October 31, 2009

Girardi: CC Sabathia to start Game 4

Joe Girardi just announced CC Sabathia as the Game 4 starter.

It could have been Chad Gaudin, but I think Girardi made the right move. Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s the World Series, and there’s no reason to hold him back when he is certainly capable of going on three days rest (he proved it in the ALCS).

However, there is a reason why Girardi hasn’t announced Game 5 or Game 6 starters yet. I’m not sure if Burnett or Pettitte are capable of going on short rest. Are you?

Has A-Rod lost his postseason magic?

People always used to say, “Oh, he’s great in the regular season, but can’t when it counts in the postseason.” If A-Rod’s slump continues people will be saying, “He can do it in the postseason, but not the World Series.”

I really, really don’t want to hear those petty Red Sox fans in my ear about Alex Rodriguez this offseason, and luckily, I don’t think I will, either.

As Buster Olney said last night, it hasn’t been as much A-Rod slumping as it has been the tough, tough pitching he’s faced. Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez have been throwing darts against him, and he can’t even avoid getting struck out.

I’m not sure how he will fare against the always up-and-down Cole Hamels, but I am confident he still has his magic.

Bullpen Questions: Is Mo being overworked?

I don’t think his body will be crumbling anytime soon. It’s the World Series, people. Mariano Rivera has always pitched more than just the ninth inning in World Series play, and no matter what people say, has shown no signs of wear and tear.

Via Anthony Mccarron:

…he is convinced he can go two innings at a time for the remainder of the series, if it's necessary. "Definitely," Rivera said.

Also, if you were Joe Girardi, would you trust Phil Hughes right now? How can you trust a guy who hasn’t been the same dominant force everyone witnessed in the middle of the season?

If not Rivera or the starting pitcher, Joba Chamberlain or David Robertson should be pitching the eighth inning of a close game.

October 30, 2009

Blown calls a lingering issue in World Series

The umpires last night blew two double play calls in a row last night, starting with Johnny Damon’s “line out” in the seventh and then Mark Teixeira’s “great stretch” in the eighth. In the end, it evened out.

Do you think the second call was a makeup call because the umps realized they were wrong after the first double play? Do you believe in makeup calls?

I believe the umps just missed two plays in a row, and it happened to go both ways so people don’t think much of it. But I can easily understand why people would disagree with me. It’s a blurry topic.

In recent news, Bud Selig said he would be reviewing adding more instant replay in baseball this offseason, according to Jeff Fletcher of MLB Fanhouse.

I’m a purist, and I don’t want to see instant replay expanding anymore. I’m afraid that if anything else gets added, eventually every single pitch and play will be called without umps. That may seem like a doubtful scenario, but it seems to me that everyone will continue to complain about whatever is not being reviewed. That’s what is happening right now, so why does anyone think they will stop?

The Roberto Clemente Award goes to…

Derek Jeter! It’s about time he was honored for his off the field work. Jeter is the best ambassador to Major League Baseball, and was my role model as a young baseball player.

Here’s some info on his Turn 2 Foundation:

Jeter established his Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, and since then it has awarded more than $10 million in grants for programs that motivate kids to turn away from drugs and alcohol.

Recently, Jeter's foundation donated $500,000 to launch the "Derek Jeter Academy at Phoenix House" in Tampa, an outpatient counseling center.

What a guy. A few of my buddies were talking about how he is overrated in clutch situations the other day, and I was a little disgruntled.

Sometimes, performing well in the clutch is being able to continue a current pace. In other words, Jeter hit .334 in 2009, so if he can hit .334 in clutch situations, that’s pretty damn good and makes him a clutch player, right?

If you don’t think so, then I can only think of one player in the last decade who is really a clutch player. Unfortunately, I’d have to say that man is David Ortiz. Thoughts?

The answer: Burnett helps Yankees even series

Going down 2-0 in a series would have been a very tough hole to crawl out of. A.J. Burnett avoided that disaster by pitching the Yankees to a 3-1 victory. Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui provided the offense with a pair of solo blasts.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Phillies took the early lead once again on an RBI single by Matt Stairs (of all people in the Phillies lineup) in the second inning. Teixeira’s Tex message landed in the Yankees bullpen in the fourth inning to even the score, and then Matsui’s “thrilla from godzilla” in the sixth gave the Yankees the lead for good.

But Burnett was the real star of this game. With postseason battery mate Jose Molina behind the dish, Burnett K’d nine over seven innings. Molina grounded out, walked and picked a runner off first.

Mariano Rivera pitched the final two innings (as expected), and avoided the Phillies’ key scoring chance in the eighth with a 4-6-3 DP. Full box score here.

Both these low-scoring games are showing people why good pitching beats good hitting any day of the week. These are two of the top offenses in baseball, yet they’ve only totaled 11 runs in the first two games.

Both starters pitched very well, like Game 1, but this time it was the Phillies pitcher, Pedro Martinez, to falter.

Line of the Night:
Burnett: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K. That looks like a winning line to me. Well done, A.J.

Up Next:
Game 3 is Halloween night (Saturday) in Philly. Everyone dress up as their favorite Yankee! Right?

October 29, 2009

Yankees already in a hole

The Yankees suffered their first Game 1 loss of the postseason last night, as the Phillies padded their lead late en route to a 6-1 victory.

Starter CC Sabathia was hurt by two solo shots from Chase Utley, while Cliff Lee went the distance allowing just one unearned run.

Once Sabathia had left, the close game fell apart for the Yankees. David Robertson let up both inherited runners from Phil Hughes in the eighth, and then Brian Bruney couldn’t make it through the ninth.

Ok, so I’m sure everyone is freaking out about falling behind 1-0 in the series.

it would have been nice to win that duel of aces, but losing wasn’t the end of the world.

Cliff Lee is the far-away ace of the Phillies’ staff. Let me repeat, Cliff Lee is the far-away ace of the Phillies’ staff. The Yankees have far more depth in their rotation with A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. The Phillies will send out a huge question mark in Pedro Martinez tonight, and then start a struggling Cole Hamels in Game 3.

Don’t get me wrong, it still sucks being down early. But maybe if the Yankees can work Lee a little more in his next start, the Yankees can take advantage of their inferior bullpen.

October 28, 2009

World Series Game 1: A tale of two Indians

Once upon a time, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee started in the same rotation for six years. Sabathia took home the Cy Young Award in 2007, and Lee earned the extra hardware in 2008. Tonight, they will oppose each other in what could be one of the most exciting World Series of the decade.

Both lefty aces have been lights out this postseason, and both bring similar pitching repertoires to the table. Sabathia will be a little faster, but the changeup and sliders are similar.

Although I haven’t gotten a chance to watch one of Lee’s starts live, it seems from the highlights he is back to his Cy Young form after starting off 2009 very shakily.

Unfortunately, I have a tight schedule the rest of the day here in Austin. I’m representing the sports section for the Quinnipiac student-run newspaper, The Chronicle, at the National College Media Convention. I hopefully will be watching the game at a fancy restaurant tonight, and will be tweeting @lenNYsYankees regardless.

