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…….
Gosh, I wonder which of my teams got the loss tonight?!
Mets 7, Nationals 4. *sigh* The Nats offense was unable to capitalize on and injury depleted Mets lineup, and a 6-walk performance from Johan Santana tonight…probably because Santana also had 11 strikeouts! And there was another disputed home run that was reviewed, and once again, the review went in favor of the Mets. A ball that dropped into right field and initially (and correctly) was not ruled a home run, but after reviewing the play, the umpires reversed their call. I guess when a team displays as much suckitude as the Nationals have displayed this season, calls will just automatically go against them…whether or not those calls are actually correct. The lone bright spot in the game for the Nats was Adam Dunn’s 465 foot home run.
On the other hand, the Yankees defeated the Rangers tonight, 9-2. A.J. Burnett gave the Yankees 6 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 3 hits. He walked 4 and struck out 7. Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano each had a home run, and Hideki Matsui hit two. The Yankees have won have won 12 of their last 15 games, and tonight’s win, coupled with the Red Sox’ loss to the Twins, puts them in a tie for first place with Boston!
Yep, another jump for joy! 😀
It should be noted that Chien-Ming Wang made another relief appearance and was perfect for the final two innings, with two strikeouts.
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.
Outstanding performances from Phil Hughes (3 hits, no runs, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts over 8 innings) and Alex Rodriguez (5-5, with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored) highlighted the Yankees 11-1 win over the Rangers. A-Rod was booed before each at bat, though the boos obviously didn’t bother him…perhaps they actually motivated him to perform so well. His performance raised his batting average from .189 to .259.
As for Hughes, he pitched a gem. I can’t figure out why Joe Girardi didn’t let him finish the game, since he was obviously pitching so well. I realize that managers tend to limit their young pitchers to about 100 pitches, and Hughes had thrown 101 when he was replaced by Alfredo Aceves for the 9th inning. But he was dealing, and his team was up by 11 runs. It’s not as if the Yankees were ahead by just a run or two, and a possibly tiring Hughes would have given up the lead.
An 11-1 rout is a great way to start a road trip, especially after the nail-biters in the last two games. And this win, combined with the Blue Jays loss to the Orioles, has moved the Yankees past the Blue Jays into second place in the AL East.
Since my two favorite teams are the Nationals and the Yankees, I did a bit of internet searching to see if there are any baseball-related connections between the two cities, other than the final Senators game in DC in 1971 and the interleague series between the Yankees and Nationals in 2006. I discovered the following:
1924 — The Washington Senators won their first American League pennant, finishing two games ahead of the New York Yankees (and Babe Ruth). The Senators then went on to win the World Series, defeating the New York Giants in seven games.
1933 — The Senators won the American League pennant, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees, but lost the World Series to the Giants in five games.
1943 — The Senators finished second in the American League, 13.5 games behind the Yankees who would then go on to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals.
1971 — The Senators’ final series in Washington, before moving to Texas to become the Rangers, was against the Yankees. On September 28, the Senators won the first game, 4-2. On September 29, the Yankees won, 6-3. In the final, fateful game on September 30, the Senators were leading the Yankees 7-5 with two outs in the ninth inning. And then hundreds of angry young fans, knowing that the Senators would be moving to Texas the following season, stormed the field and vandalized it. Unable to clear the field, the umpires declared a forfeit to the Yankees.
2006 — The Yankees returned to RFK Stadium for the first time since 1971, to face the Washington Nationals in an interleague matchup on June 16-18. The Yankees won the first game, by the ironic score of 7-5. The Nationals won the second game, 11-9, on a blown save by Mariano Rivera. The third game of that series, played on Father’s Day, featured strong performances by both starting pitchers — Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees and Mike O’Connor of the Nationals. With one out in the ninth inning and the Yankees leading 2-1, the Nationals’ Marlon Anderson hit a single, which was followed by a walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals stunned the Yankees, 3-2. It was one of the highlights of the season for the Nationals, who finished the season at the bottom of NL East with a 71-91 record, while the Yankees finished with a record of 97-65 and won the AL East.
2009 — The Nationals will face the Yankees in interleague play at Yankee Stadium, once again on June 16-18. What will happen this time?!