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Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Category

Unabashed-Lee

Cliff Lee’s Wife Has Typical New York Experience [USA Today]

Well, after a poor showing in the ALCS, bringing a swift end to the defending champion’s postseason, the Yankees second season began earlier this week with the dismissal of pitching coach Dave Eiland. 

And even though there are certainly more off-season moves to come, the real “story” that has received some play in the media, because things are slow in between the LCS and the start of the World Series tomorrow, is the poor treatment that Cliff Lee’s wife, Kristen Lee, received from opposing fans in New York.  Her statement to USA today is as follows:

“The fans did not do good things in my heart.  When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”

Cliff Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, made this statement in response:

“The story is not an issue to us.  Her experience in New York is certainly a non-issue.  She enjoys New York as much as anyone enjoys New York.”

While this may sound like an innocuous, unexciting statement from a sports agent, let me edit it and insert the parts that were left out:

“[Shove it, Kristen.]  The story is not an issue to [me and Cliff].  [Your] experience in New York is certainly a non-issue [in our negotiations during free agency.  We’re going to take the most money we can get, and if that comes from the Yankees, you’ll take it and you’ll] enjoy New York as much as anyone enjoys New York [when they are stinking rich.  Don’t try to hurt my commission].”

I don’t know if my editing restores the actual quote verbatim, but I’m sure it’s pretty close.

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Quickly, here are my postseason picks:

Division Series:

  • NYY @ MIN — Min in 5
  • TEX @ TB — TB in 4
  • CIN @ PHI — PHI in 3
  • ATL @ SF — SF in 5

League Championship Series:

  • MIN @ TB — TB in 6
  • SF @ PHI — PHI in 6

World Series:

  • TB @ PHI — PHI in 6

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Die, Red Sox, Die!

It took much longer than it should have, but by both the Yankees and Rays winning tonight, the Red Sox are finally dead; at least for 2010.  Both the Yanks and Rays had their ace on the mound in CC Sabathia and David Price, and each delivered as an ace should.

But the post-clinching celebration for the Yanks was very subdued in comparison to that of the Rays and very, very subdued in comparison to that of the Reds who also clinched a playoff spot and the NL East tonight on a walk-off home run by Jay Bruce.  The picture above is about as rowdy as anyone on the team became.  Sometimes you wish the “Old Guard” were a little more inclined to celebrations, at least for the fans’ sake.

Well, the next meaningful game for the Yanks is next Wednesday when the playoffs start, and thankfully the season-ending series against the Red Sox this weekend won’t mean much at all, the AL-East-division-race notwithstanding.

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Sick to My Stomach

I was sick all weekend, but it finally cleared up late last night.  I wasn’t sick in the way you might think.  I didn’t have the pukes or the shits.  But I had this pit in my stomach, which kept increasing in strength as the weekend went on because the Yankees couldn’t put those damn Red Sox out of their misery.

Friday’s game would have been the greatest comeback win I can remember at the new Stadium.  But the Yanks, who were trailing 10-1 at one point and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, couldn’t come all the way back, despite hitting six home runs, including two each by both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.  Saturday’s game was a guaranteed loss the way that Jon Lester has been pitching lately.  However, after falling behind 6-0, the Yanks made a little charge by hitting another two home runs, but they still ended up losing 7-3.  And with each loss, the tightness in my stomach grew tighter.

Sunday, I was so sick I couldn’t even watch the game.  It helped that my family and I had our normal routine of church in the morning, football in the afternoon, and a walk in the evening, capped off by an episode of Mad Men once the kids were in bed.  But the game was in the back of my mind the whole day.

As soon as Mad Men ended, I switched over to the game to see Mariano Rivera, who has been very un-Mo-like in September, blow a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning by allowing two Red Sox runs on two hits and four freaking stolen bases.  Honestly, it was the closest I have ever come to throwing something through my TV.  And only the fact that I was gently rocking to sleep my three-week-old baby boy in my arms kept me screaming curse words at the top of my lungs.  (Although I did mutter them under my breath.)

However, as bad as Rivera has been lately, I really have to thank Jonathan Papelbon who has been the tonic to my fever, not only for last night but also for so many games he has blown or struggled in this season.  He’s really been a different pitcher over the last year and a half, and last night was his crowning achievement as a member of the Red Sox.

With one out, Papelbon allowed a single to Nick Swisher, a single to Teixeira, a walk to Rodriguez, and a game-tying RBI-single to AL-MVP candidate Robinson Cano.  When Cano got the hit, I almost dropped my son because I thought that the single would score the winning run as well, but Robbie Thompson, who is normally a very aggressive third-base coach, decided to hold up pinch-runner Ramiro Pena at third.  Unfortunately, neither Jorge Posada nor Lance Berkman could drive in the winning, and on to extras we went again.

