August 30, 2011

Nate’s Takes: A-Rod, lefties, OBP, Andruw Jones, Brett Gardner, David Robertson

It wasn’t a great week for the New York Yankees as they dropped some heartbreakers to the weakest teams in the League. They now sit 1.5 games out of first place as they once again try to win a series against the Red Sox.

The Yankees are facing two main questions. Can they enter the playoffs healthy? And who will start behind CC Sabathia in the playoffs? The Yankees are showing signs of wear and tear and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees used the expanded rosters to give some players extended days off. With a midweek rivalry series hours away here are my takes:

August 25, 2011

A few grand slams and another Globe item

The Yankees scored 22 runs today for Phil Hughes and he didn’t pick up the win.

In other news, I helped put together this gallery for that compares the Yankees and Red Sox down the stretch. Lots of good info on their remaining opponents and some playoff preview stuff. Check it out. Feedback/comments are appreciated.

Editor’s note: I thought it was pretty cool to see my name on that gallery side-by-side with the ex-Yankees beat writer I aspired to when I started lenNY’s Yankees. Enjoy.

August 23, 2011

Nate's Takes: Alex Rodriugez, Jorge Posada, September call-ups, Bartolo Colon

Finally the Yankees find themselves alone in first place. After the Red Sox got shut out by the Rangers last night the Yankees sit a full game above Boston. They also have a comfortable 7.5 game lead in the wild card to fall back on. The Yankees rotation is eating up innings like its 2003 and the only question mark seems to be A.J. Burnett. With all the winning the Yankees have done in the past three years it seems like Burnett has not done his part to contribute. It’s nice to hear that Brian Cashman won’t make decisions based on money, but I will believe that when I see it. Here are my takes on the week as the Yankees look to make a push on the best record in baseball.

August 21, 2011

The final stretch begins today, A-Rod returns

The most important part of the season begins today. Forget the last four months ever happened.

Just like any sport, the magical championship mix is born late in the season. It's not usually the team that wins consistently from the beginning of the season to the end; it's the team that puts all the puzzle pieces together down the stretch and steamrolls into the postseason.

Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankees lineup today, and the Yankees are tied with the Sox in the win column. Going by Steinbrenner standards, anything short of a World Series title is failure.

With A-Rod back in the heart of the order and the pitching staff working itself out (gulp, A.J., gulp), the Yankees will look to their current roster for their 2011 championship run.

August 16, 2011

Nate's Takes: Alex Rodriguez a DH, Curtis Granderson's defense, Eduardo Nunez

Disclosure: This post was written after Sunday’s rainout and the editor of this blog failed to post Nate’s Takes during the usually scheduled time – Monday morning. 

After a tough series in Boston the Yankees had an OK homestand and continued to keep pace with Boston in the AL East race. Mariano Rivera struggled in three straight outings causing Yankee fans to once again wonder if he was done. Curtis Granderson continued to crank home run after home run and the rotation seems to get more crowed be the day. With Alex Rodriguez days away from joining the lineup here are my takes.

August 15, 2011

Poll Results: Forget about Joba’s history, call up Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances

8.15.11 pitching prospectsFans voted in my latest poll that the Yankees shouldn’t worry about what happened to Joba Chamberlain when they consider whom to call up in the coming weeks. The big names in Triple-A are Manny Banuelos and — after a promotion just yesterday — Dellin Betances.

I’m a little surprised by the results but I still think it makes for good banter. By calling up one of those two studs, they risk infecting him with I-Don’t-Know-My-Role syndrome, which we all know Joba has suffered from (he’s rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery right now). On the other hand, who doesn’t remember how valuable Joba was down the stretch in 2007?

August 14, 2011

Pinstripe Alley interviews CC Sabathia

The good guys over at Pinstripe Alley had a chance to interview CC Sabathia at the MlB Fan Cave in NYC earlier this week and posted the full transcription on their blog. They grilled him pretty hard about the six-man rotation, and as usual, that “problem” is working itself out. Freddy Garcia was supposed to pitch today but was scratched due to a cut on his finger. This adage goes without saying: You can never have too much pitching.

Anyway, the guy who today is replacing Garcia is also the topic of their last interview question — and it’s worth the read!

August 12, 2011

Two righties: CC Sabathia & Billy Wagner

No typo in that headline; just fact.

Besides pitching, CC Sabathia does everything with his right hand, the Daily News reports. Sabathia said he couldn’t catch while playing T-ball right-handed so his dad let him try going lefty — and that turned it OK for him.

