Tagged: Joba Chamberlain

The Times, They Are A-Changin’ Part I

Here we are on June 11, 60 games into the 2010 MLB season. The New York Yankees are currently sitting in second place in the American League Eastern Division standings. The only team standing between the Bronx Bombers and first place is the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

Through 60 games last season, the Yanks were 34-26 while this year they are 37-23. In terms of their record, the team is doing three games better this year than they were this far into last year’s campaign. But the record is just the record. The numbers are just the numbers.

 

Is this the same team we saw in 2009?

 

The answer is no.

 

As I have noticed the differences between ’09 and ’10, I will be writing a multiple-part blog over the next few days pointing out what is different in terms of the Yankees, whether it is good or bad. For the first part, I opted to write about…

 

The Core Four

 

 


The Core Four Yankees...how much longer...? 

The first thing I have noticed a difference in…well, in some ways.

 

Although Derek Jeter is still a god in New York, there’s no denying the fact that his age is (just about) catching up to him. He can still hit, as evidenced by his .296 batting average this season, but on defense he looks more off than I can ever remember seeing him.

 

Jeter can still make beautiful web gems–I haven’t forgotten about his amazing jump throw on May 26 against the Minnesota Twins. But his lateral range is just not what is used to be. According to many people I have talked to, he was never the greatest defender anyway.

 

Jeter's range has gone down, but he is still a beast 

 

I never believed that. Jeter’s Gold Gloves and patented mid-air spin speak for themselves. Unlike last year however, (so far) this year he has not looked like the Jeter of old. He only has three errors this year and last year he only committed eight, which isn’t a bad number.

 

Jeter is who he is. As Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Chicago White Sox, said earlier this season, “Jeter is god. Who wouldn’t want him on their team?” He is right; there really is not anything bad I can say about the Captain. It’s almost taboo as a Yankee fan to badmouth or try to negate Jeter’s credibility.  

 

While this is true, it is apparent Jeter is aging–which has nothing to do with how good he is, it’s just a fact of life and what unfortunately happens to all of us! The Yankee Captain will be 36 by the end of the month and I just wonder how many more years he has left in him.

 

Then there’s Jorge Posada.

 

The Yankee catcher was injured on May 16, taking a foul ball off his foot behind the plate and sustaining a fracture. He went to the 15-day disabled list and missed about two weeks before returning to the lineup on June 2–as a designated hitter.

 


Posada has not caught since coming back from the DL  
 

 

Since coming back from his injury, Posada has not caught a game and has been relegated to the DH spot–a spot he has not been very productive in. In the eight games he has played upon his return, the 38 year-old catcher (who will be 39 in August) has only collected three hits in 27 at-bats.

 

Meanwhile, Francisco Cervelli has been clipping together a decent season in Posada’s absence. The 24 year-old is currently hitting .280. Even though he does not hit for power and has no homers, he has 25 RBIs on the year.

 

Looking at it statistically, Cervelli is hitting four points higher than Posada for average and has 10 more runs batted in. Not only that, but it seems Cervelli is becoming the likely candidate to succeed Posada. There was a stretch where Cervelli caught nine games in a row before Joe Girardi had to plug the other backup catcher Chad Moeller behind the plate.

 

I remember once thinking to myself, “Who does Cervelli think he is? The starting catcher?!”

 

But hey, it has not been a bad thing. Cervelli has done a wonderful job and possesses great offensive numbers with two outs and runners in scoring position. I can only hope he generates a little bit more power and knocks some homers out of the park.

 

Francisco Cervelli has filled in well for Jorge 

 

As for Posada, I hope he can remain healthy. In recent years he has certainly had his share of injuries and it is perfectly understandable. After all, he is playing arguably the most difficult position on the field; catchers have to take the most abuse and punishment of all baseball players.

 

After 2011 Posada’s contract is up and he will be 40. Will he be a Yankee after next year? Will he be able to catch every day? Will he retire?

 

All of these questions remain to be seen. But any way it goes, things will be different. And as far as the Yankee catching situation goes at press time, in some ways they already are. Posada has not been an everyday catcher

 

Now onto Mariano Rivera.

 

A lot of people might say really the only thing that has changed about the Great Rivera is his age. From ’09-’10 Rivera turned from 39 to 40 years of age.

 

But if you remember back on April 30, Rivera made a relief appearance against the Chicago White Sox. He suffered an apparent rib injury in his left side and did not make another appearance for over a week after he got hurt.

 

 


Mo was out for over a week last month 

I don’t remember him ever getting injured like that last season or missing an extended period of time the way he did last month. At the beginning of the season he was asked whether or not he would keep playing beyond 2010, seeing as how his contract expires at the end of the year and of course considering his age.

 

He said he does not yet know what his plans are and that he will decide after the season is over. The Yankees do however need to start thinking about what to do when Rivera’s playing days are up or if he does not come back to the team next year–whatever the reason may be.

 

I have a bad feeling that if the Yankees do not make the right choices, Rivera will not be the closer next year. Worse off, they won’t find a suitable replacement for him and they could be reduced to a “closer-by-committee” situation. One day it could be Joba Chamberlain, the next it could be David Robertson, and so on and so forth.

 

Surely nobody wants that to happen. If Rivera decides to play again, I think the Yanks need to get him back, or at least show him respect by making him a generous offer.

 

Yet, it’s not like they really went full throttle after Hideki Matsui this past off-season. Matsui was a Yankee for seven years, was a fan-favorite, respected by the entire organization, and (oh, by the way) the reigning World Series Most Valuable Player.

 

He did so much for the Yankees during his tenure in pinstripes. Matsui was beloved, and helped the team regain the title. What worries me is that the Yanks did not go for him and he is close to four years younger than Rivera.  

 

Who knows what will happen at the end of the season. We will have to wait until it plays out, but if and when Rivera leaves, what happens next? This upcoming off-season we will get the answer.

 

Last but never the least, Andy Pettitte.

 

 


Andy Pettitte is 7-1 this season 

Despite his age of 37 (he will turn 38 on June 15 {which is also my birthday!}) Pettitte is putting together a remarkable year. If he wins tonight against his former team the Houston Astros, Pettitte will own a powerful record of 8-1 on the year.

 

He currently has a 2.47 ERA, which is good for third in the American League behind David Price of the Rays and Doug Fister of the Seattle Mariners.

 

Pettitte was however taken out of the game on May 5 vs. the Baltimore Orioles with inflammation in his left elbow. He tossed five innings and registered the win, but was forced to miss a following start because of the injury.

 

Another concern is the fact that Pettitte has been on the disabled list five times in his career, all as a result of problems in his pitching elbow. Since he skipped the start after leaving on May 5 there haven’t been any more problems or concerns with Pettitte.

 

Barring a catastrophe or any more pitching problems though, Pettitte looks like he will be an asset to the Yankees down the stretch run, which is no surprise. He has been doing it for years and years; pitching in big games and always coming up big when it matters most. But again the question comes up:

 

How much longer can he keep it up? He only signed on for one year at the outset of the season and like Rivera, his future is up in the air at the moment. He is unsure whether or not he is going to pitch or pack it in after 2010.

 

Pettitte’s age and his desire to spend more time with his family have long been a topic of discussion in terms of his career. Even before he returned to the Yankees in 2007 many analysts and baseball writers speculated as to whether or not he would call it quits and retire or keep going.

 

Obviously he opted to come back home to the Yankees where he started and he was welcomed with open arms. Since his comeback in ’07, Pettitte has been a rock in the Yankees’ rotation. This season things have not changed. But next year will they?

 

They say age is nothing but a number. It’s not about how old you are but about how old you feel. But considering the recent and apparent way things have been going for the “Core Four” Yankees, I have to disagree.

 

Age can and eventually will catch up, and we are beginning to see it amongst the most beloved Yankees of our era. This quartet of special Bombers can still get it done on the diamond, despite the obstacles they have had to hurdle this season.

 

But yet again I ask… how much longer can they do this….?

 


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  
 

No Excuses, No Truces

 

SMH

 

Today was…You know what? I can’t even describe it in words. The New York Yankees were up 9-3 over the Cleveland Indians. They were up 10-5. The Yankees are going to win the game, right? Wrong!

 

The Bronx Bombers lost the game 13-11. Why and how, you might ask?

 

They lost because of the bullpen, or I should say the sorry excuse for a bullpen; the horrible, unreliable, beat up group of Yankee relievers. Most of today’s loss rests solely on the shoulders of one Joba Chamberlain, who tossed a third of an inning and surrendered four runs and the Yankee lead in the seventh inning.

 

 


Way to go, Joba. 

As a result of yet another one of his poor outings, Chamberlain took the loss. He was also booed off the field by the Yankee faithful when he was pulled, and rightfully so. The supposed “eighth inning man” now owns a record of 1-3 with a bloated 5.82 ERA.

 

Disgraceful. If you were to ask me, I would say today’s loss was more disgraceful than the 22-4 beating the Tribe gave the Yankees last April.

 

 


David Huff was beaned by a comeback line drive. 

Maybe God gave the Indians the will to win after Alex Rodriguez rocketed a line drive off the side of starter David Huff’s head; one of the worst and most horrible things to witness.

 

The Indians’ starter was obviously forced to leave the game (and Rodriguez was devastated at what he inadvertently did) but thankfully he will be fine. I hate to see things like that happen and when they do, it’s scary. The teams are playing to win, not injure the other team’s players–that’s why Rodriguez was so upset.

 

 


A-Rod was upset that he hit Huff in the head. 

Huff’s CAT Scan was negative, meaning he didn’t suffer any permanent damage.

 

Whatever the case, today was inexcusable. When a team scores 10 runs, is not involved in a slugfest, and has a sizeable lead, they should win the game. Consider the Yanks’ offensive numbers from today:

 

  • 13 Hits

 

  • 11 Runs

 

  • 8 Walks drawn

 

  • Three Yankees in the lineup with three hits

 

  • One Yankee in the lineup with two hits

 

  • 5/13 (.384) with runners in scoring position

 

 

Now look at the bullpen numbers:

 

  • David Robertson: two runs, one hit, no walks, and no strikeouts.

 

  • Sergio Mitre: one run, no hits, one walk, and no Ks.

 

  • Damaso Marte: all zeros. He didn’t do anything. He recorded an out and for that got a hold.

 

  • Joba Chamberlain: four hits, four runs, one walk, and one K. (And lost the game, as noted)

 

  • Chad Gaudin: one hit, one run, one walk, two strikeouts.

 

Combined they tossed four innings and gave up seven runs on just six hits.

 

One word: UNACCEPTABLE!  

 

Not saying it was entirely their fault. A quiet culprit from today is CC Sabathia. The Yankees’ ace looked to be cruising up until the fourth inning, and then he gave up three runs. He eventually allowed two runs over the next two innings before getting pulled.

 

He finished the day with six innings and five earned runs on seven hits. He walked two batters, fanned five, and threw a wild pitch. Yet with those five earned runs, his ERA was raised from 3.86 to 4.16. His record remains 4-3.

 

Not exactly the best numbers from a pitcher who is supposed to be an ace.

 

The bottom line: today’s loss was on the pitching. When Nick Swisher struck out to end the game, I was not mad at him. Nor was I upset at any of the hitters who tried to make a comeback from the seventh inning on. Frankly, it was not their fault the team lost.

 

In order for a team to win, every player has to play all nine innings. The Yankee hitters played all nine innings. The pitchers played about four or five, maybe six (and that’s being generous).

 

Let’s all just forget this day ever happened.

 

Let's erase today from our memory. Fugettaboutitt! 

Rodriguez Made the Moment, Thames the Hero

Talk about a roller coaster ride.

 

On Monday night, the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 11-9 in what was probably the most heated game this season.

 

The Bronx Bombers have adopted the policy of kicking the Red Sox when they are down.

 

A lot of wild plays and standout performers in this one…

 

Marcus Thames

 

 


thames-mills-yanksjpg-acb4dd46419d1270_large.jpg 

Bottom of the ninth. Tie game, 9-9. One on, two out. Jonathan Papelbon vs. Marcus Thames. In my mind, we were heading for extra innings.

 

Papelbon left a floater right over the plate for Thames to crush, a moon shot into the left field stands to send the Yankees home with smiles on their faces.

 

That…was a BOMB! No extra innings tonight, just a pie to the face, courtesy of A.J. Burnett

 

Heading into that at-bat, Thames was 1-for-4 on the night with two RBIs and a strikeout. I will admit, when he struck out in the bottom of the eighth and the Yanks were down 9-7, I doubted him.

 

“Add Thames to the list of terrible signings this past off-season, along with Nick Johnson Randy Winn, and Chan Ho Park.”

 

So Thames had a good night. I cannot bash him at press time. I’m still not saying he was the best pickup this off-season, but he had his moment tonight. Tonight is the night he “earned back his pinstripes,” if you will.

 

But back to my point.

 

Everyone can keep tonight in their minds the next time he struggles. I mean, has everyone forgotten how poorly he played in Boston on May 9? He looked like giraffe in left field, he could not chase the ball down, and he didn’t hit.

 

On that night, no one wanted to be within 10 feet of him.

 

Yet when he succeeds, everyone worships him, as is the nature of the game and the fans.

 

Thames is currently hitting .365 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Will he keep it up?

 

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

 

Just remember tonight next time he doesn’t come up big.

 

 

Alex Rodriguez

 

 


A-Rod tied the game in the ninth w/ a 2R HR 

Thames was the hero, but Alex Rodriguez afforded him the opportunity.

 

Down 9-7 in the bottom of the ninth with one out, Rodriguez came up big time, blasting a towering, game-tying two-run homer into the Boston bullpen off Jonathan Papelbon.

