April 2010

Crown Cano With Many Crowns: Yankees Shutout O’s

We are just about one month into the young Major League Baseball season and already one New York Yankee is having a tremendous year. Not just a tremendous year, though. A year worthy of the Most Valuable Player Award and a batting title.

 

Is an MVP in Cano's future? 

 

I am of course speaking about the red-hot Robinson Cano, who at the end of the season could be wearing many crowns. In fact, I would not be surprised if he wins Player of the Month for April, undoubtedly just the first of his many accomplishments this season.

 

The young second baseman is absolutely locked in, going 16 for his last 24.

 

En route to the Yankees’ 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles tonight, he was 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, two RBIs, and three runs scored. Cano is currently on an eight-game hitting streak and is showing no signs of slowing down.

 

He is currently leading the Yankee team in practically every hitting category, and at press time is sporting an average of .407. Tonight marked the sixth time in his career he has gone deep twice in one game.

 

 


Cano is batting .407 this year 

If you were to touch the hem of Cano’s jersey right now, you would get burned.

 

Just looking at his swing and everything he is doing at the plate right now, Cano is making me think of (a young) Ken Griffey, Jr. His easy swing and effortless follow-through resembles that of Griffey’s.

 

Comparing Cano to a hitter of Griffey’s caliber might seem bold, but it’s the truth. Back in the day, Griffey could just put on a hitting show night after night, and that’s exactly where Cano is at the moment. He is exciting everyone and is the talk of every game.

 

Maybe his new nickname should be “Cano: The Kid 2.0.”

 

 


The Kid, 2.0 

Going 5-4 on their nine-game road trip, the Yankees will now head home to play the Chicago White Sox for the first three games on their six-game home stand. On the road, Cano pounded out 17 hits and knocked in a total of seven runs.

 

He may not want to leave the road as he is currently raking, but something tells me he will continue to do just fine hitting at Yankee Stadium. After all, his average at home is .318, so I’m reasonably sure he will have no problem coming home.

 

But it isn’t just about his hitting.

 

Cano is playing some of the greatest defense I have ever seen from a second baseman. He is, without question, the best second baseman in the American League, maybe in the entire league. He proved that tonight.

 

Making a spectacular play in the field, Cano robbed Nolan Reimold of a base hit. He ranged all the way over to the left side of the second base bag, and tossing an off balance throw, nailed Reimold at first base for an out. Cano was actually on the outfield grass when he made the throw.

 

That play made even Derek Jeter drop his jaw. Cano is quite the defender.

 

Helping Cano out tonight was A.J. Burnett, who tossed eight innings of shutout ball. The lanky right-hander surrendered no runs on just three hits. He issued only one walk and struck out four.

 

Burnett, a veteran pitcher who has been in the league since 1999, improved his record to 3-0. 2010 is the best start he has ever gotten off to, as he has never begun a season with a record of 3-0.

 

 


AJ Burnett tossed eight shutout innings 

Dr. Jekyll-Burnett showed up tonight and it was just what the Yanks needed to take the series from the O’s, two games to one.

 

Burnett also improved his lifetime record to 10-2 against the Orioles and remains undefeated at 5-0 in Camden Yards. He seems to love to pitch against Baltimore.

 

I can once again say: Burnett was dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas. (My new favorite analogy every time a Yankee hurler tosses a great game)

 

A tip of the cap also goes to Marcus Thames, who had three hits and knocked in a run in the game. Alex Rodriguez also knocked in Derek Jeter with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to get the Yankees on the board.

 

However the real story of the night: Cano and his tear. Throw a bucket of water on him right now and he would probably still be the hottest hitter in baseball.

 

There’s a reason he is my favorite Yankee. I have been saying for months what a great player Cano really is. And tonight just proved my point.

 

My favorite. 

Was Javier Vazquez Worth It?

Last December the New York Yankees made a trade to get a number four starter. Only using three pitchers in the postseason, and unsure of who was going to be the number five man, they got it done.

 

So long Melky Cabrera. Hello (again) Javier Vazquez.

 

 


Javier Vazquez returned to the Yankees this year 

Boasting a 15-10 record in 2009 with a minuscule 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts, some people were happy with the move. I, on the other hand, was not a proponent of this trade from the get go, remembering how poorly he had performed in his first stint in pinstripes. 

 

Vazquez, a member of the Yankees in 2004, was the losing pitcher in Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, surrendering the infamous grand slam to Johnny Damon–a blast that basically put the Yankees away.

 

Vazquez picthed in the Yankees' losing effort in the 2004 ALCS 

 

Back in pinstripes, Vazquez made his first start of 2010 on April 9. What happened? He picked up right where he left off in ’04 and got rocked. He tossed 5 2/3 innings, was charged with eight earned runs on eight hits, walked three, and struck out five.

 

Not the way he wanted to start the season, I’m sure.

 

His second start was a little better, but Vazquez still was not good enough to win. Against the Angels on April 14, he tossed 5 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out four. It certainly was not his best start, but it was a step up from his first.

 

 


Roughed up by the Rays.. 

Last Tuesday night in Oakland he got his first W of ’10 beating the Athletics in a 7-3 Yankee win. This time Vazquez made it through 5 1/3 innings, and gave up three runs on six hits. He walked three and fanned six.

 

Then we came to today…

 

Just when it seemed Vazquez was heading in an upward direction in terms of his pitching, he backpedaled and collapsed. He did not make it past the fourth frame, only giving the Yanks 3 2/3 innings of work. He served up five runs on five hits, walked three and struck out three. Not to mention he coughed up a three-run lead.

 

His pitching led to the Yankees’ first series loss of 2010, as they dropped two games out of three this weekend to the Halos. Yes–totally the opposite of cool.

 

 


Vazquez only pitched 3 2/3 innings today 

Right now, Vazquez is the weakest link on the Yankee pitching staff. He has not pitched past the sixth inning this season and has given up 20 earned runs in all 20 innings he has thrown. He has failed to locate with his pitches and has been hanging too many breaking balls.

 

Bobby Abreu was a clear example of that today.

 

In the third inning, the former Yankee blasted a solo home run to right off Vazquez, a bomb hit off a terribly executed breaking ball. Vazquez threw 78 pitches, 47 of which were strikes.

 

If you ask me, of those 78 pitches, probably 38 or 39 of them were off-speed. Vazquez has shown no faith in his fastball. It seems he overthrows his fastball too much and subsequently misses the strike zone because of it. He has issued eight walks this season, indicating his location problem.

 

So far this trade has not paid off and it’s looking like a bad one. I’m not concerned with his numbers from last year, his numbers from 2004, or any other year for that matter. What does matter is 2010 and how unproductive Vazquez’s outings have been.

 

At this moment, we as Yankee fans have every reason to disapprove of the trade.

 

His next time out will come at home against one of his former teams, the Chicago White Sox, on Saturday May 1. I am going to give Vazquez a month. If he is still struggling as mightily as he is now by June 1, I am going to go on a search for a starting pitcher to replace him.

 

 


Could Vazquez be gone before he gets setlled in New York? 

I will look far and wide; I will look at every stat from every Yankee minor league hurler, I will glance at every team in baseball who might need Vazquez–while at the same time finding a suitable replacement; a pitcher putting up numbers in accordance to a good number four starter.

 

Honestly, at this point in the season, the Yankees could probably throw their bat boy out there and he could do better than Vazquez. He is too inconsistent and does not seem to be moving in the same direction of the team. He is the only starter in the rotation with a losing record.

 

CC Sabathia (2-1), A.J. Burnett (2-0), Andy Pettitte (3-0), Phil Hughes (2-0)

 

Vazquez is now 1-3.

 

Before the season began, an analyst said Vazquez has the stuff to be a number two pitcher. While that may or may not be true, he is not showing that right now. He is only showing that he cannot do the job he was brought on board to do.

 

We’ll see what he is made of. He has until June 1. Then, if he has shown no improvement, I say the Yankees ought to dump him off. It’s not like he is under contract for 2011 as it is.

 

 

Other Notes

 

–Marcus Thames has got nothing on Brett Gardner in left field. He started this afternoon, only to misplay a ball out in left. There are some big guys who can move around pretty well in the outfield (like Nick Swisher)

 

Thames is a big guy who can’t move around well. If he had caught the fly ball, it would have been a whole different game today. Thames only started because he supposedly “wears down left-handed pitching,” a Scott Kazmir (a lefty) started for the Halos.

 

Thames did have a hit and a run scored, but that misplayed ball hurt big time.

 

–The Yankees only have to play the Angels twice more this season: July 20-21 at home in Yankee Stadium. Thank God for getting them out of the way in April! They are too tough to be playing down the stretch.

 

–As mentioned before, the Yankees are 5-1 in their first six series this season. This past series was their first losing effort. Still, it’s not bad to have won five straight to begin the year. Good start!

 

–Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch in the second inning. Jorge Posada came up to bat right after Cano and launched a two-run homer.

 

Message to the 29 other teams in the MLB: you hit the Yankees, they will hit back!

 

Cano also homered in this game, clubbing his fifth of the year, and he now leads the Yankee team in long balls.

 

–Mark Teixeira needs to get off the interstate and start getting some hits. He did draw two walks today, but he is supposed to be a big threat to the other team’s pitching. Currently batting .119, he poses no threat right now at all.

 

Wake up, Tex!

 

right or wrong? 

 

–Speaking of Teixeira , I really don’t know how I feel about him ramming the catcher Friday night. I’m not sure if Teixeira did it because he got hit with a pitch before it happened, but whatever the case, he mowed him down.

 

It is part of the game and many runners coming hard into home plate do it, but I felt sorry for Bobby Wilson. It’s happened to the Yankees before, in spring training prior to 2008. Elliot Johnson of the Rays broke Francisco Cervelli’s wrist that way.

 

It’s dangerous! The league should consider regulating collisions somehow, if it’s doable.

 

Teixeira really got him good (giving Wilson a concussion and an ankle injury) but at least he apologized and felt some remorse for the hit. That is the type of personality Teixeira has, but if I were him, I’d watch out in July. The Angels might want some retribution.  

 

And Justin Tuck better watch out. If the New York Giants need a linebacker or a defensive end, Teixeira might be their man. That hit was football-esque!

 

–On their day off tomorrow, the Yankees will visit the White House in honor of their 2009 World Series Championship. Message to Joe Girardi: tell Obama to fix the economy, create jobs for hard-working Americans who need work, and that his health care bill is trash and should be thrown away.

 

I think it’s nice that the President recognizes the nation’s sports titles and invites the Champs to the White House. It’s been happening for years and years; I know Clinton and Bush both did the same thing.

 

–On Tuesday the Yankees go to Baltimore to play the Orioles for three games. Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett will start those three games, respectively.

 

–Right now the Yankees are 12-6, in second place in the AL East, a game behind the Rays who are 14-5.

Hughes Dominant, Comes Close to No-No

When I woke up this morning before school, I opened my dresser drawer. It’s a routine I and most people go through every day. I shuffled through several Yankee tee shirts and came across the one I decided to wear today:

 

The one that read “Hughes 65″ on the back.

 

“He’s pitching tonight,” I thought to myself. “I guess I can wear Hughes.”

 

 


I wore this today and Hughes came close to a no-hitter! 

Little did I know what was in store for Phil Hughes tonight. En route to the Yankees’ 3-1 win over Oakland, the 23 year-old righty flirted with a no-hitter, setting down the A’s one by one until the bottom of the eighth inning.

 

A sharp come-backer off the bat of Eric Chavez (which caromed off Hughes himself) spoiled a beautiful no-hit bid. Believe me when I tell you, Hughes was dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas.

 

One hit... 

 

Making only his second start of the year, Hughes pitched 7 1/3 innings, and was charged with one run on that one fateful hit. He walked two batters over the course of his outing and struck out a career-high 10.

 

Talk about doing work!

 

Hughes became the second Yankee pitcher this season to come within an eyelash of a no-no. CC Sabathia almost got the job done back on April 10, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning with two outs against Tampa Bay before losing it.

 

 


Phil Hughes lost the no-no in the eighth 

As for Hughes, his fastball was very live tonight; it was exploding through the strike zone. His breaking ball was un-hittable, dancing all over the place and fooling every Athletic he faced. The youngster certainly brought his best fastball with him tonight, along with his Uncle Charlie…

 

Well, Hughes’s Uncle Charlie was present in a figurative way. In a literal way, his parents were in attendance tonight. I noticed he was throwing the no-no in the fifth, and when they showed mom and dad in the crowd, I was really pulling for him. It would have been very special for Hughes to have gotten the no-hitter with his parents there.

 

The Yankee offense supplied Hughes with just enough runs to pick up his second win of 2010. In the top of the fourth, the Yankees scored two of their three runs, breaking the scoreless tie. Alex Rodriguez tripled and subsequently scored on a triple by Robinson Cano.

 

 


A-Rod tripled and then scored on a triple by Cano 

Jorge Posada then drove in Cano with an RBI groundout to first, giving the Yankees a 2-1 edge. The Yanks’ final run came in the top of the eighth, an RBI single off the bat of Brett Gardner to score Curtis Granderson.  

 

The A’s plated one run in the eighth on the strength of an RBI single by Jake Fox to score Chavez. Joba Chamberlain had taken over for Hughes at that point, but since the base runner was Hughes’s responsibility, meaning he was charged with the run.

 

Tonight reminded me a lot of May 1, 2007. Hughes made a start in Texas against the Rangers and was on fire, as he was tonight. He took a no-no into the seventh inning, but was forced to leave with a hamstring injury.

