"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Yankees

Goin’ South

tumblr_n43ps6vAaV1qbhl2oo1_1280

The Yanks meet the Rays. Last year, C.C. was no bueno against Tampa. Let’s hope that changes, starting tonight.

Never mind the lousy dome:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Picture by Bags]

It Was a Good Day

get-attachment.aspx

The Wife and I spent the last week in New Mexico visiting family so we didn’t watch any Yankee baseball. I was able to post some here at the Banter, and we checked the score on our phones and on my computer, read Jon’s recaps here at the Banter, but didn’t see a single pitch.

The trip back can sometimes be a drag. No direct flight, you either stop over in Chicago or Dallas. Yesterday it was Dallas and well, the entire trip went smoothly. Right down to the cab ride home. We sailed passed the Stadium while the game was in the 5th inning and so we were able to watch the last part of it at home.

Got a little tricky for the Yankee bullpen after another solid performance from Michael Pineda but they didn’t allow a run as the Yanks completed a rare day-night shutout and won the second game, 2-0. Pat Jordan recently wrote a story for SB Nation where he said that with the game on the line he wanted Derek Jeter at shortstop. At least Jeter in his prime. And last night, with they tying run on second, the ball was hit to Jeter. He made the play and the game was over.

Speaking of Jeter, we’ve often talked about how much fun he has on the field, and how underreported that is. That was the case last night–when he looked like a high school kid–when the Cubs’ pitching coach was kicked out of the game.

Dig the GIF via Deadspin’s Sean Newell.

xc1sgk4sktahch3jbqye.gif

Mama Said Tanaka You Out

Tyson_PunchOut-1[1]

I should credit my friend Scott for the headline as he mentioned it as a possible name for his fantasy squad, but he ultimately rejected the handle because he’s a godforsaken Red Sox fan and couldn’t stand the idea of giving such an honor to a Yankee. So screw him.

When the Yankees signed Tanaka, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief as they had put the team before the tax and filled the hole in the rotation with the best available pitcher. But we didn’t exhale completely because we really didn’t know what we were getting. After today’s 3-0 win, my exhale is complete.

Sure he did it against a Cubs team that would make Ernie Banks say, “Let’s play none.” But we’re talking two lousy bunt hits away from a no-hitter. This is straight filth. What I have thoroughly enjoyed about his pitching is that his late innings are just as damn unhittable as his early ones. Moreso thus far.

Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury continue to hit, though there wasn’t a lot in the pot for the offense today. No matter. Tanaka was so strong, Girardi traded a free base for an out just to be damn sure he plated the third run.

When Ellsbury nicked Baker’s glove and the ball dribbled into play in the fifth, he could have advanced to first, setting up first and third for the clean up hitter with one out. Instead, he took the out and the extra run, which must have seemed like ten more to the Cubs.

It’s so damn cold, Girardi would be well within his rights to rest some regulars tonight and the probabilty of a sweep isn’t going to be as high as I’d like. Still, I can’t see these Cubs running around the bases unless it’s a mascot race or something.   

Use this as your game thread for the nightcap. I will try to get you lineups when I see them.

 

Frost on First

There’s ice on the windshield this morning. God damned ice on the windshield. Girardi’s got a bunch of old guys with tweaks and playing in 35 degree weather ain’t what the doctor ordered. Here’s the lineup, Jeter’s not in it.

Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B
Dean Anna SS
Scott Sizemore 3B

Today’s the day all of Tanaka’s cold-weather preparation pays off.

japan_map[1]

Stretch

s

I’m not convinced the kid will stay healthy but if he does the future is bright for Michael Pineda.

Dig this from Tony Blengino over at Fangraphs. 

[Photo Credit: Andrew Theodorakis/N.Y. Daily News]

 

Couple Few Things

watersprinklerirrigation*600xx2083-1389-0-0

Yankee notes. Chad Jennings has the latest.

Man, oh, man, I feel lousy for Frankie C. 

[Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images]

Double Drip

The Cubbies brought along their perpetual gloom when they arrived in the Bronx. The Yanks are rained out tonight and the two teams will have separate tilts tomorrow at 1 and 7 pm.   

photo

Rumor has it that the Cubs have all sorts of talent close to the Majors and might be good soon. But not by tomorrow, so let’s see a sweep please.

A Needed Day o Rest

ichiro-450x304

The Yanks are patching it together with their suspect infield and sooner or later moves will be made.

In the meantime, sure is nice to have a guy like Ichi around, huh?

Chad Jennings has the notes from last night’s game (and he provided this cool picture too).

Too Late & Too Early

I had an early flight this morning, so I will have to guess the outcome. After 21 innings, Ichiro homered off Jonny Gomes to win it 9-8. Feel free to correct me in the comments.DSC_0003

And discuss how much we’ll miss mornings like the one in this picture.

Sixes and Sevens

IMG_3802

The Yankees are either going to be 7-6 or 6-7 after tonight and that’s not much to notice. But taking three out of four from Boston feels like it might drive the season in the right direction, doesn’t it? Plus three of four from Boston is s feel-good story no matter the time of year.

Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Dean Anna SS

No Jeter again, but all his vitals check out. Maybe this is just Joe Girardi channeling his inner Popovich. If you’ve got nothing to do tomorrow, enjoy the game tonight.

Power Bombs

IMG_3908

The Yankees put the toothpicks away and broke out the heavy lumber yesterday. Five home runs piled up enough runs for Kuroda and the bullpen to secure the victory. The Yankee pitching has held the Red Sox in check if they haven’t shut them down and now they’ve got a chance to win the series by taking the Sunday Night Deluxe.

I didn’t see a pitch of this game because our Little League team had their Opening Day yesterday. Both boys are on the same team this year and I’m their coach. After two practices, a parade, a photo shoot and a game, I’ve been a much better coach to the strangers on the team. I’ll excuse all manners of grab-assing and dirt-clodding, chalking it up to their very young age. My kids get the stink-eye. I tell them to think of me as their teacher instead of their dad when we are at the field and then I immediately forget to treat them like the students. Nine games left to improve on that thankfully.

The team is sponsored by Garden Cafe. I nicknamed them the Gnomes, but it wasn’t tough enough apparently. The kids voted on a new team name and they chose Power Bombs. And they were right; they can hit.

At the first practice, I asked them all their favorite team and player. Two votes for the Mets and David Wright. Mostly Yankee fans. By far the most named player with five votes: Mr. Alex Rodriguez.

 

 

Reclaimed

beards

 

Last night’s recap: The Red Sox have sprinkled their magical beard dandruff on Grady Sizemore and turned him into a player again. It’s already cost the Yankees a game in the standings and Skinny C a notch in the loss column.

Today, I’d prefer the Yankees to win. Whaddya say?

Brett Gardner LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Kelly Johnson 1B
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Dean Anna SS

 

Waiting for Lefty

photo

This frog butt to all the fuss about the pine tar. You know it’s a non-issue when even David Ortiz, who’s never shy to ham it up, let it slide. Game Two of this four-game set rocks tonight with Lester and Skinny C dueling. Got off on the right foot last night, now hop to the left with the southpaws. It will be interesting to see how Sabathia goes after this tough lineup with his softer stuff.

Jeter SS

Ellsbury CF

Beltran RF

Soriano DH

Cervelli C

Solarte 3B

Suzuki LF

Roberts 2B

Johnson 1B

Lineups Via LoHud

 

What in Tar Nation?

Michael Pineda

That ain’t dirt. Chad Jennings has more. 

Our old pal Peter Abraham tweeted:

Farrelll, Pedroia + Ortiz dismissed the pine tar thing. Either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “Everybody in the league does it,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz: “I can’t tell you how balls I foul off that have pine tar. It’s part of the game. You just take it.”

Farrell: “I can’t say it’s uncommon that guys will look to create a little bit of a grip. Typically you’re not trying to be as blatant.”

Michael, Plain and Tall

photo-13

At first blush, Michael Pineda, crooked capped and floppy limbed, looks like a prehistoric squid was handed a baseball and pointed in the general direction of home plate. And then cattle-prodded. Watching him plow through the Red Sox for six innings, deftly cutting the ball this way and that, the precision within the spasm is evident.

Pineda’s physical dominance and emphatic delivery will make a lot of hitters uncomfortable before he even throws a pitch. And then if his pitches are like this, woo boy. He might just have to hit a mascot in the head now and then to remind those hitters what’s at stake.

David Phelps converted the rare seven-out save to nail down Pineda’s well-deserved 4-1 victory. There was talk of a short bullpen, but regardless, it was refreshing to see Girardi stick with Phelps.

A pair of lefties, Sabathia and Lester, line up for the Friday night special.

The Chumps are Champs

Boston RedSox 2013 WS Ring

The Werld Champeen Red Sox ride into the Bronx atop a 4-5 record. Same as our heroes. Lots of season left for these two squads to define themselves and this early meeting might just be step one in that process. Clay Buchholz will face Michael Pineda in the opener this evening. Two righthanders going in Yankee Stadium, expect the left handed hitters to populate the lineups.

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano DH
Kelly Johnson 1B
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Dean Anna 2B

via LoHud

Start the series on the right foot, fellas.

A Big Mouth

Adam Jones, owner of a lifetime .322 on base percentage, has so many good, coherent arguments to make.

How was it for Tanaka to face Adam Jones? I will translate for Tanaka-san: Easy. Very Easy.

sarlacc-pit

 

Image via Underscoopfire.com

Smallball Loses

IMG_3793

Early April dumps muddy cleats at the doorstep. And it never seems as warm as it should be. Last night was one of those chilly April nights in the Bronx, where the Yankees dropped a close one to the Orioles. The best game of the season so far, unless you prefer to win.

At decision time, Baltimore’s bloop-ball strategy proved more effective than Jeter’s small-ball. You make the call for yourself:

Score tied 3-3, in the bottom of the 8th. Brett Gardner, polishing off his lead-off double, stood at second base and Jeter promptly bunted him to third. Ellsbury popped up harmlessly to third base, wasting the bunt. The inning ended with Gardner still at third.

Baltimore started the top of the 9th the same way against current bullpen ace Shawn Kelley – double and bunt - but their bunt went foul. With two strikes they chose to swing away and not try to get out. They dunked in three straight bloop hits in front of the outfield and scored two runs.

Jeter’s bunt is disappointing for a lot of reasons, but it’s not the worst bunt ever bunted. One thing it is not is unpredictable. Jeter favors the bunt in those situations and though I don’t know who made the call,  he would have bunted on his own if he hadn’t received a sign. 

The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth with two lead off hits, but if you blinked you missed the sac fly and double play. Yangervis, swinging to end the game with a homer, got jammed and ended the game weakly taping into a double play. 5-4 for the Orioles.

About Tanaka. In two Major League games Masahiro Tanaka has racked up 18 strikeouts against a lonely walk. He making guys swing and miss by combining a Clemens level splitter and a Duque level slider. And though the fastball is a set-up pitch, don’t sleep on it or he’ll paint the corner at 93 MPH.

He’s the real deal. Will hitters figure out his stuff as the season goes on? Or will his experience in the Bigs help him avoid those few crushable mistakes he’s made each game? It will be a lot of fun to watch it evolve.

 

 

He Arrives

fantasticfour_galactus_1-756627[1]

The Fantastic Four handled Galactus with the Ultimate Nullifier. Here’s hoping Buck Showalter is no Reed Richards. Taking the series from Balitmore would be a sweet way to gear up for the World Chumps. And oh yeah, Tanaka’s in da Bronx on a night striped with tidings of Spring.

Haven’t gotten wind of a lineup yet, but I will try to post it when I do.

Cover Art by Jack Kirby, Fantastic Four #48, publishedby Marvel Comics

The Sure Thing

jetessss

Pat Jordan doesn’t like Derek Jeter, but:

I have to admit that if I was a major league pitcher today, and Jeter was at the peak of his game, Derek Jeter would be the one shortstop I’d want to play behind me. Why? Simple. Jeter’s always caught the ball. J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ Gold Glove shortstop told me the cardinal rule of playing shortstop is, “You can’t throw the ball if you don’t catch it.”

[Photo Via: Bleeding Yankee Blue]

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver