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Yankees projected 2013 opening day batting order as of Dec 12

Now that the Kevin Youkilis deal is done and the Ichiro deal is all but done, we can start goofing around with the Yankees opening day batting order.

Ichiro
Jeter
Teixeira
Cano
Granderson
Youkilis
[dh - Ibanez?]
[catcher - Stewart?]
Gardner

The latest Red Sox player to make the trek from Boston to New York is Kevin Youkilis, following in the footsteps of Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon. All iconic players in their own way… fascinating!

I was concerned about the Yankees lack of thump without Nick Swisher, but now that I look at this on paper, it’s not so bad. If the heart of the order is going to be Teix, Cano and Granderson – well, the Yankees could do worse. Youkilis is good for 15 homers and one would expect more out of Teixeira, even if that’s unlikely… Maybe you flip flop Granderson and Teix, but then, I think Teix needs all the protection he can get.

I thought about placing Gardner at the top of the order, but he’s had so few ABs in the last year, I think the Yankees are better off starting with Ichiro (and his amazing bat control) at the top of the order and waiting to see where Gardner is at. His ABs look good at the end of last year… but I’m still on a wait and see approach with him. You could say the same for Jeter, but then, he’s Derek Jeter and I’m willing to roll the dice and assume he’ll be some version of himself, even if he’s not the 2012 Jeter who was setting the world on fire.

I thought the Yankees were going to sign Raul Ibanez, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe they have their eyes on an upgrade? Or maybe they prefer someone who backs up the infield rather than the outfield in light of A-Rod injury? Who knows. As for a starting catcher… who the hell knows who the Yankees will end up with. I assume that the Yankees got Chris Stewart because they don’t think much of Francisco Cervelli, so maybe that is your catching tandem, in that order if they don’t go get somebody.

Well, it’s still early, so we’ll have to wait and see how the quesiton marks shake out and even longer to see what A-Rod has left when he comes back, but either way, this sure will be an interesting team to watch.

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I Still Can't Believe Bobby Valentine is the Red Sox's Manager

You know how sometimes you see a company making a decision that doesn’t make any sense to you? You hear what they’re doing and you think, "Why are they doing that? That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard!" Thats what it was like for me when the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine. As a former Mets manager, I have a pretty good idea of who the guy is and how he rolls, and you’d think the Sox checked up before they hired him… They must have, right? He’s already got Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis pissed at him on top of the fact that they’ve started off the 2012 season 4-7, which is kinda how I remember them starting of the 2011 season. I just can’t believe Valentine questioned Youkilis’s work ethic. Now if Valentine questioned his grooming habits, well, that’d be one thing, but he’s a first rate hitter who can man both the corner infield positions as good as anybody… I dont know what he was thinking.

I love that Brad from An A-Blog for A-Rod spells Dustin Pedroia "Dahhston Pedroyahh" – friggin awesome. Check out his site, at the link, he’s got all of the pertinent quotes compiled as well as excellent use of Seinfeld – as he often does.

Still, it’s only April – the Orioles are 7-4, so it’s too early to assume the Red Sox are riding on the proverbial Titanic, but I wouldn’t hire Bobby Valentine to captain my $146 million dollar boat.

Yankees get their Rockies off on old timers day

The jokes really do write themselves, don’t they? "Yankees get their Rockies off" – classic!

So here we are; June is winding down and the Yankees are in first place. Obviously, the Red Sox were due for a slump after such a hot streak, but who would have guessed they’d lose a series to the Pittsburgh Pirates? Maybe Kevin Youkilis has a soft spot for the Bucs… he kinda looks like a Pirate, after all. That’s not to say the Yankees haven’t been playing great lately, because they have – I think it was Mike Francesca who said the Yankees were ‘playing superior ball right now,’ and it’s hard to argue with that. Sunday’s come from behind win was especially impressive as The Team That Hits Too Many Home Runs generated back to back jacks to tie the game after looking so sluggish the first time through the order. Before you knew it, things were going the Yankees way.

I didn’t catch much of Old Timers Day, but it was cool to see everybody again – and how about that hand for my man, Bernie Williams? Joe Torre might have gotten a longer ovation (and congratulations to him for making blowing kisses not look ridiculous), but I insist that Bernie’s round of applause had a lot more energy. And what was the deal with Joe Torre refusing to wear his sling on the field? The dude just had elbow surgery – what the hell was he thinking? I guess that’s pride for you.