 

That…was a BOMB!

 

When he smacked that homer, two things came to my mind:

 

A) June 3, 2007. Rodriguez homered off Papelbon at Fenway Park that night and the Yankees went on to beat Boston. On his way back to the dugout, Rodriguez playfully placed his hand over the ESPN camera.

 

That’s A-Rod for you. Just as you saw him acting like a little leaguer when the team waited for Thames at home plate, he showed everyone the five year-old in him.

 

B) 2009 Postseason.

 

How many games did the Yankees win last October, simply because Rodriguez was there?

 

 


A-Rod is clutch. Accept it. 

A lot!

 

He had game-tying homer after game-tying homer all throughout the playoffs. Better yet, all of his game-tiers came in the seventh inning or later.

 

In his own words, “To say I’m not clutch is ridiculous.”

 

He answered all his critics with his performance last postseason. But if you ask me, I say he proved everyone wrong in 2007. He put the team on his back the whole year and just like tonight, they would have gone nowhere without him.

 

Chalk up another clutch hit from A-Rod.

 

Yankee Pitching

 

 


Phil Hughes tossed five innings tonight 

The 5-0 Phil Hughes made the start for the Yankees tonight. He tossed five innings and gave up five earned runs on six hits. He walked one batter and struck out three.

 

Not his best game.

 

It’s pretty impressive when I can say Hughes did not pitch his best game, yet he was in line for a win when he left. The Red Sox really just wore him out, put good at-bats together, and made him throw a lot of pitches.

 

No decision for Hughes tonight, but his ERA did climb up to 2.25. All things considered, it’s a pretty good number. I still think he has the ability to make a Cy Young Award push if he keeps pitching the way he is.

 

So overall, a below average start from Hughes, but it was not bad.

 

The Yankee bullpen however…meh.

 

When the offense scores six runs over the first two innings, there really is no excuse to be blowing the game. Now a good part of that you can pin on Hughes’s shoulders, but he maintained the lead. The bullpen’s job is to hold the lead, even in a tight game.

 

Lately that’s been a serious problem. Case in point: yesterday vs. the Twins.

 

Tonight the ‘pen combined for four innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. They walked one batters and collectively struck out three.

 

Boone Logan recorded a hold despite giving up a home run to Victor Martinez. Simply put, I do not trust him. When he comes into a game, I hold my breath. Logan has velocity, but his control is becoming an issue.

 

Then there’s Chan Ho Park. I hope he has less diarrhea now.

 

 


Chan Ho Park has not been doing the job this season 

On his first day back from the disabled list, he blew a save and gave up back-to-back home runs. It was his second blown save of the year and ironically enough, his first one came against…the Red Sox, back on Opening Night.

 

Park was charged with three earned runs on four hits. After the game, manager Joe Girardi said he was the only guy available for the eighth, since Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson pitched yesterday.

 

So far, Park is making it hard for me to say anything nice about him.

 

Damaso Marte tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, working around a walk and a hit.

 

Finally Girardi was forced to go to Javier Vazquez, who is actually starting Friday night vs. the Mets at Citi Field. With runners on the corners and two outs, Vazquez did probably the best thing he has done all year–got out of the inning and kept the game where it was.

 

 


Javy Vazquez got the win tonight 

Vazquez needed just four pitches to get it done, meaning he is still available to make the start Friday. He really had the best night out of all the pitchers and for his performance, he was rewarded the win.

 

Although his ERA is a bloated 8.01, Vazquez now has a 2-4 season record.

 

It will be interesting to see how he does Friday night. As it has been documented, he has had success in the National League. Well, his expertise from the other league will be put to the test: Yanks are in an NL ballpark and he is facing an NL team.

 

We’ll see how he does. As for tonight, he can relax. Job well done.

 

However, it’s no secret the Yanks’ bullpen is rattled. There needs to be more consistency among the relievers if the Yankees are going to succeed. I think I put it best when Hughes left after the fifth:

 

“Tonight would have been a great night for Alfredo Aceves.”

 

It’s too bad he’s (one of the many Yankees) bitten by the injury bug.  

 

 

Great win for the Yanks; the best of the year if you ask me. Tampa Bay won their game tonight, so we remain two games out of first place. The Red Sox however, are 8 ½ games behind. That’s bad news for them.

 

Tomorrow night CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (1-1. 7.46 ERA).

 

Might have the makings of another classic.

 

Go Yankees!!!   

Cervelli and Burnett Bust O’s, Yanks Take Series

Call the New York Yankees “butter” right now, because they are certainly on a roll.

