Tagged: Brad Penny

Burnett’s Pitching, Yankee Homers Make Tigers  Sick

GAME 2
YANKEES 10, TIGERS 6
A.J. Burnett entered Saturday’s game battling a head cold but it was his pitching and the Yankees relentless power that made the Tigers sick.
Burnett pitched a solid five innings and Mark Teixeira, Russell Martin and Alex Rodriguez hit home runs as New York demolished Detroit pitching for another victory at Yankee Stadium.
Burnett (1-0) gave up three runs on five hits and a walk and he struck out six to earn the victory. The Yankees bashed Brad Penny (0-1) for eight runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. Mariano Rivera retired Miguel Cabrera with the tying run on deck in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
The Yankees have clinched the three-game season-opening series with the Tigers.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Burnett overcame his illness to pitch a very gutty game. He was touched for a solo home run by Austin Jackson in the third inning and an RBI single by Alex Avila and an RBI groundout by Will Rhymes in the fifth inning. Burnett threw 86 pitches and 56 were strikes.
  • Teixiera is serving notice that he is not going to slump this April. In the second inning he connected for his second three-run home run in as many games. Last season he had only five RBIs in all of April. This season he has six RBIs in his first two games.
  • Martin is showing signs he may be returning to his Silver Slugger form of 2007. He blasted a three-run shot of his own in the fifth inning. He also had a solid game behind the plate blocking Burnett’s breaking pitches in the dirt.
  • In two games, Rodriguez is 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. He also has drawn three walks. It is just an extension of his very hot spring in which he hit .388. with six home runs and 15 RBIs.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • The bullpen did not exactly excel in keeping the Tigers down once the lead reached 9-3. Luis Ayala surrendered a two-run home run to Victor Martinez in the eighth inning and Boone Logan, not helped by a Eduardo Nunez throwing error, gave up a walk and a hit to begin the ninth that plated an unearned run and forced manager Joe Girardi to summon Rivera out of the bullpen.
  • Everybody in the starting lineup contributed at least one hit except for Nick Swisher, who was 0-for-4. However, Swisher did knock in a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly.
  • Nunez was brought in the game in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter for Derek Jeter. His  throwing error on a routine two-out grounder by Ryan Raburn allowed the sixth run to score and forced Rivera into the game with the the tying run on deck. Nunez was chosen as the backup middle infielder because he is a better hitter and base-runner than Ramiro Pena. But Pena is the superior defensive player. The Yankees missed Pena’s steady defense on that play.
BOMBER BANTER
General manager Brain Cashman lashed out at the New York Mets for the way they used left-hander Pedro Feliciano the past three seasons. Cashman called it “abusive.” Feliciano, who is currently on the Yankees’ 15-day disabled list with a left rotator cuff strain, was used in 266 games over the past three seasons with the Mets. Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen even admitted the Mets were reluctant to re-sign Feliciano, 34, because of the amount of times they used him. But he also fired back by saying that Cashman was aware of Feliciano’s use when he signed him to a two-year, $8 million deal. Feliciano has not pitched since March 9 and is not expected back until late April or early May.  . . .  Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of standards and field operations warned the Yankees on Saturday about a ban on notifying on-deck hitters of pitch types and speeds. The Yankee Stadium radar gun speeds that displays on the scoreboard was not operating properly on Thursday so Brett Weber, a coaching assistant seated in the stands used hand signals to indicate pitch speeds to Yankee on-deck hitters. Cashman downplayed the controversy, saying he expected no disciplinary action. Cashman claims there was no real advantage gained by the information Wallace was signaling.
ON DECK
The Yankees will look for an Opening Series sweep on Sunday against the shell-shocked Tigers, who have given up 16 runs on 17 hits and nine walks in two games.
The Yankees will send 24-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA) to the mound for his 2011 debut. Hughes is 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
The Tigers will start 26-year-old right-hander Max Scherzer (12-11, 3.50 ERA). Scherzer is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and will be telecast the YES Network.
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Burnett’s Pitching, Yankee Homers Make Tigers Sick

GAME 2
YANKEES 10, TIGERS 6
A.J. Burnett entered Saturday’s game battling a head cold but it was his pitching and the Yankees relentless power that made the Tigers sick.
Burnett pitched a solid five innings and Mark Teixeira, Russell Martin and Alex Rodriguez hit home runs as New York demolished Detroit pitching for another victory at Yankee Stadium.
Burnett (1-0) gave up three runs on five hits and a walk and he struck out six to earn the victory. The Yankees bashed Brad Penny (0-1) for eight runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. Mariano Rivera retired Miguel Cabrera with the tying run on deck in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
The Yankees have clinched the three-game season-opening series with the Tigers.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Burnett overcame his illness to pitch a very gutty game. He was touched for a solo home run by Austin Jackson in the third inning and an RBI single by Alex Avila and an RBI groundout by Will Rhymes in the fifth inning. Burnett threw 86 pitches and 56 were strikes.
  • Teixiera is serving notice that he is not going to slump this April. In the second inning he connected for his second three-run home run in as many games. Last season he had only five RBIs in all of April. This season he has six RBIs in his first two games.
  • Martin is showing signs he may be returning to his Silver Slugger form of 2007. He blasted a three-run shot of his own in the fifth inning. He also had a solid game behind the plate blocking Burnett’s breaking pitches in the dirt.
  • In two games, Rodriguez is 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. He also has drawn three walks. It is just an extension of his very hot spring in which he hit .388. with six home runs and 15 RBIs.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • The bullpen did not exactly excel in keeping the Tigers down once the lead reached 9-3. Luis Ayala surrendered a two-run home run to Victor Martinez in the eighth inning and Boone Logan, not helped by a Eduardo Nunez throwing error, gave up a walk and a hit to begin the ninth that plated an unearned run and forced manager Joe Girardi to summon Rivera out of the bullpen.
  • Everybody in the starting lineup contributed at least one hit except for Nick Swisher, who was 0-for-4. However, Swisher did knock in a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly.
  • Nunez was brought in the game in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter for Derek Jeter. His  throwing error on a routine two-out grounder by Ryan Raburn allowed the sixth run to score and forced Rivera into the game with the the tying run on deck. Nunez was chosen as the backup middle infielder because he is a better hitter and base-runner than Ramiro Pena. But Pena is the superior defensive player. The Yankees missed Pena’s steady defense on that play.
BOMBER BANTER
General manager Brain Cashman lashed out at the New York Mets for the way they used left-hander Pedro Feliciano the past three seasons. Cashman called it “abusive.” Feliciano, who is currently on the Yankees’ 15-day disabled list with a left rotator cuff strain, was used in 266 games over the past three seasons with the Mets. Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen even admitted the Mets were reluctant to re-sign Feliciano, 34, because of the amount of times they used him. But he also fired back by saying that Cashman was aware of Feliciano’s use when he signed him to a two-year, $8 million deal. Feliciano has not pitched since March 9 and is not expected back until late April or early May.  . . .  Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of standards and field operations warned the Yankees on Saturday about a ban on notifying on-deck hitters of pitch types and speeds. The Yankee Stadium radar gun speeds that displays on the scoreboard was not operating properly on Thursday so Brett Weber, a coaching assistant seated in the stands used hand signals to indicate pitch speeds to Yankee on-deck hitters. Cashman downplayed the controversy, saying he expected no disciplinary action. Cashman claims there was no real advantage gained by the information Wallace was signaling.
ON DECK
The Yankees will look for an Opening Series sweep on Sunday against the shell-shocked Tigers, who have given up 16 runs on 17 hits and nine walks in two games.
The Yankees will send 24-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA) to the mound for his 2011 debut. Hughes is 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
The Tigers will start 26-year-old right-hander Max Scherzer (12-11, 3.50 ERA). Scherzer is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and will be telecast the YES Network.

Prediction: Pitching Matchup Favors Yankees

GAME TWO PREDICTION


The Yankees proved their recent four-game sweep of the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago was not a fluke. On Friday night they pounded Brad Penny and Michael Bowden for 15 runs over six innings en route to a 20-11 victory at Fenway Park.
I do not like to brag but I think my Game 1 prediction was right on the mark:

“The Red Sox will have to hope that Penny can, at least, keep the Red Sox in the game long enough for their hitters to solve Pettitte and his newly rediscovered cutter. If not, it could be a long night for the Bosox. 

If Pettitte settles in while the Yankees pound Penny, the game could be over early.”

Now will see if my crystal ball is still working for Game Two.
GAME TWO: Burnett vs. Tazawa

The pitching matchup is grossly one-sided. A.J. Burnett, when he is on his game, is simply nasty to face. His fastball is 96 mph and he has a devastating slider and curveball to go with it. He matched Josh Beckett pitch-for-pitch in a classic Aug. 7 matchup at Yankee Stadium. The game ended in 15 innings with the Yankees winning 2-0.
One thing Red Sox manager Terry Francona usually does before series with the Yankees is to stagger his rotation in such a way to make sure his best starters face the Yankees. Leading into this series, Francona did not do it.
As a result, Penny and rookie Junichi Tazawa are pitching the critical first two games. Why? Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz might have been wiser choices now considering what happened to Penny and what is facing Tazawa.
THE GAME PLAN

The Red Sox had better hope that Burnett pitches like he did on June 9 at Fenway Park when Beckett beat him 7-0. If not. it could be a long and somber afternoon for Red Sox Nation. The Yankees are simply too hot not to be able to get to Tazawa.
It might not be as bad the beatdown they gave Penny, but it could be close today. Tazawa was unable to contain the hard-hitting Rangers last Sunday so there is no expectation he will be able to keep the Yankees off the board for long.
The question is will he be able to contain the damage enough to keep the Red Sox in it.
I am saying Tazawa likely will be able to do that, at least. But I think Burnett and Yankees bullpen will be able to keep the Red Sox from nettlesome rallies this afternoon, too.
I see a game that may end up with a 7-2 score. The Yankees win the series and will be just one game from ending all Red Sox hopes of first place in the AL East.

Matsui’s 7 RBIs Help Yankees To Bash Bosox

YANKEES 20, RED SOX 11


Beckett vs. Burnett it wasn’t.
It was, in just three words, a one-sided slugfest.
Hideki Matsui hit a pair of three-run home runs and drove in a career-high seven runs to lead the New York Yankees to a 20-11 defeat of the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
The victory increased the Yankees lead in the American League East to 7 1/2 games and dealt a serious blow to the Red Sox’ hopes to get back into the division race this weekend.
The Yankees unleashed a torrent of 23 hits at Fenway Park that began with Derek Jeter’s leadoff ground-rule double and fittingly ended with a Melky Cabrera single in the ninth in which he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.

“It was incredible,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The good thing is we kept tacking on. They kept coming back as well. Big nights … up and down the lineup.”

The 31 runs scored by both teams also set a record. It was the most scored in a game by the two franchises, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous record was set on July 29, 1903 when the Yankees beat the Red Sox 15-14.

“It’s baseball,” Jeter told MLB.com. “That’s why you can’t punch it all into a computer and figure out who’s going to win. You could try, but I bet you wouldn’t figure this out.”

One thing the Yankees did prove to the Red Sox is that it is not a good idea to dip into the bargain bin during the off-season free-agent signing period. 
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein scoffed at the Yankees megabuck signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett this winter and extolled the prudence of the Red Sox’ “low-risk, high-reward” signings of injured veteran starters John Smoltz and Brad Penny.
On Aug. 6 at Yankee Stadium the Yankees pounded the 42-year-old Smoltz for nine hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings en route to a 13-6 romp. Epstein promptly designated Smoltz for assignment. He was released and he has since signed with St. Louis.
On Friday night, the Yankees took care of Penny. They rocked the 31-year-old right-hander for 10 hits and eight runs in 4-plus innings.
In two starts against the Yankees, the “low-risk” pair of Smoltz and Penny were bombarded for 19 hits and 16 runs in 7 1/3 innings for an ERA of 19.64. In Penny’s last five starts beginning on July 29, he has given up 37 hits and 27 runs in 26 2/3 innings for an ERA of 9.11.
If the Red Sox get injured starters Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka back there is a good possibility Penny may be released also.
Penny left the game in fifth inning after having given up six runs in the first two innings and manager Terry Francona took him out after he gave up singles to Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
Francona decided to summon rookie right-hander Michael Bowden, who was just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day.
Bowden did not fare much better than Penny. His second pitch to Hideki Matsui was smashed on a line into the right-field Boston bullpen to give the Yankees a 9-1 lead. The Yankees ended up bringing 12 batters to the plate in the inning and they put the game pretty much out of serious reach at 12-1.
Francona left Bowden in for two innings and he gave up eight hits, three walks and seven earned runs. On Saturday morning, Bowden was sent back to Pawtucket.
The only saving grace for the Red Sox was that Andy Pettitte succumbed to a three-run fifth inning and some bad luck in the sixth courtesy of right-hander Brian Bruney, who came on in relief of Pettitte and could not throw a strike. 
Pettitte (10-6) won despite being charged for seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks. Bruney walked three, hit a batter and gave up two hits. But even with the damage Bruney caused, the Yankees led 15-7 when he departed.
“No excuses. I should have gone deeper into the game,” Pettitte said to MLB.com. “I hate it that my pitch count got up so high. I felt good, the results — as far as the numbers and stuff — wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but we got a win. That was the big thing, and the guys are feeling good about themselves, swinging the bats well.”
With a largely partisan Red Sox crowd of 37,869 in attendance, they actually were on their feet in the sixth inning when J.D. Drew stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the Red Sox down 15-5. Grand slam was on their minds.
They got a bases-loaded walk instead and it was 15-6.
Lucky for Bruney, Alex Gonzalez pretty much killed the threat with a double-play groundout. A run scored but Jacoby Ellsbury ended inning with a weak popup to Robinson Cano. Gonzalez ended the game 0 for 5.
Matsui added another run for the Yankees in the seventh after Rodriguez tripled to lead off the inning. It was his first triple since the 2006 season. Matsui hit a infield grounder to score Rodriguez. 
Matsui added a three-run home run in a four-run ninth off right-hander Ramon Ramirez for his career-high seven RBIs.
Rodriguez, who entered the game hitting .188 in his last 10 games, went 4-for-4. The red-hot Jeter, who was hitting .550 in his last 10 games, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Cabrera, who also had been in an extended slump, went 4-for-6 and drove in two runs.
The 20 runs were the most the Yankees have scored against Boston since a 22-1 rout on June 19, 2000 at Fenway.
“We were fortunate,” Jeter said. “We swung the bats well and didn’t pitch the way we wanted to, but you get away with some things when you score that many runs.”
The Yankees, who lost the first eight games against the Red Sox this season, have now won five in a row against their bitter rivals. They also are 26-8 since the All-Star break.

“I can tell you one thing: That’s not the team we played two months ago,” Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz told MLB.com. “We’ve got to keep that in mind. They have a lot of good players, and they’ve found a way to put themselves together. We’ve been watching that for years.”

The Yankees can now win the weekend series on Saturday afternoon and they will send right-hander A.J. Burnett (10-6, 3.69 ERA) to the mound. Burnett paid the price for one bad inning in his last start. The three-run fourth inning gave the A’s a 3-0 victory over the Yankees. He is now winless in his past four starts. In his last start against Boston two weeks ago, Burnett pitched 7 2/3 innings of scoreless one-hit ball in a game the Yankees won 2-0 in 15 innings.

The Red Sox are countering with rookie Junichi Tazawa (1-2, 5.40 ERA), who surrendered the game-winning home run to Alex Rodriguez in that 15-inning game Burnett started. Tazawa gave up four earned runs over five-plus innings against the Rangers on Sunday. He allowed 10 hits and three walks. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA as a starter.

NOTES . . . Johnny Damon left the game in the first inning with a bruised right knee he suffered in his first at-bat. Damon fouled a ball off his right knee. The Yankees said it is uncertain if he will be able to play Saturday . . . Left-hander Damaso Marte finally returned to the Yankees after four months on he disabled list with a sore shoulder. Marte pitched two-thirds of an inning on Friday, retiring David Ortiz on a flyout and striking out Mike Lowell with the bases loaded. Marte’s arrival means the Yankees now have two left=handers in the bullpen (Marte and Phil Coke) and Marte will be the lefty specialist . . . With the activation of Marte the Yankees optioned utility infielder Ramiro Pena back to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.




Prediction: Yankees Will Prevail In Game 1

YANKEES-RED SOX SERIES PREVIEW


The New York Yankees come into Fenway Park on Friday with the best record in the majors this season (76-45) and they have a record of 25-8 since the All-Star Break, including four victories over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium earlier this month.
The Yankees also have the third-best record in the major leagues in road win percentage (35-27, .565) trailing only the Los Angels Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies.
In their last 10 games the Yankees are 7-3.
The Boston Red Sox are currently seven games behind the Yankees in the American League standings. They are currently leading the American League Wild Card race by a game over the Texas Rangers.
The Red Sox are 38-18 at Fenway Park this season and they have swept the Yankees in two previous series at home.
In their last 10 games the Red Sox are 6-4.
GAME 1 (Friday) Pettitte vs. Penny

The Red Sox offense has been red hot over the past 10 games, led by a resurgent Jason Bay, David Ortiz and recently acquired Victor Martinez. The trio has combined for 13 home runs and 26 RBIs in their last 10 games as the Red Sox lost and then regained the lead in the wild-card race from the Rangers.
However, they do enter the series with some concerns. 
First, there is the neck spasms that are bothering team captain and catcher Jason Varitek. With Pettitte pitching on Friday, Martinez will likely start at catcher anyway, but Varitek will be needed behind the plate at some point in the series.
Another concern is the return of Dustin Pedroia, who has missed several games due to the birth of his first child. Pedroia has been scuffling at the plate anyway, batting only .225 in his last 10 games.
Finally there is Kevin Youkilis, who had to serve a five-game suspension last week for charging the mound on Detroit Tigers rookie pitcher Rick Porcello. Youkilis has also been slumping at the plate, hitting .257 in his last 10 games.
The key in game could come down to third baseman Mike Lowell. Lowell has always hit well against the Yankees and his right-hand bat could be valuable against the left-hander Pettitte.
The Yankees offense has been fairly consistent over the past 10 games (averaging 4.8 runs per game). But the Yankees, unlike the Red Sox, have been doing it with somewhat less power. The Yankees have scored only two less runs than the Red Sox despite hitting only 16 home runs over the past 10 games compared to the Red Sox, who have belted 24 home runs.
The Red Sox will have to find a way to keep a red hot Derek Jeter off base in the series. Jeter is hitting an incredible .550 in his last 10 games with three home runs and seven RBIs and nine runs scored. Jeter has been the catalyst driving the Yankees for the past month and MVP talk about him is swirling again.
Meanwhile, several Yankees stars are not hitting well. Alex Rodriguez, who was struck twice in the left arm with the pitches in the last week and who also suffered from back spasms, is slumping mightily. He is hitting .188 with just one home run and two RBIs in his past 10 games.
Melky Cabrera (.135), Jorge Posada (.238) and Mark Teixeira (.235) are also struggling over the past 10 games.
However, the Yankees have continued to win because of pitching and the pitching matchup gives them a big edge in Game 1 on Friday.
Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.09 ERA) is simply pitching his best baseball of the season of late. In his late three starts, Pettitte is 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA. In his last start against Seattle, he gave up two runs after facing the first four batters but recovered to stop the Mariners through six innings and struck out a season-high 10 batters.
In his last start against the Red Sox on Aug. 9, Pettitte held the Red Sox to five hits and walked two in seven scoreless innings in a no decision the Yankees eventually won 5-2.
The Red Sox are countering with right-hand veteran Brad Penny (7-7, 5.22 ERA). Penny has been dreadful in his last three starts (0-2 with a 6.11 ERA). Since July 29, Penny has surrendered 19 earned runs in his last 22 2/3 innings for an ERA of 7.54.
In that same span he has given up 27 hits and 11 walks for a WHIP of 1.68.
THE GAME PLAN

The Red Sox will have to hope that Penny can, at least, keep the Red Sox in the game long enough for their hitters to solve Pettitte and his newly rediscovered cutter. If not, it could be a long night for the Bosox. 
If Pettitte settles in while the Yankees pound Penny, the game could be over early.
Should the Red Sox get to Pettitte the game, as Yankee-Red Sox battles often do, could come down to the two bullpens. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their supposed superiority in the bullpen has not been bourn out by the statistics.
Mariano Rivera is leading the American League in saves with 36 and he has converted 32 consecutive save chances, a career best streak. The Yankees have also been able to get the ball to Rivera through a trio of setup men: Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke and Phil Hughes.
The Yankees have also been able to get quality work from David Robertson, who has 52 strikeouts in just 35 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox, if they are able to keep the game close enough to take a lead, still have quality in closer Jonathan Papelbon (29 saves in 32 chances). 
With the Yankees dominance of left-hand hitters, Hideki Okajima will be a key in the series, as well. Hard-throwing rookie Daniel Bard comes into the series looking for redemption after surrendering back-to-back home runs to Damon and Teixeira in the eighth inning of a 5-2 loss on Aug. 9. Bard has also been scored upon in past two outings.
The Red Sox also have hard-throwing right-handers Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, but Delcarmen has been inconsistent lately.
THE PREDICTION

I believe the Red Sox will be able to get to Pettitte early and I see them taking an early lead. Penny, though, will begin to succumb to the Yankees offense and I see him getting chased in the middle innings after giving up five runs to give the Yankees a 7-3 lead.
A high pitch count will drive Pettitte from the game after six and the Red Sox may have some luck off Coke, scoring two runs. However, the Yankees will enter the eighth inning with a 7-5 lead and Hughes and Rivera will combine for the last six outs to give the Yankees a 7-5 victory.

Yankees’ Success Has Theo In Panic Mode

COMMENTARY


It is fairly obvious to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein (i.e. the smartest frat boy in baseball) that the New York Yankees that his team faced earlier this season is not the team his team is playing now.
Oops! Theo, it’s your bad!
You fell asleep at the switch since your team was eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS. Now that you finally have awakened to reality it is too late. Look at the evidence your team is about to fall into a pit:
  1. You may be rid of Man-Ram but Jason Bay does not scare pitchers like the bad boy you caudled all those years. 
  2. David Ortiz’ issues with his wrist are an extension of his steroid use and despite his lame denials, power hitters don’t decline at age 33 for no reason.
  3. You pinched “Penny’s” to sign Brad Penny and 42-year-old John Smoltz and bragged about it even after the Yankees actually lowered their 2009 payroll by signing Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. How is that working for you now, Theo?
  4. You have screwed Mike Lowell so many times it is laughable and he is your hottest hitter since he came off the disabled list. Trading for Victor Martinez may have looked like a great idea on July 31, but it is not producing a better offense.
  5. How does those signings of Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew look now, Frat Boy? Lugo not only could not field but you found out he could not hit either. Bummer. Now you find out J.D. Drew’s shoulder is a limp appendage and you are finding out that 12 home runs and a sub-.250 average won’t cut it anymore.
  6. You tried to get Roy Halladay but offering garbage to the Blue Jays for him was just a funny exercise in futility. J.P. Riciardi is not as stupid as the Diamondbacks front office when they handed you Curt Schilling for a bag of baseball, huh?
  7. Now that Lugo is gone, who is your shortstop? Nick Green? Chris Woodward? Cristian Guzman? None of them are as good as Nomar was or how Hanley Ramirez is now. Beckett or no, dealing Ramirez was a stupid error given the revolving door at SS.
  8. Was giving up $100 million worth getting Dice-K? It is obvious that the return you have gotten from that investment was pretty darn awful.
  9. You know when your manager brags about all the pitching depth you have in spring training that it might be a great time to start looking to add to it. Suddenly the Red Sox rotation is Beckett and Lester and pray for a lot of rain.
  10. A bullpen is only as good as the rotation it supports. When you get innings from your starters the bullpen looks great. When you don’t get those innings even great bullpens spring leaks. Yours has been leaking like a sieve lately.
So, though the players may say that they have not given up and that they will continue to play hard, the real fact is that the Yankees have passed you for good and the Rangers and Rays are knocking on the door to take the Wild Card away.
Will you still have your job if the Red Sox (or shall we call them Red Flops) don’t make the postseason party? If they don’t you may want to avoid calls on your cell from a J. Henry. May I also suggest you get that gorilla suit dry-cleaned.
You may need it real soon. 
But, fear not, I understand they are offering a course in trading and bartering online at the University of Phoenix. You may want to register for that one, son.

Yankees Hot While Red Sox Rotation In Shambles

COMMENTARY


The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox took different views about improving their pitching this offseason.
The Yankees, having not made the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons in 2008, decided they needed to dive into the free-agent market with whatever dollars they were saving by shedding the salaries of Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano.
Their effort yielded two of the best studs in the market, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. The pair are 17-10 but the Yankees are 22-16 in their starts. Both have given the Yankees seven or more innings in most of their starts.
It is safe to say that the Yankees latest hot streak is due, in part, to the pitching of Sabathia and Burnett.
The Red Sox, coming off winning the American League wild-card, did not return to defend their 2007 championship. They lost in the American League Championship Series to the division-winning Tampa Bay Rays.
They chose to stick pretty much with the pitching staff they had: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester. Daisuke Matsuzaka and 42-year-old Tim Wakefield were givens. 
But the Red Sox took calculated gambles on a pair of injured veteran free agents: Brad Penny and John Smoltz. That decision now will decide whether General Manager Theo Epstein made the right choice or cost the Red Sox the division and maybe even the wild card.
Penny and Smoltz certainly cost the Red Sox less money. But can the pair help lead them when the Yankees are firing on all cylinders and the Red Sox seem to have blown a tire?
Since the All-Star Break the Yankees have won five straight games while the Red Sox have lost their last four in a row at Toronto and Texas. They are hitting .194 as a team since the break. J.D. Drew is 0 for 22 in the same time frame.
But, even worse, on the same day the Yankees reclaimed sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time since June 8, the Red Sox placed Wakefield (11-3, 4.31 ERA) on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury.
Wakefield, coming off being selected to his first All-Star team, has not pitched since July 8. But because the Red Sox had just sent Buchholz to the minors after a start on July 17, Wakefield can’t return until Aug. 2. But will he be able to return then? I mean we are talking a back injury on a 42-year-old pitcher.
In the meantime, Dice-K has pitched this season like Mice-K (1-5, 8.23 ERA) and it appears that his stint pitching for Japan in World Baseball Classic this spring has put his season in jeopardy. He is currently on the disabled list and he has not pitched since June 19. Even if he does return how effective will he be?
Lester has loads of ability but he has been inconsistent this season. He is 8-7 with a 3.87 ERA. It is up to he and Beckett (11-4, 3.42 ERA) to hold the rotation together until help arrives.
But the injuries to Wakefield and Matsusaka call into question Epstein’s decision to offer bargain-basement contracts to pitchers they knew were coming off injuries. Now it is perhaps coming back to haunt the young GM.
Penny is 6-4 with a bloated 5.02 ERA and he has pitched into the seventh inning only three times in 18 starts and he has not won a game since June 17.
Smoltz, who was carefully brought along through an extended rehab due to off-season shoulder surgery, is 1-3 with a very un-Smoltz-like ERA of 6.31 in five starts. In his last start, he was sailing into the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead.
But home runs from Michael Young, former Red Sox outfielder David Murphy and Jarrod Saltalamacchia buried the Red Sox with a 6-2 deficit and they lost the game 6-3. 
Now the Red Sox have to count on an inconsistent Clay Buchholz. Following his his no-hit late season heroics in 2007, Buchholz was a miserable 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA last season. He was so bad Epstein chose not to include him in any plans for this season’s rotation. Though he pitched well and won his July 17 start is there any guarantee he will not pitch like he did in 2008?
With an offense sputtering and a rotation in shambles, the news that the Yankees have won 18 of the last 23 games can hardly be good news to the Red Sox. More bad news, the Red Sox tailspin has the Tampa Bay Rays just 3 1/2 games behind the Sawx.
Uh-oh!
Even more bad news: Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said it is “unlikely” they will make any deal for ace righty Roy Halladay. So if Red Sox Nation was hoping to bring the All-Star starter over the border to Fenway they will have to look elsewhere for pitching help.
This is not to say the race is over. The Yankees do not feel like they won anything yet. But the Red Sox better recover in a hurry before they bury themselves in what is a very competitive division.
Pinching Pennys and Smoltzes may have cost Theo Epstein a fortune and the Red Sox may regret it for a long, long time.