Tagged: Alex Rodriguez

27?

With a solid performance from Andy Pettitte in game 4 the Yankees are in superb position for a 27th World Champoionship. Both offenses were good last night, each having their ups and downs but the Yankees had more ups than the Phils and took a 3-1 lead in the series.

It was obviously set to go in favor of the Yankees with Pettitte going against Joe Blanton who statistically had no chance against the Yankee lineup.  He held his own and didn’t totally blow it but it definitely wasn’t enough for the Phillies as Pettitte was phenominal.

Game 2 of the series seemed to be dominated by AJ Burnett and his curveball… not to mention his fastball and his other dominating pitches.  Burnett was able to keep the Yankees in the series with a key victory in game 2 and sent the series to Philly even.  If Burnett can come up with another huge performance like in game 2, the Yankees will walk away with this series.  And who though the Yankees had no chance when they lost a game at home.  They are also a very good road team and it proved the last to games as they took their second and third straight wins in the series on the road in Citizens Bank Park.

How about A-Rod?  He’s come up huge these past couple games.  Despite the being hit by pitch twenty gazillion times (I hope you realize I am exaggerating) he has played a very big role in the offense the past two games.  He hit a key homer in the game 3 off the camera in right field that had to be reviewed before being called a homer.  He also came up with some other key at bats.  He has seemed to be getting back into the form he was in earlier in the playoffs.

Derek Jeter… can he get any better?  He hasn’t done anything spectacular this World Series but honestly, you can’t get away with him.  He’s just that good.  His presence alone has helped the Yankees win games.  He has consistently gotten on base and has scored runs.  Speaking of getting on base and scoring runs, Johnny Damon had a great game last night including two steals on the same play.  He stole second and took advantage of his speed by gettign to third which was uncovered.  Great heads up baserunning which really cost the Phillies a run later in the game.  The Yankees have seemed to be getting back into the swing of things all around as the whole team has been rolling smoothly.

Now, since the end of the series is  coming up soon, you have to be thinking MVP.  Well, if the Yankees win it, I’m going to have to give it to AJ Burnett.  Now, the series is not over yet and tonight’s start could change my whole mindset about this choice, but if he is as good as he was in game 2 and the Yankees win, Burnett would be my choice.  Two phenominal starts with dominating stuff.  Two wins.  How can you go by that when choosing an MVP?

Now, I don’t like to have to think this but if the Phillies win, I would probably choose between Chase Utley, who has been killing the ball lately, or Jayson Werth who has equally destroyed the ball this series.  Both have had a major power surge and Jayson Werth has made some plays in the outfield to keep runners from moving forward with his strong arm.

This series is finally getting to the point where both offenses have broken out with a fair share of good pitching.  It is what I expected it to be and hopefully the Yankees can come out on top quickly tonight.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing if we lost tonight but to win it soon would be fantastic.  It would be nice to win in New York but the sooner the better is the way I see it.  No chances.

The one key to tonight’s game is Cliff Lee.  Can he shut down the Yankees streaking offense or will he get run over as Blanton and Hamels have the past two games?

I spy a 27th championship for the Yankees right around the corner.

-Dillon

Bullpen Near Flawless As Phils Advance To Fall Classic

The phenomenon that was the Philadelphia bullpen seems to have been forgotten as the Phillies’ ‘pen closed out the NLCS against the Dodgers last night with a 10-4 victory.  The Phillies, the defending world champions, went into the postseason with probably the most inconsistent bullpen of the eight playoff teams.  Brad Lidge, who was about as solid a closer as there was last year, had struggled over the course of the regular season with blown saves, bad decision making and incosistency.  This was a big worry as many skeptics came about believing the Phillies would fall due to their bullpen.  Those skeptics have been silenced for the time being as the Phillies bullpen has been nearly flawless throughout this postseason.

Last night’s picture of Brad Lidge pumping his fist is reminiscent of last season’s fist pumping as he closed out the World Series.  Well, with only one more series to win, we could well be seeing this again very soon.  But then again, we can’t forget about the Yankees.

The Yanks are on the verge of clinching a trip to the world series.  With their ALCS lead, the Yanks are one win away to making one step closer to their 27th World Championship in franchise history.  With phenominal pitching, the most explosive offense in the league and a consistent and solid bullpen, the Yankees are definitely the team to beat.  The Phillies are a fantastic group of baseball players with some outstanding athletes up and down their roster, but the Yankees really have a group of guys that can match up with the best teams in the history of the MLB.  If the Yankees beat the Angels today in their game five of the ALCS, they will advance onto the World Series and will create a matchup that is definitely not worth missing.  Here’s a look at how the Yanks and Phils will matchup assuming the Yankees defeat the Angels.  (No offense to the Angels of any Angels fans out there but it certainly looks as if the Yankees are going to advance to the World Series).

 

The two leadoff batters are certainly two guys that can lead off a game with big hit, spark a rally, or make a key defensive play.  Both veterans of the league, Jeter and Rollins will top off the top two lineups in baseball.

Jeter has been a number two hitter most of his career and isn’t your typical leadoff hitter.  Now, I’m not saying it’s like a usual number four hitter batting leadoff but more like a number two guy batting first.  Jeter is definitely capable of producing in the leadoff spot, I’m mean look at his stats from this year.  Joe Girardi’s decision to move Johnny Damon to the second spot in the lineup and move Jeter up one has proven successful as they have put up some staggering numbers.

Jimmy Rollins on the other hand is your typical leadoff guy.  A guy that can get on base, run and score runs with ease.  That’s what you generally think of in a leadoff guy.  Not that Jeter can’t do that but Rollins fits the profile better due to the way the Phillies offense runs.  Rollins came up with a big hit late in game 4 against the Dodgers where he drove in the winning run from first to pu the Phils up 3-1 in the series.  J-Rol is clearly a great guy to start off your lineup with.

 

Johnny Damon, as I stated already, was moved down to the second spot in the lineup by Joe Girardi at the beginning of the season.  The main reason for this was to let Jeter do his magic with his bat and let Damon, who can hit for power, hit in a more key spot with guys on base.  Now, again, this swop can go either way but it has obviously worked out the way it is currently.  Damon can hit for power, drive some guys in, and can still run better than most people think he can.  Watch out for Damon, you don’t really want to underestimate him.

“The Flyin’ Hawaiin” Shane Victorino has been a solid force at the second spot in the Phillies lineup for years now.  The switch hitter can hit well from both sides of the plate, can generate some power (as shown last night when he hit a bomb to left field) and can really run.  This guy can really carry a team with his speed because with the guys following him in the lineup, he will most likely get to score some runs.  With his speed, he can easily get into scoring position to make it easier on the guys following him.

 

To me, this is the most intriguing matchup of any of the players on either roster.  Mark Teixeira can field, hit and has a great smile.  Chase Utley, exactly the same.  Both guys can hit, field and are just a great presence on their respective squads.  I can’t really compare them any further, they are just so similar.

Alex Rodriguez by Keith Allison. 

Two guys with a lot of power and good gloves at their respective positions fill up the middle of the lineup.  Ryan Howard is a powerful guy that probably doesn’t think anything other than homer when coming up to the plate.  Alex Rodriguez has had a great career and his play this postseason has been a sight for sore eyes.  He has been phenominal.  Rodriguez may have a better glove than Howard, but Howard is the next power hitting phenomenon that will hit the MLB.  Rodriguez went under that category when he came up with the Mariners and now the likes of Howard, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval fit that list.  These two will most certainly fill a very very important role in this series.

 

I honestly have to give the advantage to the Phillies and Jayson Werth in this matchup.  Nothing against the long time Yankee but the fact that Jayson Werth can consistently hit for a lot of power and has driven in more runs than Posada, Werth has the advantage.  Posada has been such a key to the Yankees for so long.  A great pitch caller who has always called great games for Yankee pitchers.  He has had his great offensive games and he has had his tough ones, just like every baseball player ever to live.  This matchup right now goes to Werth but just wait and see, Posada will still play a key part in this sereis.

Again, Ibanez and Matsui are a great matchup of players in the lineup.  Ibanez can still play the outfield whereas Matsui has had a bad knee keeping him from playing the field.  This isn’t all that big of a deal since we have had plenty of guys fill in with quality games and very successful seasons.  His bat is still going and he may be getting old, but he still has plenty in his tank to put in his two cents for this series.

Ibanez has surprised everyone in the league this year with his outstanding outbreak in offensive production.  He opened the season with some great power but over the season it has decreased in power.  He still has a lot of power and can go off any tme which makes him so dangerous.  Both these guys can go off on you and can really hurt an opposing pitcher.  Watch out Phillies and Yankees pitching.

Alright, sorry I couldn’t finish today but I’ll get the rest of my matchup analysis tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Tough Loss in Extras

The Yankees took a tough loss at the hands of the Angels yesterday afternoon after they forced extra innings on a Jorge Posada homer.  The Yankees were unable to hold the Angels scoreless and on a bomb to left field, Jeff Mathis walked off with the double.  The Angels avoided a sweep which would’ve kept the Yankees undefeated in the playoffs.  It also would have avoided extreme embarrasement on their part to have been swept.  This win will be a boost for the Angels who will play again today against a CC Sabathia who was about as dominant as there is when he pitched in the opener of the ALCS.  His opponent on the mound for the Angels will be Scott Kazmir, another tough competitor and a worthy opponent.

The Yankees hit four homers yesterday accounting for all of their runs, but the lack of runs in extras cost them.  Jeter, A-Rod, Posada and Johnny Damon all went deep but other than that, the offense was pretty quiet.  The offense will need to wake up today to help Sabathia through a tough start on three days rest.

The decision by Joe Girardi yesterday to put in Alfredo Aceves can be supported by the fact that he is a right handed pitcher and the batter he came in to face, Jeff Mathis, was also a righty.  It was a tough break and Girardi is getting a lot of negative comments from everywhere.  Hopefully it won’t affect the game plan for today.

If the Yankees can win today, they will be in very good position to win the series in the next game at Yankee Stadium.  If they don’t, they still have the home field advantage to use in order to win this series.  It is unlikely the Angels will be able to pull off a win in New York so it is most likely that the Yankees will at the least, need to use the home field advantage to good use.  They should be able to close it out wherever they are.  They are such a solid team that as long as they don’t make any errors, mentally and on the field, they should beat the Angels and move on to the World Series in pursuit of their 27th world championship.

One last thing: how about that throw from Melky Cabrera on the walk off hit by Mathis?  He was at the foot of the wall and he bombed a pretty accurate throw to just the right of home plate.  Did I mention it was pretty much right on target.  It was a crazy good throw.  I knew he had a great arm, but he just launched it from the wall and it came closer than I though it would be to getting Howie Kendrick out at home.  Wow.

-Dillon

Bombers Live Up To Nickname, Lead 3-1 in 5th

After a come from behind win at home against the Angels, the Yankees are headed to California to play two in the California sun.  The way the Yankees have played the first two games in NY, it will be tough to stop them, even when the Angels are at home.

In this first game in Aneheim, the Yanks are living up to their nickname, “the Bronk Bombers.”  The Bomers continue to dominate this postseason as solo shots from Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have put the Yankees up 3-1 over the Los Angelses Angels of Aneheim going into the sixth inning.  A lead off home run by the captain Derek Jeter ultimately wrote the script for this one as Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have both put souvenirs of their own into the stands.  With Andy Pettitte rolling on the mound, the Yankees look to be on pace for another win.

The first shot from Derek Jeter was certainly a shot that was a no doubter off the bat.  The same for Rodriguez’s shot which was an even bigger bomb.  Rodriguez almost hit another one that just missed as it stopped at the warning track.  Johnny Damon’s was more of a line drive that went a couple of rows into the right field stands just past the pole.  The Yankees just started teeing off on Jered Weaver who had a really tough fifth inning.  Jorge Posada got a hold of one and roped it into the outfield for a single.  Weaver has been pulled and the Angels are looking to the bullpen to stop the Yankee offense.  Good luck.  The Yankees look really confident and will be tough to stop at this point in the game.

CC Sabathia is set to go tomorrow on three days rest and it will be really interesting to see if the Yankees can close out the series with a sweep, assuming they win today to go up 3-0 in the series.  The Yankees have done everything right this postseason: they have pitched, they have hit, and they have been opportunistic taking advantage of some key mistakes by the Angels team.  Today, Torri Hunter made a big baserunning mistake as he was picked off by Andy Pettitte and his great move trying to steal second.  This Yankees team sure looks like a World Series caliber team.  Maybe even better.

-Dillon

A-Rod and Teixeira Carry Yanks

A-Rod drove in two in the ninth with a home run, which was an absolute bomb by the way, to tie the game and sent it into extras.  In the eleventh, Mark Teixeira hit a “wall scraper” to win the game down the left field line.  Wow! What an exciting game but there is plenty more about this game that made it spectacular.

AJ Burnett and Nick Blackburn both threw outstanding games; Burnett went 6 innings and Blackburn went 5.2 each giving up a run.  Burnett gave up five walks which could’ve led to some pretty bad happenings for the Yanks but he got out of it like both teams did over the course of the game.  Blackburn gave up three hits and walked two while striking out three.  Overall, the starters threw a pitchers duel that was exciting to watch.  They always are, waiting to see who makes the first mistake that will cost them the game.

When Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke combined to throw a perfect seventh inning I thought the Yanks were gonna cruise to another win with the way the bullpen was pitching.  Yeah right! Phil Hughes came in to pitch the eighth and that is where everything went wrong.  He was chased after only getting two outs after he gave up two hits and a walk which led to two runs.  It was a tough performance from Hughes and the Twins took the lead going into the final inning.

This is where I picked up the game on the radio on my way home from the movies with some friends.  I figured out that the Yanks were down 3-1.  It was killing me how the Yankees might end up losing to the Twins.  It was terrible.  But then it all happened.  Mariano Rivera finished the eighth and got out of the ninth with no more damage.  This was the time for the Yankees to hit there stride.  And they did.  Teixeira got on base and Alex Rodriguez brought him home with a bomb to the bullpen.  The game was tied and we almost won it in the ninth too.  Swish almost hit one but it was a few steps short of the wall.

In extras, it was pretty close with each team making their fair share of mistakes, pitching and fielding.  In general, the pitching only made a few mistakes to let guys get hits but the biggest one was when the Twins’ Joe Nathan threw the ball to second to try and pick off Brett Gardner and he threw it into the outfield.  Gardner shimmied over to third and was immediatley the number one priority for the Twins’ defense.  But Gardner made a mistake too.  On a line drive to the middle of the infield, Gardner took off towards home.  But he didn’t realize it was hit right at Orlando Cabrera and Gardner was doubled off at third.  That killed me.

The Yanks were unable to capitalize in the tenth but when Mark Teixeira came up in the eleventh, he came threw and hit a bullet down the the left field line that hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for the homer.  The game was finally over and the Yankees won again.  Just like I predicted they would.  It was a great game that was not only going have every one on the edge of their seats, but it was key to the outcome of this series.  Now the Yankees don’t necessarily have to win on the road they can have the comfort of playing another game at home if they are unable to win in Minnesota, which won’t be an easy task.

-Dillon

CC, Yankees Roll

The Yankees just keep on rolling and to be completely honest, I think it will take a lot more than the effort the Twins gave last night to stop the Bombers.

CC was absolutely phenominal.  I can’t say enough about it.  He pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and he was just about as good as he has been all year.  This win shows that despite being denied 20 wins on the season that he is still about as good as they get.  With 8 K’s and only one earned run, I officially summarize this game for the Yanks as domination.

CC wasn’t the only successful Yankee last night.  Far from it in fact.  Let’s start with the Captain.  Mr. November just picked up where he left off in the regular season and completely dominated Twins pitching.  He was 2-2 with a homer, three runs scored, and two RBI’s.  An outstanding performance from the captain was just the beginning of the successt the Yankees had last night.

