Posts Tagged ‘Blue Jays’

Nicely Done, Boys

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


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.



Not Sleepless in Seattle

Friday, June 13th, 2014


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……….



Zim and Other Losses

Thursday, June 5th, 2014
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.)



It’s Not Always About The Pitching

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Photo: Seth Wenig / AP

Photo: Seth Wenig / AP

Joe Girardi got creamed tonight in the post-game scrum with the beat writers. After the Yanks dropped the finale to the Blue Jays, he was peppered with questions about why he pulled Kuroda, why he didn’t bring in the lefty kid sooner, why – of all things – he used Joba in a 3-1 game only to have him serve up a three-run homer and not be able to record an out.

But the truth is, as bad as Joba was and has been, the offense didn’t score runs – again. They really did look dead. So whether Joe used this pitcher or that pitcher, if your team doesn’t score you’re not going to win.

I wouldn’t want to be Cashman in the off-season. If Hal is serious about his austerity budget (relatively speaking), where will the players come from? Can’t afford expensive free agents. Don’t have a farm system that would form the nucleus of a team of the future. Do have too many aging and/or non-performing guys currently.

As we head into the weekend series against the Giants and Mo’s farewell ceremony on Sunday, it’s starting to feel like the end of an era. Which is okay, it really is. But it would be nice to know there’s another championship era on the horizon….sooner rather than later.



Not Dead Yet

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

hand zombie

The Yankees looked dead for most of tonight’s Game 2 against the Blue Jays, much the same way they looked dead the night before. But – lo and behold – the combo of Hughes and Huff (the “H” boys) held the Jays to only three runs, so the deficit wasn’t insurmountable….barely. The Yanks fought back with four runs of their own, and Mo, despite a shaky ninth that nearly ruined my dinner, got the save after Robertson was given a quick hook in the eighth.

All I want at this point is for them to put up a good fight, and they did.

What’s sad is that yet another team is about to host their farewell ceremony for Mo, with various reporters speculating about what Toronto will give him for a going away gift tomorrow. The whole thing is a little weird and as much as he seems to be enjoying it, it has to be exhausting. In any case, he’s saying goodbye and I’m trying not to notice.



Bad Body Language

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

This pic was from a loss to the Tigers in the postseason, but it typifies the helplessness and haplessness of the Yankees right now. How frustrating it must have been to get a great outing from Pettitte (another great outing, by the way) against a last place division rival and not be able to score any runs – especially when the scoreboard screamed, “Take advantage of the teams that lost tonight!”

Sad, but inevitable. Soriano, who has provided such an offensive spark, told the beat writers that he can’t generate any power because of his thumb and if it weren’t September he wouldn’t be playing. Ditto A-Rod, who seems not to have any body parts that don’t hurt. And on and on it goes.

I was taking my afternoon walk at the beginning of the game and listening to John and Suzyn on my At Bat app. In the top of the first, A-Rod hit one deep and Sterling went into his home run call, only to say, “Oh. Sorry. It was caught.” Made me furious. What an egregious mistake to give fans hope early on. He’s been doing that all year but this time it really got to me.

Maybe it’s all getting to me. It’s definitely getting to the Yankees, judging by that body language.



Wednesday, August 28th, 2013


My heart sank when the Dead Arm version of Kuroda showed up again. Being down so many runs early is such a bummer. I’m sure it can’t be easy for the players either, even though they always believe they can come back.

I was worried about this game as soon as I heard the Yankees were facing a pitcher they hadn’t seen before – rarely a good thing. The pattern continued as the batters looked helpless tonight. Swing and miss. Swing and miss. Ugly.

Yes, Mark Reynolds, our new Mr. I’ll-Play-Any-Position, had a nice game, but without Cano in the lineup, Nunez too, an already punch-less group became even more punch-less.

I’m sad right now. Girardi keeps saying, “We just have to win games,” but the statement is sounding hollow. We dropped the series to the Blue Jays and we can’t get it back.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer. We still have a month left of Yankees baseball, win or lose, and that’s something to celebrate.



Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Photo:  USA Today Sports Images

Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The moment was too gruesome to contemplate. There was Cano at the plate against Happ, the same pitcher who’d plunked Granderson on the hand and broken it, getting hit on the hand and writhing in pain. As we now know, the hand isn’t broken. We also know that if Happ can’t throw inside to lefties without breaking their hands, he shouldn’t be pitching in the major leagues. Enough already.

And then there was our emergency backup second baseman: Nunez. Whatever he did to his knee/leg didn’t look pretty, and I hope he’s OK. At this rate, maybe the ball boy can play second.

On the plus side, the Yanks beat the Blue Jays in convincing fashion, thanks mostly to Soriano. Who doesn’t love all the homers since he joined the team? No one. He’s a streaky hitter, but he’s given us much-needed power and I’m grateful for it.

As A-Rod’s homer total gets closer to that of Willie Mays, I have to admit I’m cringing. Not only is Willie an icon, but if I’m the Yankees and I’m stuck paying my problem child a $10 million bonus during a season in which he’s played a handful of games and declared war on everybody, I’m not thrilled.

Pettitte has been pitching like Pettitte lately, which is a big relief. I don’t know what was off with him earlier in the season, but he seems to have corrected the problem. I wish he’d pass along his secret to CC.

Another win tomorrow would be much appreciated, so I can keep telling myself we have a fighting chance.


Ichiro Pulled An Abreu

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Deer in the Headlights

Remember how Abreu seemed to fear crashing into the right field wall? In tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays, Ichiro, a HOF outfielder who is usually so reliable at his position, looked lost, committing an error that really cost the Yankees. I read that he was so embarrassed after his misplay he wanted to go straight home. Poor guy.

Of course, the “L” wasn’t all his fault by any means. Hughes was pitching. (Need I say more?) And the offense couldn’t bring runners home. What a frustrating game, especially knowing the Rays had been trounced by the Royals earlier in the day.

All these remaining games mean so much that every loss feels like a tragedy to me. Yes, the Jays were due to beat the Yanks and yes, there’s still time for a miracle, but not if the offensive output continues to be a couple of runs here and there and not if the starters can’t give us six innings.

I guess it was too much to expect Jeter to show up wearing his Superman cape and saving the day. He’s rusty. He needs playing time. I get it. Still, it’s comforting just to have him back for the rest of the season, however long that lasts.




Big Time Sweep

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Broom_icon.svg[4]Thanks to the long rain delay I was actually able to see the latter part of today’s game. What a great way to end the series. Wow. Well, except for Shawn Kelley, who was scary toward the end. Luckily Robertson didn’t do his Houdini act in the ninth and spared me the nerves, earning the save in place of Mo.

I didn’t see the Vernon Wells play live, but the replays sure looked like the ball was caught and the Yankees got a break on the call. I’m not feeling the least bit guilty about it either, because we’ve been getting our fair share of bad calls lately and we were due for one to go our way.

What I liked about this one was that we got great starting pitching from Andy, power from Granderson and hits and sacrifices and steals mixed in – an all-around good performance by the boys.

Does this weekend’s series in Tampa take on even more importance now that we’re inching tantalizingly close to a wild card spot? Oh, yeah. I’m nervous about it. Things at the Trop can get crazy, and the Rays have those young starters that can shut down an offense. Plus the turf won’t be easy on A-Rod and I suspect he’ll have to DH. Who plays third? There’s Reynolds in a platoon situation, but are we talking about David Adams too? I just hope whoever shows up is ready to play as if his life depended on it.