Yankees add Hinske, Bruney to roster

Reporting to you from Austin, Texas, the Yankees have made two roster switches (see headline).

Eric Hinske and Brian Bruney will replace Freddy Guzman and Francisco Cervelli on the roster. I’m assuming the reasons behind the changes are that Hinske’s pop is more valuable than Guzman’s speed, and an extra reliever just to be cautious.

I agree with both moves. However, don’t expect either of the new additions to be making a big impact. This is the World Series folks, not the time to review borderline players’ capabilities.

I think it is more likely you will see Hinske because he could pinch hit for Melky Cabrera in a situation where the Yankees are in need of a homer. I only see Bruney coming in during extra innings, or when a starter gets blown out (I don’t see that happening).

October 27, 2009

Yanks, ex-Yanks weigh in on little league

Above is a video of Doc Gooden, David Cone, Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Johnny Damon and Mike Mussina talking about their little league experiences and a little advice for kids as well.

I remember I was awful back in little league. I struck out eight times in just one day! I guess that’s why I ended up a pitcher in Legion.

Thanks for finding this, Sena.

Yankees World Series rotation up in the air

Via John Heyman’s twitter:

nothing official yet but #yanks leaning toward rotation of 1 thru 7: CC, AJ, Pettitte, CC, AJ, Pettitte, CC.

I think this makes for an interesting topic of discussion. The decision to use three starters in the ALCS was a pretty easy decision. For the World Series, there is not that extra off-day in the middle (barring postponements).

Should Joe Girardi send the big three all out on three days rest? Start only CC Sabathia on three days rest, then have Chad Gaudin for Game 5, A.J. Burnett for Game 6 and Andy Pettitte (or Sabathia) for Game  7? Or, do you have to play it by ear?

I’m leaning toward the second plan I mentioned, but play Game 7 by ear based on how Pettitte and and Sabathia fared in their starts against the Phillies. I don’t like the idea of Burnett of going on three days rest. He seems like a guy who really relies on a routine (using Jose Molina, and pitching on the same number of days rest).

Post your rotation ideas in the comments!

Manuel: Pedro is Game 2 Starter

Via Sam Borden:

Charlie Manuel announced on a radio show this morning that Pedro Martinez will be his Game 2 starter, a move which should make for terrific theater and unbelievable amounts of second-guessing if it doesn’t work out.

Some Phillies fans are thinking Cole Hamels, last year’s World Series star, should be starting this game. I polled my twitter followers on who they would rather have faced, and here are their responses:

@5States – “I don’t think we’re gonna crush Pedro or really psych him out a lot, but I feel better against him than Hamels at this point.”

@kevinlankey – “As weird as it sounds, I think Cole beats us… But I’d prefer him Game 2 so we can get Lee and Cole out of the way.”

@MyPinstripes - “rather face Pedro”

@Thorne35 – “Pedro will choke”

@YankeeMegInPHL – 3-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four starts on the road…give me Pedro in Game 2.

@yankeegirl049 – Pedro for sure.

Survey says… Prefer Pedro: 4, Prefer Cole: 2

I agree with my followers. He shut out Joe Torre’s Dodgers for seven innings in his last start. However, as Borden pointed out, Pedro hasn’t been too successful against the Yankees in the postseason (1-2, 4.72 in six appearances). And, the Yankees have far more experience against Pedro compared to Hamels. Plus, Hamels looked pretty good against us back in May.

Here’s what to do in the eighth inning

I think the most crucial issue generated from Game 6 is Joe Girardi’s lack of trust for Phil Hughes. Mariano Rivera, not Hughes, pitched the eighth inning of Game 6 to secure the pennant. Will it be handled the same in the World Series? That’s a tough call.

Yankees Hughes Baseball When to use Hughes
in tight situations:

- In Games 1, 3, 4 and 6 because those are the four games without off-days the following day.

- When facing the bottom half of the lineup. Rivera gave up a run to the meat of the Angels’ lineup. What do you think the Halos or Phillies would do to Hughes?

- When he shows he has worked out this mechanics problem Dave Eiland is speaking of.

- After Joba Chamberlain pitches. Ideally, Joba will finish the seventh for the starter, and Hughes will either help finish the job in the seventh or keep a tight game close in the eighth.

- If there is a blowout game, give Hughes some work in the late innings. I know the mental aspect is different, but it gives him a chance to test out his mechanics on live hitters. I especially like this idea in Games 2 and 5 since he would have an off-day to rest and be used in Games 3 and/or 6.

rivera When to use Mo for the eighth and ninth:
- In every elimination game. It makes sense no matter who’s winning the series, because the Yankees can’t hold anything back while leading or trailing late in a game.

- In Games 2, 5 and 7. Two and five have off-days following so he’ll have time to rest, and Game 7 is both team’s last chance.

- In any save situation. Duhh.

When does David Robertson come in?
- Simply this. If Hughes gets lit up in his first appearance, I say shut him down the rest of the way unless needed late in extra innings. In the playoffs, you have to go with the hot hand because there is no spare time to work out the kinks. Robertson has been the most consistent and has had the most impressive stuff recently, in my opinion.

My first (and probably last) experience at Giants Stadium


This was the view of the field and the empty bleachers from my seats around two hours before the opening kickoff.


Most of the seats filled up when the national television cameras started rolling. According to ESPN.com’s box score, 78,299 were in attendance.

Speaking of cameras… you may or may not believe me, but my friend who had the tickets and I were on the Jumbotron together during a “fan cam” glance!

For a 33-year-old stadium, I was surprised to find it sporting similar luxuries one might find in Yankee Stadium, such as small TVs in certain areas where it’s hard to see.

Overall, I was very pleased with the stadium. For those who haven’t been, it’s an extremely generic, old-fashioned layout There are no tricks about it - just an oval surrounding a rectangle.

The new stadium is almost in jumping distance from the spiral staircases on the outside of the stadium. Another notable moment was the frisbee dogs performing at halftime. One of them felt it was a good idea to hump (yes, no joke) the other dog in the middle of the field.

The Giants lost after Eli Manning couldn’t finish two late fourth quarter drives to tie the game at 24. However, shortly after leaving the parking lot, I heard John Sterling’s call of the Yankees winning the pennant, so that lifted my spirits up a notch.

October 26, 2009

The Yankees win the pennant!

While I was at the Giants Stadium watching the Big Blue Wrecking Crew blow a lead on Sunday Night Football (more on that later), my beloved Yankees won their 40th pennant with a 5-2 victory over the Angels.

Quick ‘Cap:
Johnny Damon’s two-run single in the fourth inning proved to be the crushing blow in Game 6. After the first two of the inning reached, Melky Cabrera laid down a sac bunt and Derek Jeter walked to load the bases for Damon. Alex Rodriguez walked shortly after to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead.

Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte lasted 6-1/3 innings while giving up a single run. Joba Chamberlain finished the seventh for Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera closed out the game with a two-inning save. Even the great Rivera couldn’t stop Vladimir Guerrero from driving in a run in the eighth, but that was all the Angels mustered. Full box score here.

I heard the final call from John Sterling in the radio as I was leaving the Meadowlands. Sterling made a point to hold the “Theeeeeeeee” extra long in his predictable game-ending call.

Line of the Night:
Pettitte: 6-1/3 IP, 7 H, ER, R, BB, 6 K. That’s a heck of a performance from a guy with a lot of pressure to live up to expectations. I think it’s safe to say Joe Girardi made the right call of sticking with Pettitte.

Up Next:
What do you think comes next? …The World Series! Game 1 begins Wednesday night at 7:57 p.m. with lefty aces CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee going at it.

Poll Results: Holliday not a fan favorite


Apparently, Yankees fans don’t like the idea of signing another big-name outfielder. However, you can’t argue the fact that Matt Holliday would help the team with his strong bat and plus glove.

He said he would prefer going to either New York team, but doesn’t that make him sound like he’s just looking for a big endorsement deal? No, he’s not from New York or New Jersey. He is a native of Oklahoma, so I don’t think these were his childhood favorites either.

Yogi Berra Featured Yankee Card of the Week

After the Yankees clinched their 40th pennant last night, I knew I was going to choose this Yogi Berra card because of his illustrious history of playing in the World Series.

Berra played in an astounding 14 World Series for a total of 75 games — that’s almost half a season of playing in the World Series!

Also, having just enough rings to fit all 10 fingers is pretty awesome. Berra’s one-of-a-kind character makes him one of the most lovable Yankees of all-time. My favorite Yogi-ism, “When you get to a fork, take it.”

October 25, 2009

Giants or Yankees?

I’m betting for most of you this decision is a no-brainer, but I will be in the Meadowlands tonight to attend my first NFL game. So my decision has been made for me.

In heart, I’m wishing I had tickets for a different game, because I am definitely more of a Yankees fan than I am Giants. But I know tonight is going to be an awesome atmosphere too, so I can’t complain.

If I wasn’t going to the game tonight, here is what my setup would have looked like:
splitscreen Of course, the Yankees would be on the left (with the audio), and the G-Men on the right. Not a bad setup for a college student right there.

Just to keep a headcount, post in the comments which game you will be watching (or attending).

Game 6 notes and preview

With or without the rainout yesterday, the Yankees are at home for Game 6, and that’s all that matters. The Bronx Bombers are undefeated at home in the playoffs, sported the best home record in the regular season and have the most walk-off wins of any team. To say the Yanks are happy to be home would be an understatement.

Joe Girardi is sticking with Andy Pettitte for Game 6, even though he probably has the option to start CC Sabathia on three-days rest again. The Angels are sending out Joe Saunders, who matched A.J. Burnett in a thrilling Game 2.

According to Mark Feinsand, Burnett will be available tonight out of relief. Something tells me that he might be a very good option tonight for the eighth inning, or possibly extras. He certainly has the stuff to pull it off, but I would not want to bring him in with runners on base because of his shaky control.

Feinsand is also reporting that Girardi said last night he is planning on using the same lineup as usual tonight.

Yankees lineup
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF

The rainout helps both teams equally. Both teams now have a fresh bullpen, so everyone will be throwing their best hurlers tonight. I’ll be following the game on my phone from the Meadowlands tonight. More on that later.

October 24, 2009

Rain, rain go away

The ALCS Game 6 has been postponed until tomorrow night at 8:;20 p.m., pushing back Game 7 to Monday night if necessary.

Joe Girardi has said the rotation will not change because he wants to try and save CC Sabathia for a possible Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. Andy Pettitte has nothing to worry about.

For all you Nick Swisher haters, he was still in the starting lineup for tonight if the game had happened.

Phil Hughes can no longer be trusted

Remember the guy who was lights out in the eighth inning during the second half of the season? That was the most dominant looking setup man the Yankees have had since Joba Chamberlain of 2007. But that Phil Hughes has left the Yankees recently, and looks like the next Brian Bruney.

Hughes has pitched in six of eight postseason games this year, and he has allowed at least one hit in all appearances. Five of those appearances were less than three outs long, and he has given up runs in tight games twice.

When he was going best, he pitched 20 consecutive innings of shutout ball. In September, he blew three leads, and he blew another one in Game 5.

The way I see it, you have to go with the hot hand in the postseason. And that is David Robertson these days. In his last nine innings pitched, he’s allowed one meaningless run. He also looks the best with plenty of strikeouts and limited walks.

Bottom line, if the Yankees have a one-run lead in the seventh inning tonight, I’m going Robertson, then Mariano Rivera for two. I’ll save Hughes and Chamberlain before the seventh, or for extra innings.

October 23, 2009

Yankees blow two-run lead

The Yankees trailed 4-0 for the entire game until a six-run outburst in the seventh, but the Angels rallied back in the bottom half and extended the series to six games with a 7-6 victory.

Quick ‘Cap:
It appeared the game was over early when A.J. Burnett struggled to record the first out of the game. But when he finally did, he couldn’t stop. He lasted all the way into the seventh inning, but allowed the first two runners to get on base.

Joe Girardi opted for Damaso Marte after the Yankees had just scored six in the top half of the inning. Marte got two outs, but the runners had advanced to second and third, so Girardi switched to Phil Hughes. Hughes proceeded to blow the game.

The Yanks threatened in the ninth with the bases loaded and two out for Nick Swisher, but he ended his 0-for-5 night with a pop up. Full box score here.

Rebecca Glass and I have similar postgame thoughts. We both would have had Mariano Rivera in the seventh, as that was the highest-leverage situation. You might think, oh, of course you would put your best pitcher in when the other team scored. But I was thinking this as the game went on.

The game is not always won and lost in the ninth inning. Last night, I thought it was easy to see that the seventh inning would be where the game was decided. Oh well, at least the series is back in New York now.

Line of the Night:
Swisher: 0-for-5, K, 4 LOB. Anyone else think he shouldn’t be starting?

Up Next:
It will be Andy Pettitte and Joe Saunders in Game 6 on Saturday night. I will be watching.

October 22, 2009

Game 5 lineups, pre-game talk

The Yankees will look to clinch their 40th pennant in their history with a win tonight over the Angels. Here are the lineups:

Yankees lineups Angels lineups
Derek Jeter SS Chone Figgins 3B
Johnny Damon LF Bobby Abreu RF
Mark Teixeira 1B Torii Hunter CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B Vladimir Guerrero DH
Hideki Matsui DH Kendry Morales 1B
Robinson Cano 2B Maicer Izturis 2B
Nick Swisher RF Juan Rivera LF
Melky Cabrera CF Jeff Mathis C
Jose Molina C Erick Aybar

There was some debate over who to put at the DH with Molina catching, but I think Joe Girardi made the right call to slip Matsui on that spot. This way, the Yankees won’t have either Molina or Francisco Cervelli in the lineup all game tonight.