Hideki Matsui surely showed that he still deserved the nickname “Godzilla” and belted a homer in the fifth.  He finished the game having gone 1-3 with that homer and he also drew a walk.

A-Rod went 2-4 wtih two RBI’s and a run scored and he played a solid third base as well.  Nick Swisher also drove in a run to add to the Yankees’ success.  Another thing I’d like to add about Swisher is how important his clubhouse presence has been all season.  Every team should have at least one guy like this.  Someone to keep everyone going and to keep spirits up.  The jokester on the team, the prankster.  Swisher definitely filled that roll this year with the Yankees and I am really grateful of that.

When the game finally rolled into the ninth inning, it looked as if the game was done with.  The Twins had no chance.  They weren’t even gonna come close to scoring at all…

-Now with the way I just said all that it seems like I’m going to say that they came back and won the game.  Yeah right.  Not on Mo’s watch.

Mariano Rivera pitched as spectacularly as he has all year.  Another great performance that left the Twins scratching their heads.  He let up one hit and one walk but other than that he was fantastic striking out two.

The great thing about Mo is that he does all of this with only one pitch.  His cutter, which wasn’t originally a cutter, has gotten the job done over his career unlike any other pitcher’s pitch in history has.  That story was in Sports Illustrated recently and it was one of the best articles I have read in a while.  Mo is one of a kind.

With the opening game win in the books, the Yanks have one day off before they send AJ Burnett out to face off against Nick Blackburn.

-By the way doesn’t Blackburn and Joe Mauer look really similar or is it just me?

  Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins

Well, I’m pretty sure that Burnett has the advantage in this one but Blackburn is still a quality pitcher. The Twins may have some chance… possibly… maybe a little… Yeah right, I’m just joking.  The Yankees are going to win this one as they did the first one.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Uno, Dos, Tres…

C’mon Jorge.  It goes like this.  Uno… dos… tres… so on.  How can you not think this was hilarious.  I mean, Yankee fans as well as everyone else around the MLB community should get a kick out of this.  And I figured that after being away from this blog for a week or so I should start back up with something simple and funny.  This is the perfect thing.

The Yankees are still rolling with the division lead over the Red Sox which is now up to 6.5 games if you were wondering.  Last night, they played the second game of a three game series against the O’s at Camden Yards and there were plenty of exciting moments, and strange ones as well.

The Bombers are the Bombers.  You have to expect them to hit a lot of homers.  Not only while they are at homer friendly Yankee Stadium, but also while they are on the road.  I mean, they are just a really talented and powerful team that hits a lot of homers.  Get over it haters.

Robby Cano hit one in the second inning.  Jorge Posada hit one in the third and then hit another one in the fifth.  A two homer night wasn’t the only thing that got Posada recognized though.  More on that in a second.  Nick Swisher and Eric Hinske both went yard in the seventh.  So there is your list of homers on the night and as always, a very impressive performance by the Bombers.

So, Posada had a great game offensively against the O’s yesterday.  But I don’t think he remembered how to count.  Twice, Posada got the counts messed up and the home plate umpire had to remind him of what was going on.

At one point, HP ump Angel Hernandez had to remind Posada that he had just looked at ball four and was awarded a walk.  This was a few seconds after Posada looked at the pitch and as he was getting ready for another.  The pitcher would’ve loved to get another chance but the umpire was alert and gave Posada the heads up.  The second time he messed up the count.  He thought he had struck out.  When he started walking back to the dugout, Hernandez, as well as guys in the dugout were telling him it was only two strikes.  It was great.  Hysterical.

Both Derek Jeter and A-Rod were filmed by the camera men at the game laughing about the incident and Johnny Damon was also in there somewhere too.  It was really funny and all his teammates were getting a kick out of it.  What I really don’t get is how Posada, being a catcher, messed up two different counts in one game.  It is really strange and it doesn’t happen often.

So remember Jorge.  Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro.

-Dillon