Keepin Up with the Jones’ – Part Deux

Garrett.jpgThe fairy tale continued for Garrett Jones in Pittsburgh. Garret crashed a 3 run dinger off of a Clayton Kershaw fastball in the first inning to propel the Bucs to an amazing 2-0 start on the season. Maybe more amazing is the fact that Garrett, of all the great Pirate players over the years, is the ONLY Buc to have ever started a season with 3 HRs in the first two games. That’s kinda crazy to believe.

cj.jpgSlide over to Atlanta and there’s another Jones making an impact. Chipper, perhaps looking to solidify his spot as the big rooster in the yard, crushed a go-ahead 2 run Bomb in the 8th to push the Braves to 2-0 on the season. The Braves won it late over the Cubs, 3-2. Who knocked in the other run for Atlanta? Yup. Jason Heyward. He ripped a double to give Atlanta the early lead, but it was Chipper (Jones’n for attention?) that wore the Hero hat for Atanta.

What’s going on in Boston? Curtis Granderson was Grand again for the pinstripers as he crushed a Papelbon offering in the 10th inning to push the Yankees over the BoSox. Curtis is the ONLY player to have more than one HR against POPelBOMB. Another amazing stat for ya ; )

 

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Evan Longoria had a long ball yesterday to help the Rays squeak past the O’s again. The
ac.jpgOrioles are fighting but can’t seem to break the spell on the road.

Breaking spells is what they’re trying to do in Kansas City. Sick of the losing, the Royals are looking for magic to happen this year. Well, they got it yesterday. Looking to win a close one 1-0.. they blew it in the 9th when Miguel Cabrera cracked a game tying shot. Whoah is me… the Tigers took the lead in the 11th and the KC faithful were shaking their heads.. same ol’ KC. Not so fast my friend, Alberto Callaspo to the rescue. He hit a game tying HR in the bottom half to ignite the crowd and newcomer Rick Ankiel finished it off with a ringing double! I’m goin to Kansas City.. Kansas City here I come…

How about Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco… the new dynamic duo in Philly. In fact, the top four in the lineup accounted for 7 hits, 7 runs and 4 RBIs! Placido scored 3 times and Ryan knocked in 3 with a HR and a loud double. I’d say the Phightin’s are looking strong already in 2010.

top4.jpgDown in Arizona the D’Backs figured out that Kelly Johnson doesn’t like batting “down” in the
7558.jpgorder. They switched him to leadoff and he switched on the bat. O’fer as the 8th man in the first two games, Kelly crushed two HRs and went 3 for 3 in the top spot for Arizona and they put away the Padres 5-3. Kelly pushed his average up to .300 and I’ll bet he stays in the comfort of the leadoff role the rest of the year, something he was accustomed to as a Brave.

5602.jpgWhile we’re in the West, take a peek at who sits atop the NL at 3-0. For the first time in 7 years the Giants reeled off their first 3 W’s and have the perch for the time being. Aaron Rowand and Edar Renteria have yourselves a game. Aaron had four hits that included a triple. Edgar, well. .he was a perfect 6 for 6 in reaching first base. One was a walk.. five singles.. he played pepper with Houston pitching all night long. SF is enjoying the top spot in the West.  

What the heck are they putting in the water up in Oakland? Some kind of Walk Off juice? Two nights in a row the A’s got a walk off hit against Seattle. Can you believe they are sitting on top in the AL West? Last night’s Hero? Kurt Suzuki. He jacked a double in the 9th to score the winner and send the A’s hopeful home with a smile.

ks.jpgWell, the reason the A’s sit atop is because the Jays went to the Well against the Rangers and dropped em with a huge performance from Vernon Wells. Long forgotten as the power source for Toronto, Vernon put on a show in Texas. He had two Huge Home Runs, Scored 4 runs and knocked in 3 as the Jays pushed the Rangers down in the standings. With Adam Lind hitting in front of Vernon and gaining alot of respect from opposing pitchers, he is teeing off when they forget he bats in the four hole for a reason. His big numbers gave Toronto their first win and grabbed a YH award for himself. Congrats Vernon, you are Yesterday’s Hitter.

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Ever-the-Hitter!


wo.jpgWe’re off and running, or is it… we’re off and walkin’ off? Either way it feels great to turn on the tube and flip through some games to find the exciting ones. Or, just to watch the new team makeups and get reacquainted with the players and the game.

twinsuni.jpgI really like the new unis the Twins are sporting. They are sharp and professional. Real clean. The Twins must like ‘em, they shrugged off the first game… slipped back into the stylish grays and spanked the ball all over Anaheim yesterday.

