Tagged: Cleveland Indians

To Be or Not To Be: An ALDS Preview

 

The ALDS is here.

They say retaining is tougher than obtaining.

Last year, the New York Yankees obtained their 27th World Series Championship. Here we are, almost a year after they won number 27, and the Bronx Bombers are looking to repeat as World Champs.

And much like last year, the Yanks will begin their quest to the title against the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series. Tomorrow night 21-game winner CC Sabathia will take the hill, opposed by 14-game winner and the 2010 American League Comeback Player of the Year, Francisco Liriano.

Game One could very well be a legitimate pitcher’s duel.

The same could be said about Game Two, which will feature postseason ace Andy Pettitte facing former Yankee and 17-game winner Carl Pavano. Game Three will take the series back to Yankee Stadium where Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA) will square off against Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA).

It seems to me that there are many things working in the Yankees’ favor in this series, but just as many things working against them. Everything is up in the October air right now, and it is the Yanks’ series to win…or lose.

In the Yankees’ Favor


 

Things work in the Yanks favor vs. the Twins

 

·  History vs. Twins

This one almost goes without saying.

The Yankees have eliminated Minnesota three times in the first round of the playoffs (2003, ’04, and ’09). In ’03 and ’04 the Yankees won three games to one. Last year it was a clean sweep, as the Yankees took care of the Twins in three.

 

·         The Yankees vs. Liriano

Brett Gardner, Marcus Thames, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Nick Swisher all have stellar career numbers against the Twins’ Game One starter. Combined, they own a .435 batting average against Liriano, coupled with four home runs and seven RBIs.

Winning the first game of the series is always important and can genuinely set the tone of a playoff series. While it looks to be a pitcher’s duel, the good numbers are probably in the back of Yankee manager Joe Girardi’s head–something he will most likely consider when putting together the lineup card.

 

·         The Twins Aren’t Clutch?

Since the Twins took Game One of the 2004 ALDS from the Yankees, they have lost nine consecutive postseason games. In those nine games, they have been outscored 52-28 by the opposition.

When the calendar turns to October, the Twins’ offense seems to be switched off.

 

·         No Morneau

Before Justin Morneau was injured with a concussion on July 7, he was in the discussion for the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award. In the 81 games he played this season, he hit .345 with 18 homer runs and 56 RBIs. In fact, he led the Twins with Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at 5.6.

Morneau has been ruled out for the entire postseason. The absence of a rather dangerous hitter in the Twins’ lineup might somewhat ease the pressure on the New York pitchers.

 

·         Ron Gardenhire’s Attitude

In the press conference after team workouts today, the Twins’ skipper referred to this series as a classic “David vs. Goliath” match. Ron Gardenhire sees his team as David, trying to take out the almighty Goliath-like Bronx Bombers.

He made a great analogy.

Under Gardenhire, the Twins are 18-54 in 72 games against the Yankees, and they only average 3.6 runs per game against the Bombers. The Twins are also 2-9 vs. the Yanks in October, contributing to the skipper’s underdog attitude.

 

·         Alex Rodriguez Carryover?

Up until last year, the Yankees’ slugging third baseman was revered as a goat in the postseason. From his infamous “slap of the ball” out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in 2004 to his deer-in-the-headlights strikeout with the bases loaded against Joel Zumaya in 2006, Alex Rodriguez struggled when it came to the playoffs.

 

 

I got you.

But all that changed last October.

Rodriguez erased his troubled postseason past with a .378 batting average in last year’s playoffs, along with hitting six homers and knocking in 18 runs. In last year’s ALDS vs. the Twins, Rodriguez hit .455 and slugged 1.000.

He went from “Alexander the Goat” to “Alexander the Great.”

And Rodriguez has really turned it on this past month. In September, he hit .309 with nine homers, 26 RBIs, and maintained a .667 slugging percentage.

If last year is any indication of how well A-Rod can do under pressure, and if he carries his September numbers into October, the Yanks will be in good shape whenever he steps up to the plate.

   

 

The Yankees certainly have plenty of things working for them. However, there are certainly a number of factors working against them as the playoffs begin…

 

The Twins Can win it, though...

Working Against The Yankees

·         Home Field Disadvantage

I know many people say “home field advantage means nothing.” The fact is that home field advantage can mean something, especially because the Yankees do not have it at all this postseason.

Joe Torre said it best: “It’s hard to win extra-inning games on the road.”

He couldn’t be more correct. The Yankees lost five one-run games on the road in the month of September, along with dropping an extra-inning game against Boston this past weekend. In terms of the postseason…well…2004 at Fenway Park is evidence of that “hard-to-win extra-inning-games-on-the-road” mentality.

The Twins were also 53-28 this season at Target Field, which doesn’t help the Yankees’ cause.

 

·         The REAL Andy Pettitte?

The Yankees’ Game Two starter has tremendous numbers in the playoffs. As the winningest pitcher in postseason baseball history, Andy Pettitte owns an 18-9 playoff record with an ERA of 3.90. Lifetime in the ALDS, Pettitte is 5-3 with a 3.73 ERA.

There’s no denying that Pettitte has been championship-tested. But what will we see this year?

Since coming back from his groin injury (suffered in July) Pettitte is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA.

In his final start of 2010 on Saturday, Pettitte was roughed up by third-place Boston, getting chased from the game after four innings of work. He surrendered three earned runs and scattered nine hits, as he walked two batters and struck out eight.

Pettitte remains a little bit of a question mark right now. He hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in each of his last two starts and has not won a game since July 8.

If the Yanks want to win it, Pettitte has to be in his regular, dominant form.

 

·         Phil Hughes at Yankee Stadium

Although Phil Hughes has 11 wins at home this season, he is far from perfect. The Yankees’ Game Three starter has a 4.66 ERA when playing in the Bronx, opposed to a 3.47 ERA on the road.

Simply put, Hughes gives up more runs at home.

This season, Hughes has failed to keep the ball inside the Yankee Stadium Park. Of the 25 homers he surrendered, 20 of them were given up at Yankee Stadium.

 


Phil Hughes has not done all that well at home this season 

Furthermore, of the 82 earned runs Hughes has allowed this year, 55 of them have been given up at home. He also issued 39 of his 58 walks at Yankee Stadium, subjecting his stats to worse numbers at home than on the road.

If you ask me, Hughes should be the Game Two starter, that way he does not have to pitch at home, where, as his numbers indicate, he tends to struggle.

 

·         Alexi Casilla, Denard Span, and Michael Cuddyer

There are not many Twins hitters who have a great deal of success against CC Sabathia. Come to think of it, there aren’t many hitters in the entire American League who have a great deal of success against Sabathia.

However, Alexi Casilla owns a .692 batting average against Sabathia with one career RBI. Denard Span is .333 lifetime vs. Sabathia, and is a serious threat to run when he gets on base.

Michael Cuddyer only has a .222 batting average vs. Sabathia, but he has taken the Yankee ace deep once in his life for one RBI.

 

·         Curtis Granderson vs. Left-Handed Pitching

Before the Yankees acquired him from Detroit, there was a lot of chatter about Curtis Granderson’s struggles against left-handed pitching. He finished the 2010 season with 24 homers and 67 RBIs on top of a .247 batting average.

However, against lefties this year, Granderson only hit .234.

This would not be such a problem if two of the first three Twins starters this postseason were not left-handed pitchers (Liriano and Duensing).

Granderson has a little bit of experience in the playoffs; in 2006 he made it all the way to the World Series as a member of the Tigers only to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals. Lifetime in the postseason he has a .226 average with three homers and seven RBIs.

How he performs in his first postseason as a Yankee remains to be seen, but he may need to spend some extra time in the batting cage if he continues to struggle against left-handers.

 

·         Wild Card Losers

The Yankees were favorites to win the AL East, but it was swiped from under them on the last day of the season by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bronx Bombers enter as the AL Wild Card winners, something that, historically, has not paid dividends.

The Yanks have never won the World Series when entering the postseason as the Wild Card.

In 1995, the Yankees won the AL Wild Card and were booted from playoff contention at the hands of the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS. In 2007, the Yanks once again captured the elusive Wild Card spot, only to fall to the Cleveland Indians in round one.

As much as the postseason history plays in the Yankees’ favor (their past vs. the Twins) it works against them (they have never won a World Series as a Wild Card team).

 

It’s anybody’s pennant to win. The road to 28 starts now…

 


Can the Yanks do it....???

