Tag:New York Yankees
Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:53 pm
DETROIT -- Now comes the scariest sentence of the summer for the Yankees: Their season depends on A.J. Burnett.
Hide the women and children. Stock up on the Tums. Get a good night's sleep. As this high-octane series sprints toward Game 4, the Yankees have no room left for mistakes because they probably made their biggest in getting a 5-4 Yankee clipping in Game 3 here Monday.
That mistake? Failing to take advantage of two unexpected windfalls against Tigers ace Justin Verlander:
A two-run first inning that momentarily knocked Verlander and the Tigers off-balanced was given back by CC Sabathia in Detroit's two-run third.
Then, Verlander was absolutely sensational from the second through the sixth innings, the Yankees clawed back from 4-2 to tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh. And set-up man Rafael Soriano immediately gave it up when Delmon Young crushed a one-out fastball in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-4.
It wasn't quite the classic battle between Verlander and Sabathia that most of us expected. Sabathia was wobbly from the beginning, walking three Tigers in the first, another in the second and one more in the third. But the Yankees turned three double plays behind him in those three innings to atone for his sins.
Verlander, after that two-run first, savagely mowed through the Yankees over the next five innings. He hit 100 m.p.h. several times. He sent curve balls that bent like bananas. He threw changeups somewhere in between. He was sensational during this time. He fanned four consecutive Yankees during the fourth and fifth, then stretched it to seven in a nine-batter stretch through the seventh.
With two out in the seventh, Jorge Posada stunned him by fighting back from 0 and 2 to walk. Then Verlander drilled Russell Martin with a 100 m.p.h. fastball in the ribs. Ouch.
What undoubtedly stung Verlander just as much, Brett Gardner lashed a 100 m.p.h. heater for a game-tying double after that.
Before the Tigers could fully digest that, Young was depositing a Soriano pitch over the right-field fence -- and the Tigers were depositing the Yankees to the brink of elimination.
With Burnett headed to the mound to start Game 4 Tuesday night.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 8:27 pm
Before we get too far away from the greatest regular season night of baseball ever, some quick reactions in the aftermath of Wednesday night. ...
FROM: James J.
Re.: Rays' final chapter in comeback story defies belief
You're not that naive are you? Seriously? Joe Girardi gave Tampa Bay that game! Leaving Luis Ayala in after walks/hit batters ... and following him with SCOTT PROCTOR? C'mon Scott ... you're more with it than this! If Girardi cared about this game, Mariano would've been in.
You could not be more wrong. Girardi's Yankees had clinched the AL East title. He had Game 1 of the playoffs in two days. His responsibility was to rest his key guys and make sure they're ready for the postseason. If Boston doesn't like it, the Red Sox shouldn't have been in the position where they needed the Yankees' help. Period.
FROM: Jim M.
Do you think it was right that the Yankees treated it like a spring training game? Get your two ABs then in go the minor leaguers. The Yankees need to develop some integrity. I am not saying they lost it on purpose, but they never played to win the game. Imagine the richest team in baseball just cheapened the game!
You could not be more wrong, either. Any other takers here?
You asked how did the Rays impossible comeback and miracle happen? I can tell ya how. I prayed on it. From the 7th when they were down 7-0, through the Longoria blast in the 12th, every pitch, every at-bat. I prayed them into the playoffs and into the World Series in 2008 as well.
Now I know who I'm going to turn to in times of crisis.
FROM: Tom H.
You are so right. Last night was one of those nights that I will always remember. All I can is, Wow. For those of us that love baseball, last night will live [forever]. I will always remember the emotional roller coaster of that night. It just doesn't get any better than last night. Thanks for capturing the emotion of the night!
Five days later, I'm still trying to catch my breath.
FROM: Daniel D.
Being a Yankee fan, I just loved way Red Sox folded! Tampa Bay played great down stretch!
At the very least, the Rays seized the opportunity.
FROM: Andrew T.
Re.: Charmed life continues for Tampa with remarkable triple play
Great story! The article emotes the excitement of the now! Thanks! Go Rays!
It's been fun! Let's keep watching! Rays are looking good! Thanks!
FROM: Wally B.
The team is the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa is a city, Tampa Bay is the home of the Rays. Where is Tropicana Field? You need to know these things.
And the Sunshine Skyway goes over ... the San Francisco Bay, correct?
Likes: Kyle Chandler was waaaaay overdue for the Emmy he won for Friday Night Lights. Too bad Connie Britton didn't win for her portrayal of his wife on the best show that's been on television in years. So sad it's over... Razzoo's Cajun restaurant in Fort Worth, Tex. The crawfish etouffee and spicy shrimp and chicken gumbo are outstanding. ... The shrimp gumbo at Pappadeaux. ... Heritage Park in Fort Worth, great place to run.
Dislikes: Smokers who toss their cigarette butts out the car window as if the world is their ashtray. Happened again on a freeway in Texas on Thursday as I was driving from the airport to my hotel. Lady in front of me just flicked it out. Pig.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric:
"Nobody on the road
"Nobody on the beach
"I feel it in the air
"Summer’s out of reach
"Empty lake, empty streets
"The sun goes down alone
"I’m drivin’ by your house
'Though I know you’re not home"
-- Don Henley, The Boys of Summer
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 10:49 am
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- So one of the keys to this crazy game is forgetting yesterday and zeroing in on today.
Yet as the New York Yankees work Thursday to prepare for the Detroit Tigers and Cy Young shoo-in Justin Verlander in Game 1 of an American League Divisional Series on Friday in Yankee Stadium, they can't help but look way back to March 31.
"It's funny how the season goes full circle," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said late Wednesday after the Yankees lost to Tampa Bay and learned first-round playoff matchups. "Opening Day, we played Detroit and it was Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia, and now that's what it is to start the playoffs.
"It should be fun."
The Yankees on that afternoon prevented Verlander from obtaining one of what would be his 24 victories this season. The Detroit ace went six innings, allowed three earned runs, fanned eight, walked four and surrendered a Teixeira homer in a no-decision.
"Detroit's a great team," Teixeira said. "It doesn't matter who we play [first]. We have to beat all the best teams in the league. The Tigers, the Rangers ... we have to bring our 'A' game."
In what easily is the most intriguing first-round matchup, the Yankees may face the difficult task of getting Verlander twice in a short five-game series.
But they also are one of the few teams that can brag about cracking the Tigers with Verlander on the mound. After beating Detroit 6-3 on opening day, the Yankees faced him one other time -- and beat the Tigers again.
It was in Detroit on May 2, and they scored three runs in the first two innings against Verlander en route to a 5-3 victory. That day, they also scored three earned runs in six innings against Verlander, who, as he did on opening day, struck out eight and walked four.
Again, Verlander came away with a no-decision. But in the end, Detroit lost only nine games this season in which Verlander started -- and the Yankees handed the Tigers two of those.
Funny, Yankees slugger Robinson Cano did not remember facing Verlander after opening day this year and, as it turns out, with good reason. He was not in the lineup May 2.
"His stuff has always been the same," Cano said. "He throws hard, he's got good stuff. Friday starts the postseason, and you forget about the past."
Some of the Yankees already have.
"I don't pay any attention to that stuff," said outfielder Nick Swisher regarding New York's first-round draw. "We're going to beat 'em. Hands down.
"We're excited. We're ready. It's in our house. It's going to be fun, a lot of fun, man."
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:05 pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It took the Rays 125 days this season to pull back into a share of the American League wild-card slot.
So no way was the streaking, gutsy crew from Tampa Bay going to surrender it 24 hours later.
It was close, it was a battle, but when they write the story of the 2011 Rays, two huge monumental moments from Tuesday night's 5-3 nailbiter over the Yankees in The Trop will be at the top.
The first came with nobody out in the seventh when Matt Joyce bashed the game-winning homer, savagely attacking a pitch from former Rays closer Rafael Soriano and driving it into the right-field seats for a three-run blast.
The other moment was an honest-to-goodness triple play, which came in the sixth, during a tense time when the Yankees were threatening to blow this game open.
Leading 3-2 with runners on second and third and, of course, nobody out, the Rays elected to intentionally walk Jorge Posada to load the bases.
And then came a moment screaming that Tampa Bay is living right: Russell Martin scorched a ground ball to third, about one step from the bag. Evan Longoria was all over it, took the one small step for the Rays and one giant step for the AL wild-card race.
His foot on the bag, he wheeled and whipped the ball to Ben Zobrist at second, who turned and fired a strike to Sean Rodriguez, who was playing first after Casey Kotchman was scratched from the lineup pre-game and taken to the hospital with discomfort in his chest.
There was no question. Martin easily was out at first.
You could hear Boston groaning all the way from Baltimore. Given a reprieve from imminent disaster, the Rays turned it over to Joyce in the seventh, and Tampa Bay had done the impropable: The Rays have pushed their season to Game 162, still very much in position to push the Red Sox over the cliff and dance into October themselves.
Posted on: September 21, 2011 6:04 pm
I wrote a 9/11 rembrance column on President Bush's first pitch at the World Series, and then you wrote. And you wrote. And you were so touching, I wanted to share some of your thoughts. So if you don't mind, I'm going to roll the tape here, stand aside and skip my usual replies. ...
Re.: Bush walked out alone -- with a whole country beside him
The article you wrote on President Bush's first pitch after 9/11 was phenomenal. You powerfully evoked all of the emotions I felt that night watching him tell our country and our enemy that we can handle any pressure or obstacle. Thanks for that.
FROM: Robert B.
You captured the moment. I'm a 64-year-old, life-time Red Sox fan who was proud to be an American that night ... and every day since!
FROM: Brian S.
Bush walked out alone -- awesome article, simply awesome. Nice work.
FROM: Ruth L.
FROM: Kevin F.
I loved your article about President George W. Bush's first pitch before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. The perfect strike symbolism didn't escape me at the time and it resonates 10 years later. Thank you for reminding me what a moving and inspiring moment it was. And Jeter is one funny you-know-what.
FROM: Steve O.
I have tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat.
Based on how Obama threw the pitch at the All-Star Game (in St. Louis in 2009), let's be glad he wasn't out there trying to throw the ball.
FROM: Neal J.
As we look back, we see that Bush had one singular response to the horrific attack, to start a meaningless war and to pitch a baseball. He and his pals are laughing all the way to the bank.
FROM: Joe L.
Thanks for such a well-delivered, poignant article. It is a good brick in the wall of remembrance. Evil can take away a lot what is precious, including the lives of the innocent, but it cannot touch our freedom. Thank God for all the strong and the brave who still stand up for it.
FROM: Mark H.
It moved me to tears thinking back about that night. In some ways, I wish we could go back to that feeling where we were a true United States.
Damn right it was a strike. Thank you for this article. It reminded me how important it was to do what he did. We forget how he helped bring unity as a leader. No matter what anyone says, we had never been through a moment like that before Pearl Harbor, then 9/11. Nobody can talk about how it was to be in that position but him.
FROM: Ian M.
An absolutely awesome column. That pitch for me ranks one step higher than Kirk Gibson's HR in the 1988 World Series. A single first pitch that gave the nation a sense of strength and unity. Unbelievable!
The best article I've read on this, or any other, site. Beautifully written, Mr. Miller.
Likes: Where the Yankees stand on things was exhibited again when Derek Jeter said after the team clinched a playoff spot in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday that there would be no celebrating. To the Yankees, it's about the AL East title -- and the World Series. ... Oakland giving manager Bob Melvin a three-year contract. He'll help the Athletics. ... Looking forward to seeing Moneyball. I'm sure I'll have some issues with it, but my I hear its very well done and the writing is snappy -- which is no surprise, with Aaron Sorkin writing the script. ... If you're on I-94 driving between Chicago and Milwaukee, pull off the freeway for lunch at the Mars Cheese Castle. Great cheese, lots of free samples, terrific deli and, hey ... bottom line is, you can tell everyone you've been to the Mars Cheese Castle. ... Both Gino's East and Giordano's deep dish pizza in Chicago. ... Bob Seger on iTunes. ... Glad to see Hawaii Five-O back for a new season. Fun show. ... Here We Rest, the disc from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit that was released in the spring, is fantastic. You should check it out.