 

Bobby Murcer (God rest his soul) was calling the action in the game. He said, “If Phil Hughes had stayed in the game, he would have undoubtedly pitched a no-hitter.”

 

I was watching the game too, and I agree. I think he would have done it.

 

So at the end of the night:

 

–No no-hitter for Hughes, but he once again came close.

 

–Hughes is now 2-0 this year.

 

–Hughes set a career-high in Ks (with 10)

 

–The Yankees won 3-1.

 

–The Yankees have now won their first five series of the year.

 

–The Yankees have won six consecutive games.

 

–Mariano Rivera recorded his sixth save of the year.

 

–The Yankees are 11-3 on the year, still in first place in the AL East.

 

A productive night!!!

MLB Weekend Highlights

 

 

So much going on this weekend!

It’s been a crazy weekend in baseball!

 

Yankees

 

 


Mark Teixeira hit a homer on Sunday 

I’d first like to begin by letting everyone know the Yankees have now won four in a row and have taken the first four series of the young season from their opponents. This is the first time the Yankees have done this since 1926, indicating one of the finest starts I have ever seen the team get off to.

 

Michael Kay said yesterday that “New Yorkers always look for the negatives,” speaking of Mark Teixeira’s huge slump. He may or may not be out of it, what with his towering, second-deck home run in the Yanks’ 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers this afternoon.

 

That moon shot marked Teixeira’s first homer this year.

 

Maybe when the Yanks hit the road this week and head out west he can really breakout and have a monster tear. I know Teixeira is historically a slow starter, but he is too good to keep down for so long. I still feel he will finish with a ton of home runs, over 100 RBIs, and close to, if not over, 100 runs scored.

 

As they say, it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

 

The Yankees will now head to Oakland to start a series against the Athletics, who are turning a lot of heads in the AL West division. The A’s are currently in first place with a record of 9-4 in the West.  

 

Tuesday, Javier Vazquez and Gio Gonzalez will open up the series. Phil Hughes will square off with Ben Sheets on Wednesday night. Finally on Thursday, CC Sabathia will face Dallas Braden to close it all out.

 

It should be a good set of games out in Oakland and the Yankees will be on the road for the next nine games. After Oakland they will travel to Anaheim to play the Angels for three games. After that, they come back to the east coast to play against the Orioles in Baltimore.

 

The Yankees return home on April 30 to host the White Sox. Long trip! Looks like their frequent-flier miles will be put to good use.

 

AL East

 

 


A three..or two team race this year... 

I wanted to mention the struggles of the Boston Red Sox. At this point in the season they are probably one of the worst teams in the American League, just coming off being swept in three games by the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

The Yankees and Rays sit atop the division with identical 9-3 records.

 

Toronto is in third with a record of 7-6, one game over .500. Boston is 4-8 in fourth while the Baltimore Orioles are 2-11.

 

It seems this year could very well be a two-team race. I know it’s way too early to be speaking about the Division title, but if Boston keeps struggling the way they are, they might fall so far out of first place it will very difficult to make a comeback.

 

Not saying it can’t happen; in the 1970s the Yankees were 14 games behind the Red Sox in July and somehow came back to win the AL East. They called it the “Boston Massacre” back when it happened. If Boston wants the crown enough, they can certainly come back and get it.

 

At this point in the season however, the Yankees and Rays are better.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez

 


Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in Rockies' history Saturday vs. the Braves    

 

What a great story!

 

Last night, Ubaldo Jimenez became the first pitcher in the Colorado Rockies’ 18 year history to toss a no-hitter. The 26 year-old righty no-hit the Atlanta Braves en route to a 4-0 Rockies win.

 

His no-no reminded me a lot of A.J. Burnett’s back in 2001. When with the Marlins, Burnett tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres and the Fish won 3-0. Burnett did get his no-no, but he walked nine batters in the game.

 

Although he was in shutdown mode, Jimenez walked six Braves in the game.

 

Jimenez owes his life to Dexter Fowler, who made a spectacular circus catch in the seventh inning to preserve the no-hitter. Fowler got on his horse, dove, and robbed Troy Glaus of a hit in the left-centerfield gap.

 

Pretty play. Jimenez should buy Fowler a Rolex for that one.

 

That catch reminded me of Dewayne Wise’s catch last summer to save Mark Buerhle’s perfect game. Wise leapt the wall and took a home run away from Gabe Kapler and helped lead Buerhle to a perfect game. Keep in mind Buerhle had already thrown a no-hitter in 2007.

 

As for Jimenez, great work. And congrats on the big no-no.

 

Marathon Game

 


The Mets beat the Cardinals in 20 innings Saturday 

 

I never though it would end. I have to give the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals all the credit in the world for how they both played this game.

 

On Saturday, the Mets and Cards played for six hours and 53 minutes, a 20-inning game. The Mets came out on top, 2-1.

 

I’m not sure what it was. I suppose a combination of terrible hitting, very good pitching, and strange choices. The Mets first three hitters (meaning Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, and David Wright) were a combined 3-for-20 in the game.

 

Reyes and Jeff Francoeur were the only two Mets who recorded RBIs. The team left a total of 18 men on base and struck out 16 times. It took the Mets five innings to record a hit, as Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia no-hit the Mets up until Angel Pagan singled in the top of the sixth.

 

The Cardinals just confused me with some of their moves. They had Kyle Lohse, a pitcher, playing the outfield. Later in the game they had two position players on the mound. Joe Mather, an outfielder, recorded the loss in this game.

 

In the 14th and 16th innings, the Cardinals sent their relief pitcher to the plate to bat with the bases loaded. In both instances, the Cardinals could have won the game by using a pinch-hitter, yet instead they opted to use relief pitchers to hit.

 

Why? I have no clue. I guess they wanted to save their bullpen, but it cost them.

 

In any event it was a good game; very fun to watch. It was one of the more exciting games to watch this year, and maybe it can turn things around for the Mets. For as much of a Yankee fan as I am, I think the NL East is too boring.

 

The Phillies have dominated that division for too long. If the Mets can win games like yesterday (in that never-say-die attitude) they can make it more interesting. I don’t want to see the Phillies back in the World Series.

 

Besides, I’d rather see a Subway Series in October. But of course we all know which team would win that…

Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson

First of all, I’d like to say this has been a crazy week. I have had such a “Yankee hangover” (I guess you could call it). Opening Day took everything out of me; I had absolutely nothing left at the end of the day, I was exhausted.

 

But at least it wasn’t for nothing. It was one of the best days I can remember.

 

After the Yankees dropped a 5-3 decision yesterday, they bounced back and beat the Angels 6-2 on Thursday. With the win, the Yanks took the Opening Series from the Angels, two games to one.

 

 


Everyone wore 42 today. 

Today was not just any ordinary day in baseball. Today, every player on all 30 teams wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who broke the MLB color barrier on this date in 1947.

