April 30, 2010

Spring training meant nothing for Thames

Remember when everyone was worried about left field with Brett Gardner, Marcus Thames and Randy Winn fighting for the last spot? Well, Gardner has been outstanding, Winn hasn’t even needed to pick up a bat and Thames has been red hot against lefties (16 of his 17 at-bats).

In 52 spring training at-bats, Thames collected seven hits. He already has more hits in a third of the at-bats this season. Against lefties, he’s hitting .625 with three doubles and a homer. That’s insane.

Meanwhile, Gardner is hitting .306/.386/.371. He’s also tied for the league lead in steals with nine. He’s on pace for 70 steals this season.

White Sox-Yankees series preview

With Robinson Cano playing like he’s on top of the world, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees (14-7) losing, even though they’ll be facing two left-handers against the White Sox (9-13) this weekend.

Both of Cano’s homers and his double off the wall yesterday came off southpaws, proving it doesn’t matter what type of pitcher is on the mound. (Although, he’s never faced a switch-pitcher before.)

But Cano wasn’t the only guy to homer twice yesterday. White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko had a pair of jacks yesterday, giving him the league lead with 10.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: White Sox starters Yankees starters
Fri., 7:05 p.m. Freddy Garcia (0-2, 5.82) Andy Pettitte (3-0, 1.29)
Sat., 1:05 p.m. John Danks (3-0, 1.55) Javier Vazquez (1-3, 9.00)
Sun., 7:05 p.m. Mark Buehrle (2-3, 4.68) Phil Hughes (2-0, 2.00)

Players to Watch:
White Sox:
Konerko. He’s by far the most productive player on the White Sox. His .292 batting average, 10 homers and 18 RBIs all lead the team.

Yankees: Javier Vazquez. He’ll be facing his former team on Saturday afternoon. Manager Ozzie Guillen never liked Vazquez, so he’ll be on a mission. (Unfortunately, I won’t be going to the game anymore. Contact me if you’re looking to buy.)

I think Vazquez finally will put it together and Pettitte and Hughes will stay hot. Bring the brooms to The Bronx!

April 29, 2010

Cano, Burnett blast Birds

Robinson Cano hit two homers and A.J. Burnett shut the Orioles out for a 4-0 win to take the series.

Quick ‘Cap:
With three hits on the night, Cano became the AL batting leader (.407). Burnett was lights out through eight innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out four en route to his third victory of the year.

Marcus Thames also had a big night as DH in place of Nick Johnson, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Derek Jeter added a two-hit night as well. Jorge Posada sat out and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth to get some work. Yankees-Orioles box score.

It was a game the Yankees need to win, and they did.

Line of the Night:
Cano: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. What more can you say? He’s easily the MVP of the team for April.

Up Next:
The Yankees finally return home this weekend to face the White Sox and then the Orioles again at home.

Sabathia gets Yankees back on track

The Yankees (13-7) had lost four of their last five and were in need of a win. CC Sabathia provided the 8-3 win against a team he has dominated in his career, the Orioles (4-17).

Quick ‘Cap:
Fifteen hits fueled all the offense Sabathia would need and more. The bottom four in the lineup combined for 9-for-18. Robinson Cano slammed a solo shot in the third to give the Yanks their biggest lead of the game, 6-0.

Sabathia gave up 11 hits over 7 2-3 and struck out five. Coming off two complete games in a row, that actually looks bad for him. Only starter with more than one at-bat that went hitless was Alex Rodriguez.

Jorge Posada left in the second after getting hit by a pitch. Here’s the latest update on his knee from the Star-Ledger. His replacement, Francisco Cervelli, went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Yankees-Orioles box score.

It’s about time the Yankees won. I think their trip to the White House and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center tired them out on Monday after traveling across the country.

Am I worried about Posada? A little. He’s been killing the ball. But so has Cervelli, and I’d love to see Jesus Montero.

Line of the Night:
Nick Swisher: 3-for-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI. His second triple of the year and his second three-hit day in a row. He’s up to .284 now.

Up Next:
The Yankees can take the series with a win out of A.J. Burnett tomorrow night.

April 28, 2010

Yankees are NOT the most hated team!

Now this is surprising. The Wall Street Journal published an article today based on a study from Nielsen Co. that concluded the Cleveland Indians — not the New York Yankees — are the most hated team in the majors.

Here are the full results (click to enlarge):

The study determined no team receives negative reactions, but the Red Sox are the second most hated team — three spots ahead of the Yankees.

I’m shocked at the results. The Yankees probably have the most fans out there, but I still think they also have the most haters.

Tony Kubek Featured Yankee Card of the Week

Tony Kubek played all nine seasons of his career mainly as a shortstop with the Yankees (1957-1965). He was a lifetime .266 hitter, but was a three-time All-Star and a Rookie of the Year winner.

This card might be in the best condition compared to all the older cards passed down to me.

April 27, 2010

Orioles beat bullpen, not Hughes

Alex Rodriguez made the final out in a ninth-inning comeback that fell one run short, as the Yankees (12-7) fell to the Orioles (4-16) 5-4.

Quick ‘Cap:
Jorge Posada broke a 1-1 tie with a mammoth homer in the fourth, but that was the last Yankees’ lead. Joe Girardi pulled Phil Hughes with two out in the sixth and nobody on, and that decision came back to haunt him as the Orioles rallied for three runs.

Down 5-2 in the ninth with two out and runners on first and second, Brett Gardner reached base for the second time by error to drive in a run. After Derek Jeter K’d, Mark Teixeira hit an RBI single putting the tying run 90 feet from home. Rodriguez grounded up the middle, but the defense was set up perfectly to get the force out at second. Yankees-Orioles box score.

I agreed with Girardi’s decision to pull Hughes at 109 pitches. Boone Logan walked his only batter and David Robertson imploded — that’s all you can say. It was still another encouraging start for Hughes, even though he walked four.

Line of the Night:
Nick Swisher
: 3-for-4, 2 R. He improved his BA by 34 points to .258.

Up Next:
Same time Wednesday night: CC Sabathia vs. Jeremy Guthrie.

Yankees-Orioles series preview

This should be a cakewalk, right? The Orioles are the worst team in baseball (3-16) and the Yankees (12-6) shouldn’t be too fazed after losing their first series of the year against the Angels over the weekend.

Expect a good portion of the people in the crowds at Camden Yards to be rooting for the Yankees because the Orioles are averaging 20,941 fans per game so far (very ugly).

Before the season, I thought the Orioles would come out to a hot start. That prediction was a total flop. To give myself some credit, injuries have played a factor in that too.

Pitching Matchups:

Date:Yankees startersOrioles starters
Tues., 7:05 p.m.Phil Hughes (2-0, 2.19)Kevin Millwood (0-3, 3.38)
Wed., 7:05 p.m.CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.00)Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 3.46)
Thurs., 7:05 p.m.A.J. Burnett (2-0, 3.20)Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.38)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez.
The Orioles are another team A-Rod kills. Although he wasn’t so great against the Halos, you have to expect him to have a big series against one of the worst pitching staffs in the league.

Orioles: Ty Wigginton. The Orioles have been playing without Brian Roberts for most of the year, but that hasn’t hurt them too much because of Wiggington. He’s hitting .327/.410/.712 in 52 at-bats and has more homers than any Yankee (6).

The Yankees should sweep. The Orioles are coming off a win on Sunday over Boston (to avoid the sweep), but that’s not saying a lot as the Red Sox are off to a very slow start.

Yankees’ core four featured on Sports Illustrated cover

Sports Illustrated, Yankees

Of course, my Sports Illustrated subscription just expired so I’ll have to buy this one individually.

The Star-Ledger offered an excerpt from Tom Verducci’s lunch date with Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Here it is:

SI: I want to go back to 1992, when Andy was throwing to Jorge, a converted second baseman, in Class A in Greensboro, N.C.

Posada: Go back to 1991. I was catching a bullpen from him [at short-season Class A] Oneonta, and he’s throwing me knuckleballs. The ball hit me right in the knee. I said, ‘No more knuckleballs.’

Pettitte: I had a knuckleball when I signed.

Jeter: Yeah, you’re still throwing knuckleballs.

Pettitte: I’d get two strikes on somebody and throw it as hard as I could. Struck everybody out. And then they told me after the first year, “You’ve got to can it.” They said, “After you’ve pitched for 10 years in the big leagues, if you want to break it back out, you can.”

SI: So now you can throw it again.

Pettitte: It’s no good now. I lost it.

Checking in on Granderson, Johnson & Vazquez

Here’s an update on the three main offseason acquisitions.

Curtis Granderson: .246 BA/.343 OBP/.443 SLG, 9 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.22 K/BB, 4 SB
He is hitless in his last 18 plate appearances, dropping his BA 70 points. However, he’s done a lot of the little things to keep the hometown fans from booing him, like hitting a homer in his first at-bat and a game-winner of Jonathan Papelbon. He also has two assists from center field and is yet to make an error. Best of all: we’ve heard no complaints from him for hitting seventh or eighth the majority of the season.

Nick Johnson: .135/.375/.231, 7 R, HR, 5 RBI, 1 K/BB
The guy just isn’t putting the ball in play (47.2 percent of the time). Of his 16 games played this year, he’s walked in 12 and struck out in 13. He’s expected to come back from a minor back injury today, so let’s see if he can start racking up some hits.

Javier Vazquez: 1-3, 9.00 ERA, 25 1-3 IP, 28 H, 8 BB, 16 K
If Brett Gardner wasn’t off to a great start, some Yankees fans might be calling for Brian Cashman’s head for trading Melky Cabrera for Vazquez. If it makes you feel any better, the Melk-Man is hitting a cool .175.

Anyway, Vazquez has obviously been a disappointment, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet. Three of his four starts have been against tough opponents and, according to him, he hasn’t built up his fastball velocity all the way. I have a good feeling about his next start because he’s facing the White Sox (his former team, so he’ll want to show Ozzie Guillen) and I will be at Yankee Stadium to see him!

April 26, 2010

Yankees visit Prez. Obama in White House

On the Yankees’ off day before squaring off against the Orioles on Tuesday, the 2009 World Series champs paid a visit to the White House to be congratulated by President Barack Obama.

“It's been nine years since your last title, which must have seemed like an eternity for Yankees fans,” Obama said, adding: “Some teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example.”

For the core four, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, it was their third president they’ve met and the fifth time they’ve been honored in the White House.

I don’t know about you, but I like having a President who knows a thing or two about sports. He’s a White Sox fan, but I forgive him.

Poll Results: Win record not in jeopardy

poll results20Fans don’t expect the Yankees to break the 116-win record set by the Mariners in 2001, but half predicted they’d come close. The other half wasn’t as hopeful.

At one point this past week, the Yankees were on pace to win 127 games. After finally losing a series over the weekend, the Yanks are currently on pace for a 108-54 season. Still not quite down to earth yet, but certainly more likely than 127.

Honestly, if Javier Vazquez was having a year like he did last year with the Braves I think the Yankees would have had a realistic shot at breaking the Mariners’ record. He has half of the team’s losses and it’s almost May.

That segues nicely into this week’s poll question…

Next poll: Predict Vazquez’s final 2010 ERA.

April 25, 2010

Yanks drop first series; I’m losing patience in Vazquez

The Yankees had won all five series prior to this weekend’s clash with the Angels, a team they took two of three from a week earlier. The Yankees called on Javier Vazquez for Sunday’s rubber game to lock up another series, but the wheels came loose early and the Angels won 8-4.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Yankees trailed 5-4 in the seventh with two on and two out for Kendry Morales. On a 3-0 count, Damaso Marte laid a fastball right down Broadway and Morales didn’t miss it, giving the Halos three more insurance runs they wouldn’t need.

New York led 3-0 after two on Jorge Posada’s two-run shot and Derek Jeter’s RBI groundout. Vazquez gave one back in the third, and then four more in the fourth before departing with two out.

Boone Logan and Alfredo Aceves kept it close for the Yankees, but the game was lost in the seventh. Yankees-Angels box score.

Vazquez ends his April with a 1-3 record and a 9.00 ERA. At what point do you pull the plug? He’s making $11.5 million this year, so it’s not really a realistic choice. But who knows? Maybe we find out he’s trying to pitch through injuries again and he lands on the DL. I’m starting to think that could be the case.

On the other hand, keep in mind three of his four starts this year have come against the Angels or Rays. The fourth was against the Athletics, and he won.

Line of the Night:
Morales: 3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R. He went 7-for-10 this series and is 11-for-21 in the season series.

Up Next:
The Yankees have an off day on Monday before starting a three-game series with the Orioles on Tuesday. Expect a full series preview, as usual.

Nick Johnson’s stiff back sidelines him until Tuesday

The Yankees won big yesterday, 7-1, without Nick Johnson due to a “stiff back”. This worries me because Johnson missed a little time in spring training with a back injury. Joe Girardi says he’ll be out until Tuesday (Monday’s an off day).

Other notes:

  • Andy Pettitte pitched eight innings of one-run ball in yesterday’s win. He’s 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA on the year, both tops in the AL.
  • Pinstripe Alley thinks Jesus Montero should be traded. I think he’s out of his mind.
  • The Yankees will host the Pinstripe Bowl for four years. I’d be curious to see how a football game is played at the new stadium.

Video: Teixeira-Wilson collision still on front burner

When Mark Teixeira barreled over Angels catcher Bobby Wilson on Friday night, I didn’t even expect it to be discussed after the inning ended.

Instead, Teixeira’s been called out by ex-teammate Torii Hunter.

"He had the plate, we know that. He could have slid feet-first or gone to the right and swiped it with his hand," Hunter said. "But that's baseball. Sometimes, catchers get hit. We can sit here and analyze all day if it was dirty or bad, but there's nothing we can do about it.

Judging from the video, Teixeira has no idea whether he was going to beat the throw or not, or by how much.

The throw looks a little late from our view, but that doesn’t affect the type of slide Teixeira is going to do. A player rounding third decides what type of slide he’s going to do halfway down the third base line — not at the last second. Put yourself in his shoes, all he sees is a catcher ready to receive a throw and tag him out.

It’s unfortunate Wilson wound up on the disabled list, but hey, that’s baseball. I don’t think he was in proper position to block the plate, which might have caused him to hurt his ankle. Pete Rose bowled over a young catcher, Ray Fosse, in the 1970 All-Star game, which essentially was an exhibition game. It’s part of the game.

If there were one player on the Yankees who you would never question the way he plays the game, it would have to be Derek Jeter or Teixeira.

Both teams’ managers are former major league catchers, and neither had problems with Teixeira’s choice to take out Wilson. That alone should really end this discussion.

And no, as my roommate asked, Teixeira will not be suspended for this play. Why? Because it’s not against the rules. It’s a part of the game!

April 23, 2010

Yankees-Angels series preview

The Yankees took two of three from the Angels last week at Yankee Stadium. This weekend the two teams will square off in Angel Stadium for a three-game set.

The Angels have won five of their last seven while the Yankees just lost their first in seven games yesterday.

In the last series, the Yankees faced the same three starters as expected this series. The only one who gave them trouble was Joel Pineiro, and he’s coming off 7 1-3 shutout innings against the Tigers.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Angels starters
Fri., 10:05 p.m. A.J. Burnett (2-0, 2.37) Ervin Santana (1-2, 4.35)
Sat., 4:10 p.m. Andy Pettitte (2-0, 1.35) Joel Pineiro (2-1, 1.77)
Sun., 3:35 p.m. J. Vazquez (1-2, 8.27) Scott Kazmir (1-1, 7.45)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez.
Yesterday’s altercation with Dallas Braden may provide a spark for him this series. And his history at Angel Stadium is ridiculously good. In 88 games started, he has 37 homers.

Angels: Howie Kendrick. The second baseman is hot hot hot in his last seven games, hitting .391/.440/.565.

The Yankees have won all five series thus far, and they don’t look like they’re slowing down. Yesterday, CC Sabathia didn’t look like he was going to make it past the third inning, but wound up pitching his second straight complete game. Look for Yankees’ starters to continue to thrive as they win another series.

April 22, 2010

Yanks-A’s series in July could get dirty

Alex Rodriguez and Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden exchanged words in the sixth inning of today’s game. Here’s what happened and what was said after the game (via LoHud):

A-Rod: “He just told me to get off his mound,” Rodriguez said. “I was a little surprised. I’d never quite heard that. Especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”

The story: The whole thing started when Rodriguez went from first to third on a foul ball by Robinson Cano. On his way back to first, Rodriguez ran across the pitcher’s mound, which Braden saw as a sign of disrespect.

Braden: “I don’t care if I’m Cy Young or the 25th man on the roster, if I’ve got the ball in my hand and I’m on that mound, that’s my mound,” Braden said. “… He ran across the pitcher’s mound foot on my rubber. No, not happening. We’re not the door mat anymore.”

Rodriguez later said, “I thought it was pretty funny, actually.” And Braden also said, “He should maybe watch his Captain a little more often.”

This will not be forgotten when the two teams face each other again in Oakland July 5-7. I’m sure A-Rod won’t forget this either.

Yankees turn triple play, fall to Athletics

The Yankees turned their first triple play (video) since June 1968, but the Yankees fell 4-2 to the Athletics in the series finale.

Quick ‘Cap:
The A’s mounted a 3-0 lead four batters into the game on Kurt Suzuki’s three-run bomb to left. The big hit came one pitch after a mound visit.

After a sac fly in the fourth to make it 4-0, Marcus Thames earned the run back with a solo shot to left in the fifth. Mark Teixeira, who DH’d for the first time this season, slugged his second homer of the season to make it 4-2 in the sixth.

After the first two runners got on in the bottom half, Suzuki hit a hard grounder to Alex Rodriguez, who stepped on the bag, threw to Robinson Cano at second, who fired it to first to nab Suzuki for the 5-4-3 triple play.

But there was no comeback in store for the Yankees, as Brad Ziegler and Andrew Bailey shut the offense down in the final three innings. CC Sabathia completed his second straight game in the loss. Full box score here.

Choosing to take a nap during the middle of this game was my worst decision of the season. I woke up for the ninth inning, but Bailey made quick work of the Yankees for the save. The Yankees had won six in a row heading in, so I guess you can’t win them all.

Line of the Night:
Dallas Braden: W, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K. He baffled the Yankees with his changeup, but manager Bob Geren pulled him after just 81 pitches.

Up Next:
The Yankees continue their west coasts wing with a three-game series against the Angels this weekend. Full series preview will be up tomorrow.

Bobby Richardson Featured Yankee Card of the Week

Second baseman Bobby Richardson won three rings with the Yankees in the late 50s and 60s. He was also a seven-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner.

No no-no for Hughes, Yankees win sixth straight

Phil Hughes was six outs away from a no-hitter until Eric Chavez smoked the first pitch of the eighth off Hughes’ glove. The ball bounced right in front of the mound, but Hughes looked up in the air for the ball before eventually picking it up after Chavez;s foot touched first base.

Hughes retired 20 straight hitters and struck out a career-high 10 in the Yankees’ 3-1 victory over the Athletics. It was the team’s sixth straight win and clinched their fifth straight series win.

Quick ‘Cap:
Hughes struck out five of the first seven batters he faced, using fastballs, cutters and curves to blank Oakland’s offense. In the fourth, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back triples followed by an RBI groundout from Jorge Posada.

The lone Oakland run was charged to Hughes after he exited with one out in the eighth. Jake Fox’s two-out single off Joba Chamblerain broke the shutout. Brett Gardner got the insurance run back for the Yankees in the top of the ninth, scoring Curtis Granderson. Mariano Rivera recorded his sixth save of the season.

Every starter in Oakland’s lineup struck out except for three-hitter Ryan Sweeney. Hughes’ only walk came in the first inning. It was his longest no-hit bid since 2007 when he went 6 1-3 innings before leaving the game with a leg injury. Full box score here.

Is the Joba-Hughes debate finally over? No-hit bids tend to end discussions like that. Anyone who watched tonight’s game can appreciate how much potential Hughes has as a starter. The scary thing is, he hasn’t even incorporated his changeup into his repertoire yet.

Line of the Night:
Hughes: W (2-0), 7 1-3 IP, H, ER, BB, 10 K. An outstanding performance. CC Sabathia went 7 2-3 no-hit innings two weeks ago, but still, a very impressive outing for the 23-year-old.

Up Next:
The Yankees look for their second straight sweep in an afternoon game on Thursday.

April 21, 2010

Yankees are murdering opposing starters

Over the last five games, the Yankees haven’t just beaten opposing starters, they haven’t even given them a chance to win. In the stretch, Yankees starters are 5-0 and have gone an average of two innings more per start than their counterparts. Only C.J. Wilson could make it through the fifth inning, but he was no match for ace CC Sabathia.

Javier Vazquez finally joined the rest of the rotation in the win column last night with a decent outing against the A’s. His three earned runs came on two homers.

But what’s really leading this streak is the Yankees’ patience at the plate. Twenty-eight walks — 19 off starters — in five games is absurd. It comes with no surprise the Yankees lead the majors in on-base percentage at a whopping .384 mark. The Yankees also lead the majors in walks (71) and Nick Johnson leads the American League in walks with 16.

Can the rotation go around again without losing? It all starts with Phil Hughes tonight, who I expect to break out his changeup a little more than he did in his first start of the season.

April 20, 2010

Yankees-Athletics series preview

I didn’t expect the Athletics to be atop the AL West 14 games into the season, but they are, with a 9-5 record. The Yankees (9-3) are actually a half game behind the Rays for the top spot in the East.

Both the Yankees and Athletics enjoyed off days on Monday, so the bullpens will be well-rested for the three-game series in Oakland. And the Yankees should expect Derek Jeter to return to the lineup after sitting out Sunday with a cold.

This is the first of a nine-game, 10-day road trip for the Yankees, who play the Angels this weekend and the Orioles next week.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Athletics starters
Tues., 10:05 p.m. J. Vazquez (0-2, 9.82) Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 3.38)
Wed., 10:05 p.m. Phil Hughes (1-0, 3.60) Ben Sheets (1-0, 2.65)
Thurs., 3:35 p.m. CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.84) Dallas Braden (2-0, 2.70)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Jeter.
Look for the captain to return strong from two off days. He’s had a hot start to the year, and he’s expected to face two lefties (Gonzalez and Braden), which is always a plus for Jeter.

Athletics: Daric Barton. Who? Their first baseman. He’s hitting .310/.474/.405. He’s second in the league in walks with 13, one behind Nick Johnson. I’ve never seen this guy before, so I want to see his approach at the plate.

I have a bad feeling about Oakland, especially after looking at the ERAs of the three starters the Yankees will be facing. This year’s offense has a solid balance of speed and power, but can they continue their ways out west? I say no. They’ll lose against both lefties.

April 19, 2010

Poll Results: Hughes to start 20-25 games

poll results19As voted by the fans, Phil Hughes will make 20-25 starts this year. He’s only made one so far, but the Yankees are expected to use a five-man rotation the rest of the way (for the most part).

The real reason why I used that as my poll question was because I was worried Hughes would get off to a rough start, and possibly lose his spot in the rotation. Fans voted it was unlikely he would get injured or lose his spot. I agree, but I voted he’d only make 20 starts — maybe closer to 23.

Next poll: Will the Yankees jeopardize the 116-win record this year?

April 18, 2010

Pics from my Yankee Stadium experience

I attended my first game of the year at Yankee Stadium today to see Mark Teixeira hit his first homer of the year and for the Yankees to complete their sweep of the Rangers.

Oh, and I couldn’t bear looking left (at the demolished stadium) as I entered the Stadium.

Below is the view from Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. I was sitting in the bleachers in left-center field.
Yankee Stadium

Unfortunately, when Teixeira crushed his first home run I watched it land on the televisions shown below.
Obstructed view

But hey, at least I got a free Yankees calendar!
Free Calendar

My friend and I got there over two hours early, so we had to wait for the gates to open. (The gates opened three hours before games last year.) When I first got in, I bought sliders and fries. They were very filling, and the fries were great — better than the garlic fries I bought in the sixth inning.
Garlic Fries

I definitely regret getting the cheese with them. After those disappeared, we watched the last couple innings from field level in the infield. Below is a picture of Mariano Rivera closing it out in the ninth.
Rivera last out

And here’s a pic from the subway leaving after the game.

Live Tweets from Yankee Stadium

This didn’t work when I was at Fenway for some reason. Hopefully I fixed the problem this time around.

UPDATE: So I guess it didn’t work again. No idea why. Here were my tweets from the game (posted in reverse order).
  1. Perfect.
  2. Haha. A fan: "no bunting"
  3. Enter Sandman is playing.
  4. Sorry Gardy, but that's no hit in my book.
  5. Gardner always makes me wanna tweet.
  6. Seven steals for Brett the Jet. He's on pace for 95ish this season.
  7. They just showed "Grand" Tanyon Sturtze.
  8. Is he serious?
  9. Ramiro "The Hero" Pena (via Yankee Stadium)
  10. @Fletch788 called it!!
  11. I wonder who leads the league in taking called third strikes?#nickjohnson
  12. I like the speed combo right now.
  13. That's six steals for Brett the Jet this year. He's on pace for 81.
  14. That won't stop him from stealing on you, Hard-on. Oh, it's a party in the U.S.A too.
  15. I don't know whether Swisher fielded that ball or not because I can't see from my seat in the bleachers.
  16. Staff member jokingly asked for money in exchange for a ball. As if seeing a game isn't expensive enough!
  17. No Jeter! Damn it @Fletch788
  18. Tweeting live from Yankee Stadium today!

April 17, 2010

A-Rod passes McGwire on all-time HR list

Alex Rodriguez finally got his first homer of the season out of the way in a 7-3 win against the Rangers. It was his 584th career home run to pass Mark McGwire for sole possession for eighth place on the career list.

Quick ‘Cap:
A.J. Burnett blanked the Rangers for seven innings to give the Yankees the opportunity to put the game away early. After a two-run rally in the second, the Yankees poured it on in the third with four runs. One of Brett Gardner’s three infield hits drove in a run and the rally was capped by Derek Jeter’s two-run homer.

Rodriguez snapped a 41 at-bat homerless streak in the fourth on a 2-1 pitch from Doug Mathis, who relieved Scott Feldman in the third.

The only offense for the Rangers came on Nelson Cruz’s three-run homer in the eighth off Alfredo Aceves. Damaso Marte finished the inning for Ace, and Joba Chamberlain wrapped it up in the ninth. Full box score here.

Gardner and Burnett really stood out today. Gardner showed how much of a pest he can be, scoring two runs and stealing his fifth base. Burnett worked out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the fifth and then toughed out two more innings. Great days for both Yankees.

Line of the Night:
Burnett: W (2-0), 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Up Next:
The Yankees will go for their first sweep of the season on Sunday, and I’ll be at the game! I bought bleacher seats with an obstructed view, but I’ll be moving around with my friend Andrew Fletcher. Look for my tweets from the game and pictures posted to the blog later that night.

Sabathia-Cervelli battery brilliant

The Texas Rangers offense has walked the least number of times and seen the least number of pitches in the league. CC Sabathia and backup catcher Francisco Cervelli were obviously aware of that in last night’s rain-shortened victory.

Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News also picked up on this.

“Right away, from pitch one, they were swinging,” said Sabathia, who is 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA at the Stadium since last year's All-Star break. “They swung at a lot of pitches.”

McCarron’s reporting was on the money.

Sabathia threw 20 first-pitch strikes, enabling him to keep a low pitch count (73) through six innings. He struck out nine, walked none and allowed just three hits and a run.

This start followed up Sabathia’s no-hit bid last week against Tampa Bay, which was also caught by Cervelli.

It’s good to know a team’s ace is very comfortable working with a backup. It makes sense to pair the backup with the ace, because you don’t expect to have to score as many runs with your ace on the mound. Props to Cervelli.

April 16, 2010

Chan Ho Park’s hammy lands him on DL

Chan Ho Park was placed on the 15-day disabled list today after feeling tightness in his right hamstring at the end of his warm-ups in the bullpen last night.

Left-hander Boone Logan was called up to replace him. Logan has only allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings with Triple-A Scranton this year.

After Park, 36, took the loss on opening night against the Red Sox, he earned the win in that series finale with three shutout innings. He pitched once in the Angels series and allowed a run over two innings.

Not a terrible blow to the bullpen, but I’m more worried about the chemistry in the clubhouse when it comes to CHoP.

Rangers-Yankees series preview

No breaks for the Yankees so far this year. They’ve faced the Red Sox, Rays and Angels so far — taken two of three from each — and this weekend they’ll host the Texas Rangers, who are off to a good start.

Both teams have their top three starters going in the series (I’m not sure if the Rangers have their best ordering though), so maybe these high-powered offenses can be held in check.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Rangers starters Yankees starters
Fri., 7:05 p.m. C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00) CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.46)
Sat., 1:05 p.m. Scott Feldman (1-0, 2.57) A.J. Burnett (1-0, 3.75)
Sun., 1:05 p.m. Rich Harden (0-0, 2.79) Andy Pettitte (1-0, 0.75)

While filling in those statistics, it sparked me to see which pitchers have earned the Yankees’ three losses this year. Javier Vazquez has two and Chan Ho Park has one.

Players to Watch:
Rangers: Vladimir Guerrero.
He’s been hitting cleanup for the Rangers and making the Angels look foolish for letting him go. He’s got 15 hits in 37 at-bats so far this year. Vladi’s also a .320/.372/.514 career hitter against the Yankees.

Yankees: Robinson Cano. He’s also got 15 hits this year (with one more AB), but he also has four homers and nine RBIs to go with it. Buster Olney talked about him on SportsCenter this morning and he said he’s really been taking advantage of being ahead in the count like Joe Mauer last year. Let’s see if he can continue this torrid run through the weekend.

It’s hard not to predict the Yankees will take two of three, but I’ll call for a sweep. I don’t see any of the top three starters losing — even Andy Pettitte, who has been awesome so far.

Yankees take third straight series

The Yankees’ pattern of winning the third game of a series continued tonight, as the Angels were outplayed in every facet of the game. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter provided the firepower for the Yankees in their 6-2 win on Jackie Robinson Day.

Quick ‘Cap:
After a dominant first inning from Phil Hughes, Hideki Matsui greeted him with a home run in the second. But that was the only blemish on Hughes’s line. He finished the fifth with 97 pitches, but Girardi opted to start him in the sixth and he allowed Torii Hunter to reach, who eventually scored on a grounder off David Robertson.

Cano responded to Matsui’s homer with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the second. Cano added a two-run homer in the fifth inning to chase lefty Scott Kazmir. Derek Jeter hit a solo shot in the third and lined a two-run double in the fourth. Granderson recorded two triples for the fifth time in his career.

Besides the inherited runner Robertson allowed, the bullpen was dominant. Damaso Marte struck out Bobby Abreu to end a seventh-inning rally, Joba Chamberlain induced an inning-ending double play in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera got the last out to pick up his fourth save. Full box score here.

Tonight was very pleasurable to watch. Hughes looked very good in his debut: 5+IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. The walks are obviously a little high, but he was just missing the corners (or getting jipped).

Granderson threw out Matsui at home (he was safe, but it was a good throw). Swisher had a couple bombs to center kept in the park due to wind. Cano continued to mash and Mark Teixeira walked three times. The bullpen was great too. Things are looking good in Yankeeland.

Line of the Night:
Cano: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. He’s hitting .395/.400/.816. I’m hoping once pitchers start pitching around him he’ll be able to draw some walks to improve that on-base percentage.

Up Next:
The Yankees stay at home this weekend for a three-game set against the Rangers beginning Friday night.

April 15, 2010

Yankees mix up lineup against Kazmir

The Yankees face southpaw Scott Kazmir tonight, which has led Joe Girardi to the first change in the top five of the lineup this season. Nick Johnson and Brett Gardner will start the game on the bench, Randy Winn will start in left and Marcus Thames for DH. Lineups via LoHud:

Angels lineup Yankees lineup
Erick Aybar SS Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF Nick Swisher RF
Torii Hunter CF Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH Alex Rodriguez 3B
Kendry Morales 1B Robinson Cano 2B
Howie Kendrick 2B Jorge Posada C
Mike Napoli C Marcus Thames DH
Brandon Wood 3B Curtis Granderson CF
Reggie Willits LF Randy Winn LF

Some notes:

  • It’s Jackie Robinson Day! That means every Yankees will wear No. 42. (Mariano Rivera is the last player wearing the sacred number.)
  • Phil Hughes will make his 2010 debut. He’ll either be a bust, or he’ll shine. Here’s what I think will happen to Hughes if he has a rough start to the year.
  • River Ave. Blues mentioned a lineup change idea that I agreed with regarding Mark Teixeira’s slow start.

What happens if Hughes gets shelled?

It wouldn't be the end of the world for Phil Hughes if he doesn't make it out of the first inning tonight against the Angels in the series finale, but what happens if he continues to get rocked? How many starts does he get before being switched back to the bullpen? Who replaces him?

Those are the questions I'm wondering about. Those who follow my blog know I've been a supporter of Hughes in the rotation and Joba Chamberlain as the future heir to Mariano Rivera. But, in the unlikely event that I was wrong about Hughes fitting in the rotation as a starter, the Yankees will have to be prepared with backup plans.

Is it as simple as just swapping Chamberlain and Hughes? I don't think so. I don't think the Yankees can afford to make any more mid-season switches with Chamberlain. That being said, this leaves two candidates to replace Hughes: Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre.

Between the two I sway toward Meat-tray, and that's mainly because he has more experience as a starter. I think Aceves is too valuable out of the bullpen to move him. Last year the Yankees gave him a spot start on July 9 against the Twins and nothing good came from it.

Mitre's numbers in the past might be a little ugly, but he did have a good spring and he wasn't awful in his only appearance of this season against the Rays.

So how short of a leash will Joe Girardi have on Hughes? That's uncertain. After facing the Halos tonight, I project he'll make starts against the Athletics and the Orioles - two of the weakest offenses this season. If he can't make it past the fifth inning in any of his first three games, I say it's time to call on Mitre.

Yankees home opener pics (2nd set)

Round two. I like the pictures of the “Yankee Stadium” sign the best. Not so much the demolition photos.

Old Yankee Stadium

Old Yankee Stadium2

Old Yankee Stadium3

Oldest Fan

Outside scoreboard

Rivera Girardi Ring

Stadium Arches

Stadium Screen and Name


Yankee Stadium Sign

Yankees Matsui Ring

Yankees home opener pics (1st set)

Here are some pictures from the Yankees home opener from my roommate who attended the game.

American Flag

Bernie Ball

Bernie First Pitch


Freddy Sez

Freddy Sez2

Jeter Yogi Ring

April 14, 2010

Angels even series

Javier Vazquez was outmatched by Joel Pineiro and Angel reliever Kevin Jepsen held off the Yankees’ eighth inning rally as the Angels tied up the series with a 5-3 win.

Quick ‘Cap:
Pineiro went seven strong with seven strikeouts and departed with a 5-1 lead. The first three Yankees reached base off Scot Shields in the eighth, but when Jepsen entered after Nick Johnson’s RBI single he brought an electric fastball. After throwing 12 fastballs of his first 15 pitches, he used three breaking pitches to strike out Jorge Posada to end the frame.

The Angels scored twice off Vazquez in the third and the Yankees finally got a run on the board in the fifth on Nick Swisher’s RBI triple. Brett Gardner grounded back to Pineiro to strand Swisher.

Vazquez was relieved with one out in the sixth by Alfredo Aceves, who allowed an inherited runner to score and then one more in the seventh. Both Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte tossed scoreless innings to give the Yankees a chance. Full box score here.

You can say all you want about Vazquez — oh, he heard the boos — but he wasn’t that bad today. He just looked a lot worse because Pineiro was lights out and he hasn’t made the fans forget about 2004 yet. He’s 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA now, but he’s also faced the Rays and the Angels — two of the top teams in the league. Let him work out the kinks now and be better down the road. After all, which part of the year is more important?

Line of the Night:
Mark Teixeira:
0-for-4, RBI, K. His .097 batting average is starting to catch up with the Yankees.

Up Next:
The Yankees will play their third straight rubber match Thursday night and Phil Hughes will make his 2010 debut.

Pictures of Yankees 2009 World Series rings




Pics via MLB’s HitPix stream.

Also, Yankees fan blog WasWatching pointed me to a very cool site on World Series rings. Head over to the site for a picture of each ring since 1922.

Yogi Berra Featured Card of the Week

Since yesterday was ring day, I thought it would be fitting to choose Yogi Berra as my featured card of the week. This is a 1964 Topps of Yogi as a manager!

Berra’s got 10 championship rings. That’s one for every finger for those counting at home. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are all halfway there, but their careers are far more than halfway over. Sorry, guys. Nobody can touch Yogi.

April 13, 2010

Blue Jays sign Cuban SS prospect Adeiny Hechavarria

The Blue Jays finalized a four-year, $10MM deal with Cuban shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria today, a prospect the Yankees coveted.

Several reports indicated the Yankees were the frontrunners to sign the prospect, but it seems current shortstop and captain Derek Jeter got in the way of things.

The article linked to above compares Hechavarria to Alfonso Soriano. Yikes.

Angels-Yankees series preview

It’s time to collect some rings! Today is ring day at Yankee Stadium, as the Yankees host the Angels in their home opener today.

And yes, that means Hideki Matsui is getting his ring too.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Angels starters Yankees starters
Tues., 1:05 p.m. Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.00) Andy Pettitte (0-0, 1.50)
Wed., 1:05 p.m. Scott Kazmir (0-0, -.--) J. Vazquez (0-1, 12.71)
Thurs., 1:05 p.m. Jered Weaver (1-0, 3.00) Phil Hughes (0-0, -.--)

Players to Watch:
Matsui. Firstly, there’s no doubt he’s very comfortable in Yankee Stadium. Secondly, he’s off to a hot start, batting .370/.414/.667. Lastly, the last time he played in Yankee Stadium he racked up six RBIs in the World Series-clinching game and hoisted the series MVP trophy over his head.

Yankees: Phil Hughes. I can’t wait for his first start of the year. He’s not facing any slouch either, so he’ll have to be on his A-game.


Even at the home-opening series it’s hard to be confident in the Yankees when they play the Angels. I’d be happy if the Yankees stole one of the games — maybe one off closer Brian Fuentes in Game 2. Just maybe.

April 12, 2010

Chan Ho Park’s diarrhea of the mouth (literally) [Video]

This video of Chan Ho Park is too good not to post. See transcription below (via Huffington Post).

PARK: I had a lot of diarrhea. That - That is what you want to know?

REPORTER: Your manager said you were sick.

PARK: Yeah, I had a lot of diarrhea. I had diarrhea and then.... what? What, it's funny?

REPORTER: No. He thinks its funny.

PARK: The off day - off day I had a lot of diarrhea.. and flu too...a little. A lot of cough. Chest hurts. I feel dehydrated, something like that.

The sad story of Christian Garcia

Christian Garcia received rave reviews from MLB Fanhouse scout Frankie Piliere in late March, comparing his curveball to A.J. Burnett’s. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be hearing about him again this year.

Since 2006, Garcia has made a mere 32 appearances due to multiple significant injuries. In five starts with Trenton last year, he compiled a 0.71 ERA.

In his 2010 debut with Trenton, he left the game in the sixth inning after 69 pitches with an apparent arm injury. He had tossed 5 2-3 shutout frames and allowed just two hits and a walk.

An MRI revealed yesterday he tore an elbow ligament, leaving his status uncertain for the year. The full details of the injury and timetable for his return have yet to be reported, but it really, really doesn’t sound good.

Poll Results: Cano iffy for MVP

poll results18The results for the latest poll were pretty scattered. Fans couldn’t agree on whether Robinson Cano should be considered a preseason MVP candidate.

Coincidentally, Cano was in the news recently about earning an MVP award. This is what Alex Rodriguez told him on Friday.

“I told Robby he's no kid anymore, he's closer to 30 than 20,” Rodriguez said of the 27-year-old second baseman. "At this point in his career, with his talent, he should have one MVP (award), maybe two.

”The thing is, on any other team he would THE guy, but here, he's surrounded by a lot of talent. I said, 'Don't let that hold you back. It's time to go get it.' We've all said the same thing to him. I think Robby gets that. I think Robbie's finally maturing.”

I definitely think he will receive votes like he did last year, but I still think Evan Longoria is your 2010 AL MVP.

Next poll: Starts for Phil Hughes in 2010?

April 11, 2010

Burnett burns Rays to take series

A.J. Burnett allowed two runs to the Rays in the first, but settled down and tossed six shutout innings in the Yankees’ 7-3 win. The win gave the Yankees (4-2) their second straight two-out-of-three against division foes.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Rays (3-3) held a 2-1 lead into the sixth until Robinson Cano’s single chased James Shields and then Jorge Posada took Randy Choate deep. Curtis Granderson followed Posada with a single, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

Alex Rodriguez lined a two-run double in the seventh and Nick Swisher connected for his first homer of the year in the eighth. Swisher told reporters after the game he switched to a heavier bat for the first time in his career just for that at-bat. I guess it paid off.

Joba Chamberlain relieved Burnett in the eighth and allowed one run on Carl Crawford’s triple. Mariano Rivera closed it out to get some work in before tomorrow’s off day. Full box score here.

Granderson was a standout guy for me today. In the fifth inning, he made a diving catch to rob Dioner Navarro of a hit and made a nice throw to Mark Teixeira to double up Pat Burrell at first. Then he made another fine catch on Sean Rodriguez’s fly to the warning track to end the inning. He also collected his third steal, first double and fourth RBI of the season. Granderson’s doing a lot of little things right so far, and it’s hard not to like him.

Line of the Day:
Burnett: W, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, K. You never know what to expect from him. But today he found his groove after the first inning.

Up Next:
The Yankees will get their rings on Tuesday’s home opener against the Los Angeles Angels. The red (literally) hot (not literally) Hideki Matsui will make his first return to the Bronx as well.

April 10, 2010

CC Sabathia no-hitter debate is ridiculous

I really didn’t think I was going to have to bother posting about whether the Yankees would’ve kept CC Sabathia in after Kelly Shoppach, but apparently I do.

Shoppach broke up Sabathia’s bid at a no-no on his 111th pitch. Manager Joe Girardi said after the game that Shoppach would’ve been the last hitter he faced.

There is no question if you’re the manager you leave the guy in to go for a no-hitter. It’s his second start of the season — not his first — and he’s CC Sabathia. You know, the guy who’s thrown more pitches than anyone in the last three years (10,981).

If it’s Phil Hughes and its his first start of the season, then yes, I might think about pulling him. But this is CC Sabathia.

If you’re really that worried about him, you could give him an extra couple days off after the outing (even though he would never go for that). The whole idea of 100 pitches is the time to take a pitcher out is ridiculous.

It’s all up to how the pitcher feels. And so many other factors go into that besides number of pitches, like the weather and the pace of the game.

It’s easy for Girardi to say that Shoppach was his last batter after the game ended, but it’s completely different than actually doing it.

Sabathia’s no-no lasts 7 2-3, Yankees romp

CC Sabathia was four outs away from no-hitting the Rays, but Kelly Shoppach broke it up with a single to left on an 0-1 count and his 111th pitch. David Robertson immediately came on in relief, as the Yankees (3-2) went on to beat the Rays (3-2) 10-0.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Yankees defense was certainly behind Sabathia, highlighted by two web gems from corner infielders. The first came in the sixth when Mark Teixeira dove to his right to snare Jason Bartlett’s liner. In the seventh, Alex Rodriguez took a double down the line away from B.J. Upton, got to his feet and made the play.

Teixeira also came through for Sabathia on offense, as he ended his hitless drought with a three-hit day. Rodriguez had two hits and Robinson Cano launched a two-run homer in the fourth to lead the offense.

Sabathia finished with five strikeouts and two walks. Full box score here.

Should the Yankees have gone down quickly in the eighth instead of rallying for four runs to keep CC in rhythm? I think so. It was only 4-0, but when you have Mariano Rivera in the back of the bullpen you have that luxury.

Still, a terrific outing for the big lefty. It would’ve been extremely tough for him to complete his no-hit bid at such a high pitch count.

Line of the Night:
Sabathia: W, 7 2-3 IP, H, 2 BB, 5 K. No explanation needed.

Up Next:
The Yankees will play on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. before another off day on Monday.

Hughes prepped for 2010 debut

Instead of pitching out of the Yankee bullpen or for Triple-A Scranton, Phil Hughes has been preparing for his first start of the season in Tampa.

Hughes threw 84 pitches over six innings in an intrasquad game today, allowing one run and six hits while striking out six. He struck out 12 in a simulated game five days ago, in which he threw 100 pitches over 8 1-3 innings.

Hughes was in Boston for Tuesday’s game, but probably only available in an emergency situation.

Hughes will make his first start on Thursday against the Angels, the last of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

I have no problems with the way the Yankees have handled Hughes. I’m just anxious to see his changeup!

Posada gets rest after night game

For the first time this season, the top six in the Yankees lineup changed. The normal six hitter, Jorge Posada, has been given the full day off. Here’s the lineup (via LoHud).

Yankees lineup
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Brett Gardner LF
Francisco Cervelli C

CC Sabathia LHP

Rays lineup (via Marc Carig)
Bartlett SS
Crawford LF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Upton CF
Aybar 1B
Burrell DH
Shoppach C
Kapler RF

Wade RHP

April 9, 2010

Price mows down Yanks in blowout

It didn’t matter how good Javier Vazquez was in his debut against the Rays. The night belonged to David Price.

Quick ‘Cap:
Price struck out seven over 7 2/3 innings in the Rays (3-1) 9-3 win over the Yankees (2-2). The Rays rallied for five runs in the fourth and added four more in the sixth (eight charged to Vazquez). Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar each launched two-run homers into the right field seats.

Alex Rodriguez hit a ball high off the wall in center to score Nick Johnson, who had singled, from first. Ex-Yankee catcher Dioner Navarro tried to nail Rodriguez at third, but his throw sailed into left field and Rodriguez came around to score. Johnson doubled home Derek Jeter in the eighth for the Yankees’ last run. Full box score here.

Vazquez looked sharp for the first few innings, but he fell apart going through the order for the second time. Nobody’s pleased with his outing, but there’s no reason to jump to conclusions. Anyone remember CC Sabathia’s first start as a Yankee? 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 0 K and the loss to the Orioles. He wound up winning 19 games and a 3.37 ERA.

Line of the Night:
Price: W, 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. He looked very sharp in his 2010 debut. He threw 111 pitches (67 for strikes), which is a lot to ask for from a 24-year-old starter in April.

Up Next:
The Yankees will send out CC Sabathia to face No. 5 starter Wade Davis on Saturday at 3:10 p.m.

Yankees-Rays series preview:

Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez were the three top players acquired by the Yankees this offseason. Granderson and Johnson already have game-winning RBIs registered, and Vazquez will make his debut (again) tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The last time Vazquez pitched for the Yankees, he allowed a grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. His career in pinstripes ended after he walked David Ortiz in the fourth inning.

“That’s in the past,” Vazquez said. “I talked about it a lot when I got traded and during spring training, and it’s just a new year for me and a new year for the team. I just want to concentrate on the present.”

