Archives for posts with tag: san francisco giants

With the trade deadline just over the horizon, the Yankees are quickly circling the wagons and preparing their plan to sell……cautiously. Meanwhile, the team is playing some of its baseball of the year having won five of their last seven games, which included taking three of four from the AL East contending Baltimore Orioles. Just when you think the Yanks are out, they find a way to get back in.

This week has seen more of the same from the top of the lineup with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury. Gardner in particular has been effective with his team leading .351 OBP and stellar defense, as highlighted in yesterday’s 2-1 loss to the SF Giants. Starlin Castro has emerged this past week hitting .346 along with 7 RBIs. Didi Gregorius is continuing his All-Star worthy season with a .323 July and a rocket of a relay throw to save a run in yesterday’s contest. And Carlos Beltran proves to be the right choice at DH with a .424 week, as he looks more and more attractive to AL contenders in the market.

Masahiro Tanaka looks to be returning to ace-form with back-to-back successful six inning efforts. The same can be said of Ivan Nova, who has only allowed 2 ERs in his last 13 innings of work (both solo HRs). Nathan Eovaldi looked fine in his return to the rotation with only 1ER allowed in 5 1/3 innings against the mighty Orioles. The key being, Eovaldi cannot be seen a third time by any lineup. Michael Pineda continues to be in feast or famine mode with 127 Ks in 106 innings and only a 5.25 ERA to show for it. And C.C. Sabathia may have finally come back to earth, as best symbolized by his tumble on the mound against Baltimore on Thursday. AL hitters may have finally wised up to Sabathia’s adjustments as he has allowed at 4 ERs in each of his last six starts.

The bullpen is still as effective as ever, even with rare missteps from Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in Friday night’s win. And with the Aroldis Chapman talk heating up by the minute, Joe Girardi better quickly decide who he can rely on after the 6th inning be it Anthony Swarzek, Richard Bleier, or Nick Goody, as another arm will be needed to get to No Runs DM.

The Yanks have shown they can hang with the contenders this week. But the clock is ticking on the trade deadline and the season. If they want in, they can’t afford any more missed opportunities.

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So much for that plan to be under $189 million in payroll? I guess as a Yankee fan I shouldn’t be THAT surprised. I thought it might be nice to see a Yankee organization that tried to learn the lessons of recent World Series winners like the Cardinals, Giants, and rival Sawx. But apparently a year without making the playoffs in the Steinbrenner Era is a mortal, not venial, sin.

The signing of Masahiro Tanaka is another patented Yankee move that says “Playoffs or Bust.” Obviously, there is no way to tell if Tanaka is worth the money but in the Steinbrenner Era you spend money to make money and to show your fanbase your commitment. Personally, I would have liked to see the Yankees try to re-build and maybe apply the tactics that recent successful teams have utilized like the Red Sox and A’s. But, this is New York, and these are the Yankees: no time for rational thought. This may work out or this might be the biggest overreaction since Joe Pesci killed Spider in “Goodfellas.”

On the brightside, Tanaka provides a solid fourth member to the rotation along side Sabathia, Kuroda, and Nova. No word yet on who will take the fifth slot. The Yankees do have options and some flexibility with David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Adam Warren. Plus, at some point Michael Pineda has to take the mound, although I am starting to wonder if “Pineda” is Spanish for “Pavano.”

In this age of baseball, it is impossible to make it through a season with a five man rotation, and at least signing Tanaka gives the Yankees a little breathing room, albeit expensive breathing room. Additionally, Tanaka will have countrymen company thanks to Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki (if he makes it to the opening day roster).

I am still not sold on the options at 2B and 3B but the Yankees as is should be as good as they were last year and make another run at the playoffs. And if they don’t make the playoffs then you can expect some seriously desperate moves, like “Sarah Palin as running mate” desperate.

I knew the Yankees could take two of three from the Giants, too bad it isn’t enough. It was nice see to Sabathia pitch his best game of the year on Friday followed by Ivan Nova’s second complete game of the year on Saturday. But with yesterday’s 2-1 loss in the series finale, the Yankees slim playoff hopes just became non-existant. And to make matters even more disappointing was losing in Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera’s last appearances in the Bronx. I will write about both of these greats in the off season.

On the bright side, Pettitte pitched seven solid innings and Rivera got the five outs he was called on to get, but the offense was unable to script a better ending. I guess it figures that with two more Yankee legends making their exit that we get an early glimpse of life without them.

With six games left the Yankees are four games back of a wild card spot. The Yankees have a simple task: win all six of them. No one said this season would be easy, and it aint getting any easier. I guess we will see what we will see.

It’s been a disappointing season as a Yankee fan, but with winning Pirates, Indians, and Royals teams it’s hard to not be a happy baseball fan.

The Yankees just refuse to go away, not unlike 80’s nostalgia or the Kardashians. After taking three of four from the Orioles, the Yankees head into their last series with the Red Sox just a game out of the 2nd wild card spot. Usually that’s nothing to write home about, and a living George Steinbrenner would be ranting and raving in the media with Joe Girardi in his sights, but this year has been about resilience and lowered expectations. It’s also been about a monster Sawx squad that couldn’t be stopped by anything short of a baseball strike. So, even a healthy Yankee team would have had trouble competing for the lofty AL East Title. As with everything else that has transpired this year, the Yankees and Yankee fans will take what they can get.

The starting pitching continues to be an issue, seeming to have run out of steam after carrying the team through July. Hopefully the veteran trio of Sabathia, Pettitte, and Kuroda have just enough left in the tank to step up with some quality starts. Additionally, Ivan Nova needs take this opportunity to show that he is a potential big game pitcher, especially with young arms like David Phelps and Vidal Nuno waiting in next year’s wings. And the same goes for the bullpen, which has been overused and abused this season and subsequently lead the team to the best record in one-run games this year at 27-15. It’s gut check time for Boone Logan, David Robertson, and even Mo himself. One more time for Mo to add to his October legend, depending on his performance in September.

The offense seems to be hitting it’s stride, scoring twenty runs in the Orioles series in addition to the jolt that was last week’s Red Sox series. Curtis Granderson and A-Roid are providing the pop that has been expected since July. Eduardo Nunez is finally healthy and hitting .323 this month. Brett Gardner and Ichiro provide plenty of speed with the ability to win any game with their legs. Lyle Overbay is a solid presence at 1B with his glove and clutch hits, and the addition of Mark Reynolds gives the lineup a right-handed option at both 1B and 3B. Alfonso Soriano continues to dip into the Fountain of Youth with much needed power and surprising displays of leather in LF. And Robinson Cano continues to up his value in the offseason. I honestly don’t know what a Cano-less Yankee team looks like, and don’t want to know. The Steinbrenner boys better get their checkbook ready, despite illusions of a lower payroll for next year.

And leading it all is manager Joe Girardi, who has done his best job yet in pinstripes. He has had to battle everything from injuries to the A-Roid circus and has this team poised for an October run. In addition to keeping this team together with everything from Duct tape to the Mak’tar chant of strength, he has shown depths of maturity in his dealings with both his players and the media. He should get serious AL Manager of the Year consideration, even if John Farell’s name is already engraved on the plaque.

After the Red Sox series, the Yankees play nine of their last twelve against the Blue Jays, Giants, and Astros. This is what’s known as having your destiny in your own hands. The games are out there to be won, it depends on which Yankee team shows up. Will it be the newly created offensive juggernaut or the dilapidated disappointment that everyone saw in the spring? Whatever happens, never a dull moment in the Bronx.

Looks like the Yankees are getting hot at the right time. Of course it helps when you get to play and sweep a last place White Sox team. Then again, you have to beat who you play. In addition to plenty of games to play against the AL East, the Yanks do have six games left against the last place Astros and Giants. Again, even if the Yanks make it into the playoffs, they do not have the kind of team that can make a deep run. Besides, getting in as a wild card is a complete crap shoot.

Not that I haven’t enjoyed what I am seeing. In addition to the White Sox sweep, the Yankees took two of three from the Orioles, scoring 34 runs in the six games combined. Alfonso Soriano continues to impress and Robinson Cano is making a case for the Yankees to overpay one more aging star. I don’t know if Cano has any hometeam loyalty, but the Dodgers and Tigers will come courting in the offseason with flowers, candy, and offers with more zeroes than binary code.

Brett Gardner continues to be one of the most underrated leadoff hitters in the game, in addition to his stellar defensive work in CF. Curtis Granderson is still playing his version of spring training but has delivered key hits in this past week. Also, still playing spring training, is Derek Jeter, who just took 9th place on the hits list. He has yet to find consistency but I would never bet against The Captain, especially in September. Next up: five more hits to pass Paul Molitor for 8th place.

As far as pitching, C.C. Sabathia finally showed up with a decent outing last night, and Andy Pettitte is finally back to his impressive April form. I am a little concerned about Hiroki Kuroda, but Ivan Nova has been a revelation and can be the difference maker this September. Aside from David Robertson’s hiccup last night, the bullpen has been stellar, especially with Mo being Mo. And while I appreciate Joe Girardi’s desire to keep him around for another season, Mo is ready to go and is going out in style – even it means not getting to pitch in October.

Now we have four games against the Sawx. The Yankees are streaking and The Red Sox are showing no signs of slowing down. Is there a better matchup in September? With seven games left against the Red Sox, the Yankees still have an outside shot at the AL East title, but an outside shot. What gives me siginificant pause is a Red Sox offense that is more explosive than the social media reaction to Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance. Just glad the Yankees are playing meaningful games in September. Also glad Bobby V. is watching the Red Sox playing the kind of ball he only gets to watch as a spectator.

So, anything can still happen. And please join me this Saturday at 1pm, when I will live blog during the Sawx/Yanks game. I will post at the end of every inning and look forward to all of the comments, reactions, and smack talk. Should be a lot of fun. You can follow me on Word Press, my Facebook page, and on Twitter, @jangelguzman_

See you then!

The regular season is just a few weeks away and if you’re a Yankee fan like me you’ve officially had it with the injuries, melodrama, and doubtful predictions. In that case, this offseason isn’t much different than any other Yankee offseason. The one big difference is the financial restraint shown by the organization, which I, for one, welcome and continue to dub “Romneyball” until it catches on. Yes, it was tough to see free agents like Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and Rafael Soriano leave. But the only option was to overpay to keep them and continue to pay those pesky taxes. Sorry, guys it’s been real.

And yes, the Yankees are getting old. How old are they? They have Reggie Jackson on speed dial for a DH slot. They’ve offered a tryout to Brett Favre who is thinking of giving baseball a go. And finally, the team’s preferred flavor of Gatorade is Prune. Enough.

Injuries to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeria, and Phil Hughes are not very promising but they are also just a part of the game. Wishing for a healthy team is like wishing for world peace, winning the lottery, or a tasteful Seth MacFarlane joke. And the next analyst who uses the phrase “if they can just stay healthy” will make me so angry I will run from the TV so fast that I will pull a hamstring and join everyone else on the DL.

As for the loss of homeruns, well they are simply overrated. The San Francisco Giants found a way to win two of the last three World Series without leading the league in homeruns. In fact, last year’s championship squad was dead last in the NL with only 103 homeruns. And with the exception of the 2009 Yankees, the most recent spur of championships had little to do with an explosion of long ball; they were rooted in timely hitting and big game starting pitching.

As a fan I look forward to another season of solid starting pitching anchored by C.C. Sabathia, who has earned every dime of his contract. With Sabathia going every five days it’s hard to not have a little faith. Add to the mix Hiroki Kuroda, who would have gotten Cy Young consideration last year if not a for a lack of run support in the first half of the season. That’s a 1-2 punch I’d put up against any in the league. No telling what to expect from Andy Pettitte, who hasn’t pitched a full season since 2009, but he will always get the benefit of the doubt from me and any die hard Yankee fan. Even a healthy Phil Hughes is always a crap shoot but I think Ivan Nova and David Phelps can fill in the Number 4 and 5 slots admirably.

I’m looking forward to more fireworks from future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki. He may not be the Ichiro of old (now he’s just old) but he proved last year in the second half of the season and playoffs that he’s got plenty left in the tank and a loyal fanbase to cheer him on. A healthy Brett Gardner will reinvigorate the running game, not to mention compliment Ichiro’s still present speed. And a clean shaven, and hopefully rejuvenated, Kevin Youkilis has a chance to play for another big time franchise and erase the doubts created by Bobby V. I’m not expecting the All-Star of the past, but just a gamer primed to play. And let’s be honest, despite his recent playoff ineptitude, Robinson Cano is more than capable of carrying the Yanks for a month or two.

The two biggest reasons I’m looking forward to 2013 are the two biggest reasons to look forward to any Yankee season: Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. After an ugly and freakish knee injury, Mo returns for another season of closing out Yankee wins. At 43, not only he is the best closer of all-time, he is still one of the best in the game. It will be nice to see him get to go out on his own terms. And Derek Jeter will continue his march on the record books, even if all he really cares about is his next ring. With another 115 hits, Derek Jeter will be number six on the all-time hits list, passing Carl Yastrzemski. If that doesn’t get you excited, you have no business calling yourself a Yankee fan.

In the end, I don’t see the Yankees legitimately competing this year, or in the next few years. Sure, I can see them in the mix, maybe squeaking out 85-90 wins, but that’s about it. Even if they somehow make it to October, it will just be a repeat of the last three years. Hopefully not as nauseating as last year’s ALCS sweep by the Detroit Tigers.

Which is why I dub this the year “The Year of the Fan.” If you’re a real Yankee fan you should be able to appreciate the talent and heart that will be displayed this season, not to mention wealth of future Hall of Famers. This isn’t about championships, but a love of the game and the players who play it. Bandwaggon fans need not apply. You can root for the Blue Jays, even though I think they will not live up to the hype. But that’s another post.