Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog. That’s so simple. The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be. It is the single best part of the MLB. It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry. And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year. It is just STELLAR.
So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season. They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans. Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them. But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance. The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best. A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season. Four straight wins would be STELLAR.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series. Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York. This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it. I can’t think of any better way to say it than that. If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.
Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians. A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation. They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health. Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play. Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate. Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth. Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it. Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting. It will be interesting to watch how he performs.
Now, going sort of off topic. How about that Kung Fu Panda?
No not that one… this one.
Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race. They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies. The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs. They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain. They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them. They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez. What else is their that they need. Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs. Now, how far will they go in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew. All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place. Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:
THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
As you can see in this picture of Prince Fielder, he uses every inch of his body to produce power to send a ball into the stands. Last night, he used his body to the fullest 23 times as Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis.
To start off the Derby, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers stepped up to the plate and put on a show, sending multiple bombs to deep, deep left field. And I mean deep. This guy really had some serious power. He ended the first round with a promising 11 homers that would hopefully be enough to get him into the second round.
Prince Fielder followed with another 11 home run performance in which he sent his own fair share of blasts into the outfield bleachers. Both guys put on a show and were in hope of having a second round spot available with there 11 home run totals.
The show was set on Albert Pujols, one of the best all time hitting in front of his own home crowd. He came up last in the lineup for the first round as the suspense built as the St. Louis crowd waited for his arrival. Unfortunately, Pujols dissapointed and didn’t get into the second round with astonishing numbers that many thought he would produce. Instead, his five home runs were good enough for a “bat off” as Chris Berman and the rest of the commentating crew called it. So Pujols competed in a competition of five swings against Carlos Pena and Joe Mauer who also had five homers in the first round. Carlos Pena came up first and hit one out. Mauer failed to get any over the fence, and when Albert came up, he hit two to satisfy the crowd and assure him a spot in the second round.
Now, the other hometown boy, Ryan Howard, got some love from the crowd as he advanced to the second round to continue his quest for a second Home Run Derby victory. Howard sent a handful of blasts into right, right center, and center field to get the crowd behind him. The majority of his shots were liners and not too many bombs. It was still pretty fun watching him do well back in his home town though.
The first round proved fatal for my pick to win it, Adrian Gonzalez, as he only hit two over the fence. He came close on multiple shots that hit the wall or the warning track but was unable to get the ball over the fence enough to advance to the second round. So there went my pick right off the bat, but I still had other reasons to be proud at my picks.
Brandon Inge EPIC FAILED! He was shutout not even coming close on any of his hits. The closest he came was when he hit a line shot down the left field line that was clearly foul. That was his final out. So, I was right about Inge, who shouldn’t even have been there, doing a terrible job. He sucked!
So after the first round here are the guys that were still in it:
In the second round, Albert Pujols came back up to the plate after batting last in the first round and batting last in the bat off. Now he had to get a pretty good amount of home runs just to get to Cruz and Fielder’s totals of 11 from the first round. By the end of the second round bid from Pujols, he had a total of 11, probably to be beaten by both Cruz and Fielder.
Ryan Howard came up following Pujols and put on a late show with only a few outs left to go. He finished the second round with a promising 15. There was a possibility of him being in the final round. But after Fielder and Cruz batted, that dream was shattered.
Cruz went on to bat after Howard and put on another powerful performance sending many balls to the upper decks down the line in left and to the deepest parts of the park. He secured a final round bid with a total of 17 homers through the first two rounds. Now all that was to see was if Mr. Fielder could pass Howard’s mark of 15 and he did that to move on to the final round. A matchup of Cruz and Fielder. Two very powerful guys that would surely put on a show.
In the final round, Cruz batted first and put up five blasts to give Fielder a battle for the title. Fielder came up second and without even getting six outs, Fielder surpassed Cruz’s mark of 5 homers to win the 2009 Home Run Derby. His first Derby victory ended with a blast to right center field into the stands full of cheering fans.
Fielder’s victory was solid, sending the three longest shots into the night, including a 503 foot homer. The longest he has ever hit, he said after the contest, and it was definitely a blast. It was the longest of the Derby and Fielder put on the show that everyone expects at least one person to do. Last year it was Josh Hamilton, although Fielder’s show wasn’t as great as Hamiltons, but this year Fielder put on the show that made the whole thing worth watching for me.
Last year, Hamilton’s run of home runs was probably the best moment of recent baseball history. His story leading up to that point just made it all the better. Many pictures of the moment were captured but I think this one is the best.
Fielder and his Brewers teammate Ryan Braun celebrated after his final home run as they would at a regular game in which one of he hit a home run. Their little routine that they do finished off a great night for Fielder. As Hamilton had his great moment captured many times, as did Fielder.
Congrats to the 2009 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder!
Hmmmmm… what to do on an off day? That’s the question for me today. There aren’t many over the course of the year, but there are a few here and there. And today’s one of them. So what should I do? The Yanks aren’t playing. In fact, there are only two games scheduled for today. The Angels and Giants face off in Frisco, and the Tribe and Brew Crew face off in “bugville.” That’s Cleveland for any of you unfamiliar with the Yankees’ and Joba Chamberlain’s situation in Cleveland last year. So that’s it. No more baseball other than that until tomorrow. So the question still remains, what should I do? I know.
I’m going to analyze how bad the Nationals are. Why not. It shouldn’t be that hard. So I’m going to start with this. Their pitching.
It’s horrific. Their best starting pitcher is probably Shairon Martis, who at 5-1 has a 5.06 ERA. It’s terrible. And that’s just the start of things. He has the most wins on the team. Ron Villone has a .96 ERA and has appeared in 22 games. That is the best reliever they’ve got. He has at least been somewhat good. The next lowest ERA on the team for someone that has pitched in at least 10 games is 3.51 from John Lannan who is their number one starter. The guy with the highest ERA is Logan Kensing who has an ERA at 13.40. Everything is going wrong for the Nats on the pitching side. They have very little upside and way too much downside.
The offense has some upside to it. A ton more than the pitching does. To start, you’ve got Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. Two top offensive guys in the league. But after them, you’ve got some other guys who are either young with some potentioal or other guys who just haven’t hit it huge in the bigs. Some of those players are Elijah Dukes, a potentially very good player. He hasn’t hit it big yet but I think he will sometime soon. Also, Nick Johnson, Christian Guzman, and Austin Kearns are some guys that are good players, but they aren’t good enough to take the Nats to bigger places. Obviously this is true or else it would have happened the last couple years.
The defense is alright. They don’t have any gold glove contenders. They don’t have anyone that makes great defensive highlights day in and day out. They just don’t have any spark on defense and that is why they aren’t noticed defensively. They don’t have guys that dive out for catches in the outfield and they don’t have guys that make “Top 10” worthy double plays. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either.
So overall, the Nats suck. The Yanks should have their way with them and should come out with a swwep. Now, I’m not the kind of guy to underestimate a team. The Nats are a really bad team. But they still can’t be underestimated. Their offense does have some spark so if our pitching is not top notch, they could build a lead up. So I am expecting at least two out of three games won for the Yanks but the sweep would be perfect as well. We need this sweep to keep going and keep pace with the Red Sox who are in first.
CC is going tomorrow against Shairon Martis. It should be a pretty good matchup as our ace goes agaisnt their ace (as far as I see it). So hopefully we can take advantage of the not so good pitching. Offense- you need to score runs.
Let’s go Yanks.