Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So Let Me Get This Straight

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

stephen_drew

The centerpiece of the Yankees’ trade deadline activity is (drum roll) Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson? Stephen Drew, the guy we didn’t sign when he was a free agent? The guy Cashman said will be our new second baseman now that Brian Roberts has been DFA-ed? The guy who’s played shortstop exclusively for his entire career? Haven’t we learned anything about people playing out of position and it never works? I just don’t get it.

And then there are the assorted others who seem to have joined the team. I have no real opinion about either Martin Prado or  Esmil Rogers. Never heard of them, but if Cashman says they’ll help the cause, fine. They just aren’t the help I was banking on. Not when the Orioles, Tigers and A’s, in particular, have really bolstered their respective rosters. We look like we’re treading water by comparison, and maybe that’s the plan. Just tread water until next season.

Meanwhile, we move into a weekend series against the Red Sox without Lester and Lackey. Weird, isn’t it?

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A Janer, People! (With a P.S.)

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

LaughingWomanWhen was the last time the Yankees scored 10 runs? Not lately, that’s for sure. Way more fun than watching them try to scratch out one or two and look lame doing it. I thought tonight’s game was headed for another 2-1 score, but then the Rangers showed why they’re in last place and we showed we still have a pulse.

Except….our bullpen absolutely sucked. Just sucked. Are they tired because it’s the second half of the season? Are the arms that were so effective – Warren, Bettances, Robertson, the cream of our crop – about to fall off? Seriously, I’ve never seen such a collective meltdown and Bettances, in particular, hasn’t been his All-Star self since, well, the All-Star break. If they’d thrown away that game I would have had smoke coming out of my ears. But thanks to Beltre, we ended up winning. Who needed such a tense ending? I didn’t.

As of this writing, Jon Lester seems to have been traded. By the time I wake up tomorrow morning I’ll know where he landed. The Dodgers? The Marlins? The Cardinals? The Mariners? If it’s the Mariners, I kind of might be sick. About as sick as I feel having to watch a Tuesday night game on Fox. What’s that about? It’s bad enough that they have Saturdays.

 

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I Must Have Put a Jinx on the Yankees

Monday, July 28th, 2014

witch putting a_spell_xlarge

Right after I wrote the last post about how they were winning, they started losing. The series against the Blue Jays did not go according to plan, especially in yesterday’s game. I get that McCann is a catcher, not a first baseman, and that Roberts isn’t the greatest second baseman to ever play baseball and that pitchers, even relievers as successful as Bettances and Robertson have been, give up the ghost on occasion. But…..sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

And then there’s the lack of offense. The bats did try to keep pace with the Jays, but where are the runs? We need a blowout one of these days, a laugher. There’s a lot of pressure always having to battle it out in 2-1 and 3-2 games. How about a 10-0 score for a change?

That would take a lineup of power hitters, I know, and we don’t have them. Still, if Beltran can get back into the outfield maybe we can sign a true DH/slugger type. (No, not Ryan Howard.) And maybe we could call up some kid with experience at first base if Teixeira continues to be injury prone. And maybe another arm in the rotation that’s not Chris Capuano (is that his name)? He had a nice outing but he’s not the answer.

So what will the trade deadline bring? Anything? I’m thinking the answer is yes. We’re too close to the finish line to give up now.

 

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What’s With All This Winning?

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Chase Headley gatorade bath

I wasn’t jumping for joy when I heard the Yankees traded for Headley earlier in the week, but I must admit that ever since he had his star turn in the extra inning walk-off win, I’m wondering if he’s our lucky charm. From the minute he was inserted in the lineup (sorry, Solarte and Wheeler), it’s been a good run for the boys. Now they’ve had a nice stretch (not counting the game with all the errors) against the Reds, Rangers and, last night, Blue Jays. And last night they actually scored six runs! Not a 10-run Janer by any means, but it wasn’t their usual two or three either. Yes, the Rangers are a bad team, and yes, we always beat Mark Buehrle. Even Ichiro, who’s been stone cold, got into the act with a homer in that one.

I guess what I’m saying is that with a couple of additional tweaks to the roster – another hitter and one more starter – and some mediocre play by our rivals for the wild card and the division races, we might actually hang in. Fun!

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The Sweep Was Sweet

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Broom_icon.svg[4]And unexpected. The Reds came into the Stadium having played well, so I hoped for the best from the Yankees but…well, I certainly was surprised by the sweep. Dare I say that Phelps has grown into the job and is looking less like a mere fill-in and more like a guy who can stay in the rotation for awhile? And dare I say that McCarthy may have been a good pickup after all, though two starts aren’t much of a sample size? And dare I say that Kuroda has gas left in the tank despite not getting the win?

The Yankees’ infield defense (I’m looking at you, Brian Roberts) is still suspect and needs tightening up. But maybe, just maybe, the offense is coming around. It’ll never be a Bronx Bombers type offense and I miss that, but Ellsbury continues to impress and Jeter seems renewed and Beltran and McCann have been contributing more.

Bottom line: it’s more fun to watch games when the Yankees win than when they lose so I hope they keep this trend up. Whether they have a legitimate shot to make it into the postseason, as opposed to turning 2014 simply into a farewell tour for Jeter, is still an open question.

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On to the Second Half

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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Hard to believe how fast this summer is going, but I’m sure I say that every year. It just feels as if I was just writing about spring training and here we are post All-Star Game, which, by the way, I don’t really watch except to see how any Yankees players fare. This one was all about Jeter and rightfully so, beginning with the Nike commercial, which I think should win a Clio award. Just fabulous. The tributes to the captain were equally memorable, and he handled them with his usual modesty, saying exactly the right things with a touch of humor. I thought the Wainwright foot-in-mouth “controversy” was silly (the NL pitcher said he threw Jeter a meatball in that first at bat, then claimed he was joking), but Jeter deflected it perfectly. I do have to admit that the gifting of Jeter in every city as part of the same sort of farewell tour Mo had is getting old. When did this tradition take hold and will it now be expected for every popular player who’s announced he’s retiring? Or just the potential HOFers?

Bigger questions involve the Yankees. I had dinner with a diehard fan the other night and he’s convinced we’re heading into the “Horace Clarke years” of mediocrity. He also thinks Cashman should be fired for signing old war horses like Beltran and Roberts and just bring up the kids and see how they do. He’s adamant that we shouldn’t trade the farm for somebody like Cliff Lee.

Will the Yankees make the postseason? Only if the rest of the division can’t get it together. We just aren’t a very good team right now with all the injuries and limitations. I hope Shane Greene proves to be the real thing, but two great starts don’t make a career. I need to see more. I hope Kuroda staves off fatique and age. I hope Phelps finishes strong. But then there’s the offense. Remember the days when we hit homer after homer? Ten runs weren’t rare. Now we’re lucky if we scratch out three.

So we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching Jeter for as long as his season goes and anticipate the final goodbye from the last of the Core Four.

 

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More Trips to the Infirmary

Friday, July 11th, 2014

infirmary

Yes, there was a four-game series in Cleveland and yes, the Yankees won two and lost two (in especially depressing fashion – the losses, I mean), but the big news as the team heads down to Baltimore was obviously Tanaka and his “small tear” in the elbow. After consulting a phalanx of doctors, Tanaka was told that the prescribed treatment was rehab. If that doesn’t work then he’ll likely go under the knife for good old TJ surgery. Hard to believe, isn’t it? One day he’s our ace. The next he’s in the infirmary with the other members of the starting staff who were supposed to lift us to a championship in Jeter’s final season. Bah. Nothing’s going according to plan.

And then there was Beltran.

 beltran fractured face

No, that’s not actually his face, but the point is he fractured it in two places all by himself. Freak accident indeed. All I could do was sigh about that one.

What’s a GM to do except continue to call up guys like Zelous and Zoillo and anybody else on the farm whose name starts with “Z.”

Will the weekend series against the O’s be a massacre of our young lambs and creaky veterans or will we scrape together a win or two?

On the plus side – and there’s always a plus side – I didn’t expect to see the run production we’re getting out of Teixeira this year after coming off his various injuries. And Gardner and Ellsbury have been a revelation. It’s not the stuff of championships but it’s something.

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Thanks, Minny

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Minnie Mouse

The Yankees always seem to rise to the occasion when they’re playing the Twins and the past four games were no exception, not counting yesterday’s loss. (Three out of four was damn good for this team.) In today’s marathon, which should have been a laugher but was made way too close by the bullpen, Jeter and Ellsbury strutted their offensive prowess. But overall in this series, we got just enough pitching and hitting to get the job done.

And what an eventful day it was off the field. The Yankees said goodbye to Soriano, which was necessary but got me choked up nonetheless. I always liked him and he was a big help last season. I’ll remember him fondly as a Yankee through and through and hope he comes to Old Timer’s Day once he officially retires. Bye, Sori. Keep smiling.

Soriano smile

While Sori was going, Brandon McCarthy was coming.

Brendan McCarthy Yankees

(Yes, ESPN has already photo shopped his Diamondbacks pic.)

His stats with Arizona weren’t exactly spectacular, but he’s an upgrade over Vidal Nuno and he should give us innings. And he’s proven that he’s nothing if not gutsy. He was with Oakland when he was hit in the head by a comebacker off the bat of the Angels’ Erick Aybar and suffered a fractured skull. The fact that he’s pitching at all is pretty heroic.

I would hope Cashman still plans to make a deal for another starter (Cliff Lee?).

Meanwhile, I was excited to see that Betances and Tanaka will join Jeter at the All-Star Game. Congratulations to them.

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Should I Go Back to California?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

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Ever since I arrived on the east coast Monday night, it’s been downhill for the Yankees. Is it my fault?

Nah. I’m putting the blame squarely on their broad shoulders. They’re just playing badly in a division that’s there for the taking. The Jays, Rays, O’s and Red Sox all have weaknesses and yet we can’t seem to rise above our own mediocrity. And if someone starts hitting (Tex, Ellsbury), they suddenly have injuries or are too “banged up” to play. As for Beltran and McCann, both have been underperforming and it’s hurt the team, yesterday’s successes at the plate notwithstanding. And Solarte, poor guy, seems to have outlived his usefulness to the team. But the one I’m most sorry about it Sori. Alfonso had such a nice season last year. He seemed rejuvenated to be back with the Yanks. Now he seems ready for retirement.

It’s gotten to the point where, during the series with Tampa, the games would be close in late innings but I didn’t feel compelled to watch to find out how it would all turn out. The results felt too predictable. This team has a losing stink right now.

Maybe Minnesota will give them the change of scenery they need, although why they don’t play well at home when the Stadium was designed for them, tailor made for them, is a mystery.

I’m not ready to divorce them by any means, but, as they say in the dating book, I’m just not that into them right now.

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Napoli Needs to Learn Some Baseball Manners

Saturday, June 28th, 2014
Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Tonight’s Yankees-Sox game was a tense, entertaining one that kept me on the edge of my seat to see which team would break the 1-1 tie and go on to win it. When Tanaka served one up to Mike Napoli in the 9th it was deflating. Tanaka’s expression showed just how deflating. But what pissed me off was Napoli’s comment to his teammates as he rounded the bases after the homer.

An idiot? Really? I don’t disagree that Tanaka shouldn’t have shaken off McCann and insisted on throwing that fastball. It was totally the wrong move. But hey, Mike. Keep it to yourself or save it for the clubhouse after the game. Not cool. Not cool at all.

That said, the Yankees and Red Sox have split the first two games in this series, setting up an exciting finale tomorrow night. Unfortunately, I’ll either be packing or asleep. I’m leaving for NY at the crack of dawn on Monday morning for my month in Connecticut. Early to bed. Long flight.

Will be back on the blog after I get there. Go Yanks!

 

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