Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’

Success to Stay?

The New York Yankees are generating some historically significant stats of late, and I never saw it coming. Even Joe Girardi said he feels the team clicked rather quickly. The Yankees just won their 9th straight today, finishing off their third series sweep in a row. I’d say right now, these 2012 Yankees have some good company: the last time they had three consecutive series sweeps was in the magical championship season of 1998.

It was stunning to hear that. Never did I expect the 2012 Yankees to be compared to the 1998 Yankees in any way. Maybe they do have that spark.

You don’t win 9 games in a row against three solid teams for no reason – it means you’re good. The Yankees have the best record in baseball since May 22nd. They’ve been playing solid baseball for about as long as they were playing poor baseball – time for me to seriously believe in these guys. So they started slow? No biggie. Maybe everything went bad then, so it could only improve as the season progressed.

Losing Mariano Rivera seemed like the most devastating, depressing catastrophe that could happen to the Yankees. Of course I miss his smiling face, but I have to give credit where credit is due: Rafael Soriano. Just wow. I remember hating on him for awhile too. He and I have had a rocky relationship throughout his short Yankee career. I remember feelings of elation when they signed him, because I knew he was one of the top closers in baseball with the Rays, second probably only to my Mo. Then I saw how much money he was making just to be a setup man. I subsequently discovered the contractual opt-outs, which I felt was a lose/lose situation for the Yankees, because either he would be great and then just opt out for more money, or he would be awful and we’d be stuck with him. Well, he was awful to start the 2011 season, posting a frightening 7.84 ERA over his first month in pinstripes.

He finished up strong though, and after Mo went down this year, he really stepped up. You can tell he has that fearless closer mentality, but without all the antics like some other closers around the game. He’s emotionless on the hill – sometimes it looks like he doesn’t even care – and he maintains his cool with that same blank expression even when the situations get sticky. Sure, he may not always get the opposition down 1-2-3 like Mariano, but the bottom line is that he is getting the job done at a time where the Yankees need him most.

So despite my feelings for the guy in the past, I definitely appreciate Rafael Soriano now, and I know the Yankees are blessed to have him. Since he’s closing now, maybe he is worth all that money. Hopefully he decides to stay in the Bronx.

In my last post, I apologized for hating on Mark Teixeira. He proved to me again in the middle game against the Nationals that I should believe in him. In a game that I thought would go on forever, it was Teixeira who was the hero, coming through in the clutch for what would ultimately be the game winner for the Yanks: a go-ahead 2-run double in the 14th inning. Soriano then closed it down.

But isn’t it ironic: I mentioned in my last post how I complained about Teixeira and whined about wanting rookies (in that post, it was the Angels phenom Mike Trout who I fawned over), but in the second game against the Nationals, their rookie phenom Bryce Harper had an awful day at the plate, going 0-7 and looking horrible. And it was the Yankees veteran with a giant contract, Mark Teixeira, who won the game. I feel bad for doubting him. Rookies may be cute and exciting, but winning is pretty fun, too. Thanks Teix!

Another note about that game two against the Nats: Rafael Soriano closed out the game in the 14th inning, which means that there were a whole lot of innings before that where he didn’t pitch. The Yankee bullpen, which is composed of a bunch of guys no one’s ever heard of, has been absolutely shut-down dominant. They’ve all stepped up and have done way more than I ever could have hoped.  To go out there and hold the Nats down to just 1 run from the 8th onwards is incredible. Not to mention, it was at their ballpark, where the pressure is even greater due to the fear of a walkoff loss. Guys like Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada, and even the recently-bullpen demoted Freddy Garcia, deserve huge pats on the backs.

It’s crazy. Early on, from the outside looking in, these 2012 Yankees looked like a mess. Ravished by injuries and showing their age, they found themselves in the cellar of the AL East standings. But I guess it really was just “early.” Because right now, on June 18th, the Yankees are 40-25 – 15 games over .500 – and are sitting proudly atop the standings in the AL East. And they show no signs of stopping now.

I hoped that things would only get better for the Yankees after the disappointing start. Maybe that tide began to turn in the right direction for the Yankees a long time ago, but maybe only now do I actually believe that the success I’m seeing is here to stay.

GO YANKEES!

Subway Series Spark!

In all honesty, I really have to give my Yankees some credit. After an exceptionally long, lackluster offseason and kickoff to the season that consisted of losing our closer, losing our new starting pitcher, and well – losing in general, I was just about ready to accept the “fact” that my boys just weren’t going anywhere in 2012. Ready I was to rant about using rookies, vent against the long-contracted veterans, and strangle Joe Girardi.

I find myself exceptionally busy for being on summer vacation, so I haven’t been able to actually watch games as religiously as I have in previous seasons. In the games I saw, the team looked lifeless, dead, beaten before they even stepped on to the field. But that was then.

I don’t know when things changed, how they changed – or even if anything really changed at all. What’s different now? It’s the same old guys, but now these old guys that I thought were getting too old and too stinky seem to have new life. I look at the Yankee record, 34-25, just ½ out of first place, and I wonder: WHEN THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN?

Surely, I feel like an idiot.

Okay, maybe I wrote my boys off a little too early. But it’s only June 10, and I don’t want to get too cocky, either. Then again, I actually watched this Subway Series in its entirety, and the Yankees looked fantastic in all aspects. The power bats surged, the starters dominated in lengthy fashion, and perhaps most importantly, the team had that all-important fire that has been missing.

The whole team has exceeded my expectations recently, but three guys especially I think deserve some special recognition and apologies.

