Tagged: Brett Gardner

Yankees vs. Nationals — the rubber match

Some ramblings while I’m watching the game…

A couple of weeks ago, I looked into getting a ticket for this game. Since it was scheduled to be a day game, I thought it would be cool to get a ticket, take an early train up to NY from DC, go to the game, and take the train back home at about 6:30-7:00. That would have gotten me back home sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. But I wasn’t able to find an affordable ticket on the Yankees web site, so I gave up on that idea. Fortunately for me, I didn’t think to check StubHub at that time, where I probably would have been able to find something affordable. Why is that fortunate? Because of the 5-hour 26-minute rain delay! By the time this game got underway at about 6:30, I would have been back at Penn Station, either boarding a train or getting ready to board one soon.

Right now, it’s the bottom of the 7th, and the Nationals are leading 3-0. The Yankees have 2 on with 1 out, and Hideki Matsui is at bat. This will be where the Yankees rally and take the lead…not necessarily this inning, but it’ll happen. This is, after all, the Nationals bullpen we’re talking about.

More later…..

Update: Tavarez coming into the game? Get ready, Yankees fans…here comes the rally……

Update: OMG…I hope Brett Gardner will be OK. The MASN commentators are talking about his lower back, but it looked to me like hit his head. Ouch!! Hell of a catch too….

Update: I probably shouldn’t be so negative where the Nationals are concerned, but I’m a realist. I know how bad this team — specifically the bullpen — is. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and they only need 3 outs for a win, but they will find a way to blow it…or the defense will blow it. Not that this would be a bad thing, because the Yankees need to win tonight…..

Update: Umm…WHAT?!?! The Nationals won, 3-0? The Nationals WON??

OMG_shocked.jpgAre you kidding me?!?!?

Once again, the Yankees made a young, unknown pitcher look like Cy Young. Rookie Craig Stammen got his first major league win, pitching a solid 6 and 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, giving up 6 hits with 2 strikeouts. The usually horrendous Nationals bullpen not only protected the lead by not giving up any runs, but Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, and Joe Biemel didn’t even give up a hit. Mike MacDougal allowed 1 hit. Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman were 3-5 with 2 and 1 RBI, respectively. Adam Dunn, DH’ing again tonight, was 2-2 with 2 walks. Even the Nationals usually weak defense played well, with a diving catch by Willie Harris that robbed Alex Rodriguez of a hit, and a perfect throw by Austin Kearns from right field to second to get Nick Swisher out.

For the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain surrendered 3 runs in 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks. Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke, and David Robertson combined to give up just 1 hit and no runs, but the damage was already done. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were 2-4; Swisher also grounded into a double play in the 9th inning. Derek Jeter pinch hit for Ramiro Pena with the bases loaded, but the Yankees best threat of the game ended when he grounded into a fielder’s choice. Brett Garner made an excellent catch at the wall to rob Austin Kearns of a hit, crashing into the wall and crumbling to the ground in the process. Considering how his head snapped back and hit the plexiglas wall, he was lucky that he didn’t lose consciousness. I hope he will be OK.

Tonight’s game was the first at Yankee Stadium this season in which no home runs were hit. I guess the baseballs were too wet to leave the park!

I officially suck at making predictions. As I mentioned earlier, I know I shouldn’t be so negative where the Nats are concerned, but I honestly believed that they would not win any of these games. Prior to the series, I thought they might have a slim chance to beat Chien-Ming Wang, but I didn’t expect even two wins, much less a sweep.

(Here goes my split personality again…..)

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!! I’m freaking out here…I can’t believe the Nationals — the “lowly Nationals” — beat the Yankees TWICE. Going back to the 2006 Yankees/Nationals interleague series, the Nats are 4-2 vs. the Yankees! Chien-Ming Wang is 0-2 vs. the Nationals. WOW!! Unfreakingbelieveable! Maybe this will be a turning point for the team, and they will play more respectably for the rest of the season. If nothing else, it’s got to be a confidence builder!

WTF is wrong with the Yankees?! How is it possible that they lost this series to the worst team in baseball…one of the worst teams EVER?! It’s pathetic. A-Rod was 0-the series. The entire team is in a slump — great timing, to be slumping against a team that hasn’t even won 20 games by mid-June. If the Red Sox win again tonight, the Yankees will fall 4 games back in the division. Hell, the Blue Jays have swept the Phillies, so they’re breathing down our necks. This sucks!!! SNAP OUT OF IT, YANKEES!!

Jeez…what a series.yanksnatsbigapple.gif

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6-0

No, 6-0 is not the score of the Yankees/Red Sox game tonight — that would be Red Sox 7, Yankees 0. Nope…6-0 is the Red Sox record against the Yankees this season.

pissed.gifThe two teams are now tied for the lead in the AL East. And we can’t ignore the Blue Jays, who are just a game and a half behind the co-leaders.

It’s going to be an interesting season, to say the least.

As for the game itself, the Yankees flat out stunk. A.J. Burnett sucked, lasting less than 3 innings, and giving up 5 runs (3 earned). Only 2 Yankees — Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner — got hits.

Ah well…there’s always tomorrow.

Double dose of disappointment on Tuesday

After a rain delay of nearly two and a half hours, the Yankees lost to the Rangers last night, 7-3, thanks to the two homers from the previously 1-30 slumping bat of Chris Davis, as well as a 2-out RBI single from Jarrod Saltalamackya Saltylimacchia Salty (whatever the heck his name is) which gave the Rangers the lead for good. The 2-3 performance (including a home run) from Hideki Matsui wasn’t enough to get a win for the Yankees, nor was the 3-5 night from Brett Gardner, subbing for the injured Melky Cabrera.

An even bigger blow than the loss to the Rangers was the loss of Cabrera to a non-throwing shoulder injury. Initial tests on the shoulder were negative; team trainer Gene Monahan estimated that Cabrera would be out 5-7 days. Melky will return to New York to be examined by team physician Chris Ahmad. I’m crossing my fingers that the injury is a minor one. Feel better soon, Melky!

The good news on the health front for the Yankees is that Jorge Posada could rejoin the team on Friday in Cleveland. (Yay!!)



SSDD for the Nationals, who lost to the Mets, 6-1. Former National Livan Hernandez pitched a complete game against his former team, only giving up a solo home run to Adam Dunn. It was a tough night for Ryan Zimmerman, who went 0 for 4 and struck out twice, thus ending his streak of safely reaching base at 43 games. He was three games short of the franchise record set by Rusty Staub for Montreal from 1969-70.

The Nationals previously potent offense has come to a grinding halt recently. The team desperately misses Jesus Flores and Elijah Dukes in the lineup; both, unfortunately, are on the DL.

The good news for the Nationals yesterday was the fact that Daniel Cabrera was designated for assignment. How did I react when I heard this news?

jump4joy.jpgI jumped for joy!!!

Cabrera and his 0-5 record, his 5.85 ERA, his 35 walks (tied for most in the majors), and his 10 wild pitches (tops in the majors) are GONE. OUTTA HERE. FINALLY!! He almost certainly will clear waivers — I can’t imagine any team being stupid enough to claim him — and he has already stated that he won’t accept being assigned to the minors* so he’ll become a free agent. I hope he has other plans for the summer…I’d say there’s a pretty good chance that he won’t be playing baseball.

I loved acting GM Mike Rizzo’s comments about D-Cab:

“You have to put your best 25 players on the roster that are giving you a chance to win,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “I look beyond the contract and look at the execution and performance of the player, and it wasn’t up to par. I was tired of watching him.”

So were Nats fans, Mike!

Oh, and today is Cabrera’s 28th birthday. What a birthday gift…getting DFA’d! LMAO

* I just noticed an amusing typo about D-Cab — I had typed “won’t accept being assigned to the majors” instead of “to the minors.” He won’t have to worry about being assigned to the “majors” since he probably won’t be able to get a job there! LOL

 


On a completely unrelated note…I’ve never been a fan of Mike Tyson, but he has my deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of his 4 year old daughter. No parent should have to endure such a loss.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2 — two in a row over  Toronto

The Yankees got a dominant performance from CC Sabathia tonight in their victory over the Blue Jays. Sabathia gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, including a home run,over 8 innings. Good thing too, considering that the Yankees could only score 3 runs. The only Yankee who had more than one hit tonight was Francisco Cervelli, who had 2 hits. The Yankees left 18 runners on base, and were behind until Derek Jeter’s single in the 7th inning enabled Brett Gardner to score and tie the game. Hideki Matsui’s home run in the 8th inning proved to be the game winner.

Good to see 2 straight wins against a division opponent, particularly the opponent that’s currently in first place. The Yankees are now 4-1/2 games behind Toronto. Maybe the Yankees can pull this season together after all.

EDIT: I wonder why the word ” w h o p p ing” was edited? I had posted “The Yankees left a w h o p p ing 18 runners on base” and got an error message..

Wow, the Yankees actually beat an AL East  opponent

Yankees 8, Blue Jays 2

Thank you, Andy Pettitte, for a strong game — 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits in 6 innings of work, including 2 strikeouts. Congrats to Brett Gardner for his first major league home run, and congrats to Francisco Cervelli for his first career RBI.

The Yankees are still under .500. They need more games like this one!

Yankees preview and random ramblings about the upcoming season

Brand new stadium. Same old expectations.

The New York Yankees are heading into the 2009 season with a new home, some new faces, and the usual  expectations of winning it all. After missing the postseason for the first time since 1994 and then spending $424 million on free agents, the Yankees are once again expected to win the World Series. The front office, the players,  the media, and the fans all have high hopes for the team this season. That’s nothing new; however, the failure to reach the postseason last year, and the astronomical amount of money spent on free agents has raised the stakes considerably. I can only imagine how frustrated and furious the Steinbrenners were when the Yankees were unable  to clinch a spot in the 2008 postseason, which is why they (once again) broke the bank to sign the top free agents. My guess is that heads will roll (Cashman’s? Girardi’s?) if the Yankees fail to win it all in 2009.

Gone from the 2008 starting rotation are Mike Mussina (retired), Sidney Ponson (Kansas City), and Darrell Rasner  (Japan). Also gone from the team is Carl Pavano (Cleveland)…not that anyone would notice or care, since he played in less than 30 games in 4 years for the Yankees. Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain have returned, and are joined by expensive newcomers CC Sabathia (7 years, $161 million) and A.J. Burnett (5 years, $82.5 million). This rotation looks extremely good on paper…one of the team’s strengths. Wang missed most of last season with a  broken foot, so his health will be one of the keys to the Yankees rotation. Burnett’s health could also be a question  mark, since he has been somewhat injury prone during his career. The biggest key to the rotation, of course, will be Sabathia. He has been a workhorse for most of his career — he had 10 complete games in 2008 — continuing this  trend will, obviously, help the Yankees bullpen. The concern about Sabathia is whether or not he’ll be able to handle playing under the microscope that is the New York Yankees. He supposedly was reluctant to play in New York…it will  be interesting to see how he responds to the pressure from the media and the fans. Also of interest will be how  Chamberlain performs as a starter for an entire season. Personally, I think he should remain in the bullpen and be groomed as Mariano Rivera’s successor. In my very un-expert opinion, Chamberlain’s personality seems to be far more suited to that of a closer than that of a starter. I realize he’s still young, but he can’t be a particularly effective starter if he can only pitch 5 innings. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up back in the bullpen at  some point this season.

Speaking of the bullpen, this could be a problem area if Mariano Rivera is not fully recovered from shoulder surgery or suffers another injury…not out of the question for a 39 year old pitcher. Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, and Jose Veras pitched well this spring. The Yankees will need those good performances to continue through the regular season. Brian Bruney will also have to perform well. If Rivera is healthy, the bullpen could be another of the Yankee’s strengths.

The lineup will start off with a problem…the absence of Alex Rodriguez, who is recovering from hip surgery. Cody Ransom will fill in at third base until Rodriguez returns. Considering all of the off-the-field issues with Rodriguez, the  time off for his recovery may actually help him prepare for the season without all of the drama related distractions. Like fellow free agent Sabathia, first baseman Mark Teixeira — the biggest free agent signing of the offseason — must learn how to handle the pressure of playing in New York in order to perform well on offense and defense. Hideki  Matsui and Jorge Posada are both recovering from injuries; they need to stay healthy for the Yankees to be successful. With Bobby Abreu gone, Xavier Nady takes over as the Yankees right fielder, having (surprisingly) won the job over Nick Swisher. Brett Gardner gets the nod as the starting center fielder over Melky Cabrera. And then there is Derek Jeter, who, at age 34, is still a good hitter and a good shortstop, but is no longer great at either. Depth may be an issue for the Yankees, particularly if Rodriguez, Matsui, Posada, and Rivera are unable to stay healthy.

Considering the $424 million spending spree, some people will scream about the Yankees buying another championship if the Yankees do manage to win the World Series this year. And the fact is, those screamers will have a point…an extremely small one, but a point nonetheless. As recent history has proven, it does take more than baseball’s biggest payroll to win the World Series. The Yankees did not violate any rules by spending all of that money. But the fact is that no other team could afford to spend the kind of money that the Yankees spent during the offseason. And that is precisely why people claim — perhaps unfairly — that the Yankees will have bought a(nother) World Series title.

As I said, expectations are sky high for the Yankees this year. Anything less than a World Series championship will  be considered a disappointment, if not a failure.

My prediction for the Yankees 2009 record is 95-67, with a first place finish in the AL East in a very close race with Boston…perhaps as close as just 2 or 3 games. Will the Yankees win the World Series? Definitely…maybe! (Sorry…I’m not bold enough to make THAT prediction.)