Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday To The Captain

"Why yes.  Jessicas Biel and Alba will be joining me for a postgame rendezvous." Courtesy of The Daily News)

It would be a Yankee sacrilege to not point out and acknowledge that today is Derek Jeter's birthday.  The Captain turns 38 today, and despite a recent stretch of underwhelming offensive output, is still outperforming what a shortstop his age should rightfully be doing.  The guy is and has been the unofficial King of New York for the last 15 years or so, is a 5-time champion, a member of the 3,000-hit club, a no-doubt first-ballot HOFer, and yet it still doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I was dragging my old man to card shows at the mall so I could push people out of the way and buy up as many Derek Jeter cards as my minuscule 13-year-old bankroll would allow.

So Happy Birthday, Derek!  Keep doing the damn thing.  If recent history has taught us anything, it's that Jeter will probably go 3-4 tonight with a walk, 2 doubles, and the game-winning RBI.

P.S.- What do you get Derek Jeter for his birthday?  Does his family even bother getting him gifts or even a card?  What do you get the guy who has everything??  He's Derek Effing Jeter for crying out loud!

5 Reasons To Be Confident That The Yankees Will Win The AL East

Just to be clear, before anyone bookmarks this post to point back to in October if the Yankees don't win the division, this is not me coming out and saying that the Yankees are absolutely going to win the AL East this year.

/checks the title of the post

Crap.  Maybe it is.  Well whatever.  I'm feeling pretty good about where the Yankees stand right now and I'm not going to apologize for it.  The doom and gloom of May has been replaced by a very successful June, and that's despite the fact that there are still some glaring problem areas in the team's overall performance.  The Yankees have risen while the rest of their AL East competition has either floundered or treaded water, and with 90 games to play to iron out their remaining issues there's reason to be confident.  That confidence comes with plenty of "ifs," "ands," and "buts" attached to it, and this season has already taught us that even the most unthinkable can happen, but here are 5 things that can counter a lot of the IA&Bs as we move closer to the 2nd half of the season.

Game 72 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 CLE 1

(Dude's been getting a lot of high fives lately.  Courtesy of The AP)

Hey look!  We're back in the American League! Back in baseball civilization where there are designated hitters and less than 17 sacrifice bunts a game, and people like Jordany Valdespin and Vinny Rottino are not on active rosters.  And last night's return matchup to the Varsity league should have been an interesting one as Hiroki Kuroda faced the Cleveland Indians, a team he'd never faced before, and the Indian hitters faced Hiroki Kuroda, a pitcher they'd never faced before.  The Yankee lineup was familiar with Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin and looking to build on previous successes against him.

Game Notes:

- Tomlin doesn't have putaway stuff, so he makes his living on command.  He didn't have it last night and against the patient Yankee lineup that's not a good thing.  They worked him over in the top of the 1st for 35 pitches and 2 runs on a C-Grand walk, Teix single off the wall in right, and 2-run double to the right-center gap by Robinson Cano.

- Tomlin's command didn't improve much in the 2nd when he pretty much put a curveball on a tee for Dewayne Wise that Wise crushed for a 2-run HR.  When Dewayne Wise is taking you deep, that's never a good sign.

- Cano kept the run-scoring train going in the the 3rd when he smashed a 2-out homer to right field to give the Yanks a 5-0 lead.  Nick Swisher shoveled more coal on the fire with an opposite-field solo job right after Cano to make it 6-0.

- Oh yeah, Kuroda was pitching too.  And he did a damn fine job through the first 6 innings, minus the top of the 4th when he started pussyfooting around the strike zone and walked the first 2 batters.  He was efficient, he threw strikes, and wasn't trying to do too much against a weak Cleveland lineup.

- The HR in the 2nd inning was good enough, but the RBI triple in the bottom of the 6th for Wise was just insult to injury.  And yeah, he was out at third but what are you gonna do?  Dewayne Wise: Power Hitter.

- His final line got marred a bit by the runners he put on in the top of the 8th when he shouldn't have been in the game (thanks, Joe!), But Kuroda was very good last night.  The bullpen hosses needed a night off and his 7+ strong innings gave them just that.