Ever since the second half of 2010, I have been relentlessly ripping on Phil Hughes. I was mad at him for being fat and worthless in 2011. I thought he was done, and I was mad because I have his rookie card and would like it to be worth something someday. Constantly, I ridicule my Yankees for getting rid of their prospects, but I felt that Phil Hughes was one guy that they held on to for far too long.

Finally, I think I’m seeing the real Phil Hughes.

A 6-5 record with a 4.76 ERA may not seem too wonderful on the surface, but let’s remember, Hughes, like the vast majority of the Yankees team, didn’t exactly burst out of the gates when the season started. He sort of scuffled along, to put it nicely, racking up a frightening 7.88 ERA in his first month. Just when I thought all faith was lost, he started to improve. Take away that one bad start against the Angels, and Hughes has been fantastic from May onwards. He has lowered his ERA in 8 of his last 9 starts, proving that he definitely has something left to offer. He bounced back from his worst start of the year in LA – 7 runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings – with arguably the best start of his career in his next time out against the Tigers – a complete game, where he surrendered just 1 run on 4 hits.

So Phil, I’m definitely sorry for hating on you. I forgot you were only 25. You’ve really stepped up this season. While I previously thought our starting rotation was God awful this year, you’ve shined a light. Keep it up!

When the Yankees were in Anaheim a few weeks ago, I wanted to kill Brian Cashman. It was the first time I saw the adorable, amazing rookie Mike Trout in action. God was he cute…and he seriously impressed everyone in my home. I wanted him, and I made it clear that I wanted him, prancing around my house saying, “Let’s trade for Mike Trout! Take him, and pay the Angels to take Teixeira!” Little did I know, he could have been a Yankee. Supposedly, he was set to be the Yankee’s first draft pick in 2009, but they lost that draft pick to the Angels due to the signing of their free agent. That free agent was Mark Teixeira.

I was livid when I learned that. During the Angel’s series, I was probably at my height of my “I’m sick of Mark Teixeira sucking with a huge contract” phase. He just made me so mad, promising to bunt but never doing it, popping up or grounding right into the shift, and making that annoying face when trying to hit. He was the perfect example of what was annoying me about the Yankees: veterans with giant contracts that sucked but were still getting paid, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Mark is a historically slow starter. At June 10th, maybe he’s just now getting his groove on. He’s actually hitting almost .250, which doesn’t seem like much, but he had been hovering around .220-.230 for so long that it was sickening.  Teix has definitely shown glimpses of improvement at the plate, and still is arguably the best glove over at first.  I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs going forward.

The last guy I feel the need to apologize to is someone I’ve never come out and openly criticized. I have underestimated him, and perhaps neglected him. I don’t think I’ve shown Russell Martin nearly enough love, and today especially, he reminded me why I love him.

I admit it, I’m not over the whole Jesus Montero thing, and I probably never will be. And all my blabbering about that little catching cutie probably made it seem like I had absolutely no faith whatsoever in Russell Martin.  I never said it, but he worried me, spending practically the whole season under the Mendoza line.  I mean seriously – Chris Stewart was hitting better. I know a catcher’s primary focus should be on assisting the pitchers, but when the Yankees were stinky, the pitching was too, along with Martin. So I didn’t feel like he was doing very well overall.

When the calendar flipped to June, something sparked in Martin. All of a sudden he’s insanely good. Martin is hitting at a hot clip of .333 so far this month. And today, he was literally my hero, hitting 2 home runs (one to right field and one to left), WALKING OFF, and winning the Subway Series finale for my boys in style. Coincidence that Martin and the starting pitching have been hot simultaneously? I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t know what has changed with my Yankees, but I’m liking the results very much. Winning is fun. But more importantly, thinking you can win is even more rewarding. This series against the Mets opened my eyes, as everything seemed to work out for my boys. The Subway Series brought the best out of my Yankees, sparking my team and myself once again.

I just hope we can carry this forward.

Go Yankees!

The Worst/Best Trade Of My Life

Ohhh, Cashman, you don’t make blockbuster deals on Friday the 13th. You just don’t.

And you definitely don’t make this deal.

I’m sure the entire baseball world knows the news by now. I was supposed to have this post up right away, but every time I started it, I had to stop. I figured I could just type through the tears, but then I thought an overly-emotional post would be irrational and unfair. So I waited until I regained some composure. Here I am now, still in shock, but over my initial state or mourning. I haven’t cried yet today, though that may be because I depleted everything I had last night.

This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have been forced to go through in my life as a Yankees fan.

I don’t even know where to start. There’s so much running through my head. I guess I’ll talk about what happened when I found out that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda (along with Hector Noesi for Jose Campos, but it’s the Montero part that sent me over the edge).

I saw the news on facebook first on a baseball page that I liked. It wasn’t official then. But my heart stopped a little, and I gasped. I immediately headed over to MLBtraderumors, they had it up with the little times next to each sentence, as if they were monitoring every move. I knew that was a bad sign -that meant it was legit.

I began to panic.

The Yankees website had nothing, just as I feared. Throughout my life as a Yankees fan, being surprised by Brian Cashman and his stealthy moves became quite a regular thing. He never lets you know what’s up. I went on some other site about the Pineda/Montero swap, and it wouldn’t load – too much traffic.

I knew right there that it was happening. I admit it: I started to cry a little.

Aww, who am I kidding. My brother wrote it on facebook anyway, so everyone knows: I was bawling like a baby. The kind of tears that flow without you even knowing, then you rejoin reality and think, “What the heck, I’m crying?”

Yeah I’m a nut. But I can’t help it.

