Tagged: Mark Teixeira

Burnett Burns Phils

AJ Burnett was sensational as he kept the Phillies to one run in game 2 of the World Series last night in the Bronx.  Pedro Martinez pitched well but was unable to hold the Yankees offense silent to a second night in a row.  The Bombers took a while to score some runs but they got there eventually and came out with an important game 2 victory.

The “Who’s your daddy” chants throughout the stadium did not seem to take any effect on Pedro as he had the Yankees guessing early on.  He and AJ Burnett seemed to match each other inning after inning.  It was in the fourth inning when Mark Teixeira finally got to Pedro and took one for a ride to left field.  In the sixth inning, Hideki Matsui took another Martinez pitch out to right field with a gold-like swing.  Jorge Posada also pitched in with an RBI in the seventh after pinch hitting for Jose Molina.  Last night did not show much offense, but the way Burnett pitched last night, it was enough.

The commentators for Fox’s World Series coverage continue to say that AJ Burnett’s curveball is the best in the game… if it is right.  That’s the whole key.  We have seen Burnett struggle a lot this season when he had a tough time getting his curveball and other key pitches to work.  But last night his curveball truly was the best in the game as he made Phillies batters look in awe of the movement.  And when they decided to try and hit it… they missed.  Simple as that.  Burnett also provided a solid 95 mph fastball that kept hitters honest.  His two seemer seemed to be getting the best of the Phillies batters as well.  It proved this early in the game when he got Shane Victorino to strike out looking at a two seemer that came right back over the inside part of the plate.  Burnett’s sensational performance last night has kept the Yankees in this series. 

These next three games on the road will be crucial for both teams.  The Phillies have a great home record but the Yankees can’t be counted out for anything.  The Yankees NEED to win a game on the road and hope to bring the series back to New York.  If they can get the series back to New York and keep the Phillies at bay, then the Yankees will take this World Series and add the trophy to the other 26.

Game 3’s starters are Andy Pettitte, who was huge in the ALDS and ALCS for the Yankees, and Cole Hamels, last years NLCS MVP.  This matchup, to me, is the most intriguing of the three big pitching matchups for this series.  Pettitte has been pitching in the postseason since he put on his pinstripes it seems and has had a lot of success.  Cole Hamels has only seen on playoff and has succeeded in it as well.  Both are excellent pitchers with good stuff that can be tricky for opposing hitters to get to.  They both have great minds for the game and can really help their respective teams.  This game will hopefully have some more offense in an even friendlier offensive park than Yankee STadium (Citizen’s Bank Park) but the pitchers will both still have solid performances.

-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

Dodgers, Angels, Yankees Sweep LDS Opponents

Talk about a dominant performance.  The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers all swept their LDS opponents and have moved on the their respective league’s championship game.  Wow!

Now, the Yankees simply flexed their muscles in their first round matchup against the Twins.  They won both games at home to open the series, despite having to come from behind in a crazy game.  When Mark Teixeira hit the walk off homer to left to end the game, the Yankees stormed onto the field and celebrated, leaving a stunned Twins team in the opposite dugout.  In the third game of the series, the first in Minnesota, the Twins kept it close again, but when they had the chance to score some runs and put some pressure on the Yankees, they made some key baserunning mistakes that really cost them.  It was surely a disappointing series for Twins fans but you can’t say that you didn’t see this coming.

My pick for the ALDS matchup of the Angels and Red Sox had the Red Sox coming out victorious after a five game series.  Obviously I was wrong as the Angels really poured it onto the Red Sox and swept them.  History wasn’t in line to repeat itself in this series and the Angels soared their way to the ALCS.  It was kind of against my prediction but while I was watching the game three between these two teams, which was at Fenway, I told my dad in the eighth inning that the Angels would come back to score three runs against Papelbon and win the game.  He didn’t want to believe it but when the game was over I left the room with him staring at the t.v.  I felt pretty good about myself about that one.

The ALCS is going to be a very intriguing matchup between two quality powerhouses with good pitching.  The Yankees obviously have a pitching advantage but the offense’s of these two teams are pretty evenly matched.  The Halos have a very good and underrated offense that will really matchup well against the Yankees.  But the key to this seris will be pitching.  If the Yankees pitching can overcome the good Angels offense than the Yankees will roll onto the World Series.  My Prediction: Yankees win it in six.

Now onto the Dodgers, the team that everyone thought would be leaving the playoffs early due to their end of the season slump.  Well, the Dodgers didn’t feel like taking any of that and they went out and swept a very powerful Cardinals team, that a lot of people thought would not be a factor in the Central this season.  With the one-two punch of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, how can you go wrong.  Well, the Dodgers’ offense poured it on to the top two pitchers in the Cy Young race this year while in LA and when they went to St. Louis, Vincente Padilla put in a great perfornance and kept the Cards at bay while the Dodgers continued to have success against Cardinals pitching as they pushed Pineiro out of the game early.  It was a great series for the Dodgers and they will want to use this head of steam going into the NLCS against whoever it is they end up playing.

-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

Cano is a Legitimate Bronx Bomber

He can get on base in a variety of ways

He can field second base with the best of them

He and Derek Jeter are the best double play team in the bigs

And Robinson Cano has developed into a legitimate power threat

The Bronx Bombers are exactly that… a group of dudes who where pinstripes and go yard a lot.  I mean, this year, the Yankees have six guys with at least 20 homers on the season.  Teixeira, Damon, Matsui, Swisher, Cano, and Rodriguez.  This is a Major League best and it just shows how the Yankees play the game of baseball.  Now, I know everyone will speculate that the reason the Yankees have so many home runs is because of that right field fence.  But the dimensions are the same from the old stadium.  It is really no different than the old stadium but because of the power surge, people are thinking that the right field fence is the reason so many baseballs have left the playing field in Yankee Stadium.

Cano has evolved as a very good second baseman that can play the field and can hit in a variety of ways.  He can hit for power and go yard, or he can get on base with a single of maybe a double down the line or in the gap.  Cano has really developed into a good hitter who can take his pitches and get on base by way of the walk.  This is a really powerful thing when a batter can take pitches and allow the opposing pitcher to walk him.  It’s a free base and it requires nio work on behalf of the batter.  Most of you who read my blog a lot would know by now that I hate walks with a passion.  But that is only if the Yankees’ pitchers walk opposing batters.  If Yankee batters are the ones being walked, I love the walk.  Check out how good they are here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH5G3R7810w

Since Cano has been up in the big leagues, he has partnered with Derek Jeter to become one of the best double play teams in the Major Leagues.  Derek Jeter has been doing it for years and now Cano has made this duo a great thing to watch.  It really is amazing how quickly and accurately these two guys turn two.  Jeter does a great job of getting to the ball.  He really takes advantage of his range at short.  He gets the ball to Cano pretty quickly and then Cano, who is the most important part of this duo, catches the ball and basically misdirects it towards first.  It is that fast.  I’m almost 100% sure that Cano is the fastest double play turner in the Majors.  I’ve never seen anyone even close to it.  It’s amazing.

Cano doesn’t have a ton of speed but he runs the basepaths like a true professional.  You rarely see him make a mistake on the paths; he always knows when to go and when to hold up.  He does have some speed and will use it if he really needs to get to the next base.  You won’t go to a Yankees game and expect to see Cano attempt to steal second.  It’s just not something the Yankees try to do with Cano.  It’s alright since the Yankees aren’t a running team. They rely on power and just pure hitting.  And they can get away with it too since they have the talent to do it.

I have begun to really like Cano over the past couple years.  He is really turning into a true pinstriper.  He’s great to watch and he is becoming more and more of an important hitter in the Yankees lineup.  Yeah, he’s batting fifth or sixth most of the time but that’s because they have other guys filling in the top of the order and that puts him in the middle to the backend of things.  That just shows how great the Yankees are.  Cano recorded his fourth career walk off hit on August 12th against the Jays.  With the game tied at three in the 11th inning, Cano sent a shot to right center field that just missed being a homer.  It hit off the wall and scored Alex Rodriguez from second.  Cano has become a huge force in the Yankees’ lineup and will continue to improve with experience.

Go Yanks!

-Dillon

Strasburg Signs, Cards Beat Dodgers Again, Tomko Beats Former Team

Strasburg is signed, the Yanks were kept scoreless by their former comrad, and the Cards continue to dominate the Dodgers, MLB’s best team.  Here we go…

Yesterday I talked about the whole Strasburg situation.  Well, he’s finally signed; it took until 11:58 Monday night to get it done.  Another Scott Boras guy, Strasburg was drafted number one by the Nats and is expected to be the start of a reformation in the nation’s capital.

Here’s a comment I got on my post from yesterday by Julia from Julia’s Rants:

“Dillon- Jacoby Ellsbury has to be near the top of your list as well.  Many a wall wear scares from him.  And Strasburg?  Sadly another case of his devil of an agent trying to extort money from teams.”

Julia put it right on the money.  Boras has the reputation of extorting money from teams trying to sign his clients.  He definitely gets his clients money but he is not like much by other players, teams, and fans because of how he does it.  For the Nationals, they are probably ecstatic that they were able to sign Strasburg.  Boras took it down to the last minute until Strasburg told him to get it done because of his wanting to play.  It’s done now and you can expect to see Strasburg in the nation’s capital next spring.

Hey, Yankee fans!  Remember this guy.  Yeah.  It’s Brett Tomko.  He kind of played for us this year until we released him in July because he wasn’t performing to the level of success that we needed him to.  Yeah, him.  Well, he’s on the Athletics now and he just shut us out yesterday.  What a shame.

The Yankees were held to seven hits and were walked twice.  Tomko was definitely on his game for the first five innings of the game before he was taken out.  And even after he was relieved, the Yankees were still baffled by the Athletics’ pitching.  They just couldn’t get it done.  After Tomko came out, they only got two more hits.  That’s terrible.  How could this happen against the A’s of all teams?  Well, at least we can say AJ Burnett and Derek Jeter had really really good games.

Burnett went a complete game (8 innings) of STELLAR work.  He only allowed six hits, one less than the Yankees had as a team.  He struck out five and walked two.  Not a bad performance.  In fact, it’s a very good performance.  This would be the kind of performance we would assume came in a Yankee victory.  But unfortunately the Yankee bats were held quiet.  But not Derek Jeter.

Jeter went 3-4 with three singles.  He didn’t do much more than that but at least he was able to have some success agaisnt the Oakland pitching.  Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both hit doubles, their only hits of the game.  Jorge Posada and Ramiro Pena both hit singles as well.  The Yankees still have a seven game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East.

Chris Carpenter was dealing last night against the Dodgers.  He went eight innings of work giving up only five hits and a walk.  He struck out eight.  He only gave up two runs on the game which is a good sign as for his run control goes.  The offense also helped out.  It took until the end of the game to pull ahead but it happened eventually and Carpenter was still on the mound to record the win.  Pujols homered in the fourth to tie the game at one apiece.  Then in the seventh, Rick Ankiel sent a bomb to deep right center to go ahead 3-2.  The Cards kept the lead with Trevor Miller and Ryan Franklin who combined to pitch the ninth.  The Dodgers seem to have no answer for the Cards this season.  They could be a deadly foe for the Dodgers in the playoffs as the Cards may have the top of the Central division come the end of the season.  Who knows, maybe the Cards will out play the MLB’s best team.

-Dillon

Sweep?

C’mon.  You can’t not be thinking sweep right now.  The Yankees have totally dominated this series, giving the Red Sox nothing.  Nothing at all.  The pitching has been STELLAR, the offense has been great, the bullpen (probably the biggest reason we lost so many games to the Sox earlier in the season) has been good as well, and the momentum of the Yankees has left the Red Sox in the dirt.  As I said a few days ago, I don’t think the Yankees know how to lose.

CC started the game going the first half of the game without giving up a hit.  Obviously everyone was thinking about the possibility of a no-no and, well… who couldn’t?  CC ended up only giving up two hits, and two walks in his 7.2 innings of work.  He racked up nine K’s, excellent work.  He had a nasty slider that got a few guys out and made them look really foolish.  The bullpen kept up the consistency that was far from anywhere near New York at the beginning of the season and Phil Hughes and Nate Robertson combined to go the rest of the game only giving up two hits and no walks (both hits credited to Robertson).

Such a sight to see.  The Yankees beating up on the Red Sox.  Just like it ought to be.  Well, to all you Red Sox fans out there.  Here’s something positive that you can take out of all this.  You’re only 5.5 games out of first.  At least you can say that you are in better position than the Orioles to make a run.  The O’s are 22.5 games back.  That’s a pretty good thing, right?

The offense last night was clearly good enough to get past the Red Sox, considering CC pitched his heart out.  Well, in pretty much any other game, five runs is a good afternoon for a team that has their pitchers pitch relatively well.  Derek Jeter helped out that cause late in the game with a two run homer to right.  Of course it would be to right.  Where else does anyone hit a home run to in Yankee Stadium.  Mark Teixeira went 1-3 with an RBI and two walks.  Robby Cano went 3-4 and scored a run.  Jose Molina, filling in for Jorge Posada, went 1-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk.  The offense was definitely there yesterday and it was great to see another butt-kicking of the Red Sox handed out by the Yankees.

  vs. 

Tonight, the final game in the series has everyone thinking sweep.  Right now, the way the series has gone so far, it looks like a no brainer.  The Yankees have everything going right.  The pitching, the offense, the defense.  Everything is running smoothly.  Tonight, Andy Pettitte and Jon Lester go at it and it’s a pretty good matchup.  Both guys are second of the rotation guys.  Both have good stuff and could easily be the top man in any rotation.  They have their ups and downs.  They will definitely put on a show but I still have my money on the Yankees sweeping the Sox.  I said earlier before this series started that I thought the Yankees would win three out of four.  But now I am totally thinking sweep.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon