Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Someone Get The Paddles, We're Losing Him!!!

Beep, beep, beep, beep...beep...beep...beep......beep......beep......beep.........beep.........beep.........beep..................beep............................beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

He's gone.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Throw The Damn Towel!!!

I've tried to play the calm, "don't get too cocky" card for the last couple weeks, but enough is enough.  The Yankees are hands down the best team in baseball and if the Red Sox and Angels had any self respect, they would just quit now and not even accept their playoff births.  They'e Apollo Creed to the Yankees' Drago and it's pretty much a foregone conclusion after the last 2 series that the Yankees are going to kill them in the ring when they meet either of them in the playoffs.

Case in point, last night.  The Yankees throw the benchwarmers from their JV team out there and still deliver a woodshed beating to Kansas City.   Ramiro Pena is cranking home runs, Shelley Duncan is getting clutch go-ahead base hits, Robinson Cano, arguably the most unclutch player on the Yankees, is jack game-sealing grand slams, and Chad Gaudin, who the Yanks picked up for a rosin bag and a bag of wet dog shit, tosses 6+ more innings of good ball.

Then tonight A.J. tosses his third straight good start and our old buddy, Kyle Farnsworth, gift wraps the game in the bottom of the ninth.  Even when it's clear as Brita filter water that they aren't even trying to, the Yankees still fucking win.

Meanwhile the Red Sox get their shit pushed in by Toronto with their regulars in the lineup behind the batting practice stuff of Michael Bowden (is it any wonder why Toronto turned down all of Boston's offers for Roy Halladay that included this kid?  He fucking sucks!)  Then tonight Clay Buchholz wakes up and remembers that he actually IS Clay Buchholz and tries to one-up Bowden by turning Fenway Park into a launching pad.  No doubt the kid is scared to death after watching the mauling his team took at the hands of the Evil Empire this past weekend, knowing that he was spared this time but won't be so lucky in the playoffs.  I wouldn't be shocked if Buchholz turns up with a strained shoulder or some other phantom injury tomorrow morning that conveniently keeps him out for the playoffs.

Clearly the body shots the Yanks have been laying on Boston over the last 3 head-to-head matchups has left them gasping for air and now it's just a matter of time before the Yanks move in for the kill and lay the Sox out for the count.

And as for Anaheim, they pretty much dug their own grave last night by spending a portion of their postgame locker room celebration drowning Nick Adenhart's jersey in beer.  Ummmmm guys, HE WAS KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER!!!!!  The Angels would have been better served walking up to his mother in the stands and taking turns slapping her across the face.  Good luck winning anything with Nick's ghost haunting your dugout and causing grounders to skip underneath your gloves, fuckfaces.  I don't know much about the afterlife, but I can guaran-damn-tee that Nick Adenhart will be wearing a Yankees jersey and cheering for a team that knows how to celebrate properly if these 2 match up in the ALCS.

CC is rolling his fat ass right into Cy Young Station, A-Rod is on his way to a 100-RBI season playing on one good hip, Teix could win the AL HR and RBI crowns and then top that off with a Gold Glove and an MVP to boot.  Jeter rocks, Jorge is a beast, the bullpen is stacked, and the list goes on and on.  In all honesty it's almost getting boring going over this shit.

I know the rules state that 4 teams compete in the playoffs, but if the competition is going to be this one-sided, why waste time?  Let's just skip to the World Series right now so the Yanks can spank whichever Quadruple-A team is unfortunate enough to advance to face them and play it now while the weather is still have decent, that way the fans won't risk getting colds or the flu watching the inevitable take place.

I know technically Boston and Anaheim has to show up and play, but fair warning has been given.  If you don't want to end up like this...

...then just forfeit now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

AB4AR's Week 3 NFL Wrap-Up

Week 3 Recap

Jacksonville 31 Houston 24

Maurice Jones-Drew, clearly inspired by my poking fun at the new Jaguars' uniforms, ran wild on the Texans yesterday to the tune of 119 yards and 3 TDs as Jacksonville finally got off the schnide and proved just how valuable those new jerseys are. For the third straight year, Houston looks destined to underachieve after being anointed the next team to "make the leap." Maybe they should think about changing their uniforms because clearly the ones they have now are holding them back.

Baltimore 34 Cleveland 3

After another thorough ass pounding, it was announced by the NFL that Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini can no longer be referenced as being a part of Bill Belichick's coaching tree. The Brady Quinn experiment seems over after he was pulled for Derek Anderson, but with Anderson tossing 3 picks in relief as the team put up a lackluster 186 yards of total offense, it's anybody's guess as to who will start for the Browns next week. This is the 2nd game in a row that they failed to score a TD, which gives them a grand total of 1 in their last 9 games dating back to last year. After setting the bar this low, anything next week would be considered an improvement.

NY Giants 24 Tampa Bay 0

Raheem Morris took time out of his post-game press conference yesterday to call Eric Mangini and ask if they could help each other update their resumes as his Bucs continued their trip back in time to the glory days of Tampa in the 70s and 80s. The Giants running attack came out of hiding to the tune of 196 combined yards by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. While it might not help them make the playoffs, I for one would be impressed to find out that Tampa is actually playing this bad because they're all going as the 1979 Bucs for Halloween.

Philadelphia 34 Kansas City 14

Larry Johnson tightened his grip on the lead for this year's "Shaun Alexander Former Top-5 Running Back Who Has Clearly Lost It" Award with a 19-carry, 38-yard clunker in the Chiefs' loss to Philadelphia. The Eagles didn't miss a beat without Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook as Kevin Kolb and rookie RB LeSean McCoy continued to impress. Mike Vick's debut was hardly worth mentioning, but hey, at least he didn't flick off the fans, get arrested for marijuana possession, or murder any dogs in the process.

NY Jets 24 Tennessee 17

Mark Sanchez turns in another solid performance and the Jets are now 3-0. At the rate he's going, Sanchez will achieve Joe Namath-like status in New York some time around Week 7. He's certainly already reached that status with the ladies of NYC and probably has the VD to prove it. With the loss, Tennessee now falls to 0-3 and is already all but eliminated from the playoffs with the Colts sitting at 3-0, although I think they should be concerned with the fact that the throwbacks their staff was wearing yesterday made them look more like 5-year-olds getting ready for bed in their daddy's t-shirt than NFL coaches.

New England 26 Atlanta 10

A week after everyone was ready to hit the panic button, New England rebounded to upend one of the top teams in the NFC. Who knew that all their problems could be fixed by re-establishing the running game, protecting their quarterback, and playing a little defense? It's that kind of advanced football knowledge that makes Bill Belichick the genius that he is. Sure Brady looked rustier than the Titanic, but if the Pats can continue to win with this formula that should give him ample time to get back to hitting on all cylinders.

Minnesota 27 San Francisco 24

Nothing snappy or sarcastic to say about Favre this week; the guy showed that he's still got a little wick left in the candle as he pulled a win out of his old ass for the Vikes on his last-second heave to Greg Lewis. What made the performance even more vintage was the underwhelming performance leading up to it and the pedestrian 52% completion percentage for the game. I've watched Favre win enough early-season games that don't matter to know it's only a matter of time before those prayer passes start falling into the arms of opposing players.

Green Bay 36 St. Louis 17

Green Bay rediscovers their defense and Aaron Rodgers puts up Madden football numbers (269 yards and 2TDs on just 13 completions) to lead Green Bay to a much-needed victory over the St. Louis Ewes. Kyle Boller's less-than-terrible job replacing the injured Mark Bulger may lead to a "crappy quarterback controversy" in St. Louis as they decide which guy they want leading them to a 2-14 finish this year.

Detroit 19 Washington 14

Despite playing fairly well in helping his team break a 19-game losing streak, Matt Stafford already seems destined to play bridesmaid to Mark Sanchez's bride in the QB Class of 2009. That being said, congrats to the Lions on getting their first win in years and condolences to Jim Zorn for being the first coach fired this year. Seriously, that's not even a joke; I'm pretty sure all coaches have the "losing to the Lions is grounds for immediate termination of said contract" clause written into their contracts. Things are so bad in D.C. right now that Clinton Portis is planning on wearing a paper bag over his head for his costume this week.

Denver 23 Oakland 3

Jamarcus Russell continues to put up comically bad numbers for the even more comically bad Raiders. I think I threw for more yards in my Pee Wee football career than he has in his NFL career. Somehow the Broncos keep winning despite having a below-average offense. But Brandon Marshall did show up this week and score a touchdown, providing some light for the passing game, and he managed to do so without punching or strangling his fiancée.

Cincinnati 23 Pittsburgh 20

The Super Bowl hangover has officially hit the Steelers and it's more contagious than swine flu right now. Some players were seen wearing surgical masks as they left the locker room after yesterday's heart-breaking loss. After trying to establish their long-lost running game 2 weeks in a row and losing, the Steelers might be better off just scrapping the run game altogether and keeping Rashard Mendenhall as the only back on the roster to block for Roethlisberger in blitz situations.

New Orleans 27 Buffalo 7

Pierre Thomas seemed to forget what team he played for yesterday as he gashed Buffalo for 100+ yards and 2TDs but denied Drew Brees the chance to shred Buffalo's secondary in the process. After a dismal 16-29, 172 yard, 0TD performance, Brees was left to shake his head and wonder what went wrong. The question for New Orleans now has to be how long will they let Brees keep his spot as the starting QB if he continues to put up unimpressive numbers like this in dominating wins? How long do they let it go before they make a change? 4-0? 5-0? 7-0?? Only time will tell.

San Diego 23 Miami 13

On the bad side, Miami is starting to realize that they can't win games solely with the Wildcat offense. On the worse side, they have been exposed as not having any talent at the WR position, something that usually helps teams score more points. On the worst side, they found out that 2 Chads aren't necessarily better than one as Henne was putrid in replacing the injured Pennington. It might be time to go back to drawing board and find a way to get 2 balls and a 3rd running back into the offense.

Chicago 25 Seattle 19

Jay Cutler's 2nd straight comeback win-leading performance has almost completely erased memories of his Week 1 bed-shitting incident against Green Bay. In fact, he played so well yesterday that his Mommy and Daddy bought him front row tickets to the next Dashboard Confessional concert as a present. TJ Houshmandzadeh's week of trash talking and 4 quarters of 4-catch, 35-yard football got him a heaping helping of crow to eat after the game, prepared any way he wanted by Lance Briggs.

Indianapolis 31 Arizona 10

Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the NFL, point, game, match, end of story. To do what he's doing with a group of wide receivers so unknown that you can't even sign them as free agents in Madden is beyond belief, even more so when you see that he's still getting Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne enough balls for them to put up Pro Bowl numbers. Arizona's offensive line will spend the next week working on learning how to block against an inside spin move and a swim move after Indy's defensive ends put on a clinic against them last night.

MNF Prediction

Dallas 27 Carolina 23

In a game matching up 2 teams who have fantastic 1-2 RB tag teams, marginal WR depth, and inconsistent defenses, this game will obviously come down to quarterback play. And when those 2 QBs are Tony Romo and Jake Delhomme, it basically comes down to which quarterback will suck less. Whichever one of those 2 can play less poorly than the other will find his team on the winning side. Given the score I picked, I'm betting Romo will find a way to do just less than Delhomme to lose the game for his team, who will find a way to eek out a win despite Romo's worst efforts.

MNF Predictions for the season (winners): 3-0

MNF Predictions for the season (being even remotely close to getting the score right): 1-2

Sunday, September 27, 2009

5 Reasons Why This Weekend's Series Was Important/ 5 Things This Weekend's Series Revealed

1) It Puts the Yankees back into a higher-pressure situation than what they've been playing under the last month.

This weekend was the first meaningful series the Yanks would have played in over a month and I would have to say they responded well.  Their biggest bugaboo over the last 5 seasons has been clutch hitting and getting clutch outs and those 2 departments were the 2 they dominated this weekend.

In this series they were 9-40 as a team with runners in scoring position, a .225 average.  is that great?  No, it's hardly even good, but most of the failures came in a 1-15 performance on Saturday, a game in which if they come through in a couple of those situations, they win the game going away.  Against Jon Lester and company on Friday, the Yanks were 7-21, and even though they only got 2 more hits with RISP for the remainder of the series, those 2 hits were Johnny Damon's 2-run, game-clinching single in the bottom of the 8th on Saturday off of Billy Wagner and Hideki Matsui's 2-run, go-ahead single in the bottom of the 7th today off of Takashi Saito.

The Sox, by comparison, were 3-17 with RISP this weekend, a .176 clip.  They not only did not give themselves nearly as many chances as the Yankees did, but didn't come through on the chances they did have, a testimate to the Yanks' fantastic pitching all weekend from the starters and relievers.

2) It represents Joba's last chance to prove he has value as a postseason pitcher.

BUMP, bump.........BUMP,bump......(wait, what's that?)...BUMP,bump......(charge him again)...BUMP,bump...BUMP,bump...(I've got a pulse)...BUMP,bump...BUMP,bump...BUMP,bump....

Joba took himself off of life support on Friday night and may have gone from postseason afterthought to guaranteed spot as a 4th starter in the ALDS.

His line wasn't all that great overall: 6IP, 5H, 1BB, 3ER, 5K, but considering what he had been doing lately, and considering he walked 7 in 2 innings last Sunday, this was Cy Young-caliber for Joba.

He had great command of all his pitches, good zip on his fastball, and pounded the strike zone with everything he had.  Most importantly, he worked quickly.  After each pitch he was right back on the rubber, ready to throw the next one.  There was very little shaking off of Posada and very little stalling, even when he got runners on.  He obviously tired in the 5th and 6th innings, but still showed some testicular fortitude in battling out of trouble, something he had seemed incapable of doing lately.

Are there still some questions and potential worries about Joba going out there in a Game 4, must-win situation?  Sure there are, and rightfully so.  But he looked a lot more like the Joba of June and July than the Joba of August-September, and that's the Joba the Yankees need to win.

3) It will show if Andy Pettitte's shoulder can be counted on for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Much like his start on Monday, Andy got off to a slow start today and things did not look good.  In the first 2 innings he looked like he had nothing and knew it.  But once he got warm Andy was on point again, and if word comes back tomorrow that he had no pain in his shoulder than it should be full-speed ahead for the rest of the season.

It certainly seems like there is some fatigue and Andy has to use the first couple innings to get the kinks worked out, but if he can give the Yankees 6 innings of 3 runs-or-less ball, that's going to be more than enough to win.

The question should now become not "Can Andy pitch?" but "What game does Andy pitch?  Game 2 or Game 3?"  As much as Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips thought he should go 2, I would still give that start to A.J. and keep the lefty, righty, lefty change to force the Tigers or Twins to alter their lineups each game and not let their batters got locked in.

4) It will be a good indicator of which team's bullpen has what it takes to get the job done when it matters.

This question, more than any other, was a no-doubt answer in favor of the Yankees.  For the weekend, the pitchers in the Boston pen who would be used in the postseason put up this line:

5.2IP, 6H, 6BB, 4R, 2ER, 4K, which equates out to a 3.18 ERA and a horrendous 2.12 WHIP.

Mind you, this was just the guys who would make the postseason roster.  If you factor in Yankee whipping boys Hunter Jones and Michael Bowden, the numbers are even worse.  The Yankees bullpen stats by their key guys, by comparison, were:

7.2IP, 3H, 1BB, 0R, 8K, for a .52 WHIP and a perfect 0.00 ERA.

