The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Feeling good and heading home

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Aug 30, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees ended every day of this road trip tied for first place. They fell into a tie after the series opener in Toronto, and they stayed there through two more games against the Blue Jays and three games against the White Sox.

In theory, the schedule gives them an opportunity to gain some ground during the upcoming home stand. The Yankees next 10 games are in the Bronx against the Athletics, Blue Jays and Orioles. The A’s are a second-place team, the Blue Jays are obviously dangerous and the Orioles have shown some signs of life, but there is no easier part of the schedule remaining.

It comes at a time when the Yankees have some life of their own. This road trip was very nearly a bad one — a very, very bad one — but the offense came to life on Saturday, the pitching carried the team on Sunday and the Yankees got out of Chicago able to breathe a little easier.

Two guys who helped make that happen: Eduardo Nunez and Ivan Nova.

Neither was among the most highly touted prospects in the system, but they’ve played a role this year, and shown enough promise to think they could continue to play some sort of role in the future. At different points this season the Yankees have leaned on guys like Colin Curtis and Kevin Russo, and those role-players from within have helped out when the Yankees needed them. The same sort of thing is happening right now.

As a bonus, the new guys occasionally provide postgame interviews like this one from the night Nunez hit his first home run. The words he’s saying don’t even matter. Just listen to the guy. This is what happiness sounds like.

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69 Responses to “Feeling good and heading home”

  1. Betsy August 30th, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I don’t mind the tougher schedule later; if the Yankees are good enough, they will prove it. If not, they will prove that too.

  2. ac1 August 30th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    i agree. hopefully the tough final weeks will inspire a more consistent performance. At the very least, it should bring some more players to the big team for help.

  3. blake August 30th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    MTU,.
    I answered you in the previous thread.

  4. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Blake-

    I saw that. Me too.

  5. SJ44 August 30th, 2010 at 8:56 am

    From the other thread re: Manny.

    I don’t care how bad the call was, you can’t get tossed in that situation. Buster is right, it is unprofessional.

    Especially since Manny has a rep of not being a guy that argues with umpires.

    Why did he do it? He wanted to stick it to the Dodgers. That, Manny DOES have a habit of doing.

    Toward the end of his tenure with the Red Sox, Tito sat him for a game at Yankee Stadium.

    If you recall, he had Manny PH against Mo with two outs and the tying runs on base.

    Manny proceeded to stand there and take three strikes down the middle of the plate.

    Didn’t even try to swing. Completely mailed in the AB.

    He was gone soon after that incident.

    That’s the thing with Manny, he’s a complete clubhouse cancer.

    You (somewhat) justify it when he’s hitting 45 HR’s, driving in 130, slugging .600, and can still play everyday.

    Now? A part-time player, can only DH, can’t hit for power since his last attempt at pregnancy failed, and is a complete dog in the clubhouse and off the field.

    For 4+ million for one month’s work, good luck to the White Sox. They will need it.

  6. Doreen August 30th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Both Nunez and Nova were glowing in their respective post games.

    It feels very satisfying when guys come up from the minors and make a contribution.

  7. upstate kate August 30th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I wont pretend to know what is best for AJ, but since it doesn’t appear to be physical, I guess you have to throw him out there and hope he turns it around…at least for now

    SJ
    on behalf of dog lovers everywhere, please don’t compare Manny’s behavior to a dog…dogs are loyal :)

  8. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Kate-

    Much more like a Skunk. ;)

  9. ac1 August 30th, 2010 at 9:07 am

    did i read something that said aj may be sent to the pen or was that just the wishes of the loHud?

  10. Mgumpher August 30th, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Being that the Dodgers are just letting Manny go should tell something about what they are thinking to his worth.

    He was a phenom when he went there, Mannywood and all those silly wigs. Then he was out trying to get pregnant or something… and they are finished with the theatrics.

    Manny might produce some for the White Sox. I tend to think that he is just a shell of his former self, he hasn’t looked very good at the plate the few games I’ve seen. His continual going to the DL is not very promising either.

    Was he mailing it in for the Dodgers? Quite possible. If the White Sox are out of it, won’t he mail it in there as well. Other than maybe thinking that he could get some stupid team out there to pony up big bucks for him.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go un-signed after this. Just like Jermaine Dye. Teams aren’t paying out for diminishing skills.

  11. Doreen August 30th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I was hoping they’d either skip or postpone AJ’s start, but I can see why they’d go ahead with him in regular fashion.

    In a way, it goes to that thinking that there’s just as much chance of him being dominant “the next time” as there is of him being putrid. If there’s no injury issue/health issue, how else can you think? And honestly, he had two very good starts recently where the Yankees scored no runs for him. So, all I can say is if “good AJ” shows us, the Yankees really have to take advantage.

    SJ44 -

    And that’s why I’d never want the Yankees to come within a mile of signing Manny.

  12. JCPD August 30th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Hey MTU, I’ll match your YMH tributes with a superNova tribute. No particular hike here, just instances that I’ve been fortunate enough to have my camera with me

    http://picasaweb.google.com/10…..qkka_14QE#

  13. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    JCPD-

    Sounds like we’re playin’ poker. I’ll see your YMH tribute and raise you one Nova tribute. :)

    By the way, the link didn’t work.

  14. JCPD August 30th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    MTU, try this. You’ll have me whipped if it’s poker.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/10.....qkka_14QE#

  15. blake August 30th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    SJ,
    If Manny wants to continue his playing career then he had better murder the ball down the stretch…I just don’t see many teams signing on for his nonsense unless he does….Bonds could still hit when he was forced out of the game….Manny should take note.

  16. pat August 30th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Seems like a DL stint for Manny in August has been part of the program for awhile. Manny’s version of summer vacation. He’s been taking them for years.

    The White Sox reality show on MLB Network got themselves a new “character”. :smile:

  17. GayleF August 30th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    SJ-

    Funny when he got thrown out that at bat against MO was the 1st thing I thought of. When he sees his time is done he doesn’t want to go out quietly that is for sure. He burned his time in Boston and his relationship with some of his teammates and he has done the same thing in Los Angeles. LA gave him a shot, created the whole Mannywood personal and marketing and stood by him with the suspension and this is how he pays them back. Nice guy.

  18. Crawdaddy August 30th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    The Dodgers letting Manny go on waivers tells you they want him gone today without having to negotiate a trade with the White Sox.

  19. Crawdaddy August 30th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    “And that?s why I?d never want the Yankees to come within a mile of signing Manny.”

    Doreen,

    You never have to worry about that because Hal and Cashman are only interested in high character players now.

  20. CR9 August 30th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I was just thinking of the ABSURDITY of Yankees fans – one in particular – attacking Alex Rodriguez.

    And here is a wonderful contrast.

    Alex Rodriguez was a star his entire career – and probably did not benefit much from the use of steroids, if at all. Also, while using, Alex’s team never won anything.

    Tom Brady, on the other hand, is the sole product of cheating. Tom Brady did more for his career with Belichick’s videotaped cheating than Alex Rodriguez did for his with steroids – and it aint even close.

    Not only did become one of the greatest* quarterbacks of all time with 3 Super Bowls* and another Super Bowl appearance*, he also bagged himself millions of dollars and the most prominent supermodel for a wife.

    We all saw the real Tom Brady in this past year’s playoffs against the Ravens. Nothing more than an average QB with poor decision making. The guy couldnt even get starting time in college, that’s how pathetic he was.

    Im so happy that karma came around in the form of Super Bowl XLII and Bernard Pollard :)

    Have a good day all! Tonight will be time to separate ourselves from the Rays!

    TA!

  21. CR9 August 30th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    And please don’t jump on the media bandwagon that Manny quit on the Red Sox, because of one AB that ESPN said back then “Manny quit on” against Mariano.

    This is Manny’s line in his final month with the Red Sox

    .347 .473 .587 1.060

    That AINT quitting!

  22. NYY fan in NH August 30th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    If I remember correctly back in 05′ Robinson Cano came up and he didn’t have the hype of a top tier prospect and look what has happened to him. You can never put a label on a prospect until they actually get some playing time. Cano has almost surpassed his HR and RBI totals from last year in 137 less at bats. Maybe Nunez can be that type of player down the road.

