You probably heard the cheering and the loud jet engines if you were anywhere near 161st street yesterday around 1 o’clock. As great fate would have it for Mr. Steinbrenner and his Yankees, the 2010 opening day would have a long tenured Yankee who fans fell with his grand slam in 2003, his clutch hitting in the World Series last year, and everyday fielding before his wrist injury. He is not a Yankee of course. Now sharing the bench with former Yankee Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui was greeted with a serenade of thanks from the fans that even I couldn’t believe. Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner family put together Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra appearances for the ring intro, Bernie Williams for the first pitch ceremony and a very patriotic opening day. This is Yankee baseball, and these are the fans in Yankee Land.
Opening the gate 2 hours before game time, fans rushed in to see Andy Pettite get his ring and get going. Settling in rather quickly and efficiently, Andy was amazing as he always is. The last time I saw him get angry at an outing was last season in Seattle. On opening day, Andy allowed 6 hits and 3 walks in 6 full innings. Angels hitter were The team goes 5 for 16 with RISP, and leave twelve runner stranded, and still managed to score 7 runs to cushion their teammate. Andy has everyone’s respect on that team. If you didnt have any respect for a 37 year old major leaguer, turn on the Yankees on a meaningful game; Andy is most likely going to pitch a gem. Keeping Hideki Matsui 0-4 on the day (the Angels clean-up hitter), Andy cruised through the Angels lineup carving them up one by one, ‘k’ by ‘k’. To sum up, Andy pitched a gem. Don’t act like I didn’t warn you about Andy Pettitte’s consistent potential.
You already know the Yankees gave him over 10 millions over the winter for this one year. He’s not the Yankees number 1 anymore, but still pitches like one at age 37. What good judgement year after year Brian Cashman has. Our GM’s work is nothing short of amazing.
Smiles on all the fans faces that were made possible by all the Yankees and the entire organization. The Yankees know how to market a special game and made this one special for the people in attendance: a world series ring ceremony, a win, and a patriotic experience. And one more thing…
WORLD SERIES 2009 RING
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
Hideki Matusi’s introduction could not be expressed in words. I’m not going to explain the experience either. The respect from the fans and the team was overwhelming that it brought Hideki to tears. You know the Yankee DH now, but whatever the repercussions the team has to deal with without their former LF & DH, you were moved to see him treated with such respect. Later on in his first AB, a standing ovation occurred throughout every section. What a guy.
Yankee Land is Happy !
NOT THAT THIS MATTERS, BUT GOOD TO KNOW =)
I did mention that Andy can be losing his temper on bad outing. He’s memorable blowup in the dugout was the west coast ‘nightmare’. That was the long west coast road trip. To be specific, this was the series where Ichiro beat Mariano in a walkoff, Tex just missed the cycle, and CC & Andy made starts in which they both struck out 10 batters each. Yes, I admit I love watching the Yankees crush the “bad guys”.
Brian Cashman winning the hearts of Yankee fans for yet another season?
Or watching the Yankees beat Boston in “GRAND” fashion?
[I don't think you can have one without the other.]
For as the long as the game played on April 7th lasted, the umpire(s) looked at these two teams putting on an embarassing display on ‘dragging the game on’ as stated by ump official Joe West that you can read here curtosy of ESPN:
April 7th 2010
Andy Pettitte gets the no decision leaving the game. [6IP, 6H, 1ER, 3BB, 4K]
John Lackey leaves with a no decision [6IP, 3H, 0ER, 2BB, 3K]
Rodriguez ended the rubber game going 0 for 5 leaving 5 stranded runners on base.
Curtis Granderson clocks the GW HR off Closer Papelbon for the go ahead run giving the Yankees the win in their very first extra innings game in 2010. (Granderson the only hitter on either team with more than one hit in the game). Yankee fans accepting him pretty well. :)
Chan Ho Park pitched 3 innings of relief. (3IP, 1H, 0ER)
“Tweet” Chan Ho Park > Brian Bruney – Sweeny Murti
Youkilis and Jeter both okay after being hit-by-pitch.
