Hello top of the American League East (permanently), we haven’t seen each other in a while. Your looking dashing, have you lost some weight? Your Yankee-separation anxiety is finally cured. Yes, with a victory over the red sox (could anything be sweeter than that?) the yankees have clinched their first American League East title since 2006. 3 years has never seemed so long.
“We have 100 wins, and hopefully there’s 11 wins in the postseason we can get. This team is very special, and I like what we have here. I know this celebration is going to end soon. We understand there are bigger and better ones yet to come.”-Johnny Damon
These West Coast games are killing me, the one time (the weekend) when I have time to watch the games, and they’re scheduled to deprive a New Yorker of sleep. Unfortunately, that has just left me to read all the ESPN and MLB.COM game recaps, but then one article title grabbed my attention: Kennedy Completes Quick Return to the Bigs.
The Yankees finished off their last season series against the Baltimore Orioles with a 13-3 victory. In that season series, the Yankees dominated the Orioles with a record of 13-5. And all this was completed on September 13th. Whoever said 13 was unlucky?
First, I want to apologize for not having written very many blogs recently. Between going back to school and varsity sports every day, I’ve been very busy! But nothing, not even my mounds of homework, can keep me from posting a very special blog today. If I didn’t, well, quite frankly, the guilt would probably eat me alive.
The final Hoo-rah of the summer is sealed with nice weather, history lessons, and a sweep of the day night double header. After a split of the toronto series, all is restored in Yankee universe. Oh yeah, and did I mention a 9-game lead in the AL East? I wish every summer ended this way, it’d be so much easier to go back to school.
Game One: Ace is spelled with two Cs
CC is looking about as unstoppable as James Bond, Iron Man and Jason Bourne all rolled into one. Not losing a decision since July 28th and going 7+ innings in 7 of his last 8 starts, Sabathia just continues to show Yankee fans the reason we went out and got him: he’s a work horse who, every 5th day, gives you a very good chance to win. His start today went a little something like this: 7 IP, 3 H, I ER, 10 K. Both his fastball and slider were looking pretty fierce, the slider down and in being a very effective out pitch to righties.
The offense seemed to save their steam for game 2, but A-Rod had a very nice afternoon for himeself, going 3-3. A-Rod, Posada, Cano and Hinske all had 1 RBI a piece, and the 8-9 punch of hughes and moe secured a 4-1 victory.
Game Two: 1 and 1 makes 11
AJ Burnett improved to 11-8, picking up his first victory since June in the night portion of the double header. AJs numbers were strikingly similar to CCs a few hours earlier: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K. Replicating a start like that deserves a round of applause *claps for AJ*. He featured a good fastball and his unique knuckle-curve. Once again, for the second time today, Evan Longoria is the only Ray with an RBI. Ouch.
Game two was really more about the offense than anything. It seemed every single yankee on the 40-man roster got an at bat this evening, with the likes of Shelly Duncan and Fransico Cervelli playing the field. The result of the offensive free for all? 11 runs on 17 hits. By the 7th inning, I felt like we were playing a rousing game of musical infielders. Every starter got a hit except for Derek Jeter ironically (no, I didn’t forget about Jeter, just keep reading). Overall, the Yankee who had the best night award goes to Mark Teixeira: 3 for 4, 2 HR (one a monument park affair), 4 RBI, Double. Jose Molina also deserves recognition, going 3-3.
But perhaps the biggest headline of all was supposed to be Derek Jeter persuing the all time yankee hit leader Lou Gehrig, being only 3 hits away from tying Gehrig on the list with 2,718. Jeter went 0-4 in his first game and then 0-4 in the second game, the only time Jeter has ever gone hitless in a double header. But lets ponder this for a second, everyone put on your thinking caps: 3 hits to make up in 23 games. I dont think we have anything to worry about.
Signing off for now
-Inside the thought bubble
Nothing like a “the little pitcher that could” performance to compliment a powerful offense. First the walk off (call me spoiled, but I’m starting to almost expect them when the Yanks are down in the 9th) and now a stellar pitching performance and an offensive showcase for a final 10-0. Let’s just hope the Yankees save some Pizazz for tomorrows game (of which I will be in attendance).
Call me optimistic and naive, but with bases loaded, no outs and already a two run defecit made up lifting the score to 10-7, I was already hypothesizing AJ Burnett stiring up one of his famous shaving cream pie al a walk off. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Theres no one to blame, exactly, it was just a case of bad luck. A quick recap of the bottom of the inning: down 10-5, reliever Jason Grilli enters the game and gives up a single to Damon and walks Tex. Washington has seen enough, and brings in his closer Frank Francisco with 2 on, 0 out. A-Rod walked, bases loaded. Matsui singled scoring Damon, directly followed by Posada singling, scoring Tex. 10-7 with no one out. Jerry Hairston Jr. to pinch run for Posada. Bases are still loaded for Robbie (notorious for all his men on base hitting problems), and he singles scoring both A-Rod and Matsui. 10-9 with no one out, runners on 1st and 2nd. I can taste the shaving cream. It all goes downhill from there. A failed sac bunt attempt by Swisher makes it 10-9, 1 out. Melky, the king of the walkoffs, comes to the plate, needless to say I have a lot of confidence in him. He lines out hard to the shortstop, who runs to tag second base to double off Hairston by half a step. In about 3 seconds, the game ends.
Joba had another less than pretty start, leaving early after only pitching 4 innings and surrendering 7 ER. And guess what? All 7 of those runs Joba allowed, all were scored on two outs. Joba’s struggles were simply a result of not being able to get the job done, with two out walks and singles galore! In the second it was a two out single, walk, stolen base, and double that did the damage. The fourth was even worse. Try a 2 out walk, single, single, single, single, single.
Kevin Millwood wasn’t exactly so hot either, and the Yankees got to him early in a 4-run first with the help of Tex, A-Rod, Matsui and Posada. Thats right, you guessed it: all with two outs. Cano homered in the 4th, the 6th player on the Yankees to have 20 homers or more. The last time the Yankees had 6 players with 20+ homers: the 2004 season. (Rodriguez, Sheffield, Matsui, Jeter, Posada and…can you name the last one?)
Last but not least, I wanted to mention Neftali Feliz. He retired 7 of the 9 batters he faced (one of the two not retired was HBP). From the start he came out throwing gas.
Total Pitches: 42 (career high)
Total Fastballs: 30
Slowest Fastball: 95 MPH
Fastest Fastball: 101 MPH
Average Speed: 98.2 MPH
He was consistent from start to finish, 3 of his last 4 fastballs hit 99 MPH. And his slowest fastball at 95 MPH? And only one of his fastballs even traveled that slowly. I was extremely impressed.
Did anyone guess Bernie Williams?
Signing off for now
-Inside the Thought Bubble
After a lovely 2-week vacation in Red Sox country (and being nearly denied service multiple times for wearing a yankee jersey), it’s nice to be back in New York and blogging again. And what could be a better way to celebrate my return to New York from Massachusetts with a Yankee win over the Sox and taking the series? Practically nothing.
After two high scoring games, the hyped up pitchers duel only followed the trend. In the three game series, the Yankees and Sox combined for 58 runs which is the most ever scored between the two in a 3 game set. And we have Hideki Matsui to thank for that. Matsui had two homeruns in both the 1st and 3rd games, finishing with 9 RBIs on the series. It also marked matsui’s 3rd multi-homerun game in 7 GAMES. Be cautioned New York City, GODZILLA is on the loose!
But Matsui wasn’t alone. 3 other Yankees homered, marking the 1st game in which Beckett has ever given up 5 homeruns. Hoorah! This calls for a celebratory off-day! Along with Matsui’s 2, Jeter hit one on the first pitch of the game, and Rodriguez and Cano soon followed. The homerun by Jeter was his 21st leadoff and ties him wtih Soriano for second on the all time Yankee leadoff homeruns list, only three shy of Ricky Henderson. The Yankees are also the only team in baseball with 5 players with 20+ homeruns (Teixeira, Rodriguez, Matsui, Damon, Swisher) and last night brough Robbie to 19. I’ll be sure to send the short porch and green monster thank you notes.
CC and Beckett, on the other hand, were aiming for number 15. I think you can figure out who got to it. With his major league leading 15th win, CC Sabathia didn’t exactly crush the Sox, but he got the Job done. Over 6 2/3, 3 ER, 8 H, 8 K, 0 BB. CC featured a good fastball hitting the outside corner effectively, and good changeups and sliders. Sabathia takes Mr. August to a whole other level, going 5-0 in the month this season and winning 11 straight consecutive August decisions. And in those 5 August wins this season, a 2.65 ERA. Sabathia had faith in his team from the beginning, “To be honest with you, Beckett is a great pitcher, but this lineup is unbelievable. I’ve had confidence in this offense all year. I’ve just felt like I don’t have to do too much to win games. If I can just keep them in the game, we’ll have a good chance to win.” Beckett on the other hand was shaky from the first pitch to his last, unable to get his breaking ball down in the zone. “Obviously, you tend to remember those, these are humbling deals. That was a whooping I got today.”
And even a few hours outside of Boston, I was able to purchase a Yankee Mr. Potato Head.
Signing Off For Now
-Inside the Thought Bubble
0-8 is never a good place to be at. Ever, under no circumstances. Actually maybe in golf, if it’s like 0 points in your last 8 shots or something like that, but we all know what a twisted sport golf is. In sports with logical score keeping systems, 0-8 only means one thing: you have been owned. And as much as I cringe at the mere thought of it, the Yankees have been owned. A quick look at the stats…
Runs Scored: 55
Team Batting Average with RISP: .290
Runs Scored: 31
Team Batting Average with RISP: .101
Runs Scored: 89
Team Batting Average: .283
Runs Scored: 99