Results tagged ‘ Phil Hughes ’

Letter to Joe Girardi

 

I am writing to the Yankee skipper

 

May 21, 2010

 

Dear Joe Girardi,

 

Greetings! On behalf of every Yankee fan, I am asking you at this time to please tell the whole team to wake up. These past three days have been a nightmare in terms of…well…every facet of our game. The fan base is a little fed up with everything that has been going on.

 

First, let’s start with the injury situation. I wrote last time that too many Yankees are getting hurt and it’s becoming ridiculous. Let’s face it, it’s the truth. It was great to see Nick Swisher back in the lineup yesterday, but unfortunately not even he could save us from an 8-6 beating at the hands of the almighty Tampa Bay Rays.

 

I couldn’t really believe your Yanks actually lost three of four at home. Well technically, and in all fairness, you did take two of three from the Minnesota Twins. But you lost three of four to division rivals and dropped four of seven at home. It rarely ever happens.

 

As far as the injuries go, the bottom line is, it’s too much. We need healthy guys out on the field and we need to field the best team we can. We are obviously not doing that. I understand that you cannot control it, but something needs to be done about it.

 

Trades, call-ups, roster moves. Whatever you have to do skip, do it.

 

Next, I’d like to mention the bullpen. Why are you continuously using Chan Ho Park in tight-game situations? I think when Brian Cashman got him he wanted him for long relief. So why, I ask, is he coming in when the Yankees are in a close game?

 

 


Chan Ho Park should just be a mop-up guy 

Piece of advice: don’t bring Park in unless we have a 10-run lead or if we are down by 10 runs. A mop-up role is exactly what suites him right now, because he is certainly making a mess of everything.

 

Then there’s Randy Winn and Marcus Thames.

 

They stink. 

 

I’ll pick on Winn first. Why, in the name of God, is he even on this team? In all of the games he has played this season, I think I can point out two things he has done right: his home run to help beat the Baltimore Orioles on May 3 and his triple on Sunday against the Twins.

 

Other than those two hits, Winn has been useless; a defensive liability (playing shallow in left field with two outs???) and an automatic out in most games. Another piece of advice for you, Mr. Girardi: dump him. Dump him like the clingy girlfriend who just won’t leave you alone.

 

I feel at this point, a guy like free agent Jermaine Dye could do a lot better than Winn. I realize Dye is old (well, only a year older than Winn) but at this point, anyone could be doing better than Winn. Call back up Greg Golson or…just anyone. Winn is not getting the job done.

 

Now onto Thames.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate the walk-off blast off Jonathan Papelbon Monday night. For that, I could not be more grateful. Thames certainly has some pop and can generate a decent amount of offense in the lineup.

 

But he is not an everyday player, nor is he a good defender. The guy cannot play the outfield. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, he looks like giraffe out there! He dropped a pop fly ball on Tuesday night that a Little Leaguer could have easily caught, not to mention he has a seriously hard time getting to any fly ball.

 

Please, if you are going to use him at all, put him at the designated hitter spot.

 

And one more thing…who trips over their own bat running to first base? I didn’t even know that was possible. Yet Thames somehow managed to trip over his own bat running to first, so I guess the joke is on me.

 

 


Subway Series time! 

As you know skip, your Yankees have a big series coming up against the cross-town rival New York Mets in their house. Heading into tonight’s action, the Mets are 20-22, good for last place in the National League East standings.

 

Your boys, on the other hand, are reeling from three consecutive losses yet are still 25-16, second place in the American League East Standings. This evening, Javier Vazquez (2-4, 8.01 ERA) is pitching against Hisonori Takahashi (3-1, 3.12 ERA).

 

Vazquez has had experience in the NL, so I expect big things from him in this game. If he fails and gets rocked, I will then fully admit that getting Vazquez back was a bad move. If he is a pitcher supposedly built for the National League and he can’t beat a last place NL team…I can then easily say it was a bad move to get him.

 

Saturday night (pretty much your best guy at press time) Phil Hughes (5-0, 2.25 ERA) will square off against Mike Pelfrey (5-1, 3.02 ERA). A few years back, I heard a lot of chatter about who was the better prospect.

 

Hughes or Pelfrey? 

 

Many people I knew said Pelfrey would go on to have a better career than Hughes. A lot of other people said Hughes was the next Roger Clemens and he would put up the better numbers. While it’s still early in their careers and we don’t know who will end up with the better stats, Saturday might give us an idea.

 

Maybe we’ll find out who is the top, young dog in New York.

 

Finally on Sunday a pair of aces will be on the hill. CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.43 ERA) vs. Johan Santana (3-2, 3.72 ERA). The series finale could have the makings of a classic, or both teams could just touch the aces up for a bunch of runs.

 

CC vs. Johan Sunday night. 

 

I’d prefer to see a pitcher’s duel, but honestly, I think it could go either way.

 

Mr. Girardi, it’s early. Up until these last few games, the Yankees had been playing very good ball despite the absence of some key players. But now, the injuries and lack of consistency are catching up to the team.