Both Red Sox and Yankees left a combined 15 LOB (RISP -> NYY – 1 for 7 BOS 1-7).
Yankees win series 2 games to 1.
Yankees visit Tampa Bay for three games April 9th 10th 11th, 2010 (games 4 5 & 6 of 162)
Game 7 of the 2004 ACLS… what’s the frame of reference?
Yup. Was Javier Vazquez last start as a Yankee before being traded. He is the pitcher who gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon.
Ready to be an “established” Yankee starter for the following seasons (through 2007), Yankees mixed Javier Vazquez in that trade that sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees (where Johnson won back to back 17 win seasons. The other players in that trade for Johnson included Dioner Navarro & Brad Halsey).
In Vazquez his Final Season in Atlanta (2009) -> (W/L 15-10 (second highest in career in wins) ERA 2.87 (career low) GS 32). Finishing 4th in the CyYoung Race (behind three undeniable candidates in Linceum Carpenter Wainwright) and finished second in the NL in strikeouts. 2009 is argued to be his best year.
Back with the Yankees, Cashman’s aquired asset during the 2009 winter (yankees also acquired Boone Logan for Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Dunn and clutch performer in May of 2009 -> Melky Cabrera).
The Starter for Tampa Bay will be Vanderbilt University’s, lefty David Price.
David Price in 2009 (W/L 10-7 ERA 4.17)
I figure listening to Stairway to Heaven as I write this might help me be finesse with time.
Get the ball to Mo.
Yankees brush off a disgusting loss and win a nail biter. Yippee.
I’ll take the win. I won’t jump up and down. A lot of work still needs to be done to finish this season properly.
With the exception of a couple of pitches, including the ball to Martinez, AJ gave us 5 innings of work.
The remaining four innings I felt were given to us as a second chance to prove the opening day bullpen a sigh of relief. As close as I was to breaking down seeing Girardi walk to signal for a change, I said my confidence lies with him. If this wasn’t stated in my previous blog, I do apologize. It was there. I was happy to see Aceves get the job done like he had done all last season. Out of the bullpen and on some starts, I feel he could be the average ball clubs starter. Just as I predicted, Cano is going to light up in April.-Just Saying.
Approaching the rubber game with our third guy.
Andy in 2009 -> W/L 14-8 ERA 4.16 in 32 starts. Pettitte was 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox in 2009, last facing them on Sept. 27 and recording the win with six innings of two-run, seven-hit ball.
The John Lackey is Red Sox Counterpart.
John Lackey in his Final season in Anaheim in 2009 -> W/L 11-8 ERA 3.83 in 27 starts. The infamous Lackey return in 2009 was his last first start (that makes sense).
Signing the five year 82.5 million dollar deal with Theo and the Boston, he gets a chance to prove his worth in his very first start at Fenway as a Red Sox. As no stranger to Yankees (AND YANKEES FANS), Lackey is W/L 5-7 ERA 4.66 in 16 career regular season starts against the Yankees.
In what could be his final opening day start, Pettitte should pitch so well, that it practically shrinks the Yankees starting pitching ERA as a whole. Adrian Beltre & Dustin Pedroia stand in the way. I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that Beltre could be the newly established ‘Yankee killer’. Andy’s handled so much responsibility; he should deliver more than 5 complete IP (my hope).
By the way, Brian Cashman’s confusing moves really pays dividends. He’s always up to something good. Nick Johnson on base consistency will pay such dividends. FYI -> Johnson last night= no hits, OBP +.499.
How do you not like this guy production at the plate?
TO SUM A YANKEE FANS GENERAL EMOTION OF OPENING DAY…
Yankees hit two consecutuive home runs. Let’s knock Beckett out by the 6th. Best part; Beckett get pulled before the estimated finish line. Beautiful.
CC rolls along allowing one hit over 3 innings.
Heres comes the Red Sox .’Exactamundo’.
Admit it. Opening Day in Fenway made your blood curl when the game was tied at 5. Even after taking the lead, we fell yet again to the poweful midget, Dustin Pedroia. The rout was on against our 161 million dollar man. Something went horribly wrong with CC, and our bullpen. I admit it, if this continues then we have a situation.
