July 31, 2010

Cano powers Yankees to 5-4 win over Rays

The Yankees gutted out a 5-4 victory over the Rays tonight with the help of game-tying homers by Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher as well as a game-winning homer by Robinson Cano in the ninth.

Best of All: A HUGE win to hold onto sole possession of first place in the AL East. This game had a little Yankees-Red Sox intensity too. Just a well-played, exciting game to watch.

Cano was quite a sight tonight, slugging two doubles and a homer. If he starts getting hotter than he already has been all year, it’s trouble for AL pitchers.

David Robertson gets a big shout out from me as well tonight. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, ending it with a devastating breaking ball to who else but Matt Joyce, the Ray who hit the game-winning homer Friday night and the would-be game-winner in the sixth tonight.

As far as I’m concerned, D-Rob is the eighth inning guy ahead of Joba Chamberlain AND newly acquired Kerry Wood until he shows ineffectiveness.

Worst of All: Alex Rodriguez didn’t hit No. 600 and Lance Berkman had a rough, 0-for-4 start to his Yankee career. That is all.

Coming Up: The rubber match is set for Sunday afternoon with CC Sabathia on the mound.

Berkman to hit 2nd in Yankees lineup

Lance Berkman was the first to tell the world he’ll be hitting second in the Yankees lineup in an interview on MLB Network. I originally expected him to hit sixth, keeping Nick Swisher in the No. 2 spot that he’s found comfort in, but I guess Joe Girardi has a little more respect for Berkman, 34, than I do.

Here’s the new-look lineup; Berkman essentially takes Nick Johnson’s spot and Jorge Posada takes a full day off.

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

Do you agree with Girardi moving down the hot Swisher to make room for Berkman?

Sherman: Yankees complete deal for Kerry Wood

Brian Cashman added a piece to the Yankees’ bullpen puzzle by trading for Kerry Wood about a half an hour before the deadline came. The deal is complete, according to Joel Sherman, but “awaiting (Bud Selig’s) approval on dollars that Indians are sending Yankees.”

If you’re worried about Wood’s long, injury-filled history, read this Jon Heyman teet:

#yankees have found relief market dismal. wood just came back from DL, and if hes healthy, he has a chance to be great

I’m surprised he said he could be “great.” Wood hasn’t been great as a reliever since 2008, but Heyman is a safe guy to believe.

Wood was NOT one of the top relievers available at this trade deadline — Joakim Soria, Scott Downs and Matt Capps were — but the Yankees were on Soria’s no-trade list and the asking prices for Downs and Capps were too high.

Chad Qualls went to the Rays, the Yanks’ top competitor, so if you look at it from that standpoint the Yankees added a better reliever — plus two hitters. Qualls was the anchor weighing down the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, the worst in the majors. Here are Wood’s career numbers as a full-time reliever since 2007:

John Sterling’s Lance Berkman home run call

Now that another big Yankees acquisition has become official, it’s time to predict another John Sterling home run call! The Yankees WCBS 880 broadcaster has come up with some pretty comical calls in the past, and I expect nothing less when Lance Berkman goes yard for the first time in Yankee pinstripes.

I think the early favorite has to be something based on “Sir Lancelot,” one of the Knights of the Round Table. His previous nicknames include “The Big Puma” and “Fat Elvis” so perhaps try to incorporate those in your call. Here are some possibilities that I’ve come up with and some that already have been suggested:

  • “Sir Lance-A-Lot hit that one to Camelot!”
  • “That Berkman sure did put a hurtin’ on that one!”
  • “The Big Puma goes boom-uh!”
  • “Fat Elvis really knows how to hit ‘em, I tell ya”
  • “Look at Lance dance around the bases!” – Fletch
  • “He hit that ball like a berk-MAN” - Fletch

UPDATE:
Some ideas via Twitter:
twitter responses for berkman home run call

I have to say, all three of these are great. Can you top these? If not, which do you prefer?

Yankees notes: A loss, Berkman, Kearns

If you went out last night and missed the Yankees news, here’s a quick news roundup to get you up to speed:

  • The Yankees suffered a tough 3-2 defeat in Tampa, as Phil Hughes watched his 2-0 lead disappear when he allowed a three-run homer to Matt Joyce in the sixth inning. The two Yankee runs were scored by the first two batters of the game, as Nick Swisher slugged his 19th homer of the year. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez is still stuck on 16 for the year and 599 for his career.
  • The Lance Berkman deal will be announced later today and the Yankees will likely send reliever Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes to the Astros.
  • After the loss to the Rays Brian Cashman completed another deal, acquiring outfielder Austin Kearns from the Indians for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Here are Kearns’ career stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

July 30, 2010

Lance Berkman likely to dawn pinstripes

Multiple reports swelled in around 4 p.m. today indicating the Yankees will net Astros switch-hitting first baseman/DH Lance Berkman before tomorrow’s trade deadline.

The deal isn’t final yet; money is still being discussed. The Yankees will be sending non-prospect minor leaguers in return, according to Ken Davidoff. I’d assume that means no Jesus Montero or Andrew Brackman.

The 34-year-old is definitely past his prime, but he’s still got a little life left in his bat. Here are his career stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

One column to pay attention to is his OBP. Despite a major decline in BA, his OBP has remained quite high. Daily news reporter Jesse Spector compared Berkman to a switch-hitting Nick Johnson. Hard to disagree with that.

As far as I’m concerned, he fits perfectly into the lineup at the DH and can spell Mark Teixeira when necessary. I like the move, just as long as the Yankees don’t give away any minor leaguers whom I really like.

Yankees-Rays series preview: Battle of the Titans!

If Alex Rodriguez was waiting for a good time to break into the 600s, this would be the weekend to do it. A-Rod and the first-place Yanks will face some of the toughest pitching in the league this weekend, as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Rays held a share of the division lead through June 19, but the Yankees sped past them at the end of the month and have used an 18-6 run in July to maintain a two-game lead.

The Red Sox haven’t been able to keep pace and have drifted to 7.5 games behind, making the AL East a two-team race until further notice.

Head to Head:
The Yankees started the second half with a series win over the Rays to tie the season series at 4. After this weekend, these two teams meet twice more at each other’s homes in the middle of September.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Rays starters
Fri., 7:10 p.m. Phil Hughes (12-3, 4.04) Wade Davis (8-9, 4.32)
Sat., 7:10 p.m. J. Vazquez (9-7, 4.54) Matt Garza (11-5, 4.06)
Sun., 1:40 p.m. CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.15) James Shields (9-9, 4.79)


Players to Watch
:
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
. He’s still sitting on 599 homers. There’s a reason all three games this weekend at the Trop are sold out.

Rays: Carlos Pena. A .216 hitter for the year who is hitting .304/.429/.696 with three homers and eight RBIs over his last seven games scares me. That man is Carlos Pena.

Prediction:
The Rays are winners of their last six, but the only way they can take their spot atop the East back is with a sweep. With the Yankees’ three top starters going this weekend, I don’t foresee that happening. But I will give the Rays the benefit of the doubt because Mr. Garza is coming off his no-hitter. Rays take two out of three, most likely tonight and tomorrow.

Olney & Sherman’s Adam Dunn to Yankees trade rumors clash

Adam Dunn to somewhere the American League” seems to be the biggest rumor left in the trade deadline now that Roy Oswalt has finally found a new home. The worst part about being a blogger during the final week of the trade deadline is dealing with conflicting reports.

Yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, a highly credible reporter, posted an article headlined “Yankees finished with pursuit of Dunn.”

Last night, ESPN’s Buster Olney, perhaps the most credible baseball reporter on the planet, listed the Yankees second behind the Rays as a possible landing point for Dunn last night on Baseball Tonight and then again on Sports Center.

One reporter will be dead right and the other will be dead wrong. I’m not going to tell you who to believe; all I can do is let you know there are in fact conflicting reports.

Now, on to something related that we can discuss…

Calling All Yankees Fans: For the sake of debate, let’s assume Olney is right. Do you want Dunn in pinstripes? I’ve read hundreds of responses already — from two threads I started on Yankees forums, to RAB’s post on Dunnstill, I’m not entirely positive on how I feel about adding Dunn to the Yankees’ already powerful lineup.

So please, somebody convince me why the Yankees should or should not add Dunn at the deadline (in the comments below, on Facebook, on Twitter, or shoot me an email).

July 29, 2010

Yanks pick up where they left off against Cleveland, cruise to series victory

Following an 8-0 blowout yesterday, the Yankees clinched a series victory against the Indians tonight with an 11-4 win. The offense broke out in the seventh with a seven-run rally, which was more than enough support for spot starter Dustin Moseley.

Best of All: Moseley pitched six innings of one-run ball to earn the victory and all but sure up the next spot start in place of Andy Pettitte.

Worst of All: Alex Rodriguez is still stuck on 599. He had two opportunities with the bases loaded late tonight, but couldn’t come up with a granny. However, he did drive in his 83rd, 84th and 85th runs of the season.

Coming Up: The Yankees head down to Tampa this weekend for a big series with the Rays, who most consider the second-best team in baseball. Check back before the game Friday night for a series preview.

Carl Pavano makes me sick

Guess who’s 13-6 with a 3.21 ERA for the Twins?

Carl Pavano.

OK, the headline gave it away, but would you have ever guessed that without the headline? Here’s a guy who, in his prime age, made 26 starts for the Yankees over four season at the price of $40 million. In those starts he went 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA.

Can you believe it? Pavano practically added nothing to the Yankees in four years, and now he’s thriving for a team on the verge of taking control of the AL Central.

What makes me even more sick — and I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself here — is that there’s a chance the Yankees will face him in the first round of the playoffs. If he beats them, I don’t know what I’ll do. But it probably won’t be good for my health.

Burnett, Yanks shut out Tribe

The Yankees blew out the Indians last night, 8-0, as A.J. Burnett tossed 6-1/3 innings and five Yankees had two-hit games. But still, no No. 600 for Mr. Rodriguez.

Best of All: Definitely Burnett’s outing. The best way to prove to Brian Cashman not to waste prospects on a starter this trade deadline is by good starting pitching. Burnett allowed seven hits and three walks, but worked out of trouble with seven strikeouts.

Robinson Cano had his 19th homer in the fourth; he now has 69 RBIs.

Worst of All: Derek Jeter was the only starter without a base hit, as he went 0-for-5 with 2 Ks.

Coming Up: The Yankees can seal the series win with a win tonight. Same time, same place.

July 28, 2010

Is Chad Tracy trapping Brandon Laird in Trenton?

When the Yankees signed Chad Tracy on July 9, the most unhappy guy about it was probably Brandon Laird.

Laird, 22, plays third base for Double-A Trenton and arguably is having the best season in the league. He leads the Eastern League in homers (23, tying a career high) and RBIs (89, leading by 11). But according to RAB’s minor league guru Mike Axisa, there’s just no room for Laird in Triple-A.

“Not about just performance. The guy in AAA needs at-bats too, his development counts. A month in AAA does nothing for Laird.” – Axisa’s tweet

That guy in Triple-A Axisa’s talking about is Tracy, who has played more than 700 games in the majors and is 30 years old. Laird is also behind Kevin Russo and Eric Bruntlett, both of whom have major league experience.

What do you think? Did the Yankees make bad moves by signing Tracy and Bruntlett possibly because they’re stunting Laird’s development?

Bud Daley Featured Yankee Card of the Week

Bud Daley, a southpaw knuckleballer in the 1950s and 1960s, was a two-time All-Star for the KC Athletics and ended his career with three-and-a-half years in New York with the Yankees.

His career record was 60-64 with a 4.03 ERA. With the Yankees, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen with his best year coming in 1962.

He may be most remembered by old-timers for winning Game 5 in the 1961 World Series against the Reds. He tossed 6-2/3 innings and allowed two unearned runs on a fifth-inning homer to Wally Post.

Daley also pitched one scoreless inning the 1962 World Series against the Giants.

July 27, 2010

Yankees silenced by Tomlin in MLB debut

Four of the last five starters making their major league debuts against the Yankees had earned wins prior to tonight. Josh Tomlin rode that trend to seven innings of one-run ball and a 4-1 win for the Indians, as he outdueled CC Sabathia tonight at Progressive Field.

Best of All: Sabathia brought his A-stuff to the ballpark. If it weren’t for two unearned runs in the fourth, Brett Gardner may have taken a chance in the ninth by tagging up from third to —hypothetically — tie the game. Sabathia hit 96-98 all night with his fastball and threw several filthy changeups. It was his first loss since May 23 against the Mets, but I’m not worried about him one bit.

Derek Jeter had two hits. He was the only guy with more than one.

Worst of All: Only three others besides Jeter had hits.

Alex Rodriguez didn’t hit No. 600 on his birthday (or else he’d be in the headline). He even had a dramatic two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth situation that he was the tying run in to reach the milestone, but he grounded out to short.

Coming Up: With the series tied, the Yankees will have to win the next two to take the series.

I finally figured out the Joba conundrum!

Joba Chamberlain is a mystery man. Some say he’s Mo’s successor, others see him as the next best chubby starter. But I’ve finally discovered a way for Joba to find success in his career! (Joba: Listen up, your ERA is hovering about where my aunt’s would be if she were given a shot in the majors. I love you, Aunt Holly.)

Before I get to the solution, let’s ask Joba what he wants. OK, I admit, that was a silly idea. Every pitcher in the majors wants to be a starter. Why, you ask? Why else? It’s about the money, stupid. Starters make about 10 times the money relievers make. (If you really want to know why that is, just ask yourself who you’d rather have if you were starting a team from scratch: The best starter in the league or the best closer? It’s no contest. Sorry, Mo.)

Now that we’ve determined Joba wants to be a starter, we have to ask him why he thinks he’s qualified. (Just like an employer asking a recruit why he’s fit for the job.) Joba would probably respond:

“Now, if you just took a second or two to look at my track record, you’d see I’m more than qualified to be a starter. In fact, I also think I’m good enough to be a closer — at the same time.

No, I’m not having a great year as the setup guy, and I didn’t give you a great year as a starter last year. But that’s just it, I was only a starter! And this year, I’m only a reliever! 

What manager in his right mind would keep a pitcher in the same role all season long? I begged little Joey to let me close games in between starts last year, but I think he’s got hearing problems in his ears… Never mind, I think the problems are in his teeth. Anyway, back in Nebraska…

I think Chubby’s kinda got a point! Maybe not closing while starting, like he suggests, but splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen during the year. Hey, it worked in 2008: 2.76 ERA as a starter and 2.31 ERA as a reliever. And it also worked in 2007!: 2.45 ERA as a starter (in the minors) and 0.38 ERA as a reliever.

Now look at the past two years. In 2009 he was only a starter (excluding the last game of the year). Most would call that season a failure (4.75 ERA). In 2010, he’s only been a reliever. We all know how that’s been going (5.95 ERA).

Plus, look at all the positive effects his constant role-switch has given the Yankees. Joba battled the bugs in Cleveland back in the ‘07 ALDS and had absolutely nothing to do with the series loss. And last year when the Yanks won it all, it was all because of Joba’s sub-par performance!

So there you have it; Joba should be a starter-reliever for the rest of his career. Quite simply, the manager will determine whether the team’s rotation or bullpen is superior, and then stick Joba in whichever area is better to start the year. That way he’ll end the season doing what’s best for the team heading into the postseason.

Boom. Case closed. Cash, give me a call if you need an assistant for this year’s trade deadline.

Photos originally by Keith Allison and jimmyack205.

July 26, 2010

Grandy fuels victory with 3rd HR in 2 days

Through 254 at-bats, Curtis Granderson had seven homers. In his last seven at-bats, he has three. After two solo shots yesterday, Grandy wacked a game-winning two-run homer in the eighth off Jake Westbrook to put Javier Vazquez on the winning end of a 3-2 game.

Best of All: It’s about time Granderson’s bat has gotten a jolt. Missing most of May didn’t help, but now it looks like he has some fire in him as he’s riding a six-game hitting streak.

Nick Swisher is still hitting over .300, and he hit his 18th homer of the year in the fourth frame.

Vazquez put together a quality start after his one bad outing in recent memory. Plus, the bullpen took care of business in the eighth and ninth innings.

Worst of All: The Yankees managed only four hits off Westbrook.

Brett Gardner is really slumping. He’s fallen from a .319 BA on July 4 to .295 tonight. Where’d the good Gardy go?

Coming Up: Game 2 is same time, same place. CC Sabathia on the hill against Josh Tomlin making his major league debut.

Yankees-Indians series preview

The Yankees start their week on the road against the lowly Indians after winning six of nine at home to start the second half. The Tribe isn’t playing a lot like the last placed team they are, winning seven of 10 after the All-Star break thus far.

Still, even with their hot stretch, the Indians remain 16 games below .500 and 12.5 games out of first in the AL Central.

Head to Head:
The Yankees took three out of four from the Indians at the end of May, and they did it with offense, offense and a little bit of offense. They averaged more than nine runs per game and the only loss came at the hands of Joba Chamberlain.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Indians starters
Mon., 7:05 p.m. J. Vazquez (8-7, 4.68) J. Westbrook (6-6, 4.74)
Tues., 7:05 p.m. CC Sabathia (13-3, 3.18) Josh Tomlin (0-0, 0.00)
Wed., 7:05 p.m. A.J. Burnett (8-8, 4.77) F. Carmona (10-7, 3.51)
Thurs., 7:05 p.m. Sergio Mitre (0-2, 3.99) Mitch Talbot (8-9, 4.08)

UPDATE:
Dustin Moseley (0-0, 4.22) is taking Mitre’s spot start Thursday.

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
. He’s sitting on 599 homers. Everyone going to these games in Cleveland are there for one reason: To see A-Rod’s 600th.

Indians: Trevor Crowe. He has led the Indians’ charge in the second half with his .343/.410/.571 hitting line. Also, if I’m remembering this right, Crowe made a sensational grab in center back in May at a game I attended.

Prediction:
This doesn’t seem fair. The Yankees are in an easy part of their schedule, but are playing teams that are overachieving. The Indians were supposed to be a breeze, but now I see they’re hot and I’m having some doubts. I’ll be happy with a series split but don’t be surprised if Josh Tomlin throws eight shutout innings in his major league debut tomorrow night and the Indians sweep.

Comparing Jeter’s hit milestone to A-Rod’s home run milestone

The atmosphere at Yankee Stadium over the weekend was nothing compared to 9/11/09 when Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig’s hit record.

Last September, fans waited through an hour-and-a-half rain delay and stood for Jeter’s entire first at-bat. He didn’t break the record the first time, so the fans stood again for his second at-bat. That’s when he broke the record. Some fans chanted his name, some stood the entire inning hoping he’d score.

It was so much better than the atmosphere this weekend for Alex Rodriguez. OK, 600 *tainted* homers may not be as meaningful to the Yankee Universe as the all-time Yankees hit record, but 600 is still 600. Only six players in the history of baseball have reached the plateau. Fifty-four players had more hits than Gehrig before Jeter broke his record.

Still, very few people stood for A-Rod’s at-bats. He only heard “Let’s go A-Rod” chants by the die-hard fans who stuck around for five hours to see his fifth at-bat Sunday.

This weekend showed me just how much more Jeter is loved by the fans than A-Rod is, and how many people will ignore the records A-Rod will eventually set.

As my dad always says, Hank Aaron is still the all-time home run leader, and Roger Maris still holds the single-season record. I have a feeling he’s not alone in that belief.

AccuScore: Yankees’ playoff hopes rising

AMERICAN LEAGUE

WEEK 12 REVIEW

PLAYOFF 

% CHANCE

TEAM

19-Jul

26-Jul

% DIFF

WIN DIV

Minnesota Twins

50.0%

55.7%

5.7%

54.3%

Los Angeles Angels

4.3%

5.9%

1.6%

3.6%

New York Yankees

96.6%

97.7%

1.1%

82.6%

Texas Rangers

94.9%

95.5%

0.6%

95.1%

Detroit Tigers

15.0%

15.1%

0.1%

14.0%

Baltimore Orioles

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Cleveland Indians

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Kansas City Royals

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Seattle Mariners

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Toronto Blue Jays

1.2%

1.1%

-0.1%

0.0%

Oakland Athletics

1.9%

1.7%

-0.2%

1.3%

Tampa Bay Rays

77.8%

77.3%

-0.5%

15.4%

Boston Red Sox

20.5%

17.0%

-3.5%

1.9%

Chicago White Sox

37.9%

32.9%

-5.0%

31.7%


Thanks to Zach Rosenfield for the table.

First Tex, then Grandy, what about A-Rod? [Video]

I attended both Yankees games this weekend with intentions of seeing Alex Rodriguez make history in the Bronx. Saturday, the red hot Mark Teixeira launched two homers to right. Sunday, the underachieving Curtis Granderson blasted two solo shots to right. But A-Rod couldn’t follow suit, and now will likely crack the 600 mark on the road.

At least the Yankees won Sunday, 12-6. Splitting a series with the Royals at Yankee Stadium would not have been an ideal way to end the homestand.

A-Rod had five chances to reach the milestone yesterday, but only three of which came before the two-and-a-half hour rain delay (which my friend and I waited through). He didn’t homer, but he did have another fine day at the plate. Here are my recorded video highlights for A-Rod. 

The video starts with his third-inning RBI double, then goes to his RBI single in the seventh and then his final AB. For more multimedia from yesterday’s game, check out the photo album I uploaded to Facebook. And yes, A-Rod is OK after getting hit in the hand in his last AB.

I was at the stadium from 12:30 to 6:30 because of the rain delay in the sixth. I knew A-Rod would get at least one more AB, and I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night if he had hit his 600th while I was watching from my couch.

But I did witness one milestone — a little smaller in size — nonetheless, still cool to see. Robinson Cano reached the 1,000-hit plateau with a ground-rule double in the eighth inning. It’s pretty cool Cano has 1,000 hits and he’s only 27.

Poll Results: Finding a reliever is priority

poll results32The fans voted the Yankees need to upgrade their bullpen more than any other part of the team. More than three-quarters of the votes when toward helping the bullpen, while starting pitching received the second-most votes.

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Joba Chamberlain’s awful performances recently factored into the voting last week. In his past five outings he’s allowed runs in four of them, inflating his ERA near 6.00.


He has lost what he had in 2007 and is starting to resemble Kyle Farnsworth’s run with the Yankees — not good.

Joba’s Replacement? There isn’t a boatload of talent for relievers at the deadline, but the most likely option thus far is lefty Scott Downs of Toronto.

Where’d All the Starters Go? For those who still think the Yankees may go after a starter, I’d like to inform you that the two biggest stars already are off the market. The Yankees were close with Cliff Lee, but now Dan Haren is gone too. That leaves Roy Oswalt as the best available, and not many teams are interested in picking up his contract. The fact is, the Yankees usually strive for the best available, and this year that isn’t an option anymore. Jon Heyman reported yesterday the Yankees like Ted LIlly, but he’s about all that’s left on the market.

My Overall Take: I agree with the voting, except the Yankees also need to add a player to the bench. I’m almost certain it’s going to happen, along with a reliever, but it’s all about the quality at this point.

New Poll: Can the Yankees win the World Series without Cliff Lee or Dan Haren?

July 24, 2010

A failed attempt to witness another big milestone luxuriously

After receiving a surprise pair of tickets to the Delta Sky 360 Suite last night, flashbacks to last year’s memorable 9/11 game hit me. Was I about to witness another milestone from luxury seats?

Not this time! It just wasn’t in the cards. Alex Rodriguez was stranded in the on-deck circle as the would-be winning run in the ninth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt’s throw nipped Mark Teixeira at first base.

On top of that, the Yankees lost 7-4 to the Royals, as Sergio Mitre was completely ineffective in his first appearance since June 4. Dustin Moseley was utterly brilliant in relief, but the Yankees couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole Mitre dug.

