Some Positives in a Season of Negatives

September 17th, 2014 by

Positive Negative

How impressive that Dellin Betances actually surpassed Mo’s single-season strikeout record tonight. I mean seriously. Jeter’s retirement signals the end of an era, but here we have another homegrown kid who made good. One season does not a career make, but it’s a start.

Other bright spots? McCarthy. Who knew he could pitch so well and so consistently? Maybe even he didn’t, but he has.

And then there’s Headley. The guy gets hit on the chin and comes right back and dives into the stands to catch a ball. If I’m the Yankees I sign him for next year.

And then there’s the fact that we’re done with the Trop for 2014. Yay. Enough with the hit batsmen.

So now it’s countdown time until the end of the season. I have to say I’m ready to put this one behind me. It was a miserable year for injuries, for disappointments, for sad stories like Carlos Beltran and his wife losing their baby, all of it. Time to turn the page and hope for better things to come.

 

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Crushing Losses Mount

September 14th, 2014 by

crushing-3

Once again, I was hoping the last couple of weeks of the 2014 season would at least be entertaining even if they didn’t have any bearing on the pennant race. But who wants to watch the Yankees go down to defeat in particularly disappointing ways, as they did over the weekend in Baltimore?

And once again, the problem wasn’t pitching – not starting pitching anyway. It was not enough offense and not the right pitch from a reliever. And, as Kruk or Schilling or one of the ESPN guys said tonight, “The Yankees just aren’t very good this year.”

But they tried. Prado, nursing that hamstring injury, fought the good fight. Even Beltran, elbow hanging off his arm, came up to pinch hit. But poor Jeter’s going out with a whimper, sadly, and McCann’s homers are coming too late to matter. So are all the mostly great performances by Shawn Green, Brandon McCarthy, Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.

But we can enjoy two more weeks of The Captain before he makes his way off the big stage. That’s something to tune in for.

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Baseball Always Surprises

September 12th, 2014 by
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

And not just because it was Esmil Rogers who did the Gatorade honors last night at the Stadium instead of the injured Brett Gardner. There were so many unlikely aspects to the finale against the Rays.

Early on in the game, the Yanks were getting no-hit and it felt like another night of offensive futility. I kept saying, “Why am I even watching this?” But then Chris Young, an unlikely hero if ever there was one, broke things up and, later, won it with his walkoff homer. Also unlikely? That Martin Prado would come off the bench, hamstring aching, and smack one out. I hope he didn’t reinjure himself by staying in the game.

And then there were the two not-so-happy surprises: Jeter getting hit in the elbow and poor Headley getting hit on the chin – on the same night that the Marlins’ Giancarlo took one in the face during their game against the Brewers and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Jeez. What amazed me was, intentional or not, these pitchers weren’t warned or ejected or anything. Sure, they were shaken up – who wouldn’t be? – but professional guys shouldn’t be throwing at the heads of batters, period. If your control is that bad at this point in the season, go do something else for a living. Ugh. At least Headley wasn’t hit in the neck/throat/windpipe, which I had initially feared.

What does the Rays series mean to the Yankees’ playoff hopes? Nothing, if you ask me. But it was nice to see the team get a boost. The players looked excited and happy and that made me happy too.

 

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At Least There Was Something to Celebrate

September 7th, 2014 by
Photo: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

Photo: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

Or should I say “someone.” The Yankees brought out a veritable Who’s Who of stars for Derek Jeter Day at the Stadium, including members of the Yanks. I did miss Andy Pettitte, but it’s always good to see Jorge, Mo and Bernie. I’m still not sure why this ceremony wasn’t saved for the last home game of the season, but it was a fitting tribute. Having Cal Ripken there was an especially nice touch. And yikes Tim Raines is large these days.

As for the game against the Royals, well, there’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said during the season. It was the same old same old: good pitching, no hitting. And aside from yesterday’s win, the series was futility in general. The only upside is that both Pineda and Green look like great candidates for the rotation next year. Now if they could get some bats and be done with the dead wood so to speak, they’d be in business.

