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Sunday, September 30, 2012

YANKEES SHOW LIFE IN MUST WIN GAME

There’s no denying it; these games are must-win games. After a disappointing (to say the very least) loss on Saturday, the Yankees needed to win on Sunday so they could keep pace with the O’s in the American League East standings. Things were rocky early, but thanks to some fight by the offense in the late innings, the Yanks were able to gut out a 9-6 win.
Following an ineffective start by Phil Hughes, the Yankees were behind the eight-ball early. It was 5-1 going into the sixth, and the Yankees had a hard time generating offense against Henderson Alvarez in the first five innings. However, the Bombers inched closer as Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher led off with hits (double by Cano, single by Swisher) in the sixth. Cano would score later in the inning to make it a 5-2 game, though at the time it was disappointing that they were unable to score Swisher who was at second with just one out. The Yankees weren’t done, though, as in the next inning they would score three of their biggest runs of the season.
One more thing. In the third, Ichiro made a terrific catch while colliding into the wall. He was then applauded by the home crowd. We here at BYB were impressed with that and wanted to show you this terrific photo from AP.

Henderson Alvarez, who pitched 6 innings of two run, seven hit, and four strikeout ball, was relieved in favor of Brett Cecil. Cecil failed to retire the only man he faced, Eduardo Nunez, as he allowed a single to the speedy shortstop. Steve Delabar relieved Cecil, and he immediately allowed Derek Jeter to bloop a double down the right field line to set up a second-and-third situation for Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro didn’t drive in both runs, but he hit a sac-fly to inch the Yankees closer, making it a 5-3 game. Alex Rodriguez followed, as he fell behind 0-2 early, but he battled back and worked out a tough eight-pitch walk. Robinson Cano, like ARod, fell behind in a pitcher’s count, 1-2, but sure enough he battled back before ripping an RBI double down the right field line to make it a 5-4 game. Aaron Loup relieved Delabar, and with Swisher at the plate, Loup promptly uncorked a wild pitch to cap off the Yankee rally before inducing a Swisher line-drive DP to end the inning.

Thanks to some stellar bullpen work (more on them later), the Yankees were able to keep the game knotted at five going into the eighth. They were able to take the lead for good as Eduardo Nunez was able to sac-fly (looked like he hit a two-run double off the bat) Curtis Granderson, who walked to leadoff the frame, home to make it 6-5. Derek Jeter then made it 7-5 as he drove in Brett Gardner, who was pinch-running for Raul Ibanez, on a bloop single to shallow right.
They then scored two more insurance runs in the ninth on a Curtis Granderson two-run single to drive home ARod and Cano to make it 9-5. The Jays were able to scrap together a run in the ninth, but in the end it did not matter.

Derek Lowe relieved an ineffective Phil Hughes with two out in the fifth in this game, and he was able to miraculously retire all five men he faced. If the Yankees make the playoffs, I have a feeling he’ll make the roster, though don’t set that in stone. Anyway, Logan followed Lowe and picked up two outs to finish off the seventh before DRob and Soriano finished off the eighth and ninth inning, respectively, though Soriano allowed one run as he loaded the bases with no one out before forcing a Yunel Escobar double play, scoring just one run.

Final was 9-6, Yankees.

Talk about a huge win. This win gives them a 4-3 record on their final road trip of the regular season. The Yanks now come back to the Bronx for their final home series of the season as they face the pathetic Red Sox, who showed zero life in their series against the Orioles, on Monday. CC Sabathia (14-6, 3.42 ERA) opposes Clay Buchholz (11-7, 4.22 ERA) in the opener. The Orioles will take on the Rays at the Trop, so with the AL East tied; the Yankees are in a decent position to win the division. Fingers crossed.




--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse


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THE SADDEST THING IN LIFE IS WASTED TALENT

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices that you make, 
will shape your life forever." 
--A Bronx Tale



I heard that quote from the film Bronx Tale years ago.  It never left my mind.  It's a life lesson and it applies here, with my New York Yankees, whose job it is to win and play this wonderful game of ball. But not only play it, win it, after all, that's the goal.  The Yankees have been so inconsistent for the past 2 months, I don't see how in the hell they suddenly "Turn it on", but hey, stranger things have happened I suppose.

This is not me holding up the white flag, in fact, it's quite the opposite.  I am a fan, a true fan that believes in my team, but when we lose, it follows me throughout my day and it's the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning.  The Yankees are a truly talented bunch of ball players, but when the bases are loaded and all you can do is scrape together 2 runs like they did yesterday in Toronto, to a last place team mind you, that saying of "wasted talent" applies here. Wasted talent.  The Yankees need to play better and the fact that I'm even saying this now, on September 30th is mind-boggling to me.  
Let's break it down; Joe Girardi said this after the game: "We had plenty of opportunities to get some runs, and we just didn’t get it done."  How many times have we heard that this year?  To tell you the truth, I'm sick of it.  I'm sick of my Yankees telling me "Oh well, we didn't do it, we'll come back tomorrow and win." Well, it's simple for me the fan who forks over a ton of dough for each game and expects my Yankees to win, I simply respond with "Do better." All season long there were problems with Runners in Scoring Position. This is nothing knew, I was bitching about this in May, read YANKEE BASEBALL: THE BASICS OF HITTING. There were debates over the small ball issue and hitting homers all season as well. Remember when Kevin Long even came out at one point and said there would be more bunting?  That was quickly swatted down by Girardi the next day telling the press that the Yankees aren't the Bronx Bunters.  Obviously, there is no clear indication of what the Yankees formula was...except for being inconsistent, this was clear. 
I even had a conversation last night with someone, a Yankee fan I assume, who simply wrote: "You can win by leaving that many men on base if the other team is doing the same thing."  Hmm. I found that peculiar and silly.  I wasn't about to debate that person but let's break it down for the hell of it.  If you're saying that you just need to score "enough" runs to get by and "waste" runners in scoring position all season... well, that's not what the Yankees do, that's more like the Indians or something. Plus, it's not how you play the game.  You don't play to "get by", you play to compile a bunch of runs to shut down the competition!  My Yankees are supposed to play to win, but they haven't moved runners over all year and that's mediocre play to me.  Sure, it's an interesting story, the Yankees are first place, but how? We have a major problem with RISP and we've been injured all year. You'd think I was complaining about my last place Yankees or something.  I'm not! The Yankees are in first...but limping to the finish.  Sure, they've won some pretty tough games when they counted but let's break that down for a moment too.  The Yankees were cruising, until they weren't and lost that 10 game cushion in the American League East to the Orioles.  That's where all the wins came from, the first half.  Now, as we approach 4 more games left in the season, it's become evident to me that if they don't win the "must wins"... we don't win. Trust me, if we get the Wild Card, I'm not about to go out and buy the MLB approved "Wild Card" hat, are you?

Now they could win, hell, they could win it all this year. I'm a die hard fan, I'm a believer, but when reality sets in, you have to understand there's doubt. If you don't have doubt right now, you're a zombie.  I'm being realistic, this worries me.  No, it's not a "Collapse" like Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record likes to write in his columns every 3 days, but it is a disappointment if the Yankees don't make the playoffs.  Even a non-Yankee fan understands that. 
So in the next 4 games, my Yankees need to stop wasting their talent, they need to put on their big boy pants and they need to push hard to the finish line.  That's why we root, that's why we're fans and that's why I even have this blog in the first place.  The Yankees are important to me, winning is important to me.  Guys like Derek Jeter and Ichiro and Andy Pettitte and Curtis Granderson... all these guys are important to me.  But one thing I hate, the one thing, the saddest thing in life...or on the ball field, is wasted talent.

Let's go Yanks... you're fans are united!

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BYB PRESENTS: YANKEE SHORTS #10

#10. Shock to the System
 
Derek Jeter not a Yankee….What? (Read HERE.)  My heart literally skipped a beat when I heard this report last week.  Luckily for Bleeding Yankee Blue, we bring you the honest truth. See, it all started with Rick Reilly who simply asked Jeter the question based on Peyton Manning's recent move to Denver from Indianapolis.  But Reilly failed to inform the reader of that and instead Jeter's quote was floated all over the world in minutes.  BYB cut through the BS with DEREK JETER ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE. Glad that was cleared up. The last time my heart sank was when rumors spread Jeter was getting married…. HA.

#9 Blast Off
My best comparison for Russell Martin would be Aaron Boone. I always cringed when these guys stepped to the plate. With Yankees fighting for that American League title… Martin earned my respect with his 10th inning homer to win the game against the A’s last week, (read HERE) much like Boone earned my respect with his homer that put the Yanks in the World Series in 2003. Luckily for us, Martin is hitting himself out of his season long slump! So giving credit where credit is due…Thank You Russell Martin and can you please keep doing it!

#8 A MAZE-ing

Lou Gehrig’s life and fight against ALS still impacts people today! In honor of Gehrig be sure to visit the Chester Corn Maze this fall. Be sure to wear that famous Yankee gear and Alstede Farms will donate $2 to the ALS Association. Every dollar counts in the effort to find a cure for this disease. Read about it HERE.

#7. Back to Back 

Jeter is not the only one making history this season. Mr. Curtis Granderson hit himself right into the history books! He joins Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Jason Giambi as the only players to record 40 homers in back to back seasons, read HERE. Way to Go Grandy!!

#6. The Kid's Alright!


Ichiro Suzuki received his first player of the week honor as a New York Yankee last week, read HERE. He racked up 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 7 runs scored and 6 stolen bases in only 6 games…yeah I think that proves he is worthy.  Ichiro keep that momentum going in the post season! BYB loves Ichiro and predicted he'd be a Yankee in June with ICHIRO A YANKEE? ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE.


#5 BYB Fan Favorite

Sure we get tons of pictures of loyal Yankee and Bleeding Yankee Blue fans all the time, but we wanted to feature someone who was nice enough to send us a picture of her in our Bleeding Yankee Blue shirt! This is Debi, who is extremely loyal and Tweets all of our BYB stories every day! Hey Debi, we truly appreciate you! Thanks.

#4. Good Samaritan


Alex Rodriguez is a controversial figure to say the least. Love him or hate him…he is using his fame and fortune to help kids get off the streets. Making headlines in a positive manner, he talks to Forbes about the non-profit organizations he funds which help kids understand the importance of education, read HERE.  Well Done ARod!


#3 Humble Yourself!


Eric Chavez let the Oakland A’s know exactly what he thought about their dugout display during Sept 22nd’s game. When the A’s took the lead during the 13th inning on Saturday apparently some rookies decided to break out in chants. Viewable from 1st base Chavez stated “It’s all about being humble”, read HERE. Well needless to say the Yanks humbled them quickly when they won the game in the 14th inning.  Rookie Lesson #1: You are baseball players not cheerleaders. Rookie Lesson #2: Don’t count ya chickens before they hatch!

#2 Nick of Time
Having Andy Pettitte back is one of the best things to happen to Yankeeland and when Pettitte returned from injury, he's lived up to the hype. No doubt we need him the next few weeks and nobody better than Andy in October. I can't wait. Stay Hot and Healthy Andy!

#1 From One Icon to Another


 It's amazing how baseball brings players together.  When Ichiro was recently asked about his experience in pinstripes, he took the high road, complimenting Derek Jeter and explaining his love of his experience so far in New York saying "This is a special experience to play with Jeter and the Yankees. When I am an old man I will look back and say "what an experience that was to be on this team..."  You gotta love Ichiro.  Great quote!



 
--Kate Munrow, BYB Staff Writer
Twitter: @KatemunrowBYB



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TWO WORDS: DEREK JETER

I have a 14-year old baseball player.  Well, he’s more than just a baseball player.  He’s a true talent.  He’s been seen by pro players and college coaches and gotten nothing but rave reviews.  He is a legitimate 5-tool player – a switch hitting shortstop with plus speed, a cannon for an arm. He got incredible range and athleticism and a gamers mentality, the kind of kid who always looks good doing anything on the field.  Baseball has been his life since he was about three years old when he first picked up a bat and without any coaching, swung it like he was born to play.

So on the way home from a weekend tournament, he sat back in his seat and after reading a text from one of his high school buddies and sighed, “I have no life.”  What he meant was this, his friends all went to the football game on Saturday and then to the movies. He didn’t. So what’s a dad to say?  Two words: “Derek Jeter.
And that’s what I said.  He nodded, and let it sink in and accepted it.  It didn’t mean he is going to be the starting shortstop for the Yankees or that he is going to have 3,200 hits. It didn’t mean penthouse apartments in the Big Apple, supermodels, and more money than you can spend in 10 life times. It meant hard work all your young life.

For my son, the words Derek Jeter mean skipping football games for practice. It means missing the movies to go hit in the cage.  It means school, homework, working out, eating dinner, hitting off the tee in the basement for an hour and getting to practice 30 miles away only to get home in time to go to bed and do it all over again the next day.  It may not seem like a what a high schoolers life should be, but he knows practice makes perfect and it exemplifies the definition of hard work.

There’s a reason why Derek Jeter is my son’s and millions of other’s hero and role model.  He made the same sacrifices. We’ve seen how hard he works to win every day. Derek earned our love, admiration and respect because at 38, he works just as hard as he did at 22 and when pain kicks in, it’s 2 Advil and a glass of water…but the work doesn’t stop.

We’ve all heard Derek’s parents talk about how hard he worked as a kid. We all admire the focus his family has and how important they are in Jeet’s life (Read WHY DEREK JETER IS EPIC FOR 1 GOOD REASON.)   As a person, you can understand that when you set your sights on a career, in baseball, in life, you make sacrifices, sacrifices that seem unfair at times.  But that’s reality and as I tell all my kids, we live in the real world.  Say “Derek Jeter” and you know what it stands for.

I know, this is Bleeding Yankee Blue, where’s the tie-in? Right here; All of our Yankees need to emulate the Captain. They need to start making the sacrifices on and off the field.  They need to hustle, (Hey Robbie Cano, are you listening?) Winning takes work, if it was easy all the pro teams would be doing it. Look, this is simple; with less than two weeks to go to lock down the division, it’s time for the rest of the team to get the memo. It’s time for the Yankees to play like the Yankees every day. Read THE YANKEES NEED TO BE PERFECT NOW.

But back to my son. After driving about 10 miles in silence, the words Derek Jeter sunk in.  I casually mentioned that he’d had a great weekend.  In fact, he had the kind of weekend that most kids will never have.  No, his team didn’t win the tournament, but they showed that all of the hard work paid off.  My boy played his usual stellar baseball and I’m proud of him for that, but there’s one thing I didn’t mention until now;  After playing two games on Saturday (game 1 at 1pm, game 2 started at 9pm,) we had to get up at 5:30 am Sunday to be on our way back to the tournament for an 8:30 game.  That’s right, 5 hours of sleep for a 14-year-old and right back at it.  To top it off, my son was starting.

It was cold when we got to the field.  The other team was well rested. Long story short. My boy  pitched a perfect game.  Not a single batter reached base.  In fact, he was so locked in, he only threw 6 balls.  Perfecto.  Amazing.  Awesome. His teammates were beyond psyched.  Even the opposing teams and fans were giving him high fives. Not only good sportsmanship… respect.  And I got one of those hugs that left both of us fighting back the tears – the kind of hug that teenage boys who are taller than their dads don’t give out in public and you know what? I got it.

So yeah, my son misses the movies, maybe a football game with friends, but in that moment of frustration and having “no life”, there was one thing that happened that Sunday morning…boy wonder did what he worked so hard for but didn’t truly understand it until that perfect game.  He truly understood the definition of that 2 important words… Derek Jeter and I couldn’t be happier.




--Chris Kram, BYB Contributor



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Saturday, September 29, 2012

IT'S GETTING LATE EARLY

It has almost become a cliché at this point. The Yankees HAVE to win every game. Nobody thinks it is acceptable to have to play a one-game playoff for the wild card spot. With only five games to go, the Yankees could ill afford to lose a game on blown opportunities, yet, it was exactly what happened.
Things looked hopeful at the start, as the Yankee offense came out firing. Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki hit back-to-back singles and Alex Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Robinson Cano got a sacrifice fly for the first run. After a Nick Swisher single re-loaded the bases, Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly for the second run. For the second straight game, the Yankees gave their starter a 2-0 lead before they took the ball.
Andy Pettitte had a good performance, but he did not look as good as he did in his last two starts. We knew that Andy Pettitte would not stay perfect forever. So when he gave up that home run to Rajai Davis, allowing his first run since returning from the DL, we realized that Andy is human. Still, he was able to keep things manageable and the score close.
In the top of the third, the Yankees continued to take advantage of Ricky Romero's ineffectiveness. Alex Rodriguez led off with a walk, Robinson Cano reached on an infield single, and Nick Swisher hit a hard shot off Hechavarria's glove for a single. With the bases loaded, the Yankees failed to take advantage. They would end up regretting it. Curtis Granderson popped out, Andruw Jones struck out, and Eduardo Nunez lined out to the second baseman. To Nunez' credit, that hit should have brought in a couple of runs, but Hechavarria made an excellent grab to catch the liner.

Joba Chamberlain came in to relieve Andy Pettitte with two outs and men on first and third in the bottom of the sixth. He dodged a bullet, thanks to the continued bad base running by Toronto. Adeiny Hechavarria hit one to the wall for a double and gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead. However, Yan Gomes strayed too far from third base, and was thrown out on a laser from Nick Swisher, killing the momentum for the Jays. Joba came out for the seventh and struck out the side, which included the first putout of Rajai Davis in three days.
Alex Rodriguez' struggles showed in today's game. ARod had not driven in a run in 9 games. In the first, he actually showed bunt with men on first and second. We're not sure if he actually intended to bunt, but it may have shown his frustration in trying to bring runners in. When the game ended, his streak would stand at 10 games without an RBI. Still, he showed some good discipline and focus at the plate, as he walked in his first two plate appearances. He also gets an honorable mention for snagging a line drive in the 8th inning that he turned into a double play, ending a threat.

On a side note, Yunel Escobar is showing an incredible lack of desire to play. There was the shot from Robinson Cano in the fifth that he just did not pick up. There were a couple of potential double plays that he just did not bother to throw to first. We know it's September, and they're not playing for anything, and being booed by the home crowd on his return from suspension couldn't have helped. Still, you would think his own personal pride would make him want to do his best.

The silver lining is hard to find, but here it is. In his third start since the DL, Andy Pettitte showed that he is still on track to play a key role in the Yankees post-season rotation. If the Yankees lose the division, he is in line to start the wild card elimination game. He threw 94 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, struck out four, and gave up three earned runs on five hits and three walks.

The fact that the Yankees cannot score with runners in scoring position is killing this team. They were 2 for 11 with RISP. Nick Swisher was 2 for 2, and the rest of the team was 0 for 9. They left 10 men on base - 5 of them in scoring position. Four times an inning ended with men in scoring position. Losing such important games in this fashion is something we may look back on and say "what if" for the entire winter. They have four games to turn this around, and then they have to keep it going through October. Let's hope they do.

Final Score:  Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2

Finally, I am sure Casey will have a harsh commentary about the way the Yankees have been playing and their lack of drive, especially when there are runners in scoring position.  Look for it, I can almost guarantee it.



--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row


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HEY YANKEES, WE NEED A HERO!

There is no question that if the New York Yankees don't make the playoffs this season, it will be deemed a failure. If the Yankees win the division and lose in the playoffs, it will be a failed season. If the Yankees make it to the World Series and lose, it will be a disaster. But, I'm getting way ahead of myself...

Sorry. This is what fans do, we think too much, when the reality is, all we need to do is root... that's it. Several players will be under a microscope this fall and we have to break it down from a fan perspective, because while we have to win it all as the New York Yankees, we also have to be realistic, we want all our guys to contribute, not just 1 or 2.
Alex Rodriguez is one guy that will be heavily watched and criticized.  This is a guy that since that magical 2009 post season run, hasn't been the guy we thought he'd be after that. Alex is a regular player now, accept it. Those heroics he used to perform for us are over.  It's clear to me and no, I'm not down on Alex, I understand it, that's all.
This is the same guy that ruined our chances in the playoffs 2 years in a row ending the series the same way... striking out against the Rangers in 2010 and doing it again in 2011 against the Tigers. Not exactly a great track record, but it's on his record just the same.  Sure, he wasn't the only one to blame, but when you need your million dollar men to perform, that's the spot they need to deliver in...he didn't.
Now, think about this; if he performs below average again in the playoffs this season, assuming we get there, there is no question Alex Rodriguez will be shouted out of the Bronx by fed up fans that have been looking for the big hit and huge lift-me-up since 2009.  Alex will be criticized and fans will call for his head.  The big question is, Is that fair? Dare I say... YES. Time's up. Alex Rodriguez has healed, the window for being "locked-in" has closed and no one can hold this guy's hand anymore if he fails in the playoffs. He needs to perform... not as a singles hitter, but as a run scoring home run hitter, the same guy we know he should still be at this point. Anything less...well, let's just say it won't be pretty for Alex.

Nick Swisher. Love him or sick of him, it's clear to me that if he carries his 16 for 100 post season record back to the post season and tacks on more Zeroes, Yankeeland will be happy to say goodbye and will turn to Ichiro Suzuki as a cheap alternative to right field next season. That's the bottom line and Nick knows this. Nick's not a postseason player, but, that can change if he starts to actually deliver in the post season, you know what I mean? Look, it may not be fair to say that, but look at his record, not exactly stellar. Am I being too harsh? Sure I am, but I'm allowed to, Nick needs to do his job we all know that at this point.
Ivan Nova was quoted in Mark Feinsand Blogging the Bomber's piece (HERE) saying "I’m going to keep working like I’m going to start next time. If he don’t give me next time, what can I do? I’m confident, I’ll still work and hopefully I can get the next one and then be in the playoff rotation... I want to be on the roster, I want to help the team to win games in any position. I just want to be there.”

Sure, you gotta love the balls on this kid, but let's be honest, he pitched his way out of the rotation since the All-Star break. Look, I'm as confused as the next guy, Nova hasn't performed well enough to be in the post season as a starter. Do I love his confidence? I do, but let's face it, if the Yankees crawl into the post season like it looks like they may, I don't want Ivan Nova there, I want Andy Pettitte there all day long.

Look, we need a hero, we don't need doubt, we need confidence. That's why there is a positive to this whole post.  Guys like Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte know the post season. I see CC Monster about to turn it on. I see guys like Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano about to feel the crisp air on their faces and they're ready to go. I see a momentum filled bullpen in Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano, back together again, and I like it.

I need a hero, we need a hero and the Yankees know that. Now, they will go out and play hard, they will lead and fight their way through the BS. After all, no one expected the Baltimore Orioles to still be around. It's good for baseball yes, but it's not good for my Yankees. So we need to think about ourselves now though, that's the bottom line. We need to play good baseball and be better than real good, we need to be perfect (HERE). Because is there is 1 thing I know about Yankee fans, we take winning well and losing harder than an fan out there and that's because we're used to winning. I know, any non-Yankee fan out there will shit on that statement, but they will never understand what it's like to be a Yankee fan. But remember this post and remember the guys I mentioned, ARod... Swish...  these guys will be under a microscope this fall. They have to perform, and not just to get by, they need to blow us out of the water!

We need a Hero... Hideki Matsui anyone?

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NOVA'S TURN FOR THE WORST

I'm not exactly sure what happened to Ivan Nova, but it appears that he may not be part of the Yankees plans this fall.  I mean, this was a guy that was dominant last season, after he was sent down to the minor leagues.  Then, when the Yankees needed him most in the 2011 post season, he stepped up and took the ball.

Now, after a stint on the DL and just a bunch of lousy starts (Since the All-Star break, he has a 7.05 ERA & opposing bats are hitting .309 against him), he may have pitched himself out of the post season rotation. According to ESPN's Wally Matthews, "Nova's record has been deceptive all season. After a poor spring, he started out 3-0, to extend a streak of 15 straight wins he had begun the previous June. At one point in the season, he was 9-2, but his ERA languished above 5.00 into June, and he allowed an alarming number of home runs and extra-base hits.

Nova suffered through an especially bad July and August, and then spent nearly a month on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. When he returned on Sept. 15, he threw a good outing at the Tampa Bay Rays -- six innings of four-hit, two-run ball -- but reverted five days later against the A's, and repeated that performance Thursday against the Blue Jays." Read the rest HERE.

Look, right now, if I needed to put together a first round rotation, I go with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes.  Do I wish Nova was pitching well right now? Of course, but he's having an off year. I don't think Nova is injured, but I wonder if his injury last season has lingered somehow, meaning, maybe he needs alittle more time.  Whatever the case, you can't over think it, sometimes pitchers and players have bad seasons, it happens.

The best part, and this is where I love these players, Nova still has a ton of confidence. This is his quote from a few days ago:

 “I’m not thinking about that... I’m going to keep working like I’m going to start next time. If he don’t give me next time, what can I do? I’m confident, I’ll still work and hopefully I can get the next one and then be in the playoff rotation.” (Read the rest HERE.)

Look, you gotta love that, but I really don't see Nova as part of the post season plans.  Bottom line, Nova will be alright, even if he isn't part of the post season, but let's hope long term the kid's alright, because I like Ivan Nova, he's got a lot of guts.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

HIGH ENERGY YANKEES WIN BIG IN TORONTO

The game started with the Yankees' magic number for the post-season at three and the division lead at one. With both the Orioles and the Yankees playing the bottom of the division, this would not be a good night to choke against the Blue Jays.
Hiroki Kuroda did not come out looking strong tonight. The final line on him is 5 and a third innings, 10 hits, 2 runs earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. The box score looked a lot better than he actually did. Consider that most of the hits he gave up (6 of the 10) were extra-base hits. Kuroda was helped by the double play and by some poor base running on the part of the Blue Jays. Nevertheless, it was good enough for his 15th win on the season.

The Yankees got on the board early, as pitcher Chad Jenkins struggled to keep the bats down. Starting things off in the top of the first, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back 2-out singles. They both scored on a double by Nick Swisher, giving us a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees kept it going in top of the second, as Raul Ibanez led off with a base hit and Russell Martin and Eric Chavez reached on back-to-back walks. With the bases loaded, Derek Jeter brought in a run on a ground out double play to make it 3-0.
Russell Martin's clutch hitting continued tonight in the top of the sixth. After a Colby Rasmus home run that shrunk the lead to 3-1, Martin came up with Cano on second, Swisher on 1st and 2 outs on the board. He hit a huge line-drive home run to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead. It was huge not because of the distance, but because of the way it reversed the momentum of the game. Once again, Martin comes through.

The rally in the sixth continued as Eric Chavez walked, Derek Jeter singled, and Ichiro Suzuki singled Chavez in for a 7-1 lead. The Blue Jays answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a Kelly Johnson double and a Rajai Davis base hit. Kuroda left the game for David Phelps, who surrendered the run on a ground out fielder's choice.

The back and forth continued from there. In the top of the seventh, Nick Swisher walked and Curtis Granderson doubled to put men on second and third. A Raul Ibanez fielder's choice brought Swisher in for an 8-2 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Phelps walked Edwin Encarnacion and then surrendered a home run to Adam Lind, making the score 8-4. The top of the eighth had Ichiro Suzuki hitting a double with one out. Reliever Chad Beck came in and, after Ichiro stole third, gave up an RBI single to Robinson Cano to make the score 9-4.

David Robertson was brought in to pitch the eighth, which turned out to be the first scoreless half-inning since the top of the fifth. Nevertheless, that did not stop the Yankees from scoring again in the ninth. Eric Chavez hit a two-run home run with Chris Dickerson on first to give the Yankees an 11-4 lead.

The Blue Jays' miscues were plentiful tonight. After getting a double to lead off the game, Brett Lawrie inexplicably strayed too far from the base and was nailed on a fielder's choice by Nick Swisher. Yunel Escobar was also caught napping on third base in the bottom of the second, thrown out by Russell Martin on a third strike pitch. In both cases, the Jays got base hits following the outs, which could have scored some runs early for the Jays. In the top of the seventh, pitcher Joel Carreno tried to throw out Russell Martin at first and ended up throwing the ball into right field.

The Yankees offense was definitely on tonight.  The Yankees scored in six of the nine innings tonight, including the last four consecutive innings. Four hitters had a multi-hit night, seven of the nine starters scored, six of the nine recorded an RBI, and five of their 13 hits were for extra bases. Let's hope they can save some for the rest of the week, as every win is important. Finally, it was nice to see Brett Gardner again out in left. All around, a very nice night.

Final Score: Yankees 11, Blue Jays 4




--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row


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ROOTING FOR THE RED SOX AS A YANKEE FAN

It sounds like absolute lunacy. Why would I ever root for the Red Sox? I'm a die hard Yankee fan. Well, truth be told, the Orioles aren't good, they're great and if you told me in April the Yankees and Orioles would be competing for the top spot in the American League East, I would have laughed. Sure, in the back of my mind, I knew what Buck Showalter was capable of, his managing skills are unique and he's got a young Orioles team believing they can run through a brick wall. You have to admire that.
Good for them, it's great for baseball, but it's lousy for a Yankee fan like me. So, in turn, I say this... Go SOX!

It sounds so icky and wrong, but it's a must right now. The Orioles need to be swept by the Red Sox, but that's not all, the New York Yankees need to win too dammit. It's not enough to just root for another team to beat the group of guys nipping at your heels... You actually have to play well too. Enter the Yankees who need to win. Sure, losing  to the Yankees last night sucked, but losing and being shut out last night sucked more. The Yankees only win the division if they win themselves, but having alittle help from the Red Sox is another part of it. Plus, let's be totally superstitious and carry around our latest copy of Sports Illustrated and get the SI curse going too. You know the issue, I'm talking about right? The new one with the Orioles on the cover.
Let's display that too. Yeah sure, I sound ridiculous now, but I'm a Yankee fan, that's what I do. Do I wish ill on players or teams? No. Instead, I pull out items to make me smile and at the same time, hopefully it sends negative vibes the other way, hence, my new Sports Illustrated.

So yeah, the Yankees and the Red Sox are my teams this weekend. The Yankees need to win the next 6 and the Red Sox need to spoil the Orioles for 3 games, although, Game 1 doesn't seem too good for Boston. For me though, a Yankee fan,  it just makes sense.

And to all you Orioles fans who like to frequent my site and write obscene stuff in the comments section, know this... I believe the O's had a good run, but as a Yankee fan, I want my guys in the playoffs and to win it all, not your team, my team.  That's the goal, right?  I know you understand that too so Good Luck. But for me, having the Yankees there just makes better sense. That's all.

Comment if you'd like, read us if you like, but keep it clean. We're all baseball fans first and I am not a mean spirited guy, so if you write something cruel, I'm deleting it. Playful is fine, stupid isn't.

Go Yanks!...and go Sox.  Yeah, I can't get used to that.

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JETER & SWISHER EXCHANGE TEXTS


Swisher: Are we gonna win this thing bro?

Jeter
: Your asking me swish? Seriously?

Swisher:
Come on Cap, I need some motivation!!lol

Jeter
: We will play each game like game 7 and win the division. Look at me, I have a piece of bone rattling around my ankle lol

Swisher
: U are a god.

Jeter:
I kind of am lol. Kidding

Swisher:
I'm just glad I'm hitting again

Jeter:
Always about you nick. You amaze me ;)

Swisher
: Well, you know what I mean

Jeter
: No, what do u mean hotshot?

Swisher
: - - Dude, sorry man

Jeter:
IM KIDDING!! Texting can sometimes be taken the wrong way

Swisher
: OH sorry dude.  I thought you were pissed.

Jeter:
I just want to win, no time to be pissed. Last night's 6 zip loss sucked. we're better than that.


Swisher : That's why ur the captain. Have you heard from Posada?

Jeter
: Every day bro. He's ready to suit up

Swisher:
Really?

Jeter:
Oh yeah. The dude is itching to play

Swisher
: NO WAY

Jeter:
Way

Swisher:
That's amazing. Would the yanks take him you think?

Jeter
: DUDE! Gullible much? He's home with the fam, he aint going anywhere!

Swisher
: U dick, you got me!!

Jeter:
Its not too hard man. Hey so you going for big money this off season or what

Swisher:
Have to see, I love ny, but I'm curious. its business

Jeter:
I hated my contract stuff. Too much crap being thrown around. Piece of advice, know what you want and stay focussed.

Swisher:
I hear that

Jeter:
Now let's go win the whole damn thing!!

Swisher:
THAT'S MY CAPTAIN!

Jeter:
You're damn right.

(NOTE: THESE ARE FAKE TEXT EXCHANGES. THIS IS ME USING HUMOR AND MAKING A GUESS OF HOW THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WOULD SPEAK TO EACH OTHER VIA TEXT. THERE IS NOTHING REAL ABOUT THIS. IT IS DONE STRICTLY FOR LAUGHS. ENJOY)

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SWISHER'S EXPLODING AT THE RIGHT TIME


Nick Swisher makes me happy.  I like watching him in the field.  Sure, he’s not exactly the first baseman we’re used to, but for God sake, he’s out there every day, not complaining, just working.  I think all that confidence is starting to pay off.  Like the other day when he had to play that grounder down the first base line and turned and threw a bulls eye at Robinson Cano for the out...outstanding.

Finally Nick Swisher appears to be out of his slump and just rolling.  The big question I have for the Bronx Elvis is, can he keep it rolling as we push hard to the playoffs?  Let’s not forget, the Baltimore Orioles are pushing very very hard right now and through it all, the Yankees have managed to keep ahead.  Now, no doubt the Yankees had a huge opportunity Thursday night in Toronto and blew it 6-0, but that’s baseball, Brandon Morrow was good and the Yankees offense was terrible, but we need to forget it and win the rest, that's the bottom line! And we will, we have to.
Nick Swisher has hit 3 home runs in the last 5 games. There is no question he’s locked in. I do wonder if locking in now will translate to locking in in the playoffs.  Sure, I probably shouldn’t be speaking of the playoffs while I just mentioned just how dominant the Orioles have been, but I have confidence…I believe in my Yankees.

Over the past few years, Nick Swisher has been less than stellar during the playoffs.  Here’s his line, it was worse than I remember. 16-100, 4 HR, 5 RBI, .160 AVG.

So what’s the difference this time around? He needs to show up, for the Yankees and for him.  This is his Free agent year and while there is apart of me that believes he and the Yankees can work out a way for him to take a hometown discount to stay with the Yanks next year, there is no guarantee considering this is the first time in his career that he’s a free agent.  Do I want him to stay a New York Yankee? Yes. Does he want to be here? Sure, but every ballplayer has that ego, “What can I get in the free market?”  If you don’t believe that, you’re blind.
Sure right now Nick's got a .262 average and 24 homers and counting, but let’s hope he stays hot from now and through the playoffs, because the Yankees are coming, but we need our bats hot…are you listening Nick? No pressure.

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