I’ve been hearing about Jesus Montero for God knows how long. The highlight of the 2011 season was the 18 games that Montero played in during September. The .328 avg, the 4 HR (some of which were opposite field line drives, which totally turned me on to the kid), the 12 RBI, the handsome young man with the high socks and the boyish smile, I was swept off my feet. He looked like everything I heard he would be.  And I thought it was just the beginning of what would be a 20-year superstar successful career in Yankee pinstripes. A home-grown, superstar Yankee to be part of a new core of young Yankees. I figured, since they held on to him for this long, he was safe. I penciled him into my 2012 lineup. I said goodbye to Posada, which was tough, but the thought of Jesus Montero eventually catching eased the pain of losing one of my favorite Yankees. In my public presentation class, I even did my persuasive speech on the claim “The Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero,” and I got an A. I never thought he would be traded, because frankly, the Yankees did nothing up to this point in the offseason.

Losing Jesus Montero – I can’t even believe this happened. I just can’t trust Brian Cashman anymore. I never know what’s going to happen. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see this new generation of prospects play in the Bronx. Everyone knows what his potential is. Shouldn’t we want that kind of talent on our team, especially because he’s home-grown? This trade is an example of the things I don’t like about the Yankees. The immediate-gratification thing, where they don’t want to wait. Sure, Montero’s not a full-time catcher yet, but he can be eventually. Now I heard that the Yankees are thinking about expanding payroll a bit. Although Michael Pineda is at a bargain price, I’m worried now that Montero won’t be the DH, that they’ll go out and sign someone. Like Prince Fielder. Which is exactly what I don’t want: a big free-agent contract, probably ridiculously expensive and around 8-10 years, for a guy who will probably decline soon who we’ll be stuck with. Like A-Rod. Like Teixeira. Partially why I was so into Jesus Montero, was that he was different. Young blood, a new start. He can’t decline. He can only improve. So even if he didn’t start out like the superstar I believe he will one day be, if we wait, he’d learn and improve. I wanted to see that happen to him as a Yankee.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever suspect that this would happen. That’s partially why I don’t like this trade, because I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve been saying how he’s going to be on the team in 2012, despite the frequent debates with another Yankees fan. So not only was I upset that the one thing I wanted for the 2012 season was gone, but I was also dreading the remarks of this fellow Yankees fan. I mean it’s not like I’m stupid. No one expected this. I thought Cashman was serious about doing nothing. He let all the other pitchers go by, but little did I know that he’d go for someone that we didn’t even know was on the market. Losing Jesus Montero has left me bombarded with the worst feelings: anguish, dismay, disinterest for the coming season, distrust of the organization, and humiliation for being wrong about it all.

So from a purely emotional perspective, this is the worst trade of my life. And on Friday the 13th, I can’t help but to think it may be bad luck for the Yankees.

But this girl knows that there shouldn’t be any crying in baseball.

I feel bad about feeling bad about this trade. It’s unfair to Michael Pineda. It makes it seem like I hate him. I can’t hate the guy, he didn’t do anything. I mean sure, if asked if I would make the Montero/Pineda trade, I would have said NO (maybe that’s why I’m not in charge of the Yankees). But that doesn’t mean I don’t want Pineda. He’s almost 23 and he had a pretty fine rookie season. Okay, maybe he’s not as cute as Montero on the surface, but maybe he’s got a cuter personality – I heard rumblings of Jesus Montero having an attitude.

And who am I kidding? I know the Yankees needed pitching. I didn’t think they’d get any, but I shouldn’t be upset that they improved in the area that they needed to most. Michael Pineda, as well as Hiroki Kuroda, who I found out was going to be signed about five minutes after the big trade, can definitely strengthen the rotation. And Pineda will be under team control for years to come before he gets to make the big money, which will give him every reason to play heard and reach his fullest potential. I should like that, since I hate the long contracts that I feel create laziness and a sense of entitlement. Another good sign: according to my brother, the Red Sox fans are nervous about the moves the Yankees have made.

That’s always a good sign.

This deal, as with all deals, is a risk. And on Friday the 13th, you know…I can’t help but to think negatively.

Last night in the midst of my meltdown, I was seeking distractions from the news. I had 5 conversations going on facebook, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses in my headphones, hoping the song “Don’t Cry” would actually help my cause (“…there’s a Heaven above you, baby…”), I was contemplating hitting the liquor cabinet (kidding, underage over here!), and I was just trying to avoid reality. Then Grandma comes in my room (brave of her when I’m unstable), and asks if I’m busy, and if not, if I could check to see what the numbers were to see if she won.

She didn’t win, but the number made me a little happy anyway. It was 777.

A sign of things to come? Maybe this is a lucky trade for the Yankees. Maybe the good can counteract the bad here. Maybe I can like, get over this? Maybe there was something about Jesus Montero that I just didn’t know, and maybe this was for the better. Maybe I should trust Brian Cashman, after all, he’s done pretty well for me in my lifetime.

And maybe I should get excited for this upcoming season again. Maybe Pineda will help my boys reach their next goal: #28. And maybe Michael Pineda can be one of “my boys” the way I thought Jesus Montero would be.

Maybe this’ll actually be the best thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime for the Yankees.

We’ll see.

Offseason is ON! Little Signing Here, Little Signing There…

As much as Yankees fans may try to convince themselves that they are okay with GM Brian Cashman doing nothing, parts of us are just not ready to fully accept that nothing will actually happen. I’m okay with it, but I still can’t believe that it’s going to be this way. All I’ve ever known in my lifetime were the Yankees that went out there and made moves, whether via free agency or trades. I haven’t liked every move my franchise has made in my lifetime, but overall I’d say they’ve done a pretty respectable job, considering in my 18 years they have won 5 World Series Championships, and I only remember them not making the playoffs once, back in 2008.