Joe Mauer cracked one out of the park. So did J.J. Hardy. I really like this guy. He’s got a
jm.jpglittle more pop then people realize and he’s a solid glove in the middle for Minnesota. But this blog is about hitting and the big hitter for the Twins was not Joe Mauer. It was Justin Morneau, the other half of the M&M boys. This guy is a regular 30/100 machine and he pelted the sphere yesterday in Cali. His two hits led to 2 big runs scored, an RBI from a blast to right field and a 5-3 Minnesota win, their first of the year.

What the heck happened in Boston yesterday? The Yanks squeek one in on a walk? Nick Johnson is hitless so far in 2010 but don’t let that fool ya. He’s got a keen eye and has an OBP of .500… not bad for no hits. A walk was as good as a hit yesterday and it drove in the winning run for New York. Robinson Cano led the offense with his 2 for 3 night that included a Homer and 2 Ribs for the visitors. Nice eye Nick… 

nj.jpgIn Wisconsin it was the big cheese Cecil Fielder checking in with a 2 for 3 night that tallied 3
8359.jpgruns for the Brew Crew. He also drove in one and walked twice as Milwaukee notched their first win over the Rockies. A nice night for Cecil but he was overshadowed by his infield counterpart, Casey McGeHee. I love that name, kinda rolls right off your tongue. What did Casey do? Not much, just set the tone with a 1st inning 3 run Jack. He added another hit and a walk to go 2 for 3 on the day.

craw.jpgIt took the Rays all nine innings to finally overcome the power displayed by the O’s yesterday. It also took Carl Crawford all nine innings to finally tally his first hit of the season. Oh, but it was a good one. His two run bases-loaded double in the bottom of the ninth was a game winner as the Rays walked off on Baltimore 4-3. Nice job Carl, I’m sure we’ll see more of you here in YH throughout the season.

They walked off in California too. Up in Oakland, the A’s needed 10 innings to dispatch the pesky Mariners in a 2-1 barn burner that featured little to no hitting. Mark Ellis was an exception. He racked up 3 hits, all
Ellis.jpgsingles, and made the most of the last one with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. His game winning single drove in the pinch running Patterson to give him his 6th career walk off hit. The AL West has every team in the win column just two games into 2010.

And.. into the win column went the San Diego Padres. They knocked off the Rattlers in Arizona behind Yesterday’s best Hitter – Everth Cabrera!

cabr.jpgThe little guy rapped the little ball to every corner of Arizona yesterday as he piled up a double, triple and a single. His 3 hits produced 4 big Ribs for the Pads. Everth was the big fly shy of a cycle.. but thats asking alot from the diminutive speedster. He did show off his wheels though. The kid can fly.

Congratulations Everth Cabrera. You are Yesterday’s Hitter!  
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Keepin Up With The Jones’

openingday_baseball.jpgWhat a fabulous day for baseball. I can’t think of one game that had poor weather. Bright, Sunny and Clear from Coast to Coast. The Star Spangled Banner was waving proudly and there were plenty of Bombs in the air. Little, White, round ones landing with a thud among the happy masses that gathered for baseball’s greeting of Spring. A lovely day. And speaking of Lovely and The Star Spangled Banner… did you happen to catch that little beauty that sang the National Anthem in the Twins vs. Angels game? Wow. Just one more wonderful thing on our favorite day.

There were familiar names that had worthy games for Yesterday’s Hitter honors, including an old face in a new place – Hideki Matsui. Godzilla mashed a Home Run and added an RBI single in his 2 for 4 day with 2 RBIs.

Hideki Matsui.jpgAnother old face in a new place, Hideki’s former Yankee teammate Johnny Damon had a
DamonJ.jpgsimilar day (sans the HR) with the Tigers. His 2 RBIs helped sink the Royals when Detroit put up a Big 6 in the 7th after being fooled by Greinke for 6 innings.  

Pittsburgh’s Ryan Doumit rocked into 2010 with a vengeance. He also put up a 2×4 to start the season. His two hits included a double and 3 run bomb. He also walked once as the Pirates pounded Padilla and the punchless Dodgers 11-5. Ouch.
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Placido Polanco.jpgThe defending NL Champ Phillies had no problems providing a little punch to the Opening Day party. Not wanting Obama to be the only one to “dis” the Nats, the Phils ripped Washington pitching for 11 runs. Ryan Howard got his first long ball of the year, but Placido Polanco one-upped the big guy when he belted out a Grand Slam and got himself 6 massive RBIs to kick off his season. Nice job Placido…

In Arlington there was a Texas size cheer for the Rangers as they walked off against the Blue Jays. What a roller coaster for the Jays, Shawn Marcum no-hit Texas into the 7th before they circled the wagons and then circled the bases to come up with a 5-4 thriller. Nelson Cruz saved the day when he smacked a 3 Run jack in the 7th inning to tie the game at 3. Then, just to be sure there was no doubt about who the hero was, he tied the game again in the 9th with an RBI single. Saltalamacchia finished off the Jays with the Game Winner. But, it was Nelson Cruz that tasted the sweetness of victory.

Nelson Cruz.jpgDid I mention the Pirates? Yea, kinda left this guy out for a reason. We’re getting down to the best of the best and it’s hard not to add in a fellow who has really never been given the chance to shine. A career Minor Leaguer, Garret Jones could never seem to crack the lineup for either the Braves or the Twins in 12 years, yet he raked 21 HRs last year after being called up in July. He’s only the second MLB player to hold that distinction. Just to prove he really, really belongs… Garret blasted a Home Run in each of his first two at bats in 2010. I think it’s safe to say he’ll easily eclipse that 20 HR mark in 2010. I’m just guessin’ he’ll be around for awhile. Nice start Jonesy.

Garrett Jones.jpgHmm.. well, if a 28yr old Rookie can make a splash… how about the NL MVP? Duh. King Albert looked as magnificent as ever. The polished swing. The slugger’s swagger. Pujols is the real deal and if you doubt it, just look back in history and start comparing his numbers to the greats of the past. He added to those impeccable stats with a tremendous 4 hit performance that included 2 Long Balls, 4 Runs and 3 RBIs. Simply stated, he is King.

Albert Pujols.jpgAnd while we expect such fabulous results from the reigning MVP, we are sometimes
Jason Heyward.jpgprovided a glimpse of greatness to come. Opening Day was one of those days. Highly touted and fabulously gifted, Jason Heyward made his Major League debut something to remember. The Atlanta hometown prodigy not only caught the opening pitch from Braves Hall of Famer Henry Aaron, but basked in the chants and cheers from an exuberant Atlanta crowd as he rounded the bases in his very first Major League at bat. What a day for Jason Heyward. He added an RBI single to his 3 Run 1st inning smash and walked off the field into the gratifying hug of another Atlanta icon, Chipper Jones. If Jason fulfills his lofty expectations in this game, he’ll do more than keeping up with the Jones’.

 

Congratulations Jason Heyward. You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
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Dustin Off the Bats

Well, what have we here? A long time rivalry to kick off 2010… on Easter no less! But, sadly for Beckett and CC there were very few eggs on the board. As a matter of fact there were quite a few straight and crooked things alike looking back from the Green Monster.

 

fenway_14.jpgSpeaking of which… the Monster took a beating last night as well. Balls were bouncing off it like a Big Green Easter Bunny. Boing! Boing! Boing!

youkilis.jpgYoukilis had a regular hand ball game going all by himself. He was belting the ball all over Fenway and found himself in the middle of every comeback the Red Sox mustered. Kevin finished the day with 3 extra base hits, scored 3 times and knocked in 2 Ribs as well.

Two newcomers to the Sox also pitched in to the hit basket with Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro each notching a couple of hits in their Fenway Park debut.

And the Yanks? Well, they tried everything from hitting the ball over the fence to peppering the fence but it really didn’t seem to matter. They couldn’t hold the leads (of which they had many) and watched as Chan Out of The Park cracked like a delicate egg on the mound.

 

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Kudos to Jorge Posada who was questionable prior to game time and came through with a superb day at the plate. He cracked a Home Run in his first plate appearance and added two more hits for a mini feast of  3 for 4 and 2 Ribs at the dish. 

Joining him with the long ball was Curtis Granderson who homered in his first at bat as a Yankee. Nice.. something to remember. Jeter was Jeter.. you know… two hits. Ho Hum.

