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Yesterday I mistakenly said that Phil Hughes was going to pitch. He’s pitching today and I will stand by what I said that it might just be the biggest game of the year so far. But Saturday CC Sabathia showed why he is the Yankees most valuable player this year as he shut down the Blue Jays to snap a 2 game losing streak with a 4-1 win. In his last seven starts, Sabathia is 7-0 with a 1.68 ERA. Yesterday’s win makes CC the first 14 game winner in the big leagues.
Where would the Yanks be without Sabathia. He is stopped losing streaks many times this year. The only hiccups he has had was with the Red Sox. If the Yanks were able to get another top end starter it would be a great 1-2 punch with Sabathia. It is imperative that Cashman make a move. If he doesn’t, a Cy Young season from CC will have gone to waste.
When the Yankees signed Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to minor league contracts it was a flyer worth taking on 2 aging 30-somethings. From the beginning of the season to the All-Star break, it looked like Brian Cashman had truly found bargains at the Dollar Store. Unfortunately, as with Cinderella, the clock as struck 12 and it looks like this fairy tale is coming to an end as Freddy Garcia coughed up 6 runs in 5 innings and the Yanks dropped their second straight to the Blue Jays by the score of 7-1. The Pinstripers didn’t lose any ground as the Red Sox lost to the Rays 9-6.
The last two nights have been very painful as both pitchers looked awful, Colon more so than Garcia. The team has also played terrible behind them but its hardly the reason why the Yanks have lost 2 since they have been outscored 22-8. We all know that in order to be successful in post season baseball you need good pitching and what the Yankees have received the last two nights won’t cut it now let alone in October. Today may be the biggest game of the second half as Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees. A good start from Hughes would certainly calm the nerves of Yankee fans and probably mean that the Yanks would only need to be looking for one starter, as they could also bring up Ivan Nova. Hughes really has an opportunity to step up in the rotation and there is no question he has the ability to do it.
While the Yankees will anxiously await to see how Hughes performs this afternoon, they have scouts in different major league ball parks looking at starting pitchers. According to George King of the NY Post, the Yanks have scouts watching Matt Garza, Anibal Sanchez, Jeremy Guthrie, Francisco Liriano, Ubaldo Jimenez and Heath Bell. There are a number of teams that are looking at Jimenez who has picked up his game the last 4 starts and is only 27 years old. King indicates that the Rockies are looking for high end prospects and the Yanks have them to deal. This is a clear indication that the Yankee high command realize that they need to do something to upgrade the rotation if they are to be playing baseball in October. Garza certainly knows what it takes to pitch in the NL East but Jimenez might be the best of the group. However, either Garza or Jimenez would be great to see in Yankee pinstripes. Cashman can’t be timid as both the Red Sox and Tigers are in the hunt for pitching. The next couple of weeks will be real interesting!!!!
For his second straight start, Bartolo Colon got rocked as the Yankees started the second half of the season with a 16-7 drubbing at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays. Many had considered Colon as the Yankees second best pitcher in the first half of the season. However, since coming back from his hamstring injury Colon pitched well in his first start against the Mets but then has been hit hard by the Rays and the Jays. The Yanks rolled the dice on Colon and for the first half they came up looking good. But the last two starts have been snake eyes and there’s concern that Colon may not be totally comfortable with the hamstring. At his age and his weight, this can be a big problem.
The Yankees cannot afford to give Colon too much time here to right himself. With Ivan Nova down in Scranton ready for the call up, a determination needs to be made quickly. The Yankees don’t owe Colon anything. They gave him a chance and he took advantage of it. However, there was no guarantee that he would produce the entire season. In fact, the Yanks knew that was a concern before the season started. If Colon is not right they need to call Nova up and let the kid pitch. Suddenly the two biggest keys to the Yankees post season hopes rest on the two young arms of Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes.
Yesterday the judge in the Roger Clemens trial declared a mistrial as a result of the prosecution providing evidence to the jury that the judge rules as inadmissable. Its being reported that there will probably be a new trial sometime in the fall. The whole thing is ridiculous. On his part, Clemens has been a bull head and as a result the government is not going to let up. As far as the government goes, there is nothing else you can be pursuing??? Clemens isn’t the first person to lie to Congress and his lie hasn’t harmed anyone except himself. Here’s hoping reason can prevail and a deal can be made to end this whole thing now!!!
When I read the article above I was flabbergasted. Ohio high school football coaches are talking about honoring Jim Tressel in the season openers throughout Ohio. What a message to send to the high school kids they are coaching: cheat and lie because it doesn’t matter as long as you win. What a freaking disgrace. If you want to know what’s wrong with amateur athletics this says it all.
News on the status of talks between the NFL and the players has more twists and turns than a road up in the Smokey Mountains. There had been considerable talk that an agreement will be reached by next Tuesday. Drew Brees came out and said that they were working on small points and that they were real close. But NFL.com reported last night that the talks were far from ending and that core issues had still not been resolved. As we get closer to the dates for when training camps were suppose to open, both the players and the owners are getting antsy. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady both came out saying that a deal needs to get done. It will be interesting over the next couple of weeks to see what happens.
James Harrison is at it again. Yesterday he called out Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him a punk, a puppet and used a homophobic slur. He went on to say that if Goodell was on fire he wouldn’t p*%s on him to put it out. Harrison didn’t stop there as he went after Ben Roethlisberger calling him out for the 2 interceptions Big Ben threw in the Super Bowl and to quit thinking he was Peyton Manning even though he’s paid like Manning. These gems from Mr. Harrison came from an article in a magazine in which Harrison posed shirtless with a gun in both hands. Great image James. It’s jerks like Harrison that gets me aggravated with the NFL. Harrison is a thug plain and simple. Being critical of Goodell is one thing but do you have to sound like a jerk doing it. As far as crticizing a teammate, it’s totally uncalled for. Curious to see what the Steelers do about this.
Plaxico Burress says that he would be interested in signing with the Chicago Bears. Burress had a lot of nice things to say about Jay Cutler and would look forward to playing with him. Burress is a big playmaking receiver that would help the Bears. However, reports out of Chicago indicate that if the Bears had interest, Burress would have to agree to a significantly lower contract than the one that he had with the Giants. Not sure about this one. There’s a part of me as seeing this could be a good thing for the Bears. On the other hand, not sure about Burress’ character issues. Tough call here but maybe a short-term incentive laden contract might be the answer.
If and when this lockout gets settled, the free agent frenzy is going to be fun to watch. It will be interesting to see where certain players end up and what will be the time frame for when free agents must be signed. A lot of uncertainty. Thank you NFL owners and Roger Goodell.
I have been critical of Bud Selig many times but I have to give him props for putting the contrived controversy over Derek Jeter’s absence from the ASG to bed. Selig made it very clear that he was not disappointed in Jeter’s decision and in fact understood it completely. In addition, Selig went on to say that Jeter has been an excellent ambassador for baseball and was a role model on and off the field. The Commissioner made it very clear that anyone saying that he was disappointed or upset about the Jeter’s decision was flat out wrong. Now maybe we can expect the talking heads at ESPN to focus on the second half of the season.
A final note on this issue, if Derek Jeter had not reached 3,000 hits before the ASG would anyone have cared that he wasn’t going to the game?? In fact, if he did go to the game I’m sure you would have heard that Jeter didn’t deserve to be on the team let alone start. That’s why this whole thing was nothing more than a media created controversy.
Last night’s ASG was flat out boring. It’s rather unfortunate that home field advantage for the World Series was determined by this exhibition which did not have much excitement. Wonder what the story is with Josh Beckett as he had a problem with his knee which prevented him from going into the game. If it forces him to miss any games it really puts the Red Sox rotation in a real mess.
While wondering what Nancy Gray is going to next rant and rave about, here’s what’s on my mind this morning:
* Derek Jeter’s perfromance on Saturday was one that I will never forget. That one game typified Jeter’s career: clutch player and a winner. It’s evident where Jeter gets his passion for winning after watching the interview with his dad after Derek hit the home run to reach 3,000. The first words out of Mr. Jeter’s mouth was: we have a game to win today.
* The criticism directed at Jeter over not going to the All-Star Game is ridiculous. The talking heads at ESPN started the nonsense but others in MLB are very miffed that Jeter did not show up. Quite frankly, I don’t blame Jeter for not going. He just went through a pressure cooker to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. On top of the fact that he was just coming off the DL and played 7 staright games. Derek Jeter is the best ambassador for baseball: he’s been a champion and he played the game clean. Maybe ole’ Bud ought to remember that before he has his minions take shots at the Captain.
* Buster Olney on Sunday continued on his ASG rants with a Twitter post that stated that players should be asked in March whether or not they will play in the ASG if they are not on the DL. If they say they will not play, their name will not appear on the All-Star ballot. A couple of questions for Olney: 1.) what about pitchers?? and 2.) what if its a situation where a player has not been put on the DL but has been nursing an injury should they be required to go and harm their team’s chances to qualify for the playoffs??
* I wonder if Olney and his compatriots at ESPN would be saying anything if David Ortiz elected not to go to the ASG.
* Take a look at John Harper’s article in the NY Daily News about the ASG. One of the points that Harper makes is the fact that the best pitchers cannot pitch in the game because they pitched on Sunday. If this game is supposed to matter then how come we can’t see the best pitchers??? Yet, MLB is going to go off on Derek Jeter for not being there. What a joke!!!!
* It’s being reported that the NFL lockout may be coming to an end. The main sticking point seems to be the rookie salary cap. I can’t see that preventing a settlement. It’s going to be interesting to see the free agent activity once this thing gets settled.
* It appears the NBA lockout may be going on for awhile. Not only are the players and owners at odds but the owners are fighting amongst themselves. This shouldn’t be a surprise as the small market owners are struggling to keep their heads above water. Unless something gets done for the Charlottes, Oklahoma Citys and Indianas of the world, the NBA might be looking at contraction.
* And finally, congratulations to Robby Cano for winning the Home Run Derby. He certainly hit some monster shots and what was really nice was the fact that his pitcher was his dad. Not to mention that Cano beat out Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox.