Can We Play the Braves Every Day?

August 30th, 2015 by

Atlanta_Braves

Can you imagine if we played them every game for the rest of the season? We’d cruise to a division title, that’s what would happen. The Braves, such a formidable team of old with terrific pitching in particular, now have pitchers who throw batting practice. The sweep this weekend was lovely, but especially lovely was today’s 20 runs that the Yankees scored. TWENTY runs. Even our rookie pitchers got hits. Even Stephen Drew got hits. That’s saying something.

I wish the opposition the rest of the way could be as accommodating, but it’s unlikely. We’re in for a dogfight from here on. Bow wow. But in the meantime, I’m savoring the weekend. And I’m applauding our latest phenom, Luis Severino. All hail.

applause

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I Couldn’t Resist After Last Night’s Laugher

August 29th, 2015 by

LaughingWomanYup, the laughing lady is back after a long absence on this blog – and for good reason!

After watching the Yankees’ offense sputter recently, it was such fun to see them score 15 runs against the Braves. Sure Atlanta’s pitching sucked and they walked in a bunch of runs, as well as had to use Jonny Gomes to pitch, but it was nice to be on the winning end of all that mediocrity. Now if only Toronto had lost………Booooo.

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The Yanks Need to Get Hot in Hot-Lanta

August 26th, 2015 by

Atlanta-map

Boy, am I glad to see the Yankees get out of Dodge the Bronx. Yes, they won one of the three games against the Astros – by a hair – but the offense went back into a slumber and the pitching, with the exception of Evo, never woke up. Pineda and Nova didn’t have it, which would be worrisome enough but now with CC out indefinitely it’s extra worrisome. Capuano was DFA-ed for the 100th time and Adam Warren hasn’t been the same since he was shuttled back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen. That leaves the kid with the fractured nose. I hate to keep saying it, but it would have been nice to have acquired a veteran arm (a good one).

What to make of the slumping offense? Girardi talks about how everybody’s “banged up” at this time of the year, and I don’t doubt it. Not having a healthy Teixeira in the lineup has made a difference. Ellsbury hasn’t caught fire since coming back from the DL. Didi was bound to taper off at some point. A-Rod couldn’t possibly stay hot through the entire season. Beltran has been surprisingly resilient and McCann’s had some pivotal hits. But now we’re down in the standings again to the Blue Jays and I liked it better when we weren’t.

I do have to say it was fun watching Brendan Ryan pitch a couple of innings in that blow-out game. He was good!

Will the series against the Braves bring everybody back to life? It happened once before after Girardi had a tizzy on the field in Atlanta and got tossed. I think there was a team meeting down there too. We need some kind of shove to get going again.

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At Least There Was This

August 23rd, 2015 by
Photo: Getty Images/Al Bello

Photo: Getty Images/Al Bello

It was great seeing the old gang at the Stadium over the weekend, first for the retiring of Posada’s number, then the same for Pettitte today. They all looked great and I couldn’t help wishing they were still playing – particularly after today’s finale against the Indians. What is it with the Yankees and Indians? Are the dreaded midges still haunting the team? It sure seemed like it over the four-game series and even during the recent series in Cleveland. Aside from the one victory on Saturday, it was nothing but frustration and ineptitude.

And now there’s CC’s knee. Will he come back this season or any season? Does a stint on the DL do the trick and he returns refreshed and ready to pitch? Or will he concede that the knee is a chronic problem and retire? It’s all very sad to me because he’s been a warrior for the Yanks on and off the field.

With Pineda scheduled to pitch in the series against Houston and the addition of Severino, CC’s injury is easier to swallow. I still wish Cashman had gotten us a reliable arm at the trade deadline, but that’s old news. What’s also old news is that all the teams in the AL East have problems, even Toronto, and no one is running away with the division title so far. Which means all the Yankees have to do is play consistent baseball. Getting Teixeira off the DL would help. So would getting Ellsbury to go on a tear. So would waving a magic wand and making Stephen Drew turn into Babe Ruth.

