Tagged: Mariano Rivera

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

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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

Sweet Sweet Victory

Well, before I get to the Yankees-Red Sox recap, I’ve got to let my thoughts be heard on a few other things that happened yesterday around the MLB.

Most baseball fans know Chase Utley.  The second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.  He’s got that good defensive record, a strange power source from a second baseman, and a great mind for the game.  Yeah, him.  But he wasn’t playing in Sunday’s matchup between the Phils and Mets.  Eric Bruntlett filled in for him and made his presence known in an unusual way.  In a game that had so many unusual scenarios, Bruntlett made a play that only one other person has done before.  But that was just the end of everything that happened yesterday.

The Phils scored six runs in the top of the first off of Oliver Perez.  But Perez didn’t make it out of the first inning.  He was facing Pedro Martinez, who was making his return to NY after being cut by the Mets this past off-season.  Pedro had a 3-0 count and manager Jerry Manuel came out to pull Perez.  An unusual happening.  A pitcher getting pulled in the middle of an at bat.  Strange.

Well, the Mets eventually got out of the inning.  Then they had a little fun of their own.  To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Angel Pagan hit a shot to the left center gap that sent Shane Victorino running to the wall.  The ball got wedged under the wall and Victorino thought he could get away with calling it as a double.  But the umps didn’t think it that way.  The umps didn’t make the call and the left fielder picked it up and threw it in.  This whole time, Pagan had been running the bases and wound up with an inside the park homer.  The ball was wedged underneath the wall but it wasn’t so badly wedged that it would take some work to get it out and that it should have been a double.  The umps made the right call.  Strange.

Later in the game, Jeff Francoeur, the Mets’ right fielder, made a great sliding catch to rob Eric Bruntlett of all people of a base hit.  At first the umps called Bruntlett safe as he went on to third as Francoeur was unaware of the call.  Then the umps met and reversed the call after both Francoeur and Jerry Manuel argued the call.  It was another crazy moment that was obviously a catch when the replay showed it.  Strange.

Now, the biggest highlight of the game was Bruntlett’s play in the bottom of the ninth which ended the game.  With runners on first and second, Jeff Francoeur (there seems to be a recurring theme of players being involved in multiple strange plays) stepped up to the plate.  He hit a liner with a full count up the middle.  With the runners in motion, Bruntlett had been moving to cover second base.  The ball was hit right to him on a line.  He snagged it, tagged second base, and tagged David Murphy who was on first at the start of the play.  An unnasissted triple play to end the game, the first in the NL history, second in MLB history.  Strange.

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OK so back to the Yankees-Red Sox game.  Last night, the aces of the two clubs faced off in the rubber match of the series.  It was set to be a great pitcher’s duel, as was Beckett’s and Burnett’s not to long ago.  And it was a really good game.  The Yankees opened up the game with two runs early.  The first was on a Derek Jeter solo shot and the second on Hideki Matsui’s first shot of the night which was also a solo shot.  The Yankees scored two more runs on the Red Sox in the third inning, neither on homers.  Then, Robinson Cano homered in the fourth, and A-Rod homered in the fifth to drive in two more.  Matsui hit the final Yankee homer in the eighth which was another solo shot.  A home run barrage, as Yankees.com puts it, lit up the sky in Boston as the Yanks rolled to an 8-4 victory.  Sweet Sweet Victory.

The Red Sox did score four runs but CC kept them at bay most of the night.  The Yankees did jump on top early and that was a big advantage for them as the game went on.  The Red Sox tied the score in the second but the Yankees went back ahead and never looked back.  The Sox didn’t leave the yard once in the game, surprisingly.  The lack of the long ball in a game dominated by the long ball is probably what did the Red Sox in.

CC finished the game with eight strikeouts as all his stuff was dominant.  Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera were successful out of the ‘pen as they finished the game off.  Beckett finished with five K’s on the night, not bad.  He also gave up all five homers though.  Not good.

So let’s take a look back at the series that was.  Game One:

The Yankees score 20 runs against Brad Penny and the REd Sox.  Another terrible outing for Penny who would later be pulled from the starting rotation to make room for Wakefield who is coming back soon.  Another home run happy game sent many bombs flying through the Boston sky.  The Red Sox had their fair share of runs too.  They just weren’t able to make up for what the pitching let up.  Too bad.  They scored 11 runs.

Game Two:

The Red Sox stole the Yankees’ thunder for game two as they burst out with another 14 runs compared to the Yankees’ Nick Swisher’s single run.  Swish hit a solo shot to left to score the only run for the Yanks on the day.  A very disappointing loss for the Yanks and a touche to the REd Sox was all that was in me for Saturday.

Then came game three which I just talked about.  A very exciting series that was truly a back and forth one.  Great to watch and I’m sure, as always, it was great to play in for both teams.  No fights broke out which was good for the teams.  I don’t think either could afford losing anyone right now, especially the Red Sox who are in the Wild Card race and don’t have that big of a lead anymore.  It was a clean series  that was fun to watch as a fan.  Especially since the Yankees won.

-Dillon

Lose… I Don’t Think The Yankees No How To Lose Right Now

If we can finally beat the Red Sox, then I say the Yankees can’t lose right now.  0-8 against the Sox on the season was enough for the Bombers who burst out last night for a 13-6 win in Yankee Stadium.  Melky’s bomb in the fourth off the struggling John Smoltz was just the beginning of an explosive offensive outbreak that put the game out of reach for the Red Sox.  An eight run fourth inning was enough for the Yankees but they added on another four to make sure.

The game was definitely homer friendly as six bombs left the yard.  Teixeira hit his 28th on the year to put up the Yankees 13-4.  Now, that’s all that would be for the Yankees but as I predicted, the Red Sox didn’t go out quietly.

Anthony Claggett #39 of the New York Yankees talks with catcher Jorge Posada #20 against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on April 18, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

In the ninth, Anthony Claggett came in to the game to try and hold down the Sox for another inning and secure the Yankees their first victory of the season over the Sox.  Well, Claggett gave up two runs and the pressure started to build for the Yankees.  But fortunately, the Yanks got out of it and came out with the win.  A huge win for us.  I was ecstatic.

1-8

So, now we’re 1-8 eight against the Red Sox on the season.  Now, I am totally fine with having a losing record against them for the season.  As long as we win some of them and we come out on top at the end of the season.  This is a sign to me that the Yankees are still on a roll and they are not going to be stopped.  I honestly think the Yankees don’t know how to lose right now.  They are just tearing it up.

So how did Victor Martinez do in his first Red Sox-Yankees game.  Well, he went 0-3 with three walks.  He did score a run but other than that, he was invaluable in the Red Sox offensive attack.  Casey Kotchman, another new arrival for the Sox had a pretty good game as he went 1-4 with a two run homer.  He also walked once and scored two runs.  Not bad for his first dose of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Mo didn’t appear at the end of the game because we were up by so much.  No need to bring him in right.  We’re winning by so much that we definitely won’t need him.  Well, when Clagget started getting into trouble, I thought we might need him after all if they couldn’t get out of this trouble.  Well, fortunately enough Mo didn’t have to waste a day of rest and was able to stay out in the bullpen.

Jed Lowrie, a recently called back up after rehabbing from his stint on the DL.  He has played pretty well of late but yesterday he re-injured himself.  Well, he may have.  He came out of the game early because of numbness in his hand and forearm soreness.  Hopefully he’s alright so he doesn’t have to back on the DL.  That would really stink. He’s a good kid with a lot of potential.

The Yankees added some depth to their starting rotation.  Since Phil Hughes and Alfredo Aceves have had such great success in the bullpen, the Yankees have opted to keep them there.  But who is still there to start?  That’s why they got Chad Gaudin.  He’s been with the Padres most recently and had played with the Phillies recently as well.  Gaudin should be a good fit to this Yankees team.  He definitely adds the depth we needed in the pitching staff and I think this move makes us a lot lot lot lot lot better.

Well, I am extremely happy with the Yankees’ performance yesterday and I’m sure every other Yankee fan is too.  They played great.  Joba was great.  The offense was obviously on fire.  The pitching didn’t totally blow it.  The defense was good.  And everything was just flowing right.  Just watch all you Red Sox fans.  The Yankees aren’t done with you yet.  The Yanks were just STELLAR.

Tonight we’ve got Burnett going against Beckett.  The marquee matchup in this series that everyone always looks forward to.  It’s going to be great.  Burnett has not faired well agains the Sox recently so he’s looking for some revenge and he may get it if the Yankee offense can put up another great performance like last night.

Go Yanks!

-Dillon

Stars Shine Bright Part 2

Carl Crawford shined the brightest among the star studded rosters that participated in the 80th All Star Game last night.  With a game saving catch to rob the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run and a 1-3 night at the plate, Carl Crawford was awarded the All Star Game MVP trophy from the commish Bud Selig.  A great honor for Crawford who’s STELLAR play kept the AL in the game and gave them their 12th win in 13 years of All Star play.  Congrats to Crawford for his achievement.

The game was a very good one, keeping me alert at all times.  Different from the Home Run Derby the night before, the game was exciting and it was definitely worth watching.  Most of the action happened early as the AL scored twice in the top of the first.  The NL scored three times in the bottom of the second to go ahead in the game.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the NL had a shot at winning this thing.  Well, maybe not.

In the fifth, the AL tied the score up with a run on a combined effort from Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter.  The game then stayed scorelss until the eighth in which my favorite player, Curtis Granderson, tripled to deep left off the wall.  Just missing a home run, Granderson swiftly made his way to third to put the go ahead run on.  He was then driven in by an Adam Jones deep sacrifice fly.  In fact when the ball first left his bat, I thought it was going out, but the wind must have knocked it down because it was just short of the warning track.  It was deep enough to drive in Granderson and the AL went ahead.

The NL was then on the ropes for yet another loss in the All Star Game.  They were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth as Joe Nathan got out of a little jam in which he had walked a guy and gave up a hit.  In the bottom of the ninth, as he has his whole career, Mariano Rivera stepped up to the mound and shut down the NL 1-2-3.

Now, as I said in my first edition of this post, defense is a huge aspect of baseball, whether you think it is or not.  In last night’s game, the ball off Brad Hawpe’s bat would have left the yard (barely) if it wasn’t for the great hustle from Crawford.  His great concentration allowed him to catch the ball while hitting the wall.  Michael Young made a couple nice plays over at third base in place for Evan Longoria who was a late scratch with an infection of his finger.  All over the field, people were making some good plays.  Ironically enough, each team had an error.  Well, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference but still… kind of ironic.

The All Star Game was a blast to watch.  I was pumped that Curtis Granderson was a huge part of the game with his triple and game winning run.  I didn’t know if he would get that much playing time but he did.  In fact, his first at bat was when he hit the triple.  That was the turning point in the game.  It broke a tie and it broke the NL’s chances of winning for the first time in 13 years.  Also, I was glad that Jeter and Rivera had good games.  Teixeira didn’t really have any huge plays but his presence at first was felt as he played a solid game.  The Yankees were well represented with their old skipper on the opposite bench, Joe Torre.

The starting pitching was supposed to be STELLAR but in fact, it wasn’t that STELLAR.  Lincecum had trouble in the first inning where he gave up two runs on two hits.  On the other side of things, Halladay gave up three runs on four hits.  Only two of them were earned as one run scored on a Josh Hamilton throwing error.  The rest of the game, the pitching was pretty good.  Solid all around and it was a great thing to watch.

The All Star Game in general was pleasing to me.  It got me back on track with baseball after a disappointing Home Run Derby Monday night.  I’m pumped for the rest of the season and it is going to be a good one.  The stars shone bright last night and the stars are going to shine bright the rest of the season as the playoffs near.  The Yankees and Red Sox race for the top of the AL East is going to be a good one.  The NL Central is about as tight as it gets.  Everyone’s got a chance.  The AL Central looks like the Tigers are going to take it.  The Dodgers are still the best team in the bigs and will continue to play like it.  Manny’s return will help them even more.  It’s going to be a great second half of the season and I am psyched.

-Dillon

Way To Go Mo

This guy works extremely hard.  He loves the game.  He respects the game.  He plays the game right.  He Is a hall of famer for sure.  He is loved by so many fans around the MLB communnity.  He’s Mariano Rivera, and he is the newest member of the 500 saves club.

The game was on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball last night and I was pumped that I would be able to watch the Yanks again; they were on Saturday Night Baseball on MLB Network the night before.  So I was sitting in front of the t.v. and I watched as the Yankees looked really good again.  I was thinking that there is no way we won’t sweep them.  I was in that kind of mindset.  It was great.  Chien Ming Wang didn’t suck… that’s good.  Maybe he’ll start to get it going.  Now the offense wasn’t all that great.  That’s my one concern from last night’s game.  We only had four hits over the course of the game.  None of them were homers but we did get a lot of help from the Mets pitching who walked eleven guys overall.  That helped us a ton.  We had the win going into the ninth in which Mo got an extra run to work with.  He was actually at the plate and was walked by K-Rod with the bases loaded to bring in a run.  That was Rivera’s first career RBI.  Well, that’s all for last night’s game.  It was good.  We got the sweep and it looks like we’re back on track headed back into the American League.  Let’s keep it up, huh guys.

So back to Mo.  He was STELLAR!  As he has done many times in the past, he came in to finish the eighth inning and then went on to finish the game in the ninth.  He struck out two and didn’t give up anything at all as he cruised to his 500th career save.  He is now in the company of Trevor Hoffman who is the only other guy to have reached 500 saves.  This save puts him in that hall of fame by me.  But my vote isn’t legit so hopefully the legitimate voters see things the same way I do.  He is a hall of famer no doubt.

Congrats to Mo on his milestone and congrats to the Yanks on their sweep of the Mets.  We absolutely dominated the Mets during interleague play.  Especially the last four games.  We have been STELLAR

Well, until next time… hasta luego.

-Dillon

Yanks Walk Off In Improbable Fashion

Well, the Yank and Sox just ended a rivalry series but they are still in the news together.  Both teams are involved in the top two interleague series’ taking place this weekend.  The Yankees are playing the Mets in the first Subway Series this season, and the Red Sox are taking on the defending champs Phillies.  Both great matchups.  Both headline matchups.  So far, the Yanks have taken the first game of the series with the Mets on a walk off.  The cause of the walk off- an error by Luis Castillo.  More on this later.  Now the Red Sox were in no need of a walk off.  They beat the Phils 5-2.  They shut out one of the best hitters in baseball, Chase Utley, and overall dominated the Phils.  So here we go.

Joba took the bump for the Yanks against Livan Hernandez who has been pitching very well for the Mets lately.  He pitched all right through four innings of work.  But at least we can say he pitched through three innings.  The funny thing is, he only gave up one hit.  But he gave up two runs.  The reason for this is five walks.  And all of you know how much I hate walks.  So he gave up the two runs, but nothing to drastic.  He also struck out three.  He had a pretty good night despite only pitching through four.  And when a pitcher comes out early, I always get worried because we have to give it up to the bullpen.  And that hasn’t exactly worked out that well for us most of the season.

Brett Tomko was the first to come out from the ‘pen and he caused the most damage of all.  He gave up four runs on three hits and two walks.  He gave up a homer to Gary Sheffield that drove in two of the runs he gave up.  He only pitched .2 of an inning so it’s even worse that he gave up so much in such a little time. 

Dave Robertson came in and pitched 1.1 innings.  He gave up one hit, one walk, one run, and had three strikeouts.  Not terrible but we needed him to hold them to no runs.  That would have been better.  Phil Coke came in to relieve Robertson and pitched 1.2 innings of perfect ball.  He gave up nothing.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  You get the idea.  Then he was relieved by Mariano Rivera who was in for the last out of the eighth.  And things went pretty bad for him.

Rivera came in and gave up a hit and a walk that would lead to a run to tie the game for the Mets.  This was not what I expected from Rivera at all.  Well, I was wrong, obviously.  He did strike out two so the one run was all they got.  It was all up to the Yanks offense now.  Rivera pitched a good ninth and the game was still tied.

The Yanks then came up to the plate to first face Pedro Feliciano.  HE got one out and handed it over to Francisco Rodriguez.  K-Rod if you will.  He is the one who had problems.  Not often found from K-Rod.  He gave up a hit and a walk and then, everything went wrong for the Mets.  A-Rod came up to bat and popped it up to Luis Castillo.  The Mets second baseman dropped the ball and two runs scored.  The Yanks took the game on an improbable play.  A walk off not often seen but it happened and the Yanks got the win.  It was a great way to end and exciting and pant wetter of a game.  Way to go Yanks.  Luis Castillo- sorry it had to happen to you.

A win for the Yanks has been scarce over the last few games.  They were swept by the Sox and that just made it even worse.  But this win over another rival must boost their confidence.  We need to get some more wins and hope the Phils can get it done against the Red Sox.  We are currently 2 game back of the Sox who are in first.  Hopefully we can get some more wins against the Mets to make up for the sweep from the Red Sox.

Go Yanks!

-Dillon