Joba Chamberlain, who has been so inconsistent lately, pitched a perfect top of the tenth.  In the bottom of the inning, the Yanks took their swings against Hideki Okajima, who has really come down to earth after being so great in his first couple of seasons with Boston in 2007.  Curtis Granderson led off with a clean single to right, followed by a bunt single by Brett Gardner and an error by Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez that allowed Granderson to move to third.  An intentional walk to Derek Jeter loaded the bases, and after pinch-hitter Marcus Thames grounded into a 5-2 out, the most unlikely of heroes in Juan Miranda drew a five-pitch walk to force in the winning run.  And…sickness cured.

While I don’t anticipate that the Yankees will win the World Series this year, or even get past the first round, all I wanted was for them not to blow their lead against the Red Sox and make September of 2010 as ignominious as October of 2004.  And even though the Red Sox are not dead yet, they will be with one more loss or one more Yankee win.  And I’m hoping that the clinching Yankee win will come tonight in Toronto.  However, the way that AJ Burnett has pitched lately, a Yankee win is as unlikely as a Juan Miranda walk-off bases-loaded walk.  Wait a minute.

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May 26, 2010
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E 
NY Yankees (28-18) 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1   3 5 0
Minnesota (26-20) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0   2 6 0

It seems as if at least the starting pitching has rediscovered its groove even if the offense still has not.  Andy Pettitte (W, 6-1; 8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2.62 ERA) was terrific, giving the Yanks 8.0 strong IP, and Nick Swisher’s solo HR in the top of the 9th gave Pettitte the W as Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect bottom of the frame to earn his 10 S of the season and give the Yanks their first winning streak in over a week and a half.

Swisher’s bomb in the 9th off of Twins’ closer John Rauch was very impressive, but so was the fact that the Yanks’ last three W have all been by R, which is interesting considering that they started the season 0-3 in 1-R G. 

I think the main reason is that Joe Girardi seems to be trusting his pitching more than he has in the last few weeks and the trust has resonated with the pitchers as they have really come through in clutch situations.  Case in point: in the bottom of the 8th, the Twins had runners at 1B and 3B and no one out, but Girardi decided to stick with Pettitte rather than call on the bullpen.  And by doing so, Pettitte caught the line drive from Orlando Hudson for the first out and then got Joe Mauer to GIDP to end the threat.

(AL East -3.5, 2nd; 4-6, W2; Home 13-6, Road 15-12)

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May 26, 2010
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E 
NY Yankees (27-18) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0   1 5 0
Minnesota (26-19) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   0 6 0

In a bizarre game that began last night and finished earlier today due to a rain suspension after the 5th inning, the Yankees got a much-needed victory, and AJ Burnett (W, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.55 ERA) picked up the W despite not throwing a single pitch today. 

Derek Jeter provided all the offense the Yanks would need by hitting a 6th-inning HR that allowed Burnett to be the winning pitcher of record, and the bullpen made it stand up.  David Robertson tried to give it up in bottom of the 6th, but Jeter made a spectacular defensive play to rob Delmon Young of a 2-RBI 1B and preserve the lead for New York.  Joba Chamberlain pitched 1.1 IP of scoreless baseball and Mariano Rivera made it interesting again but earned his 9 S of the year.  JJ Hardy led off the 9th and crushed a ball to LF that looked like a game-tying HR, but the cavernous new Target Field didn’t yield another HR, and after BB Jim Thome, Rivera got Denard Span to GIDP to end the game.

Game Notes: Jeter’s HR was the first HR the Yanks have hit on the road in 6 games, which is the longest stretch on the road without hitting a HR since 1982…After beginning the season 0-3 in 1-R G, the Yanks last 2 W are from the 1-R variety.

(AL East -4.5, 2nd; 4-6, W1; Home 13-6, Road 14-12)

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May 23, 2010
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E 
NY Yankees (26-18) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3   4 10 1
NY Mets (22-23) 0 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 X   6 11 0

With another disappointing performances from one of their starting pitchers, the Yankees took another one to the chin and left Citi Field with 2 L versus W against a crappy Mets club that is going nowhere and is currently last place in the NL East.  And this is a true result of how badly this team is going.  CC Sabathia (L, 4-3; 5.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R/5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K,  2 HR, 3.86 ERA) could only go 5 IP while the bullpen was terrific going 3.0 IP, allowing only H and K.  And to make matters worse, the Yanks couldn’t do anything against Johan Santana.

If the Yankees hope to win a series soon, they are going to have to sort out a few things, beginning with their starting pitching.  The things that were their rock in the first few weeks of the season have turned completely around, including both the pitching and the offense.  Usually when the team is going south, the Yankees are able to turn it around with the long ball, which they didn’t have in this series.  And now they go to Minnesota for a tough 3-G set, which will be a good test to see how badly they are struggling or if they can continue their recent dominance over the Twins.

(AL East -6.0, 2nd; 4-6, L2; Home 13-6, Road 13-12)

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