Friday, July 15, 2011

Yankees pregame Notes for Friday

Here are some Yankees notes that were pregame today.  The lohud Yankees blog gets and assist on this one.

 Bartolo Colon’s hamstring and Russell Martin’s comments saying he believed the Blue Jays were stealing signs last night were the main themes. There’s nothing new on Colon — he’s still on turn to start Tuesday and the Yankees believe his hesitation is more mental than physical — but the Martin stuff is interesting.  Colon needs to get it together soon though, I will give him a pass for last nights game because besides the mental side of the hamstring the defense didn't help him at all in the first inning and it could of been different.

He noticed last night that the Blue Jays never seemed fooled, then he noticed a runner at second looking one way before a fastball, then looking the other way before a breaking ball, then looking the original direction again when Martin called for another fastball. That’s when Martin went to the mound and changed the signs.

“I’m not bothered by it,” Martin said. “I was more angry at myself for figuring it out too late and changing them too late. The game was almost out of hand at that point.”  I say good for the players if they can do it but I think more is made of it then it really is.  David Cone said during the broadcast the same thing, what happens is it is more of a distraction and becomes a mental thing.  I still think you need to execute the pitches and location is key, everyone knows what is coming with Mariano Rivera and they still cant hit him. 

Of course neither Martin nor Joe Girardi would admit to stealing signs with the Yankees — Martin said he did it when he was in college — but they both agreed that stealing signs is fair game as long as it’s done by the players on the field (no binoculars in the stands or signals from the bullpen).  I don't know why they would admit that. 

“If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,” Martin said. “I don’t know where that term comes from, but it might be from relaying signs at second base.”  That is a pretty funny quote, it is all part of baseball and always has been. 

 Girardi said he went through last night’s game film and found nothing to suggest Colon’s hamstring was a problem on his pitches. “You can see how high he’s lifting his leg, the way he’s landing,” Girardi said. “And when I looked at those two things, it was the same. I stopped it frame-by-frame, and I went to a game that he threw well, and it was the same.”

 Obviously Colon was hesitant coming off the mound, but Colon also assured Girardi that he’s felt no pain in the hamstring. Girardi believes it’s just a mental thing that Colon has to get past. “It’s a little bit of a concern,” Girardi said. “But you’ve got to see how a guy does in the heat of the battle when he’s got to make a play. Sometimes those thoughts leave his head.”

 Rafael Soriano is still on track to throw batting practice tomorrow. Girardi said he could make his first rehab appearance on Tuesday. He’ll pitch in more than one rehab game, and the Yankees would like him to throw back-to-back before being activated.  The good think is he is getting close, you can see the finish line with him.  I don't know if he will be thrust right back into the eighth inning role but he was signed to do that even though Robertson has been great in that role. 

 Jose Bautista is out of the Blue Jays lineup and his return is uncertain — he’s day to day — after last night’s ankle injury. “That’s the huge bat in their lineup,” Girardi said. “But they still have some guys that can really swing the bat. They’ve been swinging the bat before the break and now still, so we’ve got to make pitches.”  It hasn't seemed to affect them to this point. 

 Day game tomorrow, but Girardi said he might not make any significant lineup changes to give players a break until Sunday.  They did just have off for the All Star Break so I don't think a break is needed. 

At one point last week, the Yankees posted a lineup that had Brett Gardner leading off and Derek Jeter batting second against a right-handed starter. Girardi said that was a special circumstance and he’s not likely to go back to that right now. “I think the day that we had it we didn’t have Swish, so that was a big part of it,” he said.  I know the Yankees are really hesitant to move Jeter but I think it might be beneficial, Jeter has hit second more in his career and it might help him get more hits if Gardner is on base, opening up the hole the way he did it with Johnny Damon a couple of years ago. 

No player move was made today, so the Yankees are starting this game with a bullpen that had to pitch almost a complete game yesterday. They need distance from Freddy Garcia.

The teams will be back at it early tomorrow afternoon.  Have a good night and a good weekend.  Yankees/Jays Saturday with CC Sabathia on the mound. 

The Mets lose to the Phillies

The New York Mets have roughly ten days or so to impress their GM.  If they don't you can see some more moves being made and the team being broken up.  Carlos Beltran will probably get traded, maybe Jason Isringhausen although he has said he doesn't want to go anywhere, I don't know who else could go on the team but you never know.  They didn't impress anyone tonight losing 7-2 to a clearly better team in the Phillies. 

The Mets aren't facing Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay this weekend but Vance Worley looked just as good as they could against the Mets.  Worley threw a good game and the Mets couldn't do much at all against him.  Worley is 5-1 filling in for Roy Oswalt.  It is amazing what the Phillies pitching staff has been able to do. 

The Mets offense came from Daniel Murphy who had a couple of hits.  He was the only batter to have more then one hit.  The Mets clearly miss Jose Reyes, he may come back next week and they may also be getting David Wright back soon.  Wright is scheduled to start a rehab assignment tomorrow. 

The Mets and Phillies will play game two of their three game series tomorrow afternoon at 4:10PM.  The Mets record is now 46-46 an even 500, they will try and avoid falling back below it.  The Phillies are 19 games over 500. 

Yankees lose second in a row in Toronto

The New York Yankees lost their second game in a row in Toronto.  They lost to the Blue Jays by the score of 7-1.  It was a sloppy game once again for the Yankees.  They have had two straight poor pitching performances and the defense has not been good at all either.  The offense in this one did nothing either so it was an all around poor effort.  Brandon Morrow started for the Blue Jays and dominated the Yankees potent lineup.  Eduardo Nunez was one of the few bright spots with two hits.  Nick Swisher also had a coupe of hits.  The top four in the lineup went 0-11 for the Yankees. 

Cory Wade pitched well in relief and Sergio Mitre continues to pitch in garbage time and just make it worse.  The Yankees will look to rebound when they play tomorrow afternoon with CC Sabathia taking the mound.  Phil Hughes will pitch on Sunday.  It looked like Freddy Garcia was affected by the long layoff.  He hadn't pitched since July 3rd because of a rain out and the All Star Break.  Garcia came into the game on a roll but just didn't have it in this game.  The Yankees offense was completely shut down, in the first game they did their job but there was no pitching or defense at all. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Robinson Cano wins the HR Derby

The All Star Break is upon us and the All Star Game will be tonight at 8:00PM.  The State Farm HR Derby was last night and what a show.  The Yankees second baseman defeated Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the finals to win the derby.  Cano put on quite a show with 12 homers in the final round which set the record for that round.  Gonzalez hit 11 which set a record also before Cano broke it. 

The two guys of course Yankees/Red Sox put on some show, they were hitting shot after shot.  I don't know if some of them even landed yet.  In a nice story Cano had his dad pitching to him and the two embraced after he tied Gonzalez and needed one more to win it.  The Yankees that were there really enjoyed the show.  Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson and Dave Robertson all were watching and having fun with it. 

The All Star Game is tonight to determine home field advantage for the World Series.  The Yankees will then get back to the business of winning a pennant and hoping to have home field advantage in the World Series as they chase #28. 

It should be a great second half with the Yankees and Red Sox neck and neck and that doesn't look like it will change.  The Rays are still lurking around and have plenty of games against those two teams to really get back into it.  The Rays right now are six back of the Sox and five back of the Yankees.  The wild card will be coming out of that division so two of those teams will be in the postseason. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yankees defeat the Rays as Jeter gets hit #3000

The New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 5-4 this afternoon.  The game was kind of secondary though as Derek Jeter got his 3000th hit.  It was truly a remarkable day as he finished the day with five hits including the game winner.  It was a Jeter kind of day as he has always had a flair for the dramatic. 

It was a very special moment as he was only the second player to have his 3000th hit be a homerun.  The other player to do it was Wade Boggs his former teammate.  He was mobbed at home plate by his team, coaches and players, he hugged everyone of them.  The game was stopped for about 10 minutes as the crowd chanted Derek Jeter.  The Rays were even out of the dugout cheering him on.  Jeter had his family and friends up in the box and they were seen celebrating as well. 

Derek Jeter’s ability to handle pressure has defined his career. He’s not shaken by the big moments. He’s comfortable with the game on the line. The pressure of 3,000, though, was something completely different. For this milestone, Jeter was being asked to entertain the crowd. It wasn't about the team it was about him and he isn't comfortable with that at all.  He is always a team first guy and focused on the Yankees winning which is most important to him.

“I’ve been lying to you guys for a long time saying I wasn’t nervous and there’s no pressure,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure to do it here. I thought eventually I would get a few hits, but I felt a lot of pressure to do it here while we were at home.”

“It was a 3-2 pitch and he could have thrown it in the dugout and I would have swung,” he said. “I’m telling you, I was not trying to walk. It’s kind of a weird feeling. It’s been like that for a few days. It’s kind of tough to hit when you have that approach, that you’re going to swing no matter what. I tried not to have that approach but it was running through my head.”
Amazing how completely this pursuit took Jeter out of his comfort zone. He said the eighth-inning at-bat — when the score was 4-4 and the game was on the line — felt much more comfortable than his first two at-bats. The uncomfortable, unfamiliar pressure was lifted, and Jeter could be himself again.  Jeter being himself is getting game winning hits and big hits and looking at ease doing it.

“The one thing I talked about when I was originally going to sit him on Wednesday (was that) none of us really understand what it’s like to be on the threshold of 3,000 hits and the feelings that you’re going through and maybe the anxiety that you have,” Joe Girardi said. “After talking to him a little bit it kind of made sense to me that, you know what, it’s probably better if you’re playing. I’ll still never understand what it was like to be him today, but I’m extremely proud of him for what he stands for, the way he’s represented this club and the way he plays.”

Alex Rodriguez said he’s certain his knee injury happened in Chicago when he was running the bases, a ball got away from the catcher and he felt something while he was running. He’s going to get a second opinion tomorrow and said he’s not leaning one way or another (for or against surgery). “The bottom line is to make sure we address it one way or another and make sure we’re playing our best baseball at the end,” he said.

 Nick Swisher said his left quad is still tight.  I wouldn't be suprised to see him sit again tomorrow have the break and then come back strong. That would give him six days off in a row before the Yankees start playing again in Toronto.

A.J. Burnett had a season-high nine strikeouts in his no decision. He allowed one hit to the first 13 batters he faced.  He pitched well, the only problem being he didn't pitch deep into the game.  When you walk a lot and strike out a lot your pitch count builds up.

 Dave Robertson allowed a run for the first time since June 9, snapping a streak of 10 straight appearances without a run.  You can't be perfect all the time and he did pick up the win.

 Mariano Rivera got his 22nd save and is now 58-for-59 in save opportunities against the Rays. This was the first time he pitched since feeling that triceps soreness after Sunday’s game.  It didn't look like his arm was bothering him at all. 

 Christian Lopez is  the 23-year-old who caught the 3,000th hit and told the Yankees he’d gladly give it to Jeter for the opportunity to shake his hand and maybe a signed ball. “It wasn’t about the money,” Lopez said. “It’s about a milestone. I’m not going to take that away from him.”  I got to give him credit because I would of been asking for money but he didn't ask for anything.   Of course, the Yankees showered Lopez with season tickets, three Jeter-signed bats, three Jeter-signed balls and two Jeter-signed jerseys. “He got his ticket from his girlfriend so he owes her quite a bit,” Jeter said. “He’s going to be paying her back for quite some time.”  That was a funny line from Jeter and Lopez made out pretty well with the signed items and season tickets.

 Jeter is the 28th player all-time to reach 3,000. He’s the fourth youngest behind Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount. He and Craig Biggio are the only players to get there in a five-hit game. He and Wade Boggs are the only players to get there with a home run. He’s the fourth shortstop to get there.

 Jeter had not homered at Yankee Stadium since an inside-the-park homer on July 22, 2010. He hadn’t hit a ball out at Yankee Stadium since June 12, 2010. He’d gone 358 at-bats without the ball leaving the park at this stadium, then he did it for No. 3,000 in at-bat that he said felt more pressure than a game-on-the-line, late-inning at-bat. It was really an amazing moment

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