August 2009

Edition Nine

Greetings Yankee fans!

 

And welcome to the ninth edition of Yankee Yapping.

 

Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

This Past Home Stand

 

 


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After last weekend’s series victory in Boston (and the end of a 10-game road trip in which the Yankees went 7-3 on) the Bronx Bombers came home for a six-game home stand.

 

The home stand started off shaky as the Yanks lost 10-9 in an “almost game” on Tuesday. Down 10-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Yanks showed some fight and life, scoring four runs and coming within an eyelash of winning the game.

 

Rough loss, but they rebounded nicely winning on Wednesday by a score of 9-2 with a good game from Andy Pettitte and timely hitting from Jorge Posada and Jerry Hairston, Jr. (who both homered in the win).

 

Looking for the series victory, A.J. Burnett tossed a solid game Thursday afternoon. However, I kept asking myself after that game, “How can a pitcher strike out 12 batters and lose?” Well, apparently it’s possible, because it happened to Burnett. He went six innings and gave up three runs on just two hits, walked three and struck out a season-high 12.

 

The Yankees dropped the series finale to Texas, 7-2. It was the first time the Yanks lost a series since the July 30-Aug. 2 series in Chicago, losing three of four to the White Sox.

 

Coincidently enough, the White Sox came to town for the final three games of the home stand, and the Empire once again struck back.

 

On Friday the Yanks saw a gem from their ace, the Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia. He pitched seven strong innings and gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked one and matched his season high strikeout mark, fanning 10 White Sox.   

 

Even though he didn’t notch the win, Sabathia still has the Major League lead in the wins category with 15. I said it last week and I’ll say it again: CC could very well be “Cy Cy” this year.

 

With the game tied in the 10th, Robinson Cano delivered the death blow, a game-winning three-run blast that landed in the Yankee bullpen to give the Bombers a Friday night win. 

 

It was Cano’s 21st home run of the season, his fourth career walk-off hit, and very first career walk-off home run.

 

It was the first time the Yanks hit a walk-off homer against the White Sox since Don Baylor beat them with one swing in 1985.

 

The Yankees now have 12 walk-off wins this year (if you count the walk-off error by Luis Castillo on June 12 vs. the Mets) Six of those 12 walk-offs have come via the home run, which ties a single-season team record.

 

Saturday the Yankees came out swinging, and in my mind the unexpected happened. I thought that the Yankees had a good chance of winning (as I always do), especially because of the White Sox’ starting pitcher, Jose Contreras.

 

Contreras was 0-6 against the Yankees going into Saturday’s start, but then again we never know what we’re getting out of Sergio Mitre anymore, who made the start for the Bombers.

 

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What we got Saturday afternoon was pretty good. Mitre looked great and pitched a gem, even taking a perfect game into the fifth inning.

 

Mitre had to be taken out after getting hit with a line drive, but his performance was outstanding. Chad Gaudin (who relieved Mitre after he was struck on the arm with a line drive) also did well, and the White Sox only mustered one hit in that game against the two Yankee hurlers.

 

Manager Joe Girardi said they will evaluate Mite and after that make the decision as to whether or not he will make his next start. Saturday marked the first time that Mitre pitched six complete innings since Aug. 25, 2007. Hopefully we’ll see more of that down the stretch, if he’s OK to pitch.

 

With the combined efforts of Cano, Hairston, Alex Rodriguez, and Johnny Damon (who all knocked in two runs on Saturday) the White Sox were squashed, 10-0. Rodriguez hit his 23rd home run of the year and Hideki Matsui also drove in a run.

 

Saturday’s win was the 17th time this year the Yanks have scored 10 or more runs in one game.  If you ask me, that is just ridiculous. To me, that number says the Yankees know how to score runs like it’s no one’s business.

 

The finale against the ChiSox (and last game of the home stand) was yet another victory for the Yankees as they won, 8-3 on Sunday afternoon.    

 

Damon tied his career-high home run count of 24 and Mark Teixeira blasted a three-run homer, his 32nd of the year, in the win. The parade of pitchers (Joba Chamberlain, Alfredo Aceves, Damaso Marte, David Robertson, Phil Hughes, and Phil Coke) did a fine job of holding down the White Sox, possibly knocking them out of playoff contention with the sweep. The Yankees outscored Chicago 23-5 this past weekend.

 

Aceves got the win on Sunday and moves to 9-1 in relief. He has been so valuable to the Yankees this year, and that statement is evidenced by his record.

 

Overall the Yankees went 4-2 on their home stand, and have won 20 of their last 26 ballgames. They have gone 31-11 since the All-Star break (which is the best in baseball) and are 20-7 in this month alone. I don’t think the Yankees want the summer month of August to end with those kinds of numbers.

 

The last day of August is today, and Andy Pettitte (11-6, 4.18 ERA) will look to keep the Yankees rolling on their winning streak (and their hot streak this month) tonight in Baltimore against Jeremy Guthrie (9-12, 5.26 ERA) and the Orioles.

 

The Yanks will play their next seven games on the road (three in Baltimore and then four in Toronto) and then will come home to play Tampa Bay on Labor Day, which is Monday, Sept. 7.

 

Oh, and as they’ve had most of the year, the Yankees still own the best record in baseball at 82-48. They are also the only team (at press time) with 80 or more wins.

 

With each game, the Yankees are looking more and more like the team to beat in the playoffs, and right now all is right in “Yankee Universe.”

 

Joba Rules Getting Old?

 

 


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Everybody knows about the “Joba Rules” but quite honestly I’m getting really tired of them.

 

On July 29, Chamberlain made a scheduled start in Tampa Bay against the Rays, and shined like he had been since the second half of the season started after the All-Star break.

 

He went eight innings in that game and gave up no runs on just three hits, walked two, and struck out five.

 

After the great game in Tampa, the Yankees rested him for eight days, not allowing him to start again until Aug. 6. In hindsight it was the right thing to do (since they needed Chamberlain to make the start against the Red Sox at home–a game that he won, but didn’t pitch well in)

 

Against Boston, Chamberlain went five innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He walked seven in that game and struck out five. If you want my opinion, I think the extra rest probably hurt him, but I completely understand why the Yanks did it. They needed him to throw in a crucial series against the Red Sox that they needed to win.  

 

He pitched again on Aug. 11 vs. Toronto (on normal rest) and wasn’t great, but wasn’t horrible, either. He went six innings, gave up four earned runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Chamberlain didn’t pick up the win, but the Yanks did come out on top, 7-5.

