Tagged: Curtis Granderson

Oh Javy…

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #23 – 5/1/10 – White Sox @ Yankees

… I want to keep defending you, I really do. You’re making it very difficult for me, though.
I almost didn’t want to write this blog post, because I’ve exhausted the topic of Javier Vazquez. I still have faith that he’ll turn it around, but I’m pretty frustrated. I’m frustrated, but I haven’t given up hope. I want to see him do well, I want to see him succeed. Obviously, Javy succeeding will lead to the Yankees succeeding. I also want him to do well because it would be a great comeback in the Bronx. After the miserable end to his first stint with us, I really wanted to see Javier Vazquez come back to New York and dominate. 
He can still do it, there’s plenty of time left in the season. He just needs to address the mechanical problems behind his horrible fastball. His fastball was his strength, he doesn’t have it right now. His current fastball is lifeless and, well, not so fast. Losing his strong pitch has caused him to also lose confidence in his pitching, which is natural. You don’t want a pitcher on the mound with no confidence. The game is largely mental, especially for pitchers. He will regain his confidence once he regains his good fastball. Until then…
… we wait.
I still have confidence in him, as crazy as that may seem righ
t now. He is exercising my patience, though. Testing it. I will be patient. Worst-case scenario, he continues to do poorly, and we don’t use him in the postseason. 
I can’t write about Vazquez anymore. I just can’t. I believe he will turn it around, but he needs a little bit of time to straighten out his mechanics. It’s not like he’s a young rookie who doesn’t know how to handle the big leagues on a mental level. He’s just an experienced pitcher who’s lost his way. He’ll find it again. I know he will.
This is what Javy had to say: “It’s tough, I can’t hide that. But I promise everybody I’m going to keep working hard at it and battle through it.”

… and I promise to keep having faith that you will battle through it, Javy.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the “glove incident” in the third inning. Ozzie Guillen said he had nothing to do with it. Yeah, right; and I have nothing to do with what I’m about to say:

Kiss my a**, Ozzie.

Vazquez had been using that very same glove for a few years now, yet no one said anything. Let’s assume that a new rule was implemented for gloves this year. Well, Vazquez has used that glove in his previous starts, and no one said anything. Let’s assume that the new rule was implemented minutes before the start of the game. Well, JJ Putz used the same glove, later on in the game, except the colors were reversed. You guessed it, no one said anything.

Ozzie, methinks you doth protest too much.

What difference does it make, Ozzie? Was Vazquez really killing you out there, forcing you to mess with him? It was pretty low to mess with Vazquez’s head like that, it doesn’t need any more messing with. I doubt it had much to do with Javy’s performance, but it was still pretty annoying to see.

From one frustration to another…

Curtis Granderson pulled a groin muscle and landed on the Disabled List. That’s just [expletive] great. 

What does this mean for the Yankees? Well, in practice, it means that we’ll have to depend on Joe Girardi’s management much more than we did before. Curtis Granderson’s bat wasn’t exactly the hottest in the lineup in April, but then again neither was A-Rod’s or Teixeira’s. He was still great to have in the lineup, and even better to have in the outfield. 

Now, with Grandy on the DL, we’ll probably see a platoon between Randy Winn and Marcus Thames in left field. Thames’ bat has been hot, but his fielding is atrocious. Winn’s fielding is wonderful, but his bat leaves much to be desired. It’ll all come down to the right balance between the two, to make up for Granderson’s absence. Brett Gardner will be moved to center field, and the platoon will take over left. The right balance must be found by Joe Girardi.

While it makes me quite uneasy to depend so much on Girardi’s management, the man knows what he’s doing, more often than not, when it comes to hitting. I said “more often than not”, so don’t attack me with “remember Jeter bunting in the postseason?” in an attempt to refute my statement. Girardi makes a lot of good decisions most of the time, but when he messes up, he really does mess up.

Let’s hope that he gets it right. I’m choosing to remain optimistic.

One good thing about this game was that it proved my thoughts on Sergio Mitre wrong. I didn’t want him on the roster to begin with, because I assumed that all of our starting pitchers would eat up innings. Our starters (except for Javy) have been pitching deep into games, so we haven’t seen much of Mitre. My mistake was that I assumed Vazquez would gobble up innings like he has his entire career. If I’ve learned anything from John Sterling, it’s that you can’t predict baseball. 

So, I admit that I was 100% wrong about Sergio Mitre. Having him on the roster is necessary. No shame in being wrong, as long as I admit my mistake, and learn from it.

Sergio Mitre pitched well in long-relief of Javier Vazquez. We might see him make a few spot starts this season, when our pitchers need their starts skipped for whatever reason.

Another good thing about this game was Boone Logan. He only faced one batter, and I still don’t like the whole “LOOGY” role, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about Boone’s pitching. His fastball was F.I.L.T.H.Y.

He threw four pitches. Four pitches were enough. His first three pitches were clocked at 95 MPH, and his final pitch was clocked at 97 MPH. I heard that the Yankees actually clocked it at 98, but the scoreboard showed 97. Either way, that is NASTY. Three straight 95ers, then a 97 to end it? What more can you ask from a reliever? Maybe he’ll start to get a little more respect from the fans now.

If he keeps that velocity up, he could prove to be a very valuable asset in our bullpen. He’s sure beating his fellow lefty reliever, Damaso Marte, so far. I’m glad we have Logan on the roster now. He needs to stay focused. This could be his “break out” year.

Boom Boom Boone.

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com

Giving Into The Hype

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #3 – 4/7/10  Yankees @ Red Sox

So, we came out of the first series of the season victorious. That’s always a great feeling. I’ve become so accustomed to losing in April that winning a series gets me excited. Losing a series in April, however, doesn’t bother me. Again, I’m used to it.

It’s great to win any series at Fenway Park, even at the beginning of the season when it doesn’t really matter as much. I’m not going to claim the division based on this first series (I’m claiming it based on the fact that our roster rocks), but I did like what I saw yesterday.

Dandy Andy

Andy Pettitte was absolutely amazing. He continues to prove that he lives for these games. We’ve been hearing the phrase “This could be Pettitte’s final year” for the past three years. If it is, he’s off to a good start. 
There were doubts about Andy going into this game, because he didn’t have as many starts during spring training as our other pitchers. However, this is Andy Pettitte we’re talking about. He’s been doing his thing for long enough to know his abilities. He doesn’t need as many spring training starts anymore, it’s safe to say he’s got his mechanics all worked out. Spring training starts would have been better, but he doesn’t need them as much as others. He felt ready for this big start, the Yankees felt he was ready, and fans had all the faith in th
e world.
Andy Pettitte didn’t let us down. He had an amazing start.
Pettitte doesn’t crumble under pressure. While this is only the first series of a very long season, the reactions of Yankees fans after losing on Opening Night show the importance of a Yankees-Red Sox series. If there’s any pitcher who truly knows the significance of a game at Fenway Park, it’s Andy Pettitte. Lord knows he’s been pitching these games for long enough. 
Throughout the course of the season, this game won’t mean much statistically (especially since he didn’t get a decision), but a good performance at Fenway is still a good performance at Fenway. To the fans, and even the players, it means a lot. The Red Sox are our toughest opponents in the AL East, so why wouldn’t we want to get a win against them whenever we can? 
Andy stepped up and gave us that win. Sure, technically, the win wasn’t given to him, but his performance is the main reason we won. He even gave us a little fist pump to seal the deal.

