Thursday, September 12, 2013

Late wild pitch lifts Yankees to third straight win in Baltimore

Despite David Robertson blowing a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees were able to bounce back quickly and win tonight's game over the Orioles, 6-5. With this win, the Yankees will leave Baltimore on a three game winning streak, and are now just one game behind the Rays in the Wild Card standings. 

The Yankees scored most of their runs early on this one, as Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Wells hit a two-run single in the third. In the seventh, Curtis Granderson hit what looked like the dagger when he hit a high fly ball over the right field fence. But, since Robertson gave up three runs in bottom of the eighth inning, it wasn't. Thankfully in the top half of the ninth the Bombers would re-take the lead after Jim Johnson threw a wild pitch, but it was still frustrating. Robertson's gotta do better. 

Anyway, this series was fun. Now on to Boston. 

Yankees Tried To Trade For Dan Haren

The New York Yankees tried to acquire Dan Haren from the Washington Nationals earlier in the month but never came close to a deal. The Washington right hander is owed $1,500,000 for the rest of the season and would only make three starts for the Yankees since he would not be eligible for the post season roster so the Yankees passed on a potential trade. With Phil Hughes struggling and David Huff getting lit up by the Red Sox in his only start you can see why the Yankees would want to try to improve the back end of their rotation but that will not happen with Dan Haren unfortunately.

Brett Gardner Leaves Game In First Inning Tonight

UPDATE: Officially being diagnosed a left oblique strain... ouch

Brett was seen wincing and favoring his left side around his rib cage muscles and oblique after a check swing on a 3-2 pitch. Not a great sign, stay tuned.

Brett Gardner has left tonight's game against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning for an unknown reason. Gardner led off the game with a strike out but was replaced by Curtis Granderson in center field for the bottom of the first. No news on why the change was made so stay tuned.

Boston Will Honor Mariano Rivera On Sunday

The Yankees will travel to Boston to take on the Red Sox for the final time in Fenway Park on Sunday and the Red Sox plan to honor Mariano Rivera before the game. Say what you will about the Boston Red Sox and their on the field product but those fans are great and very respectful, especially of Mariano Rivera, so that place should be absolutely electric on Sunday. Kudos to Boston and to their fans in advance because I know they will stay classy much like they did earlier in the season.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Orioles 9/12

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles finish up their big four game set tonight at Oriole Park in Camden Yards on September 11th plus one. The pitching match up is Phil Hughes for the Yankees and Wei Yin Chen for the Orioles and it can be seen at 7:05 pm ET on the YES Network, MLB Network, and MLB TV. Huff hopes to harness some of that magic he had coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees and less of the disaster we saw when he faced off with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. The Yankees and their playoffs and wild card hopes and dreams hinge on this game, and every game, so hopefully good Hughes shows his face tonight in Baltimore.

Here is the Yankees lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Brendan Ryan SS
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Go Yankees!!!

Ivan Nova May Miss Sunday's Start

Early this afternoon George King had reported that it was unclear whether or not Ivan Nova would be able to make his next start, which is this coming Sunday against the Red Sox in Boston. This was due to the tightness in his right triceps, which led to him being lifted from his last start after only 79 pitches. Not to mention that his triceps is the reason he spent time on the DL earlier this season.

Ivan Nova has had a great season, but recently he's struggled a little bit. Could it be because of his ailing triceps? Who knows?

What we do know is that Ivan Nova said he felt fine after his between-starts bullpen session today, so we'll have to wait and see.

New York Yankees Phil Hughes Meme

Pretty Much....

One last day of summer.

Ok, after last night's time capsule, it's time to go back to the present.

What can I say after last weekend. Combined with an awful Giants loss Sunday night, I was depressed. But, as Francesa said, they're still breathing. The Sox gave us a little charity on Sunday, but other than that, the bullpen was an utter disaster. The boys from Bahstan have to be one of the most dangerous and ANNOYING teams since the old days with Manny, Pedro and Ortiz. The beards can rocket away at any time; just give up a base hit to their eight-hitter and Ivan Nova winds up throwing almost 50 pitches in an inning. But, we're still breathing.

Let's talk about now. One obvious plus is that everyone the Yankees need to lose is losing. Kansas City keeps beating the Indians and Tampa can't beat the Red Sox. Thank God they don't need Oakland to lose; they've scored around 10,000 runs in Minnesota! In addition, next week, the two wild card leaders play a four-game set while the Yankees play TORONTO. I was really ready Monday to just spew drivel and hatred the Yankees' way, but with the cards falling right this week, now they find themselves one game out. Here's the problem; the starter tonight is...Phil Hughes. I read that last night while I wrote the flashback and thought, "God really hates me, doesn't he."

The let two games have been gutsy, gritty performances from everyone. The heart of the order has made a huge different. Tuesday, it was the A-Rod-Cano-Soriano pack again starting the rally; they plated four runs in the eighth to take the lead before recording an out. Shawn Kelly came on and threw a couple of wild pitches, but then Mo was Mo for save #42 for #42. Then last night, Grandy, A-Rod and ago all homered in a nail-biting 5-4 win, (that heart of the order again) but Mo tugged at my heartstrings a little; I hate to say this, but I really thought he'd blow it again. I hate to say that especially after I wrote a column specifically about NOT giving up on him after the Tiger series.

Now, the challenge this weekend. Lackey, Lester AND Buchholz (who I forgot was still undefeated) take the hill in Fenway against Kuroda, CC and Nova. The big concern, literally, is CC. His past 10 starts he's gone 4-4 with a 6.89 ERA, although he has pitched into the eighth his last two starts.

Hey, my theme this whole month is gonna be "One last day of summer." Can this old, creaky, veteran, but gutsy and gritty team complete a postseason run, or will it be curtains for the old pinstriped guard?

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 9/12

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles finish up their big four game set this week at Oriole Park in Camden Yards with their finale tonight. The Yankees are sending Phil Hughes to the mound for the start thus placing David Huff in the bullpen and he is facing off with Wei Yin Chen for the Orioles. The game will be televised at 7:05 pm ET on the YES Network, MLB Network, and MLB TV.

An Ode to the 2009 Yankees

This next post is a poem dedicated to the guys we all love,
The ones that played defense with a gold glove
I thought it would be a good time to remember 2009,
When the Yankees lineup was more than just fine.
So for a minute let’s forget about the 2013 playoff push,
Or the fact that Cashman told Alex to…. Shush.
The Road to 27 is one we will never forget,
It was a time we had faith in every player, even AJ Burnett.
2009 was the year Jeter became the Yanks all time hit leader,
And no Yankee fan cared that A-Rod was once a cheater.
The Yankees were also the first team to clinch a playoff spot,
The defense was strong and the offense was hot.
On Sept 27th the team won their 100th game of the season,
And it was against the Red Sox… so we celebrated with greater reason.
In the ALDS, the Yankees beat the Twins 3-0,
They shut down the Twins, thanks to the GOAT Mo.
The Yankees won the ALCS against the Angels 4 games to two,
Who can forget the A-Rod-Jeter-Tex hug… what an awesome crew!
CC was named ALCS MVP,
He definitely deserved it… I don’t think anyone would disagree.
The best part about the win is that we would get to see the Yankees play more,
And who wouldn’t want to watch more games with the CORE FOUR?!
Next was the World Series against the Phillies… shit
With Cliff Lee pitching, would the Yankees even get a hit?
Yankees lost game 1 but that was okay,
They still got to play another day.
Game 2 came next with an epic performance from Jay-Z,
Yankee fans got to see Pedro pitch and chanted “Who’s your Daddy?”
Then the Yankees traveled to Philly for game three,
And guess who was on the mound? Yup… ANDY!
Pettitte was unreal and even got hit,
There were also homeruns from A-Rod, Matsui and Swish… I couldn’t believe it!
In game 4 Joba blew the lead by letting Pedro Feliz hit a home run,
Maybe we should’ve told him then that his career was basically done.
Yankees still won that game thanks to Alex, Posada and Tex,
Mo pitched a perfect 9th inning and then Minka Kelly and Jeter had sex.
Burnett pitched next and was the reason the Yankees lost game 5,
I honestly drank so much and am shocked I survived!
Last was game 6 and the Yankees won thanks to Hideki,
He was so unbelievable… he ended up winning the World Series MVP!
Andy was the first pitcher to start and win the clinching game in each round of postseason,
He needs to be in the HOF… and that’s just another reason.
The Core 4 got their 5th ring – one for the thumb,
Anyone who doesn’t think that is incredible is seriously dumb.