Billy Wagner, the retired lefty closer, also was born right-handed. His story is a bit different than CC’s. I’m sure there are others like these two, but Wagner was the first that came to mind. Former Yankee hurler Jim Abbott would be next in my mind, but his story is even more bizarre than CC’s and Billy’s.

August 10, 2011

Ex-Yankees update: Chien-Ming Wang, Arodys Vizcaino, tons more

This blog has been starving for an update on ex-Yankees, and I thought there would be no better time than today to revive this blog’s old periodic feature.

Why today? Well, that’s easy. Haven’t you seen the Nationals box score from last night?! If you were too lazy to click through that link, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that old friend Chien-Ming Wang picked up his first win since beating the Mets on June 28, 2009, while wearing pinstripes. Wang had a no-hitter through five innings, lost it in the sixth, but left without allowing a run. Although it may hurt some of you to see him back to his winning ways, I feel really good for him. It’s been a long journey for him, and I guess he needed a fresh start.

Another reason to bring back the ex-Yankees feature today is due to some news out of Braves camp. Atlanta called up  pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who went from the Yankees to the Braves in the Javier Vazquez deal in the 2009 offseason.

Without further ado, below are updates on some more old friends.

Baseball’s unusual batting stances [Globe]

Caution: the following gallery presents major league baseball's most unconventional batting stances and pre-at-bat mannerisms that are not recommended for replication by youth baseball players.

Click here to proceed.

Ex-Yankees on the list include Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Albert Pujols and Alfonso Soriano. (I was going to include Bobby Abreu, but frankly I don’t know what his current stance is. I read on the Interwebz that before he had his loose hands grip with the Yankees he had an overlapping golf style grip. Plus, Abreu torched the Yankees last night. No point in featuring him.)

For laughs, look for Dallas Braden and Dae-Sung Koo, too.

August 9, 2011

Fan offers Torii Hunter cash for dropped glasses [Photo]

A fan wearing a “Low Wage Puppet” T-shirt dropped his glasses in right field at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night and then held out cash for Torii Hunter, who returned the glasses without taking the money.
There, that’s your story in one sentence and a picture to prove it.

Now can’t we get other right fielders — past and current — to be as courteous as Hunter? Sorry, Gary Sheffield and Ichiro Suzuki. (Kidding about Ichirio, but still hilarious.)

Robinson Cano a victim of the Home Run Derby curse [Globe]

All four American League participants in the Home Run Derby, coincidentally, have seen a decline in power numbers in the second half. One of the curse sufferers is Derby winner Robinson Cano. But his decline hasn’t been as extreme as Sox sluggers David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez. Read all about it here, currently featured on’s sports page.

Do you believe in the Home Run Derby curse?

August 8, 2011

A walk in the wild

Somebody honked. Another hollered. Maybe I was just paranoid.

I don’t know what I was thinking; my mind was out of whack. But that’s another tale for another date.

In this tale, I walked the streets of Boston — Dorchester to be precise — with a Derek Jeter 3K shirt on. Although it was only for about 10 minutes, still, I am thankful to have returned unscathed.

Heck, I’m glad to have spoken to two friendly natives.

Although I’m calmly sitting here now, safely typing away on my laptop in my home, about to chow down on the monster sandwich I just picked up, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

Nate’s Takes: Jorge Posada, Jesus Montero, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano

The Yankees were three outs away. Three outs away from winning two out of three at Fenway Park. Three outs away from an excellent road trip. Three outs away from ending all the talk that the Yankees can’t beat the Red Sox. It just wasn’t meant to be, as Mariano Rivera blew his fifth save of the season and the Yankees found themselves in second place once again.

While this was a heartbreaking loss, Yankee fans can’t lose sight of how good this Yankee team still is. The Yankees are in great position to make the playoffs and still have a chance of winning the division. With that said, here are my takes for the week.

Poll Results: Fans happy with Brian Cashman after silent trade deadline

8.8.11 trade deadlineThe majority of Yankees fans voted the trade market was too thin for Brian Cashman to trade prospects for pitching. I would have to agree with the fans, but I’m curious to see which reinforcements from the system Cashman will call on this month or the next — if any at all. Will it be Jesus Montero, who probably doesn’t have a place defensively this season with Francisco Cervelli in town but has had the bat for years? Or how about Manny Banuelos, who is raising eyebrows in Triple-A Scranton these days?

The reason I’m so curious — other than pure excitement for seeing prospects of any sort get their first cracks at the big leagues — is that making Banuelos a late-season call-up, like the Yankees did with Joba Chamberlain in 2007 (four years ago, yesterday, actually), might turn out for the worst. History could repeat itself. That’s why I’m making this my poll topic for the week. Cast your vote!

Should the Yankees have second thoughts about calling up a star pitching prospect late in the season with Joba in the back of their minds?

August 6, 2011

Alec Baldwin owns John Krasinski in latest New Era commercial [Video]

See for yourself what Yankees fan Alec Baldwin does to Red Sox fan John Krasinski in the latest installment of the hilarious New Era commercials.

August 5, 2011

Joe Girardi’s bullpen call was huge tonight

In a fantastic opener to the series, the Yankees bullpen won. And it all boiled down to a gutsy call by Joe Girardi.

Bartolo Colon threw his 94th pitch but hadn’t completed the fifth inning. With two out, the bases loaded and Adrian Gonzalez stepping in the batter’s box, Girardi walked out to the mound.

Yankees-Red Sox Series Preview: For the East

The Yankees have come to visit me (and the Red Sox) in Boston this weekend, and they couldn’t have picked a better time. Riding a seven-game winning streak, they’ve tied the Red Sox for the division lead. This means whichever team wins this series will also leave with the division lead.

On the Hill:
Friday: Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.30) vs. Jon Lester (11-4, 3.17)
Saturday: CC Sabathia (16-5, 2.55) vs. John Lackey (9-8, 6.23)
Sunday: Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.22) vs. Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.20)

Red Sox-Yankees: Who’s hot, who’s not? [Globe]

More Red Sox-Yankees content for…

David Ortiz and Carl Crawford were red hot the last time these two teams met in June. Jon Lester was not at his best, and Derek Jeter still needed 14 hits to reach 3,000. That's all changed heading into this weekend's Sox-Yankees series.

Continue reading who’s hot, who’s not here.

5 questions for Red Sox & Yankees [Globe]

It’s nice when my job and my blog converge. This way I can kill two birds with one stone, like my latest feature: five questions for the Red Sox and Yankees. I have much more prepared for the series coming to you a bit later.

I included a poll at the end of the feature, asking which team has tougher questions to answer. The results coming from will likely be skewed, so feel free to discuss this debate in the comments.

August 2, 2011

Baseball’s unwritten rules [Globe]

They’re guidelines, really. Nothing’s official, but the players know to follow them. Or else … watch out! What I love most is these are really put on display during a rivalry, like the one we’ll all be watching this weekend when the Yankees come to my town (at least for the next few weeks). Other times you’ll see them come to light during a no-hit bid, or a dirty play. 

I put together this list of baseball’s unwritten rules for, but it may very well foreshadow the Sox-Yanks series. Enjoy.

August 1, 2011

Ochocinco: Why can’t New York and Boston get along and start a Prius gang?

Chad Ochocinco is the newest member of the New England Patriots. In his first few days as a New Englander, he tweeted some words of wisdom for fans.

I can't believe New Yorkers n my Boston folks don't get along.If we all united we could be 1 huge Toyota Prius car gang with cool jackets.

There you have it. By the end of this season, we’ll all drive Priuses (Prii?) and wear cool jackets that say “Mad Chad” on the back.

Nate’s Takes: Trade deadline, OBP & SLG, Freddy Garcia, Derek Jeter

The trade deadline has come and gone and the Yankees have the exact same roster. Although there might be some uproar from Yankee fans, I really don’t have a problem with Brian Cashman standing pat. The Yankees have the third best record in baseball, they rank second in runs and eighth in ERA.

Would a trade for Wandy Rodriguez, Erik Bedard or Heath Bell really have made them a better team? Would it have been worth giving up one or two top prospects to marginally help the 2011 New York Yankees? In my opinion it does not. However, I do think that Bedard was a great pickup for Boston. With the Yankees about to hit the road, here are my takes.

Poll Results: Fans favor Curtis Granderson over Jacoby Ellsbury

poll results85 In one of the most voted on polls in recent memory, fans gave the edge to Curtis Granderson over Jacoby Ellsbury in the center field rivalry. Judging by newer metrics, Ellsbury has the edge, but traditional stats favor Granderson. The way I look at it, both teams are in good shape at center for the next few years.

Next poll: Did Brian Cashman make a mistake by not adding reinforcements?

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