Those numbers are factoring out J-Alba's stats, but even with those included the Yanks were light years better than Boston in the pen this weekend.  Christ, they got 1.2 perfect innings from Brian Bruney today, which could have breathed a little life into his postseason status.

Combining these stats with point 1, though, is where the story is really told.  Sure both of the runs off of Billy Wagner yesterday were unearned, but he was in the game to prevent ANY runs from scoring.  The job of the big-time bullpen guys is to be stoppers, and pick up your starters and defense for their mistakes and Billy Wagner flat-out didn't get the job done.  Takashi Saito was exactly the same today; he came into the game with a .189 BAA by left-handed hitters and he gave up the eventual game-winning hit to Matsui, failing to pick up his teammate, Paul Byrd, who gave the Sox way more than they were hoping for today, in the process.

Save for Albaladejo, when the Yankees' bullpen pitchers were on the mound this weekend, there was never any doubt they were going to get the job done.  They pitched with confidence, got ahead in the count, and made clutch pitches when they had to.  Heading into the postseason, the Yanks' pen has to be considered a weapon at this point.

5) It will show where the national media's allegiance lies: still with Fraud Sox Nation or back over to the Dark Side now that the Yankees are viewed as the favorites.

I wrote the other night about how much I enjoyed Chip Caray and Buck Martinez's calling of Friday night's game, and although I can't say the same for the ESPN trio today, they ended up being not as bad as I was anticipating.

Sure Steve Phillips is still a blatant Red Sox apologist, and Jon Miller rattled off the Red Sox starting lineup like he was reading off a list of first-ballot Hall of Famers, but all in all, they were relatively even and unbiased with how the called the game.  It was clear as day to anyone watching that they weren't happy to be calling the game even and giving the Yankees their fair share of praise, but at least they did it, which is a sign that maybe the over-the-top Red Sox ball sucking by ESPN is coming to an end.  People are starting to get on board and acknowledge that the Evil Empire is back in charge and they are powerless to stop it.

Now if only somebody could pass that memo on to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver since we all have to suffer through them for the majority of the playoffs, and not Miller, Morgan, and Phillips.


Suck it, Boston.  See you in the ALCS, if you even make it.

2 hills down, 3 more to climb...

Y-A-N-K-E-E-S, bitches!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2 Down, 1 To Go

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  I love how even after today, Red Sox fans are still going to be talking about the last 4 years, and "we beat you in 2004, 3-0 comeback" and blah, blah, blah.  The mating call of the loser, desperate fan is referring to the past and that mating call is coming loud and clear from Boston after today.  I almost wish I was back home on the East Coast so I could soak it all in.

The fact of the matter is that this Yankee team is flat-out better than the Red Sox.  Their lineup is better, their pitching is better, their bullpen is better, they are better.  This team has the chemistry that has been lacking the last few years, and more importantly, the drive and determination to win and to not be fucked with that the teams of the late 90s had by the buttload.  Any Red Sox player or fan who thinks they are going to squeak by in the playoffs based on past history is only fooling themselves.

Dice-Gay tries to be a tough guy today and hit Jeter?  That's fine, CC hits Youk.  Boston wants to get cute later in the game and hit Melky?  Mo comes out and drills Youk again in the 9th on the 8th pitch of an at bat.  Last year's team would have sat back and let Jeter and Melky get hit without so much as buzzing anybody on Boston's tower (with the exception of Joba).  This year's team seems to fall all over each in their scramble to be the first to stand up for a teammmate and that's why they are where they are and why they are head and shoulders above the rest of their competition as the season winds down.  If their play over the last couple weeks had raised questions about that, then the last 2 have answered all of them emphatically.

Seeing this image at the end of the game today...

...made my dick stand up a little bit.  I'm already planning on watching the game naked tomorrow in anticipation of the Yanks sweeping the weekend series, winning the season series, and finishing digging Boston's grave that they hopefully get to bury them in if they meet again in the ALCS.

Fuck You, ESPN

The Yankees basically dominate the game, Jon Lester goes down with what, at the time, looked like a potentially season-ending injury, and what is showing as the front page feature about the game?

"Decent outing?"  "Finally??"  Really, ESPN?  The most important player to your favorite team in the universe just got the shit wrecked out of his knee/quad and you're busy taking jabs at Joba?  I'd like to say I'm surprised, but what else would you expect from the Worldwide Leader in Bandwagon Jumping?

They say everyone guns for you when you're on top, so maybe this is just ESPN's way of acknowledging that the Yankees are the best team.  I'm just thankful there was college and high school football on both ESPN and ESPN 2 last night, otherwise it would have been wall-to-wall coverage of Lester.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jon Lester's Knee Injury- A Photo Diary

And down goes Lester!!  Down goes Lester!!

Owwwww, my wittle knee hurts...

Are you crying???  There's no crying in baseball!!

You gotta love the intangibles Varitek brings to the meeting here.
Everybody else is checking to see if Lester can even walk
and he's still in his crouch, putting down signs and getting ready for the next pitch.  That's why he wears the "C."

Why the fuck is the umpire checking out his ass?
What Tim Kurjian wouldn't give to switch places with that ump...

I bet Lester wishes he still had cancer right about now...

OK, Jon, here we go.  Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.
Nevermind the fact that you may have just shattered your kneecap, just walk down the stairs to test it out.
I mean, there's only 5 or 6 of us here with you.
What are we supposed to do?  Carry you?

Why the fuck is David Ortiz following him down the stairs?
What medical advice could he possibly offer?

Ortiz- "Here Jonnie, jus' take a few of deez peells an' dreenk dis protein shake, meng."
Lester- "Get the fuck away from me, Papi."

Introducing the Terry Francona:
 "We Are Completely Fucked If Lester Is Hurt" Face.
If I could have a mask of this exact picture made and go as Francona for Halloween, I would.
I only wish I got a good shot of Beckett when they put the cameras on him.
His "Oh Fuck" face was even better than Francona's.

The good news is the Yankees spanked Lester before he took the liner, and the bad news is that X-Rays were negative and right now it's being treated as only a contusion.  But judging by the way the Red Sox training staff handled getting him off the field by making him walk and then hobble down a flight of stairs, I'd say there's a good chance they mismanage Lester's treatment and this injury lingers for the remainder of the regular season and into the postseason, which will just make the Yanks' road to the World Series that much easier.

Free-Flowing Yanks-Sox Game 1 Commentary- 9/25/09

- Jason Varitek has thrown out 9 of 110 attempted steals this season.  9 out of 110.  I repeat, 9 OUT OF 110.  What the fuck is he still doing starting a game at catcher in the Majors?  No doubt Joe knew that stat when he decided to send Jeter on the 2nd pitch of the game.

-Another good stat: The Yankees are 3rd in Major League Baseball with a 79.8% stolen base success rate and are 2-for-2 tonight and it's still the 1st inning.  Sure they can smash you to death, but this is the most complete offensive team since 1998; they don't mind beating you with small ball if that's what it takes.

-2 innings, 4 succesful stolen base attempts for the Yankees and none have even been close.  Granted Varitek hasn't had a great pitch to throw on yet, but at this point in his career, does that really matter?  It's like watching a 12-year-old softball girl throw back there.  I wonder if the Angels are watching this?

-Lester's injury did not look good at all for him, but looked amazing to me.  I was half-aroused watching him writhe around on the ground.  If there was one person on their team that the Red Sox didn't want to see get seriously injured, it was undoubtedly Lester.  That horrible sound everybody is hearing right now is Tim Kurkjian and Peter Gammons sobbing in each other's arms on the Baseball Tonight set.

-I wouldn't have guessed that tonight was the first time in his career that Joba retired the first 9 batters he faced in order, but at the same time I'm not surprised by it.  What does that say about his future as a potential Number 1 or Number 2 starter?

-Final line on Lester: 2.1 IP, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 ER, 3 K, 78 Pitches (47 Strikes), and 1 kick save.  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  If you think that's the last time I'm going to joke about that injury, then you should read a new blog.

-Ahh, Michael Bowden, he of the 2-inning, 8 hit, 3 walk, 7 earned run butt raping at the hands of New York on August 21.  Why doesn't Francona just wave the white flag right now?  He's trying his damndest, but he's going to have to use some of his bullpen regulars in this game whether he likes it or not.

-Now THAT'S the Joba we've been waiting to see!!!  2nd and 3rd, no outs in the 5th, and he sits down the next 3 batters in order.  He's pitching with that swagger and intensity that he used to pitch the 8th inning.  I don't know if he's stepping up for a spot in the postseason rotation like Girardi said or getting himself prepped to be a bullpen monster again, but he looks fucking fantastic tonight.

-Now THAT's the Joba we're used to seeing.  2 outs, ahead in the count, and he grooves a fastball for an obviously juicing-again David Ortiz.  That's been his undoing over his recent stretch of ineffectiveness; getting ahead of guys and making horseshit pitches that batters have made him pay for and that pitch was no different.  Still a good outing for him tonight, but the way it ended can't make Joe or Yankee fans totally comfortable.

-A-Rod is stinging everything tonight.  Looks like Joe knew what he was doing with that day off for everybody on Wednesday after all.  If he can stay this locked in for the whole series, the division title could be the Yankees' by late Sunday afternoon.

-If you used to read my "Shallow Thoughts" on Facebook, then you remember what I wrote about Jason Varitek on August 9:

"If the Red Sox were a car cruising along a county road, Jason Varitek would be the random blinking red light in the middle of nowhere; the guy just absolutely rapes any chance to have a big inning and has been doing this since 2007."

No time was that proven more true than tonight.  He pops up on the first pitch with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs in the 5th and grounds into a double play after J.D. Drew gets on to lead off the 7th.  Actually, now that I read that metaphor, it might be taking it too easy on Varitek.  The guy is absolutely, positively, fucking awful.  I could dedicate an entire separate blog to just how bad a baseball player he is.  If ESPN didn't permanently have the Red Sox's cock stuffed up their ass they would find a way for John Hollinger to calculate a new statistic to prove just how useless Jason Varitek is because VORP simply does not do his ineptitude justice.

-P.S.- It's now the bottom of the 7th inning and he's a perfect 0-6 in throwing out Yankee basestealers.  You gotta love the "intangibles" that he brings to the game, huh?

-Stat of the Night: The top 3 American League batters in HRs hit from the 7th inning on:

1) Mark Teixeira- 15
2) Alex Rodriguez- 13
3) Hideki Matsui- 13

That's how you accumulate 48 comeback wins.

-There's just something great about watching Dustin Pedroia strike out.  It sends a little tingly feeling from the top of my head all the way down to the underside of my balls.  Truly awesome.

-I love what Joe is doing here by throwing his regular bullpen guys instead of the Triple-A "cup of coffee" boys.  Get guys like Marte used to their roles for the postseason now and still keep them fresh for the next game, great move.  I hope Big Floppi and Bay enjoyed facing Marte and Hughes, because they're going to get a lot of that if these 2 teams meet up in the ALCS.

-I was a little wary going in tonight, but I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed Chip Caray and Buck Martinez calling tonight's game on TBS.  They have been almost completely objective and spent equal time praising each team and criticizing them for the appropriate reasons while focusing on the trends of the game at hand.  They also brought a ton of great stats to the table (see Varitek and Yankee HRs) that ESPN wouldn't dare mention because they portray Boston in a negative light.

There were some bumps in the road (conveniently skipping over the fact that he has sucked for the better part of a month when discussing Josh Beckett; neglecting to mention or even suggest that lower steroid use in today's game could contribute to an increase in running and stolen bases in baseball this year), but overall a good job.  I would take these guys over anybody at ESPN and especially Buck and McCarver 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

-And that's all she wrote, folks.  If you're Joe Girardi or a Yankee fan, you have to be happy with how tonight went.  Joba finally put a good performance together and the bats came alive.  Even before he left the game, the Yanks were knocking Jon Lester, a noted Yankee killer, around like he was Rhianna.  To cap it off with Cano flashing some And-1 baseball skills was basically the Yankees wiping their sacks across Boston's faces.  The best comparison for this game would be saying it was like hitting a line drive right off someone's knee (ask Lester how that feels), BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

The Sox can keep their cheap Wild Card champagne on ice for now while the Bombers move one step closer to setting the universe back in order.  Start spreading the news, bitches...

5 Reasons Why This Weekend's Series Matters

1) It Puts the Yankees back into a higher-pressure situation than what they've been playing under the last month.

The team has basically been on cruise control since their last series against Boston so this will be a good test of where their collective mindsets are at as they head toward the finish line of the regular season. Playing in a playoff-like atmosphere for 3 games will be a good indicator of just how well this new team can handle the pressure of playing playoff baseball as a Yankee, something that the last few Yankee playoff teams could not handle. The ability to get clutch hits and clutch outs was what dogged the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 Yankees and while this year's team has reversed that trend, they still haven't shown they can do it on the biggest stage.

2) It represents Joba's last chance to prove he has value as a postseason pitcher.

Let's be real here, Joba is hanging on by a thread to his chances of being used as a 4th starter in the playoffs. Nothing he can do in the last 2 series is going to be more influential to Joe's decision than tonight's game. Don't forget, if the Yankees sweep this series, they clinch the division, so you know they'll be playing to win. As much as everybody wants to see him do well, I can't imagine Joe leaving Joba out there tonight to stretch him to 4, 5, or 6 innings if he sucks again at the expense of winning the game. And if Joba does suck again, I would give a serious look at Chad Gaudin as my 4th starter before I considered Joba.

3) It will show if Andy Pettitte's shoulder can be counted on for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

So Andy's shoulder didn't bother him after his last start, big fucking deal. I don't even I could have told you his shoulder wasn't going to bother him because he had a ton of extra rest for it. That's like saying it's a groundbreaking discovery that eating more fruits and vegatables is going to help your overall health. The important thing is not to see if more rest helps his shoulder, but whether or not his shoulder can remain strong on regular rest, because that's all he's going to get in the playoffs. You can't afford to skip a start in the postseason rotation and risk throwing Sergio Mitre or Joba out there in a must-win situation, so how Andy and his shoulder feel after Sunday is a much bigger deal than him feeling better after a week off.

4) It will be a good indicator of which team's bullpen has what it takes to get the job done when it matters.

I know I'm a Yankee fan and so my opinion is a little jaded, but is there any doubt the Yankees have the better bullpen than Boston? The New York 'pen has been more consistent and come up bigger in bigger spots more times than Boston's this season, especially in close games. Most of Boston's main bullpen guys are all or nothing and none of them have looked particularly great lately: Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, and Daniel Bard, who was absolutely raped by New York the last time he faced them. None of those guys have been lights out or even half of that lately, and Papelbon is never a sure thing. Putting 2 guys on might work against Baltimore and Oakland, but when you're facing the Yankees' lineup, you're always one swing away from losing the lead.

Plus, with Aceves, Joba, and Gaudin out there, they Yankees are far more well-equipped to handle long-relief situations if a starter bombs than Boston, whose bullpen is basically a collection of 1-inning guys, 2 tops. If Dave Robertson is good to go then the advantage in consistency and versatility has to go to New York, but this series will provide some insight on which guys on which teams can get 1, 2, or 3 outs in a clutch situation.

5) It will show where the national media's allegiance lies: still with Fraud Sox Nation or back over to the Dark Side now that the Yankees are viewed as the favorites.

With the mad dash to pick up late-season games, tonight's opening game will be on TBS and ESPN has the Sunday afternoon affair, which means we get to see who Chip Caray and Buck Martinez and Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, and Steve Phillips are rooting for, and thus get a clue as to what the spin will be as both of these teams move into the playoffs and possibly to a meeting in the ALCS.

The Leader in Hype's allegiance is still blatantly to Boston. The SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight coverage of each Yankee game vs. Red Sox game over the last month has been laughably prejudiced to the point where an uneducated person would assume that Boston was nipping at New York's heels for the division lead, if not actually in the lead of the division themselves. The one shining beacon of objectivity has been Joe Morgan, who at least attempts to give the Yankees their due. The real wild card in the ESPN stable is Phillips. As much of a bumbling idiot as he is, he always likes to be associated with the flavor of the month so don't be surprised if he jumps ship to the SS Yankee if New York dominates this weekend's series.

One thing is for certain, though, and that is that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will continue to be the biggest Red Sox fans this side of Ben Affleck, so hopefully Caray and Martinez are smart enough to side with New York and give a good balance of announcer favoritism for the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on Today's Game

-I don't know what Joe Girardi smoked before the game today, but it had to be good shit seeing as he's out in Cali and he basically coached the game today like a guy who was focused on what flavor Doritos he wanted rather than a manager who needs to be getting his team ready for the postseason.

-Exhibit A- Shelley Duncan starting the game in right field.  Even before today, it was clear to everybody but Joe that Shelley has no business being in the outfield unless he's chasing a member of the opposing team during a brawl.  After today, it needs to be written into any and all future baseball contracts that Shelley Duncan signs that the only time it is acceptable for him to be playing right field is at a family cookout.

-Exhibit B- Joe tries to get cute in the 7th inning and match up with the Angels by replacing Damaso Marte with Jonathan Albaladejo.  Granted I've praised J-Alba for his play late, but let's be realistic, he isn't going to be on the postseason roster, at least not for the Divisional Series.  Marte has shown flashes since returning from the DL but could still use all the reps he can get to get back to top form.  If you want to have confidence in him, you might as well give him a shot to get a righty out.  And if you're going to match up, get Bruney in the game to get his shit figured out.  The fact that Joe didn't go to Bruney shows where he might stand in the postseason pecking order but if Dave Robertson can't go, the Yanks ARE going to need Bruney.

-Exhibit C- Playing the JV team.  Look, I know the Yankees are older and it was an afternoon game after a night game, but assuming they continue to hold the best record in the AL and get to choose their first-round schedule, there are going to be plenty of off days for their 30-and older vets to rest.  The important thing now is to make damn sure you lock up that division title and that freedom to choose the schedule.  My uncle sent me a text late in the game asking why Joe wasn't stepping on the Angels' and essentially every other team's throats and this, once again, falls on Girardi and his decision to sit half the starting lineup today.  He's looking weeks and weeks down the road to the postseason when he should be focused on the next game like he always says he is.  Play the damn starters, rattle off another 7, 8, 9 wins in a row, strike some fear into the other teams, and go into the playoffs with momentum.

-I don't know who the fuck Freddy Guzman is or where he came from; my uncle and I are working under the belief that he is some dude who was bumming around Steinbrenner Field in Tampa when George stumbled out of his office, saw him, and assumed he was actually Mickey Rivers, so he stumbled back inside and ordered Girardi to play him.  The one thing I do know is that if you get this fucking kid on base, he's a guarantee to steal at least one.  Between him and Brett Gardner, the Yanks have more pure speed than they've had in the last 15 years combined.

-Is it me or does Mo seem not quite 100%?  I can't put my finger on it, but it seems like there might still be some lingering soreness in his groin and he's just getting by with his B-level stuff right now.  But when you're as God-like as Mo, your B-level stuff will get you further than most guys' A-stuff so as long as he's saving games that's all that matters.

-Last but not least, another bizzaro move by Joe that thankfully turned into a feel good story today was Ian Kennedy working the 8th inning.  After suffering an aneurysm scare that is all too familiar for Yankees' fans who remember David Cone, Kennedy has made it all the way back to pitch this year and it's good to see him out there as he may become another important factor in the rotation next season. 

I'm sure most Yankee fans probably sat there wishing he still had the aneurysm when he hit a batter and walked 2 more to load the bases, but our little Ian has apparently grown up and learned a new trick called "getting out of trouble," which he did quite well with a strikeout and a flyout.

John Sterling's reaction was a little less than happy upon realizing Kennedy was on the mound...

...but the bottom line is the Yankees have yet another young arm to work with moving forward and his name is:



Monday, September 21, 2009

AB4AR's Week 2 NFL Wrap-Up

Week 2 Recap

Atlanta 28 Carolina 20

Well the good news for Panther fans is that Jake Delhomme only threw one pick yesterday. The bad news is that their team still lost and Matt Ryan outplayed Delhomme, thus dropping the Panthers 2 games behind both Atlanta and New Orleans only 2 games into the season. Tony Gonzalez continued to earn that new parking space at Atlanta's team facility with 7 catches for 71 yards and a TD.

Minnesota 27 Detroit 13

Another workman-like Pee Wee football performance by the Great Favre helps get the Vikings to 2-0. A little-known detail about Favre's contract with the Vikings is that he actually gets paid more in bonuses for every pass under 5 yards he throws. After the first 2 weeks of the season, he has already earned an extra $300,000. Nothing really snappy to say about the Lions; they're performance is a good enough joke in and of itself.

Cincinnati 31 Green Bay 24

Antwan Odom turned himself from a "Who the fuck is that guy?" to a potential Pro Bowl candidate with a team record-tying 5 sacks in Cincy's upset of the Packers. Green Bay's patchwork line made Odom look like Reggie White, and Rich Gannon, probably still woozy from his career-ending concussion/neck injury, seemed to think Odom actually was White with his endless praise. The Green Bay o-line's putrid performance didn't just end on the field though. After the game, they couldn't even stop a horde of autograph seekers from rushing by them to get to Aaron Rodgers.

Houston 34 Tennessee 31

It was the Battle of the Johnsons as Houston's Andre and Tennessee's Chris went back and forth trying to see which Johnson would come up bigger in this back and forth game.... Wait, that sounds really gay, forget I wrote that. In any case, both guys were fantasy owners dreams yesterday, combining for 176,594 yards and 285 TDs. After the game, Tennessee QB Vince Young was so distraught at his team's 0-2 start that he thought about killing himself again. Kerry Collins told him to just chill out and have a beer.

Oakland 13 Kansas City 10

Jamarcus Russell finally broke through and had the type of MVP-caliber game his teammates and coaches have been waiting for yesterday as he led the Raiders to victory over their rivals from Kansas City. I'm just kidding, Russell was fucking terrible as usual, and this time is NFL record-terrible. His 7-24 performance marked just the 2nd time since 1997 that a quarterback attempted more than 20 passes in a game and managed to complete less than 30% of those passes. It's that kind of inept play that makes you wonder just how epically bad Darrius Heyward-Bey will turn out to be and makes you wonder even more how this team is a few stops last Monday night away from being 2-0.

NY Jets 16 New England 9

Without his security blanket, Wes Welker, Tom Brady looked more like Gisele in his performance yesterday as the Pats fell to the Jets and Charlie Weis/Ron White hybrid fat guy, Rex Ryan. After the game, Ryan called New England coach Bill Belichick and left him a voicemail thanking him for never changing his blocking scheme or blitz pickup strategy in the face of constant defensive pressure from Gang Green.

New Orleans 48 Philadelphia 22

Kevin Kolb threw his name into the Eagles' QB hat as he put up almost 400 yards and 2 TDs in defeat, proving once again the Donovan McNabb is a terrible quarterback and should be taken out back and shot. Unfortunately, Kolb's performance was no match for Drew Brees, who had another ho-hum 300+ yard, 3 TD passing day. Right now Brees is on pace to throw for 5,728 yards and 96 TDs this season. Think about that for a second.

Washington 9 St. Louis 7

In what 20 years from now will be known as "The Worst Game Ever Played," the Redskins somehow managed to score more points than the Rams yesterday, thus losing the tiebreaker for the first pick in next year's NFL Draft to St. Louis at the end of the season if both teams end up with the same record.

Arizona 31 Jacksonville 17

Has a team fallen farther than the Jaguars over the last 2 seasons? After his team obviously quit on him last year, for some reason upper management decided to bring back Jack Del Rio and the start to this season hasn't been much better. The new uniforms they started the season with don't seem to be helping so maybe they should try something more in accordance with how they play...

San Francisco 23 Seattle 10

Frank Gore ran for 207 yards on just 16 carries yesterday and after the game graciously donated his game check to the "Seattle Seahawks Run Defense Disaster Relief Fund." In off-the-field Niner news, Michael Crabtree attempted to use this latest win as a bargaining tool, pointing out that the team is undefeated since drafting him and he should be paid accordingly for his impact on the franchise.

Buffalo 33 Tampa Bay 20

Despite another solid performance on the both sides of the ball, Terrell Owens was quick to call out Trent Edwards for only having 97.0 QB rating, Fred Jackson for not rushing for 125 yards, and the defense for only returning one interception for a TD. Fellow wideout Lee Evans wasn't shielded from the verbal tirade either as TO chastised Evans for catching a 32-yard TD pass instead of the 43-yarder Owens caught.

Chicago 17 Pittsburgh 14

In a hard-fought battle at Soldier Field, Jay Cutler silenced his critics by leading Chicago on two consecutive 4th quarter drives to tie and eventually win the game against the defending Super Bowl champs, outplaying Ben Roethlisberger in the process. Roethlisberger got revenge after the game though, by raping Cutler's mom at the team hotel.

Baltimore 31 San Diego 26

In a game that fans will no doubtedly blame LT for losing, it was actually the Chargers defense that couldn't get the job done yesterday in their loss to Baltimore. Ray Lewis had a vintage performance, racking up 12 tackles and slashing through the Chargers' o-line (something he's quite familiar with) and stopping Darren Sproles for a loss to end the game. Shawn Merriman accumulated 1 tackle and no sacks yesterday, meaning the hardest hit he has this season is still the one on Tila Tequila (yeah, that was back-to-back rape/domestic violence jokes right there; classy stuff here, people).

Denver 27 Cleveland 6

Less than a week after he was fined 25 grand for his role in the Brett Favre injury report saga from last season, the NFL fined Browns' coach Eric Mangini an additional $25,000 for completely sucking at his job as his team was thoroughly handled by the Denver Broncos. On a positive note, the Browns rebounded from last week's uncharacteristically decent performance to start a new no-TD streak.

NY Giants 33 Dallas 31

Tony Romo predictably crashed back to Earth last night in a big moment as the NFL-record 105,121 people in attendance got treated to a 13-29, 3 interception performance by Romo in Dallas' last-second loss to the G-Men. There was actually more of a concern about Romo's passes hitting the new video screen than any of the punts, but everyone in attendance did agree that Romo looked even better sucking than usual on the large HD screen.

MNF Prediction

Indianapolis 23 Miami 13

Even without Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts still have plenty of weapons to use against the overrated Dolphins. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and the 2-headed monster of Joe Addai and Donald Brown will be more than enough to match up against whatever 11 guys actually play on the Dolphins defense (seriously, can anybody even name 2 guys on that defense??). Keep an eye out for Colts WR Pierre Garcon, who looks to cement his status as the NFL's premier black-French wideout.

MNF Predictions for the season (winners): 2-0

MNF Predictions for the season (being even remotely close to getting the score right): 0-2

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Def Con 2

Ummmm, what the fuck is going on?  2 weeks ago the Yankees were cruising along, 9 games up on Boston, and looking like a lock to get into the playoffs and right the wrongs of the last 5 years.  After today, things are starting to look more like the last 5 underachieving seasons than the last 2-3 months of fantastic baseball the Yanks had been playing.

Pitching consistency and depth is non-existent at this point and right now the only set spot in the playoff rotation is CC Sabathia.  Hitting is feast or famine and clutch hits are harder to find lately than a good-paying job, despite all the league-leading offensive numbers the Yankees possess.  Lately we've seen more nights of the Yanks making pitchers like Ian Snell look like Bob Feller than of them working counts, piecing hits together, and making guys pay for their mistakes.  Most importantly, the bullpen has shown cracks that hadn't even been remotely apparent a few months back, cracks than they cannot afford to have moving forward with the way the rotation has been performing.

I said earlier this week that if the fight helped refocus the team then I would consider it a success.  Judging by how the team performed for the remainder of the week, I would say it did more harm than good.  If anything, it seemed to make the Yankees more complacent with the position they were, and still are in and did nothing to get their sites reset on Title # 27.

As far as Joba goes, I hate to say it but he's fucking done.  This season has gone from promising to rewarding to a disaster over the course of the summer, and while I support the move to manage his innings and won't jump on the Yankees for wanting to keep him and his arm healthy (anybody know what Mark Prior and Bill Pulsipher are up to these days?), I have to say that the way the team went about doing it was completely backwards and the new versions of the Joba Rules this year have fucked him up beyond repair.

Instead of starting him in the pen to limit his innings and then building him up to the point where he could throw 6, 7, 8 innings per start now when you need him to be in peak condition for the playoffs, the Yankees worked him in reverse and now Joba is more of a liability than an asset when he's on the mound. The Yanks need to either put him in the pen for the rest of the year and let Mitre start, or sit Joba entirely because with the way he's pitching right now he gives the team no chance to win.

"It will take more than this to get my confidence level down..." Joba said after today's horrific outing, but anybody who has watched him pitch over the last month knows his confidence has been shot for a while.  He can't locate anything consistently, can't finish hitters, and grinds the game to almost a complete stop when he gets runners on base by shaking off his catcher and constantly throwing to first base, prompting multiple trips to the mound by Jorge or Molina but of course none from Dave Eiland.

When you make a decaying, 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. look like Ken Griffey Jr. circa 1999, you know there are big problems.  Joba and Joe need to cut the shit with this "we still have confidence," "he looked good," "I felt good today" bullshit and just accept the fact that the plan this year didn't work and now the rotation is looking potentially just as thin for this postseason as it did the last 4. 

And in case the Yankees haven't noticed, Boston is clicking on all cylinders right now and are just 5 games back, 4 in the lost column.  I'm not saying I'm hitting the panic switch yet, because the fact of the matter is the Yanks have been the better team this year and I still believe they are, but the heat has been turned up significantly and the way the Yanks respond to this mounting pressure down the stretch is going to be an indicator of their chances heading into the playoffs.

If Andy comes out and looks like a tired old man again on Wednesday, then you can think about moving that hand one minute closer to midnight.  But for now, let's all take a deep breath and just enjoy the soothing sounds of Frankie...

You're on The Mark...Teixeira

I think Mark Teixeira just hit another home run...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Guy Sucks

Down 17-16 to Michigan St. at halftime on your home field?

7 first half penalties a week after your 9 against Michigan contributed to your team blowing the game??

A defense that, for the 5th consecutive year since you waddled onto campus, can't cover or tackle anybody???

Somebody gather up all his extra Hostess cakes, Hot Pockets, and vats of nacho cheese from his office and donate it all to local food shelters, and then get a forklift and a flatbed truck to dump him on because this fat fuck has to go.

And if that doesn't work, find Carrie Fisher to choke him to death with her chain...

P.S.- That's not even Jabba The Hutt; that actually is Charlie Weis.

BREAKING NEWS: Mariano Rivera Is Human!!!

So Mo blew a save last night?  Big fucking deal.  Every other closer in baseball has blown at least 2, 3, 4, or more saves this season and last night was Mo's 2nd of the year in the team's 148th game, and first since April. 

I'm sure everybody at Baseball Tonight had to hide their boners when they saw Mo give up the game-winning homerun to Ichiro (which is nothing to be ashamed of), especially considering the Red Sox won again last night, but let's not forget that other than his 2 hiccups this season, Mo has been lights out whereas Papelbon can pretty much be penciled in to put 2 runners on and throw 20-25 pitches in his 9th-inning appearances.

I, and any other Yankee fan with half a brain, should be more concerned with the fact that AJ Burnett finally looked competent pitching in a baseball game and Johnny Damon broke out of his nearly month-long slump.  Based on the time between his first and second blown saves this season, Rivera should be golden moving forward into the playoffs and that's what you want; get all the BS out of the way now and move forward.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is Francisco Cervelli The Best Catcher On The Red Sox?

The answer after tonight is a definitive "Hell Yes."  Too bad being the best on that team doesn't help the fact that he's only the 2nd or 3rd-best on the Yankees.

Varitek goes 0-2 and allows a passed ball that helped the Angels regain the lead they would eventually lose (with some help from homeplate umpire Rick Reed), while Cervelli comes in cold off the bench to become the 74th different Yankee this season to get a walk-off, game-winning hit.

(YAY!!!!!  I'm so happy we could come back and win a game thanks to a collection of fluke infield hits by Jed Lowrie and Nick Green, some questionable calls by Rick Reed, and a bloop single to left by powerhouse Alex Gonzalez)

Sit the fuck down, Big Sloppi, and take notes on how to really win a game.  Sharp single to center, stolen base, sacrifice, sharp single to left, start spreading the news...

P.S.- Did anybody else catch Steve Phillips saying Ortiz was "squealing like a little girl" when he described this celebration, which, by the way, wasn't even on the game-winning hit.  I wonder how ESPN will reprimand him for speaking ill of the Red Sox.

Final Thoughts on The Fight

After watching the replay of the brawl for the 347th time today, I came to the conclusion that the Yankees should not only the favorite to win the World Series this year, but should also be the favorite to take the title belt in any team brawl.

Check the tape of the fight from multiple angles.  Sure Damon and Jeter were the first non-Posada Yankees involved, but they had a head start from the on-deck circle.  Take a look at who the first dudes into the fray are out of the Yankee dugout: CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Joba Chamberlain, and Shelley Duncan.  Screw Ruth and Gehrig, that's a murderer's row of big fucking dudes ready to pound people's faces in right there.

And hot on their heels was manager, Joe Girardi.  When do you ever see a manager get that involved in a team brawl?  Girardi looked like he was ready to kill as many people as Jorge, and that's something his players notice and respect and that's why they've played so hard for him this year.  Cito Gaston was off to the side, trying to start something with Edwar Ramirez.  Edwar Ramirez!!! He's smaller than the batboys.  Way to show your toughness, Cito, you fucking pussy.

All that was missing was Bruney and Albaladejo steaming out of the bullpen with matching Road Warrior spiked shoulder pads and Hawk and Animal facepaint, bashing Carlson over the head with a steel chair.

Any team that's thinking of starting shit with the Bombers for the rest of the year better think twice after last night.  Any time a guy comes out of a baseball fight looking like this... know whoever it was that was throwing fisticuffs in the pile was playing for keeps.

After inflicting that much damage last night and winning a decisive 10-9 round on my scorecard, Jorge must be stoked to only have to serve a 3-game suspension, down from 4 after he said he would not appeal.  20 bucks says he pulled a Gunnar Stahl when he got the news.  "3 games?  Well worth it."

Don't fuck with this man.  Molina and Pettitte look scared to death to even be standing next to him. Start spreading the news and somebody ring the damn bell...

Tuesday Night Fights

So after Jorge Posada brutally murdered Jesse Carlson last night and then smeared his blood across his face, Braveheart-style, he should be banned from baseball for life.

At least that's what John Kruk and Peter Gammons would like to have you believe with the over-the-top reaction they had to the fracas last night at the Stadium. Kruk chastised Posada up and down for how he reacted to Carlson's throwing behind him and then throwing a mini-Rick Flair elbow at Carlson as he crossed the plate, completely skipping over the fact that Carlson shouldn't have been standing on that side of the plate if he was attempting to back up the throw home to begin with and was basically inviting trouble by being there. And Gammons was practically in tears talking about Mitre and Melancon hitting 2 guys with pitches, going so far as to say Mitre's pitch could have hit Edwin Encarnacion in the head when replay shows it was nowhere near his head.

Remember these are the same 2 guys who applauded Kevin Youkilis for charging Rick Porcello after being hit in the back with a pitch and throwing his batting helmet at Porcello, and participated in a 5-minute break down on Baseball Tonight of what Youkilis did right and did wrong in charging Porcello. Way to show you Red Sox, colors, boys! Here's a free pink Varitek jersey for your efforts, although I'm sure you 2 fags already have one.

Now that the analysis of ESPN's blatantly biased coverage has been discussed again, we can move on to the real issues. The fight last night, good or bad? I, personally, was not a fan of it last night, but not for the reasons that BBTN gave. The Yankees have nothing to worry about at this stage in the season. Who cares if Jorge gets suspended for 5, 8, or 10 games? If anything, that gives him more time to rest his aches and pains and rehab his bruised finger a little more while at the same time allowing AJ Burnett the chance to pitch to Jose Molina, who he obviously prefers, once or twice to try and get his mojo back before the postseason starts.

The Red Sox aren't catching the Yankees, nobody is. It's a foregone conclusion that they are making the postseason so guys getting suspended doesn't mean shit. My problem with the fight was that it came in a game where the Yankees were getting their asses handed to them again. They pounded out 15 hits last night, 11 of them off Roy Halladay, and still only produced 4 runs. Over the last 2 weeks, the Yankees hitting has been very inconsistent, particularly in the clutch, and their pitching not much better. They seem to have almost gotten bored with how well they've been playing and instead of buckling down and getting ready for the playoffs it's like their coasting into them with an overly-relaxed team mindset that they can't afford to have.

Let's not forget that this is a team one year removed from completely missing the playoffs. Sure it's great that they're back on top of baseball now and have the best record heading into the postseason, but in reality, that doesn't mean a whole lot. They're still going to have to face the Angels, Red Sox, or both, and those 2 teams have completely owned the Yanks over the last 5 years. Recent success aside, the Yankees have to prove they can beat these teams when it matters, and instead of getting their shit together and gearing up for a run at the title that they are currently the favorite for, the Yankees are playing sloppy, uninspired baseball and getting caught up in a tit-for-tat fight with the Blue Jays.

Maybe I'm overreacting, and maybe I'm making too big a deal out of the last couple weeks, but with the Red Sox getting their collective shit together, it's only natural to look back at the last couple years and think about whether or not this new team with their new identity can win a 7-game series when the pressure is on.

I did like how quickly everyone responded last night and jumped to Jorge's defense. That wasn't your typical "everybody stand around and push and hold each other" baseball fight; it was a borderline melee. Jesse Carlson came out of it looking like he had gone 3 rounds with Anderson Silva, Joe Girardi was bleeding from the ear, Shelley Duncan looked like he was ready to fight the entire Toronto team, Edwar Ramirez was dragging Rod Barajas across the field by his chest protector like a bag of garbage, and new Yankees CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were among the first responders and were right in the middle of the dustup as soon as it started. That showed how tight this group is; everybody understands their role and everybody is together in whatever they do, win, lose, or fight, and that at least is something you couldn't say about the past few Yankees teams.

The bottom line is Jorge was in the wrong and Carlson was in the wrong. They're both just as much to blame for the fight as the other and they should each get the same amount of games for their upcoming suspensions. But nobody should be surprised or appalled at how Jorge reacted. Anybody who knows anything about the Yankees knows that he's always been the vocal leader in the clubhouse and is intense to the point that it borders being batshit crazy.

What the Yankees need to do is use this as a catalyst to get re-focused and build up the momentum they carried through July and August to round into playoff form because the baseball they've played over the last couple weeks, including last night, won't get it done come October.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another 8th-Inning Comeback? What Else is New?

I'm sure the Angels are all broken up about losing last night after they became one of the lucky few to get a run off of Phil Hughes this year, and especially since the Yanks have turned the tides on their supposed kryptonite to win 6 out of the 7 matchups between the 2 teams.

But they should really just be happy that they had the first 7 innings to try to score runs and give themselves a chance to win, because the Yankees are the best late-game team in baseball. If every game started in the bottom of the 8th, they would be 145-0 instead of 93-52 right now and that's just a stone cold fact.

Starting pitcher has a bad night? No big deal, the offense will put up enough runs to keep them in the game and then blow it open in the 8th or 9th. Close game in the 8th? No big deal, Phil Hughes will come in and blow the other team away to hold the late. Hughes coughs it up? Even less of a deal, Brett Gardner will just run all over the bases to score the go-ahead run before the supposedly unclutch Robinson Cano provides some insurance for Mariano Rivera, the next surest thing in life besides death and taxes.

Christ, even Joba decided to show up and pitch last night! It's good to have him back after the last couple months. That fat guy trying to impersonate him was starting to get on my nerves.

Monday, September 14, 2009

AB4AR's Week 1 NFL Wrap-Up

It's not all shameless Yankee praise and Red Sox bashing here at An A-Blog for A-Rod.  We enjoy football season just as much as the next overweight American.  And it is with that in mind that we introduce our weekly NFL Wrap-Up column, which focuses on some of the storylines not covered by the mainstream media and looks forward to the upcoming MNF matchups.

Week 1 Recap

Pittsburgh 13 Tennessee 10
Quite possibly the most boring close game ever played in NFL history. Pittsburgh's RB trio of Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, and Mewelde Moore looked more primed to audition for "So You Think You Can Dance?" than to carry the ball 20-30 times a game with all the stutter-stepping and juking behind the line of scrimmage they did. On the good side of that, though, fantasy owners of Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, and Hines Ward can rejoice.

Philadelphia 38 Carolina 10

In case anybody missed last year's first round NFC divisional playoff game between the Panthers and Cardinals, Jake Delhomme was gracious enough to re-enact his disgraceful performance and lead the Eagles to victory after Donovan McNabb went down with broken ribs. Reports that team officials had to prevent Mike Vick from trying to drown and electrocute McNabb after hearing about the broken ribs haven't been confirmed.

Minnesota 34 Cleveland 20

Despite just having fun out there yesterday, there is a possibility Brett Favre will be on the injury report next week with a strained back. Favre was clearly not ready to hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson as many times as he did yesterday after missing virtually all of training camp. Only time will tell if he'll be able to hold up to such a demanding workload of reverse pivots and 4-yard dumpoff passes to Percy Harvin for the whole season.

Indianapolis 14 Jacksonville 12

Indy's season-opening win was not without loss, as Anthony Gonzalez went down with a knee ligament injury. Despite Gonzalez's injury and his expected recovery time of 2-6 weeks, Indy will most likely not attempt to re-sign Marvin Harrison. Instead Peyton Manning is scheduled to shoot a PSA today asking for any and all athletic, tall black guys to show up at Lucas Oil Field for a tryout. Judging by what happened to the last person who crossed Marvin Harrison, I would advise against that decision.

Dallas 34 Tampa Bay 21

Tony Romo re-establishes himself as the best "Early Season With No Pressure On You or Your Team" QB in the NFL with a dominant performance in the first game of the No-TO Era in Dallas. If only the Boys could play Tampa and their horrible defense all 16 games of the season; then nobody would have to worry about punts hitting the scoreboard.

NY Jets 24 Houston 7

Mark Sanchez's performance yesterday was, in perfect accordance with his last name, downright dirty. Jets fans haven't seen a QB look that good since they saw Sanchez's spread in GQ earlier this year. A lackluster performance by the Texans' supposedly high-powered offense must have fans already secretly wishing for Matt Schaub to get hurt again.

New Orleans 45 Detroit 27

Drew Brees puts up a performance that made all of his fantasy team owners (including me) jizz in their collective pants. According to the box score, Joe Horn even caught a TD pass yesterday. Matthew Stafford looked like a rookie QB, but hey, it was still better than Daunte Culpepper would have done.

Baltimore 38 Kansas City 24

After giving up 38 points and over 400 yards of offense to the traditionally offensively-weak Ravens, new KC head coach Todd Haley is probably thinking he fired the wrong coordinator. If your team allows 300+ and 3TDs to Joe Flacco and 100+ rushing yards to Ray Rice, just imagine what Phillip Rivers and LT will do to you? Something tells me Haley will be updating his resume as this season winds down.

Denver 12 Cincinnati 7

In a page right of the Bill Belichick playbook, Josh McDaniels draws up the old "Throw it to the cornerback who jumped the primary receiver's route and have him tip it to the other receiver playing right behind the defense so he can run and in score with 11 seconds left" play and the Broncos execute it to perfection to steal a win from Cincy. Not only did it win the game, but it also gave us the first of hopefully many insane Gus Johnson calls this season.

Atlanta 19 Miami 7

Miami blasted out of the gates yesterday with an electrifying offensive display, highlighted by Pat White burning up the Falcons' D for... 0 yard on 2 touches. Wait, what? In actuality, Miami came to the harsh realization that defenses have caught up to the WildCat formation and that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams probably aren't the people to be running it. Not to mention the fact that when that doesn't work and the game is on Chad Pennington's shoulders, you can pretty much put up an L for your team.

NY Giants 23 Washington 17

Corey Webster's textbook takedown of Santana Moss pretty much summed up the game between the G-Men and the Offensive Nicknames of DC. Jason Campbell was horrific again, raising serious questions about whether he will ever be able to effectively run the offense. During the 4th quarter, Washington owner Daniel Snyder was in contact with Heath Shuler, Mark Rypien, and even Sammy Baugh about coming in this week for a workout.

San Francisco 20 Arizona 16

Maybe Kurt Warner's age is starting to get to him as he seemed to forget he had Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin on his team and instead chose to complete 11 passes to Tim Hightower in the Cardinals' upset loss to San Fran. SF head coach Mike Singletary's team exhibited the new smash-mouth, hard-working approach he wanted to take this season. No word on whether or not him taking his pants off had anything to do with the team's effort.

Seattle 28 St. Louis 0

Jim Mora and the Seahawks got to remember what it was like when they ran an offense that had a good QB and a full complement of good receivers yesterday. In a related story, first-year head coach Steve Spagnolo remembered how much easier it was to coach a defense when it actually had good players.

Green Bay 21 Chicago 15

Not even his favorite Dashboard Confessional album and a new pair of black skinny jeans could help emo-QB Jay Cutler overcome his sad performance in his first game as a Bear. Packer fans were surprisingly light on Cutler after his 4-TD disaster, probably because they're so used to seeing those performances from Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers' picture-perfect 4th quarter, game-winning TD pass was Exhibit Z in the case for why Ted Thompson kept him and let Favre go. After the game Thompson rested his case.

MNF Predictions

New England 34 Buffalo 13

Pretty simple math here; A dynamite offense led by the fully healthy QB who also happens to be the best player in the league + a pedestrian defense at best and an offense that was so inept in the preseason it's coordinator was fired = a blowout win for New England and a lot of people turning to Monday Night Raw by halftime.

San Diego 37 Oakland 10

The only thing uglier than the NE-Buffalo game will be this one. Seriously, NFL, this is the best you could do for opening night of Monday Night Football? Do you not want people to watch or something? Whoever does stay up to watch this will get to witness the rebirth of LaDanian Tomlinson as an elite back and Antonio Gates as en elite tight end. It's not all bad news for Oakland, though. With reports that Michael Crabtree is willing to sit out this season and re-enter the draft next year, they will have another shot to draft the correct WR.