And it’s hard to believe that they’ll do nothing. I’ll never forget the day the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira on December 23, 2008. I went on the Yankees website during my last period in school only to find this article titled, “Hal: No Yanks offers to Tex…” and I left school thinking that my Christmas would be ruined. 6:30 later that night, an article was posted saying that they had signed Teixeira. It’s impossible for me to forget these kinds of things. How can one really take the Yankees organization seriously?

Sure, there are no free agents that appeal to the needs of the Yankees right now. Starting pitching, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, is the number one priority of this team. As each player – Wilson, Darvish, Buehrle, Danks, Gonzalez – found a new home that wasn’t New York, the frustrations of some fans boiled over, and rightfully so. We have to wonder what they’re up to if they let all of these players go by.

Sometimes I wondered if Brian Cashman was even conscious. Where has he been this offseason?

Although not incredibly exciting whatsoever, Cashman has made some moves for the Yankees – small, miniscule things that don’t change much – but at least he has proven to me that he is indeed alive, and may actually be working.

The two relatively recent signings were that of former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and returning right handed bench player Andruw Jones.

The Hideki Okajima signing doesn’t do much for me. He had three great years in Boston and then became less and less effective. At 36 years old, the lefty was awarded with a Minor League deal from the Yankees and will compete for the otehr lefty-specialist spot in the bullpen. Boone Logan has managed to hold his own with that job for the Yankees, so even if the Yankees aren’t satisfied with their second-lefty options, I don’t really think it’s the end of the world.

I expected the Yankees to bring back Andruw Jones, so I’m not especially excited about this move, but I am very pleased. Andruw Jones exceeded my expectations last season, hitting .247 with 13 HR and 33 RBI, but really picking it up after the All-Star break, where he hit .291 and earned more playing time. I thought he would go off to another team and try to be an everyday player, but I’m glad he’s still with the Yankees. He has 15 years of experience, but he’s still just 34 and still has a baby-face and charming smile. And for just $2 million with additional incentives, I’d say Jones is a steal.

As I noted earlier, neither of these signings will satisfy the hungry Yankees fans. They aren’t spectacular, but they are practical, wise investments that are low-risk and high-reward. You really can’t go wrong with either Andruw Jones or Hideki Okajima.

Speaking of low-risk and high-reward and not going wrong, and keeping mind the number one priority of the Yankees this offseason, I’m wondering why the Yankees aren’t going after Roy Oswalt. Like Jones, Oswalt is a 34 year old veteran with over 10 years of experience in the Bigs. All he wants is a 1-year contract anyways, so even if he sucks, after the one year, he’ll be gone. With a career ERA of 3.21, it’s highly unlikely that he will completely flop. The Yankees are concerned with his back issues, but really? A one year contract, you won’t even do that? They signed Bartolo Colon last season, who had more than his fair share of injuries, and he was fantastic for them.

Oswalt is definitely someone for the Yankees to think about, but they better hurry. If they think for too long, he might be gone like the rest of them…

I’m not going to get my hopes up, because I don’t want to be disappointed. But this will remain in the back of my mind until I hear otherwise.

42 days until pitchers and catchers report!

I can’t wait to see my YANKEES.

Offseason Is On: ENOUGH OF A-ROD

Happy New Year, everybody! The changing of the calendar is a time where people are optimistic about the future, ambitious in setting goals, and determined in trying to achieve them. We start off with a clean slate and hope for the best. My goals for 2012 are to keep doing well in school and aim for another 3.925 GPA (or higher!), to blog more and not just wait for the Yankees to give me something to write about, and to get as good at playing guitar as I am at playing piano. Oh, and for my Mom, I said I’d stop doing unladylike things when the Yankees get on my nerves, or at least make a valiant effort to try…

Although the Yankees haven’t made any moves to get me excited for the 2012 season, overall I am still optimistic. They haven’t gotten anyone, but they haven’t traded away those cute rookies such as Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos yet either. I don’t know how they’ll do in 2012, but I am looking forward to the season. How can we not be excited about a new baseball season? Everyone starts out at 0-0, Burnett’s ERA isn’t above 5 yet, and everyone has a chance to redeem themselves (yes, I believe in you, A.J.)!

Everybody but A-Rod.

I know that’s unfair. But I’ve tried – I’ve really tried – I wipe his slate clean. The Yankees have made no news in the offseason, but Alex Rodriguez has had his fair share of coverage once again, and I can’t say I’m happy about it. I’m just sick of Alex Rodriguez’s predictable nonsense.

It’s the same thing every year: after the Yankees lose in the postseason because A-Rod is unclutch, he promises that he will “come back with a vengeance” in the next season. Yeah, he said that last season and he sucked. $32 million for a .276 avg, 16 HR, and 62 RBI in 99 games, with an extremely aggravating .111 avg in the postseason. I know he was hurt. I don’t care (heartless, I know). The surgery was one thing. But the thumb – your THUMB? Maybe if you got your thumb out from your you-know-where you’d be okay.

Oooh…that was harsh.

Perhaps it’s unfair to pick on him for last year when he was hurt. But I can’t help it. When he said he’s rehabbing and working to get back, and then I see him in the dugout with that stupid smile, I just think he’s so disingenuous. I don’t believe anything he says. Why would be bust to get back when he is already guaranteed millions and millions? He doesn’t even look like he’s trying or he cares when he’s out there. Every time he strikes out, he walks away flipping his bat, and looking back at the radar to see how fast the pitch was that he swung and missed at – usually a low-mid 90s fastball that for some odd reason he can’t catch up to – and he makes that face that’s like, “Oh well. I’m A-Rod!” I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me…

I’ve already lost my patience with A-Rod for 2012. He says he’ll be back with a vengeance, then we heard he went all the way to Germany for some bizarre blood-spinning procedure. So he’s not healthy. Great, another excuse to suck.

Then the other night my brother shows me an article from the New York Daily News in which A-Rod has been spotted at least three times with former WWE Diva and Playboy sensation Torrie Wilson, yet another gorgeous blonde to distract him from baseball. I might be overreacting about this, but I’ve just had enough. It’s the same old thing with A-Rod.

So he says he’ll be better in 2012? It doesn’t look it. Just another wasted $30+ million. I can’t believe we have 6 more years of this. And there’s no way he’s going to get any better at 36 years old. Sometimes I wish the Yankees would just get rid of him and eat the money – that’s how fed up I am. Who needs superstars? Scott Brosius was no superstar, and they won with him at third base.

If I was manager, I wouldn’t bat Rodriguez cleanup anymore. Cleanup is for the productive guy. Striking out and scowling at the radar gun is not productive – I’m sorry. That spot should be for either Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano, because they’ve earned it.

 

 

My Opening Day lineup would look something like this:

1) Derek Jeter

2) Nick Swisher

3) Robinson Cano

4) Curtis Granderson

5) Mark Teixeira

6) Alex Rodriguez

7) Jesus Montero

8) Russell Martin

9) Brett Gardner

Originally, I had Teixeira 6th and A-Rod 5th, but in the process of writing this post, I demoted A-Rod again because I’m staring at that picture of him smiling, and I’m struggling to refrain from smacking him and breaking my laptop screen in the process. So because of all that unnecessary effort I’m expelling, I demoted him further.

But actually, Jesus Montero might provide him with some protection. I can’t get the images of that kid hitting line-drive opposite-field home runs at Yankee Stadium out of my mind…

I say to start the season with this lineup. If A-Rod wants to bat clean up, then he’s going to have to earn it. Why, just because he makes the most money, he is guaranteed the star-spot in the order? How’s that fair? I’m tired of watching the top of the Yankees order do so much, just to see A-Rod negate it all by failing to come through in the clutch. Granderson is a guy who I think earned this spot in the order by proving that he can come through after his MVP-worthy 2011 campaign.

Will Joe Girardi listen to me? Nope. It’s sad. A new season, but the same old thing.

If A-Rod miraculously does well in 2012, I’ll apologize. I’ll do whatever. Someone make a bet with me. I’m not worried. I know I’ll win.

47 days until pitchers and catchers report. It may not sound like it after this post, but I am looking forward to seeing my boys in 2012!

Everyone but A-Rod, that is.

That Concludes Sox Week

This past week, the Yankees played a 4-game series against the White Sox followed by a 3-game set against the Red Sox. It was a long week on the road, and I’m just happy my boys are coming back to the Bronx.

The Yankees swept the 4 games in Chicago. I almost hate to say it, but during those games, I really felt bad for the White Sox. They looked miserable, lost, and just didn’t play good baseball. Oh well…those are the kinds of games the Yankees have to win, and they did.

The Yankees went into the Red Sox series tied for first place…it was as if August 5th was Opening Day again. It was such a refreshing feeling. That series started out nicely, but didn’t end the way I’d hoped for.

The first game of that series was intense…Colon vs. Lester. The Yanks had to play catch-up after quickly falling behind 2-0. In the 5th, Eduardo Nunez led off with a walk, Derek Jeter singled, and Granderson drove in a run with a single to cut the deficit in half. After Mark Teixeira’s walk, Cano grounded into a double play, which tied the game at 2. With 2 out, I wasn’t sure if the Yankees would be able to go ahead, but Nick Swisher delivered with a double down the third base line, and the Yankees had a 3-2 lead.

It became a battle of the bullpens after that, and the Yankee bullpen proved victorious. Boone Logan especially – he looked like the Logan of 2009 again. Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera nailed it down for the Yanks.

I was ecstatic that the Yankees had sole possession of first place. I figured they maybe had the confidence they needed to keep on winning – they beat Jon Lester in Fenway Park, which is no easy task. I did a little boasting and bragging on facebook after Game 1, not really caring what I was saying. I was experiencing some leftover euphoria hours after the game’s ending.

So maybe I look stupid, but I don’t really care. The Yankees lost the next two games and are now a game behind the Red Sox. Of course the games the lost were on FOX and ESPN, places where the announcers fawn over the Red Sox as much as Chris Matthews fawns over Obama. “Oh, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, the top 3 guys for the AL MVP…oh, they’re sooo good…better than anyone the Yankees have…OHH MY LEG!”

Ermm okay.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver made me not want to watch the Saturday game. I missed most of it anyways because I was out, and I’m glad I did. CC didn’t pitch well and I’m sure they kept on mentioning how he hasn’t been the same pitcher against the Red Sox and how he sucks, and maybe how he’s not worth the jumbo contract because he can’t beat the Sox, blah blah blah…

So on to the finale, and the two teams were tied for first once again.

The pitching matchup of Freddy Garcia and Josh Beckett initially had me a little nervous. I was aware of their numbers.

Freddy Garcia really battled last night for my Yanks. He’s such a pitcher. Over 5 innings, Garcia allowed just 1 run (and it was a cheapie, he had some baaaad breaks in the 2nd inning when that run was allowed) and 5 hits, but threw 96 pitches. Beckett was throwing well, and I wasn’t sure if the Yanks would be able to get to him.

Two rather-unexpected heroes emerged for the Yanks last night. Eduardo Nunez and his quick stroke of the bad hammered a high fastball into the seats above the monster to tie the game at 1. My Grandma couldn’t believe it, “Ohhh, the young guy did it! And I wanted A-Rod to come back, Virginia…”

The second guy, I don’t know why, but something told me he’d do it. When Brett Gardner came to the plate in the 7th and his stats appeared on the screen, I thought, “Ahh, he’s having a nice year just like I expected…4 homers? When was the last time he hit one…due perhaps?”

Oh yeah.

Gardner did homer, and the Yankees had their first lead of the night. 2-1. It was such a long, slooowww paced game, me and my Grandma wanted to go to bed, but we wanted to watch.

The Yankee bullpen did its job and handed the ball to Mariano. Again, something just told me he wasn’t going to do it…I had a bad feeling. When I saw who the first guy up was – Marco Scutaro – I just knew. He was already 3-3 on the night, and I remember a few years back when he was with the A’s, he hit a walkoff homer off Mo. So when he led off the inning with a double, I can’t say I didn’t see that coming. Mo eventually blew the save, and right there I knew the momentum had permanently shifted for the game. The Red Sox have a “knack” for winning at home…let’s just say I’m not the only one who thinks they steal signs, but whatever.

When I saw PHIL HUGHES was coming in for the Yankees to pitch the next inning, I called it a night. I knew what he was going to do…so I just went to bed and accepted it before it even happened.

I know from an outsider’s perspective, it looks like the same old thing: The Red Sox are owning the Yankees. But I just don’t see that. All three games were well-played. And last night’s loss was tough. I truly believe that if that game was played in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees wouldn’t have lost. The Yankees are still better position-by-position, they have way better pitching, they just had a bad break. It’s Fenway. That happens there.

Maybe it’s better for the Yanks to say out of first for now. They’ve played well all year being the underdogs. But I’m confident that next time these teams meet, things will be different.

Still love ya, Yanks. I always will!

Enjoy the off-day!

GO YANKEES!

Deadline Over And Done With!

A weekend series against the Orioles was a series I thought the Yankees had to win. It’s the kind of thing where you know your team is better, and they have to beat up on the bad teams. I’m always bad at predicting things, so I didn’t know what to think coming into this weekend. The doubleheader I thought would be tough, and the trade deadline I thought would be a distraction. I didn’t know if the Yanks would make any moves. I HATE the trade deadline, and I’m glad it’s over and done with.

Oh, and I’m glad the Yanks took 3 of 4 from the O’s.

After they lost the first game of the series, I was kind of annoyed. But they bounced back to win the next 3, winning the 4-game set the hard way.

After winning the 1st game of the doubleheader on Saturday by the score of 8-3, my Grandma said to me, “Ooh I hope they saved some runs for tonight’s game.”

Uhh…hahaha.

No worries, Grammy!

Let’s just say the Yankees got off to a historic start in Game 2:

Top of the first, 1 out. Curtis Granderson singles.

Looked harmless enough.

Mark Teixeira walks, Cano drives in a run with a single. 1-0 Yanks.

Okay.

Swisher knocked in a run via an Orioles error. 2-0.

Then things get a little crazy.

Andruw Jones RBI double, 3-0. Russell Martin RBI single, 4-0. Eduardo Nunez RBI single, 5-0. Then Brett Gardner got an infield single to load the bases.

Derek Jeter drove in 2 with a double, 7-0. This is when I started to feel a little bad. But it didn’t end there.

Mark Teixeira doubled in 2 runs, 9-0. Robinson Cano singled in one, 10-0. And Nick Swisher hit a 2-run bomb, making it 12-0.

12-0!!! In the first inning! That was the most runs the Yankees EVER scored in the first. Wow.

The Yankees went on to win that one 17-3. Although the offense was a huge pleasure, my favorite part of this game was seeing Ivan Nova again. I was beyond annoyed when they sent him down to make room for the stinky Phil Hughes. I mean, isn’t the idea to have the best players on the team? Nova was better than Hughes then, and he still is.

I was worried that the Yankees would do something stupid at the trade deadline. So while many may think that Yankees fans are upset about the inactivity at the deadline, I for one am extremely satisfied with this decision. So other contending teams made moves…so what? Overall, I’m very happy with the state of the Yankees. When I heard about the Ubaldo Jimenez rumors, I was scratching my head. The Rockies wanted prospects Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero, and my Ivan Nova? And the Yankees were considering doing that? No offense, but Ubaldo Jimenez just is not worth the entire Yankees farm system. I know you can’t give up nothing and expect something, but I really think that deal would’ve been ridiculous. And the Nova thing drew the line. Why trade for Jimenez when Nova is doing an amazing job? He, I think, can and has helped this team more than Jimenez ever could.

My brother told me this, so I don’t know if it’s true, but he heard that the Yankees and Rockies negotiations went sour after the Yanks replaced one of the guys the Rockies wanted with Phil Hughes. LOL. I don’t blame the Rockies – I’d be insulted by that, too. But then I heard from the YES Network that the Yankees didn’t want to make the deal after the Rockies refused to give Jimenez a physical. So whatever. Good luck to the Indians with him. I’d rather stick with my guys.

