Thursday, September 25, 2014

It’s hard to believe that Derek Jeter’s career is coming to an end. It is even harder to deny Jeter’s place in baseball history.  Regardless of what others say I consider Derek Jeter the greatest Yankee of all time. 

The Yankee’s Captain will end his career with roughly 750 more hits than any other Yankee in history; he will also end his career 6th on the all-time hits list while all 5 players above him have played 2-4 more seasons. Not to mention the fact that he owns the all-time post season records for games played, at bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, singles, doubles and triples. Regardless of all of that Derek Jeter means much more to the game of baseball than any record or accomplishment.

He was not only the Captain of the New York Yankees but the greatest ambassador the game has ever known. In an era rampant with superstars who have fallen to PED use, Derek Jeter has been able to maintain his integrity in arguably the toughest sports market in the entire world. Think about that for a second, Derek Jeter has played for the New York Yankees for parts of 20 seasons and has never had any rumor or accusation tarnish his name or reputation. 

In today’s world of sports that is far more impressive than any record could ever be. He has served as the ultimate role model for not only children of the New York area but the entire country. 

With PEDs, domestic violence, drug use along with a blatant disregard for the law it’s a damn shame that Jeter’s way of conducting himself is such a rarity amongst athletes. You can’t help but feel that if more children had role models like Derek Jeter to emulate this world may be a better place.

I have had the pleasure of watching Derek Jeter play his entire career in pinstripes. When Derek came up in 1996 as a rookie I was a little kid who was completely infatuated with the New York Yankees. Now in 2014 as I watch Jeter close out his career I can’t help but feel a little torn up inside about it. 

On one hand I am so grateful that I got to watch him play for so many years on the other hand I feel as if a part of my childhood is coming to an end. I am now a man in my mid-twenties with a career, bills to pay and quotas to reach. Regardless of all that when I watch Derek Jeter take the field it brings me back to my childhood. 

Watching him play makes me feel like a kid from North Jersey with an undying love for the game of baseball again. On September 28th, 2014 that all ends and I can’t help but feel that the game of baseball will never be the same.

Thanks Captain.

Your biggest fan,
Adam Al

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Though the Yankees are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, their hopes of making the postseason one last time in the Derek Jeter era seem all but lost.

The Bombers dropped another game on Tuesday night, losing the the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium this week.

The Rays jumped all over Hiroki Kuroda early in the game, chasing him before the end of the 4th inning, as they would go on to win their 27th game at the new Yankee Stadium, compared to the 26 they won at the old stadium 1998-2008.

Tonight's lineup against Tampa Bay:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
C Brian McCann
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Chase Headley
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Stephen Drew
LF Chris Young

Pitching matchup preview: Chris Capuano vs Jake Odorizzi

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's the day we've all been wishing would stay away for several more years -- Derek Jeter Day. The Yankees will be holding a big pre-game ceremony for Jeter, very similar to the one held for Mariano Rivera last season -- minus Metallica, of course.

The ceremony is expected to start sometime around 12:30 p.m., according to the Yankees, so whether you're at the game or watching from home, you'll want to make sure you don't miss it because it's going to be big, emotional, and a little fun.

Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Gerald Williams, Tim Raines, and probably many more will be at The Stadium today for Jeter.

As for the game, which will start around 1:35 p.m. ET, the Yankees and Royals split the first two games of the series after the Yankees took last night's game, 6-1, on the strength of another good outing from Brandon McCarthy.

Today's lineup against Kansas City:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
2B Martin Prado
RF Carlos Beltran
C Brian McCann
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Stephen Drew
3B Chase Headley
LF Ichiro Suzuki

Pitching Matchup: Shane Greene vs Yordano Ventura

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Staring a loss right in the face, the Yankees came from behind to beat the Red Sox on a walk-off homerun by Chase Headley, minutes after a solo homerun by Mark Teixeira tied the game against Koji Uehara in the 9th inning, as the Bombers would beat Boston, 5-4, in the series finale on Thursday night in the Bronx.

David Ortiz had a big night for the Red Sox, blasting a pair of homeruns early in the game that helped the Sox jump out to a 3-0 lead. But in the end, it wasn't enough for his last place Sox to take home the victory.

Chris Capuano suffered possibly his worst start since joining the Yankees, as he failed to go at least five innings for the first time in eight starts, giving up four runs on six hits in just 4.1 innings.

