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Split Sweep

The Yankees ended a four-game losing streak with a pair of wins on Monday, their B-team blanking a split-squad Pirates team 6-0 on the road under manager Mick Kelleher, and their A-team eking out a 7-5 win over a full-squad Phillies team at the Boss, six of those runs coming against ex-Yankee Jose Contreras. I’ll break them both down, the A-game first.

Yankees 7, Phillies 5


L – Brett Gardner (CF)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Kevin Russo (3B)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)

Subs: Jose Gil (1B), David Adams (2B), Russo (SS), Jimmy Paredes (3B), Jesus Montero (C), David Winfree (RF), Reid Gorecki (CF), Colin Curtis (LF), Damon Sublett (DH)

Pitchers (IP): Javier Vazquez (2), Jonathan Albaladejo (1), David Robertson (2/3), Amaury Sanit (1 1/3), Christian Garcia (2), Zach Segovia (1 1/3), Kevin Whelan (2/3)

Big Hits: Nick Swisher cracked two booming doubles, one to each gap, in three at-bats, driving in three runs. Robinson Cano doubled and singled in two at-bats and drove in two. Kevin Russo played the entire game, doubling, singling, and walking in four trips. Split-squad call-up David Adams doubled in in his only at-bat.

Who Pitched Well: Javier Vazquez, who was given the derogatory nickname “Home Run Javy” during his 2004 stint in New York, gave up home run to Jimmy Rollins on his first pitch back in a Yankee uniform (a fastball right down the middle), but that was the only baserunner he allowed as he struck out four of the other six hitters he faced. Kevin Whelan retired the only two men he faced in the ninth, striking out one of them, stranding the tying runs on base and picking up the save. Christian Garcia allowed a solo homer to John Mayberry Jr. and a walk in two innings while striking out two. Amaury Sanit stranded two inherited runners and pitched around a pair of singles in an inning and a third, striking out two.

Who Didn’t: David Robertson got to 3-2 on Jayson Werth with two outs and the bases empty, but just missed outside with ball four. He then allowed an RBI double, an RBI single, a stolen base, and another walk before getting pulled.

Nice Plays: Robinson Cano made a modest dive to his left to flag down a would-be hit in the first. Ramiro Peña made a nice ranging play to snag a ball behind second base and start a 6-4-3 double play.

Oopsies: Split-squad call-up Jimmy Paredes wiffed on a grounder at third by trying to style rather than square up the ball.

Ouchies: Francisco Cervelli was cleared to resume light baseball activities by the neurologist. He could appear in Friday’s game. Damaso Marte threw a bullpen without issue. Nick Johnson walked in three trips as the DH and said afterwords that he felt no discomfort. Johnson had tweaked his back on Thursday by wearing spikes rather than turf shoes for batting practice. The Yankees use an artificial turf covering to protect the dirt at home plate during BP, and Johnson caught a spike and wrenched his back. Such is Nick Johnson. Speaking of which, Chan Ho Park was scratched from his first BP session due to tweaking a glute during some running, though he reported no pain and will get his session in on Tuesday.

Michael Kay nugget: Recounting the Jose Contreras signing, Kay said, “I don’t know if it’s urban legend or not, but when the Yankees ended up signing him, Theo Epstein took a chair and threw it through a window.” The story is most likely untrue, and there are some similarly unverifiable stories of Epstein breaking a door and a window, but the widely circulated version of the story describes Epstein breaking a chair, not throwing it through a window. Perhaps I’m nit picking, but Kay proved he could even make up made up stuff.

More significantly, Kay referred to David Adams as Eduardo Nuñez in consecutive half innings, failing to correct himself even after Adams was shown in a medium shot after a nifty double-play he turned with Ramiro Peña. Nor did he address the mistake when Adams came to bat a couple of innings later. In Kay’s defense, Adams was wearing Nuñez’s number 94, but, well, click on those links again. Nuñez has been in most of the games thus far, Kay should know what he looks like. He did notice that dark-skinned Dominican third baseman Jimmy Paredes was not Caucasian outfield Jon Weber in the ninth despite similar number overlap.

Yankees 6, Pirates 0


R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
R – Randy Winn (RF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
R – Mike Rivera (C)
R – Jamie Hoffmann (LF)
R – P.J. Pilittere (DH)
S – Reegie Corona (2B)

Subs: Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Austin Romine (C), Jon Weber (RF), Greg Golson (CF), Kyle Higashioka (DH)

Pitchers (IP): Alfredo Aceves (4), Ivan Nova (2), Zach McAllister (2), Jason Hirsch (1)

Big Hits: They spread it around pretty well. Four Yankees doubled including Juan Miranda (2-for-4, RBI), Eduardo Nuñez (2-for-2, RBI), Brandon Laird (1-for-2), Kyle Higashioka (1-for-2), and Greg Golson (1-for-2). Not included in those five was Jon Weber, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, or Alex Rodriguez, who had a two-RBI single in three trips.