 

All I ask is that the problems be fixed and the Yankees beat the Mets. I don’t think any Yankee fan could ever live down being beaten by (in most Yankee fans’ minds) a last place, inferior, second-rate New York team.

 

Do your best. We’ll all be watching.

 

Yours truly,

 

A.J. “Yankee Yapping.”

 

P.S. If your boys can somehow manage to sweep the Mets this weekend, you could be responsible for running the Mets’ manager out of town. If his team gets swept, this could happen!

 


If the Yanks sweep...bye bye Jerry...?  

Rodriguez Made the Moment, Thames the Hero

Talk about a roller coaster ride.

 

On Monday night, the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 11-9 in what was probably the most heated game this season.

 

The Bronx Bombers have adopted the policy of kicking the Red Sox when they are down.

 

A lot of wild plays and standout performers in this one…

 

Marcus Thames

 

 


thames-mills-yanksjpg-acb4dd46419d1270_large.jpg 

Bottom of the ninth. Tie game, 9-9. One on, two out. Jonathan Papelbon vs. Marcus Thames. In my mind, we were heading for extra innings.

 

Papelbon left a floater right over the plate for Thames to crush, a moon shot into the left field stands to send the Yankees home with smiles on their faces.

 

That…was a BOMB! No extra innings tonight, just a pie to the face, courtesy of A.J. Burnett

 

Heading into that at-bat, Thames was 1-for-4 on the night with two RBIs and a strikeout. I will admit, when he struck out in the bottom of the eighth and the Yanks were down 9-7, I doubted him.

 

“Add Thames to the list of terrible signings this past off-season, along with Nick Johnson Randy Winn, and Chan Ho Park.”

 

So Thames had a good night. I cannot bash him at press time. I’m still not saying he was the best pickup this off-season, but he had his moment tonight. Tonight is the night he “earned back his pinstripes,” if you will.

 

But back to my point.

 

Everyone can keep tonight in their minds the next time he struggles. I mean, has everyone forgotten how poorly he played in Boston on May 9? He looked like giraffe in left field, he could not chase the ball down, and he didn’t hit.

 

On that night, no one wanted to be within 10 feet of him.

 

Yet when he succeeds, everyone worships him, as is the nature of the game and the fans.

 

Thames is currently hitting .365 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Will he keep it up?

 

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

 

Just remember tonight next time he doesn’t come up big.

 

 

Alex Rodriguez

 

 


A-Rod tied the game in the ninth w/ a 2R HR 

Thames was the hero, but Alex Rodriguez afforded him the opportunity.

 

Down 9-7 in the bottom of the ninth with one out, Rodriguez came up big time, blasting a towering, game-tying two-run homer into the Boston bullpen off Jonathan Papelbon.

 

That…was a BOMB!

 

When he smacked that homer, two things came to my mind:

 

A) June 3, 2007. Rodriguez homered off Papelbon at Fenway Park that night and the Yankees went on to beat Boston. On his way back to the dugout, Rodriguez playfully placed his hand over the ESPN camera.

 

That’s A-Rod for you. Just as you saw him acting like a little leaguer when the team waited for Thames at home plate, he showed everyone the five year-old in him.

 

B) 2009 Postseason.

 

How many games did the Yankees win last October, simply because Rodriguez was there?

 

 


A-Rod is clutch. Accept it. 

A lot!

 

He had game-tying homer after game-tying homer all throughout the playoffs. Better yet, all of his game-tiers came in the seventh inning or later.

 

In his own words, “To say I’m not clutch is ridiculous.”

 

He answered all his critics with his performance last postseason. But if you ask me, I say he proved everyone wrong in 2007. He put the team on his back the whole year and just like tonight, they would have gone nowhere without him.

 

Chalk up another clutch hit from A-Rod.

 

Yankee Pitching

 

 


Phil Hughes tossed five innings tonight 

The 5-0 Phil Hughes made the start for the Yankees tonight. He tossed five innings and gave up five earned runs on six hits. He walked one batter and struck out three.

 

Not his best game.

 

It’s pretty impressive when I can say Hughes did not pitch his best game, yet he was in line for a win when he left. The Red Sox really just wore him out, put good at-bats together, and made him throw a lot of pitches.

 

No decision for Hughes tonight, but his ERA did climb up to 2.25. All things considered, it’s a pretty good number. I still think he has the ability to make a Cy Young Award push if he keeps pitching the way he is.

 

So overall, a below average start from Hughes, but it was not bad.

 

The Yankee bullpen however…meh.

 

When the offense scores six runs over the first two innings, there really is no excuse to be blowing the game. Now a good part of that you can pin on Hughes’s shoulders, but he maintained the lead. The bullpen’s job is to hold the lead, even in a tight game.

 

Lately that’s been a serious problem. Case in point: yesterday vs. the Twins.

 

Tonight the ‘pen combined for four innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. They walked one batters and collectively struck out three.