The Grandyman Can

There has been a lot of speculation about the origin of that phrase. John Sterling started saying it, but I’ve heard quite a few people, including myself, say it before it was broadcast on WCBS radio. I most certainly did not come up with it. I would love to take credit, but alas, I stole it off of someone else. Whoever came up with it is a genius. I love it. The Grandyman Can.
The Grandyman can certainly show Jonathan Papelbon why no lead or tie is safe when he’s facing the Yankees. That’s what he did yesterday with that solo home run off of the Red Sox closer. What a way for Curtis Granderson to introduce himself to the Yankees fanbase. First, a home run in his first regular season at-bat as a Yankee, and then the series-winning home run in the 9th inning. We scored one more run after that, but the solo shot was the decider.
I can’t think of a better way for a new hitter to introduce himself and say “I am a Yankee”. After that performance, Grandyman, you most certainly are. 
Everybody Loves Jeter
Kevin Youkilis was hit by a wild pitch from Andy Pettitte. Personally, I think he’s asking for it with that stance of his. Forget about the comic nature of his batting stance for a second; the location of his body in relation to the plate just screams “hit me”. He crowds the plate, and when you crowd the plate, you’re going to get hit. At least he didn’t complain about it or charge the mound this time. Although, I would have liked to see him do that with Andy pitching.
Later on in the game, Derek Jeter got hit by a pitch. Jeter also crowds the plate in his at-bats, but there’s nothing comic about his stance. After being hit, our Captain jogged to first base. As he was about to tag, Kevin Youkilis said something jokingly, and Jeter good-naturedly shoved him away. Youkilis and Jeter continued to joke around and seemingly poke fun at each other for a short while. 
I enjoyed seeing that, even though I really can’t stomach Youkilis. To me, it showed that everybody loves Jeter. Leaving the rivalry and animosity between the Yankees and Red Sox aside, every single player in Boston respects Derek Jeter. If it were A-Rod that got hit, I imagine Youkilis would have either stayed quiet, or said something ill-natured. Either way he wouldn’t have joked around with him. Why? Because Alex Rodriguez isn’t Derek Jeter. Time has shown us that Alex Rodriguez just isn’t as respected by his opponents. Some would say that A-Rod brings the hate on himself, and to a certain extent, I tend to agree. Derek Jeter, however, is a player who has never carried himself with anything but class and, as a result, is respected by all of Major League Baseball. No matter how big the game is, or how fierce the rivalry may be, no one who truly loves baseball hates Derek Jeter.
Jeter demands respect with his actions, on the field and off. This was shown by Youkilis laughing and joking around with him in a tight situation, a situation in which having Jeter on base could pose a threat. Why? Because everybody loves Derek Jeter. Sure, the fans at Fenway may boo him, but even in an organization that is known for blasting the players of other teams, you will not find a single member of the Red Sox organization who doesn’t think highly of Derek Jeter. 
The lightheartedness of the exchange between Youkilis and Jeter is further testament to Derek Jeter’s likability in the sport. It is further proof that Jeter will always be The Perfect Yankee. The only other Yankee who is currently respected by all of baseball is Mariano Rivera. Jeter and Mo get respect and love because they have always carried themselves with dignity. Day after day, and game after game, this is proven to be true. Yesterday was yet another example of everybody loving Derek Jeter.
Hero Of The Night