 

Since that game against Toronto, Chamberlain has not pitched particularly well at all. He went out again on normal rest in Seattle and was less-than-acceptable. He tossed only four innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two.

 

He then went on to pitch against Texas this past Tuesday and again went on eight days rest. The rust showed, and he coughed up a four-run Yankee lead and he went on to lose the game, his second consecutive loss. He looked extremely flat in that outing, only going four innings allowing seven earned runs on nine hits.

 

Sunday against Chicago is when I got annoyed. Chamberlain only went three innings and tossed 35 pitches before being pulled. He gave up two runs on four hits, but the reason they pulled him was because they want to be careful with him; they want to make sure he won’t pass his 2009 innings limit.

 

Joe Girardi has been quite secretive and has not revealed what Chamberlain’s innings limit is exactly. The media has estimated that the limit is in the neighborhood of 160. Right now he’s at 133 and 2/3. Girardi even said that as high as 180 innings this year would be a “danger zone” for Chamberlain.

 

I really don’t get it anymore. We all know he’s on an innings limit, but when he’s throwing the ball so well, why slow him down? That’s exactly what the Yankees did. His first four games after the All-Star break he was 4-0 with a 3.81 ERA. They messed with him, and now he’s off kilter.

 

I understand why the Yanks are being careful with him. Chamberlain (in the Yankee organization’s mind) is an integral part of their future. They don’t want to ruin his arm at 23 years old.

 

I mean, look at what has happened to Edinson Volquez (26 years old) of the Cincinnati Reds. He tossed 196 innings last year in 2008 and got as far as 49 and 2/3 this year before needing to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

 

The Yankees certainly don’t want that to see something like that happen to Chamberlain. But if he’s pitching well, let him go. The Yankees are eventually going to have to give him more innings of work before the post-season if they want him to start.

 

All I know is that they better figure something out for him, and hopefully they can find it for Chamberlain before October. The Yankees need him to be dealing in full force come the ALDS.

 

Besides, I think everyone (not just me) has grown extremely tired of the “Joba Rules.”

 

This is Chamberlain’s third year in the big leagues. Just take the leash off and let him throw.

 

Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano

 

 


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I think Major League Baseball should investigate these two players just to make sure they are human beings and not hitting machines.

 

Both Jeter and Cano are on absolute tears right now.

 

To start, Jeter has been red hot with 16 hits in his last 10 games. In those 10 games, he has scored 13 runs and knocked in six along with hitting two homers and stealing three bases.

 

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It just seems every time Jeter comes up, he comes up with big hits and RBIs. On Sunday night it was announced that Jeter was named the shortstop on ESPN’s “20th Year All-Star Team,” beating out Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ozzie Smith.

 

Jeter has 2,710 career hits (175 of which have come in 2009 so far) and he will soon be the all-time Yankees’ hits leader. Lou Gehrig is currently sitting atop that list, but (without question) by season’s end Jeter will pass him.

 

Many people are talking Jeter, along with Mark Teixeira, up to be the American League Most Valuable Player. If you want my opinion, Jeter was robbed in 2006 when Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins won it ahead of him.

 

If he’s in the discussion, I have a feeling Jeter will not be the runner-up this year. It’ll just be another accomplishment under his belt. But if you ask Jeter, he’d say he wants a World Title over the MVP. He has a good shot at getting both.

 

And then there’s Cano.

 

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The young second baseman has also been tearing the cover off the ball, hitting safely in eight of his last 10 games. Over that span he’s collected 14 hits with three home runs, 10 RBIs, and eight runs scored.

 

He’s already set a new career-high in home runs with 21 to this point (he passed his career-high home run mark of 19 on Tuesday vs. Texas when he went deep for the 20th time–before hitting number 21 on Friday in walk-off style) and he has turned some heads with his stellar defense this season.

 

Cano is really showing no signs of slowing down, and I can remember hearing some analysts on ESPN say he’s the best second baseman in the league in terms of getting the ball to first base when executing a double play. Watching him all year, I couldn’t agree more.

 

Both his defense and offense have improved since last year, and I’m really happy that he hit his first walk-off home run on Friday night. He looked so happy when he rounded the bases, and I expected something big from him, seeing as how incredibly hot he’s been hitting.

 

I know I’ve profiled the hitting and defense of both players in past editions of the blog already, but I just couldn’t help pointing it out again. Jeter and Cano are on fire, and if they continue to hit they way they are, they will be extremely difficult to pitch to in the playoffs.

 

30 hits between two players in only 10 games seems quite ridiculous, but I guess this year it’s normal for Jeter and Cano. These two guys are like Superman and Batman; they are so powerful and they won’t give up.

 

September Call-Ups

                   

With the end of August tomorrow, we have officially hit the stretch run of the baseball season. And in the stretch run, teams are allowed to expand their active rosters from 25 players to 40, if they choose to.

 

The Yankees will call up some minor leaguers to help them reach their September goal: clinching the American League Eastern Division.

 

 


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I have no doubt that Ramiro Pena will get rewarded with a call-up. He played in 53 games this season, and helped fill the void left by Alex Rodriguez before his return from his hip injury on May 15.

 

Pena hit .277 with no homers and seven RBIs in those 53 games for the Yanks this year, and he’ll most likely get a call back to the show on Tuesday for a role on the bench. I think he’s earned it.

 

I also have a feeling we’ll see catcher Francisco Cervelli back up in the majors. He did a great job of filling in for Jorge Posada when he was injured, and put up some decent numbers, even for a catcher.

 

 


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Cervelli hit .269 in 25 games this year with a home run and nine RBIs. In the last 10 games he played in before being sent packing, he collected nine hits with five RBIs and six runs scored.

 

I really think Cervelli could very well be the starting catcher in the future for the Yankees, of course after Posada’s catching days are over.

 

Expect to see a few pitchers come up, maybe Jonathan Albaladejo and Mark Melancon, both of whom have already been up and back down to the minors.

 

Maybe Edwar Ramirez gets a call back, but who knows. They’ll need some arms to keep Joba Chamberlain’s innings count down, so there is help on the way for Chamberlain and the starters who don’t get far into the game.

 

There’s a possibility Shelley Duncan gets a call up. He was raking in the minors and briefly made an appearance in the show before the non-waivers trade deadline.

 

Although he got a mid-season call-up and was seen in the Yankee dugout, Duncan didn’t even take the field because the Yankees received Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trade deadline, which sent Duncan back to Triple-A.

 

 


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Duncan made a splash when he was called up in August of 2007, hitting .257 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 34 games. He was believed to be part of the Yankee youth movement after ’07, but when he came up in 2008 he just wasn’t the same player.

 

In ’08 he played in only 23 games and hit .175 with a homer and just six RBIs.

 

This year in the minors for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, Duncan smashed 29 homers with 92 RBIs while batting .274. If he could show those kinds of numbers in the majors, he could possibly be a mainstay in the majors.

 

Maybe the 29 year-old Duncan gets rewarded for his good Minor League year with an end-of-season call-up. If not, he can spend time reading his “Shelley Duncan Facts” website (please don’t take these seriously, folks)

 

http://www.freewebs.com/shelleyduncanisthemessiah/shelleyduncanfacts.htm

 

Along with all these minor leaguers who have had a few “cups of coffee” with the Yanks this year, hopefully we will see the return of Brett Gardner from the disabled list.

 

Gardner fractured his thumb sliding into second base in a game at home against Oakland, but the speedster is hoping to come back to the Yankees within the week. A runner of Gardner’s speed (along with everything else he’s done this year) makes him worthy of a post-season roster spot, in my mind.

 

Of all these players who may see the majors on Tuesday, Gardner’s really the only one I see making the playoff roster, but that doesn’t mean the others won’t help the Yankees get there.   

 

Well, that does it for this week’s edition of Yankee Yapping. I will be back next week with more topics, highlights, and analysis.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!!!

Edition Eight

Greetings Yankee fans!

 

And welcome to the eighth installment of Yankee Yapping.

 

Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

This Weekend in Boston

 

 


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The Yankees were looking good coming into Boston on Friday, having won two out of three against Oakland. Rolling into Boston, the Yankees were 4-8 against their division arch-rivals, and with a 6 and ½ game lead were looking to gain ground on them in the standings.

 

Friday night was shocking to say the least. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 20-11, the most combined runs (31) ever scored in a Yankees/Red Sox game. Hideki Matsui was responsible for seven of those 20 runs, going 2-for-6 with two homers.

 

Mastui’s seven runs batted in set a career-high for most RBIs in a single game, and it marked the most runs knocked in by a Yankee at Fenway Park since Lou Gehrig in 1930.

 

The Yankees were 15-25 with runners in scoring position on Friday night. That’s astonishing, considering how poorly they played the next day.

 

Saturday afternoon the Yankees got squadooshed, losing 14-1. The Bronx Bombers went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while A.J. Burnett got touched up for nine runs in five innings. The only bright spot for the Yankees was a solo shot by Nick Swisher.

 

In the rubber game Sunday night, the Yankees were able to get to Josh Beckett early, and they won 8-4. Matsui was at it again, adding two more home runs and two more RBIs.

 

In addition to Matsui’s two blasts on Sunday, Derek Jeter hit a lead-off homer, his 16th of the year, and Robinson Cano took Beckett deep, his 19th home run of ’09 which ties his career-high home run mark.

 

Alex Rodriguez also went yard, clubbing his 22nd homer of the season as Beckett gave up five long balls, the most he’s ever given up in a game.

 

The Yankees have five players on their team with 20 homers or more, and they will most likely break the record of six players with 20 homers or more this year.  

 

Mark Teixeira leads the team with 31, Rodriguez has 22, Matsui has 23, Nick Swisher has 21, and Johnny Damon has 22. With so many players close to and over 20, the Yankees lead the majors in the home run category with 191.

 

The Yankees and Red Sox will meet for the final time in the 2009 regular season at Yankee Stadium, Sep. 25-27.

 

Boston will most likely be playing to keep their Wild Card hopes alive as the Yankees (at press time) own a 7 and ½ game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East Division and the best record on baseball at 78-46.

 

The race is looking to be all but over with the Yankees in the lead.

 

CC Sabathia

 

 


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When he started off the season in Baltimore and got roughed up, I was none too happy. He’s had some struggles throughout the season, probably a result of just getting acclimated to pitching in New York, but I have to say, CC Sabathia has been great this year.

 

The 29 year-old ace has been outstanding this season, especially in the month of August. In this month alone, Sabathia has gone 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA, and opponents are only batting .207 against the big left-hander.  

 

I think the biggest game he pitched this year was against the Red Sox on Aug. 8, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Jacoby Ellsbury broke it up with a single.

 

He tossed 7 2/3 innings against the BoSox and gave up no runs on just three hits while walking two and racking up nine strikeouts.

 

Sabathia said to the media after the game that it was his best start, he felt good, and that his delivery was where it needed to be. He also said he thought he was throwing the ball a little better, and it looked like that in his next start in Seattle.

 

Against the Mariners on Aug. 13, Sabathia gave up one run on just three hits. He walked two and struck out 10 batters, setting a season-high mark.   

 

I think the Yankees feel confident they can win every time he gets the ball, and that can prove to be huge in October.

 

I also think the Yankees can really rely on Sabathia in the post-season, knowing not only that they can win with him pitching, but also knowing that he can take the ball on short rest if they need it. He did it with the Brewers last year, and I’m sure (if need be) he can do it again this year.

 

Sabathia is truly a horse.

 

My prediction at the beginning of the season was 18, maybe 19 wins for Sabathia in his first year in pinstripes. But right now he’s got an MLB-leading 15 victories with a little over a month left in the regular season.

 

I say if he wins his next game (which will probably come on Saturday vs. Chicago–who he beat on Aug. 2) he’s got a real shot at 20 wins, and possibly the Cy Young Award.

 

A lot of people are talking up Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira to be the Most Valuable Player this year, but Sabathia has sort of flown under the radar in the Cy Young discussion.

 

CC might be “Cy Cy” this year.

 

 

 A.J. Burnett’s Recent Struggles

 

 


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It’s hard to explain what’s happened to A.J. Burnett. He seemed to be rolling along nicely, owning a record of 6-2 (over his last 10 games) going into his start on Aug. 12 against the Blue Jays.

 

Since then he is 0-2 with a 3.83 ERA.

 

Burnett did not have it on Saturday when he got hammered for nine runs in five innings, a game the Yankees lost 14-1 in Boston. A lot of Yankee fans I heard from said things like, “A.J. is terrible,” and “It’s all A.J.’s fault.”

 

But I think every Yankee fan that bashed Burnett after Saturday’s loss has to look at the bigger picture. Burnett had a bad game, and it happens. It’s happened more frequently in Boston this season where he is 0-3 this year.

 

But in his previous 11 starts before the start he made last Monday in Oakland, Burnett was still 6-2 with three no-decisions–all three no-decisions Burnett received were games the Yankees won, indicating that Burnett still gave them a chance to win when he took the hill.

 

Oh, and by the way, Burnett went 4-0 in the month of July and the Yankees won all five games he started.

 

His last start in Oakland was somewhat strange; Burnett pitched all eight innings, only giving up three runs, but he took the loss. The Yankees were shutout, 3-0.

 

You have to put that game into perspective, though; He had one bad inning (the fourth) when he gave up the three runs that cost the Yanks the game. But the Yankee offense really hadn’t given him any help by not scoring any runs, even when they had the opportunity.

 

They rebounded nicely, winning the next two games in Oakland, but Burnett still gave them a chance to win the day he pitched. The hitters just didn’t capitalize.

 

Then of course came the forgettable game on Saturday in Boston. Yes Burnett had a bad day, but then again the whole team was off.

 

I noticed that Jorge Posada launched the ball over Burnett’s head while simply tossing the ball back to him after a pitch–very sloppy. The two seemed out of rhythm all day, and they both noted that after the game.

 

The Yankees would not be where they are now without Burnett. He’s had some rough games in Boston, and aside from his brilliant game at home vs. the Red Sox on Aug. 7, they have been a thorn in his side all year.

 

The fans have to look at the better games Burnett has pitched this season, and right now he could even be dealing with a bit of a tired arm, as noted on ESPN these last couple of weeks.

 

It’s late in the season and he’s been going almost seven innings every game, so the wear and tear may be weighing on him a little bit. (Not trying to make excuses for A.J., but it is a possibility)

 

I still believe Burnett will be dominant down the stretch run and into the post-season, with a possibility of winning 15 or 16 games this year.

 

He hasn’t won since July 27 at Tampa Bay, but he’ll have the chance to change that this Thursday afternoon at home against Texas.

 

Burnett (10-7, 4.08 ERA) will take the hill against Dustin Nippert (4-2, 3.95 ERA).

 

The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Part II

 

 


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Last week I was only on chapter one of Buster Olney’s book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. I am now nearly finished with the book, and so much more clued into a lot of things about the Yankees and even life in general.

 

As some Yankee fans might remember, there was a young outfielder by the name of Ricky Ledee that got the call to the show (and the Yanks) in 1998.

 

 

 

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I can actually remember watching the Yankee game with my family when he hit his first career home run.

 

I left the living room for a second, thinking the new kid would strike out. I heard my family yell for joy, and when I came back, Ledee was rounding the bases after crushing his homer.

 

But little did I know that when Ledee was 12 years old, he got into a fight with his father Antonio Ledee, who happened to earn money as a musician. Antonio was set to leave on a trip and asked Ricky for a kiss goodbye.

 

Ricky, still angry with his father, refused.

 

It turns out Antonio was killed in a car accident on the same trip, and it haunted Ledee years later. I mean, how couldn’t that haunt you? I would feel unbelievably sad for the rest of my life. But Ledee vowed to never be mean to anyone for the rest of his life.

 

This particular story really tuned me in to what’s important in life sometimes. I know to never leave a conversation mad or with hurtful words, because you never know when or if you’ll ever see that person again.

 

Aside from some life lessons taken from the book, I learned why the Yankees traded David Wells after the 1998 season.

 

 


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I hadn’t realized until I read the book how poorly Wells conducted himself sometimes.

 

 

Before he had gotten to be good friends with David Cone, they really didn’t like each other; Cone resented the fact that Wells did not keep himself in good enough shape (Wells was even fined $20 for every time he was too heavy while playing in the minors) and even called Wells a “quitter” once.

 

Reading about his off-the-field antics just wasn’t pretty. Wells once broke his hand during an altercation outside a San Diego bar. Bars were a huge part of Wells’ life, as he was known to raise a glass or two.  

 

At the beginning of Spring Training in ’99, the Yanks had heard mumblings of what Wells had in mind if he didn’t get his contract renewed by the Yankees. He planned to come to camp out of shape and make a nuisance of himself.

 

The Yankees basically thought, “Any other player we would shake it off as BS. But with Wells…he’s probably serious.”

 

So the first day of Spring Training in 1999, Wells was dealt to Toronto along with Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush for Roger Clemens. When this transpired in 1999, I really had no clue why the Yanks made this deal, as Wells was beloved by the Yankee Universe and Clemens was hated.

 

But now I see why they made the trade; they had good reason to. Heck, I would’ve done the same thing.

 

I said it last week and I’ll say it again, if you are a Yankee fan, do yourself an enormous favor and read this book. Olney is very insightful; very direct. He takes you through that fateful game seven of the 2001 World Series all the while telling you what was happening off-the-field and in the lives of the Yankee players.

 

I really don’t want to give much more away; I’d like you all to read it for yourselves. I know every Yankee fan will enjoy the book as much as I have. It’s a GREAT read, I highly recommend it!

 

Well, that does it for this week’s blog. I’ll be back next week with different topics, highlights, and analysis.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!

Edition Seven

Greetings Yankee Fans!

 

And welcome to the seventh edition of Yankee Yapping.

 

I’d first like to say thank you to MLB.com for making Yankee Yapping the featured blog this past week. It’s a HUGE honor for me to be featured, as I someday dream of writing on MLB.com’s staff.

 

It’s my understanding that not many bloggers get featured, so THANK YOU  to all who have read and enjoyed Yankee Yapping, and especially MLB.com who put me on the front page. Please keep reading, there’s a lot more to come!

 

Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

The State of the Yankees and Upcoming Match-Ups

 

 


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Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi said it best when he stated that in order for the team to succeed, they have to win series. That is precisely what the Yankees have done for the better part of the second half of the season, and it’s the reason they are currently 74-44, standing in first place atop the American League East.

 

Since the All-Star break, the Yankees are 23-7, losing only one series (at Chicago) since the halfway point.  

 

After sweeping Boston last weekend, the Yankees took two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays and then went on the road. They traveled to Seattle for a four-game set with the Mariners and took three out of four from them.

 

They have a solid 33-26 record on the road, but what really strikes me is the winning record at home. Of the Yankees’ 74 wins, 41 of them have come at their new ballpark. They’ve only lost 18 times at home this year (to this point) and most of those losses were pretty close, save for the 22-4 beating the Cleveland Indians gave them back on April 18.

 

But the Yankees are a much different team than they were on April 18. They have the best record in baseball and hold a 7.5 game lead in their division over the second place Boston Red Sox.

 

Despite dropping a 10-3 decision in the series finale vs. Seattle yesterday afternoon, the Yankees are still in good shape for a run down the stretch.

 

Tonight the Yankees open up a three-game series in Oakland against the Athletics, whom they have already beaten five times this year.

 

A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Chad Gaudin are the three probable starters for the Yankees in the Oakland series.

 

After the Yankees are finished in Oakland they will head back to the east coast and start a three-game set at Fenway vs. the Red Sox this Friday night.

 

According to Yankees.com it’s looking like Andy Pettitte vs. Brad Penny in game one. This series is much bigger for the Red Sox than the Yankees. Boston was swept by the Bombers the last time they met each other, so they’d really like to make up some ground in the standings by winning this series.

 

Boston needs to win two games out of the six they have left to play against the Yankees in order to win the season series against their arch rivals. If you want my prediction, I think the Yankees will take two of three from Boston this upcoming weekend.

 

The pressure is really off New York and on the Red Sox, and the Yankees can take the field knowing that if they lose, their season is not in jeopardy.

 

If Boston loses, well…things might not go as planned for the Red Sox this year, especially the way the Texas Rangers are playing right now.

 

Texas is currently ½ a game ahead of Boston in the Wild Card standings, so if the Red Sox (who are 4-6 over their last 10 games and just dropped two of three to Texas) do not start finding it, they could be in big trouble down the stretch.   

 

Derek Jeter’s Milestone

 

 


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It seems throughout his whole career he’s done it all. Four World Series titles, Six AL Pennants, a World Series MVP the same year he won the All Star MVP, and countless other accomplishments.

 

Yesterday Derek Jeter wrapped an RBI double in the top of the third inning against Seattle, but it wasn’t just another hit to go on his resume. It was his 2,674th career hit, passing Hall of Famer and former Chicago White Sox legend Luis Aparicio for the most hits in baseball history from a shortstop.

 

Always so humble, Jeter could hardly believe he had accomplished the feat. He told the New York Times that he just tries to be as consistent as he possibly can year in and year out, and he said that holding the record is “pretty hard to believe.”

 

Well, I can believe it. He has been around (in full force) since 1996, and every year he has provided the fans with thrills, hard plays, and awesome memories. Although the Yankees lost, Sunday was no exception.

 

This year (to this point) Jeter is batting .323 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs. His home run count has climbed a bit this year, and he has the chance to maybe tie or break his career-high mark in home runs.

 

In 1999 Jeter belted 24 homers, the most he’s ever hit in a single season in his career. He came close to the high-water mark in 2004 when he hit 23, but with that jet stream at the new Yankee Stadium he’s got the opportunity to break it. Jeter has homered in two out of the three games I’ve attended this summer.

 

Mark my words–when Jeter’s career is over he will have 3,000 hits. And when he is one day retired, he will be in the Hall of Fame alongside Aparicio and all the other shortstop legends.

 

In my eyes he is (and forever will be) the greatest shortstop of all-time.    

 

 

Robinson Cano

 

 


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This past Wednesday, Robinson Cano lined a deep fly ball that bounced off the fence in right-center field in the bottom of the 11th inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3.

 

It was his fourth career walk-off hit, and one of the 151 he has (so far) this season. Simply put, he is tearing the cover off the ball this year.

 

When he first came up in 2005, he struggled a little bit. I wondered if he was really going to be the guy who would be our second baseman for the next few years. I wondered if he could handle the spotlight of New York, and I wondered of he would ever become a solid hitter. Sure, he hit well in the minors, but could he do it at the Major League level?

 

Well he answered the call when he came back in 2006 and nearly won the batting title, finishing third to his teammate Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Cano ended ’06 with an average of .342 while Jeter finished at .344 and Mauer at .347.

 

After ’06 I knew Cano would be a mainstay with the Yankees, and he is–and probably will be–for years to come.

 

Cano has established himself as a fine average hitter, but his power numbers still confuse me. He has sort of gone up-and-down with his home run totals (14 in ’05, 15 in ’06, a career-high 19 in ’07, and back down to 14 in ’08)

 

This year he has smashed 18 homers, and will most likely set a new career-high in home runs. At press time he is on a 14-game hitting streak, and is really showing no signs of slowing down.

 

Just looking at his last 10 games he is 18-for-41 (.439) with two homers and three RBIs. He sports a .321 batting average at press time and is in the top 10 among MLB leaders in the batting average category.  

 

On top of his hitting, he has played some extraordinary defense at second base this year. Last year his range seemed a little off and he looked a little slow on some lazy ground balls, but this year he looks to be in top shape. He’s been moving around very well.

 

I expect more big things from Cano in September. He can be an extremely dangerous hitter, and in my book he’s officially a big league hitter and he knows how to play ball in the MLB.   

 

Cano may not walk away with the batting title this year, but I have a feeling he’ll finish with something. Whether it is a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger or a World Series ring, I don’t think he’s leaving the ’09 season empty-handed.    

 

 The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty (Part I)

 


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If anybody has read the “about me” section on my blog, you know that I am an aspiring journalist. I am the sports editor of my college newspaper, and I have cited Buster Olney as one of my influences.

 

I’m sure most fans have seen Olney on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” program, and if you didn’t know, he was the beat writer for the New York Times during the Yankees’ Dynasty run in the late ’90s.

 

In 2004 he wrote a book entitled The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness. In February of 2008 he expanded the book and re-released it, updated. I had been meaning to read it for quite some time and finally got my hands on a copy this weekend.

 

I’ve only read the updated 46-page introduction and the first chapter, and I have to say it is probably the best sports book I have ever read. I think it should be mandated by the Yankees for every fan to read it.

 

I learned so much about what was going on (and in a lot of ways what still goes on) behind the scenes with the Yankees.

 

For example, Joe Torre wanted Paul O’Neill to come back and play right field in 2002. O’Neill hung up his spikes at the end of the 2001 season, but right field was in such bad shape Torre tried to talk O’Neill into coming back.

 

The Yanks eventually fixed their right field problem with Raul Mondesi in ’02, but still it was something I never knew. I would preferred O’Neil over Mondesi, and now wish “the Warrior” had returned in ’02.

 

 


 
Griffey Sr., Bobby Murcer, and others around the batting cage OT Day.jpg 

 

I also thought it was astonishing how Olney used O’Neill taking batting practice in the cage before Old Timer’s Day in 2007 as the transition to O’Neill’s memories–namely because I was there at Yankee Stadium for Old Timer’s Day in 2007. I watched O’Neill take BP that day as those memories came back to him. (Pictured above)

 

Just from reading the first chapter I learned more about Mariano Rivera. I had no clue how difficult he had it growing up in Panama. His family was very strict; if he did something wrong he would be punished by his father, who was a fisherman. If he accidentally broke a window with a baseball, he would get spanked and harshly chastised.

 

Rivera came from a stringent, disciplinary family and that was what taught him to become a major leaguer. While his teammates watched The Jerry Springer Show in the clubhouse and laughed at how incredibly idiotic people can be, he was not laughing. He just stood silent and shook his head.

 

I learned that Rivera, even in the face of defeat, thought he controlled certain situations. Olney mentioned how in 1997 Rivera gave up a home run to Sandy Alomar, Jr. that helped give the Indians an ALDS win over the Yankees.

 

Rivera concluded that Alomar was lucky he was pitching that day. Alomar (a right-handed hitter) connected on a high fastball away that he took to right field for a home run. Rivera said that if any other pitcher with less velocity was on the mound, the ball would have tailed off and would not have left the park.

 

In Rivera’s eyes, he was the reason Alomar homered to give the Indians a victory. Not Alomar.

 

I’m sure there are plenty more stories like this throughout the book, and I hope to learn a lot more about the Yankees’ Dynasty years through the eyes of Olney, who witnessed it all as an outsider.  

 

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but if you really want to learn about the Yankees, do yourself an enormous favor and pick up The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. It (so far) is an awesome read, and I’ll be back with more of an overview of the book next week.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!

Edition Six

Greetings Yankee Fans!

 

And welcome to the sixth installment of Yankee Yapping.

 

Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

Boston Massacre

 

 


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In the last edition of the blog I said the Yankees had the potential to be 6 and ½ games in front of the Red Sox after this past weekend. Little did I know that would be the case and that the Yankees would meet that potential. I thought for sure the Yankees and Red Sox might split the series, simply by looking at the pitching match-ups.

 

But that wasn’t what happened.

 

It was a great weekend to be a Yankee fan as the Bronx Bombers were all over the Red Sox, sweeping them right out of Yankee Stadium. It was the first time since 1985 the Yankees swept the Red Sox in four games at home.

 

If you don’t think the Yankees were playing at their best, consider the numbers: The Yankees outscored the Red Sox 25-8 this past weekend. The Yankees averaged .299 at the plate while the Red Sox batted .174. The Yankees left the yard nine times while Boston only did so three times.

 

And it wasn’t just the hitting.

 

New York out-pitched Boston, posting an ERA of 1.71 this past weekend. Boston’s ERA was 5.82. Not only did New York have that stat over Boston, but the Yankee pitching kept the Red Sox off the board for 31 and 1/3 consecutive innings.

 

The Yanks had not kept Boston’s bats that quiet since 1952, and it was the longest streak of scoreless innings by the Red Sox since 1974.

 

Derek Jeter said after the game that the pitching for the Yanks has just been unbelievable. “I can’t say enough good about them,” were the words he used when speaking to the media.

 

If you look at each game individually, you can see just how great the Yankees were playing. They outdid the Red Sox in every facet of the game; hitting with runners in scoring position, pitching, defense–the Yankees had it all going for them this past weekend.

 

Coming into this series the Yanks were playing well and Boston wasn’t. The Yanks had just swept Toronto while Boston had just been swept by Tampa Bay, so while the Yankees were riding a winning streak into the series, Boston was coming off a few poor games.

 

It’s safe to say that in New England right now it must be like a funeral while here in New York everyone is all smiles.

 

Not only did Boston get swept by their most hated rivals, they fell to 6 and ½ games out of first place in the AL East Division and are now tied with the Texas Rangers for the lead in the AL Wild Card.

 

Overall it was not a great weekend to be a Boston Red Sox fan.

 

A.J. Burnett

 

 


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When the Yankees signed A.J. Burnett, most Yankee fans were somewhat skeptical. He has a history of being injured, and he had Tommy John surgery early in his career.

 

But I was happy when he signed, and not just because he and I share the same initials (well…sure, that was part of it). But the way he pitched against the Yankees in 2008 was the reason why I was thrilled.

 

We couldn’t beat him, so we joined him.

 

A free agent at the end of last year, Burnett signed for five years and $82.5 million. So far he’s earning it.

 

I think the best term that can be used to describe Burnett is clutch. He has been the Yankees best clutch pitcher this year and probably the most consistent. He may not lead the team with wins (he is second with 10 while CC Sabathia has 12) but if you look at performance, he’s been better than anyone else on the staff.

 

When he out-dueled his former teammate Josh Beckett on Friday night (a game the Yankees won in the 15th inning on a walk-off two-run home run by Alex Rodriguez) that was when I thought “clutch” to myself. He went out there and went head-to-head with Beckett (who currently leads the majors in wins with 13) and matched him pitch-for-pitch.

 

Burnett went 7 and 2/3 vs. Boston, giving up no runs on just one hit. He walked six and struck out six  

 

Not trying to knock any of the rest of the pitchers on the Yankees’ staff, because all of them have been excellent–they proved that this weekend. But Burnett has been the best of the Yankee pitchers all year.

 

In his last 10 games, Burnett is 6-2 with two no-decisions. Both no-decisions were games the Yankees won, and he’s racked up 57 of his 123 total strikeouts over those 10 games.   

 

If he continues to pitch the way he has been going down the stretch, the Yankees are in for a good run and most likely in good shape for October.

 

At press time Burnett boasts a 10-5 record with a 3.67 ERA. His next scheduled start is Wednesday afternoon at home against his former team, the Blue Jays.

 

Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira

 

 


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I really didn’t get Joe Girardi’s reasoning for switching Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter in the batting order this year, but now I’m starting to see why it was a good move.

 

The strategy of Jeter hitting lead-off and Damon batting in front of Mark Teixeira seems to be paying off. Damon and Teixeira compliment each other well in the lineup, and the numbers indicate that statement.

 

In last night’s thrilling 5-2 win over Boston, Damon and Teixeira hit back-to-back home runs for the sixth time this season. That sets a franchise record for back-to-back home runs, and the terrific tandem beat out a very elite group of Yankee players.

 

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig went back-to-back five times in 1927, and Gehrig later did it again with Joe DiMaggio in 1936. Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez also matched the total of five in 2005 while Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris went back-to-back four times in the 1961 season.

 

Teixeira actually didn’t realize he and Damon had set the record until Damon told him, and both players were excited about what they have been able to do this year.

 

“Me and Johnny hit strikes,” Teixeira told the press about his round-tripper last night. 

 

“He told me we have the record, and it’s unbelievable.”

 

While Teixeira is leading the American League in home runs with 29, Damon is tearing the cover off the ball. He has 21 homers with 65 RBIs and is batting .281. Six of those 21 long balls have come against the Red Sox.

 

Simply looking at his last 10 games, Damon is 15-for-46 with four homers, eight RBIs, and eight runs scored. In the final year of his contract, he is putting together a season that can earn him more time with the Yankees.

 

I predicted Damon to hit 26 homers this year. He might even hit more than that, the way he’s been playing.

 

As for Teixeira, he’ll certainly be in the MVP discussion. He is proving he can play in New York and play big time.

 

Hopefully these two will provide more exciting moments for the Yankee fans, and they have a chance to put their back-to-back home runs record so far out of reach that no other tandem of players will be able to touch it.

 

The 2009 Season to This Point

 


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I don’t think anyone really expected the Yankees to be in this position right now.

 

With the Tampa Bay Rays coming off their AL Pennant-winning season and the Red Sox making additions to their club, I think a lot of baseball fans expected the Yanks to flop again this year.

 

But look at what they’ve done. They struggled early on, playing without Alex Rodriguez and with a pitching staff that had yet to be acclimated to the new Yankee Stadium and the madness of the Bronx. But they just kept on battling and willing themselves all the way up to first place where they are now.

 

If you look at the last time the Yanks made the playoffs in 2007, it was (for the most part) one player’s responsibility. Rodriguez basically said, “Get on my back, guys. I’ll carry us.” And he did. Without Rodriguez in 2007, the Yankees would have been nowhere.

 

Rodriguez did it all in ’07–walk-off grand slams, walk-off homers, and ninth inning RBIs that were so unreal no one could believe what they were seeing. He finished the season with 54 home runs, 156 RBIs, and averaged .314.

 

2007 was pretty much “The Alex Rodriguez Show.” 2009 is proving to be “The New York Yankees Team Show.”

 

If you look back at how the Yankees handled themselves in 1998, everyone on the team contributed. That was why they won 114 games during the regular season and 125 games overall.

 

One night it might be Jeter, the next night Paul O’Neill, maybe the game after that Tino Martinez or Bernie Williams, and so on.

 

We are getting that same formula this year; one night it might be Damon, the next game Teixeira, another night it could be Jeter or Rodriguez, or Melky Cabrera. They are displaying excellent teamwork, like the 1990s Championship teams. They don’t beat themselves and they play every inning.

 

They’ve also been able to provide game-winning mystique, similar to the old Stadium. Cabrera has been clutch (as noted in the last edition of the blog; three walk-off hits this year) Jorge Posada has had a good year (two walk-offs to this point) and Rodriguez has even provided some walk-off magic (he has two game-winning hits this year)

 

Girardi described the team as “very resilient,” and they certainly are. They bounce back from things quickly, as demonstrated last night; Victor Martinez hit a two-run shot to give Boston a 2-1 lead in the seventh. In the bottom of the inning, Damon and Teixeira get the lead right back (to back…OK, bad joke)

 

The point is that if they are able to keep on doing what they are doing and playing the way they’ve been playing, they will go an awfully long way down the stretch and into the post-season.

 

At press time the Yankees sport the best record in baseball at 69-42. Last year they were 61-50 after 111 games, so as you can see by that statistic, they have greatly improved since 2008.

 

Yet they have to continue to play hard throughout the rest of the season. They will see division rivals Boston and Baltimore six more times this year, Tampa Bay seven more times, and Toronto nine more times, beginning a three-game set with them tonight.

 

They’ll also have to face the likes of the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Kansas City Royals along the way.

 

If any team can do it, it’s the Yankees. In their last 41 games they have gone an absolutely ridiculous 31-10. The Yankees are showing that they are for real.  

 

Well, that does it for this week’s edition of Yankee Yapping. Join me next week for more topics, highlights, and analysis.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!

Edition Five

Greetings all!

 

The first thing I’d like to do is thank everyone who became fans of “Yankee Yapping” on Facebook. It’s great to have a following on the ‘net, and I hope everyone enjoys the blog every week and the other postings each day.

 

Anyway, away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

Road Trip and Why the Yankees Didn’t Get Washburn

 

It’s been an up-and-down road trip for the Bronx Bombers to this point, as they’ve gone 3-4 over their last seven games.

 

Taking two of three from Tampa Bay was a great thing and a good way to start the trip, but it all came tumbling down for some reason when the Yanks got to Chicago.

 

Game one of the four game series wasn’t terrible; we just caught a bad break in the bottom of the ninth and we lost, 3-2. But respect to Nick Swisher for keeping us alive in the top half of the ninth with that solo home run.

 

The White Sox turned it on and just beat us down in the next two games, and the Yanks really didn’t help themselves. They played some sloppy defense and didn’t get great pitching on Friday night. Sergio Mitre, simply put, was awful. It was disgraceful to watch as a Yankee fan.

 

Friday was also the non-waivers trade deadline and I was hoping for the Yankees to make a pitching move. One name that kept popping up was Jarrod Washburn, but it just didn’t happen for the Bombers.

 

The unfortunate truth is that the Yanks called Seattle about Washburn who has put up some decent numbers this year (Washburn was 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA at the deadline) But the Mariners wanted either Jesus Montero or Austin Jackson in the deal. Unwilling to part with either one of those top prospects, the Yanks tried to negotiate for lesser players and called Seattle to inquire.

 

But Seattle never got back to the Yanks, giving them the opportunity to trade Washburn away to the Tigers. And it proved to hurt the Yanks, seeing as how poorly Mitre pitched in Friday night’s 10-5 loss (three innings, five earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and one strikeout)

 

So instead of a pitcher, the Yanks added utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr. Coming over from the Cincinnati Reds and only playing in two games for the Yanks thus far, Hairston already has three hits, two RBIs, and a run scored.

 

Hairston has also played some solid defense in the last two games, earning himself a “Web Gem” on Sunday night’s edition of “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN. He made a great, diving stop at third base to prevent a hit in the first inning of Sunday’s game.

 

Good pickup for the Yankees in Hairston, but we could have used a starter.

 

For as bad as everyone said A.J. Burnett looked on Saturday afternoon, I personally didn’t think he was that horrible. He walked a batter with the bases loaded in the second inning, an inning that the White Sox scored six runs.

 

But if you took a close look at the pitch that was called ball four, it was not a ball. That pitch was right over the plate and knee level, but the umpire refused to ring it up. Burnett only walked two batters and he struck out four over the 4.2 innings he pitched, but he was getting no help from the umpires and overall wasn’t terrible. The Yanks lost big, 14-4.

 

Finally the Yanks pulled out a win in Sunday’s game, winning 8-5 and hopefully gaining the momentum back for tomorrow’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Melky Cabrera

 

 


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In yesterday’s 8-5 win, it was a banner day for Melky Cabrera. He started the Yanks off on the right note with a home run in the top of the second.

 

He then went on to double in the fourth, single in the fifth, and triple in the ninth, completing the first Yankee cycle since Sep. 3, 1995 when Tony Fernandez accomplished the feat against the Oakland Athletics.

 

He also became only the 15th Yankee to ever do it, joining the likes of Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Bobby Murcer among others.

 

Another interesting stat that came up was that like Cabrera, Mantle and DiMaggio also hit their cycles against the White Sox.

 

Looking at the emotion on his face after he slid head-first into third base, you could just tell how happy Cabrera was. I think it really meant a lot for him to hit for the cycle, and after the game he was so thankful for Joe Girardi giving him the chance to play everyday.

 

Remember that Cabrera and Brett Gardner battled for the starting centerfielder job in Spring Training, a battle that Gardner won. But so far it looks like Cabrera is winning the war.

 

Cabrera has set a career-high in home runs this season with 10 to this point (the most he ever hit in a season was eight coming into this year) and he has been clutch in every facet of his game. He’s made some great catches on defense and has a handful of walk-off hits under his belt.

 

He was named Pepsi’s Clutch Performer of the Month in May, and he certainly earned it. As of June 9, Cabrera had 23 RBIs on the year, and of those 23 runs batted in, 11 of them either tied the game or gave the Yanks the lead in the seventh inning or later.

 

At press time Cabrera is sporting a .292 batting average with the noted 10 homers and 40 RBIs. Fans can expect more big things from the clutch Cabrera down the stretch, as this is proving to be his best season yet.

 

I think the Yanks made the right move not trading him for Mike Cameron in the off-season.

 

David Ortiz and his use of PEDs

 

 


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I’m really not surprised David Ortiz’s name was on the list of 104 players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

 

As a Yankee loyalist, I am by no means a supporter of the Boston Red Sox, but I have to say I was disappointed in Ortiz for it. I really have nothing against him personally; I feel he has been the face of their organization for a few years now, and he has such a way about him.

 

Ortiz seems to keep the Boston clubhouse loose with his attitude and presence, and he’s been doing that ever since he arrived in Boston.

 

But I cannot tell you how many conversations I had with my best friend about how Big Papi all of a sudden gained legendary power.

 

We used to say all the time, “he didn’t hit anything when he was a Minnesota Twin. Then he goes to Boston and he’s Mr. Power?” It didn’t make sense then, but it does now.

 

While a member of the Twins, Ortiz hit a total of 58 home runs over six years. In his first year with the Red Sox in 2003 (which was also the year he tested positive for PEDs) he hit 31 home runs and averaged .288 with 101 RBIs. Before ’03 Ortiz had never knocked in more than 75 runs in a single season.

 

I would be extremely upset if I were a Boston Red Sox supporter. That would be like finding out Derek Jeter took steroids. It would crush me.

 

Hopefully the players wise up and realize that if you take steroids, you will get burned. Your reputation gets tarnished and everything you do is looked at differently. Now other players (most notably Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels) are saying Boston’s 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships are tainted.

 

I would say in a way they are, more so ’04 than ’07. Ortiz was a major reason (if not the reason) the BoSox even made it to the World Series in ’04. He was named the MVP of the ALCS that year—the series Boston rallied back from 3-0 to beat the Yankees.  

 

Speaking of MVP Awards, Manny Ramirez was named the ’04 World Series MVP. He was also caught for using PEDs, so yeah; I would say Boston’s ’04 World Title is looking pretty phony and artificial.

 

But good performances and timely hitting from clean players like Dustin Pedroia and Mike Lowell were bigger reasons they won it in ’07. Unless players from the ’07 team test positive for banned substances in the future, I would say they won it fair and square that year.   

 

Upcoming Series vs. Boston

 

 


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On Thursday, the Yanks start up a four-game series against the arch-rival Red Sox. This is the series that can either make or break either team, and determine which club will have the upper hand in the AL Eastern Division and which one will have to stay afloat in the Wild Card.

 

At press time the Yankees currently sit in first place with their record of 63-42. Boston is 62-42, ½ game out of first place and even with New York in the loss column.

 

Girardi is doing the right thing with today’s off-day. He is re-configuring the rotation so that the better of the Yankee pitchers match-up with the Red Sox.

 

Andy Pettitte and Mitre are starting the two games against Toronto, while the brunt of the staff will go head-to-head against Boston.

 

Joba Chamberlain, Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Pettitte will be the four pitchers the Red Sox will see (on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively). Right now the Yankees are looking at John Smoltz and Josh Beckett in games one and two of the series, and it is not yet known which two Red Sox pitchers will go on Saturday and Sunday.  

 

The Yankees have not beaten the Red Sox at all this year, going 0-8 against their worst enemies. But the Yanks have an advantage playing at home where they are 35-17 this year.

 

Whatever happens, the Yankees need to at least split this series, and if not take three out of four or sweep them. If the Yankees and Red Sox finish with the same record and Boston wins the season series against the Yankees, Boston gets the division crown.

 

So with roughly two months to go, this series may prove to be huge in which team gets the division.

 

“It’s the master plan…God’s way…Yankees/Red Sox.”–Johnny Damon 

 

That does it for this week’s edition of Yankee Yapping. I’ll be back next week with more topics and analysis.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!

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