 

The tradition of Jackie Robinson day has been a part of Major League Baseball since 2007, yet has lasted since 1997 when the number 42 was universally retired throughout MLB. Every player who was still wearing the number was able to keep wearing it, as they were grandfathered in. In other words, if you had 42, you could keep wearing it, but it was no longer available to any other player.

 

Only 11 players were wearing 42 at the time it was retired.

 

Mariano Rivera is the only player out of those 11 who is still playing the game. Hence, he will be the last player to ever wear the number 42. People often ask why Rivera is the only one allowed to wear 42.

 

Well, there’s your answer.

 

Before the game tonight, Robinson’s widow Rachel was on hand to throw out the first pitch. I find it so wonderful that she tossed the first pitch from Yankee Stadium. She could have just as easily been in Los Angeles and thrown out the first pitch from Dodgers Stadium.

 

 


For Jackie. 

 

As for the actual game…

 

It turned out to be the “Robinson Cano Hitting Show,” if you will. The young second baseman–named after Jackie–put on a home run clinic, belting two long balls out of Yankee Stadium.

 

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Cano clubbed a screaming line drive to right field. The ball landed in the short porch for a solo homer, and Cano knotted the game at 1-1.

 

Later in the bottom of the fifth with one man on, Cano was at it again. He smashed yet another home run to right-center field, putting the Yankees up 6-1 at the end of five innings.

 

Cano now has a team-leading four home runs on the year and nine RBIs.

 

Cano was a monster tonight 

 

Derek Jeter also smacked a home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the third. It was Jeter’s second home run of the season, as his first long ball came on Tuesday afternoon in the home opener.

 

Jeter also knocked Curtis Granderson with an RBI double in the fourth.

 

 


Curtis Granderson hit two triples on Thursday 

Speaking of Granderson, he had quite a day at the plate. The Yanks’ center fielder pounded out two triples in as many at-bats. His first triple in the bottom of the fourth drove in Marcus Thames, which gave the Yankees a 4-1 edge.

 

I thought it was a good sign that Granderson hit off a good left-handed pitcher on Scott Kazmir. Everybody always complains how Granderson struggles against lefties, so the fact that he got around on a lefty of Kazmir’s caliber is hopefully a sign of improvement for the future.

 

I also have to hand it to Granderson for making a brilliant outfield assist. He nailed Hideki Matsui at home plate to end the top of the fourth, showing off his stellar defense on the field.

 

Granderson may have gunned Matsui out at home, but he showed the Yankees what they are missing in the top of the second.

 

 

 

The 2009 World Series MVP smacked a solo homer off his former teammate Phil Hughes, his third home run of the season; a shot that landed in the Yankee bullpen. It was Matsui’s first hit of the series, as he went a combined 0-for-9 in the last two games prior to that at-bat.

 

If you ask me, Matsui was sending a message. Basically telling the Yankees, “This is what you are missing. And you should have paid me.”

 

It kind of reminded me of June 2003, when Tino Martinez homered twice off Andy Pettitte as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Yankee crowed roared for Martinez and was happy to see their former hero go deep. In Martinez’s words, Pettitte was “a bit flustered after the home run.”

 

The same thing happened with Matsui tonight.

 

Thousands of people on hand cheered for Matsui after he went yard, and that same look Pettitte had in 2003 was on Hughes’s face tonight. Hughes looked a bit flustered after Matsui took him deep.

 

I was honestly happy for him. I miss him as a member of the Yankees. He was so valuable to the team and proved it last year. In fact, on Tuesday at the game during his first at-bat in Yankee Stadium as an Angel, I overheard an interesting comment from one of the Yankee fans.

 

“I really want Matsui to hit a home run right here,” he said. “I want him to go deep, just to show the Yankees how they should have gone after him and gotten him back.”

 

It may not have come Tuesday, but tonight, Matsui sent the message.

 

Howard Kendrick grounded out to first in the top of the sixth, allowing Torii Hunter to score, giving Los Angeles their second run.

 

On the mound, Hughes pitched effectively. The 24 year-old hurler tossed five-plus innings of work. He scattered two earned runs on three hits, walked five, and struck out six. For his efforts, he earned his first win of 2010.

 

Phul Hughes was impressive in his first 2010 start. 

 

Overall, I saw a lot of good out of Hughes tonight. For a pitcher who barely spent any time in the starting rotation last season, he did very well. The walks were a little bit of an issue, but his breaking ball was absolutely disgusting. His fastball was dancing all over the place and he showed great movement on each of his pitches.

 

Hughes is going to win a lot of games he pitches the way he did tonight.

 

Joba Chamberlain tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in relief tonight, walking one and fanning one along the way. Like Hughes, Chamberlain looked very good and I expect his fine pitching to continue. His fastball wasn’t as live as it was against the Red Sox, but as long as he is getting guys out, everything is fine with me.

 

Rivera notched his fourth save of the year and once again ended the game. He’s on pace for (I would say) about 45 saves this year. I have a feeling he will reach it. He always does.

 

It was a very good night for the Yankees. They improved their record to 6-3 and will open up a three-game series against the Texas Rangers this weekend.

 

CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.46 ERA) will face C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Friday night.

Opening Day at Yankee Stadium: A Wonderful Experience

 


Opening Day!!!  

 

Luck: a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Yankee legend Lou Gehrig once claimed to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Yesterday afternoon, I felt I was the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

 

I was fortunate enough to spend the day with my friends and family at Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers’ home opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Not only was it their home opener, it was their ring ceremony, held to commemorate their 2009 World Series Championship.

 

After a beautiful ceremony, the Yankees beat the Angels, 7-5.

 

But the day wasn’t just about RBIs, base hits, and runs scored. It wasn’t just about the Yankees receiving their championship rings. It went far beyond anything that anyone can really understand. Overall, it was a wonderful experience; one I will never forget.

 

A Meaningful Day

 

My cousin Thomas, who invited me and my other cousin Krystina to the game, could not have been more excited for Opening Day. He got the tickets and graciously invited us to this historic game. His father (my Uncle John) recently passed away. I know that Thomas would have loved nothing more than to share the day with his dad.

 

Since his dad could not be there, I find it so honorable that he wanted me there to share the day with him. I could not have felt better. The fact that he asked me to go with him nearly drove me to tears.

 

And it didn’t get any easier when we reached the ballpark.

 

The old ballpark is almost gone! 


  

Getting off the train, we noticed the old Yankee Stadium. The building is nearly torn down completely. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. I can remember so many great and meaningful memories for me in that Stadium, and my only thought was, “is it really right for them to just gut it and rip it down?”

 

I guess they had to do it, but it didn’t make me feel very good. I could tell Thomas was taken back by the whole thing; he was as overwhelmed as I was. The same building where Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and countless other Yankee legends made history is now in shambles; it’s merely a skeleton of what used to be a beautiful ballpark.

 

Heartbreaking, to say the least.

 

When we got inside the new Stadium, it was madness. Everywhere you looked the words, “2009 World Series Champions” were visible. The Great Hall was buzzing with Yankee fans, all ready to watch the team accept their 27th World Title.

