August 2009

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

Will Derek Jeter play long enough to break Pete Rose’s all-time hits record?(polling)

Which Yankee do you think has the best shot to win AL MVP this season?(survey)

Who should win the AL Cy Young this season?(answers)

Should Jim Rice apologize to Derek Jeter for suggesting the Yankees shortstop was not a role model?(polls)

Who will win the AL Wild Card?(survey software)

Mark Teixeira on Late Show

http://www.cbs.com/e/qDsUQ9bFuQmoaA41XndfhfThzIBUjDJ5/cbs/1/

Yankees vs. Red Sox: 8/21/2009 Lineups

yankees.jpgYANKEES (76-45)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching: Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.09)

redsox.jpgRED SOX (69-51)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Jason Bay LF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Lowell 3B
J.D. Drew RF
Alex Gonzalez SS

Pitching: Brad Penny (7-7, 5.22)

Wagner would be worthwhile

wagner_275_082109.jpgBy Jon Lane
In case you haven’t heard – how was life on Jupiter? – it’s Yankees vs. Red Sox this weekend. Stay with YESNetwork.com all weekend for the latest from Fenway Park.

Many believe a three-game sweep would be a knockout punch to the Red Sox and their division title homes. A 9 -game deficit would be virtually insurmountable. It’s never over until … you know … but I truly think the Yankees are too talented and disciplined to pull a 2006 Mets, 1995 Angels or 1964 Phillies and blow this thing.

Speaking of the Mets – I’ll leave the folks from Flushing to deal with the latest Gary Sheffield mess – Billy Wagner made his return to the Majors Thursday night. He looked great, perfect in fact, hitting 96 MPH on the gun and whiffing two in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Braves. Not too shabby in his first big-league appearance coming off Tommy John surgery.

How much longer Wagner will remain a Met is the next question. Wagner today was claimed on waivers, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman, which leaves the Mets three days to work out a deal with the claiming team. Francisco Rodriguez is the closer and the Mets have no intention on picking up Wagner’s $10 million club option for next year.

Prior to Heyman’s story I had a thought: Yankeeland.

Right now the Yankees have one left-hander in their bullpen, Phil Coke, and there will be two if Damaso Marte is actually activated. But does anyone actually trust Marte in a big spot? In any spot? And as well as Coke has pitched this year, how much pressure do you think his young shoulders will handle facing David Ortiz or Jacoby Ellsbury in the ALCS? Or for that matter, Curtis Granderson, Josh Hamilton or Bobby Abreu in October pressure situations?

Enter Wagner, and before you start going So Taguchi on me, remember that the only Sandman in the Bronx is Mariano Rivera. That means the final fate of the game won’t be on Wagner’s repaired left shoulder. He’ll give Coke and Phil Hughes a blow. He’ll face one or two hitters in big spots, and he’ll work against lefties or righties (Wagner has held right-handed hitters to a .186 lifetime average).

Moreover, you get a fresh arm, albeit one you handle with care, but one with loaded bullets.

Brian Cashman has more than a week to evaluate. There’s little to complain about the Yankees these days (though to some complaining is the spice of life). But Wagner, despite the 10.38 ERA he compiled in the 2006 postseason, is your standard low-risk, high-reward investment. The Mets won’t ask for the world in prospects, only some help in Steinbrenner dollars. That’s a good deal.

_______________________

There’s more than one big series this weekend. The Rangers, trailing the Red Sox by a game in the Wild Card race, are in St. Petersburg for a critical three-game set with the Rays. If the Yankees and Rangers are able to take their respective series, it’s a tremendous boost to the men in pinstripes. The Rays’ postseason hopes would take a dive straight towards South Beach while the Red Sox would be buried in the division race and out of the playoff picture, but not out cold. Beginning with the Rays and continuing next week in the Bronx, the Rangers will play 15 of his next 19 games on the road.

Late Night with Teixeira

teixeira_250_082009.jpgBy Jon Lane
Mickey Mantle once said, “New York is the only place to play baseball.”
And to echo a line from Gordon Gekko from one of my favorite movies,
“You do good, there’s perks. Lots and lots of perks.”

You know you’ve made it when you receive an invite from David Letterman. It took less than one season in New York for Mark Teixiera to garner national and mainstream attention. That’s what happens when you immediately live up to a $180-million contract by producing an MVP-caliber season in New York City.

This release from CBS:

New York Yankees All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira will make his first visit to the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Monday, August 24 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. In addition to his interview with Letterman, Teixeira will also participate in an outdoor batting demonstration during the LATE SHOW broadcast.

In his first year with the Yankees, Teixeira is proving to be an all-around force for the American League East-leading team, not only at first base, but also in the batter’s box.  A key ingredient to the Bronx Bombers’ success this season, he currently has a .283 batting average, recently hit his 31st home run of the season and has an impressive total of 89 runs batted in for the season so far.

Also featured on the Monday, Aug. 24 LATE SHOW will be an interview with famed Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who will also be making her first visit to the broadcast.

Odds and ends

By Jon Lane
Odds and ends in the midst of the Yankees’ road trip:

? In an uproar over Brett Tomko shutting down the Yankees Monday night? Once he reverts to form, nobody will be playing hindsight 20-20 over why Tomko wasn’t given a shot at being their fifth starter.

? A.J. Burnett drives you nuts at times, but he’s been clutch and accountable. During the fateful fourth inning – he balked in the second of Oakland’s three runs that left he and Jorge Posada discussing mixed signals – Burnett refused to put any blame on Posada, despite this being the second straight start the two had similar issues.

“We’ve been using the same signs all year. It’s just a matter of me not seeing it, or seeing something different,” Burnett said. “There’s really nothing to correct. We’ve been doing wonderful, but two games in a row, I’ve crossed him up. I don’t know who’s fault it was tonight, but I’m pretty sure it was mine.

“Don’t do it again,” he added. “Pay more attention, I guess. Not be an idiot.”

That’s more than what I can say about Randy Johnson during his time here. And honestly, why would anyone want someone other than Posada as the Yankees’ everyday catcher? I’m dying for an explanation.

? Brett Gardner will see a doctor Wednesday and if cleared will begin a rehab assignment, reports Peter Abraham. Melky Cabrera is buckling under the pressure of playing every day. He’s six for his last 52 and his batting average has plummeted 21 points since Gardner was disabled July 26. The duo has been an effective tandem, giving each other a blow and providing different elements to the game. The Yankees have also missed Gardner’s breakneck speed and grit, crucial components to a stretch run.

Yankees vs. Mariners: Lineups 8/16/2009

yankees.jpgYANKEES (74-43)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Nick Swisher 1B
Eric Hinske RF
Jerry Hairston, Jr. CF
Ramiro Pena 2B

Joba Chamberlain P (8-2, 3.85 ERA)

mariners.jpg

MARINERS (60-57)
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Russell Branyan 1B
Jose Lopez 2B
Kin Griffey, Jr. DH
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Jack Hannahan 3B
Kenji Johjima C
Ryan Langerhans LF
Josh Wilson SS

Doug Fister P (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Starting lineups: 8/15/09

YANKEES

Jeter SS

Swisher RF

Teixeira 1B

Rodriguez 3B

Posada DH

Cano 2B

Hairston, Jr. LF

Cabrera CF

Molina C

Mitre P

 

MARINERS

Ichiro RF

Gutierrez CF

Jose Lopez 2B

Griffey, Jr. DH

Branyan 1B

Hannahan 3B

Johnson C

Josh Wilson SS

Saunders LF

Luke French P

Yankees vs. Mariners: Lineups 8/14/2009

yankees.jpgYANKEES (72-43)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jerry Hairston, Jr. 3B
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching: Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.14)

mariners.jpg

MARINERS (60-55)
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Jose Lopez 2B
Ken Griffey, Jr. DH
Russell Branyan 1B
Jack Hannahan 3B
Rob Johnson C
Josh Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF

Pitching: Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 3.86)

The growing legend of Carsten Charles

sabathia_250_081409.jpg
By Jon Lane
Reputations in New York are made during crunch time. This is why many
people are demanding Alex Rodriguez, a three-time MVP, to show them
something. It’s also the biggest reason why the Yankees were hell-bent
on signing CC Sabathia.

This is the time of year when Sabathia demands the baseball and once he
gets it, he’s must-see television. While others wilt under the hot
August nights, September spotlight and Red October, Sabathia has proven
he’s capable of carrying an entire team – a whole franchise – on his
back.

He’s doing it again. Thursday night in Seattle, Sabathia allowed a run
on three hits in eight innings with 10 strikeouts – at the time of year
when it’s critical not to overwork a bullpen, especially with Sergio
Mitre and Chad Gaudin starting this weekend. Sabathia is 5-1 with a
2.98 ERA in his last six games and has surrendered only two earned runs
while whiffing 19 over his previous 15 2/3 innings.

I wrote in March that the fate of the 2009 Yankees rests on Sabathia.
We’ve seen this season that everyone from Sabathia to A.J. Burnett,
from Melky Cabrera to Ramiro Pena to Francisco Cervelli, has
contributed greatly. The difference is that if the season is down to an
elimination game, it won’t be Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright or Javier
Vazquez on the mound. Sabathia’s 19 wins and 209 strikeouts in 241
innings pitched won him a Cy Young Award in 2007 and the way he carried
the Brewers to the postseason the following year was more than enough
to convince the Yankees he’ll handle New York in the biggest of spots.

“Check his track record, bro,” said Nick Swisher in April. “That’s it. Check his track record.”

Let’s review:
? Mere hours after the Yankees used five relievers and won a 15-inning
classic over the Red Sox, Sabathia allowed two hits, walked two and
struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings, tying his season high of 123 pitches,
and didn’t allow a runner past second base.
 
? He’s 31-9 career with a 3.14 ERA lifetime in August, 18-2 in the last
four years and lined up to start the finale of Yankees-Red Sox a week
from Sunday in Boston.

? Those numbers in Milwaukee following his trade from Cleveland: 11-2
with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, his last four coming on three days’ rest.
The day the Brewers clinched a postseason berth, Sabathia tossed his
10th complete game, the most in one season since Randy Johnson threw 12
in 1999.

There’s one big blemish: He’s 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in five postseason
starts, the last a Game 2 NLDS loss to the Phillies when he was raked
for five runs in 3 2/3 innings. That was his fourth on three days’
rest, which won’t happen with the Yankees. There’s no need to carry
this team, not with an MVP candidate (Mark Teixeira) an ace riding
shotgun (Burnett) and one of October’s best performers (Andy Pettitte),
but Sabathia will do it because he wants to. It’s one of two missing
pieces of his baseball life.