Brendan Ryan & Girlfriend Added To Wives & Girlfriends

Apparently there are some advantages to not being able to hit a lick but being the best defensive short stop in all of baseball and the advantage is named Sharyn Meichtry. Sharyn is the girlfriend of recently acquired New York Yankee Brendan Ryan and both have been added to the Yankees Wives and Girlfriends section of the site. Enjoy and you're welcome!

Looking Ahead To 2014: The Hot Corner

The Yankees 2014 Free Agents At Third Base

Kevin Youkilis
*Alex Rodriguez suspended for entire 2014 season.

The Yankees got the worst production at third base last season in the entire major leagues so we need a definite upgrade at the hot corner if we plan to compete in 2014. The good news it we can only go up from here, the bad news is there is not much available in the free agency. Here is the complete list of 2014 free agents but I will hit the high spots and realistic options for the Yankees in this years free agency period.

Michael Young (37 years old)
Kevin Youkilis (35 years old)
Mark Reynolds (30 years old)
Eric Chavez (36 years old)
Corey Hart (32 years old)

Michael Young would add a potent right handed bat to the Yankees lineup and some versatility with his ability to play all over the infield and even in the outfield in a pinch. The Yankees tried to acquire Michael Young at the trading deadline in 2013 but honestly I cannot see them going after a year older version of Michael Young in 2014. Kevin Youkilis and his bad back kept him out of basically all of Spring Training and the 2013 season for the Yankees and I cannot see them making that mistake again. Eric Chavez would be a pretty decent addition if he were willing to come back as a bench player like he was for us in 2011 and 2012 but I cannot see that happening again after tasting the sweet life of a starting gig in Arizona with the Diamondbacks in 2013. That leaves Mark Reynolds and Corey Hart fighting for the Yankees free agency dollars. Mark Reynolds may not be an ideal addition with his high strike out rates, terrible defense at both first base and third base, and his low batting average but the guy can absolutely hit home runs from the right side of the plate and after the part of the 2013 season spent with the Yankees that may be enough for Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. Corey Hart on the other hand is coming off of a knee injury that kept him from playing at all in the 2012 season and that is enough for me to stay away from the guy. As much as I was a fan of Corey's before the 2013 season we had enough problems with injuries and injury prone players in 2013 and Mark Reynolds home runs and durability gives him the starting nod on any team that I am the general manager of.

Mark Reynolds would sign a one year deal if I were the GM for exactly as many strike outs as he will get as dollars, somewhere around $8,000,000. Yes that was an extreme exaggeration.. or was it? Kevin Long did a lot with Reynolds in a month's time so imagine what he could do with an entire off season. 

Phil Hughes Will Start For David Huff Tonight

All those who were excited about David Huff replacing Phil Hughes in the rotation can take a step back today because Hughes is back in the rotation, at least temporarily. Hughes will make the start tonight against the Baltimore Orioles and Huff will head to the bullpen to be the long man. Cannot say I agree with it or the extremely short leash that they put Huff on but the binder knows best.

Another Comeback; Thunder Win with 2 in 7th

Trenton holds 2-0 lead in Championship Series

TRENTON, NJ - In a see-saw game that featured four lead changes, Trenton scored two in the 7th inning and held on in an exciting 9th for a 5-4 victory over the Harrisburg Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern League Championship Series.
Reegie Corona's RBI single tied the game before Ali Castillo's RBI groundout gave Trenton the lead for good as Trenton rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the 7th. Tommy Kahnle struck out Harrisburg Slugger Steven Souza Jr. with two men on base in the 9th to preserve the win in front of 2,683 at ARM & HAMMER Park.
With one out in the 7th, Tyler Austin and Kyle Roller drew back-to-back walks against reliever Richie Mirowski (1-1) to begin the go-ahead rally. Ben Gamel then singled sharply to right field to load the bases for Corona, who was playing in his 20th career postseason game. After a lengthy at-bat in which he worked a 3-2 count the Thunder third baseman lined his game-tying single in front of Billy Burns in left. Castillo followed with a slow ground ball to second base which brought in Casey Stevenson- who entered for Roller- with the eventual winning run.
After Danny Burawa allowed a leadoff single in the 9th, Kahnle entered with one out and immediately allowed an infield dribbler single to Burns leaving runners at first and second. Brian Goodwin then flew out harmlessly to center field and Kahnle ended the game on a 95 MPH fastball to record his second save of the postseason.
Trenton now leads the best-of-five championship series 2-0 and will attempt to secure its third Eastern League Championship in Game 3 Thursday night. The Thunder have now won a season-high eight consecutive games dating back to August 31st.
Trenton and Harrisburg hit the road to Harrisburg, Pa. to continue the ELCS at Metro Bank Park with Game 3 Thursday night. RHP Shane Greene (8-4, 3.18) has not allowed a run in his last two starts (12.2 IP) is scheduled to start for the Thunder against RHP Nathan Karns (10-6, 3.26) for the Senators. Radio coverage of Thursday's game on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 6:45 p.m.

