Tagged: Derek Jeter

Diamonds, Gold, and Silver

It’s been quite a month for Derek Jeter and Mark Teixiera. First, they and the rest of their Yankees teammates won the World Series…they’ll be getting some sparkly rings covered with lots of diamonds.

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And then Derek and Mark both won Gold Glove awards — Derek’s 4th Gold Glove and Mark’s 3rd Gold Glove.

GGA.jpgAnd then Derek and Mark both won Silver Slugger awards — Derek’s 4th Silver Slugger and Mark’s 3rd Silver Slugger.

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So much shiny stuff…they’ll probably have to wear sunglasses just to look at all of it!

shades.jpgCongrats to Derek and Mark, for winning those shiny awards!

2009 AL Gold Glove Award winners

The 2009 AL Gold Glove Award winners are:

C – Joe Mauer, Twins
1B – Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B – Placido Polanco, Tigers
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF – Torii Hunter, Angels
OF – Adam Jones, Orioles
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox

Congratulations to all of the winners…especially Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira!

goldglove.jpgThe NL winners will be announced tomorrow later today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

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Photo by me

He certainly had a Gold Glove-worthy season season, leading all NL third basemen in assists, total chances, total outs recorded and games started. He won the 2009 Fielding Bible Award for third baseman:

Ryan Zimmerman has broken out of the pack in my estimation, however, by becoming the Defensive Runs Saved leader at third base over the last three years. His first Fielding Bible Award is well deserved.

Zimm was also named the first ever ESPN Web Gem Champion, after collecting the most web gems (19) and web gem points (61) from ESPN this season.

Ryan’s biggest competition for the Gold Glove seems to be Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, who set a single-season record for NL third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage and made only three errors. The Padres apparently have campaigned pretty hard for him to win; I’m not sure if the Nationals have done the same for Zimm. Overall stats seem to favor Zimm, though, so I’m hopeful that the NL managers and coaches have gotten it right and have voted for Ryan Zimmerman for NL 3B Gold Glove Award!

Good luck, SuperZimm!

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Number 27

Well, the World Series is over, and the New York Yankees are once again the champions. New York celebrated with a parade yesterday and the presentation of the key to the city.

Congratulations to the Yankees…you were the best team in baseball this year, and you truly deserve this.

ws_trophy.jpegAnyone who has bothered to read about me, or who has read some of the first few posts in this blog, knows that I became a Yankees fan — actually a baseball fan — because of former Orioles and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. In the last paragraph of this post, I stated that I knew the Yankees would win because had Mussina retired one year too soon. I was right.

I’ve been thinking about Mussina through the entire postseason, as well as through much of the latter half of the regular season. Earlier in the season, when the Yankees were 0-8 vs. Boston and lost 2 out of 3 games to the 19-46 Nationals, including their only shutout at Yankee Stadium, I admit that I had a few doubts about how this season might turn out! But then I reminded myself that Moose had retired, which meant that the Yankees would, in fact, pull it out and somehow and win it all. I’m pleased that the Yankees won. I didn’t particularly want the Phillies to beat them, nor did I want the Phillies to win the World Series two years in a row regardless of who their opponent was. I’m happy for the “old guys” — Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada — for getting ring #5. I’m happy for Alex Rodriguez, because even though I can’t stand the little fart, he managed to shut out all the distractions and all the crap (self-inflicted, of course), and he just played the game…quite well, in fact. (If he could just learn to simply play ball and keep his mouth shut, he’d be far less insufferable.) And I’m especially happy for Hideki Matsui, who has dealt with his share if injury issues in recent years. His knees may be shot, but his bat was more than enough in Game 6, and his MVP Award is well-deserved. If this turns out to be his final performance for the Yankees, it was one hell of a way to make an exit.

And yet………

I can’t help but feel some pangs of sadness, disappointment, and even some anger over this win…a year too late…actually, eight years too late. The Yankees should have won #27 eight years ago Wednesday night…that horse was long since been bludgeoned to death on my message board, so I don’t really want go there in depth again. In all honesty, those feelings do temper my happiness about Wednesday night’s win. I can’t help it, I won’t make excuses for it, and I won’t apologize for it…that’s just the way it is.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Mussina remains happy and at peace with his decision to retire. But I also remember his comments on WFAN back in February, when he mentioned his disappointment at never having gotten a World Series ring. This just seems to be his lot, considering how many “almosts” he’s had in his career. I’m sure Mike is happy for his former teammates, but I can’t help wondering if he’s feeling a bit of disappointment that #27 came a year too late for him. I know I’m certainly disappointed. I’m sure that it bothers me far more than it bothers him. But I do wonder what he might have been thinking the other night after the Yankees won Game 6. I was thinking, Just his luck…he got there a year too late and left a year too early…….

What can I say…I’m definitely NOT a typical Yankees fan! LOL

Look out…here come the Yankees!

Another long gap between blog posts. I really didn’t intend to let a month pass between mylast post and this one…but life happens.

The regular season is over, and the Yankees are once again the AL East champions. The irony of this title is the fact that it was clinched with a sweep of the Red Sox, against whom the Yankees were 0-8 at one point this season. The Yankees ended up splitting the season series with Boston.

The ALDS had the potential to be a fierce battle.

2009ALDS.png The Twins had made a ferocious comeback against the Tigers at the end of the season, winning 5 of their last 8 games against Detroit, including a wild one-game playoff, to win the AL Central title. But that last game may have been a bit too much for the Twins…or maybe it’s just the Yankees that are too much for the Twins. The Yankees are up 2 games to none in the ALDS, thanks to a 9th inning home run by Alex Rodriguez to tie Game 2 and an 11th inning home run by Mark (The $180,000,000 Man) Teixeira in Friday’s game.

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Photo Credit: yahoo.com

So much for a fierce battle. Now it looks like the only “battle” will be to see which Yankee ends the ALDS with the most RBIs — Derek Jeter, Teixeira or Rodriguez.

I must admit that I had some concerns about the Yankees, going into the ALDS. With the exception of the 2004 ALDS — ironically enough, vs. the Twins — A-Rod’s postseason performances as a Yankee had been pretty horrendous. CC Sabathia’s recent postseason performances had been less than stellar as well. Both have eased my concerns…in a big way.

arod.jpg cc.jpg

I am very confident that the Yankees will win the World Series this year. My confidence is based partly on how the team itself has performed this season, and partly on the fact that Mike Mussina retired. Stay with me here, people…if you have read my profile here at MLBlogs, then you know I became a Yankees fan when Mussina signed with the Yankees on November 30, 2000. After Mariano Rivera’s blown save ended the 2001 World Series, I wondered if Mussina had joined the Yankees a year too late to be a part of the “Dynasty.” When Moose retired without having gotten a World Series ring, I wondered if he left a year too early. It would be just Mike’s luck to retire the year before the Yankees not only return to the postseason but also the year before they finally win another World Series.

Anyway…go Yankees!

Today’s Games

Phillies 6, Nationals 5

I’m actually surprised that the Nationals were able to score that many runs against former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, they just didn’t score enough. The Nats made a run late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Basically, it was just more of the usual where the Nats are concerned.

Yankees 4, Rays 2

It was a historic night, as Derek Jeter got three hits to tie Lou Gehrig’s team record of 2,721 career hits. Congrats, Derek! Jorge Posada pinch hit in the 8th inning and got a 3-run home run to lead his team to the victory. Derek will attempt to break Gehrig’s record on Friday against the Orioles, after a day off tomorrow.

Today’s games

Yankees 3, Rays 2

Nick Swisher’s 2 home runs helped the Yankees beat the Rays…particularly the second home run, which came at the bottom of the 9th with one out and the score tied at 2.

swish.jpg[sarcasm]Don’t you just love Nick’s calm personality?[/sarcasm]

Derek Jeter was hitless, remaining three hits shy of tying Lou Gehrig’s club record of 2,721 career hits.

Phillies 5, Nationals 3

John Lannan pitched 6 strong innings for the Nats, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. Unfortunately, his 7th inning wasn’t so good; he gave up 2 home runs in the top of the 7th, which gave the Phillies at 4-2 lead. The inning got off to a great start for the Nats with another brilliant defensive play by Ryan Zimmerman on a ground ball from Ryan Howard. Playing near second base on the shift, Zimm dove to make the catch and threw the ball to Adam Dunn in time to get the out at first. But then Lannan gave up those 2 home runs, and the game went downhill from there for the Nats. Another night, another loss. *sigh*

Nice recovery

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!
thumbs_up.gifCurrent 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

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

Mixed results

The Yankees and Nationals had different, but not surprising, results in their respective games tonight.

Yankees:

The Yankees defeated the Mets tonight, 9-8, thanks to an error by Luis Castillo in the 9th inning. This was a crazy game, to say the least…..

The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning on Robinson Cano’s home run.

The Mets came right back in the 3rd inning to regain the lead, 2-1

The Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd.

The Mets jumped out to a 6-3 in the top of the 5th inning.

The Yankees scored a run in the bottom of the 5th.

The Yankees regained the lead in the 6th inning, 7-6.

Then the Mets tied the game in the 7th.

The Mets took the lead, 8-7, in the 8th inning.

And then, finally, the Yankees scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, when Luis Castillo dropped a 2 out pop-up off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, allowing Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira to score the tying and winning runs, respectively. The final score was 9-8.

Whew…it was exhausting just typing all of that. I can’t imagine how tiring it must have been to watch the game in person, much less to play in it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Postscript to the Yankees/Red Sox series: the last Yankees pitcher to win a game against the Red Sox was Mike Mussina. It was his 20th win of the season last year.


Nationals:

And then, there were the Nationals, who lost to the Rays tonight, 4-3. Pitching into the 6th inning, starter Craig Stammen, did a decent job, putting his team into a position to win. But the 3 runs that the Nats scored in the 1st inning were all they could manage. And then, with 2 outs in the 8th, Nick Johnson misplayed a pop-up in foul territory. Instead of the inning coming to an end, Gabe Kapler stepped up to the plate and hit the home run that won the game for the Rays.

SSDD…same stuff, different day. Another day, another loss.

Has interleague play run its course?

Is interleague play really necessary anymore? In my opinion, the novelty has worn off. It was fun at first, but it’s just not as interesting as it initially was. This weekend, in particular — with some of the so-called “rivalries” games — was just…well, boring. Was anyone other than the fans of the respective teams really interested in the result of the series between the last place Nationals and the last place Orioles, or the result of the series between the last place A’s and the next-to-last place Diamondbacks? Of course, last place teams in each league do play other last place teams within their own leagues, but those aren’t hyped the way interleague series are hyped.

Another reason why I’m no longer a big fan of interleague play is because it creates a major, and possibly dangerous, disadvantage for AL teams when they play in NL ballparks. Thanks to the lack of a DH in the AL, pitchers don’t normally have to bat, and therefore aren’t used to running the bases. At best, they risk tiring sooner than they normally would; at worst, they risk injury. Remember, it was during interleague play last year when Chien-Ming Wang’s season ended due to a foot injury suffered while running the bases.

Fans generally still seem to enjoy interleague play, as evidenced by the fact that attendence rises for it. I googled “interleague play” tonight out of curiosity, and I found an article showing that ballplayers apparently are far less fond of interleague play than fans. According to Jayson Stark at ESPN.com:

Players we surveyed this week told Rumblings they would estimate the number of players who dislike interleague play is somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75 percent.

Stark mentions several of the players’ complaints regarding interleague play, most of which make a lot of sense, IMO.

One suggestion made by a ballplayer caught my attention in that ESPN.com article.

Phillies pitcher Chad Durbin proposed an idea we’ve campaigned for forever: “Use the visiting team’s league rules,” he said. “Show the fans something unique.”

I think that’s pretty interesting. It would definitely be unique.

What do you think? Do you still find interleague play fun and/or interesting?


Yankees vs. Phillies

The home run total at the Bronx Bandbox increased by 12 during the weekend interleague series between the Yankees and the Phillies — 6 by each team — as the Yankees lost 2 of 3 games to the Phillies. There have been 87 home runs already at Yankee Stadium, and it’s not even at the end of May. Just imagine how the home runs will be flying out of the park once the temperature and humidity go up later in the season!

Friday: the Yankees lost, 7-3, in a game that included a total of 7 home runs. The testosterone level on the field skyrocketed on the field in the 1st inning when Brett Myers threw a pitch behind Derek Jeter, in obvious retaliation after A.J. Burnett hit Chase Utley in the shoulder. The plate umpire then warned both dugouts. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to throw a pitch at a batter. If you hit him, you give the opposing team a baserunner, and you risk injuring him. Why not just have the pitcher and hitter drop their pants, whip it out to see which one is bigger, and then get on with the game.

Chien-Ming Wang was activated before the game, replaced Burnett in the 7th inning. He threw 51 pitches, giving up 2 runs (including a home run) on 6 hits. His pitches had more velocity, but his location was off a bit. Maybe he’s just rusty?

Saturday: the Yankees were victorious in a 5-4 come from behind win. Those 9th inning comebacks seem to be becoming a Yankees trademark this season. Oh, and  “only” 4 home runs were hit in that game.

Sunday: the Yankees lost, 4-3, in 11 innings, before a crowd of 46,986. That’s the largest Yankee Stadium crowd since opening day. Melky Cabrera did his best to be the hero for the second night in a row, hitting a game-tying single in the 9th inning. But it wasn’t meant to be…no wild celebration for the Yankees after this game. CC Sabathia pitched very well, allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits over 8 innings. But with two outs and the score tied in the 11th inning, Brett Tomko walked Chase Utley, and after Utley stole second, Carlos Ruiz doubled to score Utley. The Yankees were unable to score in the bottom of the 11th.

Interleague play resumes for the Yankees on June 12th, vs. the Mets at Yankee Stadium.


Nationals vs. Orioles

The Battle of the Beltways — i.e., the interleague series between the Nationals and the Orioles — wasn’t quite as much of a snoozer as I thought it would be. Yes, both teams stink, and the games probably held very little interest for anyone other than Nats or O’s fans. But the Nationals starting pitchers had very good games on Friday and Saturday, although the usually prolific offense fell asleep on those nights in losses to the Orioles. However, the offense woke up in time to bail out a less than spectacular effort from Sunday’s starter to prevent a sweep.

Friday: the Nationals lost, 4-2 in 12 innings. Jordan Zimmermann had the longest start of his young career, allowing  2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings. Zimm2 walked 1, struck out 7, and gave up a home run. But the Nationals offense took the night off, scoring just 2 runs (on Ryan Zimmerman’s 4th inning homer, with Nick Johnson on 1st). It would be easy to blame the bullpen again for this loss…but if the offense had not fallen asleep, the game’s outcome might have been different.

Saturday: I was at this game, a 2-1 loss, getting to see Ross Detweiler for myself. He did not disappoint, with a 6 inning, 1 hit and 1 run performance. Justin Maxwell sparkled on defense with an outstanding catch above and over the wall in centerfield, robbing Brian Roberts of a home run. Julian Tavarez gave up a run in the 7th to give the Orioles a lead that they never lost. The Nats’ normally porous bullpen prevented the Orioles from scoring additional runs, but for the second night in a row, the Nationals offense took the night off. Another game…another loss. Ho hum.

Sunday: I was at this game as well, an 8-5 victory to avoid the sweep. Shairon Martis did not have his A-game, but his offense finally woke up and let him off the hook. His defense helped him out as well…in particular, a leaping catch in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field by Austin Kearns, robbing Nick Markakis of a hit in the first inning. Martis also helped himself out with an RBI single in the 5th inning, scoring Wil Nieves to tie the score at 3. Adam Dunn got it done with 2 homers, including a grand slam in the 7th inning after the Orioles intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn. Anderson Hernandez added to the defensive highlights with a spectacular diving catch of a Brian Roberts line drive in the 8th inning. Wonder of wonders, Ron Villone, Joe Beimel, and Joel Hanrahan combined to shut down the Orioles over the last 3 innings — no hits, no walks, no runs. Amazing!!

Interleague play resumes for the Nationals on June 12th at Tampa Bay.