Hello from the snow-covered DC suburbs! I’ve been digging my way out from under the approximately 34 inches of snow that fell in my area in less than a week. That, of course, is in addition to the 31 or so inches of snow that has fallen here since the weekend before Christmas.The “official” total amount of snow for DC so far this winter season is about 55 inches, which, according to a local TV station’s web site, is more snow than has fallen in Chicago (45.1″), Detroit (27.5″), Minneapolis (38.1″), Boston (30.1″), and Fargo (46.0″). Hell, yes, I’m ready for the start of baseball season!
FYI, I will now be focusing primarily on the Nationals in this blog,
rather than splitting my attention between the Nats and the Yankees.
Let’s face it, there are plenty of Yankees blogs — probably even more
now than there were when the 2009 season ended, thanks to the Yankees’
latest World Series triumph — so the disappearance of the Yankees
portion of this blog won’t exactly be a major loss to the Yankees
blogosphere. I do, however, reserve the right to throw in an occasional
comment (or rant) about the Yankees from time to time, since they
remain my second favorite team.
With that said…Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Viera, FL next Friday, the 19th. Nationals position players report on the 24th, and the first full-squad workout is on the 26th. Split-squad games will take place on March 4th, and the Nationals’ home opener at Space Coast Stadium will be March 6th against the Mets.
There have been quite a few changes for the Nationals since the 2009 season ended…some goodbyes and hellos for 2010. Goodbye to Austin Kearns, Saul Rivera, Ron Villone, and Dmitri Young, among others. Hello to Brian Bruney, Matt Capps, Adam Kennedy, Jason Marquis, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, among others. Yes, the Nats were in the running for Orlando Hudson, and apparently are very much in the running for Chen Ming Wang. We’ll see how the negotiations for CMW go. In addition to personnel changes, the front office has undergone quite a few changes as well, all designed to change the Washington Nationals from the laughingstock of MLB to actual winners. Time will tell if the changes are successful.
For now…the start of spring training is just a week away…opening day for the Nats is in 53 days…and hope springs eternal!
I’m not sure what’s worse…being 0-8 vs. the Red Sox or losing 2 out of 3 games to the worst team in baseball. The series against the Nationals was pretty bad, but the Yankees recovered from it quite nicely, defeating the Marlins, 5-1. Playing in front of a crowd that was mostly Yankees fans who had traveled to Miami, Andy Pettitte pitched extremely well, giving up just 1 run (a home run to Cody Ross) on 3 hits, with 1 strikeout in 7 innings. Brian Bruney and Brett Tomko combined for 2 hitless, scoreless innings. Derek Jeter, Angel Berroa (playing for for the slumping Alex Rodriguez), Nick Swisher, and even Andy Pettitte hit doubles for the Yankees. There’s nothing like an American League pitcher getting a hit (a double, no less) to bump up the fun factor of interleague play! And Pettitte’s double resulted in an RBI, so he helped his own cause. It’s a good thing that the Yankees were able to score those 5 runs and limit the Marlins to just 1 run, because they left 24 runners on base.
Although the Yankees had not performed will in their last two interleaugue series against young, unfamiliar pitchers, they redeemed themselves against Sean West, who lasted just 4 innings while giving up all 5 of the Yankees runs on 10 hits. Like Pettitte, he had 7 strikeouts.
Good decision by Joe Girardi to bench Alex Rodriguez. Let’s hope he comes back stronger, with a renewed ability to actually get some hits.
Good job, Yankees!
Current AL East Standings:
W L Pct GB
Boston Red Sox 40 27 .597 —
New York Yankees 38 29 .567 2.0
Toronto Blue Jays 37 32 .536 4.0
Tampa Bay Rays 35 34 .507 6.0
Baltimore Orioles 30 37 .448 10.0
The Yankees took 2 out of 3 games from the Mets in the 2009 interleague Subway Series. Andy Pettitte gave up 12 hits and got the loss as the Mets won Saturday’s contest, 6-2.
Also on Saturday, Yankees’ reliever Brian Bruney had a hissy fit against Francisco Rodriguez, publicly expressing his dislike of the Mets’ closer. Rodriguez responded with his own comments; both players pretty much sounded like
However, in game 3 of the series, the Yankees beat the living snot out of Johan Santana, 15-0. The Yankees got 9 runs on 9 hits and chased Santana from the game after just 3 innings. A.J. Burnett, David Robertson, and Phil Hughes combined to shut the Mets down and out, allowing just 6 hits; the Mets left 23 men on base. The Yankees scored 9 of their 15 runs in a very busy 4th inning, which included home runs from Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, and doubles from Johnny Damon (now decaffinated) and Melky Cabrera.
During batting practice before this game, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez yelled something at Brian Bruney in left field, continuing the hissy fit of the day before. The two had to be separated by teammates. Just more of
Sheesh. Kids these days!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…I am not a typical Yankee fan by any means, and I truly enjoy a Yankees victory over the Orioles more than a Yankees victory over the Red Sox. Tonight, the Yankees made me very happy by routing the Orioles, 9-1, for their 7th straight win. CC Sabathia’s third start of the season vs. the Orioles wasn’t quite as dominating as his second start (complete game shutout on May 8th), but it was still very good. The big fella pitched 7 strong innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits, with a walk and 7 strikeouts. Brian Bruney and Brett Tomko each pitched 1 perfect inning to close out the win.
Just as he did in his first game of the season, also against the Orioles, Alex Rodriguez had only one hit — a home run. This was the fourth straight game in which he hit a home run. Mark Teixeira also hit a home run. I guess he figured that since Orioles fans insist on booing him, he might as well give them a real reason to do so!
Orioles’ rookie pitcher Brad Bergesen had been wearing jersey number 64, but he changed his number ro 35 before the game. Not surprisingly, considering the way my mind works, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was any significance in the Orioles giving Bergesen the number 35 before the Yankees game; former Orioles and Yankees pitch Mike Mussina wore the number 35. (I doubt that there was any significance at all to this change…I think I’m just paranoid.)
All in all, and great game and a great win!
Now that the Orioles have come to Yankee Stadium, it will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday, when they will face Joba Chamberlain. Back on the 10th in Baltimore, Aubrey Huff hit a home run off of Chamberlain and set off a firestorm of criticism from Yankees fans when he pretty much mocked Joba Chamberlain’s post strikeout gesticulations as he ran the bases. Huff emphatically pumped his fist after rounding first base and pumped it even more emphatically after crossing home plate. I’ve seen Yankees fans comment in blogs and on message boards that Huff went over the line and was showing up Chamberlain. Apparently, Chamberlain’s enthusiastic post strikeout antics get on opponents’ nerves, so Huff seemed to decide that Chamberlain deserved a taste of his own medicine.
I think Huff is an idiot in general, but I must admit to being amused by (a) what he did, and (b) the fact that so many Yankees fans are so ticked off about it. While I do like Chamberlain’s enthusiasm as much as anyone, I can also understand why some players feel that he’s “showing up” the opposition when he does that stuff on the mound. I suspect that Huff’s fist pumps are something that a lot of other players would like to do…he just had the chutzpah to actually do it. Was Huff over the line? Yep. Was he trying to make a statement with what he did? You betcha. I do think that he (or a teammate) will pay for it with a fastball in the ribs at some point during this series. After all, these guys may be grown men, but they’re making a living playing a child’s game, and therefore often act like children.
I can’t help but wonder how Yankee fans would react if it was Josh Beckett rather than Joba Chamberlain who got so animated after his strikeouts, and if it was Nick Swisher who put on a Huff-like display following a HR off Beckett, I guarantee that most Yankee fans would be singing a different tune about it. I bet Swish would have gotten a standing ovation at Yankee Stadium! It’s OK for OUR GUY do this but it’s but not OK if YOUR GUY does it. Sports fans in general are pretty hypocritical that way…it’s really rather amusing.
*cough* *sniffle* *groan*
Not only am I trying to deal with my teams’ two losses yesterday, but I’m also fighting off a cold. I definitely need to work on feeling better ASAP, so I’m completely healthy by the Nats’ home opener next Monday.
Orioles 10, Yankees 5
CC Sabathia was horrible in his official debut in pinstripes, giving up 6 runs (all earned) in just a little over 4 innings of play. He didn’t give up any home runs, but he didn’t strike anyone out either, and he surrendered 5 walks. The two wild pitches in the first inning were a preview of things to come.
Teixeira was 0-4 in his official Yankees debut. He also left 5 runners on base. And he was booed unmercifully by Oriole fans, who were angry because Tex chose to sign with New York instead of Baltimore. If he keeps having 0-4 games, he’d better get used to being booed.
Derek Jeter may not be the 24 year old phenom that he once was…but at least he got off to a decent start by getting 3 hits in 5 at bats.
Two players who were sorely missed last year hit home runs in this game – Jorge Posada hit a solo HR in the 6th inning, and Hideki Matsui hit a 2-run HR in the 7th inning.
There was an interesting bit of irony in 8th inning, when Johnny Damon nearly robbed Cesar Izturis of a home run. The play could have been ruled fan interference because, as the replay clearly showed, a fan hit Damon’s glove as he attempted to make the catch. Damon didn’t protest very much, presumably because the ball was over the wall, but he did momentarily gesture in the direction of the fan while looking towards the umpires. Although this was just opening day and not a playoff game, it reminded me of the Jeffrey Maier play at Yankee Stadium during the 1996 ALDS. Definitely ironic, since the Yankees opponent in that game was the Baltimore Orioles.
The game was sold out and drew a crowd of 48,607, which is the largest opening day crowd in Oriole Park history. How many of you think the crowd was so big because Baltimore fans are so excited about their Orioles? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Raise your hand if you think the crowd was so big because of all the Yankees fans wanting to see Sabathia’s official debut in pinstripes!
To bad those fans had to leave the game disappointed.
Marlins 12, Nationals 6
John Lannan’s first opening day start of his career was anything but memorable. Unable to throw strikes, he only lasted 3 innings, giving up 6 earned runs, including 2 home runs. He also had one strikeout. At least he didn’t walk anyone…he didn’t have time for that, since he was too busy giving up runs!
Adam Dunn was 2-4 in his official Nationals debut, with a 3-run HR in the 6th inning. He had 4 RBI in the game and scored twice. His performance was one of the few highlights of the game for the Nats. Cristian Guzman was also 2-4 and scored 2 runs, while striking out once.
Ronnie Belliard had an error in the first inning (when is Anderson Hernandez coming off the DL?), and Lastings Milledge proved once again that he is not a center fielder, nor, apparently, is he a competent leadoff hitter. Emilio Bonifacio, who was thought to become a fixture at second base for the Nationals before being traded to the Marlins last fall, was 4-5 with a home run and 2 RBI against his former team. He also stole 3 bases. Bonifacio’s inside-the-park home run should/could have been caught but instead sailed over Milledge’s head.
Other than Dunn’s home run, the only other even remotely positive things I can say about this first game are (1) the Nationals didn’t give up after being down 6-0 (last year, they probably would have given up), and (2) no one got hurt.
CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were both decidedly less than impressive in their official Yankees debuts. Adam Dunn’s official debut for the Nationals was much better, even though it didn’t help his team to win the game. At least CC’s ERA (12.46) wasn’t as high as Nats’ starter John Lannan’s (18.00), which wasn’t as high as Yankees reliever Brian Bruney’s (54.00)