 

jeter.jpgBut the man of the hour was Dustin Pedroia. He looked a bit rusty in the early innings, but once he knocked the dust off that bat of his… he produced in a big way. His hits were big hits at big times in the game. In the 7th with his team down by 2 he tied it with a rocket over the Monster. Then, when some insurance could really come in handy.. he delivered a key RBI to give them a 9-7 lead. The little man was big again and that might be just what the Doctor ordered for the 2010 Red Sox.

 

dustin hr.jpgCongratulations Dustin. You get the first YH of the season!

Game On! Welcome back baseball.. .we missed You!  

The Game of Life

Just popping in to say Hi to my friends. I received this poem in my email yesterday and was pretty certain it would be appreciated here.

 

The Game of Life
by Swen Nater

The Little League game was about to begin,
On a perfectly, wonderful day.
One team sprinted out,
With a spirited shout,
For the boys were excited to play. 

As their coach saw the field, with his players in place,
A vision took over his sight.
Each Little League lad
Grew the age of a dad,
Complete with the beard and the height.

His pitcher, an artist, poised to create
On a canvas awaiting and bare.
His stroke on the ball
Made it spin and then fall
When it curved and it carved through the air. 

His catcher, a general, positioned in place,
Was leading the rest of the pack.
On his signal and sign,
They joined to combine,
With a quick and successful attack.

His shortstop, a surgeon, whose quickness and skill,
When it seemed like death cast the fate,
On the double, he caught,
What the grave almost got,
And threw lifelessness out at the plate. 

His outfield consisted of no lesser men:
Three statesmen with not one reproach.
On third was a preacher,
And on second, a teacher,
On first was a Little League coach. 

As the vision grew fainter, he sobered and thought.
The epiphany cut like a knife.
Baseball was more
Than a game and a score;
He was coaching the game of life.   

Although this poem relates to the game we all love, baseball… Swen was actually a member of the UCLA team coached by John Wooden!  Kinda cool, huh?

I’ll be back soon, just wrapping up a few loose writings.

Hideki ‘n Seek

capt_24606378a40d4be0bebc9fdfdcba002e_world_series_yankees_reax_nydg121.jpgWow! It’s all over folks. The 2009 baseball season is in the books and what a book it was! Naturally, I’m a little chagrined over the fact that we don’t get at least one more peek at baseball in a Game 7. But, after last night.. you just couldn’t top it anyway. So be it.

capt_ws27311050506_world_series_phillies_yankees_baseball_ws273.jpgHow about Hideki Matsui? I always refer to him as a Professional Hitter, because… well, that’s what he is. A DH. He hits, that’s it. Don’t take my word for it though:

“Matsui is one of my favorite players. He’s one of my favorite teammates. He comes ready to play every day. He’s a professional hitter.” – Derek Jeter

He was so good this World Series and yet, being the DH… he wasn’t in the forefront. He kind of played Peek-A-Boo with us. And he played Hide ‘n Seek with the ball!

668c3017a002a222b10f36273d808af9-getty-92343144cc043_philadelphia_.jpgHe was stellar during the first two games in NY. Then, as they whisked off to the NL park.. we only got to see him off the bench. One at bat in each game. Yet, all but one of those was productive.

Then came Game 6!

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“My first and foremost goal when I joined the Yankees was to win the world championship,” Matsui said. “I’m just happy that after all these years we were able to win and reach the goal that I had come here for.”

The Yankees’ 27th World Championship came on the bat of Hideki Matsui, their hired gun. Hiting behind Alex Rodriguez, he served as the protector… and the executioner of bad pitches. His lifetime stats off of Pedro Martinez were no fluke numbers.

b162b1629d1a62d338d2396b384e9de9-getty-92343144cc049_philadelphia_.jpgHe hit Pedro as though he was “His Daddy” everytime he swung the bat.

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Congratulations Mr. Hideki Matsui – 2009 World Series MVP – Yesterday’s Hitter!

I could go on and on about how fun it was to watch Hideki’s hectic swing… but alas, the season is over and we can only hope for Spring to get here quickly.

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season and bring your fandom to your team with some fervor in 2010.

Adios.

 

Hit ‘em Where They Ain’t

Since we have some time to reflect before the big Game 6 tonight, let’s look back into the books to find us a  Yesterday’s Hitter. Or, as Jane refers to our throwbacks – a YesterYear’s Hitter.

images.jpgCaroline… this one’s for you.

It’s November 4th, 2001 in Arizona’s Bank One ballpark for Game 7 of the Series between the NY Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Each team has won every game in their own ballpark to reach this point, the first time that happened since the 1991 season.

Game 6 (don’t look Jane) was a massacre blowout of NY and Andy Pettitte by the Diamondback offense to reach Game 7. They set a World Series record for hits with 22 and handed NY their biggest defeat in 293 post season games. Pettitte was hammered for 6 runs in just two innings in the 15-2 Series tying win.

World Series Game 6 Played on Saturday, November 3, 2001 (N) at Bank One Ballpark

NY  A    0  0  0    0  0  2    0  0  0  -   2  7  1
ARI N    1  3  8    3  0  0    0  0  x  -  15 22  0

 

The Yankees were trying to win their 4th World Series ring in a row. They beat the A’s and the Mariners to reach the Series, both were 100 game winners!

mariners-yankees-2001.jpgThe D’Backs had only been in existence for 4 years, making them the fastest team to reach the World Series. They beat the Cardinals and the Braves to get there.

8NB2hxUL.jpgGame 7 would feature two 20 game winners facing each other on the mound; Roger Clemens for the Yanks and Curt Schilling for the D’Backs.

True to form, these two battled each other for 5 scoreless innings (hmmm, what do we say about when these big games get “started”?) before the D’Backs finally broke through in the bottom of the 6th. Steve Finley singled and was driven home by Danny Bautista’s double to make it 1-0.

The Yankees, just as they have this year, answered right back in the 7th when an RBI single from Tino Martinez plated Derek Jeter for the tying run.

Curt Schilling stayed on the mound for the 8th inning. Curt was pitching on 3 days rest and had thrown over 300 innings in 2001. It was his 3rd start in the WS, Games 1,4 and 7. In the top of the 8th Alfonso Soriano crushed a Curt Schilling pitch into the seats to give the Yankees a 2-1 advantage.

81344667.jpgWith Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, most people figured this was another Championship ring for the Yankees. Rivera had been flawless in the Series.

But, this World Series featured several late inning comebacks (Including the 1st Mr. November Home Run) that marked it as one of the more thrilling contests in recent memory.

Rivera mowed down the D’Backs in the 8th. He struck out the heart of the lineup; Luis Gonzales (who had 57 HRs in ’01), Matt Williams (who HR’d in Game 2) and Danny Bautista who was having a big Series. The Yankees still led 2 to 1 going into the 9th.

Randy Johnson was on the mound for the D’Backs. He had pitched in Game 6! Manager Bob Brenly was not going down without shooting all of his bullets.
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The bottom of the 9th inning brought one of my favorite players to the plate to leadoff, former Cub Mark Grace (now a Fox Sports analyst). Mark led off the inning with a single into center.

The crowd got a little louder. Remember, this was indoors… this being Game 7.. .you can imagine the noise. Well, I hope you can.
Worldseriesflag_web.jpgNext up was Damian Miller. Bob Brenly, manager for the D’Backs, had put in a Pinch Runner for Grace (not the fastest guy you ever met) and was playing small ball with Miller. Miller’s bunt was fielded by Mariano Rivera who turned to 2nd and threw it away!

t1_rivera_ap.jpgThe tying, and winning, runs were on base with no outs!

Now can you hear the crowd?

Brenly ordered another bunt from the next hitter, Jay Bell, in an attempt to move up the runners. It didn’t work. Rivera threw out Pinch Runner David Dellucci at 3rd. 1 out and the tying run was at 2nd.. the potential winning run was at 1st.

Bob Brenly was pulling all the strings. He sent in another Pinch Runner at 1st, speedster Midre Cummings. When Tony Womack ripped a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a game tying RBI double, the place went bonkers.

womack.jpgNow can you hear em?

The winning run was at 3rd base with only one out. Joe Torre did the only thing he could do.. he pulled the infield in trying to choke off the run. It backfired when Luis Gonzalez (he of the 57 HRs) hit it where they weren’t… a tiny little bloop that just cleared Derek Jeter and landed softly in the outfield grass… barely.

luisgonzalez-2001worldseries.jpgThe winning run scored and now I know you can hear the crowd. If not, wait until tonight and then magnify the crowd by about ten : )

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Hope you enjoyed our YesterYear’s Hitter – Luis Gonzalez.   

Cut to the Chase

Info_CutToTheChase.jpgI had all these wonderfully creative titles for today’s post. I’m sure you’ve seen variations of them from around MLB.com or throughout the internet. Usually, I’ll create a headline to be somewhat deceptive in who is ultimately named Yesterday’s Hitter. The trouble is everybody on the planet already knows who the best hitter was last night.

So, let’s just cut to the chase.

capt_ws19611030346_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws196.jpgBut, before we hand out the hardware… there were certainly some worthy candidates in Game 5 I’d like to acknowledge.

Let’s start with the Philadelphia terror.

capt_ws16911030207_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws169.jpgYes, he was at it again last night (even broken bats didn’t slow him down). Johnny Damon is just giving the Phillies Phits in every at bat. He worked his way on again in the 1st inning when he battled Cliff Lee for a single. He later scored on Alex Rodriguez’ double to give NY a quick 1-0 lead.

59ec02425cf020c15e4bdfb261f04895-getty-92198041cc062_new_york_yank.jpgJohnny would go on to have another stellar day at the plate, getting on base 4 times. He had 3 hits, scored twice, knocked in a run and walked. Johnny now has the highest batting average (.381) of all the regular players in this year’s World Series.

Did I mention Alex Rodriguez? Yea, the same guy that started out 0 for 8 with 6 K’s is coming alive at the plate. He had two doubles last night (one that just eluded a diving Ibanez) and knocked in 3 RBIs.

capt_ws42211030301_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws422.jpgAfter that O’fer start, Alex has raised his average to just above the Mendoza line at .222, not too shabby A-Rod. His 3 Ribs gave him a NY Yankee Post Season record of 18!

Jimmy Rollins started the Philly comeback in the 1st with an aggressive at bat. He swung at AJ’s first pitch (remember this? AJ was a 1st strike king in Game 2). Even though he missed it.. it proved to be a game plan for Philly. Rollins singled to start the rally. He ended up with 2 hits and a walk, scoring once.

Raul Ibanez had a nice Game 5. He knocked in 2 runs with 2 hits and had a very important Home Run late in the game. His 7th inning blast proved to be just the cushion the Phils needed to secure the Game 5 win.

capt_ws18211030303_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws182.jpgJayson Werth is just knocking the dog snot out of the baseball. He hits everything hard. Sure, he only had one hit in Game 5. But, he crushed the ball all over Citizens Bank park in nearly every at bat. Brett Gardner can testify to how hard Jayson is hitting the ball.

capt_ws17011030210_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws170.jpgGardner made a spectacular catch on a Jayson Werth drive to left center. Jayson is hitting just under .300 for the Series.

r2653496169.jpgPoor Ryan Howard, he went from the penthouse in the NLCS to the doghouse in the WS. Howard struck out two more times last night to tie Willie Wilson for the most in a World Series, 12.

capt_ws16111030138_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws161.jpgIf I were Charlie Manuel, I’d certainly consider flip flopping Howard and Ibanez in the order. It couldn’t hurt, could it? I’m betting on Howard to hold the K record all by himself before Game 6 is over.

Speaking of Game 6.. .how lucky are we? It’s been 6 years since the World Series has gotten to this point. I know I’m happy.. but my bet is Jane is a little tweaked right about now ; ) 

And now, without further ado… our Yesterday’s Hitter!

69d604ee78e1b4ae15967b5af37c183a-getty-92198108cc101_new_york_yank.jpgI said it in Game 1. Chase is so calm, so focused and …. so good! He has continued to deliver throughout the Series. His 1st inning HR immediately jump started the Phillies and the crowd and propelled them to a Game 5 win. Oh, and did I mention… that HR came off of the very 1st Pitch he saw from AJ Burnett! Think he doesn’t study the game? You don’t get this good without having a plan. The difference is Chase not only has a plan, he is so “on” right now that he can execute it flawlessly.

921f9d96b6ccd9878650677b44b00652-getty-92198108cc109_new_york_yank.jpgChase hit another HR (tying Reggie Jackson for most in a WS!) in the 7th that seemed to be just a tack on run. That HR proved to be the Game Winning run! Why? Because those Yankees never stop. They kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

In fact, they brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning with nobody out and Derek Jeter at bat! I’d have to say that of all the at bats in Derek Jeter’s career, he wishes he could have a do-over on that one. A Presidential Mulligan.

capt_ws17811030254_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws178.jpgA hit in that situation could have possibly snatched the game away and given the Yankees their 27th title.

And speaking of the 27th… has anybody noticed what number Chase Utley wears? Ya… 26. Do you think he’s trying to tell us something? ; )

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Congratulations Chase Utley – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!  

 

Go Johnny Go!!

1c997ae4944d6bec97b31de0366511cf-getty-92198041cc179_new_york_yank.jpgOn the one hand I was so thrilled to watch this game play out the way it did. It was riveting. On the other, I was saddened. With the Yankees up 3 Games to 1, it doesn’t seem likely that the World Series.. and baseball.. will be around too much longer in 2009.

2e70d4be59f0cd79d24dce1bbf62fe8c-getty-92198041cc182_new_york_yank.jpgWhat a fabulous game though. It could go down as one of the more memorable in recent history. Certainly, it will pop up as a highlight in the New York Yankee World Series annals.

The game was a bonfire from the very first inning as the hitters dug in and took control of the game, much like Game 3.

Derek Jeter opened with a single and was immediately pushed to 3rd with another ringing double by Johnny Damon. They would both go on to score to put the Yankees on top 2-0.

59ec02425cf020c15e4bdfb261f04895-getty-92198041cc062_new_york_yank.jpg

The Phillies were not going to roll over for the Yankee machine. They also brought their bats to Citizens Bank Park. Shane Victorino singled and was knocked around to score by Chase Utley’s mammoth double that nearly cleared the fence. Chase has ripped CC Sabathia the entire Series. Just like that it was a 2-1 game.

ea58c20ff347b1b92126b88e5a3a64be-getty-92198041cc068_new_york_yank.jpgBig Ryan Howard actually got wood on the ball in Game 4, a much needed sign for the Phillies. His controversial run in the 4th tied the game at 2. He “almost touched” home. Yet another gaffe by the Post Season Umpires. Even so, it did not diminish the game in the slightest.

c7c7d3a639279b99478f24d263b3cc31-getty-92198041cc082_new_york_yank.jpgThen the game got even more fun to watch, if that’s possible. The Yankees came roaring right back in the 5th inning behind their two catalysts, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon. Jeter’s top spin single through the left side of the infield scored Swisher.

9a5a399d0e80616f13bff8dc67d75a3b-getty-92198041cc103_new_york_yank.jpgAnd.. just like in the 1st inning, Johnny Damon followed right behind the Captain - swatting a run scoring single of his own.

cc59fcda27bc3f5b80d6599809660b96-getty-92198041cc109_new_york_yank.jpgThe battling Phillies went from a tie game to down by two again. Not to worry. They would come back!

Chase Utley disposed of CC Sabathia again in the 7th inning with another bomb to right field. His 3rd off of Sabathia in the Series! We had ourselves a nail biter at 4-3 going into the bottom of the 8th. Look at his perfect swing plane approach to this pitch! Bye bye baseball.

capt_ws40911020259_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws409.jpgPedro Feliz has quietly put together a solid World Series. True, it’s his defense that gets him the notoriety. Yet, with the pivotal Game 4 on the line, Pedro crushed a Joba Chamberlain fast ball into the left field seats to tie the game! 4-4 in Game 4!

8b6e1c7e697d127f1ab6d447e59a120b-getty-92198041cc159_new_york_yank.jpgA game the Phillies were fighting for. A game they desperately needed. Would Pedro’s heroics get him the YH?

Unfortunately, for Pedro (and the Phils), the problem was this guy named Johnny Damon.

9b284580151948980cf40b53b89c6dde-getty-92198041cc065_new_york_yank.jpgThe Phillies’ Demon. He’s been everywhere, doing everything so far in this World Series. He keeps coming up with big at bats. Game 4 was his finest moment. Down 0-2 in the count with two outs and nobody on, Mr. Damon refused to give away the out. He battled Brad Lidge for 9 pitches before knocking what seemed to be a harmless single into left field.

Not so harmless when you have the will to win. Johnny’s baseball instincts are as sharp as any player’s in the game. He showed them off in Game 4. Taking advantage of an infield shift, Damon bolted for 2nd base on the first pitch to Mark Teixeira. Safe!

e256b8740dd082938846a505eb509219-getty-92198041cc204_new_york_yank.jpgImmediately popping up and outracing Pedro Feliz to the empty base at 3rd, Damon had demonized the Phillies and completely rattled Lidge.

