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.
Anyone 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.
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
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.
Phillies 9, Nationals 6
Once again, the Nationals took the early lead over the Phillies, when Josh Willingham and Alberto Gonzalez scored on a Wil Nieves double, and then Nieves scored on an Anderson Hernandez single. But Ryan Howard hit two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the Phillies over the Nats. Shairon Martis got his first loss of the season, after a poor performance in which he surrendered 7 runs on 7 hits, including the 2 homers to Howard, in just 4 innings. Shockingly, the 6 Nationals relievers who followed Martis did not give up any earned runs; Mike MacDougal — recently called up from Triple A Syracuse — had two unearned runs thanks to an error from Anderson Hernandez. How ironic and frustrating that when the bullpen finally seems to be pitching a bit better, the starting pitching falls apart!
As if ANOTHER loss isn’t bad enough, it looks like Jesus Flores will be out for a lot longer than expected. He had been scheduled to return from the disabled list this weekend, but he has suffered a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury. Jesus experienced some pain in his shoulder. His shoulder has been examined by the Nationals team physician, and he’ll be examined by orthopedist James Andrews on Monday. This does not sound good at all…I am worried.
Yankees 10, Indians 5
There were 4 home runs hit in this game…and it wasn’t even played at Yankee Stadium!
Jorge Posada (HIP HIP JORGE!) and Nick Swisher hit home runs for the Yankees, while Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo hit home runs for the Indians. Jorge had just one hit for the night, but he made it count!
CC Sabathia had a no-hitter going into the 5 inning against his former team. Choo broke up that no-no with a single in the bottom of the 5th. For the night, CC allowed 3 runs on five hits, with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. Even without a no-hitter, it was a pretty good way to return to Cleveland. Good job, big guy!
Oh, and it should be noted that this was the 16th consecutive errorless game for the Yankees. That is one short of the MLB record set by the Red Sox in June 2006. That deserves another thumbs up……
Phillies 5, Nationals 4
Despite taking an early 1-0 lead over the Phillies on Josh Willingham’s solo home run in the second inning, the Nationals lost their 34th game of the season, 5-4, on Friday night. Ross Detweiler had a rough night, giving up 5 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings. To their credit (and my shock!), the 5 members of the Nationals bullpen who pitched in relief of Detweiler did not give up any additional runs. Too bad Detweiler himself happened to pitch like crap.
A lot of Nationals fans have complained in blogs and on message boards that manager Manny Acta doesn’t care about winning…that losing doesn’t seem to bother him. I’m not a mind-reader, so I can’t get into his head to know what he’s really thinking. I’m sure the losing bothers him…he just doesn’t show it. I wish he would show it…I wish he’d get angry now and then. I’m not talking about an Earl Weaver-esque rant or rampage, but just show some fire. Maybe the team might pick up on it and show some fire themselves.
Frankly, even if Acta does start to show some fire and sparks, it will be too little, too late. The time has come for Acta to go. I realize that it’s not Acta who is leaving those runners on base, giving up those walks and home runs, and committing those errors. But the entire team cannot be fired, so someone has to take the blame when a team performs as poorly as the Nationals have performed. Unfortunately, the manager is the one to take the blame.
The Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin on May 7th, when their record was 12-17. After they had played 29 games, the Nationals record was 10-19. The Rockies fired Clint Hurdle yesterday, when their record was 18-28. After they had played 46 games, the Nationals record was 13-33. I’m guessing that the only reason why Acta still has a job is because the Nationals still just have an acting GM. And I’ve heard talk on Nationals blogs and message boards that the Nats will not make a decision about their GM until after the June draft. So for the near future, we Nationals fans will just have to continue dealing with Acta’s mismanagement of his pitching staff and bullpen, and his seemingly lackidasical attitude towards all of the errors, poor pitching, and losing.
Yankees 3, Indians 1
On the other hand, the Yankees defeated the Indians yesterday, 3-1. The good news is that the win moved the Yankees into sole posession of first place in the AL East; the bad news is that Andy Pettitte was taken out of the game in the 6th inning because of a strained back. It doesn’t appear to be anything serious, and he’ll probably be able to make his next start. But Andy isn’t as young as he used to be, and those aches and pains do come along more easily and more often.
Jorge Posada came off the DL and re-joined the Yankees lineup. He was 2-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Hip hip Jorge!
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?
I 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.
That’s the Yankees record vs. the Red Sox so far this season. 0-5. Boston won tonight, 7-3, sweeping the 2-game series. And an already beleaguered Yankees bullpen was stretched and stressed even more when 6 relief pitchers were used in the game.
As if tonight’s game wasn’t depressing enough, Jorge Posada was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring. He is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. His surgically repaired shoulder is fine, but his hamstring is not. Big blow for the Yankees. 😦
After the Yankees 6-4 loss to the Red Sox last night, I need to re-think my pre-opening day prediction about the Yankees (a) winning 95 games and (b) winning the AL East. The Yankees are now 0-4 against the Red Sox, and with uneven starting pitching and an unreliable bullpen, this season may end up being a tough one for the Yankees. It’s far too early to give up, of course, but it’s definitely not too early to be realistic.
The good news about last night’s game is that Mark Teixeira finally woke up from his early season slumber. He hit two home runs last night, providing half of the Yankees offense for the game, and [BEGIN SARCASM] his batting average has zoomed all the way up to an eye-popping .195. [/END SARCASM] The bad news, in addition to the final score, is the hamstring injury to Jorge Posada. He’s been scheduled for an MRI exam, and then we’ll find out how long he’ll be out of action.
The Yankees beat the Indians, 7-3, despite being no-hit through the first 3 innings by former Yankee Carl Pavano (a/k/a “Glass A**” on my message board, because of his injury history). Pavano was surprisingly tough against his former team, allowing just one run off 4 hits in 6 innings. The Yankees finally managed to take the lead in the 7th inning, when Jorge Posada hit a 2 run home run, which was disputed by Indians manager Eric Wedge. Thanks to the addition of instant replay in baseball this year, there was an 8-1/2 minute delay to check the replay of Posada’s HR. Thank goodness there are limits on what can and cannot be disputed and reviewed by instant replay…otherwise games would last for 4 hours!
The Washington Nationals, on the other hand, were once again swept by the Florida Marlins, after the bullpen blew a save for the third game in a row on Sunday afternoon. At least this game didn’t go into extra innings, which is a good thing since I was there and had to pee. I sat with my legs crossed all through the 8th and 9th innings, hoping (a) for a miracle from the Nats in the bottom of the 9th, and (b) that I wouldn’t wet my pants. Unfortunately, there was no miracle win, and fortunately, I did make it to the rest room in time to prevent an embarrassing accident. *Note to self: don’t buy any more Diet Cokes in souvenir cups in the 6th inning.*
Additional Nationals news:
After assistant general manager Mike Rizzo stated that “the incompetence of the bullpen was drawn to a head today,” right-hander Saul Rivera and catcher Josh Bard were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, and right-hander Steven Shell and left-hander Wil Ledezma were designated for assignment. The Nationals will purchase the contracts of pitching prospect Jordan Zimmermann and veteran right-hander Kip Wells from Syracuse, as well as recall right-handers Garrett Mock and Jason Bergmann from Syracuse. Zimmermann will make his first major league start against the Braves on Monday. I have tickets for that game, so I’m pumped about seeing Zimmermann. As for the other moves, I’m surprised to see Shell go and closer Joel Hanrahan stay. I think these moves are pretty much like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic…but something had to be done, so we’ll see what happens.
The one good thing that happened today is the signing of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman — the so-called “face of the franchise” — to a new long term contract, reportedly worth $45 million over five years. Although Zimmerman is my favorite Nationals player, I’m not entirely sure he deserves that much money just yet. He’s really only had one great year (2006). He hasn’t really lived up to his “face of the franchise” hype, either at the plate or in the clubhouse as a vocal leader. But he is, by far, the most popular Nationals player, judging from the number of #11 t-shirts and jerseys seen at Nationals Park. Although the money may be a little bit excessive, it’s good to know that the Lerner family, who owns the Nats, are willing to spend some money to keep one of their top players around for a while.
I won’t have much time to post anything here over the next couple of days. I’m going to the Nats/Braves games on Monday and Tuesday, assuming the rain doesn’t cause problems with the games. I must be really dedicated or just a glutton for punishment, attending three Nats games in a row. Ah, but the Nationals don’t consider me to be dedicated enough, so I guess I really am just a glutton for punishment!
Swisher pitches: There was nothing to smile about in the Yankees embarrassing loss to the Rays on Monday. Nick Swisher, however, did his best to help his team get through the loss. Attempting to save the bullpen, Joe Girardi needed a relief pitcher and went looking for one when the Yankees found themselves down by 10 runs after 3 innings. As it turns out, Swisher used to be a pitcher…in high school. Desperate situations call for desperate measures, so Swisher ended up pitching for the Yankees in the 8th inning.
Apparently, while many of the Yankees were amused by Swisher being used as a relief pitcher, Jorge Posada — who replaced Swisher at first base — was not. Considering how fiesty and intense Posada is, I’m not surprised that he wasn’t amused by the situation. Derek Jeter, however, had a better attitude about the whole thing. According to what I’ve read online in several blogs, Jeter was amused simply because it was Swisher, and Swisher’s not going to shut up about it.
Peter Abraham was amused too. He thought is was funny when Swisher “shook Jose Molina off, even through there were no signs.” Ditto for Swisher rolling the ball into the dugout for a souvenir after striking out Gabe Kapler. (You have to wonder how Kapler will ever live that down!)
I love Nick Swisher. I seriously love this guy! I think his sense of humor is exactly what the Yankees need. His bat is pretty nice to have too.
Burnett’s gem: A.J. Burnett followed Wang’s disaster with a near no-hitter on Tuesday. CC Sabathia got more headlines (and more money) when he signed with the Yankees, but Burnett is the one who has really earned his money so far for the Yankees. I hope he keeps it up!
Teixeira is back: Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup on Tuesday. He still isn’t hitting his weight (hell, after tonight, he’s almost hitting my weight), but at least the Yankees can count on his glove once again.
Nady injures elbow: Xavier Nady has been placed on the DL for additional tests on his surgically repaired and now injured right elbow. There were some rumors that he was headed for more Tommy John surgery, which would end his season, but, according to an article on yahoo.com, it looks like doctors want to run more tests to see if rest and rehab will be enough to take care of the problem.
The not-so-grand Grand Opening: the Yankees got the snot beat out of them tonight by the Indians, which is unfortunate considering that tonight was the Yankees home opener in the new Yankee Stadium. Not a good way to get things started. This is the second blow-out suffered by the Yankees in less than a week…I understand that late in the game, Yankee fans were chanting “We want Swisher,” since he pitched a scoreless inning in the blow-out vs. Tampa Bay. But from what I’ve read here at MLBlogs, the reviews of the new Yankee Stadium are overwhelmingly positive. And that’s really more important than this one loss.
*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)