April 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

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I’m not being lazy when I simply sum up tonight’s 4-0 win over the O’s with the words:
“Cano is sick right now.”
He is. He just is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player with such a hot bat. Every pitch he sees must look like this to him.
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And how about his defense? That play he made in the third was outstanding. Is all this just a case of a talented kid maturing? Has his work with Kevin Long finally paid off? Is he more focused on the game without his buddy Melky around? I don’t know and I’m sure he’ll slump like every player does. But I’m enjoying this ride as long as it lasts, particularly since A-Rod and Tex haven’t started mashing yet.
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No, Cano didn’t win the game singlehandedly. There was A.J. Wow. Just wow. Yesterday’s commenters here on the blog speculated about which starter had the potential to throw a no-hitter. Well, tonight A.J. had no-hit stuff – good control, especially after the first inning, and lots of life on his fastball. He went eight innings and Mo took care of the ninth. Game over. Road trip over. Happiness assured. If I had my own plane, I’d fly it in the sky and write a message to the Yankees. Here’s what it would say.
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Melissa Asked – And The Yanks Delivered

“What’s more important now is how they recover from the past few games. That shows the character of a team.”

That was Friend of the Blog Melissa’s comment from yesterday’s post, following the Yankees’ drubbing at the hands of the O’s. She was right — the 2010 Yanks needed to show they’re capable of bouncing back after tough losses. And did they ever.



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(The men in the picture are supposed to be Yankees bouncing back; the women must be she-fans.
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* CC was a workhorse yet again, carrying the team into the eighth inning.



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* The offense pounded Jeremy Guthrie.



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* Could Cano be any hotter?



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* How locked in is Nick Swisher right now?



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* Granderson no longer has blinders on.



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* And Joba and Mitre nailed down the win.



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There was just one thing….Jorge got contused.



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I could hear the sound of the ball hitting his leg all the way in California. But Cervelli was more than up to the task of replacing him. Will we have to call up a third catcher from Scranton? I expect we will. And I guess it’ll mean a return engagement for Chad.

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What I really hope is that Guthrie stops following in the footsteps of former Orioles wildman Daniel Cabrera. I’ve had about enough of him hitting our guys.

How Do You Spell Relief?

Not this way…
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Or this way…
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Or even this way…
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Not tonight in Baltimore anyway. What a putrid game for the Yankees, wasn’t it? Especially after Hughes gave yet another gutsy performance? I was working while the game was on, so I had the TV on in the background. Every time the Yanks would do something stupid (walk a batter, hit a batter, make a throwing error, kill a rally), I would turn around to look and then do this.
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Well, I felt like it. Maybe the players were tired from all their parading around Washington. Or maybe they ate some bad crab cakes in Baltimore. On the other hand, maybe the O’s were just due for a win, poor darlings. All I know is that it was as if the real Yankees had been taken over by little league Yankees.
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I also know that we need Chan Ho Park to come off the DL…And for Nick Johnson to stop walking and start hitting…And for A-Rod, Tex and Grandy to be the mashers we know they are…And for Cano to ride this beautiful streak of his until the end of the season when he will surely win the AL Batting Crown.
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Things will be better with CC on the mound tomorrow. How do I know that? Because there’s not much for the players to do in Baltimore, so they’ll get a good night’s sleep.
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Before I sign off, I’d like to give a shout out to she-fans extraordinaire and friends of this blog, Serena and Lisa, whose own Traveling Baseball Babes is one of my favorite blogs. They’re organizing a terrific fundraising event in Hicksville, LI in June called “Fred K’s Cancer.” Both of their fathers are named Fred and both men are cancer survivors (and big baseball fans), so Serena and Lisa decided to educate people about their diseases in a very special way. They created a Fred K’s Cancer blog, so please check it out and read about their fab event!

Notes From The White House

Such a busy day for me before the Yankees even got to the East Room.
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Just kidding. I don’t have a purple cardigan sweater with buttons like that, although I do have a pinstriped shirt (well, a pinstriped jersey). Anyhow, I know the Yanks have been to the White House several times, but it never gets old. I was teary eyed throughout the whole ceremony this afternoon. How could I not be when the event provided moments like this, where the President got to shake the hand of God?
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Other observations:
* Where was Hank Steinbrenner?
* Why was Phil Hughes the only one wearing a gray suit?
* Who were all those people chanting “Hip Hip Jorge?”
* Why were Marte, Cano and Cervelli chewing gum?
* How many times did Obama mention the White Sox?/Don’t we already know he’s their #1 fan?/Did he burn the Yankees jersey right after everybody left?
* Did A-Rod feel uncomfortable meeting Obama, after the Prez called the revelations about his PED use “depressing” last February?
* Why did John Sterling get to stand right smack in the middle of the players?
* Couldn’t Biden have been allowed to say something nice about the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees?
* If the Yankees win again this year will they let bloggers go to the White House next year?
* How jealous am I of this kid?
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My Chat With Javy

It was time for an intervention. Yes, it’s still early in the season, but I didn’t like what I saw today from Vazquez in the Yankees’ loss to the Angels. (I didn’t like what I saw from Marte either, but that’s another story. At least we got a look at Mitre and have confirmation that he does, in fact, exist. As for the Yankees’ offense? It took the day off.)
Vazquez doesn’t seem to have any confidence in his stuff, so I figured I’d better get to him before the team left the west coast. Here’s our conversation. As you can see, he’s very troubled. But I believe we rooted out the problem.

Has Pettitte Been Drinking From The Fountain Of Youth?

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He was absolutely spectacular today in the Yanks’ 7-1 win over the Angels. I mean, eight innings with eight K’s and zero walks? So what if he’s showing a few gray hairs. OK, more than a few. Maybe someone will get him a box of this.
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All I know is that he pitched like an ageless wonder and it couldn’t have come at a better time, given the Yankees’ modest two-game losing streak and the prospect of facing the same Pineiro who stymied our offense recently. The good news there was that it wasn’t the same Pineiro. This version got hit early and often.
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Everybody (almost) contributed offensively, with Cano, Swisher and Cervelli deserving special mention. And then there was Brett Gardner, batting second in place of the injured Nick Johnson. (I was snarky on Twitter; I said Johnson hurt his back because he finally swung at a pitch. Bad me.) Gardner was a revelation, not only playing his running game but spanking the ball. Would it be a stretch to hope he develops into the kind of #2 hitter some of us have been missing?
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Well? He’s got more speed. He has a better arm in left field. And he slaps hits around, like Damon does. He doesn’t have Damon’s power, but maybe that’ll come. In the meantime, he was fun to watch today. Doesn’t he kind of look like Damon here?
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Also worth a mention was Marte. Nice job, Maso or whatever nickname Girardi has given you. Up next? Vazquez. I’d really like the Yankees to win this series, which means that Javy will have to hold up his end. Or, if he falters, it’s possible we could see Mitre…unless he really has gone missing.
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Well, THAT Was An Eventful Game

Too late for a pictorial. Suffice it to say that the Yankees’ 6-4 loss to the Angels was never dull.
* A.J. was wild early, and I kept thinking he’d get pulled and we’d see Mitre (if he still exists). But somehow he only gave up one run in the first inning when the Angels threatened.
* The Yanks came back in the third – with a vengeance.
Gardner doubled.
Jeter doubled, scoring Gardner.
Tex got plunked (and looked really ********** about it).
A-Rod singled.
Cano singled, sending Tex home.
Tex doesn’t run gracefully. He charges, like he’s being chased. When he reached the plate, he lifted his shoulder and rammed into Wilson, the Angels rookie catcher, hard. Wilson went flying, clearly injured, and Tex, still looking **********, made sure he tagged home and then marched to the dugout. Wilson went to the hospital with a concussion and an ankle something or other. By the time the inning was over, it was 3-1 Yanks.
* The Angels roared back against A.J. with three runs of their own, jumping ahead 4-3.
* Swisher tied things up at 4-4 with a solo shot.
* A.J. settled down and ended up going seven innings. I have to say it was a gutsy performance, in the manner of CC and Andy, who grind games out even when they don’t have their best stuff. 
* I went into the eighth hoping Joba could hold the Angels until we scored again. Wrong. He had nothing. I mean nothing. A single to Matsui and a homer by Morales made it 6-4 Angels. Dave Robertson put out the fire, but that was the ball game. Ugh.
Should Joba have been in there for a tie game on the road? What do I know, except that Chan Ho is on the DL; Aceves, Logan and Marte had been warming but sat down; and Mitre, as I said, seems to be MIA.
I hate the thought that Angel Stadium might turn itself back into a house of horrors for the Yankees, but this game didn’t end well. I’m hoping that Pettitte can restore order on Saturday.
‘Night.

Triple Play!

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I know. That’s a lot of A-Rod, but he started the play and it was fun to watch. I’d never seen one in real time. And it was extra satisfying since Suzuki was the unlucky recipient and he’d hit a three-run shot off CC in the first inning. The guy just feasts off Yankees pitching.
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CC was all over the place – six walks? – but he only gave up four runs and ended up throwing a complete game. If the Yankees had mustered some offense, not counting the solo shots by Thames and Tex, he could easily have squeezed out a “W.” Instead, their winning streak, like all good things, came to an end.
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Actually, I’m not crying at all. We won another series. Tex looks like he might be waking up from his April slumber. A-Rod is playing a nifty third base. Nick Johnson didn’t break a bone playing first base. We didn’t have to use Mo again. Life is sweet.

Huuuuuuuuughes!

What a difference a day makes. Tuesday night’s game was kind of a snooze, but tonight’s? I was on the edge of my seat every second.
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From the first inning, it was clear that Phil Hughes had it going. He worked quickly, threw strikes, had good velocity, looked determined. The A’s batters went down, one after the other (well, except for a walk), and before I knew it, it was the seventh inning – and Hughes hadn’t given up a hit. Would he throw a no-hitter? Would he? My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty.
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Into the eighth we went. Hughes got out #1. Big sigh. Then up came Eric Chavez, Oh, no! His stupid chopper back to the mound bounced off Hughes’ chest and he made it to first for an infield single. What a way to break up the no-no! Bummer!
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The Yankees offense, by the way, wasn’t exactly teeing off on Ben Sheets. He gave up back to back triples to A-Rod and Cano (yes, triples!), and an RBI ground out to Posada, but that was it. So when Hughes started to falter in the eighth, the Yanks were only up 2-0. Joba allowed one of Hughes’ base runners to score for 2-1. I felt my throat close up at that point.
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But the inning ended without further damage and the Yanks provided some insurance in the ninth (huge single for Gardner, scoring Granderson to put us up 3-1). Then came Mo.
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Normally, I figure “game over.” But Mo – shockingly – gave up a single to Sweeney, then he hit Suzuki. He looked sort of annoyed by the whole thing and promptly got down to business. The A’s didn’t score, the win was preserved for Hughes and the Yankees’ consecutive series streak is now at five – which hasn’t been matched for the franchise since 1926.
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Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira still aren’t hitting, Randy Winn may never get a hit, and the A’s fans and their “Yankees suck” chant were obnoxious, but who cares. The night belonged to Hughes. He was brilliant.

Our Chanting For Javy Worked!

Clearly, all Vazquez needed was for people on this blog to chant something, like members of a cult.
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He had a high pitch count, but was otherwise impressive over five innings, only allowing a run. But Girardi brought him back for the sixth (why?) and Granderson and Cano let a ball drop between them (why?), and Suzuki hit a two-run shot that was probably the result of Javy thinking: I should be out of this inning. But he pitched well enough to get the win and he did. As for offense, the first three runs were cheap ones thanks to Gio Gonzalez’s control problems. But then came A-Rod.
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I think that ball is still traveling. By now it should be somewhere over the Pacific, heading for Bora Bora. Boone Logan made sort of a mess of things in the seventh, loading the bases. But Joba came to our rescue in that inning and the next.
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Marte walked the leadoff batter in the ninth. Girardi immediately pulled him for Mo, even though it was a non-save situation. I love seeing The God of Closers, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t love when the other relievers force him to be his own set-up man. And am I missing something? What’s the point of having Mitre on the roster if Girardi never uses him? I suddenly feel the urge to post a pic of Sergio, just to remind myself of his existence.
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The good news is the Yankees continued their winning ways. It was cold in Oakland. They were jet lagged. Jeter was coughing. But all is well in Yankeeville.
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