Alex Rodriguez followed Mark’s HBP with a blast into the left field corner that scored Johnny. All hail Alex for coming through, that hit was clutch.

capt_ws41511020347_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws415.jpgBut, the real hero is Johnny Damon for his miraculous battle at the dish and his daring maneuvers on the basepath.

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Congratulations Johnny Damon – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!  

Contents Under Pressure

 
capt_ws40511010126_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws405.jpgAfter suffering through two games of mesmerizing pitching performances, you had to know the offenses on these two powerhouses would explode at some point.
20070403figure6.jpgDid they ever. Six Homers and 13 runs in Game 3! It wasn’t necessarily due to a bad pitching performance at all. It was a matter of good hitting. The pitching was good, save for maybe a small melt down by Andy Pettitte in the 2nd that caused him to fall behind 3-0. Other than that, I don’t think you can blame the pitchers.

Ya just gotta tip your hat to the hitters.

 
01029636_detail_a.jpgWell, most of them. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are an exception. They continue to pull their strange World Series disappearing act in Game 3.

AndersonR_468x665.jpgSpectacular in Game 1, non-existent in Game 2 and 3. Talk about disappearing, the same can be said about Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano. Where is Houdini?

There were, however,  plenty of hitters alive and well in Philadelphia last night. Let’s get to The Contenders:

Hideki Matsui – 1 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 1 RBI. Manager’s just love that line. Generally it translates into a Pinch Hit Home Run. In this instance, it was indeed a PH HR. Nice job Mr. Pro Hitter.
r3146102579.jpgJohnny Damon – 4 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 2 RBI. Johnny has had some clutch hits so far in the World Series. Last night’s laser double to right in the 5th put the Yankees ahead for good.

r1830206640.jpgAlex Rodriguez – 2 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 2 HBP. Alex came into Game 3 in a slumber at the plate. The Phillies made the mistake of waking him up in his first at bat by plunking him. Next time up, A-Rod’s bat came out of the deep freeze. His HR to right field bounced off the Fox camera. After the first ever Post Season review… the game changed from a comfy Philly lead to a nail biting 3-2 contest.

argm3.jpgJayson Werth – This guy just continues to impress. He hit a bomb in the 2nd inning off of a very good Pettitte spinner. It was not a bad pitch. It was a very good hit.

capt_ws41111010224_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws411.jpgThat HR sent Pettitte into a little side wobble that cost him 2 more runs. To Pettitte’s credit, he recovered just fine. Werth later hit a Massive Blast to left field for his 2nd HR of the game and 7th of the Post Season!!!

capt_ws42311010350_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws423.jpgCarlos Ruiz – Another player that continually comes up with Post Season hits. Usually they are clutch. Unfortunately for Carlos, the game was pretty much out of hand when he belted a HR in the 9th inning. Still, don’t overlook this guy for doing something special later on.

The Finalists:

Andy Pettitte – When Andy escaped the 2nd inning down 3-0 the game had the kind of feel that it would be tough for the Yankees to score on Hamels. Cole had yet to give up a hit in the game. Then came the A-Rod HR and the game changed. Swisher doubled in front of Andy Pettite. Andy was paying attention, got the same curve ball and deposited it into Left to score Swisher and tie the game!

r2356361383.jpg A Huge hit that started a 3 run rally to give the Yankees the lead. Andy’s RBI hit was the first for a Yankee pitcher in the World Series since Jim Bouton (Ball Four!) in Game 6 of the 1964 World Series. Cool Andy… very cool.

Nick Swisher – What was that comment we made about A-Rod’s bat coming out of a deep freeze? Okay then… Nick’s melted out of that freeze. Hot! Hot! Hot! (See Sony commercial). Nick’s aforementioned double to lead off the 5th was a result of finally paying attention to what the pitcher’s were doing to get him out. He did figure it out, smoked a double off of a nice curve ball (teaching Andy along the way) and scored the tying run.

capt_ws41711010315_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws417.jpgI was extremely impressed with Nick’s base running on Pettitte’s single. He saw the hit, correctly deduced the angle, dropped his head and never even hesitated… Scoring on a very close play at the plate. Pure hustle. Had he not committed himself immediately after contact, he’d have been out.  The very next inning Nick blasted one half way to the moon for his 2nd extra base hit of the night.

capt_ws42111010337_world_series_yankees_phillies_baseball_ws421.jpgAnd…. the winner is:

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Congratulations Nick Swisher - You are Yesterday’s Hitter!

 

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