Nets rolling since last meeting with Knicks

    Monday, January 21, 2013, 2:43 PM [General]

    NEW YORK -- In a Martin Luther King Jr. Day extravaganza, the Knicks and Nets will take center stage at Madison Square Garden in a matinee showdown between two of the Eastern Conference's elite.

    Since their last meeting at the Garden on Dec. 19, 2012, a lot has happened and the Nets have gained four games in the standings on their intra-city rival.

    The last meeting could be considered the low point of the season for the Nets. They dropped to 13-12 after their 11-4 start and the Knicks put on an absolute clinic. Brooklyn couldn't stop Tyson Chandler and the pick-and-roll, leaving Nets fans to wonder if they truly could compete with the likes of the conference’s best.

    A couple of days later -- and after another 1-2 stretch for the Nets -- Avery Johnson was fired.

    Since that point, Brooklyn has gone 10-2 under P.J. Carlesimo and is once again in striking distance to the top teams in the East.  The Knicks, on the other hand, have gone 6-7 since Dec. 19.  Both teams have been hamstrung by injuries, but it's really taken a toll on the Knicks more than the Nets. New York is currently on a two-game winning streak, but overall this has been the toughest stretch for the Knicks all season.

    A recent string of rest, however, could help the Knicks’ older roster. Following their Jan. 13 win over the Hornets, they traveled to London and defeated the Pistons on Jan. 17. Monday’s game against the Nets is their first contest since returning from England. New York won’t play again until Jan. 24.

    This game should be a lot more competitive than the last matchup. It is also the last regular-season meeting between these two teams. The NBA certainly made a big mistake by scheduling all four Knicks-Nets rivalry meetings this early in the season. Be that as it may, this game could give both fanbases a barometer of where their teams stand and where they could be headed.

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    Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 7:45 PM [General]

    Yankees fans, did you ever think you would see this picture? Comment away.

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    Live Blog for the Wednesday Matinee

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 12:57 PM [General]

    The Yankees ace, CC Sabathia, is having somewhat of an un-Sabathia-like season. He's already done two stints on the 15-day disabled list, which is strange being that between 2007-2011, he averaged exactly 240 innings pitched and 34 starts per season. He's had stretches where he hasn't been great, yet he does boast an impressive 13-3 record with a somewhat high, but not overly concerning 3.44 E.R.A in 21 starts. When you even delve deeper into the numbers though, he's given up three or more earned runs in 12 of his 21 starts, as opposed to 2011, when he gave up three or more earned runs in just 14 of 33 starts.

    He just hasn't gone on that Sabathia run in 2012 where he carries the rotation, is the stopper and the official ace. Last season between June 25 and August 1, he had eight starts where he went 7-1 and boasted a 1.01 E.R.A. and he seems to have had a run like that in him every year since he joined the Yankees in 2009.

    “It would be huge because we have other pitchers that have been throwing well,” Joe Girardi said before the game when asked about Sabathia going on a hot stretch. “He's obviously our ace. This time of year with the things we are going through and how tight the race is, that would be huge.”

    The D.L. stints have most certainly derailed his rhythm, but coming off this latest injury, he looked wonderful in his return to the mound. In a game that the Yankees needed to win, Sabathia did his job, going 7.1 innings, while allowing only one run and stiking out nine in his August 24th win against the Indians.

    “My concern was that when he went back out there, his command and that was really good,” Girardi said. “Then two days after his start how was he going to feel. The fact that he felt good and didn't have any of the symptoms that he had before was really reassuring for us.”

    It is essential for the Yankees that Sabathia is the ace that carries them through one of the toughest stretches, navigating through division rivals as they set their sights on another division title down the stretch. He has been good in August with a 3-0 record and a 2.74 E.R.A., but a good start against the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon giving the Yankees some much needed length would really go a long way for his confidence and the team.

    A couple of Pregame stats

    CC Sabathia has never lost to the Blue Jays in a Yankee uniform (6-0, with a 2.41 E.R.A. in 7 starts). 

    Jayson Nix is amazing against the Blue Jays this season .400 (10-for-25), seven runs scored (he has 21 total for the season).

    Let the live blogging begin:

    Bottom 9th

    Swisher lines out, Cano strikes out and Jones pops out to end the game. Jays win 8-5. Day off coming and the Yankees need it. They are 3-6 versus the White Sox, Indians and Blue Jays in the last three series. Wow!

    The Yankees are now 0-47 when losing after eight innings. They are just two up in the loss column to the Orioles who are coming to town this weekend. The Yankees just lost a series at home to a team that shouldn't have even sniffed a series victory. The Jays have been dreadful in August. However, the Yankees have not been much better.

    CC needed to be the stopper and didn't give the Yankees what they needed. The Yankees offense left an entire team of players on base today and were awful with runners in scoring position. Code Red! Code Red! This team is truly in trouble.

    Hope you enjoyed the live blog. I had fun and I'll do it again soon!

    Top 9th

    Jon Lane just tweeted that the Yankees are 16-19 in one run games this season and are 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position today. Brutal!

    To add to Jon's point, Buck's bunch in Baltimore is 24-6 in one run games this season and have won 13 in a row.

    Joba Chamberlain now in the game with the bases loaded. I thought he was only coming into low leverage situations. This is a huge spot for Joba. He's got to go to him here...not really by choice, but he has to go to him.

    Double by Yunel Escobar who is having himself an unbelievable game. Four hits in his five at-bats with five RBIs. It's now 8-5 Jays in Escobar's third four hit game of the season. Andruw Jones had a play on it. He dove for the ball, but it pops out of his glove. Very similiar to the play earlier, but to the other side of his body. Could he have made the play? Yes. Do I blame Jones? No.

    This game very well could be over.

    The Blue Jays had a seven game losing streak coming into this series and 2-11 in their last 13 coming into today's game. This is also a team that hasn't won a series since July 27-29 when they took two of three to Detroit. If the Yankees can't come back in the bottom of the ninth, they are going to lose a series to this pretty bad Blue Jays team sans  Jose Bautista. Things are not looking good right now for the Bombers.

    Bottom 8th

    Raul is cool as he leads off the inning with a double. Good start as the Yankees are on the comeback trail. The Yankees are 0-46 this season when losing after eight innings. Not a great stat at all!

    Our research director at YES, Jeff Quagliata, just IM'd me that in fairness they were 2-50 last season when losing after eight. Very true, but the 0 sounds a lot worse.

    Russell Martin hits a hot shot to third that would have normally been an out, but he gets a gift as the ball hops off the bag and goes into left for the gift double. Ibanez scores on the play and the Yankees are still firmly in this game. No outs with Martin on second. This is their opportunity. It's now 6-5 Jays.

    Bad at-bat for Ichiro! Can't drop the bunt down to get Martin over to third and then hits a blooper to center. Rasmus makes a great catch, but still the runner goes no where.

    In what might have been the last legitimate opportunity for the Yankees, Eric Chavez strikes out and then Derek Jeter flies out after an eight pitch at-bat. Martin left at second. He was stranded there with no outs. Tough break.

    Top 8th

    The Yankees again struggling with runners in scoring position. They are now 2-for-13, with seven left on base. That could certainly be their undoing today.

    With that Yunel Escobar leads off the inning with a double. He's certainly having himself a game. Three hits now and three RBI.

    Kelly Johnson bunts one past Derek Lowe for a base hit. The Jays are set up with runners in scoring position and no outs.

    Boone Logan in the game to work to Colby Rasmus, the hero of Monday night's game.

    Logan gets a huge strikeout of Rasmus for the first out of the inning. Here comes Girardi again, playing the bullpen game. Eppley now in the game to face Mathis and the double play is still in order.

    My colleague Jon Lane, just made a good point. Eppley coming in here, in a big spot. Has Joba moved down on the pecking order? Methinks he has. Rightly so, he's given up 15 hits and seven earned runs in 6.2 innings since his return.

    SAFETY SQUEEZE! Mathis drops it down, gets thrown out at first, but Escobar scores extending the Blue Jays lead. A very nice play there by Farrell and the Blue Jays. 6-4 Jays. A very big insurance run right there for Toronto.

    Bottom 7th

    Jon Lane just asked me, "No hot cocoa with your ceremonial ice cream?" To which I responded, "Too hot." The hot cocoa will be back soon enough. I don't want to rush it just yet!

    Doing my Chevy Player of the Game duties right now. I'll be back ASAP.

    Aaron Lupe now in the game. Farrell going with the lefty on lefty matchup with two outs to face Curtis Granderson.

    Lupe wins the battle. There is a reason lefties only hit .154 against him this season.

    Top 7th

    Russell Martin now behind the plate and Eric Chavez moves to third base. Sabathia needs a quick inning.

    Cody Eppley up in the bullpen. Sabathia at 98 pitches through 6.2 innings.

    Pitch number 99 for CC yields an awesome defensive play in left by Ichiro. Adam Lind hit a hot shot to left and with the sun in Ichiro's eyes, he leaped and made a great catch to end the inning. Sabathia under 100 pitches, will he come back for another inning?

    Ichiro continues to prove all of his doubters wrong. He can still play.

    Bottom 6th

    Girardi doesn't pinch hit Eric Chavez for Nix. Nix rewards him with a double off the fire throwing Delabar.

    Ichiro strikes out on three flaming fastballs.

    Chavez now pinch hitting for Chris Stewart. He grounds to first, moving Nix to third, but it might be too little, too late. It's all up to Jeter now to get that tying run across.

    Jeter strikes out swinging to end the inning. Yankees are 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position today. The leadoff double by Nix is wasted.

    Top 6th

    Sabathia out on the mound. Through five innings he actually lowered his E.R.A. on the season from 3.44 to 3.33. His five strikeouts in the game have been mostly on his impressive slider that's loaded with movement today.

    Andruw Jones almost makes a great diving catch in right. I thought he had it, but the ball came out as he was diving. Great call by Angel Hernandez. I think that's the first time I've ever said that in my life.

    After the leadoff single, Sabathia gives up a two run home run to Yunel Escobar and that ball was crushed to left. It's now 5-4 Jays. I just can't get a pulse on Sabathia. He looks unhittable for a majority of the game and then gave up that cookie. Very strange outing to this point.

    That home run was Yunel Escobar's first home run in twenty career at-bats versus Sabathia. It was a hanging slider. Sabathia's slider was spot-on all day, up until that one that is.

    CC now throws a slider to Sierra that makes the young player look pedestrian.

    The third and the sixth innings have been the two innings in the game that have put him on the wrong side of the decision right now. Like the third, Sabathia threw a lot of pitches. His pitch count was in a good way coming into the inning and then he went out and threw 30 pitches. Not really his best stuff today, but CC has battled and keeps getting his terrific slider past hitters. He strikes out the side in the sixth, all on swing and miss sliders. Can the offense bail him out once more to give CC his 14th win on the season? We shall see.

    Bottom 5th

    Just got my ceremonial ice cream midway through the game and just like that Happ and the Jays go 1-2-3. I blinked and the inning was over. Happ now at 100 pitches through five innings. He won't be around too much longer. Kind of like my ceremonial ice cream.

    Top 5th

    Another ho-hum, eight pitch, 1-2-3 inning for CC Sabathia. Sabathia doing what an ace should do. He had a very rough third inning, but has bounced back by throwing two consecutive quick innings for a total of 17 pitches. Sabathia now at 61 pitches in five innings. With numbers like that, he should have the legs to go deep into this game. That after a 25 pitch third inning. Wow! Very impressive!

    Bottom 4th

    Happ seeing it from the other side of things as the Yankees work their fourth walk of the game. Jayson Nix leads off the inning with the walk and as you know nothing good can ever come of that.

    Ichiro with a double. Runners now at second and third with no one out. Ichiro's sixth double as a Yankee. He had 15 with the Mariners. He is also now hitting .291 since coming to the Yankees in is 35th game in Pinstripes.

    Chris Stewart pops one out in foul ground to the catcher. Bad out right there!

    Farrell calls for the intentional walk to Derek Jeter issuing a challenge to Nick Swisher. It sets up the double play with one out, but they are loading the bases for Swisher.

    Happ dials it up another notch and strikes out Swisher for the second out. It's up to Cano to get some runs on the board here and pad the lead. It was second and third with no one out and now it's bases loaded and two outs. This would be a boost to Happ and the Jays if they can get out of this unscathed.

    Cano strikes out to end the inning. In fact, he looked pretty terrible the entire at-bat. Shocking that Cano is now 3-for-19, a .158 average with the bases loaded this season. Two of his three hits are grand slams, but still very ugly numbers.

    Cano is now 0-for-his-last-9 after being 9-for-15 before this mini cold streak.

    Top 4th

    A much needed, nine pitch, 1-2-3 bounce back inning for CC Sabathia after the Yankees gave him back the lead. The Blue Jays went back to the free swinging bunch we saw from the first two innings as opposed to the team that worked counts in the third and scored three runs.

    Bottom 3rd

    Happ was crusing, but gave up a couple of walks. After a wild pitch, the runners moved to second and third. Granderson was at the dish with two outs. He reached out and hit a fly ball to left. It was a play that Davis should have gotten to, but it went over his head scoring two runs. The Yankees take the lead again on a double that should have been the final out. Defensively speaking this has been a very sloppy game by both teams.

    With Granderson's three RBIs today, he has 78 on the season. This is the second highest total in his career behind last year's 119 RBI.

    Granderson's three RBIs today also mark the eighth time this season that he's had a game of three or more RBI.

    Top 3rd

    Sabathia gives up his first hit of the game, a leadoff single by Jeff Mathis.

    Jayson Nix playing third base today commits the Yankees second error of the game putting two men on immediately to start the inning. No outs here and this is the first sign of trouble for CC.

    Rajai Davis with an excuse me single to right field. He really stretched to get his bat on that outside pitch from Sabathia. Bases are now loaded and no one out.

    Mike McCoy hits one right to Nix at third, he steps on the bag for the force and throws home as Stewart applies the tag on Mathis for the really sweet double play. Sabathia not out of the woods yet, but a very important play for the lefty ace. Nix with a little redemption there himself.

    On a 3-0 pitch to Edwin Encarnacion, the Jays runners went on a hit and run. A very bold call. Encarnacion getting the green light to swing on 3-0 and the runners going is a gamble, but it paid off as Davis scores to cut the Yankees lead in half.

    And just like that, Sabathia getting behind hitters now and Lind ties it up with an RBI single. Sabathia still in trouble. He's also thrown 20 pitches already this inning.

    Yunel Escobar ropes an RBI double to left. Wow, this outing got ugly in a hurry for Sabathia, who got that all important double play earlier in the inning. A three spot for the Blue Jays.

    CC strikes out Kelly Johnson to end the inning, but the damage is done. All three runs scored that inning were unearned because of the Nix error, but those runs really were on CC. He's now at 44 pitches after three in a game, which he needs to give the Yankees length. 25 pitches thrown in just that inning for CC.

    Bottom 2nd

    J.A. Happ throwing his warmups, seems to have hobbled himself, but he will stay in the game.

    After limping on the mound to start the inning, what does Happ do? Only strikes out the side. The bottom of the order took some weak hacks there to go down 1-2-3.

    Top 2nd

    CC Sabathia's strikeout of Adam Lind in the first was his 150th strikeout of the season. He has now reached that plateau in eight consecutive seasons (2005-2012). He is now at 151 with the leadoff strikeout of Yunel Escobar.

    Another impressive inning for the Yankees ace. 19 pitches, 15 for strikes, in his two innings of work. The Blue Jays are a very free swinging team. This team is taylor made for the likes of CC Sabathia, which is why he's 6-0 in seven starts against them as a Yankee.

    Bottom 1st

    The Captain is now hitting .398 (47-118) when leading off in the 1st inning. He redeemed himself with the bat in the bottom half of the inning with his league leading 176th hit. Just a note, Derek Jeter has not led the league with most hits since he had 219 in 1999. He was just 25-years-old. What an unbelievable feat if he can do it again as a 38-year-old.

    Andruw Jones, hitting in the Yankees cleanup spot with the Jays lefty J.A. Happ on the mound, comes through with an RBI single up the middle giving the Yankees the 1-0 lead. This was a much needed hit for Jones as he was hitting .129 (8-for-his-last-62), with one home run and just four RBI since July 19. That's a 22 game cold stretch for Jones.

    Yankees manufacture another run as Granderson grounds out, but allows Nick Swisher to score. Sabathia now has a 2-0 lead.

    Top 1st

    CC Sabathia came out firing. He got two outs immediately on three pitches. It could have been an even quicker inning, as on his fifth pitch of the inning, Derek Jeter had a ball hit to him that he usually gets. Edwin Encarnacion reached on the E6, but CC immediately got out of inning striking out the cleanup hitter Adam Lind on four pitches. Sabathia threw only nine pitches in the first. So far, so good for the Yankees ace.

    Derek Jeter's error was his ninth of the season.

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    King Felix

    Saturday, August 4, 2012, 4:08 PM [General]

    Enough said.

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    Swisher starting Boston finale

    Sunday, July 29, 2012, 5:51 PM [General]

    Nick Swisher's road to recovery began on Saturday night when he pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning, eight days after he strained his left hip flexor at Oakland. The next step comes this evening when he starts in a game for the first time since that July 20 contest on the West Coast.

    “It's exciting, it's exciting,” Swisher said to the media before the game. “I'm the type of guy that I'm not a big fan of missing games, so whenever I can be back in there doing what I can to help the team, I want to be in there.”

    The lineup was put out, and in the series finale, Swisher will be the designated hitter, batting fifth. Again, another step on the road to recovery -- not going full-out playing the field, and just taking somewhat of a precaution.

    “I think I'm going to DH today and move to the field tomorrow,” Swisher said. “I feel pretty good right now. I mean, if they needed me out there, I would do everything in my power to go out there and play it. I feel just today maybe go with the DH, getting back in that game-speed-type atmosphere, and then move out to the outfield tomorrow.”

    Even though Swisher was optimistic about getting back out to the field for Monday's series opener against the Orioles, Joe Girardi said he's “day-to-day,” and they will see how this game goes and how he feels tomorrow.

    In the 10 games before the injury, Swisher's bat was heating up. He was 9-for-28, a .321 average, with two home runs and seven RBIs from July 7 to July 19. And even though the Yankees' offense has been very good in his absence, the switch-hitter does create many matchup problems for opponents.

    The problem with most players in baseball, including Swisher, is that they just want to go out and play and sometimes don't think of the long-term consequences of playing through even minor injuries.

    “I think that's my biggest enemy, that's my biggest fight, is me,” Swisher said. “I want to be out there, and sometimes it takes another side or another party to really tell you things that could happen. This is a special year, and I don't want to miss any part of this, and I just want to do what I can when I'm on the field to help this team.”

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