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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Yanks and Chi Sox split 4 game set

When two teams get together and play a four game set, I would bet on a split every time – yet the Yankees should have took three out of four against the inferior Chicago White Sox. Let’s take a look at the series using my The Good, The Bad and the Fug-Ugly style. I heard that Mark Teixeira was sitting for game four just as a precaution to rest his sore shoulder, but I don’t know why The Captain sat for that game, too. Maybe just a scheduled night off for Derek Jeter? Or Joe Girardi is hoping a rest will jump start his bat? No idea. However, I think it is only a coincidence that the Yankees scored a million runs on the night Jeter wasn’t in the line up.

The Good:
The Starting Pitching – sure, you can argue that the Chicago White Sox aren’t the best offense in the league, but they’re far from the MLB leading worst run scoring San Diego Padres, who have only managed to score 70 runs on the young season. In case you’re wondering, the Yankees have 126 and the White Sox have 103 – the Cleveland Indians lead MLB with 129 and the St Louis Cardinals lead MLB with 136.
So yeah, the Yankees starting pitching blew my mind during this season, performing well above my expectations. We got two stellar eight inning performances from AJ Burnett and Bartolo Colon, and CC Sabathia had a fine night while any time Ivan Nova doesn’t get his ass handed to him, I call that a victory. If you’ve already started building a statue to Colon on your front lawn so you can leave offerings at it before each of his starts, I don’t blame you. Finish that shiz! =)

The Bad:
The Offense – For an offense of the Yankees caliber, a shutout is pretty hard to accept despite who is pitching on the opposing side. And yes, I know they got their hits in last night, but it sure did take long enough. But, Nick Swisher finally got the home run column filled, so maybe he’ll start hitting… wait, did he hit it right handed or left handed? Please tell me he hit it left handed, because he’s been so bad against left-handed pitchers so far this year…

The Fug-Ugly:
The Bridge to Mo – They only had one chance to get the ball to Mariano Rivera, and they blew it. I’m not worried about Rafael Soriano going forward, but it’s time to pick it up. Blowing leads against the White Sox at home is not acceptable!

The Yankees have Toronto coming in this weekend – hopefully, the Yanks pitching can keep the Blue Jays homers to a minimum.  Also:  Francisco Cervelli returns to the roster tonight!

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David Wells Appearance in Edgewater, NJ

In case you didn’t get the marketing email from the Yankees, just FYI:

David Wells will be appearing at the Grand Opening of the Edgewater, NJ AT&T store on Saturday, April 30, 11 AM – 1 PM… huh, that’s tomorrow. Sorry for the late notice.

So, if you ever wanted to ask David Wells if he really was hung over (or still drunk) when he pitched his perfect game, now is your chance! You can also challenge him to a round up shopping carts race – I believe he referred to that as ‘the best job I ever had’ in his autobiography. Oh and tell him you think Toronto sucks – it sounds like he didn’t enjoy his time there.

75 River Rd
Edgewater, NJ
(located next to CVS Pharmacy)

Richie Sexson was a Yankee

Remember Richie Sexson?  Remember when he played for the Yankees?  He probably doesn’t, either.  But look – I have proof!

yankees-richie-sexson

Old Yankee Stadium's video screen. YS2 was a gem! The screen, however, sucked.

Yep, in 2008, Richie Sexson appeared in 22 games and made 35 plate appearances for the Yankees.  Ah, the 2008 Yankees…  actually, that team had one of the worst pitching rotations I can recall any Yankee team having in recent memory.  Anyway, Sexson came up with 7 hits/1 homer during his stint with the Yankees.  Weird situation, right?  Who’s idea was it to trade for Sexson in the middle of the year.  “That’ll solve our problems!  Once Sexson gets here, we’re going to kick ASS!”  The best thing you can say about Sexson is that it was really fun to say “Sexson.”  I can just imagine Bob Shepard announcing it.  Awesome.