As for the pitching matchup, the Yankees have A.J. Burnett going against John Lackey. Lackey lost a tough duel in Game 1 against CC Sabathia, but he didn’t even make it through the sixth inning, allowing 12 men on base. Burnett quietly put together another strong postseason outing in Game 2’s extra inning win.

My dad alerted me of WFAN answering questions like, “Who should the Yankees start in Game 1 of the World Series?” Folks, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. The Angels will not slouch tonight. Burnett, Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the gang will have to earn a World Series bid.

Arguing against Olney

Here’s Buster Olney’s argument for expanding instant replay:

They might as well do it right now, in an effort to make the game better. If the Yankees win tonight, there will be five days until the World Series starts, and Major League Baseball should use that time to define the parameters of expanded replay use and determine how the communication will work.

Don’t put the onus on the managers to throw out some silly red challenge flag — just get it right. If an umpire such as John Hirshbeck were to oversee the replay booth during the World Series, he could be in communication with the crew chief, and if replay shows that a call is wrong, just stop the game and fix it. Anyone watching the television knows, in almost all cases, whether a call is wrong or right within 20 seconds after a play is concluded. Major League Baseball should give the umpires those same tools.

Here’s the thing with “just getting it right.” There aren’t just three to five questionable plays per game. There’s usually one every half inning. Therefore, Olney is suggesting close to 20 plays to be reviewed per game. Not gonna happen, Buster.

It just goes to show how amazing these umps are for getting so many calls right. However, people only remember the bad calls, so they think the umpires are awful. Not the case.

October 21, 2009

Thank you, Mother Nature

Wasn’t it nice that the rain didn’t screw up this series? If either of the first two games had been rained out, it would have forced the Yankees to use a fourth starter.

In other words, you would not have watched CC Sabathia throw another gem like he did in game 4.

I hate it when weather interferes with the game. Don’t forget what happened with Joba Chamberlain and the gnats back in 2007.

If you are wondering why the Yankees have an off-day today, it is because of TV — as usual. Tonight is the NLCS, and last night the NLCS had its off-day.

In the World Series, it will be two games at the American League ballpark, off-day, three games at the National League park and then two more back at the AL park — if it went seven games, that is.

Don’t expand instant replay! (Updated)

There has been much ado over the postseason umpiring recently. Yes, the call at third base yesterday was atrocious. And yes, the call on Joe Mauer’s “foul ball” was inexplicable. Still, I am a purist, and expanding instant replay rules in baseball is not the option.

Already, borderline home run calls are being reviewed. If MLB continues to add on things to review, eventually umps won’t be making the calls.

UPDATE: Also, for those who bash the umps, be quiet. Although those calls may seem obvious on instant replay, the umpires don’t get the same looks that we do. Does anyone understand the training process these guys have to go through to be selected? Or how much experience they have to have to ump in the postseason?

It’s very easy to pick on them for the calls they get wrong, but nobody remembers all of the calls they got right.

Major League Baseball better not change the rules for the rest of the postseason. If they change them at all, do it next year.

October 20, 2009

CC repeats game 1 performance in rout win

CC Sabathia duplicated his stellar game 1 performance, pitching eight strong in the Yankees 10-1 win over the Angels to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Quick ‘Cap:
Alex Rodriguez’s hot bat turned a little more red during this one, as he added three hits, two RBI and three runs to his outstanding 2009 postseason numbers. With his two-run homer in the fifth, he tied an MLB record of eight consecutive postseason games with an RBI (my roommate tells me, the one who was right about Zack Greinke and the Cy Young).

Melky Cabrera also had himself a night with three hits and four RBI. The only starters without hits were Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher. Sabathia wasn’t quite as nasty as he was in game 1, but for three days rest, it was a heck of an outing. The only guy who beat him was Kendry Morales, who was responsible for the only Angels run in game 1. Morales cranked a solo shot in the fifth just out of the reach of Cabrera’s leap. Full box score here.

Once the Yankees got some runs on the board, they didn’t stop. I think home plate umpire Tim McClelland upset Scot Kazmir because he wasn’t getting any low-strike calls. Kazmir exited after four innings, and then the Yankees poured it on. The win puts the Halos in a huge hole for Thursday’s game. A loss would have evened the series, and put all the pressure on the Yankees.

Line of the Night:
Sabathia: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K. He hit 95 mph on his 99th pitch on three days rest. Not bad.

Up Next:
The Yankees will look to ice the series on Thursday with A.J. Burnett on the mound.

Frame-by-frame: Rivera didn’t throw a spitball, MLB confirms

Some Angels fans claimed they saw Mariano Rivera juice up a ball in last night’s game by spitting on it. The MLB has investigated the situation and has cleared Rivera from any wrongdoing.

Here is the frame-by-frame (via Halo’s Heaven):

It seems pretty clear to me that he spit on the ground, not the ball, but some thought the Majestic logo on Mike Scioscia’s jersey in the last frame was the halo of Rivera’s spit on top of the ball. According to Major League Baseball, this is not the case, apparently. 

I think it’s kind of funny that a fan would accuse Rivera of throwing a spitball. “It’s because of the spitball that he was able to escape the 10th inning jam.” Not a chance.

Lineups for game 4: Posada/Matsui swapped

The Yankees have made a minor move in the batting order tonight. Due to the lefty Scott Kazmir pitching, Joe Girardi has swapped Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui. This has Posada protecting Alex Rodriguez.

Here are the rest of the lineups:

Yankees lineup: Angels lineup:
Derek Jeter SS Chone Figgins 3B
Johnny Damon LF Bobby Abreu RF
Mark Teixeira 1B Torri Hunter CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B Vladimir Guerrero DH
Jorge Posada C Juan Rivera LF
Hideki Matsui DH Howie Kendrick 2B
Robinson Cano 2B Kendry Morales 1B
Nick Swisher RF Mike Napoli C
Melky Cabrera CF Erick Aybar SS

I like the looks of the Yankees’ lineup, but unfortunately, I am scared of the Angels’ lineup. Morales hitting seventh? Napoli, the Yankee-killer, behind him? This will be no easy task for CC Sabathia.

Sabathia will succeed tonight

While the Angels picked to use a four-man rotation, the Yankees have chosen a three-man rotation. There is no general right or wrong answer for all the teams. The decision varies for each team based on the starting pitching depth.

In my mind, both team’s picked the right move here. The fourth starter for the Angels, in this series it’s Scott Kazmir, has had a long history of success against the Yankees. The fourth starter for the Yankees would have most likely been Chad Gaudin. Gaudin’s only postseason experience is three games out of relief for the Athletics in 2006.

CC Sabathia is the perfect guy to start on short rest. Everyone knows he is capable of doing it because of his dominance last year in Milwaukee on three days rest. However, this year he hasn’t been asked to start on short rest once, so he’s fresh. And of course, he is by far the best weapon the Yankees have to throw at the Angels.

Sabathia faced the Angels lineup four nights ago. Kazmir faced the Yankees lineup 27 nights ago, and it was completely different from what he will see tonight. He won’t be facing Shelley Duncan in the No. 5 slot, or Jerry Hairston Jr. in the two hole.

Still, it will be tough for the Yankees to score a lot of runs off Kazmir because of his past success. It will be a close game, but Sabathia has the advantage.

Girardi made a costly mistake

All year, Yankees fans like me have seen Joe Girardi use a short leash on relief pitchers. Game 3 was just another example of that, but he definitely went overboard in the 11th inning.

David Robertson recorded the first two outs of the inning in 11 pitches, but Girardi opted for Alfredo Aceves to face Howie Kendrick. Kendrick singled and Jeff Mathis hit a walk-off double. Robertson was the sixth reliever of the game. Three pitchers pitched 1/3 of an inning.

It was an unacceptable decision on Girardi’s part. He said in the postgame that he was going by the numbers. Why would you go by the numbers in that situation?

It was a righty vs. righty matchup either way. Robertson and Aceves are both righties. It’s an extra inning game, so you have to be careful of using too many pitchers so you don’t end up pitching Nick Swisher in the game (even though some might enjoy that). After Aceves came in, the only other reliever available was Chad Gaudin.

It was an awful move, but you can’t do anything about it now. Hopefully he will learn to not take pitchers out when they are doing well.

Angels beat Aceves (Girardi)

To quickly recap yesterday’s game, Joe Girardi pulled David Robertson in the 11th inning after he recorded the first two outs, and Alfredo Aceves gave up two hits and the game was over. The Angels won 5-4, and now carry some momentum heading into game 4.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Yankees offense was made up of four solo homers; the first from Derek Jeter, then Alex Rodriguez, then Johnny Damon and then Jorge Posada to tie the game in the eighth.

The Angels posted their first three runs on a homer by Howie Kendrick and a two-run homer by Vladimir Guerrero. Kendrick tripled in the seventh and then scored on a sac fly.

Andy Pettitte did his part, but it was Joba Chamberlain who allowed the run in the seventh.

Girardi should never have pulled Robertson in that situation, as he said he was going by the numbers.

Line of the Night:
Kendrick: 3-for-5, HR, 3B, RBI, 3 R. A double shy of the cycle.

Up Next:
CC Sabathia gets the nod on three days rest in tonight’s game.

October 19, 2009

Davidoff: Holliday prefers Yankees

From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff:

According to a person in the loop, Matt Holliday's top choices in free agency are: 1) Yankees; and 2) Mets. The Oklahoma native is apparently not intimidated by New York.

This is some big news that does not involve the series the Yankees are currently leading. Holliday is a top-of-the-line hitter and is among the leaders of the free agent market for outfielders this coming offseason.

Does he deserve big money? Because you know he will get it if he signs with a New York team, especially the Yankees. Should the Yankees keep Johnny Damon? Hideki Matsui?

There are a lot of questions to be answered this offseason. But first, let’s finish off the Angels this week!

Poll Results: Fans side with Girardi to start Sabathia in game 4


Joe Girardi tabbed CC Sabathia to start game 4 tomorrow night, and the fans were on the same page with the manager. Sabathia led the charge in the vote, taking 54 percent.

It’s the right call in my eyes. The Yankees haven’t asked Sabathia to pitch on three days rest all year long, so he should have some stored stamina for the playoffs. The Brewers made Sabathia pitch every three days for nearly the entire second half last season, and I believe he was burned out, which led to his failure in the postseason. This won’t be the case this time.

Next poll: Will the Yankees sign Matt Holliday this offseason?

Best in the Pen 10/12-18: Mariano Rivera

The first two games of the ALCS made up this week’s selection for Best in the Pen. And once again, it is Mariano Rivera for pitching 3-1/3 innings of shutout baseball. He has allowed a hit, a walk and struck out three.

Joe Girardi is not afraid to throw Rivera more than one inning in the postseason, and sometimes even more than two, like you saw in game 2. Don’t be surprised if this name is seen here again later this month.

David Cone Featured Yankee Card of the Week

David Cone threw out the first pitch before game 1 of the ALCS, and it wasn’t your traditional first pitch. He dropped down to throw a slider, and it crossed the heart of the plate all the way from the mound.

Cone, who had been on John Sterling’s radio show before the game, said he nearly forgot about throwing the first pitch, but made it in time to throw a few warm up pitches.

Cone was a successful pitcher in the majors to say the least. He won four World Series rings with the Yankees, won a Cy Young Award and threw a perfect game with the

October 17, 2009

CC sharp in game 1 win

It all started with a little fly ball in the infield. It dropped between Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar and Johnny Damon scored from second to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The bad defensive play by the Halos was a precursor for the rest of the game, as they went on to make three errors and it cost them. The Yankees took a 4-1 victory anchored by CC Sabathia’s eight strong innings.

Quick ‘Cap:
Sabathia struck out seven over eight innings and allowed just five base runners before handing the ball to Mariano Rivera for the ninth. Hideki Matsui drove in two runs and Damon scored twice to lead the offense.

I think the cold weather may have thrown off the Angels because they pride themselves on their defense. The Yankees have now won all four games this postseason. Here is a defining characteristic for the Yankees this season:

The Yankees improved to 82-4 this year when leading after seven innings. They are also now 52-1 when holding opponents to two runs or less.

It shows just how good the bullpen has been. Even though it was Sabathia last night, the Yankees could have thrown out three pitchers they felt extremely confident with before giving it to Rivera.

Line of the Night:
Sabathia: 8 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 7 K. Simply brilliant.

Up Next:
Game 2 is scheduled for tonight at 7:57 p.m., but the weather doesn’t look too good.

October 16, 2009

ALCS Preview Part III: Hitting

The American League Championship Series features two of the most feared lineups in all of baseball. Both teams have a lot of depth, power and speed. Good pitching always beats good hitting, but it doesn’t always beat great hitting. We shall see as the series progresses.

Here’s the comparison of four offensive categories on the season and in the second half.

  Season       2nd Half  
Angels Category Yankees Angels Category Yankees
.792 OPS .839   .796 OPS .852
883 R 915   422 R 420
173 HR 244   87 HR 112
148 SB 111   59 SB 50

As I said before, there haven’t been too many offenses in history that are better than these two. Here are three players from each team to keep an eye on in the series.

1. Alex Rodriguez
Nobody was more clutch than A-Rod in the ALDS. He had two RBI singles in game 1, a game-tying homer in the ninth in game 2 and another game-tying homer in the seventh inning of game 3. I fully expect Mike Scioscia to be calling for the intentional pass a bit more than A-Rod saw in the ALDS.

2. Derek Jeter
He hit a two-run homer to break the ice in game 1, and has made his career in the postseason. He hit like crazy during the regular season, and even more so in the ALDS. I expect nothing less from the captain against the Angels.

3. Johnny Damon
Where, oh where has Damon’s bat gone? Damon had tied his career-high for homers in a season with 24 on Aug. 30. He hasn’t homered since. He still hit a little in September, but registered just one hit in 12 ALDS at bats. He hit second in the lineup all year long, and the Yankees will need him to step it up the rest of the way.

1. Kendry Morales
If you don’t know who he is yet, you need to start knowing him now. Take a look at his line in his first full season: .306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI, 43 2B, and 86 R. Not too shabby, eh? And he’s only their fifth hitter. This guy has serious pop and can hit the crap out of the ball.

2. Torii Hunter
The No. 3 hitter has taken the leadership role on this team, and makes things happen on both offense and defense. He holds one of the best gloves of any center fielder and had a nice offensive year too (.299 BA, 22 HR, 90 RBI).

3. Chone Figgins
He reaches base nearly 40 percent of the time and is one of the fastest players in the league. That combination yields a very, very valuable player. He causes havoc on the base paths, has a solid glove and will find the gap with the bat. He has always killed the Yankees, I might add.

ALCS Preview Part II: Pitching

The Yankees and Angels have two of the top staffs in the league. The Yanks will most likely be using a three-man rotation — weather permitting — while the Angels have opted for a four-man rotation.

A rainout tonight or tomorrow would force the Yankees to use their fourth starter (whoever that might be) because of a lack of off-days. In that case, New York fans will be rooting against the rain in hopes to start ace CC Sabathia in games 1, 4 and 7.

Here are the team pitching stats to compare:

  Season     2nd Half
Angels Category Yankees   Angels Category Yankees
4.45 ERA 4.26   4.08 ERA 3.94
1062 SO 1260   603 SO 493
1.41 WHIP 1.35   1.36 WHIP 1.32
.338 OBA .327   .330 OBA .318
The Yankees lead in all four main categories, but the Angels pitching, especially their bullpen, has improved a lot in the second half. Let’s go ahead and break down the first four potential starting pitching matchups.

Tonight: John Lackey vs. CC Sabathia, 7:57 p.m.
Lackey has a very good history against the Yankees in the three postseason appearances (14-1/3 IP, 10 H, 3 ER), while Sabathia has an awful postseason history (31-2/3 IP, 6.54 ERA). Both pitchers have some tough work ahead of them this series, as both lineups are stacked. It will be interesting to see the two big fellas deal with the cold tonight.

Tomorrow night: Joe Saunders vs. A.J. Burnett, 7:57 p.m.
Saunders was moved up in the rotation for this series after not getting a chance to make his start in the ALDS. Saunders tied for the team-lead in wins with 16, but also sported an ERA of 4.60. In his career against the Yankees, he is 2-1 with a 6.28 ERA, while Burnett is 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA against LA. Keep in mind that Burnett hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his last five starts. He will most certainly be caught by Jose Molina again.

Monday: Andy Pettitte vs. Jered Weaver, 4:13 p.m.
Pettitte posted a quality start against the Twins in the series-clinching game 3, but will face a much tougher test in the ALCS. A team loaded with switch-hitters — like the Yankees — will turn around to bat from the right side against Pettitte. Weaver doesn’t have a great history against the Yankees (4-2, 5.88), while Pettitte is 12-10 with a 4.70 ERA against the Halos. To me, this will be the deciding game because it’s the first in LA and both teams can gain momentum.

Tuesday: TBA vs. Scott Kazmir, 7:57 p.m.
It’s too early to say Sabathia will be starting this game because of the high-chance of rain this weekend. As Mike Scioscia said, there is a chance the Angels face Sabathia seven times this series. Either way, game 4 will be a challenge for the Yankees, as Kazmir has had a lot of success against the Bronx Bombers in his career (6-5, 2.67). As long as the Yankees have the lead going into this game, I will remain confident.

The Yankees have the edge between the two bullpens. Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson have been absolute studs. My worry is Joe Girardi using them up too quickly in a game — even for just one out at times.

October 15, 2009

Listen to me on the radio

I was invited by Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society to guest on his radio show again tonight at 9 p.m. Here is the link to listen in.

We’ll be talking about the latest roster moves and the series ahead. Should be fun.

Guzman added as stolen base threat

Joe Girardi has just announced that Freddy Guzman, the speedster added to Triple-A in September, will replace Eric Hinske on the ALCS roster.

Some say that Guzman was added to counter the Angels’ running threat. I disagree with the move.

Hinske didn’t even get an at bat in the ALDS. He was a fine power option off the bench down the stretch too.

Brett Gardner showed off the value of his speed in the ALDS, which I love. Having him off the bench as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner option gives the Yankees a great edge. Having a second pinch-runner option doesn’t make much sense to me.

In game 2 of the ALDS, Gardner pinch ran in the 10th inning and did his part. Unfortunately, Johnny Damon lined out into a double play, but Gardner couldn’t do anything about that. With Jose Molina starting that game, that left Jerry Hairston Jr. and Eric Hinske as options in the 11th. Hairston isn’t as fast as Guzman, but he does bring speed to the table. Having Hairston and Guzman on the bench for the 11th makes no sense. Poor Hinske.

ALCS Preview: Part I

So far, we know the times of all seven games, and now we know the starting pitchers for the first three and most likely the fourth.

Here they are (via Sam Borden):

Game Angels starters Yankees starters
Game 1 (@NY) John Lackey (11-8, 3.83) CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37)
Game 2 (@NY) Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60) A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04)
Game 3 (@LA) Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75) Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16)
Game 4 (@LA) Scott Kazmir (10-9, 4.89) Sabathia (probable)

It came as a surprise to most people that Joe Saunders would start game 2, as well as the fact that the Angels would announce their plans of a four-man rotation so early. Joe Girardi has said he is “definitely considering” using a three-man rotation, but nothing is set in stone.

Something to be aware of: The weather. It’s going to be awful for the series opener, and it may not even happen tomorrow night. I’ll have a breakdown of the pitchers and lineups posted tomorrow.

Dustin Pedroia: ‘Our infield (stinks)’


I hate Jonathan Papelbon the most, Kevin Youkilis second-most, but next on the Red Sox would have to be Dustin Pedroia. (List does not include Curt Schilling who sits atop this list by a long shot.)

All I hear from Red Sox fans is, “Pedroia was born to play second base for the Red Sox.” First off, that’s a load of crap. Let me guess, Nomar Garciaparra was born to play shortstop for them too? That’s what I thought.

This isn’t some random outburst on one of Boston’s players. He actually said something. And of course, it was stupid. He called out his own team’s grounds crew after misplaying a grounder against the Angels in the ALDS.

"It took a bad hop," Pedroia said. "Our infield (stinks). It's the worst in the game."

Pedroia was obviously peeved, but did not back away from his statement.

"I'm not lying about that. That is true. I think about those things. That stuff upsets me," Pedroia said. "My job is to take 1,000 groundballs a day. Other guys' job is to get the field perfect so we can play baseball."

For starters, would Derek Jeter ever come close to saying something like this? Making excuses on a groundball after losing in the ALDS is not what a leader should be doing. I can’t believe this guy stole the MVP Award last year.

I file this under a typical Red Sox comment. Please, someone tell me different.

October 14, 2009

Mariano Rivera – Delivery Man of the Year

For just the third season in his career, Mariano Rivera was the best closer in baseball. Are you kidding me? He’s been the best closer in baseball for the past 13 years, hands down. But, he won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award for the third time in the award’s five-year existence.

Congrats, Mo. I’d love for you to steal the Cy Young Award too, but that’s not likely.

A couple of my Chronicle items…

I know it’s not Yankees news, but there isn’t much to talk about yet with the ALCS beginning on Friday.

As you may know, I am the sports editor for Quinnipiac’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, and I wrote a couple of articles this week you may be interested in.

The first was a game recap of the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team losing its first game of the season.

The second was an opinion story titled “The brilliance of texting.”

Check them out, and please bear with some flaky posting by me until the series begins.

October 13, 2009

The Arizona Fall League has begun!

The Yankees have seven players participating in the Arizona Fall League, specifically the Surprise Raftors. Chad Jennings reports:

The Yankees have Ian Kennedy, Mike Dunn, Zach Kroenke, Grant Duff, Colin Curtis, Brandon Laird and Austin Romine playing for the Surprise Raftors.

Sounds good to me. Remember, there is still the Winter League, so that’s where you will be seeing Jesus Montero when the snow starts to fall in the northeast.

Surprise beat Peoria Javelinas in a big way today, winning 17-4. Laird went 4-for-6 with 3 RBI and two runs, Romine went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run, and Curtis went 3-for-6 with 2 RBI and a run.

Kennedy tossed four innings of one-run ball, Kroenke gave up a run in an inning and Duff pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Yankees, Angels ALCS schedule

Via YESblog:

Game Date Place
Game 1 Fri., Oct. 16, 7:57 p.m. New York
Game 2 Sat., Oct. 17, 7:57 p.m. New York
Game 3 Mon., Oct. 19, 4:13 p.m. Anaheim
Game 4 Tues., Oct. 20, 7:57 p.m. Anaheim
Game 5* Thurs., Oct. 22, 7:57 p.m. Anaheim
Game 6* Sat., Oct. 24, 4:14 p.m. New York
Game 7* Sun., Oct. 25, 8:20 p.m. New York

All games will be on Fox. No more TBS crew for me, thank you very much.

Obviously, much more previewing of the series waits ahead this week. Stay tuned.

Umpiring and managing

I stumbled over (not literally) two great articles today that I thought everyone should be aware of. Both involve the Yankees one way or another, and are well-written and interesting.

The first was published in The Wall Street Journal by Jonah Kerri, titled “Does baseball need umpires?” It leads off the inexcusable Joe Mauer fly ball call in the ALDS, and then ventures off into the history of umpiring and much more.

The second was a post by Benjamin Kabak on River Avenue Blues, called “ALCS Preview: A tale of two managers.” It’s an interesting angle on the ALCS that compares the managing styles of Mike Scioscia and Joe Girardi.

Be sure to give’em both a read. You have a few days before the ALCS begins anyway.

Yankees & Angels to start Friday

I don’t think major league baseball was expecting the Yankees and the Angels to sweep their respective series. Now, both teams will wait until Friday to kick things off in the American League Championship Series to fight for the AL pennant.

It would be the Yankees’ 40th pennant and the Angels’ second. Hmm.

Anyway, does anyone else think this series should be starting tomorrow night? Waiting until Friday is turning the postseason into the NBA playoffs, which drag out way, way too long. The season spans six months without the playoffs. Now, if the World Series goes seven games, it will end in November!

Let’s not forget the toll it may have on the players either. Four days of relaxation is a nice way for Alex Rodriguez to cool down from his hot divisional series play. And for the pitchers, it is vital that they all are throwing bullpen sessions in between. When you are pitching for seven months (including spring training) continuously every fifth day, and then take a little time off, your arm is bound to tighten up.

But I’m pretty sure the Yankees know this and have things under control. I understand this has to do with TV scheduling, but now that the NLDS is over, and the NLCS starts Thursday, there is no reason to wait until Friday for the ALCS to begin.

October 12, 2009

Yanks sweep twins, advance to ALCS

Two solo shots in the seventh inning off Carl Pavano was all the Yankees needed to broom the Twins in the ALDS. The Yankees haven’t made it to the ALCS since 2004, and they surely were missing it.

Quick ‘Cap:
Pavano was working on a shutout before Alex Rodriguez hit an opposite field dinger to tie the game at 1 in the seventh. One batter later, Jorge Posada launched an oppo-shot of his own to give the Yankees the lead. The Yanks added two insurance runs in the ninth, but they weren’t necessary with Mariano Rivera on in relief for a four-out save.

Nick Punto made a disastrous baserunning mistake in the bottom of the eighth. He led off the inning with a double and was looking to score on a groundball up the middle. Derek Jeter ranged for the ball and fired home, catching Punto in a pickle. Posada gunned him out at third bas, to end the threat, and essentially the Twins’ season. Full box score here.

I was expecting a win, but I was hoping for a rout. Apparently, the Yankees don’t know how to do that against a team they didn’t lose to in 10 meetings this year. Seven of those losses for the Twins were with deficits of two runs or less, including four walk-offs. Now that’s heartbreaking.

It’s about time the Yankees made it past the divisional series. Now they will get a chance to redeem themselves against the Angels, who finished off a sweep of the Red Sox yesterday.

Line of the Night:
Andy Pettitte: 6-1/3 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 7 K. That’s a quality line for the most experienced postseason pitcher in the history of the game.

Up Next:
The ALCS is set to start up on Friday. No more information is known yet.

Best in the Pen 10/5-11: Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera pitched in all three postseason games so far, earning one save and allowing just four hits, no runs, and striking out seven Twins.

Rivera has over 500 saves in his career, but none of them are looked at more than his numbers in the postseason.

Note: All three Yankees starters went at least six innings and allowed just one earned run each. A.J. Burnett was the only one with a blank in the win column, but he did dish out a pie that same night.

Poll Results: Teixeira was team MVP


In a popular vote, Mark Teixeira won the vote of the fans for team MVP in 2009. Teixeira finished the season tied for first in homers and first in RBIs. He is expected to be the secondary candidate to Joe Mauer for the league MVP Award.

Originally, my vote was with Teixeira, but I decided to change it to Alex Rodriguez. And no, it’s not because of A-Rod’s recent postseason accomplishments. It just hit me that Tex’s season may never have turned around if it weren’t for A-Rod returning from the DL. I don’t have the numbers, but it seems pretty likely that A-Rod may have the best win-loss record for any player who played in at least 100 games.

Vote in next week’s poll: Who should start game 4 for the Yankees?

Jon Papelbon Featured Card of the Week

The Red Sox season is officially over, and fans can blame the man featured on this 2007 Topps card. It is Jon Papelbon’s rookie card, and has some decent value to it — not quite as much after yesterday.

Papelbon had not allowed a single run in his career in the postseason prior to yesterday’s game. He entered the ninth with a two-run lead, but Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero came up with the big blows to hand Papelbon his first postseason loss.

October 11, 2009

Game 3 lineups: Nothing peculiar here

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Yankees lineup: Twins lineup:
Derek Jeter SS Denard Span CF
Johnny Damon LF Orlando Cabrera SS
Mark Teixeira 1B Joe Mauer C
Alex Rodriguez 3B Michael Cuddyer 1B
Hideki Matsui DH Jason Kubel RF
Jorge Posada C Delmon Young LF
Robinson Cano 2B Brendan Harris 3B
Nick Swisher RF Jose Morales Dh
Melky Cabrera CF Nick Punto 2B

It’ll be Andy Pettitte vs. Carl Pavano tonight at 7:07 p.m. In other words, the pitcher with the most playoff experience in the history of the game vs. the biggest joke in the history of the Yankees.

Good luck, Twins.

10 things I associate Carl Pavano with

carlpavano The Yankees have a chance to close out the ALDS against one of the most hated figures in the entire franchise, Carl Pavano.

In four years with the Yanks, he went 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA. Sounds like a good use of $38 million, right? Anyway, here’s my list of 10 things I associate Carl Pavano with.

  1. A pussy cat
    Pavano’s a big pussy. He missed all of 2006, and started nine games in his final two seasons.
  2. Tomatoes
    I hate tomatoes. I love tomato sauce and ketchup, but the juicy tomato might be the grossest food in the world.
  3. Jonathan Papelbon
    Papelbon might be the only player I hate more than Pavano. These two pitchers have nothing in common in terms of pitching, but they do share my hate. Oh, and both were drafted by the Red Sox.

    UPDATE: I no longer hate Papelbon. He just handed the Angels a trip to the ALCS. Red Sox can wait until next year.
  4. Tom Brady
    I think he’s the most overrated football player of all-time, and gets way too much credit for the Patriots’ three Super Bowls. Pavano wasn’t apart of any championships with the Yankees, but he did beat New York with the Marlins two years before he was signed by the Yanks.
  5. Science
    The only subject in school I absolutely despise. Most would expect a journalist like me to hate math, but I actually love math. I don’t love Pavano. He reminds me of science.
  6. Apple
    Apple sucks. I happen to be invested in them — just like the Yankees were with Pavano — but I am a PC guy. Pavano probably uses Apple too — it would make sense.
  7. Anything that doesn’t sink
    Carl Pavano’s sinker never sunk when he played with the Yankees. Neither did logs or lily pads.
  8. Pedro Martinez, #45
    Like Pedro Martinez, Pavano wore No. 45. I hated Pedro on the Red Sox, and I hated Pavano on the Yankees.
  9. Gold thongs
    Jason Giambi wore a gold thong. He and Pavano share a birthday of Jan. 8. They both sported mustaches as well.
  10. Babies crying in hospital
  11. Crying babies is probably the most obvious association I have with Pavano. He cries all the time, he’s in the hospital all the time and he’s a big baby. This “Big Baby” reminds me of Pavano too.
Thanks for reading! Join me tonight in watching the Yankees offense slam Pavano to advance to the ALCS.

October 10, 2009

What’s up with the Red Sox? Nothing, they’re down 2-0

Our rivals from Boston aren’t doing so hot. For once, that makes me a little upset. I’m not saying that I’m scared of the Yankees facing the Angels in the ALCS, but I would certainly prefer them playing the Red Sox.

Why? For one, it’s more exciting. Two, the Yankees have won nine of their last 10 against the BoSox. Three, the Angels have always been the kryptonite to the Yankees.

But don’t count the Red Sox out of this series. They get two games at Fenway before heading back to LA, and they have overcome this deficit in the ALDS before.

According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, “Since 2003, the Red Sox are 13-3 in potential elimination games.” Not too shabby.

Who will see beach balls tomorrow night?

mystery manUnfortunately, there  will be no pie surprise on Sunday, but only because the Yankees will be in Minnesota.

Last night it was Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez who saw the beach balls. I’m curious to see who will see one next.

This lineup is so deep that the team-leader in walk-offs will most likely be batting ninth tomorrow night, Melky Cabrera.

What happens when Teixeira sees a beach ball?

I feel the need to immediately link you to my post from earlier today. It mainly alludes to me not being worried about Mark Teixeira. In case you haven’t noticed from the photo album, I was right not to worry.

Teixeira put me out of my misery in the bottom of the 11th inning last night when he pulled a top-spin line drive down the left field line. It grazed the top of the fence and bounced into the seats for his first career postseason home run to knock off the Twins in walk-off fashion yet again. The 11-inning, 4-3 victory gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the series heading to Minnesota.

Quick ‘Cap:
The unsung hero of the night was David Robertson, the reliever that was in Dr. James Andrews’ office in September. He took over for Damaso Marte in the top of the 11th inning with runners on first and second, nobody out. He allowed a single, but then found a way to work his way out of the mess and walked off the mound unscathed.

The Yankees should have won it in the 10th inning with pesky Brett Gardner at third base with one out, but Johnny Damon lined out to shortstop and Gardner was doubled off third.

However, I can’t be greedy because the Yankees shouldn’t have even made it to extra innings! Down 3-1 in the ninth, Teixeira led off with a single and Alex Rodriguez followed with a two-run tater off closer Joe Nathan, who has a horrendous postseason record.

The Twins had just gone up 3-1 in the eighth with RBI singles off Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera, but like all year long, the Twins could not hold a lead against the Yankees and bit the bullet of a walk-off for the fourth time this year in the Bronx. Full box score here.

To say that I was excited when A-Rod crushed the game-tying home run would be a tremendous understatement. I let everyone in my suite, and our neighbors know that the Yankees had tied it up. When Tex hit the walk-off, I was speechless. All I could do was smile at my fellow Yankee fans. Because it was the playoffs, this game gave me the biggest rush of the entire season, including the 15-inning marathon with the Red Sox.

I didn’t even have time to mention how good A.J. Burnett was in his first career postseason start. He walked his share of guys, but avoided trouble by using his devastating slider.

Oh, and let me ask now, what was all the fuss over Jose Molina catching him? If you were wondering, it was Francisco Cervelli — not Jorge Posada — who caught the final inning. Gardner pinch ran for Posada in the 10th. With an offense like the Yankees have, the guy who catches doesn’t make that big of an impact. Calm down, people.

Line of the Night:
The bash brothers: 4-for-9, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R. I am referring to Tex and A-Rod if you couldn’t have guessed.

Up Next:
The Yanks will look to use the brooms they are bringing on the plane to Minnesota. And wouldn’t it be nice to seal the deal against that failure Carl Pavano?

Note: I will be continuing the theme of “seeing beach balls” next year to honor the team’s hottest hitters. It seems to be good luck, right?

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