Tagged: New York Yankees

This Moose Is Not Cooked

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A series split with the Rays. Considering how the series started I’ll take it. For my money the star of the game was Mike Mussina. I’m glad he got the “player of the game” nod from the fans and crew at YES. Quite simply, Moose was awesome. Shame on those of you Yankees fans who were so quick to write Moose off. He’s been one of the most consistent pitchers in the history of the game. Like any pitcher he’ll have the occasional bad game. But more often that not, he’s going to keep the team in he ballgame. He shut down a pretty good Rays offense giving up only 2 hits through 6 innings. He was definitely on his game. Congrats to Moose on winning #251 and tying the great Bob Gibson on the all-time win list, and on passing David Cone on the all-time strikeout list.

This was definitely the best offensive game to date, albeit it wasn’t anywhere near what they’re capable of. They put up 6 runs on 11 hits. Not bad, but they can do better. It’s still pretty much the same handful of guys coming through. Bobby Abreu is absolutely en fuego. No chance he slumps like he did last season. Matsui had another nice game at the plate chipping in with 2 RBI. He’s much better suited to hit 5th in the lineup than down in the 8-hole where Girardi had him hitting the first few games. Memo to Joe: Don’t tinker with what works. Leave Cano in the 7 spot and keep Matsui hitting behind Alex.

Brian Bruney again showed he was going to be reliable in big spots. He hasn’t shown any signs of the control problems that has plagued him in the past. I almost threw up my dinner when they cut to Farnsworth warming up in the bullpen when it was still a 4-1 game. I am so glad that the Yanks tacked on some insurance because there’s no way anyone should have faith in him in close games. I know he and Girardi were teammates once, but come on Joe, he’s shown us time and time again that he can’t handle it. I’m glad things worked out the way they did. Farsnworth and Hawkins basically mopped up. Hawkins made things a little interesting there in the 9th, and surprisingly, neither he nor Farnsworth gave up a run.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I love Jose Molina. It’s been a while since the Yankees had a backup catcher that could swing the stick.

Speaking of backup catchers, I need to make mention of something John Flaherty made to Michael Kay during the broadcast. Kay referred to the shift that the Yankees put on Carlos Pena as the “martini glass defense.” As soon as those words came out of his mouth, I was like “ugh.” Where does he come up with this drivel? First we get “generation trey,” now we get “martini glass defense.” For those that missed the broadcast, he called it a “martini glass defense” because the positioning of the right-fielder, first-baseman, second-baseman and shortstop looks like an upside down martini glass. Horrible Kay. Absolutely horrible. After he made the comment, Flaherty interjected saying something like, “I can guarantee you that no one has ever referred to that as a martini glass defense.” Thank you John! That comment made my night. In short Kay, you’re an idiot.

It sounds like they’ll be without Jeter for a few days. Girardi said in the postgame that they were going to take it slow and that he definitely wouldn’t be in the lineup tomorrow. Jeter’s a gamer. He’ll be back in a few days.

It was a pretty successful homestand in my opinion. They took 2 out of 3 from a very tough Toronto team. Halladay, Burnett and McGowan are one of the better 1-2-3 punches in the league. The Rays are a great young team and they’re only going to get better. When Kazmir returns they become a much better team. A team like the Rays always gives the Yankees fits. They’re quick and they’re not afraid to run. That’s why the Angels had so much success against them while Torre was the skipper. Bouncing back to take the final 2 games of the series is just what this team needed before embarking on a road trip. The pitching has been great. The offense has been lukewarm but is showing signs of heating up. A reader named Mike left a comment today that the bats will heat up with the weather. I couldn’t agree with that more. Hopefully, the pitching stays as hot as they’ve been.

Tomorrow is a day game. Yuck. I hate day games for the sole reason that I can’t watch it. You can bet though I’ll have it on my XM radio. At least it’s a 3:30 start so I should be home for some of it. I’ll have to remember to set up the DVR.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,

J-Boogie

Pitching Is Outstadning, Offense Still Blows

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It was a pretty uneventful game today.  I actually napped through most of it.  When you have a 7-month old sometimes that’s going to happen no matter how hard you try to stay awake.  So this recap will probably not be too in depth.
 
Wang was absolutely outstanding.  It was great to see how effective he could be while throwing something other than the sinker.  He’s definitely the team ace and he showed it today with his performance.  Want to stop a losing streak?  Call 1-800-4WANGER.
 
I didn’t see the tail end of the game so I missed the performances of Joba and Mariano.  I did catch the post game show and was able to read some recaps and they dominated as expected.  Chamberlain came in and got the Yankees out of a huge spot in the 7th.  I give a lot of credit to Girardi for not being afraid to use Joba in big spots prior to the 8th inning.  I’m just thankful he recorded the outs on very few pitches because the last thing any of us wanted to see was Kyle Farnsworth come out for the 8th.  And Mo looked like typical Mo.  12 pitches, 10 for strikes, 2 ks and a save.  Vintage.  He’s been pretty dominate so far this year also.  If the Yankees can hold a lead through 6 or 7 innings, they’re going to win a lot of ball games.
 
Surprisingly, I was awake to see the Yankees score their only runs considering how futile the offense has been.  They did a little better today racking up 9 hits but the only scoring came off of 1 swing of the bat when Matsui went yard.  They’re starting to show a little bit of life and they’re due for an explosion.  I like Matsui batting ahead of Cano in the lineup.  I think it makes more sense and I think it will benefit both at the plate. 
 
Considering how things went today I’m glad I slept through most of it.  I would have liked to have seen Chamberlain and Mo pitch, but what can you do? 
 
Moose gets the ball tomorrow and he better pitch a little better than he did in his first outing.  A repeat performance won’t be good enough if the offense continues to sputter.  Moose is one of my favorite pitchers and I think he’s going to have a bounce back year.  Hopefully, it starts with tomorrow’s outing.  The Yankees bats should be able to get to Rays starter Jason Hammel.  Considering how the offense has been a series split and a 4-3 record wouldn’t be a bad start to the year.
 
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
 
J-Boogie

Offensive Woes Continue, Yankees Need New Manager

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I keep expecting the Yankees to have an offensive breakout and so far my wishes have gone unfulfilled. Just when you think they’re standing on the verge of getting it on, they digress. They’ve had their chances and have shown some signs of life, but by and large they have collectively stunk up the joint. A-Rod and Abreu have been the only real consistent performers and even they have come up short in big spots. Is it me or do they sometimes make mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young? I can understand not racking up a lot of runs against a trio like Halladay, Burnett, and McGowan, but come on, they can’t knock around Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson? I know it’s early. I know the season is only 5 games old. It’s just puzzling to watch. It doesn’t seem like they’re playing their game. They’re not seeing pitches and working counts. It seems like they’re being aggressive at the plate and it’s not paying off. I’ve seen a lot of long swings. I have to disagree with a comment John Flaherty made about Shelley Duncan’s plate appearance with the bases loaded. He mentioned he was seeing good swings from Shelley. I’m not sure what game he was watching because I couldn’t disagree more. Duncan tries way to hard to crush the ball. He seems totally off balance and he never seems to have his feet where they should be when his swing is over. We need base hits in those big spots. Keep the line moving and the runs will come. We don’t need 6-run homers.

I thought Pettitte pitched alright all things considered. His only real mistake was the pitch that Gomes hit out. Shelley Duncan didn’t do anybody any favors by throwing the ball into left field. The Yankees are going to suffer dearly if they can’t get a first baseman that can make the throw to second base. Yesterday, Giambi almost did the same thing but lucky for him Jeter was able to hold the bag while making the catch. It wasn’t a great outing by Pettitte but he looked pretty good out there. He kind of burned out there around the end of the 4th. Understandable considering his shortened spring training. The real question is how will Andy feel tomorrow? Fingers are crossed that he feels good.

How about that Brian Bruney? He looked real good, striking out 4 over 2 hitless innings. Brian Bruney’s success as major league pitcher will entirely depend on his ability to keep the ball over the plate. If Bruney has good control, he’ll dominate. His struggles have always revolved around poor control. He’s got great stuff and I think he’ll do very well this year. Shedding 20 pounds didn’t hurt.

Ohlendorf looked good also. He’s got some nasty stuff. I was surprised Aybar took him yard. I’m not even close to lumping Ohlie in the same boat as Farnsworth and Hawkins. If I’m Joe Girardi I’d look to use guys like Bruney and Ohlendorf in close games. The bridge to Mariano should start with Bruney, Traber and Ohlendorf and not with Hawkins and Farnsworth. Maybe Hawkins can work his way up that pecking order, but Farnsworth? Never.

The Yankees are lucky to be 2-3. Their record could very well be 0-5. Tomorrow isn’t going to be a walk in the park as James Shields gets the call for the Rays. The Yankees should be able to hit him, but if they don’t, Wang better be on his A-game. He’s the ace. He’s the stopper. He’s the guy that’s supposed to stop losing streaks.

Oh yeah: Fire Rob Thomson! Get well soon skip.

J-Boogie

Accentuating The Positive

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The Yankees just got finished getting their tails kicked by the Dev, err, Rays. Ken Singleton summed it up so nicely. It was a rotten game. I watched most of the game in fast forward, zipping ahead to each pitch. The wife is sick so I had to give our 7 month old son his bath, his bottle and then put him to bed. That process starts at about the same time as the first pitch is thrown. I joined the game about 48 minutes late and once I caught up, the wife and I watched this week’s “Two And A Half Men.” Hey, I’ve got to give her some TV time on Fridays. After I got done laughing pretty hard (it’s a great show), I again zipped ahead through the game and once I was again caught up, it was time to watch “High School Reunion.” Yawn. That took about 45 minutes and I got up to the live action just in time to watch them implode in the 8th. It wasn’t fun to watch. The negatives definitely outweighed the positives. But there were a few bright spots which I want to make note of.

I mentioned in my recap post from yesterday that “we as Yankees fans should feel pretty comfortable with our bullpen.” Tonight, that was half true. Jonathan Abaladejo was awesome. He came in and basically shut the rays down after he gave up a run-scoring double to his 1st batter. He gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. He ate up 2.2 IPs without giving up a run, striking out 4 Rays along the way. He looked pretty sharp throwing 23 of his 36 pitches for strikes. Most importantly he kept the game close. Too bad the bats didn’t pick up the slack. It’s also too bad he’s likely on his way to Scranton. Pettitte comes back tomorrow and I’m pretty sure he’s taking Abaladejo’s roster spot. That’s too bad. He has a lot of promise.

The performances of Ross Ohlendorf and Billy Traber should also be taken as signs of encouragement. Traber had an awesome spring and is showing that his spot on the roster is well-deserved. And I like Ohlie. He has a lot of upside and I hope that Girardi uses him in some tough spots because I think the kid will do a pretty good job when called upon.

Unfortunately, LaTroy Hawkins and everybody’s favorite, Kyle Farnsworth, followed a great outing by the aforementioned three and promptly put the game well out of reach by giving up 7 runs between the two of them. It shouldn’t have been as bad though because if Matsui caught that fly ball, who knows what would have happened. That ball should have been caught. No excuse for missing that. Thank God Damon is our regular everyday left-fielder because he catches that no problem. But he missed it and that’s baseball. Hawkins still should have been able to shut the door and stop the bleeding. But he couldn’t, and neither could Farnsworth. He’s just as bad as he was last year. Right now, I can only hope that Girardi changes the depth chart of the bullpen and uses Traber and Ohlie more in trying to get the ball to Joba/Mo. Let Farnsworth and Hawkins do the mopping up.

The only other bright spot I noted was the double of the bat of Giambi. He took it the other way and that’s not something we’ve seen much from Giambi in recent years. Hopefully he can keep that up.

The game couldn’t have started any worse. You could tell right from the get go that Ian Kennedy didn’t have it. Not a great start to the season. It seemed like everything he threw was landing in front of Molina. It kind of reminded me of my friend Don. He pitched on our high school baseball team and most of what he threw ended up going about 58 feet. It just seemed like Ike could never get it going. Just when you thought maybe he’d pull through, he digressed. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. He’ll bounce back. He’s a control pitcher and i don’t think the wildness will be an issue.

The offense was again for the most part non-existent. They had a nice little run there in the 4th. They were tagging Sonnanstine. 3 balls to the wall and one over. That’s just a glimmer of what these guys are capable of doing. As the pen kept throwing goose eggs I thought for sure they would chip away at that lead. But like they’ve done all season, they just didn’t get it going. It’s early. Slow starts are common. No worries.

Pettitte makes his debut tomorrow. Should be interesting to see the crowd’s reaction when he takes the hill. I imagine there will be a light smattering of boos amongst a lot of applause. If he can deliver a solid performance, all will be good in Andy’s world. At least until he throws on the road.

Tomorrow is another day. Enjoy your night.

J-Boogie

Well Worth The Wait

Man it’s good to have real baseball back. Don’t get me wrong. I love Spring Training but it can be sooo boring. Nothing beats Opening Day! Unfortunately for me, my 7 month old son Cooper chose tonight to throw a huge fit at bedtime. It was bad enough I had to pause the game after Wang got the 1st out to help give him a bath and then help put him to bed. But the little guy picked tonight, of all nights, to go absolutely berserk after finishing his nighttime bottle. We think he’s teething. And I only minded a little. I love the little guy.
God bless DVR. I finally caught up to live action at about the midway point. I would fast forward and watched each pitch. I didn’t think the Wanger was overly sharp but he was definitely good enough. He had his work cut out for him going up against Doc Halladay but he rose to the occasion and pitched a solid 7. Getting Rios to whiff was huge. And what was up with all the broken lumber? It was like watching Mariano out there. The defense definitely stepped up big for him. Melky made 2 great catches that could have turned things south real quick. He just missed making a 3rd stellar catch. I’m so glad that the Yanks didn’t deal him (or Hughes and Kennedy) for Johan. He’s great with the glove and his arm is just outstanding. You wouldn’t get that from Damon. And Giambi! Dude is like a cat out there. It was quite the opposite of last year. Didn’t Jeter make 2-3 errors and if i remember A-Rod dropped a pop up in foul territory? We didn’t see that today. I guess these guys like Chien-Ming more than they do that scrub Pavano.
A-Rod and Abreu looked real good at the plate but Melky’s at-bat against Halladay was the highlight of the night for me. I think it went 11 pitches and we all know how it ended up. It wasn’t a bomb but he hit it far enough. Did I mention already that I’m glad they didn’t trade him? And who would have thought you’d see great baserunning by Jason Giambi? He stops in the baseline and instead of a DP we get runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. If he hadn’t done that A-Rod likely doesn’t score the go-ahead run. Am I giving the big G too much credit? Was it great baserunning or a crappy play by Eckstein? Since I’m a Yankees fan, I’ll call it good baserunning.
Joba rules. I don’t really need to say anything more about that but what kind of blogger would I be if I had no comments. I think he was a little amped up when he first took the hill and got a little too excited when he had 2 strikes on Rios. I was worried for about half a second and then I thought to myself “Joba rules.” Then he picks up 2 huge Ks. Wells looking and the Big Hurt swinging. You gotta love it. I know I do.
I was extremely tempted to throw my remote at the TV after Jeter, Abreu and Giambi all grounded out weakly, wasting Damon’s leadoff triple. But then I realized it’s a nice TV, so I threw it at my wife instead. Hit her pretty hard too. April Fools.
Enter the Sandman. I get chills every time they show him walking through the bullpen doors with his back to the camera. I have a little 3 inch McFarlane figure of him on my desk at work. If you haven’t seen it it’s a miniature version of the big one, which is Mo walking through the bullpen doors. I have it turned around so the 42 is facing me. There’s a signed photo that Steiner sells of him walking through the doors but I’m not made of money so I’ll just stick with my little 3-inch toy. Mo looked great. Vintage Mo. Very fitting that the final opening day in the old Stadium ends with Mo picking up the save.
It was a day late in coming but it was well worth the wait. Solid game all around. 7 innings from the starter. Joba. Mariano. Yankees win! Thaaaaaa Yankees win!
Take it away Frank.

J-Boogie