 

Tonight the Bronx Bombers continued their winning ways and beat the Baltimore Orioles by the same score they beat them by last night, 4-1. They have won 15 of their last 18 home series, extended their winning streak to three games, and have now won eight of their first nine series this season.

 

Only three other Yankee teams in history (1928, 1939, and 2003) have won eight of their first nine series, so obviously the 2010 group is standing out and has gotten off to a magnificent start.

 

A pair of plays and players stood out tonight…

 

Francisco Cervelli

 

 


Cervelli was on fire tonight! 

This youngster did a wonderful job filling in for Jorge Posada, who is battling a balky right calf muscle. Francisco Cervelli was 3-for-3 with a triple, a bunt single, and two runs scored.

 

Not bad at all.

 

The Cisco kid was also playing amazing defense, making a beautiful catch to end the top of the fourth inning. Garrett Atkins popped a foul, high-fly ball toward the Yankee dugout. Cervelli kept his eye on the ball the whole way and falling stomach-first over the railing, made the putout.

 

Manager Joe Girardi actually caught Cervelli and bench coach Tony Pena nearly got toppled as he landed practically on top of him. It was a huge out, because there was a runner on third and the game was tied 1-1 at that point. That brilliant play prevented the O’s from going ahead, which certainly could have changed the complexion of the game.

 

I noticed as Cervelli rounded second base he flipped off his helmet. I guess he had to, since it is much bigger than a normal helmet. Because the young catcher has sustained multiple concussions in his career, he has to wear that funny-looking headpiece.

 

It makes him look like Gazoo from “The Flintstones.” Or maybe “Dark Helmet” from “Spaceballs”…

 

 


Does his helmet look like Gazoo's or Dark Helmet's...? 

At any rate, Cervelli stole the show tonight. A few hits, a pair of runs, and a web gem. Not a bad night at the office. He must keep up the good work, especially since Posada has been hurting.

 

 

A.J. Burnett

 

 

 


 
AJ Burnett is 4-0 this year 

Once again, A.J. Burnett came out dealing like a man on fire. (Had to change it up; the “blackjack in Vegas” line is actually getting old, but that’s a good thing!)

 

The number two hurler tossed 7 1/3 innings tonight and gave up only one unearned run on five hits. He walked just two batters and he struck out eight.

 

Last week Burnett started against these same Orioles and only struck out four hitters. He seemed to be pitching to contact a lot more and was a lot more effective; he got a lot of fly ball outs and also induced a few outs on the ground. Tonight however, he was striking more batters out with a fastball, which was dancing all over the strike zone.

 

Burnett did not rely so much on his breaking ball tonight, but when he did throw it, he got the ball to move nicely. Girardi said after the game his curve ball was “outstanding, he used it effectively, and it had great depth.”

 

Could not have said it better myself.

 

The top of the third was really Burnett’s only hiccup. He allowed a run on a throwing error, but quickly settled down. With runners on second and third and no one out, he struck out Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters–all swinging–to get out of the inning without any further damage.

 

Maybe instead of “Dr. Jekyll-Burnett” I should call him “Harry Houdini-Burnett.”

 

 


AJ Houdini-Burnett got out of a huge jam in the third 

Now with a record of 4-0 and ERA of 1.99, Burnett’s next start will come Sunday night against the Red Sox. He has not had much success in the past vs. Boston, but after tonight he may have given us all a reason to have more faith in him.

 

He is off to the best start he has ever gotten off to in his career. And by the way, he hasn’t allowed an earned run in each of his last four starts. 

 

Other Notes:

 

–Derek Jeter started at the designated hitter spot tonight while Ramiro Pena got the nod at short. Jeter was 1-for-5 but Pena had a sacrifice fly and two RBIs in the game.

 

He knocked in his first run in the bottom of the third, bunting and reaching on an error to drive in Brett Gardner and give the Yanks the lead. His sac fly came in the eighth to give the Yankees’ their 4-1 lead.

 

–Greg Golson got called up today and Mark Melancon was optioned back to Triple-A. Golson didn’t have an at-bat tonight, but he made a nice catch in center field to rob Miguel Tejada of extra bases. A HUGE play and a great catch!

 

–Alex Rodriguez has not been hitting well lately, but he was 0-for-2 on the night with an RBI bases loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth. Even when he isn’t killing the ball, he is still helping the team win.

 

–Mariano Rivera did not pitch tonight, because of that “discomfort” he spoke about after Friday’s outing vs. Chicago. Joba Chamberlain (playing the role of “Joba the Heat”) came in and slammed the door for the second time in as many games.

 

Chamberlain now has three career saves. He isn’t doing badly as an understudy, but he can’t get too comfortable in the closer role. Rivera will probably be back by Friday.

