The Sweep Was Sweet

July 21st, 2014 by

Broom_icon.svg[4]And unexpected. The Reds came into the Stadium having played well, so I hoped for the best from the Yankees but…well, I certainly was surprised by the sweep. Dare I say that Phelps has grown into the job and is looking less like a mere fill-in and more like a guy who can stay in the rotation for awhile? And dare I say that McCarthy may have been a good pickup after all, though two starts aren’t much of a sample size? And dare I say that Kuroda has gas left in the tank despite not getting the win?

The Yankees’ infield defense (I’m looking at you, Brian Roberts) is still suspect and needs tightening up. But maybe, just maybe, the offense is coming around. It’ll never be a Bronx Bombers type offense and I miss that, but Ellsbury continues to impress and Jeter seems renewed and Beltran and McCann have been contributing more.

Bottom line: it’s more fun to watch games when the Yankees win than when they lose so I hope they keep this trend up. Whether they have a legitimate shot to make it into the postseason, as opposed to turning 2014 simply into a farewell tour for Jeter, is still an open question.

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On to the Second Half

July 18th, 2014 by

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Hard to believe how fast this summer is going, but I’m sure I say that every year. It just feels as if I was just writing about spring training and here we are post All-Star Game, which, by the way, I don’t really watch except to see how any Yankees players fare. This one was all about Jeter and rightfully so, beginning with the Nike commercial, which I think should win a Clio award. Just fabulous. The tributes to the captain were equally memorable, and he handled them with his usual modesty, saying exactly the right things with a touch of humor. I thought the Wainwright foot-in-mouth “controversy” was silly (the NL pitcher said he threw Jeter a meatball in that first at bat, then claimed he was joking), but Jeter deflected it perfectly. I do have to admit that the gifting of Jeter in every city as part of the same sort of farewell tour Mo had is getting old. When did this tradition take hold and will it now be expected for every popular player who’s announced he’s retiring? Or just the potential HOFers?

Bigger questions involve the Yankees. I had dinner with a diehard fan the other night and he’s convinced we’re heading into the “Horace Clarke years” of mediocrity. He also thinks Cashman should be fired for signing old war horses like Beltran and Roberts and just bring up the kids and see how they do. He’s adamant that we shouldn’t trade the farm for somebody like Cliff Lee.

Will the Yankees make the postseason? Only if the rest of the division can’t get it together. We just aren’t a very good team right now with all the injuries and limitations. I hope Shane Greene proves to be the real thing, but two great starts don’t make a career. I need to see more. I hope Kuroda staves off fatique and age. I hope Phelps finishes strong. But then there’s the offense. Remember the days when we hit homer after homer? Ten runs weren’t rare. Now we’re lucky if we scratch out three.

So we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching Jeter for as long as his season goes and anticipate the final goodbye from the last of the Core Four.

 

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More Trips to the Infirmary

July 11th, 2014 by

infirmary

Yes, there was a four-game series in Cleveland and yes, the Yankees won two and lost two (in especially depressing fashion – the losses, I mean), but the big news as the team heads down to Baltimore was obviously Tanaka and his “small tear” in the elbow. After consulting a phalanx of doctors, Tanaka was told that the prescribed treatment was rehab. If that doesn’t work then he’ll likely go under the knife for good old TJ surgery. Hard to believe, isn’t it? One day he’s our ace. The next he’s in the infirmary with the other members of the starting staff who were supposed to lift us to a championship in Jeter’s final season. Bah. Nothing’s going according to plan.

And then there was Beltran.

 beltran fractured face

No, that’s not actually his face, but the point is he fractured it in two places all by himself. Freak accident indeed. All I could do was sigh about that one.

What’s a GM to do except continue to call up guys like Zelous and Zoillo and anybody else on the farm whose name starts with “Z.”

Will the weekend series against the O’s be a massacre of our young lambs and creaky veterans or will we scrape together a win or two?

On the plus side – and there’s always a plus side – I didn’t expect to see the run production we’re getting out of Teixeira this year after coming off his various injuries. And Gardner and Ellsbury have been a revelation. It’s not the stuff of championships but it’s something.

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Thanks, Minny

July 6th, 2014 by

Minnie Mouse

The Yankees always seem to rise to the occasion when they’re playing the Twins and the past four games were no exception, not counting yesterday’s loss. (Three out of four was damn good for this team.) In today’s marathon, which should have been a laugher but was made way too close by the bullpen, Jeter and Ellsbury strutted their offensive prowess. But overall in this series, we got just enough pitching and hitting to get the job done.

And what an eventful day it was off the field. The Yankees said goodbye to Soriano, which was necessary but got me choked up nonetheless. I always liked him and he was a big help last season. I’ll remember him fondly as a Yankee through and through and hope he comes to Old Timer’s Day once he officially retires. Bye, Sori. Keep smiling.

Soriano smile

While Sori was going, Brandon McCarthy was coming.

Brendan McCarthy Yankees

(Yes, ESPN has already photo shopped his Diamondbacks pic.)

His stats with Arizona weren’t exactly spectacular, but he’s an upgrade over Vidal Nuno and he should give us innings. And he’s proven that he’s nothing if not gutsy. He was with Oakland when he was hit in the head by a comebacker off the bat of the Angels’ Erick Aybar and suffered a fractured skull. The fact that he’s pitching at all is pretty heroic.

I would hope Cashman still plans to make a deal for another starter (Cliff Lee?).

Meanwhile, I was excited to see that Betances and Tanaka will join Jeter at the All-Star Game. Congratulations to them.

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Should I Go Back to California?

July 3rd, 2014 by

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Ever since I arrived on the east coast Monday night, it’s been downhill for the Yankees. Is it my fault?

Nah. I’m putting the blame squarely on their broad shoulders. They’re just playing badly in a division that’s there for the taking. The Jays, Rays, O’s and Red Sox all have weaknesses and yet we can’t seem to rise above our own mediocrity. And if someone starts hitting (Tex, Ellsbury), they suddenly have injuries or are too “banged up” to play. As for Beltran and McCann, both have been underperforming and it’s hurt the team, yesterday’s successes at the plate notwithstanding. And Solarte, poor guy, seems to have outlived his usefulness to the team. But the one I’m most sorry about it Sori. Alfonso had such a nice season last year. He seemed rejuvenated to be back with the Yanks. Now he seems ready for retirement.

It’s gotten to the point where, during the series with Tampa, the games would be close in late innings but I didn’t feel compelled to watch to find out how it would all turn out. The results felt too predictable. This team has a losing stink right now.

Maybe Minnesota will give them the change of scenery they need, although why they don’t play well at home when the Stadium was designed for them, tailor made for them, is a mystery.

I’m not ready to divorce them by any means, but, as they say in the dating book, I’m just not that into them right now.

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Napoli Needs to Learn Some Baseball Manners

June 28th, 2014 by
Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Tonight’s Yankees-Sox game was a tense, entertaining one that kept me on the edge of my seat to see which team would break the 1-1 tie and go on to win it. When Tanaka served one up to Mike Napoli in the 9th it was deflating. Tanaka’s expression showed just how deflating. But what pissed me off was Napoli’s comment to his teammates as he rounded the bases after the homer.

An idiot? Really? I don’t disagree that Tanaka shouldn’t have shaken off McCann and insisted on throwing that fastball. It was totally the wrong move. But hey, Mike. Keep it to yourself or save it for the clubhouse after the game. Not cool. Not cool at all.

That said, the Yankees and Red Sox have split the first two games in this series, setting up an exciting finale tomorrow night. Unfortunately, I’ll either be packing or asleep. I’m leaving for NY at the crack of dawn on Monday morning for my month in Connecticut. Early to bed. Long flight.

Will be back on the blog after I get there. Go Yanks!

 

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The Yankees Won a Game!

June 25th, 2014 by

jumping-for-joy

Not that it’s been that long since they won a game. It just felt that way tonight against the Blue Jays, especially after Reyes’ leadoff homer against Kuroda. But Hiroki settled down and pitched well, and Robertson got the save after having been AWOL for a week.

What to make of this team? They looked so awful lately. The defense was embarrassing and the offense has been, as John Sterling put it, “sporadic.” Plus Chase Whitley came back to earth and Phelps was back to being a guy who isn’t a front-line starter and Nuno…well, there’s not much to say there.

Still, as the Yankees get tomorrow off in preparation for the series against Boston, the rest of the division has problems too so if the heart of the order would start hitting and we could snag a decent starter and Brian McCann would find the bat he left in Atlanta, things might be all right. I’m still hopeful.

 

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Gross

June 22nd, 2014 by
Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Actually, Girardi called Pearce’s takeout of Kelly at 3rd “malicious,” but when I say “gross” I’m referring to this huge series against the O’s and all the wasted opportunities by the Yankees, who lost 2 of 3. You’d think they’d have some momentum after Beltran’s stirring walk-off win on Friday night but nooo. Nuno’s continued mediocrity on Saturday didn’t help in that game, but the offense couldn’t come through time and time again. And to waste Tanaka’s start today, on a wonderful Old Timer’s Day, no less, was just criminal. Huff, by the way, wasn’t great during his last stint in pinstripes so I’m not sure what he’s doing in the Bronx for another round.

That’s what so puzzling about this team. They looked great against the first-place Blue Jays and so blah against the second-place Orioles. As was pointed out by the YES booth, it’s unlikely any of the division rivals will go on a tear and pull away from the pack so that’s a plus. But the Yankees will have to pick it up when it counts – i.e. with men on base – and the starting pitching has to improve. I’m sure Cashman will make a trade at some point (Cliff Lee has been mentioned), but right now he and Girardi keep saying Nuno will make his next start. All I can say about that is the bats better come alive.

 

 

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Nicely Done, Boys

June 19th, 2014 by

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It’s always sweet to sweep. It’s especially sweet to sweep the team that’s in first place, a spot ahead of you, and that’s what the Yanks did against the Blue Jays. I admit that going into this series I was worried. The Jays had looked invincible. Clearly, they aren’t. The Yankees pitched well and got tremendous production from the 1-2-3 trio of Gardner, Jeter and Ellsbury, and saw guys who’d been struggling at the plate, like Beltran and McCann, come to life. Are there still holes to fill? Definitely. We need a reliable starter to replace Nuno. We need a bona fide long man in the pen. And we need a better reinforcement for Warren, Betances and Robertson than Shawn Kelley, who hasn’t bounced back from his long injury rehab. But this sweep was a great way to kick off the upcoming games against division rivals -  a real confidence booster for the team and Phelps in particular.

 

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Get Up Close and Personal With the Captain!

June 16th, 2014 by

How’s this for an off-day offer: spend a game day with Jeter!

Seriously!

It’s all part of his Turn 2 Foundation, and it’s one cool opportunity for Yankee fans, so listen up. The Turn 2 Foundation has announced a raffle – a ticket costs as little as $10 – to benefit the Foundation, and here’s what the lucky winner gets. Ready?

  • Private pre-game lunch for 4 with Jeter at one of his favorite NY restaurants
  • A ride with him to the ballpark
  • VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Stadium courtesy of the Yankees
  • Pre-game batting practice status in front of the Yankee dugout
  • Autographing time with members of the team as they take the field
  • 4 seats in Jeter’s private suite

Additional information can be found here.

What a deal, right? And it’s all for a great cause. Who’s in?

woman raises hand

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