Speaking of my guys, I’m sure most people are aware of my unbridled admiration for Francisco Cervelli He’s a cutie. Well in today’s series finale, I witnessed a Francisco-First.

HE PLAYED SECOND BASE TODAYYYY!!!!!!!!

Ahh, yes. If only it wasn’t under these circumstances: Derek Jeter was hit in the hand (right middle finger, precisely), and eventually came out of the game. Eric Chavez (another sexy beast…probably the hottest Yankee) was playing 3rd, and Nunez was playing 2nd because Cano was the DH. So when Jeet eventually left the game, the defense was messy…so Nunez moved to short, and, instead of losing the DH in the 4th inning my moving Cano, they put my CERVELLI at 2nd base! I was going crazy. He actually fielded a grounder in the 6th and didn’t mess up! In fact, he looked pretty darn smooth over there, going for the lead runner instead of the sure out at first. He pivoted nicely and fired a strike to shortstop to get the out. Ahh, Cervelli…such a cutie.

Now that the trade deadline is over, I can breathe I sigh of relief. -SIGH- I don’t have to worry about my cuties leaving me for a player that I don’t even want. I love my boys, and it’s not easy for me to let go of any of them.

Even if the no-deals at the deadline mean we don’t win…I’m okay with that. Why jeopardize the bright future? It’s not like Ubaldo Jimenez is going to guarantee a championship anyways. I’m happy with this team we have now, and no matter what happens this year, I know Yankees fans have a lot to smile about.

GO YANKEES!  I LOVE YOU GUYS!

I Should Make Lineups More Often!

So remember when I was complaining about the Yankees offense without A-Rod? It was really bad, they couldn’t hit, and I was frustrated, so I proposed my own lineup.

I’m convinced that someone from the Yankees is secretly reading my blog or stalking my facebook or something, because they’re listening to me about stuff!

In my last blog post, I said the Yankees should do something different to shake up the lineup, maybe to spark the offense and get something going. I strongly suggested that the top 3 should look like this:

#1 Brett Gardner

#2 Derek Jeter

#3 Curtis Granderson

I then said for Cano to be cleanup and Teix 5th, but last night the Yankees had Teix 4th and Cano 5th. It still worked out, so that was okay.

I wanted Swish 6th and Posada 7th, which the Yankees did. And because Martin had the night off, it was Nunez in the 8 hole with my sweet Cervelli batting 9th. It was pretty close to what I wanted, but I was just thrilled that they “listened” to me with the 1-2-3 spots.

Some people liked my lineup idea. Some people criticized my lineup, saying the Yanks would never do it. Well they did it, it was MARVELOUS, and they’re doing it again today, and I don’t blame them.

SCORING 17 RUNS IS SUCCESS. DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS.

The Yankees were down 2-0 early because Phil Hughes still sucks, but I quickly forgot about Hughes’s suckiness once the Yankees bats came alive. They scored 5 runs in the 2nd, in which my 1-2-3 guys Gardy, Jeet, and Grandy knocked in 4 of the 5 runs.

The offense continued to explode in bunches. Nick Swisher’s 3-run homer made it 8-2, and later on Mark Teixeira hit a GRAND SLAM which made it 14-2. Clearly, rearranging the batting order did not mess with anyone’s rhythm last night.

Even though it looked like a blowout, I was not entirely confident that the Yanks would win, knowing that Phil Hughes was on the mound. I’m kind of frustrated with him. The Yankees should’ve included Hughes in the package for Roy Halladay way back when they had the chance. Now he’s losing value fast!

Hughes, despite having heavy run support, was not able to get through the 5 innings and earn himself a win. He didn’t deserve to get the win anyways. 7 runs in 4.1 innings is not win-worthy, and I don’t blame Girardi for taking him out. Once Hughes was out of the picture, I felt the game was locked up.

The bullpen did a pretty good job last night holding the game where it was. In the end, it was a 17-7 victory for my Yanks. I cannot explain how comforting it was. And I love having bragging rights. The offense had been struggling mightily, and once they adapted my lineup idea, the offense came alive.

I seriously should suggest things more often.

So Yankees, my birthday is in August, maybe you guys should send me some tickets? After all, I helped you win last night!

Worth a try, haha…

GO YANKS!!!

Are The Brewers Really That Bad?

…Or are my Yankees really just that good?

When I heard that the Yankees were going to play the Brewers, and that the Brewers were in first place in the NL Central, I thought that maybe the series would be a little bit competitive. I was totally wrong. I can’t say I’m disappointed, though. A sweep is always fun. I never see the Brewers, and I had heard pretty good things about them. They didn’t show any of that on the ballfield.

But let’s give some credit where credit is due: the Yankees played some pretty darn good baseball over this homestand.

Clutch hitting, offensive explosions, and amazing starting pitching. All that together…up against a team that didn’t play solid baseball…huge advantage there. Everything the Brewers couldn’t do, the Yankees did.

-Making The Plays

Aside from Eduardo Nunez (as usual) the Yankee defense was extremely solid over this series. They were fundamentally sound. In the first game of this series, Nyjer Morgan misplayed a ball in centerfield, wound up falling down, and pretty much gave Curtis Granderson a triple.

Yankee outfielders, Nick Swisher especially, play fantastic defense. Swisher showed time and time again how well he plays the wall out in right, and he also showed off a cannon of an arm. There was one play where Swisher threw out Corey Hart, who tried to score with 2 outs when his team was down (dumb move). It was a perfect 1-bouncer right at Russell Martin.

-The Big Home Runs

It seemed that in this series, whenever the Yanks were down or the game was tight, someone came up with a big home run that either got them back into the game, or solidified the fact that they were going to win. Nick Swisher had a big 3-run home run in game 1. Russell Martin had the go-ahead 3-run homer in game 2, and Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career home run in the 5-0 finale. The Brewers, a team with so much power, didn’t do anything. I really was surprised.

-Beyond Solid Starting Pitching

Starting pitching really sets the tone for how the game will play out. And when my Yankee starters, Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and CC Sabathia, appear solid early on, I have a good feeling about the game. I couldn’t be more proud of the Yankees starting rotation this year. I thought it would be a weakness, especially after the ravaging injuries. Everyone has really stepped it up big time, especially A.J. Burnett, who last June went 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA. This year, he had himself a solid June, and even when he struggled, he was able to minimize the damage instead of exploding like he did last season. And with his 7 inning, 2-run outing against the Brewers, I’d say he closed out the month nicely.

CC Sabathia closed out his June in lights-out fashion, throwing 7.2 innings of shutout baseball and striking out 13 Brewers along the way. I guess he just gets a little more into it when he faces a former team.

The Brewers did not pitch, hit, or in general, play good baseball against the Yankees. After the series, I was surprised they were even IN first place to begin with! A little over-matched against the AL East leading Yankees I guess.

AL East leading Yankees…yup, and I love saying it. My boys are currently 2.5 games ahead of Baahston. They start the big Subway Series tonight, and I am confident that they will win this series, just as they have won every other interleague series this year.

GO YANKEES!

3 Wins: 1st Nerve-Racking, 2nd Bittersweet, 3rd Comforting

Yanks Take First Three From Tribe

I shouldn’t complain too much…I mean at least we are winning this time. Then again, the Cleveland Indians are not the same Cleveland Indians of the earlier months. But, then again, the Yankees aren’t the same either. So they’re both different, so I guess that balances out. So these three wins for my Yankees WERE legit.

Game 1 was the first game in a long time that I sat down and watched from beginning to end without falling asleep! Ivan Nova toed the rubber, and had a surprisingly dominant outing. The offense was surprisingly alive as well, exploding for 11 runs with RBIs from Robbie Canooo, SwishyNicks, Jo-P0, Ahh-the-GrandyMan-Can, Brettiboo, A-Rod, Texy-Wexy, from up and down the loaded lineup. I’m proud to report that Brett Gardner has been playing much better baseball of late, as well as Mr. Jorge Posada, whose batting average is now way over that Mendoza line (and it appears it will only continue to rise above it). Maybe Jorge wasn’t hitting because his son was going to have ANOTHER surgery, and you know, maybe since he’s a man with a heart, maybe he was nervous/stressed/upset/unfocused because of it? And maybe since his son is now recovering and the worst is behind him, maybe Jorge can concentrate fully on baseball and breathe a sigh of relief? So maybe he’s not done, so stop pushing him out before his time?

Game 1 was fun to watch in regards to Nova and the offense, but it made me nervous at other times. Like after Curtis Granderson homered in the 2nd and Mark Teixeira was immediately plunked high up on his back – if he didn’t duck it could’ve hit is head – and a fight almost broke out between Joe Girardi and Indians skipper Manny Acta. That made me nervous/infuriated because I HATE WHEN MY BOYS GET HIT. But it was all good. The Yankees added on a bunch of runs after that. So HA-HA.

The other thing that made me nervous in Game 1 was the bullpen. Yeah. My fears are realistic. The bullpen was horrendous. Utterly dreadful. The Yankees, in the 7th , had an 11-2 lead, but they had to call on Mariano Rivera to get the final outs, because the bullpen just couldn’t do it. Just thank GOD for Mo…without him, we’d really have NO ‘pen whatsoever.

I missed the entire Game 2 because I was at Marist College’s Orientation! It was a spectacular day: I got to know some students, toured the campus, and felt comfortable there throughout it all. It’s nice knowing I picked the right place! But while I was enjoying my day, the Yanks had a game to play. Bartolo Colon, according to my brothers, had his typical stellar performance, but it was cut short after he hurt a hammy covering first base. He was taken out of the game, and he is now on the 15-day DL – and he says he will return in the 15 days, but they always say that…

That is a HUGE blow to this team. Bartolo Colon is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now. He’s better than CLIFF LEE. <<Yeah. I said it. And he’s a WAY better value. He, to me, is the Yankees #2 starter. And now he’s gone. The bullpen sucks, I don’t want the starting rotation to suck that badly. So the news of that 4-0 win was not as sweet as I would have hoped for.

Game 3 was extremely comforting, because I was saying how the starting rotation without Colon needed to step it up a notch, and Freddy Garcia stepped it up a few (especially when I remember his last outing…eeek). Freddy was phenomenal. 6.2 innings, 1 run, just everything the Yankees and I could have hoped for. And the offense? Explody once again, with contributions from everyone! INCLUDING those two guys I mentioned above – Brett Gardner and Jorge Posada – who are continuing their hot-hitting. Oh, and Jeet’s getting closer to #3000!

So after an icky bad stretch, the Yankees have themselves a modest three-game winning streak. The offense looks more alive, and I’m hoping overall they can be more consistent and keep this going. The starting rotation took a big blow with the loss of Colon, but if everyone can just do a littttttle bit more like what Freddy did, then maybe we can survive these “15 days” Colon promises. And the bullpen, well, I don’t know…(don’t ruin it, Virginia! You have to end on a good note!).

And um, I graduate a week from today! And my college is awesome!

The Yanks go for the SWEEP tomorrow.

GO YANKEES!

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