 

–Before the game, Jeter mentioned that his favorite food to eat in a restaurant is chicken parmesan. I guess I’m a man after his own heart–that is my all-time favorite dish!

 

–The Yankees are now 18-8, 10 games above .500. If Tampa Bay loses to Seattle tonight, we are dead-even and tied for first place in the AL East.

 

–Tomorrow afternoon the Yankees look to sweep the O’s. Andy Pettitte (3-0, 2.12 ERA) will lead the Yanks into battle against David Hernandez (0-3, 4.55 ERA)

 

 

I’d also like to take this moment to remember Ernie Harwell, the famous broadcaster, who passed away tonight. He is a legend with the Detroit Tigers and from everyone’s testimony, he was a wonderful person with a great soul.

 

R.I.P. Mr. Harwell. I wish you peace. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and every baseball fan he touched in his life.

 

R.I.P. Ernie Harwell 

Vazquez To Be Skipped, Girardi Made the Right Move

To borrow a line from Spike Lee: Joe Girardi, you did the right thing.

 

 


Javier Vazquez is missing a turn in the rotation 

Before the New York Yankees’ 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night, the Yankee skipper announced that Javier Vazquez would skip his next turn in the rotation. Vazquez’s next start would have come Friday night in Boston against the Red Sox but because of his inability to pitch effectively, he has been bumped.

 

With an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees will start Phil Hughes on normal rest Friday in Vazquez’s place. They will then use CC Sabathia on Saturday afternoon and pitch A.J. Burnett on Sunday night.

 

Heading to Detroit after the series in Boston, Vazquez will make his next start on Monday night against the Tigers.

 

Vazquez has only made one start this season that has been worth anything. On April 20 he notched his only win of 2010, a game in which he scattered six hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings of work against the Oakland Athletics. In that start he walked three batters and struck out six.

 

Other than that game, Vazquez has basically been a ghost.

 

 


Javy has been a ghost, or a non-factor this year 

In his other four starts this season, Vazquez is 0-3 and the Yankees did not win any of those four games. Right now opponents are hitting .337 against the Yankees’ number four starter and his ERA is currently at an inflated 9.78.

 

The Yankees have only lost eight games this year. Half of those losses came on days Vazquez pitched.

 

Girardi had no choice but to skip Vazquez. His numbers this season are so poor and every team he has faced has decimated him, even the weakest ball clubs. The Chicago White Sox, who have the lowest team batting average in the majors with .227, feasted off Vazquez this past Saturday and touched him up for five earned runs over just three innings.

 

It’s obvious that something is not right with this picture.

 

Although Boston is not playing well at the moment (as they are currently sitting in fourth place in the American League Eastern Division standings) it was wise for Girardi to pass on him pitching at Fenway Park. If Vazquez were to go out and get Boston massacred, his confidence level would drop even further than it is now.

 

It’s not like he hasn’t lost big time to the Red Sox before (insert 2004 ALCS reference).

 

Vazquez picthed in the Yankees' losing effort in the 2004 ALCS 

 

Last night on Daily News Live (a program in which all the New York Daily News writers sit and discuss sports) the reporters brought up the idea of trading Vazquez back to the National League for another pitcher. One writer suggested dealing him to the New York Mets for Jenrry Mejia, a 20 year-old righty from the Dominican Republic.

 

Mejia is a reliever for the Mets, so I’m not sure if this move would solve the Yankees’ problem. His numbers are not bad; he is 0-1 but has an ERA of 0.90. Plus, he has only given up one earned run in the 10 innings he has pitched this year.

 

I suppose if they actually went ahead with this idea, they could move Joba Chamberlain back to the rotation and plug Mejia into his bullpen spot. But Chamberlain is too unpredictable, even in the bullpen. Plus, the Yankees will most likely not give up on Vazquez so soon.

 

 


Vazquez for Mejia??? 

However, the off-season move that sent Melky Cabrera to the Atlanta Braves and brought Vazquez to New York is so far looking like a terrible one. At this point, Brian Cashman might not admit he made a mistake in making the trade. His faith in Vazquez might not be gone just yet, and he probably still feels the scuffling pitcher can turn it around.

 

In the past, Cashman has been known to believe in a lot of the deals he makes. 

 

But if the season reaches (let’s say) July and Vazquez is not performing, he might be gone before he had the chance to unpack his bags. Just as Girardi had no choice but to skip over Vazquez’s turn in the rotation, Cashman might have no choice but to trade him away because of his ineffectiveness.

 

Adios Vazquez. Hello some other pitcher who can get the job done.

 

Vazquez needs to perform. Otherwise, BYE BYE!!! 

Hughes Dominant, Comes Close to No-No

When I woke up this morning before school, I opened my dresser drawer. It’s a routine I and most people go through every day. I shuffled through several Yankee tee shirts and came across the one I decided to wear today:

 

The one that read “Hughes 65” on the back.

 

“He’s pitching tonight,” I thought to myself. “I guess I can wear Hughes.”

 

 


I wore this today and Hughes came close to a no-hitter! 

Little did I know what was in store for Phil Hughes tonight. En route to the Yankees’ 3-1 win over Oakland, the 23 year-old righty flirted with a no-hitter, setting down the A’s one by one until the bottom of the eighth inning.

 

A sharp come-backer off the bat of Eric Chavez (which caromed off Hughes himself) spoiled a beautiful no-hit bid. Believe me when I tell you, Hughes was dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas.

 

One hit... 

 

Making only his second start of the year, Hughes pitched 7 1/3 innings, and was charged with one run on that one fateful hit. He walked two batters over the course of his outing and struck out a career-high 10.

 

Talk about doing work!

 

Hughes became the second Yankee pitcher this season to come within an eyelash of a no-no. CC Sabathia almost got the job done back on April 10, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning with two outs against Tampa Bay before losing it.

 

 


Phil Hughes lost the no-no in the eighth 

As for Hughes, his fastball was very live tonight; it was exploding through the strike zone. His breaking ball was un-hittable, dancing all over the place and fooling every Athletic he faced. The youngster certainly brought his best fastball with him tonight, along with his Uncle Charlie…

 

Well, Hughes’s Uncle Charlie was present in a figurative way. In a literal way, his parents were in attendance tonight. I noticed he was throwing the no-no in the fifth, and when they showed mom and dad in the crowd, I was really pulling for him. It would have been very special for Hughes to have gotten the no-hitter with his parents there.

 

The Yankee offense supplied Hughes with just enough runs to pick up his second win of 2010. In the top of the fourth, the Yankees scored two of their three runs, breaking the scoreless tie. Alex Rodriguez tripled and subsequently scored on a triple by Robinson Cano.

 

 


A-Rod tripled and then scored on a triple by Cano 

Jorge Posada then drove in Cano with an RBI groundout to first, giving the Yankees a 2-1 edge. The Yanks’ final run came in the top of the eighth, an RBI single off the bat of Brett Gardner to score Curtis Granderson.  

 

The A’s plated one run in the eighth on the strength of an RBI single by Jake Fox to score Chavez. Joba Chamberlain had taken over for Hughes at that point, but since the base runner was Hughes’s responsibility, meaning he was charged with the run.

 

Tonight reminded me a lot of May 1, 2007. Hughes made a start in Texas against the Rangers and was on fire, as he was tonight. He took a no-no into the seventh inning, but was forced to leave with a hamstring injury.

 

Bobby Murcer (God rest his soul) was calling the action in the game. He said, “If Phil Hughes had stayed in the game, he would have undoubtedly pitched a no-hitter.”

 

I was watching the game too, and I agree. I think he would have done it.

 

So at the end of the night:

 

–No no-hitter for Hughes, but he once again came close.

 

–Hughes is now 2-0 this year.

 

–Hughes set a career-high in Ks (with 10)

 

–The Yankees won 3-1.

 

–The Yankees have now won their first five series of the year.

 

–The Yankees have won six consecutive games.

 

–Mariano Rivera recorded his sixth save of the year.

 

–The Yankees are 11-3 on the year, still in first place in the AL East.

 

A productive night!!!

Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson

First of all, I’d like to say this has been a crazy week. I have had such a “Yankee hangover” (I guess you could call it). Opening Day took everything out of me; I had absolutely nothing left at the end of the day, I was exhausted.

 

But at least it wasn’t for nothing. It was one of the best days I can remember.

 

After the Yankees dropped a 5-3 decision yesterday, they bounced back and beat the Angels 6-2 on Thursday. With the win, the Yanks took the Opening Series from the Angels, two games to one.

 

 


Everyone wore 42 today. 

Today was not just any ordinary day in baseball. Today, every player on all 30 teams wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who broke the MLB color barrier on this date in 1947.

 

The tradition of Jackie Robinson day has been a part of Major League Baseball since 2007, yet has lasted since 1997 when the number 42 was universally retired throughout MLB. Every player who was still wearing the number was able to keep wearing it, as they were grandfathered in. In other words, if you had 42, you could keep wearing it, but it was no longer available to any other player.

 

Only 11 players were wearing 42 at the time it was retired.

 

Mariano Rivera is the only player out of those 11 who is still playing the game. Hence, he will be the last player to ever wear the number 42. People often ask why Rivera is the only one allowed to wear 42.