 

2009 World Series Champs! 


  

Thomas, Krystina, and I went down to the field level. There we met up with Thomas’s sister (another one of my cousins) Ashley, who went to the game with her friend Matthew. We took a picture together–in my mind, the best picture I took all day. I took a ridiculous amount of photos of the players, the ceremony, and the game.

 

I love my family :) 


  

But I would say the group shot we took together was the best. I would not be anywhere without my family and they mean so much to me. I was honored that they invited me to the game, and for that I cannot thank them enough.

 

Ashley and Matt went to their seats while Thomas, Krystina, and I stayed on the field level to watch the Angels take batting practice, as the Yanks took BP before the gates opened to the public. We were literally pressed directly up against the wall in right field. We had a perfect view of everything!

 

Thomas kept yelling for a ball. He wanted one more than anything. Former Yankee Bobby Abreu was practically right in front of us. He lobbed a couple loose baseballs into the stands, but not any that came near us. Two security guards however were standing near us and Thomas chatted with them, trying to coerce them into getting him a ball.

 

Whoever was in the Angels’ batting cage smoked one down the right field line. The ball ricocheted off the side of the wall and onto the grass.

 

“Can you get that for me?” Thomas politely asked.

 

“We are not allowed to go on the grass,” one of the security guards answered.

 

Not long after that, another ball was ripped down the right field line in foul territory, landing safely on the dirt. It was right in front of the guards.

 

“Please!” Thomas persisted. “Please get that for me!”

 

The guard smiled, bent over, picked up the ball, and placed it softly in Thomas’s glove.

 

 
Tommy caught a foul ball during BP! 

 

I have never in my life seen a child happier. Thomas, with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, had gotten a foul ball in batting practice, a feat I never accomplished at a Major League game. He was ecstatic and I was overjoyed that he was able to get it.

 

I’m sure it will be something he’ll remember forever.

 

What I thought was significant about the day was the team the Yankees were playing. They played the Angels. And I have no doubt in my mind that Thomas’s dad, my Uncle John, was one of the Angels at the Stadium yesterday–but he was an Angel for the Yankees. It truly felt as though he was right there with us.

 

Ring Ceremony

 


Ring Ceremony! 


  

After batting practice wrapped, the ring ceremony festivities were set to begin. I watched from behind centerfield and everything looked wonderful. Michael Kay and John Sterling emceed the ceremony and the World Series trophy was even on display.

 

First the team paid homage to owner George Steinbrenner, who was in attendance for the days’ events. I have never heard a louder ovation for a non-player in my life. The crowd roared for him and rightfully so. Without Mr. Steinbrenner, there would be no Yankee team.

 

Then Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra came out to help hand out the rings. Manager Joe Girardi also helped distribute the rings and he congratulated each player as they accepted their prize. One by one, every Yankee from last year’s team was called out to get their ring.

 

Really the only players who were missing were Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. Jerry Hairston, Jr. (although no longer with the team) was in the ballpark to get his ring. As was Hideki Matsui, the MVP of the ’09 World Series who is now a member of the Angels.

 

They saved Matsui’s introduction for last, and he received a humungous, deafening ovation. I think every Yankee fan recognized Matsui’s hard work and dedication over the seven years he played in the Bronx. I know he will always be a Yankee in my heart.

 

group hug! 


  

When the ceremony was ready to conclude, the whole team ran in and showed Matsui a lot of love; the team got together one last time and embraced for a group hug. The hug almost brought a tear to my eye, because I know how close the 2009 team was.

 

I didn’t realize until I got home how they had tricked Matsui. Girardi handed him a bootleg ring and later during the Opening Day ceremony ran the real ring over to him. Matsui laughed and I could see his Angel teammates also teasing him for it.

 

A little playful humor now and then is relished by the best teams, I guess.

 

And speaking about the Opening Day ceremony: once again, overwhelming. They called the Angels out of their dugout and they all lined up along the third baseline. The Yankees lined up on the first baseline, and cadets from West Point stood in center field to unfurl the American flag. Not long after the anthem ended, two enormous jets flew over Yankee Stadium.

 

USA! 


  

Those fighter jets were LOUD! When I tell you they were loud, they were LOUD! The ground literally shook as they flew over the new house. And once again, it was quite a sight to behold. My only word for it: “Amazing.”

 

 


LOUD!!!!!!! 

After the anthem and beautiful aerial presentation, Bernie Williams, the great former center fielder, tossed out the honorable first pitch. Talk about an ovation! Williams received a rousing hand from us Yankee faithful, but it somewhat shocked us how he bounced the pitch. Being a former All-Star center fielder, you would think Williams would hit home plate! He missed, much to the surprise of the crowd. The gentleman standing next to me yelled, “Oh, come on Bernie! You gotta hit the glove!”

 

It’s Ok, Bernie. I still love you.

 

After the Yankees were finished warming up and all pre-game ceremonies were over, it was time to, as they say, play ball! Yankees vs. Angels.

 

The Game

 


NJ homered for the Yankees' first run 


  

The Yankees struck first in the bottom of the first. Designated hitter Nick Johnson blasted a solo home run to right field, a shot that (as I understand) landed right next to Bald Vinny–the legendary Bleacher Creature who starts the famous Yankee “roll call” at the beginning of each home game.

 

Unfortunately I was on line for food when this happened, but I heard the crowd roar and got into a spot just in time to see Johnson cross home plate. In any event it was the first of many home runs the Yankees will hit in their house in 2010.

 

As Andy Pettitte worked brilliantly through the first three innings, the Yankees held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the frame. The Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, stepped up to the plate and crushed a solo home to right field, his first of the year.

 

It really is amazing how many games I have been to that have featured a home run by Jeter. It seems every game I get out to, he hits a home run. I can think of at least five games off the top of my head in which Jeter has homered. Maybe I bring some kind of luck to him, who knows.

 

 
touch 'em all, Jeter! 

 

In any event, 2-0 Yankees at the end of three innings of play.

 

One of the more special moments during the day was Matsui’s first at-bat. The former beloved Yankee received yet another rousing ovation from the fans while he stepped into the batter’s box. Pettitte respectfully tipped his cap and stepped off the mound and allowed his former teammate to soak up the moment.

 

Matsui removed his helmet and acknowledged the fans who once called him a hero. Unfortunately for the 2009 World Series MVP, the Yankees were not very kind to him in terms of his day at the plate. He was 0-for-5 on the day with a strikeout.

 


 
Hideki Matsui was 0-for-5   

 

The Yankees tacked on three more runs before the end of the sixth inning. Jeter was at it again in the fourth, reaching on an infield single that scored Curtis Granderson. In the sixth, Alex Rodriguez reached on yet another infield single, which brought home Johnson and Nick Swisher.

 

5-0, all Yankees at the end of six innings. It was looking good for us.