  23. blake August 30th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I hope AJ can get back on track because it would be a big lift for the Yankees but the fact is that for him to do that he’s going to have to change. He can’t live on fastballs anymore sitting 92-93 especially with his location. That’s what worries me the most about AJ…its not that he’s struggled, its how he’s struggled.

    His stuff is still fine but no longer good enough to pitch behind and without effective secondary pitches. If he evolves then he could still be a good big league pitcher…if he doesn’t then I’m afraid it will be more of the same.

  24. MaineYankee August 30th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Crawdaddy August 30th, 2010 at 9:24 am
    “And that?s why I?d never want the Yankees to come within a mile of signing Manny.”

    Doreen,

    You never have to worry about that because Hal and Cashman are only interested in high character players now.

    —————————————————————————

    Is that why Hank isn’t around? :lol:

    I know that was cruel.

  25. 108 stitches August 30th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    The Yankees won’t see Manny Ramirez this year but if he wishes to do damage to his former team in the 7 games the White Sox play Boston then go to it.
    It would be great if the Jays could play as well vs. the Rays as they do when playing the Yankees.
    Meanwhile, the Yankees need to take care of business with the Oakland A’s for the next 4 games before meeting up with Toronto for another 3 games.

  26. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 9:34 am

    JCPD-

    Thank you for sharing. You may not be much of a poker player but you are one hell of a photographer !

    Will share the wildlife photos with Mrs. MTU. She’ll love ‘em.

  27. MaineYankee August 30th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    MTU

    Good to see you still around.

    Use the advice I was given when in St. Louis when I was there.

    Don’t go out at night. :lol:

  28. JCPD August 30th, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Maine, around here, that’s perfect advice!!!

  29. Mgumpher August 30th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    CR9, Manny’s quiting on Boston wasn’t JUST the one at bat against Mo. That one was just far too obvious to not notice or to pass off as Manny being Manny.

  30. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    “Stuckey, I understand what you are saying about AJ and that’s one of the concerns I have about Phil – with his change and his curve. Of course he’s only 24 years old and not 33 like AJ, but still and all…………….”

    Hughes doesn’t have the fastball or curve Burnett had. And Hughes already shows signs of being a PITCHER rather than a thrower.

    I wouldn’t worry about Hughes as much. He NEEDS to round-out his arsenal.

  31. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    And just to briefly follow-up on a topic from last night.

    Other than Burnett and Rodriquez, Yankees don’t have a lot of objectionable contracts.

    Sabathia and Texeiria’s could be in a few years, no doubt. But that the moment, it’s Burnett and A-Rod.

    The question was if you could right now, which would you rid yourself of. It’s a relative proposition, not some commentary on regard for Rodriquez, who I like just fine.

  32. 4 NYY August 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Guys like Bonds and Manny have and will run themselves out of baseball with their behavior as much as anything. Big $$$ for asinine behavior.

  33. blake August 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Stuckey,
    Your comments on AJ from last night were pretty acurate IMO.

  34. SJ44 August 30th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Phil Hughes has evolved more as a pitcher from 2008-2010 than AJ Burnett has evolved in his entire 11 year career.

    Its why worrying about Hughes is a waste of time. He’s doing just fine and will continue to evolve as a pitcher.

    There is no evidence anywhere to suggest otherwise.

  35. blake August 30th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Hughes is a little refinement with his curveball and a little more confidence in his changeup away from being really really good.

    I’m hoping this stretch makes the lightbulb come on for AJ and he finally decides to change.

    After awhile of setting up into the woods on the left side of the fairway to compensate for your slice….you finally just decide to fix your slice…hopefully AJ will decide the pitching equivent of this.

  36. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Maine-

    Likewise, and roger that.

    It was great seeing you, GB, Pat, and Randy go at it yesterday.

  37. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Blake,

    AJ Burnett is a true baseball knucklehead of the first order. I don’t mean that pejoratively, I mean that with some fondness.

    There is a lot of insight to be gained by examination of his mechanics and ERA+, but for me the bottomline is his head.

    In a way, his mindset is the same as those 30-something pitchers in their 2nd decade in the minors. Guys like that just always think their NEXT pitch will be their best.

    Yeas of being able to throw a ball by people at will is hard to overcome for some.

  38. SJ44 August 30th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Folks forget Hughes has added a cutter and that’s a plus pitch for him.

    There is no substitute for innings and experience. That’s how you grow as a pitcher.

    Folks need to look at Hughes’ results so far and HONESTLY ask themselves if you would not have taken these results back in March when hecwas named to the rotation. Of course you would.

    The guy has exceeded every REALISTIC expectation and is still a work in progress. That’s good news.

  39. ron August 30th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    This year is a valuable learning experience for hughes.First full year of starting,going through lineups several times.

    For a pitcher with for the most part mostly fastballs he is doing very well.
    Once he incorporates offspeed pitches can you imagine how good he can be?

    He strikes out more batters than buchholz & walks less & can put his fastball anywhere wich can make him deadly.

  40. Tom in N.J. August 30th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Andy Pettitte’s age 23 season: 26 starts, 12-9, 4.17 ERA, 175 innings pitched.

  41. blake August 30th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Stuckey,

    I agree. To some extent his amazing stuff has been his worst enemy because its been a crutch. He could get away with so much because his stuff was so great..he was never forced to changed because he knew that on any given day he could dominate. I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore and it may have taken this to get him to see the light so to speak….we can hope anyway.

  42. SJ44 August 30th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    It’s ALL head for AJ.

    Dave Eiland gave a great interview on the pre-game show with Suzyn on Saturday.

    He talked about how insecure AJ can be and how little belief he has in his ability.

    He also talked about how much of a challenge it is to get him to belief in his stuff and ability.

    It belies the external look of AJ with all the tats.

    He’s a sensitive, stubborn, insecure guy. Those types are VERY challenging to coach.

    I don’t know if WCBS archives those interviews. If they do, it’s worth a listen.

    It gave great insight as to why it’s so challenging to work with AJ.

  43. austinmac August 30th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    MTU, I don’t know if you saw my post saying I would be happy for you to post my photos. I have a great gift in always posting right before Chad puts up another post leaving my thoughts hanging in the wind. Mmm. That might not be a bad place for some of them.

  44. Doreen August 30th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Why are we talking about Hughes?

  45. SAS August 30th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    JCPD,

    Those pictures are awesome. I enjoyed each and every one. Thanks so much for sharing. Your talent is quite special.

  46. Doreen August 30th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    SJ44 -

    I have no trouble at all believing AJ has a lack of confidence. All you have to do is watch and listen to his post games – and I don’t mean to the words. It’s in his voice; it’s in his demeanor; it’s in his eyes.

    It’s a shame, and how do you get through to someone like that? Because with someone like that, for every positive you point out to him, he will show you a negative. Look at how he views his no-hitter. He’s almost ashamed of it because of the walks. Granted, a no-hitter with, what 9, walks isn’t the most stellar way to get one; but he’s got one. Most guys would laugh off the 9 walks (after the fact, of course), and focus on the zero hits. Not AJ. He’s his own worst enemy.

  47. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Austin-

    I did. And as promised I posted your photos. It was some time back now. Try not to miss JCPD’s stuff. It’s really great.

    Nothing wrong with your thoughts Austin. Maybe you just need more time in the cage to work on your timing. ;)

  48. SAS August 30th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    AustinMac,

    I always post as Chad puts up a new thread too.lol

  49. blake August 30th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Haven’t heard much on Alex’s progress. When is he due to come off the DL and is he on track to return whenever that is?

  50. SAS August 30th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    SJ44,

    AJ has 3+ years left on his contract. What can the Yankees do to help this guy? Would a sports psychologist be a person who could be of assistance?

  51. Mike_Boston August 30th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    CR9, your rant about Tom Brady was pretty ignorant. If you really think that spygate had anything to do with the 3 SB trophies then I’m afraid you know nothing about the game of NFL football. Jimmy Johnson said that this was standard procedure for his staff and his counterparts around the league (Paccells confirmed this too). So with your logic that must mean that Troy Aikman was an average QB and deserved his concussions right? Saying someone deserved any kind of injury, that clearly never did anything remotely close to justifying it goes way beyond ignorant actually, it’s down right evil!!

    The fact that you bring up his college career, like that has 1 iota of significance or his just plain dumb. With your logic that would mean that Matt Cassell should be out of the league or the CFL. Take a look at Brady in his college days, he hadn’t even physically matured yet!!

  52. Jerkface August 30th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Trying to tell AJ he has dominating stuff and is very good if he would just use it is like telling a Size 2 she ain’t fat. Its a no-win scenario for the guy trying to do the convincing.

  53. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    So it’s now clear, AJ Burnett is the new Joba Chamberlain. But his blip Saturday aside, Chamberlain was about to right the ship.

    You know lost in all the Burnett talk, and injury concerns about A-Rod, Pettitte, Jeter’s sub-par year, Chamberlain’s stuff has come back probably farther than anyone expected, even though I imagine Chicago’s gun was a little hot all weekend.

    And he’s throwing like a pitcher too. Taking swinging outs when he can get them.

    There is reason to be bullish on Chamberlain moving forward.

  54. JCPD August 30th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    SAS, thanks. I must be like AJ, insecure in my talent. My family, friends and MTU keep beating me with a baseball bat about it, so maybe I should start to listen.

  55. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 10:39 am

    “AJ has 3+ years left on his contract. What can the Yankees do to help this guy? Would a sports psychologist be a person who could be of assistance?”

    Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom, which is pretty much (well, one hopes) where Burnett is right now.

    Granderson had to hit, Chamberlain had to hit it.

    Could be as simple as that.

  56. pat August 30th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    blake

    I read last night the plan was for Alex to start baseball activities today and Girardi said they anticpate activating him next Sunday unless there is any setback.

  57. MTU August 30th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    JCPD-

    Without a doubt. You’re like the photographic equivalent of “The Natural”.

  58. Joe from Long Island August 30th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Good morning all, just sitting down for a minute to sip coffee before going back at it –

    1. Manny wanted to make a point with the Dodgers, that’s why he got himself tossed there. Just like when he was with the Red Sox. Having said that, I think he will do his level best this last month with the White Sox. He wants a new contract, so he will be a model citizen (as much as he can) and hit as best as he can. Especially when the White Sox play Boston, so that should help the Yanks some.

    2. Sounds like AJ needs to make use of sports psychologist. My wife’s prior career was in psychology, and some of these specialists really do wonders for athletes. Just my sidewalk two cents.

  59. blake August 30th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Pat,

    Thanks. That would give him around 3 weeks to tune up for the post season…Optimistic thinking would hope that the time off for Alex and Andy will have them fresh and ready for the playoffs….we’ll find out.

  60. Jerkface August 30th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I hope the yankees get a little tempted with Chamberlain in the offseason and let him approach spring as a starter again. I really wanna see if he can maintain his new found velocity like Hughes. If he is learning to be more consistent in his delivery to maintain his stuff that could be huge. Or it could just be he can only do it for an inning.

    That’d be disappointing.

  61. 108 stitches August 30th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Once Phil Hughes develops a changeup and has trust in it, he’ll be amazing.

  62. stuckey99 August 30th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    “Especially when the White Sox play Boston, so that should help the Yanks some.”

    Yanks don’t need any help where the Red Sox are concerned.

    Surely anyone can’t still be looking in the rearview mirror at them, can they?

  63. Doreen August 30th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    stuckey99 -

    Agreed about Chamberlain. But I think it’s best to keep him out of the spotlight. SHhhh… ;)

  64. Joe from Long Island August 30th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    stuckey99 – not worried, nor looking in the rearview. Just saying a little help is always nice. The theatre that it generates would be nice, also.

  65. mick August 30th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    If AJ cares about making a start or 2 in the postseason, he will have a big game on Wed.
    This guy is all about himself and that’s what drives him.
    He will come out pitching lights out on Wed. and then again vs the Orioles next Monday, Labor Day.
    Mark my words.

  66. mick August 30th, 2010 at 10:53 am

    If Joba wants to start he can demand a trade.

  67. Joe from Long Island August 30th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    mick – but that assumes that the level of his performance is based on voluntary behavior, which I don’t think it is. There’s been enough people imploring him to pitch better for a long time now. I don’t think it’s that he doesn’t want to do better, I think it’s because it’s because he doesn’t understand how to. That he really doesn’t know how to control whatever it is inside of him, that translates into his delivery, mechanics, imploding.

  68. SAS August 30th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    :arrow: Pitching matchups vs. Oakland

  69. Robin August 30th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    check swing


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