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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Here It Comes...Subway Series Starts This Weekend

New York Yankees vs.
New York Mets
Round 1, Shea Stadium
Randy Johnson (5-4, 5.13)
Jeremi Gonzalez (0-0, 5.40)
Game 1: The Yankees should have the advantage here, pitching-wise, but who knows how the Big Unit will respond following his recent string of less-than-impressive performances?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


NEW YORK -- Yogi Berra would have loved this one.

Following the theme of "It ain't over 'til it's over," the Yankees and Rangers engaged in a slugfest in the Bronx on Tuesday night, with New York emerging victorious by a 14-13 final.

Appropriately, it was the Yankees' catcher that provided the final blow, as Jorge Posada blasted a two-run walk-off home run against Rangers closer Akinori Otsuka with two outs in the ninth.

"I was just hoping it was out of the park so we wouldn't have to keep playing," Posada said. "I didn't want to play anymore. It was a long game."

Posada's homer capped the wild, three-hour, 49-minute game which featured 34 hits, 11 walks, two hit batsmen and two errors.

The Yankees overcame an early 10-1 deficit, tying the franchise record for the largest comeback in a game.

"It's hard to beat that one," said manager Joe Torre. "It was such a team effort all the way around. I can't be more proud of the way this ballclub responded tonight. They fought hard, which is what they've done all year."

"Possible? Yes. Realistic? You'd have to think about that for a minute," Johnny Damon said when asked if he thought a comeback was possible at 10-1. "There's a lot of heart here. A lot of people doubted us with [Gary Sheffield], [Hideki] Matsui and [Jason] Giambi out, but we kept bringing it."

Derek Jeter went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, while Posada, hitting cleanup for the first time since Oct. 2, 2004, finished the night with five RBIs of his own.

"This says a lot about this team and about the guys," Posada said. "We did a lot of things right, we did a lot of things wrong, but we kept fighting."

Things didn't look good early on for the Yankees, as Texas tagged Shawn Chacon for eight runs on six hits and two walks in just 1 1/3 innings.

"Did he start tonight? I don't even remember, it was such a long time ago," cracked Torre after the game. "He got himself in trouble, pitched from behind and threw a lot of pitches early. When he tried to make a pitch, he didn't make it."

Aaron Small relieved Chacon in the second, promptly serving up a three-run homer to Hank Blalock on his third pitch, giving Texas a 9-0 lead.

With the score 10-1 after the top of the third, the Yankees started chipping away at starter John Koronka. Jeter and Posada each drove in runs to cut the lead to 10-3 in the third, then Posada and Robinson Cano added RBIs in the fifth, slicing the score to 10-5.

"You have to think small," Jeter said. "We had a long way to go, so you try to score one at a time, not try to get them all back at once."

"Once we stabilized them, then we score a run or two and they don't get it back, you're five runs back and it's realistic," Torre said. "I think everybody sensed that."

Posada helped hold the Rangers from extending their lead in the sixth, tagging Mark Teixeira out at the plate after a violent collision.

"That's probably the hardest I've ever been hit," Posada said. "I've never played football in my life, but that's probably what it feels like."

"He looked a little dazed, but he kept answering the questions the right way," Torre said when asked if Posada came close to leaving the game. "He seemed to have his senses about him."

The Yankees completed their first comeback in the sixth, scoring six times to take an 11-10 lead. Jeter's three-run homer brought New York within two runs, while Miguel Cairo's two-run single capped the rally, sending the 40,757 fans into a frenzy.

The euphoria didn't last long, though, as Scott Proctor walked Kevin Mench to start the seventh, setting up Brad Wilkerson's two-run homer, which gave the Rangers the lead once again.

Following the pace of this game, the Yankees wasted no time in tying it up. Damon reached on an error, moved to third on Jeter's bunt single and another Rangers error, then scored on Posada's sac fly. But the Yankees couldn't move the go-ahead run home from third, sending the game into the eighth tied at 12.
Closer Mariano Rivera entered the tie game in the ninth, and Mench blooped a broken-bat single to center to start the inning. Wilkerson bunted pinch-runner Adrian Brown to second, then Rivera walked Mark DeRosa, putting men at first and second.

Rod Barajas followed with a broken bat double down the third-base line, scoring Brown to put the Rangers back in the lead. Rivera got out of the inning without any further damage, giving the offense one final chance to pull out the win.

"You can't do anything against that," Rivera said. "When you have hits like that, bloops, you just have to continue to battle. I was disappointed, but you can't control it."

As the Yankees walked toward the dugout, Torre sent a message to Posada and his teammates.

"Skip said, 'This game is yours. You fought too hard to lose it,'" Posada said. "We kept coming. It was just meant to happen."

Damon reached base with a single, moving to second on Jeter's groundout. Alex Rodriguez lined out to center, bringing Posada to the plate. Otsuka fell behind, 3-0, then threw a strike to Posada. One pitch later, Posada crushed Otsuka's 3-1 offering into the front row of the right-field bleachers, capping the win.

"We just have one way we like to believe we do things; to get the most out of every at-bat, play every single inning, and when it's all said and done, let's see where we are," Torre said. "It was a big lift, to let us know what we're capable of doing."

"It was a great game for him," Damon said. "He saved a run at the plate by holding on to the ball, hit the two-run homer. He sent a lot of people home happy."

(((Article taken from

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yankees vs. Red Sox- Series Recap

Game 1: An embarrassing debacle of a game for the Yankees. The Big Unit was useless again, A-Rod was his typical "un"-clutch, error-prone-in-a-tight-spot self, and who was out "playing" right field? Melky Cabrera (Shudders).
Game 2: Quite the opposite of Tuesday night's game. The Yankees and Mike Mussina got off to a shaky start after the Moose surrendered a two-run homerun to- who else? - Big Papi in the first and a solo shot to Mike Lowell the next inning. With Curt Schilling on the mound, things were not looking up for the Yanks. However, Jason Giambi continued his homerun tear with a two-run shot after Bernie Williams drove in a run with a sac fly and the score was tied 3-3; suddenly, it was a whole new ballgame. Mussina bore down and ended up with another excellent outing going 6 2/3 innings and surrendering only the 3 early runs. Alex Rodriguez, whose two errors the night before had greatly upset George Steinbrenner, ended up hitting a solo homerun off Schilling to break the tie, and Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer later in the inning to provide all the run support Mussina and the bullpen needed. I was lucky enough to witness the game in person, and it was a typically exciting and atmospheric event like no other. Mike Mussina won his 230th career game and became the first American League pitcher to win 6 games, taking his record to 6-1 on the year with a 2.56 ERA, good for 3rd in the A.L.
Game 3: The Yankees lose the game, lose the series, lose first place, and lose their left-fielder for the foreseeable future. Terrible, just terrible. Hideki Matsui will undergo surgery on his fractured wrist tomorrow morning after injuring himself in the first inning of the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Red Sox and effectively ending his consecutive game streak that dates back to his days with the Yomiuri Giants. Don't be shocked to see someone like Ken Griffey, Jr. sporting the pinstripes in left field sometime in the near future...


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Moose Dominates Again, Yankees Win Despite Nightmarish 8th Inning

Mike Mussina went 7 strong innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 5 and walking none. Moose threw 86 pitches and *62* of them were strikes!

Leaving the game one batter into the eighth with an 8-1 lead, I doubt anyone expected the Yankees to use three pitchers and see Mariano Rivera in the game with an opportunity to earn a save. But after an unbelievable inning, during which both Small and Farnsworth allowed 2 and 3 runs respectively while combining for only 1/3 of an inning each, that is exactly what happened. Rivera was shaky to say the least, hitting a batter and loading the bases while allowing 3 hits, but he eventually stopped the bleeding and the Yanks were out of the nightmare inning at last.

Anyone else have heart palpitations while watching that eighth inning? My Lord...

When it was all said and done, the Yankees won 8-7 over the Texas Rangers to remain in a first-place tie with the Red Sox. At 16-11, they are 5 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Friday night's game was the 450th start of Mike Mussina's career. Interestingly enough, only 7 pitchers in the history of baseball had amassed more wins at this point in their career than Moose. The pitchers? Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux- Ever heard of any of those guys? Yeah, me neither (Insert sarcasm here).

Mussina is now 5-1. Giving up 2 ER in 7 innings, his ERA actually went up to 2.35. The Moose is tied for 1st place in the A.L. with his 5 victories, he is 2nd only to Curt Schilling in strikeouts, and 3rd in the league in ERA. Kind of unbelievable, really, how well the veteran pitchers in the game are doing at the minute. And Moose is certainly one of the guys leading the pack.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

So Much For The "Ace" Status...

The Big Unit has an ERA of 8.59 in his last two starts, yet his record stands at 2-0 during that period of time. Overall, Randy Johnson is 5-2 with a 5.02 ERA. That just goes to show the amount of run support Johnson has been given despite his less-than-stellar pitching performances.

But hey, a win's a win, right?

The New York Yankees remain tied for first place in the American League East with (who else?) the Boston Red Sox. Tonight's win brings the Bombers' season record to 15-11.

The true ace of the pitching staff thus far, Mike Mussina (4-1, 2.31), starts tomorrow night against Vicente Padilla and the hard-hitting Texas Rangers.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Yankees and Red Sox Round 1: The Battle For First Place

The Greatest Rivalry in Baseball Begins Tonight!
Yankees: Chien Ming Wang (1-1)
Red Sox: Tim Wakefield (1-4)

Expect a chilly reception for from the Fenway faithful when Johnny Damon steps into that batter's box with a big "New York" stretched across his chest. Should be fun!