As Trade Deadline Looms, Rodriguez Pushes For 600

 

 

Trade deadline is tomorrow...A-Rod is pushing for 600 homers.

As the Major League Baseball non-waivers trade deadline rapidly approaches–tomorrow afternoon at 4:00–Alex Rodriguez continues his chase for 600 home runs.

 

The Yankees did not panic when Andy Pettitte hurt his groin and went to the disabled list. They first allowed Sergio Mitre to take Pettitte’s place in the rotation, a move that did not pay off. On July 24 Mitre lost to the Kansas City Royals, tossing 4 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs on seven hits.

 

Manager Joe Girardi said Mitre “wasn’t stretched out enough to be starting.”

 

Yesterday Dustin Moseley took the ball for Pettitte and put on quite a performance. The 28 year-old right hander pitched six innings of solid ball. He gave up one run and scattered four hits while walking two batters and striking out four. For his effort he earned himself a win over the Cleveland Indians.

 

Dustin Moseley pitched for Pettitte yesterday night 

 

Not bad for a spot start. I think he earned himself another start on Tuesday vs. Toronto.

 

In a blog post last week I said the Yankees need another arm, but if Moseley can handle the load and pitch the way he did last night, the Yanks may not need one. I suggested Dan Haren, but he has already been traded to the Los Angeles Angels. (He’s also already injured, as he was hit on the right forearm with a comeback line drive, but that’s another story for another time)

 

It doesn’t seem as if the Yankees are interested in Brian Bannister, the second hurler I pointed out as a possible target for the Bronx Bombers. Bannister was beaten by the Yankees on July 23, a game in which he only pitched 4 2/3 innings. He was touched up for four earned runs on six hits; he walked two batters and struck out five.

 

 


Brian Bannister (I guess) won't be joining the Yanks 

His season record fell to 7-9, but I still think he has potential. If he was on a team that gave him more run support (like the Yankees) I have a feeling his numbers would be a lot better.

 

It doesn’t look as though the Yankees are seeking any pitching help. I am however hearing a lot of yapping about “adding another bat” and the name that keeps popping up is Adam Dunn, the Washington Nationals’ first baseman. He would be a good addition to the team. Being a power-hitting lefty, Dunn could certainly use the short porch in Yankee Stadium to his advantage.

 

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the two teams that are interested in Dunn are the Yankees and their opponent for this weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays. Olney said that each team is trying to make sure the other team doesn’t land Dunn, as they are in a heated race for the American League Eastern Division.

 

This morning, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees “are not out on Dunn, that they may be using negotiation tactics to try and get him, and to not count them out on any player.”

 

 


Adam Dunn to the Yanks? 

Will he be traded to New York before tomorrow afternoon at 4:00? At the moment, nothing is etched in stone. It could happen and I would like to see it happen, but if it doesn’t, then it’s not a huge blow to the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers still have the best record in the majors without Dunn; getting him can only help and not getting him can’t hurt.

 

So do the Yankees really need to make a huge trade at all?

 

Well….any sort of minor trade can also help them. Consider last year’s trade for Jerry Hairston, Jr. Was he the best hitter on the team? No. Was he a Gold-Glove caliber fielder? Probably not. But did he do little things to help the team win and make a difference when it mattered?

 

 


Jerry Hairston scored the winning run in Game Two of the '09 ALCS 

Absolutely. He had that utility quality about himself, and he was a good pickup right before the deadline last year. After all, he did score the winning run in Game Two of the American League Championship Series. And as I understand, he is having a decent season over in San Diego for the N.L. West-leading Padres.

 

Even if the Yanks make a small trade a la the Hairston swap last year, it could make a world of difference come October.

 

As for A-Rod…

 

The Yankees’ third baseman clubbed his 599th career home run on Thursday July 22 vs. Kansas City. After a week, he has failed to put one in the seats and join the exclusive 600 Club–a club only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willy Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Sammy Sosa are currently members of.

 

 


A-Rod is going for 600 this weekend 

Rodriguez was 4-for-21 in the last four games vs. Cleveland and overall is 9-for-30 since smacking number 599 last Thursday. He has gone 34 plate appearances without a round-tripper and seems to be pressing just a little bit.

 

It’s almost as if he is going through the same thing he went through in 2007 before reaching 500 home runs. Rodriguez had to wait eight days and 28 at-bats to belt number 500, so he certainly knows how it feels.

 

If he were to reach 600 homers this weekend, it wouldn’t be the first time Rodriguez has hit a meaningful home run at Tropicana Field. On Oct. 4 of last season, Rodriguez clobbered two home runs in the same inning, one of which was hit off tonight’s starter Wade Davis. The other homer was a grand slam to give him 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the year.

 


Will 600 happen at Tropicana Field?    

 

Talk about a hitting show.

 

This season, Rodriguez has not left the yard at Tropicana Field, but is hitting .417 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Obviously his chances to hit 600 are good this weekend, so long as he doesn’t press and maintains an easy, fluid swing.

 

I noticed last night when Jess Todd struck him out swinging in the eighth inning, A-Rod looked like he wanted to hit a 15-run home run. He swung too early and he looks like he is trying too hard. If he eases up and stops pushing (which he is fully capable of doing) he will reach the milestone and get it over with.

 

Once again, all eyes on A-Rod this weekend.

 

 


All eyes on Alex Rodriguez as he goes for 600 home runs 

 

I’d like to take the time and thank MLBlogs for featuring Yankee Yapping on their main page! I came across this and enjoyed the little write-up they did on me.

 

 


On the main page of MLBlogs! 

This was very cool and I do hope to write for MLB.com sometime in the NEAR future!

 

Just to clarify something, however; I just graduated from Mercy College and there will only be one more story I am submitting to my school’s newspaper–that would be a story on Brian Sweeney, who pitched for Mercy when he attended the school.

 

I am taking my interview, which I conducted here on MLBlogs, and turning it into a feature article for the school paper. Even though I graduated, I am still going to use it for a clip to put into my portfolio. That will be my last article as Sports Editor.

 

Once again, thanks MLB.com for the write-up and the exposure. I hope to be working for you very soon!!! 😉

Slam Dunk: Yankees Having a Grand Ol’ Season

The New York Yankees enjoyed another win today, beating the Houston Astros 9-3. The Bronx Bombers are now 39-23, a season-high 16 games above .500.

 

Derek Jeter smacked a lead-off homer, belting a solo dinger over the left field wall and into the visiting bullpen. That round-tripper marked Jeter’s 24th career lead-off homer, which ties him with Ricky Henderson for most lead-off homers in team history.

 

 


Derek Jeter hit two homers today 

One more and Jeter will have the Yankee lead-off home run record.

 

Including the postseason, that home run also marked Jeter’s 3,000th career hit. Yeah, I know it was not his real 3,000th career hit, but it still says a lot about how much the Yankee Captain has done over the years.

 

Later in the game, Jeter was at it again. In the in bottom of the sixth he crushed a three-run homer, this time to right-center field. He now has nine career multi-homer games, eight homers on the season, and he finished the day with four RBIs.

 

Although Jeter did not hit a grand slam, he might as well be credited with one. This brings me to my point: grand slams. It seems this season the Yanks have been frequently leaving the yard when the bases are loaded.

 

June 12: Jorge Posada

 

 


Jorge Posada visited granny today! 

The Yankee catcher was struggling mightily heading into today. But with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Jorge Posada took an 0-1 curveball over the right-center field wall. It was his seventh home run of the year and eighth career grand slam.

 

Posada’s visit to granny today also marked his 250th career home run. He is now one of five catchers to have hit 250 homers, had 1,500 hits, and 350 doubles in a career. The others are Carlton Fisk, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter, and Johnny Bench.

 

That stat could perhaps be Hall of Fame worthy for the Yankee backstop.

 

Before Posada took Astros’ starter Wandy Rodriguez deep, the game was tied 2-2. With one swing of the bat Posada gave the Yankees a four run lead which they never looked back from. He later singled to right field in the fifth and was hit by a pitch in the seventh.

 

Perhaps Posada has turned the corner and has broken out of his slump. Entering today, he only had two hits in his last 29 at-bats. In other good news for Posada, it was confirmed after today’s win that he will be catching behind the plate in tomorrow’s series finale vs. Houston.

 

After coming back from the disabled list on June 2, Posada had not caught a game and had been confined to the designated hitter spot. With the majority of the team banged up, it’ll be interesting to see who Joe Girardi puts in the DH hole tomorrow.

 

As for Posada, nicely done. He needs to keep on swinging the bat the way he did today.

 

 

June 8: Curtis Granderson

 


Curtis Granderson slammed on June 8  

 

On Tuesday, the 29 year-old centerfielder broke out the mustard and rye for a grand salami against the Baltimore Orioles. Curtis Granderson took O’s starter Kevin Millwood deep to right field in the top of the third inning.

 

For Granderson, it was his second career grand slam and his fourth homer of 2010.

 

The big blast made it 6-0 Yankees and the Bombers went on to take the game 12-7 from the Orioles. One of the better parts of Granderson’s granny was the fact that it came off a left-handed pitcher.

 

After he was acquired by the Yankees this past off-season, many people said Granderson has trouble hitting lefties. While he is currently only hitting .217 vs. lefties, Granderson has a .248 overall batting average, which is something he can work on as the season progresses.

 

Also keep in mind his numbers might have been a little better if he had not injured himself and been sidelined on May 1. Granderson missed practically the entire month of May, but since his return has not been struggling nearly as badly as he was before he went down.

 

When he went on the disabled list, Granderson was hitting a weak .225.

 

But he has since raised his average, has played some prodigious defense in centerfield, and has been a better offensive player. The grand slam on Tuesday was just another example of how much of an asset he can be to a team.

 

Down the stretch we will probably see more great things from him.

 

 

May 14 & 31: Alex Rodriguez

 


Alex Rodriguez has hit two grand slams this year 

 

Twice (so far) this season, the Yankee slugger has cleared the bases with one swing.

 

On May 14, Alex Rodriguez took Minnesota Twins’ reliever Matt Guerrier deep into the left field seats for a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, a go-ahead moon shot that gave the Yanks a 7-4 lead. The Bronx Bombers went on to win 8-4.  

 

Guerrier had come into the game to face Rodriguez after an intentional walk of Mark Teixeira, much to the confusion of almost everyone in the ballpark. Heading into the at-bat, Rodriguez was 4-for-6 lifetime vs. Guerrier, four of those hits being home runs.

 

Twins’ skipper Ron Gardenhire gambled and it didn’t pay off. He said after the game, “In that situation it’s kind of like you have to pick your poison.”

 

That marked Rodriguez’s 19th career grand slam and his 587th career homer, which put him ahead of Eddie Murray on the all-time home runs list–seventh place.

 

17 days later, the third baseman did it again, this time vs. the Cleveland Indians.

 

 


A-Rod's second granny came on May 31 

On May 31, Rodriguez came up (again) in the bottom of the seventh with the bases chucked. The Yankees were only leading 2-1 at that point and once again Teixeira was intentionally walked before the opposing hurler threw to Rodriguez.  

 

With a full count, Rodriguez absolutely murdered the offering and deposited it into Monument Park for a glorious-looking grand slam. It was his 20th career bases-loaded homer and 590th career round-tripper.

 

The Yankees went on to cruise into an 11-2 win over the Tribe.

 

Now with 20 career grannies, Rodriguez sits in third place on the all-time career grand slams list behind Manny Ramirez (21) and Lou Gehrig (23).  

 

At press time Rodriguez has eight homers on the year with a .290 batting average and 43 RBIs. He is having an “A-Rod” type season, and he will probably hit well enough to finish with at least 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs.

 

As long as Rodriguez stays healthy, he will be in good shape. He had to sit out these last three games because of an injury to his hip. He was diagnosed with tendinitis in his right his flexor, coupled with groin stiffness. Girardi said that will continue to evaluate Rodriguez every day, indicating that he probably doesn’t know when he will return to the lineup.

 

Hope he gets back soon; Rodriguez is one of the biggest threats on the team. Playing a scuffling Astros team, the Yanks were able to win these last two games without him. But can they win their upcoming games against the defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets without A-Rod?

 

Well, we might not have to worry about it. With any luck, our cleanup man will be back before either one of those series begins.

 

May 28: Robinson Cano

 


Cano hit a grand slam on May 28 

 

Three days before Rodriguez’s second grand slam this year, the Yankees’ hot-hitting second baseman smacked a grand slam of his own. Against the Indians on May 28, Robinson Cano blasted a seventh inning slam off Tribe reliever Tony Sipp.

 

With the bases-loaded blast, Cano now has three career slams.

 

That night was special for Cano, not only because he hit a grand slam, but because it was the first time in his career he batted from the number four spot in the lineup. Before the game, Girardi actually asked Cano if he was comfortable being the number four hitter.

 

Cano reassured him he was fine with it and obviously he was; it worked out nicely. Cano didn’t feel the pressure and came through with a big time blast. In fact, Cano said after the game that it was a good feeling to be the cleanup hitter and that it was “exciting.”

 

The Yankees carried on and beat the Indians 8-2.

 

Because of Rodriguez’s hip flexor injury, Cano has batted from the cleanup spot these last two games. Over the last two days, Cano has collected a pair of hits and scored two runs along with maintaining the best batting average in the American League with .371.

 

By the end of the season Cano will probably have to make more room in his trophy case. There could be a batting title in his future. If he keeps up the outstanding numbers an MVP Award could be there and of course the big one–another championship ring if everything goes according to plan.

 

Right now Cano is a hitting machine that mainly produces RBIs. And it doesn’t look like he is slowing down, either. That only means good things for the Yanks and scary things for opposing pitchers.

 

 

So there you have it. The Yankees are having a “grand” old season.  

 

Two things I have noticed about their grand slams this year: all of them have come in either the third or seventh inning…and every game they have hit a grand slam in, they have gone on to win.

 

Interesting.

 

As I said before, I wish we could credit Jeter with a grand slam today. Instead he got two homers and four RBIs. The Yankee Captain only has one career slam–in June of 2005 he hit his first career grand slam at Yankee Stadium vs. the Cubs.

 

I’m sure Jeter will take anything as long as the Yanks win, which they did. Tomorrow they will look to sweep the Astros behind Phil Hughes (8-1, 2.71 ERA).

 

The 23 year-old righty will be gunning for his ninth win of the season and will be opposed by Brian Moehler (0-2, 6.12 ERA).

Umpires Stink

“He did it! Oh wait…No, he didn’t!”

 

Everyone knows what happened tonight. And no, I am not speaking about the New York Yankees’ 9-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, Phil Hughes once again gave a dominating pitching performance and captured his seventh victory of the year. Robinson Cano was 3-for-4 with a home run, and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

 

The Yankees continued their winning ways. But in Detroit, things were different.

 

 


Armando Galarrage was so close to a perfecto! He HAD it! 

Armando Galarraga was on his way to history. The 28 year-old Tigers’ righty was one out, I repeat ONE OUT, away from a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians. What’s the worst thing that can happen when you’re pitching a perfect game in the ninth with two outs? Giving up a hit, of course.

 

For Galarraga, the worst feeling is (probably) that he knows he had the perfect game and it was ruined by an umpire’s terrible, horrible, ridiculous, mind-numbingly bone-headed call.

 

There just aren’t enough adjectives to describe how bad the call really was.

 

 


He was OUT !!!!! 

With two outs in the ninth, Jason Donald of the Tribe grounded the ball out to Miguel Cabrera at first base. Galarraga covered the bag at first and with the ball on the upper webbing of his mitt, stepped on first base before Donald did.

 

Galarraga began to celebrate; his arm went in the air and an ear-to-ear smile graced his face…that is until the first base umpire called Donald safe when a blind mouse could have easily seen that he was out.

 

The culprit: Jim Joyce. How he missed the call is beyond me.

 

Idiot. 

 

Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland had a lot to say right after the play transpired. Even after the Tigers wrapped up the game, they all stood together in unison and argued vehemently with the umpires. The team had good reason to be upset and I do not blame them for getting annoyed with the umpiring crew.

 

Good for them! It’s about time a team stood up to the umps. It seems they have been missing many calls recently. Whether it is ball and strikes, plays at the plate, or instances like tonight, the umps have been inconsistent and unbearable with their calls. In fact, they have been so bad, it’s laughable.

 

Consider David Wright of the New York Mets back on May 9. He was thrown out of the game for arguing what was clearly ball four. Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber was inconsistent with his strike zone all afternoon; Wright tried to stand up for himself, and got tossed.

 

 


David Wright was ejected last month for being rung up on ball four. 

But that was just a meaningless regular season game with nothing at stake. The umps could never screw up games with playoff implications right? WRONG!

 

Case in point: Game Two of the American League Division Series last year: Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins. Joe Mauer led off the bottom of the 11th with what should have been a ground-rule double. Left Fielder Melky Cabrera chased the ball and actually touched it with the tip of his glove.

 

The ball appeared to bounce off Cabrera’s glove before bouncing inside the chalk and it was ruled a foul ball. It probably should have been a fair ball or a double, and after the game umpire Phil Cuzzi said he made a mistake.

 

bad call. 

 

Mauer eventually reached base with a single after the blown call, but the Yankees were able to get out of the inning with no runs allowed. If the call had gone a different way, the whole complexion of the inning and the game probably would have been much different.

 

Another example of bad umpiring in a critical situation: Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres in a one-game tiebreaker on Oct. 1, 2007. The winner of this game was going to the playoffs, the loser was going home.

 

The Rockies won the game in the 13th inning…but did they really?

 

The game came down to a play at the plate in the last inning; Matt Holliday was called safe by umpire Tim McClelland, but with a second look, Holliday was out. Even after the game, Holliday’s teammate Todd Helton stated he was out but he “did not want to talk about it.”

 

Of course he didn’t want to talk about it. The call went his way. But think about how the Padres felt after that. Their whole season–what they worked for out of spring training–was ended thanks to a bad call by an umpire.

 

Another bad call. 

 

The umpires’ blown calls are beginning to get ridiculous. Perhaps instant replay should be instituted for more than just home run calls. It would have helped Galarraga in tonight’s case. Because there is no way to reverse the clearly bad decision, it cost him a perfect game.

 

I truly feel it was the worst call I have ever seen in a sporting event–and that’s quite an accomplishment!!! Tim Kurkjian, renowned baseball analyst, said he has been covering baseball for 30 years, and he has never seen a more horrible call.

 

Galarraga said he does not hold any bad feelings towards Joyce, as he apologized to him after the game. In Joyce’s words, “I cost the kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw until I saw the REPLAY. It was the biggest call of my career.”

 

Leyland, although visibly upset at what happened, stated that all umpires are human. The Tigers’ skipper also said that Joyce is a good umpire and a veteran, and that he just missed a call.

 

Unfortunately I don’t think “sorry” is good enough anymore. These umpires can apologize all they want, it does not change the fact that they ruin things for teams and players. If Galarraga had gone all the way tonight, he would have set a Major League record of three perfect games (along with Dallas Braden on May 9 and Roy Halladay on May 29) in a matter of 23 days.

 

It’s a shame. Just a shame.

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, Armando.

 

To you, Mr. Galarraga: I apologize. In my mind, you tossed a perfecto. You were just on the receiving end of yet another botched up call by the sorry excuse for an umpire known as Jim Joyce.

 

You were given, as I would say, “A First-Class, Grade A, Vince McMahon Screw Job.”

 

I kind of know how you feel, though…(look under MLB ’06)

Wait, Shelley Duncan Can Do….WHAT?

To try and get my mind off what was by far the most embarrassing loss of the season, I figured I would have a little fun in light of everything that happened yesterday.

 

 


Former Yankee Shelley Duncan is now on the Indians 

As most people probably noticed, former Yankee sparkplug Shelley Duncan is currently a member of the Cleveland Indians. Duncan, an on-and-off Yankee from mid-2007 through 2009, was a fan favorite; his silly antics and patented high-five were part of his personality and fans accepted him into the Yankee lifestyle.

 

His trademark high-five, by the way, once fractured Kim Jones’s hand. It was for real!

 

 


Duncan's high-five once hurt Kim Jones! 

A strong majority of Yankee Universe (including myself) loved how Duncan fit in when he first made it to the majors. In fact, he smacked five home runs in his first 22 at-bats. His great numbers in the minors at first seemed to be translating to the majors very well.

 

Unfortunately he could not keep it up towards the beginning of 2008 and was demoted back down to Triple-A, only to be called up and sent down sporadically over the next two years. If you ask me, Duncan is in between; he is too good for the minors but not good enough for the majors.

 

That’s probably the worst spot to be in.

 

However, his numbers and his career do not make him any less awesome. At least not according to a website I came across awhile back.

 

A lot of people are familiar with the “Chuck Norris Facts” site and…well…I found one for Duncan. Whoever created this bizarre yet strangely amusing site obviously loves the Yankees and (from what it looks like) had a thing for Duncan.

 

On this site, there were over 450 of these “Shelley Duncan Facts” listed. I have rounded up my top 10 “facts” about the former Yankee. Enjoy!

 

10) Shelley Duncan can make Joe Buck sound interesting.

 

I’m not sure if this is possible. As cool as Duncan is (or at least whoever made this fact thinks he is) Buck can never sound interesting. He will always be a biased, terrible, boring announcer.

 

Are there any people in the world who actually like Buck and Tim McCarver?

 

9) Derek Jeter gets all the girls, because he tells them he knows Shelley Duncan.

 

OK, I don’t know who is right or wrong here. What I do know that Jeter is a legend when it comes to the ladies. He has been linked to more girls than any other baseball player probably in history.

 

Jessica Biel, Vanessa Minnillo, Jessica Alba, Vida Guerra, and…whether he marries Minka Kelly or not remains to be seen.

 

I have to give the “Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio credit for being married to Marilyn Monroe–that’s impressive, and he was probably the envy of every man in America.

 

But Jeter does work when it comes to the ladies. The Yankee Captain is a player, plain and simple. And apparently so is Duncan, according to this fact.

 

8) Shelley Duncan is the reason Lance Bass went gay

 

Well…I don’t know about that, but…

 

In the wise words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

 

7) Ever wondered why Hawaii is so far out in the Pacific? It used to be a small pineapple-producing island 20 miles off the coast of San Diego. During one visit, Shelley Duncan ate a bad pineapple…The rest, my friends, is history.

 

You know, I always wondered why Hawaii was out there. I learned something.

 

6) Shelley Duncan lost his virginity before his mom and dad.

 

.:BLANK, PUZZLED STARE:.

 

 


 

 

5) Bill Buckner missed the ball because he saw Shelley Duncan in the crowd.

 


Haha! 

 

A-hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaaaaaaa!!!!!!

 

4) Shelley Duncan can fix the Knicks.

 

Maybe he can. But if he can’t, LeBron James might be able to…Chris Bosh, too.

 

3) Shelley Duncan…that’s what she said!

 

Exactly.

 

2) Sonic the Hedgehog , The Flash, and Superman once challenged Shelley Duncan to a race. When Sonic, Flash and Superman tried to cheat, realizing Shelley was much more skilled and faster than them, Shelley high-fived them all, killing them instantly. Nobody -including Johnny Damon, Jose Reyes, Ichiro, or Shane Victorino – has since dared to challenge Shelley Duncan to a race.

 

I’m a little biased towards this one, because I submitted it. I know, it’s lame. It’s dumb. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But that’s what makes it funny.

 

Just go with it…

 

1) Shelley Duncan can drown a fish.

 

Believe it or not, there’s a little bit of a back-story to this one.

 

Last year, I really liked this girl. I was trying to come up with silly ways to impress her, and I went to the Shelley Duncan site for help. I figured if I can do amazing things, she would like me more.

 

I came across this fact and proceeded to tell the girl that I can drown a fish. Go ahead and laugh at me; make fun of me all you want. But guess what? IT WORKED!

 

In fact, she took it a step further and told me she could drown two fish!

 

Drowning fish...? 

 

I told her I wanted proof of her ability to drown two fish. Believe it or not, she actually sent me pictures of her pretending to drown two fish! It’s…kind of hard to explain, but it was really funny! She did an excellent job with it! I gave her “cool points” for her remarkable effort.

 

We eventually got together for a little while, and maybe I should thank Shelley Duncan for that. His ridiculous fact got me a girl, or at least it helped me get a girl. I think she liked me for more than just saying I can drown a fish.

 

Click here for the definitive list of Shelley Duncan facts. I swear it can keep you entertained for awhile. And it definitely helped me take my mind off the Yankee loss yesterday.

 

Awful. Just awful.  

 

But today’s a new day! Let’s get ’em, Yanks!