still. He’s our jewel.
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…
Court2 in Gardner t-shirt.jpg

Message to the Yankees: “Please Forgive Me!”

I had you all wrong tonight, Yankees. After the fireworks with Jorge and Carlson and the suspensions and contusions, I had expected you to come out swinging against the Blue Jays.

But instead of looking like sluggers, you spent seven innings looking like slugs.
Seriously. You could only manage four hits against Tallet and a trio of Jays relievers, and Toronto was ahead 3-2 and then 4-2. I was restless and frustrated and – yes – bored.
I called you names. I accused you of mailing it in. I said you were coasting on your nice cushy lead and not playing with sufficient intensity. And worst of all, I kept watching the clock, as if the game couldn’t be finished soon enough.
Sure, I was impressed by Chad Gaudin’s performance. Three runs over five-plus innings with only one walk? Plenty good enough for a #5 starter. Marte and Coke did their jobs, too, although I can’t say the same for Bruney, who needs to be voted off the island.
The point is that I doubted you. I thought you’d blow the game, fly to Seattle and spend your off day feeling like losers.
But along came Huuuuuughes to keep the game at 4-2. And then Matsui stepped to the plate in the bottom of the inning with A-Rod aboard and – bam!
Tie score. I snapped back to attention, reminding myself that the 2009 Yankees had the most walkoff victories in the majors. Mo did his thing in the ninth and the question became: would you pull off yet another miracle? Could you? Was it possible? And if so, who would be the hero? The ending revealed itself soon enough.
Gardner singled, stole second, took third on Jeter’s grounder….and then scored on Cervelli’s hit.

You poured out of the dugout to congratulate Cisco.
And before long, he was getting pie.
Or was I the one who deserved the pie in the face for not trusting your ability to come back? Yes. I have sinned against you, Yankees, and I hope you’ll forgive me. I will not make the same mistake again. Well, I’ll try not to.

She-Fan Exclusive: Scouting Report On Mariners

Fresh off the sweep of the Mets, the Yankees face another injury-riddled team.

I’m such an ancient mariner that I still remember when they were called the Pilots, talk about a lame logo.
Without Beltre at third, Chavez in left and Betancourt at short, their whole left side is hurting.
Even so, they could be dangerous. We should take nothing for granted and absolutely not come out looking like flu victims.
OK. Here we go. They’ll be changing their lineup around, but these are the main characters.
1) Ichiro Suzuki.
Obviously, he’s a great outfielder as well as a hitting machine. I think he’s got an 11-game streak right now. And his current average is a sick .372. But that routine he does at the plate – the sleeve tugging, the bat pointing, the whole drama – is really annoying. Tip to Yankees: The pitchers should step off the rubber and stall in order to screw up his timing.
2) Russell Branyan.

He’s played for the Indians, the Reds, the Brewers, the Padres, the (Devil) Rays, the Phillies, and the Cardinals – almost as many teams as LaTroy Hawkins. Now, he’s the Mariners’ first baseman and he’s batting .303 with 19 homers. He’s also struck out 73 times. Tip to Yankees: Throw him nothing but high cheddar.
3) Jose Lopez.
A happy-looking Venezuelan who covers second or third base, he tied a Major League record last year with three sac flies in one game. Tip to Yankees: Try to get him to hit the ball on the ground.
4) Ronny Cedeno.

Another Venezuela native and former Cub, he’s taken over the shortstop role in Betancourt’s absence. Although he had his first career grand slam in ’08, he’s batting .133. Tip to Yankees: Don’t walk him.
5) Kenji Johjima.
The Mariners’ catcher, Kenji (I love saying his name out loud for some reason) has a museum in his honor in his hometown of Sasebo, Japan, despite only having a .269 career batting average. Tip to Yankees: Show him respect by spinning him off the plate now and then.

6) Franklin Gutierrez.

Yet another Venezuelan, he played for the Indians before becoming the Mariners’ center fielder. In 2008, he swung at the first pitch only 11.8% of the time, the fifth lowest in the AL. Tip to Yankees: Throw him first pitch strikes.
7) Wladimir Balentien.

No, I didn’t misspell this outfielder’s first name. It starts with a “W” but is pronounced “Vladimir.” He’s from the island of Curacao and played for the Netherlands in the WBC, and now he’s filling in for the ailing Endy Chavez and hitting .230. Tip to Yankees: He’s no Vladie, as in Guerrero.

8) Chris Woodward.

He was originally signed by the Blue Jays and did time with the Mets, and is one of those guys who’s played every position except catcher. A few years ago, he was the first Toronto shortstop to hit three homers in a game. Tip to Yankees: Keep the ball down and away.

9) Ken Griffey Jr.

First of all, am I the only one who didn’t know his real first name is George? And I still don’t get why he has a thing against the Yanks; that story about his father isn’t the stuff of post traumatic stress syndrome. He’s hitting a paltry .218 as the DH, and yet he’s “Junior” and he’s HOF bound. Tip to Yankees: Let him crank one out in a game if we’re leading by a lot.

I’d make a prediction for this series, but I’m too superstitious.
P.S. Programming note: The segment I taped for the YES Network’s “Yankees Magazine” about my book will start airing this Wednesday, July 1. I think the show is broadcast twice a day for a week – at 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET – so my friends in New York need to tell me if they see it. I don’t get YES out here in California except for the actual Yankees games, so I asked the producer to send me a copy of the show. Maybe I can upload it and post it at some point.