The Rays just took two out of three from the Orioles and my preseason MVP pick is off to a torrid start. That’s Evan Longoria, who’s also Dan Patrick’s MVP pick. Here’s an excerpt from the interview in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

DP: When’s the last time a pitcher woke you up in the middle of the night?
EL: Never. If there was ever [a bad dream], it would probably be to the sound of Metallica, and Mariano Rivera running in from centerfield.
DP: Has Rivera ruined Enter Sandman because he comes in to it?
EL: It’s one of those songs that you hear on the radio and you think about the guy. [Laughs.] It’s not a good feeling.

I thought that was pretty funny. My friend who met Longoria tells me he isn’t a nice guy in person, but that’s hard to believe.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Rays starters
Fri., 7:10 p.m. Javier Vazquez (0-0, -.--) David Price (0-0, -.--)
Sat., 3:10 p.m. CC Sabathia (0-0, 8.44) Wade Davis (0-0, -.--)
Sun., 1:40 p.m. A.J. Burnett (0-0, 5.40) James Shields (0-0, 4.50)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Mark Teixeira
. He’s the number 3 hitter, he’s hitless this season and the Yankees took two of three from the Red Sox. With Alex Rodriguez healthy in April, he doesn’t have any excuse for a slow start.
Rays: Longoria. Baseball has a lot of young stars. Longoria is one of them and is a fun guy to watch. Something says I won’t be having too much fun watching him this weekend.

The Yankees will take two of three. Vazquez and Price will be mediocre and the Yankees will win the battle of the bullpens, Sabathia will burn the Rays’ fifth starter in Game 2, and Shields will outduel Burnett in the rubber match.

Friday links: Rivera responds to West

After Joe West opened his big mouth about the pace of Yankees and Red Sox games, Mariano Rivera had some amusing comments in return.

“If he has places to go, let him do something else. What does he want us (the players) to do, swing at balls? ... We don't want to play four-hour games, but that's what it takes. We respect and love the fans and do what we have to do, and that's play our game.”

Rivera is the man.

Here are a few more links from today:

  • Javier Vazquez will make his 2010 debut tonight against the Rays (more on that later). Make sure you check out this nice feature on him by Tyler Kepner of the NY Times.
  • A writer at At Home Plate thinks the Yankee dynasty may be over soon. Please, somebody tear him up in the comments before I do.
  • The Angels are remembering the late Nick Adenhart tonight when they will give Jered Weaver the inaugural Nick Adenhart Award.
  • Kepner also wrote about how the Red Sox lineup has less power, but more patience. If you want to learn your rival, this is what you read.

And two hilarious videos heading into the weekend.

Via The ‘Ropolitans.

And the No. 1 play on ESPN’s Not Top 10, found here.

April 8, 2010

The entire 2010 Yankees organization

You already know the Yankees’ 25-man roster, but do you know what the minor league affiliates look like? If you are a die-hard fan, then you need to know what’s going on below the major league level too — and I’m not talking about just knowing who Jesus Montero is.

Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues compiled an excellent primer for all the Yankees’ minor league affiliates. It’s a must-read for die-hards, and I’d suggest it’s worth at least a glance for all fans. Nice job, Mike.

Umpire lashes out at Yankees and Red Sox

Major League Baseball isn’t the only one upset with the slow pace of Yankees and Red Sox games. Umpire Joe West called the teams “pathetic and embarrassing” before they played last night’s game (an extra-inning game that was shorter than the two prior).

“They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace. They're two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And [Tuesday night's game] still almost went four hours . . . This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.” – Hardball Talk

In Tuesday night’s game, umpire Angel Hernandez wouldn’t grant time to Marcus Thames or Jorge Posada in separate incidents, according to this report.

“Ask Angel. I have no idea what that was all about,” Posada said.

Woah! Has this gone too far? Unfortunately this reporter didn’t or couldn’t ask Hernandez about this, but I find this very interesting. 

Everyone knows the games are dragging on too long, but until MLB puts some rules in place I don’t see games slowing down considerably.

West, the one who went way out of line with those comments, couldn’t even offer a solution.

“I don't know what to tell you. I don't know what to do,” he said. “I don't know how to make them pick up the pace.

“It's sad when school kids can't watch the end of the game because it ends too late.”

Smart, West. Really smart.

Something to keep in mind: Nick Johnson certainly won’t be helping this pace of play matter. It looks like he’s ready to lead the league in walks this year.

Sterling’s Granderson call [Audio]

John Sterling got some good practice on his Curtis Granderson home run call in the opening series against the Red Sox.

A quick recap: Sterling followed Granderson’s first dinger with “Something sort of Grandish!” And after last night’s game-winner, he repeated his Broadway play reference and then sang “The Grandy Man can!”

We visited this topic before the season and heard some interesting ideas. “The Grandy Man can” was on that list.

I’m glad Sterling has continued his tradition of using two calls for players, but I’d prefer if he used one of our suggestions instead of “Something sort of grandish.” Below are some of his calls for players that he has two.

  • Alex Rodriguez - “An A-Bomb from A-Rod” & “Alexander the Great conquers again”
  • Nick Swisher - “St. Nick” & “Swishalicious”
  • Hideki Matsui (unconfirmed whether he’ll use either call since he’s on the Angels now) - “Thrilla by Godzilla” & “The Sayonara kid”

Please, let me know if I’m forgetting any.

Of course, be sure to check out It is High, it is Far, it is… caught for more Sterling calls, especially their latest video.

April 7, 2010

The Grandy Man can!

We knew Curtis Granderson was a smart guy. He’s especially smart for hitting a game-winning homer in the rubber game and a homer on his first at bat as a Yankee. Now he’s won over all the fans, as his 10th-inning homer gave the Yankees a 3-1 win and a 2-1 series win over the Red Sox.

Quick ‘Cap:
Granderson wasn’t the only offseason acquisition that impressed Wednesday night. Pitcher Chan Ho Park, who took the loss in Game 1, hurled three sharp innings to earn the win after Andy Pettitte’s outing. John Lackey was in line for the win after six shutout innings, but Scott Schoeneweis blew the lead when Nick Swisher singled in Jorge Posada from second in the seventh.

David Ortiz made an attempt at quieting the writers after telling off the writers yesterday. Big Papi drove in Dustin Pedroia in the third inning for his first hit and RBI of the season.

It was fun watching Brett Gardner get in Jon Papelbon’s head in the 10th. After several throws over, Gardner swiped second and Papelbon ended up walking Derek Jeter. Mark Teixeira scored Gardner on a groundout later in the inning. Mariano Rivera did his thing in the ninth for the second time of the year. Full box score here.

Props to the new members of the team in this series. Javier Vazquez will make his first start of the year on Friday, but Granderson, Park and Johnson all had a very nice series. Even though Johnson didn’t get a hit, he still walked five times — one of which drove in the game-winning run on Tuesday night.

Park’s innings on Wednesday were particularly important because the Yankees bullpen could’ve used a break after Tuesday’s affair.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox bullpen has to be a major concern in New England.

Line of the Night:
Park: W, 3 IP, H, K. He made everyone forget what happened on Sunday.

Up Next:
I predicted this past series perfectly, let’s see if I can do it again for the series against the Rays that begins on Friday.

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