Results tagged ‘ David Ortiz ’

This is not 2004

By Jon Lane
The inevitable comparisons are in full force. One victory from a World Series the Yankees drop a winnable Game 5 and are back home with two chances to grab that elusive ‘W’ with both hands and hold tight.

In the event you lived on Mars five years ago and are back on Earth: The Yankees blew a 3-0 ALCS lead to the Boston Red Sox in 2004, starting when they were three Mariano Rivera outs from a four-game sweep and the right to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.

gordon_250_102309.jpgWatching Game 5 of Yankees-Angels, my colleague and friend Jerome Preisler couldn’t help but compare Phil Hughes to Tom Gordon, the latter one symbol of that epic collapse. I covered the 2004 ALCS from start to finish and sure there are similarities. Like these Angels, those Red Sox never quit. They had heart, soul, pop, clutch hitting and pitching, and some good luck. I remember specifically Game 5. The Yankees took a 4-2 sixth-inning lead on Derek Jeter’s three-run double off Pedro Martinez and had the bases loaded with two out. Hideki Matsui laced a liner to right field. If it drops, the game is broken open and we’re not talking about the 2004 ALCS.

Alas, Trot Nixon made a sliding catch to end the inning. Looking back at the series, Joe Torre called that the turning point, the first time when he told himself, “Uh oh.” David Ortiz homered off Gordon to begin the bottom of the eighth and Jason Varitek’s sacrifice fly off Rivera tied the game at four. Fate, by the way, also smiled on the Red Sox in the ninth when Tony Clark doubled off Keith Foulke, If the ball doesn’t bounce over Fenway Park’s short right-field fence, Ruben Sierra scores from first. Instead, Clark and Sierra had to stay on second and third. Miguel Cairo popped out and David Ortiz finally won the game in the 14th.

The moral of the history lesson: 2009 is a different time with a different team. These Yankees had it within them to pull out 15 walk-off wins and two in the postseason. Andy Pettitte and not Jon Lieber (to be fair, Lieber pitched very effectively in the ’04 postseason) is starting Game 6 Saturday night. And if there’s a Game 7, the season will be on CC Sabathia’s back, not our old friend Kevin Brown.

Furthermore, there are glaring differences between Joe Girardi’s lineup to what Torre had to send out for Games 6 and 7 five years ago:

DH
2004 – Kenny Lofton/Sierra
2009 – Matsui

2B
2004 – Cairo
2009 – Robinson Cano

1B
2004 – Tony Clark (John Olerud’s bruised instep kept him from starting Games 5-7)
2009 – Mark Teixeira

Cano instead of Cairo; Teixeira instead of Clark (who struck out to end Game 6 as the winning run at the plate). Here’s hoping you’re reassured. Now all this lineup has to do is score runs off two very good pitchers, Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver.

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?

Have the Yankees put the Red Sox in their rearview mirror for good?(opinion)

Who will win the AL MVP?(polling)

Do you believe David Ortiz when he says he never knowingly used PEDs?(survey software)

Who benefited most from the Alex Rios deal?(trends)

Who should start at QB for the Jets?(polling)

Memo to Wang: Get it done

By Jon Lane
A few quick hits to set the table for Game 2 of Yankees vs. Red Sox (YES HD, 7 p.m.):

David Ortiz is having a miserable season, but leave it to the Yankees
to be the antidote for his ills. Ortiz hit one to Cambridge Tuesday
night to bring his average against them to .304 (7-for-23) with a
homer, seven RBIs and four runs scored in the six games between the
rivals. I couldn’t kill A.J. Burnett for Ortiz going yard despite it
being a terrible pitch. After all, he is still Big Papi, but a two-run double to Nick Green in the third
inning that bumped Boston’s lead to 5-0? Absolutely inexcusable. To
think that one reason why Yankees signed Burnett was his success
against the AL East last season, along with the
if-you-can’t-beat-him-sign-him theory. In two starts against the Red
Sox, Burnett has allowed 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings, a 12.91 ERA.
My colleagues Jerome Preisler and Steven Goldman aptly sum up where
Burnett stands at this point.

It’s bad enough the Yankees are 0-6 against the Red Sox; any prayer they have of capturing the AL East, this has to improve – immediately. Tonight it’s hold your breath with Chien-Ming Wang taking the hill. Even during his peak performance, Wang is 3-3, 5.11 in seven career starts at Fenway Park, while Ortiz owns a .444 (16-for-36) lifetime average with two homers and four doubles against the right-hander. Keep your expectations in check, says John Flaherty, but Wang needs to perform. If not, Phil Hughes must be summoned at the first sign of trouble.

Amazing, the Yankees are winners of 19 of 26 and are tied for first place, but this has the settings of another panic attack if Wang can’t get it done. He may be limited to 85-90 pitches, but that sinker needs to be biting. At the very least Wang has to keep the Yankees in the game; Hughes, Alfredo Aceves and Mariano Rivera will be ready and rested. Of course it’ll help if the offense can muster more than two hits off Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield.

Rivals go at it again

By Jon Lane
Not since 1974 have the Red Sox won six straight
games against the Yankees in one season, when they ran off seven
consecutive victories over their rivals. At that time the rivalry was
simmering before exploding later that decade. Dating back to 2003, this
has been at another level, and another chapter will be written starting
tonight. You can catch the game on My9, and tune into YES for complete
pre and postgame coverage starting with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m.

Here’s where the teams stand:

  • The
    Yankees are in the AL East penthouse, one game ahead of the Red Sox,
    and are a much different team than the one that dropped five straight
    to them in the early going. Alex Rodriguez has since returned to the
    lineup and New York has been on a 21-8 run. A-Rod may be batting .248,
    but has eight home runs in 29 at-bats. More important is that his mere
    presence alone has had a major impact Mark Teixeira, who is is batting
    .364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs hitting ahead of A-Rod in the lineup.
    Teixeira, incidentally, now leads AL first baseman in All-Star voting.

  • Yankees
    starters are 12-2 in their last 24 games while limiting opponents to
    three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 25 starts. Leading the way is CC
    Sabathia, who has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last
    eight starts (4-1, two no-decisions). The burly lefty starts Thursday
    night against Brad Penny.

  • Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett,
    4-2 with a 4.69 ERA and seeking his third straight win after going
    winless since April 14. Burnett leads the Yankees with 65 strikeouts
    and is seeking redemption both team-oriented and personal. His last
    time pitching at Fenway Park, Burnett blew a 6-0 lead on April 25,
    allowing eight runs on eight hits in five innings of a 16-11 loss.

“We owe them a couple,” Burnett said.

  • Bigger
    start for Chien-Ming Wang Wednesday night. Everyone is well aware of
    Wang’s early-season troubles and terrible track record at Fenway (3-3,
    5.11 ERA in seven starts). Wang returned to the rotation last week and
    while he was far from great, it was something to build on
    considering what he’s had to endure. However, you’d think his leash
    will be short. Many are speculating (including me) that Phil Hughes
    will be summoned almost immediately if Wang digs himself a hole.

  • As
    you also know, David Ortiz is in the throes of an awful season. Big
    Papi, who’s made his living killing the Yankees and rivaling Tom Brady
    and Adam Vinatieri as Boston’s greatest clutch performer, is batting
    .197 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. He visited an eye doctor
    on Monday and his vision checked out well, which has left the Back Bay
    mystified as to what has happened to him. Leave to Red Sox Nation to
    panic. A few callers phoned into WEEI-AM saying he “stinks” and needs
    to be relegated to part-time duty. Good line from Dale & Holley
    though in response to Joe Girardi’s complaint about the Yankees playing
    nine straight games in National League cities: The Red Sox played 50
    games without a DH, the Yankees can play nine.” Ouch.

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?

What is the best time to start a World Series weekend game?(poll)

Who would you rather see at the Pepsi Center next Monday night?(polls)

How many home runs will David Ortiz hit this year?(poll)

Should Michael Vick be allowed to play in the NFL again?(polls)

Carlos Delgado will play again this season. True or False?(polls)

Who will win the NBA Championship?(web poll)

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?

Mark Teixeira will …(poll)

How many consecutive games will Ryan Zimmerman hit safely in?(online poll)

Brett Favre should …(online poll)

The reasoning behind Big Papi’s slump is …(ning polls)

Manny Ramirez has apologized to Dodgers ownership. Should he do the same to his teammates?(poll)

The Cleveland Cavs will …(poll)

Haterade becoming scarce

By Glenn Giangrande
Pedro Martinez is long gone. The Orioles haven’t been a threat in close to a decade. It’s been more than twice as long for Kansas City. The A’s continue to perpetually rebuild. Now Curt Schilling has called it quits.
 
I’m not saying it’s a sad day, but Yankee supporters are running out of people to bring the venom out in them.
 
What fun are sports without opponents to hate? Schilling gave Yankees fans enough fodder through the years, starting with his legendary comments about “Mystique” and “Aura” back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks and running right up through his growing presence on the ‘net during his time in Boston. As a man who earned two of his three World Series rings at the direct expense of the Yankees, Schilling grew to be a pretty loathed figure in the Bronx, and justifiably so. After all, the lasting memory of Schill’s career will be the bloody sock game that came at the expense of the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS.

I think it’s a career that should take him to Cooperstown, but I can understand the feelings of dissenters. Sure, the Red Sox will always draw ire in general, but some Yankee fans I know will tell you that they can’t hate someone as “loveable” as David Ortiz. Maybe Kevin Youkilis fills the role one day, but they certainly don’t make public enemies like they used to, if at all.
 
Had Schilling’s retirement announcement come in Yankee Stadium, I’m not sure he would’ve gotten a standing ovation like the Pacers’ Reggie Miller did at Madison Square Garden in his final game there against the Knicks before hanging up his sneakers. But the vitriol level among the pinstriped faithful definitely dropped a few levels today.