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

Being eight again.

I'll start talking about the present again tomorrow. But tonight, permit me to reminisce.

In the weeks after 9/11, baseball helped the nation regroup in the midst of evil thousands of miles away. Mike Piazza hit one of the most dramatic home-runs in Mets history, and they played "New York, New York" in Boston, just as the Yankees played "Sweet Caroline" last April after the Boston bombings.

Things were also back to normal with the fact that the Yankees won their fourth straight AL pennant, beating the 116-win Seattle Mariners in five games. When they went to the desert for games one and two, the momentum was on their side. Then Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson shut down the pinstriped guard while the Diamondbacks outscored them 13-1. The only highlight in those two games was Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful."

Everything changed when they went back to 161st and River. Derek Jeter boldly challenged former Texas Rnagers co-owner George Bush to throw the first pitch from the mound, "But don't bounce it, they'll boo ya." President Bush walked out to the mound in his FDNY jacket, gave a thumbs up amidst chants of "USA, USA, USA!" and threw a perfect strike to the plate. Roger Clemens out-dueled Brian Anderson 2-1 in game three. Bob Brenly rolled the dice and started Schilling on two days rest against El Duque. Shane Spencer and Mark Grace each hit solo shots and the two teams took a 1-1 tie into the eighth. The Yankee bullpen imploded and Alfonso Soriano made a terrible throw home as the cutoff man, allowing Arizona two runs.

Then, walking out to the mound, was a young Korean who not many fans outside the NL West had heard of, Byung-Hyun Kim. In 1999, the D-Backs signed the 20-year-old Kim as a free agent prospect.  By this point, he had taken over Matt Mantei's spot in the closer role and racked up 19 saves with a 2.94 ERA that summer. In the bottom of the eighth, Kim struck out Spencer, Scott Brosius and Soriano in order. One inning later, Paul O'Neill slapped a single into left with one out, Bernie Williams struck out and up stepped Tino Martinez.

At 33, Tino was still hitting .280 in the regular season with 10 RBI against Oakland and Seattle in the playoffs, but was having an AWFUL World Series: 0-for-9. Stepping up against Kim with the submarine arm, Martinez connected on the fastball. Back drifted center-fielder Steve Finley, one of the best defensive outfielders in the National League at that time, all the way to the wall. Just like Todd Pratt's NLDS-winning home run in '99, the ball barely cleared Finley's glove and the wall--tie game.

There was nothing, NOTHING, like the old stadium during a big comeback; imagine the place last week when the Yankees scored all those runs against the Sawx? One inning later, the clock struck midnight on the game...and the Diamondbacks. Jeter stepped up with two outs in the tenth, at 12:01 on November 1st, the first November game ever played (now we have them every year!) After fouling off a bunch of pitches, Jeter became Mr. November by flaring a high line-drive into the right-field stands for a 4-3 win.

Series tied...2-2. Now Mike Mussina vs. Miguel Batista in Game Five. Steve Finley and Rod Barajas each hit homers in the fifth...and took the 2-0 lead to the ninth. Once again, a two-run lead. Once again, Kim on the mound; and with Posada on second with two out, once again, the tying run, Scott Brosius, was at the plate. He connected on a fastball and sent it soaring. It was almost the perfect swing; you couldn't even tell where the ball landed in the sea of hands in the left-field seats. In the words of Yogi, "Deja vu all over again!" Only in the old Yankee Stadium folks. Oh, and it ended with a win; it just took a little longer than the night before. Soriano singled to right to score CHUCK KNOBLAUCH from second. Don't forget, he had taken a big dive in value and popularity when he couldn't throw to first anymore; that's why they played him at DH so often.

