Posts Tagged ‘Rays’

The Walk-offs Were Fun; The Sloppy Defense Not So Much

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Jose-Pirela-Yankees

Such a predicament for the Yankees at second base these days. Stephen Drew seems constitutionally incapable of hitting above .200 and Jose Pirela can hit but his fielding errors are starting to make me long for Eduardo Scissorhands. Surely, there must be somebody better? Didi continues to make mistakes at shortstop but at least he doesn’t make two Es on one play as Pirela did yesterday. Sheesh.

On the positive side, Tanaka kicked off the weekend series against the Rays and was much improved from his last two outings. And the boys’ stirring comeback in that game was a thing of beauty. Teixeira’s power hitting has saved the day time and time again this season and he came through again, which set the stage for McCann’s 12th inning bomb – the Yankees’ first walk-off of the year. He, Tex and A-Rod have provided the muscle in this lineup for sure. It would have been great to add Beltran to that mix since he was supposed to be our big bat, but….Well, I said I would stay positive and Beltran’s stint with the team has been anything but.

Pineda pitched great in Saturday’s game, and the team clawed their way back in that one too. I had hopes for a sweep, but the Rays’ starter yesterday was really good. Where do they get all these great young pitchers? They must grow them like weeds down on their farm.

With Ellsbury due back and Miller making progress, things should get interesting after the All-Star break. No team in the AL East is running away with the division, so it’s up for grabs. The Yankees could very well grab it – if they play more consistently. The big question mark for me is CC. His start yesterday was pushed back until Wednesday, and he didn’t sound happy about it. Did the Yankees really think his mechanics would miraculously work themselves out with a few extra days of rest? Unlikely. I’m rooting for the big guy, but at this point I don’t know what he has left.

Meanwhile, let’s hear it for the women’s soccer team! USA! USA!

applause-thumb-240x240-1498461

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Another One Bites the Dust

Friday, May 15th, 2015

bite the dust

What is it with these young pitchers who think that “playing hurt” is some kind of badge of courage? Chase Whitley’s failure to inform the Yankees that he had a sore arm well before he was pulled from the finale against the Rays last night was just stupid. And now we wait for the requisite MRI to see what’s what. Could we just get Cole Hamels and be done with it already?

Not that the pitching was to blame for the debacle at the Trop. The offense dried up – the same offense I was extolling in the last few posts. I know it’s a long season and teams go through slumps all the time, but it’s too early to know whether the home run power of Tex and A-Rod, the crafty hitting by Ellsbury and Gardner and the emergence of McCann as a threat at the plate are the norm or a fluke.

And now come the Royals, a team that wins games – a lot. The Yankees have their work cut out for them on this road trip. If the offense continues to sputter, I vote for shaving off those awful mustaches.

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Some Positives in a Season of Negatives

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Positive Negative

How impressive that Dellin Betances actually surpassed Mo’s single-season strikeout record tonight. I mean seriously. Jeter’s retirement signals the end of an era, but here we have another homegrown kid who made good. One season does not a career make, but it’s a start.

Other bright spots? McCarthy. Who knew he could pitch so well and so consistently? Maybe even he didn’t, but he has.

And then there’s Headley. The guy gets hit on the chin and comes right back and dives into the stands to catch a ball. If I’m the Yankees I sign him for next year.

And then there’s the fact that we’re done with the Trop for 2014. Yay. Enough with the hit batsmen.

So now it’s countdown time until the end of the season. I have to say I’m ready to put this one behind me. It was a miserable year for injuries, for disappointments, for sad stories like Carlos Beltran and his wife losing their baby, all of it. Time to turn the page and hope for better things to come.

 

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Baseball Always Surprises

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

And not just because it was Esmil Rogers who did the Gatorade honors last night at the Stadium instead of the injured Brett Gardner. There were so many unlikely aspects to the finale against the Rays.

Early on in the game, the Yanks were getting no-hit and it felt like another night of offensive futility. I kept saying, “Why am I even watching this?” But then Chris Young, an unlikely hero if ever there was one, broke things up and, later, won it with his walkoff homer. Also unlikely? That Martin Prado would come off the bench, hamstring aching, and smack one out. I hope he didn’t reinjure himself by staying in the game.

And then there were the two not-so-happy surprises: Jeter getting hit in the elbow and poor Headley getting hit on the chin – on the same night that the Marlins’ Giancarlo took one in the face during their game against the Brewers and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Jeez. What amazed me was, intentional or not, these pitchers weren’t warned or ejected or anything. Sure, they were shaken up – who wouldn’t be? – but professional guys shouldn’t be throwing at the heads of batters, period. If your control is that bad at this point in the season, go do something else for a living. Ugh. At least Headley wasn’t hit in the neck/throat/windpipe, which I had initially feared.

What does the Rays series mean to the Yankees’ playoff hopes? Nothing, if you ask me. But it was nice to see the team get a boost. The players looked excited and happy and that made me happy too.

 

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We Actually Won This Series

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

tropicana_field

The Trop wasn’t a house of horrors this time as the Yanks ended up taking two of three from the Rays. The hitting is still pretty anemic, but Jeter had a huge clutch hit yesterday that seemed to get everybody fired up, including the fans at the game. Prado is emerging as a player of interest, both offensively and defensively, and the pitching was superb for this series. McCarthy, once again, deserved better and Greene could have/should have gotten a win, but at least Kuroda finally notched one.

This team is trying to hang in, they really are. The question is can they? Do they have the talent to not only hang in but go on a tear and leapfrog over the teams in front of them? They’re a recently cobbled together group who haven’t had time to gel or develop real chemistry. Does it matter? I don’t know. It’s the middle of August – not too many games left to make a move. But at least when they win it’s more fun to watch them. There’s that.

 

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Should I Go Back to California?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

united_airlines_airplane_thg_120927_wmain

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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Praying Didn’t Work, Yankees

Sunday, May 4th, 2014
Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

I was really hoping the Yankees would have a good series against the Rays since it was my birthday weekend, but except for Tanaka’s game it was a disappointment.

CC…..What’s up with him?

Kuroda….Is he burned out?

Robertson….Blown save?

Jeter….Yes, he feels good, but he needs to hit the ball.

The hitters will hit, I’m sure, but the starting pitching? It’s a huge concern right now, which proves you can never have enough. I went into the season thinking we were solid, but suddenly there was no Nova, no Pineda and mediocre outings from CC and Kuroda. So we’re left with Phelps, Nuno and (gulp) Aceves, along with Tanaka, our new ace. Sure wish we had another arm to count on because right now this team is limping along.

 

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Getting Out of the Trop Alive

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

tropicana_field

Raise your hand if you’re sorry to be leaving the land of catwalks and cowbells.

I didn’t think so. What a weird series. The Yankees looked great against Price in Game 1, then got absolutely blasted to smithereens in Games 2 and 3 and somehow managed to limp to the end with an extra-innings win in Game 4. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Obviously, the big news was Nova. He was awful, then he was hurt, now he’s got a potentially season-ending injury if Dr. Tommy John is in his future. What is it with these pitchers? Did they get as many arm injuries in the olden days? My recollection is they pitched until their arms fell off, but maybe I’m forgetting the guys who didn’t.

Nuno was credible today but is he the guy I want to take Nova’s place in the rotation? Not at the moment. I need to see more of him to know. And Phelps doesn’t inspire confidence as a starter now, he just doesn’t.

I know the injuries and roster moves and desperate lineup changes (like Dean Anna having to pitch last night, a la Nick Swisher) are part of the long season, but they’re unsettling. So I’ll try to concentrate on the most positive development so far this season, which is how impressed I am with Jacoby Ellsbury. He rocks.

Happy Easter. On to Boston………

 

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Bullpen Meltdown (With a P.S.)

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Melting

Ugh. It was a reverse Janer at the Trop tonight. So ugly after Kuroda, who couldn’t go deep into the game, departed and made way for a parade of bad performances. The pen has been great so I can’t ride them too hard, especially Warren, but Cabral? Seriously? Three hit batters and an ejection? Not a good night for him. Apparently, he wasn’t given a reason why he was ejected by Joe West. Well, I have a bulletin for him: you don’t need a reason if you have no idea where the ball is going. Sheesh.

On the positive side, it was just one game and not the end of the world. Also, Beltran didn’t break anything during his crazy tumble over the railing last night. Whew.

Onto the next.

P.S. Just wanted to alert everybody that Willie Randolph has a book out next month (May 13th, to be exact).

Willie Randolph book cover

Here’s the description from the publisher:

From a dusty diamond in Brooklyn to the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, Willie Randolph has always loved the game of baseball, and over the course of his storied career, he has amassed a remarkable list of accomplishments—All-Star second baseman, World Series champion, manager—but, above all, he has been a Yankee. For almost thirty years, Randolph was a part of Yankee lore and mythology, whether playing with the legends Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson and witnessing the infamous Bronx Zoo at its rowdiest, or coaching as the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada rose to fame and ushered in a new era of Yankee dominance. In his long-awaited memoir, Randolph shares stories from his life in pinstripes, opening up about the team that raised him and the city that molded him. With unparalleled perspective into three generations of team history, the former Yankee captain offers fresh, firsthand insight into some of the greatest players to ever play the game and the greatest teams ever to call the Bronx their home. From Don Mattingly to Bernie Williams, Goose Gossage to Mariano Rivera, and Billy Martin to Joe Torre, Randolph presents a view of baseball history from the inside, describing how teams became dynasties and managers became legends—all in the shadow of the man who brought them together, the Boss, George Steinbrenner. As fascinating and thoughtful as Randolph himself, The Yankee Way is a moving portrait of a legendary team, a unique city, and a remarkable man.

 

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A Janer!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

LaughingWomanYup, the laughing lady is back thanks to the Yankees’ thrashing of David Price and the Rays tonight. Talk about an offensive blitz. Ellsbury had another spectacular game. Roberts got back in the action in a big way. And Solarte hit his first homer (sweet).

CC held the Rays totally in check, and he and his defense pulled off a stunning triple play. Lots of web gems in this one, including poor Beltran’s tumble over the cockamamee wall at Tropicana Field.

I was amazed that he didn’t get hurt, although I’d be surprised if he doesn’t sit out tomorrow night’s game. I mean he’s got to be sore. I’m sore just from watching him.

I have to say I enjoy being in first place even if it’s only April.

 

 

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