 

That is, until Kendry Morales stepped up in the top of the eighth. The Angels’ first baseman smashed a long, solo home run into the second deck in right field, putting the Angels on the board, 5-1.  

 

The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth, both of them proving to be the difference in the game. Jorge Posada doubled to score Johnson and Granderson singled to score Robinson Cano, giving the Yankees a 7-1 edge.

 

Posada’s double put him ahead of Mantle on the all-time Yankee doubles list.

 

You would think with a 7-1 lead heading into the ninth inning everything would be safe and secure. Well, think again. Feeling that the game was practically over, my cousins and I watched the end of the game from the concourse on the first base side.

 

And we received a pleasant surprise followed by a not-so-pleasant surprise, followed by a happy ending.

 

The End

 


closer view after the seat upgrade!!! 


  

Right before the ninth inning began, two gentleman sitting in the field box seats decided to leave. One of them tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his tickets.

 

“Here you go,” he said. “You guys can watch the end from the field level seats.”

 

“WOW!” I exclaimed. “Thank you very much!”

 

“Don’t mention it,” he replied.

 

How awesome is that?! You never really see that type of chivalry anymore. A man, not knowing who I was, just gave up his seats to me, a stranger. Granted, the game was almost over, it was still a very noble gesture and overall a kind act.

 

Who says New Yorkers are mean-spirited?

 

In any event my cousins and I, now sitting in comfortable, padded box seats, watched David Robertson surrender hit after walk after hit, eventually loading the bases. I still thought the Yankees were in great shape, even if they only gave up a run or two.

 

To our dismay, former Yankee Abreu stepped up and slaughtered a grand slam home run to left field, something he specialized in when he played for the Yankees. I will always like Abreu; in my mind he was the best Yankee right fielder since Paul O’Neill. But yesterday…I did not like him. He burned us pretty bad.

 

 
Bobby Abreu hit a grand slam! 

 

I mean, Abreu’s home run was a real shot. I’m talking way back into the left field seats.

 

Now with the score at 7-5 and a save situation in place, Girardi was prompted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The great Rivera struck Torii Hunter out swinging and then got his former teammate Matsui to pop out to end the game.

 

Enter Sandman. 


  

Ballgame over. Yankees win. THEEEEE Yankees win!

 

We stayed and watched the Yankees take congratulations and improve their record to 5-2.

 


 
taking congrats.    

 

We exited the ballpark and once again looked at the demolished old stadium. Thomas looked at it once more, and looking at it again, I could not help but think of all the games his father took us to. I think a part of us went down with that stadium.

 

But then we glanced back at the new stadium and thought about the days’ events. The Yankees had just won and we had just witnessed history; the first ring ceremony in the new Stadium, a batting practice foul ball, a great game, a seat upgrade from a gracious fan and a Yankee win.

 

And not only that, a day spent with my friends and family.

 

I could not have asked for anything better. It was just a day where nothing went wrong. I can truly say that I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth yesterday.

 

And Uncle John: I know you were there with us. We miss you.

 

Keep smiling down on us and the Yankees.

 


 
Yankees win!!  

Almost, But No No-No for Sabathia

Flirt. The word is defined as behaving amorously without serious intent or to show superficial interest or liking. Being a single guy, flirting is something I specialize in. Yet the word also refers to coming close to reaching or experiencing something.

 

 


CC Sabathia flirted with a no-hitter today 

In the New York Yankees’ 10-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays today, CC Sabathia did just that. The Yankee ace tossed 7 2/3 innings of hitless baseball until Kelly Shoppach lined a sharp single in front of Brett Gardner in left field.

 

Four outs and Sabathia would have tossed a no-no. Serious flirtation.

 

After Shoppach’s base hit to break up the no-hit bid, Sabathia departed. He ended the day with 7 2/3 innings, and shutout the Rays with just that one, painful hit. The Yankee ace walked two batters and struck out five, leaving David Robertson to finish the job.

 

However, even if Sabathia had gotten Shoppach out, would he have stayed in the game? After all, the big man was up at 111 pitches on the afternoon. Yankee manager Joe Girardi said that no matter what happened, “Sabathia’s day was over after he faced Shoppach.”

 

 


Would Sabathia have stayed in the game of he had gotten Shoppach out? 

On the other hand, Sabathia said that if he had gotten Shoppach out, he would have wanted to stay in the game. In his words, “the conversation on the mound would have been interesting.”

 

 


Dwight Gooden (below) David Cone (right) David Wells (left) have all achieved the pitcher's dream 

The last Yankee to throw a no-hitter was Dwight Gooden, who no-hit the Seattle Mariners on May 14, 1996. David Wells and David Cone both threw perfect games on May 17, 1998 (vs. Minnesota Twins) and July 18, 1999 (vs. Montreal Expos), respectively. Since then, no Yankee starter has ever thrown a no-no or perfecto.

 

However, some have come close.

 

On Sept. 2, 2001, Mike Mussina shut down the first 26 Boston Red Sox he faced at Fenway Park. Needing just one strike for a perfect game, Carl Everett lined a bloop single in front of Chuck Knoblauch in left field.

 

In September of '01, Mussina almost pitched a no-no 

 

Sound familiar, Shoppach?

 

Just last year on Aug. 31, Andy Pettitte shut down the Baltimore Orioles for 6 2/3 innings. Jerry Hairston, Jr. bobbled a grounder at third for an error to end the perfect quest. The very next batter, Nick Markakis, ended the no-hitter with a single through the hole into…you guessed it, left field.

 

It seems left field is the “death valley” of Yankee no-nos and perfectos.

 

Why does left field not want the Yankees to pitch no-nos and perfectos?

Come to think of it, Cone’s perfect game in ’99 was nearly broken up by a fly ball to left field. In the ninth inning, pinch hitter Ryan McGuire popped a ball out to short left field, forcing Ricky Ledee to get on his horse. Stunned with a “deer-in-the-headlights” look on his face, he basket-caught the ball, juggled it, and held on for the out.

It might be a some kind of left field curse. 

 

On the bright side, Sabathia picked up his first win of 2010, the Yankees improved to 3-2 on the year, and the big man lowered his ERA to 3.46.

 

Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano supplied the Yanks with plenty of offense Saturday 

 

Along with Sabathia’s brilliance, Mark Teixeira, who was hitless this season up until today, finally came alive. The first baseman had three hits on the day, a double and two singles. Coupled with those three hits were an RBI and two runs scored.

 

Robinson Cano continued his fine hitting out of the number five hole, as he went 2-for-5 in the game. He belted a long, two-run home run into the right field seats in the top of the fourth inning en route to a three-RBI day. He now has a team-leading six RBIs in the first five games.

 

Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Francisco Cervelli all contributed with RBIs to give the Yankees their 10 runs in the game.

 

Tomorrow afternoon the Yankees and Rays will play the rubber game of their three-game weekend series. A.J. Burnett (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will face James Shields (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

First W of 2010

 

 

The Yankees picked up their first win this year on Tuesday night

 

The Sunday night heartbreaker seems like a lifetime ago. The New York Yankees got their first loss of the 2010 season out of the way Sunday night but bounced back and picked up their first win Tuesday night over the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4.

 

It feels great knowing the Bombers won’t be 0-8 vs. Boston this year.

 

There were so many things going on tonight, so I will just dive right into the analysis.

 

 


A.J. pitched five innings on Tuesday at Boston 

·       A.J. Burnett  

 

It wasn’t clear which version of A.J. Burnett showed up tonight. In the first inning, the lanky righty gave up a run which wasn’t really his fault. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base on a sloppy defensive play in the outfield and eventually scored.

 

Really the only hitter who feasted off Burnett tonight was Victor Martinez. The Boston catcher was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs against the Yankee starter.

 

The final line for Burnett: five innings, four runs (only three earned) on seven hits, one walk, and five Ks. If you ask me, his line was mediocre. Not good, but could have been much worse. For his first start he didn’t pitch poorly.

 

The best pitch he threw all night had to be a disgusting breaking ball he got Kevin Youkilis looking on. Burnett introduced the Boston first baseman to his uncle Charlie!

 

Also, he and Jorge Posada looked to be on the same page. We need that!

 

His next start will most likely come Sunday in Tampa against the Rays.

 

 


Fist pump. 

·       The Bullpen

 

What a difference two days make! The Yankee relievers came ready to play tonight. Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera: four innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, three strikeouts.

 

A huge, HUGE improvement over Sunday night!

 

Aceves looked unbelievably good. He can just come into a game and shut the hitters down. He tossed two scoreless innings and for his efforts he picked up the win.

 

And how about Chamberlain? He turned back the clock! His outing was 2007-esque.

 

The big reliever entered the game in the eighth inning with one out and sat down Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew on strikes. But the real story was his velocity. He was lighting up the speed gun at 96-98 mph.

 

First Pumps for everybody!

 

And in the ninth–who else but Rivera. He slammed the door for the first time this year and the 527th time in his career. I think he will get a ton of saves this year.

 

 


NJ and Robbie had RBIs tonight 

·       Nick Johnson and Robinson Cano

 

Both of these guys had pretty big nights.

 

Nick Johnson was 0-for-2 but walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. He also took one for the team and was hit by a pitch. He is a patient hitter and has shown that he can reach base, but I tend to worry about his health. Hopefully he doesn’t get plunked anymore this year.

 

And then there’s Robinson Cano.

 

The young second baseman was 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored, and two RBIs. He put on a hitting show tonight and he’s just going to keep getting better. If he continues to play this way for the rest of the year, he may hit 30 home runs and drive in 120 runs.

 

I have so much faith in Cano. Every time I watch him, it’s like he gets better and better. His solo home run in the ninth gave the Yanks a 6-4 cushion to put Boston away.

 

  • Other Notes

 

–Alex Rodriguez drove in a run with an RBI double and Mark Teixeira grounded into a force out which scored Curtis Granderson.

 

–Nick Swisher knocked in the Yanks’ first run with an RBI double in the top of the second. Nick at Nite! 

 

–I didn’t really get great vibes from Marcus Thames tonight. In the first inning, he missed a ball in left field which could have been easily caught by Brett Gardner…or Johnny Damon…

 

Thames only started because he supposedly “wears out” left-handed pitching and Jon Lester (a lefty) was on the mound for the Red Sox. Well, Thames only had 0 hits tonight. Way to wear ‘em out.

 

–Derek Jeter made two awesome plays on defense tonight. I’d like to know who the moron was who said his range has gone down. He is ageless.

 

–The Yankees committed three errors tonight. Boston committed one, but it was a big one–it kept the eighth inning alive for Johnson to draw the bases-loaded walk.

 

–Hideki Okajima was the Boston pitcher who walked in Johnson with the bases chucked. They call him “Okey Dok” in Boston. Okey Dok, thank you for your lack of control.

 

–Tomorrow night the rubber game against Boston will be played. Andy Pettitte will make the start against John Lackey.

 

–The Yankees are off Thursday then open up a three-day weekend series in Tampa Bay.

 

Rough Start

 

 

Not what we wanted...

What an upsetting night. That’s really all I can say. On Opening Night, the most exciting day on the calendar, baseball’s “New Year” if you will, the New York Yankees dropped a 9-7 decision to the hated Boston Red Sox.

 

With the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning, Curtis Granderson grounded out to third to end the game. But long before Granderson made the last out, the Yankees coughed up two leads.

 

Up 5-1, the Yankees allowed the Red Sox to tie the game in the sixth. The Yankees took back the lead in the seventh, going up 7-5 only to let Boston come back and score four runs to win the inaugural baseball game in the 2010 season.

 

What a crazy and tragic way to open the year. Horrible.

 

Good Things

 

 


Curtis Granderson fit in well 

·        Granderson looked to fit right in, hitting a home run in his first at-bat as a Yankee. The last player to accomplish that feat was Cody Ransom in 2008.

 

·        Jorge Posada, who was recently suffering from a stiff neck, was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs, and a walk. The Yankee catcher looks to be in top form, which is exactly what they need.

 

Posada now has four opening Day homers and is tied for second place with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra on the Yankees’ Opening Day home runs list. Babe Ruth is first with five. If Posada goes deep next year on Opening Day, he will certainly be in elite company with the Babe.

 

·        CC Sabathia up until the sixth inning. He was rolling, but just seemed to run out of petrol. He finished the night with 5 1/3 innings of work under his belt, and he scattered five earned runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out four. He threw 104 pitches, 58 for strikes.

 

·        Derek Jeter was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Not bad, captain.

 

·        The double steal: EXCELLENT move. It could not have gone better for the Yankees. Credit Brett Gardner with a steal of home! I hope Joe Girardi pushes other teams this way in the future.

 

 

Bad Things

 

 


Chan Ho Park...not so much 

  • The wild pitch by Damaso Marte. This angered me immensely. He cannot do much more of that this year.

 

  • Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia: combined 5-for-8 with a homer (by Pedroia) and five RBIs. Yuck. I really hope they both cool off before Tuesday.

 

  • Chan Ho Park–everything he did tonight, he should never do again. Maybe the Yankees should have put Royce Ring on the roster…?

 

  • The Yankees left nine men on base. Totally the opposite of cool.

 

  • Joba Chamberlain: 1 1/3 innings, one earned run, two hits, one walk, no Ks. His slider was moving nicely (I’ll give him that) but the line…not pretty.

 

  • Neil Diamond singing that awful “Sweet Caroline” song in the middle of the eighth inning. Lame!

 

 

Overall, it was not such a great night. Exciting, yes, but it would have been better if the Yankees came out on top.

 

The Yanks will be back at it Tuesday. A.J. Burnett vs. Jon Lester. We need Dr. Jekyll to show up, because the Yankees could use a win after tonight’s sour loss. Just remember that the Red Sox have not “put us back into our place,” as they might think.

 

There are 161 games left. And we are STILL the reigning World Champions!

 

We're still the CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Ready or Not, Here We Go!

Well gang, here we are on the eve of the baseball season. In a little over 24 hours the Yankees and Red Sox will dim the lights and raise the curtains on the 2010 MLB season. It’s on; the wait is over. It’s the best day of the sports year, if you ask me. It’s your number one vs. their number one.

 

As Al Bundy once said, “Let there be baseball. Let there be LIFE.”

 

Time to get yapping about the Yankees!

 

 

Yankees vs. the Future Yankees

 

 


The Yanks played the Future Yanks today 

Manager Joe Girardi said it best: “Either way, we can’t lose today!”

 

The Yankees started their regular players against a team of baby Bombers in the final spring training game this afternoon. It was quite interesting to see Derek Jeter and the boys play against some of the young guys who are just trying to start their baseball careers. Girardi took it easy on the youngsters and only played the regulars for the first three innings.

 

The Yanks beat the Future Yanks, 9-6.

 

To me it was a little strange how they divided up the team. Some of the non-Yankees played on the Yankee team. I guess that was just the way to get everyone in; not all of them could play on the future team and they wanted every player to get some work in.

 

It wasn’t too torturous for them–the Yankees only scored three runs on them in the bottom of the first! Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Nick Swisher knocked in a combined five runs on the future Yanks, hopefully just a prequel of what they do tomorrow vs. the Red Sox.

 

Jonathan Albaladejo started for the future Yanks against Javier Vazquez, who made his final start before the regular season. Vazquez turned in a decent performance, as he pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.

 

Not bad for Vazquez, but he could do a little better next week when he faces the Rays.

 

Some of the future stars intrigued me. For one, Melky Mesa. I could not believe I saw another player with the name Melky. I thought there was only one Melky, and he now plays for the Braves! He didn’t have a hit today, but I just like his name.

 

Along with Mesa, Slade Heathcott grabbed my attention. He is ranked as the third-best Yankee prospect by Baseball America, and he showed some great speed today. In his first at-bat, he beat out a slow roller to third for a single. Alex Rodriguez couldn’t make the play and he was safe! 

 

I also was taken back by Pat Venditte–the “switch pitcher.” He pitched in the top of the eighth inning and he gave up a run. It was just so strange how he kept changing his pitching hand; he would throw to right-handers with his left hand and pitch to left-handers with his right hand. (Although I do think he threw to one right-hander with his right hand)

 

So weird.

 

You have to see him pitch for yourself to really get a feel for what he is about. His arm angle when pitching with his left hand is much different than when he throws righty. He seems to sidearm the ball when he throws left and almost flings it. But as a right-hander he throws much more conventional and overhand.

 

Pat Venditte's arm angle differs 

 

Not to mention his mitt. Venditte fashioned an “ambidextrous glove” (I guess you could call it?) so that he can pitch with both hands. It’s quite a sight to behold and unbelievably fascinating.

 

This is Venditte's glove! 

 

I hope we see Venditte in the future, but I do think he has a lot of work to do before being called up. He’s not quite ready to pitch to real major leaguers yet, but if he keeps at it and can find ways to get hitters out with his unique pitching style, he’ll make the show.

 

Overall, it was a fun game to watch today and a cool way to end spring training.

 

 

 

The Opening Day Roster

 

 


The Yanks have set their 25-man roster 

Most of the decisions made regarding the opening day, 25-man roster the Yankees will use didn’t shock me. Of course all of the regulars will be there; Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez….yeah, you get the idea.

 

I’m glad to see David Robertson will be in the bullpen along with Boone Logan. But if you ask me, Royce Ring deserves to be there, too. For the type of spring he had and his past Major League service, he should at least be given a chance.

 

Chan Ho Park, Sergio Mitre, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves, and Joba Chamberlain will also be in the ‘pen. But mark my words, if one of these guys is not cutting it, Ring is the right guy to plug into the spot. I watched him this past month, and I have to say, he did some fine work in Tampa.

 

Marcus Thames did not have the best spring, only averaging somewhere around .135 at the plate. But he hit three homers this spring and showcased more power than Randy Winn. Both players made the team. We’ll see how each one does during the season, but one of them could be used as trade bait.

 

Lastly, Ramiro Pena made the team as the extra infielder. I think this is the best move, I like Pena, and I hope he has a great year in the big leagues. He will be an asset to the club and I have a good feeling about him.

 

We have the team set, now we just have to find the chemistry.

 

 

 

The Series vs. Boston 

 

The Yanks play the Sox tomorrow!!!!

I guess the schedule-maker this year had a malicious sense of irony, pitting the Yanks against the hated Red Sox on opening night. The Bombers and BoSox will play tomorrow, have a day off on Monday, and then play the next two games of the series on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

As mentioned before, it’s our number one vs. their number one tomorrow, meaning CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett. A lot of people are quick to mention Sabathia’s tendency to start slow and not put up his best work until later on in the season.

 

In fact, many of my friends have told me the Yankees will probably lose tomorrow night.

 

Keep in mind, whenever the Yankees play Boston in Fenway, they are not just facing the Red Sox. They are facing Red Sox Nation. It’s hard for any team to play there because the fans are just unbelievably rowdy. It’s hard to win there.

 

We’ll see what happens on Opening Night. Anything can happen. We might see Sabathia pick up right where he left off last season–dominating everyone he faces. He didn’t have the best spring, but those numbers do not mean much. We won’t find out until tomorrow.

 

Tuesday night, A.J. Burnett will make the start against Jon Lester. We’ll have to wait and see which Burnett will show up–Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, hopefully Jekyll.

 

When Lester is on, he is one of the most brilliant left-handed pitchers in the American League. Burnett has to bring his best stuff and the offense has to bring their best mindset to win Tuesday.

 

Ending the series on Wednesday, Andy Pettitte will start against the Red Sox’ big off-season acquisition, John Lackey. Pettitte has done so well against the Boston over the years and last year was 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against Boston.

 

Lackey, although many people think he has the Yanks’ number, has not done well against the Yankees historically. Just last year in the ALCS, Lackey was 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts. Lifetime vs. New York, he is 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA and at Fenway Park he is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA.

 

Not very pretty, Mr. Lackey.

 

But I’m looking past all that. On paper, the Yanks have an advantage. But on paper is not going to win the game. It all depends on who plays better on that day. That’s all there is to it.

 

Look at it this way: even if the Yankees do not get off to the best start this year, it’s not the end of the world. They started slow last year, even going 0-8 in the first eight games vs. Boston. It worked out for them in the end.

 

As they say, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

 

 

 

Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint 

Enjoy Opening night everyone! And have a Happy Easter.

 

GO YANKEES!!!

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