Ortiz put the Yankees on the board in the top of the first inning, crushing a fastball over plate from Capuano into the right field seats, making it a 1-0 game. Ortiz made it a 3-0 game two innings later with another homerun, this time a two-run shot on a hanging breaking ball.

The Yankees came back to tie the game in the bottom half of the 3rd inning. Derek Jeter hit a two-run double into right-center field to pull the Yankees to within a run. The two batters later, Carlos Beltran singled into center field to score Jeter from second base, tying the game at 3-3.

Those were the only three runs that the Yankees were able to grab against Red Sox right-hander Brandon Workman, who was just recently called-up from Triple-A to start the game, Workman gave up just the three runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out five in six innings of work.

Boston took a 4-3 lead on a solo homerun by Brock Holt to open the top of the 5th inning. Capuano would leave the game a batter later, giving the ball off to the Yankees' bullpen, which was able to shut down the Red Sox for the remainder of the game.

Adam Warren was able to get out of trouble in the 9th inning after putting on the first two batters of the inning, retiring the next three he faced to set up the Yankees' win in the 9th.

Teixeira led off the inning with his first homerun in his last 56 at-bats, tying the game at 4-4. Then two batters later, Headley blasted a no-doubt homerun into the right field seats for his second walk-off hit since joining the Yankees.

With this Boston series now wrapped up, the Yankees will welcome the Kansas City Royals to town for a three-game series that starts on Friday night with Michael Pineda and James Shields facing off at 7:05 p.m. ET.

The Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak last night with a 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. The win puts the Yankees in a position to take the series against Boston this evening at Yankee Stadium after both sides split the first two games.

Brian McCann was the start of the show last night, collecting four hits, including a two-run homerun in the 2nd, and three RBIs to back up a strong seven-inning outing from Hiroki Kuroda, who picked up his 10th win of the season.

It's not question that 2014 was been a down year for McCann, who signed a five-year contract with the Yankees this past offseason. But there is always hope that he'll be able to turn things around at some point. While McCann certainly brings a lot to the Yankees' pitching staff, his big contract was mainly because of what he can do at the plate.

Tonight's lineup against Boston:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
LF Brett Gardner
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
2B Stephen Drew
RF Ichiro Suzuki

Pitching matchup preview:

Left-hander Chris Capuano gets the ball for the Yankees tonight in the series finale with the Red Sox. Capuano earned his first with New York in his last start after giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend.

Capuano has been a very produce mid-season pickup for the Yankees since he was acquired in July, going at least five innings in each of his first seven starts.

Brandon Workman will take the mound for the visitors in this matchup, making his first start since being recalled by the Red Sox just a few days ago. In his most recent big league start, on August 23 against the Seattle Mariners, Workman was shelled for seven runs in 10 hits.

Despite being on pace to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, the Yankees are planning to offer general manager Brian Cashman a new contract that would bring him back for next season, and several more years after that, reports's Jon Heyman.

According to Heyman, higher-ups in the Yankees' front office like the mid-season pickups that Cashman has made this season -- like Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado, and Chase Headley -- and are not putting any of the blame on him for the struggles of prized free-agents, like Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.

Cashman's current three-year contract runs out at the end of the season, and reports earlier in the year suggested that the Yankees would be looking to bring back their long-time general manager.

The Yankees have averaged more than 96 wins a year and won four World series championships in his previous 16 seasons at the helm, so even with the arguments that the team isn't focused enough on younger, more in-their-prime players, Cashman's strategies have made him a very successful GM for  over a decade.

The Yankees have a policy of waiting until after the season to talk about renewing contracts for any upcoming free-agents, and Cashman won't be anything different.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Yankees bounced back from a sluggish series opener on Tuesday night to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 5-1, on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Brian McCann had a big night at the plate that helped the Yankees snap a three-game losing streak, with four hits, including a two-run homerun in the bottom of the 2nd inning that put the Yankees up 2-0, and three RBIs on the night to lead the Bombers to victory.

On the mound, Hiroki Kuroda was dealing for the Yankees. He went seven strong innings, giving up just one run -- a Brock Holt double in the 6th inning that scored Jemile Weeks, who was hit by a pitch a batter earlier, to put the Red Sox on the board, making it a 3-1 game -- on four hits, while striking out eight and walking none in seven innings of work.

The Yankees added to their 2-0 against Boston's rookie starter Anthony Ranaudo in the 5th inning on a bases loaded sac-fly by Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Chase Headley from third base.

Ranaudo suffered his first loss at the big league level, giving up three runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. He walked two and struck out just one batter.

Brett Gardner made it a 4-1 game in the bottom of the 7th inning with an RBI single off of Sox reliever Alex Wilson, scoring Ellsbury. Three batters later, McCann extended the lead to 5-1 with an RBI single of his own -- it was his fourth hit of the night, as well.

Both Dellin Betances and David Robertson struck out a pair of hitters in scoreless innings to close out the ballgame.

The Yankees and Red Sox close out this three-game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Chris Capuano and Brandon Workman will be the starting pitchers in that one.

With their playoff hopes quickly fading away, the Yankees will continue their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox this evening at Yankee Stadium. Boston took the series opener last night, 9-4, on the back of three homeruns against Yankees pitching.

With just a few weeks left to play, the Yankees are 9 1/2 games out of the AL East race, and five games back of the second wild card spot. Time is running out -- and fast.

Tonight's lineup against Boston:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
LF Brett Gardner
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
2B Stephen Drew
RF Ichiro Suzuki

* Martin Prado is sitting out with a "mild, mild hamstring strain," according to Joe Girardi. It's possible that he could play tomorrow, but I wouldn't count on it.

Pitching matchup: Hiroki Kuroda vs Anthony Ranaudo

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Yankees on Tuesday afternoon announced a flurry of roster moves prior to tonight's series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

September call-ups:

C John Ryan Murphy
OF Chris Young
OF Antoan Richardson
RHP Preston Claiborne
RHP Bryan Mitchell
RHP Chase Whitley
LHP Chaz Roe
RHP Rich Hill

Not really the biggest moves they could have made, and nothing in there that'll make this club good enough to reach the post season. Whatever, I guess.

In other roster moves:

Outfielder Zoilo Almonte was designated for assignment; right-hander Matt Daley was released; outfield prospect Slade Heathcott was recalled from Double-A Trenton and then placed on the 60-day DL; and Masahiro Tanaka was transferred over to the 60-day DL, which means he's done for the season.

Sometimes the easiest, most obvious answer is the one right in front you. Despite all the Yankees' troubles this season, they still have a shot at the playoffs. The starting rotation has been decimated, the offense has been lackluster for much of the season, and yet there is still a chance.

Getting the offense going is and has always been the key to this year's Yankees, and a simple lineup change could do wonders. For much of the year, Jacoby Ellsbury has been masquerading as a No. 3 hitter, it's safe to assume that's not what Brian Cashman had in mind when he signed the former Red Sox outfielder to a seven-year, $142 million contract this past offseason.

Brett Gardner -- who is having a career year -- has hit first all season. Followed by Gardner has been Derek Jeter, who in his final season, has been underwhelming at the plate, and that's putting it lightly. This was supposed to be a year-long farewell to Jeter, but his power has been nonexistent.

In August, as the Yankees were trying to catch Seattle and Detroit for the second Wild Card spot, Jeter hit .207 with four extra base hits, while Ellsbury was absolutely on fire. For the month, Ellsbury hit .324/.366/.539 with five home runs, 16 RBIs with five doubles, one triple and 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.  

Martin Prado and his .466 slugging percentage have fit in nicely at the No. 3 spot followed by Brian McCann, Mark Texiera and Carlos Beltran have made the Yankees offense good enough at this time. Jeter batting second with his inability to hit the ball in the air has just a .312 slugging percentage is unacceptable at this time.

I wanted Jeter's final year to be a great last hurrah as much as the next guy, but he hasn't been the same since he broke his ankle in the first game of the 2012 ALCS. Given Girardi's relationship with the aging star, it's not surprising that he's sticking with No. 2, but that has to stop now.

For 20 years Jeter has professed to not care about personal statistics, if that is the case and there is no reason to doubt his team-first stance, then he should have no problem dropping down to the No. 7 spot in the lineup. This isn't A-Rod dropping to No. 7 by Joe Torre in the 2006 ALCS by any means.

The Yankees need for Jeter to move down in the lineup for the sake of the team. Masahiro Tanaka is on pace to return to the mound later this month to join Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda and surprise additions' Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy.

Sure, they trail Detroit/Kansas City by four games for the second Wild Card, and they would have to win a game just to get to the Division Series, but the playoffs aren't out of reach.

It's time for Girardi to stop looking at his shortstop like the future first-ballot Hall of Famer that he is, but a 40-year-old with no power, who is no longer fit to hit second for a contending team. It's a cold truth to swallow, but Father Time is undefeated in matters such as these.