How everything changed so drastically on Opening Day amazed me.
Fans perceptions of our season grew weary.
Now about these ‘fans’: You sound like children. Take a breather. Now. Or you can go watch another sport and stop making it irritating for people like me to hear.
As little offensiveness for some who shook off the loss; “We’re the defending champs. Wait until Yankees Red Sox at the Stadium” or “we’ll be fine”, disregard this, yet respect my opinion. I hate seeing the team lose especially to the Red Sox (Yes, I hate Boston have used the term “Boston Sucks” before).
I won’t worry. Neither should you.
Things to keep in the back of your head->
The Yankees were under .500 entering last season in the first handful of games before setting a groove. Then Melky started to be clutch, Alex returned, and you know the rest.
When Cleveland’s inagural visit during a weekend in April, Wang and Claggett pitched those brutal beating of innings the team took. Okay, neither of them are on the team anymore. [In fact, Wang is on the 60 DL as of this very moment (Washington) and Anthony Claggett was picked up during 2009 by the Pirates. Nice first impression he made to Yankees fans. To ever think I was optimistic about the kid was resourceful. ]
At this point the Yankees were then ranked with one of the lowest bullpen ERAs in the entire league. As someone smart I looked at every start Joba made, every Boston series and the series against the Angels (our residual heartbreakers since 2002) as the references if I posed concern for our season.
162 games is a marathon. Not a sprint. Now go watch the Yankees and be happy :)
Next Game 4/6/10 – Burnett V Lester
Burnett is holding some surreal numbers from last season in Fenway Park. Time to turn that around (be positive).
2009 Burnett in Fenway -> W/L 0-2 ERA 8.85 in four starts. His most recent outing against Boston was on August 22 and gave up 9 ER, 9H in 5 IP, taking the loss.
Lester (a number 2 for Boston, at least until 2014), is a career W/L 23-5 with a 3.16 ERA lifetime at Fenway. Last season against the Yankees he posted an even W/L 1-1 with a ERA of 4.43.
How badly I want things to change for AJ and Jorge.
**PIPEDREAM – > AJ PITCHES A PERFECT GAME AT FENWAY WITH POSADA CATCHING**
SS Jeter, DH Johnson, 1B Tex, 3B ARod, 2B Cano, C Posada, RF Swisher, LF Thames, CF Granderson
LF Ellsbury, 2B Pedroia, C Martinez, 1B Youkilis, DH Ortiz, 3B Beltre, RF Drew, CF Cameron, SS Scutaro
Watch the game on the YES Network, MLB Network. Tune in on WCBS 880 AM.
First pitch: 7:10pm ET
After starting consecutive starts with Jose Molina and Jorge Posada in 2009, Molina became AJ’s catcher later on in the season. This spring, looks like Posada and AJ turned a corner. Check out chemistry detail between the two.
Scratches: NYY Gardner, BOS Varitek
Until next time….
Check out my blog on the Florida Marlins!
April 3, 2005, is the most recent Yankee Red Sox season opener. The pitchers for this duel featured a giant in Randy Johnson (Yankees), who dueled against a former Yankee in David Wells (Red Sox). In this case David Wells felt 54,000+ drunken angry fans crush him with the lowest vocabulary known to the average visiting player. Welcome to Yankee Stadium. (Fun FactJ: The Red Sox opened the season to defend a World Series 86 years prior to this date in 1919. Their opponent was the Yankees. Not So Fun Fact L : The Yankees lost that 1919 game by 10 runs.)
April 4, 2010. Yankees open the baseball season in Fenway Park in a first time title defense since they opened the 2001 season. The 2009 ALCS MVP CC Sabathia (2009 -> 19-8 W-L % .704 ERA 3.37) faces 2007 ALCS MVP Josh Beckett (2009 -> 17-6 W-L % .739 ERA 3.86). Coming off seasons where both starters highlighted for their win totals, CC was the one with the rough first month.
