Search This Blog

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

... Introducing your first place New York Yankees.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catching Up and Walking Off

Since my last update, the Yankees have been red-hot, winning 10 of their last 11 games, sweeping a four-game set against Minnesota and adding a more conventional three-game sweep of the Orioles at home.

During that streak, the Bombers managed three consecutive walk-off victories from May 15-17th, all against the Twins. Melky Cabrera was the hero Friday night against Joe Nathan. Alex Rodriguez provided the dramatics with a two-run, walk-off homer on Saturday. And Johnny Damon deposited a game-winning home run into the right field seats in the 10th inning on Sunday afternoon. It was the first time the Yankees accomplished three consecutive walk-off victories since 1972. New York got the scoring done early in the final game of the Twins series, scoring 6 runs in the first inning and coming away with a 7-6 victory.

The Orioles came into town Tuesday night and were shut down by CC Sabathia. A pitchers' duel for most of the game, the Yankees scored seven in the seventh to win 9-1. Phil Hughes won his second game of the season the following night, thanks in large part to back-to-back-to-back home runs from Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera. And I was on-hand for the series finale, where the Yankees put up six quick runs and hung on for a 7-4 victory despite losing Joba Chamberlain in the first inning after he was hit in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Adam Jones.

The winning streak finally came to an end at 9 games. Interleague play began Friday against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies and
A.J. Burnett allowed 5 runs en route to a 7-3 loss. Chien-Ming Wang was activated from the disabled list before the game and pitched three innings of relief, allowing a monstrous home run to Raul Ibanez but mostly settling down afterwards and displaying an improved sinker and greater velocity.

Saturday afternoon, the Yankees were back to their winning ways. Having trailed the entire game, they mounted a ninth inning comeback against closer
Brad Lidge. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run, game-tying home run and Melky Cabrera, King of the Walk-Offs, delivered the final blow (and received his second whipped cream pie to the face of the homestand).

The Yankees are playing loose and playing well, and getting contributions up and down the lineup. Mark Teixeira, in particular, has really benefitted from A-Rod's return.

Tomorrow, Cole Hamels and CC Sabathia go for their respective teams, looking to secure a series victory and wrap-up the weekend series with a win.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Center Fielders Steal the Show

Who would have thought that the ejection of hot-hitting Johnny Damon in the 3rd inning of Friday night's game would be exactly what the Yankees needed to stage an improbable comeback against Minnesota?

Brett Gardner
was tasked with replacing the red hot Damon and came up big almost instantaneously with an inside-the-park home run to put the Yankees on the board in the 5th. It was the first inside-the-park home run for a Yankee since Ricky Ledee legged one out in 1999.

Phil Hughes
departed after 5 laborious (but gutty) innings trailing 3-1. The Yankees were down 4-1 when Derek Jeter delivered a solo shot in the 7th to cut the lead in half.

Cue the 9th inning dramatics.

Brett Gardner got things going once again with a triple to lead off the 9th. It is a testament to Gardner's speed that he was able to make it to 3rd given the fact that he wiped out rounding 1st and still managed to make it with relative ease. Mark Teixeira then stroked a single through the right side of the infield and drove in Gardner, making it 4-3 Minnesota.

Despite home plate umpire
Wally Bell's best efforts to ring him up, Alex Rodriguez worked a walk. Twins' closer Joe Nathan proceeded to strike out Hideki Matsui and Justin Morneau (who hit two home runs on his 28th birthday) robbed Nick Swisher of a hit. Ramiro Pena came in to run for A-Rod and the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs. With first base open, Nathan opted to take his chances with the on-deck batter and intentionally walked Robinson Cano to work to Melky Cabrera. Melky swung at the first pitch and lined a two-run single into left-center field, providing his team with an exciting walk-off victory (the second walk-off hit Melky's delivered already this season).

The Yankees find themselves back over the .500 mark at 18-17 and kept pace with Toronto, remaining 4.5 back in the division. Joba Chamberlain and Nick Blackburn will square off for Saturday's afternoon affair at the Stadium.


And for those of you interested, there is a really nice story behind Gardner's (unconventional) home run.

Read about it here.
(Courtesy of Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News)

I worked an autograph signing with Brett Gardner back in October and can certainly attest to the fact that he is a good guy and easy to root for. I've made
no secret of my feelings about Gardner as an everyday player, but that doesn't mean I'm not pulling for the guy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Successful Road Trip

The Yankees just wrapped a three game series against the surprising Toronto Blue Jays who currently sit atop the American League East standings.

After losing the first game of the series 5-1 to a dominant Roy Halladay (7-1), New York won the next two games to take the series and move to within 4.5 games of first place in the division.

Injuries continue to plague the Yanks, as Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, and Phil Coke all missed significant playing time in the Toronto series.

On Wednesday night, that didn't matter much. Rookies like Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli propelled Andy Pettitte (3-1) and the Yanks to an 8-2 victory. Gardner also picked up his first major league home run in the game, a 2-run shot off Scott Richmond.

Jeter and Matsui were back in the lineup for the series finale, and both contributed to a well-pitched 3-2 Yankees win. CC Sabathia (3-3) threw 8 solid innings and the Yankees staged a late comeback with an RBI single from Jeter to tie the game and a go-ahead solo home run from Matsui in the 8th. Mariano Rivera came in and worked a 1-2-3 inning for his 7th save. Johnny Damon also continued his hot hitting, tying a Yankee record with 10 consecutive games with an extra-base hit (Paul O'Neill and Don Mattingly each managed 10 games, as well).

The Yankees finished up their road trip 4-2 and are back to the .500 mark heading into the next homestand. Alex Rodriguez will play his first game at the New Yankee Stadium Friday night against the Minnesota Twins.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bad News All Around

The Yankees lost Tuesday's ballgame to the Red Sox.

They are 0-5 versus Boston this season.

They are 13-13, back to the .500 mark.

Jorge Posada was placed on the 15-day DL and is expected to miss at least three weeks.

As of right now, the Yankees disabled list reads like an All Star roster (+ Cody Ransom).

Alex Rodriguez. Xavier Nady. Damaso Marte.

Jorge Posada. Brian Bruney. Chien-Ming Wang.

Mark Teixeira is batting .198.

Injured set-up man Brian Bruney has as many wins (2) as starters CC Sabathia and Joba Chamberlain COMBINED.

Of the six Yankee relievers used in Tuesday night's ballgame, only one had an ERA under 4.00 (Phil Coke).

The good news for the Yanks?


No swine flu outbreak?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Washed Away

After a two hour rain delay, the Yankees dropped the first game of their two-game set against the rival Red Sox.

Phil Hughes labored through four innings, allowing 3 earned runs, including a long homerun by Yankee-killer, Mike Lowell.

The Yankees fought back against Jon Lester, cutting the lead to 4-3 thanks to a two-run shot by Johnny Damon and a solo shot from Teixeira.

Alfredo Aceves, just called up, relieved Hughes and pitched very effectively. Unfortunately, he made one mistake, and it ended up being the Red Sox margin of victory. Jason Bay clanked a two-run shot off the left field foul pole in the 7th inning and the Red Sox took a 6-3 lead.

Mark Teixeira delivered a second solo homerun in the 8th, prompting Terry Francona to go to his closer for a rare 5-out save. Jonathan Papelbon came in and made things interesting, loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th before striking out Robinson Cano and securing the 6-4 Boston victory.

The Yankees are 0-4 against the Red Sox thus far. What is even more alarming is that Jorge Posada left the game with a tight hamstring. Last season provided the Yankees with their first bitter taste of life without Posada; let's hope this is just a minor setback and that Jorge will be back behind the plate within a few days.

Josh Beckett and Joba Chamberlain finish up the series tonight at the Stadium.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Quick Hits

Sorry for the lack of updates lately- Final exams have kept me busy recently.

Since my last update:

- The Yankees were swept by the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

- Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Bruney, Cody Ransom, AND Damaso Marte were all placed on the disabled list.

- Mark Melancon made his highly-anticipated M.L. debut.

- The Yankees reduced ticket prices at the new Stadium.

- The Bronx Bombers played a three game series in Detroit, winning 2 out of 3.

- Phil Hughes was called-up from the minors and pitched beautifully, tossing six scoreless innings and notching his first big league victory since the 2007 postseason.

- Melky Cabrera officially (for the time being, at least) regained the starting center field role, pushing Brett Gardner to the bench. Melky has come up huge recently. As of today, Cabrera is batting .321 to Gardner's .222. He's got 4 homeruns (0 for Gardner), 10 RBI (versus Brett's 4), and Melky has even managed 2 stolen bases.

- Who's hot? Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher
- Who's not? Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez

- The Yankees finished-up a rain-shortened series against the pesky Angels, taking 2 of 3 at the Stadium. I was at the series opener and am happy to say that the new place finally sounded like Yankee Stadium ought to. That might have something to do with my location; it was my first game in the grandstand seats with the real fans. May rolled around and with it came an exciting walk-off victory. Behind by 5 runs in the 8th, the Yankees rallied and won the game with a walk-off, two-run single courtesy of Jorge Posada. The Yanks lost the final game of the series.

- The bullpen remains a serious concern.

- Xavier Nady hopes to be back by the end of the month thanks to an innovative procedure, detailed here by Peter Abraham of The Journal News.

- Alex Rodriguez is progressing with his rehab and could be back with the team by the end of the week. Of course, no A-Rod update is complete without some controversy. Selena Roberts' "A-Rod" expose is hitting bookshelves today after a number of excerpts were leaked. I, for one, am sick of this story already, and it's only just begun.

- And as if all that weren't enough, the Red Sox are in town for their first taste of the New Yankee Stadium. Let's just hope the weather holds up and the Yankees have a sweep of their own in them!