Who Pitched Well: Everyone. The Pirates managed just a single (off Nova) and two walks (off Nova and McAllister) in the game. Aceves struck out three in his four innings, and all four of the Yankee pitchers in this game have 0.00 ERAs in the early going this spring.

Oopsies: Eduardo Nuñez made two errors in half a game at shortstop (one fielding, one throwing), and has three already this spring.

Other: Veterans Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Randy Winn, and Alex Rodriguez skipped the long trip to Fort Myers on Sunday, so they made the shorter trip to Bradenton on Monday.

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1 wsporter   ~  Mar 9, 2010 8:35 am

Cliff concerning yourself with Kay's mistakes is reminiscent of railing against the tide. There is nothing you can do about either and we can be sure they will both continue on a regular basis. One however is far more important than the other.

As always, thanks for doing these!

2 bp1   ~  Mar 9, 2010 9:00 am

Yes, Cliff, thanks as always for the recap. Your dedication to them is remarkable.

On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of your Kay's Nuggets. Are you going to do the same for other announcers when they step on their tongues or do you just have a beef w/ Michael Kay? Either way, the comments tend to dimish an otherwise excellent game recap. They make you come across as very negative, which I don't think is your intent. Leave that stuff to the newspaper columnists who have a "media spotlight" column. My 2 cents, unsolicited.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 9, 2010 9:01 am

[0] Francisco Cervelli was cleared to resume light baseball activities by the neurologist.

So he's playing wiffle ball today, stickballl tomorrow, softball on Thursday, and by the weekend he should be ready to call Javy Vazquez's next home run. (I kid, I kid, Javy eats innings, I know, I know, he has really good stuff, not the same guy, etc.)

4 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 9, 2010 9:14 am

[1] Here are a few other things that remind me of Kay:

Smoking in public areas
Teen pregnancy
Schoolkids using foul language in public
Sporty cars racing on the highways amid heavy traffic
Flooding in my ground floor apartment
Parking tickets in Manhattan
Panhandlers singing or lecturing while riding the subway
Subway and bridge tolls going up
Booming car stereos
Health violations at your favorite restaurant

I can go on all day, but I want to let others join in the ~fun. Nothing you can do; the price of living in NYC...

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 9, 2010 10:05 am

Joe Nathan has torn UCL ...

bummer for Twins (and smaller-market team) fans

6 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 10:19 am

[3] Nice. I guess when he's ready to resume "heavy" baseball activities he can always use one of the weighted balls that the relievers use to warm up their arms... ;-)

7 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 9, 2010 10:27 am


You forgot: Monday ... play against the Royals
Tuesday ... play against a major league squad

8 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 10:47 am

I'm just going to go ahead and admit it... I like Michael Kay. Maybe it's because he's the announcer for the Yankees and since I'm a loyal, Kool-aid drinking fan who sees things through pin-sriped glasses (hey, I'm not afraid to admit it) I tend to like all things Yankee. He does say things that bother me (like his bit about sprinters not sliding across the finish line and how he is constantly explaining things for the casual fan: "Since the pitcher left with an injury, his replacement can take all the time he needs"). But overall, I like Kay. Sure he makes mistakes, but all announcers do (you should try to watch Vern Lundquist call a Bama football game on CBS). I guess having to watch Yankee games on Extra Innings and MLB.TV and therefore having to endure the other teams announcers (Hawk Harrelson's "HE GONE" and the numerous other "homers" who openly cheer for their team and every run is treated like a World Series victory) plays a part to some extent. But Kay has grown on me over the years. Oh well, I guess I'm probably in the minority when it comes to being a Michael Kay fan, but I can't be the only one...anyone else willing to admit it?

9 a.O   ~  Mar 9, 2010 10:59 am

[7] Nice. I've been thinking the same thing about our spring games against the Pirates.

[8] I think he's just a standard douche sportscaster. But there are some -- for me it's Tim McCarver -- that are just so inane that you just can't listen. I have to turn off the sound and listen to music or find the call on the radio. That approach has worked well for me, and the Mrs likes it when it's music.

10 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 11:15 am

[9] I'm with you on Tim McCarver...he's up there with Hawk on the "I'd rather pierce my eardrums with white hot ice picks than listen to him call a game" list. I just don't get to see as many Yankee games on Fox these days, since my local affiliate usually shows a different game instead of the Yanks game. I understand why they show the Braves, but apparently St. Louis is their "second choice" team behind Atlanta (so the only way I get the Yankee game is if Atlanta or St Louis is not one of the other teams playing that day). I even emailed them about it last season. All they could say was that they had to make that decision before the season started and they went with St. Louis. Hey, that reminds me, I need to see if they will choose the Yankees as the "second choice" team this year... probably not gonna happen, but it's worth a shot I guess.

11 a.O   ~  Mar 9, 2010 11:22 am

[10] Yeah, the whole baseball-on-TV situation is pretty ridiculous. The ~$100 I shelled out for MLB.com last year was definitely worth it.

12 bp1   ~  Mar 9, 2010 11:45 am

[8] I'm neither a fan or a hater of Kay.

I think the old "familiarity breeds contempt" often comes into play here. Quite a few of us tune in to just about every game, so we hear the same cliches and explanations, game after game after game. I'm sure it is tedious for him, too, but I believe that is part of the job. Part of an analyst/announcer's job is to explain the game to the new people tuning in. The experts in the viewing audience probably don't agree, but they're not getting direction from the producers of the game. Sterling falls into the same category - the stories and catch phrases grate on some 'cause they are heard so often.

For some, Kay is like fingernails on a chalk board. He's not that way with me at all. I'm pretty neutral. I like John Sterling, and I don't mind Kay at all. While some here are huge fans of Kenny Singleton, I find his voice monotonous and kinda boring. He trots out the same tired old stories as the rest of the crew, but for some reason he gets a pass.

I pine for the days of Rizzuto, Messer, and White like everyone else my age. Still - I can't complain about Michael Kay. It could be a HECK of a lot worse for Yankee fans.

I'm just not a cheap fan of taking cheap shots at announcers (but I'm just a single voice in the dark here).

13 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:06 pm

[8] [12] Kay doesn't bother me much, and at times I enjoy him.
I've said here before, I wouldn't mind occasionally watching an alternative "clean feed" of the game without announcers, and just the natural sounds of the game.

14 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:24 pm

[12] I agree with you. I'm sure it is a balancing act for someone like Kay: If he doesn't explain things for the casual viewer then he gets ripped for that and those of us who watch every game rip him for over explaining. I guess he can't win.

That being said, I do wonder how many casual fans there are who tune in to watch games and are offended by the fact that the announcers don't explain the rules like pitchers being replaced after injury. I mean, by definintion a "casual" fan probably doesn't even care about those things...or his/her viewing habits wouldn't be casual.

During the Olympics, I got hooked on the Curling coverage. I watched every match that I could. At first I knew very little about curling and when I wanted to know more about the sport I went to the internet and found more than enough info to become educated about the sport. Even though the announcers did a good job of explaining things to the casual fans, I was not offended when they didn't explain things in detail. I did a little research and turned myself into more than a "casual" fan. My point is that baseball is no where near as obscure as curling and if a "casual" fan wants to go to the next level then they could easily do a little research. But more importantly, the so-called "casual" fan probably doesn't really care that much about the details and therefore the detailed explanations are not needed.

For the record, the detailed explanations really don't bother me that much, I just wonder if they are needed as much as people think. And on second thought, maybe it helps guys like me who make their wife & kids watch the games. It keeps me from having to explain the game myself. In that case, thank you Michael Kay... ;)

15 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:29 pm

[13] Good call on the "clean feed', maybe they could offer that like they offer the SAP button on your remote... You might be onto something Sliced, but you need to get it patented before someone steals your idea. Hey, isn't Shaun P a patent attorney?

16 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:30 pm


SCARY thought .... John Sterling announcing curling .... (shudder)

(Diane the casual curling fan)

17 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:45 pm

[15] patent.. good call! I'll call it "Kay-less Access." Now I just need MLB rights, and a sponsor.

18 Bama Yankee   ~  Mar 9, 2010 12:57 pm

[16] LOL. I can almost hear Sterling now:

"Kevin Martin, the Canadian team skip, attempts to curl his last rock around the Norwegian corner guard here in the 10th end...
It is HARD, it is FAR, it is....ON THE BUTTON!!!
A BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL by K-MART!!!! It's a Martin-score-says-he from the Curling Director!!!"

19 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 9, 2010 3:45 pm


Well-done! :-)

20 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2010 7:50 pm

[0] Chan Ho Park "tweaked a glute"...nice. I'll try using that one on my boss next time I need a day off, "Sorry sir, but I tweaked my glute again.."

Kay is awful but still much much better than Hawk Harrleson or Timmah..(gosh, am getting old, I remember when T-Mac was actually really good doing Mets games on Channel 9..)

21 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 9, 2010 9:05 pm

"I think the old “familiarity breeds contempt” often comes into play here."

Ding ding ding!

Okay, I'll back off Kay. I got such a positive response to my quoting his line about "milestones etched on forever" in my first game recap that I figured I'd keep after him, but I agree, it does get petty quickly.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver