- "Why do the Yankees always win? The other team can't stop looking at the pinstripes." -Frank Abagnale.
Monthly Archives: August 2012
Nick Swisher was the man of the night in yesterday’s game against the Rangers in the Bronx. On a night where all eyes were on the Yankees; one, because the Yanks were playing against their closest rivals in the American League this season (the Rangers are second in the AL with a .588 winning percentage, the Yanks stand first at .591), and two, it was Derek Lowe’s debut in the Bronx, Nick Swisher demanded some of the attention for himself as well.
Swisher had 5 RBI’s for the night and the team ended up with a win over Texas in an 8-2 score. Four of those RBI’s? A grand slam that came in the third inning off of Ryan Dempster with just one out, scoring Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, and Derek Jeter. Appropriately, it was his 200th career home run. This gives Swisher 15 homers for the season so far.
In the bottom of the seventh, Swisher’s final RBI came when he singled off of Michael Kirkman who replaced Dempster, scoring Jeter once again.
After the game, this is what the right-fielder had to say to the media of his grand slam moment, “For me, man, I’m just trying to put something in the air. At least get one of them. That’s all you’re thinking in that spot. He just kind of missed with a little cutter over the plate and I put the barrel on it.”
This is Swisher’s second big blow for the season, tying Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson for the team lead.
It looks like batting second in the lineup, after Derek Jeter and before Robinson Cano, is really allowing him to see some good-opportunity pitches that he would most likely not see elsewhere in the lineup. Although he is batting .264 for the year, Swisher’s performance for the night was nothing short of a 5-star rating, and 5 worthy RBI’s.
“You can feel the electricity on the field. We had a packed house tonight,” said Swisher.
Just when CC Sabathia was placed on the DL, the Yankees have added another veteran pitcher to the roster, Derek Lowe. Lowe signed to the team today after going 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA and 40 strikeouts with the Cleveland Indians this season.
In his last ten appearances with the Indians, Lowe had an 8.77 ERA, even though he started the season with an outstanding 6-1 record accompanied by a 2.05 ERA. In 119 innings pitched in 2012, he had 156 hits, which in my opinion is one too many.
The 39-year old 16-year veteran will pitch out of the bullpen for the Yankees. This will be the first time since 2001 that he will be a reliever, since he had the role with the Boston Red Sox. His numbers out of the ‘pen contradict his 2012 season; out of his 278 career relief appearances, he holds opponents to a .248 batting average and has a 2.95 ERA.
The role might also bring good memories to Lowe. After all, in 2000 while with the Red Sox, he posted a career-best 2.56 ERA in which he had an American League best number of saves with 42.
The notorious sports agent Scott Boras, who represents Lowe, received phone calls about his client from San Francisco, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Boston, before hearing from New York. Apparently, the deal was complete and ready to go in about 10 minutes after the Yankees made the initial contact with Boras.
The right-hander, who has also played with the Mariners, Dodgers, and Braves before, has a career 4.01 ERA and a 174-156 record. Because of the new addition to the Yankees roster, reliever Ryota Igarashi was sent sent to Triple-A.
Lowe is ecstatic about his first time playing with the New York team from the Bronx. He mentioned in a press conference that he is excited to better his numbers for his season with the move. Most importantly, Derek Lowe is starting to feel the New York vibe already!
“I don’t care what my role is here. You pitch when you’re told, but these atmospheres on the East Coast, you can’t compare to anywhere else.”
The New York Yankees’ stage is particularly very veteran-heavy, or for the least part, very brand-name-heavy. That primarily means that many dollar signs are involved. As a matter of fact, the team’s piggy bank is set to shell out $195,998,004 to the players just for the 2012 season. That’s a little bit more than $20 million more than the second-rank Phillies’ 2012 payroll of $173,458,939. Most of the players in the everyday lineup have a fan-base that extends far more than just their immediate family members. When a new player who’s not recognized as well on a national level, gets to put on the trademark Yankees uniform, most people watching might not notice. But with all of the injuries that have been occurring in the clubhouse, the less-experienced players, who for the most part are the least-known players and the least-paid in the lineup, have to step up their game. Three new players that have shown such roles are Chris Stewart, Jayson Nix, and Casey McGehee. Now, they’re not “new” or “rookie” in the sense that they just got drafted and are making their Major League debuts. They’re “new” and “rookie” to the New York Yankees stage. As a Manager, Joe Girardi expected probably three .200 hitters, at most. But these three Yank rookies have shown otherwise, especially in the month of August.
Christ Stewart, currently the team’s second catcher after Russell Martin, was traded in for pitcher George Kontos in April of this season. He has played 38 games behind the plate so far, with one pinch-hit opportunity. His batting average for the season stands at .268, far beyond .200. More impressive is this month he has been hitting to a .455 batting average in 11 at-bats. At home, he has been hitting .340 throughout the whole season, and in the past seven days he’s been hitting a superb .375. Stewart won’t be getting millions like his more famous teammates when the season ends, but he will receive a very comfortable $482,500.
Jayson Nix, a utility player who’s been seeing more bat-and-glove time lately, is batting .368 this month alone and is at .261 for the season. Fans might recall his name for a different reason though. When Nix was at a batting practice before his debut game in the big leagues in May, he hit a fly ball that Mariano Rivera tried to catch, but the beloved closer ended up tearing his ACL and meniscus instead. Nix has seen all of the field in his time so far as a Yankee; he’s been a DH twice, a pinch-hitter four times, a short stop 12 times, on second base 6 times, at third base 17 times, and in left field 11 times. Girardi is making the most of this Texas-born ball player. Jayson Nix is slated to get $438,100.
The man who came in to replace Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez (who might I add, just between the two of them, they are getting $52,125,000 this season) for the time being, is Casey McGehee. He was mainly acquired to hit lefties, and he’s been succeeding so far. This past Saturday, McGeehee lead the Yankees to a 5-2 victory in a game against the Blue Jays. He went 2-for-4 and hit his first homerun as a Yankee, against none other than lefty Aaron Laffey. Although in August he’s only been hitting to a .235 average, he’s made his four hits in 17 at-bats count, just like he did on Saturday by adding a W to the team’s record. He is set to make $2,537,500 by the end of this season.
In the 11 games the Yankees have played so far this month, they have a 7-4 record, a far better cry so far than the split 13-13 record for the month of July. This month, the team as a whole has posted a .303 batting average, that’s best for any month this season. And this has been without the help of many of the big guns of the team. The Yankees are notorious, infamous even, for their spending habits on players and it can account to one of the reasons why so many baseball fans dislike the money-making machine. Forbes magazine has even named the team the “most valuable brand in sports”. But for a total of $3,458,100, three rookie players to the clubhouse have been having more of an effect than their counterpart teammates, whom they are replacing while they recuperate on the disabled list, in the month of August.
Just what the team didn’t want–another injury to one of the guys they depend on: CC Sabathia. Although Sabathia hated the thought and fought his hardest so Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman would change their decision, the Yankees ace was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
After his start on August 3rd against the Mariners, Sabathia initially felt pain on his left elbow two days later. He got an MRI which revealed nothing out of the ordinary so Girardi kept him in the pitching lineup. For the time being, the pain had drifted away but began to recently come back again.
Although Girardi recognizes that the pain is not as severe as it was after CC’s first start, the Yankees manager does not want to take any chances.
“It’s not any worse than it was after the first start, but our concern was that it didn’t go away. As far as concern, it’s pretty low.”
CC was slated to pitch tonight, but instead, David Phelps is the one to hit the mount. Phelps has previously had three starts this season, even though he is primarily a bullpen guy. He may not have an equal amount of stamina as Sabathia to last 8+ innings or pitch more than 100 pitches like the Yankees horse is used to putting up, but Girardi says Phelps will “be able to give us 75-80 pitches.” Over 52 innings this season, the 25-year old righty holds a 2.42 ERA.
Sabathia’s season is at 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA. The 6’7″ lefty will be eligible to come back from the DL on August 24.
Fans roared at the thought that the veteran Andy Pettitte would come back from retirement at the beginning of the 2012 baseball season. With Jorge Posada gone, the Core Four would still no longer be, but the Key Three, Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter, would have another chance to perhaps make it a repetition of the 2009 season when the team won their 27th championship. But with Pettitte and Rivera out of the picture for the past few months due to injuries, it has been disappointing wishful thinking. However, it looks like Andy’s comeback, part two, for 2012 is nearing.
In a recent press conference General Manager Brian Cashman said he believed that the lefty might be back to the Major Leagues in September. “We have to let the healing process take its course. He had that setback which cost him a week to 10 days, but he is in the middle of the healing process,” said Cashman to the New York Post.
Pettitte headed to the disabled list during a June 27 game against the Cleveland Indians, in which first baseman Casey Kotchman hit a line-drive up the middle that hit the long-time lefty pitcher on the ankle causing a fracture. In the nine starts before the mishap, Pettitte had gone 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA.
Looking at the stats, September is generally not the greatest of months for the 40-year old. Since 2009, he has an overall 5.29 ERA holding the batter’s just to a .270 average. That is way past the 2.49 ERA he has come in with to the month of April for the past three seasons.
Although Pettitte is eligible to come back from the 60-day disabled list on the 28th of this month, the team has set September 1st as the better comeback date. With a healthy Pettitte back, post-season baseball for the Yankees looks mighty promising. Me? I’m personally counting down the days until that infamous stare-over-the-glove comes back to the mound to deliver.
From a Tiger to a Yankee, 31-year-old Curtis Granderson can say he’s accomplished a hefty load in his professional baseball career and in his personal life. Even though his original plan was to play professional basketball, his talent with the bat had other plans for him.
While playing baseball in High School in his hometown of Illinois, he batted a .369 average which quickly got him recognized by plenty of college baseball programs but opted to attend the University of Illinois-Chicago. Selected in the third round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, Granderson put his college career to the side for the time being to focus on his athletic career. Eventually moving up through the farm system, the Center Fielder made his debut in the Major League’s on September 2004. He ultimately ended up completing his degree in business administration and business marketing via online courses.
In his five years with the Tigers (2004-2009), he began exemplifying his true talent early on. In August of 2007 he followed the footsteps of past Tiger Charlie Gehringer, and became the second player in the team’s club history to in a single season have at least 30 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs, and ten stolen bases. One month later and Curtis Granderson became only the sixth player to become part of the 20-20-20 club in baseball, a group reserved for players who have 20 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 home runs in one season. This feat didn’t come easy, because in order for a player to reach those 20 triples, he has to have bolting speed–a quality Granderson has shown with ease. In his last season with the Detroit Tigers he was voted on to his first MLB All-Star appearance, an appearance in which he ended up getting the game-winning hit, a triple, at the top of the 8th inning.
Since his move to Yankees Stadium in 2010 through a trade that send Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Tigers, the lefty Chicago-native has homered 94 times. Now with the pinstripe boys, he’s earned the nickname around the clubhouse of “Grandy”. In his years with the Tigers, Granderson was known for having difficulty batting against left-handed pitching but when he teamed up with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, those numbers have thus improved. The center field took the initiative to ask Long for help, and the numbers showed a quick improvement. Before Long, Granderson was hitting .239 for the season, but in the 12-game span after the duo began tweaking his batting techniques, Granderson was batting .282 (11 for 39). In 2009, his average against lefty pitching was .183, in 2010–.234, and in 2011–.272, so the effort in perfecting his swing is showing.
Curtis Granderson put on a spectacle throughout his 2011 season where he was in the the race for first place in home run totals in the Major Leagues against the dangerous Jose Bautista. He ended his season being two shy away from the Toronto champ who had 43 homers overall. This however only made him more popular with the fans; they were finally seeing the power numbers that this Yankee is capable of. Because of all of the numbers Granderson has been putting up in his baseball career, he is now considered a five-tool player, which only greats like Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds have had the privilege of being called. A five-tool player surmounts in hitting for average and power, has tremendous speed and base running skills, and shows exemplary fielding and throwing abilities.
One of the major things that makes Curtis Granderson stick out from the rest of many professional players, is the time and effort he spends off the field contributing to the sport of baseball. For the past couple of years, Granderson has been an ambassador Major League Baseball International, which promotes the sport to countries outside of the Unites States. In 2006, he began involving himself with the Major League baseball Players Association and has taken part in labor contracts to make sure that nothing similar to the NBA lockout in 2011 occurs in baseball. The foundation he founded in 2007 to help benefit the education system of inner-city children across the country, the Grand Kids Foundation, has done so much for the community that it has even been noticed by and has teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama in the past. In fact, his foundation means so much to him that when he grabbed endorsements from big-name companies like Nike and Louisville Slugger, he refused to receive a paycheck for himself and instead asked for the money to be donated to his charity. If that doesn’t scream “humble”, then I don’t know what does.
Curtis Granderson has become known to the world of sports and to the fans as a great dedicated player, as well as one of the nicest. Not to rub it in, but this grandiose center field even landed one of the top five spots in a poll by ESPN that ranked the “nicest players in Major League Baseball”. With the amount of work he does on the field to perfect his abilities and the amount of work he does off the field to better the community, Curtis Granderson is sure to be a great topic of conversation when baseball is brought up. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig even once wrote to him, “There are so many fine young men playing Major League baseball today, but I can think of no one who is better suited to represent our national pastime than you.”
It was a celebration in Trenton, New Jersey just last week for Robinson Cano and David Robertson. Their charities, RC24 Foundation and High Socks For Hope, were honored at the second annual event held by the MVP Foundation, a foundation founded by Dr. Thomas Haveron.
In the event, which was held at the home of the Minor League Baseball team the Trenton Thunder, both athletes were recognized for their outstanding work in the community and their charities were each given $25,000. Both Cano and Robertson played for the Thunder before making it to the big leagues into their pinstripe NYY uniform.
Cano’s charity gives back to disadvantaged youth in his hometown of Dominican Republic as well as working with terminally-ill children in the States. Some of the foundation’s many accomplishments have been donating ambulances and school buses to the place where he was born–San Pedro de Macoris, giving away truckloads of toys to unfortunate children, and the second baseman even has been rewarded for his kindness by having a room named after him at the Hackensack University Medical Center. “It’s all about helping kids that really need it,’’ said Cano while being interviewed at the event.
David Robertson’s charity, High Socks For Hope (named after his trademark pulled-up socks while out on the pitching mound), was founded by the Yankees pitcher and his wife Erin to help the victims of the series of tornadoes that hit in 2011 which devastated the lives of many in Robertson’s hometown of Alabama. Some of their biggest accomplishments include providing new homes full of brand new furniture for these victims. “We’re very fortunate and we can keep trying to make a difference for as long as we can,” is what Robertson told a YES reporter at the event.
The event not only had the two guests of honor, but many prior Yankees came to support the two current Yankees men like Roy White and Oscar Gamble.
The man behind it all, Dr. Haveron, had this to say about his honorees, “I’ve seen the work that they do, I know the type of individuals that they are and they’re worthy of the acknowledgement. They’re tremendous players but they’re tremendous human beings. …They’re both about the kids and about helping their communities so I want to commend them both for what they do as players but more importantly as what they do as people.”
The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry has been notorious for many generations back. For the majority, the fussing and the hype has been kept on the field, or in the stands between the fans. Very rarely does the competition get in between the players’ personal lives. In fact, David Ortiz has notably always invited many current and previous Yankees to his golfing charity tournament, which he holds annually in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic benefiting his foundation the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. Although sometimes the fans forget that these guys are friends outside of their uniforms, the players never do.
However, Mark Teixeira and Red Sox reliever Vicente Padilla have added more fuel to their fire lately. During the time these two were teammates with the Texas Rangers from 2006-2007, Teixeira has expressed that he believed he was constantly getting hit by pitches from opposing teams as a retaliation to Padilla’s league-leading 26-hit-batters list.
On games the two rival teams have played within the past month, Padilla has taken it to the media to express his feelings for the Yankees first baseman. “I believe he does have a bit of a problem with Hispanic players, because it wasn’t just against me when we were teammates,” Padilla told Latino reporters for ESPN Deportes.
At the same game, Padilla continued with a quote to NESN.com stating, “The things Teixeira has done against the Latinos [on the Rangers] — he doesn’t open his mouth about. He once threatened me and said he was going to hit me with a bat, and that’s when we were playing on the same team.”
I have never seen Teixeira verbally or non-verbally express any sort of hatred towards Latino ball players. The Yankees are known for having a melting pot of cultures on the roster, from Alex Rodriguez to Ramiro Peña to Eduardo Nuñez, and when any one of the Latino players hits a homerun or does a nice field play, Teixeira is always seen congratulating them without any type of indifference shown. Who knows what anybody says or does behind closed doors, but all I’ve seen from him is team effort, skin color unaccounted for.
One of the things I despised, and lost respect for Padilla when he said it, was a comment in the sense that “Teixeira is better off playing a woman’s sport.” It was uncalled for, sexist, and just childish. Instead on concentrating so much on an opponent, he should be concerned with perfecting his craft.
“Completely erroneous,” is what Teixeira had to say about the racism accusations. “He doesn’t have a lot of friends in the game.”
The two teams face each other a couple of more times before the regular season ends, so we will see how this war of words concludes.