Posts Tagged ‘Rays’

Rookies Rule, But What Happened to This Guy?

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
Photo: Ray Stubblebine

Photo: Ray Stubblebine

Last night’s finale in Tampa was a big win for the Yankees and a close one, but thanks in large part to Severino and Bird, we escaped the Trop by taking the series and staying three games behind the Jays. It burns me that the Jays actually lost to the Braves the night before while the Yankees were nearly getting no-hit, but I guess keeping pace is something. It’s just that the season is dwindling, along with opportunities to grab the division title. The Yanks need to keep winning as well as get lucky with a Jays loss, and without the contributions of Jacoby Ellsbury it’s going to be tough.

As good as the rookies have been, Ellsbury is the catalyst for our offense. Ellsbury is the guy who stirs the drink. Ellsbury is the one the Yankees shelled out the big money to. Yes, he was hurt – what else is new – but as long as he continues to lead off in that lineup, he needs to produce and instead he’s slumping badly. As in stinko. We lost Teixeira. A-Rod, too, has a bone bruise and will sit out the Mets series. Our big hitters are AWOL. So Ellsbury, if you can hear me, do something. Use the day off today and try some yoga, meditation, reiki healing, a hot bath with a nice glass of Malbec, whatever floats your boat, but I want you showing up on Friday night with fire in that bat and in those legs.



Beating Archer & the Rays

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Chris Archer

Was that a great reaction to McCann’s homer in yesterday’s series finale or what? Chris Archer had been unhittable and the Yankees looked totally overmatched against him for most of the game. Actually, their offense had been pretty anemic, period, during the weekend series, not helped by Ellsbury’s stomach bug, Teixeira’s missing bat and A-Rod’s late summer swoon. But thanks to McCann, who is finally proving why the Yankees paid him all that money to play in the Bronx, along with A-Rod, brought the team back to life to finish off the Rays and keep pace with the annoyingly successful Blue Jays.

This is turning into some dog fight as we head toward the finish line. If the Yankees could just string some wins together – 10 would be nice but I’ll take 5 – and overtake the Jays, I’d feel better. The division title is within reach, but the Yankees need to win games, not simply rely on the Jays to lose. They need to beat the O’s over the next few days and then really turn it up a few notches in their head-to-head contests with the Jays. The Wild Card is just too precarious a spot to be in. For me it’s the division or bust.


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

Monday, July 6th, 2015


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!



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.


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.



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.



We Actually Won This Series

Sunday, August 17th, 2014


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.



Should I Go Back to California?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


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.


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.



Getting Out of the Trop Alive

Sunday, April 20th, 2014


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………