So has everybody seen enough of Eduardo Nunez at short stop? I know I have. This guy just doesn’t look like an infielder to me – he can’t catch, he can’t throw, and his decision making is questionable at best… including his decisions about when to and when not to pay attention. Did you see that look Russell Martin gave to him when he was late on a throw down at second? I think everybody was thinking the same thing – "This guy sucks." That being said, since stepping into a full time player roll, the guy has hit extremely well, but that’s about all he’s done. But is he the short stop of the future? Given that he’s 24, I have a hard time believing he’s suddenly going to improve, but given that Derek Jeter is under contract for three more seasons and there really isn’t anywhere else to put him (Next year move A-Rod to full time DH and put Jeter at 3rd? Not sure I like that idea.), so I guess Nunez has some time to develop.

Tonight the Brew Crew heads to the Bronx for battle with the Bombers. (Say that three times fast.) I haven’t seen the Brewers play yet this year, but we all know about their big bats and impressive 2011 record, so this should be an interesting series. Let’s just hope they don’t have any replacement level left handers the Yankees have never seen before!

Johnny Damon heading back to Red Sox

It sounds like the Red Sox have claimed Johnny Damon off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. I guess the Red Sox don’t agree with me about their fate being sealed. The Red Sox have 6 games left with the Tampa Bay Rays and 3 left with the Yankees, and since they haven’t gained a game in… I don’t know, a month? I don’t see the Red Sox getting their act together and coming back into the race. If they sweep the Rays this weekend, they have a fighting chance. If they lose the series, I don’t see any chance for them.

You have to wonder if this makes Damon regret any recent comments about New York being the best place he ever played… Guess we’ll have to wait to see how that unfolds. In any case, the Red Sox incredible rash of injuries necessitated this move (if you believe they still have a chance, that is – again, I do not), but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for missing huge stars like Kevin Youkilis, former MVP Dustin Pedroia and even Jacoby Ellsbury and team captain Jason Varitek.

Some might argue that October in the 21st Century just isn’t the same without the Red Sox. I, for one, will manage to live through the experience.

UPDATED:  My understanding is that Johnny Damon has to agree to go back to Boston, and I don’t see any reason for him to do so – especially since I’m Tampa Bay would LOVE to have him be a Ray.  It’s the best thing for Damon; pretty sure he has a house there.

Four games that will make or break the Red Sox season

jonathan papelbon

(This face.)

The Boston Red Sox are currently 6 games behind the New York Yankees and 5.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, and if the Red Sox want to make the playoffs this year, they’d better get serious in a hurry. Not that I mind the Red Sox missing the playoffs, but then, what’s the fun of riding a roller coaster without a few loops? Or goatees?

And speaking of attaching steel wool to your face, Kevin Youkilis has a thumb injury (I have a joke for how Youkilis injured that thumb involving Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and that face Pap makes when he comes set right before he delivers the pitch, but I’ll spare you) that will sideline him for the rest of the year. It’s just another injury on a team that’s been plagued by them all season long. The subtraction of Youkilis and the addition of new Yankee Lance Berkman might tip the scales in the Yankees favor for good. Not that I’m forgetting about the Rays, but one thing at at time.

The Red Sox have scored the second most runs so far this year, only led by the Yankees (576 to 561), but without Youkilis, who I regard as their best Yankee-killer, I’m not sure what they can do. When you take into account the Yankees vs Red Sox runs allowed numbers (442 to 496), it’s easy to get excited about the Yankees chances in these four games.

If the Red Sox want to win this series, they’re going to have pitch their backsides off, and I just don’t think they can do it. The Yankees have seen all of their starters already this year, and they haven’t really struggled to produce runs against any of them. On the other hand, the Yankees are starting Dustin Mosely in game 4 on Monday. While the Yankees had Thursday off, the Red Sox were finishing up a 4 game set with the Indians, so they must be tired, and I wonder how fresh their bullpen is.

Conditions seem right for the Yankees to take 3 of 4 – if they get it done, the Red Sox are probably finished for the 2010 season. If they split, the Red Sox may have some faint hope, but I’m wondering where their offense is going to come from, and I’m just not sure if their pitching is good enough.  Ultimately, I believe only a series win will keep the Red Sox playoff hopes alive – and happily for Yankees fans, I don’t like their chances.

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