Dislikes: That is one ugly new logo for the Florida Marlins. ... The massive conference re-alignment/expansion scramble. All of these colleges should be ashamed of themselves, throwing traditional rivalries away like used napkins to flee for big paydays. ... Rough start for the Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central. They're 1-2 so far, with, hopefully, a win on deck against Milan this week.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I've been stuck here in this town, if you call it that, a year or two
"I never do what I'm supposed to do. I don't even need a name anymore,
"No one calls it out, kind of vanishes away
"No one gives a damn about the things I give a damn about
"The liberties that we can't do without seem to disappear like ghost in the air
"We don't even care, Until it vanishes away"
-- Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Alabama Pines
Posted on: September 10, 2011 12:20 am
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andruw Jones was an unexpected sub in right field for Nick Swisher, out with a sore elbow, as the Yankees opened a series here against the Angels on Friday night.
Swisher said he felt a sharp pain in his left elbow while making a throw in Baltimore on Wednesday and planned to see a doctor.
"He threw a wet ball and said he felt something," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Friday's game. "My guess is he'll be back in a day or two."
Swisher is batting .262 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs and has joined the White Sox's Paul Konerko and the Red Sox's David Ortiz as the only players in the AL to hit at least 20 homers in each of the past seven seasons. Since June 14, he's batting .294 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 75 games.
Girardi says at this point he's not concerned.
"If the doctor says something else, then I might be," Girardi said.
Swisher is not expected back in the lineup until he sees the doctor.
Meantime, catcher Francisco Cervelli was scratched from the lineup after feeling dizzy. He was involved in a collision with Baltimore's Nick Markakis on Thursday.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 12:05 am
Fact: The Angels are 19-4 when rookie outfielder Mike Trout starts.
Fact: The Angels started their series with the Yankees on Friday trailing Texas by 2 1/2 games ... and with Trout on the bench.
So ... is Mike Scioscia working on throwing the AL West race?
The quick answer, obviously, is no. He's playing the angles he thinks are best for the Angels. Trout, who recently turned 20, starts against left-handers. Scioscia says Trout will be in Saturday's lineup when CC Sabathia starts for the Yankees.
Still, even with righty Bartolo Colon on the mound, it's difficult to believe Trout would be a worse option than Vernon Wells (.252 on-base percentage, starting in left field) or even Bobby Abreu (.253 batting average, designated hitter).
Scioscia says Trout took some "good swings" in the Seattle series. He also says the Mariners pitched him differently than they did a month ago.
"Now Mike understands what the pitchers are trying to do and is making some adjustments," Scioscia said.
Trout, named as Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year this week, is hitting .230 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .448 slugging percentage in 29 games with the Angels. He has five homers in 97 plate appearances.
Asked about Maicer Izturis sitting in favor of Alberto Callaspo at third base Friday night, Scioscia said, in a statement that extends to Trout as well: "We're looking for production right now. We're not thinking a month or two down the road. Guys are going to play where they match up."
In Trout's case, he understands that.
"You learn [with] every pitch every inning," Trout said. "If I need anything, I go to Torii Hunter or Vernon. They've played my position. Petey Bourjos, as well. He knows how I'm feeling. He's been through it."
Trout's highlight so far was smashing his first big league homer, a three-run job, in front of 15-20 family members and dozens of friends in Baltimore on July 24. The most difficult thing, he said, is "calming yourself down. The first couple of games, I was jittery."
The Angels are happy with the way he's handling himself. But they're still not going to play him every day.
In 63 plate appearances against right-handers, Trout is hitting .214/.302/.357.
In 34 plate appearances against lefties, Trout is hitting ..258/.294/.613.
"He's still our secret weapon on the sidelines," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "It's great to have a combination [Trout and Bourjos] to give the veterans a rest, and having a guy you know is going to bring something to the team ... I think all of our young kids have brought something."
Referring to their speed, Hatcher said: "Sometimes you don't even care if they hit it hard. They still might get a double."
"There's no doubt we have more speed on our club than we've had in the last 12 years," Scioscia said. "But we haven't had the on-base percentage to where we take advantage of it."
Meantime, Trout waits.
Likes: Ivan Nova, the Yankees' rookie starter. Good stuff, good kid. ... Atlanta's bullpen is unbelievable. It will be fascinating to see if Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty have enough gas in the tank to go all the way through October like this. ... Michigan-Notre Dame on Saturday with my wife ready to make pizza for kickoff. ... Still little better in life than a good ballgame at home with pizza. ... Speaking of which, the trendy Pizzeria Mozza (celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich) just opened in Newport Beach, Calif., and is highly recommended by Scioscia.
Dislikes: What a blackout in the west on Thursday night. The entire city of San Diego lost power, as did parts of Orange County, Arizona and northern Mexico. They blamed it on one guy doing maintenance at an important switching station in Arizona. I don't know much about electricity, but how can there be no checks and balances in place? One guy can wipe out power for five million people? Mama mia. ... Aw, Grosse Ile 20, Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High 14 in Friday night football. The good guys lost.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Spirits above and behind me
"Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
"May their precious blood forever bind me
"Lord as I stand before your fiery light
"Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
"I see you Mary in the garden
"In the garden of a thousand sighs
"There's holy pictures of our children
"Dancin' in a sky filled with light
"May I feel your arms around me
"May I feel your blood mix with mine
"A dream of life comes to me
"Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line"
-- Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:31 pm
Of hurricanes, Orioles and White Sox ... which really aren't all that different, when you think about it:
FROM: Nick D.
Re.: Last-place Orioles remain stuck in familiar late-season rut
I started to read this article and then I stopped. ... Stop writing articles giving me hope for my woefully bad O's. I read these every year and every year they're the foundation holding up the AL East. Stop. Please. You people keep opening the same wound.
Next time I'll bring the cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Rain postponements taking toll on 2011 - then comes Irene
The fact that fans who purchased tickets to Saturday's games at Fenway Park had to wait out those delays is absurd. The greed of the organization is the reason. They did not want to have to cancel the games and reschedule, or God forbid they would have to offer refunds or tickets to an alternate game. To try to play those games through the hurricane was absurd. It is frustrating to read your articles because none of this is mentioned and you show an unreasonable bias to the Yankees. If it was the Yankees organization that did this, you would be the first one criticizing them.
The Red Sox were so greedy they let fans into Fenway for free following the rain delay in Game 2 Saturday.Appalling, wasn't it? It's called trying to make sure the games get played when there is precious little time left in the season to reschedule them, mister.
There is no reason to have rainouts anymore. If a small-market team like Seattle can have a retractable roof stadium, why haven't the BIG GUNS protected game revenues with new Stadiums, including retracting covers. Hellloooo Yankees!
Put a retractable roof on Yankee Stadium, the ghost of Babe Ruth will rip his plaque out of Monument Park and install it somewhere in Montana.
FROM: J D
Hey, Miller ... More Yankee bashing, huh? Shocking. And you're not right. Like Joe Girardi said, a lot of other games in baseball and other sports changed their schedules to be amenable to Hurricane Irene. They still could have played an actual DH, not split, and honored Flanagan -- which the Yankees did the night before in very good form, btw, before their game with the A's. Or they could have played a game on Saturday in the early morning before the storm hit. It's all about the fact of the O's not wanting to lose a gate in one of the rare times they would actually make some money with the Yankees in town. Now, the Yankees will have to use up one of their rare September off days to play a game in Baltimore after finishing up a three-game series with the aforementioned O's the very next day, and with a long West Coast road trip looming. ... And way not to mention the Red Sox's unwavering interest in getting both games in no matter what the weather to improve their standings and keep a September off day.