 

 

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A Happy Ending

September 4th, 2014 by

headley_yankees walkoff

Mark Teixeira made it a tie ballgame in the bottom of the ninth against the Red Sox tonight, and then Chase Headley sent the Yanks to a game win and a series win. I was on my feet cheering.

The Yankees may not win another series this season, who knows, but all I wanted for them was to get out of their offensive doldrums and play entertaining baseball and they did. The Red Sox are only a shell of their former selves, except for Ortiz who just keeps hitting bombs year after year, but taking two of three at home was fun anyway. I loved how excited the players got tonight after Headley’s walkoff, like a bunch of little kids. So cute.

As for Headley himself, he was a nice pickup. I wonder what’ll happen to him when A-Rod comes back next year (theoretically). Come to think of it, how will the Yankees deal with A-Rod coming back? (Hal said he’s looking forward to it. Yeah, sure.) In the meantime, Headley has played a solid third base and had a few timely hits.

The weekend series against the Royals should be interesting, with Sunday’s Jeter Farewell ceremony certain to be a tear jerker. I still can’t imagine the Yankees without him, but it’s clear that it’s the right time for him to head off into his new life. I have no doubt that he’ll succeed in whatever arena he pursues. He’s The Natural.

 

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Slipping Away

September 1st, 2014 by

Ice-slipping

The series in Toronto was a big disappointment on so many levels. Not only did Ellsbury get hurt, but once again the Yankees’ good pitching was trumped by weak hitting with an all-too-predictable result. Does anyone else think Kevin Long will be long gone by next April? I’m wondering.

Suffice it to say, the playoffs seem more and more likely to be a party to which the Yanks won’t be invited – and don’t deserve to be. I’m a Yankee fan. I want them to get into the party. But honestly they haven’t played well enough to have earned a spot so that’s just how it is. Maybe it’s Oakland’s year or even KC’s. And then there’s Baltimore. Can’t forget them, not the way they score runs.

As I said before, thank God for the US Open because tennis was far more interesting this Labor Day holiday than baseball.

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The Yankees Are Making Me Feel Like This

August 28th, 2014 by

yo-yo-

One minute they win and I’m up. The next they lose and I’m down. Right now I’m the latter thanks to today’s finale against the Tigers. Ugh. Tough loss. Tough series loss. They really need to win series, not lose them, especially against teams they’re trying to climb over for a Wild Card spot. Once again, the starting pitching was worthy of a win and yet….

Can the Yankees go on a real run – i.e. win more than a couple of games here and there? The offense has to do more damage than it’s been doing for that to happen. I keep wishing we had a monster power hitter who could come off the bench and muscle one out in big situations. We used to have guys like that. Instead we acquire relief pitchers, as in today’s signing of some lefty named Josh Outman. Ruben Sierra, where are you?

Bring on the division rivals, I guess, so we can know whether the Yanks are truly in this pennant race. The Blue Jays can hit and the Red Sox, while out of the race, are always dangerous. Thank God for the US Open. Watching tennis is fun without the stress.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

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Eating with Jeter?

August 26th, 2014 by
Photo: Diamond Dishes

Photo: Diamond Dishes

Just got this release from Steiner Sports. If anyone wants to pony up and have a farewell lunch with the Captain, here’s all the info. Part of me thinks the commercialization of Jeter’s last season is way over the top. The other part thinks the luncheon is a sweet way to say goodbye. You decide.

For Immediate Release 

The Captain’s Farewell: Derek Jeter Live at the Hudson Theatre Presented by Steiner Sports on Monday, September 22 New York, August 26 –

One of the greatest Yankees, as well as one of baseball’s best, Derek Jeter, will be saying goodbye to the game at season’s end. What better way to bid him farewell than by attending “The Captain’s Farewell: Derek Jeter Live at the Hudson Theatre” hosted by Brandon Steiner and Steiner Sports.

On Monday, September 22, from 12 noon to 2:00 pm, just three days before Jeter’s final home game at Yankee Stadium, he will be joined by Brandon Steiner at the historic Hudson Theatre in the Millennium Hotel (145 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036) in midtown Manhattan for a special event and impactful Q&A that will commemorate his great career and time with the New York Yankees.

Tickets start at $149. The packages are all listed at the end of the release. For more information and tickets go onto http://www.steinersports.com/events.html 

Event: The Captain’s Farewell: Derek Jeter Live at the Hudson Theatre 

Location: Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Hotel 

Address: 145 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Venue Website: http://www.millenniumhotels.com/usa/millenniumbroadwaynewyork/meetings/hudson-theater.html 

Transport: The 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, and Shuttle train stop at 42nd Street/Times Square, which leaves you three blocks from the hotel. 

Event Date: Monday, September 22, 2014 

Event Time: 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm 

Event Prices: Starting at $149; VIP packages that include a luncheon and memorabilia also available.  

Steiner Sports Contact: Steiner Sports Events, 914-307-1037, or email jwechsler@steinersports.com 

Athletes in attendance: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and a few surprise Yankees alumni 

For more information: Visit http://www.steinersports.com/events.html 

Living Social Packages 

The Balcony: One Balcony Ticket to Derek Jeter Q&A Including One Jeter Subway Sign One $25 Steiner Sports Gift Card(does not include Luncheon) Price $149 

The Mezzanine: One Mezzanine Ticket to Derek Jeter Q&A One Jeter Canvas Print One $25 Steiner Sports Gift Card (Does not include Luncheon) Price: $249 

Clutch Package with Product: Two Tickets to the luncheon and Jeter Q&A One Photo op with Derek Jeter for you and your guest One Limited Edition Derek Jeter Signed piece $2,500 per package

Clutch Package (without Product) Two Tickets to the luncheon and Jeter Q&A One Photo op with Derek Jeter for you and your guests $2,000 per package

 

 

 

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Does This Team Have a Shot After All?

August 24th, 2014 by

Broom_icon.svg[4]If you told me the Yankees would knock Chris Sale out of today’s game and go on to win it with a walk-off homer, I would have said, “Naaaah. No way.” But it happened. With a little bit of luck (Sale was victimized by his team’s sloppy defense), some solid pitching (minus Dave Robertson’s blown save), some clutch at-bats and a nifty managerial move (McCann pinch-hitting), the Yanks pulled off the win and the series sweep of the White Sox, a team they really had to beat to keep any hopes of making the postseason alive.

I have to give special credit to a few players in particular. Beltran, despite the fact that he’s clearly not 100%, has come through. Cervelli has been a terrific handler of pitchers. Ellsbury has rebounded from his slump. Even David Huff didn’t scare me today when he came on in a big situation. But as I said in the last post, Prado has really been an attention getter. I’m loving this guy right now.

I wish Drew could hit. I wish Gardner didn’t have a swollen ankle. I wish Tanaka could be in the rotation instead of making news for tossing the ball around without his arm falling off. But mostly I wish this upcoming road trip would show us that the 2014 Yankees, a collection of seemingly ragtag characters that aren’t household names (except the obvious one), have found the right chemistry and gelled enough to overcome their weaknesses and charge into the playoffs. To the Midwest they go….

 

 

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The Devil Doesn’t Wear Prado

August 22nd, 2014 by

Prado baseball card

Walkoffs are so exciting and Martin Prado’s single in the bottom of the ninth against the White Sox was no exception. I was on my feet cheering while Prado was getting mobbed by his teammates. He’s been playing well, both with the bat and the glove, and I’m glad he’s in pinstripes. Tonight’s heroics weren’t necessarily the start of the Yankees’ climb toward the playoffs, but the game was enjoyable nonetheless. Greene, like just about all the starters, was great after his initial floundering. The pitchers haven’t been the problem, as evidenced by McCarthy’s stellar performance against the Astros the day before to avoid a truly humiliating sweep. (I’m loving the fiery Cervelli as catcher. He seems to pull every last drop of energy out of his pitchers.) It’s the offense that’s been so frustrating. But for tonight at least the four runs were enough to get it done.

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