Angsty Joba

Let me start with the bad news.


This sums up this afternoon’s game quite nicely, I think.
Throughout this season, Joba Chamberlain has displayed a Burnett-like tendency to either be lights-out dominant or really, really awful.  There were many (myself included) who thought during Spring Training that Chamberlain, and not Phil Hughes, was the wisest choice for fifth starter and would be wasted in the eighth inning role.  So far, while sometimes we have seen flashes of the raw stuff and command that would constitute a top-flight starter or reliever, we have seen maddening inconsistency and a tendency towards total meltdown.
Today, unfortunately, we were faced with very, very Bad!Joba.
CC Sabathia was unspectacular against the Cleveland Indians, but the bats of Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano have been on fire and we went to the 7th inning holding a 10-5 lead.  David Robertson recorded an out, hit a batter, gave up a double, and was removed with stiffness in his lower back; Sergio Mitre, inexplicably used for only one batter, issued a walk; Damaso Marte retired the one lefty he faced, and then Joba came in with a 10-6 score, two runners on, and two men out.
Joba, while sporting a fastball that touched 97 mph, not only allowed the two inherited runners to score, but gave up four more of his own before recording the final out with the Yankees down 12-10.  The final score was 13-11, as the Yankees lost a crusher.
As to more bad news, early in the game Alex Rodriguez lined a double off the skull of Indians starter David Huff.  It was scary, but Huff apparently never lost consciousness and gave the crowd a thumbs-up as he was taken off the field on a stretcher.
Beyond all that, however, there is Good News.

  • After losing an embarrassing series to the Mets, the Yankees took two of three from Minnesota, winning two one-run games on strong pitching performances from AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte (who sports a 2.62 ERA in addition to a 6-1 record).  Mariano Rivera recovered from a few hiccups, saving two tight games (1-0 and 3-2) in the span of a few hours.
  • Phil Hughes also recovered from two consecutive sub-par starts to strike out eight Indians over seven innings in the opener of this series, running his record to 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA. (Yankees won 8-2.)
  • Curtis Granderson is back.
  • Robinson Cano is a beast of a ballplayer.  He hit a grand slam yesterday, drove in three runs today, and now has a .359/.403/.604 triple slash with a team-leading 10 home runs and 37 RBI.
  • Nick Swisher’s getting married to actress girlfriend Joanna Garcia.  Doesn’t have much to do with baseball, per se, but it still makes me happy.
Too frickin’ cute, right?  Congrats to Swishalicious!
Anyway, the Yankees, still holding onto second place in the East, look to continue righting their ship and take their second series in a row.
Record: 29-20.
Next up: Justin Masterson (Cleveland) vs. AJ Burnett, Sunday, May 30, 1:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: Tightrope – Janelle Monae

When You’re Bad, You’re Bad

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” … cliched as it is, this phrase, in chronological terms, described the Yankees’ 2010 rather well so far.  For the first thirty games, we were golden.  Then everything went wrong at once, and … well, it was (is) the worst of times in Yankeeland, at least in the comparative sense of 2010.  So bad.

Angsty Joba’s right.

We just lost a series to the Mets, y’all.  The Mets.  The Empire State Building is going to be all lit up in Mets’ blue and orange this Monday.  …Now that’s just cruel.
The Yankees are 5-10 in their last 15 games, and we are specifically not firing on all cylinders.  Our starters, once golden, now can’t pitch, with the exception of Javier Vazquez (who woulda thunk it?); we can’t hit unless it’s the ninth inning and the game is already too far gone.
Slumps happen.  Of course they do.  It’s no reason to give up on the season, and no fan in their right mind would count us out yet.  It’s just frustrating to watch.  What was 21-8 turned into 26-18 so quickly.  And just as quickly we can turn back into the winning machine we once were (hey, Curtis Granderson‘s due off the DL anytime now)… for now we just wait it out, right?  Of course right.
Record: 26-18.
Next Up: A win.  Maybe.  Please?  AJ Burnett goes against Scott Baker (Minnesota), Tuesday, May 25, 8:10 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing:  The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles

The State of the Yankees

Well hello there.

I’m finally done with finals and freshman year, and I’m at home and have enough time to re-devote myself to blogging.
The Yankees are 25-13.  Not bad at all, considering that Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher are currently missing time due to minor injuries, Andy Pettitte missed a start with a sore elbow, and Nick Johnson, Curtis Granderson, Alfredo Aceves, and Chan Ho Park have all hit the disabled list.  Javier Vazquez is currently pitching to an ERA around 8.00, and that’s after an outstanding start in Detroit last week and a brief, effective relief appearance against Boston today.  But we still win, even though sometimes we run a lineup out featuring Randy Winn, Marcus Thames, and Ramiro Pena intimidating no one in the bottom third.
But we get picked up by people like Brett Gardner and his .323 batting average, on-base percentage near .400, and 17 stolen bases; Francisco Cervelli and his unsustainable .400 batting average; Pettitte, refusing to show his age at 5-0 and 1.89; and Phil Hughes, who, despite a mediocre-to-poor showing today against the Red Sox, is still rocking out to the tune of a 5-0 record and a 2.25 ERA.
Today was the first game the Yankees played against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium this season.  …Boy, was it a weird one.
The Yankees staked Hughes to a 5-run lead in the first inning, beating up on Daisuke Matsuzaka.  By the 5th, they were leading 6-2.  Hughes wasn’t “Hughesian,” per se — that is, he wasn’t god-like — but he was pitching perfectly respectably until J.D. Drew took him deep with two outs in the 5th for three runs, cutting the score to 6-5.  
By the 8th, it was 7-6 Yankees, and Chan Ho Park, fresh off the disabled list, was in the game (it was a day off for Joba).  The hope, of course, was for him to get the ball to Mariano Rivera — fresh off his first runs-allowed and blown save of the year, but still a God among men and the only person I want to see in the ninth inning — but it was not to be.  Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez took Park deep back-to-back before he could record an out in the 8h, and the Yankees were in a 9-7 hole with 6 outs to go and Damaso Marte in the game.  The bottom of the order plus a slumping Derek Jeter went quietly against Daniel Bard, and, despite effective relief by Marte and Javier Vazquez, the Yankees were still down two runs in the ninth, facing Jonathan Papelbon.
Brett Gardner doubled.  And then it was Alex Rodriguez.
And, after a Cervelli hit-by-pitch, it was Marcus Thames.

Papelbon got owned to the tune of four runs in 2/3 of an inning, the Yankees walked off with an 11-9 win, and it was Pie Day once again in the Bronx.
It was the Yankees first walk-off this season, and it was an instant classic.  Papelbon is probably the pitcher I most appreciate beating up on.  I simply don’t like him.  I think he’s a punk.  Therefore, I enjoyed tonight very, very, very much.  The Red Sox are floundering at slightly under .500 (19-20) and are a full 8.5 games back of the Rays in the AL East.  Good times, man, good times.
Record: 25-13.
Next Up:  The Yankees finish a short two game set against the Sox, looking to win their 11th of 13 series on the season. Josh Beckett (Boston) vs. CC Sabathia, Tuesday, May 18, 7:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: Nothin’ on You – B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars

The One Where Pettitte Goes All “Benjamin Button” On Us Again

Faced by impending finals, I’ve sort of fallen off the face of the blogosphere the last week or so.  The Yankees, however, don’t need me to keep on winning. Andy Pettitte finished off a sweep of the Texas Rangers with an 8-inning, 2-run effort and a 5-2 win.

Out in Oakland, Javier Vazquez was solid in the opener, notching his first win of the year; on the second day, Phil Hughes was nothing short of Phenomenal.
(Shamelessly pirated from River Ave. Blues; I liked it too much not to use it)
He pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning and struck out 10.  He finished with a 7.1 IP, 1H, 1ER, 2BB, 10K line and got the win in a 3-1 Yankees victory.  I love pitching and young home-grown talent.  Therefore, I really, really love Phil Hughes.
With the winning streak at 6 and with a chance to sweep, CC Sabathia took the mound; but alas, he couldn’t quite match the Hughesian standard that had been set and the Yankees fell 4-2.  Even in a loss, however, CC was pretty beastly, pitching an 8-inning complete game allowing only 3 earned runs. 
In Anaheim last night, AJ Burnett struggled early, but recovered to pitch solidly into the seventh while the Yankees offense, led by a Nick Swisher home run, maintained a 4-4 tie.  In the 8th, however, Joba Chamberlain couldn’t get it done, serving up a 2-run home run to the Angels’ Kendry Morales as the Yankees lost 6-4, dropping 2 games in a row for the first time all season.

Today, then, the Yankees turned back to Pettitte to try and stop their first losing streak of the year.  The 37-year-old once again turned back the clock and was nothing short of masterful.


Pettitte pitched 8 full innings, giving up one run on six hits, walking none and striking out eight, while using only 114 pitches.  Through four starts, he is now 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA.  It’s unreal.  Of course, it’s a small sample size and it won’t last the whole year, but it’s just fantastic to watch while it lasts.
The offense came to play today, as well.  Robinson Cano turned in a 4-for-5 day, driving in one run and scoring three, upping his average to .369 and justifying Joe Girardi’s faith in his ability to produce when hitting fifth.  Gritty, Gutty Brett Gardner (whose speed and general fun-ness to watch are making me like him more every day), hitting second today while Nick Johnson took a day off, had another huge game, going 3-for-5 with two singles, a triple, two runs scored, and his league-leading 9th stolen base.  Swisher and Francisco Cervelli (!!) both contributed two RBI as the Yankees rolled 7-1.
You win with pitching, and thus far the Yankees have pitching to spare.  My favorite thing about how the team looks so far is that the starters are, first of all, dominating, and, secondly, dominating deep into games.  The best way to maximize the effectiveness of a bullpen is to not have to use it that much, and thanks to Sabathia and Pettitte, and sometimes Hughes and Burnett, the middle-relief questions seem to be non-starters (pun fully intended).

Record: 12-5.
Next Up:  The Yankees attempt to win their sixth series in a row.  Vazquez vs. Scott Kazmir (Anaheim), Sunday, April 25, 3:35 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: Jaded – Aerosmith

CJ Burnathia

If the last two games are any indication, the Yankees may have two scary-good pitchers on their hands this season in the forms of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett.

In his second start of the season, Sabathia came within four outs of a no-hitter.  By all accounts yesterday, his stuff was even better.  The first game of a three-game set against the Texas Rangers was shortened to six innings due to rain, but Sabathia allowed just three hits over those six innings while striking out nine on only 73 pitches.  The 73 pitches are all the more impressive when you stop to think that, even if CC got all his strikeouts on three straight pitches, the three strikes to constitute each of his nine strikeouts accounted for more than a third of his total pitch count.  His dominance was accentuated by the fact that he issued no walks in the game.
The offense was mostly produced by Derek Jeter and Marcus Thames (!!), who each had two hits and an RBI.  Curtis Granderson also drove in a run, and Francisco Cervelli continues to make a case for himself as a bona-fide major league starting catcher, collecting a hit while calling another fantastic game, ultimately a 5-1 weather-shortened victory.
Today, it was more of the same in terms of dominant pitching and run-scoring ability.  AJ Burnett was, for the first time this season, not Decent AJ or Better Than Average AJ … he was Excellent AJ.  7 scoreless innings, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks — a great ratio for a pitcher known for his lack of control — it was everything you could wish for out of Burnett.
The Rangers’ Scott Feldman, on the other hand, lasted only 2 and a third while surrendering 7 hits and 4 runs.  Granderson and Alex Rodriguez both had two-hit days (with Alex picking up his first home run of the season), and Jeter and Brett Gardner got three hits apiece.   Jeter hit his third home run of the year, and Gardner used his superspeed to beat out three infield grounders, scoring 2 of the Yankees 7 runs and driving in one.
Mark Teixeira finally decided to join the party today, picking up a hit and driving in a run, bringing his average to an even … .100.  Eh, the bat will happen eventually.   
Alfredo Aceves struggled in a third of an inning, surrendering three runs on a Nelson Cruz homer, but it was hardly enough to tarnish a 7-3 victory.
Record: 8-3.  The Yankees are off to their best start since 2003 and have won their first four series for the first time since 1926.
Next Up: The Yanks go for the sweep.  Rich Harden (Texas) vs. Andy Pettitte (he of the 0.75 ERA), Sunday, April 18, 1:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing:  Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder


I always seem to miss Javier Vazquez‘s starts.  I hear yesterday’s wasn’t much in terms of the special, either, but it wasn’t bad, not nearly as bad as last time, and not worthy of the boo-birds. The Yankees lost 5-3, despite a valiant attempt at a comeback in the late innings.

Today, however, the man of the hour was Phil Hughes.  This is the first time the fifth starter’s spot has come up since the season began, so this was Hughes’ return to the rotation — he did not disappoint.  He went 5+ strong innings, striking out six and allowing just three hits.  He gave up two runs, one of which scored after his departure on a wild pitch and ground ball sequence by David Robertson (who actually redeemed himself nicely from his last outing, striking out three and not allowing a hit over an inning and a third).  Hughes did walk 5 … a high figure … but four of those walks came on 3-2 counts, and, according to MLB Gameday, the home-plate umpire straight up blew several calls which should have been strikes on those hitters.  All things considered, building off this start would give the Yankees an amazing weapon out of the fifth spot.
Speaking of the fifth spot — how about Robinson Cano?  He’s done nothing so far this year except come through out of the #5 hole in the batting order.  He jacked two home runs today and drove in three, bringing his season totals through nine games to 4 home runs and 9 RBI (he’s also hitting .395).  
Derek Jeter added another home run and two RBI on the day.  And, who can hit two triples in one games (one off a lefty, no less)?  The Grandy Man can, folks.  The Grandy Man can.
You got it.
In other news, today was Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball.  So, naturally, every player on every team wore #42.  While honoring Robinson is worthwhile and important, this one looked kind of ridiculous.
Especially when Mariano Rivera came in in the ninth for a quick one-out save to seal the 6-2 win.
Oh well.  I guess if everyone’s wearing #42, they should all be Godlike in talent and reliability, right?  Of course right.
Record: 6-3.  Three series in a row now from three of the best teams in the league.  If this is any indication of our true talent level, the Yankees are beastly.  I like that.
Next Up:  CJ Wilson (Texas) vs. CC Sabathia.  Last time out, Sabathia almost pitched a no-hitter.  Let’s see if he can finish it up this time, shall we?  Friday, April 16, at 7:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Another Opening

So today Matsui came back.

I hear he got the second-loudest ovation of the day, behind only Mariano Rivera.  Well deserved, as he left New York a World Series MVP.
Speaking of the World Series, the rings were presented today.
Bernie Williams threw out the first pitch, which I hear got to the plate on a bounce … reminiscent of his last few years in centerfield, eh?  Whatever, I still love and miss Bernie and it’s great to see him back, even as an old-timer.
Down to business … facing the Yankees’ former nemeses, the Angels, Andy Pettitte was again masterful.  He struck out six over six shutout innings, allowing only five hits, for his first win of the season (his stellar start against Boston last week yielded a no-decision; his ERA through his first two starts is 0.75).
On the offensive side, Nick Johnson homered in the first inning, and Derek Jeter homered in the third. 
Johnson, Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Curtis Granderson all drove in runs, and Robinson Cano continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
The Yankees ran into trouble in the ninth up 7-1, when David Robertson loaded the bases on three (relatively cheap) singles, got a strikeout, and then gave up a grand slam to Bobby Abreu — however, all that ultimately meant was that Mariano came in and retired Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui on seven pitches, sealing the 7-5 Home Opener victory.
Record: 5-2. And what’s this about the Yankees being slow starters?  Against three of the league’s best teams, no less.
Next Up:  Javier Vazquez aims for redemption once again.  Joel Piniero (Anaheim) vs. Vazquez, Wednesday, April 14, at 1:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: 1999 – Prince

More-Than-Adequate AJ

The title says all.

It looked like Bad!AJ Burnett at the beginning, as he started to get roughed up in the first inning.  However, unlike the six-and-seven run Bad!AJ innings of 2009, he managed to pitch out of the inning trailing by only two runs.
However, Bad!AJ turned into Good!AJ, and he settled in to give a more than solid performance of two runs over 7 innings (throwing an economical 92 pitches).  James Shields also pitched well for the Rays, however, and the Yankees trailed 2-1 (the one run coming in the second inning on a 2-out RBI double by Curtis Granderson) into the sixth inning, until Shields got pulled for old friend Randy Choate.
The first hitter Choate faced was Jorge Posada, and he went deep with Robinson Cano on second base to give the Yanks a 3-2 lead.  Granderson then singled, stole second, advanced to third base on a ground ball, and scored on a wild pitch, single-handedly manufacturing an insurance run.  Alex Rodriguez doubled in two runs in the 7th, and Nick Swisher homered in the 8th.
Joba Chamberlain wasn’t as sharp in the 8th as he was in his second game in Boston, surrendering a single and a triple before getting an out, but he then buckled down to retire the side without giving up another run.  Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless 9th, nailing down the 7-3 victory and a series win.
Opening the season on the road against possibly two of the three strongest teams in baseball does not necessarily bode well for any team — the Yankees, however, have taken two series in a row and four out of six games.  I’ll take that road trip any time.
In other news, Happy 30th Birthday to Mark Teixeira!  Here’s to many, many more healthy, happy, and super-productive years in pinstripes.
Record: 4-2.
Next up:  The 2009 World Champion New York Yankees Home Opener!  Rings will be presented, Bernie Williams will throw out the first pitch, and The West Wing‘s Kristin Chenoweth will sing the National Anthem.  Ervin Santana (Anaheim) vs. Andy Pettitte, Tuesday, April 13, at 1:05 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: What’s Happening Brother – Marvin Gaye

And I say, “No-No? No.”

I missed yesterday’s game entirely, but apparently Javier Vazquez‘s return was less than triumphant.


(9-3 Rays).
However, today was a whole different ballgame, as the Yankees pounded the Rays 10-0.
CC Sabathia didn’t give up a hit until there were two outs in the 8th inning.  He was fabulous. The big man was on top of his game, with an uncharacteristically awesome April start.
Beyond CC, however, the story of the game was the defense.  Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano made spectacular grabs to preserve the no-hitter until Kelly Shoppach singled in the eighth.
On the offensive side; Cano drove in three runs on two hits including a home run (he is hitting .381 and has six RBIs); Curtis Granderson continued to ingratiate himself with his new fanbase by getting on base four times (two walks and two hits) and driving in a run; Brett Gardner got two hits, scored two runs, and drove in two, upping his early-season average to .385; and Teixeira, after starting the season 0-for-17, got three hits.
Our 24-year-old backup catcher, Frankie Cervelli, drove in two runs in addition to almost calling a no-hitter in his first start of the season.
Well done, young grasshopper.
It’s going to be hard to follow up such a great game — spectacular pitching, defense, and offense on our side — but tomorrow the Yankees head to the rubber game looking to take their second series in a row.
Record: 3-2.
Next up: AJ Burnett vs. James Shields (Tampa Bay), Sunday, April 11, at 1:40 PM.
Till next time,
Now Playing: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

A Totally Girly and Self-Indulgent Post: The Evolution of the Yankee Crush

Happy Birthday to me; I am now a withered and wise 19 years old.


I figure this is as good a time as ever to indulge in a little bit of girly-blogging and put up a bunch of pretty pictures — mapping the progression of the men in pinstripes that I’ve loved since I knew how to love.
The Yankee-crush is, by definition, a frivolous foray into fangirling.  Individual longevity varies — however, I should note that this is the Non-Mariano Division, as I am convinced that I was born loving Mo and will probably love him forever.

Mo when I was 4.
Mo aging gracefully.
The Dynasty Years

My affections during the golden years of the ’90s can pretty much be summed up by these pictures:
Pretty sure I named a bunch of stuffed animals “Bernie” and “Tino” during that era — I seem recall also that “Bernie” was to be the name of the hypothetical pet rabbit I always wanted but never got.  Looking back from the perspective of someone who is old and wise, I had really good taste in men.  Kudos, little me.
Those Years We Didn’t Win Much

Oh, Andy Pettitte.  I was so in love with him when I was thirteen that I might have cried for two days straight when he left for the Astros.
I must admit, I loved Mike Mussina until the day he retired. I probably still love him.  I loved his knuckle curve and his inability to answer a question without deliberating for a good five minutes and then saying something mildly snarky.  I was so thrilled when he finally won 20 games … I miss the Moose.  So sad he never got his ring.
I’m A Grown-Up, I Promise

Do they really expect you to turn into an adult and leave the frivolities of adolescence behind when you turn 18?  Because if they do, I’m afraid I’ve failed miserably.
Teix I find totally adorable.  And … frickin’ A, Curtis Granderson.  I feel like there’s nothing to be said that my last picture didn’t already say.  Welcome to New York. =)
All right, I’m done.  Really.  I’ll go back to being at least semi-serious tomorrow, I promise. 
Till next time,
Now Playing: Boys of Summer – Don Henley *
*(yes, again.  I think it’s the time of year.)