Monday, May 31, 2010
Andy Pettitte kept the Yankees and himself rolling with a dominating performance against a sad Cleveland team. Pettitte's performance was exemplary. At 37 going on 38 the lefty has been keeping hitters off balance all season and, along with Phil Hughes, he has been the ace of the staff.
Pettitte never wavered against the Indians and after a one-out single by Mark Grudzielanek he sat down the next 14 Cleveland batters to step up to the plate. Match that with how he kept the Twins from getting anything on the board late in his previous start and you have a pitcher who is riding a hot streak.
It also seems that Pettitte's mental prowess has reached a level that matches his physical ability. If he can stay healthy then the Yankee rotation will be the best in baseball when Sabathia and Burnett heat with the weather.
The last two series are exactly what the Yankees needed. Cleveland and Minnesota are two teams the Yankees tend to beat on and they came at the perfect time for New York to rebound from a tough stretch of games. May in general was the Yankees most difficult month in terms of opponents. Now they will enter June with a chance of catching the Rays and putting some serious distance between themselves and the Red Sox.
June will see New York take on sad-sack teams such as the Astros, Diamondbacks, Mets, Orioles and Blue Jays. Not to mention the seven games against Seattle at the end of June and the start of July, plus more games against the Blue Jays and a rematch of Braden vs. A-Rod. It will be a great way to pump up the Yanks record before the All-Star break.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
We can start to pack it in and I am not only talking to Red Sox fans. Clearly, this isn’t the year for the red sox. A team supposedly bit on pitching and defense has allowed 222 runs this year the most in the AL, and the offense is what everyone thought it would be: average. Epstein should use this year to develop young talent and get something in return for the wilting flowers of the locker room known as JD Drew, Mike Lowell, and David Ortiz.
Conversely, the Yankees have been playing fairly well. Sabbathia and Hughes have carried the rotation. Robinson Cano is having an MVP year and Jeter, Rivera, and Pettitte refuse to get old. But if you look at the facts it seems unlikely the Yankees will repeat. And the reason for that is obviously : The Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays are the best team, and I stress team, in baseball and it is not even that close. They have enough pitching to choke a horse, a dynamic lineup, and if you have see the Rays play, it seems like they can get to any ball hit in the field of play.
Another important factor is this is likely the last year for a few key players in Florida. This is their chance to win the Series. They will pull out all the financial stops and get the best team on the field. They have the experience of the 2008 postseason under their belt and a manager who seems smart enough to get out of the way.
I know some fans of the blog will remind me that there is another league of teams to consider, but none of them are as complete as the Rays. The Giants can pitch and if they get into the playoffs could give some teams problems. The Phillies are good, but not unbeatable. They have a weak bullpen and lack depth at the major league and minor league level. [On a sidenote: I heard a report by a scout say something like the Rays have something like 12 major league ready pitchers in the organization. (5 in Tampa Bay and 7 other in the minor leagues. 7!!!)] If someone is hurt or loses focus they can be replaced easily and at a low cost.
This is the year of the Rays and it is not even that close.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday was no different than the last few years. Unlike Friday the Yankees didn't even tease Minnesota by falling behind early. They jumped on Liriano and scratched three runs off the tough lefty in six innings. That was plenty for Andy Pettitte who showed little rust after missing his last start with inflammation in his elbow.
Pettitte mixed and matched his pitches well and kept the Twins off balance. He was economically and while Girardi lifted him after just 95 it was probably for the best to stay on the safe side. The old lefty is now 5-0 and along with Phil Hughes, is tied and three others for the AL lead in wins.
Today will be tougher for New York since they have to send Sergio Mitre to the mound. Still its hard not to envision the Yankees finding a way to rally if necessary against the Twins bullpen.
Nick Blackburn is on the mound for Minnesota and the righty seems to have a Jekyll and Hyde mentality. When He wins he is lights out, posting a 2.11 ERA during his 25 career victories. During his 25 losses Blackburn has posted a 7.01. It stands to reason that the Yankees will jump out early or be forced to rally late.
Mitre has been solid for New York but he isn't exactly what you want to throw against the likes of lefty mashers like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. A-Rod and Teixeira will have to continue their resurgence if the Yankees want to sweep.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Right now the Sox have more to worry about than the Yankees, dispite all of the Yankees' injuries. This is a big stretch for New York as they start to battle the better teams in the AL this month. Now they move on to Detroit for a four game set.