 

Well, there’s your answer.

 

Before the game tonight, Robinson’s widow Rachel was on hand to throw out the first pitch. I find it so wonderful that she tossed the first pitch from Yankee Stadium. She could have just as easily been in Los Angeles and thrown out the first pitch from Dodgers Stadium.

 

 


For Jackie. 

 

As for the actual game…

 

It turned out to be the “Robinson Cano Hitting Show,” if you will. The young second baseman–named after Jackie–put on a home run clinic, belting two long balls out of Yankee Stadium.

 

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Cano clubbed a screaming line drive to right field. The ball landed in the short porch for a solo homer, and Cano knotted the game at 1-1.

 

Later in the bottom of the fifth with one man on, Cano was at it again. He smashed yet another home run to right-center field, putting the Yankees up 6-1 at the end of five innings.

 

Cano now has a team-leading four home runs on the year and nine RBIs.

 

Cano was a monster tonight 

 

Derek Jeter also smacked a home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the third. It was Jeter’s second home run of the season, as his first long ball came on Tuesday afternoon in the home opener.

 

Jeter also knocked Curtis Granderson with an RBI double in the fourth.

 

 


Curtis Granderson hit two triples on Thursday 

Speaking of Granderson, he had quite a day at the plate. The Yanks’ center fielder pounded out two triples in as many at-bats. His first triple in the bottom of the fourth drove in Marcus Thames, which gave the Yankees a 4-1 edge.

 

I thought it was a good sign that Granderson hit off a good left-handed pitcher on Scott Kazmir. Everybody always complains how Granderson struggles against lefties, so the fact that he got around on a lefty of Kazmir’s caliber is hopefully a sign of improvement for the future.

 

I also have to hand it to Granderson for making a brilliant outfield assist. He nailed Hideki Matsui at home plate to end the top of the fourth, showing off his stellar defense on the field.

 

Granderson may have gunned Matsui out at home, but he showed the Yankees what they are missing in the top of the second.

 

 

 

The 2009 World Series MVP smacked a solo homer off his former teammate Phil Hughes, his third home run of the season; a shot that landed in the Yankee bullpen. It was Matsui’s first hit of the series, as he went a combined 0-for-9 in the last two games prior to that at-bat.

 

If you ask me, Matsui was sending a message. Basically telling the Yankees, “This is what you are missing. And you should have paid me.”

 

It kind of reminded me of June 2003, when Tino Martinez homered twice off Andy Pettitte as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Yankee crowed roared for Martinez and was happy to see their former hero go deep. In Martinez’s words, Pettitte was “a bit flustered after the home run.”

 

The same thing happened with Matsui tonight.

 

Thousands of people on hand cheered for Matsui after he went yard, and that same look Pettitte had in 2003 was on Hughes’s face tonight. Hughes looked a bit flustered after Matsui took him deep.

 

I was honestly happy for him. I miss him as a member of the Yankees. He was so valuable to the team and proved it last year. In fact, on Tuesday at the game during his first at-bat in Yankee Stadium as an Angel, I overheard an interesting comment from one of the Yankee fans.

 

“I really want Matsui to hit a home run right here,” he said. “I want him to go deep, just to show the Yankees how they should have gone after him and gotten him back.”

 

It may not have come Tuesday, but tonight, Matsui sent the message.

 

Howard Kendrick grounded out to first in the top of the sixth, allowing Torii Hunter to score, giving Los Angeles their second run.

 

On the mound, Hughes pitched effectively. The 24 year-old hurler tossed five-plus innings of work. He scattered two earned runs on three hits, walked five, and struck out six. For his efforts, he earned his first win of 2010.

 

Phul Hughes was impressive in his first 2010 start. 

 

Overall, I saw a lot of good out of Hughes tonight. For a pitcher who barely spent any time in the starting rotation last season, he did very well. The walks were a little bit of an issue, but his breaking ball was absolutely disgusting. His fastball was dancing all over the place and he showed great movement on each of his pitches.

 

Hughes is going to win a lot of games he pitches the way he did tonight.

 

Joba Chamberlain tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in relief tonight, walking one and fanning one along the way. Like Hughes, Chamberlain looked very good and I expect his fine pitching to continue. His fastball wasn’t as live as it was against the Red Sox, but as long as he is getting guys out, everything is fine with me.

 

Rivera notched his fourth save of the year and once again ended the game. He’s on pace for (I would say) about 45 saves this year. I have a feeling he will reach it. He always does.

 

It was a very good night for the Yankees. They improved their record to 6-3 and will open up a three-game series against the Texas Rangers this weekend.

 

CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.46 ERA) will face C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Friday night.