Time will tell……

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I Have Two Words for The Twins Series:

August 19th, 2015 by
Photo: AP/Matt Slocum

Photo: AP/Matt Slocum

Yup. Greg Bird. I was really excited when the Yankees called him up. I remained excited even when he went 0-for-5 in his first game in the Majors. I continued to be excited when he got his first hit. But wow, now he’s My Guy. If he had a jersey, I’d buy it. He hit the 10th inning liner that enabled the Yanks to beat the Twins in 10 innings when I was at the Stadium on Monday night. And he continued to impress in Tuesday night’s game. In today’s finale, he was just flat-out awesome with two, two-run homers. He plays a more-than-adequate first base too. What’s more, everybody’s writing about his poise at the plate, in the clubhouse, everywhere. He fits in. He belongs. Which is another way of saying I don’t think he’s a one-trick pony, but we’ll see. If Tex will be out awhile because of the bone bruise in his shin, I feel pretty damn good that Greg Bird will be on the case.

Meanwhile, CC and Evo (especially Evo) pitched well against the Twins and Beltran stepped up. Ellsbury too. And – good news – Toronto lost to the lowly Phillies today, so we’re in first by two games. Yes, it’s still August, but I’ll take it.

The four-game series against the Indians will be challenging, but it’s Toronto that gives me the shakes. We play them a zillion more times before it’s over.

For now, I’ll bask in Bird’s glory and enjoy the rest of HOPE Week, always a great series of feel-good events.

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Beltran: For Better or Worse

August 16th, 2015 by
Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Carlos Betran was the hero of Games 1 and 2 of this weekend’s big series at Toronto and the goat of Game 3. (Well, not the goat exactly. There were many reasons the Yankees lost, but his misplay of the ball in right field certainly was entertaining.) His homers were thrilling and important and just what the team needed to climb back on top of the division in what promises to be a seesaw battle the rest of the way, not only with the Jays but throw in the Rays and O’s too, plus the Red Sox, who seem to be playing with understandable passion after the news that John Farrell has cancer.

Severino, while win-less since being called up to pitch in the majors, has proven he belongs. The kid’s good. And Tanaka was spectacular on Saturday, giving the bullpen a much-needed break by pitching his first complete game of the season. How his fragile arm will hold up after that outing is anyone’s guess. Evo, too, has been dependable, more each time he takes the mound.

I honestly don’t know where the Yankees will land by the end of September. Maybe they’ll peter out. Maybe they’ll go on a tear. Maybe, as I wrote above, they’ll continue to seesaw with the other teams. I really hope they hang in, because it makes this year’s pennant race truly exciting.

I’ll be there to cheer them on against the Twins tomorrow night. I’ll be wearing my purple Yankees cap to celebrate the great work of the Alzheimer’s Association and to honor my dear friend Peter Grad, who died suddenly two weeks ago. Peter and his wife Laurie co-chaired their annual “A Night at Sardi’s” benefit in LA for many years and raised millions for Alzheimer’s research and treatment. If anyone would like to make a donation in Peter’s name, go here.

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A Win – Finally!

August 14th, 2015 by

Nuns halleluja gif

What a relief. When McCann hit a homer early in last night’s game against the Indians, the series finale, I said, “Please don’t let this be it. They need to pile on.” And so they did. I don’t know whether Stephen Drew is eating his Wheaties or going gluten free like Tex or what, but he’s been Babe Ruth lately despite his pitiful batting average, and any runs the Yankees have scored have been due to him and other bottom-of-the-order types. But last night Ellsbury awoke from his slumber, which is exactly what this team needed. Gardner followed suit. Beltran has quietly improved. Didi’s been off-the-charts great. And a victory finally came.

Evo seems to be our stopper. He keeps winning even though it’s never really pretty. I don’t know what’s up with Betances and Miller, but they’re scaring me lately. They’re always turn their innings into dramas. I remember the days when they took care of hitters one-two-three.

A-Rod looks spent. Has his comeback runs its course? Or does he just need a day or two off? I guess we’ll see in Toronto, where Girardi plans to rest him on Saturday, I think. The fact is he’s old. He’s had two hip surgeries. As good as he’s been, he might have hit a wall. Or not.

The star of the Cleveland series in my mind, despite the losses, was Didi. Has he ever turned things around. He’s been his own highlight reel at shortstop, and his offense has been surprisingly reliable. I take back all the bad things I said about him.

Oh, and I must mention Greg Bird, our latest rookie to join the team. We’ve all been hearing a lot about Bird – what a great hitter he is, how Cashman wouldn’t part with him in any trades, etc., and last night we got to see him in the flesh. Even though he went 0-for-5, I have to say he looked like he knew what to do at the plate and he hit the ball hard a couple of times. I think he’s got potential.

And now another series against the (gulp) Blue Jays at their place. I fear their offense. I fear their pitching (Dickey even more than Price). I fear their turf. (Why can’t they get grass already.) But maybe, just maybe, the Yankees are feeling better about themselves after the win last night and will play like the first place team they used to be.

 

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Ugh

August 9th, 2015 by

Broom_icon.svg[4]I enjoy putting up the broom image when it’s the Yankees who are doing the sweeping. But getting swept? Not as much fun. At all.

How do the bats go limp at the same time and for three days straight? I get that they faced a knuckleballer and David Price, but the other Jays’ pitchers aren’t Cy Young. I mean seriously. What a miserable showing against a team that’s locked and loaded since the trade deadline and that’s breathing down our necks in second place. Toronto was the team that required turning it up a notch, and the Yanks, specifically the offense, couldn’t do it. I’m glad I wasn’t at any of those games. Must have been deadly dull sitting there watching zero runs.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Brett Gardner getting hit in the head by a ball hurled by a fan. How pathetic. I’ve never understood the whole “Let’s throw the opposing team’s home run ball back on the field” thing. Don’t people want a ball as a souvenir, no matter who hit it? Or if not, how about giving it to a kid who might want it? Or just donate it to charity, for God’s sake.

Ok, I’ll try not to rant, but this series got me mad. And mostly I’m mad because Cashman did nothing before the trade deadline and the Jays did everything to make their team better. The Yanks are still a powerhouse, no question, but they could have made tweaks here and there and didn’t, aside from the injured and therefore useless Ackley.

Bah humbug.

 

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CC Comes Roaring Back

August 7th, 2015 by
Photo: COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Photo: COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

I was switching back and forth last night between the finale of Yankees-Red Sox and the Republican debates (I’m a political junkie in case no one figured that out by now), but I did catch a lot of the game. CC looked fired up (thanks to the home plate ump), threw with conviction and resembled his old self. I hope it wasn’t a fluke.

Ellsbury, too, came out of his slump and delivered. And I have to say that Didi has not only shown terrific defense (what an arm!) but improved so much at the plate.

Overall, it was a good series win, despite the Red Sox’s limitations this season. The first game was another offensive juggernaut with a good performance by Tanaka. Severino, the much-heralded rookie I was looking forward to seeing, lived up to expectations for the most part but was bested by Boston’s talented knuckleballer. I wish the Yankees had gone back and watched video of how their teammates handled Wakefield back in the day, but they seemed completely at a loss. And then came last night.

It’s heartening to keep winning series and I just hope the trend continues right into the fall. How cool would that be?

 

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The Yankees Offense Was Crazy Good

August 2nd, 2015 by

baseballIt almost seemed automatic that the Yankees would keep having Janers. We’ve seen 21 runs and 13 runs and another 12 runs today. My anger (see last post) certainly wasn’t directed at this team’s offense, which has been better than I could have imagined. I mean Tex. Seriously. The guy will far exceed 30 homers this year. And Didi, who couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag when the season started, has become one of our most reliable hitters. It’s been a pleasure to watch both of them.

My problem continues to be with the pitching. While Evo and Nova were great, Saturday’s experiment in throwing one of the kids into the rotation was a bust. I’m sure Mitchell slayed everybody down on the farm, but in Chicago he showed he wasn’t ready for prime time. The much-heralded rookie Sevarino pitches Wednesday against the Red Sox; I hope he fares better. I still think we need a veteran arm to stabilize things if we’re going to keep that nice comfy lead in the division, never mind compete in the fall.

But right now I applaud the Yankees for coming out ahead during the long, arduous road trip. Welcome home, boys.

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