A Real Maris Moment

    Thursday, July 22, 2010, 6:14 PM [General]

    Colin Curtis hit a milestone yesterday against the Los Angeles Angels.  He hit is first career home run in a big clutch situation.  The Yankees were winning 7-5 when Brett Gardner came to the plate.  Gardner argued a second strike pitch and was tossed from the game.  Tony Pena looked at Colin and asked him if he was ready.

    Curtis went up to the plate with an 0-2 count.  Then he took the next three pitches and worked the count full.  All you need to hope for now was a strike.  A strike was thrown.  When Colin connected his bat with the ball the 7-5 lead was suddenly an 10-5 lead.  Curtis rounded the bases trying to hold back a huge smile.  His teammates greeted him at home plate and in the dugout to congratulate him.

    Why is this a Maris moment?

    When Roger Maris his his 61st home run of the 1961 MLB season the break the home run record, he had to be shoved out of the dugout for a curtain call.  Colin Curtis’ teammates told him that he had to get out of the dugout for the crowd.  Being a rookie you’re a little confused at that moment and so he needed a little shove.  When Curtis was standing at the front of the dugout with his hand in the air, the crowd went nuts.

    “I had no idea what to do,” says Colin.  “I was high-fiving everyone and they kept saying, ‘You gotta go out!’”

    Roger Maris was also a Yankee that Colin Curtis admired growing up.  He wore number 9 for his high school baseball team in honor of Maris.

    In Issaquah, Washington, Curtis’ father Jed escaped a meeting to catch some of the game.  This could not have been more perfect timing.  As he put the game on his computer, Brett Gardner was tossed from the game and his son was called to finish the at-bat.  Jed was so proud of his son watching him be patient and take pitches.  When Curtis connected with a home run, Jed let out a roar that filled the entire office.  Co-workers had to go and make sure he was okay.

    “People weren’t sure if I was happy or if I had hurt myself,”  says Jed.  “When they came to check on me I just pointed at the screen.”

    When this happened, Jed had gotten an e-mail that said, “Colin just had his Maris moment.”

    And what a moment it was.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Top First Half Moments of 2010

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 8:43 PM [General]

    The Yankees have the best record in baseball going into the second half of the 2010 season.  How did they get to this point?  Here are some of the huge moments that got them here:

    20.  Francisco Cervelli
    Jorge Posada has been beat up so far this first half of the season.  The Yankees thought Cervelli was ready for situations where me might have to come off the bench and play everyday if Posada is hurt.  The Yankees made the right choice.  One thing Cisco has been effective with this season has been getting hits with runners in scoring position.  If you had a baserunner at second or third, fans and teammates immediately felt comfortable when they saw Cervelli come to bat.  Even the ever superstitious Derek Jeter started using Cervelli’s “Gazoo” helmet when taking batting practice thinking the big head gear had some luck.

    19.  Jorge Posada has back-to-back grand slams
    When returning from the DL, Jorge Posada had to find a way to be comfortable in the DH spot until he was able to catch again.  He answered those questions by hitting two grand slams in back-to-back games.  The last Yankee to do that was Bill Dickey…another catcher.

    18.  Curtis Granderson hits his first home run as a Yankee in his first AB
    On opening day in Fenway Park against Boston, Curtis Granderson comes up to his very first official at-bat as a New York Yankee.  A few pitches later he blasts a home run to give the Yankees an early lead.  Granderson also hit a home run in his last AB of the series which was a big clutch hit in the 11th inning of that game.  My response to these feats:  “Welcome to the Yankees, Curtis Granderson!”

    17.  Brett Gardner steals home
    Also on opening day in Boston, Brett Gardner did something that we always feel he’s capable of doing.  Derek Jeter starts to run to second to attempt a stolen base.  Suddenly he stops about three-quarters of the way.  At first I’m thinking, “What are you stopping for?!”  Then I realize that Brett Gardner is on his way home.  Jeter was distracting Victor Martinez to let Gardner go home, and Gardner was able to distract Dustin Pedroia from tagging out Jeter.  Therefore, it resulted into a double steal.

    16.  Nick Swisher’s great defense
    If there’s one thing Yankees fans have noticed about Nick Swisher this season, it was his defense.  Nick Swisher was always a good outfielder, but whatever he worked on with Robbie Thompson and Dave Eiland, it has turned him into a supurb outfielder this season.  Swisher’s made some great defensive catched that have saved a lot of ball games this season.  He’s been covering a lot of the right field ground and has jumped all over the walls to make catches.

    15.  Cervelli makes a dugout catch
    Francisco Cervelli has always been known to be an energetic catcher, but he is also a great defensive catcher.  When playing the Baltimore Orioles at home, a pop-up takes Cervelli all the way to the Yankee dugout.  But a dugout is not going to stop Cervelli from making a catch.  He leans over and almost topples into the dugout.  Joe Girardi had to catch him to make sure he wouldn’t fall.  This is one of Cervelli’s best defensive catches of his young career.

    14.  Javier Vazquez gets on a roll
    No one struggled in the first month of the season more than Javier Vazquez.  Whatever it is that was mentally going on is unknown, but it was having a negative effect on his pitching.  His velocity was down and his location was bad.  Vazquez had his first great outing against the Detroit Tigers on May 12, but because of poor run support he took the loss that day.  Ever since that outing Vazquez’s ERA has gone down and he has had two no-hitter bids going into the sixth inning.

    13.  Mark Teixeira’s three home run game vs. Boston
    Mark Teixeira did something in May that no Yankee had done since Lou Gehrig.  He hit three home runs in the same game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  Tex was having abnormal struggles at the plate going into this game, so these home runs were huge for him and the team.

    12.  Mariano Rivera works magic vs. Arizona
    The Yankees were able to come back in extra innings in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  In the bottom of the 1oth, Rivera got himself into a bases loaded and nobody out jam.  Somehow he was able to get out and win the game.  He was able to get two pop ups and a strike out to end the game.  Rarely do you see and ending like that to a game.

    11.  Alex turns a triple play in Oakland
    Alex Rodriguez was able to start something that hadn’t happened to the Yankees in over 40 years.  When Kurt Suzuki grounded to Rodriguez with baserunners at first and second, he collects to ball and steps on third for the force.  Then instead of the expected throw to first, he throws to Cano at second who then throws the ball to Nick Johnson at first for a 5-4-3 triple play

    10.  Yankees rookies come through huge
    Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis, and Chad Huffman are the big names in this category.  Each one of them has come through in huge clutch situations where the Yankees were either tied or down by a few runs.  These three have also played some great defense.  Kevin Russo is a natural infielder, but when he was called to play left field he did not disappoint.  Russo has been so huge for us that the Yankees decided to DFA Randy Winn instead of sending Russo back to AAA.  That’s saying something.

    9.  Brett Gardner’s inside the park home run
    On July 4th, I was able to cross something off on my “Things I Need to see Live at a Yankees Game” checklist.  With two outs, Brett Gardner hits what everyone thought at first was a fly out to end the inning.  Suddenly I noticed DeWayne Wise seemed to struggle and he lost the ball in the sun.  When the ball dropped to the ground, I looked over to Brett Gardner and he was already rounding second base.  I was jumping up and down so much I almost fell from the grandstand to the terrace (not a long fall but still would’ve hurt lol).

    8.  All-Star Swisher goes 4-for-4
    After hearing the huge news that he was going to the all-star game, Nick Swisher went 4-for-4 against the Seattle Mariners.  I remember tweeting after each one of his hits, “This is why Nick Swisher is an all-star!”

    7.  Huge win vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers
    Andy Pettitte had a huge struggle in a game against the Dodgers where the Yankees were losing by a few runs.  In the top of the 9th against the closer Broxton, the Yankees were able to rally and come back to win.  From the rookies to the veterans, every one in the lineup was able to contribute and come back to win at the last minute.  This is the biggest win of the season for the Yankees so far. 

    6.  Robinson Cano’s power
    What else is there to say about Robinson Cano?  You can’t say enough great things about the first half he has had this season.  He has a .336 BA and has hit 16 home runs and 58 RBI.  He has 115 hits and 61 runs scored.  He is a contender for the American League batting title this season.  His biggest challenger will be Miguel Cabrera.

    5.  Andy Pettitte proves age is just a number
    Another guy you can’t say enough great things about.  Andy Pettitte is heading toward the end of his career and he’s pitching as if he’s just starting it.  He’s having one of the best seasons of his career with a 11-2 record and a 2.70 ERA.  If he keeps it up he could be a Cy Young Award contender.

    4.  Alex’s three grand slams
    Not many Yankees have hit three grand slams before the all-star break.  Lou Gehrig and Don Mattingly were two past Yankees that have accomplished this.  Alex Rodriugez now has his name next to them for this feat.  Two of these grand slams came when Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked to load the bases for ARod to be pitched to.  The last one was after Tex was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  It didn’t seem intentional, but I’ll pretend it is.

    3.  Phil Hughes flirts with a no-hitter
    In just his second start in Oakland, Phil Hughes took a no-hitter into the 8th inning.  Usually I fall asleep for late games on the west coast, but my eyes were glued to the TV during this game.  Not only did he pitch a one-hitter, but he struck out a both season and career high 10 batters.  I felt really bad for Hughes when this bid was broken up, but I couldn’t be more proud of him.  This outing really showed how much he has matured since last season.

    2.  Marcus Thames’ walk-off hits
    Marcus Thames has had his struggles this season, but he was able to come up huge in two big at-bats this season.  One May 17th against the Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez hit a HUGE two-run home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.  A few batters later, Marcus Thames hits a walk-off two run home run to win the game.  On July 4th, Marcus gets his first AB since coming off the DL in the bottom of the 10th inning.  He hits an RBI single to win the game.  Two pies so far this season, and they both belong to Marcus Thames.

    1.  CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes are winners
    These three pitchers have done something that has never happened before in franchise history.  They have each collected at least 11 wins going into the all-star break.  All three of these guys have just been stellar on the mound and very demanding.  They are on pace to collect amost 65 wins between the three of them by the end of the season.  Yankees pitching is always at it’s best in the second half.  If these three are already superb in the first half, then I’m looking forward to a rockin’ second half.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    George M. Steinbrenner: A Man of Honor

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 6:20 PM [General]

    People can love him or hate him.  Yankees fans, players, managers, and coaches embrace him.  Mr. Steinbrenner may have changed the face of baseball, but he also brought a new perspective to the Yankees organization.

    Mr. Steinbrenner made it evident that being part of the Yankees was not just being a part of a baseball team.  It was being part of the pride and tradition of the New York Yankees.  He said, "Winning is the most important thing to me after breathing."  Others may have called him an egomaniac, but how can you say this about someone who wanted their team to win?

    I had people disagree with me when I said he didn't put himself first.  People don't realize the amount of charities Mr. Steinbrenner started and was part of.  He reached out to current and former Yankees who were in personal or financial troubles and made sure they were in good shape.

    Mr. Steinbrenner always emphasized the most important morals in our franchise:  pride and tradition.  These are qualities to win, which was important to Mr. Steinbrenner.  If every team had an owner like Mr. Steinbrenner, then every team would have huge success.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    First Half Analysis and Second Half Predictions

    Sunday, July 11, 2010, 9:22 PM [General]

    The 2010 All-Star break is finally here!  John Sterling always says, “You can’t predict baseball.”  He’s probably right, because half of my predictions at the start of the season are nowhere near coming true.  But just for fun, I will give an analysis of the first half and I will make my predictions on how the second half of the season will play out.

    Let’s start with the National League.

    National League East

    Atlanta Braves
    Record:  52-36
    Rank: 1st
    The braves this season started off slow trailing behind the Mets and the Phillies.  Suddenly out of nowhere they started to heat up while the Phillies broke down and David Wright kept striking out.  Atlanta now has sole possession of first place in the East running away four games ahead of the Mets.

    New York Mets
    Record:  48-40
    Rank: 2nd (4.0 GB)
    The Mets had an expected slow start coming out of spring training with another handful of injuries.  It also wasn’t a lot of help in the very beginning when David Wright seemed to be striking out in every single one of his ABs.  Then came Ike Davis.  Davis was called up from the minors to play first base.  Ever since then the Mets have gotten going.  They were in first place a couple of times, but quickly lost the spot due to slumps.  Right now they are sitting in second place four games behind the Braves.

    Philadelphia Phillies
    Record:  47-40
    Rank:  3rd (4.5 GB)
    In the beginning of the season the Phillies were once again the favorite to lead the NL East race.  What isn’t favored is seeing them sitting in third place and 4.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.  Unfortunately for the Phillies this is the current status.  The team was rocked with injuries this half of the season losing players like Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco.  Jimmy Rollins recently came back, but Polanco is still on the DL with a sore elbow.  Just when you wouldn’t think things would get worse they did.  Chase Utley was place on the DL after spraining a ligament in his right thumb.  He went into surgery and isn’t expected to be back until late July or early August.  They still have Ryan Howard’s power bat, but losing Utley’s loses a lot of power in the lineup.

    Florida Marlins
    Record:  41-46
    Rank:  4th (11.0 GB)
    The Florida Marlins are turning out to be a bit of a disappointment.  I wasn’t expecting them to be in the race for first place, but I was expecting them to be a .500 team.  Hunter Jones is out for the season and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery.  John Baker has been on the 60-day DL with a muscle strain near the right elbow.  That’s their only injuries.

    Washington Nationals
    Record:  39-49
    Rank:  5th (13.5 GB)
    The Nationals were another team I expected to be .500 but they too are a disappointment.  Their pitching staff, however, has been rocked with injuries.  Jesus Flores, Jason Marquis, Garrett Mock, Scott Olsen, Tyler Walker, Chien-Ming Wang, and Jordan Zimmerman are all on the disabled list.  Some are expected to be back and some not so much.

    National League Central

    Cincinnati Reds
    Record:  49-40
    Rank:  1st
    No one expected the Reds to be in first place at this point.  Though they have the spot, their record is still not great.  Unless they can find a way to get furthur away from the Cardinals then they can lose first place in the second half.

    St. Louis Cardinals
    Record:  46-41
    Rank:  2nd (2.0 GB)
    St. Louis is the favored team to win the NL central.  They may be in second, but they are only two games behind the Reds and are starting to really heat up.  Expect St. Louis to claim first place in the second half.

    Chicago Cubs
    Record:  39-49
    Rank:  3rd (9.5 GB)
    The Cubs are in a position I expected them to be in at this point of the season.  I didn’t expect them to be a .500 team this season.  They are also dealing with a few injuries including Alfonso Soriano who is day-to-day after getting hit by a pitch on the left elbow that forced him to leave the game on July 7th.

    Milwaukee Brewers
    Record:  39-49
    Rank:  3rd (9.5)
    The Brewers are currently tied with the Cubs for third place in the NL Central.  Again, this is another team I didn’t expect to be .500.  I don’t expect much to change.

    Houston Astros
    Record:  36-53
    Rank: 5th (12.5 GB)
    Everything has been going wrong for the Astros this season.  Their hitting has been terrible and their pitching has been dreadful.  There really isn’t much else to say other than they’ll end the season in fifth place.

    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Record:  30-58
    Rank:  6th (18 GB)
    Again…there isn’t much to say.  Just not good.  They’ll end in last place.  What a surprise.

    National League West

    San Diego Padres
    Record:  51-37
    Rank:  1st
    The Padres are coming out of nowhere this season.  No one expected to see them in first place at this point.  They’ve held on the first place consistantly for most of the first half.  The Hairston brothers, Jerry and Scott, have been very dominant in the lineup.  I believe this has to do with the simple fact that they are finally playing on a team together.

    Colorado Rockies
    Record:  49-39
    Rank:  2nd (2.0 GB)
    It’s going to be a tough battle in the end between the Rockies and Padres for first place.  Ubaldo Jimenez is clearly a Cy Young Award contender with a 15-1 record and a 2.20 ERA.  He also pitched a no-hitter in the very beginning of the season.  His success is bringing out the best in his team.

    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Record:  49-39
    Rank:  2nd (2.0 GB)
    The Dodgers have been disappointing this season.  They were expected to again be a contender for first place in the West, but have not been living to the hype.  A lot of it has to do with the bullpen that has given up a lot of leads this season.  Right now they are neck in neck with the Rockies for second place, but I think the Dodgers will end the season in third.

    San Francisco Giants
    Record:  47-41
    Rank:  4th (4.0 GB)
    Pitching has been great for the Giants, however, hitting has not.  The Giants have a few aces on their team but they almost never have enough run support to aid them.

    Arizona Diamondbacks
    Record:  34-55
    Rank:  5th (17.5 GB)
    Just another team where there’s not much to say.  Too many things have gone wrong for the D-Backs and I feel they will not turn it around.  They will remain and finish in last place in the west.

    And now the American League.

    American League East

    New York Yankees
    Record:  56-32
    Rank:  1st
    The Yankees right now have the best record in baseball.  The strange part is that they have yet to play their best baseball.  This year for the Yankees it’s been all about the pitching.  CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes each have 11 wins going into the all-star break.  This is the first time this has happened in franchise history.  AJ Burnett started off hot and then had a dreadful June, but bounced back quickly once July rolled around.  Javier Vazquez was sort of the opposite.  He started off dreadful with bad location and velocity.  He changed all of that after a great outing in Detroit.  This season Vazquez has pitched two games where he pitched a no-hitter into the sixth inning.  Mark Teixeira had an abnormally slower start to this season, but he is heating up and is still on pace to hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI by the end of the season.  Alex Rodriguez also took a while to get going.  Robinson Cano has been the star of the Yankees offense this season leading the team in average and home runs.  Brett Gardner is having a fantastic season at the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays
    Record:  54-34
    Rank:  2nd (2.0 GB)
    The Rays have gotten off to a fantastic start.  They had sole possession of first place in the AL East for most of the first half.  Their pitching, too, has also been stellar.  David Price is currently leading the American League in wins and he and Jeff Neimann both have an ERA under 3.00.  The reason why they were leading over the Yankees most of first half is because their hitting was better during that time.  Evan Longoria is having yet another great season so far hitting .294 with 13 home runs, 61 RBI, and 98 hits.  Carl Crawford is also having a fantastic start to the season.  He is hitting .320 with 104 hits.  He has stolen 30 bases and was only caught 8 times.  The Rays hit a bit of a slump that dropped them out of first place, but they are slowly heating up again.

    Boston Red Sox
    Record:  51-37
    Rank:  3rd (5.0 GB)
    The Red Sox have been a very strange team this season.  They have not played as well as they usually do.  They have been stuck in both the third and fourth place spots.  They seemed like they were coming around when they claimed 2nd place, but it was quickly lost when they were rocked by injuries.  Pitchers Josh Beckett, Manny Delcarmen, and Clay Buchholz are all on the disabled list.  Jacoby Ellsbury has been on and off the DL and is currently on it now.  Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, and Jason Varitek are the recent victims of the injury bug.  These are huge names for the Red Sox.  Pedroia has had a pretty good start to the season.  Losing him is pretty huge in that lineup.

    Toronto Blue Jays
    Record:  44-45
    Rank:  4th (12.5 GB)
    Toronto started off very well when no one expected them to.  They broke out by blasting the most home runs as a team so far this season.  One red flag about their lineup though is that none of the regulars are hitting over .300 which is a big reason why they are over and under .500 constantly.

    Baltimore Orioles
    Record:  28-59
    Rank:  5th (27.0 GB)
    ::Shaking my head::  All I’m going to say is expect this team to end the season at least 35 games behind the Yankees and with the worst record in baseball.

    American League Central

    Chicago White Sox
    Record:  49-38
    Rank:  1st
    This is a team that did not start off well at all.  My eyes bugged out of my head when I looked at the standings just now and saw them in first place.  This will not last long.  Their pitching staff is not strong enough to keep a good rhythm going.  They’ll wind up in third place.

    Detroit Tigers
    Record:  48-38
    Rank:  2nd (0.5 GB)
    The Tigers didn’t have the best start to the season, but they are starting to heat up.  Miguel Cabrera has really broken out this season and is leading the team in average, home runs, and RBI.  He’s also leading all of MLB in batting average.  Rookies Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson are also have terrific seasons.  They will be in the running for Rookie of the year by the end of the season.

    Minnesota Twins
    Record:  46-42
    Rank:  3rd (3.5 GB)
    The Twins had a terrific start to the season.  They were leading the AL Central for most of the half, but have recently hit some skids that knocked them to third.  Due to the size of their new stadium Target Field, power hitters (like Joe Mauer) are finding it difficult to hit home runs.  The Twins will find a way to bounce back and be in the running for first place once again.

    Kansas City Royals
    Record:  39-49
    Ranks:  4th (10.5 GB)
    Once again the Royals are having a year of bad pitching and poor run support.  2009 Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke still has his great stuff, but has not been getting the run support he deserves.  Because of this he has a 5-8 record.  He does however have two complete games.

    Cleveland Indians
    Record:  34-54
    Rank:  5th (15.5 GB)
    The Indians biggest problem this season is pitching.  They get the run support, but most of the time the starting pitching and bullpen just can’t hold onto the lead.  I’m not expecting this to change much.  They will end the season in last place.

    American League West

    Texas Rangers
    Record:  50-38
    Rank:  1st
    The Rangers have really turned things around this season.  Instead of heading toward a race for the wild card they are cruising in first place.  Their pitching hasn’t been it’s best, but they have been getting great run support to keep them in first.  Plus they just aquired Cliff Lee and they should get a handful of more wins with him.

    Los Angeles Angels
    Record:  47-44
    Rank:  2nd (4.5 GB)
    The Angels are always the favorite to take the West, but this year they have not lived to expectations.  Usually at this point they are in first, but instead they are trailing by 4.5 games.  The loss of Kendry Morales is going to have an even heavier impact on the struggles of this team.

    Oakland Athletics
    Record:  43-46
    Rank:  3rd (7.5 GB)
    The A’s started off pretty well in the beginning of the season.  They were in second place and hitting well.  Their pitching has started to falter recently.  Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game on Mother’s Day and has not won a game since (not that he was anything spectacular anyway).

    Seattle Mariners
    Record:  35-53
    Rank:  15.0
    The Mariners were favored to be a contender for the AL West this season.  They definitly have not lived up to any expectations.  Their lineup has only one .300 hitter, Ichiro Suzuki.  They traded Cliff Lee, so their only ace left is Felix Hernandez.  Also their bullpen has been dreadful so far this season.  I expect them to finish in last place.

    In the National League the Braves will take the East, the Cardinals will take the Central, and the Padres will take the West.  I think the wild card spot will be a fight between the Mets and the Rockies, but I think the Mets will come out on top.  The NLCS will be between the Braves and the Padres, but the Braves will make it to the World Series.

    In the American League, the Yankees will take the East and the Rangers will take the West.  The Tigers and the Twins will battle it out again toward the end, but this year I think the Tigers will move on to the postseason.  The Rays will take the wild card spot.  The ALCS will be a battle between the Rays and the Yankees, but the Yankees will move on to the World Series.

    The Braves and the Yankees will face each other in the World Series.  The Yankees will win the series for championship number 28 in six games.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    RIP Bob Sheppard

    Sunday, July 11, 2010, 12:02 PM [General]

    The voice of Yankee Stadium.  The voice of God.  Our beloved Bob Sheppard has passed away early this morning.

    I remember going to my frist game with my father in 1998 at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles.  The first thing I heard sitting in my seat was, "Good evening...Ladies and gentlemen...and welcome...to Yankee Stadium."

    The sound of Bob Sheppard's voice at Yankee Stadium makes me feel at home.  The news of his passing this morning brought tears to my eyes.  He will be missed terribly.

    Thanks to our Captain, we will still hear at every game, "Now batting for the Yankees...number 2...Derek Jeter...number 2"

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankees All-Star Break Report Card

    Monday, July 5, 2010, 12:41 PM [General]

    The all-star break is almost here to mark the half-way point of the 2010 season.  I want to take the time to grade the Yankees individually and as a whole.

    Derek Jeter:  A-
    The Captain had some slumps at the plate to this start of the season that kept him from getting a solid A.  His defense, however is still up to par to keep his grade up high.

    Nick Swisher: A
    Nick Swisher has really broken out this season.  He’s already reached 13 homeruns and 84 hits before the all-star break.  Last year it didn’t take him until after the break to reach some of the accomplishments he has reached this season.  His defense has also excelled very high.  Swisher deserves to be in the all star game (please vote!).

    Mark Teixeira:  B-
    Okay.  Mark Teixeira.  Yes.  Slow starter.  HOWEVER, this is clearly his slowest start of all his seasons.  Because of this abnormally slower start, he lost his bid for the all-star team.  This really isn’t what’s important.  He has, however, started to heat up in June and so far in July.  I expect him to be hitting a lot after the break.  He’ll still hit at least 30 homeruns and 100 RBI by the end of the season.

    Alex Rodriguez:  B
    ARod did not have a slump like Teixeira, but he is still not showing his best stuff.  So far he only has 12 home runs and 62 RBI which is abnormal for Alex as this point of the season.  I’m not at all worried about ARod though.  He is starting to heat up and he will continue that after the break.

    Robinson Cano:  A+++++++
    If there was such thing as a score like this, there is no other player in MLB that is deserving of this grade.  This is Cano’s break-out season.  He has really matured to the fifth spot in the lineup.  He is leading all of MLB in batting average and is leading the team homeruns, hits, and RBI.  Although his defense has always been stellar, it has improved a lot this season.  I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season for Robinson Cano.

    Jorge Posada: B+
    The only reason why Posada isn’t in the A category is because he’s been hurt.  He started off the season red hot.  Unfortunately a right foot hairline fracture placed him on the DL in May.  When returning he was off to a slow start in the DH spot, but Jorge is returning to form.  He left yesterday’s July 4th game when hurting his finger, but I’m sure he’ll be back after the break.

    Curtis Granderson: B
    Granderson is another regular who saw the DL during this half of the season.  He, however, has not really been as hot as Posada.  He did have a home run in his first AB as a Yankee, but as still not really broken out.  He is hitting better this season against left handed pitchers.  I also expect Granderson to break out after the break.

    Brett Gardner:  A+
    I’ve been saying it this entire first half of the season.  Brett Gardner is the unsung hero of the Yankees.  He has been clutch hitting in two out situations.  He has 24 stolen bases and was only caught five times.  For a guy who does not hit a lot of home runs he has five so far which is pretty impressive.  He has 80 and has collected a total of 109 bases.  We also can’t forget to mention that he has a batting average of .319 and an OBP of .401.

    Francisco Cervelli: A-
    Cervelli has come up huge off the bench this season.  He is one of the leaders in MLB with a high BA with RISP.  If I could find the exact number I would give it to you, but I know he is up there.  His high energy behind the plate keeps pitchers calm and collected.  He has done a great job for the Yankees while Posada was on the DL.

    Ramiro Pena:  C
    Pena has come up huge in some spots during the season, but he has really not shown up.  He’ll be more valuable in the second half of the season.

    Rookies:  A+
    This group consists of Kevin Russo, Chad Huffman, Colin Curtis, and Greg Golson.  I put them all together because they have all not have a great amount of playing time, but when they did they came up huge.  Russo and Curtis are still on the bench for the Yankees, and Huffman and Golson have been optioned to AAA.  I will not be surprised to see one of the two, if not both, back at some point in the second half of the season.

    Nick Johnson:  D
    Yes, that’s right, people.  Nick Johnson is still a Yankee.  I know it’s hard to remember that because he really hasn’t been around.  Before being placed on the DL for a wrist problem, he really wasn’t showing anything at the plate.  He wasn’t aggressive and was walking too much.  We won’t be seeing him until August.

    Marcus Thames:  C+
    Thames’ bat hasn’t been terrible, but it also hasn’t been great.  He can hit well, but he hasn’t been doing that in most clutch situations.  The reason why I say “most situations” is because he has two walk-off hits.  He also played some dreadful defense while Granderson was on the DL which gave Kevin Russo some time to shine out there.  I think Thames will turn things around in the second half.

    CC Sabathia:  A-
    CC started off great, then was losing it a little, and now he is lights out.  July is here so CC will be bringing some of his best stuff for the rest of the season.

    AJ Burnett:  B
    I would have given AJ an A if not for the month of June.  AJ clearly had his worst month of his career by losing every game and getting an ERA in that month over 11.00.  He turned it around in his first game in July, and he did have an awesome April and May.

    Andy Pettitte:  A+
    There’s not much to say about Andy Pettitte other than he’s just stellar.  He’s pitching like he’s in his 20s again.  His ERA is under 3.00 and he has 10 wins.

    Javier Vazquez:  B-
    Javy had a dredful start to the season this year when his ERA went up to 9.00 in just the first month.  The reason why he doesn’t have a lower grade is because he has really turned this around for the better.  I have no worries about Javy.  I think he’ll have a much better second half to the season.

    Phil Hughes:  A+
    It is clear that Phil Hughes is a future Yankee ace.  He’s just 24 years-old and he’s already pitching like one.  He has 10 wins and went through the first month of the season with and ERA under 2.00.  Hughes had his first bite of the Hughes rules recently and struggled greatly in his last start.  I think he’ll handle the next skip a little bit better since he’ll know what to expect.

    Mariano Rivera:  A+
    I’m not giving Mo an A+ because he’s Mo.  He gets it because like Andy Pettitte he is pitching like he’s 20 years-old.  He has two blown saves this half, but compare that to how many other closers have blown saves.  Mo is on fire.

    Joba Chamberlain:  B
    Joba can be a whole lot better than he’s shown so far this half.  As Mo’s set-up man he has been inconsistent.  I think the second half of the year will be better will be better for him.  He’s still getting used to having this role for the rest of the season.

    Damaso Marte:  B+
    He started off slow, but Marte has turned things around.  He is a lefty specialist, but he has been used to face a lot of right handed batters which is an odd decision.  He’ll continue to be valuable in that bullpen.

    Chan Ho Park:  D
    Park has been very disappointing so far this season.  He has given up too many runs in clutch situations almost costing the Yankees games.  I will not be surprised if very soon he is no longer wearing the pinstripes.

    David Robertson:  B-
    D-Rob has great stuff, but he has not shown it so far this season.  He started off very rocky and very slow, but he is very slowly pulling out of it.  He’ll turn it around in the second half and be very valuable in the second half.

    Alfredo Aceves:  A
    Aceves has an A for what he was able to give the Yankees before being placed on the DL.  He was stellar and lights out being one of the bullpen’s long inning guys.  Hopefully we will see him in the second half back and healthy.

    Sergio Mitre:  B+
    Mitre is a natural starter, but has been in the bullpen this season.  He did make two starts this season when Pettitte was skipped in the rotation and gave very stellar performances.  The reason why he doesn’t have an A is because he has not been giving his best stuff out of the bullpen.  When he’s off the DL he’ll make a fresh start and be much better.

    And last, but not least. . . .

    Randy Winn:  F
    There really isn’t much to say about Winn.  He was expected to do a lot off the bench, and has done nothing.  He’s had too many dredful ABs and has played some dredful outfield.  Instead of optioning Russo to AAA upon Granderson’s return, Winn was DFAed and is now on the Cardnials.  If he showed up and played to his potential, he would’ve still been in pinstripes.

    As a team, I give the New York Yankees an A-.  Although we do have the best record in baseball at this moment, we still have not played our best baseball.  Players like Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner keep the Yankees in the A category, but as a team, we can be a whole lot better.  We have the potential to be better than the 2009 team, and I think in the second half we will prove that.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Will Phil be Hurt by the Hughes Rules?

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 12:35 PM [General]

    Tonight Phil Hughes will take the mound for the first time since May 19 when he defeated the New York Mets 5-3 for his 10th win of the season.  Hughes’ next start would have originally been on the 25th against the Dodgers, but he was skipped in the rotation.  Everyone knew immediately why this was done.  Like Joba Chamberlain had to deal with the “Joba Rules,” Hughes will now have to deal with the “Hughes Rules.”

    What are these so called “rules?”  Joe Girardi wants to keep his young pitchers fresh and healthy not just for the upcoming postseason, but for their future as baseball players.  What frightens fans most is the reminder of the effect the “rules” had on Joba and how they may effect Hughes.  In my opinion, I do not think the “rules” will have a negative effect on Hughes.

    When Joba was a starting pitcher, he had issues with or without the “rules.”  To me he was always a bullpen pitcher.  If there’s one thing he did consistently, it was last throughout three or four innings before the velocity of his fastballs went down.  Joba is a three or four inning pitcher which is a great tool to have for the bullpen instead of a starting pitcher.  Another problem with Joba was that he doesn’t have the confidence as a starting pitcher like he does as a reliever.  Confidence needs to go both ways if you want to be capable of performing in both situations.

    When Phil Hughes first became a starter for the Yankees, he was not very confident either.  Because of this, he had some of the worst outings of his young career.  Joe Girardi made the move last year to put Hughes in the bullpen.  This turned out to be one of the best managerial decisions I believe Joe has ever made.  After being in the bullpen, Hughes gained a lot of confidence as a pitcher.  His velocity went up and was able to locate pitches where he wanted them.  In spring training he took his confidence from the bullpen and moved it to the starting rotation where he is today.

    I think Hughes will handle the situation of the “Hughes rules” very well.  He has the confidence Joba didn’t have and he’s able to go deep into games when Joba couldn’t.  His velocity is very consistent and lasts througout the entire game when Joba’s didn’t.  Phil Hughes is basically the opposite of Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation.

    Tonight will be a real test for Hughes to show that he will not let the “rules” effect him negatively.  He’ll be facing the Seattle Mariners against Cliff Lee, who has knocked around the Yankees before (most recently in the World Series).  The lineup Phil Hughes will be facing will not be the greatest lineup.  His greatest challenge will be Ichiro Suzuki who is the only batter on the entire team with a batting average over .300 (.333).  The Mariners have not been playing well either.  They are in last in the AL West with a 31-44 record.  However, this does not mean they won’t give Hughes a challenge.  If Phil Hughes can give a fresh and stellar performance tonight I think all Yankees fans will be able to sleep peacefully.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Yankees Have a Dramatic Win Over the Dodgers

    Monday, June 28, 2010, 9:14 AM [General]

    The Yankees closed out a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the most dramatic fashion you can think of.  The final game of the series was filled with struggles, but the Yankees proved why they led the league last year in come-from-behind wins.

    The great Andy Pettitte proved that he was human yesterday.  He struggled very badly and was only able to pitch through five innings.  In those innings he gave up six hits and five runs (four of them earned) and only struck out five.  That unearned run came from a throwing error that he made to third base.

    “With the bad throws in that inning, I gave them three runs in that inning, and that was hard to swallow,” says Pettitte.  “I scuffled with my mechanics a little bit, but other than that I felt good.  You go from really frustrated, having a chance to win the series, I just feel I gave the win to them.”

    Clayton Kershaw pitched a great game for the Dodgers.  He lasted seven innings and gave up just four hits and two runs.  Those runs came off a two-run home run to Alex Rodriguez.

    Just when the Dodgers thought they had this series, the closer Jonathan Broxton gave up four runs to let the Yankees tie the game.  Once again, the Yankees rookies were the stars of clutch hitting the the Yankees victory.  Chad Huffman collected his first two career RBI to make the game 6-5 Dodgers and then Colin Curtis hit  and RBI groundout to first base to tie the game up.  In the top of the 10th inning, Robinson Cano hit a two run home run to make the game 8-6 Yankees which would be the final score of the game.

    “What a great win for us.  What a come back,” says Andy Pettitte.  “To be able to do what we did in the ninth inning against their closer, it was fun to watch.  Our guys were fired up and it was a good win for us.”

    “It shows what kind of team we’ve got,” says rookie Chad Huffman.  “We showed a lot of character tonight.  You just go up there and try to find a good pitch to hit.  When you get something good to hit you drive it.”

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Sunday Night Baseball Preview

    Sunday, June 27, 2010, 9:43 AM [General]

    Tonight the Yankees have another edition of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, this time vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I'm expecting a full-out pitchers deul this evening.

    Andy Pettitte takes the mound for the New York Yankees.  So far this season he is 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA.  As we are always reminded, Pettitte is trying to keep going what is one of his best starts to a season in his career.  He has consistenlty pitched through the seventh inning in each of his last six starts and looks to continue that tonight, or possibly go furthur.  In his career against the Dodgers he is 2-0 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts.  The last time Pettitte faced them was in 2006.

    Pettitte is coming off a fantatic start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Yankees fans consider Pettitte's win on June 22 payback for the 2001 World Series.  He pitched seven innings and gave up seven hits and only two runs.  He also struck out seven.  Pettitte also had a nice night at the plate by getting a single.  I bring this up because we are still in a National League park.

    When Clayton Kershaw pitched on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he had a one-hitter going through five innings.  He then gave up a three run home run to Bobby Abreu.  A few walks led up to that home run, a category Kershaw leads the National League in.  Before that game he has won six of his last seven starts.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Hughes Rules Now in Effect

    Thursday, June 24, 2010, 9:42 AM [General]

    It’s now a thing in major league baseball when a young pitcher in the starting rotation.  Having an innings limit on a young pitcher helps keep him healthy for the end of the year, as well as their future.  The theory is not to increase the young pitcher’s workload year after year so they are more effective.

    When Joba Chamberlain was in the starting rotation, there emerged the ever famous “Joba Rules.”  At the beginning of the 2009 season, the Yankees had made public that Joba was to pitch 140 innings during the year.

    Joba as a starter didn’t really work for me, or him apparently.  He was barely pitching past three or four innings in most games during the 2009 season.  Joba’s velocity and location consistently only has great effect in just a few innings per game.  Having him as the set up man for Mo in the bullpen was the better fit for him.

    Now it’s 2010.  Joba is rightfully in the bullpen and Phil Hughes is taken the fifth spot in the rotation.  Hughes has proved that he is more than capable of handling the starting pitching position.  On average he lasts seven innings a game.  He flirted with a no-hit bid in April against the Oakland A’s giving up the only hit in the eight inning.  He has great velocity and location and keeps it consistantly throughout all of his starts and innings.

    This week it was announced that when the Yankees visit the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow, Hughes’ start will be skipped.  The reasoning was for inning limitations, but it’s being kept private how many innings Hughes is expected to pitch this season.  If I were to guess, I think Hughes’ innings will go up to 170 this season.  Hughes was disappointed that he was to be skipped, but saw it coming (as did many of us).

    “There’s no talking him out of it,” says Hughes.  “It’s an orgainizational decision and that’s that.  You just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”

    The “Hughes Rules” will not have the same effect as it did on Joba Chamberlain.  Like I said, Joba has stuff that’s more fitting for the bullpen since his electricity doesn’t last more than four innings.  Phil Hughes, however, has that stuff to last six or seven innings per game.  His fastball stays at 90 mph and he knows how to consistently hit his targets.  I expect Hughes to keep his stuff throughout the rest of the season.  He will be in the rotation come postseason.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Yank's Rookies Proving Their Worth

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 9:06 AM [General]

    For years the Yankees have been known for having a very good farm system.  In the 90′s they gave us Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte who still play for the Yankees 16 years later.  In the 2000′s we welcomed players like Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, and Francisco Cervelli.  Now at the start of the 2010 season, the Yankees have rookies who continue to prove they are worthy of their spot in the roster.  They maybe brand new, but they seem to have the mentality and ability to stay in a major league level for a while.

    On May 21, 2010 against the Mets, New York native Kevin Russo got his first major league base hit off Hisanori Takahashi.  He also collected his first two RBI in his second AB with a double.  Those were the only two runs driven in for the Yankees that night.

    Curtis Granderson was out for almost a month with a groin injury.  Moving Brett Gardner to center gave left field options to Marcus Thames and Randy Winn, but neither were able to live up to the expectations.  Joe Girardi made a move one game by putting Kevin Russo in left field against the Mets.  Russo, a natural infielder, lived up to the challenge and played some extraordinary defense.  Girardi has been using Russo in left field for the remainder of Granderson’s absence, and Russo has continuted to amaze Girardi, teammates, and fans with his defense.  In the wake of Granderson’s return, Russo feared that he would be sent back to AAA, but instead Randy Winn was rightfully designated for assignment.  This shows Russo’s worth in the Yankees roster.

    Recently, two more rookies that were called up have made big contributions with just one swing.  On June 13th, Chad Huffman was called up to play right field, giving ARod the day off and Nick Swisher a half day playing DH.  In his very first major league AB, Huffman beat out an infield hit.  I remember being on my feet cheering for him to beat out the throw.  I was really happy for him.  It was his only hit of the game, but he did make some great defensive plays during the game.

    Last night, Colin Curtis PH in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Not only did he get his first big league hit, but it was a two RBI double extending the Yankees lead to 9-3 which was the final score of the game.

    If these rookies keep up the hitting and the defensive plays, they will have a great chance at staying up in the big leagues for a while.  All three rookies definitly hope to be a big part of the Yankees farm system in the future.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Burnett

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 9:19 AM [General]

    We all know AJ Burnett’s ups and downs.  When he’s up and just coasts through games like an ace.  However, when he’s down, he is WAY down to the point where he is lost in a sea of home runs and hits.  This month of June has been a real strange month for AJ.  He has yet to win a game this season in the month of June.

    In the month of June alone, AJ has pitched just 22 innings and has given up 29 hits, 23 runs, 11 walks, and 9 home runs.  He has only struck out 14 batters and has raised his ERA to 4.83.

    I had the pleasure (note the sarcasm) of witnessing in person AJ’s horrific outing against the Phillies on June 16th.  Watching him was uncomfortable.  He looked lost and seemed to have no idea of where he was and what he was doing.  He can’t seem to locate his fastball and is having a lot of trouble hitting the corners of the plate.  Because of this, he’s been throwing too many pitches over the plate which is why opposing batters are hitting off him.  This is abnormal, even for AJ.

    “The past hand-full of games I haven’t been able to give my team a chance right out of the gate,” says Burnett after last night’s game against Arizona.  “I don’t feel like myself.  I’m not having fun, I mean who would in a stretch like this?  The game’s supposed to be fun, and when you come out and take the air out of your team right away for a hand-full of starts, it starts to get frustrating.”

    There were some public suggestions on why AJ might be pitching this badly over the month.  Last night a lot of fans were saying that maybe having Jorge Posada behind the plate doesn’t work for AJ.  The fact that it was even suggested last season to begin with is just ridiculous.  It is not Jorge’s fault that AJ is not making his pitches.  Jorge tells AJ what to throw, and AJ is not throwing them.

    Another claim was that since the absence of Dave Eiland (who took a leave for personal reasons) AJ has not been himself.  If this really is the reason AJ is not pitching well then he needs to learn to work past that.  He’s not always going to have Eiland around to pat him on the back.

    In my opinion, AJ has up and down months, and this is his down month.  Last year it came toward the end of the season and I’m hoping that June will be his down month so he can get it out of the way.  In all honesty, I’d rather see him pitch badly against teams like the Diamonbacks and the O’s rather than the Red Sox and the Rays.  If he performs like this against those teams, then I’ll start to panic.

    0 (0 Ratings)

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