You lost credibility with the sentence "And you're not right." Because, fact is, I'm almost always right. Including on this topic.
FROM: Jack L.
Re.: Up-and-down White Sox look to final month to save season
I'm a lifelong, die-hard White Sox fan who literally follows the team hour by hour, not just day by day. You did a very nice job of summing this season up. The only difference between being a gawker checking out a freeway wreck in the other direction and watching the White Sox play this year is that the freeway wreck is at least somewhat interesting, even if you can't really see much of it. IMHO, Kenny Williams is clearly the guy that needs to go. Trader Kenny completely lost his touch with the first stinker of a Nick Swisher trade and has just made one bad move after another ever since save for unloading Edwin Jackson prior to the trade deadline.
At least don't follow the White Sox minute by minute. Think how miserable you'd be then.
Fire Kenny Williams, he sucks as a GM. It's been his signings that brought the White Sox four of the worst contracts in White Sox history. Let's not forget the Manny Ramirez deal last year as well after letting Jim Thome slip away. The Sox paid Ramirez multiple times what Thome was paid all year for one month of services. If not for Zambrano's and Soriano's contracts on the North Side, Williams would really be exposed for the horrible GM he has been. I think the players enjoy playing for Ozzie Guillen, and he has gotten a lot out his players considering the start the Sox have had in the last two years.
According to my Love Letters readers' poll, Williams' approval rating drastically trail those of Guillen.
FROM: Mike M.
Love your work. Love it if you could do a story about the Angels owner (Arte Moreno) vs. Scott Boras and include why Boras has that ground level box behind home plate at Anaheim Stadium. Boras looks like an idiot standing in the TV background of most pitches while he talks on his cell or works his laptop. As a Mariner fan I laugh thinking what Angels fans think about seeing him all the time.
It's a simple, economical issue: Boras' company purchases that ground-level suite with old-fashioned greenbacks. But while you may laugh, think of all the advertising that TV time translates into for hundreds of players who might be watching in other cities and contemplating what Boras could do for them.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Yanks getting stronger down the stretch
Scott, while I respect your opinion, how has the Yankees pitching been woeful? Their ERA is better than Detroit, Boston, and Texas's, their bullpen ERA is the best in baseball, and outside of A.J. Burnett, no one on that staff has been woeful outside of Phil Hughes before his injury. Right now, Ivan Nova and Hughes are pitching as well as anyone, CC Sabathia is an ace, and between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the Yankees have a respectable four starter for the playoffs. It just makes no sense why people are so quick to discredit the Yankees pitching without looking up the numbers.
If you read the column, and not just the headline and sub-head, you'd have your answer: I was EXAGGERATING, teasing Yankees' fans for being so quick to panic.
Likes: LA Marathon founder Bill Burke making a $1.2 billion bid for the Dodgers. It's funded in part by Chinese investors, and wow, think how much fun we all could have with THAT. Great take by Harold Meyerson in Friday's LA Times on the op-ed page: "There's no need to rehash the McCourts' destruction of one of American sports' most fabled and successful franchises. At this point, anyone who takes the team off their hands would be a better owner, right? Could there really be a more problematic proprietor? And then, along comes China." ... Absolutely loved Thursday's A-1 headline in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Obama jobs speech up against Packers opener." ... Good job, Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, getting on the board with a 12-6 win over New Boston Huron on Thursday after a tough opening week loss.
Dislikes: Sports Illustrated's rare regional covers. I know, business is business. But I'm old school and I don't like not having a particular cover.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"What's keeping you, keep pouring drinks
"For all these palookas, hey you know what I thinks
"That we toast to the old days and DiMaggio too
"And old Drysdale and Mantle, Whitey Ford and to you"
-- Tom Waits, A Sight For Sore Eyes