A lot has changed since I last posted, and I’m liking how things are going right now. I graduated high school on Saturday, which was extremely bittersweet since I’ve been at that school since kindergarten and I will miss it dearly, but I’m ready for what’s next: summer, Marist College, and many surprises! Graduation was awesome, and I won a bunch of awards/scholarships because I’m a nerd like that. Along with one award came a little gift…everyone at my school knew how huge of a Yankees fan I am…
A Yankees cap and a little Jeter bear! From Yankee Stadium. Thanks to CSEA rep Mrs. Filmanski, a fellow Yankees fan and genuinely sweet lady.
But even though I’m relatively intelligent, and a fairly knowledgeable baseball fan, sometimes I’m just so wrong about my beloved New York Yankees.
Obviously, baseball is unpredictable. I thought since the Yankees had lost key players like Derek Jeter and Bartolo Colon to the 15-day DL, that maybe they wouldn’t be winning so much. Well so far, I have been wrong, and I’m fine with that. If being wrong means my team will win, I hope I’m always wrong. Since getting swept at home by the Red Sox, the Yankees have gone 8-2 and are now 41-29 on the season, right behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings.
Derek Jeter, in the midst of his quest for #3,000, suffered a calf strain that will sideline him for at least the 15 days. Big blow for the fans, and an impacting factor for the team. Eduardo Nunez has filled in nicely for Jeter so far, coming up with many clutch hits. I have heard so much about the kid, but he hasn’t had much time to develop at the Big League level. Now is his chance, and he’s making the most of it. I can see now why the team thought so highly of him, and why they didn’t trade him for Cliff Lee last July when they had the chance to.
Aside from Nunez, other guys have really come alive since Jeter has gone down. Guys that I’ve been complaining about all year long – like Brett Gardner – are making me feel silly now. Gardner is hitting at an insane clip of .423 in June, and is now at .294 for the season. With Jeter gone, Gardner is getting the opportunity to shine in the leadoff spot, and he’s making the most of it. Skipper Joe Girardi has even become confident enough in Gardner to let him play against lefty pitchers.
Nick Swisher is another guy who has stepped up his game to make up for lost players. Swisher had the game winning homer in the 10-4 victory last night for the Yanks, and overall has played much more solid baseball. Maybe he’s trying to make a push for the All-Star team again? Last year I think I single handedly sent him to the game, “Sending Swish” for hours straight since voting was unlimited. I think he got hot a little late for that, but if he keeps hitting consistently well, he’ll be an All-Star in all the Yankees fans’ minds.
On the pitching side, the Yankees have suffered a huge blow with the loss of Bartolo Colon for at least 15 days. I was serious when I said he was my #1 so far. The “surprise” factor was a big deal for me. I just never expected anything out of Colon, not to mention Cy Young quality performances start after start from the guy. Losing him was not easy. Brian Gordon, whom I had never heard of until the Yankees signed him, made a start in Colon’s place against the Rangers, and did fairly well, going 5.2 innings and allowing 2 runs. The Yankees can survive with him in the rotation, just as long as the other guys do well, and if the bullpen continues to be amazing.
Yes, the bullpen IS amazing, despite the bombardment of injuries on guys like Chamberlain, Soriano, Feliciano, Marte, etc. The Yankees have a bunch of no-names like Cory Wade, Luis Ayala, and Jeff Marquez filling in. And to my surprise, these no-names are quickly making names for themselves. The Yankees bullpen has the best ERA in the AL. HOW is this possible? I am so blown away.
If you showed me this current Yankees roster in April, there would be no way that I’d think they’d be 1.5 games behind Boston. They have really impressed me. They’ve dug deep and stepped up big time. I wonder what’s going to happen when guys like Jeter, Colon, and Phil Hughes are activated once again.
As of right now, it looks like things can only get better.
Yankees Struggles Continue
This past series against the Red Sox was incredibly embarrassing for my Yankees. God, it was unbearable! I thought I would finally be able to sit down and watch a good ballgame, because when they were out West I usually found myself waking up startled on the living room couch at 1am with the game over. Going back East, back HOME, seemed so comforting.
Not this time!
For some odd reason, the Yankees have struggled so far in the Bronx this year, when previously, they had a great homefield advantage at Yankee Stadium. Their record is just 17-16 in New York – definitely not good enough.
I don’t want to do recaps of these three games, because they were miserable. The Red Sox owned the Yankees, but I kind of feel like the Yankees beat themselves. This is not the team I saw in April, and there are many reasons why.
First of all, injuries. Not to make excuses or anything, but the Yankees have been ravaged by the injury bug. Remember that seemingly-unfaltering bullpen they had in April? It’s all gone. Completely destroyed. Rafael Soriano (who was very disappointing anyway, but I didn’t think he would stay bad for long) is out for God knows how long with an inflamed ligament in his throwing elbow. So there goes the 8th inning. Joba Chamberlain was recently diagnosed with a torn ligament in his throwing elbow, and he may undergo Tommy John surgery. He’s pretty much out for at least the rest of this season. So there goes the 7th inning. Now the Yankees have names like Luis Ayala and Lance Pendleton, who looks a lot like Woody Harrelson, finishing up games for them. These are not the type of player who is going to win the team a championship. The Yankees need to so some serious work.
And speaking of Joba: remember those Joba Rules? Like, the rules stating: “Let’s coddle and baby and shelter our prospects from the real world of baseball that involves pitching, because we don’t want them to injure themselves, so we’ll make a ridiculous proposal stating the exact amount of innings they can pitch, keeping in mind that they can’t pitch back to back days – God FORBID – and they can’t throw more than this many pitches in a game, and they have to use this much ice on their elbow after the game, and shower for this long, and” – okay you get it. THOSE absurd rules. Remember them? They were also used for other pitching prospects, like Phil Hughes. Well I have just one question:
WHY ARE PHIL HUGHES AND JOBA CHAMBERLAIN SERIOUSLY INJURED?
I don’t believe we will see either Phil Hughes OR Joba Chamberlain again this season, and I doubt if Joba has Tommy John surgery, that we will ever see him play in a Yankees uniform again.
It seems like the Yankees are clueless when it comes to managing their players. These “Joba”-type rules are insanity. Coincidence that both these guys are damaged now? I don’t know. All I know is that, back in the day, when baseball players were MEN and not BABIES, they played the game. They didn’t have innings limits, pitch counts, or Joba Rules of any sort. And they had perfectly fine careers. I don’t get why they can’t just do that today. I mean what, this way is any better? It seems that players are way too fragile nowadays, hence these injuries.
The Yankees are currently 33-27, but they really have not been playing well of late. They just don’t have that “spark” that they used to have. I don’t know why. Their team needs improvement drastically – in so many aspects. Relief pitching, for one. But also clutch hitting. I think the Yankees owe it to the fans to do something to get them a little excited, because maybe if the fans have a spark, it will translate into the team having some fire again. I say, since they need bullpen help and offensive help right away, just bring up some kids – and DON’T screw them up with “RULES.” Let them play the friggin’ game. Russell Martin is a little hurt, Posada isn’t hitting well? Try bringing up Jesus Montero for a catcher/DH. Maybe bring up Andrew Brackman (who is in Triple-A, just itching to get a taste of the Bigs) or Dellin Betances, and just try them out in the bullpen or in the rotation. Just DO it! Other teams do it all the time. Other teams actually USE their prospects! What a novel idea!
It may sound crazy to some, but I swear by my idea. The kids are obviously good. They’ve been sitting there, wasting away in the Minors. They are good enough and experienced enough down there to come up. And since the Yankees are struggling mightily and don’t even look like the Yankees, maybe now is the right time to make a bold move like this.
Maybe now’s the time to get a team together again.
Yanks Off to Winning Start
The day I had waited for for what seemed an eternity finally arrived on Thursday: Yankees Opening Day! I didn’t know what to expect, so I went into the day with no expectations. Sure, I didn’t want to admit it, but I was worried about them facing Verlander in the Opener. I was worried about certain guys getting off to a good start. And I was worried about the weather.
And most importantly, I was worried about missing the majority of the game because of school.
Being the nerd I am, I had to stay after school Thursday for a meeting with the Superindenent that I could not skip. “Aw jeez,” I thought. “That’s an extra hour of the game I”ll miss. I hope my boys do alright.”
When the 3:00 bell rang, I fled the school as fast as I could.
“How’re they doin?” was the first thing I asked my Dad on the way home.
“Tied 3-3.” he said.
“Doing alright, not his best.”
“Who tied it up? Like, were the Yanks winning and did they blow the lead, or what?” I nervously questioned.
“They were down 1-0, Teixeira hit a 3-run hom-
“MAAAAAAAAARRKK!!!!!” I couldn’t hlep myself. I was just so stunned that Teixeira did something big in game 1. It was his first Opening Day hit with the Yanks.
“Then the Tigers came back,” my Dad finished, not the least bit startled by my exclamation. He’s used to that.
Once we got home, it was the top of the 7th, and Sabathia had been relieved by Joba Chamberlain. CC’s line was pretty good: 6 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts on 106 pitches.
I was impressed by Joba Chamberlain, who still had the icky hair, and who had a perfect 1-2-3 7th.
I was lucky to get home when I did. Bottom of the 7th, game tied 3-3, my cutie Curtis Granderson stepped up to the plate. All offseason long, my family and I discussed how we thought certain guys would perform. I said that I expected huge things from Curtis this year – I felt he’d reach the 40 home run plateau in 2011.
Sure enough, Curtis hit a monster home run into the 2nd deck in right field to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead.
“OH MY GOD, CURTIS!!!! AWWW!!!! WE’RE WINNING!!!!”
Way to make me look good, Curtis!
From there on, the Yanks never looked back. They tacked on 2 more runs via a Derek Jeter sac fly and a Nick Swisher RBI single. The bullpen was perfect: Rafael Soriano and his #29 jersey impressed me with a 1-2-3 8th, and Mo was Mo looking good with high socks and a 1-2-3 9th.
Yankees win game 1 by the score of 6-3.
They couldn’t have played better. The Heroes for the Opening Day win are Mark Teixeira for his big blast, Curtis Granderson, for his stellar defense and clutch homer, and the Yankee bullpen, for being perfect.
I was able to catch the entire game 2, a game where Burnett didn’t suck, and the Yankee offense exploded.
My boys got off to a 3-0 start in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by A-Rod (who WILL be MVP this year), an RBI single by Cano, and a sac fly by Swish.
The longball was key for the Yanks in game 2. Mark Teixeira DID IT AGAIN with a 3-run homer to give the Yanks a 6-0 lead. He’s on pace to hit 162 home runs this season! Keep it up, Mark!
Russell Martin surprised the heck out of me when he went deep for a 3-run shot in the 5th to give the boys a 9-3 lead. Honestly, I didn’t expect much from Martin. But in the first two games, he has impressed me. I didn’t expect him to steal bases, and he’s done that already. And he filled the home run column. I think he’s going to be the best #9 hitter in baseball.
The Yankees added on another run in the 6th with an Alex Rodriguez home run. He’s a beast.
A.J. Burnett was decent through 5 innings. He looked good over the first 4, but ran into a little trouble in the 5th. He managed to escape with minimal damage. Burnett allowed 3 runs over 5 innings and struckout 6. He was relieved by David Robertson who had a scoreless 6th. Luis Ayala, who I thought was pretty mediocre in Spring Training, gave up 2 runs. Boone Logan saw a little action, and Mariano Rivera closed out the game for his 2nd save of the season.
The Heroes for the Victory here are the homer boys: Teixeira, Martin, and A-Rod.
It’s such a beautiful thing…the Yankees are 2-0 this year, and the “best team in baseball,” the Boston Red Sox, are 0-2. One of their star-offseason acquisitions, Carl Crawford, has not gotten a hit yet. And their pitching has been dreadful so far.
HA. HA. HA!
Who’s the best team in the AL East? Can I hear you say it?
NEW YORK YANKEES.
Ahh, it’s a beautiful thing…I love it.
It’s gonna be a goooood season.