 

Boone Logan recorded a hold despite giving up a home run to Victor Martinez. Simply put, I do not trust him. When he comes into a game, I hold my breath. Logan has velocity, but his control is becoming an issue.

 

Then there’s Chan Ho Park. I hope he has less diarrhea now.

 

 


Chan Ho Park has not been doing the job this season 

On his first day back from the disabled list, he blew a save and gave up back-to-back home runs. It was his second blown save of the year and ironically enough, his first one came against…the Red Sox, back on Opening Night.

 

Park was charged with three earned runs on four hits. After the game, manager Joe Girardi said he was the only guy available for the eighth, since Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson pitched yesterday.

 

So far, Park is making it hard for me to say anything nice about him.

 

Damaso Marte tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, working around a walk and a hit.

 

Finally Girardi was forced to go to Javier Vazquez, who is actually starting Friday night vs. the Mets at Citi Field. With runners on the corners and two outs, Vazquez did probably the best thing he has done all year–got out of the inning and kept the game where it was.

 

 


Javy Vazquez got the win tonight 

Vazquez needed just four pitches to get it done, meaning he is still available to make the start Friday. He really had the best night out of all the pitchers and for his performance, he was rewarded the win.

 

Although his ERA is a bloated 8.01, Vazquez now has a 2-4 season record.

 

It will be interesting to see how he does Friday night. As it has been documented, he has had success in the National League. Well, his expertise from the other league will be put to the test: Yanks are in an NL ballpark and he is facing an NL team.

 

We’ll see how he does. As for tonight, he can relax. Job well done.

 

However, it’s no secret the Yanks’ bullpen is rattled. There needs to be more consistency among the relievers if the Yankees are going to succeed. I think I put it best when Hughes left after the fifth:

 

“Tonight would have been a great night for Alfredo Aceves.”

 

It’s too bad he’s (one of the many Yankees) bitten by the injury bug.  

 

 

Great win for the Yanks; the best of the year if you ask me. Tampa Bay won their game tonight, so we remain two games out of first place. The Red Sox however, are 8 ½ games behind. That’s bad news for them.

 

Tomorrow night CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (1-1. 7.46 ERA).

 

Might have the makings of another classic.

 

Go Yankees!!!   

Yankees vs. Red Sox: Thoughts and Notes

The New York Yankees cruised into a 10-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox tonight.

 

It was a wild game filled with a lot of news and stories. Here is what I made of it all…

 

Josh Beckett

 

 


Josh Beckett got rocked, but hurt some Yankees tonight 

It is kind of strange what happened to the Boston ace in this game.

 

Beckett started off strong, fanning five of the first six batters he faced. He seemed to be rolling along, looking untouchable up until the sixth inning. But everything came unglued for him and things got out of hand.

 

In the top of the sixth inning, Beckett gave up six runs on four hits, faced 11 Yankees, and was run from the game. He ended the night with 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine earned runs on nine hits. He walked three batters, hit two, and struck out eight.

 

Aside from the number of strikeouts, his line tonight was horrendous.

 

 


Robinson Cano was hit on the knee 

In the sixth inning, Beckett put Robinson Cano out. Throwing a blazing fastball, Cano was hit on the inset of his left knee. Being the fighter that he is, Cano tried to stay in the game and walked down to first. He later decided better of it and came out of the game.

 

In the same inning, Derek Jeter was hit with a pitch and Beckett also came up and in on Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli. It’s obvious his control was a non-factor at that point, but it may have been more than that.

 

I have never seen Beckett in that form. Usually he has pinpoint accuracy and can locate with each of his pitches. I am not going to accuse him of intentionally hitting Cano (and I can’t say he beaned Jeter on purpose, because the bases were loaded) but I will say he looked like he did not care. To me, he came off as very arrogant, even in defeat.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel he acted like a sore loser.

 

At that point in the game, the Yankees were hitting him hard; he intentionally walked Brett Gardner to load the bases and face Cervelli, a move that backfired. After that happened, I think he gave up on the game and did not care anymore.

 

At one point in the inning, Alex Rodriguez mouthed “Enough is enough already,” directed at Beckett’s control issues. The Yankees were taking notice of his command problem and were not happy. They even got up on the top step of their dugout and just looked ready to pounce.

 

I wish they had. They could have hit Beckett and let him know how it feels.

 

After his outing tonight, Beckett now owns an earned run average of 7.46 and his season record is 1-1. By far, this is Beckett at his worst. He has been one of the most paramount and dominant pitchers over the last seven years and he has never been this bad.

 

I don’t mind that he was hit hard by the Yankees. I am however holding contempt for the fact that he plunked Jeter and put Cano out.

 

 

Nick Swisher

 

 


Nick Swisher is on fire! 

 Right now Nick Swisher is en fuego.

 

The cool dude in a loose mood belted his sixth homer of the year in the top of the fourth off Beckett. For Swisher, it was his second home run in as many games and his fourth in six games.

 

Beckett just hung a breaking too high and Swisher crushed it.

 

This year the Yankee right fielder looks a lot better in terms of his swing and his defense. He doesn’t look so stiff out there, and part of that I chalk up to experience. He got his first year as a Yankee out of the way, and now he is rolling.

 

And with so many Yanks injured, it’s good to have him stepping up and hitting.

 

During the post game interview with the YES Network, Swisher mentioned that he visited a hospital this afternoon. He dedicated his home run to the child he met with today, which I thought was a class act. But that’s Swisher’s personality; I’m not surprised he said that.

 

His words reminded me of Brett Gardner last year. On May 15 of last season, Gardner visited a hospital and promised a girl he would try and hit a home run. He wound up getting an inside-the-park round-tripper.

 

As for Swisher, right now he is hitting .286 coupled with 20 RBIs and 16 runs scored.

 

Keep it up, Swisher!

 

 

Phil Hughes

 

 


Phil Hughes got his fourth win of the year and first career win vs. Boston 

He is really becoming “one of our guys,” if you will.

 

Tonight, Phil Hughes matched Beckett pitch-for-pitch and went on to beat Boston and earn his fourth win of 2010. The 23 year-old righty tossed seven masterful innings, and gave up two earned runs on seven hits. He walked one hitter and struck out seven.

 

Hughes’s stuff was electric tonight. His breaking ball was working beautifully and his fastball was live and exploding through the strike zone. He went right after Boston’s best hitters and got them out one by one.

 

In the top of the third, Hughes caught Marco Scutaro looking on probably the nastiest curveball I have ever seen. The ball started up at Scutaro’s eyes, it seemed, and landed belt-high for a strikeout.

 

That breaking ball was so gross, it buckled Scutaro’s knees.

 

At the end of the night, Hughes is now 4-0 on the year, becoming the fourth Yankee starter to have four wins on the season. His earned run average went up a little bit, going from 1.44 to 1.69, but his work tonight speaks for itself.

 

Tonight also marked Hughes’s first career win over the Red Sox.

 

The Yankees have to be feeling very good about Hughes right now. Looking forward, he has a chance to win a lot of games this year. If he continues to work as effectively as he did tonight, he can make a Cy Young Award push.

 

At this point, Hughes is the best pitcher in the American League, if you ask me.

 

Back during spring training, I never thought I would be saying that! Hughes has done a fine job of clearing the air and making the statement that he belongs in the Yankee rotation.

 

Hughes is our guy. That about says it all.

 

 

Other Notes:

 

–Nick Johnson left the game with an apparent wrist injury. He was sent back to New York for an MRI and obviously won’t be playing for the rest of the weekend.

 

It never ceases to amaze me. Johnson had the best game he’s played all year on Wednesday. Two days later, he kills it.

 

Why did we get him again?

 

–Joe Girardi said a roster move will be made to replace Johnson. After the game tonight he mentioned the possibility of calling up an infielder from the minors.

 

–Every Yankee except Johnson, Cano, Ramiro Pena, and Gardner knocked in at least one run tonight.   

 

–”I’d be surprised if Cano plays tomorrow,” Girardi said. Cano took that bean ball on the knee pretty hard, and even he said he would have to assess how he is feeling tomorrow.

 

I hope he plays. He is one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters and they need him. But if he has to miss a day, I say he should take it. It’s just frustrating, because he was hit with a pitch. If he hadn’t gotten hit, he would be fine.

 

–Jorge Posada, still nursing that balky calf, didn’t play tonight. He is still day-to-day, so hopefully he plays tomorrow.

 

There is only so much catching Francisco Cervelli can do…although he is doing just fine. He went 2-for-3 tonight with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. He is kind of flying under the radar, but quietly putting together a great year!

 

–Retaliation tomorrow afternoon? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We will have to wait and see. The Red Sox certainly deserve to know what it feels like to have one of their top guys plunked.

 

God forbid Kevin Youkilis get beaned, though. For the amount of times he has been thrown at by Yankee pitching in his career, I wouldn’t be surprised if he charged the mound. It’s alright; CC would just have to sit on him, and the Yanks would win the fight.

 

–As announced before the game, Andy Pettitte will miss his next scheduled start against the Tigers on Tuesday. Javier Vazquez will make the start Tuesday and Sergio Mitre will start Monday.

 

Girardi set this up so that Vazquez will pitch the first game against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday, May 21. It might be a good idea, considering he probably has a better shot at winning against a National League team.

 

–Tomorrow afternoon it is CC Sabathia (4-1, 2.74 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (3-2, 2.97 ERA)

 

–The Yankees are now 3-1 vs. Boston this season and are 20-8 overall. A stark contrast to last year when they began 0-8 in their first eight games against the Red Sox.

 

–The Yanks snapped Boston’s four-game win streak tonight and extended their win streak to five games.

Yankees-Red Sox: Weekend Preview

 

 

The Yanks play the Sox tomorrow!!!!

About this time last year, the New York Yankees were not in the best shape. They had yet to hit their stride and were en route to going 0-8 in their first eight games vs. the Boston Red Sox. The Bronx Bombers eventually got it going, took over the American League East, and the rest is history.

 

This season things have begun differently. 

 

On April 4, the Yanks and Red Sox opened the 2010 MLB season. Boston managed to rally back from a 5-1 deficit and beat the Yankees in the first game. The next two games belonged to New York however, as the Yanks bounced back from the heartbreaking Opening Night loss and took the series from the Red Sox, two games to one.

 

Tonight the rivalry heats up again at Fenway Park and the odds are looking to be in the Yankees’ favor. Since the last time they met, the Bombers have elevated their season record to 19-8, winning every series they have played this year except one. The Red Sox have been a different story, going 15-14 through the first 29 games this year.

 

Both teams are in significantly different places right now.

 

This weekend, more pressure is on the Red Sox to keep winning than the Yankees, even though both squads are on four-game winning streaks. If the Yankees were to sweep the Red Sox or take two games out of three, Boston will be put so far behind in the rearview mirror they would need a racecar to catch up.

 

At press time, they are 6 1/2 games out of first place and sitting in fourth place in the AL East standings. Meanwhile, the Yanks are 11 games above .500, have won seven of their last nine games, and are 1 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in second place.

 

Obviously the Yankees are better off than Boston, at least at this point.

 

 


Phil Hughes faces Josh Beckett tonight 

Josh Beckett will look to keep Boston on their winning streak this evening. The Boston ace is not having an easy year so far, owning a record of 1-0 with a bloated 6.31 ERA. His last time out against the Yankees, he was lit up for five runs and eight hits over just 4 2/3 innings.

 

It always seems to be “feast or famine” for the Yanks against Beckett. Throughout his career, the right-hander has both dominated the Yankees and been dominated by the Yankees. His last time out vs. New York he was touched up, even though the Boston offense bailed him out of it and captured the win.

 

Opposing Beckett will be 23 year-old Phil Hughes. The youngster will be gunning for his fourth win of 2010 and will be looking for his first career win against the Red Sox. Lifetime vs. Boston, Hughes is 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA.

 

Making his third career start against the Red Sox, the Yankees’ number five starter is coming off a brilliant game against the White Sox in which he scattered four hits over seven innings of scoreless work. If Hughes were to win tonight, he would become the fourth Yankee starter to have recorded four wins this season.

 

 


CC Sabathia vs. Clay Buchholz tomorrow afternoon 

On Saturday afternoon the Yankees will turn to their ace, CC Sabathia. The big man has a 5-5 lifetime record with a 3.62 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox. Last season, Sabathia pitched a number of big games against the Yanks’ archrivals, and showcased electric stuff in all of his starts vs. Boston.

 

In fact, on Aug. 8 last season, Sabathia worked 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball until Jacoby Ellsbury spoiled it with a two-out single. Sabathia tossed 7 2/3 innings that day and gave up no runs on just two hits. He walked two batters and struck out a season-high nine.

 

The Yankees went on to win that game 5-0 behind Sabathia’s gem.

 

Matching up against Sabathia is Clay Buchholz, who ironically enough faced him in that same game last August. Despite Boston’s struggles this year, Buchholz has been relatively consistent. The 25 year-old righty is 3-2 this season with an ERA of 2.97.

 

Opponents are hitting .261 against Buchholz this year and he has given up three earned runs or fewer in three of his four starts this year. However, he is 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA in his career against the Yankees, indicating that he has a rough time when he is under the bright lights of the greatest rivalry in sports.

 

Against an ace like Sabathia and with the way hitters like Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher have been swinging the bat lately, Buchholz may be in for a long afternoon on Saturday. But if he pitches the way he is capable of pitching and is on top of things as he can be, the Yankees could fall down on a hard day.

 

On Sunday night the weekend series will wrap up.

 

 


A.J. Burnett vs. Jon Lester on Sunday night 

Boston will send 26 year-old left-hander Jon Lester to the mound in the series finale. So far this season, Lester is 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA.

 

His last start against the Yanks came on April 6 and he did not dazzle anyone. Lester tossed five innings the last time he faced New York and gave up four earned runs on five hits. He walked three batters and struck out four.

 

Lester has to be careful with some of the Yankee hitters. Alex Rodriguez has taken him deep twice in his career along with hitting a double. Derek Jeter owns a lifetime batting average over .300 against Lester and Mark Teixeira also has a homer off the Boston hurler.

 

 


Jeter, Rodriguez, and Teixeira have hit Lester hard in the past 

A.J. Burnett will take the hill for the Yankees, hoping to notch his fifth win of 2010. Although he did not enjoy much success against the Red Sox last season, Burnett still holds a lifetime record of 5-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 13 career starts vs. Boston.

 

This season Burnett has started a lot more effectively, has an ERA under two at 1.99, and worked on getting his breaking ball back to dominant status. In his last start vs. Baltimore at home, Burnett puzzled the Orioles with his curveball for one unearned run over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out eight batters along the way.

 

If Burnett brings that kind of game with him, the BoSox are in trouble.

 

While the season is quite young and the division winner will not be determined for a good long time, the pressure is on for Boston. They must heed the words of a sage Yankee, who once said, “It gets dark early out there.”

 

This of course means that if the Red Sox do not rise to the challenge and hit their stride, it could quickly become a two-team race for the AL East–Tampa Bay and New York.

 

 

Also seen at Bleacher Report 

Vazquez To Be Skipped, Girardi Made the Right Move

To borrow a line from Spike Lee: Joe Girardi, you did the right thing.

 

 


Javier Vazquez is missing a turn in the rotation 

Before the New York Yankees’ 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night, the Yankee skipper announced that Javier Vazquez would skip his next turn in the rotation. Vazquez’s next start would have come Friday night in Boston against the Red Sox but because of his inability to pitch effectively, he has been bumped.

 

With an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees will start Phil Hughes on normal rest Friday in Vazquez’s place. They will then use CC Sabathia on Saturday afternoon and pitch A.J. Burnett on Sunday night.

 

Heading to Detroit after the series in Boston, Vazquez will make his next start on Monday night against the Tigers.

 

Vazquez has only made one start this season that has been worth anything. On April 20 he notched his only win of 2010, a game in which he scattered six hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings of work against the Oakland Athletics. In that start he walked three batters and struck out six.

 

Other than that game, Vazquez has basically been a ghost.

 

 


Javy has been a ghost, or a non-factor this year 

In his other four starts this season, Vazquez is 0-3 and the Yankees did not win any of those four games. Right now opponents are hitting .337 against the Yankees’ number four starter and his ERA is currently at an inflated 9.78.

 

The Yankees have only lost eight games this year. Half of those losses came on days Vazquez pitched.

 

Girardi had no choice but to skip Vazquez. His numbers this season are so poor and every team he has faced has decimated him, even the weakest ball clubs. The Chicago White Sox, who have the lowest team batting average in the majors with .227, feasted off Vazquez this past Saturday and touched him up for five earned runs over just three innings.

 

It’s obvious that something is not right with this picture.

 

Although Boston is not playing well at the moment (as they are currently sitting in fourth place in the American League Eastern Division standings) it was wise for Girardi to pass on him pitching at Fenway Park. If Vazquez were to go out and get Boston massacred, his confidence level would drop even further than it is now.

 

It’s not like he hasn’t lost big time to the Red Sox before (insert 2004 ALCS reference).

 

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

 

Last night on Daily News Live (a program in which all the New York Daily News writers sit and discuss sports) the reporters brought up the idea of trading Vazquez back to the National League for another pitcher. One writer suggested dealing him to the New York Mets for Jenrry Mejia, a 20 year-old righty from the Dominican Republic.

 

Mejia is a reliever for the Mets, so I’m not sure if this move would solve the Yankees’ problem. His numbers are not bad; he is 0-1 but has an ERA of 0.90. Plus, he has only given up one earned run in the 10 innings he has pitched this year.

 

I suppose if they actually went ahead with this idea, they could move Joba Chamberlain back to the rotation and plug Mejia into his bullpen spot. But Chamberlain is too unpredictable, even in the bullpen. Plus, the Yankees will most likely not give up on Vazquez so soon.

 

 


Vazquez for Mejia??? 

However, the off-season move that sent Melky Cabrera to the Atlanta Braves and brought Vazquez to New York is so far looking like a terrible one. At this point, Brian Cashman might not admit he made a mistake in making the trade. His faith in Vazquez might not be gone just yet, and he probably still feels the scuffling pitcher can turn it around.

 

In the past, Cashman has been known to believe in a lot of the deals he makes. 

 

But if the season reaches (let’s say) July and Vazquez is not performing, he might be gone before he had the chance to unpack his bags. Just as Girardi had no choice but to skip over Vazquez’s turn in the rotation, Cashman might have no choice but to trade him away because of his ineffectiveness.

 

Adios Vazquez. Hello some other pitcher who can get the job done.

 

Vazquez needs to perform. Otherwise, BYE BYE!!! 

Yankees Take Series From Chicago, Squish White Sox

Talk about a squadoosh.

 

The New York Yankees pounded the Chicago White Sox 12-3 in the rubber game of their three-game weekend series this afternoon. The Bronx Bombers have now won seven of their first eight series this season and dating back to 2009, the Yankees have now won 14 of their last 17 series at Yankee Stadium.

 

 


Curtis Granderson will be out for a month  

Brett Gardner did a nice job of filling in for the injured Curtis Granderson, who yesterday strained his groin running from second base to third. Granderson was placed on the 15-day disabled list and according to manager Joe Girardi will “be out for at least a month.”

 

But in Granderson’s absence, Gardner did just fine going 2-for-4 with a solo home run, two RBIs, a walk, and two runs scored. Girardi said, “Gardner has been playing well and he’s going to need to keep it up because he will be playing centerfield every day for awhile.”

 


 

Brett Gardner was 2-for-4 with a homer today

Gardner took White Sox’ starter Mark Buehrle deep to right field in the bottom of the fourth for a solo home run, his first of the year. Earlier on in the first inning, Gardner knocked in the Yanks’ first run with an RBI single to score Robinson Cano.

 

Up 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Cano did some yard work of his own. With two men on base, the hot-hitting second baseman homered to right field, a three-run blast that put the Yankees up 5-0 and basically put the White Sox away.

 

“Red-hot Robbie Cano” is now hitting .387 with nine homers and 21 RBIs this year.

 

 


Robinson Cano is hitting .387 this year 

The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the sixth to widen their lead to 7-0. Nick Swisher joined the home run party and clubbed a two-run bomb to right field, his second in as many games. Swisher now has four home runs on the year and two at home, where he does not seem to hit many homers.

 

Last season, Swisher did not hit his second home run at Yankee Stadium until June 7.

 

In the bottom of the seventh the Yankees exploded for five more runs. Derek Jeter drew a bases loaded walk to score Jorge Posada, and then Nick Johnson cracked a two-run double. Mark Teixeira followed up with a two-run double of his own, giving the Yankees 12 runs on the afternoon.

 

 

Historically, Mark Teixeira hits well in the month of May 

Teixeira went 4-for-5 at the plate today, erasing his troubled April with a great start to May. It looks like the Yankees’ first baseman is keeping his elbow up more and as a result is getting around on some pitches. He is notorious for hitting well in May, so today might be just a small sample of what’s to come.

 

In the top of the ninth with two men on base, Paul Konerko crushed a three-run homer to left field to spoil the shutout and give the ChiSox their three runs in the game. It was Konerko’s 12th homer of the year and he leads the majors in that category.

 

Behind all the Yankee offense today was Phil Hughes, who absolutely puzzled the White Sox hitters. The 23 year-old righty tossed seven strong innings and gave up no runs on four hits. He walked only one batter and struck out six.

 

 


Phil Hughes has been compared to Roger Clemens 

(I’ll just say it) Hughes was dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas. But in reality, Hughes reminded me today of Roger Clemens. His delivery was very smooth, he was getting ahead of the hitters, and he was mixing his pitches.

 

There is a reason Sports Illustrated once called Hughes “The Pocket Rocket.”

 

Although Hughes was throwing a lot of strikes, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen did not think so. In the bottom of the seventh, Guillen got his money’s worth and got thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes. Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna called a ball on Gardner, Guillen did not agree, and ultimately got tossed.

 

Ozzie Guillen got tossed today! 

 

Not unusual for a manager like Guillen. However, Hughes was throwing the ball very well, and I’m sure Guillen would be the first one to say it.

 

With the win, Hughes is now 3-0 this season and he has won all three of the starts he has made. He became the youngest pitcher since his teammate Andy Pettitte to win his first three games of the year. Pettitte won his first three games as a 23 year-old in 1996.

 

Now with a record of 16-8 this year, the Yankees will remain at home for the next three games and entertain the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s just completed a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox despite dropping their previous two out of three to the Yanks at home.

 

CC Sabathia (3-1, 3.12 ERA) will look to keep the Yankees rolling against Jeremy Guthrie (0-3, 4.70 ERA)

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!!!

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.

Yankees vs. Tigers: Thoughts and Notes

With one week and one day left of spring training baseball, the Yankees are starting to get into regular season form. Saturday afternoon the Bronx Bombers beat the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland by a score of 2-1.

 

Here’s what I made of it…

 

A.J. Burnett

 

 


Dr. Jekyll-Burnett came to play today 

Coming into this game A.J. Burnett was 0-1 this spring, not exactly setting the Yankees on fire. I recently wrote a blog about Burnett, calling out his inconsistency and how everyone compared him to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last season.

 

Today, he was “Dr. Jekyll-Burnett.”

 

The Yanks’ number two man tossed 91 pitches over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He only gave up three hits, struck out two, and issued three walks. Not a bad day at the office for Burnett and it was a good sign, considering the Tigers played most of their regulars.

 

Manager Joe Girardi liked what he saw from Burnett today too; the skipper said he was “mixing his pitches, using the fastball more effectively, and was demonstrating better control than his last few starts.”

 

Could not have said it better myself. Burnett was also in a good rhythm with Jorge Posada, who was catching him this afternoon. Many people have made issues about the Burnett-Posada battery in the past, but if they work together as nicely as they did today there won’t be many problems.

 

Overall, Burnett looked great. A smooth and effortless delivery, a good fastball, a great breaking pitch, and everything was working for him. Let’s just hope he pitches like this for the better part of the upcoming season.

 

Burnett will have one more start this spring before April 6–his first regular season start in Boston vs. the Red Sox.

 

Former Teams

 

 


Each player who lent a hand in scoring today played for the other team last year 

What was interesting about this game was the scoring. The Yankees scored two runs, both of which were brought on by former Tigers. The Tigers plated one run, which was scored by a former Yankee.

 

In the top of the first, Curtis Granderson knocked in Posada with a two-out RBI single. Of course Granderson played for the Tigers last season, as did Marcus Thames.

 

With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Thames took Tigers’ starter Nate Robertson deep to left for a long solo home run, a blast that gave the Yankees the lead they would not relinquish.

 

I think Thames needed that home run, considering the abysmal spring he is having. Heading into that at-bat, he was only averaging .114 at the plate. Yikes!

 

As for the Tigers, former Yank Johnny Damon scored in the bottom of the third on an RBI single off the bat of Magglio Ordonez. After Damon hit a two-out double Ordonez drove him in from second with a base hit to right field. I have to give credit to Randy Winn, who nearly made a spectacular outfield assist.

 

Damon just beat the throw to home plate, which was right on the money. A solid effort and a great throw by Winn, but the former Yankee was called safe at home.

 

It was just a strange day in terms of the scoring. Not many runs and a former player on each team lent a hand in each run. Crazy!

 

Joba Chamberlain

 


Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the 'pen 

 

As announced on Thursday, Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the bullpen. Phil Hughes won the fifth starting pitcher’s spot, much to the dismay of many people including Chamberlain.

 

A good friend of mine called me almost immediately after the Yankees made the decision. I answered my phone and he literally went off about how angry he was how Hughes was named the fifth starter over Chamberlain. His argument was that the Yanks wasted time with the “Joba Rules” and how they treated him last year.

 

Think about it: they put Chamberlain on six days rest and then had him go out and throw 4 1/3 innings in some instances. They put him through all of that just to make him a reliever again? My friend said,

 

“He may not have been Roy Halladay right off the bat, but Rome was not built in a day.”

 

Excellent point. Chamberlain is only 24 years old. If he was 34 years old and not performing at a high level as a starter, then I would say leave him in the bullpen.

 

I think many people forget what he did in July 25, 2008 against the Red Sox at Fenway. Chamberlain started the game and tossed seven shutout innings against the BoSox, beating the ace of the Red Sox staff, Josh Beckett. Not only did he pick up the win in that game, he only allowed three hits and fanned nine batters.

 

The capability and talent is there. He just needs a chance to put it to use.

 

Chamberlain said Hughes did a better job during spring training and earned the spot, but he also said he was disappointed. He has a right to feel that way. Everyone was expecting him to be the fifth guy and I can tell he wanted to be. But I think one thing has to be made clear:

 

Even though Hughes is starting the year in the rotation, it doesn’t mean Chamberlain won’t be there. If Hughes struggles (the way he has in the past as a starter) Chamberlain could very well be plugged into that spot and get some starts. Nothing is set in stone; it just means Hughes is starting the year in the rotation!

 

Maybe everything will work out fine. Perhaps Hughes will find his niche in the rotation while Chamberlain finds his in the ‘pen. Just as he has proven to be a dominant starter, Chamberlain can be just as deadly as a reliever.

 

After all, he did pitch a scoreless ninth inning today and pick up a save.

 

Other Notes:

 

 


Spring Training 

–The Tigers’ spring training field is named “Joker Marchant Stadium.” Detroit officially wins the award for silliest Stadium name. Ever.

 

–David Robertson took over for Burnett and got out of the sixth inning. The more I watch him, the more I like him. He is great!

 

–Chad Gaudin was released by the Yankees. He made seven starts for the Bronx Bombers last year and the Yanks were 7-0 in those games. I hope he finds a new team, he can really help a ball club the way he helped the Yankees.  

 

–Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano did not make the trip over to Lakeland today.

 

–Nick Johnson played first base this afternoon. I think it’s good he can play the field, but unfortunately he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at the plate. He did draw a walk though.

 

–As mentioned before, Randy Winn almost made a great outfield assist. Even though he missed it, he still did a great job in right field. He made some nice catches and even doubled up a runner at first after an awesome snag. I’ll give him a lot of credit–he won some battles with the sun and wind today!

 

–The Tigers have a minor leaguer named Michael Rockett. Deik Scram, Michael Rockett…Jeesh, the Tigers are chuck full of minor leaguers with funny names!

 

–Chan Ho Park’s nickname is “Chop.” Cool. Even cooler, he worked his way out of a 1st and 3rd, one-out jam in the eighth inning.

 

–Joel Zumaya of the Tigers struck out the side in the sixth inning. He whiffed Granderson, Winn, and Ramiro Pena. I am officially scared of him again. He has been practically a non-factor these past two seasons, but his fastball hit 99 mph on the speed gun and his curve ball was NASTY. I am not looking forward to facing him this year.

 

–During the telecast, Michael Kay and Tino Martinez had a discussion about the pies to the face after a walk-off win. Kay said the dynasty teams were “very conservative” and that Paul O’Neill (at first) did not like the pies after the walk-off wins.

 

Martinez however liked them and said the team did not look like they were having fun the last five-six years. “The pies loosened them up,” Martinez elegantly stated.

I have to side with favorite player during the dynasty (Martinez) and say he was right.

 

–Tomorrow afternoon the Yankees take on the Tigers yet again, only this time they will play in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field.   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers