September 29, 2009

Juan Miranda eats a pie, Yanks do it again

September call-up Juan Miranda grounded a ball off Kyle Farnsworth’s leg to drive in the game-winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. The 4-3 win over the Royals (64-94) was No. 102 for the Yankees (102-56).

Quick ‘Cap:
The Yanks couldn’t solve Royals’ starter Anthony Lerew until Mark Teixeira blasted his 39th bomb of the season in the sixth inning. That tied the score at 1, but Phil Coke’s fielding circus in the seventh allowed two unearned runs. Nick Swisher cut the deficit in half with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to begin breathing down the Royals’ necks.

Farnsworth came on to close out the game and struck out Brett Gardner to start the inning. Then singles from Francisco Cervelli and Eric Hinske set up Robinson Cano’s game-tying sacrifice fly. Then Hinske advanced to third when he stole second and catcher John Buck’s throw went into center field. Farnsworth intentionally walked the struggling Johnny Damon to get to Miranda, and the rest is history.

A.J. Burnett pitched his third straight strong outing, but didn’t get a win to show for it this time. David Robertson and Brian Bruney pitched the final two innings, and Bruney improved to 5-0 with the win. Full box score here.

It was the 15th time this season the Yankees have walked off with a win. It’s truly incredible. This team’s balance is really being exhibited down the stretch here. With the division already wrapped up, most of my attention has been focused on the Twins and Tigers.

Line of the Night:
Burnett: 6-1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 8 K. I’m content with that if he can do it in the postseason.

Up Next:
The Yanks could make it eight straight with a win on Wednesday. Joba Chamberlain (9-6, 4.72) toes the rubber against Robinson Tejada (4-2, 3.41).

Evaluating Robinson Cano’s season

Over at Bronx Baseball Daily, the other writers and I are compiling evaluations of the starting lineup and possibly rotation for the Yankees. First on my list is Robinson Cano.

Cano might just be the most improved starter on the team from last year. His BA and SLG are up 50 points from last year, and he’s nearly doubled his home run total. Not too shabby? He has also eclipsed the 100-run and 200-hit milestones for the first time in his career. He only needs two more doubles to reach 50, which would be another first in his career.

He has only missed one game this season (not including tonight), which is a very good thing. Durability is sometimes taken for granted, unless you are a Mets fan, of course. The Yankees fans of the past decade know what it’s like to have pitchers hit the DL left and right, but losing positional players can be harder on a team because they play everyday.

Some analysts believe Cano is capable of winning the batting title. As most may know, he came excruciatingly close in 2006 and has ever since tried to maintain statistics at that same level. Well here’s my analysis: If he never leads the league in batting, he will still most likely lead the league in number of hits. Playing everyday has its advantages.

The Yankees have the option to keep Cano in pinstripes until 2013, so get used to him. With almost five complete seasons under his belt, at 26 years old, his career is only blossoming.

Yanks’ B-squad beats down Royals’ A-squad

Robinson Cano’s second career grand slam led the Yankees (101-56) past the Royals (64-93) by a score of 8-2. Chad Gaudin — the sixth starter — was credited with the win, which came without the likes of Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui or Nick Swisher getting an at bat.

Quick ‘Cap:
Royals’ starter Luke Hochevar held the Yankees’ O down for the first three innings, but allowed a run in innings 4-6 and a five-spot in the seventh. Ramiro Pena — who hit his first career home run in the fifth — singled home Francisco Cervelli before Cano launched his grand slam.

Gaudin pitched 6-2/3 quality innings, but was replaced by Damaso Marte to get the final out of the seventh. Alfredo Aceves sealed the Yanks’ sixth straight victory with two perfect innings. Full box score here.

You almost have to feel bad for the Royals after losing this one. This was literally the Yankees’ Triple-A team with two above-average major league players in Cano and Jorge Posada. No, they didn’t have Zack Greinke going — and won’t at all this series, thankfully. But still, losing 8-2 is pretty terrible. I guess that’s why they are in last place in their division.

Line of the Night:
Pena: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Heck of a night for an everyday minor leaguer.

Up Next:
The Yankees will look for lucky number seven on Tuesday with A.J. Burnett (12-9, 4.19) against Anthony Lerew (0-1, 3.86).

September 28, 2009

Royals-Yankees series preview

The Yankees (100-56) begin a three-game set with the Royals (64-92) tonight.

The Yanks took two of three from the Royals way back in April (doesn’t it seem like yesterday?), and now they will finish the season series in the Bronx.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Royals starters: Yankees starters:
Mon., 7:05 p.m. L. Hochevar (7-11, 5.98) Chad Gaudin (5-10, 4.78)
Tues., 7:05 p.m. A. Lerew (0-1, 3.86) A.J. Burnett (12-9, 4.19)
Wed., 7:05 p.m. R. Tejeda (4-2, 3.41) J. Chamberlain (9-6, 4.72)


Royals: Yankees:
Mitch Maier LF Brett Gardner CF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS Melky Cabrera LF
Billy Butler 1B Robinson Cano 2B
Mike Jacobs DH Jorge Posada DH
Alberto Collaspo 2B Eric Hinske 3B
Mark Teahen RF Shelley Duncan RF
Miguel Olivo C Juan Miranda 1B
Alex Gordon 3B Francisco Cervelli C
Josh Anderson CF Ramiro Pena SS

My Outlook:
Just by looking at the lineup anyone could tell who little the Yankees care about this game. Robinson Cano is the only player in his playoff spot tonight. This should be a fun game to watch, if it ever gets played (rain).

Remaining opponents weighted winning percentage: 46 percent
Magic Number: 0!

Girardi, Yankees clinch AL East


Joe Girardi and the Yankees clinched their first division title since 2006 with their sweep of the Red Sox. Of course, the win was their 100th of the year and it tied up the season series with the Red Sox. It was a storybook ending to a great season.

But wait, there is still the postseason of course, and the final six meaningless games left in the season. Just wait until you see the lineup Girardi has posted for tonight’s game against the Royals in my series preview coming up.

Anyway, this picture made me think about how much Girardi had to do with this team’s clinching of the AL East. In a way, he did more by doing less. He didn’t get caught up with the New York media, which might be the most important thing he did.

He fought for his players when necessary. Sometimes it sparked long winning streaks, other times it didn’t make a difference.

Biggest positive of Girardi:
He did a very, very good job at giving his old-aged hitters days off and half-days off when necessary — not letting guys like Mark Teixeira play everyday was a good thing.

Biggest negative of Girardi:
He always had a very short leash on all of his pitchers, including his expensive stars.

Best in the Pen 9/21-27: Mariano Rivera

Who would have that a man with one pitch could go so far? His cutter has not only earned him four World Series rings, but now recognition on my blog. Feel honored, Mo.

Here are his numbers from last week:

4 G, 4 SV, 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, & 5 Ks.

Can’t do much better than that. Not to mention, two saves were against the Angels, and the other two were against the Red Sox.

I really, really don’t think he is human — even more so than Albert Pujols.

Poll Results: Guy with game-winning hit should get the pie

image I posed this question after Francisco Cervelli had the walk-off hit to drive in Brett Gardner against the Blue Jays this month. Cervelli took the pie from A.J. Burnett, but Gardner was the one who deserved it in my mind. He had singled and stole second to put himself into scoring position.

Perhaps both should get pied? I tossed in A.J. Burnett as an option because he is always the one pieing (yes, it’s a word) people. Maybe it’s time he gets pied? No?

My next poll question is a little more serious.

Who would you rather face in the ALDS?

Joba Chamberlain Featured Yankee Card of the Week

This card is actually quite valuable, and could become even more valuable if Joba Chamberlain winds up with a great career. Chamberlain could be the X-factor when it comes to the playoffs.

His fantastic start against the Red Sox only further proves how inconsistent a pitcher he is. Somehow, someway, he had complete control over his pitches that day. Homers by Victor Martinez and David Ortiz hurt his line a little, but it was still a quality start.

I’m very excited to see how he performs in the playoffs with his possibly new form.

September 27, 2009

In-game update: Matsui puts Yanks ahead

Hideki Matsui just came in with a huge two-run single in the sixth inning to put the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox 3-2. This came after a long at bat by Alex Rodriguez that he ended up winning with a single. A wild pitch later, Matsui delivered.

Matsui has always been a dependable hitter in the rivalry in his seven-year career. In 371 at bats over 96 games, here are his numbers:

54 R, 20 2B, 12 HR, 55 RBI, .294 BA, .358 OBP, .456 SLG

Those are solid numbers, but they are even better in high leverage situations, according to

I don’t see the Yankees re-signing Matsui after the season, despite his consistent bat. He has no versatility whatsoever, and hogs the DH spot so guys like Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon can’t get half-days off.

Meanwhile, Damon’s contract expires too, and I am hoping he is re-signed. He has been a table-setter ever since he got here, and now he has shown he can produce in the two-hole. He is simply too valuable to let go. Not to mention, he has publicly said he wants to remain in New York on numerous occasions.

September 26, 2009

CC Sabathia silences Sox

Alliteration much? CC Sabathia shut out the Red Sox (91-63) for seven innings and Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera closed out a 3-0 victory for the Yankees (99-56).

Quick ‘Cap:
It was a scoreless duel until Robinson Cano broke the ice with an opposite field solo shot in the sixth inning. Daisuke Matsuzaka walked five Yankees, but spread out six hits and escaped all the jams.

Billy Wagner allowed two unearned runs to score in the eighth on Johnny Damon’s two-run single. Hughes worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Rivera evaded a small jam in the ninth. Full box score here.

What a win! It would have looked even better if it were just a 1-0 game, but now I’m just getting picky. I’m lovin’ CC’s run to 20 games! He’s at 19 now, and will start next against the Tampa Bay Rays. 

This is a game the Yanks easily could have lost, as there were several squandered opportunities. They left 12 men on base while the Red Sox only had five baserunners all game.

Line of the Night:
Sabathia: 7 IP, H, zeroes, 2 BB, 8 K. I would have loved to see him close the game out, but he was yanked with 96 pitches under his long, long belt.

Up Next:
Get the brooms ready! The Yankees will go for the sweep on ESPN’s Sun-Day baseball game with Andy Pettitte (13-7, 4.15) on the hill vs. Paul Byrd (1-2, 6.04).

Yankees take first game against Red Sox

The Yankees (98-56) beat down the Red Sox (91-62) 9-5 last night, led by Joba Chamberlain’s quality start and Alex Rodriguez’s perfect night at the plate. The magic number is now down to three.

Quick ‘Cap:
A-Rod drove in Derek Jeter in the first inning on a single, and then cranked a two-run homer into the second deck in left in a four-run third inning that also saw Jon Lester leave the game. Melky Cabrera smoked a line drive right back at Lester’s knee, but luckily he was able to slowly walk off the field.

Chamberlain was perfect for the first three innings, but Victor Martinez broke his bid up with a homer in the fourth. Chamberlain went on to finish six innings, and allowed a two-run homer to David Ortiz.

Joe Girardi, once again, had to use three pitchers in the eighth inning after Jon Albaladejo was ineffective and allowed two runs to score. Damaso Marte and Phil Hughes recorded the last two outs, and Phil Coke pitched an easy ninth. Full box score here.

The story of this game was supposed to be Chamberlain, but it really spun around toward Lester and Jason Varitek. Lester left most of his fastballs high and the Yankees took advantage. The Yanks stole seven bases off Varitek, including three from A-Rod and two from Jeter. I wasn’t aware of this weakness for the Red Sox until last night. One would think Varitek would have to be very good defensively in order to keep his job with a  .208 batting average.

Line of the Night:
A-Rod: 3-for-3, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SB. A perfect night and a triple shy of the cycle. And against the Red Sox? Who says he’s not clutch?

Up Next:
The series continues today at 4:10 p.m. with CC Sabathia (18-7, 3.31) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-5, 6.80) going at it.

Guest Blog: Yanks not built for October

You might recall I wrote a guest blog for the Red Sox blog Two Cents From Beantown back in July. Now, the owner, Chuck Hanf, has written something that should stir up the New York readers just a little bit. Thanks for writing, Chuck.

Like I say every year about this time, if you are a sports fan like me, it is truly the best time of year. The transition from regular season baseball to playoff baseball along with the opening of a new NFL season is simply fantastic.

Now, this weekend we have Yankees/Red Sox for the final time in the regular season of 2009. I could give a rat’s ass less to be completely honest with you. Let’s face it, both teams know what’s next for their respective organizations, and this weekend is just a roadblock that stands in the way of these two titans going at it in the ALCS ’09.

Counting my chickens before they hatch you say? So what. Yes in fact I am doing that. Now all you Yankees have to do is be very careful not to slip up in the first round and cost me and my fellow Red Sox fans a dream ALCS matchup with you in mid-October. Do not screw this up New York. We will surely hold up our end of the bargain when we beat the bag out of our regular first round opponent of every year---the Anaheim Mighty Ducks--- I mean Angels. Oh no, it’s the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim now right?

Whatever their name is now, no worries in Beantown. You can put lipstick on a pig or dress the pig in some new clothes and change its name and give it a piggy pedicure, but it’s still a pig. All kidding aside, this Angels team is the most impressive edition that I’ve seen since this ALDS annual matchup between Boston and Los Angeles/Anaheim kicked in years back. It will be a hell of a fight, but I don’t see the Red Sox going down in this matchup.

Beckett and Lester, Lester and Beckett, however you’d like to phrase it or pair them, along with a bullpen who’s key parts are just way too strong, is just too much of a challenge to overcome for the Angels. The icing on the cake for me would be to give Scott Kazmir a good solid beat down in this series to further enhance the theory that the Angels just don’t beat the Sox in October no matter who they pry off of other teams rosters to do so.

If you are a Yankee fan right now, you are worrying. I don’t care what you say in your attempt to cover that ‘worry’ up. There might be makeup to cover up some of the holes on Hideki Matsui’s ugly mug, but they don’t make any makeup to cover up ‘worry’ that all of you New Yorkers are feeling right now. No cover-up makeup for ‘worry’ and all of you fans have to be wrecks right now.

Yes, you’ve basically locked down the division. If you ever blew this division right now , it would be epic. That being said, it’s not going to happen. We are talking playoffs here now though. Who is your ace in the hole in that rotation? Who? CC ‘Hammer Pants’ Sabathia? A.J. ‘What planet am I on’ Burnett? Who?

New York is built for the regular season and that’s all well and good---until you get to the postseason. I pray to God that you guys don’t run into a hot Justin Verlander in the ALDS against the Motor City, because if you do, it will dash our hopes here in Beantown of another epic postseason battle to decide who heads to the Series. Detroit is a very mediocre baseball team right now. Treat them like one and take care of business.

Johnny Damon, show them the way in that clubhouse. You are the most significant part of that team who actually remembers what it takes to win a World Series, since you just did it in 2004. Lead them and remind my boy Jetes what it takes to win in October, since it’s been a little while for he and Jorge and Mo… Hammer Pants CC, take control of that series with the space-shot known as Burnett and deliver your team to round two against your brothers to the North.

We all eagerly await one hell of an ALCS in mid-October. Don’t let us down. Take your beat down from a real team, don’t let it come prematurely by Detroit.

September 25, 2009

Red Sox-Yankees series preview

The series we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. With the playoff race not quite as tight as expected, the tension won’t be at its normally peak height when the Red Sox and Yankees battle in the Bronx. However, it’s still Red Sox and Yankees in September, and both teams have a chance to clinch a playoff seed.

It’s been a long season. If you don’t recall, the Yanks lost the first eight games of the season series against their rivals. Since then, the Yanks have won six of the last seven, making it possible to tie the season series with a sweep.

Playoff Meaning:
If the Yankees sweep, not only do they tie the season series, but they also clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the right to pick the length of the ALDS. The magic number for the Red Sox is three, so they could technically clinch a playoff berth if Texas is swept by Tampa Bay this weekend.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Red Sox starters: Yankees starters:
Fri., 7:05 p.m. Jon Lester (14-7, 3.33) Joba Chamberlain (8-6, 4.72)
Sat., 4:10 p.m. D. Matsuzaka (3-5, 6.80) CC Sabathia (18-7, 3.31)
Sun., 1:05 p.m. Paul Byrd (1-2, 6.04) Andy Pettitte (13-7, 4.15)

Chamberlain hasn’t made a quality start since July 29 against Tampa Bay — his best start of the season and probably career. Meanwhile, Lester has tossed nine straight quality starts and has struck out 10 or more hitters twice in that span dating back to Aug. 4.

”Dice-K” has made two promising starts for the Red Sox in his return from missing three months due to injury. Sabathia is also riding a streak of nine quality starts, and he’s struck out 10 on three different occasions. He beat the Red Sox twice in August, only allowing three runs in 14-1/3 innings.

Byrd has been a decent No. 5 starter for the Red Sox since being picked up at the end of August, while Pettitte is coming off a loss in a quality start against the Angels. This game was normally set for the usual Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, but Major League Baseball and ESPN took the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, into account.

My Outlook:
The Yankees have a good chance at a sweep if they can come away with a win tonight, but that is no easy task. Chamberlain is a HUGE question mark and Lester has been filthy. But the Yanks can have an offensive outburst on any pitcher, and put runs on the board quickly. I think the Yanks are fighting for the pride of tying a season series. That’s all they should be thinking about.

Magic Number: 5

Greinke ejected from dugout

The Zack Greinke news continues to roll in. Greinke was thrown out of last night’s game against the Red Sox from the dugout — he wasn’t even pitching.

He disagreed with home plate umpire Greg Gibson’s call on a 1-2 pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury, and apparently yelled something worthy of being ejected. I guess that means Greinke isn’t shy about arguing with umps.

By the way, Greinke owned the Red Sox a few nights ago, and is NOT in line to start against the Yankees next week. This makes me so happy.

However, him winning the Cy Young Award will not make me very happy.

September 24, 2009

Game 153: Yankees notes

The Yankees hung on to a 3-2 victory over the Angels yesterday, giving them their first series win in Anaheim since 1994.

Here are some other important notes from the win:

  • Ian Kennedy made his season debut, pitching the eighth inning with a one-run lead. With nobody else available in the bullpen, he walked two and hit one to load the bases. Fortunately, he induced a pop up from Erick Aybar to escape the jam.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. felt a pop in his left wrist in his fifth-inning at bat. He will undergo an MRI today, which will most likely determine whether he is a go for the playoffs or not.
  • A.J. Burnett struck out 11 in 5-1/3 innings pitched. That’s his second-highest total for a game this season, and third time striking out 10 or more. CC Sabathia has two more strikeouts than Burnett for the season, but has one more start under his belt.
  • Joe Girardi pulled off his typical using-three-different-pitchers-in-one-inning strategy in the seventh, and it paid off. Damaso Marte allowed a single, and then got Bobby Abreu to ground into a double play. Jon Albaladejo replaced him, allowed a double and was replaced by Phil Coke. Coke struck out Kendry Morales.
  • Freddy Guzman, a September call-up for the Yankees, showed off his speed by swiping second base in the eighth inning. He didn’t score, but he showed the Yanks what he can do. I posted earlier this month about Brett Gardner equaling Dave Roberts. Well, Guzman might equal Roberts too.

September 23, 2009

Blog Talk Radio Audio

Hey guys, I forgot to post the audio link to my radio appearance on Sept. 3 on Pro Baseball Central. If you are still interested to my views, listen below. 

I come in around the 28th minute.

Note: I don’t actually think Yogi Berra was the fourth best Yankee of all-time like I say on radio. It HAS TO BE Mickey Mantle.

A-Rod propels Yanks to playoff berth

I cannot believe I couldn’t stay up last night to watch the Yankees take down the Angels in the ninth inning. They had actually clinched a playoff berth before winning the game, however, as the Rangers lost during the Yankee game.

Alex Rodriguez was the star of the game, cranking a two-run homer to center in the third, making a diving stop in the sixth to block a run from scoring, and hitting a sacrifice fly in the ninth to break the tie game.

In six games against the Halos this season, A-Rod has five homers, nine RBIs and a 1.451 OPS. Not bad, eh?

Remember, the Yanks play at 3:35 p.m. today.

September 22, 2009

Sotomayor to throw ceremonial first pitch

Via the NY Daily News:

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Bronx native, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's Yankees game against the Red Sox as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Nice! Sotomayor is a Yankees fan, if you somehow didn’t already know.

Greinke afraid of pitching in New York?

This blog might as well have its own section on Zack Greinke. The latest news surrounding the leading Cy Young candidate (to my dismay) is his statement about his fear of pitching in New York.

Greinke signed a four-year extension worth $38 million with the Royals prior to this season.

Had he waited until free agency, or even just until the end of this year, he would have been in line for tens of millions more. But security had substantial appeal, especially given that Greinke recognized that Kansas City offered him a comfortable environment, on and off the field.

“[The environment] had a lot to do with [signing the extension], for sure,” said Greinke. “Now, maybe New York would bother me, but I don’t think anywhere else would bother me anymore. Even though I’m in Kansas City, I’ve gotten used to it a lot more. New York, I still might have trouble in New York. I probably would. But I think almost everyone does.”

I find it very interesting that he publicly singles out New York as the biggest media-crazed baseball city. Wouldn’t he want to remain on good terms with New York, just in case the Yankees offered him big money?

Also, if a guy with a 2.14 ERA says he would have trouble pitching in New York, I think that shuts down all of the Yankee-haters that say it’s a cakewalk to pitch in the Bronx.

Please, discuss.

Old reliable regains my confidence in Yanks

The Yankees were beat last night by the bloody Angels, again. But Andy Pettitte proved he has moved past his left shoulder fatigue that caused him to miss his previous start.

Joba Chamberlain’s awful last nine starts coupled with Chad Gaudin taking Sergio Mitre’s spot in the rotation made me even more worried about the Yankees’ rotation heading into the postseason.

This is Pettitte’s 12th year in pinstripes, and is proving once again that he’s still got it. During his long career in New York, he is 191-108 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Those career totals closely resemble his numbers this season, which is more than I expected out of the 37-year-old southpaw.

I would also like to correct myself, and share with you that the Yankees are now 0-4 at Angel Stadium this season, and are 3-5 against the Halos overall.

September 21, 2009

Yankees-Angels series preview

The Yankees (95-55) begin a three-game set with the playoff-contending Angels (89-60) tonight.

The Yanks have already won four out of six against the Halos this season, and have won all three in Los Angeles. This is a pivotal series because of the potential rematch in the ALCS this postseason.

Series Preview:

Date: Yankees starters Angels starters
Mon., 10:05 p.m. Andy Pettitte (13-6, 4.14) J. Saunders (13-7, 4.75)
Tues., 10:05 p.m. Chad Gaudin (5-10, 4.81) Ervin Santana (7-8, 5.43)
Wed., 3:35 p.m. A.J. Burnett (11-9, 4.22) Scott Kazmir (9-8, 5.08)

My Outlook:
A single win this series ensures a season series victory with the Angels, which is pretty uncommon for the Yankees. By no means have the Yanks separated themselves from the pack, as they are still monitoring each of the starting pitchers very closely, except CC Sabathia. Pettitte, Gaudin and Burnett all have something to prove this series, and any quality performances are weighted highly because of the opponent.

Another note: One win this series means a clinched playoff berth for the Yanks. This is a moment I am sure manager Joe Girardi is highly anticipating.

Remaining opponents weighted winning percentage: 53.0 percent
Magic Number: 9

It’s time to shut down Joba Chamberlain

joba2 It’s time. Time to shut down Joba Chamberlain for the remainder of the year. Why? Simple. Because he doesn’t have it anymore.

Chamberlain was supposed to pitch five innings last night and get the win, what would have been his first since Aug. 6 against Boston.

I’ve said all year that Chamberlain should be in the rotation because he had a chance to be a better starter than relief pitcher. This is not the case anymore.

Chamberlain lived off his 98-plus MPH fastball out of the pen, and kept hitters guessing with his nasty slider. As a starter, he’s completely different. His 93 MPH fastball has no control whatsoever, and has a knack for winding up in the middle of the plate and the sweet spot of the batter’s bat.

Jorge Posada faults the Joba plan for Chamberlain’s failure.

"It's tough to pitch when you don't know what's going on," Posada said. "It is hard. You pitch three innings and they give you 10 days to pitch. It's tough to pitch like that."

This is entirely untrue, and is just a made up excuse because he has no explanation. He’s been pitching every fifth day since Aug. 25, and he is told how many pitches he will get ahead of time.

The fact is, he is not an effective starter anymore. When he used to throw 100 MPH, it didn’t matter where the pitch ended up, as long as Posada could reach it. Now, when he’s throwing 93, any major league hitter will make him pay, especially a guy like Ken Griffey Jr. If you were watching, most of the hits are on fastballs right over the middle.

I don’t know if his arm is injured, but he will not be a successful starter in the majors with a 93 MPH fastball with no control. He said his slider’s velocity was “great,” which it was, but his nibbleness was way down. Compared to a game out of the bullpen in 2007, his nibbleness was much lower as a starter for all of his off-speed pitches.

Let’s face it, there is no way Chamberlain is going to build up his arm strength to full starter form for the playoffs. And there is no way the Yankees will have any confidence him to make a start in the ALCS (if they get there).

So he should be in the bullpen, right? Wrong. The Yankees have already messed with his arm too much this year. There is no sense in risking his arm’s health for next year.

My proposed plan would be to shut him down the rest of the year, and have him start next year as the closer for Triple-A to make sure he can gain his velocity back up to triple digits. I will unequivocally state on this blog that he has no future as a starter in the major leagues if he can’t learn to control his fastball.

I know he is still young, and I have heard all of the comparisons too. But when I see him make starts, he just doesn’t have it in him.

Unfortunately, Joe Girardi has other ideas.

"This is not an easy game," Girardi said. "He's a young starter, and we've seen him really good and we've seen him struggle. He's one of the guys that has gotten us to this point and we'll continue to go with Joba."

Best in the Pen 9/14-20: Sergio Mitre

Joba Chamberlain’s start only lasted three innings, but Sergio Mitre cleaned up the mess and saved a lot of arms for at least one more day.

He pitched five innings, only allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out five. His 7-3 GO-AO ratio, proves his sinker was working too, and his 65 pitches (43 strikes) proves he was efficient.

Even though he had a bad start against Toronto, that doesn’t stop him from being last week’s Best in the Pen.

Poll Results: Home field advantage awaits Yanks


In my latest poll, the fans have voted that the Yankees will finish the year with the best record in the American League.

Right now, their closest competitor is the team they are matched up against this week. The Angels. However, they are still 5.5 games behind, so even a sweep would not guarantee anything for them.

Vote in next week’s poll on the left pane: Who gets pied?

Mark Teixeira Featured Yankee Card of the Week

teixeira4 How hot is Mark Teixeira right now? Well, over the last week, he has a higher batting average than his on-base percentage (.520 vs. .500). I kid you not. He has one sac fly and no walks (if you wanted the explanation for the anomaly).

Back to the point. He went 13-for-25 last week with an unmatched 29 total bases, to go along with a 1.160 slugging percentage.

Heck, he’s compiled the same number of triples in the past week than he had in the prior three and a half years (three). I kid you not.

With a likely AL Player of the Week award on his way, Teixeira is this week’s featured Yankee Card of the Week. The card was bought by me at Yankee Stadium in this year’s team set.

September 20, 2009

Joba rocked in finale, M’s take 7-1 win

Mark Teixeira and Sergio Mitre pitched in winning efforts, but Joba Chamberlain’s effort was a losing one, and it counted the most. He gave up all seven runs in the 7-1 loss to the Mariners (78-72), as the Yankees (95-55) lost another series.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Mariners jumped on Chamberlain early for two runs in the first and five in the second, capped by Ken Griffey Jr.’s three-run homer. Sergio Mitre took over in the fourth and only allowed one hit the rest of the game.

The only other bright spot besides Mitre was Mark Teixeira, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored the only run for the Yankees in the sixth on Jorge Posada’s double.

What hurts the most? Ian Snell, the guy who the Yanks could have traded for at this year’s trade deadline, earned the win in a quality effort. Full box score here.

I warned them from the beginning not to take the Mariners lightly. Not counting Saturday’s blowout, the Yanks only scored three runs. As expected, the M’s pitching staff was ready for the Yanks’ high-octane offense.

As for Joba, I’m making it a separate post. Check it out on Monday.

Line of the Night:
Teixeira: 3-for-4, 2B, R. I’ll keep on giving him the line of the night if it helps his MVP campaign.

Up Next:
The Yankees head a little south to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a three-game series. Get ready for two more 10:05 p.m. games. I’ll have the series preview posted before the first pitch, as always.

Ian Kennedy called up

After throwing three perfect innings in his last outing in Triple-A, Ian Kennedy has been called up to finish the remainder of the season with the Yankees.

"This is crazy," Kennedy said. "I didn't dream of this happening. After not pitching all year, this seemed crazy. When he called me and told me it was going to happen ... I'm still in shock."

He sounds really happy to be back. Almost too happy…

Kennedy has always been dominant in the minors (19-6, 1.95 ERA, .985 WHIP), but the numbers didn’t translate last year (0-4, 8.17 ERA, 1.92 WHIP).

Most of the beats believe he could play a similar role to Phil Hughes this season next year. That would be a huge bonus to the Yankees for someone who has left some people’s radar.

Good luck, Kennedy!

Tex, Yanks blow out M’s

Behind Mark Teixeira’s huge night and CC Sabathia’s dominant pitching, the Yankees (95-54) cruised past the Mariners (77-72) to a 10-1 win last night.

Quick ‘Cap:
Teixeira’s three-run homer in the fifth inning broke the game open, and gave Sabathia a 6-0 lead. Sabathia and the Yankees experienced a near-miss in the bottom of the fifth, when Franklin Gutierrez hit a line drive back at Sabathia’s chest. He didn’t even have to throw a warm up pitch, and finished the inning.

Robinson Cano cranked three doubles and a single and scored twice. Teixeira homered again in the ninth, falling a double shy of the cycle. Sabathia lasted seven innings, and Brian Bruney and Jon Albaladejo closed out the game. Full box score here.

This was exactly the type of win the Yankees were looking for. They excelled at all facets of the game. Besides Alex Rodriguez’s run-scoring error in the fifth, it was a sound game all around.

Line of the Night:
Teixeira: 4-for-5, 2 HR, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 R. He is only two homers shy of tying Carlos Pena for the league lead.

Up Next:
The rubber match is set for today at 4:10 p.m. between Joba Chamberlain (8-5, 4.39) and Ian Snell (6-10, 5.17).

September 19, 2009

Oh no, It’s Ichiro! Mariners walk off vs. Mo

Mariano Rivera had struck out the first two batters of the ninth with ease, but then long-time Royal Mike Sweeney pinch hit for Josh Wilson. Sweeney doubled, and Ichiro homered to give the Mariners (77-71) a walk-off, 3-2 victory over the Yankees (94-54).

Quick ‘Cap:
The Yanks used a pair of sac flies from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to take a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning. Nobody in the world expected Rivera to blow the game after the first two batters went down on strikes, but it happened. It’s tough to take, especially if you are A.J. Burnett.

Burnett pitched one of his best games of the second half: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. He had very sharp stuff all night, and left the game in the normally trustworthy hands of Phil Hughes and Rivera. Hughes did his part, but Rivera just couldn’t convert his 37th consecutive save. On a positive note, his second strikeout was his 1,000th of his career. Congrats, Mo. Full box score here.

It just happened so fast. Sweeney and Ichiro swung at the first pitch and met the ball solidly. You have to wonder if that’s the best strategy against Mo. Because once you have two strikes on you, Mo has so many strikeout pitches.

Jose Molina had a chance to add an insurance run in the seventh inning with Nick Swisher at third base with one out. Instead, he grounded into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning. Where was Francisco Cervelli?!

Line of the Night:
Felix Hernandez: 9 IP, 8 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 3 K. His stuff was equally as nasty as Burnett’s tonight, but Felix lasted the whole game while Burnett left after seven.

Up Next:
The Yanks look to even the series  on Saturday night with CC Sabathia (17-7, 3.42) on the mound against Doug Fister (2-3, 3.53).

September 18, 2009

So long, Peter Abraham

The father of Yankees blogging is about to switch teams. Peter Abraham, the Yankees beat writer for The Journal News, is accepting a position for the Boston Globe.

Yes, that means he will be covering the Red Sox.

Whether you care to believe this or not, beat writers don’t root for teams. Our teams are our papers. We root for good stories and perhaps for certain people we meet along the way. This is a decision that I made for personal and professional reasons and I hope you can understand that.

I thought that point was very interesting. I couldn’t imagine covering the Yankees and not caring whether they win or not. However, I could see myself covering the Padres and not caring when I got switched to the Blue Jays (hypothetical).

Anyway, Peter Abraham’s LoHud Yankees Blog is the best Yankees blog out there. That means he will be a big loss to the Yankees blogging community. I would not want to be the guy who has to fill his shoes. (It kind of reminds me of the successor of Mariano Rivera, whoever that maybe.)

He still has about two weeks left before switching to Boston. I’d like to thank Peter for doing such a great job as a beat, and for dedicating his life to fans like me. You will be deeply missed.

September 17, 2009

Brett Gardner = Dave Roberts

Both wins so far this week for the Yankees can be credited to Brett Gardner. Specifically, you can credit his speed.

On Monday, he beat the Angels with his legs in the ninth inning, which is usually something the Angels do to beat the Yankees. Gardner pinch ran for Mark Teixeira after he doubled with one out, stole third base and scored on the throw that squeaked down the left field line.

Last night, Gardner led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. He stole second on an 0-2 count to Derek Jeter, and then advanced to third on his groundout. This put the speedy Gardner at third with less than two out for Francisco Cervelli, who hit the walk-off single.

Cervelli took the pie in the face, but really, the win should be credited to Gardner. Jeter’s groundball could have been a double play to clear the bases. Instead, Gardner was on third with one out.

Gardner has stolen 22 bases in 27 tries this season, an 81.5 percent success rate. Dave Roberts stole 38/41 in 2004, but his steal of second base in the ninth inning of the fourth game of the ALCS was the most important. Without that steal, the Red Sox may still be riding the Curse of the Bambino.

When guys like Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford get singles and walk a lot, they become some of the most valuable players in baseball. Not only do they greatly distract the pitcher from their duties with the batter, but they also get themselves to second base for a virtual double.

Even if Gardner is used as a pinch runner, while starting Melky Cabrera instead, it doesn’t hurt his value. Knowing that he has a good shot at scoring a run if he is put on first base with nobody out is a good feeling.

This is why I am asking Gardy to act as the 2004 model of Dave Roberts. When it comes time for the postseason, fans will soon realize just how valuable a weapon his speed really is.

September 16, 2009

This week on Pied: Francisco Cervelli

On this week’s episode of the new hit TV show on the Yes Network, Pied, Francisco Cervelli was, pied, in the face. Cervelli licked the whipped cream off his face after grounding a walk-off base hit into left to give the Yankees (94-53) a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays (66-80). It was the 14th walk-off win of the season for the Yankees, which leads all of baseball.

Quick ‘Cap:
I feel like the same guys are providing the RBIs during the game, and then it’s a different guy to get the walk-off hit every time. Hideki Matsui’s two-run homer in the eighth inning tied the game at four. Brett Gardner led off the ninth with a line drive single up the gut, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and then scored on Cervelli’s hit.

Chad Gaudin pitched another solid game — not quite as good as last time, but still good enough to win. Then, as always, Joe Girardi used five pitchers to close out the final 3-1/3 innings of the game. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth to earn the win. Full box score here.

Another day, another walk-off win for the Yanks. This is really a magical team. I’m not sure if it has what the 1998 team had, but let me tell you, it’s definitely close.

Line of the Night:
Damaso Marte: 1/3 IP, zeroes, K. That’s right. He pitched to one batter, a lefty, and struck him out. Now, let’s see him do that 27 times in a row.

Up Next:
The Yanks get an off-day on Thursday, but head out to Seattle for a weekend series. A series preview will be posted before the first pitch.

Video: Blue Jays & Yankees fight between Posada and Carlson

Here’s the video of the bench-clearing brawl that took place Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Jorge Posada and Jesse Carlson were the only two ejected. So who won the fight?

September 15, 2009

Blue Jays-Yankees series preview

The Blue Jays (65-79) are the last team the Yankees (93-52) will face at home until the Boston series next weekend. It’s only a two-game series, and it will be the last meeting between these two teams this season.

The Yanks are 11-5 against Toronto this season, and are 5-2 against them at home. They most recently split a four-game series two weekends ago.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Blue Jays starters Yankees starters
Tues., 7:05 p.m. Roy Halladay (14-9, 3.03) Sergio Mitre (3-2, 7.02)
Wed., 7:05 p.m. TBA Chad Gaudin (1-0, 3.42)
Tonight’s matchup could be the mismatch of the year, or possibly decade. Halladay owned the Yanks in his last start, but hasn’t always been dominant against the Bronx Bombers in the past. The key tonight is to make Halladay work, as he has a natural ability to get ahead of nearly every hitter he faces.

Andy Pettitte is missing his start tomorrow due to shoulder fatigue, so Gaudin will get the nod. Hopefully Gaudin can build off his last start.

My Outlook:
The Yankees just got embarrassed against Baltimore, but won yesterday against the Angels in classic 2009 form. Let’s see if the two ejections yesterday really were the spark that this team needs heading into October.

Remaining opponents weighted winning percentage: 51.4 percent
Magic Number: 12

Why the Yankees rule baseball


This is a list of the top headlines from ESPN at 3:40 p.m. Do you notice anything odd about this?

I know! It’s the fact that the Yankees’ schedule is the only team’s that made a headline.

This is just one hint — there are many others — that this is a Yankees Universe, and not a Red Sox nation. Even though the Red Sox have won the World Series twice in the past five years, and the Yanks haven’t won any, the Yanks are still the most popular franchise in baseball.

Just take a moment to bask in that glory.

Yankees’ 2010 schedule released

Apparently baseball thought it was a good idea to release the 2010 baseball schedule today, so that’s what they did. Here is the Yankees’ 2010 schedule, highlighted by starting and ending the season at Fenway Park.

Here are some other notes from the Yankees’ schedule:

  • They will head out to LA June 25-27 to face Joe Torre and the Dodgers.
  • They will face the Red Sox 18 times in 2010. Nine in New York, and nine in Boston.
  • They visit Citi Field on May 21-23, and the Mets will come to Yankee Stadium June 18-20.
  • They play 29 games in May and August (only two off-days in each month).
  • The All-Star Game will be held in Anaheim on July 13 (a day before my birthday).
  • Monday, Apr. 5 is opening day at Fenway. Mark it on your calendars.

Oh, and if someone knows why the MLB releases the schedule during the 2009 season, please leave it in the comments. Thanks.

September 14, 2009

Joba pitches four innings, Yanks win 5-3

For the first time in three starts, Joba Chamberlain pitched more than three innings. But not much further. Chamberlain pitched four innings in the Yankees (93-52) 5-3 victory over the Angels (86-57) in a makeup game.

Quick ‘Cap:
Mark Teixeira led the offense with three hits, including a two-run triple in the fifth inning and a double in the eighth that allowed the game-winning run to score. Brett Gardner pinch ran for Teixeira, and stole third base causing an overthrow, which allowed him to score. Alex Rodriguez came around to score an insurance run on Robinson Cano’s single.

Alfredo Aceves relieved Chamberlain, and Phil Coke helped complete the seventh inning. Phil Hughes blew another save, but the Yankees offense bailed him out once again. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 40th save of the season. Full box score here.

This was a nice victory to have under their belts. The Angels are the only team threatening to snatch the best record in the American League from the Yankees. Also, the Yanks have never had much success against the Angels.

I’m glad Chamberlain’s walk total is going down. Tonight was the second time in his last four starts he hasn’t walked anyone.

Line of the Night:
Rivera: IP, zeroes, BB. He has allowed one run in his last 32 innings pitched.

Up Next:
The Yankees have two games left on their homestand, starting Tuesday with two games against Toronto. The series preview will be posted before game time.

My Yankee Stadium experience part 2 (with photos)

I was also at the stadium for Saturday’s game. Like Friday, the Yankees lost to the Orioles by a wide margin (any loss over one run against the Orioles is too big).

The main corridor really struck me. It was fun to try and name all of the players (not all of them were as easy as Ruth and Gehrig).

Is it really necessary for every single field level seat to have one of these signs posted on them?
be alert

me.ruthI wanted to go visit Monument Park before the game, but it was already closed a half hour before game time. This is as close as I got:

I tried the regular fries sold at some hot dog stands, but there were also garlic fries. The Yankees felt the need to advertise them on the big screen, making them look gigantic.

garlic fries I loved the way the Stadium flaunted their history everywhere — even above the concession stands.
Of course, we ended the day with the annual Neslins and Taylors photo. Isn’t little Logan adorable?


A few other notes and observations from the Stadium:

  • The cup holders were a nice addition — even in the upper deck.
  • I wish the arches around the stadium were lit up more. Even with the lights on, they weren’t very bright.
  • In general, each of the levels were far more packed with vendors than Citi Field.
  • Also, the food was spread out throughout the stadium far more equally than Citi Field, where all of the good food was located behind the outfield wall.
  • Apparently the new stadium doesn’t like me being there. The Yankees went 0-2 against the Orioles, a team they were 6-0 against at home this season prior to the weekend.
  • It seemed the general incline of the upper deck wasn’t as steep as the old stadium. You just don’t feel quite as on top of the action as you used to.
  • It’s sad to think that Nick Swisher was roaming different territory in right field than Babe Ruth.
  • All in all, it’s a good stadium, but was it really worth the upgrade?

Best in the Pen 9/7-13: Jon Albaladejo

The 6-foot, 5-inch, 260-pounder from San Juan, Puerto Rico had a great week to earn himself the Best in the Pen honors. He pitched 3-2/3 innings of shutout baseball, including two perfect innings in Joba Chamberlain’s start to earn his fifth victory of the season. He struck out two, walked one and gave up one hit, while lowering his ERA to 4.75.

Poll Results: Fans disliking the Joba plan

I extended last week’s poll question an extra week because the vote was so tight. Now, it isn’t so tight, after Joba Chamberlain made another start lasting only three innings. The shortened start certainly swayed the vote, as shown below.
I’m still unsure of what the plan is for Joba in the postseason. That depends on a lot of things that haven’t been finalized yet.

Vote in next week’s poll on the left pane: Will the Yankees finish the year with the best record in the AL?

CC Sabathia Featured Yankee Card of the Week

I finally got a card of CC Sabathia in a Yankees uniform when I was at the Stadium this past weekend. I chose CC because he collected his 17th win of the season yesterday, which leads the American League.

He also leads the Yankees in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched. He should have at least three more starts before the postseason, meaning he has a shot to become a 20-game winner!

September 13, 2009

Yankees run away with victory in eighth

The Yankees (92-52) avoided being swept by the Orioles (58-84) at home in Sunday’s 13-3 win. The Yanks’ bats finally came alive in the eighth inning and rallied for eight runs. Perhaps a couple of ejections in the fifth inning sparked the offense.

Quick ‘Cap:
Hideki Matsui broke a tie game in the sixth with a two-run single to make it 5-3. He broke the game open in his next at bat with a three-run homer, and the Yankees scored five more times in the inning. Melky Cabrera and Mark Teixeira provided two-run doubles, and Brett Gardner added an RBI double.

CC Sabathia tossed seven innings and allowed three earned runs — good enough for his 17th win of the season. The Yankees all-time hit leader, Derek Jeter, tacked on three more hits to his record. Full box score here.

It would have been a total embarrassment to be swept by the Orioles at home. It goes to show how important a good start can be.

Line of the Day:
Matsui: 3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, R, BB. It was his first three-hit game since Aug. 13, and only his third of the season.

Up Next:
The Yanks have a makeup game to play on Monday against the LA Angels. I’ll have some pre-game notes posted, and I’ll have a full series preview for the short Toronto series.

My Yankee Stadium experience part 1 (with photos and video)

Geared with my FDNY t-shirt and Yankees jacket, I left Quinnipiac University at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11. An hour-and-a-half train ride and a 20-minute subway later, I wound up on 161 St. and River Ave., waiting to witness Yankees history (three hours in advance).
gate2 The gate entrance looked even better as I was leaving. Just wait until you see my seats.
jeter at batYes, this is where I was sitting. And no, I did not have to pay for these. That’s Derek Jeter, digging into the batter’s box in the first inning after an hour-and-a-half rain delay. He struck out, but all of the fans in the stadium had their cameras ready.

menuNow, these seats aren’t the Legends Suite, but it is the first section behind in the front row. I was offered a menu to order from, but I didn’t get the free water treatment.

Jeter struck out swinging the first time up. But this is what happened after his second at bat.

I know my camera phone is pretty bad quality, but it’s better than nothing. I didn’t capture the hit, but I did get the team congratulating him at first base. It was easily the most exciting event I have ever attended in my entire life.

The rest of the game was pretty ugly. Andy Pettitte didn’t have his best stuff, and Damaso Marte blew the game in the sixth. They lost 10-4, but that was irrelevant.

I felt it was necessary to purchase the commemorative t-shirt as well. There were about 300 people in the team store fighting for these.
jeter shirt

A quick story on watching history being made:

As soon as Brett Gardner grounded out to end the second, I left with my friend I went with to get a steak sandwich from Lobel’s. As we were waiting in line, we saw Pettitte roll through the top of the third, so we knew we had to run back to our seats.

We made it just in the nick of time. Sandwich in hand, the rest of the fans and I rose to our feet as Jeter stepped in. When the first pitch came in, I saw thousands of camera flashes going off. It was an electric atmosphere, and I think I was shaking. On a 2-0 count, Jeter ripped one down the first baseline. I thought the first baseman Chris Richard was going to knock it down, but the ball rocketed by him into right field.

Everyone was going nuts, and the stadium roar was the loudest I’ve ever heard. Jeter had to tip his cap twice. Nick Swisher stepped out of the box a few times to regain his focus. Everyone stood for the rest of the inning, hoping the captain would come around to score. Instead, Matsui flied out to center, stranding Jeter on second base.

I’ve never been so thrilled. The images of Richard diving and all the cameras going off kept on coming back into my mind the rest of the game.

This great experience would not have been possible without Paul Argenti. So I want to thank you, Uncle Paul, for making my day, and one of the best memories of my life.

September 12, 2009

My tweets from Yankee Stadium

Last night was unbelievable. Now, I get to go to my second game in as many days. This time, I will be with my family in the nosebleeds. I’ll be tweeting again from the Stadium, but my phone’s battery is running low.

Or, you can just follow me on twitter!

I’ll try and post pictures and more later tonight. Go Yankees!

September 11, 2009

My tweets from Yankee Stadium

As noted in the series preview, I am at Yankee Stadium tonight! You can follow me tweets through this widget below.

Or, you can just follow me on twitter!

I’ll try and post pictures and more later tonight. Go Yankees! And more importantly, go Derek Jeter!

Orioles-Yankees series preview

The Yankees (91-50) continue their homestand this weekend with the Baltimore Orioles (56-83). Finally, my presence will be made at the new Yankee Stadium. And what a time to do it — right in the thick of Derek Jeter’s milestone chase. I will be attending tonight’s game and Saturday’s.

The Yanks are undefeated against the O’s at home this year (6-0), and are 12-3 overall. This is the last time these teams face each other this season.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Orioles starters Yankees starters
Fri., 7:05 p.m. Chris Tillman (1-3, 4.66) Andy Pettitte (13-6, 4.10)
Sat., 1:05 p.m. Brian Matusz (4-2, 5.26) A.J. Burnett (11-8, 4.19)
Sun., 1:05 p.m. J. Guthrie (10-13, 4.96) CC Sabathia (16-7, 3.40)

My Outlook:
It’s tough to bet against the Yankees here. They are 8-2 in their last 10, while the O’s are 3-7. Don’t forget that the Orioles have offense, but their pitching is always very suspect. With Nos. 2, 3 & 1 going for the Yankees, I believe another sweep could be in order.

Remaining opponents weighted winning percentage: 50.1 percent
Magic Number: 14

David Robertson out for at least 10 days

From PeteAbe:

This from the Yankees:

RHP David Robertson was seen today by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., and underwent an MRI to evaluate stiffness in his right elbow. Dr. Andrews has recommended 10-14 days of rest for Robertson before beginning a throwing program.

That’s good news for Dave. He could start throwing around Sept. 14 and that would give him ample time to get ready for the playoffs.

The curse of the Best in the Pen! Oh well. It sounds like he should be ready for the playoffs, which is all that matters. I’ll keep the updates on Robertson coming.

September 10, 2009

Listen to me on the radio

I will be appearing on Pro Baseball Central tonight at around 9:30 p.m. Sorry for the late notice, but if you have time, please listen in.

It will be my first time on the radio, and I will be talking about everything important in the recent news surrounding the Yankees.

Frustration growing with Joba plan

I don’t know about you, but I do not enjoy watching a starter pitch three innings every time. Last night was the third straight time Joba Chamberlain went just three innings. Here are his averages:

3 IP, 4.33 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, 49.67 pitches, 31.67 strikes.

So when is Chamberlain going to start building back his arm strength to be a starter in the playoffs? If ever!?

Via PeteAbe’s notebook:

“He didn't want to come out,” Joe Girardi said. “I told him, ‘We're getting to the point where you get to go a little bit further.' "

I am guessing this means last night was the last time Chamberlain goes three innings, which is great. But then what happens if gets rocked next time out, and he only lasts two?

The whole plan is really mindboggling. He’s not going deep into games, and he’s not a one-inning pitcher. He’s like a long reliever making three straight spot starts. It just makes no sense.

Then again, what other plausible options are there?

Jeter and Gehrig share a day together

As my brilliant baseball statistics professor pointed out, Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig will spend at least 24 hours tied atop the Yankees all-time hits leaderboard.

For at least 24 hours, they share 2,721 hits, but it also gives people time to realize how much both players were loved by fans. These men are two of the most highly-respected Yankees of all-time — not just on the field — but off the field as well.

Gehrig left the game of baseball in one of the most memorable ways possible. A farewell speech, on July 4, 1939. Jeter gave a farewell speech too — not to end his career (yet) — but to retire the old Yankee Stadium on Sept. 21, 2008.

There are many other parallels between these two Yankee greats. Today is a good day to remember all of those similarities, and think back to Gehrig’s outstanding career.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for my first Yankee Stadium experience to be in the middle of a monumental milestone. I just hope I am not too late to miss Jeter’s first at bat Friday night, as that could be the record-breaker!

September 9, 2009

Yanks steal win in eighth to finish sweep

The Yankees (91-50) were shut down by Jeff Niemann for seven innings, but the Rays (72-68) blew their lead in the eighth and lost 4-2. Derek Jeter received a long standing ovation after tying Lou Gehrig’s all-time hits record as a Yankee with a seventh-inning single.

"He's one of the classiest people to ever play this game," Jeter said during an on-field, postgame television interview pumped over the stadium public address system. "It's just kind of mind-boggling to have my name next to his."

Quick ‘Cap:
The Rays scored twice in the first inning off Joba Chamberlain, but that was all for their scoring. Chamberlain was yanked after three, and Alfredo Alfredo Aceves, Jon Albaladejo, Brian Bruney and Phil Coke closed out the victory.

Alex Rodriguez’s eighth-inning single knocked out Niemann, making way for Lance Cormier. Cormier allowed a single to Hideki Matsui and then a throwing error by the first basemen allowed A-Rod to score. Jorge Posada laced a pinch-hit, three-run homer in place of Brett Gardner with two on and one out. Full box score here.

What a win. Congratulations to my hero, Jeter, for tying Gehrig’s record. Luckily for me, I will hopefully get to see him break the record this weekend, as I will be at Friday’s and Saturday’s games. The Yanks just cannot lose right now.

Line of the Night:
Albaladejo: 2 IP, zeroes, win. He improves to 5-1 with a 4.85 ERA on the year. It’s amazing for a guy like Alba to have a record like that.

Up Next:
The Yankees enjoy an off-day Thursday, and will host a three-game series with Baltimore this weekend. Series preview to be posted before game 1.

Like I said, I’ll be attending the first two games, so expect lots of pictures and my take on the new Yankee Stadium!

Joba’s playoff role complicated, bizarre

I would hope Joe Girardi is planning on using Joba Chamberlain as a starter — what he’s been all season — in the playoffs, but this might not be the case.

From Anthony McCarron:

Asked if he could see a scenario in which Chamberlain would pitch in the bullpen in the playoffs, Joe Girardi replied: "There's a possibility if you're in the playoffs. There's a division series where you need three starters and one you need four and I'll just leave it at that."

One AL division series begins Oct. 7 and the other begins Oct. 8. The first one has three scheduled off-days - Oct. 8, 10, 13 - which would allow teams to tweak their rotations.

Girardi really seems to be hinting here that Chamberlain would be used as a reliever for the ALDS. As McCarron pointed out, the Yanks have a very good chance of holding the best record in the AL, giving them the option of which series schedule they want to play in.

Based on this information, and the current state of the rotation, it’s a no-brainer to choose the schedule with three off-days. This would allow the Yanks to start CC Sabathia again in game 4 (if necessary), rather than Chamberlain.

If this is the case, then I have a serious problem with it. This would presumably mean Chamberlain would be switching roles twice — once in the ALDS to relieve, and then back to the rotation in the ALCS. This is absurd!

I know I’m thinking a little far ahead right now, but this seems to be exactly what Girardi is planning!

Another thing that really ticks me off about this news is that Chamberlain is starting tonight! All he needs is another distraction to be thinking about while he attempts to regain his greatness from the three mystical starts after the All-Star break.

Maybe the Yankees should have acquired another starter at some point so they wouldn’t have to think these idiotic ideas up.

Nick Swisher loves shaving cream pies


This was just too good not to post. Nick Swisher was expecting the pie in the face from A.J. Burnett, but judging by the picture, he was too excited to care.

This is also a pretty symbolic picture of the Yankees 2009 season. The year of the walk-off — 13 to be exact, which leads the majors.

I’m already thinking of ideas to incorporate this in my blog…

September 8, 2009

Latest to be pied: Nick Swisher

A.J. Burnett doesn’t have 13 wins, but he has pied 13 Yankees in the face. His most recent victim: Nick Swisher (this time with shaving cream). Swisher lined his second homer of the game in the ninth inning to give his Yankees (90-50) the 3-2 win over the Rays (72-67).

Quick ‘Cap:
Swisher’s first home was a solo shot in the second inning to give the Yanks an early lead. An RBI single from Alex Rodriguez made it 2-0, and starter Chad Gaudin had cruised through six innings. Gaudin allowed a leadoff homer to Evan Longoria in the seventh, and let two more batters reach before leaving the game (only 76 pitches).

Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney and Phil Coke each recorded one out in the seventh, setting the stage for Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera to do their things. Jason Bartlett had other plans, as he greeted Hughes’ first pitch with the barrel of the bat and it landed in the left field stands to tie the game at 2. Swisher’s walk-off gave Rivera his second win of the season. Full box score here.

I can’t believe the Yanks won on another walk-off. I can’t believe Hughes gave up a run. I can’t believe Derek Jeter is 0 for his last 12. That’s it.

Line of the Night:
Gaudin: 6 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Easily his best start as a Yankee.

Up Next:
The Yankees will look to sweep tomorrow night, and hand the Rays their eighth loss in a row. Jeff Niemann (12-5, 3.67) will face Joba Chamberlain (8-5, 4.41).

Too much pitching? I think not

I was quite frustrated when the Yankees didn’t wind up with a pitcher at either trading deadline this year. Most people responded by saying the Yankees have no holes on their team, especially their pitching staff. Even though some of my frustration was out of place at the time, now I find Yankees fans everywhere only confident in three starting pitchers.

This includes ESPN’s Rob Neyer, who wants Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes to switch roles immediately. I thought it was an interesting, but risky proposal. Hughes looks like the superior pitcher right now, but what if he can’t make a quality start before the postseason? Or what if Chamberlain can’t return to his dominance in relief from 2007?

I liked what Moshe Mandel of The Yankee Universe said of the situation.

It seems likely that the Yankees will need a 4th starter twice in all of the postseason, which means that a good 8th inning guy may actually be about as valuable as another starter. This is just a bad idea that would provide marginal benefits while risking significant costs.

The general idea Neyer brings up is the Yankees only have three trustworthy starters right now. Sergio Mitre has been very inconsistent, and so has Chamberlain.

Maybe it wasn’t such a stupid of an idea of mine to be looking for another starter? Didn’t think so.

Teixeira making strides for MVP candidacy

In the first inning of the first game yesterday, the league leader in home runs, Carlos Pena, had to leave the game after CC Sabathia’s inside fastball broke two of Pena’s fingers. Pena is out for the season. This is important for Mark Teixeira’s run at the AL home run and RBI crowns.

Teixeira blasted two home runs in the second game, giving him 35 homers and 106 RBIs on the season. He leads another Rays infielder, Evan Longoria, in RBIs by four, and trails Pena by four homers.

With Pena’s injury, Teixeira has a good chance to lead the league in home runs and RBIs — two of the three categories in the triple crown.

Most of the baseball world is viewing Joe Mauer as the frontrunner for the AL MVP Award. Yes, his percentages are remarkable, but it would be tough to look past Teixeira if he leads in homers and RBIs.

MVP Note: A lot of Yankees fans see Derek Jeter as the best MVP candidate in pinstripes. I agree, he should definitely be involved in the discussion, but unfortunately Teixeira belongs in the discussion too.

Meaning: there is a good chance the two players will be stealing each other’s votes, and neither will win the MVP. Hopefully the same thing happens with Mauer and Justin Morneau. But we’ll see.

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