The Yankees Won a Game!

June 25th, 2014 by

jumping-for-joy

Not that it’s been that long since they won a game. It just felt that way tonight against the Blue Jays, especially after Reyes’ leadoff homer against Kuroda. But Hiroki settled down and pitched well, and Robertson got the save after having been AWOL for a week.

What to make of this team? They looked so awful lately. The defense was embarrassing and the offense has been, as John Sterling put it, “sporadic.” Plus Chase Whitley came back to earth and Phelps was back to being a guy who isn’t a front-line starter and Nuno…well, there’s not much to say there.

Still, as the Yankees get tomorrow off in preparation for the series against Boston, the rest of the division has problems too so if the heart of the order would start hitting and we could snag a decent starter and Brian McCann would find the bat he left in Atlanta, things might be all right. I’m still hopeful.

 

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Gross

June 22nd, 2014 by
Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Actually, Girardi called Pearce’s takeout of Kelly at 3rd “malicious,” but when I say “gross” I’m referring to this huge series against the O’s and all the wasted opportunities by the Yankees, who lost 2 of 3. You’d think they’d have some momentum after Beltran’s stirring walk-off win on Friday night but nooo. Nuno’s continued mediocrity on Saturday didn’t help in that game, but the offense couldn’t come through time and time again. And to waste Tanaka’s start today, on a wonderful Old Timer’s Day, no less, was just criminal. Huff, by the way, wasn’t great during his last stint in pinstripes so I’m not sure what he’s doing in the Bronx for another round.

That’s what so puzzling about this team. They looked great against the first-place Blue Jays and so blah against the second-place Orioles. As was pointed out by the YES booth, it’s unlikely any of the division rivals will go on a tear and pull away from the pack so that’s a plus. But the Yankees will have to pick it up when it counts – i.e. with men on base – and the starting pitching has to improve. I’m sure Cashman will make a trade at some point (Cliff Lee has been mentioned), but right now he and Girardi keep saying Nuno will make his next start. All I can say about that is the bats better come alive.

 

 

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Nicely Done, Boys

June 19th, 2014 by

Broom_icon.svg[4]

It’s always sweet to sweep. It’s especially sweet to sweep the team that’s in first place, a spot ahead of you, and that’s what the Yanks did against the Blue Jays. I admit that going into this series I was worried. The Jays had looked invincible. Clearly, they aren’t. The Yankees pitched well and got tremendous production from the 1-2-3 trio of Gardner, Jeter and Ellsbury, and saw guys who’d been struggling at the plate, like Beltran and McCann, come to life. Are there still holes to fill? Definitely. We need a reliable starter to replace Nuno. We need a bona fide long man in the pen. And we need a better reinforcement for Warren, Betances and Robertson than Shawn Kelley, who hasn’t bounced back from his long injury rehab. But this sweep was a great way to kick off the upcoming games against division rivals -  a real confidence booster for the team and Phelps in particular.

 

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Get Up Close and Personal With the Captain!

June 16th, 2014 by

How’s this for an off-day offer: spend a game day with Jeter!

Seriously!

It’s all part of his Turn 2 Foundation, and it’s one cool opportunity for Yankee fans, so listen up. The Turn 2 Foundation has announced a raffle – a ticket costs as little as $10 – to benefit the Foundation, and here’s what the lucky winner gets. Ready?

  • Private pre-game lunch for 4 with Jeter at one of his favorite NY restaurants
  • A ride with him to the ballpark
  • VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Stadium courtesy of the Yankees
  • Pre-game batting practice status in front of the Yankee dugout
  • Autographing time with members of the team as they take the field
  • 4 seats in Jeter’s private suite

Additional information can be found here.

What a deal, right? And it’s all for a great cause. Who’s in?

woman raises hand

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The Yanks Head Home

June 15th, 2014 by
Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Actually, the above photo is not the Yankees’ charter. It’s the private plane Tanaka flew to New York a while back. Not too shabby, right?

What was shabby was Vidal Nuno’s performance, if it can be called that, in today’s finale against the A’s. Every pitcher has a bad game here and there, but I just don’t see this guy getting it done over the long haul, and nobody seems inclined to do anything about it.

Still, there were promising developments on this road trip. The offense came to life, albeit not today, with Jeter and Ellsbury making a potent combination. Gardner too. And despite the constant injuries Teixeira comes down with (wrist, hammy, rib/obligue/lat/whatever), he’s still capable of hitting when he’s in the lineup. Beltran too. And the bullpen has been mostly good lately. So it’s not as if this team can’t win ballgames. It’s that they don’t do it consistently. They need to go on a tear now that they’re back in the Bronx, because it’s the division rivals they’ll be facing. I wish Tanaka could pitch every game. I wish….Well, never mind. The point is I’d like to see the 2014 Yankees settle into their own ballpark with its inviting dimensions and knock the ball over that short porch in right field. Early and often.

 

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Not Sleepless in Seattle

June 13th, 2014 by

wakeuo

Well, that was refreshing – a series sweep against the Mariners that included another spectacular performance by Tanaka, some stress-free closes by Robertson, the resurgence of Jeter both at the plate and on the bases, the continuing brilliant play by Ellsbury and the emergence of Chase Whitley, who went deeper into a game last night and proved he can throw strikes and get guys out. Not bad at all. Even Soriano awoke from his slumber and hit a big double in last night’s game.

Of course I would have preferred that Ellsbury not feel tightness in his hip. Nobody seems too worried about it, but he’s felt it before and I hope it’s not a lingering issue. We need him in the lineup – oh, do we need him. He’s the guy that makes things happen, and while the Yankees offense isn’t exactly reminiscent of the Bronx Bombers, they actually scored six runs last night and he’s always in the mix when we’re talking about scoring runs.

Interesting that Cervelli’s about to return. I’d practically forgotten about him and his great spring. I was happy with Murphy and will be sorry to see him get sent down (or, please no, traded). But if Cervelli can be the spark plug we need, so much the better, I guess. And having Shawn Kelley back soon will give the relievers some rest. What we still need is a long man in the pen to replace Phelps and Nuno now that they’re starters.

On to Oakland, which won’t be easy, and then home to face the sizzling Blue Jays, which definitely won’t be easy.

Meanwhile, the NY Rangers have another elimination game tonight. My stomach’s in a knot already……….

 

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Fading, Fading……

June 8th, 2014 by

fading-away

That’s what the Yankees have been doing for the last ten games or so and that’s what I feel like when I either watch/listen to the games or check the box scores. Depressing.

The defense has been spotty, the pitching unreliable, albeit Kuroda was good today, and the offense practically nonexistent. Remember the days of “too many home runs?” That all seems like a hallucination right now. Thank God for playoff hockey, even though the Rangers are down two to the Kings.

And back in the baseball world, things were much more interesting between the Orioles and A’s than they were between the Yankees and Royals:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/manny-machado-ejected-after-bat-toss-incites-benches-clearing-altercation-213609066.html

The Mike Piazza/Roger Clemens bat throwing incident was minor compared to that little dust up!

 

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Zim and Other Losses

June 5th, 2014 by
Photo: Linda Cataffo/News

Photo: Linda Cataffo/News

Like everyone else who loves baseball, I was saddened by the death of Don Zimmer yesterday. He was one of baseball’s all-time characters and the game needs more like him but will probably not see them. In this age of entourages and PR people and agents who manage every aspect of a player’s life, the outsized personality of a guy like Zim isn’t likely to come along very often. Jeter said he found out Zimmer had died during last night’s game and it couldn’t have helped the already grim mood in the dugout. The Yankees have been losing – often in heartbreaking fashion – and the slide hasn’t been fun to watch.

I admit I’m more into the Stanley Cup playoffs right now, with my native New York Rangers facing my local LA Kings. Playoff hockey is about as exciting as it gets and I’ve got the fever.

Besides, the Yankees aren’t firing on all cylinders. The addition of Beltran in the lineup today might beef up the offense – if, and it’s a big if – his elbow is really OK. But how about the rest of them? Is Soriano just going through a bad slump? Or he is over and done? Is Tex’s wrist going to hold up? Will McCann ever start producing the power we were led to believe he came over with? And, forgive me for saying this, but Jeter hasn’t been very Jeter-ish.

And how about the pitching? Other than Tanaka (please let him win today) and Kuroda’s nice performance last night, what have we got? Whitley’s done well in his turns, but is that a fluke or will he have staying power? Nuno probably needs to go the way of Aceves as in Bye Bye. And honestly, I don’t know what to make of Phelps. The pen is overworked, so it’s hard to judge. Bettances was due for a bad inning or two, but he’s been phenomenal. Same with Warren. Robertson is still finding his way as the closer and hasn’t had all that many opportunities.

Every team in the division has problems except those crazy Blue Jays, who just keep on winning. (Never would have seen that coming.)

 

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Now That Hurt

June 1st, 2014 by

a_retro_cartoon_woman_slapping_a_man_in_the_face_royalty_free_clipart_picture_100603-003021-401053

Blown saves are never fun, but I’m glad I missed today’s. I was at a screening and checked the score before I had to turn off my phone. The Yanks were tied with the Twins and our new kid (Chase Whitley) was going toe to toe with our old kid (Phil Hughes). Imagine my surprise when I got out of the theater and saw the score. Ugh.

Yes, even Mo blew saves, but for Robertson to have a complete meltdown – to the point where our offense had no chance to come back – was painful. This was the Twins we were facing, and we lost the series. Very disappointing. Hughes and Nunez must have felt a special satisfaction doing well in the Bronx and good for them, seriously, but the mostly anemic lineup of ours without Beltran and Teixeira is proving tricky.

Maybe Beltran will actually contribute, but I have less hope for Tex, whose wrist is bound to be a chronic issue. The good news is Whitley and the continued effectiveness of Betances and Warren.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again……I miss home runs!

 

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Bruised, Battered But Still Kicking

May 29th, 2014 by

Jeter St Louis

Maybe the fans in St. Louis are the nicest people in America. Not only did they give Jeter an ovation practically every time he took a breath, but, according to Sterling and Waldman, they came over to Yankee fans dining at a local restaurant after a Yankees win and congratulated them with a “Nice game.” If only we saw that sort of behavior everywhere.

But I digress. What’s most amazing is that the Yankees are still standing and the road trip ended on a winning note. All this despite the absence of Beltran and Teixeira, despite the slump and benching last night of Solarte, despite the use of McCann at first base and despite the makeshift pitching staff. Yes, Tanaka notched his first loss in forever and the Yankees defense was sloppy at best, and the offense was forced to play “small ball” (I do miss the homers), but if it weren’t for Toronto’s miraculous run of wins the Yanks would be on or near the top of the heap.

Do I think the team can go patchwork into the rest of the season this way? Probably not. Guys need to come back healthy and holes need to be filled. But I was pretty impressed by this road trip. The boys did us proud in the Midwest. They deserve this day off.

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