I didn’t leave the stadium with a smile, but I’m sure I could have lit up a room with my smile when I took my seat a few moments before the first pitch.
7.24 Yankee Stadium

The only thing missing from this picture is the sun. It beat down on us directly from above and forced my friend and I to go inside to the air conditioned suite for beverages at one point. Still, it wasn’t too hot for Carl’s Steaks. In the suite, there was a nice array of photos on the wall in a lounge area. Here’s a brief video tour:

Snapshots from the video and more photos from the stadium can be seen on Facebook.

Back at the seats, as each A-Rod at-bat passed without a homer, my hopes for 600 grew. When it came to the ninth inning, I realized A-Rod might have an opportunity to hit a walk-off grand slam for No. 600.

With two out, none on and the captain at the plate, I expected nothing more than a grounder to short. Instead, Derek Jeter came through with a ground-rule double. Curtis Granderson walked, giving Teixeira, who had hit two homers in the game already, an opportunity to tie it.

Tex worked a 2-2 count against Royals closer Joakim Soria before grounding one up the middle. Betancourt fielded it slowly, but made a hard enough throw to first to beat Teixeira by half a step. My heart sank.

Oh well. My friend had warned me of his hard luck; I just had trouble believing him. After all, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner were out of the starting lineup. I should’ve listened to him from the get-go.

However, I was still delighted with the seats and the game wouldn’t have been the same without them. For that, I’m extremely grateful. So a big thanks goes out to my older sister’s boyfriend, Adam Klausner, for a belated birthday gift.

Yankees bring the rain in wet win

The Yankees won the second game of their four-game series with the Royals on Friday night, and they did it in spite of the rain.

After an 85-minute rain delay, the Yankees completed all nine innings in a 7-1 pounding of the Royals. Instead of Alex Rodriguez hitting his historic 600th home run, fans witnessed Jorge Posada’s 1,000th RBI in the first inning.

Best of All: A-Rod didn’t get the homer, but he’s not slumping. He had two hits, scored once and walked.

Robinson Cano added three RBIs and two hits to his MVP season.

Worst of All: Just as A.J. Burnett was finding a rhythm, the rain shortened his start to five innings. It was good enough for the win, but it would’ve been nice to see him go eight shutout innings.

Coming Up: The Yankees have two day games scheduled for the weekend, and in all likelihood, I will be attending both! Today, I have outrageously good seats (check back later to find out how good) and I’ll be at the stadium Sunday just in case A-Rod hasn’t hit No. 600.

Check out the blog during the game for my live updates and after the game for photos, videos and more!

July 23, 2010

Fans would be OK moving Hughes to pen

I asked my Twitter followers if they would be for or against a plan to put Phil Hughes in the bullpen after Andy Pettitte returns from injury if the Yankees added another starter at the deadline.

By the way, Fox Sports is reporting the Yankees look like the front-runners to land Dan Haren. Now, I know what happened last time and I know some are still recovering, but I’m going to keep an eye out on this deal just to be safe.

Here were the responses on Twitter:

Consensus: 83% would be OK with putting Hughes in the bullpen, while only @bitty_boop stood up for Hughes. See her proposal below.

Twitter Responses to Hughes to Bullpen

Blog Comment: I would like to highlight the comment Zanath, author of Ballcraft,  made on my original blog post. He gave a detailed response and made a few nice points.

I would only agree with putting Phil Hughes in the pen after he reaches his innings limit. If Pettitte is indeed out until September, then I could see putting him in the pen sometime in that month. I really think the Yanks screwed up with Joba big time, with the to the bullpen and back stuff. Phil Hughes should be a starter until he reaches that limit.

That said, I do think the Yanks need to get a starter. I really don't know if they can win the division with Mitre as a third starter. I could be wrong, but I just don't think it's possible, especially with the way the pitching has been after the break.

Feel free to counter Zanath in the comments or on Twitter.

My Take: I’m surprised at how many people agree with the idea of putting Hughes in the bullpen. I haven’t even conceded the idea that Hughes could be one of the 3-4 starters in the postseason depending on who is healthy.

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