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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Instant Karma

Despite a 6-4 loss on Saturday afternoon at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, the first place New York Yankees are really clicking on all cylinders right now.

The Bronx Bombers won eight straight following the All Star break, including all five games occurring during "HOPE Week".

What the Yankees did this past week was unprecedented and should make you all proud to be fans of the organization.

This video, detailing the events of the week, is absolutely worth checking out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Second-Half Sweep

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the first place Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon, pulling to within one game of Boston and starting off the second half strong.

All three victories came in tight ballgames and featured strong starting pitching, timely hitting, and a Mariano Rivera save.

Sunday's strong start by Joba Chamberlain was very encouraging, and Phil Hughes continued his lights-out dominance out of the bullpen. The hitting heroes were Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who each provided a solo home run en route to the 2-1 victory.

Sunday was also Old Timers' Day, and marked the first Old Timers' appearances by a number of Yankees, including the recently retired Mike Mussina, who got a nice hand from the Stadium crowd. Don Zimmer also returned and got emotional as he stood along the first base line and listened to his ovation. Yankee newcomers A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher seemed to particularly enjoy the festivities.

On Monday, the Orioles come to town as the Yankees look to keep the ball rolling and catch the first place Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

American League Dominance Continues

Congratulations are in order for the American League All Stars.

The A.L. squad once again prevailed in the Midsummer Classic, thanks to a timely triple from the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, a leaping, game-saving grab by Carl Crawford, and a shut-down save from the Yankees' very own Mariano Rivera (now the all-time leader in All Star Game saves).

Starters Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum both allowed two early runs, but the bullpens stepped up and kept the game close. The National League was entirely shut down after the 2nd inning before threatening against Jonathan Papelbon (the eventual winner) in the 8th. Brad Hawpe was nearly a hero, but Carl Crawford (who was later named MVP) reserved what he described as his first home run-stealing grab for just the right moment and helped keep the A.L. in the lead.

When the 9th inning rolled around, Mariano Rivera was on the mound, which meant one thing: Game over. And after a breezy 1-2-3 inning, Rivera and the A.L. were victorious once more.

Do these guys ever lose? Sure doesn't seem like it... Not since I was nine years old, at least...

Friday, July 10, 2009

State of the Yankees

After completing a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon, the New York Yankees now find themselves tied atop the American League East division standings, along with (who else?) the archrival Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees are headed to the West Coast for one last series before the All Star break, where they will take on the always difficult Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (of California of the United States of North America of the former Pangea of Earth of the Universe). Meanwhile, the Red Sox will continue their four-game set versus the Kansas City Royals.

Should be an interesting weekend! What a shame the Yankees can't play the Twins every game.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

American League All-Star Selections: Did the Fans Get It Right?

It’s hard to believe, but the Midsummer Classic is less than a week away. All Star selections are in (with the exception of the Final Vote) and I thought it would be interesting to take a look and determine if the deserving players made it.


Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
(Reserve: Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians)

Mauer and Martinez have comparable offensive statistics. But considering Mauer missed the s
tart of the season and boasts an unbelievable .384 batting average, he deservedly will be behind the plate for the first pitch of the 2009 All Star Game in St. Louis.

Verdict: Good call by the fans

First Base: Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
(Reserves: Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins; Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox)

Teixeira and Youkilis battled for starting honors until the very end of the voting race.
Ironically, though, Justin Morneau is probably the most deserving All Star, as he leads the trio in hits, home runs, RBI, and batting average. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera definitely qualifies as a snub, considering his .324 batting average. In fact, one could argue that Cabrera deserves a spot on the team more than Youkilis (and that isn't just because I can’t stand the man).

Take a look:

Miguel Cabrera: .324, 17 HR, 48 RBI
Kevin Youkilis: .291, 14 HR, 47 RBI

Verdict: Wrong. Sorry, Tex, but Minnesota’s M & M Boys deserve to be starting behind the plate and at first base on July 14th

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
(Reserve: Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays)

Reserve Aaron Hill has more hits, more home runs, more runs batted in, and a higher batting
average than Pedroia (and so does Robinson Cano, for that matter). Dustin has the superior numbers when it comes to OBP, doubles, and runs scored.

Verdict: Not blatant oversight, but I believe Hill should be the starting second baseman, with Pedroia as the reserve. Considering Pedroia plays for the team with the best record in the American League, though, I really don't have much of a problem with it.

Third Base: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
(Reserve: Michael Young, Texas Rangers)

Brandon Inge’s home run numbers and Scott Rolen’s high batting average notwithstanding, Young and Longoria are the best All Star choices for third base.

Verdict: Tough call. But considering Young has a higher average (.313 vs. .285), more hits, runs, doubles, stolen bases and a slightly higher OBP, I think Young deserves the starting nod over Longoria.

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
(Reserve: Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays)

Jason Bartlett certainly has the edge over Jeter when it comes to batting average (.354 compared to Jeter’s .313). Bartlett also has 2 more RBI. The Yankees captain, however, has more hits, home runs, and runs scored. Both shortstops have 17 stolen bases and are within one double of one another.

Verdict: It’s a toss-up. The vote could have gone either way and I think people would agree the fans were right.

Outfield: Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox; Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers; Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
(Reserves: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays; Curtis Granderson, Detroit Tigers; Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles; Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays)

Josh Hamilton being selected as a starter is a joke; Melky Cabrera deserves a spot on the All Star team more than he does. Besides that error in judgment, I agree with the other two starters. Jason Bay leads all outfielders in home runs and RBI and Ichiro is batting .358 with 119 hits. Carl Crawford has stolen 41 bases and the rest of the reserves have put up some equally impressive numbers, with one exception. Ben Zobrist? I would take Jermaine Dye, Jacoby Ellsbury, Johnny Damon, Juan Rivera and a handful of other outfielders before I would even think of Zobrist.

Verdict: The fans were 2/3 right, and the coaching staff 4/5 correct. Not a bad percentage.


Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics; Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox; Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox; Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Zach Greinke, Kansas City Royals; Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays; Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners; Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers; Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins; Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox; Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees; Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers; Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox

It’s difficult to sort through the statistics of so many different pitchers. It’s hard to argue with a bullpen consisting of Fuentes, Nathan, Papelbon and Rivera. Zach Greinke (10-4, 2.00 ERA, 120 K) deserves to start for the A.L. squad. Beyond that, I can’t really find any one pitcher who is not worthy of a trip to the Midsummer Classic.

Verdict: The fans don’t have a say when it comes to pitchers!

What are your thoughts?