Back in July, a friend and I went up to New York from Maryland, and met up with some friends at the new Yankee Stadium, to see Mike Mussina pitch again. No, the Yankees didn’t re-sign him…Mike took part in the Yankees annual Old-Timers game. It was fun but also a little bittersweet seeing Mike in pinstripes again. I’ve been a Mussina fan for a long time, and I miss hearing/reading about him pitching every fifth day. Mike wasn’t exactly effective in his Old-Timers game debut, givng up hit after hit to guys who are old enough to be his father. But then, his defense also consisted of guys who are old enough to be his father, and they didn’t exactly make the strongest of efforts to get to balls hit in their general direction!
Seeing the Old-Timers game was fun, though not nearly as meaningful to me as it was for the long-time Yankee fan friends I met up with at the Stadium. I’ve been a Yankees fan only since Mike Mussina signed with the Yankees, so the Yankees pre-Mussina history means little to me. (That’s just one of the many ways I differ from the typical Yankees fan…I’m pretty atypical, in fact…but I digress….)
I enjoyed seeing the new ballpark. I’m pleased to see that the design stayed true to history. The Yankees could have gone in an entirely different direction and built a stadium with a very modern look rather than a traditional look, but I really think if they had done so, the fans would have revolted!
I also enjoyed watching the actual Yankees game. I had been hoping that Joba Chamberlain would pitch in that game, and he did…and the Yankees defeated the Tigers, 2-1.
I took a bunch of photos that day. You can take a look at them here.
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.
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??
Are 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.
OK…this is it…well, almost it…one more day until the Yankees/Nationals 3 game interleague series at Yankee Stadium. I’m still going slightly bonkers over this series, trying to decide if I should root for one team over the other, or just cheer for both teams and not care about the outcome. Should I happen to take leave of my senses and root for the Nationals over the Yankees in this series, it would be completely irrelevant. Why? Because I am 99.9 percent sure that the Yankees will easily sweep this series, and at least one of the games will closely resemble yesterday’s Yankees/Mets blowout for the Yankees. I suspect this series will be quite an(other) ugly one for the Nationals.
Without further ado, here are my predictions for this series.
Tuesday, June 16 — CC Sabathia vs. Shairon Martis
My prediction: Yankees 12, Nationals 1.
While with the Brewers, Sabathia shut out the Nats last August, 5-0. Either Ryan Zimmerman or Adam Dunn will hit a solo home run early in the game for the Nationals, and then Sabathia will shut down the Nats offense and pitch a complete game. Martis will pitch well for 5 innings, keeping the score fairly close. With the Yankees leading, Martis will be replaced by Kip Wells, who will give up 5 or 6 runs…and the rout will be on.
Wednesday, June 17 — Chien-Ming Wang vs. John Lannan
My predicition: Yankees 7, Nationals 4.
This could be the final test for Wang. If he pitches poorly against the Nationals, his future in pinstripes could be in serious jeopardy. If the Nationals manage to win a game in this series, this wwould be the game they win. But it’s not gonna happen. Wang will miraculously pitch well for a full 7 innings. Lannan will pitch very well for 6 innings but get very little run support, and then the Nationals bullpen will once again implode, allowing the Yankees to cruise to a victory.
Thursday, June 18 — Joba Chamberlain vs. Craig Stammen
My prediction: Yankees 8, Nationals 5.
For some reason, I have a feeling there will be some hit batters on both sides, and a bench clearing push-and-shove (as opposed to a bench clearing brawl — no punches thrown, just some pushing snd shoving). Someone on the Nationals will have a hissy fit over Chamberlain’s post-strikeout gesticulations, batters will be hit, and minor mayhem will follow. The umpires will shoo everyone back to their respective dugouts, and the Yankees will complete the sweep.
As Forrest Gump would say, that’s all I have to say about that.
I apologize to my readers — all 4 of you! — for being AWOL for more than a week. My roommate had surgery last Monday, so I’ve been visiting her most evenings. Between being busy at work and the stress of the hospital visits (hospitals creep me out), I just haven’t had the energy to post anything here.
To catch up a bit, since my last post, the Yankees have 5 wins and 3 losses. Some notable games:
The June 1st game vs. the Indians featured another attack of the midges, but the bugs didn’t bug starter Joba Chamberlain too much this time. The Yankees set a new MLB record of 18 error-free games, breaking the record that the Red Sox set in 2006, and they beat the Indians 5-2.
In the June 2nd game vs. the Rangers, there was an exceptional amount of testosterone flying through the air, after Mark Texeira was hit by pitches from Vicente Padilla in the 2nd and 4th innings. Tex then slid into Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus at 2nd base in the 4th. Inspired by Tex’s display of manliness, the Yankees scored 7 runs in that inning. A.J. Burnett sent a message of his own in the 5th inning, throwing a pitch over the head of Nelson Cruz. That display of testosterone drew a warning from the home plate umpire to both dugouts. It also drew a fine, as well as a 6 game suspension two days later. (Padilla was also fined.) Burnett’s appeal of the fine will allow him to play until a hearing takes place.
Tex’s comments about being hit by those pitches:
“There’s really no reason for it in baseball. You know, if you can’t get a guy out, don’t hit him. You know, if you don’t want to pitch to a guy, then, you know, put four fingers out there and walk him,” Teixeira said.
I agree, Tex. As I mentioned here, I think the pitcher and hitter should just drop their pants, let everyone see who is bigger, and then tuck it back in and get on with the game.
Unfortunately, the Yankees errorless innings streak ended in this game. Oh well, at least they set a new record and won the game, 12-3.
The June 4th game vs. the Rangers featured Chien-Ming Wang’s return to the starting rotation. Unfortunately, he was not particularly effective, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits, including a home run, in 4.2 innings. But the Yankees rallied in the 8th inning, overcoming a 5-1 deficit to win the game, 8-6.
In the June 5th game vs. the Rays, Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season and got his second loss, when Joe Dillon broke a 5-5 tie with a single in the 9th inning. The Rays scored 4 runs (3 earned) off Rivera in the 9th for the win.
I watched the Yankees beat the Rays tonight (Monday), 5-3. Andy Pettitte got the win, Mariano Rivera got the save; it was the 59th time the two have combined for a win and a save. Pettitte and Rivera are the all-time MLB winner-closer combo leaders, with two more wins/saves than Oakland’s Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley.
Since my last blog post here, the Nationals have 5 losses and 2 wins. It’s really quite astonishing that they have those two wins in 7 games! Some notable games:
On June 2nd, the Nationals had a surprising 10-6 win against the Giants and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. The Giants were leading 5-2 when the rally began with the Nats scoring 2 runs at the bottom of the 6th. The Nats offense exploded for 6 runs in the 8th inning. Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan gave up a run in the 9th inning, but managed to finish the inning and the game without any further damage. Prior to that win, the Nationals had lost 6 straight games.
On June 3rd, the Giants’ Randy Johnson was supposed to be going for his 300th career win, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. The start of the game was delayed for over 3-1/2 hours as MLB hoped the game could be played and history could be made. Now, I understand the historical significance of the game, with Stretch trying for career win #300. But come on… a 3-1/2 hour delay?! That’s ridiculous!! At 10:46, the game was finally postponed and rescheduled for the following evening.
Stretch did get his 300th win on the 4th, in the first game of a doubleheader, as the Giants beat the Nats 5-1. Ironically, the start of this game was also delayed by about an hour because of rain. Too bad so few people actually saw this historic game; attendance was so low that the attendance stats weren’t even listed in the box score. Perhaps the 16,787 attendance figure for the second game was actually a combination of attendance for both games? Anyway, some of the Nationals commentators, members of the media, and Nats fans have fussed about a called strike against Adam Dunn on a 3-2 count to end the 8th inning, which preserved the Giants 2-1 lead with the bases loaded. The call was a bad one — it was definitely NOT a strike — but hey, those are the breaks. Lots of bad calls have been made against the Nationals this season…and against the 29 other MLB teams as well. Bad calls happen. I saw comments on one particular Nats message board which hinted that the umpire had intentionally called a strike to prevent a run from being walked in to tie the game…that, of course, would have given Stretch a no-decision. OK, so in a split second, when the pitch is thrown and caught, the umpire was thinking, “If I call this a ball, then a run will score, and that means that Randy Johnson will end up with a no-decision instead of getting his 300th win tonight, so I should call this a strike even though the pitch was a ball….” Riiiiiiiiight. [SARCASM] I’m sure that’s exactly what that umpire was thinking at that moment. [/SARCASM] This, of course, was the second time the Nationals were involved in a history-making game. In August of 2007, former Nats pitcher Mike Bacsik gave up Baroids Bonds’ 756th career home run.
After the Nats 3-1 loss to the Mets on June 5th, Joel Hanrahan went back to being Joel Suckrahan as far as I’m concerned. With the game tied at 1 in the 10th inning, Suckrahan gave up a single to Luis Castillo, a walk to Carlos Beltrán, and a double to David Wright which scored Castillo and Beltrán. And that was that. The loss caused Suckrahan to lose his job as the closer for the second time this season.
The June 6th game vs. the Mets was another surprising win for the Nationals. John Lannan pitched the first complete game of his career, allowing just 1 run and 4 hits in a 7-1 win. He even hit a single in the 5th inning and scored a run on Nick Johnson’s home run. Adam Dunn and Elijah Dukes also hit home runs in the game, which lasted exactly 2 hours.
The Nationals reverted back to their usual form on the 7th, losing to the Mets 7-0. Just more of the same suckitude.
At least the Nationals didn’t lose tonight…they didn’t play tonight…….
The Yankees defeated the Orioles tonight, 7-4, for their 9th straight win. There were home runs by Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui, doubles by Derek Jeter, Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Melky Cabrera, and 3 RBI from Cano. I didn’t see the game on TV because I was at the Nationals game tonight…since Cano was the hero of the night as far as the offense is concerned, I wonder if he got the pie in the face tonight? 🙂
Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain left the game in the first inning after getting above his right knee by a line drive off the bat of Adam Jones. He somehow managed to grab the ball and make the throw to first for the out, but was taken out of the game two batters later after giving up hits to Nick Markakis and (GASP!) Aubrey Huff. The good news is that the X-rays on Joba’s knee were negative.
After this win, the Yankees are just 1 game behind the Red Sox and 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East. Yes Toronto and Boston…objects in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear.
The Yankees and Orioles will be going at it again tonight, with Joba Chamberlain on the mound. The so-called controversy between Chamberlain and the Orioles’ Aubrey Huff, regarding Huff’s post home run fist pumps, apparently is a bigger deal to Yankees fans and the media than it is to either of the two players involved.
The Bronx braces for Joba Chamberlain vs. Aubrey Huff
by Marc Carig/The Star-Ledger
Thursday May 21, 2009, 11:45 AM
NEW YORK — The last time they met, Orioles slugger Aubrey Huff took it upon himself to give Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain a dose of his own medicine.
And while the two square off again on Thursday, both have played down any lingering feelings from Huff’s over-the-top home run trot, which included some Chamberlain-esque fist pumping, which was meant to mock pitcher’s strikeout celebration. Their comments indicate there will be no brawling in the Bronx….
I’d like to think I’ve had a pretty good career in nine years and nobody talks about it. I do one fist pump to the Yankees and I’m like a national celebrity. It’s crazy. I’ve never had so much pub over something so silly.”…
“I got a lot of calls,” Huff said. “I’ve never had my phone blow up so much. I had texts from around the league, guys laughing at it, joking about it, family members. I was like, ‘My gosh, I had no idea it’d get this kind of reaction.'”…
I mentioned in my post late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning that thought what Huff did was probably applauded by other players in the AL. Judging from Huff’s comments in the final paragraph of the artcile excerpt above, I was right.
Boys will be boys.
Huff, by the way, is 0 for 8 in the series and 2 for 10 lifetime versus Chamberlain. So I guess he had a good reason for those home run trot fist pumps…he just doesn’t get a lot of hits off of Chamberlain!
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.