The Tigers are riding high with Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson leading the league in hitting. Jackson will start to come back down to earth as his strikeouts keep piling up and his BABIP starts dropping from its ridiculous height of .511. Still his great performance and Curtis Granderson's current position on the disabled list afford me the opportunity to harken back to the Yankees recent history of trading away prospects in the 1980s for assorted crap. At least Frank Costanza could tell it like it was.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Here is the Yankees eras from 1903-2010.
Here is the Red Sox eras from 1901-2010.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Andy Pettitte had a stellar start and looked to be cruising until Girardi had to pull him after five innings and 77 pitches with tightness in his foreman. That is a phrase that tends to put dread into the hearts of fans of any player suffering from it. The tightness usually protends major elbow issues.
The Yankees sent Pettitte for an MRI and the results showed some inflammation but no structural damage. The veteran lefty will miss his next start as the Yankees evaluate him on a day-to-day basis. Things could have been far worse, but with the way Pettitte and the rest of the rotation, excluding Javier Vazquez, have been performing it is a blow to lose him for any amount of time.
It could also be something that limits Pettitte for the rest of the season and extended bouts of Sergio Mitre are not recommended. Mitre will have to step up against the Tigers on Monday and hopefully no one else. Really it would be more entertaining to see the Yanks call up Ivan Nova, but he probably wont be and option just yet.
While Pettitte was getting his elbow looked at, the Yankee bullpen was showing why the starters need to carry the team. Mitre was solid in 2.1 innings and Damaso Marte is performing slightly better, but Dave Robertson is a mess right now. Robertson could turn the pen into a huge strength for the Yankees along with Joba and Rivera or he could make it a question mark beyond those two.
Is it possible that Sports Illustrated has struck again?
Anyway the Yankees will have to press on and hope that Posada is back after the off day. Same goes for Rivera.
For now the only baseball on is the Sox. Hypocritical as they may be with their honoring of Nomar Garciaparra after his inglorious departure from Boston.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
If you haven't seen the video here it is.
The incident seems to have generated a huge debate over the use of force by the officer and whether or not it was appropriate. My opinion would be that the officer was well within the bounds of appropriate force and the reality is the kid probably got off easy being tasered.
Now I've never been tasered and don't every plan on it, but I have been tackled to the ground by a person much larger than myself who was running full speed. That was the likely fate of the streaker even if he had given himself up and fell to his knees with his hands on his head.
I've been at sporting events with streakers and those guards definitely take pleasure in the physical abuse they can levy against a defenseless target. Either way that kid was going to get a little beat up for running onto the field and I don't really think the taser was any worse than what the security guards and officers would have done without the non-lethal device.
Oh and perhaps they should have tasered his father instead. That's when you're suppose to smack your kid upside his head not just stand there.
Then on Monday when it looked like the Yankees had dodge a bullet with Jorge Posada and his knee, he leaves the game with a mild strain in his calf. Right now he is day-to-day but injuries with 38-year old catchers can be a little more complicated than that.
On top of those two injury bugs, the Yankees also seem somewhat concerned with A-Rod's knee, forcing the Yankees to give him a day off on Sunday and now Mariano Rivera has tightness in his side. Oh the woes of being a team laden with veterans!
The Yankees can absorb the loss of Granderson for the time being and as weird as it sounds they can get by without Rivera for a little while with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. What they can't really afford is losing Posada for an extended period or A-Rod. Those two can't be replaced and the Yanks don't even have adequate stopgaps in their farm system right now with no impact third base prospects anywhere in their system and Jesus Montero struggling in his first month at AAA.
So far it hasn't slowed the Yankees down because they have been playing the White Sox and the Orioles and the starting pitching, sans Vazquez, has been stellar or better. That could change going into the weekend as the Yankees will have to face a quality opponent for every game over the next three weeks.
New York has six games against Minnesota, five against Boston, four against the Tigers, three against the Mets and just for hahas two against the hottest team in baseball the Rays.
The way the Red Sox are playing you could see that as being a break except the games are in Fenway and Boston is sure to get up for those games even if they can't beat the Orioles. The Mets could also be considered a low point especially if they keep leaking momentum like they did against St. Louis.
This is probably one of the toughest stretches in the Yankee schedule so its important for New York to battle through. The injuries will make it tough, but as long as the front four in the rotation keep performing as they have. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have a combined ERA of 2.27 in 135 innings. Hopefully they keep it up and A-Rod and Teixeira start hitting or else it could be a long month.