Monday, September 28, 2009
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were watching a melodramatic celebration as the NY Yankees closed out 85 years of history at the original Stadium. The Yankees had just defeated the Baltimore Orioles, but there would be no post season play for the first time in 13 years. Joe Girardi was under fire as former manager Joe Torre was leading the LA Dodgers to a division title. The Yankees had no starting pitching. And the Red Sox had been a better team than NY for 5 years.
The Yankees addressed these problems during the off season by acquiring Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira. Little did we know, Nick Swisher may have been the biggest pickup giving a kind of spark and personality the clubhouse needed so much.
A-Rod lied about steroids and was exploited. He then missed the first month and a half of the season. The Yankees got off to a terrible start. C.C. got off to another one of his patented slow starts. Chien-Ming Wang turned into the Jake Delhomme of baseball. They dropped the first 8 games against Boston. And the new Stadium was being referred to as "Coors Field East." Of course everyone was writing the team off. Major trouble in Yankeeland.
But then something happened around the time A-Rod returned in mid May. The NY Yankees became the best team in baseball seemingly overnight. They won 9 of the final 10 games against Boston, leaving the season series tied at 9-9. Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's team record for career hits. Mark Teixeira had an MVP type season. Sabathia and Mariano Rivera should both finish in the top for the Cy Young.
Since the All Star Break, the Yankees are 49-19! All this with basically a 4 man rotation. You have to give major credit to Joe Girardi. He could have hit the panic button back in May when the New York Media were calling him out. But he stepped up to the plate. He did a magnificent job with a depleted bullpen where he found a home for Phil Hughes.
The Yankees had a walkoff win just about every 11th game (14 total). Every walk off win was followed by the old pie in the face routine brought on by A.J. Burnett.
The Yankees have won 100 games for the first time since 2004 and it's the team's first division title since 2006. Order is restored.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Funny how ESPN and Sportscenter had rarely mentioned Zack Greinke or the Kansas City Royals. But when Greinke shuts down the Red Sox, Sportscenter devotes 20 minutes to Greinke. And now today, everyone is talking about Greinke and giving him the Cy Young.
Greinke shuts out the Red Sox for 6 innings, in September, and now everyone outside the Midwest is bowing down. Hello! The guy has been doing this all year. You have to give Sports Illustrated props. They put Greinke on the cover back in May. Or maybe vice versa. Greinke did not succumb to the SI cover curse.
Well, he did start the year 8-1. He's currently 15-8. So he's 7-7 since. But his ERA is 2.08! In the American League! If he pitched in the NL, it would probably be just over 1.
At the start of September, I would have given the Cy Young to Mariano Rivera. Yeah, he is one of my favorite baseball players of all time, but at age 39, he has been having one of his best years ever. Mariano's Cy Young bid ended last Friday with Ichiro's walkoff homerun. Rivera had converted 36 straight save opportunities.
But Greinke's numbers don't lie. His 2.08 ERA is best in MLB. The next in the AL is Felix Hernandez with a 2.45 ERA. Greinke is second in the AL with 229 strikeouts. In fact, he has 229 strikeouts to 47 walks!
He is second in MLB with 6 complete games. Roy Halladay leads the Majors with 7.
Greinke's last 4 starts-against the Angels, Indians, Tigers and Red Sox, 3 of them playoff teams-he has pitched 26 innings, giving up 1 ER and 27 K's.
If Greinke pitched for the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels, he would have at least 25 wins. Something tells me he'll pitching for one of these teams in the near future.
We all know what Plaxico Burress did was stupid. But the punishment he is facing is ridiculous. I'm not a fan of Burress or the Giants, but in this case, the punishment clearly does not meet the crime.
The guy is spending the next 2 years of his life on Riker's Island for shooting himself in the leg!
Donte Stallworth killed a person while driving drunk and got a month!
I know the New York judicial system said they would not let Plaxico off easy because he was a celebrity.
But what about Martha Stewart? Martha Stewart lied and cheated the stock market. She spent 5 months in a prison "camp!" This is the furthest punishment away from 2 years at Riker's.