In my opinion, Chan Ho Park was the hero of the game.
Chapeau bas to Joe Girardi for sitting on his hands and leaving Park in there for three innings, facing both lefty and righty hitters. For once, Girardi put the stat-book down, and went with his gut feeling. Chan Ho looked great in his first inning of work, so the skipper’s instinct was to leave him in there. I love that. It’s that very instinct that separates good managers from great ones.
I am often Joe Girardi’s biggest critic. I don’t particularly enjoy seeing the way he manages the bullpen at times, and I don’t agree with his decision to leave Boone Logan, a second bullpen lefty, off of the roster. However, when Girardi gets it right, I have to tip my hat to him. 
Yesterday, he got it right. Boy, did he get it right. It took big cojones to leave Park in there, especially for a third inning. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have had the guts to leave Chan Ho in there for the ninth. I had faith in Park, but even I was nervous about him pitching in the ninth inning.
Girardi, however, had the guts to do it, and got it right. Yankees fans are happy that he left Park on the mound for three innings. Although, I’m sure if Chan Ho had given up a walk-off run, even after pitching two perfect innings, the reactions would have been completely different. 
Chan Ho Park didn’t give up a walkoff run, though, or any runs for that matter. He absolutely shined during his amazing three innings of relief work. In fact, he only gave up one hit, and no walks. He faced the entire Red Sox starting lineup, the second-toughest lineup in our division, and they couldn’t touch him. 
Coming back on the mound, after his shaky inning in Sunday’s game, couldn’t have been easy for Park. A lot of pressure comes with putting on a Yankees uniform, and the regular season stage doesn’t get much bigger than a Yankees-Red Sox series. Chan Ho shaking off a bad performance in the series opener, and pitching beautifully through three innings in the closer, shows that he has “the goods”, both mentally and physically. 
Chan Ho Park pitched wonderfully. He silenced the doubts, and showed us his upside. We now know for certain what Park is capable of, from here on out it’s up to him to keep showing us his domination.
There’s something I wasn’t aware of until ESPN broadcasters mentioned it. Chan Ho Park is the first Korean player in Yankees history. Isn’t that crazy? We’ve had players from all over the world throughout our history, but Park is the very first Korean. I enjoyed hearing that little piece of information, because it shows that baseball is becoming a more global sport every year.
Had the game been played at Yankee Stadium, Chan Ho Park would have surely received a standing ovation from the crowd after yesterday’s performance. He most certainly deserved it, and I stood up and applauded him, in my living room.
Giving Into The Hype

I know that, statistically, this series doesn’t mean much. The Red Sox beat us 8 times in a row at the beginning of last season, and it didn’t mean anything in the end. It’s only the first series of the season, and all it means is that we’re off to a good start. It doesn’t mean that we’ve won our division, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to win every series this year, and it doesn’t mean that we’ll finish the season ahead of the Red Sox. The first series of the season is just that; the first series.
That’s what my head told me, but my heart begged to differ. 
Didn’t this first series against Boston feel completely different from last year’s opening series against Baltimore? Maybe I am getting too into the overhyped rivalry between us and the Red Sox but, my God, starting off the season winning at Fenway really feels good. I feels damn good. Especially after the Red Sox pulled out all the stops on Opening Night.
Like I said, winning any series at Fenway Park is a big deal, be it in April or September. Not only is there a “rivalry” between the two teams, but the Red Sox are the Yankees’ main competition in the AL East. The Rays are pretty good, but I don’t see them finishing above the Red Sox, not this year. So, winning the series against Boston is one less difficult series we’ll have to worry about. Not to mention it’s always fun to see Red Sox fans upset.
During yesterday’s game, I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, nervously following every pitch. My heart stopped approximately 438,725,268 times during the ten innings. Yes, it’s only April and, yes, losing this series wouldn’t have meant much, but every Yankees-Red Sox matchup has the feel of October for me. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m buying into the media hype. Who knows? All I know is that I was watching yesterday’s game with the nerves I normally have in the postseason. At one point (I believe it was while Park was pitching in the ninth) I had my hands over my eyes, and I was peeking through my fingers.
I love the intensity. I love the emotion. I love the feeling of living and dying with every pitch. I absolutely love it. Only baseball can make me feel this way. I missed this all winter, and opening the season facing the Red Sox threw me right into the deep end of the intensity.
I absolutely loved every moment.
Welcome back, baseball. Don’t you ever leave me again.

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com

A Grand Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our outfielder, and one of the newest members of our New York Yankees, Curtis Granderson! Grandy turns 29 today.

Granderson was born on Monday, March 16, 1981, in Blue Island, Illinois. In  September of 2004, he made his Major League debut with the Detroit Tigers. He was traded to the New York Yankees in December of 2009.

Granderson has a career batting average of .272, with 102 home runs and 299 RBI. He was the Detroit Tigers’ Rookie Of The Year in 2005, and an All-Star in 2009.

Happy Birthday, Grandy! Let’s inaugurate your career in pinstripes with a World Championship!

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com