George M. Steinbrenner Field as reviewed by Stadium Journey

George M. Steinbrenner Field Tampa, FL Home of the Tampa Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field Tampa, FL Home of the Tampa Yankees

If you’re like me, then making it down to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa probably isn’t high up on your to do list.  Sure, I’d love to go to Spring Training game and I’d even like to check out the Tampa Yankees and see the prospects for myself, but it’s certainly not going to happen this season.  Fortunately, Stadium Journey has you covered.  Their review by Jim Dietrich leaves no stone unturned:  he covers the food, beverages, atmosphere, access, neighborhood, return on investment – even the fans, though you might want to cover your eyes for that part.

Check out the review – it’s as close as I’m going to get!

Break It Down takes on Yankee Stadium

The National Geographic Channel’s Break it Down goes to work on ripping down the old Yankee Stadium – stuff doesn’t blow up, but it’s pretty epic…  except when they clean out the toilets…  toilets are less epic then tons of concrete and steel hurtling toward the ground.  The episode debuts on Thursday, April 28 at 10PM.

Yankees Take Another Rain Shortened Season

I know it’s April and this is when it’s supposed to rain, but I’m starting to lose my cool.  The Yankees are nearing their 2010 rain out total, and we’re not even through with the first month yet!  Here’s The Good, The Bad and The Fug-Ugly from Baltimore.

The Good
CC Sabathia was, in a word, dominant on Saturday.  Sure, he labored toward the end, but he was really dealing – vintage CC, I loved every minute of it!

Freddy Garcia might not deserve a statue or a plaque yet, but he probably deserves an apology.  I know it’s only two starts, but they haven’t been against teams without any hitters and he hasn’t let up run yet, right?  I’ll take 12 IP of 0 run ball every two times out!

Russell Martin is probably worth praying to.  Like I wrote the other day, he does it all.  Take a closer look at your mailman – it’s Russell Martin!

Curtis Granderson is putting on a hitting display, and I love it!  The Grandyman is my favorite kind of player:  an outfielder with speed and power.

The Bad
Nick Swisher needs to worry less about shaving (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re lucky) and more about hitting the ball.  At least he’s still getting his walks.

Derek Jeter managed some hits on Sunday, but they were mostly infield squeakers.  Who knows, maybe a game like this will get him started, and if he’s going to lead off and gave Curtis Granderson protecting him the two hole, that could help him, too.

Mariano Rivera is not a machine, and I guarantee that if he only had to get three outs, he would have been fine.  Mo can’t pitch in more than one inning anymore.  Just forget about that.  It’s over.  Not in April, anyway – in October… you do what you have to do.  But in April?  Let’s not and not even say we did.  Anyway, Mo will be alright, so lets not bother having the “he’s done!” conversation because he blew two saves.

The Fug-Ugly
Brett Gardner had what, one hit in two games?  I know it was a double and I know that’s not the end of the world, but the guy is striking out a lot… I really want Gardner to find a way out of his funk now that he’s been moved to the bottom of the lineup, because I don’t want to see this guy end up being the next Melky Cabrera…  well, it won’t be that bad.  If anything, he could be a fifth outfielder and pinch runner/base stealer on this team.

I was just about to write ‘Kyle Farnsworth‘ or ‘Octavio Dotel,’ because sometimes, I get my free agent setup men confused… (wait, was Dotel a setup man or just in the pen?  I can’t remember and don’t care enough to check)  But yeah, Rafael Soriano‘s back soreness is troubling, and I’m particularly annoyed given that I can’t find any reason for it.  Was it the flight down from Toronto?  Did he wake up in pain on Saturday morning?  I just don’t understand how someone is in so much pain that he has to miss two games, making it necessary to inject Mariano Rivera into the 8th inning (where he should never be, ever!) and have no reason for it at all.  That’s weak sauce, right there.

Russell Martin getting plunked between the numbers after he’d already hit two home runs in a game… that’s not cool, and it looks really bad – I’m all for pushing guys off the plate, but when you hit a guy in the back in between the numbers, it looks like it’s on purpose.  You don’t need to let the hitter get too comfortable in the batter’s box, but you don’t need to hit him, either.

The White Sox are in town, who are 8-14 on the young season – lets not read anything into that until we see them for ourselves…  but yeah, they probably stink.

North Of The Border

The Yankees two game swing in Toronto wasn’t their finest hour. Here’s a few quick notes on what I saw from the Bronx Bombers while they were North of the Border.

*AJ Burnett’s control seems to range from OK to piss-poor. However, his curve ball seems to have plenty of snap this season, so that’s something.

*Russell Martin is EVERYWHERE! Somebody hit a home run? It was Russell Martin. RBI single? Russell Martin! saving an awful pitch from Burnett that was outside of the batter’s circle? Martin again! Somebody selling Yankee souvenirs at an away game? Who’s doing that, way up in the nosebleed seats? It’s RUSSELL EFFING MARTIN! He’s everywhere, making every play. You have to love how that guy is playing right now.

*Phil Hughes, eat your heart out. Bartolo Colon’s first start of the year was a great one, throwing up Ks and going 6.2 IP – LOVE IT! Between Colon and Freddy Garcia, Brian Cashman is looking pretty smart right now.

*Yeah, Mariano Rivera is human. Just because I worship him like a God doesn’t make him one. It’s amazing how close the Yankees were to a two game sweep against the Blue Jays.

* Home Runs should be called Bautistas. Seriously. That guy is an animal.

*The Yankees bullpen is awesome, but at some point, the starters need to step up and… you know, not be the worst starters in the league, averaging under 6 IP per start. Colon and Garcia did a nice job the first time, but who knows what we’ll get going forward. Sabathia always warms up with the weather, and Burnett is as unpredictable as it gets. As for Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova… well, I think Nova will probably be heading to Scranton when Hughes comes off the DL.

*Homers, homers, homers! The Yankees keep knocking it out of the park, and you know what they say: Chicks dig the long ball. As for the press, they insist that the Yankees won’t be able to score runs if they don’t pick up their averages, but hitting a ton of home runs is not a bad thing. That being said, Brett Gardner needs to lay down a text book bunt every time or regain that Yankee leading on base percentage.

Up next, Sabathia leads the Yankees into Baltimore to smack the Orioles around. The most important thing to come out of Friday’s game will be 7 strong innings from the big lefty, and if they get that, they’re on the right track to do damage all weekend.

Three Reasons Why Putting Phil Hughes On The DL Was The Right Decision

The Yankees put Phil Hughes on the DL and gave his spot in the starting rotation to Bartolo Colon.  I think this was a great idea and maybe even a bit over due.  Here are three reasons why I think it was the right move as opposed to letting him pitch through his troubles on the big league level.

1.  Velocity
Everybody and their mother has noted the drop in Phil Hughes’ fastball velocity.  Obviously it isn’t necessary to throw in the mid 90s to get guys out, but it helps.  Learning how to pitch with less velocity is something all pitchers need to learn to survive, but probably not when they’re in their mid twenties.  Hopefully, Hughes doesn’t have any injuries and is just going through a ‘dead arm’ period.  He might as well rest it rather that doing damage to the team on the mound.

2.  Pitch Location/Quality

From what I’ve seen, Hughes can’t locate his fastball this year – most notably, his cut fastball doesn’t cut.  I’ve seen him leave several cut fastballs in the middle of the zone and they get pounded as flat, low velocity fastballs. That’s not helping anybody

3.  Team Confidence

I always point to Aaron Small and the confidence the Yankees had when they played behind him after his first few starts.  Everyone would relax and realize they had a good chance to win today; the position players would realize they didn’t need to press because Small was going to give them a good outing, and the runs would come for them.  Then, Joe Torre shifted Small to the bullpen for the playoffs… the starter got bombed out and as soon as Small ran in and took the hill, the attitude of the team changed and they suddenly started playing with new found confidence.  They’re very body language changed… it was amazing.  The longer you keep a struggling starter in the rotation, the farther his teammates’ confidence in him drops, and its hard to play behind a starting pitcher you have no confidence in.  The Yankees can’t afford to let that happen to Hughes, so getting him away from the mound for a while was the right thing to do.  Once he’s been gone for a while, the memory will dull from the position players’ mind and they won’t start thinking, “Here we go again,” until he starts getting hammered.

So pump Hughes full of anti inflammatory drugs or whatever they’re doing and let’s try to get him right while it’s still early.  when it’s time for him to come back, the Yankees can choose from Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova as to who stays in the rotation and who goes into the pen.  Too many starters will create competition – it’s a good problem to have.  Hopefully Hughes can regain some of that form that helped him win 18 games last year – even if his ERA did go up by over a run after the all star break.

Freddy Garcia And Bats Combine to take Games 2 and 3 From Rangers

Another home stand over, another series victory.

After Friday night’s rough outing from Ivan Nova, the Yankees got 6 shut out innings from Freddy Garcia – maybe the last place you’d look in the Yankees rotation for a pick-me-up performance. I suspect that Garcia is the the kind of pitcher who performs better on extra rest, but I don’t have the data to back it up; just notating that he exceeded expectations against a good hitting team after not having started a game in a few weeks. (Garcia did get that one relief inning in Boston, so this is only his second appearance of the young season.)

CC Sabathia just didn’t have it last night, most notably with his awful fastball control. The ESPN announcers can credit the text bats all they wish, but if CC is going to throw his fastball right down the middle like that, it’s akin to putting the ball on a t-ball stand for big league hitters, never mind a good hitting team like Texas. Sabathia is, however, an elite pitcher, so he has his secondary pitches to keep him in the game through 6.1 innings, most notably his change up to right handers and several good sliders. Last night, it was the Bronx Bombers doing it Bomber Banter style with homer after homer: Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson all contributed with the long ball. Martin and Eric Chavez also contributed via the 2 out RBI, so these guys were all getting it done box score style. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter, the anti-box score hero, contributed with a hit of his own, but I don’t feel like he’s in the zone yet, but I do think he’s close now. Chavez has continued to prove himself to be a valuable piece as he’s hit well in limited duty and has played a solid third in A-Rod’s absence – hopefully, A-Rod’s stiffness is a thing of the past by Tuesday. For next year, the Yankees are probably better off going with a right handed bat who can also play left field for Garnder as a DH so A-Rod can spend more time there. The guy is a beast at the plate, but I just don’t trust him to stay healthy if he has to play 150 games in the field.

We got to see the big three again last night – Joba Chamberlain was not great in relief and surrendered a run, but Rafael Soriano was downright nasty as he took down all three batters he faced with authority. Mariano Rivera came in and was Mo – that’s all there is to that.

I do want to take a second and mention that the new ESPN Sunday night baseball crew is twice as bearable as the old one. I guess they got a new director in there, too, because everyone is a lot more focused on what’s happening on the field rather that showing us the announcers in the booth, talking about nonsense or pimping topics/interviewing other things/people that have something to do with something that’s going to be on ESPN on another day. I think this puts ESPN slightly behind of FOX Sports in my ‘Totally Unbearable To Watch Sports On Your Network’ race – meaning FOX is currently the most unbearable.  On the other hand, ESPN’s constant badgering of the Yankees leading MLB in home runs was annoying – I don’t care what anybody says, LEADING THE LEAGUE IN HOME RUNS IS NOT A BAD THING!

The Yankees are off today and will be back tomorrow at Toronto to face the Blue Jays. The Jays will be pesky again this year, but I don’t see them as a playoff team this year.

Yankees: Enough With The Marketing Emails!

I’m not famous for patience when it comes to solicitation, but when a company I trust keeps flooding my inbox with stuff that is unrelated to their business or product, the frustration begins to boil over.

yankees-derek-jeter-marketing-emails

(I blurred out the code a little)

Look at this crap!  Are they serious?  Sending a solicitation to join a fitness club using the Yankees brand and Derek Jeter‘s image to entice me is insulting to my intelligence.  Not to mention the fact that I don’t want or need this – I signed up to get mails from the Yankees about the Yankees, not this horse shiz!  This is ridiculous – it’s embarrassing!  What in the hell were they thinking?!?

It’s not as though they send these mails every day (so ‘flooding’ might have been a bit of an exaggeration), but it’s not the first time, either.     Let’s keep the mails to Yankees or at least MLB related topics, shall we?  That’d be nice!

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