April 4, 2010 -> Starting Lineups:
NEW YORK YANKEES BOSTON RED SOX
SS DEREK JETER LF JACOBY ELLSBURY
DH NICK JOHNSON 2B DUSTIN PEDROIA
1B MARK TEIXIERA C VICTOR MARTINEZ
3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ 1B KEVIN YOUKILIS
2B ROBINSON CANO DH DAVID ORTIZ
C JORGE POSADA 3B ADRIAN BELTRE
CF CURTIS GRANDERSON RF JD DREW
RF NICK SWISHER CF MIKE CAMERON
LF BRETT GARDNER SS MARCO SCUTARO
LHP CC SABATHIA RHP JOSH BECKETT
A SIDE ORDER (GAME NOTES):
YANKEES Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson are new to the additions (NYY), Brett Gardner makes the start in left field (NYY), Robinson Cano hits 5th (2009 numbers -> .320/.352/.410),first opening day start for Rodriguez 3B since 2008.
RED SOX 2009 winter acquisitions to make starts as a Red Sox (Scutaro, Beltre, Cameron), Victor Martinez (acquired before the trade deadline in 2009) starts for the Red Sox on April 4th. No Jason Varitek (who becomes a free agent after 2010 season).
In less than 24 hours, the article continues…
Finishing in the top three for the MVP race for the second time in four seasons, you probably won’t see a sub .300 BA; at least to finish the regular season. The clutch hitting will continue until his retirement. My optimism lies with at least one MVP-1 finish.
April 2010 Jeter – .274 BA 3 HR
How much does he “have in the tank” before a Romine or Montero arrive? Stay tuned for a decent April.’ Hip-Hip…’
April 2010 Posada .310 BA 5 HR
Never in my wildest imagination would I figure Brett to put his body on the line for fly balls that seem to be just off his range. In the first month, he won’t move out of that ninth spot in the lineup this reason:
April 2010 Gardner .191 BA 0 HR
Let my prediction be stapled and let me be proven wrong/right. Ah, the beauty of opinions.
Happy Easter Readers,
Yankees Predictions: Part I
Can I remember the last time I blogged without a log? No.
Long ago, I fell into writer’s block abyss. So on the eve of Sunday April 4th 2010, Easter Sunday in most places, I get set to crack the hardboiled eggs (eating egg whites only) with all anticipation for the Captain to lead off. The time has come. Boston, Beware.
I’m hoping the success numbers will carry over from the end of last season. No, not referring to the April 2009 numbers (i.e. Teixeira BA .200 citation -> http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20090430&content_id=4503688&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=nyy). Obviously, all the coaches did a job well done fixing the bullpen and starting rotation. Cheers for them.
Show of hands: your prediction of the team after the first month was a second place caliber team? Finishing behind the Red Sox AND THE RAYS!!!! To ensure this embarrassment, the “Cashman Winter” went into full effect. Yes, I was more than surprised to see AJ’s ERA above 5 and CC’s ERA at a very odd looking 4.73. Here’s where it gets interesting: Ask yourself to jump to a prediction of these numbers for CC or AJ looking anywhere close to similar to those April 09 scars. Their paycheck could feed a nation for a lifetime (I think).
Thoughts/Predictions (MY PIPEDREAMS):
v Swisher won’t have the same productive April as last season (2010 April – BA .255 HR 7) *Remember he was cleanup with Matsui, but spent and awful amount of time as the number 4 than anyone else. He had so much fun with it he decided to make a short lived run as a starting pitcher. Swisher won’t feel heavily responsible for carrying the cleanup role in the lineup as much as he did last season. Great to see someone fill that void as well as Nick did (and I’m not that big of a Nick Swisher fan at all. Sorry, Swish).
v If Cano repeats what he put up in the first month, I’ll leave him alone for the time being. He’s our number 5 hitter now. Up to the challenge big guy? (2010 April .290 BA HR 4)
v Teixeira will probably be neck-in-neck with a guy like Pena (offensively speaking) – History will not repeat itself this year in his figure of speaking (Tex – BA .200 exactly thru April 30, 2009). Teixeira in April 2010 -}
v Alex Rodriguez didn’t play in April (if you didn’t know this… now you do. Get with it.) His April could be as productive as we’ve seen his 2009 ALDS numbers be. AROD in April 2010 – BA.325 HR 10) fast approaching is that 600 homerun mark (it will be very sad to not see his numbers count one day).
v New Guy Grandy might hit poorly come time down the stretch and have poor offensive numbers versus a lefty pitcher no matter what the venue. A Solid outfielder, giving relentless attack on that short porch will make for this: 290 BA, 11 HR (POTM – American League in April.) He’ll earn his pinstripes.
v Nick Johnson isn’t that bad of a replacement considering who was available to replace a Matsui (even though I though De Rosa would have been a nice fit). Will that +.320 OBP carry well in 2010 that he finishes in the top 3 yet again? No. Don’t See It. (BA -.250 HR3) and that’ high OBP? Let’s state for the record it’s above .300. Let’s be real.
Nick Johnson had the third highest OBP with two teams in the NL EAST in 2009. How much is this contract really going to be “worth”? As much as he’s getting paid, remember the Yankees cut Matsui loose for those stubborn legs for a million less.
SIDE NOTE (take this down…)
Think back to a question thrown at Girardi regarding Nick Swisher in the lineup: “I love him in our lineup. I love his OBP.” Not to disagree, but Nick Johnson had the third highest OBP with two teams in the NL EAST in 2009. How much is this contract really going to be worth? As much as he’s getting pad, remember he Yankees cut Matsui loose for those stubborn legs (and that broken wrist play…..anyways…) for a million less. Nick Johnson bats left handed. OK. The short 314 foot wall gives left hitters the “edge.” OK.
There’s more where this came from… and more to come stay tuned for PART II
Very quickly: guess the approximate ticket price range for Sept.11th 2009 at home.
From the first home series against the Cleveland Indians, to the very last against the Kansas City Royals, the team of the decade gave fans the last “thank you” nod for supporting the team throughout the season.
Where was the best place to watch Derek Jeter break Lou Gehrig’s team-hit record? Which was the best walk-off? Was there more of a turning point in the Atlanta series (the game where Cervelli hit his first home run), the three straight walk off’s on Twins relief pitching, or the four game series in August at home against Boston?
My guess, fans loved every bit of last season from the clutch hits to the record breakers.
I loved the reintroduction of beer in the bleachers. :) I wonder if the front office has any pictures of bleacher creatures in their offices.
I’ve spent more time this year at the stadium than I did at home. Watching the away games on TV was brutal.
A ton of fans came back this year for a reason. We had a good team. And the good news is, we’re going to have this team for a while. ;-)
There’s a Steiners Sports inside yankees stadium for those who didn’t know. YES. INSIDE.
BTW: Sections 201 and 239 cant see anything. Thank you architect =(
Could you honestly pick another team in sports where the fans are more recognizable. Yankees fans might not be the most respected bunch, but remain the most loyal over time.
Quick question: Is it possible to win a batting title in the American League that has Joe Mauer and Ichiro Suzuki. I’d like to believe Derek can if he stays healthy barring his age. Derek, yes you can.
This 2010 season? Get this: Jeter closes in on 3000 career hits, AROD will join the 600 club, AJ and CC will have 15 or more wins, all making the run as a first AL team to repeat pennants since….the Yankees.
The rotation is solid, but the bullpen might have gaps needing attention. Stay a fan.
The Yankees will figure it out.
Final thoughts: Hughes over Joba, bring back Damon for one year.
Brian Cashman never goes againt the grain of his word. Behind closed doors, the Yankee GM had negotiations and made offers to deliver his promise. Promising to deliver a starter by years end, former Yankee Javier Vasquez is heading back to Yankee rotation. In trun the Yankees give OF Melky Cabrera, and two pitching prospects (Mike Dunn & Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves.
Vasquez could now switch between being a no. 3 or 4 – that’s a promise I could deliver and I don’t work in the front office.
Fact of the matter is, Yankees needed depth for Opening Day’s rotation before adding pieces elsewhere. Cashman must now focus on spending small amounts on a LF no not exceed the payroll limit of $$200MM.
Here’s some options:
1. Mark DeRosa is a main utility man who some argue, could be better fit for the infield, but has a lot of time with other teams as the LF. In 08 and 09, he’s managed to average 22 HRS, 82.5 RBIS, AND A .347 OBP. He’s my leading candidate for this position.
2. Marlon Byrd played 146 games last season in Texas with a career high 20 HRS (other numbers in 09 for Byrd include .283/.329/.479). A Dallas Morning Blog today stated the Cubs are shoing interest though.
A reason why the Yankees still won’t take Damon back is his asking price. Yankees are staying put with their offer of 2 yrs at $$7.5MM a yr. As stated before with payroll now still limited, don’t expect a Bay/Holliday calibur player. Think low-budget such as small priced one or two year deals. Don’t even think Jack Cust.
Melky Cabrera was a huge clutch performer in the first months of 2009. But, someone had to go, and Brian Cashman would have loved to keep Cabrera. But in case of a trade who would you rather see go? Chamberlain? Hughes? Gardner? Montero?
I know Yankee fans. I am one. If we win another pennant this year, we won’t be baching Cashman’s moves. This is our GM coming off an incredible winter last season. He’s not spending money. He’s putting it to good use.
Yankees also signed backup catcher Mike Rivera to a minor league deal. With Molina now out of the picture for now, Yankees have Posada and Cervelli on the Major League roster. Mike Rivera sits with Jesus Montero and Kevin Cash in the affiliates.
Until next time Yankees Fans…
GM meetings reporters claims Brian Cashman wouldn’t look to sign major contracts with any big time FA (BAY, HOLLIDAY, HALLADAY), but would keep his ear to the ground in case they see an opportunity. In the case for Halladay, I believe the Yankees wouldn’t have had a problem with letting go of prospects Montero or Jackson; but, to add Joba AND/OR Hughes to the mix of that sort of deal, was ‘down right’ way too much. Added, Halladay would have cost the Yankees a great deal of money which Cashman chose to save.
Fans have been more or less upset when Matsui was signed by Anaheim, as it gets no easier with fans now seeing Johnny Damon hit the pavement. The report from Fox Sorts’ Ken Rosenthal was that either Damon or Matsui would remain in a Yankee uniform for 2010. There is clearly no good chance Johnny could return now with the signing of Nick Johnson. Nick Johnson passed the physical and signed a one year deal worth $$5.5M on December 17th – needs citation. Yankees haven’t asked Nick yet, but will eventually tell him to be the number 2 hitter for 2010 in place of Johnny Damon’ role in the batting order. He would be the Yankees primary DH for the upcoming season. Yankees will most likely put Granderson in fifth, sixth, or seventh in the lineup.
Yankees loved how Nick Johnson’s one year contract has a lot less risk for injury than if they were to re-sign Hideki Matsui who was a career .291 hitter with his time in New York. If the Yankees plan to give Teixiera a day off or two, Nick Johnson could also fill that void at first base while Tex could DH. Nick Johnson spent 2009 playing 133 games with Washington and Florida. He is duely noted for his .426 OBP (MLB 3rd best in 2009 – needs citation).
Curtis Granderson also made a ‘GRAND ENTRANCE’ this past week at the stadium. Yankees gave Curtis a contract to pay him through 2012 with an option for 2013.
To sum up, Cashman believes this is the lineup that could be the ‘X-factor’ in repeating as world champions. Not resigning because of his health, Matsui departs to Anaheim. Johnny Damon is now FA looking to sign a contract that pays around $$13M annually (what the Yankees have no interest in doing). Yankees are still seeking pitching to help boost the rotation. I posted a blog where Ben Sheets would be my pick regardless of not pitching a game in 2009 because of injusy. Rumors around the league say Cashman is interested in both Sheets and FA Justin Duchsherer.
Could we see Johnny Damon picked up by a team like Atlanta?
Atlanta just resigned Matt Diaz for 1yr worth $$2.55M avoiding arbitration. RF Ryan Church (traded from NYM for for Jeff Francoeur) was designated for assignment.
On a side note, some clubs showed interest in both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner this offseason.
Let me know what you fans think.