It's so rare that you'd have three straight classic World Series games. Maybe games 3-5 in Atlanta could count (Coney, Leyritz and the Andy/Smoltz duel); but three heartstopping, emotional games, under the circumstances of a horrible foreign attack and the start of a war? In the cathedral of baseball?

Speaking of Andy, he had probably the worst World Series performance of his career, getting out- pitched by Randy Johnson twice in Arizona, 4-0 and 15-2 in games two and six, respectively. So now one more showdown at the OK Corral. It would be Schill against the Rocket in Game Seven. They matched zeroes for five innings. In the sixth, Danny Bautista doubled home Steve Finley before being thrown out at third (great relay by Jeter and a beautiful catch-and-tag by Brosius.) The Yankees tied it in the seventh, and then Soriano, AGAIN, hit a long shot to left to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. (Arizona, if you remember, is one of the deepest parks in baseball.)

Just like Eli Manning with two minutes and the ball, everyone knew when Mariano came on in the ninth, up a run, with 50 saves that year, and the bottom of the order up, that it was over. Instead Bob Brenly painted a masterpiece. No bombs, no flair, just old school National League baseball.

Mark Grace singled. David Dellucci pinch-ran, went to steal second on the bunt by Damian Miller and got in on Mariano's bad throw. Jay Bell grounded back to Mo, who threw the runner out at third, and then Brosius almost got the double play to first.

Now two on, one out. A ground ball would've won it. Instead Tony Womack doubled home the tying run and sent Bell to third. Craig Counsell (who homered in Game One and then did absolutely nothing the rest of the series) was hit. Bases loaded, one out, for Luis Gonzalez (whose 57-homer year was average compared to Barry Bonds.) Again, get the double play, go to the 10th. But, probably in an effort to throw the runner out at home, Joe Torre pulled the infield in on the grass. Then this happened.

Yeah, if Jeter was playing at normal depth, it would've been a pop-out. Then who knows? Maybe Matt Williams gets caught looking at an inside cutter and we got to the 10th, or he singles and Arizona wins anyway. You can shoulda, coulda, woulda for 12 years, it doesn't matter. It still stings all us Yankee fans; a fourth straight series was within reach. Maybe Tino and Scotty stay around for an extra year; try to win another. Soriano would've been BY FAR the MVP, with what would've been two game-winning hits in the series. Maybe his value soars, if it hadn't already, and the Yankees never trade him. History happens for a reason, and for whatever reason...we got stuck with A-Rod.

There was never a World Series quite like that. It was a Shakespearean tragedy on the diamond. You had the favorite also play an underdog role; everybody's team. For once, EVERYONE outside of Arizona was rooting for the Yankees. The Yankees represented the country coming together and getting up from its knees. They played baseball while the first bombs were going off in Afghanistan, while smoke still billowed out of the remains of the World Trade Center, while they were still trying to find people. They played baseball while America feared the worst; a dirty bomb, anthrax, another attack. They played baseball, and America tuned in now more than ever, for it was a welcome distraction.

There was never another World Series quite like that, with so much going on the field and off it. In the midst of a two-run deficit in the ninth in Game Five, the Yankee fans stood up and saluted their right-fielder for nine seasons of hustling, knocking down coolers, competing and playing his ass off. He was a Pete Rose type; he'd play hard for one dollar or one million dollars; gotta love those Ohioans.

Everything changed after that season. The tightest Yankee group of all-time disbanded. I don't know if we'll ever see the same scrappy, hard-nose toughness and chemistry in pinstripes again. Yes, this was long, but this was the only way this story could've been told. It's no longer the 11th, it's September 12th at 12:42 am. I thought I'd bring everyone back to being eight years old again. These last few weeks, with how the Yankees are rebounding in Baltimore, could be, as Vin Scully put it, "one last day of summer." Those were the most fun three games in my home-away-from-home I can recall.

Two defining childhood memories were on top of the Twin Towers with my dad, twice. I'll never forget. By the way, that series ended on November 4th. Eight years later to the day, the Yankees won the 2009 World Series. Yes Curt, there is mystique and aura.

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/12

On this day in 1996 Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams had a week's worth of games in one where he put up two home runs, a single, and eight RBI's in a Yankees victory over the Tigers. A slow day in Yankees history mixed with any reason to put a Bernie Williams post on the blog is the reasoning behind this post.