What is really unbelievable is production has not started yet on the reality show, "Plaxico on Riker's."
I don't know what was a bigger mistake by Burress-shooting himself in the leg or the lawyer he hired. I mean this has to be the worst lawyer ever! The guy is the real life Lionel Hutz.
None of this ever would have happened if Burress threw the gun in a dumpster or the Hudson River.
It's really sad that the guy had to say goodbye to his 3 year old son and won't be present when his daughter is born.
Wouldn't it be enough punishment the day Burress has to explain to his kids why he went to prison?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Well that was just about the last thing the Yankees needed. Since May, the Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball. Everything has been going their way. They certainly didn't need a bench clearing brawl in last night's meaningless game. Now, it looks like they'll be without Jorge Posada for 4 games.
Yeah, I guess it can't hurt to give Posada a little more rest. But an incident like this could really hurt a team's momentum. The Yankees have lost 3 of their last 5. Uh, oh. Time to hit the panic button?!
How meaningless was last night's game with the Blue Jays? New York sent Sergio Mitre to the mound against Roy "I own the Yankees" Halladay. The Yankees should have just called up the Scranton or Staten Island teams.
Halladay is 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA in his career vs the Yankees. Makes you wonder why the Red Sox didn't land Halladay. I mean, imagine Beckett, Halladay and Lester in the postseason!
Mitre is 3-3 with a 7.63 ERA in 9 starts with the Yankees. New York is 5-4 in games Mitre has started. That's how good the 2009 Yankees are.
For the entire season, the Yankees have basically been playing with a four man rotation. And the last month you can make it 3 1/2 as they prepare Joba for the post season.
New York has been dragging around two dead horses in Mitre and Chad Gaudin, who goes tonight for the Yanks. Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin pitching back to back! You got to be kidding me! Yet, the Yankees will probably win 100 games.
The Yankees are 3-0 in Gaudin's 5 starts.
And Mariano Rivera has pitched a total of 4 innings in September.
And now with Dice-K's performance against the Angels last night, the Red Sox may have the best starting rotation. But remember, this year Dice-K is 2-5 with an ERA over 7. Along with Tim Wakefield, you never know what you're going to get with these two.
In his last 5 starts, Josh Beckett is 1-2 with 6.10 ERA. Wow! But considering his postseason success, none of that really matters.
Clay Buchholz is 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA in his last 5 starts.
But obviously Jon Lester is currently Boston's ace. His last 5 starts: 4-0, 1.51 ERA, 35.2 innings, 35 K's, and 20 hits. Ooooh.
So a Red Sox/Yankees ALCS seems inevitable. But you never know what you're going to get with the 2009 BoSox. The team that went 31 consecutive innings without scoring a run, or the team that scored 25 runs in two games against the Yankees.
One stat that makes me feel comfortable: You take away the games Boston has played against the Blue Jays, Orioles and the National League and the Red Sox record is 50-45.
Adam Wainwright leads MLB with 18 wins. His teammate Chris Carpenter has 16. That's a pretty lethal 1-2 punch, in the National League.
Since they've been alive, 2009 college freshmen have always had a new season of Matt Groening's The Simpson's every fall. The show has broadcast 441 episodes and begins it's 21st season on September 27th. Congratulations.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It started out as a dud on Thursday. South Carolina's 7-3 win over N.C. State was highlighted by Erin Andrews' return to TV. The Oregon/Boise St. game was suppose to give us fireworks on the field and not after the game.
LeGarrette Blount's sucker punch heard round the world was probably the biggest story of Week 1. Not only did Oregon lose the game, their season is probably lost. The Ducks came in with high expectations and were considered to contend for the Pac 10. Blount played a key role as the starting RB in Oregon's offense. New coach Chip Kelly now faces an uphill battle as it looks to be a long season in Eugene.
Not only did Blount lose his senior season, but he also will lose a lot of money as his draft status is sure to fall.
But Week 1 gave us 1 one huge upset, some close calls and ended with a bang in Tallahassee as the Miami/Florida St. instant classic was reminiscent of the rivalry's past.
The biggest upset-BYU's stunning 14-13 victory over Oklahoma. Yeah, Sam Bradford left the game in the first half, but still the Sooners had much more talent on the field than BYU. Oklahoma committed 12 penalties and they failed to punch the ball in the end zone when they had 3 and goal at the one. On BYU's winning drive, Oklahoma's defense allowed the Cougars to move the chains on two third and longs and a fourth and 4.
Recently, "Big Game" Bob Stoops hasn't lived up to his name. The Sooners lost their opening game at home to TCU in 2005 so you really have to question Stoops' preparation. Now, the Sooners are no longer the best team in Oklahoma. Okie St. is now ranked 5. Wow!
Do you think Sam Bradford wishes he went pro early. There's another guy who'll lose money. I guess the moral of the story is: Leave school early while you're ahead.
Notre Dame and Michigan both won convincingly. So now everyone thinks both programs are back. These two powerhouses went a combined 10-15 last year, so it was huge for them to win their opening game against cupcakes. The Victors and the Irish face off this weekend, so one of them will be 2-0. Notre Dame's schedule is so easy that 9 wins is a gimme. And Michigan plays in a horrible conference, so anything's possible.
Which leads me to the Big 10.
We remember the Big 10 went 1-6 in bowl games last year. They opened Week 1 going 10-1. Wow! They must be back. Hold on Beano Cook! Ohio St. almost pulled a 2007 Michigan as the Buckeyes narrowly escaped Navy. The Buckeyes almost lost in the HorseShoe to a service academy!
Iowa looked good blocking back to back field goal attempts to seal the deal against...Northern Iowa!
Minnesota needed overtime to escape the treacherous wrath of the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse! A team that went 3-9 last year. A team that was starting a QB who hadn't taken a snap for five years, and that was in high school.
Northern Illinois gave Wisconsin all the Badgers could handle but Wisconsin held off the Huskies at home with a 28-20 win.
The Big 10's lone loss? How about the 37-9 shellacking against Mizzou. Yes, the Mizzou team that lost their two best players.
The Big 10 is the 5th best conference in college football, and they're barely ahead of the Big East. Barely.
Of course the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10 are clearly better than the Big 10. But now the ACC and Mountain West have gained supremacy rights over the horrid Big 10. The Mountain West! Yes. I'm afraid so. You could throw Ohio St. and Penn St in the Mountain West and they'd each lose 2 conference games. I can't wait for Big 10 conference play. Let's just say that the winner of the Penn St./Ohio St. game will go to a BCS game and get slaughtered again.
USC's 56-3 rout over San Jose St. was impressive considering the Trojans were starting a true freshmen in Matt Barkley. The Trojans also fumbled the ball twice in the first quarter. San Jose St. led 3-0 after one quarter.
A week ago, I would have said Ohio St. would finally win a big out of conference game with USC coming to Columbus. But after watching both teams' performance in Week 1, I'll take USC giving a touchdown.
Okay, we know the Yankees brought in big guns with C.C., Burnett and Teixeira, but maybe the most significant off season move may have been acquiring Nick Swisher.
So it was only fitting that it was Swisher's turn for the pie in face. Swisher broke a 2-2 tie with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the ninth as the Yanks have taken the first 3 games against Tampa. It was the 13th walk off for the Yankees, 7 of them coming via the long ball.
Swisher stepped up big when A-Rod was on the DL. Swish has been called upon as an everyday player with both Xavier Nady and Brett Gardner spending time on the DL. And his attitude and personality has lightened up the clubhouse.
As for Yankee Stadium being a homerun haven, Swisher has hit just 5 of his 26 dingers at the new stadium.
The Yankees are now 40 games above .500 at 90-50! They lead the Red Sox by 9 games. Since the All Star Break, New York is 39-13.
Derek Jeter is 0-12 in the series and remains 3 hits shy of Lou Gehrig's all time club record.